Notes and Comment Blog


Is there anywhere?

Dec 4th, 2013 12:54 pm | By

Journalism? Women in journalism? Better for women than other kinds of work? Less hostile, less contemptuous and dismissive, less given to harassment?

No, that’s not how it is.

This week, the International Women’s Media Foundation and the International News Safety Institute released the results of an online survey asking female journalists around the world to detail the abuse they’ve experienced on the job. Sixty-four percent of the 875 respondents said they had experienced “intimidation, threats, or abuse” in the office or in the field. Most of the abuse was perpetrated by the journalists’ bosses, superiors, and co-workers. Forty-six percent of female journalists said they had experienced sexual harassment at work, including “unwanted comments on dress and appearance.” That harassment was also overwhelmingly perpetrated by colleagues. Twenty-one percent said they had experienced physical violence—including being pushed, pinned down, or threatened and assaulted with weapons—in the course of their work. Thirteen percent had been sexually assaulted on the job—again, mostly at the hands of co-workers.

Not so good. Not so good at all.

If you’re a female journalist, these numbers are unsurprising. Pervasive sexual harassment and violence against female reporters, editors, and writers is rarely aired publicly, but it is an open secret in the field. The majority of incidents of sexual harassment and physical assault detailed in the IMWF survey were not reported to employers; 76 percent of women who met physical violence on the job did not report the assault to police. That’s partly because bosses and cops are the ones responsible for threatening and assaulting us.

So who ya gonna call? Nobody.

That doesn’t mean that female journalists are not forthcoming about the issue. We talk among ourselves, naming names in private email threads, drinks outings, and anonymous blogs. This is our “sad coping mechanism,” as Ann Friedman put it this year. Female journalists keep these discussions at a whisper because we know the men responsible are “too professionally powerful, too entrenched to really be held accountable for their behavior.” This year, the IMWF found that men make up nearly three-quarters of journalism’s top managers and nearly two-thirds of its reporters. The percentages are roughly the same in American journalism. Some sectors, like sports writing, are almost exclusively dominated by men. In 2012, 90 percent of American sports editors were men. If we ever hope to join their ranks, it seems safer not to challenge our superiors or our prized male colleagues. Sometimes, we are harassed while applying for these jobs.

Why doesn’t that sound exactly like the skepto/atheist movement – and every other movement and line of work there is, except maybe the few that are dominated by women.

Female journalists don’t want to be abused in the course of our employment—the majority of abused journalists said the incidents had a “psychological impact” on them—but we’d also like to remain employed. Calling out these men publicly (and submitting ourselves to a “he said, she said” situation with a more powerful colleague) means that reporting the abuse could become a “defining aspect of the accuser’s professional life, very likely wrecking it,” Friedman says. The stories we tell each other may help us stay on the lookout for repeat offenders, and to be more wary of working with them—but of course, that calculation also affects our career opportunities. When most female journalists are abused, threatened, harassed, or assaulted at work, there are few outlets we can run to where we will not be forced to work with these men, or their friends and supporters.

And their friends and supporters can make your lives hell. They can, they will, they do.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



The inspiration of Elan Gale

Dec 4th, 2013 11:48 am | By

From Gnu Atheism on Facebook:

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



This kind of infection kills women

Dec 4th, 2013 11:11 am | By

Dr Jen Gunter says the doctors at that Catholic hospital in Michigan should be sued along with the bishops.

This case happened at Mercy Health Partners,, a Catholic hospital in Muskegon, Mich. What makes it even worse is that Ms. Means is one of four women to suffer the same negligent care with ruptured membranes before viability at Mercy Health Partners who were denied adequate care. The cases were apparently discovered by a federally funded infant and fetal mortality project.

While there is a lot of press over this legal tactic, we must not lose sight of a crucial fact. If the events as reported are supported by the medical record Ms. Means was the victim of medical malpractice.

It is standard to care to offer termination at 18 weeks with grossly ruptured membranes. This is because the risk of infection is 30-40% just walking in the door with ruptured membranes at 18 weeks (meaning 30-40% of the time membranes ruptured because of an infection). If an infection isn’t there initially, it almost always develops. This is because once the membranes ruptured there is no barrier preventing the vaginal bacteria from ascending into the uterus. Regardless of gestational age. Regardless of viability. This kind of infections kills women. One needs to look no further than the Savita tragedy for a terrible reminder. And so, because the risks are very great, it is standard of care to include the discussion of termination at 18 weeks with ruptured membranes.

This kind of infection kills women. Let’s not stand idly by and let Catholic bishops order hospitals to let infections kill women. Let’s not stand idly by and let hospitals obey the orders of bishops instead of providing the standard of care. Let’s not just loll around watching reality tv while Catholic hospitals let religious dogma trump medical knowledge.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Nicola Dandridge explains

Dec 3rd, 2013 5:37 pm | By

See update below.

Wow. Nick Cohen talked to Nicola Dandridge about this whole “it’s ok to gender segregate university debates at the behest of theocrats” idea for a piece in the Spectator.

Why not go further? Why not segregate all lectures at universities? Or as, I said to Dandridge, why not segregate by race?

Well she replied, Universities UK cannot recommend racial segregation because Parliament has banned it – wisely it now seems.

What about speakers insisting that homosexuals sit on one side of a hall and heterosexuals on another?

Dandridge appeared to find that notion genuinely discomforting. She did not want to see gays singled out, she said. Not in the least.

‘What’s your problem with women, then?’ I asked. ‘Why should they come last?’

‘Because,’ she replied, ‘gender difference is visible.’

So there you have it. If women did not insist on growing breasts and wearing their hair long, Universities UK would treat them with greater care.

Ohhhhhhhh – so it’s quite all right to discriminate among people for reasons that are visible. Now I understand. (But then why did Parliament ban racial segregation? Just a whim? Dandridge must be mystified about that.)

As I spoke to her, I realised that she had no understanding that powerful groups segregate to humiliate their targets and to enforce their ideologies. One of the academic critics of Universities UK gave an example I had never heard of to emphasise the point.

In the 1930′s Poland began to enforce segregated seating in its universities, with Jewish students restricted to the left side of the lecture hall. This, of course, allowed lecturers to address and take questions only from the right side if they were so inclined. Polish students of all religious persuasions protested by refusing to sit down in lectures. We can only hope that modern students will also protest.

Let’s hope they do. But they will protest without the support of vice-Chancellors or the appalling leadership of the National Union of Students.

I think Nick saw that example here. He reads B&W of course.

Update December 5

Maureen pointed out a CV of Nicola Dandridge that has since been removed (but is still available in the cached version) so here it is for the record. She’s a specialist in equality. Yes that’s right.

dandridge

Nicola has been Chief Executive of Universities UK since September 2009. Universities UK is the representative organisation for the UK’s universities. Founded in 1918, UUK now has 134 members and offices in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh. Its mission is to be the definitive voice for all universities in the UK, promoting the strength and success of UK universities nationally and internationally.

Nicola was previously Chief Executive of Equality Challenge Unit, the higher education agency which promotes equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Formerly a partner and head of equality at Thompsons Solicitors, the UK’s largest firm of solicitors acting for the trade union and labour movement, Nicola qualified as a lawyer in England and initially worked in the City specialising in industrial relations, before qualifying in Scotland and working in Glasgow for 10 years. She has published numerous books and articles on equality and the law, and has also worked for the European Commission on equality initiatives in Europe.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



We need better hoaxes

Dec 3rd, 2013 4:47 pm | By

Aw now NPR is scolding people for not being skeptical of Elan Gale’s story. Aw now I feel bad.

This was reported as fact in all sorts of places, including the New York Daily News, as well as Buzzfeed, which opined that even with all the families gathering happily around their tables, even with the parades and football games, it was Elan Gale telling this woman in “mom jeans” to “eat [not turkey]” that “won Thanksgiving.”

And then, somebody claimed to be a member of her family and claimed she had cancer.

And then Gale disappeared from Twitter.

And then he came back and now seems, kind of, to be acknowledging that — as people had begun to expect — this was … well, a “hoax” is really too flattering for a dude taking camera phone pictures of a coaster with writing on it. As writer Dave Holmes (no relation) said to me last night: “Shouldn’t we demand higher quality hoaxes?”

I say to you, my friends: we should. And we can, and it’s not that hard. There were lots and lots of reasons to be skeptical of Gale’s story from the beginning. The behavior of the flight attendants didn’t make any sense, the fact that he would single-handedly get to decide whether she was arrested didn’t make any sense, the part about sending her vodka bottles didn’t make any sense, and it didn’t particularly make any sense that if Gale was playing Manly Defender Of Flight Attendants And Other Working People, he would tweet a story that would so obviously, if it were true, get the flight attendants who participated in his on-board harassment in so much trouble.

Sure; true enough. A lot of it didn’t make much sense, but a lot of that had to do with Elan’s goonish behavior, and I have very little reason to find goonish behavior incredible. The opposite, in fact. The more goonish it is, these days, the more drearily familiar it is. “Oh, yet another guy thinking he has some kind of obligation to be an asshole to a woman he takes a dislike to? Surprise surprise.”

Anyway what I was reacting to wasn’t his story so much as the reaction to it – the laughter and high fives and attaboys. So I took five minutes and reacted to it. I had no idea it was going to go viral.

This is before we discuss the fact that he’s a producer on The Bachelor, which may not make him a liar, but certainly makes him capable of concluding that the most entertaining and irresistible stories are the ones where women are emotional, infantile dummies who need a talking-to and perhaps could stand to be told not to limit their Thanksgiving feasts to the traditional dishes.

Exactly. That’s why I posted about it. The reaction was real even if Elan’s story was fake.

Still. Obviously it was very bad of me. I wasted posts, and everything.

benson

Sara E. Mayhew @saramayhew

Benson wasted multiple posts on a pretty obvious hoax. More lack of skepticism from #FTBullies http://pulse.me/s/H7GEg  #Diane

How many tweets has Mayhew wasted tweeting about oh never mind.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



In extreme distress and with an infection

Dec 3rd, 2013 4:05 pm | By

Now I want to single out this one part of the ACLU press release for close attention.

Tamesha Means rushed to Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon, Michigan, when her water broke after only 18 weeks of pregnancy. Based on the bishops’ religious directives, the hospital sent her home twice even though Means was in excruciating pain; there was virtually no chance that her pregnancy could survive, and continuing the pregnancy posed significant risks to her health.

Because of its Catholic affiliation and binding directives, the hospital told Means that there was nothing it could do and did not tell Means that terminating her pregnancy was an option and the safest course for her condition. When Means returned to the hospital a third time in extreme distress and with an infection, the hospital, once again prepared to send her home. While staff prepared her discharge paperwork, she began to deliver. Only then did the hospital begin tending to Means’ miscarriage.

You see it? 18 weeks. Her waters broke. She rushed to the hospital. She was in excruciating pain. The hospital told her there was nothing it could do. She developed an infection.

It’s Savita Halappanavar all over again. Check, check, check, check, check, check. The difference is that she had the very good luck to start delivering before the infection got such a hold that she couldn’t be saved. But it was only luck. It was nothing to do with the hospital. The hospital sent her home to die of a miscarriage.

I hope her lawsuit puts them out of business. I hope it makes such a stink that Congress finally realizes that bishops shouldn’t be forcing women to die of miscarriages. I hope all Catholic hospitals start being told to obey the law or get out of the hospital business. I hope the ACLU eats their lunch.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



ACLU Sues Bishops on Behalf of Pregnant Woman Denied Care at Catholic Hospital

Dec 3rd, 2013 3:57 pm | By

The ACLU has a press release on its lawsuit against the bishops, so I can just publish the whole thing here for your enlightenment and discussion.

ACLU Sues Bishops on Behalf of Pregnant Woman Denied Care at Catholic Hospital

Suit Claims Religious Directives Put Women’s Health at Risk

December 2, 2013

CONTACT: 212-549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK and DETROIT— The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan have filed a lawsuit on behalf of a pregnant woman who miscarried and was denied appropriate medical treatment because the only hospital in her county is required to abide by religious directives. The directives, written by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, prohibited that hospital from complying with the applicable standard of care in this case.

Tamesha Means rushed to Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon, Michigan, when her water broke after only 18 weeks of pregnancy. Based on the bishops’ religious directives, the hospital sent her home twice even though Means was in excruciating pain; there was virtually no chance that her pregnancy could survive, and continuing the pregnancy posed significant risks to her health.

Because of its Catholic affiliation and binding directives, the hospital told Means that there was nothing it could do and did not tell Means that terminating her pregnancy was an option and the safest course for her condition. When Means returned to the hospital a third time in extreme distress and with an infection, the hospital, once again prepared to send her home. While staff prepared her discharge paperwork, she began to deliver. Only then did the hospital begin tending to Means’ miscarriage.

“They never offered me any options,” said Means. “They didn’t tell me what was happening to my body. Whatever was going on with me, they discussed it amongst themselves. I was just left to wonder, what’s going to happen to me?”

Catholic-sponsored hospitals are required to adhere to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. The directives prohibit a pre-viability pregnancy termination, even when there is little or no chance that the fetus will survive, and the life or health of a pregnant woman is at risk. They also direct health care providers not to inform patients about alternatives inconsistent with those directives, even when those alternatives are the best option for the patient’s health. The lawsuit charges that, because of the directives, the USCCB is ultimately responsible for the unnecessary trauma and harm that Means and other pregnant women in similar situations have experienced at Catholic-sponsored hospitals.

“The best interests of the patient must always come first and this fundamental ethic is central to the medical profession,” said Kary Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan. “In this case, a young woman in a crisis situation was put at risk because religious directives were allowed to interfere with her medical care. Patients should not be forced to suffer because of a hospital’s religious affiliation.”

Because she received neither the information nor the care appropriate for her condition, Means was unable to direct her course of treatment and suffered unnecessarily. Her story is not unique. Research, including that of Lori R. Freedman, PhD, and Debra B. Stulberg, MD, recounts other stories of patients being denied information and appropriate care at hospitals bound by the bishops’ directives.

“A pregnant woman who goes to the hospital seeking medical care has the right to expect that the hospital’s first priority will be to provide her appropriate care,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the ACLU. “Medical decisions should not be hamstrung by religious directives.”

Tamesha Means v. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



A precedent

Dec 3rd, 2013 3:24 pm | By

More from the Austin Statesman story last December.

University officials said Friday they didn’t know of another public medical school whose primary teaching hospital is Catholic.

So, setting a precedent. A very bad precedent.

Central Health, a public entity, along with the women it serves and doctors it works with, already has had to jump through hoops to accommodate the church, said Meghan Smith, domestic program associate for Catholics for Choice, which supports women’s access to contraception and abortion.

Ian Smith, a lawyer with Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said future doctors will have to jump through similar hoops. “You have the University of Texas sending public school students to a hospital where … they have to tell their students they are bound by Catholic religious doctrine,” he said.

It’s just so fucked up. Medical care has to be secular! This should be non-negotiable. “Catholic religious doctrine” should have nothing whatsoever to do with medical care ever ever ever.

But backers of Proposition 1 — the voter-approved property tax increase that will help pay for the medical school, the teaching hospital site and health care for indigent people — see a partnership that respects patients’ rights and offers full training for doctors while honoring Catholic doctrine.

But “honoring Catholic doctrine” shouldn’t be a goal of a medical partnership.

“Seton has long understood that increasing access to great health care for all requires cooperation with non-Catholic organizations, and that tradition of cooperation will continue with the new UT medical school,” said Greg Hartman, a Seton executive who is president and CEO of UMC Brackenridge.

No that’s not what this is about. It’s the other way around. What it’s about is increasing Catholic control of health care in the US. It’s succeeding at a rapid pace.

Such juggling of public health care responsibilities with religious restrictions has grown more complex at UMC Brackenridge over the years.

By the time Seton agreed to operate Brackenridge in 1995, elective abortions were no longer done at the hospital. But voluntary sterilizations were, prompting the Vatican to send several letters to then-Bishop John McCarthy of the Diocese of Austin, instructing him to end the practice. Seton contracted with a private company to perform the procedures at the hospital without using Seton employees.

So we have the Vatican – which let me remind you is another country – micromanaging medical care in Texas. Fascinating. Why stop there, why not let every country in the world meddle with US health care? Also every religion?

Bob Ozer, an activist and retired lawyer in Austin, said that outsourcing those procedures to St. David’s is an echo of “separate but equal” segregated treatment.

“You couldn’t tell blacks they have to go over to St. David’s because they’re black, but here women want to exercise rights to reproductive health care guaranteed by the Constitution and they’re being sent over to another health care provider,” Ozer said. “It’s problematic to have this kind of segregated system that’s segregated just to accommodate the Catholic Church.”

It is. It’s problematic for medical institutions to accommodate the Catholic church in any way. Yet they’re falling like dominos.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



“So long as it does not contradict Catholic principles”

Dec 3rd, 2013 2:13 pm | By

Ok new item to contemplate in slack-jawed horror and then shout the place down about. A Twitter friend alerted me to the fact that the University of Texas at Austin medical school recently partnered with a Catholic hospital group, Seton, and the students were told they have to comply with the ERD.

I can barely get my head around it. It’s a state school. And the ERD tells hospital and medical staff that they may not perform abortions ever.

A publicly funded university is ordering its med students to comply with church rules. In the United States, in 2013.

From the Austin Statesman a year ago, December 2012.

Plans to establish a medical school at the University of Texas and train its students at a Catholic-owned teaching hospital have rekindled debate over public health care services for women and the impact of Vatican rules against birth control.

Local health and university officials said they don’t see a problem with a partnership between UT, the Seton Healthcare Family and Central Health, Travis County’s hospital district. Services for women will continue to be offered in the same way they are being provided now, officials said.

Except for the Catholic part. This was a year ago, so it was weeks after the news about Savita Halappanavar came out. You would think health officials would be paying attention.

More recently here is Catholic Watch this past August.

Below is a message sent out by the University of Texas at Austin that contains a line of such unadulterated BS that it’s making CatholicWatch’s head spin.  For those in the know, the University of Texas is trying to justify its partnership with Seton Health Care Family (which requires compliance with the ERDs) to train future physicians.  You can read more about ithere.

Here’s what Executive Vice President and Provost Steven Leslie had to say about the deal that is so mind-boggling:  ”It is true that the doctors employed by Seton must abide by Catholic directives while practicing medicine in those facilities, including rules on birth control, abortion and end-of-life care. However, those same directives also require that patients are fully informed so they can give free consent, which requires doctors to share the full range of information about medications and procedures, including contraception.”

Now it’s clear that Leslie has either never read the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care or he read them but didn’t comprehend what they actually say.

Here’s what the ERDs say on this point, starting with an excerpt from Directive 27:  ”Free and informed consent requires that the person or the person’s surrogate receive all reasonable information about the essential nature of the proposed treatment and its benefits; its risks, side-effects, consequences, and cost and any reasonable and MORALLY LEGITIMATE alternatives, including no treatment at all…..The free and informed health care decision of the person or the person’s surrogate is to be followed so long as it does not contradict Catholic principles.”

Which means a person who enters into a Catholic hospital automatically is deprived of THE RIGHT TO FREE AND INFORMED CONSENT because no procedure can be done that violates Catholic principles and no information about alternatives that are not deemed “morally legitimate” in the eyes of the Catholic Church need be discussed either.

This is such an outrage.

 

 

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Finally – WOMAN SUES US CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS

Dec 3rd, 2013 11:47 am | By

Yesssssssssss. It’s about fucking time.

USA Today: Woman sues over Catholic hospitals’ abortion rule

DETROIT — A Michigan woman is taking on the nation’s Catholic hospitals in federal court, alleging they are forcing pregnant women in crisis into having painful miscarriages rather than terminate the pregnancy — and not giving them any options.

The Muskegon woman, who developed an infection and miscarried 18 weeks into her pregnancy, sued the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Monday, alleging the group’s anti-abortion directive denies proper medical care to women like herself.

In her case, the lawsuit said, the directive contributed to a painful miscarriage and offered her no options.

In other words, a potential Savita Halappanavar, with the difference being that she survived. It’s good that she survived, but no thanks to the USCCB for that.

The case involves Tamesha Means, who was rushed to Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon in December 2010 when her water broke after 18 weeks of pregnancy. The hospital sent her home twice, even though she was in “excruciating pain;” there was virtually no chance that her pregnancy could survive, and continuing the pregnancy posed a significant risk to the mother’s health, she alleged in the lawsuit.

Exactly like Savita Halappanavar – except that University Hospital Galway didn’t send Halappanavar home; it kept her there to die while the staff watched.

But because of its Catholic affiliation and directives, the hospital told Means that there was nothing it could do, and it did not tell her that abortion was an option, she alleged in the lawsuit. When Means returned to the hospital a third time in extreme distress and with an infection, the hospital still tried to send her home, but Means began to deliver while staff prepared her discharge paperwork.

At that point, the hospital tended to her miscarriage.

That should be a prosecutable crime. Not just a lawsuit; a crime.

You know, I reported on this situation in my talk at Empowering Women Through Secularism in Dublin last summer. I’ve seen comments from [cough] hostile observers saying I just made it up. No I didn’t. The USCCB is real; the ERD is real; Catholic hospitals and healthcare networks are real; the fact that many Catholic hospitals obey the ERD instead of secular law is real. I didn’t make any of it up.

Officials at Mercy Health Partners declined comment. So did the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which deferred to its 43-page Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.

Under the directives: “Abortion … is never permitted. Every procedure whose sole immediate effect is the termination of pregnancy before viability is an abortion.” The directives also defend the practice of denying patient requests for certain medical procedures, stating it “does not offend the rights of individual conscience by refusing to provide or permit medical procedures that are judged morally wrong by the teaching authority of the Church.”

The ACLU of Michigan, which filed a lawsuit on behalf of Means, disagrees, arguing Catholic hospitals are putting their beliefs before the health and welfare of its patients. In Means’ case, the ACLU argued, the directives prohibited the hospital from complying with the applicable standard of care. Consequently, it argues, the bishop’s conference is ultimately responsible for the unnecessary trauma and harm that Means and other pregnant women in similar situations have experienced at Catholic-sponsored hospitals.

Again – yessssssss. This is so overdue. This is a case to watch.

 

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Behold the chair

Dec 3rd, 2013 10:03 am | By

Elan Gale says haha it was just a joke. Or a story or a test or an experiment or a lie. It was untrue. It was a fiction, an invention, an imaginary incident.

aa

elan gale @theyearofelan

Here is Diana sitting in a chair

pic.twitter.com/OE5q7j8dhr

The photo is of an empty chair. Geddit?

He tweets again to say he meant Diane. Then he wraps up:

aaa

elan gale @theyearofelan

I conclude by saying hopefully a few people got a few laughs over a slow Thanksgiving weekend

 So it was comedy, staged for the world’s entertainment.

What genre of comedy? Humiliation comedy; public shaming comedy; hipster guy taunting an unhip woman in unhip jeans comedy, with the pretext that she was self-absorbed and slightly rude to a flight attendant. That kind of comedy. “Edgy” – which is hipster-speak for mean.

I see it as more of a Milgram experiment than a witty short story. Much more. The fact that so many people admired his reported self-righteous bullying tells us a lot, whether that’s what Elan Gale intended or not. Way too many people pushed the dial all the way up, merely because the guy in the white coat hipster hair told them to.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



We need to REMIND them about the way of things

Dec 2nd, 2013 6:07 pm | By

Damn, I’m beating the dead horse of Elan to death here, but I got around to reading his triumphant post-flight post about what a great job he did of teaching people to be nice and I just couldn’t not say anything. So here’s Elan Gale on teaching everyone to be nice:

A lot of people have been really nice to me and called me a hero today. It’s really fun to hear but it’s not true.

Our troops are heroes. Fire fighters and policemen are heroes. Doctors and teachers are heroes. Flight attendants and pilots and waiters and baristas… These are the people that make things work in this crazy world.

What I did today was just point out something we all know: Be nice. It’s Thanksgiving. Be nice. 

Wow. That is some classic cognitive dissonance there, describing his taunting and harrying of that woman as pointing out “be nice.” No. Bullying someone isn’t pointing out “be nice.” It’s actually pointing out the opposite. “Look at me, I’m being nasty, way nastier than you were. Now you know how to be nice, right?” No. Not right.

If he were really interested in teaching everyone to be nice, would he have sent all those boastful tweets about his oh-so-funny punishment of Diane? Hardly.

Be nice everyday, but if you see a man or a woman working on a holiday you better respect that they would like to be with their family too.

So have some compassion and have some appreciation.

Most people do. Most people are great. And then there are a bunch of Diane’s in the world.

And it’s OUR job to tell every Diane to shut up.

It’s OUR duty to put the Diane’s of the world in their place.

We need to REMIND them about the way of things.

We outnumber them.

So, I’m really glad we had fun today, but I really hope you guys join me, look a jerk in the eye, and tell them to eat a piece of your body, because really, that’s what the holidays are all about.

That’s disgusting. Really, really disgusting. The combination of delusional piety about having some compassion with the horrible boastful bullying – We need to REMIND them about the way of things – ugh, it makes my skin crawl.

I think that’s the last I’ll say about Mr Gale. I don’t like feeling disgust.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



The dancer from the dance

Dec 2nd, 2013 4:49 pm | By

Jason figured out something about the “rage blogging” trope.

The really interesting thing is, the people complaining about “rage bloggers” and “drama” are doing the exact same thing as the bloggers they complain about, by pointing to things they disagree with and disagreeing with them. Publicly. Calling them out on things they disagree with, even while they themselves decry the “call-out culture” of disagreeing with people publicly.

Well yes.

Actually the people doing that fit the description much better than we do, because they’re the ones who spend literally hours on Twitter or that unsavory forum every day tap tap tapping about nothing but a small handful of bloggers. That’s the only subject of their rage-tweeting and rage-forum posting.

Anyway, yes.

It’s like Diane and Elan, in a way. On the one hand, some crabby entitled behavior in reaction to a delayed flight, which ended. On the other hand, a sustained campaign to punish the crabby entitled behavior, which still hasn’t ended.

Which is the rage, who is the rager?

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Contemptibly rude versus wildly irritating

Dec 2nd, 2013 1:11 pm | By

More Elan-commentary.

Ken White at Popehat:

Mr. Gale serves to teach us two lessons about social media and the internet — and more broadly, about life.

Lesson One:  Douchebaggery Is Not A Zero-Sum Game

The first lesson is that boorish behavior is not binary.  People are complex, life is complex, and despite our hunger to see the world in simple terms of white hats versus black hats, sometimes all participants in a social media melee are assholes.

In this instance, it’s perfectly possible to recognize that (1) that “Diane” — if she exists — was contemptibly rude and entitled towards airline staff who have no control over when a plane leaves and who are simply doing their jobs under trying circumstances, and (2) also recognize that Elan Gale is contemptibly self-involved for seeing Diane’s rudeness as an opportunity to confront and torment her for his own amusement and self-promotion.  Recognizing one does not diminish the other, because douchebaggery is not a zero-sum game.  “Diane” thought — either out of bad character, or temporary frailty — that she was entitled to vent at some poor bastard working for an airline on a holiday.  Mr. Gale thought that the abuse of an airline employee was a swell opportunity to put a woman “in her place” and preen for his followers.  You can criticize both without letting either one off the hook.

Now, me, I think Ken exaggerates Diane’s badness there. As I’ve mentioned in comments, all Elan reports her doing in his first tweets is 1) complaining about a bad situation that affects everyone around her, as if it affected her alone, and 2) telling a flight attendant who tried to sympathize or deflect by saying he wanted to get home for Thanksgiving too, “it’s not about you.” I don’t think that does amount to “contemptibly rude and entitled.” Moderately rude, but not contemptibly so.

I think the deal here actually is that she was irritating, much more than she was actively rude. I recognize that distinction, because I find people irritating all the time – especially in airports and on planes. Ohgod ten times more so in airports and on planes. My hatred of both environments causes my irritation-meter to go into hypersensitive mode. A Diane complaining about things that are obvious and shared could be irritating way out of proportion to its real rudeness. On the scale of things flight attendants have to put up with, I doubt it even registers. They work on planes! With people who are squashed in like sardines, breathing horrible air, with some stranger’s head in their lap.

But a lot of people are reading backwards. They hated Diane as soon as Elan started tweeting about her, or as soon as they read his first tweets about her, and then they read awfulness back into her behavior to justify their hatred. It’s very like “guys, don’t do that.” A lot of people read their hatred back into that small, cheerful piece of advice until it became unrecognizable.

Diane was irritating, as self-centered people are irritating, but if they’re strangers to us it’s almost never our jobs to set them straight. Sometimes it is, but not often. On that flight? It really, really was not Elan’s.

And Shoshanna Jaskoll on the Times of Israel blog.

He’s doubling his following and becoming more and more popular with every move he makes against the anonymous “Diane”. Eventually, he tells her to ‘suck his d*ck’ and it really derailed from there.

Many people posted the story and called it hilarious, awesome, incredible etc. I felt like I was the only one who found it grotesque and over the line. Elan seemed to me like a gladiator in the pit being cheered as he hacked apart a smaller opponent.

Not the only one at all.

At the end of the saga, Elan tells Diane to ‘look him up online’. Doing so, we see that he is “producer of ABC’s The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor Pad…”

I can’t help but think that Elan has gotten reality TV and actual reality confused.  On reality TV, the participants are paid to be humiliated, have their best and worst moments documented, and to be judged by an audience where the biggest smart ass wins.

In actual reality, the players have stories far beyond what we are aware of, their lives are not for entertainment, and their reactions are not scripted to best effect. Elan played to his audience, his crowd, and repeatedly battered a woman who was clearly having a horrible day.

And whether she really has cancer or not, whether the face mask was just because she has a cold or wanted to avoid getting a cold, she didn’t need an Elan Gale straightening her out.

 

 

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Decades after we decided as a society

Dec 2nd, 2013 12:04 pm | By

Even the Telegraph has a blog post about the heroic adventures in schooling women of Elan Gale.

Look, joking aside, and God knows Elan is a risible clown who deserves all the pointing-and-laughing one can mete out, there’s something profoundly depressing about the fact that, decades after we decided as a society that using sexual threats and demands as a means of shutting women up was unacceptable, young men like Elan are still using them on strange women in public spaces and other young men are cheering them on.

His mommy must have glowed with pride as she stirred the turkey soup. But perhaps he doesn’t care. Perhaps, after all, this random middle-aged woman reminded him of mommy and he was acting out. But I’ll bet you £100 that, had he deemed this woman worthy of his beardy sexual interest, he would never have behaved toward her in this manner. And that fear of getting more than a slapping would have made him duck his head had Diane been a man.

Really. Does anyone seriously think he would have done that if Diane had been a man? Or, if you think he made the whole thing up (and apparently he has a history of such invention), do you think he would even have made it up with the role of Diane played by Donald?

I sure as hell don’t. Why? Not primarily because of relative degrees of physical fear. No, it’s more than that, and worse than that. I think it’s more because of an unconscious background assumption that women are a class subject to being schooled and that men are not. I probably share the assumption, in case that makes you feel any better.

But that’s one reason I think this story deserves some heavy breathing, even though it is “just Twitter.” (But then, “just Twitter” isn’t all that tiny, is it; not in the sense of being totally without impact.) Maybe it will help a lot of people recognize that background assumption and try to correct for it.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Something annoys you? Blame feminism!

Dec 2nd, 2013 10:55 am | By

That seems to be Christina Hoff Sommers’s policy at least.

chs

Christina H. Sommers @CHSommers

Wow! Some Brits organize an event to raise awareness on men’s health. PC feminist freaks out. Not a parody!  http://www.newstatesman.com/2013/11/why-movember-isnt-all-its-cracked-be …

Yes but that’s not what happened. I posted about that article on Saturday, so you’ll all know that’s not what happened, because you read everything I post here and remember every word of it. No but seriously – here again is a sample of that absurd New Statesman article:

So what message does Movember convey to those whose moustaches are more-or-less permanent features? With large numbers of minority-ethnic men—for instance Kurds, Indians, Mexicans—sporting moustaches as a cultural or religious signifier, Movember reinforces the “othering” of “foreigners” by the generally clean-shaven, white majority. Imagine a charity event that required its participants to wear dreadlocks or a sari for one month to raise funds—it would rightly be seen as unforgivably racist. What is the difference here? We are not simply considering an arbitrary configuration of facial hair, but one that had particular, imperial connotation to British men of our grandfathers’ generation and currently has a separate cultural valence for men from certain ethnic groups. Moustaches, whether or not “mo-bros” mean theirs to be, are loaded with symbolism. We often wonder how our fathers (both life-long moustached men) must feel each November, when their colleagues’ faces temporarily resemble theirs, and are summarily met with giggles and sponsor-money. No doubt they draw the obvious conclusion, that dovetails with many other experiences of life as an immigrant: there are different rules for white faces.

Is that obviously just feminist and nothing else? Hardly. It’s a jumble of nonsense, but what’s most prominent is a confused attempt at anti-racism and post-colonialism. It’s much more that flavor of bullshit than it is any kind of feminist-flavored bullshit.

Sommers is scapegoating. That’s bad.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Dude, you’re the one who took the brawl to Twitter

Dec 1st, 2013 11:39 am | By

Now Elan is all pissed off at people who don’t think his bullying of a somewhat rude passenger was the wittiest and most richly-deserved schooling ever.

elan

elan gale @theyearofelan

My wife’s dog’s friend knows a guy who saw a guy who knew Diane and he also knows the guy who anonymously posted stuff about her health

So last night I met the dude who saw the guy who knew a man who wrote the stuff on the message board and then I WROTE AN ARTICLE ABOUT IT

Oh, I saw someone write an article about a thing my dog’s wife’s friend saw on a message board and I AM ENRAGED

I have poorly thought out opinions about things I skimmed through on the internet! I demand answers! I demand justice!

[and one more not in the screengrab]

Everyone feels one way! I AM SMART AND MUST FEEL ANOTHER WAY IMMEDIATELY!

It’s funny how easily one could just turn that line of thinking around on him:

Oh, I saw some woman on my flight being crabby about the delay so I KNEW she’s a horrible entitled bitch and I had to FIX HER IMMEDIATELY

Also:

Everyone feels that bullying strangers into better behavior is just bullying. I AM SMART AND MUST FEEL ANOTHER WAY IMMEDIATELY!

So easily.

Update some hours later. More bitter tweets about how misunderstood Elan is.

elan

elan gale @theyearofelan

My pledge: if you end up sitting next to me on a plane for the next year, and you are nice, I promise that I will offer to buy you a drink

[that one got 129 retweets and 753 favorites]

Just read somewhere that Diane was the last remaining unicorn and was just trying to get back to repopulate her home planet

Please make sure to include the new Diane was a unicorn evidence in all future media. Seems viable. Someone said it

In other words the cancer claim may be bogus. Sure, it may. The bullying was still bullying, even if Diane is as healthy as a mountaineer.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Passenger ethics

Dec 1st, 2013 10:23 am | By

Mostly I’m seeing people agreeing that Elan’s first commentary-tweets were ok but his actual confrontation of Diane was not ok, but I’m also seeing a sizeable faction insisting that Diane deserved everything Elan dished out to her and perhaps more.

So I think we need to think about passenger ethics a bit.

Suppose Elan had been sitting next to Diane, as opposed to several rows behind her. Assuming for the sake of argument that she was being actively rude to the flight attendant, and/or that she was being obstreperous enough to annoy passengers all around, I think it would be ok for Elan to say, mildly, that we’re all upset about the delay and the flight attendants really can’t do anything about it, so how about we all try not to make it worse for each other. Something along those lines. I think it would be ok for him to try to persuade her to pipe down. If he wanted to go the extra mile he could nicely offer to buy her a drink.

But that’s about it. It’s really the flight attendant’s job to defuse the situation, not the passenger’s, or the passengers’. Neither singly nor collectively are passengers responsible for enforcing etiquette on other passengers.

Suppose Diane was Don, and got violent. That’s a different story – then it might be right for passengers to intervene quickly.

Suppose they’re not on a plane, but a city bus, and Diane or Don physically attacks the driver. Then the passengers really should intervene, and fast, and together.

But what the actual situation was, assuming Elan reported it accurately (and that’s apparently in doubt, since he’s reported to have a habit of making up stuff for the sake of Twitter stories), was that Diane’s bad behavior had stopped, and that Elan took it upon himself to punish her for having behaved badly.

That is not acceptable. It’s not acceptable for a whole list of reasons. It’s none of his business; it’s not needed; he doesn’t know enough; it’s much more likely to re-ignite a quarrel than it is to teach Diane anything; he’s ignoring the likely meaning of her face mask; they’re all on an airplane, a confined space that they can’t exit; he’s not very good at ethics or manners himself; his behavior was incredibly intimidating. That’s not even an exhaustive list of the reasons his intervention was not acceptable.

So that’s a start on the knotty subject of passenger ethics.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Compare

Dec 1st, 2013 9:19 am | By

Two reactions.

compare

Amanda Marcotte @AmandaMarcotte

http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/11/bullying-at-35-thousand-feet/…If you’ve been passing around that funny story of a man schooling a woman on a plane, here’s the other side.

Renee Hendricks @reneehendricks

Yep, still amusing, OphieB – - http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/11/bullying-at-35-thousand-feet/ … – being ill doesn’t give you a free pass to be a whiny ass to everyone.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



The clean-shaven majority

Nov 30th, 2013 5:14 pm | By

So apparently there’s a thing in the UK called (toe-curlingly) “Movember”? And it’s something about growing moustaches and raising money for charity? I guess? Something like that. Anyway Neil Singh and Arianne Shahvisi tell us in the New Statesman why it’s a bad thing.

For the most part, sponsored activities (day-long silences, sponge-throwing, public waxing) depend on the extreme, the outrageous, the ridiculous. Friends and family are, apparently, only willing to part with money to witness something odd, humorous or downright unpleasant. So what message does Movember convey to those whose moustaches are more-or-less permanent features? With large numbers of minority-ethnic men—for instance Kurds, Indians, Mexicans—sporting moustaches as a cultural or religious signifier, Movember reinforces the “othering” of “foreigners” by the generally clean-shaven, white majority. Imagine a charity event that required its participants to wear dreadlocks or a sari for one month to raise funds—it would rightly be seen as unforgivably racist. What is the difference here? We are not simply considering an arbitrary configuration of facial hair, but one that had particular, imperial connotation to British men of our grandfathers’ generation and currently has a separate cultural valence for men from certain ethnic groups. Moustaches, whether or not “mo-bros” mean theirs to be, are loaded with symbolism. We often wonder how our fathers (both life-long moustached men) must feel each November, when their colleagues’ faces temporarily resemble theirs, and are summarily met with giggles and sponsor-money. No doubt they draw the obvious conclusion, that dovetails with many other experiences of life as an immigrant: there are different rules for white faces.

Um….is this a parody? Did the Staggers inadvertently republish something from the Onion?

I’m told not. I’m told it’s not, repeat not, a joke.

Further, the inclusivity of Movember deserves examination. For one, only men (and even then, only some men) can grow a moustache. The decision to focus on the moustache to raise awareness of men’s health issues might seem like an apposite one (though there’s no obvious relationship between moustaches and cancers), but it reinforces the regressive idea that masculinity is about body chemistry rather than gender identity, and marginalises groups of men who may struggle to grow facial hair, such as trans-men. Ironically, Movember also excludes the very men it is supposed to uplift; many men who have undergone radiotherapy or surgery to treat testicular cancer are rendered “hypogonadal” and are therefore unable to grow facial hair.

And you know what else? Eating lunch marginalizes people who get up too late to eat lunch. Riding a bike marginalizes people whose bums are too skinny to tolerate bicycle seats. Watching birds marginalizes people who prefer to watch tv.

So watch it, chum.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)