Notes and Comment Blog


Not just a bit sexist if you looked at them funny

May 28th, 2014 10:00 am | By

Sarah Ditum wonders why there’s an expectation of privacy for misogyny but not for the women who are its targets.

Public life is full of men with manifest habits of misogyny, but whenever this is challenged, one excuse is reliably rolled out: that was private, it doesn’t affect his job. Men, it seems, are the champions of doing two entirely contradictory things at the same time.

That’s been the consensus around Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore’s misogynistic emails. And yes, they were misogynistic – not just a bit sexist if you looked at them funny, not “private banter” (as the headline of India Knight’s Sunday Times column described them), but absolutely misogynistic: Scudamore discussed women’s breasts, described women as “irrational”, and called women “gash”, reducing women to a grotesque image of their genitals. This is the language of someone who doesn’t even think women are people. In fact, Scudamore had so little respect for women that, according to Rani Abraham (the PA who leaked them), he sent these missives through a work email account that it was her job to monitor. One of the women discussed so crudely was a Premier League employee – and was copied into the emails. (Abraham says she left the job because she could not tolerate working for a man who used such language.)

That reminds me of something – it reminds me of one of Carrie Poppy’s tweets under #NotAllWomen:

Because my old boss adopted a little girl’s voice to impersonate me crying over my own assault.

Carrie too left the job because she could not tolerate working for a man who used such language.

Scudamore left no daylight between his professional life and his sexism. Yet it has been insisted in every outlet from the Times (Leader) to the Mirror (Carol McGiffin) to the Guardian (Marina Hyde) that emails sent at work, through a work account monitored by an employee, about and to colleagues should be classed as a private matter. (And yes, I noticed how many of those pieces were bylined to women. Maybe working in a massively sexist institution like a newspaper skews your sense of what is acceptable.) If these emails had been on any other topic, the idea of classing them as “private” would be laughable: it’s only because they’re misogynistic that people are anxious to separate them from Scudamore’s public role.

So this is an example of the same thing, I take it. Racism? Not acceptable. (Can be directed at men.) Homophobia? Not acceptable. (Can be directed at men.) Misogyny? Protected. (Is directed only at women.)

The hideous truth is, though, that you can do worse than call women “gash” and still have it tucked away as a private matter. In Kirsty Wark’s Blurred Lines documentary on the new culture of misogyny, Rod Liddle is shuffled out to provide the contrarian point of view, arguing (in the face of all evidence) that women experience no worse abuse than men, and what women do experience is neither specific to gender nor related to violence. Liddle has repeatedly attacked women for their looks in his Spectator column, so he’s certainly no neutral in the sex wars, but there’s also something even more concerning in his history – something which, I think, should permanently rule his opinions on the abuse of women out of contention.

In 2005, Liddle accepted a caution for common assault against his girlfriend, who was then pregnant. Liddle later denied wrongdoing and claimed he only accepted the caution “because it was the quickest way for him to be released”, but nevertheless, there it is: a man with a criminal record of violence against women, being invited to give his professional opinion on the abuse women experience. The caution was not mentioned by Wark. Presumably, it has been dismissed to the realm of the private where men are imagined to be capable of operating an entirely different – even contradictory – set of values to the ones we like to imagine they hold in the course of public decency.

Jesus fuck. I did not know that. They got a guy with a conviction for violence against a woman to talk on a documentary about misogyny, and did not disclose the conviction.

Trust no one.

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



They hate the car, yet they still want the car

May 28th, 2014 9:30 am | By

I wrote a public Facebook post in the middle of the night to express my middle of the night feeling of horror at the state we’re in. I’ll put it here too, because this is the state we’re in and it is horrifying.

——————–

I’m beyond appalled, horrified, staggered. I don’t have the words to name my thoughts on the fact that we know racist violence when we see it – we don’t get ostensibly-reasonable people trying to argue that white guys dragging a black guy behind a truck to kill him is not about racism. We don’t get ostensibly-reasonable people trying to argue that Matthew Shepard was not beaten to death because of homophobia. Why THE FUCK are we getting so many ostensibly-reasonable people trying to argue that Rodger’s murder-spree was not about misogyny?

Apparently we just really are that…expendable.

———————————————————————

It’s produced an excellent discussion. One comment in particular I got permission to publish here; it’s by Michael Šimková.

I’ve noticed in many spaces heterosexual men claim to hate women and at the same time desire them. That is another contradiction many people seem to intuitively understand and I find mystifying. This murderer actually ranted that he hated women because they would not let him love them. That is certainly not coherent using my understanding of love. My impression is that this makes sense to them because they understand women as a desired object, not a subject, and that is what they call love. It is similar to the feelings you might have about a car that won’t start when you were counting on it to get you somewhere. Many people become irate and scream and bang fruitlessly on the car. They hate the car, yet they still want the car.

That seems to be the standard model for heterosexual men now. To regard uninterested women as broken sex toys, and interested women as functional ones. This Rodgers certainly seems to have seen things that way. Under that paradigm, it makes sense to them to despise the same objects they desire and to vehemently reject the notion that their objects should have autonomy. That is also consistent with the legal status of women in most of the world and of history. Originally rape was a crime against the male owner of a woman, not the victim herself, as it sullied his private property. I still see Marxists argue that capitalists oppress proletarian men by hoarding women and that, come the revolution, women would be redistributed with the rest of the wealth, as there must be a 1-1 ratio of women to men because every man is entitled to a wife.

There are endless such examples. All fundamentally seem to be about objectification, which is really nothing new, as feminists have said this for decades only to be decried “because objectification is good” and life would be boring without it.

I think that’s brilliant. Too bad it’s true.

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



The quickest way to invite a barrage of social media hate

May 28th, 2014 5:37 am | By

Dave Zirin in The Nation:

If a mass killing perpetrated by a deeply disturbed misogynist does not make us look at how our society promotes and perpetuates violence against women, I am not sure what will.

Just what I keep thinking, as it becomes clearer and clearer that a mass killing perpetrated by a deeply disturbed misogynist will on the contrary make a lot of us bristle with outrage at the very mention of misogyny in connection with Elliot Rodger’s adventure. It appears that nothing will  make us look at how our society promotes and perpetuates violence against women.

It does not take any sort of genius to draw a line in between the weekend’s shooting, the torments faced by Marissa Alexander or other women who defend themselves, and the fact that the quickest way to invite a barrage of social media hate is to say something as simple as, “I don’t think rape jokes are funny.” These dots connect to create a gun pointed at the ability of women to possess the most elemental human right in what is supposed to be a free society: the right to be left alone.

It doesn’t take a genius, but it does take someone who thinks women shouldn’t be treated like shit.

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



To rustle the jimmies of feminists

May 28th, 2014 5:12 am | By

There’s an Elliot Rodger fan page on Facebook that keeps returning after people manage to get one taken down (with great difficulty because Facebook is Facebook).

Facebook has removed fan pages for mass murderer Elliot Rodger, but new ones keep popping up — including one that targeted a woman who alleged its creators have harassed her for years.

Using one misogynist campaign in the service of another misogynist campaign. Enterprising.

Facebook has since said earlier versions of the pages were removed.

A man claiming to be behind the page, an Internet radio host who goes by the moniker Wild Goose, told QMI the “page was set up [in] order to rustle the jimmies of feminists around the world who are attempting to hijack this tragedy in order to further their own agenda.”

Nice company the Zaras and Hales are in.

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



With bricks and sticks

May 27th, 2014 4:30 pm | By

And in Pakistan

A Pakistani woman has been killed by her relatives outside Lahore High Court for marrying against their wishes.

Police said 30-year old Farzana Bibi died on the spot after being attacked with bricks and sticks.

Farzana Bibi’s parents accused her husband, Muhammad Iqbal, of kidnapping her, and had filed a case against him at the High Court.

However, she testified to police that she had married him of her own accord. Police said the couple had been engaged for a number of years.

As she arrived at the court building for a hearing, police said about a dozen family members pulled her aside and began to attack her and her husband, who managed to escape.

What a lovely “family.”

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



Guest post by Seth on political de-politicising

May 27th, 2014 4:02 pm | By

Originally a comment on How dare you treat Rodger’s murders as political?

What’s funny is that saying ‘don’t politicise the issue’ *is* politicising the issue. Here’s my word on the subject, from my tumblr:

It’s quite simple, really. Whenever something happens in the ‘real’ world, whenever people get injured or killed due to neglect or human malevolence, there is always a cavalcade of gainsayers admonishing everyone not to ‘politicise’ the tragedy (at least whenever it’s a tragedy that can be lain at the feet of white men). Whenever there’s a shooting, the NRA falls all over itself to say that anyone who might propose reasonable gun control measures is ‘an opportunist’ who should be ashamed of themselves for taking advantage of violence for their own political ends. Whenever men attack women (in such a way as to garner widespread attention), there is a contingent of people who deny that widespread misogyny and rape culture had anything to do with it, and anyone who claims otherwise is ‘an opportunist’ who should be ashamed of themselves for taking advantage of violence for their own political ends.

We’re unlucky enough to be able to experience both of these groups of people rising in response to the horrible violence perpetrated in California. Despite the fact that the perpetrator participated in misogynist communities, despite the fact that he posted a video manifesto that positively dripped with hatred of women just before he fulfilled the threats he made with a gun. We’ve been warned on the one hand that Americans’ ready access to firearms had nothing to do with this man’s ability to slaughter people, and on the other hand that his obvious misogyny had nothing to do with his targeting of women. We’re told to shut up, not to draw any conclusions (or even engage in any kind of discussion) about the issues that this violence raises.

The thing is, these people (let’s call them ‘denialists’, since that’s what they do) always tell us to shut the fuck up, no matter what. They beat us about the head any time we talk about feminism, about social justice, about welfare or gun control or climate change or a million issues that involve compassion for other humans. So when the denialists tell us ‘don’t politicise this tragedy’, they’re turning the tragedy into a political attack against us.

There’s a difference between politics and culture, just as there’s a difference between politics and policy. Politics entails using real-world events to orchestrate attacks on one’s opponents or to shore up support amongst one’s allies. That’s not always a bad thing; often, it’s a vital and necessary activity in order to successfully enact policy and/or shape culture. But political activities are not synonymous with policy or cultural activities. Pretending that they are is inherently political, since it serves no purpose but to attack your enemies and bolster your allies.

But, of course, we cannot expect anti-feminists and misogynists to be consistent.

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



From very far away

May 27th, 2014 3:56 pm | By

Oh yes.

Tobias Buckell and John Scalzi on Twitter:

I love how the phrase ‘no politics’ always comes from someone swimming in politics… just of their own brand. So little self-recognition.

John Scalzi @scalzi

. “MY politics aren’t REALLY politics, you see! They’re just plain COMMON SENSE!”

Oh yes. That “I think you are homing in on what disturbs me – it’s about trying to spin tragedy for political purposes” from earlier today is a classic example. “Your view of this is political, while my view of it is from a distant point in space where politics no longer exists.”

 

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



Try staying quiet for a while and actually listening

May 27th, 2014 3:35 pm | By

Phil Plait has a great article at Slate on #YesAllWomen, with a shout-out to Amy at the end for giving him a helpful idea – that’s how good it is.

The murderer was active on men’s rights fora, where women are highly objectified, to say the very least. They are seen as nonhuman by many such groups, and at the very least lesser than men—sometimes nothing more than targets or things to acquire. What these men write puts them, to me, in the same category as White Power movements, or any other horribly bigoted group that “others” anyone else. While it may not be possible to blame the men’s rights groups for what happened, from the reports we’ve seen they certainly provided an atmosphere of support.

Horribly bigoted group that others and also dominates and despises.

He says the defensive reactions of a lot of men on Twitter were unhelpful.

…the people saying it aren’t furthering the conversation, they’re sidetracking it.The discussion isn’t about the men who aren’t a problem. (Though, I’ll note, it can be. I’ll get back to that.) Instead of being defensive and distracting from the topic at hand, try staying quiet for a while and actually listening to what the thousands upon thousands of women discussing this are saying.

 

Fourth—and this is important, so listen carefully—when a woman is walking down the street, or on a blind date, or, yes, in an elevator alone, she doesn’t know which group you’re in. You might be the potential best guy ever in the history of history, but there’s no way for her to know that. A fraction of men out there are most definitelynot in that group. Which are you? Inside your head you know, but outside your head it’s impossible to.

This is the reality women deal with all the time.

He says he can’t know what it’s like because he’s not a woman, and it’s taken him a long time to adjust his thinking to reflect that.

Over the weekend, I retweeted a few of the #YesAllWomen tweets I thought were most important, or most powerful, and saw that again and again they were misunderstood. In almost all the cases I saw, the men commenting were reacting to it, being defensive about the hashtag instead of listening to what was being said.

Earlier, I mentioned that the conversation is about the men who are the problem, not the ones who aren’t. Well, at this point, a conversation needs to be had about them, too. Even though we may not be the direct problem, we still participate in the cultural problem. If we’re quiet, we’re part of the problem. If we don’t listen, if we don’t help, if we let things slide for whatever reason, then we’re part of the problem, too.

We men need to do better.

That would help. It would help a lot.

And one final word on this. As a man, having written this post I expect there will be comments insulting me, comments questioning my manhood (whatever twisted definition those people have of such a thing, if it even exists), and so on.

But you know what there won’t be? People threatening to stalk me and rape me and kill me for having the audacity to say that women are people, and that we should be listening to them instead of telling them how to feel. Yet that is precisely what every woman on the Internet would face if she were to write this.

And that is, sadly, why we so very much need the #YesAllWomen hashtag.

My thanks to Surly Amy for a helpful suggestion she made to me about this article.

That was good. No “concern” about feminists furthering their agenda, no alarm at the “cruelty” of feminists saying misogyny played a bit part in the actions of Elliot Rodger, no tutting about feminists “grandstanding” or turning a “tragedy” into something [gasp] “political.” #Notallmen yo.

 

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



The worried worried

May 27th, 2014 3:10 pm | By

Oh no, feminist writers stirring up moral panics – someone call – VaculaMan!

vac

Justin Vacula The Daily Mail is over-the-top with its headline, too, calling him the “Hunger Games Assassin.” I guess we can be outraged by tabloid publications. I’d rather not.

Anyway, to recap and follow up on recent comments, I think that focusing on misogyny and people like Valenti/Macrotte/SPLC representatives talking about this as being part of a “war on women” or “proof that misogyny kills” is as silly as people saying women who kill their male sons by microwaving them being “proof that misandry kills” or a “war on men.” It’s just much more complex and it’s really no surprise, unfortunately, that the SPLC and feminist writers are using this to further their agenda by creating moral panic following an isolated incident committed by a troubled individual.

Indeed, statements the shooter made were hateful toward women, but that’s only part of the issue. I don’t, though, think that cultural messaging that men are entitled to have women as rewards has anything to do with this (or at least a major part of it). I further fail to see how a ‘damsel in distress’ trope explained by Sarkessian (or Disney movies) has anything to do with this incident.

Beware the feminists furthering their dastardly agenda of not being treated like shit any more! Won’t someone please think of the microwaved boys?!

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



Guest post by Antonia Bookbinder on the normalization of misogynist ideology

May 27th, 2014 1:52 pm | By

I recall being a twenty-something woman and being tremendously attracted to one or another sexy, smart man. These men almost always friend-zoned me for being butch and sarcastic, saying how great it was to be friends with me because I wasn’t “really a girl” and whining about their far more conventionally feminine girlfriends. It hurt, a lot, and I eventually learned to avoid that particular sort of male “friend”. Somehow, though, I never ranted about how all men were evil or depraved or contemplated purchasing firearms to massacre popular students. This is mostly because I was never told that I had an inalienable right to male bodies. I was told instead that I should focus on enjoying life without a sexual relationship, that my sexual satisfaction or lack thereof was not the single most important fact of my existence, and that even good, fulfilling relationships were inevitably also complicated and painful.

When we teach boys (explicitly and implicitly) that they are incomplete or inadequate unless they have access to a woman’s genitals, that sexual relationships can be had by following certain manipulative rules, and that compliance with gender norms is required for satisfying sexual relationships, we teach children to become rapists and murderers. This is not to excuse men who perpetrate violence of the Isla Vista sort, but it is worth examining where such perpetrators come from.

Our collective failure to notice or address the prevalence of extremist misogynist ideology in mainstream culture creates more such men from today’s boys. Every time we hear and do not confront a child or youth repeating misogynist “humor”, and every time we avoid discussion of pick-up-artist ideas in our conversations about gender-related violence, we are each complicit in tomorrow’s Isla Vistas.

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



Their depraved emotions and vile sexual impulses

May 27th, 2014 12:02 pm | By

Amanda Marcotte has some thoughts on PUA ideology and Elliot Rodger.

This theory—that ordinary and worthy men are oppressed by women who refuse to have sex with them—was articulated in Rodger’s 141-page manifesto he sent to newspapers.

Women are incapable of having morals or thinking rationally. They are completely controlled by their depraved emotions and vile sexual impulses. Because of this, the men who do get to experience the pleasures of sex and the privilege of breeding are the men who women are sexually attracted to… the stupid, degenerate, obnoxious men. I have observed this all my life. The most beautiful of women choose to mate with the most brutal of men, instead of magnificent gentlemen like myself.

This sort of rhetoric is fairly common on some of the more embittered PUA forums, and the “men’s rights” forums that have quite a bit of overlap with them. 

And it is what it is. It’s not all that belief-defying that one very warped guy would take the rage and channel it into violence. It’s surprising that more warped guys don’t. (But many of course do it one at a time, in private, without a manifesto.)

 

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



Rodger told the world exactly why he went on this killing spree

May 27th, 2014 11:09 am | By

Lindsay Beyerstein has a brilliant public post on Facebook that has 392 shares as of this moment.

I am so tired of ostensibly smart, liberal men pretending that there’s some deep mystery about why Elliot Rodger did what he did, or worse, that there’s something unseemly or self-serving about feminists pointing out that he was an explicitly misogynist terrorist. I read Rodger’s manifesto twice. I wish all English comp students could formulate a thesis and support it as clearly as he did.

Rodger told the world exactly why he went on this killing spree. He spelled it out in excruciating detail and sent his narrative of the killings to the media. In case that wasn’t enough, he made a series of YouTube videos to cement his narrative of his own crime in the public mind.

The only thing I would add to that is that there are a few ostensibly smart (but not liberal) women doing the same pretending – Christina Hoff Sommers, Cathy Young, Miranda Hale and other slime pit types, women like that. I haven’t seen one ostensibly smart, liberal woman doing that though…

Lindsay points out crisply that Rodger said why he did it; he said it very clearly; he said it repeatedly.

A person’s own account of their behavior is never the final word. But when the person outlines their motives as lucidly and in as much detail as this guy, that is the starting point for any reasonable interpreter. Yes, we can talk about mental illness. Yes, we can talk about gun control. But none of these factors negates the fact that Rodger was a textbook misogynist terrorist, on the model of Marc Lepine and George Sodini.

Is it “grandstanding” to say that? Is it “cruel”? Is it “selfish”? I can’t see it.

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



Same? Or different?

May 27th, 2014 9:55 am | By

So…this too is “spin” for “political purposes,” yes? Or not.

dawkdawk2dawk3

Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins May 24

“What’s so wrong about hating? Its just evolution, and how their chemicals react to such things.” Are you really that stupid, or pretending?

Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins May 24

Sorry, it seems my sarcasm needs spelling out. It’s usually aimed at Western liberals who patronisingly excuse atrocities as “their culture”

Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins May 23

What is especially depressing is that the demand comes from STUDENTS. Pathetic, brainwashed little twerps.

Demand for Iranian actress to be flogged, because formally kissed on cheek by President of Cannes festival

It’s all so frightfully political! How cruel that is!

Or is it? I haven’t seen anything from Zara or Hale saying it is.

Why is that?

H/t for the idea to Michael Nam.

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



How dare you treat Rodger’s murders as political?

May 27th, 2014 9:07 am | By

You may think The New Misogyny (as, I’m told, David Futrelle calls it) and the harassment and threats and sometimes plain old violence that go with it are a problem, but there are those who think the problem is instead noticing the link between misogyny and harassment—>violence.

concern

Steve Zara @sjzara

That video seems thoughtful and describes real problems for women, but I think the leap from masculinity problems to murder is too much.

Miranda Celeste Hale @mirandachale

What angers me re: that video & the hashtag &Valenti’s op-ed etc. is the cruelty of the women who think this tragedy is about *them*

Steve Zara @sjzara

I think you are homing in on what disturbs me – it’s about trying to spin tragedy for political purposes.

concern2

Steve Zara @sjzara

. I get deeply uncomfortable when it’s put to me that a view or campaign position is beyond any criticism, any discussion.

Melynie Withington @MelynieAZ

Same thing with gun control campaigners.

Andreas Draganis @ADraganis

to play devils advocate here: when are they allowed to weigh in, only after directly affected by tragedy?

Steve Zara @sjzara

Surely, all the time, because their issues are general. It’s the linkage with tragedy that seems odd.

So what is happening here is that women or feminists are “trying to spin tragedy for political purposes.” So Rodger’s murder-spree was a simple tragedy, it was in no way political, and it’s bad, suspect “spin” to view it as political.

Why?

Why would that be the case? How could that be the case? Given the manifesto and the videos and especially the just-pre-murder video, how can his murders not be political? I suppose it’s conceivable that he just felt like murdering some totally random people and the pre-murder video was a misdirection…but it’s not very plausible.

I think when somebody makes a video announcing a plan to murder and reasons for the murder, and then commits the promised murder(s), we’re allowed to take that announcement at face value.

We do that when jihadists make pre-murder videos, I think.

Even without videos and manifestos, certain kinds of murder are pretty unmistakably political. The murder of James Byrd, the guy in Texas who was dragged behind a truck and battered to death, was pretty unmistakably political, despite its random quality. The murder of Matthew Shepard was pretty unmistakably political.

Or take the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963. Would a Steve Zara frown in concern at people who “spin” that particular “tragedy” as political? Would a Miranda Hale express anger at the “cruelty” of the black people who think this tragedy was “about *them*”? I hardly think so.

But when it’s women? Oh that’s different.

Why is it different?

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



Oh gawd no not Leonard Shlain

May 26th, 2014 6:10 pm | By

Apparently the anti-feminist crowd have only just discovered Leonard Shlain’s ridiculous book The Alphabet Versus the Goddess. That’s odd because it was published in 1998; I remember finding it in a bookstore and skimming through it and laughing a disdainful laugh. That was before I had a blog to do my laughing on!

There’s an article about it on this Amazon-linked site.

Shlain frames the premise:

Of all the sacred cows allowed to roam unimpeded in our culture, few are as revered as literacy. Its benefits have been so incontestable that in the five millennia since the advent of the written word numerous poets and writers have extolled its virtues. Few paused to consider its costs. . . . One pernicious effect of literacy has gone largely unnoticed: writing subliminally fosters a patriarchal outlook. Writing of any kind, but especially its alphabetic form, diminishes feminine values and with them, women’s power in the culture.

He defines the feminine outlook as a “holistic, simultaneous, synthetic, and concrete view of the world” and the masculine as a “linear, sequential, reductionist” one characterized by abstract thinking, while recognizing — as Susan Sontag did decades earlier in condemning our culture’s artificial polarities— that “every individual is generously endowed with all the features of both.”

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh fuck off. It’s just the same old shit, you jackass, dressed up as nicer and more spirachool. There is no “feminine outlook” and that “holistic, simultaneous, synthetic” crap is just another way of saying too stupid to think clearly.

Shlain writes:

They coexist as two closely overlapping bell-shaped curves with no feature superior to its reciprocal. These complementary methods of comprehending reality resemble the ancient Taoist circle symbol of integration and symmetry in which the tension between the energy of the feminine yin and the masculine yang is exactly balanced. One side without the other is incomplete; together, they form a unified whole that is stronger than either half. First writing, and then the alphabet, upset this balance. Affected cultures, especially in the West, acquired a strong yang thrust.

You know who else talks like that? The Vatican.

What is especially interesting is that Shlain was writing in 1998, when the internet as we know it — a medium that lends text and image seemingly equal gravitas — was in its infant stage. The golden age of web video was nearly a decade away, as was the invention of the smartphone camera and its constant connection to the web. Could it be that the world wide web, especially the image-heavy ecosystem of social sharing, would emerge as an equalizer of gender dynamics?

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Nope!

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



That he had personally witnessed

May 26th, 2014 5:13 pm | By

Update: oh and there’s also PZ’s account. So that’s two non-anonymous sources.

Slime pitters are all agitated, asking me in unapproved comments if I have a source for the non-anonymous allegations of Shermer’s sexual harassment. I’m pretty sure I’ve already posted this, and I’m not here to do homework for the slime pitters, but all the same – here it is again.

Jason. Last November. Carrie Poppy and the Nay-sayers.

Carrie Poppy has been extraordinarily well-placed in some of the bigger scandals regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault recently, in having been employed as communications director for JREF and having resigned after six months due to, let’s say, philosophical differences with DJ Grothe, president of the organization. Well, if you can classify her stating her reasons for leaving as mere philosophy, being his “constant duplicity, dishonesty, and manipulation”.

So people rushed then to attack Carrie Poppy, to destroy her as an irrational harpy with a bone to grind and an axe to pick against Grothe. So when she recently decided to suggest that women should generally stay away from TAM because the JREF was unlikely to treat any incidents with any level of seriousness, people naturally resorted to the same trope — that she was trying to destroy TAM and JREF.

Only the strange thing is, the corroboration of her claims came from those very people that you’d least expect. The ones who have been trying to naysay the whole thing all along.

Carrie was tight-lipped about why at first, but the nay-sayers brigaded as they normally do. When asked what JREF / TAM could do to make things better:

The answer is going to sound very vague and like the JREF *must* already be doing this, because who in their right mind wouldn’t? But from my vantage:

1. Do not allow people who have assaulted others at your conference, or you have reasonable suspicion that they have done so, back at the conference.
2. Take women’s complaints (and any victim’s complaints) seriously. Investigate them fully.
3. Have an infrastructure for reporting complaints, where people feel safe and listened to.

These are reasonable complaints, and her putting them forward here suggests she knows that, at least when she was in a position to see it, that they were not in place. She’s evidently seen enough to know this is a trend, not a one-off.

But people keep pressing her for evidence or at least concrete examples, and she eventually talks to her lawyer:

Hi everyone. I just spoke to a lawyer about sharing this information with you, and feel comfortable telling you this one thing (though it is one of several):

D.J. Grothe told me and others, repeatedly, that he (DJ) had personally witnessed Michael Shermer groping a female TAM speaker’s breast, unprovoked and against her protestations. She has confirmed this, since. D.J. continued to invite that speaker to TAM in subsequent years. D.J. has stated this much over and over. So please, do feel free to ask him yourselves.

(By “that speaker,” I meant Shermer.)

That’s where. That’s my source. It’s DJ Grothe, via Carrie Poppy.

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



Attitudes that are all around us

May 26th, 2014 4:54 pm | By

Sasha Weiss at the New Yorker on #YesAllWomen. She first reads Rodger’s “manifesto”:

The first half of the manifesto is lucid and reflective—we see glimmers of a happy boyhood and an affectionate, curious personality—which makes his spewings of misogyny and hatred in the second half even more chilling. He wanted to abolish sex, thereby equalizing men and ridding society of women’s manipulative and bestial natures, and to lock women in concentration camps so they would die out. (“I would have an enormous tower built just for myself, where I can oversee the entire concentration camp and gleefully watch them all die,” he wrote. “If I can’t have them, no one will, I imagine thinking to myself as I oversee this. Women represent everything that is unfair in this world, and in order to make this world a fair place, women must be eradicated.”) His idea was to imprison a few select women in a lab, where they would be artificially inseminated to propagate the species.

Rodger’s fantasies are so patently strange and so extreme that they’re easy to dismiss as simply crazy. But, reading his manifesto, you can make out, through the distortions of his raging mind, the outlines of mainstream American cultural values: Beauty and strength are rewarded. Women are prizes to be won, reflections of a man’s social capital. Wealth, a large house, and fame are the highest attainments. The lonely and the poor are invisible. Rodger was crazier and more violent than most people, but his beliefs are on a continuum with misogynistic, class-based ideas that are held by many.

The ones that jump out at you from the tv screen if you pay any attention.

Elliot Rodger earned the fame and infamy he wished for through his act of violence, and now everyone can read about his grotesque ideas. #YesAllWomen offers a counter-testimony, demonstrating that Rodger’s hate of women grew out of attitudes that are all around us. Perhaps more subtly, it suggests that he was influenced by a predominant cultural ethos that rewards sexual aggression, power, and wealth, and that reinforces traditional alpha masculinity and submissive femininity. (This line of thought is not intended in any way to make excuses for Rodger’s murderousness, but to try to imagine him as part of the same social world we all live in and not as simply a monster.) The thread has produced over a million tweets, and they are by turns moving, enraging, astute, sorrowful, and terrifying. Even though most of the tweets do not directly mourn the people Rodger killed, the tweets accumulate into a kind of memorial, a stern demand for a more just society. 

It would be good if we could have that.

 

 

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



A lit review

May 26th, 2014 3:45 pm | By

In that same post of Futrelle’s he does a quick review of Twitter assholes explaining away any connection between the actions of Elliot Rodger and the popular sport of misogyny.

When a white supremacist murders blacks or Jews, no one doubts that his murders are driven by his hateful, bigoted ideology. When homophobes attack a gay youth, we rightly label this a hate crime.

But when a man filled to overflowing with hatred of women acts upon this hatred and launches a killing spree targeting women, many people find it hard to accept that his violence has anything to do with his misogyny. They’re quick to blame it on practically anything else they can think of – guns, video games, mental illness – though none of these things in themselves would explain why a killer would target women.

In the case of Elliot Rodger, who set out on Friday night aiming, as he put it in a chilling video, to “slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blonde slut” in a popular sorority house at the University of California, Santa Barbara, some Men’s Rights activists and other manospherians are doing their best to convince the world that misogyny had nothing to do with it.

On A Voice for Men, for example, Janet Bloomfield (who goes by the name JudgyBitch), notes that Rodger killed more men than women…

(more…)

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



Known for his fierce criticism of Islamist militias

May 26th, 2014 3:35 pm | By

More shit news, via the BBC.

Prominent Libyan journalist Meftah Buzeid, known for his fierce criticism of Islamist militias, has been shot dead in the city of Benghazi.

He was the editor of the Burniq newspaper and had regularly appeared on television challenging the rise of such groups since the 2011 revolution.

The choke hold gets tighter and tighter and tighter and tighter.

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



Rodger’s utopia

May 26th, 2014 3:24 pm | By

David Futrelle starts a post on Elliot Rodger with a horrible chart he says Rodger posted.

A chart posted by Elliot Rodger, giving his chilling spin on a manosphere meme depicting supposed female "hypergamy"

I couldn’t even figure it out at first, but then I did.

But his killing spree had nothing to with misogyny. Never forget that. It was just his own individual quirkiness.

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