Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Feminism as a form of racism

Below are some angry and foul-mouthed comments from Clementine Ford, an Australian feminist.  She is fired up about women getting more "recognition".   But how is that different from racism?  She sees herself not as an individual, but as a member of a valued group.  In her Fascist mind, people are divided into two groups: Men (evil) and women (virtuous):  Not all that different from Hitler.  Men by contrast don't think of themselves as primarily "men".  They think of themselves in much less broad categories.  My most common self-description, for instance, is "a born academic".  It never occurs to me to mention that I am a male.

And this refusal to treat people as just people, but instead  obsessing over what lies between their legs, is irritating. Feminist assertion tends to produce a backlash. Mostly men just shake their heads at it but, given anonymity, they may say what they really think of it and of the shrews who utter it.  Many people object to racism.  It is equally reasonable to object to feminism

Note her use of "we" in the last paragraph.  It could have come from a Hitler speech and is equally deluded and equally angry.  She just can't think of herself as an individual.  Her illusory "tribe" is all.  Women are in fact quite prone to hating one-another, as we see here.  And read here the scorn that a female literary critic heaps on Jane Austen!

When UK journalist and co-founder of The Women's Room Caroline Criado-Perez spearheaded a campaign to replace Charles Darwin’s image with Jane Austen’s on a British banknote, her efforts were rewarded by a sustained Twitter attack from some of the more repugnant turds excreted by society’s sulphurous bottom.

Within hours, Criado-Perez’ experience reinforced what female users of Twitter have known since its launch - that the social media site woefully fails to support the vast network of women who are subjected to abuse (often graphic and violent) simply for daring to have claim space in the ‘conversation’ that Twitter positions itself as being the locus of. She is now leading a campaign similar to the #fbrape one conducted a few months ago, with the intention of having Twitter become more accountable for the way their platform is used. Twitter has been threatened with a mass boycott on August 4 from prominent celebrities, MPs and writers should they continue to sidestep responsibility over the issue. (So far, Twitter UK general manager Tony Wang has responded by stating that they are looking at simplifying the process of reporting offensive tweets.)

The question of what can be done to counter gendered online abuse is routinely painted as a woman’s problem to solve with the most frequently offered directive being to ‘just ignore it’. Having experienced such unwelcome intrusions on repeated occasions, I am familiar with those responses aimed at discrediting the justifiable anger of being told, for example, that even though you’re too ugly to rape, you probably still deserve it. ‘Don’t pay attention to them’, such advice dictates. ‘You’re only giving them the attention they want.’ Or, ‘You have X number of followers, and this person only has a handful. Why are you abusing your power like this?’

Occasionally, I have been lectured on my attempts to ‘shut down free speech’ - as if it is my objection to sexual assault being used as a warning that threatens the fabric of society, and not the fact that some people still find it a useful tool of debate.

Criado-Perez quite rightly calls bullshit on this tactic, advocating instead a commitment to ‘shout back’. Ignoring abuse doesn’t make it go away. Believe me, I know. What it does is make you feel invaded, powerless and (if the troll in question seems to have a greater than usual insight into your online activities) vaguely paranoid. Too often, trolls are left untended simply because they are invisible. They are the Peeping Toms of the online world - they can peer through your windows, but you can’t see their faces. So to stop them from salivating over your distress, you become weathered against their hatred.

These misogynists ejaculate their rage all over the internet, using their threat of both a rutting penis and the denial of it to try and keep women in their place. It happened to Lindy West when she criticised the abundance of jokes about rape. It happened to Marion Bartoli when she won Wimbledon, and viewers decided she was too ugly and unf--kable to deserve this honour......

Well, women aren’t going to roll over and ignore it. We’re not going to enable their entitlement by keeping our mouths shut. Like Criado-Perez says, we’re shouting back - and if these misogynist troglodytes don’t like the sound of one banshee standing up for herself, they’re going to really hate it what it sounds like when millions of us do it together.


An Englishman in England might go to prison for calling an MP a coward

This story deserves as much coverage as possible.  Think about it. A man called Alex Cline is being prosecuted simply for calling an MP a coward.

I am not blaming the MP whose complaint led to this grotesque prosecution, though I hope even his party faithful refuse in disgust to vote for him at the next election. No, he did not decide that Mr. Cline should be prosecuted. In any case, I am grateful for this prosecution - because we now know how authoritarian English law has become. Except only readers of the Brighton and Hove local press do. The news may have travelled as far as Eastbourne or Worthing and it also reached someone who put it on on Facebook, where I came across it.

It is the law I criticise, but much more the culture and thinking from which the law springs. Rod Liddle a few months ago wrote with characteristic brilliance about this law here.

Liddle is witty but there is nothing light-hearted about the subject of freedom of speech, which is far more important than sex equality or the state of Britain's hospitals. I wrote about the threats to freedom of speech a few days ago here, but I am no longer sure that threats is the right word. In many ways freedom of speech no longer exists in the UK, though it flourishes in the former Communist countries, such as Romania, for the time being.

What an increasingly fascist society England now is. Not just a fascist state, but a fascist society, that goes along with this kind of thing. The suggestion that the police and the courts  are not justified in preventing people being offended is very alien to the spirit of modern day England. The idea that the state can run businesses has been debunked but not the idea that it can tell people how they should live. The idea that extensions of state power limit freedom does not make a lot of sense to most English people any more, provided that the state's intentions are supposedly benign. Mussolini's definition of fascism is largely true of English society:

“Everything in the state, nothing outside the state.”

William Pitt the Elder famously said that the poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. Why don't Prime Ministers say things like this any more instead of talking about schools and hospitals and economic growth?

Partly because there are all sorts of reasons why the forces of the Crown or other authorities can enter the poor man's cottage without a warrant or process of law or tap his telephone or read his correspondence. They can demolish his cottage and they certainly insist that it is fitted with fire alarms that go off continually if the poor man leaves the kitchen door open while cooking his meagre breakfast.

Actually, the poor man left his cottage long ago and it was bought by a rich stockbroker who only spends the occasional weekend there, but this is beside the point. The poor man does not repine. He no longer goes to his local public house, where he discussed politics with his pals, because it was closed due to the ban on smoking, so he sits at home drinking lager from the supermarket, which will soon become more expensive when minimum alcohol pricing becomes law. He spends his evening watching propaganda on television or pornography on the internet. He is content.


"Appropriate Thought" in the media

Fred Reed

People sometimes ask me why the media are so obtuse, why they seem to have so little grasp of the country they live in, and why the internet is eating them alive. 

I ask them to think of Tom Clancy. He wrote a book that with its children would be worth many, many  millions of dollars, and shopped it around the publishing houses of New York. They all bounced it. No interest. It probably got no further than a first reader, a recent co-ed at Barnard who thought a submarine was a sandwich. Clancy? Some crackpot who thinks he can write.

He sent it to the Naval Institute Press, which published it. It took off hugely. Only then did New York get involved.

You might ask: Why did the sophisticated (one would think) professionals of publishing, highly intelligent, very educated, with long years in the book racket—why did they not grab at The Hunt for Red October? Certainly it wasn´t a conspiracy. Nobody conspires not to make money.

The answer: They live in a bubble. They eat together, drink together, talk to each other. They think in unison. They largely went to the same schools, Ivies. They could all join Mensa if they wanted, but they don´t, because in New York you don´t have to hunt for smart company. They all know who Zola was. They can tell Goya from El Greco at a glance.

But they have never worked night shift in a gas station on a lonely road in Tennessee, shopped at Walmart, been in the same room with a firearm much less hunted deer, or been more than twenty feet from a flush toilet. The Hunt for...what? Some book about—some sort of submarine thing, wasn´t it? Who would read that?

So with the media. They are concentrated in Washington and New York. They don´t get out much. Editors naturally tend to hire people who agree with them, so everyone does. (I knew a couple of closet conservatives in the newsroom of the Washington Post, but they kept their heads down.) Papers say they want diversity in the newsroom, but by this they mean people of different colors who think the same things.

And of course diversity in the newsroom means homogeneity in the news: If you are, say, a white man sitting in a room with blacks, lesbians, real women, homosexuals and Chicanas, you can´t say anything that might offend any of them, because you have to sit next to them again the next day.

Reporters don´t have much curiosity. Go to NBC Washington and ask the editor whether she has been to Idaho to get to know the militias, (”Jesus, those crazies?”) or spent enough time in a police car to learn what actually goes on (“Oh god, oh god, I can´t put that on the air.”), or been in the military (“No, I was at Swarthmore.”), or spent a week in a cheap hotel in Bluefield, West Virginia to see what people think.

If she did go, she would overdress, seem a virtual space alien to the locals, and know so little of the culture that she couldn´t really talk to people. She would have her laptop, though, so she could read Salon.

The dinosaur media lose out to the internet because they not only don´t want to but can´t deal with things that most stir the populace: race, wars, guns, abortion, separation of church and state, evolution, immigration. The velvet noose of political correctness ensures that only Appropriate Thought can be published. Those who deviate will be fired.

If you deal in opinion, you have to avoid upsetting the editor, the advertisers, your colleagues, the victim groups, and above all be politically correct. In columnists, papers want slot-fillers—the female liberal, female conservative, black liberal, and so on—who can be relied on not to say anything unexpected or controversial. Editors want adventure without danger. Thus the rule for an aspiring columnist for print publications is to choose a spot on the political spectrum and never deviate from it, even though he knows that much of it is nonsense. This keeps columnists boring.

It also creates huge openings for writers on the web. No paper on the planet would publish Fred on Everything, which means that it has no organized competition. Yet I have far more circulation than I did in what I once thought of as serious journalism. And this is why you can find better, more expert, and more thoughtful commentary on line than in the (as we say) Major Media.

And of course micropublications can afford to be as specialized as they choose in point of view, subject matter, and level of intelligence. A micropub doesn´t have to sacrifice quality of content to maximization of circulation to keep advertisers happy.

And so the bright drift to the web, leaving newspapers to clippers of grocery coupons and television to the semiliterate and below. It isn´t universal, but it is the trend line. The majors have a product with all the flavor of wallpaper paste and, now, a busted monopoly. Any mutt in Mexico with a computer and time on his hands can play Clark Kent, and it really is  the Daily Planet since that´s where people can read his outflow. My oh my.


Old Cancer-Sick Fan Rejected at Legoland Because He Didn't Bring a Kid


This is 63-year-old John St-Onge, a man who became a devoted Lego fan playing with his children many decades ago. Sick with cancer and diabetes, John and his now-adult daughter Nicole went to fulfill a dream: to visit Legoland Discovery Center in Toronto. He was denied entry.

Legoland employees told them that he couldn't get in because he didn't have any kids with him. The park cited child protection policies that prevent adults to get alone inside, stupidly implying that he—or any adult Lego fan—may be some kind of sexual predator. And they did so even while he was visiting the park with his daughter, who later said her dad was devastated by the rejection.

The whole episode is terribly unjust and sad. Lego is a company that appeals to everyone, from one- to 100-year-old people. And the park's direction is very aware that adult Lego fans are some of the company's highest spending clients. We love their product with a passion.

What's really weird is that I've been alone in the mothership's Legoland when I was a 36-year-old man, with no special press badge. I spent hours there and nobody batted an eyelid. John's episode doesn't make any sense.

Yet, in Legoland Discovery Centers—you can see part of the one in Westchester, New York in this image—adults can't get in to see the models. Apparently, that's the rule and there's no exceptions. Not even for cancer patients.

Sadly, John's too sick to travel to a big Legoland park. His dream was to go to the one next to the mothership, in Billund, Denmark. Perhaps Legoland should make an exception in some extreme cases like his.


Toronto's Legoland Discovery Center has published this in its Facebook page:

Thank you for all of your feedback in relation to our adult policy. All comments have been directed to the appropriate members of the extended team. We have been speaking with John and his daughter directly and can confirm that John is very much looking forward to his forthcoming visit to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto, where he will enjoy one of our regular adult evening events. We look forward to welcoming him back soon.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.



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