Sunday, November 16, 2014
The internet hates men, and no one's a winner
The more the online anti-men trend gains traction, the more women will be deprived of decent male allies in the battle against abuse, says Jake Wallis Simons
There has been a lot of comment over the harassment Shoshana Roberts (who might reasonably be described as a busty babe. A beanpole or a fatty would undoubtedly have got different results) got as she walked through NYC streets. It should be noted however that most of the harassment came from blacks. When the experiment was repeated by a model in Auckland, New Zealand, there was zero harassment. There are negligible blacks in New Zealand and both major New Zealander groups (Maori and Pakeha) are polite. Blacks, however, are well known for their very pushy approaches to white women, being very reluctant to take No for an answer -- JR
Sigh. A new current has developed in the polluted ocean of online videos. If you're a Facebook user, you'll have noticed it: it involves women, and men, and the former being incessantly harassed by the latter.
I'm talking about those hidden-camera clips in which a female actor records the appalling level of harassment that she was subjected to by men in the street.
The best known was made by Shoshana Roberts, who was filmed walking the streets of New York amid catcalls and sexual comments. Thus far, it has attracted a staggering 36 million views, and has been hailed as a much-needed exposure of the plight of a woman in 21st Century society.
This was followed by a clip made by the “social media entrepreneur” Stephen Zhang, in which a young woman dons a skimpy dress in the middle of the day and pretends to be drunk. An apparently shocking number of men attempted to take advantage of her, some almost forcing her back to their houses before she revealed the trick and escaped.
The trend got a bit silly when a British “dating expert” filmed herself pretending to be lost while wearing different outfits, from a hoodie-and-jeans combination to a leather skirt and boots. How would male Londoners respond? We waited with bated breath.
Funnily enough, although men tended to speak to the woman for longer when she was dressed provocatively, not one of the men even offered his telephone number, let alone sought to take advantage of a damsel in distress. In fact, every man Jack acted like a gentleman. What point was she trying to make, exactly?
(Perhaps she didn't really have a point. Perhaps she was mainly courting clicks. After all, a viral video can make you big money. And, as the old Silicon Valley adage has it, “first ubiquity, then revenue”.)
Predictably enough, it didn't take long for commercial companies to jump on the bandwagon. One video produced by Nestlé revealed (no pun intended) that people look at a woman’s breasts a lot when she is wearing a low-cut top. Again, the point was what? The video was promoting breast cancer awareness, but a cynic might argue that this was merely a fig-leaf for moneymaking.
Of course, there is a variety of examples here. On the surface, the more serious videos are attempting a form of social campaigning, drawing attention to – as the hashtag has it – #everydaysexism. This has to be a good thing. But the closer you look, the less straightforward the matter becomes.
Take the video that kicked it all off. For one thing, it was recorded in a rather deprived part of New York, where such harassment is more likely to occur. For another, the perpetrators were exclusively black or Latino. This a) raises questions about the prejudices that underpinned the film-maker’s editorial decisions, and b) highlights the general subjectivity of the editing.
(Rob Bliss, who shot the film, later claimed that white men had harassed Shoshana Roberts too, but by some odd coincidence the sound quality had been compromised on these occasions.)
It goes without saying that the abuse of women in the street is a serious problem. Some may argue that in order to draw attention to it, an element of contrivance, exaggeration and even sensationalism is justified.
If it makes young men think twice before they bully a woman, this has to be a good thing. But at what price? When a one-off becomes a trend, and sensationalist video follows sensationalist video, this constitutes a form of negative campaigning. And negative campaigning has a habit of creating negative consequences.
Depictions of decent men have now become strikingly absent online. The overall suggestion is that men are guilty until proven innocent; this only reinforces gender stereotyping.
Indeed, we have reached a stage where feminist sites like Jezebel run stories like “How to kick men in the balls: an illustrated guide”, confirming the impression that the internet hates men. Misogynist trolling by horrid little men is a huge concern, but the answer is not to alienate the rest of us.
It must be acknowledged – and strongly so – that most of the men watching these videos would never dream of treating women in this way. Call me optimistic, but in my experience, there are at least 10 gentlemen for every abuser. And that's a conservative estimate.
What message are upstanding men, particularly the younger ones, supposed to take from this cataract of negative campaigning? In the current climate of febrile abusiveness, both online and in "meatspace", this is something that should concern everyone. The more the anti-men trend gains traction, the more women will be deprived of decent male allies in the battle against abuse.
UK: ‘Death to Dapper’: behold the new intolerance
The terrifying censoriousness of the campaign against Dapper Laughs
For an insight into the new intolerance, into the modern illiberal urge to harry and squash and ultimately kill any idea that dares to offend us, look no further than the fury over Dapper Laughs. Yes, I’m sorry that it’s a perma-tanned geezer comedian with a foul mouth and not many good jokes that we have to defend from the pitchfork brigade these days, rather than, say, a Thomas Paine or a Galileo or someone else with something insightful and daring to tell us and who the authorities want to silence. But that’s life.
In the second decade of the twenty-first century, intolerance tends to aim its ire at the laddish rather than the laudable, at those whose words are judged to be hateful rather than those whose thoughts are said to threaten the moral order, and in recent weeks no one has felt the heat of the intolerants’ torches as much as Dapper Laughs has.
For those of you who don’t know who Dapper is, here’s the lowdown: his real name is Daniel O’Reilly and he’s a comedian from South London who made it big via social media (Vine, Facebook) before being offered his own show – a guide to pulling – on ITV2. His humour is a bit juvenile. It’s laddish. He describes women as being ‘proper moist’ (ie. ready for sex, especially with him, because he is so irresistible) and his advice on how to ‘pull birds’ consists of the kind of thing teenage boys who have never got past first base say to each other in the sixth-form common room. He’s like a real-life version of Jay from The Inbetweeners, minus the secret sweetness.
And for this, for being a Seventies-style vulgarian, he has found himself thoroughly demonised in the broadsheet press, banned from university campuses, and the object of an increasingly unhinged Change.org and Twitter campaign to have him permanently expelled from TV-land. Strewth. Yet even as he quakes in his boots and issues sober apologies to those he has offended – as he sadly did last week – he should at least be grateful that he was born in this era of Twittermobs rather than yesteryear’s time of real mobs: 500 years ago, he’d be dead by now.
The Dapper-bashing crusade started in the respectable media. Mr Laughs was accused of contributing to ‘rape culture’, that ill-defined, jumped-up climate of wickedness that some people are convinced has modern Britain in its stranglehold (in exactly the same way that pious old women with blue rinses once thought that evil had Blighty and other Western nations in its grip).
Commentators all agree that Dapper’s crude comedy has no place on TV. His ‘unpleasant sexism dressed up as banter’, as one columnist calls it, must be ‘pulled from the air’, says Britain’s mislabelled liberal newspaper the Independent. ITV is ‘wasting airtime on misogynistic material’, we’re told, and instead of providing a platform for Dapper it should ‘[give] a platform to men who respect women and treat them equally’.
How about we just institute a system whereby everyone who wants to appear on the box, or in any other public forum, is first asked: ‘Are you now or have you ever been a sexist?’ That should help cleanse culture of those deemed by the right-thinking sections of British society to be morally undesirable (the kind of right-thinkers who yesterday probably celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the tyrannical Stasi’s lust for policing artists and journalists – oh the irony, it burns).
The anti-Dapper mob believes his comedy could cause actual violence in society. And you thought the highly questionable media-effects theories of the Seventies and Eighties that were used to ban horror films and saucy magazines had been laid to rest. Sadly not. They’ve been given a pseudo-progressive makeover and brought back to life. The comedians’ magazine Chortle – funny name, not-so-funny content – described Dapper’s show as a ‘rapist’s almanac’, claiming that while the ‘production team’ for his programme haven’t exactly ‘told people how to come equipped with rope or chloroform’, they have ‘contributed to a prevalent predatory culture that reduces women to nothing more than a piece of cunt’.
Wow. So a not-very-widely watched show on ITV2 is physically endangering women. When Mary Whitehouse once made precisely, 100 per cent the same argument – though she had the decency not to use the c-word in her claims that culture makes men into Godless women-violators or unhinged homos – comedians mocked her, no doubt including some of the very same tossers who now write for Chortle. Yet now they parrot her misanthropic, censorious conservatism and have the gall to call it radicalism. The New Statesman told its readers ‘you should be worried about Dapper Laughs’ because he is ‘normalising sexual harassment’. ITV2 monkey see, ITV2 monkey do.
Why are these observers so freaked out by Dapper? It’s because of who follows him online and now watches him on TV. Whisper it: Them, young working-class men, who apparently lack the capacity to reason that is enjoyed by the better-educated, middle-class moaners that staff our post-liberal press. The commentary on Dapper Laughs positively drips with contempt for these hordes. A writer for the Independent says Dapper could inflame those men who drive ‘Transit vans’, or who work as car mechanics, or ‘group[s] of men loitering outside a pub’ who see every woman as a ‘potential wank fantasy’.
Hmm. I wonder who she means? Men who work with their hands and like a drink? Can’t think who she’s talking about. That donut at Chortle – one of the sad new breed of men who tries to impress women by being a feministic self-loathing male! – describes Dapper’s young, working-class laddish followers as ‘the unenlightened, the confused, the intellectually frightened… a people shovelling themselves into the excrement of history’. How disgusting. How dehumanising. In railing against Dapper’s bigotry, the chattering class reveals its own: Dapper might be down on women, but they are far more down on the uncouth, horny-handed sons of suburbia and the inner cities.
Vice, the potty-mouthed bible of Shoreditch shitheads and other hip nihilists in ironic beards, says Dapper hails from and speaks to a ‘universe where Jodie Marsh is better known than Cate Blanchett… a universe that Vagenda [a feminist campaign group] seeks to destroy… surburban white men with hairstyles and tattoos… douchebags, basically’.
What a fascinating lack of self-awareness there is among these commentators who in one mouthful spit out blood against Dapper’s hatefulness and in the very next mouthful spew up their own contempt for a section of society they would rather was never seen, heard or allowed to have a laugh: Transit van men, the frightened, suburbia people, men outside pubs who don’t know who Cate Blanchett is - what used to be known as the great unwashed. Perhaps these people are angry at Dapper for failing to do what they do so very well: doll up his disgust for certain sections of humanity in progressive-sounding lingo.
It is striking that the ironically censorious countercultural Vice should openly talk about Vagenda wanting to ‘destroy’ a section of society (the working-class male section) – for that is ultimately the aim of the anti-Dapper crusade: to silence certain ways of speaking and laughter, to destroy ‘lad culture’. So the students’ union at Cardiff University has banned Dapper from its campus on the grounds that he goes against its ‘anti-lad culture policy’, its mission to ‘end lad culture’.
It is genuinely shocking that people want to stamp out a whole culture, Stasi-style. An online petition calling on ITV2 to ditch Dapper currently has more than 60,000 signatures. It’s given rise to a popular Twitter hashtag – #canceldapper – which thousands of people have used to express their disgust at the airing of this ‘stone age’ show and to call for its immediate banning. Some have even tweeted ‘death to Dapper’.
In the climate of hate and bile whipped up against this funnyman and his allegedly bovine followers, who knows if they’re being ironic? Today, a group of 44 comedians, including Jenny Eclair and Arabella Weir, published an open letter praising Cardiff for banning Dapper and calling on ITV2 to seriously think about Dapper’s ‘sexist narratives’, which apparently ‘encourage street harassment, rape culture and… misogyny’.
Self-styled liberal comedians spreading fear about another comedian’s allegedly toxic impact on society, cheering the censorship of comedy, and writing a GDR-style letter denouncing one of their own for possessing foul moral views? For shame, for shame.
The end result of all this hysterical demonisation of Dapper? He’s had to issue an apology, and ITV2 are having a high-level meeting about his future. Let’s hope they stick with him. For to give in to the censorious, contemptuous campaign to have him expelled from the public eye would set a very dangerous precedent. It would inflame the educated lynch mobs and time-rich intolerant Twitter gangs who already wield too much clout in modern Britain, and who truly believe that anything which doesn’t sound like them, look like them or conform to their outlooks and prejudices should be, as Vice says, ‘destroyed’, ended, deprived of the oxygen of publicity, no-platformed. That is an idea way more offensive and dangerous than any joke about ‘gash’ could ever be.
Florist Case Stems From State's Intolerance
We were told that same-sex “marriage” was about building homes – not destroying others'. Unfortunately, that’s just another lie from a liberal movement bent on shattering Americans' freedom, their livelihoods, and now, their property. Like dozens of conservative businesses, the owner of Washington State’s Arlene’s Flowers is finding out exactly how low the Left is willing to sink to demand conformity on marriage.
Barronelle Stutzman, who drew the Left’s ire when she politely declined to make arrangements for a same-sex “wedding,” has been bogged down in a legal fight for almost two years just for exercising her First Amendment rights in the marketplace. Now, that fight may cost Barronelle more than customers. According to Alliance Defending Freedom, it could cost Stutzman her home too. In a sick twist to an already outrageous case, long-time customer Robert Ingersoll and his partner are not only suing Arlene’s Flowers – but Barronelle personally.
And they have the full weight of the Washington Attorney General’s office backing their case. In an unprecedented move, the state’s chief law enforcer, Bob Ferguson, injected himself into the dispute meant to punish Barronelle for refusing to check her faith at her business’s door. A punishment, experts say, that could leave Barronelle homeless. In the meantime, Stutzman’s attorneys at ADF are doing everything they can to stop the state from attacking Barronelle personally – even filing a new court motion.
Under Washington law, AG Ferguson has no grounds to sue Stuztman unless she’s been implicated in a type of fraud – which is even farther-fetched than the original charge. The only frauds in this case are the liberals who insist this debate is just about “love” and “tolerance.” Where’s the tolerance for the Christians who are simply asking for the same freedom to live out their beliefs as the activists trying to silence them?
“In America, the government is supposed to protect freedom, not use intolerance for certain viewpoints to intimidate citizens into acting contrary to their faith,” said ADF’s Dale Schowengerdt. “The attorney general has acted inappropriately by trying to intimidate Barronelle through his lawsuit rather than leaving the process where the law says such matters need to take place. Plenty of other florists are willing to provide flowers for same-sex ceremonies, yet both lawsuits against Barronelle insist on going after not only her business, but going after her personally as well. That’s extraordinary, and we’re asking the court to put a stop to it.”
For now, Washington’s Ferguson could take a lesson or two from his Mississippi counterpart. There, state Attorney General Jim Hood is standing up for citizens like Barronelle, who voted to uphold the natural definition of marriage in their state Constitution. In papers filed Monday, Hood – together with Governor Phil Bryant (R) – asked the courts to leave their 10-year-old marriage amendment alone. “Mississippi’s traditional marriage laws do not discriminate,” the leaders wrote in an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In Kansas, locals got some much-needed relief on marriage from an unlikely source: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The Obama appointee put the state’s same-sex “weddings” on ice in an emergency injunction that puts a radical court ruling on hold – at least for now. Sotomayor’s order is one in a long line of the justices' stays on the issue – which, thanks to a positive Sixth Circuit Court ruling last week, is almost certainly post-marked for the high court.
Australia: Politically correct giving?
Questions over Katy Perry's choice of school for cash prize. Is it wrong to give prizes for excellence? Must all prizes go to the poor?
Schools for children with disabilities have questioned a decision by Katy Perry and tour sponsor to give a $10,000 cash prize to Loreto Mandeville Hall College's performing arts facilities.
Telstra said the decision to choose Loreto Mandeville, an independent girls' school in Toorak, came directly from Perry, who is in Melbourne performing her Prismatic tour and that there was no interference.
"I picked you guys out of 300 different submissions from all over Australia, there are four girls that we should all thank because they made the most adorable, sweet, innocent, full-of-life, full-of-joy video – and I picked that one," she told her fans at Loreto on Thursday.
Perry visited the Toorak college yesterday which won a nationwide competition.
"I'm not one to complain but I think it's a shame when there's a lot of other struggling schools who want to expand their performing arts," said Karen Taylor, executive assistant to the CEO at Mater Dei in Camden, NSW.
"Purely based on appearances I don't know if that school [Loreto Mandeville] would necessarily need an additional extra $10,000 for their faculty when they already have a fully fledged orchestra and a state-of-the-art performing arts department," she said.
Ms Taylor also said their school's submission did not have the resources to submit a professional-looking video.
"Loreto did a fantastic compilation of what their school was doing but theirs looked professionally done and they've clearly got the resources for that," she said.
Frankston's BAM Allstars dance group for children with different abilities also applied.
"We are wanting to develop a program to take into special schools. Most of them don't have a performing arts program at all," said founder Lisa Murphy.
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.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.