Friday, September 11, 2015
A foolish feminist: Or how to destroy your career with one short message
When a pleasantry gets vitriol as a reply, who would want to work with such a b*tch? She is a barrister (trial lawyer) and, as such, depends entirely on solicitors giving her work. Few will now. How can she have been so stupid? A case of raging hormones, maybe
Step forward young Charlotte Proudman, 27, an award-winning barrister at the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC and a PhD student at Cambridge.
Clever girl, our Ms Proudman. Good at her job, too. Because, of course, the key to success as a barrister is knowing how to spot your enemy’s weaknesses — and having the guts and chutzpah to exploit those weaknesses ruthlessly.
In the dock, ladies and gentlemen, one Alexander Carter-Silk, a middle-aged, married father of two and a senior partner at the London office of solicitors Brown Rudnick.
Mr Carter-Silk, 57, stands accused of the most heinous of crimes. Of an act so foul that I hesitate to share it with you, dear reader. But share it I must. For this is a salutary tale of our times.
You may or may not know that there exists on the internet a tedious website called ‘LinkedIn’. It’s a networking site designed for thrusting professionals to be able to interact and do business with other thrusting professionals.
Being one of these creatures, Ms Proudman ‘reached out’ (as I believe it’s called these days) to Mr Carter-Silk, whom she didn’t know. He, being an accommodating sort, replied that he would be happy to ‘connect’.
He then took the liberty of expressing, by way of an ice-breaker, admiration for her photograph.
Now, most normal women would have thought: ‘What a nice man.’ Indeed, many of us would be delighted; compliments are few and far between these days.
But not Ms Proudman. ‘Alex,’ she typed, by way of reply (note, not ‘Dear Alex’, or Mr Carter-Silk, just ‘Alex’, as though she were his superior, and not a junior speaking to a seasoned expert). ‘I find your message offensive. I am on LinkedIn for business purposes, not to be approached about my physical appearance or to be objectified by sexist men.’
Warming to her theme, she continued. ‘The eroticisation of women’s physical appearance is a way of exercising power over women. It silences women’s professional attributes as their physical appearance becomes the subject.’
Signing off with a feminist flourish, she concluded, ‘Unacceptable and misogynistic behaviour. Think twice before sending another woman (half your age) such a sexist message.’
Blimey, you might think. What exactly did he say? What could this repulsive specimen of the patriarchy possibly have done to her? What vile and perverted acts did he suggest to earn such a passionate rebuke?
Er, he said he liked her picture. Specifically, he wrote: ‘I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture!!!! You definitely win the prize for the best LinkedIn picture I have ever seen.’
That’s it. That is the extent of his indecent proposal. Of his ‘eroticisation’ of her physical appearance. A simple, straightforward compliment: you look nice in your picture.
If that is what counts as ‘objectification’ and ‘misogyny’ these days, then the human race is in deep trouble. Not only does it beggar belief that Ms Proudman could have inferred any slight from such an innocuous missive, it also makes me fear for the next generation of women.
After all, heaven help the poor man who actually tries to ask her out on a date, let alone try to get her into his bed. He’d have better luck propositioning a porcupine.
As if her *hysterical and laughably pompous* reaction weren’t bad enough, she then decided to post their exchange on Twitter, thereby escalating the entire debacle to a state of war.
Instantly, the armies of Feminazis, permanently stationed at their computers ready to pounce at the slightest hint of a politically incorrect utterance, mobilised. Righteous indignation and sisterly solidarity streamed forth from their keyboards.
‘Will endure misogynistic backlash that accompanies calling out sexism in hope it encourages at least one woman to feel she doesn’t need to take it,’ Ms Proudman went on to declare on Twitter, her *self-righteousness* gathering steam as she labelled the networking website nothing more than a white-collar dating agency.
Poor Mr Carter-Silk. He may be beginning to know how Tim Hunt feels — Hunt being the Nobel Prize-winning professor booted out of UCL after making a supposedly sexist joke about female scientists during a conference speech earlier this year.
For hell hath no fury like the feminist mob in full cry. No doubt there will be calls for Mr Carter-Silk to lose his job. He’ll certainly have to issue some sort of grovelling apology, and his poor wife and family will be hounded. And all for daring to pay a woman a virtual compliment.
In fairness, he must bear some responsibility for the pickle he currently finds himself in. Because if he’d bothered to check Ms Proudman’s Twitter profile, he’d have known she might be trouble.
A fearless feminist is how she describes herself — ‘because rape, prostitution & pornography are problems of male dominance’. Indeed. But paying a woman a compliment — surely that’s not yet a crime?
Let’s face it, it’s not as if he sidled up to her in a bar and pinched her bum, or thrust his unwanted attentions on her on a bus. This alleged act of sexism happened in the ether. Even if it had been genuinely fruity, it was definitely harmless.
Some women might even have found it a little bit funny. I certainly would. Men, especially men of Mr Carter-Silk’s vintage, can be such clots when it comes to women they find vaguely attractive. It can even be rather endearing.
A few weeks ago, for example, I received an email from a gentleman reader in response to something or other I’d written. Quite a long disquisition, as I recall, and rather serious. He made several good points. And then at the end of it, a P.S: please could he have a picture of me in my nightie.
Sadly I was unable to oblige (I’m more of a pyjama girl); but was I offended? Certainly not. Tickled pink, in fact. After all, what’s not to like about a harmless compliment?
But then Ms Proudman is a different creature from me. Women my age had to learn how to roll with the punches fairly early on in our careers. We never had the luxury of equality legislation to protect us, or quotas to ensure we got ahead in the workplace, regardless of our actual ability. We did not grow up in the era of state-sponsored entitlement.
We had to work hard and without much recognition to be taken seriously — which, somewhat ironically, meant not taking life too seriously. Something that women like Ms Proudman just don’t understand.
By demonstrating such a monumental lack of humour and making such a gigantic fuss about something so trivial, she just makes herself look weak and pathetic. Isn’t she supposed to be some hot-shot feminist human rights lawyer? Well, go and defend some real victims of inequality, dear, instead of bleating on about some slighty off-colour message.
But then this is not really about helping other women overcome sexism, is it? It’s about Ms Proudman making sure she’s the absolute centre of everyone’s attentions.
Perhaps Mr Carter-Silk was being a bit racy. Perhaps he should not have commented on her photo (although I can see why he did: she’s an attractive woman who’s clearly made a huge effort to look her most enticing); but if Ms Proudman thinks she’s doing anything other than indulging in a show of self-promotion at his expense, she’s deluding herself.
And if you want proof, I shall leave you with a quote from an interview she gave to a newspaper yesterday. Yes, Ms Proudman, so shy and retiring she could not even bear to suffer a compliment from a colleague — but perfectly willing to be interviewed by a newspaper.
‘My partner gets messages asking if he wants a job at hedge funds, I get propositions from men asking me out. I want a public apology.’
One thing’s for certain, Ms Proudman. You’ve sure got the public’s attention. Job done.
"The class hatred that still tears this country apart"
Sarah Vine is unusually frank below:
Let’s be honest, I’m no one’s idea of a rabid revolutionary, but every now and then something comes along to stir my inner Jeremy Corbyn.
It first happened a few years ago when I had the misfortune to sit next to Earl Spencer — then about to be married for the second time — at a dinner. I won’t reveal exactly what was said — it was a private conversation — but let’s say I suddenly realised that not all aristocrats are amiable old buffers with gentlemanly manners and dodgy plumbing. Instead, they can be ruthless, arrogant and unkind.
I’ve felt the same red flag stirrings this week reading about the extraordinary goings on at Longleat, the £190 million estate owned by the Marquess of Bath, which is becoming better known for its poisonous family feud than for its world-famous lions.
For those who have missed it, the Marquess’s 41-year-old heir Ceawlin Thynn’s mother did not attend his wedding amid allegations she had suggested that marrying his half-Nigerian wife would damage the family’s aristocratic pedigree.
Her exact alleged words? ‘Are you sure about what you’re doing to 400 years of bloodline?’ Poor Ceawlin was reportedly so upset that, as well as banning her from the wedding, he hired security guards to ensure she didn’t try to gatecrash it.
Since then, apparently there has been no communication and the couple have reportedly refused to let her see her grandchild for fear of ‘contamination’. For her part, Lady Bath says her absence was due to a prior engagement to which she had to accompany her husband.
In truth, a bit of casual racism is the least of it. All his life, the Marquess — who styled himself as a hippy eccentric, a libertarian with a penchant for brightly coloured ethnic kaftans — has behaved like a seedy spoilt brat.
Having inherited Longleat — an Elizabethan gem set in 900 acres of Capability Brown landscaped gardens — he had the arrogance to add to its exquisite Flemish tapestries, fine French furniture and priceless paintings (including a Titian) his own obscenely pornographic daubings.
It was when his son — who admits they gave him nightmares as a child — had the temerity to tear some of these down that the feud started.
Then there are the Marquess’s notorious ‘wifelets’ — such a disingenuously cosy term for a group of live-in concubines who have ranged from Sri Lankan teenagers to minor Bond girls to outright prostitutes.
Truly, if this family lived in a council house — instead of enjoying a staff of 300 plus 400 paying tenants — the social workers would have come knocking months ago. Now they are to be the subjects of Britain’s latest reality show — All Change At Longleat, which starts on BBC1 on Monday — which by focusing on this thoroughly dysfunctional family will doubtless provoke much mirth.
Does any of this matter? Yes, because the problem with toffs like Bath — and others like him, from the Marquess of Bristol (a degenerate who inherited pots of money and a beautiful house only to descend into drug addiction, lose it all and die young) to the 12th Duke of Marlborough, Jamie Blandford (a former drug addict, convicted forger and now custodian of that architectural gem, Blenheim Palace) is that they play into the hands of the class warriors.
They corrode and undermine an institution that while by no means fair is nevertheless part of the fabric of British society.
Because there is much that is worth preserving about the upper echelons of British society. The Duke of Westminster alone, with his work for the Territorial Army, is testament to that.
Or look at the Queen — living proof that belonging to an ancient ruling family does not necessarily mean for one second resting on one’s laurels.
But as Her Majesty proves, it’s not the crown that makes a monarch or the title that confers nobility. It’s showing that you understand that with great privilege comes great responsibility.
If more toffs could just grasp that fact, then perhaps it would go some way to abating the class hatred that still tears this country apart.
The left’s deranged attack on Clarence Thomas
Black lives matter - unless, apparently, you're Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The left is renewing its venomous, racist attacks on Thomas in the aftermath of his dissent in the Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling in favor of gay marriage.
Actor George Takei smeared Thomas as a "clown in blackface." The Huffington Post called his dissent "beyond ridiculous" and tarred him as a hypocrite for opposing a court-created "right" to gay marriage:
"Clarence Thomas is married to a white woman - something that would be illegal today, if it weren't for the Supreme Court's historic Loving v. Virginia ruling." As if his personal life is fair game.
Last Friday, in another low blow, New York Times reporter Adam Liptak portrayed Thomas as a lightweight whose opinions are cut-and-paste jobs from briefs submitted to the court.
But in truth, all the justices refer liberally to briefs. Thomas borrows about 11.3 percent of his judicial prose from briefs, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor lifts 11 percent and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg 10.5 percent. It's not "cribbing" or plagiarism, as Liptak's hatchet job implies, but simply the way decisions are written.
In fact, Thomas appears to be the most productive justice, having written 37 opinions this past term, more than any other Justice. That fact's enough to dispense with New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin's bogus claim that Thomas has "checked out" and "is simply not doing his job."
The trigger for these latest attacks is Thomas' view that the legality of gay marriage should be decided by state legislatures rather than enshrined as a right by the Supreme Court.
Thomas is no homophobe. In 2003, when the court struck down a Texas ban on same-sex sodomy, Thomas expressed his personal disagreement with the law, calling it "uncommonly silly." He said "if I were a member of the Texas Legislature, I would vote to repeal it." But he explained that it was up to the Legislature, not the court, to right that wrong.
That's the same argument he made in Obergefell, the gay-marriage case decided in June. The court's majority ruled that same-sex marriage is a "right" protected by the Constitution's guarantee of due process.
But Thomas, and many conservative jurists, worry that judges have turned due process into a vehicle for inventing rights from the bench. Thomas warns that "treating the Due Process Clause as a font for substantive rights" allows judges to make policy, instead of waiting for legislatures to do it.
You can disagree with that reasoning, but Thomas is anything but a lightweight.
His life proves that. Thomas was born in 1948 to a family that spoke only Gullah, an Afro-English dialect. He grew up in the South in a rural shack without plumbing, and yet made his way through Holy Cross College and then Yale Law School. By comparison, President Obama was a silver-spoon baby.
When Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1991, the left attacked him, largely because he had already taken stands as an appeals-court judge against judicial activism and affirmative action.
Columnist Maureen Dowd said she was "disgusted at someone who could benefit so much from affirmative action and then pull up the ladder after himself." But Thomas had learned the hard way that affirmative action can hurt recipients. After Yale Law School, prestigious law firms didn't want to hire him because they assumed he hadn't really done the work.
During confirmation hearings, Thomas fended off hostile questions about accusations of sexual improprieties with Anita Hill, and his insistence that upholding the Constitution is better than adhering to precedents that violate it.
Twenty-five years later, the mean-spirited attacks continue. But at age 67, Thomas isn't likely to leave the bench anytime soon. Of course, the Obergefell decision is also probably here to stay. Few people will worry about the weak legal scaffolding on which it was built.
Most Americans care about outcomes, not process. But they should recognize Thomas' important role in defending the Constitution. That is his duty as a judge.
Britain's lazy municipal employees again
Any excuse to avoid work
Jobsworth council bosses have told a 96-year-old widow they can't provide her with carers because the farm track to her home is 'impassable for normal vehicles'.
Retired music teacher Joyce Adkins, who cheered up Londoners by playing violin during The Blitz, was promised regular visits after she suffered a fall.
But the social services department then decided that the three-quarter mile track to her isolated farmhouse near Lampeter, Ceredigion, South West Wales, was a health and safety risk for its staff.
'They seem to be making an awful fuss about this,' said Mrs Adkins.
'They suggested it should be levelled off, drainage put in, and cemented wheel tracks laid, but that would cost an absolute fortune.
'It's a typical west Wales farm track and, provided you stick to five miles per hour, you shouldn't have any problems.
'But then maybe that's just me - when you've spent two years living in a reinforced cellar in east London while bombs are raining down from above a rather rough farm track is not exactly going to put you off!'
A reporter for her local paper, Cambrian News, said he paid her a visit in his Renault Clio without incident.
Mrs Adkins, a former member of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, learnt to play the violin at the age of eight.
She has lived on the farm of her eldest daughter since the death of her husband, Bruce, a retired diplomat, in 2000.
Following a recent fall she spent three weeks in Bronglais Hospital and a further fortnight at Min y Môr care home in Aberaeron before returning home at the end of last month.
'I was told social services would visit me three times a day for up to six weeks,' she said. 'In the end, a home carer came down exceptionally at lunchtime for four weekdays in a council van.
'She did a wonderful job looking after me and helping me cook, but I think that's finished now. 'They said they wanted me to stay in a nursing home until the track was repaired.
Mrs Adkins' other daughter, Helen - who has lived in Berlin since 1977 - said they could not understand social services' attitude.
'Everyone else comes down that track without any problem, but the carers drive their own cars and have to pay for their own wear and tear on their vehicles,' she said.
'I understand that there is a problem, but I have mentioned the situation to many people and it seems to be a generalized problem in this area.
A Ceredigion County Council spokesperson said the authority's social services department could not comment on specific concerns relating to individual cases.
'However, when access to a property is of concern, the department aims to work pro-actively with the person to ensure the safety of all concerned,' she added.
'A full risk assessment is undertaken and acted upon and steps to mitigate risk may include asking people to undertake repairs, assisting with transporting carers from the roadside and in some instances, assisting with road repairs.'
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.