Misogynist Quote of the Day

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal likes to pretend to be one of the more sane and reasonable conservative voices. This column may well kill any chance he had of doing that. Discussing a general whose promotion is being challenged because she overruled a military jury that convicted an officer of rape, he writes this astonishing paragraph:

Lt. Gen. Susan Helms is a pioneering woman who finds her career stalled because of a war on men—a political campaign against sexual assault in the military that shows signs of becoming an effort to criminalize male sexuality.

Seriously? We have an epidemic of rape in the military and trying to stop it — and stopping superior officers from unilaterally overruling a jury — is a “war on men”? Funny, I don’t feel like anyone is waging war on me. I’m not a rapist. Perhaps Taranto feels like trying to prevent rape is an “effort to criminalize male sexuality” because he thinks rape is somehow intrinsic to male sexuality?

In March, President Obama nominated Gen. Helms to serve as vice commander of the Air Force Space Command. But Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who sits on the Armed Services Committee, has placed a “permanent hold” on the nomination.

At issue is the general’s decision in February 2012 to grant clemency to an officer under her command. Capt. Matthew Herrera had been convicted by a court-martial of aggravated sexual assault. Ms. McCaskill said earlier this month that the clemency decision “sent a damaging message to survivors of sexual assault who are seeking justice in the military justice system.”

And it does. How could it possibly not?

15 comments on this post.
  1. Bronze Dog:

    Lt. Gen. Susan Helms is a pioneering woman who finds her career stalled because of a war on men—a political campaign against sexual assault in the military that shows signs of becoming an effort to criminalize male sexuality.

    I’m insulted that my sexuality has been compared to rapists’.

  2. JasonTD:

    Taranto also has a “Best of the Web Today” feature under the opinion section of the WSJ webpage. The following day (and in a video interview on the WSJ website) he doubled down on his position. He is basically glorying in the vitriol he has earned from feminists, claiming that it “proves us right” (he also uses the editorial ‘we’ in his daily column).

    I’ve been engaging with people in the comment section of that Best of the Web piece (titled “Sex, Lies, and the War on Men”) over the last day or so. Luckily, I have the summer off now (public high school science teacher, here) and have the time, but even so I wonder if it is worth it. I don’t know how Ed does this job all day, when so many people out there are are so clearly wrong about so many things.

  3. CaitieCat:

    Seriously. The only scary person i see here is the guy who insists that male sexuality is indistinguishable from rape. Projection being what it is, one wonders that he’s allowed out without a leash.

    By far the majority of men I know are not rapists. Not even wannabe rapists. The only people, in my experience, who think all men are secretly rapists are a quite small subset of men. It’s hard not to conclude that there’s a causation in there somewhere.

    Note that this is a different conjecture than “all men are potentially rapists”, aka Schroedinger’s Rapist; that says that from the perspective of the potential victim, it is wise to be careful as any man could be a rapist; probability small, expected negative value high, reasonable expected value calculation.

    This jerk thinks that all men WOULD be rapists, if only they had the chance. Very different thing. His world is a LOT scarier.

  4. JasonTD:

    Dangit, link fail. That second one was supposed to be xkcd.com/386 . I’m sure most people here are familiar with that particular comic.

    One minor nit-pick, though, Ed, is that Capt. Herrera was convicted of sexual assault at trial, not rape (he was acquitted of a second charge of sexual assault on a different woman). That’s plenty serious in itself, of course.

    Reading the whole story has been … interesting. Taranto makes a big deal out of the ‘he said, she said’ nature of the allegations and selectively uses facts to attack the accuser’s credibility. For my part, I make no judgement about whether the general’s decision was right or wrong, since I don’t have access to the trial transcripts, just snippets of information that news articles have used. But I did find a few facts and unanswered questions that would have undermined Taranto’s framing of the case, so it was obvious to me that Taranto was pushing his agenda, rather than really looking for truth. But then, he works on the WSJ opinion pages, so that’s hardly a surprise.

  5. Chiroptera:

    …sane and reasonable conservative….

    In the second decade of the the 21st century, that has now become an oxymoron.

    What used to be called “sane and reasonable conservatives” are now more properly called “Democrats.”

  6. Modusoperandi:

    Come on, at least try to look at it from his point of view! Think about how awful it must be, knowing that at any moment some broad could accuse him of rape, simply because of all his raping.

  7. aaronbaker:

    Some years ago, that slime-bag James Taranto wrote a patronizing, dishonest, inaccurate, and logically incoherent attack on Cindy Sheehan. Here is Brian Leiter’s demolition:

    http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2005/08/the_rights_resp_1.html

    I strongly urge everyone to read it. At his best, Leiter is devastating, and he’s at his best here.

  8. Who Knows?:

    How is it that someone like this is allowed to write for a newspaper like the Wall Street Journal? This is the kind of crap is what you might expect coming from some dumbass working in his garage putting out a self published newsletter.

  9. D. C. Sessions:

    How is it that someone like this is allowed to write for a newspaper like the Wall Street Journal?

    The good papers wouldn’t have him.

  10. slc1:

    Re Who Knows

    The Wall Street Journal editorial pages were never a source of serious commentary and the reporters for that paper, among the best in the business before the paper was purchased by Murdock, considered it a joke. Now, the page has been Murdocked and is batshit insane, just like his other acquisitions. I strongly that most of those top notch reporters no longer work for the paper.

  11. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :):

    One minor nit-pick, though, Ed, is that Capt. Herrera was convicted of sexual assault at trial, not rape

    Not every legal system makes that distinction. Is this one of them?

  12. uzza:

    When called on it, he said that this war on men[sic] began in the 60′s, when women started wanting

    “sexual freedom. Well what is female sexual freedom? It means, for this woman, that she had the freedom to get drunk, and to get in the backseat of the car with this guy.

    It seems obvious to him that getting into the back seat of a car means one should be violently raped.

  13. tynk:

    I hate that I have say here for 20 minutes trying to gather myself to respond to this.
    I am a veteran. I am a woman. I spent years trying to convince myself that what I was doing was more important than what was done to me. I served with many amazing people, both men and women.

    None of that excuses…

  14. Robert B.:

    If there’s such a thing as a war on men, it consists of things like using the phrase “male sexuality” as though it were synonymous with rape. “Misandry” is a word that makes me nervous to use, since it gets used to bad ends so often, but that’s as clear an example of misandry as I’ve ever seen.

    I’m torn between thinking there actually isn’t a war on men, and the misandry is just collateral damage from the war against women; or thinking that men who don’t fit a certain narrow and horrible concept of manliness are just as much targets as the women.

  15. Stacy:

    If there’s such a thing as a war on men, it consists of things like using the phrase “male sexuality” as though it were synonymous with rape. “Misandry” is a word that makes me nervous to use, since it gets used to bad ends so often, but that’s as clear an example of misandry as I’ve ever seen

    There’s a major strand of anti-feminist thinking which holds that women are everybody’s repressed superego; men are brutes who, without the civilizing influence of gentle womenfolk, would spend all their time a-rapin’ and a-pillagin’. uzza points out (#12) that Taranto blames the victim:

    Well what is female sexual freedom? It means, for this woman, that she had the freedom to get drunk, and to get in the backseat of the car with this guy

    –IOW, if slutty sluts act like they have just as much right as men to drink and be boldly sexual and all, they have no right to complain if they get raped. How dare you presume to hold a man morally accountable under those circumstances!? MISANDRY!

    I’m old enough and I’ve been a feminist long enough that I should be used to that attitude, but somehow it still brings me up short whenever I see it. It’s like…holy hell, we’re supposed to be the ones who hate men?

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