“Bad things happen – get over it”

That’s the message from this Rosie Millard piece [DNL url]: “Women get their bottoms pinched. It is part of life. Get over it”.

I don’t know much about the legal aspects, I don’t know whether we charge someone for a crime the victim says she’s over. I think those are complicated questions, deserving of fuller examination on a case-by-case basis. However, Millard goes from these concerns to outright telling people to “get over it”. That’s a separate discussion, but it’s woven in seamlessly into the discussion of prosecuting this guy called David Lee Travis. Just watch (emphasis mine):

The unnamed victim of the assault, who said she was paralysed with fear at the time, has spoken of her luck in being able to get on with the rest of her life after the event – the event being having your breasts squeezed for 15 seconds, backstage at The Mrs Merton Show. Hello? If such things really caused deep trauma, half the female population of the UK would be in long-term therapy. Women get their breasts squeezed. They get their bottoms pinched. Without asking for it. It is not particularly exciting, but it is part of life. Get over it.

But don’t worry, I guess, because it happens all the time in the media.

In the media, where the intoxicating combination of fame is customarily wafted about in what one might deem a bohemian atmosphere, this sort of behaviour is particularly apparent. Again, not something to be proud of, but it is simply part of the setup.

You know like how non-whites in apartheid had to use separate entrances? Yeah, it sucks, but you know: “It’s part of the setup”. I look forward to telling my dad the reason he couldn’t buy a house in another neighbourhood was that it was “part of the setup”; that he should’ve “got over it”. It’s part of life, you know? Geez.

this sort of thing happened all the time, so much so that it was almost funny.

Ah, well, if you think it was “almost funny” I guess no other person should have to worry.

I am not referring to or indeed excusing sexual assault. I am pointing out that there was, and probably always will be, a certain amount of irresponsible behaviour in the entertainment world, whether from Radio 1 DJs or anyone else, and women in particular have to negotiate it as they see fit.

They “negotiate it” by speaking out; they “negotiate” by pointing out who the creeps are.

Dear Rosie Millard: Women and marginalised people will speak out. Get over it. People who think an environment is too protective of powerful men will voice their disaproval. Get over it.

I am sick of people using their platforms to defend the status quo which they themselves acknowledge isn’t safe, secure, helpful. I’m sick of people blowing smoke in the face of awful behaviour because that’s “just” the environment – as if we’re powerless beings who are not fighting back by speaking out. And yet when we do speak out, we are told to “get over it”.

I have to keep asking: Why would you use your finite time, finite resources to yell at people wanting progress and improvement? If you also can acknowledge that things suck, why would you not want them changed? And if you say, I’m just pointing out reality, you’ve done nothing: We know the environments suck, we know women are mistreated. If we didn’t already know that, we wouldn’t be speaking out. Whereas activists are saying “This environment is awful therefore we should change it”, shruggers go “This environment is awful therefore that’s the way it is.” Who cares? We know that’s the way it is and we want it changed.

Environments are created by humans, we change them, improve them. They’re not magically entombed. These wizards from the school of the insultingly obvious seem so keen on taking on activists or those who want change. I can’t really understand why: if they annoy you, who cares? How are you affected except that – shock! – as a marginalised person, you might have a better, more safe environment? Otherwise, why do you want to stay in a creepy environment?

These people are confusing and are targeting the wrong people. I really want them to use their resources and finite time for better ends. We could use it – the creeps don’t fucking need defending. Society in many ways does that already.

Women: wearing revealing clothes summon dark forces, please beware!

To give some background, Hannah Graham is an 18-year-old University of Virginia student who’s been missing for some time. The police have a suspect:

Charlottesville police named 32-year-old Jesse Matthew a suspect in the disappearance, and he was detained in Texas on Wednesday after he also disappeared for a short time. So far, he has refused to talk with investigators about what he might know about Graham, whom he was seen with the night she disappeared. Police have released little else about what led them to name him as their prime suspect. (NBC News)

It’s horrible story. I will never be a parent, but I have loved ones and have lost loved ones. I can’t imagine the pain the parents must be going through.

Hannah Graham’s parents addressed the public for the first time Sunday when they appeared at a news conference to ask for information about their missing daughter. John Graham spoke lovingly of his 18-year-old daughter. His wife Sue stood by his side.

John Graham asked anyone who had information into the whereabouts of Hannah Graham daughter, a second-year University of Virginia student, to come forward.

“This is every parent’s worst nightmare,” John Graham said. “We need to find out what happened to Hannah to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.” (Wtvr)

My sympathies go out to these unfortunate people. I would say, “no doubt we all feel this way”, except someone called Debbie Schlussel is being a totally awesome human being about this entire situation. It’s hard to read this. But here we go. [Read more...]

One small thing normal folks do when talking about people they’re attracted to

#1: Not making bloody lists detailing what constitutes “attractive”.

I have a guest blogpost responding to an awful article detailing what makes women attractive – or rather what constitutes “attractive girls”. I genuinely get to use “not all men” properly a few times.

“I do not condone rape” but…

This comment appeared on a local site about rape culture and what it is.

Comment
I’d rather not link to the comment directly nor name the individual, since I’m unlikely to change his mind. But it does set up a good basis to respond to yet more nonsense about women and sexuality and how men should consider both.

Let’s look at what this bro thinks about silly sluts and rape, then.

>> “I will start off by saying that I DO NOT condone rape. Boys and men should adhere to a girls [sic] or woman’s right to say NO.”

Good start. But don’t be surprised that people (like me) now read this as “I’m not racist but…”

>> “That being said, I too don’t feel much sympathy for a girl or woman dressing and acting like a “slag” and then being raped.”

Read that again. “I… don’t feel much sympathy for a girl or woman [acting like a slut] and being raped”.

So, sympathy for a rape victim is eroded due to learning that a woman was “acting” in a way you, personally, deem sexually provocative.

Of course!

There’s no way that people confuse friendliness for sexual advances; men have never mistaken amicability and Platonic interest for flirtation. And there’s no way women dress in a way that is revealing, enhancing of their features, etc. because it makes them feel great in their bodies (but almost always for a short period of time, because they live in a society that constantly pressures women into hating their bodies because they’re not photoshopped).

No: You are the Royal King Mister Master who can perfectly identify what “asking for sex” behaviour looks like.

Slutty, as Madison Moore highlights, is “when someone else’s sexual behavior makes you uncomfortable.” But probably also means you find them attractive (since people find tentacle hentai porn and consensual adult incest uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean they’ll call such things slutty).

So how that mitigates rape is mystery and only highlights women are people – but only up to an arbitrary point you have defined, premised on their sexuality. Which can’t be their own, of course, but must be defined by the loudest bigots.

And, here is a shocker: There is nothing wrong with women wanting sex and doing what they can or want to get sex. And, further, even if a woman is naked in bed with you, it may come as a surprise to learn that forcing yourself on her, ignoring her rejections, is still wrong. It’s weird, but women surprisingly are not objects making sounds to play hard to get. They aren’t setting up a challenge that manly men must overcome.

>> “The guy raping a girl/woman like that should suffer as much as their victim did, but the victim should also take responsibility for her actions that lead to this wrongdoing.”

What does “take responsibility” mean? And used so casually alongside someone who is, you know, raping seems to equate the two.

And since we’re asking women to “take responsibility”, I hope we’ll be consistent and demand the rapist’s parents also “take responsibility”; and I hope his teachers and lecturers “take responsibility”; his friends too, for not stopping him or teaching him, should “take responsibility”. I hope society “takes responsibility”. And books – whatever books he happened to read – that we find the authors and demand they “take responsibility”. Who else? Obama? Yeah, him too.

We’ll eventually find everyone and be able to account 100% for all the responsibility because obviously the person most responsible is irrelevant until we account for 100% of everyone involved toward the rapist raping – or the “rape occurring” like some malevolent Sauron-like disembodied force.

We do this for all other crimes, too: we demand the victim who is shot in his home take responsibility. We blame the victims for their murder and their physical assault, we worry that the perpetrators lives will be ruined (not their victim who is probably deceiving us right?); we distrust murder victims, we think they’re probably lying (dead but also in terms of deception)

Look, murder victims, just take responsibility for what happened, ok? At the funeral, let’s raise this and point this out to their families – because we do it for rape victims, so it means we do it elsewhere too. We’re totally not hypocrites!

>> “If you’re going to act in a certain way, you will attract the wrong people who WILL take advantage of the situation, no matter if it’s right or wrong.

Yes. But also note wrong people are still wrong. You’re not casting some magic spells that summons evil people.

>> “Girls should be taught from a young age that their actions and manners have consequences and if they don’t want these horrible things to happen to them, they should act responsibly and do what they can to prevent it from happening.

That’s right: The best way to avoid rape is not to be a slut. If you’re raped, it means you were being slutty/are a slut. That’s some perfect logic. QED. It’s totally not about how stats indicate rape victims are targets of someone they know, sometimes someone they themselves are attracted to, often someone they’re already in a relationship with.

Nope: rapists are like vampires and your slut behaviour is the open window (magic spells remember?). So just shut it. So obvious. And it’s so obvious and no woman has ever considered this because their brains are probably too small. That rape happens so often is obviously perfectly proportional to all the sluttish behaviour – or what I’ve called slutty – that occurs.

>> “No prevention method is 100% full [sic] proof and you may [be] the unlucky 1 to fall victim to rape or any other violent crime. The best you can do is everything in your power to prevent it from happening to you.

“Fall victim to rape”, like how you fall victim to disease, you know? Same thing.

Also, it’s not about luck so much as it is the way much of society – people like yourself and media portrayal – undermine rape s an actual serious crime, due to viewing women as not being allowed sexual identity. And it’s not an “unlucky” few.

>> “Girls, you know these things happen & there are men who don’t take NO seriously. Don’t give them the slightest idea that they can have their way with you unless you choose it. You are 99% in charge of your own fate, your life, your experiences and your body. Be responsible for your own fate, your life, your experiences and your body.

Yeah, “girls”. Don’t give “the slightest” indication you’re interested because, as we know, we all perfectly interpret flirtation, interest and so forth. And also once you show even a little bit of an interest, it means sex must happen. That’s the law, right? I think it is.

It’s so great to know that we’re 99% in charge of our fates: it’s not up to politics, economics, technology, other people’s whims, our bodies failing, strength, support. No: it’s just us. If you have a chronic disease, just think that crap away! You’re in charge cos it’s your body. QED.

So be responsible. If anything bad happens to you, you clearly wanted it cos you’re 99% in charge of what happens to you.

If you can find a more solipsistic perspective of life, I’d be surprised.

>> “Most men I know would never rape anyone, but there are many rotten apples, both male and female, out there. Protect yourself as much as you can.

Most? Most?!

Who are these minority of men? And are you doing what you can to prevent them raping? If you aren’t doing what you can to prevent them raping, then you’re not “taking responsibility” for these men. In all seriousness, I don’t know how you can say this without being concerned and fearful of such people and you know, potential victims (who are just sluts, so who cares?).

This is basically what you said: “There are a few men I know who would rape, but there are also some pretty crappy women, too.”

This attitude and dismissal and equivocation is part of what creates a prevalence of victim-blaming, slut-shaming, dismissal and derision of women as persons who are victims – not instigators – of one of the most horrible acts imaginable.

There is nothing wrong with wanting sex, desiring sex, flirting and having multiple partners. And further there’s nothing wrong later not desiring sex. People who feel “led on” have no right to “take” sex (i.e. rape) just because they (thought they) were promised it. Women aren’t Amazon.com – they’re people who are allowed to change their minds. If you feel hurt, too bad. You’re not that special and people can and are allowed to change their minds and do what they wish with their bodies, without it being about you.

Yes: Care should be taken that no one is hurt – through using protection, treating others as adults and persons, and so on. But until someone offers a definition of slut that isn’t merely the sounds people with conservative views of women’s sexuality (genitals are for pregnancy or for sluttiness and that is all!), I’ll continue to hear such claims as screams from the Dark Ages. Particularly when they promote dismissal of rape victims and think being slutty is (a) automatically a bad thing and (b) is a reason to think maybe this rape wasn’t so bad.

Women don’t know how language works, the poor things: No means yes

Amazon was hosting a Kindle book called “LMR Exposed: How To Overcome Her Last Minute Resistance To Sex, Turn ‘No’ Into ‘Yes’ And Get the Lay!” It was pretty bizarre and rather horrid. I read as much as I could while it was hosted and have read the author’s “articles” before.

The Huffington Post quotes it:

“I’ve had situations where a girl is lying naked with me on my bed, still loudly proclaiming that we’re not having sex… Other times, I just forcefully removed the hand, stuck my dick inside, and she welcomed it eagerly once I was in.”

Charming no? Go rape! (LMR means “last minute resistance”. So, yes, there’s that.)

The International Business Times notes:

The book, which was available on Kindle, gives tips on how to convince women that resistance [is] “ridiculous” along with a “sneaky psychological technique that busts through LMR without her even knowing”.

Anyway, I wrote an Amazon review that went live – even though the book itself is removed. I mostly had fun writing my review, in an attempt at satire, since I was afraid of tackling it too seriously – which I’m sure others will and have done, better than I could.

The author found out about the initial 1-star reviews, and promptly responded in the obviously mature way that warrants taking him seriously as an adult. (If you can’t read the following image, please click here)

(Source: Huffington Post)

Allow me to fisk.

“A few individuals with nothing better to do have gone to my Amazon.com book page and left my latest book several 1-star reviews.”

Many of us spend our time doing many things at the same time; one of the things that matters is combatting bigotry and mistreatment of women, and underlying beliefs. Beliefs which, when truly believed and acted upon, significantly harm innocent people. That’s not a waste of a time – it’s a moral duty.

However, that’s done to a matter of degree and anchored by degrees of morality. I personally would’ve kept your book up – so that it could be critiqued and shown to be silly (and promoting harmful behavior).

But anyway, what do you care, right? It’s just one star reviews.

“Naturally, not a single one of these cuckoo social justice warriors have purchased the book or read it.”

Many of us have read you and read significant portions; besides which, if we’re wrong, just tell us why. Your book isn’t some philosophical thesis or scientific treatise – it’s a summary of pro-rape behavior. I doubt my perspective would be changed because I read through to the index. You have one, right?

“Your pathetic mob efforts have had absolutely zero impact on my business. Further, several hot girls have privately reached out to me in commiseration over the response to this article.”

Interestingly, this isn’t about you but about the beliefs you are espousing. But, sure, go ahead and view this as some personal attack on “your business”. And of course, I keep forgetting the measure of morality is how many hot girls reach out “in commiseration”.

“Finally, it is a very beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon here in Bangkok, Thailand. Tonight I will go out and celebrate life and most likely fornicate with a gorgeous young girl. Perhaps several.”

Good for you, but I think we know it probably won’t be consensual fornication. So to that extent, I’m quite worried. Not that you care about that silly liberal feminazi dogma called “consent”, eh? That’s not for “real” men, amirate?”

“I will have spent exactly zero seconds of my life thinking about you”

Er. Then why write this comment? You clearly did. Perhaps we should teach you about how time and numbers work?

“while you foam at the mouth for days straight from behind your computer screen thinking about me.”

My mouth is quite dry but I’m touched you care. And, again, this isn’t particularly about you but what you are espousing – and those views are tackled, in various ways, by many people.

“I (we) win.”

Yes, you do. Look at that empty Amazon page! Wow. Such space.

Um, but sorry – what do you win, exactly?

 

 

NoteNote – The note-naming convention specifies a letter, any accidentals, and an octave number.

Žižek on that fake interpreter

No doubt you’ve read all about the fake interpreter at Mandela’s memorial service: standing only metres away from some of the world’s leaders, people soon realised the man was signing nonsense, not language. The story then got stranger, as it was discovered that the interpreter suffers from mental illness and has a history of alleged violence.

I’m not sure what to make of it, or the weirdness of official responses and disappearances of the organisation that hired him. However, in seeking to make sense of things, I know not to rely on Slavoj Žižek. The Slovenian philosopher has used this case as a way to pen an article on… something.

In case you’re unaware of him, I recommend reading a 2007 article by Johann Hari on a titular film of the man. As Hari says in the New Statesman:

[Žižek] seemed to emerge fully formed from the wreckage of the former Yugoslavia with an eclectic magpie-philosophy, rapidly spewing out books and essays on everything from opera to the use of torture in the TV series 24. Zizek [sic] is the biggest box-office draw postmodernists have ever had, their best punch at the bestseller lists. The press fawns upon him; he has been called an “intellectual rock star”; and, according to a recent profile in the New Yorker, Slovenia has a “reputation disproportionately large for its size due to the work of Slavoj Zizek [sic]“.

However, all this stardom and fawning seems undeserved, assuming engagement with reality as a prerequisite for a public intellectual. Hari continues:

What does Slavoj Zizek believe? What does he argue for? Such obvious questions are considered vulgar among postmodernists. When you first look through the more than 50 books he has written, it is almost impossible to find an answer. It seems he seeks to splice Karl Marx with the notoriously incomprehensible French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, slathering on top an infinite number of pop-cultural references.

His defenders claim he is trying to stretch the scope of philosophy to cover the everyday flotsam that philosophers have hitherto ignored. But gradually, as you pore through Zizek’s words or watch his audiences, whose bemusement is caught on film, you discover that the complex manner in which he expresses himself does not imply that his thought is itself subtle or complex. In fact, he seeks to revive a murderous and discredited ideology [Leninism/Bolshevism].”

Even in a strangely favourable review of the film in (the otherwise excellent) Philosophy Now, Grant Bartley writes: [Žižek's] writing suffers from the common philosopher’s disease of confusing simplicity of expression with stupidity of thought.”

Not mincing words, Noam Chomsky recently said:

Try to find in all of the work you mentioned some principles from which you can deduce conclusions, empirically testable propositions where it all goes beyond the level of something you can explain in five minutes to a twelve-year-old. See if you can find that when the fancy words are decoded. I can’t. So I’m not interested in that kind of posturing. Žižek is an extreme example of it.

Back to Žižek’s piece on the interpreter: I can’t make sense of it.

It begins in a clear way that outlines the situation of Thamsanqa Jantjie, the interpreter. But then Žižek goes on to indicate something about how Jantjie’s incomprehensible gestures were – or were not? – meaningful because everything being said was – or wasn’t? – meaningful. Here, have a look at what Žižek says:

Jantjie’s performance was not meaningless – precisely because it delivered no particular meaning (the gestures were meaningless), it directly rendered meaning as such – the pretence of meaning.

Later he says, without justification or evidence that:

Jantjie’s gesticulations generated such an uncanny effect once it became clear that they were meaningless: what he confronted us with was the truth about sign language translations for the deaf – it doesn’t really matter if there are any deaf people among the public who need the translation; the translator is there to make us, who do not understand sign language, feel good.

Why? Because we are displaying or performing… I think? I don’t really know. I think he’s trying to say that most of the memorial was a performance – from leaders paying respects, celebrities showing their human faces, etc. – but only Jantjie’s was the one that struck us, even though it was as meaningless as the rest of it.

OK. But, that’s barely even worthy of a Tweet, presuming that it is indeed Žižek’s point.

If we’re using Jantjie as a measure of comparison, then Žižek’s output is itself the embodiment of a meaningless performance people are tricked into believing is conveying significance. I say this as having tried numerous times to read his books, his articles and watch his lectures. He himself admits in the film Žižek! that it’s all a performance, one that he needs to keep up lest someone see the emperor’s nakedness.

I dislike comments asking “Why was this written?” but I hope I’ve shown that I’m asking this from a position where I’ve genuinely attempted to understand Žižek’s point. And, if what I think is his point is the one I highlighted above, I don’t see why it matters that much, could not have been said in a simpler way, or why it required an entire article do so – let alone that it’s buried amid assertions dressed to look like argument. All the veils of words he waves around his empty ideas make it difficult to realise that there is little substance beneath them; he is a self-admitted performer after all.

The fake interpeter, Mr Jantie, however, doesn’t have a fawning audience who are quick to assert that his meaningless gestures actually have substance: apparently you need a PhD to do that.

Try that next time, Mr Jantjie. It appears to work for Žižek.

UPDATED: To add Jantjie’s suffering from mental illness (it’s in the linked article but better put it here for clarity’s sake). HT to reader John Morales.

[Mini-fisk] JR Hill, defending monarchy and conflating arguments

ComRes recently carried out a poll for the Sunday Telegraph, asking the question: ‘Do you believe Britain is better off as a monarchy or would be better off as a republic?’ 66% voted monarchy, 17% republic and 17% don’t know. Yet the Observer insists that the Royal Family is outdated. Is it not ironic that, in the name of democracy, the Observer rejects polling suggesting a democratic majority in favour of monarchy? Today, theirs is the minority opinion, and in democracies minority opinions are not carried. So, by all means disagree. We can do that sort of thing in a constitutional monarchy. But perhaps we should admit that it is the republicans who are outdated? (source)

JR Hill doesn’t show us the link of “yet” in his initial comment. A poll showing us what the average person thinks doesn’t contradict an argument from a single person. It doesn’t link in two ways.

First 66% could vote that women should be denied jobs, “yet” a John Stuart Mill could argue differently. That doesn’t tell us who is right in that debate (spoiler: it’s the great Mill), it shows us differing opinions. The “yet” should be replaced by another conjunction, like “and”.

But, that’s still probably wrong because of the second way it doesn’t link.

In saying that the Observer thinks the Royal Family is outdated, the only way for that sentence to link is if the Observer was making a FACTUAL claim based on the same poll data – not a moral argument. It would make sense in this way: “The poll says that 66% voted monarchy… yet the Observer insists the poll says majority voted against monarchy”.

The Observer isn’t arguing how many agree, it’s arguing the idea is unjustified.

Indeed, when Hill says “theirs is a minority opinion”, he again seems to be linking majority with justification of argument. This is an appeal to majority fallacy. And again, the Observer wasn’t describing data which is what Hill is doing and conflating.