CNN panelist on Chelsea Manning: Prison will be “practice”


If it wasn’t for the fact that she really quickly chimed in with where she wanted to go next with this panel, I would have thought the anchor’s face was one of horror at lawyer Richard Herman’s bullshit.

Trigger warning for transphobia and a rape joke, which I’ve already telegraphed in the title.



This… this is just fractally wrong.

This image is a lot like the universe.  Especially the part about your worldview.

This image is a lot like the universe. Especially the part about your worldview.

This assumes several horrible things about Chelsea Manning’s case without evidence, or with ample counterevidence. First, it assumes that hormone therapy won’t be ordered despite recent court cases that calls rejecting hormone therapy “deliberate indifference” and thus a violation of the 8th Amendment. Second, it assumes that rape in prison is a normal, expected, natural consequence of being in prison — and that there’s nothing wrong with this. Third, it assumes that being raped repeatedly in prison is “practice” for “being a woman” — while rape does happen significantly more often to women than men, it does not make up the entire fabric of their lives. Fourth, this plays entirely into gender binary ideas that women are submissive and men are dominant, which the other issues amplify. Fifth, this assumes that Manning simply wants to be a woman, rather than that it would cure a dissonance that might eventually lead to depression or suicide if untreated — which circles back around to the first one, insofar as hormone therapy might be deemed medically necessary. And I’m absolutely certain there are more layers I haven’t yet thought of in the minimal visceral reactions I’ve had in the few minutes writing this post.

The suggestion that being raped in prison is “practice” for being a woman is possibly the most immoral, reprehensible thing I’ve ever heard anyone say in pretty much ever. My horror is redoubled that it is made as a joke on the country’s leading news station, at the expense of someone who was convicted of the crime of copying documents that your government didn’t want other governments to see, and will go to jail as a result — as though that isn’t apparently punishment enough for the act of leaking information, and the expectation of prison rape is a feature, not a bug.

I’m absolutely agog at this — how does CNN plan on addressing this assholery from their invited guest?

Comments

  1. A. Noyd says

    Anyone who thinks Andrea Dworkin was a looney needs to explain how Herman’s bullshit—which he’s very much not alone in—doesn’t completely prove her point.

  2. Jackie: The COLOSSAL TOWERING VAGINA! says

    I’m glad you can be agog. I’m not the least bit surprised.
    Sad? Yeah. But that’s all I’ve got.

  3. Jackie: The COLOSSAL TOWERING VAGINA! says

    A. Noyd, I have no idea how this make Dworkin not looney or proves her point. I disagree with you entirely on that.

  4. A. Noyd says

    I mean that her bit about violence and female subordination being central to heterosexual sex. It’s not something she made up, it’s a real thing she was reacting to. Certainly, sex doesn’t have to be that way, but in the world of dudes like Richard Herman it is.

  5. says

    More aghast myself. At this and so much of what I’ve read concerning Chelsea Manning.
    I hope she can get treatment and somehow be safe in prison.

  6. Jackie: The COLOSSAL TOWERING VAGINA! says

    A. Noyd,
    Because this guy is a flaming misogynist female subjugation is central to straight sex? I don’t think so. I think that mindset works the other direction entirely. Since penetration is associated with women in hetronormative patriarchy it becomes about subjugation in the mind of misogynists because penetration = female and female = subordinate. Otherwise, it’s a non sequitor. There is nothing inherently submissive in enjoying cock. Sorry, but Dworkin is off the rails.

  7. A. Noyd says

    No. Herman has a belief that female subjugation through sexual violence is a normal part of sexuality and that being so subjugated defines womanhood (a belief plenty of other guys share). And Herman obviously thinks that belief is standard enough that he can bring it up “jokingly” on national TV. Unless we’re going to pretend this bullshit belief is a new development or peculiar to him, we should admit Dworkin wasn’t the one making it up. She was reacting to it. Now, whether you want to say she overstated how much this narrative has poisoned everyone’s sexuality, that’s another matter. I wouldn’t disagree. But she wasn’t tilting at windmills, the way too many people like to pretend. There is a goddamn giant here, and it’s hideous.

  8. Pierce R. Butler says

    … how does CNN plan on addressing this assholery from their invited guest?

    By giving him his own show, what else?

  9. John Horstman says

    Re: Dworkin – she was positing an early formation of the idea of rape culture, essentially arguing that within heteronormative patriarchy all heterosex is constructed as unequal, conquest, violation, etc. with rape being the extreme; that is, the construction of “what normal sex is supposed to look like” could potentially fall under what we would call “rape”. She wasn’t wrong (sit down with some trusted female friends some time and ask them if they’ve engaged in various sexual acts or put up with unwanted sexual touching or attention because it’s expected, normal, easier than objecting, or any reason other than “I really wanted to,” and how often this happens – any reason other than “I really wanted to” means there’s some level of coercion, and coercion is not consent), though present theory is more fully explored and nuanced, and she was prone to using rather extreme rhetoric to sell the idea.

  10. says

    Because this guy is a flaming misogynist female subjugation is central to straight sex? I don’t think so. I think that mindset works the other direction entirely. Since penetration is associated with women in hetronormative patriarchy it becomes about subjugation in the mind of misogynists because penetration = female and female = subordinate. Otherwise, it’s a non sequitor. There is nothing inherently submissive in enjoying cock. Sorry, but Dworkin is off the rails.

    You just outlined dworkin’s point. I don’t know what spurred the need to mention it, but you’re not disagreeing with her here.

  11. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    This is just disgusting. It’s literally sickening that they can talk about another human being like this. “Transphobia” feels like too mild a word to explain the absolute horror and revulsion these kinds of views *should* elicit in people with even a grain of empathy. I am SO angry that these clowns feel like they they can say shit like this on international TV and get away with it AND THEN THEY DO.

    It’s… I don’t even have words. I really don’t. I just have a tentacle clenched in sorrow solidarity.

    About Andrea Dworkin:
    I wish less people would drink the “ZOMG DWORKIN=CRAZYBITCH” koolaid, dismissing her out of hand, and actually *read* her work before blanket criticisms.

    While I do not agree with her all the time, her arguments are logically sound and meticulously constructed and above all, very complicated, often stretching over many chapters. Taking some parts of these arguments out of the whole to “prove” how “crazy” she was is quite close to cherry picking in my view, because she build such complex and nuanced arguments which, let’s not forget, was in a field which was just starting out at the time and developing its language and theories, and she lay the groundwork for a LOT of the theoretical constructs and language we use in social justice today.

    If you’re going to read just one Dworkin piece and don’t have time for a book, have this quickie which would down in the annals of history as one of the best activist essays ever, if there was any justice in the world:

    http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/WarZoneChaptIIIE.html

  12. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Oh just to add, I don’t mean people here dismiss Dworkin out of hand – there are obviously commenters in this very thread who are familiar with her actual work, not just her reputation. It’s just a bit of a hot-button issue for me, so apologies if that came out wrong.

  13. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @9. Pierce R. Butler :

    “… how does CNN plan on addressing this assholery from their invited guest?”
    By giving him his own show, what else?

    Isn’t that more of a Fox news thing?

    Or is CNN almost as bad now?

    (Aussie speaking here so not that familiar with US TV channels.)

    Horrific, disgusting, vomit-worthy comment there although sadly I’m totally unsurprised.

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