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Sep 04 2013

Can we fire Richard Cohen yet?

Richard Cohen, tenured columnist at the Washington Post, is one of the worst. He recently blamed Miley Cyrus and twerking for the Steubenville rape, which he doesn’t think was a “classic rape”…and he thinks the two most important things you should know from it is that 1) there was no intercourse, and 2) only two men were involved. Really, the man is a world-class ignoramus. I rather enjoyed this beat-down.

But I’ve despised Cohen for years, ever since he wrote a column telling a young girl that she never needed to know algebra, because he’s so fucking stupid he’s never had to use it.

Unfortunately, as we all know, once a big-name newspaper hires some derpwad as a columnist, they’ve got a sinecure for life, and no matter how stupid their columns, nothing will evict them. Brooks, Douthat, Friedman, Cohen…awful writers, poor thinkers, and disgraceful human beings, all set up forever.

67 comments

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  1. 1
    Akira MacKenzie

    So Hannah Montana has access to Obama’s Presidential Time Machine.

  2. 2
    Rey Fox

    A mean casualness that deprives intimacy of all intimacy.

    So let me get this straight, he’s using the word “intimacy” as a euphemism and an actual word in the same sentence? Not that I should expect a great command of the written language from someone who went on to level this devastating counterattack to Ms. Cyrus:

    She’s a twerk.

    Your MOM is a twerk, Richard. Oh SNAP!

  3. 3
    imthegenieicandoanything

    Fire him? They’ll give him a raise AND a bonus! He the EXACT kind of clueless, lying, half-crazy, arrogant, twisted shit they’ve been searching for. He’s writing exactly the twisted, evil, drooling parody of truth they hired him for.

    What a complete shit, posing as a journalist, even as a human being!

    What utter frustration it must be to be a decent human being and work as a journalist in the USA today!

  4. 4
    Inaji

    “classic rape”

    Oh this shit is on my nerves in the worst way. Yeah, Richard, rape isn’t like a type of Coca-cola. Just so you know.

  5. 5
    I've got the WTF blues

    Only penis in vagina rape is rape. Everything else is not classic and is caused by Miley Cyrus wiggling her buttocks.

    Is that a fair summation?

    Because I refuse to give that evil piece of shit even the tiniest smidgen of an appearance of respect by reading his twaddle.

  6. 6
    Rob

    …caused by Miley Cyrus wiggling her buttocks.

    Look on the bright side. For once it’s not Rebecca Watson’s fault.

  7. 7
    PZ Myers

    Maybe Miley Cyrus got all of her choreography from Rebecca Watson. You never know.

  8. 8
    A Surprise to Many

    Words we have to discuss wrongful use of property (including money): burglary, theft, robbery, fraud, extortion, embezzlement, breach of fiduciary duty, shoplifting. counterfeiting, forgery, pickpocketing, tax evasion, misrepresentation, swindle, mugging, stealing, pilferage, misappropriation, grift, trespassing, larceny, home invasion, hijacking, piracy, smuggling.

    Word we have to discuss coerced sexual experiences: rape.

    This is actually rape culture in operation. By not offering words that facilitate the discussion of different experiences of consent and non-consent, it guarantees that almost all victims will spend time wondering if they were “really really raped”, feeling judged, and (deliberately or inadvertently) making others feel judged. As a friend said recently, imagine if the only word we had for property crimes was “armed robbery.” We’d have people who’d been defrauded or embezzled or pickpocketed worrying about whether they were really really really robbed or whether they’d consented to the taking of their property or money.

    Cohen started writing a column for the Post in 1976, and I recall it being fairly good. He jumped the shark at least 20 years ago, though, and should learn from a whole lot of other Post columnists and move on already. Given that the Post has offered early retirement buyouts for almost everyone, he should have gone several years ago.

  9. 9
    consciousness razor

    Words we have to discuss wrongful use of property (including money): burglary, theft, robbery, fraud, extortion, embezzlement, breach of fiduciary duty, shoplifting. counterfeiting, forgery, pickpocketing, tax evasion, misrepresentation, swindle, mugging, stealing, pilferage, misappropriation, grift, trespassing, larceny, home invasion, hijacking, piracy, smuggling.

    Word we have to discuss coerced sexual experiences: rape.

    This isn’t especially convincing to me. We can try to describe what happens with more than one word, after all. I wouldn’t say rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, etc., (at least four terms off the top of my head) are somehow beyond our ability to express in language. And we shouldn’t really expect one word or phrase to convey everything that matters, the way a sentence or paragraph or essay or novel can. If you show me two people and tell me they’re both “burglars,” there’s still essentially no story. I’ve got no information about the who, how, what, where, why or when of it all.

  10. 10
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Oh my god, he’s got quite a mashup there. Asshole!

  11. 11
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Words we have to discuss wrongful use of property (including money): burglary, theft, robbery, fraud, extortion, embezzlement, breach of fiduciary duty, shoplifting. counterfeiting, forgery, pickpocketing, tax evasion, misrepresentation, swindle, mugging, stealing, pilferage, misappropriation, grift, trespassing, larceny, home invasion, hijacking, piracy, smuggling.

    Word we have to discuss coerced sexual experiences: rape.

    This is actually rape culture in operation. By not offering words that facilitate the discussion of different experiences of consent and non-consent, it guarantees that almost all victims will spend time wondering if they were “really really raped”…

    I think this is a really good point. But I don’t have a clue what to do about it.

    I imagine it’s worse in jurisdictions which have eliminated the crime of “rape”with all of what we call rape now being the crime of “sexual assault”. Or maybe it’s better precisely because the victim doesn’t have to spend so much time worrying about was it “rape-rape”, but I don’t know how we could find out if that’s worse or better.

    Maybe I don’t want to know. Why are so many things in our world so hopelessly fucked up.

  12. 12
    laurentweppe

    But I’ve despised Cohen for years, ever since he wrote a column telling a young girl that she never needed to know algebra, because he’s so fucking stupid he’s never had to use it.

    There’s a hidden nugget of involontary wisdom in it: it reaveals that we live in a nepotic civilization where utterly inept cognitively limited embodiements of sloth can enjoy a lavish life so long as they have the right network of peers: Richard Cohen may very well be the first identifiable Eloi: the right thing to do is not to demands his firing: it’s to get the beers out of the fridge and fire up the BBQ.

  13. 13
    Inaji

    A Surprise to Many:

    Word we have to discuss coerced sexual experiences: rape.

    Not true. Rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, molestation and sexual harassment all involve coerced sexual experiences.

    I think this misses the point somewhat, too. What I have noticed is not a lack of words being problematic. What is problematic are the amounts of people who are diving deep into the status quo, and surfacing with the concept of “legitimate rape”, because they do not want the climate to change. They do not want to have to examine cultural privilege, nor do they want to examine their own behaviour any too closely. Short form: They are refusing the red pill, and tossing up “legitimate rape” as a shield.

  14. 14
    Charly

    Caine, I think there is a grain of truth in #8, but it is somewhat too broadly written. We do have different words (not only in english, in other languages it is similar, therefore I can relate although I am not native english speaker) for taking someone’s money without their consent – pickpoketing, robbing, stealing, burglary etc, each word describes not only that something was taken, but also how it was taken. But we do have only one word for sex without consent.

    And though I know I am threading on thin ice here, I do not think that all rapes are equal, just as all thefts are not equal. They are all wrong, they should all be punished/punishable, but they are not equal/identical. I do not think this was argued in lat weeks, at least I did not notice it. Such discussion migth be triggering, I have no clue, if you tell me to stop, I will stop.

    I have once been told – by staunch antifeminist, racist and fascist – that all rape should be prosecuted with death penalty. And then he proceeded on in explaining what is “rape” rape according to his particular liking, which -unsuprisingly- was only the “violent stranger in dark alley” scenario.

    I think there is difference between that scenario and what, f.e. Big Septic was doing using alcohol. Both are rape, both are “rape” rape, but they are not identical.

    That relatively poor vocabulary for describing sex without consent, where one word describes plethora of experiences with one key variable common, but otherwise widely differing, allows wriggleroom for spectrum of people, who do not want the status quo challenged – beginning with right-wing fascists and ending with Mister Deity.

    Not that I have a clue how to solve this problem, if it is a problem.

  15. 15
    jefrir

    Charly, #14

    I have once been told – by staunch antifeminist, racist and fascist – that all rape should be prosecuted with death penalty. And then he proceeded on in explaining what is “rape” rape according to his particular liking, which -unsuprisingly- was only the “violent stranger in dark alley” scenario.

    I’ve seen this attitude quite a few times – and I’m not convinced it’s a problem of language. It seems far more to do with distancing oneself from the reality of rape. Rape is a dreadful thing – that is only done by Other people, by monsters. If this is our view of rape, then there’s a lot less we can do about it. It becomes a problem solved by dealing with those very few evil people, rather than by looking hard at our culture in general.

  16. 16
    PatrickG

    @ Caine:

    What is problematic are the amounts of people who are diving deep into the status quo, and surfacing with the concept of “legitimate rape”, because they do not want the climate to change.

    First, true that. Second, I think it’s interesting (by which I mean anything but) to consider the response of so many people, particularly True Skeptix, to allegations of rape, sexual misconduct, etc. So much of it focuses on how it wasn’t really rape, because Excuses.

    I think A Surprise to Many touched on a very important point: one of those Excuses lies in the fact that we really don’t have a common language to discuss sexual assault/rape. Where conflation is possible, asshats will take advantage. Cohen could teach Master’s classes in this. :P

    @ Jefrir:

    I think you’re quite right that it’s not just language. But as someone who hasn’t had to deal with these issues personally, I’m very aware of how easy it is to fall into the “BUT THAT ISN’T X” trap. More precise language might break down the binary Rape or Not Rape fallacy so many people — particularly Twue Skeptix** — fall into.

    * I should note that many TS’ers obviously aren’t committing logical fallacies by accident.

  17. 17
    laurentweppe

    I’ve seen this attitude quite a few times – and I’m not convinced it’s a problem of language. It seems far more to do with distancing oneself from the reality of rape. Rape is a dreadful thing – that is only done by Other people, by monsters

    I’m much less charitable than you are when it come to guessing the motives of fascists, racists and the like, being pretty much certain that deep down, they all think things akin to
    The world should be ruled by an aristocracy of pureblooded members of my ethnicity and everyone else should be either slaughtered or reduced to the station of cattle, pets and living fucktoys fated to live and die at their masters’ whim.
    and whose seemingly agressive stance on rape does not come not from a misunderstanding of where and how most rape happen but is merely a coded message for
    them fureigners better not dirty our beautiful bloodlines unless when its one of us fucking the housemaid and making sure the bastard child produced remain in the servant caste

    That doesn’t mean that I disagree with you on the more general principle: the “I’m no friend of no rapist, no siree” that seem to stem from the quite understandable recoiling at the notion that everyone has rapists among their relatives, colleagues, friends, people they appreciate and/or admire is very prevalent within the population in general. But I won’t give fascists & co the benefits of the doubt.

  18. 18
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    What a reprehensible person. The thing that I think annoyed me the most (and it’s hard to tell), purely because it’s so dishonest, was the bit where he co-opted women’s rights in order to strike a blow against women’s rights. Where he blamed the Steubenville rape on Miley Cyrus, and said that her actions demeaned (I forget his exact phrasing, it’s a long video) women and caused the rape. When in reality, he’s a vicious, misogynistic old prude who is struggling to simultaneously condemn Cyrus’ “slutty sluttiness” and defend two rapists “not-really-rapists”… and he’s doing it all by pretending that what he really cares about is women’s rights, when it is blatantly apparent that that’s the last thing he cares about.

    Fuck him. Fuck him and everyone like him. *spits*

  19. 19
    Inaji

    Charly:

    I think there is difference between that scenario and what, f.e. Big Septic was doing using alcohol. Both are rape, both are “rape” rape, but they are not identical.

    I don’t think anyone around here has ever said that one rape is like another. That completely misses the point – the type of rape does not matter, it’s that it is rape, and yes, it counts as a real rape. We can add on all the language we want, it will not address the larger problem. Think about it for a second, we already have stranger rape, incestual rape, acquaintance rape, and date rape. Has that helped at all, in the larger sense? I’d say it has helped somewhat, but not enough. It’s not enough because again, those classifications result in the same things: even longer lists of restrictions on women, and more excuses to blame victims.

    The reason we’re getting a backlash of “legitimate rape” now is because people are talking about rape and refusing to be silenced. This is an attempt to silence people, to shame people, and to blame them. “Oh, you weren’t really raped.” Spending energy on classification might be helpful, however, it simply will not cause major changes. One of the things that really does cause change is targeting rapists, as in the Don’t Be That Guy campaign. No special terms are required to do that, and campaigns like that really work, and work well.

  20. 20
    procrastinatorordinaire

    I have once been told – by staunch antifeminist, racist and fascist – that all rape should be prosecuted with death penalty. And then he proceeded on in explaining what is “rape” rape according to his particular liking, which -unsuprisingly- was only the “violent stranger in dark alley” scenario.

    I think there is difference between that scenario and what, f.e. Big Septic was doing using alcohol. Both are rape, both are “rape” rape, but they are not identical.

    The difference in the scenarios is that in the first one there are actually a number of different crimes being committed. The perpetrator could be charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault and rape. Rape is non-consensual sex. We do not need more words to define it.

  21. 21
    pHred

    I don’t think there is a problem with having just the term rape to describe rape. People seem to be missing the fact that rape can happen with additional crimes like battery. Getting beaten does not make it a new kind of rape. That is an additional crime.

  22. 22
    Inaji

    pHred:

    I don’t think there is a problem with having just the term rape to describe rape. People seem to be missing the fact that rape can happen with additional crimes like battery. Getting beaten does not make it a new kind of rape. That is an additional crime.

    Said it better than I did. QFT.

  23. 23
    littlejohn

    I agree with everything except your suggestion that newspaper columnists have it made. My father was a well-known columnist and I grew up poor. It’s a crummy way to make a lousy living and columnists are expected to come up with something on a regular basis, even if they know or care nothing about it.

  24. 24
    carlie

    littlejohn – there are a lot of very good writers out there. Someone who is a long-time employee of the main “Paper of Record” in the US should be good at it, because if they aren’t, there are a lot more to choose from out there. Cohen is coasting, and that’s a slap to the writers who can’t even get a break in the first place.

  25. 25
    Charly

    @pHred & Caine:
    Points taken.

    I just remembered (not sure if it was in Grenade thread or one of the following) a confusion that occured when one Dutch reader apparently interpreted the word rape in linguistic context of dutch “Verkrächting”. Similar case is with german “Vergewaltigung” and czech “znásilnění”. All of these contain root of the word “violence” and therefore they imply in themselves, that when no violence is included, it is “something different”. And for that “something different” there is no common word at all. There is legal terminology clearing the issue for legal purposes, but there is no common language terminology, as there is in case of property crimes. And this can lead and leads to confusion in communication. And this confusion is misused by wilfully ignorant people etc.

    So I do think language plays role. It is perhaps not a problem in itself, but just the result or a symptom of the larger problem – hunderds of years of rape culture led to language evolving in such a way, as to shield and enforce status quo, as implied by PatrickG in #16.

    Nevermind, this seems like derail allready so I will drop it with the ado, that I perfetly agree with your points and I am not trying to oppose them in any way. I am just trying to figure out some details for myself and I do not expect to figure out everything right here and now and go back to lurking.

  26. 26
    Inaji

    Charly, it’s a good point that a lack of specifics in certain languages are a definite problem. Thank you for explaining that.

  27. 27
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    (This is, like, totally Shriketastic with totally another nick)

    He’s just banging the same old tired bullshit drum.

    “Men can’t help themselves!”
    “If you act sexy, you’re asking for it.”

    But he adds that delicious little cherry atop his shit sundae of “If someone famous does something sexy, well, not only is *she* asking for it, but she implies *all* women are asking for it! Because being famous means you speak for everyone, right!”

    Fucking disgusting. Not the least because it throws a smokescreen over why Miley’s performance was actually problematic -_-.

    I’ve heard a lot of repetition of “People are scare of a woman owning her sexuality like Miley did!” If I actually believed she was owning her sexuality, instead of having this image be thrust on her by her handlers and producers and managers as the only way to stay relevant and sell albums, I’d agree! But I don’t see it as her choice, or her agency, in this whole thing. I see it as a wrapped and sold product (Miley Cyrus, now finally legal and oh so sexy, men!) to a marked and taged consumer base.

    When I was talking to a friend of mine, she introduced me to the concept of the “Bottom Bitch”. Basically, she’s the top ho in the pimps stable, given all sorts of little bonuses and priviledges for being the best earner. She’s a carrot on the stick, telling all the others in the stable “Just earn it and flaunt it, and you too can be awesome and special!” but, at the end, it’s just another layer of control to make the prostitutes act like their pimp wants them to.

    She compared Miley directly to the concept of the bottom bitch. “Look, adoring female fans! You too can totally be cool, awesome and popular by owning your sexuality like this! It’s totally empowering, look at Miley!” while having it just be a carrot, dangling there to make the girls and young women act exactly like the danglers want.

    this is without mentioning the kind of disgusting cultural appropriation and just outright racism of the video and performance (black women as props, anyone?)

  28. 28
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    ugh, I thought I’d changed my nickname so it would show up different, which is why I pointed out who this was. -_- damn you interfaaaaaceeeeeeee

  29. 29
    piegasm

    Re: needing different words for different kinds of rape:

    Someone is going to have to convince me that, if did have a different word for every point on the spectrum, our culture wouldn’t still point to the one that had the definition “virgin woman forcibly restrained and penetrated by a male sociopath who jumped out from behind a garbage can” and regard that as the only one that was ever actually bad.

  30. 30
    Deen

    Small correction about the Dutch language here: the Dutch word is “verkrachting” (no umlaut) and it doesn’t contain the root for “violence”, but for “force” (“kracht”). And while most people’s will probably immediately associate that with physical force and even violence, upon reflection we all know there are plenty of other types of force to make someone to do something against their will. On the other hand, Dutch has the word “aanranding”, which doesn’t seem to have a proper analog in English. It has less violent associations than “sexual assault”, but is used for personal violations of a sexual nature that go beyond “sexual harassment”. So the “there are no other words” bit isn’t completely accurate either.

    Still, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched to me that there are fewer terms for rape than for theft, and that this is likely because we (as a society) simply don’t talk about it often enough.

    However, if we grant that we might want to be able to use qualifiers to indicate gradations of rape, I seriously doubt that “classical” was the right qualifier for what Cohen tried to say. Seems to me that guys forcing themselves on a passed out drunk girl is plenty “classic” – taking advantage of drunk people seems to be an old, old favorite of many rapists.

  31. 31
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Dutch has the word “aanranding”, which doesn’t seem to have a proper analog in English. It has less violent associations than “sexual assault”, but is used for personal violations of a sexual nature that go beyond “sexual harassment”.

    Hmm. Dutch need to drop “of a sexual nature” and they have aynranding down almost perfectly.

    Or, wait, did I spell that correctly?

  32. 32
    thecynicalromantic

    Think about it for a second, we already have stranger rape, incestual rape, acquaintance rape, and date rape. Has that helped at all, in the larger sense?

    There’s also statutory rape, which appears to have led one longtime acquaintance of mine who I’d never before realized was QUITE this much of a fucking creepy numbskull to believe that there is a crime on the books called “statutory” that is a different offense than rape.

  33. 33
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @piegasm

    Possible TW
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -

    “virgin woman forcibly restrained and penetrated by a male sociopath who jumped out from behind a garbage can”

    Penetrated with a penis. Fingers don’t count, remember? Cohen said so.

  34. 34
    The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    piegasm

    Someone is going to have to convince me that, if did have a different word for every point on the spectrum, our culture wouldn’t still point to the one that had the definition “virgin woman forcibly restrained and penetrated by a male sociopath who jumped out from behind a garbage can” and regard that as the only one that was ever actually bad.

    The definition that would be defaulted to is even more restrictive than that, as illustrated by Cohen: “white virgin cis woman forcibly restrained and vaginally penetrated by a cis male sociopath‘s penis“, at the very least. I still see this mental road block in people’s minds here in some respects. I know I still feel like a liar in some ways when I refer to a particular incident in my past as rape, because I fought him off and “the only thing that happened” before that was forced digital penetration and forced fellatio.

    It’s rape. It’s all rape. Having more words to talk about it and the different ways victims are targeted is fine, but to not call it all rape is going to be used as a bludgeon to silence victims. And the more marginalized the victim, all the swifter that silencing will come.

  35. 35
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    white virgin cis woman forcibly restrained and vaginally penetrated by a cis male sociopath‘s penis

    …not belonging to her husband.

    And the browner, lower on the social latter, and otherwise “other” of the male the better.

  36. 36
    Inaji

    Shriketastic:

    ugh, I thought I’d changed my nickname so it would show up different, which is why I pointed out who this was. -_- damn you interfaaaaaceeeeeeee

    If you clicked on your nym above the comment box, you have to change your nick, then select it from the drop down box, then scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and click ‘update’ or ‘save’ or whatever it is, for it to take.

  37. 37
    piegasm

    @34 Mellow Monkey

    Very true. In fact, you could probably further qualify the description of the rapist with “homeless”, “jobless”, “friendless” and probably also “non-white.”

  38. 38
    Inaji

    MM:

    The definition that would be defaulted to is even more restrictive than that, as illustrated by Cohen: “white virgin cis woman forcibly restrained and vaginally penetrated by a cis male sociopath‘s penis“, at the very least.

    Back in 2006, when SD started its war on women in earnest, Senator Bill Napoli gave an example of this, providing the only possible exemption to the abortion ban. All I can say is that you’re lucky you’re reading this, because watching the video was beyond sickening, he might as well have licked his chops saying it:

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Napoli says most abortions are performed for what he calls “convenience.” He insists that exceptions can be made for rape or incest under the provision that protects the mother’s life. I asked him for a scenario in which an exception may be invoked.

    BILL NAPOLI: A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.

    Source.

  39. 39
    Inaji

    piegasm:

    In fact, you could probably further qualify the description of the rapist with “homeless”, “jobless”, “friendless” and probably also “non-white.”

    Don’t forget welfare queen. It’s a favourite.

  40. 40
    Inaji

    I will say that the use of “classic rape” marks a brand new cultural low for me. Every frelling douchebro on the planet is going to embrace that ugliness.

  41. 41
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Caine

    That’s the only time he would allow an abortion?

    Jesus fuck. There are no words to describe how fucked up that is.

  42. 42
    Inaji

    Thumper:

    That’s the only time he would allow an abortion?

    Yep. All the rest of the sluts just had to deal with being forced to birth, because sluts.

  43. 43
    piegasm

    @38 Caine

    Urgh….you can hear the relish in his voice just from reading that. I need a shower.

  44. 44
    poxyhowzes

    Not to derail here, but to address a minor point in the OP: I think a case could be made for teaching classical algebra and calculus as survey courses, and to concentrate on teaching the numerical methods and the programming techniques by which “algebra” and “calculus” problems are solved nowadays.

    Isaac Azimov (not entirely unknown in the other theme of this commentary) once noted that there’s lots of stuff we no longer teach our kids — casting out nines, multiplying roman numbers (yes, there’s an algorithm for it), adding up columns of pounds, shillings, and pence, logarithms, etc. I own a book copyright in 1920 that actually teaches how to “extract” a cube root. -pH

  45. 45
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Caine

    I like how it only counts if she was religious. He’ll just allow an abortion if it’s a *cough* Muslim, but not those filthy Atheists, oh no!

    And she has to be “savaged”. And a virgin, and… Why am I trying to pick this apart? There’s too much wrong. Gah! You can hear the fucking relish in his voice just from reading the text!

    I genuinely don’t think I could handle the video.

  46. 46
    Inaji

    Thumper:

    I genuinely don’t think I could handle the video.

    Yeah, most people who saw it or heard him say that wanted to jump up and run off to vomit. Hearing him say that will be in my brain forever, and it leaves a toxic taste.

  47. 47
    Deen

    @Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden in #31:

    Or, wait, did I spell that correctly?

    Let’s just say you have an amusing accent :)

  48. 48
    A Surprise to Many

    We do not need more words for rape, and making up new words for longstanding phenomenon is generally pretty futile. Nevertheless, that list of specific words for very precise flavors of property crimes horrifies me because it shows just how finely the culture has parsed the act of taking someone else’s resources without consent. . We have fraud (stealing someone’s money with the use of deceptive information), embezzlement (stealing someone’s money over a long period of time when they have paid you to care for it), burglary (breaking into an unoccupied building without using a weapon), pickpocketing (stealing someone’s stuff off their person by stealth and without the direct infliction of pain or fear, pilferage (employees or volunteers taking small amounts of tangible stuff from goods held for sale or for use in a money-making enterprise), misappropriation (using tools or resources in a business for other than the appointed business purpose and for personal gain), extortion (taking someone’s money by threatening to do something to harm the rightful owner), shoplifting (members of the public (not employees) taking goods offered for sale from a business without paying for them), robbery (using a weapon or other means to threaten physical injury to take someone’s property), home invasion (entering a dwelling when the residents are present), and so forth. This shows a lot of care and precision in developing an intellectual framework for considering the use and ownership of property and the ways in which the rightful use and ownership of property can be violated.

    The fact that we do not have such well-developed vocabulary for infliction of non-consensual sexual contact is why Cohen can say “no rape was committed”, just as if “stealing” had originally been defined as wrongful taking of another person’s property by direct confrontation and use of force or the threat of force, he might say of an embezzlement “there was no stealing” because the owner consented to allow the embezzler to care for the property.

    All non-consensual sexual contact is rape, just as all non-consensual taking of property is stealing. Admittedly the analogy breaks down at this point because there can be legitimate, albeit non-consensual, taking of property (confiscation of pirated goods from unknowing purchasers thereof, for example), while there are no situations in which non-consensual sexual contact should be viewed as ethical or legally sanctioned.. But the sheer detail of the vocabulary and the fact that the definitions of these very different flavors of stealing are so commonly understood is incredibly disturbing when one is confronted by how someone like Cohen can cling to a single, long out-moded, and destructive definition of the word “rape” in a major newspaper…

  49. 49
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Caine

    I’m not suprised, he’s the very definition of creepy. I’m genuinely having trouble parsing it.

  50. 50
    Rey Fox

    That’s the only time he would allow an abortion?

    Kinda gives the lie to all their concern about the magical conceived baby. I mean, the life of a human being, that’s something they surely can’t compromise on, but they do. Only in the tiniest and least practical way, of course, but still, enough to ensure lots of murdered special snowflakes that would be on their consciences if they actually cared.

  51. 51
    piegasm

    The fact that we do not have such well-developed vocabulary for infliction of non-consensual sexual contact is why Cohen can say “no rape was committed”, just as if “stealing” had originally been defined as wrongful taking of another person’s property by direct confrontation and use of force or the threat of force, he might say of an embezzlement “there was no stealing” because the owner consented to allow the embezzler to care for the property.

    I’m going to need more than your assertion that definitions are why people don’t say no crime has been committed when someone commits embezzlement vs. armed robbery. I rather think it’s because people understand private ownership of things while they consider women’s bodies to be public property.

  52. 52
    colnago80

    Unfortunately, Cohen is not even the worst columnist whose rubbish appears on the Post’s editorial page. Consider the presence of Mark Theissen, George Will, and Charles Krauthammer, all courtesy of editorial page editor Fred Hyatt. Jeff Bezos’ first act when he officially takes over the Post should be to give Hyatt the heave ho.

  53. 53
    Charly

    @Deen #30

    Thanks for the correction about Dutch. I could have figured that out myself, but I did not. The same goes for the german term btw, there it is the root “Gewalt” i.e. force. too. I messed up by parsing it from my native language, because root word for rape is word “násilí” (violence) which itself has root in “síla” (force). And it means mostly physical force. Shows even more how tricky languages can be and how difficult it can become to communicate something across them.

    The only language I can speak marginally authoritatively for is czech, since that is my native language, and I should have ad some qualifiers to clear that up.

    Probably of course we need to change the culture first. The language will follow, as people will get used to talk about it (honestly). And hopefully as language gets richer, the occurence of rape gets rarer.

  54. 54
    A Surprise to Many

    @piegasm #51:

    The definitions are a reflection of just how much the nuances of property ownership and taking are central to our shared culture and to common law jurisprudence and how little focus is given to sexual agency and consent. And, as you say, women’s bodies (like children’s bodies, gay people’s bodies, POC bodies, and trans people’s bodies) are public property. If they weren’t, we’d have more nuanced vocabulary to reflect the particular situations of violation: rape by intoxication, rape by promising to do or give something valued to the victim, rape of a victim unable to consent due to intellectual disabilities, rape by misrepresenting your identity, situation, or accomplishments, rape by isolating the victim from resources, rape by economic duress, rape by emotional manipulation, rape of a victim below the age of consent, rape by doing act X or at time X when the victim consented to act Y or sex at time Y, etc.

    Frankly, I’d be way more interested in developing a framework for categorizing what factors did the rapist use to compel the victim than simply which body part or tool was used and put where.

  55. 55
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Caine
    I actually recall reading about it when he first said that shit, and then and now I can only say it sickens me to share a planet with him, let alone a country.

  56. 56
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Rey Fox

    Kinda gives the lie to all their concern about the magical conceived baby.

    Indeed. It is amusing, in a laugh-or-cry kind of way, to hear them proclaim endlessly about how it is murdering teh baybeeez, while at the same time their actions give the lie to their words.

  57. 57
    vaiyt

    trigger warning because -I- felt sleazy writing this shit, who knows how people reading it can feel
    -

    “white virgin but not too pretty cis woman , dressed sensibly, forcibly restrained and violently vaginally penetrated by a cis male stranger of inferior standing sociopath’s penis“

    We’re getting there. Though there are some variables that I can’t assess, such as:
    - Place. If a woman gets raped in a safe space, it’s not rape because it never happens. If they get raped in an isolated area, it’s their fault for going there in the first place. Anyone knows how to solve this dilemma?
    - Fighting back or not fighting back? Blame seems to be randomly assigned to the victim in both cases. Maybe some form of “fought not too much and not too little”?

    PS: *vomits*

  58. 58
    Feats of Cats

    I think if there were other words for rape, we’d be here repeating over and over “(other word for rape) is rape” while apologists say, “well, (other word for rape) isn’t really rape”.

  59. 59
    Inaji

    Dalillama:

    I actually recall reading about it when he first said that shit, and then and now I can only say it sickens me to share a planet with him, let alone a country.

    Yeah, me too. I live in the neighboring state. I wanted to move.

    Feats of Cats:

    I think if there were other words for rape, we’d be here repeating over and over “(other word for rape) is rape” while apologists say, “well, (other word for rape) isn’t really rape”.

    “It wasn’t Classic Rape, it was Rape Light, so no rape.” Yep.

  60. 60
    A Surprise to Many

    Sadly, I think you are correct, Caine and Feats of Cats and others. But pointing out the vocabulary and how we have all these different ways to talk about the situations in which people steal and the means used to do so provides a really really stark contrast to the way in which we think about similar factors surround rape.

    I suspect that I will be using this in impromptu conversations with teenagers at some point, to provide a bit of cultural context and dispel perhaps the tiniest iota of the “really really real rapey rape rape” meme.

  61. 61
    Rob

    @Caine (38).
    I read that quote and was literally a little sick in the back of my mouth. That sounded way too much like a guy recounting his favourite fantasy. At least I hope it’s a fantasy.

  62. 62
    Inaji

    A Surprise to Many:

    I suspect that I will be using this in impromptu conversations with teenagers at some point, to provide a bit of cultural context and dispel perhaps the tiniest iota of the “really really real rapey rape rape” meme.

    Here’s hoping. It runs so deep.

    Rob:

    I read that quote and was literally a little sick in the back of my mouth. That sounded way too much like a guy recounting his favourite fantasy. At least I hope it’s a fantasy.

    That was the conclusion of every single person I was discussing it with at the time. My conclusion too, that he had thought way too much about that scenario.

  63. 63
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    If you clicked on your nym above the comment box, you have to change your nick, then select it from the drop down box, then scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and click ‘update’ or ‘save’ or whatever it is, for it to take.

    Is there anything you don’t do? <3

  64. 64
    Inaji

    Tashiliciously Shriked:

    Is there anything you don’t do? <3

    Oh yes. Wanna list?

    Love the new nick.

  65. 65
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    Fits better with tha blag

  66. 66
    John Phillips, FCD

    Tashiliciously Shriked, that is a wicked nym but even wickeder to say out loud, I think I just sprained my tongue :)

    As to Cohen, what… I don’t… I think I want off this planet ASAP.

  67. 67
    barnestormer

    This is awful and Cohen is awful. In order to distract myself from how awful this is, I am going to think about how mad I am at all the assholes who told me I would never need to know algebra or any mathematics beyond long division. Seriously, what were they thinking? And why the heck didn’t I ignore them?

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