I’ll never be able to read Matt Taibbi again


I’ve enjoyed his scathing, ferocious approach to political reporting, but I just learned today that he takes the same ferocious, scathing approach to women. He and Mark Ames were columnists writing for an expat paper in Moscow years ago, and they apparently had a grand time being outrageous. When I first read a few quotes, I thought for a moment that they had to be faked — that these were ginned-up accounts written up by political enemies, of which they have more than a few.

But no. These were their own words. They wrote them up in a book-length account of their adventures in Russia. They were bragging about these attitudes.

It’s not ironic–Ames and Taibbi explicitly scorn the bourgeois safety net of irony–and it’s not just a rhetorical stance. “You’re always trying to force Masha and Sveta under the table to give you blow jobs,” complains their first business manager, an American woman, in chapter six, “The White God Factor.” “It’s not funny. They don’t think it’s funny.” “But…it is funny,” replies Taibbi. They take particular glee in trashing several former female staff members in print, taking multiple potshots at the aforementioned business manager’s “gorilla ass.” They’re equally nasty to her replacement, who quit in disgust after they went on a four-month “brain-sucking speed binge.”

It’s OK if you want to stop there. It gets worse. Much worse.

“You’re always trying to force Masha and Sveta under the table to give you blow jobs. It’s not funny. They don’t think it’s funny,” Kara complained. “But… it is funny,” Matt said. We have been pretty rough on our girls. We’d ask our Russian staff to flash their asses or breasts for us. We’d tell them that if they wanted to keep their jobs, they’d have to perform unprotected anal sex with us. Nearly every day, we asked our female staff if they approved of anal sex. That was a fixation of ours. “Can I fuck you in the ass? Huh? I mean, without a rubber? Is that okay?” It was all part of the fun.”

Fun?

How about some pedophilia.

And Ames’s treatment of Russian teenage girls is documented with frightening glee. In the book he recounts one evening with an expat investment banker pal and what he thought were three 16-year-old girls:

“When I went back into the TV room, Andy pulled me aside with a worried grin on his face. ‘Dude do you realize…do you know how old that Natasha is?’ he said.

“‘Sixteen?’

“‘No! No, she’s fif-teen. Fif-teen.’ Right then my pervometer needle hit the red. I had to have her, even if she was homely.”

Need some flaming misogyny?

After they do it, she tells him she has a three-month-old baby.

“It was hard to imagine that Natasha had squatted out a baby,” Ames writes. “Her cunt was as tight as a cat’s ass….I’d slept with mothers before–they’re a lot wider. Sex with them is like probing a straw in a mildew-lined German beer mug.”

Later he learns that she’s lying–she has no baby, but rather is four months pregnant. After she has an abortion, he writes about her in the Exile, suggesting that she be sterilized and awarded “one of those cheap trophy cups with the inscription ‘World’s Greatest Mom.'”

Ames and Taibbi rationalize their flaming sexism with the argument that part of the whole expatriate experience is to have one’s moral compass come loose. American men have internalized a sexual script that prescribes equality and respect, but “out in Russia,” Ames writes, “you gain a little perspective, which can be dangerous. Deep down, even the most emasculated, wire-rimmed glasses, cigar-smoking and martini-drinking American guy fantasizes about living in a world full of…well, I’ll let you guess: a) self-reliant, androgynous women who are also your friends, b) young, beautiful sluts.”

Let’s top it off with some rape.

He spoke about his sex life in Moscow. “Russian women, especially on the first date, expect you to rape them,” said Mr. Ames. “They’ll go back home with you and say, ‘No, no, no,’ and if you’re an American, you’ve been trained to respect the ‘No,’ because you’re afraid of sexual harassment or date rape, and so you fail over and over. But it took me a while to learn you really have to force Russian girls, and that’s what they want, it’s like a mock rape. And then you come back here and you’re really freaked out–because you don’t know if that actually exists deep in all women’s psyches, that that’s what they all want. All relations between guys and girls is basically violent, I think. It’s all war.”

These guys are dead to me. I regret buying a few of Taibbi’s books, but I won’t make that mistake ever again. I don’t understand how they even have jobs in media anymore.

Comments

  1. Artor says

    What the fucking fuck? How does anyone think this is fun, or funny? I can’t imagine myself trying any of that, even if I was working to be the biggest asshole I could.

  2. says

    Man, I knew The Exile was a total disgusting mess, and Ames likewise, but this is the first I heard Matt Taibbi was involved. It’s disappointing.

  3. cartomancer says

    I think I’ll eschew words and just respond with theatrical vomiting noises.

  4. methuseus says

    @niqin #8:

    This post appears to be an “ad hominem” argument.

    There is no ad hominem argument as PZ is not saying that Taibbi is wrong about anything, just that he is a horrible person that he will refuse to read in the future. Because these “ideas” or whatever you may call them lie at home deep in Taibbi’s psyche, they can color any writing that comes out of there. Taibbi may be very insightful at times, but it’s like drinking from a well that you know is poisoned; it may be diluted enough that you are fine, but on the other hand, it may be concentrated and kill you.

  5. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    This post appears to be an “ad hominem” argument.

    If I ever find a genie, my third wish is going to be that willfully abusing the term “ad hominem” would be physically painful.

  6. greg hilliard says

    Don’t these guys have mirrors? And don’t they occasionally look into them?

  7. Rich Woods says

    do you know how old that Natasha is?’ he said.

    Just so people understand how low this arsehole is, while it’s possible that the girl’s name was indeed Natasha, it’s much more likely that he’s using the name as a generic reference. A ‘Natasha’ is a Russian prostitute. While it’s also possible that this 16-year-old girl was a prostitute, if she wasn’t then he still thought of her as one.

    Whatever her circumstances, what he certainly wasn’t think of her as was a human being.

  8. Rich Woods says

    think -> thinking

    Too early in the morning. Need more tea. Must top up the samovar.

  9. Joey Maloney says

    I tend not to read Taibbi only because his prose makes me think, “This is what Hunter Thompson would have written, if he hadn’t had talent.” But here’s a whole new reason not to read him. Thanks.

  10. Chris Whitehouse says

    “Ames and Taibbi rationalize their flaming sexism with the argument that part of the whole expatriate experience is to have one’s moral compass come loose.”

    A lot of my fellow expats do think like this. But it is because they are assholes, not expats.

  11. mattandrews says

    “My only real shock about this is that this is new to anyone.”

    In the back of my mind, I sort of remember hearing stories about Tiabbi being a party monster prior to his current status as Rolling Stone political guru. But nothing this fucking horrific.

    I’d been laying off Tiabbi for a while anyways, primarily because of he’s a huge proponent of the Magic Balance Fairy; aka, Both Sides are Equally Bad. It’s probably not a coincidence that he’s one of Bill Maher’s favorites*, which is where I first heard of him. This just seals the deal.

    *Just you watch; Tiabbi will be on Maher defending his behavior and Maher will tell him “Don’t sweat it; boys will be boys” once this gains national traction.

  12. Artor says

    I can also attest, having dated a woman from Moscow, that Ames’s characterization of what Russian women expect is entirely bullshit. That’s straight-up rapist apologetics right there. “No means yes, and she was totally asking for it!”

  13. says

    Artor:

    I can also attest, having dated a woman from Moscow, that Ames’s characterization of what Russian women expect is entirely bullshit. That’s straight-up rapist apologetics right there. “No means yes, and she was totally asking for it!”

    Women living in certain places or situations might well expect to be raped; that in no way means they want to be raped.

  14. unclefrogy says

    fuck what a middle class ass hole. I would expect him to go to church on sunday when he is back home even.
    he and his attitude is at the root of Trump being press.
    gloomy sunday
    uncle frogy

  15. says

    Don’t you love living in a world where, upon learning that someone is a rapist, people feel the need to complain about this may being unfair to the poor rapists.
    How dare you regret having spent money on somebody who rapes young girls?

  16. expat says

    As an expat, I can guarantee you 100% that part of the expatriate experience does NOT include loosening my moral compass or raping or sexual harassment or any other lascivious behaviour.

    Fucking disgusting.

  17. A. Noyd says

    “Ames and Taibbi rationalize their flaming sexism with the argument that part of the whole expatriate experience is to have one’s moral compass come loose.”

    Funny how if you’re a Westerner and call yourself an “expat,” you can get patted on the back for doing all the things that cause an uproar when we imagine Muslim immigrants, migrants, and refugees doing them.

  18. DanDare says

    I wish I could unread that ugh.
    My only concern is that we hold to the principle that sound ideas matter and that the ideas are not responsible for the scum bags that have them.

  19. Les Black says

    PZ, I love you and respect you man, as I do most of the commenters here. But we’ve got to get over this puritanical streak that sometimes infects these pages. Taibbi is one of the most insightful, powerful, witty voices raised against the oligarchy that runs this country, of which Obama and the Clintons are mere members of its left wing. In the last 10 or 15 years Taibbi has done fantastic work to explain and publicize the abuses of this country’s plutocracy. But because of something he did as a young, admittedly stupid heroine addict 20 years ago, we dismiss all that and cast him and it into outer darkness. The day may come when your own transgressions will find you out, as they may for me too, but it won’t diminish all the great work you have done for us.

  20. says

    @29
    Are you kidding me?! Ames and Taibbi didn’t say some off the mic anti-pc bullshit. They fucking bragged about raping and abusing women and girls in a BOOK THEY WROTE!!! What the ever loving fuck is wrong with you? Do you think Taibbi and Ames are the only two journalists on the planet that can write an analysis on Russia? Or do you really not give a fuck about rape as long as the dude in question is an alright bro in your book. Seriously, take your tone trolling and shove it up your apologetic ass.

  21. Les Black says

    I don’t recall ever reading anything like an expression of remorse, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel it. But that’s beside the point. Taibbi’s past behavior is irrelevant to the veracity of his claims, particularly in matters that are not remotely related to his past.

  22. Les Black says

    Well, tjfitz has surely put me in my place, hasn’t he? Anything I say, or anyone else who’s done something shameful, can’t be worth listening to, can it?

  23. says

    @33

    Enough already. It was clear you were being unreasonable before, but now you’re just being a straight up dick. Anybody with a functioning moral center can read Ames and Taibbi’s book and see that this goes far beyond youthful mischief. It’s psychopathic. People who revel in that kind of behavior do not simply grow out of it. This is not a function of drug addiction either, although I’m sure drugs did play a role in emboldening these two shit stains in their behavior. Stop trying to deflect and defend truly vile behavior by brushing it off as a youthful transgression. Seriously, Fuck You.

  24. Les Black says

    I said very clearly what Taibbi did was shameful and stupid. You’re reading things into what I’m saying that just aren’t there.

    Listen carefully: If Satan himself speaks the truth, it is still the truth.

  25. says

    No, not really. You drooled out a love poem to Taibbi, then you shook your finger at PZ and all the commenters here. Do you pay attention to what you post or are you too busy fapping to a Rolling Stone article?

  26. says

    And yes, Satan did speak the truth about raping children in Russia. But I do not want Satan to have a platform or any professional prestige. I am being too puritanical?

  27. DanDare says

    tjfitz, that’s out of order.

    Philosophy 101 – ad hominem fallacy. The fact that someone is an arse does not alter the veracity of things they may put forward. It is possible to make a valid criticism of one group while being, yourself, a complete shit. The criticism stands or falls separately. Les Black did not “drool out a love poem to Taibbi”, but supported the philosophy of understanding the ad hominem fallacy. You, on the other hand, have attempted to paint Les as a bad guy for doing that and twisted what was said to be support of the person and tone trolling. You are wrong. Be a bit more reflective and realise when you are arguing against the philosophy of knowledge in preference to the philosophy of social position and opinion.

  28. Les Black says

    “Drooling”, “love poem”, “shook my finger”, “busy fapping (had to look up that term) to a Rolling Stone”, “troll” — yes, these are all truly accurate descriptions of what I’m doing.

    It’s clear from your unhinged hyperbole that your regard for the truth is secondary to your self righteousness.

    I don’t know if Taibbi is remorseful for the terrible things he did 20 years ago or not, and neither do you. If he’s not, and then I’ll join you in doing whatever can be done to see that he gets what’s coming to him. But that doesn’t diminish the work he’s done since then, or the truth in what he’s said.

    I know this, though: I’ll use Satan’s words, in any capacity, if it’ll help bring down a satanic system.

    But no, let’s keep poring over people’s lives until we find some wrong they’ve done, and then make sure that not only are they condemned for it, but everything they’ve written or said as well. Now there’s a winning strategy. But think how proud we’ll be, having no transgessions ourselves of course.

  29. Les Black says

    Oh, and tjfitz, as for the “enough already”.

    Until PZ or some other monitor decides otherwise, I’ll decide when I’ve said enough already.

    Go fuck yourself.

  30. taraskan says

    This account expresses a very typical attitude of foreign nationals doing an internship in Russia. You usualy find them in the context of an ESL teaching position for scrub money; people go there (also other countries, but especially Russia) with more expectations for sex than for payment or experience. It’s practically a kind of sex tourist, taking such positions, so I believe every quote is correctly attributed and they really are this creepy. When the expectation doesn’t meet reality, they abuse their privilege.

    It’s true that in many parts of Russia, like research stations in the middle of nowhere, there is nothing to do but have sex and everyone sleeps with everyone, but that doesn’t sound like the case here and nyet certainly still means nyet.

  31. cvoinescu says

    Just for completeness, I would like to point out that you can see how fucked up some men’s moral compass is when women are the ones who travel, too. More than one time I’ve heard a young local man saying “oh, you’re going on a date with that American girl? Lucky you. She flies back home tomorrow, so you can do anything to her tonight!”. (I was too young to fully understand what they meant at the time.)

  32. zenlike says

    Being horrified about someone bragging about raping people (including underaged people) is not being “puritanical”.

  33. Dunc says

    I’m really not sure that I’d describe being appalled by the rape of teenagers as “puritanical”. Sure, you can distinguish between the author and the work, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t criticise the author when he brags about raping teenagers, nor does it mean that everybody has to ignore it. People get to make their own decisions about the extent to which they want to separate the two. I’m also not in favour of brushing this sort of shit off as some regrettable but otherwise trivial indiscretion of youth. That kinda reeks of the whole “boys will be boys” bullshit that’s one of the foundations of rape culture. This is not a fucking unpaid parking ticket or something.

    Finally, I can be pretty damn sure that I don’t need to worry too much about a day coming when my transgressions find me out, because I’m not a rapist.

  34. says

    “Puritanical streak”? Objecting to a man bragging about raping a 15 year old is now puritanism?

    The day may come when your own transgressions will find you out, as they may for me too, but it won’t diminish all the great work you have done for us.

    I guarantee you that you will never discover that I raped teenagers. Or anyone else, for that matter.

    If you dig deep into the police records, you may find that I received a couple of speeding tickets in my sordid, degenerate youth, and that’s about it. I guess I should write a tell-all about that wild time when I was caught doing 45 in a 30mph stretch of country road. All the salacious details! And then I can pump my fist in the air and gloat about how manly I was!

  35. says

    Listen carefully: If Satan himself speaks the truth, it is still the truth.

    Sure, but why the hell are you so chummy with Satan?

    Are there really no other way to get at the truth? We have to put up with rapists, to the point where we’re called puritans simply for pointing out what they themselves have published?

    Your behavior here speaks to your priorities and that speaks to your character. I suggest you get your shit under control.

  36. Rowan vet-tech says

    @ Les,
    It’s not like he’s the only one I can hear the truth from. So therefore, I’ll hear the truth from someone who wouldn’t gloat about raping me.

    The fact that you’re totally fine consorting with an unrepetent rapist is a sign of your own failing… and makes me wonder about your own ‘sordid’ past indeed.

  37. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Strictly speaking, Matt Taibbi’s behavior in Russia has no implications for the truthfulness of his writing about the present political regime.

    It does, if one is not a garbage human, have very salient implications for whether one should support him by being an audience to him.

  38. Les Black says

    Wow. Let us top off our wholesome dish of ad hominem with a heaping topping off straw man, shall we?

    Rape is horrible.

    It should be prevented, denounced, and punished.

    It should not be “brushed off” as a mere “indescretion”, nor excused as “boys will be boys”. (Terms I never used nor even considered)

    I haven’t read this particular Taibbi book in question (I damn sure will now), but if I read in it that he did what he proportedly says he did 20 years ago, he was a horrible person then, and if he feels no remorse now, he still is.

    But here’s the thing — Taibbi, for me, has provided a logical yet digestible analysis of the evil, slow moving coup that gigantic, inscrutable financial powers have mounted in the world over the last generation or so. He’s good at putting difficult financial and political concepts into a form and format that are accessible to the average Joe — people like me who came from poor backgrounds and have had little serious education. The same can be said of what I’ve been able to garner regarding the theory of knowledge and reason from people like Harris, Dawkins, and Hitchens — all of whom can be real assholes, too, according to some.

    But when it comes to light that these people have done some shitty things, am I to purge their books from my shelves and, I guess, start over?

    Is NOTHING they’ve written worth ANYTHING?

    Yes, let’s “free thinkers” keep sniping at each other’s writings and ideas based on the personality that produced them. That’s how we’ll win the day, by god. Let’s help the forces of darkness — those who would rape and kill on a grand scale once they are in full control — a scale that’ll make whatever Taibbi did look like child’s play.

    Spare me your sanctimonious outrage. Your tactics benefit the greater evil, and I need no lessons in morality from you.

  39. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Spare me your sanctimonious outrage. Your tactics benefit the greater evil, and I need no lessons in morality from you.

    Another amoral person heard from. Spare us your justifications of why you will support an admitted rapist in any form, other than their imprisonment. If rape is bad, don’t support rapists in any form. Only then you have the moral high ground.

  40. Dunc says

    But when it comes to light that these people have done some shitty things, am I to purge their books from my shelves and, I guess, start over?

    You can do whatever you damn well please. You’re allowed to think for yourself here.

    Is NOTHING they’ve written worth ANYTHING?

    Now who’s strawmanning?

  41. says

    Les Black
    You’re disgusting. You, and Dan Dare, and many others like you are the reason why I don’t trust “progressives” one bit. You read about how somebody brags about multiple accounts of rape, including those of teenagers and your biggest concern is that those people do so much good otherwise. I don’t care about how correct he is when talking about things that don’t involve women. He has made it clear that he doesn’t see me or people like me as human beings. His whole clear insight isn’t worth shit because he and his buddies only fight against injustices against men. He doesn’t want to end oppression, he would just like some people to do the oppressing who are currently being oppressed.
    Tell me, how many clear sighted articles about Clinton or Trump do you need to write to get indulgence for one raped woman?
    Ohhh, sure, you say rape is horrible. Everybody says that. It doesn’t mean shit.
    Do you think those guys should be prosecuted?
    If yes, why is some people deciding that they do not merit their attention anymore suddenly a crime?

  42. The Mellow Monkey says

    But when it comes to light that these people have done some shitty things, am I to purge their books from my shelves and, I guess, start over?

    It truly is like clockwork. No matter how blatant, no matter how disgusting, no matter how open about their guilt one of these abusers is, when someone says they don’t want to support the asshole’s career some poor concerned dear will rush into the comments. How dare anyone, ever, think for a moment about cutting a famous rapist out of their media consumption!

    Keep the man’s damned books if you want. Nobody’s going to come into your home to burn them. There’s no shortage of journalists out there who haven’t written gloating books about all the sexual harassment and assault they committed, so I’ll do just fine not reading anything Taibbi writes.

  43. EveryZig says

    @Les Black
    Support for a person, whether monetary or through word of mouth praise has consequences. Those consequences include implicit support for that person as a whole rather than just a subset of their ideas. It IS possible to support the ideas independently from a person, but the ways to do that are to just say the idea without linking it to the person* or to say the idea with a caveat like ‘despite coming from an awful person, this specific idea makes sense’. You have not done those, and instead directly supported the person as “one of the most insightful, powerful, witty voices”.
    This matters because if you want to oppose routine dehumanizing abuses of power, supporting a person who openly boasts about doing so shows a willingness to accept the same evil you claim to be fighting. Overthrowing oppressive oligarchs while keeping the oppression itself in place via your own set of oppressive allies that doesn’t actually do any good. The main way evil grows is by selling itself as the cure to some other ‘greater evil’.

    * Stealing ideas is generally bad, but supporting rapists and through doing so normalizing rape is worse.

  44. johnx says

    Wow. I guess it’s fair ball to constantly ask Matt if he would like to be fucked in the ass and if he protests just say it’s all fun and games.

  45. Adam James says

    I can understand where the pushback against the full-on denouncement of Taibbi is coming from. We’re all pretty familiar with the importance of taking into account context when considering where we fall on a political issue. So let’s look at the context of the society in which we exist for a moment. In the United States especially, we’ve inherited an entirely repressive value system that considers the pursuit of sexual, and other, material pleasures to be a mark of low moral character. We also have a history of judging the worth of public figures on the basis of their adherence to antiquated and useless notions of propriety. Our fascination with the private lives of politicians and the like has only ever been a tool for manipulation of the electorate: it’s a means of misdirection. Because of this conditioning, a corrupt politician need only insinuate that their opponent is a drinker or a gambler while parading their own family onstage to garner the support of every voter who professes belief in “American values” (Trump, famously, bewilderingly, is the exception that proves the rule). The insistence that public figures adhere to narrow and restrictive Christian values, and the American public’s susceptibility to the ad hominem fallacy because of entrenched bullshit puritanical notions of what makes someone a “good person,” are undoubtedly awful and harmful. I think the dissenters here are trying to take that context into account. Conservatives might well tout this as evidence that sexual liberation and liberalism generally lead to degeneracy and perversion, and I can seem why some might worry that adding our voices to the outrage would only end up reinforcing regressive ideas about sex and morality.

    However, I ultimately think the dissenters are off base. PZ and the other commenters here aren’t pearl-clutching at the revelations that a public figure has led an untidy life: they’re (rightfully) appalled that two men, by their own account, humiliated, dehumanized, threatened, and sexually assaulted women who had little power to resist them. If this were just a case of a man who had had sex with lots of consenting women then I think everyone here would agree that’s just dandy. But that’s not what this is.

    Les Black’s instinct is the right one: we should value ideas on their own merit and not on the basis of their author’s virtue. And, were there no one else opposing Trump, were Taibbi really the lone voice in the wilderness, then that principle would be the deciding factor in choosing what to make of this information. But I have to laugh at the idea that there’s some shortage of journalists or columnists keen on exposing the Trump administration. Pick one. It’s entirely possible to hold to the ideas Taibbi expressed while giving exposure and support to someone who won’t use their position to abuse women.

  46. Ichthyic says

    Wow. Let us top off our wholesome dish of ad hominem with a heaping topping off straw man, shall we?

    Naw, with your inane patronizing bullshit, we should just skip straight to…

    Go fuck yourself.

    I sure as hell never want to see anything you write again.

  47. snuffcurry says

    Les Black’s instinct is the right one: we should value ideas on their own merit and not on the basis of their author’s virtue.

    It’s never that clean cut. Biases, prejudices, predilections, and sensibilities color our perspectives, alter our judgment, and calibrate our moral compass, and most of the time this is an unconscious and inescapable series of processes. Criminal abusers who boast of their abuse cannot compartmentalize their behavior and the attitudes that influenced that behavior any more than any of us can compartmentalize our character out of existence when reporting what we believe to be objective reality, when putting forth political and social ideas that purport to advance human civilization. In Taibbi’s case, this issue — someone becomes untrustworthy when they repeatedly demonstrate violent, untrustworthy behavior that they later paint as daring and picaresque — is academic, because his sexism is well-documented outside of his tales o’ rape and is, in fact, part of his public political identity, pace fans like PZ having never heard of any of this before.

    If one tiny, angry white man is all that stands between you* and chaos, you should be killing your idols, not handwaving away that man’s hatred for one-half of humanity because he writes pretty one day. This is not how a humanist behaves, chuckling over his casual, nihilist misogyny and sexual violence; this is an identikit contrarian dudebro, like so many dudebros before him. If one has to choose a Jacobite, a Chapo, a Young Turk to champion as a brave soldier against the perfidious neo-libs, can you at least choose one who didn’t publish a fatuous, would-be gonzo memoir boasting about raping teenagers?

    Again, it’s accurate to say that Taibbi has other strengths and hobbies beyond rape, but I can’t really fathom how, when saying something like that aloud, you (the editorial you) don’t immediately recognize what a low and ludicrous bar you’re setting. There are dozens of women who are better writers saying the same thing Taibbi’s saying (because a novel and refreshing voice, he isn’t, again pace PZ); why they are automatically disposable, like the girls and women he’s victimized, but he isn’t is a mystery to no one but you.

    *and that goes double for the quisling male ‘journalists’ that continue to work with him

  48. cartomancer says

    Funnily enough there are plenty of people – academics and journalists both – who manage the nigh-impossible task of writing about the underlying problems with modern political society while not being a rapist.

    Noam Chomsky is one. He’s been writing about injustice and corporate power for most of a century, and hasn’t raped anyone or promoted rape once. I’m not sure how he does it – some kind of internal moral intuitions I suppose. Who knows?

  49. snuffcurry says

    I mean, it’s a wonderful privilege for a man to be able to ‘forgive’ another man for his woman-hatred, to be able to easily overlook and sometimes forget altogether that he regards girls and women as fucktoys that can be manhandled and humiliated, their bodies objectified and evaluated and scorned, non-consensual sexual contact with them a fun game to play with friends as you unwind after a long afternoon of grand-standing world-saving like only a man, doing a little crass writing for the papers, can. But to be scandalized and pearl-clutchy because some women can’t set aside the kind of nausea and fear the recounting of those ‘exploits’ provokes just makes you… a shithead. Without empathy. And someone to be regarded warily and with great suspicion, your supposed left-y prog credentials in tatters (because, surprise! Women’s civil rights are bodily autonomy are political issues that fucking matter! You boys love to flash your purity cards and whinge on about the convictions you’d never compromise, and it turns out that sometimes the sauce is headed for the gander and this is one of those times). If you and Taibbi can so easily sell out women, you’re just another enemy, not an ally and not someone I’d ever work with on anything.

  50. says

    Thank you snuffcurry for articulating so well what I could not, because

    some women can’t set aside the kind of nausea and fear the recounting of those ‘exploits’ provokes.

    And you can add paralyzing rage to that nausea and fear.

  51. says

    I’ve always been a bit leery of Taibbi. He’s exciting to read because he’s full of moral indignation and excels at the art of righteous dismissal. But he’s a little too good at it. When you take it apart, it’s mostly righteousness & not a lot of substance. Ultimately Taibbi’s mode of rhetoric is mostly about wearing people down with the elegance and righteousness of his prose. Want to understand how badly you’ve been taken for a ride? Read someone like Jane Mayer or Naomi Klein. Want to feel better about your own virtue? Read Taibbi.
    And these stories help me understand where it comes from. There’s few more zealous than the sinner turned saint, and just like the reformed drunkard Taibbi is there to tell us what’s right & what’s wrong & who really knows the score (him).

  52. Ivan says

    The Exile? I used to read it, if only for free English practice. A dirty paper, dedicated mainly to advising expats how to get sex in Moscow (TLDR: come to the clubs, bring money). Caught them on a direct plagiarism once, though the guy they stole the article from is now a famous nationalist scum. “A viper screwed a toad”, that’s how we call such situations in Mother Russia.

  53. Les Black says

    Oh, my apologies — I was under the impression this was a place where magical thinking was frowned upon.

    Apparently, It matters not at all when one makes clear and unequivocal condemnations of rape and rapists, because the members of this forum can call upon their psychic powers to see that I really don’t mean it, and am a vile mysoginist at heart. Gosh, I wish you all could have revealed this to me before now. It could’ve saved me a lot of trouble down here in my part of the rural deep south. All along, I could’ve fit right in!

    And apparently, when it’s revealed that someone has done something wrong, everything they’ve ever written instantly changes to shit! Magic! Let’s all hope that Sean Hannity someday admits to something bad. Then all his fans won’t have to be convinced his words are shit — they’ll BE shit — MAGIC!

    I used to have a bumper sticker that read “God, save us from your followers”. Apparently I need another one praying for salvation from the fundamentally indignant.

  54. Les Black says

    Oh, my apologies — I was under the impression this was a place where magical thinking was frowned upon.

    Apparently, though, it matters not at all when one makes clear and unequivocal condemnations of rape and rapists, because the members of this forum can call upon their psychic powers to see that I really don’t mean it, and am a vile mysoginist at heart. Gosh, I wish you all could have revealed this to me before now. It could’ve saved me a lot of trouble down here in my part of the rural deep south. All along, I could’ve fit right in!

    And apparently, when it’s revealed that someone has done something wrong, everything they’ve ever written instantly changes to shit! Magic! Let’s all hope that Sean Hannity someday admits to something bad. Then all his fans won’t have to be convinced his words are shit — they’ll BE shit — MAGIC!

    I used to have a bumper sticker that read “God, save us from your followers”. Apparently I need another one praying for salvation from the fundamentally indignant.

  55. Vivec says

    “I thought this was FREE THOUGHT blogs” etc etc

    just flounce already and save us all the effort.

  56. John Morales says

    Les Black:

    I used to have a bumper sticker that read “God, save us from your followers”. Apparently I need another one praying for salvation from the fundamentally indignant.

    The irony is palpable.

    Oh, my apologies — I was under the impression this was a place where magical thinking was frowned upon.

    <snicker>

  57. A. Noyd says

    Les Black (#64)

    Apparently I need another one praying for salvation from the fundamentally indignant.

    Why? Looking for someone to save you from yourself?

  58. Ichthyic says

    And apparently, when it’s revealed that someone has done something wrong, everything they’ve ever written instantly changes to shit!

    as opposed to yourself, who you are presenting as a great example of writing everyone can tell is shit from the very start?

    yeah….

  59. KG says

    It matters not at all when one makes clear and unequivocal condemnations of rape and rapists, because the members of this forum can call upon their psychic powers to see that I really don’t mean it, and am a vile mysoginist at heart.

    Yes indeed, they used their psychic powers to read what you have written on this thread. Like, for example:

    But we’ve got to get over this puritanical streak that sometimes infects these pages.

    Finding the blatant sexual exploitation of young women and girls, and its celebration in print, so disgusting that you want to avoid their subsequent writing is, according to you, “puritanical” – and you implicitly accuse PZ and yourself of “transgressions” of a similar degree of repulsiveness:

    But because of something he did as a young, admittedly stupid heroine addict 20 years ago, we dismiss all that and cast him and it into outer darkness. The day may come when your own transgressions will find you out, as they may for me too

    Are you really surprised that in view of that, a formulaic condemnation of rape doesn’t really cut it?

    when it’s revealed that someone has done something wrong, everything they’ve ever written instantly changes to shit!

    Nobody, of course, has said anything of the sort. People have said that because he’s such a vile shitbag, they choose not to read Taibbi.

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