Start your weekend with some happy news

Graham Linehan, the ‘noxious transphobe and serial harasser of trans folk, has finally been banned from Twitter.

This is a remarkable turn of events because all of the big social media companies have been remarkably resistant to actually doing anything about the trolls and haters and racists and misogynists that dwell happily within their services. They just spewing and spewing, their targets report them, and the companies come back with some feeble comment that Nazis and bigots don’t “violate their terms of service.”

So what’s going on? It would be nice to believe that corporate executives were hit by a lightning bolt, reflected on their misspent lives, and decided to put up a facade of human decency. This is not the case, however. They’re just looking at their spreadsheets and seeing that their blinkered neglect of civilized behavior is projected to cause them to lose lots of money. They won’t be “cool” anymore.

Facebook leads the way.

Zuck’s social network continues to hemorrhage users, new research suggests.

Facebook has an estimated 15 million fewer U.S. users today than it did in 2017, according to a study released Wednesday by Edison Research and Triton Digital. The share of people 12 and over using Facebook was 67% in 2017, but declined to 62% in 2018 and 61% this year.

Zuckerberg probably has nightmares about his cash cow becoming the MySpace of the 2020s. It could happen.

Facebook on Thursday posted the largest one-day loss in market value by any company in U.S. stock market history after releasing a disastrous quarterly report.

The social media giant’s market capitalization plummeted by $119 billion to $510 billion as its stock price plummeted by 19 percent. At Wednesday’s close, Facebook’s market cap had totaled nearly $630 billion, according to FactSet.

Don’t cry for them, they’re still worth $500 billion. They’re not the future, though, and Twitter is probably glancing nervously at Facebook, wondering if they’re next, hence the sudden interest in cleaning up the shambolic mess of their service. They’re probably also looking to differentiate themselves from their new “competitor”, Parler, where all the right-wingers are flocking.

Parler sounds lovely, if you like wallowing in anti-semitism while pretending to be a bold independent spirit standing up for liberty, like most right-wingers.

The Parler website even has a “Declaration Of Internet Independence” slamming the “Technofascism” of Silicon Valley and Twitter and claiming that “millions”—yes, millions—have been banned for their political ideology. “We The People have had enough!” they cry, demanding “Free Speech” and “Liberties” and other good things with Randomly Capitalized Letters.

Doesn’t that sound like a wonderful company?

In reality, the largest group of accounts targeted for suspension from Twitter have been bots and terrorists, like the tens of millions of fake accounts removed after the scale of Russian interference in the 2016 election became clear, or the roughly 250,000 accounts associated with ISIS/ISIL removed after the 2015 terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.

Graham Linehan is just the latest victim of an effort to clean up the rubbish. Maybe he should set up a Parler account?

The spectacle of Republican cannibalism is always entertaining

Ah, the country is swirling down the crapper thanks to toxic conservatives, but at least we can savor the desperate clawing of the terrible people responsible at each other. I give you the Illinois Patriarchy Institute, which is mightily enraged at a recent Supreme Court decision that says employers can’t punish people for being gay.

I and others have been shouting from our virtual rooftops for over a decade that there is no greater threat to First Amendment protections than that posed by the subversive “LGBTQ” movement. Can conservatives not yet see the end of the short pier toward which GOP leaders have long been pushing them? Really?

(Im)moderate Republicans, Libertarian-leaning Republicans, Republicans with dollar signs rather than Scripture reflected in their myopic eyes have been pushing conservatives toward the end of the short pier, hoping that either spines will crumble or conservatives will tumble into the dark waters. Supremacist Court Justice/lawmaker Neil-the-Usurper-Gorsuch just gave conservatives a huge shove toward the watery abyss.

Also, there are gays in the Republican party!

Conservatives get all giddy with chills running up their legs when homosexuals like Guy Benson, Dave Rubin, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Brandon Straka express Republican-ish views. “Oh gosh, the cool kids like us, they really like us!”

Meanwhile, those smart, articulate, good-looking homosexuals seek to change the Republican Party from within—like a cancer or a Guinea worm (am I allowed to call it the Guinea worm any longer?). We welcome camels into the tent at our peril.

The author suggests that all these Republicans ought to join the Democratic party. No, thanks, they’re awful people, and we are already full up on them. You keep ’em.

Brainwashed!

I have been informed that the following video of a British children’s entertainer on YouTube from a few years ago is a ghastly attempt to indoctrinate children into accepting the trans agenda. How dare they! So I watched it to see what it was all about.

I should warn you that it is extraordinarily powerful brainwashing. I watched it, and found myself thinking, “Gosh, this all seems perfectly reasonable — it’s about tolerance and acceptance.” That just goes to show you how insidious and evil those trans people are, because damn, it’s so effective. Beware! They want you to teach children to be egalitarian!

Does anyone on FtB think Rowling has a point? No.

The Geeky Humanist has weighed in on l’affaire Rowling, and comes to the same conclusion most people have: Rowling is wrong about everything. I warned Sarah that posts about Rowling are a magnet for obnoxious trolls, but you know how it goes: Someone Is Wrong On The Internet, it must be addressed.

You know, HJ and Brinkman and GAS have also been punching up at a certain rich TERF, and then I noticed that Rhiannon was on the case before the Screed was published, and Caine had Rowling pegged 3 years ago.

If you need further dissection of JK Rowling…

Portrait of JK Rowling

I was only able to handle a single sentence of Rowling’s screed — it was too stupid to bear — but if you’re unclear on why the rest of it was so awful, Ashley Miller slogged through the whole thing, and if you’d rather see it analyzed from a trans perspective, Dawn Ennis looks at it and the context of the response to it. As far as I’m concerned, JK Rowling is dead to me and I won’t be reading anything by her ever again.

I don’t find that a particular loss. When the Harry Potter books came out, I was happy to get them for my kids — they were enthusiastic, there was some peer pressure from their friends, it got them reading, although that generally wasn’t a problem with my nerdish offspring. I read the first couple. I didn’t care for them personally. They were just too formulaic — does every book have to revolve around Quidditch, a game which makes no sense — and Hogwarts as an institution was far too offputting, seeming to fit better with the kind of British culture that thinks sending kids off to be tortured for a few years in a boarding school builds character. The movies bored me, and if you asked me now what happened in any of them, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Uh, um, there was a Quidditch match. There were monsters? Harry Potter is tormented, but never seems to do much of anything? I dunno.

She seems to be trying to churn out spinoffs from the Harry Potter universe now. I didn’t care before, I am actively repulsed now. JK can just toddle off to her mansion and her well-earned irrelevance, and the Harry Potter phenomenon can be recognized as the peculiar phenomenon it was.

I’m never gonna get my jaw up off the floor again

I just read J.K. Rowling Writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues (does she always refer to herself in the third person?). It was gobsmackingly oblivious and stupid. My opinion of Rowling’s intelligence and writing ability has just been blown to bits. It just goes on and on, alternating between self-pity and denial and bad science. I’m not going to quote from it, with the exception of one sentence that is absolutely bonkers.

Ironically, radical feminists aren’t even trans-exclusionary – they include trans men in their feminism, because they were born women.

So, because they reject the identities of trans men, they aren’t really exclusionary? Trans men are OK because they’re actually women? That was so totally a TERFY statement.

That settles it. The grandkids are not ever going to get any Harry Potter books from me.

Breaking news: young white men…also bad

I forgot about the incels! I guess every generation has people who suck. In this case, Cole Carini decided to murder women because they were attractive. Cole himself was not at all unattractive in appearance. I say “was” because now he looks like he’d been trying to turn his face into a colander.

A Virginia man inspired by notorious “incel” mass shooter Elliott Rodger fantasized about blowing up a shopping mall and killing “hot cheerleaders,” according to an FBI affidavit.

On June 2, Cole Carini of Richlands, Virginia, showed up at the Clinch Valley Medical Center with a missing hand. Several fingers on Carini’s other hand were also gone, and he had shrapnel wounds to the neck and throat. A local sheriff’s deputy arrived to interview Carini, who claimed his gruesome injuries were the result of a gardening accident.

Alas for that alibi, the lawn had not been mowed in some time, and on investigating his house, they found explosives, a blown apart container, and rusty nails, along with a little story he’d written.

He casually walked through the shopping mall, his jacket concealed deadly objects, the letter read, parts of which were illegible. He was doing it and was assured it must be done. Even if he died this statement was worth it! He had… of tension that would come and go as he approached the stage of hot cheerleaders… A dead seriousness sank in as he realized he was truly passing the point of no return! He decided I will not back down I will not be afraid of the consequences no matter what I will be heroic I will make a statement like Elliott Rodgers [sic] did he thought to himself.

Instead of killing “hot cheerleaders”, all he managed to do was blow off both of his hands, the only parts of a human body that loved him. The scars wouldn’t necessarily hurt his love life in the future, but the hatred for women is really going to ruin his future dating chances.

True equality at last: white women are as bad as white men

Not NOW. Don’t tell me that the National Organization for Women has become yet another regressive establishment institution. Apparently, speaking at NOW about the inclusion of minority women triggers the white ladies in the audience.

That’s how Weeks found herself in front of a sea of older white women at the Colors Lounge in Melbourne, Florida, in June 2017, addressing the Brevard County NOW chapter. Her voice broke as she spoke about what motivated her to run, and the conversations she’d had with her mother about the importance of fighting for both women and people of color.

“It’s important because we need to give a voice to those most oppressed in order to make everybody better,” Weeks told the audience, many of whom were around her mother’s age. “That’s women of color, that’s disabled people, that’s LGBTQ people.”

She was about to move on to the most relevant part of her stump speech—how NOW could help do all this—when she was interrupted by a white woman in the audience.

“White women, too!” the woman yelled.

“And then yeah, don’t forget the white women,” Weeks replied evenly.

“Just the women with the pussies!” another woman called out, in what seemed to be a reference to trans women. In video obtained by The Daily Beast, you can hear an audience member groan.

“It’s OK,” Weeks said, attempting to press on. “It is important to include all women.”

The rot doesn’t stop at the rank-and-file level. The Daily Beast investigation found a racism and transphobia epidemic everywhere in management of the organization.

In interviews with The Daily Beast, nearly a dozen members, employees, and visitors recalled women of color being heckled, silenced, or openly disparaged at NOW meetings and offices. The behavior culminated at the 2017 conference where, witnesses say, members dismissed Fortson-Washington, a black woman, as “angry” and entitled, and accused Weeks of being a “hot-headed Latina.” On the last day of the conference, more than a dozen women marched around a conference room to protest racism inside the organization.

But the problem didn’t stop there. Internal emails, documents and interviews obtained by the Daily Beast reveal that allegations of racism reached the highest levels of the organization after Weeks and Fortson-Washington’s loss. More than a dozen employees at the national headquarters signed onto a letter accusing President Toni Van Pelt of sidelining and disparaging women of color, and the previous vice president has filed a federal racial discrimination suit.

It seems to be rampant among white women of a certain age, my age. Is this the National Organization for Women, or the National Organization for Karens? I didn’t think they’d need a professional association to represent them.

Speaking of older women behaving badly, there’s been a J.K. Rowling flare-up.

That’s one of her milder tweets. She’s madly digging to defend her implication that somehow you undermine sex when you recognize that menstruation isn’t the defining property of womanhood you are erasing sex and the reality of women. She says that “my life has been shaped by being female”, which is certainly true, but she’s unable to appreciate that many factors affect everyone’s life experience, and that trans men and women can share many aspects of their identity — even with cis men and women.

But then, she’s old, she’s rich, she’s got some terrible new books to promote (while I appreciate that Harry Potter motivated a lot of kids to read, including my own, I have to state that they were derivative and repetitive and contained a lot of problematic attitudes), so she’s got to keep jabbering and all the plates spinning, exposing her own inner Karen.

Whoa…Norma McCorvey confesses that it was all an act

Norma McCorvey, who fought for the right to an abortion in Roe v. Wade, and then flipped to crusade against abortion under the influence of evangelicals, flipped again before her death — she was bought and paid for by the Religious Right.

In the final third of director Nick Sweeney’s 79-minute documentary, featuring many end-of-life reflections from McCorvey—who grew up queer, poor, and was sexually abused by a family member her mother sent her to live with after leaving reform school—the former Jane Roe admits that her later turn to the anti-abortion camp as a born-again Christian was “all an act.”

“This is my deathbed confession,” she chuckles, sitting in a chair in her nursing home room, on oxygen. Sweeney asks McCorvey, “Did [the evangelicals] use you as a trophy?” “Of course,” she replies. “I was the Big Fish.” “Do you think you would say that you used them?” Sweeney responds. “Well,” says McCorvey, “I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money and they took me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say. That’s what I’d say.” She even gives an example of her scripted anti-abortion lines. “I’m a good actress,” she points out. “Of course, I’m not acting now.”

The two jackhole Christians who ran the scam are both horrified, but split: one because the end justifies the means, the other because he actually has some moral principles.

Reverend Schenck, the much more reasonable of the two evangelical leaders featured in the film, also watches the confession and is taken aback. But he’s not surprised, and easily corroborates, saying, “I had never heard her say anything like this… But I knew what we were doing. And there were times when I was sure she knew. And I wondered, Is she playing us? What I didn’t have the guts to say was, because I know damn well we’re playing her.” Reverend Schenck admits that McCorvey was “a target,” a “needy” person in need of love and protection, and that “as clergy,” people like Schenck and Benham were “used to those personalities” and thus easily able to exploit her weaknesses. He also confirms that she was “coached on what to say” in her anti-abortion speeches. Benham denies McCorvey was paid; Schenck insists she was, saying that “at a few points, she was actually on the payroll, as it were.” AKA Jane Roe finds documents disclosing at least $456,911 in “benevolent gifts” from the anti-abortion movement to McCorvey.

Reverend Benham then blurts out, “Yeah, but she chose to be used. That’s called work. That’s what you’re paid to be doing!” Schenck’s thinking is quite different: “For Christians like me, there is no more important or authoritative voice than Jesus,” he explains. “And he said, ‘What does it profit in the end if he should gain the whole world and lose his soul?’ When you do what we did to Norma, you lose your soul.”

In fact, Reverend Schenck underlines his own conversion, which took place in the last decade: “I still identify as an evangelical, but I like to think of myself as lovingly critical of my community. I guess in some ways I’d like to use whatever years I have remaining to undo the damage that I did and that many movement leaders did on the pro-life side. I used to think that Roe v. Wade would never be overturned. I think Roe v. Wade could be overturned now. And I think the result of that would be chaos and pain. And to impose that kind of crisis on a woman is unthinkable.”

Fortunately, the pro-choice cause does not rely on the bought testimony of individuals, but on the autonomy of all women.

Another professor embarrasses the professoriate

A university professor filed suit against his institution because it chastised him for inappropriate sexual behavior. He wasn’t fired, they just tut-tutted, put a black mark on his record, and told him not to do that anymore. He sued anyway, for his ego.

During a class in 2013, a psychology professor at George Mason University named Todd Kashdan told students he had once performed oral sex at a party, an anecdote he later said was meant to make a point about exhibitionism, according to findings from an internal school investigation and a federal lawsuit the professor filed against the university.

In 2016, Kashdan told graduate students gathered in his hot tub about a sexual experience he had in Europe, and in 2018, he went with graduate students to a strip club where he received a lap dance, the internal investigation found. The professor’s lawsuit said these incidents were misconstrued.

How is bragging about performing oral sex, his sexual experiences, and getting a lap dance in front of his students “misconstrued”? I’m mystified. Just going with students to a strip club seems like it’s crossing a line, and with all the rest, it’s hard to imagine how it could be “misconstrued”.

On top of all that, two former students also filed complaints about him with the university. He is baffled.

The professor, according to the suit, “was surprised to learn that the same women who had given him unsolicited praise for his teaching and research, and sought him out for assistance with academics and their careers, now alleged that he had created a ‘hostile environment.’ ”

Wow. He doesn’t understand that he’s a gatekeeper, that he holds the keys to future advancement in his students’ careers, and is so oblivious to the social workings of human minds that he can’t comprehend that people whose future he controls might flatter him to his face while resenting him?

Psychopaths. Psychopaths everywhere.