Category Archives: Politics

So the Trump Virus is still with us …

But first, a reminder. When 3,000 people died on 9/11, we created a new security agency that can stop us from flying on planes. We got a no-fly list that takes away the right to fly completely. The government locked up José Padilla, an American citizen who’d committed no crime, for four years without trial because he’d allegedly bragged about working on an Al Qaeda terrorist plot. Plus all the enemy combatants locked up without trial, even though most of them were innocent.

As noted in the comments on this post, for right-wingers all of that is good government. Requiring citizens to wear masks — even if it’s private business doing it — encouraging them to get vaccinated, that’s a loss of our freedoms! If TSA agents request you wear a mask, now it’s okay to harass them.

Not that this is new. When I wrote columns pointing out that more U.S. soldiers had died in Iraq than Americans died on 9/11, someone would invariably respond that the military deaths were less than traffic accident fatalities every year.  Which was true of 9/11 too, but they didn’t admit it. So it’s no surprise that Republicans are doing their best to get the people who listen to them killed.

As noted at the link, Tucker Carlson, asked if he’s been vaccinated, claims that’s a vulgar question, just like asking “what’s your favorite sexual position?” Which I take to mean that the lying shit has indeed been vaccinated but he wants to keep drawing anti-vaxxer eyeballs. Carlson’s brand is whining about oppression of white Americans so I imagine whining about vaccines is just one more card to play. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s sincerely racist and misogynist, but he can also be a grifter.

Of course he’s not alone. Tennessee fired its top vaccination official, along with its push to reduce vaccination in schools. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis bragged about how he kept Trump virus cases down with minimal pandemic restrictions; now Florida cases are rocketing up.

And let’s not forget, it was The Former Guy who got the ball rolling. He insisted the virus was going away. Thought it would mostly affect blue states, so no problem (which shows the advantage Republicans have in the media. If Biden had made a similar decision about conservative areas, it would be front-page news). Scoffed at masking, refused to take precautions, allegedly thought of sending Americans returning home with COVID to Guantanamo Bay. And after becoming seriously ill with the Trump Virus, surviving thanks to the best medical care — he took that as a sign it was no big deal. Because he’s the right wing’s divinely anointed god-king of America, that made it a culture war issue.

Nevertheless, National Review wants to blame liberals for the right-wing reluctance to vaccinate — as always, we’re just too mean to the other side. Not because Republicans are propagandizing against it.

As a friend of mine said, we’ll end up with the virus as just another “unavoidable” cause of death, to be lived with like gun fatalities.

Damn them.

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Lack of empathy, lack of logic: Warren Farrell’s “The Myth of Male Power”

The cover of Warren Farrell’s The Myth of Male Power (uncredited art, as far as I could see) sums up his belief men are powerless in the face of a “genetic celebrity,” AKA an attractive woman. He’s wrong about that, as he is about much else.

The book isn’t all bad. As I said last week, unlike many critiques of feminism Farrell doesn’t assume old gender roles are the goal, or that they’re fixed and unchanging. He doesn’t think men are made for violence, and he believes they can be good caregivers and stay-at-home dads. He realizes shattering gender stereotypes is good for both sexes. And that prison rape is not a funny thing or a form of justice.

All of which makes me appreciate why it’s so tempting to just hate your enemies as monsters: it’s much simpler. It’s like seeing Mona Charen, who’s big on the buyer’s remorse rape-apologist bullshit, condemning Republicans for supporting Donald Trump and Roy Moore. It’s unsettling to realize someone I despise isn’t all bad.

That said, this book gives me plenty to despise. Farrell starts from illogical premises and then builds badly (not to mention including bad statistics and untrue statements). For example, he claims men are genetically hardwired to be women’s protectors, and women to crave protectors for mates). This is a paleofantasy, an assumption that as society is this way, it must be in our genes. Like most such assumptions, there’s no science to back it up. As philosopher Daniel Dennett once said, our ancestors often chose to live in caves but we don’t have a cave-dwelling gene.

Nevertheless, Farrell explains all kinds of things based on his assumption. Boys bully each other to test their fitness as protectors. Polygamy exists to protect women from winding up monogamously married to a poor man. Workplace gender discrimination protects married women by ensuring their husbands have fewer competitors at work. Men die in war to protect women. In Farrell’s eyes, society doesn’t oppress women, it cherishes them.

Farrell also believes our biological imperative is for man to aggressively pursue women while women keep saying no; eventually the man overwhelms her resistance and she surrenders happily, knowing she has a strong mate who’ll fight for her. In other words, no means yes. Farrell doesn’t literally say every no means yes but he comes close. He claims, for example, that sexual harassment suits mean “yes” — the woman doesn’t want him to give up pursuing her, she’s still just testing him. Besides, if women look attractive at work, obviously they’re open to hooking up (and marrying and quitting, so the boss is totally justified in firing good-looking women).

This leads into another flaw, Farrell’s complete lack of empathy for women. In writing about dating and relationships, he thinks both men and women should be willing to ask the other out, pay for dinner if they ask, etc., which is reasonable enough. But he focuses almost entirely on the male side, the pain and discomfort of being rejected by a genetic celebrity. He ignores that most women aren’t sexy, any more than men, and that the mating dance is just as agonizing for women, if not more so. As Laurie Penny says, “I was taught to fear being a whore or a loser if I answered, never mind asked myself. Sex isn’t an achievement for a young girl. It’s something we’re supposed to embody so other people can consume us, and if we fail at that, what are we even for?” Farrell seems to think the problem is women enjoying their power and making men come to them, not that society — and a fair number of men — often treat them like shit for not doing womanhood right.

And that leads into his utterly loathsome views of rape and harassment. For Farrell it’s men who suffer: men have to take the initiative in sex and relationships but if they’re not a good lover or they “initiate at the wrong time,” suddenly it’s rape! They have to ask the woman out but if she’s a coworker and she isn’t interested, bam, he’s a harasser (asking a colleague out once, assuming you’re not in authority over her, is not usually enough to cause harassment). Feminists have “taught” women to sue for date rape but nobody’s taught men to sue if women say yes, then change their mind which is just as traumatic (no, it isn’t).

Stranger rape, that’s bad, but date rapists are just dudes who “initiated badly” or weren’t good lovers. And yet as soon as they make their innocent mistake, blammo, a woman can ruin them. She feels buyer’s remorse, or she just lies — Farrell’s convinced there are huge numbers of false rape charges out there. The FBI doesn’t think so, but federal statistics are unreliable: as far as the FBI knows, we could have no false charges, or we could have 100 percent (the FBI can state as a fact we do not have 100 percent fake rape charges).

 

 

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Weaselly liars and Republicans, but I repeat myself

Sean Turnbull is a conspiracy theorist who makes a good living out of it (see this post for more examples): he warns his fans to BUY GOLD, and takes ads from companies that let people invest in gold. And he has no qualms about using anti-Semitic bullshit about a “Zionist banker international cabal” run by the Rockefellers and Rothschilds. Turnbull says he’s “hopeful” QAnon is true, which is kind of hair-raising — as Fred Clark of Slacktivist puts it, nobody should be hopeful there’s a network of Satanic pedophiles running part of the government.

Here we have a Fox News weasel argument, regarding right-wing lies that the U.S. Women’s Soccer team turned their backs on a man playing the Star Spangled Banner. It isn’t true but Fox talking heads claim people’s willingness to believe it is “a sign of where we are.” This is bullshit a former friend of mine played during Obama’s presidence: confronted with evidence of right-wing paranoia, he argued, quite smugly, that the real issue is what Obama did to make people distrust him so much.

Texas Republicans can’t stand the idea that the Texan war of independence was about slavery (see here). Heck Kayleigh McEnany, who recently explains she’s too good a Christian to lie, lies and claims the Founding Fathers all opposed slavery.

Most Ivy League college women say they wouldn’t date a Trump supporter. According to National Review, that’s yet more proof how conservatives are oppressed.

Someone once said the one good thing about Trump is that he’ll always backstab his inner circle. Case in point, he’s now refusing to pay Giuliani’s legal bills.

Speaking of legal, Trump’s filed a class-action suit against social media for censoring him (a topic I’ve covered here). In the same spirit as Steve Turnbull, the ex-president is raising funds for the lawsuit that will be channeled to other projects. Trump and Republicans have a history of scamming voters into recurring donations and Republican fund-raisers are shocked and appalled Democratic attorney generals are now investigating.

More legal: A judge rips into The Kraken and Trump’s other lawyers for filing bullshit lawsuits (”

The judge noted that one observer stated in an affidavit that she believed she saw election workers switching votes from Trump to Biden. Parker asked whether any of the lawyers had spoken to the witness and inquired what exactly she saw that led her to believe that votes had been switched. She was greeted with silence.”).

Taylor Swift called out Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn on her politics back in 2018 and said she was voting for the Democratic candidate. Blackburn’s response: Marxists won’t allow women to sing in public so Swift better vote Republican! In the same spirit Colorado Republican Ken Buck claims Google stole 15 million Trump votes by “flipping the algorithm … it absolutely happened!”

The Former Guy hid in his bunker and threatened death for any protesters who got past the White House security. But he’s shocked that Ashli Babbitt, Jan. 6 insurrectionist, died attacking this country. Right-wingers, some of whom celebrated when unidentified cops kidnapped people on Portland (“Don’t let the left dox them!”) are outraged the cop who shot her hasn’t been identified. Of course Trump continues lying that the Sedition Day crowd was peaceful and loving.

Having deleted his old anti-Trump tweets, J.D. “Hillbilly Elegy” Vance is running for office in Ohio. Some reporters are thrilled, possibly because they want a classier Trump.

Marko Kepi, a Trump-supporting NYC city council member, has been accused of forging ballots to win his seat (though he’s only under investigation at this point — it’s fully possible he’s innocent).

It’s a law in Texas that schools teach “the history of white supremacy, including but not limited to the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it is morally wrong.” Republicans object. As Rick Perlstein says, the spirit of the far right is never far from mainstream Republican thought.

And remember despite all the arguments of “well Dems do it too,” Democrats are not as enthused about inflicting pain on their enemies as Republicans.

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Undead Sexist Cliche: Let’s kill women to compensate for the male war dead!

As I said last week, I really hated buying Warren Farrell’s The Myth of Male Power because it put money in his pocket, but it has proven a wise decision. While he’s got one or two good things to say — unlike a lot of people I cover in Undead Sexist Cliches, he doesn’t believe men are innately violent or that we can’t be nurturing — his efforts to both-sides feminism (men and women are both oppressed! Women hurt men as badly as men hurt women!) are a mess of bullshit.

I’ll get into that when I’ve finished the whole book, but today I want to focus on one particular point. In discussing how men and only men have to register for the draft, Farrell asks how we’d feel if the president suddenly announced “Since 1.2 million American men have been killed in war, as part of my new program for equality, we will draft only women until 1.2 million American women have been killed in war.”

No, he’s not making a serious proposal, he’s just using this to dramatize how men, in his view, are oppressed and feminists don’t care. He complains, for example, that feminists offered women greater freedom without calling for greater responsibilities — notice how NOW didn’t call for 18-year-old girls to be drafted like men? Feminists think women are oppressed but it’s only men who die in wars or fighting to create empires.

Even given that Farrell’s not serious, his proposal creeps me out. It’s the equivalent of BLM saying they’ll stop protesting when they see one white cop shot for every innocent black person killed by a cop. Even if BLM were just doing it to dramatize injustice, it would feel very wrong. So does Farrell.

That aside, his fixation on the draft is a good example of how tottyheaded his thinking is. I’m in complete agreement that both men and women (and the nonbinary) should register as long as selective service exists. However registration hasn’t turned into a draft in the past forty years, not even when our military was straining to cope with the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations. Farrellis correct that the government could order all registered men report for induction, but it doesn’t seem likely. Nor does his link between a men-only draft and prison rape make a lick of sense.

He complains that Margaret Thatcher was exempt from the UK draft but didn’t get judged for it the way Bill Clinton and Dan Quayle did. It’s hard to see Thatcher not being eligible is equivalent to consciously avoiding the draft; if Clinton had been pilloried just for not enlisting, the argument would make more sense (Obama didn’t serve and didn’t get much crap about it). Then again, W avoided the draft and was largely held up as a fighter pilot war hero manly man while decorated veteran John Kerry was branded a weasel who faked his own injuries. Farrell couldn’t have known that in 1993 when his book came out, but he could have acknowledged it in the updated introduction.

Farrell’s point isn’t just the draft/registration, it’s the general principle that fighting and dying in a war shouldn’t be a measure of manhood. No argument here (though from reading a lot of military history, I think there’s a lot more to war and being a soldier). But Farrell twists the argument to the breaking point to fit his theme, that society oppresses men to protect women. Men die in wars so that women can be safe. Men die in colonial wars so that their country’s economy will grow and families can afford to raise children. Men — not women!

Farrell had no way of knowing that women in 2021 would be able to join the military and serve in combat roles (something some women have done throughout history). Even in 1993, though, his argument is bullshit (as We Hunted the Mammoth has pointed out discussing male body counts). Our military casualties in Vietnam were overwhelmingly (not entirely) male but thousands of Vietnamese women died along with their men. Women died in the Rape of Nanking. They died in the London Blitz. They died in empire building: the warriors in America’s Indian Wars may have been male but Native American women died in the millions along with their men.

And how is this feminism’s fault? The American males-only draft was the work of a government dominated by men (and no, the primary motive was not to protect America’s women). The same government excluded women from serving in combat — it wasn’t until the Spanish-American War that women had any role in the U.S. military. Feminists didn’t push for women to be drafted; they did, however support the Equal Rights Amendment which would have mandated a gender-neutral draft (antifeminist women hated the idea). Feminists  have a long history of opposing the draft for men and supporting the rights of women to serve in combat roles (though some feminists saw this as caving into the military-industrial complex or worried about military service putting women under the control of men).

Betty Friedan saw the potential for what Farrell claims feminists neglected, the chance to redefine masculinity: if both genders are fighters, violence no longer defines manhood. TYG’s comment when I mentioned Farrell’s idea was that she’d be delighted with a women-only draft. A generation or two where women got heavily trained in how to fight and use weapons and men didn’t? Works for her.

I suspect both these thoughts are among the reasons right-wingers hate women in the military, like Ted Cruz freaking out that women soldiers can’t win against Russia’s manly essence. The last thing he wants in the world is women who are tougher and stronger than he’ll ever be.

Like I said, I’ll be back with more on the book in a later post.

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Undead Sexist Cliches: I’m using logic, therefore feminists are wrong

Some years back, I remember one right-winger arguing that liberals who refuse to accept evolutionary psychology’s proof about gender differences are as anti-science as creationists. Science says women have evolved to stay home with babies; you may not like this, but you can’t argue with it and pretend to believe in science.

As I say at the link, believing in science doesn’t obligate me to believe in every scientific theory, or even every evolutionary theory: Lamarck, Lysenko  and countless others believed their theories were sound science, but they were wrong. Nevertheless, lots of sexists and racists take this tack: it’s not that they’re bigoted, it’s just that the evidence — science, statistics — is so damn conclusive. They hate saying it, but it’s true, men (or white people) are just superior.

Some of them, I’m sure, don’t believe their own words, they just figure it’s a trap for us: you libs value logic? You think science is the guide to truth? Well, then here’s some damn science and logic in your face! You’ve been owned (See this Sartre quote).

Some people find the lure of believing logic is on their side irresistible. This excellent article, for example, points out that guys who’ve been “redpilled” — their eyes have been opened to all the ways women oppress men in the modern world — are convinced their positions are irrefutably logical. The author, Aisling McCrea, makes the same point about some atheists: they see logic not as a system of thought you can use to find truth but a kind of instant cosmic awareness: I’m using logic, I must be right!

Not that I’m arguing against logic: it’s a good tool and often a valuable one. In some circumstances, a gut reaction or a wild-ass guess may be better. As Gavid deBecker says in The Gift of Fear, if you get a gut-reaction that you shouldn’t trust this nice person offering to carry your groceries and that you, are, in fact, creeped out, there’s probably a good reason. Play it safe and trust your gut.

As McCrea details, though, screaming that you’re using logic doesn’t mean that you are, in fact, logical (the same is true of people who insist something is Just Common Sense. Sometimes it isn’t). It doesn’t mean the person you’re arguing with isn’t also being logical. Two people can reach different logical reasons for multiple reasons. For example, if you start from the premise that women don’t like sex or that date rape is just buyers’ remorse, you’re going to reach different conclusions than someone who knows both those statements are untrue. If you “know” all women want kids, ditto.

Or as Cathy O’Neil says, if someone looked at the post-college life of graduates back in 1960, it might seem obvious that men put their degrees to good use, women just stay home with the kids — maybe there’s no point in letting women attend school, right? If they don’t see the problem lies in discrimination against working women rather than women’s desires, they’ll reach the wrong conclusion.

We may be completely unaware of our own bias. Cordelia Fine says our performance on gender-linked skill tests can vary depending whether the skill is presented as male or female. And most of us (myself included) are inclined to believe science that supports our side over studies that don’t

We may be choose to cling to “logic” and “facts” even when we don’t have them because we want to believe, as Fred Clark discusses about one old urban legend.

I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t use logic or that we sit around unsure about everything we believe. But the more extreme our conclusions — anything that says violence is the only option or that other people shouldn’t have rights — the more careful about acting on “logic” we should be. As the writer G.K. Chesteron says, life is a trap for logicians: it looks more logical than it really is.

 

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Bill Cosby, confessed rapist, is now a free man.

One of the infuriating things I learned working on Undead Sexist Cliches is how prosecutors frequently write off rape cases as not worth their trouble. Republican politician and former prosecutor Ken Buck telling a rape victim the jury would dismiss her charge as “buyer’s remorse” (after she presented him with the guy admitting to rape on tape). The Texas prosecutor who said going to trial was useless because the jury would never convict a first-time rapist. Alex Acosta giving Jeffrey Epstein a sweetheart deal rather than taking on his high-powered legal team. The Guardian has more.

So it’s not surprising that Bruce Castor, Bill Cosby’s original prosecutor from 2005, decided the jury wouldn’t convict so why make the effort? Instead he promised Cosby there’d be no prosecution, ever, so when one of Cosby’s victims sued him, he couldn’t hide behind the Fifth Amendment. The later prosecution that jailed Cosby used his civil-suit deposition against him. The Supreme Court ruled that violated Cosby’s rights (expanded explanation here).

That last link covers some of the key questions, as does Lawyers, Guns and Money: was there actually a no-prosecution agreement? Does Castor simply announcing to the media that he’s not going to prosecute constitute an agreement never to prosecute, or is it simply a standard press announcement he’s not filing? Was the dissenting Supreme Court judge right to argue this amounts to giving Castor the power to pardon Cosby by blocking prosecutions?

Apparently even if there was no formal agreement, Cosby and his attorneys thought so, which was enough for the court. And probably rights on the merits, though as LGM points out, lots of lower-profile, non-wealthy defendants without a-list legal talent get screwed over by prosecutors without similar support. One law for rich and poor alike …

It’s understandable assault survivors are pissed off. I am too, but I’m not caught in the dilemma of wondering if I was a fool to come forward or whether I ought to come forward. They do. And they’ve just been shown how frustrating it is, though I’m sure they knew it already.

In other women-related links:

Is it even legal for Britney Spears’ legal conservator (her dad) to force her to stay on birth control? And would anything equivalent have happened to a self-destructive male star?

Antifeminist Caitlin Flanagan once claimed it was pointless to have fathers do more household work because they can’t do it well enough to satisfy their wives. Allison Daminger says they can, they just don’t want to.

Susan Sarandon on guys who hated Thelma and Louise.

It’s not just the US: Pakistan’s prime minister blames rape on women wearing too little.

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If you become what you hate, is that why Republicans are now Commies?

For as long as I’ve been aware of politics (and longer), “communist” and “red” have been conservatives’ go-to attacks. It was true during the Cold War. It’s true now, when they use “communist” and “Marxist” as something equivalent to “poopyhead.”

But with Republicans, it’s always projection. Much as they decry communism, they’re increasingly embracing old-school USSR-style government. After all, the USSR is pretty close to their vision for America: a one-party state where the Party wins every election. Business owners must either support the party or pay a price (it says a lot that much as Republicans revere business, suppressing votes is more important to them).

Or consider Ron DeSantis. In addition to endorsing the right of drivers to murder protesters, he wants to make sure everything taught at Florida colleges conforms to party dogma. You know, nothing upsetting about the U.S. history of racism that might make people uncomfortable with the Republican commitment to white supremacy. As Vaclav Havel observed about the Eastern bloc communist regimes, Republicans believe the center of power is the center of truth. Dissent and protest are poison to that worldview, not because they threaten to topple the authorities but because they point out the government lies. He’s not unique, either — a lot of Republicans are dancing to the same autocratic tune.

A Politico article about how DeSantis is rising in the party but afraid it’ll look like he’s challenging Trump also reminds me of the power struggles in the old communist dictatorships (satirized in The Death of Stalin). Republicans hate communists the same way they hate Islamic theocracy — their only real objection is not being the ones in charge.

The Tampa Bay Times‘ article about the education bill includes one interesting detail: “the measure DeSantis signed into law will bar university and college officials from limiting speech that “may be uncomfortable, disagreeable or offensive.” I presume in practice this means anyone who wants to tell gays they’re pedophiles, use the wrong pronouns on trans people or simply scream “n-word n-word n-word!” will get a free pass. I’m quite sure that if the shoe’s on the other foot and right-wingers get called on their bullshit, DeSantis will hold this up as an example of oppressing intellectual diversity and therefore Bad (much as the right to run over protesters won’t apply if they’re blocking the road to an abortion clinic or the like).

And where Russians shipped their dissenters to the Soviet gulag network of prison camps, we have an OAN host saying we should just execute Democrats as enemies of the state.

And much like the communist leaders, the right wing has no qualms about making money in the process of taking away people’s rights (a long conservative tradition). Gen. Michael Flynn, who recently said we need a military coup, is also finding ways to monetize QAnon. The leader of the bullshit voting audit in Arizona is appearing in a Qanon movie. There are lines of fashion for fascists.

I’m inclined to see the current freakout over the military as part and parcel of the same thing. While the military is hardly free of sexism, racism and harassment, it’s also much more diverse than many parts of America. Women and gays can serve openly in combat now. So the new Republican talking point is that a military that worries about diversity can’t win wars. Russia will crush us, Ted Cruz claims. If you worry about diversity, Hitler will destroy us! Tucker Carlson sneers that the chair of the joint chiefs doesn’t know how to win wars any more because he’s concerned about racism. Laura Ingraham says even discussing racism with the troops is racist.

So much for supporting the troops. I think Cruz & Co. may be more worried about what the military would do in a coup, given that The Former Guy wanted to unleash the military against protesters after the death of George Floyd.

It’d be funny if they didn’t have a good shot at winning.

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Undead Sexist of the Day: Matt Walsh

I despise right-wing religious pundit Matt Walsh as a raging misogynist. But to give him credit, he has called out religious conservatives who claim that Trump is a modern-day King David, a flawed man doing great things for God. As Walsh points out, the prophets of Israel confronted David about his moral failings, after which David repented. Trump’s court prophets refuse to call him out and Trump ain’t repenting any of his sins. That’s not an easy stance to take in the right-wing world.

When it comes to writing about women, however, Walsh is repellent. According to Walsh, the reason women feel horrible after date rape isn’t because they’ve been raped, it’s because they’re a slut. They feel bad because they had sex before marriage, which means the man used them as a “glorified masturbatory aid” (a version of the buyers’ remorse take on rape I blogged about a while back). So clearly, the solution is to bring back premarital chastity so women won’t wake up regretting the slutty sex they just had.

This is bullshit. Premarital relations can be warm and supportive; spouses can commit rape. Men still raped back when premarital sex was a big taboo; the Southern Baptist Conference, which is solidly on the no-sex-before-marriage side nevertheless is rife with rape and assault. Walsh is like a lot of religious conservatives who freak out about date rape not because it’s coercive but because it’s sex. Oh, he also believes that even a 12-year-old rape victim must bear the child, because otherwise there’d be no evidence of the crime. Does he not realize that a 12-year-old being pregnant is proof of a crime in itself?

Walsh is a complementarian and a firm believer that men and women are not equal — well, in the eyes of god, but the supposed inherent differences between the genders make equality impossible. His killer argument: “A guy who beats his wife is no worse than a guy who gets into a shoving match with his buddy, right?” Dude, if you’re beating up your friend, that’s wrong; if you’re using “shoving match” to refer to something light-hearted, well that’s not the same as beating your wife at all.

(I will pause her and note that saying Walsh is a misogynist does not mean he doesn’t love his wife. Just as some antifeminist women insist every woman who’s not them should stay home and pop out babies, misogynist men can love their wives, daughters and mothers and think about them differently from the rest of womankind).

When the National Guard and other responders were out rescuing people during 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, Walsh tweeted out photos of the men saying that this is what women want, and what they should want: “Woman cradles and protects child. Man carries and protects both. This is how it ought to be, despite what your gender studies professor says.” Of course in the real world, some women are soldiers, National Guard members and first responders, but Walsh would rather ignore that in favor of believing only men can be heroes. And that all women want big, strapping men to protect them, which is bullshit too; if that’s what TYG wanted, I’d still be single. So would Walsh because he doesn’t look any more the macho man of action than I do.

Walsh endorses the Pence Rule because he believes there’s no reason men and women should ever hang out: “What’s the appropriate reason for a married person to go out for a meal alone with a member of the other sex (outside of family)?” I don’t know, because they like each other platonically? Because they need to talk about work? Because they’re mutual fans of luchador films or Surrealist art and their spouses aren’t? And if it’s work-related, there are all kinds of reasons men and women might need to talk. I agree with Sheryl Sandburg, if the boss doesn’t want to meet privately with women, they shouldn’t meet privately with anyone. Otherwise it’s a serious handicap for women in their careers (I suspect Walsh sees that as a feature, not a bug).

Walsh is not quite as horrible as Warren Farrell, but he’s bad enough.

 

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The rules of the moderator are arbitrary, capricious and final

That’s how a friend of mine sums up his moderating in trivia quizzes he runs for Mensa. If you want to know my policies for moderating comments, that sounds about right. I don’t have a set of rules — I’ve never really needed one as I get few comments — but I have no qualms about blocking if I think someone’s out of bounds.

Which is relevant because I blocked what I suspect was my first troll — particularly as after I blocked him, he found me on Twitter to continue haranguing me (I blocked him there too) What set him off was my post on Warren Farrell. As you can see in the comments, he corrected (and no, I don’t consider corrections to be trolling) my statement Warren Farrell said 90 percent of rape cases were fake. What he actually said was that anywhere from zero to 100 percent of rape accusations could be lies (I’ve ordered a used copy of one of Farrell’s books to confirm this is accurate). I corrected the post accordingly because saying 100 percent of rape accusations might be lies is just as damning.

Guess what, that didn’t suit the commenter either. He objected that Farrel is totally not saying all rape cases could be false. The guy simply means that we have no accurate data, absolutely none, on the rate of false accusations so we can’t say for certain. Which is a lie, because we do have data, though as it sets the rate low, Farrell may not believe it. And sorry commenter, saying we can’t be sure any rape accusations are true is saying that 100 percent could be false. Which is also a lie because we know that for a fact. We have confessions. We have videotapes. We have DNA evidence. We have convictions. It’s true innocent people are convicted of crimes they don’t commit, and that people have been coerced into false confessions, but that’s true of murder, assault and other crimes too. There’s no reason to assume it’s an issue with rape and no other crime, unless you object to rapists being punished.

Keep in mind Farrel’s not even talking about false convictions or imprisonment, only about accusations. It’s as if being falsely accused of rape is, in itself, a bigger problem than, say, being on death row when you’re innocent or being shot by a cop when you’re innocent (his website says the real issue with so many black men in prison isn’t racism but too many single-parent households). As I’ve written before, some people who shrug off most injustices in the legal system think false rape accusations are uniquely, horribly awful. Pundit Ron Hart, for instance, has written that worrying about putting innocent people to death is a “liberal knee-jerk reaction” but accusing an innocent man of rape is intolerable (he also lies about the details of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation).

My commenter also objected that when Farrell says that no means yes, he doesn’t mean all no’s are yeses. But I didn’t claim that he did, only that he has said if a woman’s French kissing while saying no to sex, maybe she doesn’t want you to respect her no. That’s horrifying enough. So is Farrell’s view that a woman who says no to a coworker wants him to keep harassing her. That Farrell doesn’t specifically say every single woman who says no means yes doesn’t mitigate his words.

I’ve argued with rape apologist trolls before on FB, and I have very little patience with them. Whatever I say, they deny or twist. And I either have to respond or leave someone’s excuses for rapists sitting unchallenged on my wall. So now I block rape apologists there (I’ve extended this to anti-Semites too). Same in this case. I’m quite sure we’d still be posting back and forth and he’d still be insisting I was besmearing the name of a good man.

I may have to develop a formal policy some day. But for now, I’m good with it.

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Filed under Personal, Politics, Undead sexist cliches, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book

Some right-wingers are horrified that slavery is over

So as y’all are probably aware, President Biden just made Juneteenth, the day after the Civil War when slavery was finally ended, a national holiday. Unanimous in the Senate, it faced 14 Republican no votes in the House. Why? Depressingly familiar reasons: it’s an attempt to divide us! It’s reviving a conflict that’s dead and buried! Why don’t we just honor Abraham Lincoln for freeing the slaves (answer: it was two years later before the Emancipation Proclamation took full effect)? Right-wing hack Charlie Kirk sees a sinister plot to replace July 4th which is a totally united holiday with one that will divide us! Even Greene and Gaetz voted for Juneteenth, and they’re getting slammed for it.

Screaming “divisive!” is the same thing Republicans always scream when people don’t do things they want. As with Biden’s agenda, they refuse to budge, then blame Democrats for not compromising with them. it also reflects Martin Luther King’s observation that everyone was united and peaceful in Egypt when the Israelites just submitted to slavery and made bricks; it was only when Moses told Pharaoh to let his people go that things got tense and divisive. “You must remember that, that the tensionless period that we like to think of was the period when the Negro was complacently adjusted to segregation, discrimination, insult and exploitation. And the period of tension is the period when the Negro has decided to rise up and break loose from that. And this is the peace that we are seeking. Not an old negative obnoxious peace, which is merely the absence of tension, but a positive lasting peace, which is the presence of brotherhood and justice. And it is never brought about without this temporary period of tension.”

Some people, as King pointed out, shrink from that tension. Others don’t want brotherhood and justice, they want “negative obnoxious peace” (I suspect that includes those shrieking “critical race theory” as an insincere and calculated political attack) Hence the freak-out warnings that whites are ready for a race war, Or Candace Owens lying that in America nobody’s judged by skin color. Or claims that people who oppose “critical race theory” (which is now a catch-all phrase like political correctness or cancel culture) are being sent to re-education camps. Or a proposal that teachers should have body cams so we can see if they’re mean to white people. Or the horror that they might teach kids America has a history of racism.

The Southern Baptist Conference is struggling with this but ultimately it elected a relative moderat e(how much that will affect the racism and misogyny mentioned at the link, we will see) As Fred Clark quips, the SBC should be down with the idea that we and our institutions are tainted by sin. But for religious conservatives it’s supposed to be sex that’s sinful, not racism.

 

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