male privilege

The Moralist, the Moralizing, and the Moral of the Story

Fight: Mikasa awakens ― Detail of frame from Attack on Titan episode 6, 'The World the Girl Saw: The Struggle for Trost, Part 2'.

There is no moral to the story; it is convenient word play in an age of professional moralists and societal resentment toward morals of stories.

A personal moment: Something strange occurred by which a blog accustomed to calling thirty hits an outstanding day pulled about sixty for two in a row. The phenomenon on this occasion is one of a scant few posts written directly about the infamous former FOX News personality Bill O’Reilly, on an occasion he appeared to throw his own mother under the bus.

One of those weird curses of privilege: Since people are reading it, do I deliberately write a follow-up? Great, who wants to read that much of me crowing about the demise of Bill O’Reilly’s tenure at FOX News? And can I really muster the will to wallow in such sordid tales when it means putting Bill O’Reilly’s face on a protracted discussion of sexual harassment and belligerence? And how much should I really complain about the world when this is the question I’m nibbling through lunch time?

Maybe it’s these conundra, even more than the low ethics, that we come to disdain about conservatives. I can still remember a Doonesbury episode from the Time of the Blue Dress, and the idea that Mike was relieved that his twelve year-old daughter already understood enough about fellatio that he need not explain that aspect of the headlines. The idea of putting Bill O’Reilly‘s face on any discussion of sexual harassment almost feels like harassing belligerence of its own.

To the other, it is not so much a question of passing on opportunity; rather, well, damn it, the smartest thing to do would be to stop now.

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Overthinking the #Brodumb

#fandom | #brodom | #brodumb

Detail of Ampersand by Barry Deutsch, 19 January 2017

Some days it is easy enough to overthink things. To wit, I keep thinking some wise commentary goes here. Just click and read. I mean, it’s not like I need to stop and explain this one, right, boys? We all know what this is about, right? Even if we need Barry to explain it for us?

No, really, just click the damn link; as you can see, the explanation even comes with pictures.

What? Do I have to tell you she’s hot, or something? I … y’know … I mean … okay, whatever … er … ah … moves you … or, y’know … whatever.

(sigh)

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Image note: Detail of Ampersand by Barry Deutsch, 19 January 2017

A Public Service Announcement: For the Boys

Suou rejects street harassment. (Detail of frame from Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, episode 4, "The Ark Adrift on the Lake …".)

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that if a woman’s got headphones on, she doesn’t want to talk to you.”

Jenna Amatulli

The only problem with that sentence, brothers, is that quite clearly someone is willing to disagree. Don’t be that dick.

No, seriously: You should not need to be told.

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Image note: Just say no ― Suou rejects street harassment. (Detail of frame from Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, episode 4, “The Ark Adrift on the Lake …”.

Amatulli, Jenna. “Wondering How To Talk To A Woman Who’s Wearing Headphones? Don’t.” The Huffington Post. 30 August 2016.

A Brief Note About “Her”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton works from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya, 18 October 2011. (Kevin Lamarque/Associated Press)

Matthew Yglesias offers yet another example―

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, circa 2013. (Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters)So what about the charity? Well, Powell’s wife, Alma Powell, took it over. And it kept raking in donations from corporate America. Ken Lay, the chair of Enron, was a big donor. He also backed a literacy-related charity that was founded by the then-president’s mother. The US Department of State, at the time Powell was secretary, went to bat for Enron in a dispute the company was having with the Indian government.

Did Lay or any other Enron official attempt to use their connections with Alma Powell (or Barbara Bush, for that matter) to help secure access to State Department personnel in order to voice these concerns? Did any other donors to America’s Promise? I have no idea, because to the best of my knowledge nobody in the media ever launched an extensive investigation into these matters. That’s the value of the presumption of innocence, something Hillary Clinton has never been able to enjoy during her time in the national spotlight.

―of how that dastardly liberal media conspiracy always tanks the story to help a Democrat and sabotage a Republican.

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Image notes: Top ― U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton works from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya, 18 October 2011. (Kevin Lamarque/Associated Press) Right ― Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, circa 2013. (Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters)

Yglesias, Matthew. “Colin Powell’s foundation and Hillary Clinton’s are treated very differently by the media”. Vox.

An Example of the Problem

The Tennessee State Capitol building, 6 May 2012. (Photo: Andre Porter/ImagN)

They really don’t get it.

They?

Well, that’s the really hard thing, right? Because it cannot simply be a characteristic of being Republican, can it?

But they really don’t get it.

There is a strain of thought infecting the American discourse in which a point makes sense in the context of all things being equal but is offered under circumstances in which all things are observably not equal.

Like a bigot calling for a Civil Rights analogy in hopes of rallying troops to the cause of discrimination, hatred, and oppression.

Or, if you will, Samantha Lachman’s lead for Huffington Post pretty much sums up the problem:

A Republican-led Tennessee legislative committee failed to extend funding Wednesday for the state’s Economic Council on Women, with some of the lawmakers asking why there isn’t a similar council for men.

No, seriously―be honest: Who needs this one explained?

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Image note: The Tennessee State Capitol building, 6 May 2012. (Photo: Andre Porter/ImagN)

Lachman, Samantha. “Tennessee GOP On Economic Council For Women: But What About The Men?” The Huffington Post. 5 March 2015.

Very Nearly Ineffable

"In my five years on Twitter, I've been called 'nigger' so many times that it barely registers as an insult anymore," explains attorney and legal analyst Imani Gandy.  "Let's just say that my 'nigger cunt' cup runneth over."

Catherine Buni and Soraya Chemaly, via The Atlantic, offer one of those mammoth monstrosities of compelling writing about a really ugly subject.

For some, the costs are higher. In 2010, 12-year-old Amanda Todd bared her chest while chatting online with a person who’d assured her that he was a boy, but was in fact a grown man with a history of pedophilia. For the next two years, Amanda and her mother, Carol Todd, were unable to stop anonymous users from posting that image on sexually explicit pages. A Facebook page, labeled “Controversial Humor,” used Amanda’s name and image—and the names and images of other girls—without consent. In October 2012, Amanda committed suicide, posting a YouTube video that explained her harassment and her decision. In April 2014, Dutch officials announced that they had arrested a 35-year-old man suspected to have used the Internet to extort dozens of girls, including Amanda, in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The suspect now faces charges of child pornography, extortion, criminal harassment, and Internet luring.

† † †

Hildur Lilliendahl Viggósdóttir, decided to draw attention to similar problems by creating a page called “Men who hate women,” where she reposted examples of misogyny she found elsewhere on Facebook. Her page was suspended four times—not because of its offensive content, but because she was reposting images without written permission. Meanwhile, the original postings—graphically depicting rape and glorifying the physical abuse of women—remained on Facebook. As activists had been noting for years, pages like these were allowed by Facebook to remain under the category of “humor.” Other humorous pages live at the time had names like “I kill bitches like you,” “Domestic Violence: Don’t Make Me Tell You Twice,” “I Love the Rape Van,” and “Raping Babies Because You’re Fucking Fearless.”

No, really, we have nothing for this one. Rather, there is plenty to say, but there are enough profane words here already. In small doses, it is possible to muster on the spot such energy as to not only reject such hatred, but also strike back at it ferociously. In such volume, sadly, it is hard to know where to begin, how to organize the response. Meanwhile, Buni and Chemaly’s article is necessary reading. Many of us believe we have at least some idea of how bad things are out there, but every once in a while, the only thing to mind is, “Holy shit!”

Then again, we at This Is can easily get in over our heads. Our “we” is abstract. It is reader and writer and community at large. That is, at This Is, “we” is only “you” and “me”. And there are days I might think I have at least some idea of how bad things are out there, but I am not a woman. I have no idea. My “out there” is someone else’s “right here”. And while it is easy to rage and fume about this atrocity or that, there does come a point where the magnitude of this sickness raging through humanity becomes very nearly ineffable.

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Buni, Catherine and Soraya Chemaly. “The Unsafety Net: How Social Media Turned Against Women”. The Atlantic. 9 October 2014.

A Cultural Problem in These United States

Mary Spears died for not giving a man her phone number. This is every woman's nightmare. (Mary Van Valin)

Two questions:

Is it time for women to strap on, stand their ground, and shoot any man who tries to chat them up?

Is that really what we want for our society?

No, really, this one is pretty straightforward. And if you think there is some complication about it, then we might ask one more question:

If you were a police chief, what prevention tips would you be offering women in order to protect themselves?

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Van Vallin, Anna. “Mary Spears died for not giving a man her phone number”. Twitter. 7 October 2014.

Winchester, Hank. “Police: Woman shot, killed by man she rejected at Detroit hall”. Click On Detroit. 6 October 2014.

Minard, Anna. “To Avoid Rape, ‘Try not to show fear'”. Slog. 13 February 2013.