This is how nutty it's gotten on the campuses of our vaunted institutions of higher learning: Jessica Valenti debated Wendy McElroy at Brown University on “How Should Colleges Handle Sexual Assault?” and the Brown student newspaper called McElroy controversial.
Why is McElroy "controversial"? Because, the newspaper says, McElroy believes that “sexual assault is the work of small numbers of predatory individuals whose behaviors are impervious to the culture and values of their communities.”
The school's president, a woman named Christina Paxson, chimed in by saying "she disagrees with arguments made by people like McElroy that 'sexual assault is the work of small numbers of predatory individuals whose behaviors are impervious to the culture and values of their communities.'”
Excuse me while I bang my head against the wall.
McElroy's position is, in fact, consistent with the one touted by Dr. David Lisak, arguably the most respected authority on rape in the feminist community. Dr. Lisak says that over 90 percent of all rapes are committed by serial rapists. Their crimes are purposeful and planned, and only a small percentage of young men would ever cross the line. If Paxson et al. have facts to refute Dr. Lisak, they would do well to advance them. Otherwise, they would do well to shut the hell up.
McElroy's position is also consistent with the one touted by RAINN, the nation's leading anti-rape organization. Earlier this year, RAINN debunked the "rape culture" meme: "Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime." RAINN decried the "inclination to focus on particular . . . traits that are common in many millions of law-abiding Americans (e.g., 'masculinity'), rather than on the subpopulation at fault: those who choose to commit rape." RAINN cited the work of Dr. David Lisak. Natually, Valenti had a conniption.
You see, McElroy is "controversial" because she won't blame maleness for the heinous crimes committed by a small percentage of men. McElroy is "controversial" because she refuses to tout memes that are purposefully gender-divisive (not to mention incorrect) and that actually set back the cause of survivors by turning off potential allies in the war on rape.
So you tell me: how extreme is Brown University's president, Ms. Paxson when she parrots Jessica Valenti and goes against a position touted by Dr. David Lisak and RAINN?
Brown student Dana Schwartz who helped organize the debate, said this: “We have to be aware that people outside of Brown have opinions that we might find highly unpalatable, and I think instead of silencing opinions, by listening and understanding how to deconstruct and debate them effectively, that’s the best thing a Brown student can do.”
Apparently, by attending the debate, the young feminists honed their skills at "deconstructing" feminist positions that aren't sufficiently extreme. Before the event, Brown student Katherine Byron said that attending the event and listening to McElroy might be "triggering" or "really hurtful to me.’”
As for the actual debate, Robby Soavehas a typically brilliant piece, and I won't repeat what he wrote. A short summary: McElroy explained: “I was raped and brutally so … I did not blame society. I did not blame the culture. I blamed the man who raped me.” For her part, Valenti chuckled at the notion that alcohol is the problem and addressed how students might move forward in eliminating rape and sexual assault on campus. “Stopping someone from telling a rape joke or saying they got ‘raped’ by a test” would be a start, Valenti said. (Got it: Women drinking themselves to oblivion: perfectly okay; men telling "rape jokes": thatsomehow falls on a rape continuum.
Valenti also weighed in on the Columbia and Barnard College students who have recently written the names of accused student rapists on the walls of their schools’ buildings, Valenti said: “While I can’t officially suggest that you vandalize school property, I’m not against radical action.” Of course not, Valenti.
Frances started working at the family-owned Bromberg & Co. (one of the nation’s oldest family-owned retailers, the Associated Press notes) on Nov. 21, 1939, when she was hired to polish silver. She’s stayed ever since.
“Frances is a remarkable person,” said Bromberg’s President Rick Bromberg, saying she’s still a valued employee who contributes to the bottom line. “She is the longest-serving employee in the history of our company, including family.”
When she started working there she made $8 a week, and was later transferred to gift wrap. Cut to 1970, and Frances was in charge of the company’s multimillion-dollar jewelry inventory.
“Anything I wanted to do in the store I started going it,” she said. “I’d go move from one department to the other because I just like going around in the store and looking at the pretty things.”
The company held a celebratory breakfast for her this morning on her workiversary.
She says she’d like to keep working as long as she can.
“Last year I thought I was going to have to give up because of the fact I broke my hip several years ago, had knee surgery and all those things,” she said. “But I snapped back every time.”
At least, that's what we've learned in the past few months. For those unaware, there has been this drama raging on Twitter known as "#GamerGate". It might still be going on - stating whether #GamerGate is alive or dead in itself creates even more drama, so let's refrain from reporting status.
Now, Felicia Day. Felicia Day is a relatively famous person - a famous person that both is popular in gaming circles and self-identifies as a gamer. Naturally, Day would be asked or feel compelled to share her opinions about something that relates to gaming.
I had a day off this weekend from shooting Supernatural, and I was walking around downtown Vancouver on Saturday, sampling all the artisan coffee I could get my throat around. At one point I saw a pair of guys walking towards me wearing gamer shirts. Black short-sleeved, one Halo and one Call of Duty.
Now in my life up until this point, that kind of outfit has meant one thing: Potential comrades. I love games, I love gaming. [...]
So seeing another gamer on the street used to be an auto-smile opportunity, or an entry into a conversation starting with, “Hey, dude! I love that game too!” [...]
But for the first time maybe in my life, on that Saturday afternoon, I walked towards that pair of gamers and I didn’t smile. I didn’t say hello. In fact, I crossed the street so I wouldn’t walk by them. Because after all the years of gamer love and inclusiveness, something had changed in me. A small voice of doubt in my brain now suspected that those guys and I might not be comrades after all. That they might not greet me with reflected friendliness, but contempt.
I went home and was totally, utterly depressed.
I have not said many public things about Gamer Gate. I have tried to leave it alone, aside from a few @ replies on Twitter that journalists have decided to use in their articles, siding me against the hashtag. Why have I remained mostly silent?
Self-protection and fear.
I have been terrified of inviting a deluge of abusive and condescending tweets into my timeline. I did one simple @ reply to one of the main victims several weeks back, and got a flood of things I simply couldn’t stand to read directed at me. I had to log offline for a few days until it went away. I have tried to retweet a few of the articles I’ve seen dissecting the issue in support, but personally I am terrified to be doxxed for even typing the words “Gamer Gate”.
I know this entry will probably draw contempt from people in the Gamer Gate movement. Something to scorn, something to rile them up against me and everything I’ve ever made. Especially, and most hurtfully, to mock my vulnerability. I just have one thing to say to you who do that: I’m genuinely sorry you are so angry.
In short, Felicia Day states that she has been afraid of saying something about GamerGate because she's afraid of having her details published on the internet.
Allegedly the response to this Tumblr post - either from GamerGaters, stalkers, trolls or all of the above - was predictably that Day's details were published on the internet.
If there is anything the internet is good at, it's making one's worst fears come true -- especially if one outlines them in detail and then calls out a particular type of person for having a special relationship to these terrible actions.
Like calling a friend a grouch, some things can tend to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Clearly voiced low expectations have a habit of becoming reality.
Day's comments were not the most shortsighted however, as Chris Kluwe ran in to make this comment:
And for the record, none of you fucking #Gamergate tools tried to dox me, even after I tore you a new one. I'm not even a tough target. — Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) October 23, 2014
Kluwe is literally a locker room jock that feels good as he calls people "fatso" as he thinks he has done the world a favor from refraining from calling them "faggot". Kluwe is truly a modern hero for equality and everyone apparently owes him a debt of gratitude.
Let's not overanalyze Kluwe's past statements. Let's dive into what is stupid about his current statements in regards to treatment of Felicia Day.
The police rolls in, under the assumption that the victim is armed and dangerous. How this situation can quickly go very wrong need not be explained. Presumably some depraved individual thinks this is a hilarious joke.
The treatment is not limited to people that are livestreaming. Apparently this sort of thing happens to celebrities quite regularly, and it is intentionally underreported as to avoid copycat crimes.
When it is so easy to spread immensely damaging false information, white knights like Chris Kluwe (or anyone) trying to make themselves a datapoint ("The trolls never touch me!") is profoundly stupid.
It's not clear what exactly this shirt means for women. It could be an ultimate socially liberal "sex-positive" expression of Buffy-like "strong women" seeking to break free from a stuffy and proper lab coat world. On the other hand, it could be another example of sick objectificationthat is keeping women out of tech.
Whatever the shirt means, Twitter has made up its mind about the wearer:
The problem, of course, is not so much the shirt itself - it is that a man, Matt Taylor, chose to wear it.
The reality is that women themselves can choose to dress in a burqa or as Barbarella and the most feminist mode of thought is to question neither decision. As an example, school dress codes are thought to be some as a form of "slut shaming":
While school dress codes are nothing new, experts in adolescent behavior warn that the current practice of enforcing them with humiliating, public punishments may be sending the wrong message to students by encouraging the objectification of young women in a hypersexualized society.
It's absolutely wrong to put girls in a neon colored hijab-of-shame for violating code. Yet it's also strange that sending a girl home for wearing a bikini to class could possibly be interpreted by some keyboard culture warrior as condoninga hypersexualized society instead of limiting one.
Others are actually saying dress codes promote a rape culture:
The superintendent of the Anglophone West School District is defending the dress code that's in place at Fredericton High School amid accusations that the policy promotes “rape culture.”
The group says the dress code promotes a rape culture by blaming female victims for attracting male aggression.
The absolutely ridiculous assumption within this is that the primary basis for a dress code is to prevent bad behavior from men. Apparently dress codes really do not have any practical purposes (long gowns tend to increase fire mortality rates) or overall social effects (women feeling less social pressure to submit to trend norms).
Another comedic consequence of this reasoning is ignoring how sexualized conforming to dress codes can be - did we somehow forget that some fetishize uniforms?
Further, men are part of the dress code equation. Somehow, it would seem that schools banning young men from wearing a macho garment perversely known as a "wife beater" is a move that may support women. Adding to the confusion are the choices made by men-only spaces that choose to regulate attire without outside input.
The result of all this drama is a lot of no-win scenarios. What kind of persuasive argument about anything may be made?
Meanwhile in the lets-talk-everything-out parallel universe, beautiful women are telling stories that run the gamut. We have irrational fears and behaviors, such as crossing the street to avoid the misogynist terrorist in the Halo shirt. We have extreme leaps to condescending conclusions such as the idea that pinups rendered in cotton on the chest of a previously unknown scientist is forcing women into majoring in art history - staying there until the dark day when a professor will choose to get a Matisse tattoo. Finally, antiquated high school strict dress codes are supposedly promoting a culture of rape and victim blaming.
The humor in all this that aside from a small core group of people, the response from most people to internet drama is a mix of impatience and bewilderment. "Social justice" and "progress" by the day looks more reactive, angry, and ill-planned.
The true mystery is somewhat of a chicken and egg dilemma. What came first, the view that internet activists are useless or the view that left politics is ineffectual? Even the youth vote may be swinging right- could the irrelevance of Twitter drama be a factor?
The discussion of shirts needs to stop. We need to talk about the real menace.
The 51st Episode of my Bad Drivers Series. Everyday bad driving from around the Greater Vancouver Area. Quite a bit of raging, yelling, and honking from me. Most of the clips, there's 2, 3, or 4 things going on at once... Yeah. This is what I have to deal with on a daily basis... Enjoy! **NOTE: Neither am I the perfect driver, nor I am not claiming to be, and like everyone else, I do make mistakes when driving. I do upload most of my mistakes at the end of my videos, if they're interesting enough. My videos simply showcase bad driving, so people (including myself) can learn from them. I am not singling anyone out, nor am I requesting them to drive better, as that is out of my control. My videos are for entertainment and educational purposes. Any comments related to the issue addressed will be ignored and/or deleted if necessary.**