Category Archives: Undead sexist cliches

Now why on Earth would the rape victim refuse to cooperate with this guy?

Explaining a lack of arrests in one set of rape cases, NYPD Captain Pete Rose explains that it’s because the victims decide not to press charges, or give up on cooperating with the cops. But the uptick in rape cases is not a big deal: “It’s not a trend that we’re too worried about because out of 13 [sex attacks], only two were true stranger rapes .. If there’s a true stranger rape, a random guy picks up a stranger off the street, those are the troubling ones. That person has, like, no moral standards.” In contrast, the ones without arrests are those where it was just a coworker raping the woman, or a casual hookup — you know, rapists who have some ethical standards.

I can see why victims might recoil from working with the police if that’s the attitude.

Hat tip to LGM.

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Radicalizing white guys online (and other links)

We hear a lot about how Muslims are radicalized online, but a Vox article says the same is true of “alt right” radicalizing white guys for the white supremacist movement: lonely guys looking for bonding and support (e.g., “incels” or “involuntary celibates”) are introduced first to online misogyny, then into white supremacy. Though even if they stop at misogyny, that’s horrifying enough: just check out We Hunted the Mammoth, with its ongoing chronicle of rants from the online misogynist world, for example fantasies that when the economy collapses under Trump, it will be great for men, as it will restore patriarchy and force women back into their 1950s roles. A post from Atomic Junk Shop discusses some of the underlying frustrations that can push men that way.

•Trump’s election is radicalizing men in a different way: he’s proof they can get away with it. Check out the douchebag quoted in this Echidne post, who brags that after Trump’s election, he knows he can rape a woman and get away with it. You can find more examples in this list of harassment incidents (race, religion, gender, orientation) from the first ten days after the election. Trump, of course, assures us he’s completely shocked and has no idea why so many harassers are invoking his name.

•Amanda Robb argues that Robert Dear, the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooter, was radicalized by the right, but because he’s white and Christian we don’t see it.

•Roy Edroso looks at the general idiocy of the right-wing post-election, including the ongoing claims that Trump won the popular vote. Oh, and there’s a batshit claim that the Central Park Five —whom Trump insists are guilty, despite DNA evidence — haven’t really been exonerated just because the system dropped the charges, vacated the sentences and set them free.

•Susan Faludi looks at how the racist far-right has presented itself in Hungary.

•So the mother of white supremacist Richard Spencer claims her real-estate business has tanked due to backlash over her son’s policies. One neo-Nazi website’s solution: take action against the Jews! Which is the sort of thing that encourages Jews in America to join forces with Muslims.

•The LA Times apologizes for printing letters defending the Japanese internment. (if you want some research on that topic, check here).

•In the US we face a fight over putting any women on our money. In Canada, the issue is not having more than one.

•Late astronaut and senator John Glenn was ahead of the curve in another way, supporting women of color at NASA.

•With no other way to reach her husband, a woman tries serving divorce papers on Facebook.

•Fake news sites make money through ads. Unfortunately it’s not so easy to shut down the money spigot.

•Human Rights Watch calls on Trump to show his claimed respect for women by supporting women’s rights.

•A driver in Arizona pulls over when his friend in another car is stopped by cops. Cops arrest the driver (who wasn’t stopped) for not showing them his license when asked. A court rules the driver was right, but an appeals court found for the cops, on the grounds they could reasonably assume they were entitled to see the license. Fortunately there’s no way any cop could abuse that kind of legal principle …

•Trump attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions is virulently anti-marijuana. Nevertheless, the legal pot industry is hoping he won’t bother them if they don’t annoy him.

•Echidne on why Trump ignoring the norms of politics is a bad thing.

•Joy. Continuing Trump’s preference for clueless inexperienced people, he’s picked Larry Kudlow as chief economic adviser. As Jonathan Chait details, Kudlow is a fanatical believer in tax cuts for the rich, whose predictions on the economy (Clinton’s tax hikes will ruin us! Bush’s tax cuts will boost the economy! The housing bubble is a myth!) are invariably wrong.

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Undead sexist cliches: it takes a village to decide whether to pop out a baby

(This is the political post that would normally have gone on Monday, if my brain hadn’t been fried by indexing).

Echidne of the Snakes sums up the right-wing view of pregnancy thus: “The right-wing in this country wants to socialize decisions about conception, about pregnancy and even about giving birth, but once a child is born, everything should be privatized:  Almost all responsibility is saddled on the shoulders of the mothers, while the wider conservative society, in general, refuses to budge one inch from its traditional gendered expectations about the role of mothers” (hence the title of this post).

As noted at the link, Ohio has just passed a law banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detectable — never mind that heartbeat isn’t a measure of life (hospitals can harvest organs from brain-dead people with functioning hearts). And similar extreme bills are on the way.

As I pointed out in one of my older And columns, the rights of the fetus aren’t simply being considered, they’re being used (whether that’s the intent or not) to strip away the rights of any pregnant woman. The right not to confine herself to bed rest without a second medical opinion. To not have a Caesarian. To have a legal drink. Women have gotten into legal trouble for exercising all those rights. As Echidne has put it, the women are being treated as aquariums — their bodies are simply convenient containers for the real person inside. For example, we have media discussions of how women of childbearing age should consider themselves potentially pregnant — they might be pregnant without knowing it, so maybe they’d better skip those prescription painkillers (or whatever).

Birth control can help with that, of course, but Trump’s new healthcare nominee, Tom Price, is a forced-birther. As is Mike Pence, who thinks all miscarriages should be given burial or cremation, mandatory, as if they were actual children (Slacktivist has pointed out what a weird concept that is). And contrary to the right-to-life movement’s lies, they are punishing the mothers.

Meanwhile Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, says mothers shouldn’t take high-powered jobs (in the White House say), though she later said the context was distorted and of course women are welcome in the White House (of course saying so doesn’t prove anything — but much as I loathe the new administration, it’s worth noting). But as Echidne says, the right-wing’s been pretty clear on how women should stay home and breed, the white nationalists who adore Trump even more so (gotta breed children for the Reich, so to speak). Making it harder for women to avoid pregnancy (at least without staying virgin or sticking to oral sex) then excluding them from jobs because they’re pregnant would suit much of the right just fine.

And yet it’s a safe bet that for all the concern about the suffering fetuses, Republicans will do nothing to help with prenatal care or treatment — in fact their proposed changes to ACA could make things worse for women needing maternity care. Like Echidne says, privatizing the costs. Even if a rape victim gets pregnant — something that’s clearly not her choice — and the government refuses to let her abort, the right will still squeal at the thought of paying any medical bills. Never mind that good care is expensive, and important for both parties. All we’ll hear is about how sure, they’d love to help, but some slut might just exploit “Uncle Sugar” (in theocrat Mike Huckabee’s words) and get him to give her a freebie when she wasn’t raped at all.

Because if it was real rape she wouldn’t get pregnant.

Because all the sluts just cry rape all the time in Republicanverse because they get so many goodies.

Because God arranged that rape so she’d better have the baby.

And better a thousand women and their children suffer from lack of medical care than one human being get something she’s not entitled to.

Maybe it’s time for us to stop playing nice and get as extreme as the forced-birthers. No compromise on women’s rights to choose: if she’s in labor and changes her mind, just kill the fetus. Then we’ll graciously compromise from that position to something less extreme. Hey, it worked for the other side!

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Political links unrelated to Trump? Amazing!

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court believe the U.S. military has tortured at least 61 people in Afghanistan, with the CIA adding more victims on top of that. The incidents occurred during 2003-4, and would count as war crimes.

•So would Syrian and Russian attacks on civilians in Aleppo.

•JP Morgan is paying $264 million to settle charges it bought off government officials by hiring their friends and family.

•When iCloud is turned on, the iPhone sends all your call records to Apple.

•A bill currently sitting in Congress would ban the federal government from taking action against anyone who denies service to gays based on either religious belief of “moral conviction.” And apparently (judging from the text) would allow them to also deny service based on a belief/conviction that sex should be reserved for marriage. So apparently if someone wants to fire a woman for having sex before marriage, that would be a-okay.

•On the plus side, a bill banning gag clauses — contractual fine print that says you can’t criticize the company, even if your criticisms are true — has gone before Obama.

•Another case or right-wing terrorism. Here’s one from England.

•No, Hitler was not a vegetarian.

•Gringa of the Barrio looks at her family’s history of KKK membership.

•A new rule change gives the government lots more power to hack into people’s computers. The Senate tried unsuccessfully to block it.

•Right-wing preacher John Piper blames a miscarriage on the father’s interest in porn. Slacktivist says right-wing evangelicals can’t allow themselves to understand miscarriage. Because if you believe that a fetus is ensouled from the moment of conception, that means most of the people in the afterlife were never born.

•Chicago is suffering a massive shortage of health inspectors for restaurants.

•Baylor U athletic director Ian McCaw has been accused of covering up gang rape allegations involving the football team. Liberty University (a right-wing Christian flagship) doesn’t see that as an issue: they’ve hired him to “develop champions for Christ.”

•Remember Mike Pence’s rule in Ohio requiring aborted fetuses be buried or cremated? Now it’s Texas. And the Church of Satan is against it on the grounds burial decision are a religious matter. Meanwhile Utah pushes a bill that claims (with no scientific benefit) women can reverse the morning-after pill and stay pregnant.

•Alabama’s top officials are mired in scandal.

•The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has run into trouble over its legal structure (one commissioner, who can’t be summarily removed by the president). Some congressmen are coming out in support of the CFPB.

•The Associated Press says if reporters use the term alt-right, they should clarify it’s a euphemism for white supremacy.

Android malware has taken over more than 1 million Google accounts.

•Here’s a very SF idea: some local governments in China are giving people a “credit score” based on their lives — rules broken, neglecting parents, saying things online the government disagrees with.

•A right-winger claims that because the big fire in Tennessee only threatens red state areas, the media are ignoring it. He’s wrong.

•So Google fiber is coming to Nashville using the regular cable/phone poles. That required a city ordinance change, which led to Comcast suing to stop the change. The city is suing back.

•Dallas has a $3 million fund for incentivizing supermarkets that move into the city’s food deserts. It’s not helping.

•Product disparagement laws allow the food industry to sue if someone says bad things about their products. Olive oil, for example, is suing Dr. Oz.

•Wells Fargo customers can’t sue if the bank opened fake accounts in their name because their contracts impose binding arbitration instead. A new bill would change that.

•Fidel Castro is dead. His legacy of repressive laws lives on.

•An Asian-American author’s new book says no, the US did not become more tolerant of Asians because they’re a model minority.

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Almost two weeks since Trump day …

I’m not as wretched as I felt Nov. 9, but I still have bursts of Freak Out at the thought of what may be ahead. I’m particularly shaken by stories of petty spite like a man who punched a woman in the face for being upset about the election. Not that it’s the worst we’re going to see, but there’s something that unsettles me more than the big scary stuff at the national level. Though that’s bad too, like sexist, racist right-winger Steve Bannon as chief Trump strategist (Mother Jones has more). That shakes me too. As does the damage an all-Republican government will do to the environment.

•Kellyanne Conway of the Trump campaign says it’s Trump and Clinton’s responsibility to stop anti-Trump protests. No suggestion Trump should calm anyone, not that he would anyway.

•Jim Hines points out that if Trump supporters resent being called racist, there’s a simple way to prove they’re not: speak up about the racism.

•Scott Lemieux looks at how Trump’s racism rarely held the media’s attention. A Vox article says the media statistics confirm that. Hullabaloo looks at how false news reaches people via Facebook.

•It looks like some Trump voters were Obama voters. Jamelle Bouie says that doesn’t prove they weren’t racist — in 2008 and 2012 they didn’t receive a racist candidate.

•Roy Edroso watches right-wingers come around to supporting Trump. Case in point, Megan McArdle is calling on us to come together for the greater good and not demonize people who accept positions in the Trump administration (given he’s recruiting people like Bannon, I don’t think tarnishing good people is the big issue). Eliot Cohen, a conservative Never Trumper, says however that after encouraging conservatives to sign on with Trump if asked, he’s looked at Bannon and others in Trump’s circle and now says stay away.

•Another Edroso piece looks at the sea change in more detail — including that just as in 2000, some right-wingers are trying to rationalize that Trump really won the popular vote. Here are some examples, as right-wingers explain Bannon’s not so bad.

•Blaming “political correctness” for Trump is like blaming civil rights for Jim Crow.

•Is Paul Ryan really willing to destroy Medicare?

•A black blogger vents and explains why she needs to vent with other black people for a while.

•Amanda Marcotte looks at the white male anger of Trump supporters.

•The ever-repellent Federalist declares that white people will no longer submit to their black oppressors.

•Speaking of fake news sites (we’re now away from the electoral topic) one guy who created some to promote his phony health product must pay $30 million to his customers.

•Frustrated with Uber’s email customer service, a woman drives to their office — without much better luck.

•A TV station reports that Office Depot employees sometimes identify non-existent malware to sell customers on a virus-protection program.

•Charter/Time Warner insists that charging fees that it doesn’t include in the monthly price it promotes helps make bills easy to understand.

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I was going to write a happy post this morning

Because I had a really nice, relaxing weekend and I entered Monday full of energy. It would have been good to blog about.

But then the election happened. And no matter how bad I thought it was going to be Tuesday, it’s getting worse. And petting the puppies is losing its effectiveness as a stress-reliever. Because even though I’m a white male, America’s already suffering a wave of hate crimes (hat/tip LGM).

There’s an optimistic (sort-of) theory of the “extinction burst,” that this is the last gasp of the hate-filled right: “The old world order is SCREAMING right now. What I’m seeing tonight are the death throes of a system that cannot last. Whatever the outcome, remember that what happens at the federal level is not the end of the story. We can take charge in our communities, and we can continue to move in the right direction. Let ’em scream. The rest of us have work to do.”

I’d like to believe it. Certainly what we’re seeing is partly fueled by frustration that women, gays, non-whites are no longer as securely subordinate as they used to be. But I don’t think it’s going extinct. Rick Perlstein has pointed this has been the dream since the 1960s, that the old-school segregationists and haters would die off and things would improve. And it hasn’t happened. And still hasn’t — we’re “still the country that killed Emmett Till.” And now the anti-gays hope we’ll be the country that rolls back gay marriage.

It’s true, of course, that most voters didn’t go for Trump. For the second time in sixteen years, we picked the Democrat and the Electoral College gave us the Republican. The college was created partly so that slave states could use slaves to boost their electoral clout — in a straight vote, the South was too rural to match the north. The Founders also thought that the Electoral College could override the people if the people succumbed to a demagogue. Instead, as Charles Pierce says, the people picked the sane candidate, now the College will give us a demagogue.

Where’d it go wrong? A lot of people are crunching vote totals (what data we have) and figuring it out. A big part of it seems to be smaller minority turnout which means voter suppression worked, though that’s probably not the only factor. Certainly sexism played a huge role — too many people still weren’t willing to accept a woman president. And as Bouie noted, the appeal of white supremacy. Plus probably lots of factors, but those big ones are pretty horrible.

The next four years under a Republican congress/White House will be very ugly. And I’m not optimistic after that. Repubs are positioned to gerrymander the hell out of the next redistricting; the Electoral College benefits them; and they have lots of opportunity to suppress the minority vote (I will go out on a limb and say the federal government under Trump will not be interested in tackling the issue—except helping suppress). Any hope of stopping climate change is dead in the water. Trump’s got at least one Supreme Court judge to appoint and possibly more, which will enable Republicans to roll back god knows what. Obergefell, I’m guessing, Roe vs. Wade too, and that’s just for starters. Some judges believe there’s no legal authority for any government regulation of employer conduct, product safety, food safety … If they gut enough it will take a long time to rebuild.

On the personal level, I can see lots of ways this could wreak havoc on our personal finances. In the grand scheme of things that’s trivial (there are lots of people staring at much nastier situations) but it’s us, so I can’t hep but fret.

I’ll leave you with a link from Samantha Field pointing out it’s not like hate crimes and injustice weren’t here already: “We had a long road ahead of us already. It just got longer and rougher … we’ll fight like we always have and always will.” I recommend reading the whole thing. It’s not helping me right now, but I think it may later.

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Alan Moore tries taking it back: the Golliwog (#SFWApro)

The weirdest part of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier when I first read it was the Galley-Wag. A huge blackface figure who comes out of nowhere to save Allan and Mina, babbling insane gobbledygook—and did I mention the blackface? It turns out this was Moore’s attempt to redeem a character from 19th century fiction.

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When I first saw Golliwogs in advertisements as a kid (they were in ads for Robinson’s Marmalade, IIRC), I had no idea they were blackface. I hadn’t been exposed to much racist iconography, I just assumed they were funny-looking figures (you can see an example above, taken from Herald Scotland, all rights to current holder). Yes, I was an ignorant kid in some ways.

The original Golliwog was a 19th century fictional creation by Florence Kate Upton. According to Moore, despite the blackface imagery, the character was a strong, positive one, not at all racist (I’ve heard arguments to the contrary, and no idea which is right). By putting the Golliwog in the book as one of the Blazing World’s agents, Moore thought he could redeem the character restoring him to his non-racist roots. Moore has been very unhappy with people who say he failed, eventually sinking to the time-honored cop-out that apparently it’s just not permissible for white people to write about black people. But I don’t think that’s the problem. Whatever Moore’s intent (and I’m sure it was as he says) and the merits of Upton’s original creation, I don’t think it works.d

In a sense it’s a variation of the name-dropping problem I mentioned yesterday: I never heard of the fictional golliawog, I have no reason to go “Oh, good, Moore has restored the original spirit of the character!” All I can go by is what I see, and what I see is this big, freaky blackface character. If the only way to understand what Moore’s doing is to go back and read a 19th century novel, or study the admittedly excellent annotations to LXG by Jess Nevins — well, sorry. Readers are entitled to judge the story by what’s on the page, and what’s on the page is just a golliwog. Other than looks he doesn’t conform to a racial stereotype, but he doesn’t really counter it either.

It’s not like this is a problem unique to Black Dossier or Moore. For instance when Grant Morrison temporarily turned super-hero Mary Marvel into a Dark version wearing spandex and butt floss, some of his fans argued this was not at all sexist — we should see her as an ironic meta-commentary on artists who draw women wearing spandex and butt floss. Even if that was Morrison’s intention (I don’t believe he made the claim himself) it failed: she was still a female character parading around in butt floss. Nothing meta about it. And as I’ve written before, there’s nothing meta about the Yellow Peril stereotypes in the original LXG series. If, as Comics Journal argues, Moore and O’Neil use all the rape and racist tropes to “dare their readers to parse the difference between mimesis and mockery,” I think they failed. The rapes and tropes look just like rapes and tropes, no mockery at all.

Even mockery doesn’t always help. M declaring James Bond a sexist, misogynist dinosaur in Goldeneye doesn’t make him any less sexist. Having Jonni Future (an America’s Best Comics character from a decade ago) comment about how ridiculous it is to have space adventures in a skimpy space suit that bares her ginormous cleavage doesn’t make her ironic or meta — she’s still a massively endowed woman wearing a body-baring costume.

To paraphrase film critics Siskel and Ebert, if something doesn’t work there’s no point to the creator explaining why he had to write it that way.

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