Not I

Andy in Japan asks my opinion:

BTW, what are your thoughts on this latest ‘me too’ Facebook circular jerk. My guess is about 90% of those posting are unwanted advances not actual harrassment/abuse.

That would be my guess too. Somebody started a ‘me too’ hashtag on Twitter so women who’ve been subjected to sexual assault in the manner of Harvey Weinstein’s victims could let themselves be known, and several million (mainly American) women responded.

This is self-indulgent, feminist-driven posturing. They have quite deliberately blurred the line between rape, sexual assault, and unwanted attention. Lewd remarks, being pestered by male colleagues in the office, and similar acts of unwanted interaction can be pretty unpleasant, but they are not the same as demands for sexual favours or unwanted physical contact of an overtly sexual nature. Most women sharing the ‘me too’ hashtag will simply be recalling the time a builder wolf-whistled at them to justify joining the victim bandwagon and advance their political agenda.

It is little different from a man setting up a ‘me too’ hashtag to highlight the serious issue of false rape allegations, and men retweet it if, at any point in their lives, they’ve ever been the victim of a woman’s lies. If ever there was a campaign guaranteed to achieve 100% saturation, that would be it.

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The Ubiquity of Moral Cowardice

Via Twitter, Damian Counsell links to this piece on Harvey Weinstein by screenwriter Scott Rosenburg:

Not to mention, most of the victims chose not to speak out.
Aside from sharing the grimy details with a close girlfriend or confidante.
And if they discussed it with their representatives?
Agents and managers, who themselves feared The Wrath Of The Big Man?
The agents and managers would tell them to keep it to themselves.
Because who knew the repercussions?
That old saw “You’ll Never Work In This Town Again” came crawling back to putrid life like a re-animated cadaver in a late-night zombie flick.
But, yes, everyone knew someone who had been on the receiving end of lewd advances by him.
Or knew someone who knew someone.

And here’s where the slither meets the slime:
Harvey was showing us the best of times.
He was making our movies.
Throwing the biggest parties.
Taking us to The Golden Globes!
Introducing us to the most amazing people (Meetings with Vice President Gore! Clubbing with Quentin and Uma! Drinks with Salman Rushdie and Ralph Fiennes! Dinners with Mick Jagger and Warren-freaking-Beatty!).

In short, nobody spoke out about the mistreatment of their colleagues because they were doing fine. A certain Edmund Burke had something to say about this:

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

To borrow a phrase from the feminists, this is not a problem restricted to Hollywood. Only I’m not talking about sexual assaults on women workers, I’m talking about moral cowardice.

I defy anyone who has worked the last ten years in the modern workplace to tell me they haven’t seen a time when a decent, conscientious, competent worker was treated like dirt or hounded out of their position by a self-serving, cowardly management who should never have been put in charge of guarding a pile of wet dog shit, let alone the lives of human beings.

Similarly, I defy anyone who has worked the last ten years in the modern workplace to cite more than three occasions when a colleague of somebody who’s been fucked over has stuck his neck out and openly criticised the management responsible for the mistreatment. I don’t mean expressing sympathy with the guy, nor do I mean making generic remarks about how terrible it all is. I mean marching into the manager’s office and saying:

“Just to let you know, I am seriously unhappy with what you are doing to Fred over there. It is unethical, immoral, and probably illegal, and ought to have no place in a modern business.”

Hands up who has done that? Hands up who has seen anyone do that? Anyone? Nobody? Bueller? Bueller?!

There are reasons for this, of course. People are individuals, and usually have kids to feed and a mortgage to pay. Achieving these two things are usually their top priorities in life, and anything else is secondary – including being happy at work. So colleagues of a mistreated employee may sympathise and want to say something, but will judge it to be in their personal interests just to keep quiet. Why antagonise the management and put yourself on a hit-list when it probably isn’t going to help your colleague anyway? Better  to remain silent.

Only as Mr Burke realised, speaking out against injustice matters for two reasons:

1. Many managers, especially weak ones who want their subordinates cowed and compliant, interpret silence as contentment. Believing their actions are being met with approval, they are emboldened to continue in the same manner. Keeping silent allows bad managers to justify shitty behaviour to themselves and keep their consciences clear. It allows them to go home at night and look their wives and kids in the eyes instead of hanging their heads in shame. I would prefer a manager who has mistreated somebody to be the subject of a short, sharp, and unpleasant confrontation with an unrelated third party which has him unable to sleep that night through realisation that he is, in this instance, a complete c*nt. Speak out and you make them uncomfortable, far more than they let on. Subordinates are under no obligation to give their superiors a comfy ride at their expense.

2. There is an appalling habit of managers, when confronted with an unfavorable situation over which they have presided, to claim “we didn’t know” followed by “if we had known, we would have done something” and followed further by “you should have communicated this to us through the proper channels”. Speaking out at the time robs them of the opportunity to pull this excuse in the future, and forces them to attempt to justify the situation or commit to a demonstrable lie. Again, it will make them uncomfortable. Good.

Of course, if you try to intervene the manager in question is likely to say that it is none of your business, at which point you can fire back that your colleague being subject to shitty treatment is everyone’s business, and it is. Sooner or later, it will be you wishing others had spoken out.

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Feminists and Harvey Weinstein

As expected, deranged third-wave feminists are using the Harvey Weinstein revelations to amplify their theory that men as a group are a problem and all of us are potential rapists. Once again the Twitter feed of Laurie Penny provides the best examples of a common sentiment:

This bollocks needs to be put to bed quickly. Firstly, nobody I’ve read or heard is blaming young, unknown women from speaking out about Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour. As Laurie herself implies, who would believe them? Plus, they have a lot to lose if Weinstein decides to take revenge on them. But what none of these so-called feminists want to ask is why didn’t Hollywood’s most powerful women – some of whom had been abused by Weistein themselves – speak out? Angelina Jolie was a UN Ambassador for heaven’s sake, could she really find nobody to talk to about Weinstein? What about Gwyneth Paltrow, or one of the other dozen extremely rich, well-connected women in Hollywood who knew damned well what Weinstein was like. Why didn’t they speak out?

Secondly, there is something else not being acknowledged by feminists here. It is one thing for young women not to speak out against Weinstein. It is another thing for powerful women to not speak out. But it is altogether a different thing for those powerful women (and men) to constantly praise Weinstein, join him on stage at awards ceremonies, pose for photos with him at parties, and invite him to their homes (I understand he went to the White House 13 times under Obama). This is not merely remaining silent, it is actively providing cover for the man and bestowing on him a social acceptability that his behaviour doesn’t warrant. That is the real issue here, and feminists are doing everything they can to ignore it.

This is not a man problem, nor is it a woman problem: it is a problem whereby shitbag men are aided and abetted by other shitbag men and equally shitbag women. In short, it’s a shitbag problem. However, on Friday we had Emma Thompson telling the BBC we have a problem with “extreme masculinity”. Sorry, what? When I think of “extreme masculinity” someone like this comes to mind:

Not this:

Weinstein is a disgusting fat slob, and if you listen to the audio recording here he sounds like the biggest whining, beta male you’re ever likely to come across. The feminist reaction to the Weinstein revelations says more about what sort of men these women hang out with than men in general. Here’s Laurie again:

Well, speak for yourself, Laurie! While she might like to count rapists among her friends and partners (and if her previous writings are any guide, she does), I’d like to think most normal women don’t socialise with rapists. She compounded her idiocy with this:

And this is what it comes down to: feminists like Laurie Penny couldn’t give a shit about women, they only care about advancing their own fucked-up agenda. They have seized on the issue of powerful, shitbag men preying on vulnerable girls with the willing assistance of powerful, shitbag women in order to demonise ordinary decent men. Third-wave feminism is as much a danger to young women as fat slobs like Harvey Weinstein and his phalanx of groupies. It’s time more people realised this.

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What Passes for Journalism

Two examples of shoddy journalism that irked me.

The first, described on Twitter as being an example of “Tory values”:

In a bid to crack down on so-called ‘health tourism’, 20 NHS trusts across the country have taken part in a government pilot scheme to trial identity checks for patients. The results of the pilots are due to be published later this year, but doctors, patients and health organisations have spoken to Politics.co.uk to raise serious concerns about the impact they have had.

“One of the worst cases involved a pregnant French woman who was of Asian descent,” one doctor says. “She arrived for a routine scan and was asked by reception staff if she was eligible for free care. She told them that she was French and had never needed to provide ID before. The receptionist told her that she didn’t ‘seem French’ and called the Paying Patients department to question her further.

“The woman was so upset by what was happening that she had a panic attack. I was called to check her over. I had to tell the Paying Patients department to leave the room because they had upset her so much.”

Sorry, but this doesn’t pass the smell test. Firstly, French people habitually carry ID with them everywhere and I doubt it’s a habit they ditch when they move to the UK unless they’ve been there many, many years. And to access the healthcare system in France they need to produce a separate carte vitale, which most French people carry in their wallets alongside their ID. It is therefore highly unlikely a pregnant French woman went to a hospital expecting treatment without bringing some form of ID. It is even less likely she had a panic attack on being asked for some.

Secondly, I have a hard time believing a hospital receptionist said she didn’t “seem French”: this isn’t the 1970s, and even the NHS would have given their receptionists some rudimentary training as to how to deal with those without ID. According to the journalist who wrote it, the doctor witnessed the whole thing – yet later she says he or she was “called to check her over”. Did the doctor stand idly by as this woman went into a panic attack, waiting to be called over? And who called her? Or was she actually out of earshot when the “didn’t seem French” remark was made (which I suspect is more likely) in which case who are we relying on for the quote?

This whole thing looks to me like an embellished story fed to a gullible reporter by an anonymous doctor who doesn’t like the policy. As a piece of journalism, it fails to establish key details of the story and doesn’t make sense even on a superficial level.

The BBC, reporting on the withdrawal of subsidies to health insurance companies, doesn’t do much better:

US President Donald Trump will end subsidies to health insurance providers designed to help low income households, as he continues his attempts to dismantle Obamacare.

The White House announced the move hours after Mr Trump signed an executive order allowing the sale of health insurance plans which are exempt from some of the law’s regulations.

The announcements come after Congress repeatedly failed to repeal Obamacare.

They were instantly criticised.

Democratic Party leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement denouncing the end of subsidies as a “spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage” which would harm the poorest citizens.

Meanwhile, critics of the initial announcement argued it could de-stabilise the Obamacare market by encouraging healthy consumers to leave their current plans, prompting a spike in premium costs for older Americans and those with pre-existing conditions.

According to a statement from the White House, the subsidies, which run into billions each year, were not legal.

This might come as a surprise to the BBC, but rulings on legality are not made in the White House but in courts. As the Washington Post reported last August:

Republicans have long protested the payments, and in late 2014 the GOP-led House filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration, contending that the subsidies were unconstitutional because Congress had not made a specific appropriation for them. Last year a federal district court ruled in the House’s favor, and the Obama administration appealed the case to the D.C. Circuit.

All Trump has done is stop the appeal. The illegality of the payments is therefore not a matter of a White House statement, implying its merely Trump’s opinion, but something ruled upon by a federal court. It’s yet another example of Obama deciding to do things on his own without consulting Congress, as he was constitutionally obliged to do. Not that you’d know that if you relied on the BBC for information.

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The Mellowing of Men

Commenter Ljh makes the following remark under my post about passion attracting women:

Men compete with each other for ranking. I’ve observed it at meetings, dinner parties and other events where alpha males attempt to dominate the others and brag of their various achievements: pure anthropology.

This is undoubtedly true for young men between 16 and 25, who are constantly vying for the attention of any women in the vicinity. Men between these ages are forever fighting, squaring up to one another, mocking each other, and engaging in all manner of silly games intended to demonstrate dominance over their peers and establish a pecking order.

What surprises me a little about Ljh’s comment is that he still sees it going on, whereas in my experience this all starts to fade away after age 25 or so, and past 30 is almost gone completely. There was a time when meeting a bunch of men for the first time would put me on edge a little, knowing I was in direct competition with them. Nowadays I’m happy just to make friends, relax, and talk bullshit (I’m especially good at that last one).

It could be that Ljh moves in different circles from me. Perhaps in banking, law, and other industries where a big ego and alpha-male characteristics are advantageous you encounter men who still feel the need to establish dominance over their peers, even in middle-age. In engineering, or at least that branch which deals with oil and gas, there isn’t so much of that. I’ve found most of my colleagues to be very easy going and cooperative, more interested in getting along with people than outranking them. I put this down to them mostly being settled with wives and children. Why would you continue fighting for female attention when you already have a mate? There are better, less painful things to do with your time.

Something else I noticed was how little trouble you tend to get into when you pass a certain age. When you’re between 16 and 25 it seems remarkably easy to get into fights in bars, or attract the wrong sort of attention on the street. As you get older that stops happening (unless you encounter proper criminals), and I reckon it’s because most of the aggravation is posturing and establishing street cred among peers. A lary teenager doesn’t see a bloke of 35 as his peer, so won’t start kicking off with him to impress his mates, but if another teenager walks by he will. (There’s also the issue which young men are subconsciously aware of that older men can be fucking dangerous, as likely to kill them as fight them.)

In summary, as men settle down and the testosterone reduces they mellow out and become less competitive, generally speaking. Women, on the other hand? That’s a rather different matter.

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More on Harvey Weinstein

Commenter Stephen K responds well to my previous post on Harvey Weinstein:

Contra our host’s idea that this will be big, I think it will blow over. Nothing will happen. None of Weinstein’s (former) fans and enablers will change their views (at most they will go a bit quiet for a while, until they can change the subject). Hollywood will use this as the opportunity to bravely make films about sexual abuse in which they bravely depict conservative/ traditionalist men as abusers. These films will be highly praised as topical and (of course) brave. It is a matter of days, if not hours, before someone writes an article explaining that “the Weinstein scandal is all the more reason why we must redouble our resistance to the misogynistic regime of Trump” which will get retweeted a million times. We have seen it all before.

I agree with this of course, mainly because it is already happening. Today Newsweek asks:

Who hates women most? Pence, Trump, or Weinstein?

And there was some woman on the BBC this morning whose take on the whole thing was that misogyny is everywhere and needs to be rooted out, presumably to the benefit of women like her who, if her remarks were any guide, would be out of her intellectual depth sweeping floors in the local chippy.

As Stephen says, we’ve been here before, and sleaze in Hollywood is nothing new. There is a reason why actresses are the butt of crude jokes involving bishops and seen as one rung above prostitutes, and why no self-respecting father would let his young daughter anywhere near a film studio let alone the hotel room of a fat, greasy producer. You’ll note that books are filled with stories of women who ran away from home to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood, and didn’t let their parents know where they were going.

However, back then actresses were not pretending to be the conscience of the nation as they now are. Had an actress in a previous era attempted the sort of self-righteous posturing Meryl Streep engaged in at the last Oscars, the laughter of the men in the room would have been heard around the world. Actors like DiCaprio would have fared no better, either. One of the things Friends got spot on was portraying Joey Tribbiani as actors are: nice looking, good at speaking words someone else has written, but otherwise rather dim. The Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar! made the same point as well.

But actors and actresses spouting political nonsense wouldn’t matter so much had the Democrats not wholeheartedly embraced them and taken their vacuous endorsements seriously. At times it looked as though Democrats with ambitions of high office were taking their leads from air-headed celebrities, seemingly star-struck in their company.

But even that wouldn’t matter so much had the Democrats not made women’s rights, sexual assaults, and misogyny a central issue on which to attack their political enemies. But they have, and now any criticism coming from liberals on the subject can be countered by simply saying “Here’s a pic of you and Weinstein, and you knew full well what he was like.” Sure, they will say that Trump and Pence and everyone else are just as bad, but all that does is put them on the same footing and liberals can’t fight from there. Without a moral high-ground to posture from, liberals can barely muster an argument.

Following Trump’s win, the Democrats have lurched even further towards the loony-left end of the political spectrum, with centrists (assuming there are any left) ceding the floor to nutters like Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. Worse, Hillary simply won’t shut up and go away and nor will Obama, making it impossible for anyone sensible to rally the handful of sane Democrats left and mount a challenge for the 2020 election. Although it’s tempting to believe that all female Democrat voters are deranged lesbians or single women in Brooklyn who own a lot of cats, there are plenty of normal women who vote that way too. I’m sure a good portion of these will be appalled at the hypocrisy and enablement of sexual abuse that is on display here, and won’t be persuaded by the excuses and whataboutism pouring forth from those compromised. These women will have been put off voting for Trump because he’s a sexist pig, and that portion who don’t put politics above absolutely everything else will be pretty unhappy that their own party is behaving the same way or worse.

What the Democrats need is a proper house-cleaning that gets rid of the Clintons once and for all, puts the Obama era behind them and drags the party back into the realm of electability leaving Warren and her ilk ranting harmlessly from the sidelines. That means tackling some of the issues that drove people to vote for Trump – jobs, immigration, terrorism – but also getting shot of the lunatics that stop these issues being talked about. The Democrats will always need the media but they can be tempered; they don’t need batshit insane Hollywood celebrities with failed marriages, bad tattoos, and cocaine habits.

On this blog it was Bardon (who else?) who asked:

I think the question is why now, and why was it the NYT that took down this Godfather at the top of the power structure?

My guess would be that a faction in the Democrat party looking to move it towards the centre has decided to use Weinstein’s abuse of women to strip the Clinton and Obama factions of credibility, clearing the way for them to take charge. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the NYT has played their role, having been approached by this new faction well in advance of the interview that started the ball rolling. Let’s see if they run any articles calling for “reforms” or “pages to be turned” and “new eras to be embraced” by the Democrat party in the coming weeks and months.

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On Harvey Weinstein

I have a feeling that this Harvey Weinstein story is going to be huge. It’s not that he was a sleazy Hollywood producer with a well-worn casting casting couch; that sort of stuff has been going on for ages. Nor is it that lots of people around him knew it was going on but covered it up; that too has been going on for ages. It’s more to do with who covered it up.

Since as far back as I can remember, Hollywood in general, and particularly famous actors and actresses, have been fully supportive of liberal, progressive politics and openly hostile to Republicans and conservatism. They worshipped at the feet of Barack Obama and went into meltdown over the election of Donald Trump. They have portrayed themselves as the moral arbiters of the nation, leading the way into a progressive new world by adopting every trendy cause going: Leonardo DiCaprio on global warming, Mark Ruffalo on fracking, Shia LeBeouf on anti-Trump, God knows how many actresses turning up in support of Planned Parenthood and other feminist-driven organisations. This culminated with Meryl Streep’s excruciating Oscar speech in which she positioned Hollywood celebrities like her as the shining beacons of hope in a country which would otherwise be nothing but ignorant white men watching football.

The Democrats, of course, have welcomed this unquestioning support for years, happy to hob-nob with Hollywood stars at swanky parties in New York and LA and receive millions in campaign donations along the way. Hollywood, Democrats, and liberal politics have become so intertwined it is almost impossible to separate the two. Also entangled in the whole lot is the media, which is largely the publicity arm of the Democratic party, and hence also firmly in bed with the Hollywood moguls. When Trump ran for president, everyone on the left – Democrats, the media, and Hollywood stars – lined up to condemn his misogyny and ill-treatment of women when the Access Hollywood tape (several years old) was mysteriously leaked at a crucial point in his campaign. This triggered the feminist-driven anti-Trump movement which after his election organised huge protest marches in support of women’s rights which they claimed were being eradicated under an administration which wasn’t even a week old. Several prominent Hollywood celebrities spoke at these highly-political marches, more attended, and the media gave them fawning coverage.

Now it appears that these same people have not only been close friends with a serial sexual predator, but they have been actively covering up his activities for years. The dyke was breached when Ashley Judd spoke to the New York Times about Weinstein’s behaviour towards her early in her career. Ironically, Judd subjected the masses to an unhinged political rant at the Washington Women’s March last January; one wonders why she chose to attack Trump – who she’s probably never met – than lodge a complaint about the man who actually abused her. I’ll get to the answer later.

Since then, the floodgates have opened. Several more prominent actresses have come forward with tales of abuse at the hands of Weinstein and with it dozens of pictures of actors, celebrities, and Democrat politicians cosying up to him while showering him with accolades. This would be less damaging were everyone in the dark as to what he was up to, but evidence is pouring in that his demands for sexual favours from young women was Hollywood’s worst kept secret. It was so widely known that Seth MacFarlane even joked about it at the 2013 Oscars, and everyone laughed.

It’s hardly surprising that few of these young women came forward to report him, and tempting though it is to point out that Judd only went to the papers once her career was over and her money earned, it is unfair. Yesterday an audio recording emerged of an encounter between actress/model Ambra Gutierrez and Weinstein. The conversation was recorded as part of an NYPD sting operation into Weinstein’s behaviour, and Gutierrez – who had been groped by Weinstein the day before – made the recording on their behalf. Weinstein admits on tape to inappropriate behaviour the day before, but the New York District Attorney – one Cyrus Vance Jr – decided to quash the case. If police recordings weren’t enough to bring about meaningful intervention into Weinstein’s behaviour, the mere word of a young woman wasn’t going to. As a measure of Weinstein’s clout, I read an anecdote on Twitter last week regarding an incident that took place at a very public event in New York. Some reporter had upset Weinstein and he grabbed him around the neck and basically threw him down some steps. Despite the dozens of photographers and cameramen around, not a single shot of the incident was published: nobody would dare.

Of course, covering up is one thing, actively defending the guy another. According to today’s Independent:

It’s been alleged by The Wrap founder Sharon Waxman that she investigated the accusations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein 13 years ago while reporting for The New York Times in 2004.

She claims this piece was cut from the paper due to both The Weinstein Company’s presence as an advertiser and alleged meddling by major Hollywood players including Matt Damon and Russell Crowe.

We also have this report from the New York Times which really doesn’t make Brad Pitt look too good after his then-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow was propositioned by Weinstein:

She refused his advances, she said, and confided in Brad Pitt, her boyfriend at the time. Mr. Pitt confronted Mr. Weinstein, and soon after, the producer warned her not to tell anyone else about his come-on. “I thought he was going to fire me,” she said.

So Pitt knew about Weinstein since the time of this incident, which would have been around 1994, and said nothing. However, skeptics might point out that Paltrow wasn’t so traumatised that she couldn’t work with Weinstein afterwards in her defining role in Shakespeare in Love. Also in the NYT piece comes news that Weinstein also made unwanted advances on Angelina Jolie.

Okay, here’s the thing: I can understand why a young, unknown actress might not speak up about Weinstein, but Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow? Why are they only coming public with it now? Jolie has been one of the most powerful people in Hollywood for years, and Paltrow has been famous enough to brush off Weinstein for at least as long. Why did they not speak up sooner? And while we’re on the subject, why  haven’t these right-on Hollywood men responded to the Guardian‘s request for a comment:

The Guardian contacted more than 20 male actors and directors who have worked with the movie mogul over the years, some of whom have projects with Weinstein. All declined to comment or did not respond to inquiries about the accusations that the producer sexually harassed women over a period of nearly three decades.

The list of industry figures thus far remaining silent includes a number of male directors, such as the Oscar-nominated Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, the Hateful Eight) and David O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter, Flirting With Disaster), who have both made numerous movies with Weinstein.

The liberal film-maker Michael Moore, currently working with Weinstein on a documentary about Donald Trump, also did not respond to a request for comment.

Here’s why. Firstly, nobody gives a shit about one another in these circles. Actors and actresses by nature are narcissistic, selfish assholes and would happily stab one another in the back to get ahead. Ditto Democrats and most of the media. That vicious, vindictive, nastiness that is ever-present among public figures who champion liberal politics – particularly celebrities – doesn’t simply disappear once they’re around friends. They don’t have any friends, just people they can use for now. I see Weinstein’s wife has just decided to leave him, as if she had no idea what he was like before. The directors of his company have fired him only because the public found out about his behaviour, not because they did. Paltrow and Jolie and all the other long-term, highly-protected A-listers are speaking out because as of this week it became the smart thing to do reputation and career-wise. Before that, they were happy to stay silent as women were abused and propositioned just as they had been when younger. So much for female solidarity.

The second reason is politics. For all the talk about Republican and right-wing misogyny, nine times out of ten any public figure caught abusing women in America will be a Democrat or one of their chief supporters. The notable exception is Donald Trump, but sharp-eyed observers will point out that he was a big pal of the Democrats throughout the entire period any bad behaviour was alleged to have taken place (and I wrote about his supposedly excusing sexual assault here). Only once he turned Republican did his misogyny become an issue. One thing this unfolding story about Weinstein will prove once and for all is that Democrats, liberals and their media lackeys will ignore, accept, and defend all manner of disgusting, sexually-abusive behaviour from men provided their politics conform with theirs. We could mention Roman Polanski, or Antony Weiner, or Bill Clinton; provided they are on the liberal, Democrat side of politics, anything is acceptable. But if you’re a Republican and you say you wouldn’t have dinner alone with a woman who wasn’t your wife, the liberal establishment goes into hysterics about misogyny and marches in protest, accusing you of “attacking women”.

I don’t know why Judd finally broke ranks and spoke to the NYT, but now the cat is out of the bag even his politics can’t save him (although some are trying, and others are rapidly backtracking). The liberal mouthpieces have now smelled blood in the water, a chance to take down an old, white guy, polish their third-wave feminist credentials, and push the narrative than women everywhere are subject daily to horrific sexual exploitation by male bosses. Presumably they think nobody will notice they covered it up for years purely because he helped their careers and espoused the right politics.

Commenter Phil B asked me yesterday why I continued to fisk the nonsense that Laurie Penny writes, and this is my answer. In yesterday’s post I commented on how she is happy to remain friends with somebody with a history of sexually assaulting women because she approves of his politics. In the post the day before I recalled how she allowed her rapist to get close to her because “he was a fun-loving, left-leaning chap who was friends with a number of strong, feminist women” she admired. Yet Laurie has decided that it is ordinary, decent, conservative men that are the problem – just as Hollywood celebrities, Democrats, and liberals say it is.

This Harvey Weinstein story is not just about Hollywood, it goes to the very heart of left-liberal politics from the top to the very bottom, and you can be sure he’s not the only one behaving like this. Other names will come out in due course, all with a similar history. This is why I think it will be too big to shove under the carpet.

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The Company One Keeps

Oh, happy days! Laurie Penny has given us over four-thousand words on the subject of consent:

The first thing you need to understand about consent is that consent is not, strictly speaking, a thing. Not in the same way that teleportation isn’t a thing. Consent is not a thing because it is not an item, nor a possession. Consent is not an object you can hold in your hand.

I think our award-winning journalist has discovered the abstract noun. Either that, or she’s being paid by the word.

I believe that a great many men and boys don’t understand this.

I believe this says more about the sort of men and boys Laurie associates with than anything else. And right on cue:

So, I’ve got this friend with a shady past. He’s a clever and conscientious person who grew up in the patriarchy, and he knows that he’s done things which may not have been criminal but have hurt people, and by people he means women. My friend has hurt women, and he doesn’t know what to do about that now, and from time to time we talk about it. That’s how it happened that, a few weeks ago, halfway through an effervescent confession in a coffee shop, the following words came out of his mouth: “Technically, I don’t think I’ve raped anyone.”

So Laurie has a friend who goes around hurting women and must resort to technicalities when assuring people he’s not a rapist. Little wonder she thinks men don’t understand consent very well if this fellow is typical of her circle of male friends.

“Technically, I haven’t raped anyone.” What did he mean, technically? My friend went on to describe how, over years of drinking and shagging around before he got sober, he considers it a matter of luck rather than pride that he has never, to his knowledge, committed serious sexual assault.

Sounds like a lovely chap.

The fact is that, like any number of men growing up in the last decade, his concept of consent could have been written in crayon. Sex was something you persuaded women to let you do to them, and if they weren’t passed out, saying no, or actively trying to throw you off, you were probably fine.

Oh, isn’t that neat! Laurie has a friend who behaves like a complete scumbag, and casually assumes all men must be like him.

That technically, of course, is not just something one hears from men.

That could be because most men don’t conduct themselves in the manner of borderline rapists.

You hear that same technically, in a different key, from girls and grown women who don’t want to think of the things that happened to them that way, even though the fact that those things happened to them, with or without their say-so, is the whole problem.

Like when they say “technically” they didn’t have sex because the deed took place on holiday where “it doesn’t count”? I’ve yet to hear a woman use the term “technically” to muddy the waters after a rape or sexual assault on her person.

We learn, just as men do, that our instincts about what we feel and experience are not to be trusted. We learn that our desire is dangerous and so we tamp it down until we no longer recognize the difference between wanting and being wanted. We learn that our sexuality is contemptible and so we crush it; we become alienated from our own bodies.

I have a feeling this “we” is operating in a small pond indeed.

I’ve told myself before that technically, this or that person committed no crime, so technically, I’ve got no reason to feel used like a human spittoon, and technically I did invite him back to my house, so technically, I should have expected nothing less, and technically, there’s no reason to be angry and upset, because really, what is female sexuality but a set of technicalities to be overcome?

I have no doubt whatsoever that Laurie has told herself this, but quite what it has to do with ordinary men and women isn’t clear.

The problem is that technically isn’t good enough.

Something you could have perhaps mentioned to your friend.

“At least I didn’t actively assault anyone” is not a gold standard for sexual morality, and it never was.

You’re preaching to the choir, honey. How about you tell this to the men you hang out with?

Of course, we have to start somewhere, and “try not to rape anyone” is as good a place as any, but it can’t end there. Our standards for decent sexual and social behavior should not be defined purely by what is likely to get us publicly shamed or put in prison, because we are not toddlers, and we can do better.

Says the self-declared polyamorist who believes the traditional family should be destroyed.

This is what consent culture means….It means adjusting our ideas of dating and sexuality beyond the process of prying a grudging “yes” out of another human being.

There’s more projection here than a plank with a hard-on. Laurie simply assumes that everyone’s dating experience is as miserable as hers.

Ideally you want them to say it again, and again, and mean it every time. Not just because it’s hotter that way, although it absolutely is; consent doesn’t have to be sexy to be centrally important.

This may be true, for certain people’s values of “ideally” and “hotter”. Alas, I’m not one of those people.

But because when you get down to it, sexuality should not be about arguing over what you can get away with and still call consensual.

Hands up all sane individuals who think it is?

But there are a great many simple ideas that we are taught not to understand and a great many more that we choose not to understand when our self-image as decent human beings is at stake, and that’s where a lot of men and boys I know are at right now. Bewildered.

Again, Laurie tells us her male friends and acquaintances don’t know what consensual sex is. Where’s she hanging out, San Quentin?

So let’s talk about getting away with it. Let’s talk about what happens in a society where women’s bodies are contested commodities for men to fight over. Let’s talk about rape culture.

Yes let’s. We can start with your pals.

The naming and shaming of rape culture has been one of the most important feminist interventions of recent years, and one of the most controversial and misunderstood.

By shaming she means remaining friends with dodgy men who technically aren’t rapists.

“Rape culture” does not imply a society in which rape is routine, although it remains unconscionably common.

It certainly seems that way in Laurie’s social circles, and now we know why.

Rape culture describes the process whereby rape and sexual assault are normalized and excused, the process whereby women’s sexual agency is continuously denied and women and girls are expected to be afraid of rape and to guard against it, the process whereby men are assumed to have the erotic self-control of a gibbon with a sweetie jar of Viagra, creatures who ought to be applauded for not flinging turds everywhere rather than encouraged to apply critical thinking.

In other words, it’s a cartoonish fiction dreamed up by deranged feminists.

I have never understood why more men aren’t offended by this assumption…

/Facepalm

I sincerely believe that a staggering proportion of straight and bisexual men are working with some ingrained assumptions about sex and sexuality that they have not fully analyzed.

Thank heavens Laurie wouldn’t work with “ingrained assumptions about sex and sexuality” when writing a piece, eh?

I’m sorry, I give up here. There’s another 2,500 words of this and it’s only getting worse. Having skimmed it, she seems to have given her rapey pal a free pass and decided to lecture the rest of us instead. As the latest revelations about Harvey Weinstein show, there’s nothing lefty feminists like more than hanging out with douchebags while condemning all men as violent, sexual predators.

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Passion versus Affectation

Following on from the subject of yesterday’s post on the status of men and its attraction to women, it is common knowledge that many decisions a man makes in life are to increase his status such that he can attract a suitable partner. In short, a man will study so he can get a good job which will bring in a decent salary meaning he can buy a nice house and car, and women will find him attractive. For middle-class westerners, this is pretty much how it works. For other parts of the world, and among other classes or ethnicities, the incentives are very different and hence you get different outcomes. I noticed in Russia that the ease with which young men can get a very pretty girlfriend removes the incentive for a lot of them to behave well. Why make any effort when you’re getting laid anyway?

So while it’s well known that men naturally seek to increase their status and hence their attractiveness to women, what is often missed is that this does not apply beyond certain basics, e.g. getting an education, holding down a job, and not getting too fat. There is a whole industry out there giving lifestyle advice to men who wish to raise their status: wear these clothes, buy this car, start using that product, learn to do this or that. Much of this might work for young men who haven’t quite found their way in life, but as you get older (and you start having proper conversations with women) you realise how superficial much of this is.

For example, I had someone tell me recently that every man should know how to mix at least one cocktail, so he can impress girls when they come over for dinner. Now that’s probably not bad advice – knowing how to mix a cocktail is a handy skill – but it’s going to make absolutely no difference to what a woman thinks of a man (and if it does, she’s probably bad news). Another chap I know took up salsa dancing because he reckoned women like men who can dance. Others learn a song or two on the guitar because they want to serenade women they bring home from clubs.

Have you seen the problem yet? Women are not impressed by a man’s ability to mix a cocktail, or to dance, or to play an instrument (or to cook, or to speak a language) per se, they are attracted to the passion that drove the man to develop those skills to begin with. They look at a dancer and see the passion he has for it, the drive and determination in his body language, and realise how much effort he must have put in to develop such a skill, and they’re attracted to that. Someone who has no passion for dancing but took lessons and learned a few moves in order to attract women is going to look a lot different from a guy who’s doing it for real, and this will be abundantly clear to all those looking on. Similarly, if a fellow has developed an interest in cocktail mixing of his own accord and uses his skills to entertain women, they’ll be more impressed than if he’s learned one or two recipes just to make himself look cool.

Perhaps learning a few superficial tricks is useful for a man in his twenties, especially considering he’s hanging around women without much experience, but men over 30 taking such advice is a bit sad. Does anyone seriously think women will be impressed by a guy going to opera not out of love for the genre, but because he thinks it makes him look sophisticated? Or someone who’s learned to play poker just so he can tell women he plays poker? Because you can be sure she’ll be able to tell the difference. I’ve noticed that if you show a woman a particular skill or interest, the first thing she does is start asking questions, i.e. why, where, how and with whom did you learn it. She asks this because she wants to see the passion behind the skill – the actual skill isn’t particularly relevant at that stage – and if there’s no passion she’ll see straight through you. Genuine passion is extremely hard to fake, particularly for obscure interests such as bluegrass music. And nobody learns the banjo or songs with titles such as “Oh, Dem Golden Slippers” to impress women anyway.

So whenever you read advice along the lines of “real men do X” or “every man should know how to Y” you can safely dismiss it as a shallow affectation aimed at men who think they’ve grown up but haven’t. Real men follow whatever weird passion they have naturally, and women will love them for it.

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