From Wonkette 3/9/13
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT 5:45 PM MARCH 8, 2013
HONESTLY, YOU GUYS, ‘NOT RAPING’ IS ACTUALLY REALLY EASY
by JEFF WATTRICK
Today is International Women’s Day, which means two things. First, we have to listen to people say stupid things like: “I’m not a sexist, but why isn’t there an International Men’s Day?” The correct answer to that question is International Men’s Day is in November and the more correct answer is (read in your best Hank Hill voice): “Shut up. You don’t really want to celebrate International Men’s Day. Stop being a baby always manufacturing fake controversies so you can feign outrage.” The other thing thing that, apparently, happens on International Women’s Day is people lose their crap over a perfectly reasonable suggestion that men should not ever rape women. Zerlina Maxwell said as much on Fox News and now she is…wait for it…receiving rape threats.
As Maxwell tells Salon, her point to Hannity was not about self-defense; it was about how we look at the big picture. “Telling every woman to get a gun is not rape prevention,” she explains. “The reality is that we need to be changing how we train and teach young men. We need to teach them to see women as human beings and respect their bodily autonomy. We need to teach them about consent and to hold themselves accountable.” And when we do, things change. After Canada launched a “Don’t be that guy” consent awareness campaign in 2011, the sexual assault rate dropped for the first time in years — by 10 percent.
Dear God, what the hell is wrong with people? There is absolutely no good reason why suggesting that people should not do something that is both morally abhorrent and a crime should be controversial. As Canada proved, it’s not only a valid message but an effective one if you are interested in reducing sexual assault.
Don’t rape. Full stop. It’s really that simple.
It’s not even that hard to not rape. Yr Wonket on this post happens to be a man who has gone his entire life without ever raping anyone. Days go by, months and years even, where Yr Wonket doesn’t rape and doesn’t even think about the fact that he is not raping! This (sadly) might be a weird concept to some people, let’s push through to the end here, but someone else’s body doesn’t belong to you and you can’t do things to/with said other person’s body without their permission. Permission shall not be assumed based on skirt length. Let’s repeat that to make sure everyone heard it: Permission shall not be assumed based on skirt length. Also, it’s not ok to rape someone, or threaten to rape someone, for telling you this. No exceptions.
It would be nice if those things could be left unsaid in 2013 America, but no. They must be said over and over again because too many of you don’t get it. Happy God Damn International Women’s Day.
Really, who benefits by not shifting all rape prevention meaures to perpetrators, not victims?
I am fascinated—masochistically, no doubt—by the ways in which crazy lies about liberals are generated and repeated endlessly via emails, blogs, and “news” sources. And no, while liberals sometimes get things wrong too, the sheer scale and audacity of the lies told within the republican echo chamber, the conservative cone of crap, the bullshit bubble, far surpasses any committed by liberals. Are there liberals out there receiving constant emails asserting outlandish lies about conservatives, lies that one Google search or Snopes check would reveal as such? Yeah, me neither.
An article by Rick Perlstein in The Baffler, “The Long Con: Mail-order Conservatism,” provides an excellent take on right-wing truth deficiency and gullibility. And sociologists and psychologists are producing interesting research about the conservative personality.
One example I encountered recently involves a supposed plot by Chicago liberals to pave one of Reagan’s boyhood residences and put up a parking lot FOR OBAMA’S LIBRARY!! By now this lying sack of shit story has been deconstructed by Mother Jones and others, but when I initially saw the headline “Reagan’s Childhood Home to Become Parking Lot for Obama’s Library” next to the Newsmax logo posted on a right-wing relative’s Facebook page (accompanied by requisite credulous outrage), my Google search brought up only repetitious iterations of the same story on Fox, the Examiner, Drudge, etc. ad nauseum.
The source that inspired the Newsmax story—and thus, all the others—was written by a reader in the Washington Times’ “neighborhood” or “community voices” section (i.e., even more not-news than their regular not-news in that rag). The writer spins a series of paranoid speculations from the one fact in all of this: that the U of Chicago Medical Center, plans to build a parking lot on the site of one of Reagan’s boyhood homes, after the site was denied landmark status. This community voice then spools out a series of questions based on familiar right-wing phantasmagoria. Some tidbits:
“…some powerful Chicagoans are planning to demolish Reagan’s historic home. Is it politically motivated? Is Mayor Rahm Emanuel behind the move?”
“While the university is planning to kill Reagan’s home, University of Chicago is also aggressively lobbying to be the site of President Barack Obama’s presidential library. Could the Reagan site become a parking lot for Obama’s library? Opponents of the demolition say yes.”
If opponents of the demolition say yes, it must be true.
Titled “Reagan’s Home Could Become a Parking Lot for Obama’s Library,” this one little piece of the typical liberal-hating conspiracism spawned a string of stories that reinforce the overarching narrative that the godless, liberal, brown, i.e., “un-American” hordes are taking over and desecrating the righteous past—when (white) men were men, and women and non-whites were in their place, when christianity was sovereign, when government existed only to foster and protect business, when business was free to exploit people and land, and when men like the (idealized version of the) Gipper ruled the world. One little word change in the headlines of these articles serves to further inflame the righteous anger/fear of the right-wing (de)base: from Reagan’s home COULD become an Obama lot to Reagan’s home TO become such a lot. A fact is born.
This fake fact was/is now passed around among the right-wing oppressed, a lie both created by their delusions of persecution and then added to the shit-pile mountain of “evidence” of their persecution, of liberal evil machinations to crush, dominate and obliterate all that is intrinsic to the “real” America and its values. So with truth and reality akimbo, Newsmax reports that “The University of Chicago Medical Center has announced plans to turn Ronald Reagan’s childhood home in Chicago into a parking lot for President Barack Obama’s library.” Anyone see that press conference?
It’s comical now to watch conservatives scramble to “re-brand” their message (not their failed policies). They’ve already mastered the art of manipulative lies, doing a marvelous job of galvanizing the old, white, sexist, bigoted, christian, dumb (or gullible, whatever), fearful bloc of Americans. Thus righties like my relative will keep posting those lies on their FB pages, building a lasting legacy of vast mountains of sacks of shit.
Let’s review some facts before getting to the point of this post:
Despite the fact that the US and its military is not a Theocratic regime:
1. The U.S. Military is saturated with and actively promotes Evangelical Christian sermons, events, and strongly worded proselytizing.
2. Military academy chaplains continue to vigorously promote evangelical Christianity to all troops. At services attended by some 600 cadets undergoing basic training, one of the chaplains told the cadets that those not “born again will burn in the fires of hell.” He and other chaplains urged the cadets to “witness” to their fellow Basic Cadets and led them in prayers for the salvation of those who had chosen not to attend the services.
3. The Pentagon reports: Suicide rates for Military personnel during 2011, 2012 occur once per day.
4. PTSD: Nearly 30% of vets treated by the VA in 11-12 have PTSD (and many more don’t seek treatment)
5. The Sept. 2012 study by the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, says about 20 percent of active duty service members reported they drank heavily in 2008, the last year for which data is available. And, binge-drinking rose to 47 percent in 2008 from 35 percent in 1998
6. Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s Report in Sept 2012 concludes: We’ve had people beaten, denigrated, families and careers ruined. Our clients are being told they are not Christian enough. […] When you’re told you have the wrong religious faith—the military is very tribal and ritualistic.
7. SO THEN, we recently hear from the ‘eminent’ spokesperson of the Family Resource Center, Tony PerkinsT Perkins military’s institution of yoga and meditation as methods for decreasing stress, drug and alcohol use, and depression in soldiers. His ridiculous response is this:
“If yoga and medication is meant to create a sense of calmness, reduce drug and alcohol use, increase productivity, and improve working relationships.Tony asserts: “What a coincidence–so does faith! Unfortunately, the military seems intent on driving religion out and replacing it with wacky substitutes,” he continued. “They’ve added atheist chaplains, Wiccan worship centers, and now, meditation classes. But none of them are as effective or as constructive as a personal relationship with God. Unfortunately, though, it’s mind over what matters–and that’s faith.”
8. Now, with all the pervasive God pushing in the armed forces, and all the rampant problems plaguing our troops, it appears that this faith thing isn’t work very well! Perhaps Tony P. would say the troops aren’t practicing it properly…
Let’s review some more facts on the matter (knowing full well that facts mean nothing to Tony and his ilk):
9. Drug abuse is also a growing problem, reports find. Just 2 percent of personnel on active duty reported misusing prescription drugs in 2002, while the latest report found 11 percent of personnel engaged in such abuse.
10. Since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, alcohol abuse among returning military personnel has spiked. In 2008, nearly half of active duty service members reported binge drinking. Among the environmental changes endorsed by the committee are curbing easy access to relatively inexpensive alcohol on military bases through consistent enforcement of regulations on underage drinking.
One soldier’s experience is detailed here: An atheist soldier suing over prayers at military formations claims a larger pattern of religious discrimination exists in the military, citing attempts to convert Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan and an evangelical bias in a suicide prevention manual. The Defense Department has identified fewer than 50 complaints about alleged violations of religious freedoms during the past three years, with 1.4 million personnel in uniform lodging complaints(fishy numbers here), according the Military Spokesmen. The revised lawsuit criticizes the Army’s 2008 manual on suicide prevention, quoting it as promoting “religiosity” as a necessary part of prevention and describing “connectivity to the divine” as “fundamental.” The lawsuit also notes that in 2007, the Air Force sponsored “Team Faith,” which performs motocross stunt shows to “lead extreme sports athletes to Christ.”
Many more accounts are available from Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Atheist/Agnostic member of the military who feel pressured to attend such Christian events and who are ostracized when they do choose not to do so.
Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s Report in Sept 2012 concludes:
We’ve had people beaten, denigrated, families and careers ruined. Our clients are being told they are not Christian enough. […] When you’re told you have the wrong religious faith—the military is very tribal and ritualistic
Now, with all the pervasive God talk in the armed forces, and all the rampant problems plaguing our troops, it appears that this faith thing isn’t work very well?
Let’s review some fact on the matter (knowing full well that facts mean nothing to Tony and his ilk):
Drug abuse is also a growing problem, the report finds. Just 2 percent of personnel on active duty reported misusing prescription drugs in 2002, while the new report found 11 percent of personnel engaged in such abuse.
Plenty of research can be found online that supports the benefits of meditation and yoga–and it’s not in conflict with Christianity either. Shut up Tony.
Although Michael Moore doesn’t always get things right, I like the points he makes in HuffPo today, about how the tremendous violence we Americans visit upon ourselves and others comes from much deeper causes than easy availability of guns. While of course gun restictions will help, more mental health services will help, beneath it all he believes three big issues underlie our excessive crime and violence: POVERTY, FEAR/RACISM, and THE ME SOCIETY.
Of course all three of these phenomena are intertwined, each causing, reinforcing, and resulting from the other. The selfish me society is so intrinsic to our history and mythology. On the one hand, we see ourselves as parts of a whole, citizens of. this great country, but we really don’t evidence a strong belief in taking care of one another. And all evidence to the contrary, the person who falls is viewed as entirely responsible for his/her fate, and the person who succeeds did it all on his/her own. We lack community and connection that might ordinarily work to prevent most people from killing a bunch of other people. In America the lone wolf is viewed as a hero, a god. The lone guy who kills the enemy and the one who kills innocents are the same–disconnected, misanthropic–they just happen to point their guns at different targets. Every day we churn out these isolated individuals, all focused only on their own needs and wants in different ways, and some directing their lonely dislocation at the others outside themselves. You didn’t build that, we built that.
Now how do we dismantle it?
The horrifying school shooting yesterday fills me with sadness and anger, as it clearly does most of us. The tragedy is exacerbated by reading the usual knee-jerk responses that come from the right.
In an unfunny irony, earlier this week one of my conservative christian relatives inexplicably forwarded me a circulating email with the subject “A Profound and Articulate Argument,” by some military guy who writes that the weak/good people need guns to protect them from mugging and attacks by strong/bad people. (BTW, how can more guns be a christly position?) Of course attacks happen more than they should, but never as often as fear-mongering gun nuts claim. Over in places like Foxnewsville, they missed the memo that violent crime has been decreasing, down 15% since 2007, per FBI stats.
To that email forward, to violent, gun-loving American culture, I borrow from Katie J.M. Baker on Jezebel and say FUCK YOU GUNS.
Then there’s talk about mental illness, and the need for more treatment. I agree we desperately need that. And while we don’t know if this particular mass murderer was mentally ill, that malady is clearly a factor for MOST of the mass killers in recent memory.
The characteristics that ALL these murderers share are whiteness and masculinity. Women and people of color in this country suffer from mental illnesses too, but there’s only one group of Americans for which it too often manifests in murders of families and/or innocent strangers.
America has a gender role and white privilege crisis. Traditional definitions of masculinity have been ratcheted up: get angry not sad, direct it out not in, go out in a blaze of glory, take no prisoners, die motherfucker! Be a man and don’t act like a weak faggot or girl. Dominate.
Add to that the bloody history of white privilege in the US—a powerful racial privilege that is denied if ever acknowledged, a privilege that is expected, and which every institution in America has functioned to perpetuate. What we get then is a category of people (OF COURSE not all whites, not all men), for whom disappointment, pain, neurosis or psychosis is bound to come out in violent actions towards OTHERS.
A whole segment of media and institutions is devoted to glorifying violent white manliness as well as inciting resentment (fear) of those uppity women and “minorities” who are (supposedly) displacing the poor white guys from their rightful perches of power.
Shame on all the people promoting these ideologies of hate and violence—unacknowledged fear. Shame on the makers of ubiquitous products, media, games, wars that promote this shit. Shame on an economic system built around conquest, exploitation of people and nature, division, wealth accumulation, competition, selfishness, and a mythic individualism.
Shame on us for (literally) buying into any part of this culture of evil. Ironically for Mr. Military Man of the forwarded email, the very gender/racial privilege that he no doubt helps promote is what creates his whole weak/strong dichotomy that requires more guns.
Once again, most of us are grieving for the children and families mowed down by killing machines, metal and human. I’m sending love and empathy to everyone in Newtown, and everyone in any kind of pain in the world, wishing it would manifest in healing and not more pain.
Head on over to the fancy website, waronchristmas.com and you’ll learn the TRUTH about how Christmas is being KILLED by POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. Yes, as we’ve discussed before, that most American (i.e. christian, white…in other words, real american) of holidays (wait don’t cheapen it by calling it a holiday) is under SEIGE.
Oh man I hate the term political correctness, and the fact that it’s become this ubiquitous catch-all term for anything related to acceptance, diversity, or,–another word I dislike–“tolerance.”
To state the obvious: not wanting public institutions to endorse one religion’s holyday over all others is not PC, it’s not “war” it is simply a) abiding by the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment, and b) respecting and being sensitive to the diversity of people and beliefs in our pluralistic nation.
Conservatives seem to long for the good ol’ days when Christmas was promoted everywhere, when minority religions were totally marginalized, and most importantly, when everyone not white, christian, male, and rich knew their place and shut up about it.
I suppose I could give waronchristmas.com some props for not trying to hide this fearful and regressive motivation. They write that this “war” isn’t really an assault on religion, but on the very heart of true American culture! Here’s a key passage:
Nowadays, the attempt to stamp out “Christmas” in the public sphere and replace it with generic “holidays” is a slap in the face to the majority of Americans. If one of their most cherished holidays is removed from “their” culture, then where can they go to be at home? The answer, of course, is nowhere.
Americans have a right to the American holiday of Christmas. It is part of who we are… even though some of us are not Christian. It’s time for us to stand up and reclaim it from the small majority who are trying to take it away from us!
I love the shift from ‘they’ to ‘we,’ in two successive paragraphs. Those poor white Christians are being shut out from the America “they/we” own, gob nabbit!
Where can “they/we” go to be at home? How about home.
It seems that media coverage of conflicts over christmas displays in public places is usually framed as Atheists against Christians (the only true Americans). Of course conservative media loves to pound on this one, and it is a brilliant way of bonding your audience to you and your corporate sponsors by uniting all against the common enemy of change, diversity, multiculturalism, globalism, satan. It’s a WAR on Christmas, and we all need to join ranks against the mongrel hordes who clearly want to…be more included in things? I dunno.
All that aside, it’s fascinating to me that atheists are featured in the forefront of those who object to the tacit public endorsement of christianity inherent in nativity or other religiously inspired displays on government property. Atheists are easier to target explicitly than other actual religions (although apparently a number of the christies think atheism itself is a religion!) so the implicit denunciation of atheist’s declaring war on their sacred day is a good cover for what they’re really afraid of, i.e., change and difference, of any kind.
I suspect that those Americans like me who are not atheists, but don’t believe that any religion’s beliefs and symbols belong in the public square–because we don’t have a state sponsored religion, and because we have a plurality of religious faiths whose adherents shouldn’t have to be bombarded with symbols and ideas of one religion. Even though we already ARE. Conservatives rail about the fact that christianity used to be everywhere in public life as if that’s EVER been a viable reason to do anything—well we used to put children to work in factories at age 5, we used to think slavery was a-okay, that leeches cured all disease, holy shit—the number of horrible things we USED to do is endless. Some of us non-christians are just trying to keep working toward putting some more things onto the list of horrible things we USED to do.