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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 29,527
Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 29,527
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On the night of Saturday, Sept. 10, between the hours of about 8 and 11, six women, each of them walking in Midtown Manhattan, were approached by a group of young men who sought to light them on fire. Although the attacks were mercifully unsuccessful — no one was injured — one woman, standing at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and East 54th Street had her skirt set aflame, while another, walking past a Valentino store, the police reported, felt something warm on her left arm, only to realize that her blouse was on fire. Six days later, a 14-year old boy was taken into custody, and charged with attempted assault and harassment. Given that everyone targeted for conflagration was female, the police have considered these hate crimes.
That four of the five encounters occurred on a stretch of Fifth Avenue just outside Trump Tower may bear no actual relationship to our current political misfortunes. For whatever it has done and failed to do, the presidential candidacy of Donald J. Trump has revived a national discussion of misogyny, which, as a word, an idea and worldview had long ago fallen out of favor, lost to the 1970s and obscured instead by the cheerfully appointed goal posts of contemporary feminism.
If you are concerned about misogyny, you are worried less about how we can create a better world for women who want to share whole-grain breakfasts with their children and still make it to Teterboro on time for the flight to the board meeting in Sun Valley, and more about the cultural damage inflicted by collective male rage. You take to heart Margaret Atwood’s famous saying that men are worried that women will laugh at them while women are worried that men will kill them. You are a generalist, really, and you see that the problem goes beyond whatever hindrance men might pose to your making partner or getting the dishwasher emptied. One kind of feminism imagines men as an existential threat, another merely as an inconvenience.
The former, of course, is a dark and not consistently rational way to think. That is why many women — particularly educated, affluent women who live in cities where crime rates are at historical lows and the presence of physical danger and extreme prejudice seem distant — don’t easily imagine that they could be set on fire on their way to dinner.
Posted by ismnotwasm | Fri Oct 14, 2016, 02:11 PM (5 replies)
Amid the furor surrounding Thursday's announcement that musician and world-famous mumbler Bob Dylan had won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, the world's foremost literary award, some people noticed a little problem: this was the final Nobel announcement of the year. And not one of the six categories (physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, economics and peace) featured a single female Nobel prize winner. This is a radical step backwards from 2015, where 20 percent of the total winners were female (which, even by itself, is a pretty upsetting statistic). And, unfortunately, it continues a trend throughout the history of the Nobel Prize: over the awards' history, they've only been given to 49 women, versus 825 men. Yes, you read that statistic correctly.
The justifications for this 2016 woman-drought are varied: Perhaps "nobody was good enough" this year. (Considering that the Nobel Prize award work done years before, this isn't exactly a good argument.) Perhaps there will be a corrective influx of female winners next year. Perhaps political considerations shut out various female candidates. (If you don't think a lot of campaigning and outside hand-wringing goes into the nomination of various candidates, you obviously haven't been paying attention. One of the reasons the Syrian poet Adonis, a favorite, likely didn't win this year is the situation in Syria; the Nobel committee, New Republic predicted accurately, "won't touch it with a ten-foot pole.") But it should make us consider other options: that perhaps the Nobel Prize is the crowning aspect of a wider global culture that doesn't give sufficient means or attention to female achievement.
The growth of female representation among the Nobel Prize Laureates has been growing, from a total of 23 Laureates between the years of 1901 to 1960 to a total of 19 just in the last 15 years. That may, to be honest, be commensurate with the increasing participation of women in the workforce, particularly in STEM fields. In the past century, women have received far more opportunities to attain excellence in their fields than ever before in history; but the Nobel Prize selection lays out, starkly, that the journey is still far from over. It's not just a matter of finding the "best possible people" every year; getting a Nobel is an intricate accumulation of factors, many of which may still be prejudiced towards men.
Posted by ismnotwasm | Fri Oct 14, 2016, 12:13 PM (4 replies)
This election is a disaster – a mess, a disgrace, a kind of shameful political theater previously unseen in modern American politics. Or rather, one of the candidates has turned this election into a disgraceful spectacle, and he seems intent on debasing the very concept of politics as public service. The other is running a smart, tight campaign, but seeing herself tarnished by the stench exuding, Pigpen-like, from her adversary. How sweet it was last night to watch Hillary Clinton again get the chance to demonstrate how much more skillful, thoughtful, and intelligent she is than her opponent. Next to Donald Trump, that’s perhaps not a tough sell. But it’s also extra satisfying.
If and when Clinton wins the election, sections of the peanut gallery will inevitably credit Trump for her victory. The arguments are predictable: He’s an easy opponent, such an outlandish figure, how could she not beat him? Had she been running against a Mitt Romney or a John McCain or a Paul Ryan, she would have had a much tougher time. Even Clinton’s dominance in the debates are routinely framed as a product of Trump’s incompetence rather than her own aptitude. But an opponent like Trump doesn’t cheapen a Clinton win, in the debates or in the election. Anyone who thinks he’s an easy adversary hasn’t spent an hour and a half trying to get his or her point across while a boorish, loud, and entitled man interrupts, condescends, talks over, and eventually threatens you, all while physically menacing you in the few moments he lets you speak without interruption (and then when he talks, he lies). The debate was a microcosm of this entire election season – the hyper-competent but slightly boring woman, the belligerent and combative man – and watching Clinton take Trump down was a captivating preview of just how gratifying Election Day might be.
Of course the first woman running for president of the United States is running against the mother of all sexists; what’s astonishing is that she’s winning. It was in hindsight obvious that the Republican Party’s conservative male base, realizing that Clinton was the likely Democratic nominee, would pick a notoriously misogynist dirtbag to be their party’s own candidate – many of these voters are men who like seeing more-accomplished women taken down a peg, and Trump gives voice to their worst impulses. So it’s particularly delightful to watch that kind of sexism work against him, his misogyny so crude that even members of his own party who aren’t exactly feminist firebrands are fleeing so they aren’t tainted by him. They’re smart to do so. Trump’s boasting about assaulting women (he would “grab them by the pussy,” he bragged to entertainment reporter Billy Bush in a 2005 conversation that was caught on tape) has even further alienated women, and many men: Nearly two-thirds of voters now say that Trump doesn’t respect women, up from just over half before the release of the tape. More than half of Americans say the video made them less likely to vote for Trump. Forty percent say he should withdraw from the race.
Misogyny like that is particularly notable because Trump’s opponent is female, but Trump’s style of aggressive, blustering masculinity also wouldn’t be such a cornerstone of his campaign if he were running against a man. Women recognize Trump in the classmate who always shouted over them, the boyfriend who bullied them, the coworker who coopted their ideas and got the credit – and the guy who made crude comments about their ass as they walked away. Clinton’s genius is that she has finally figured out how to make gender work for her by pointing out Trump’s sexism, confirming what so many American women feel instinctively.
Posted by ismnotwasm | Mon Oct 10, 2016, 06:02 PM (4 replies)
Before I get started, let me say this letter isn’t from all women. The Trumpettes surely won’t approve of this message. But this is from most women.
We see right through you. We have all known you at some point. Your ways are not unfamiliar to us. We see through you because we’ve been dealing with you our whole lives.
We heard you call women pigs. And disgusting. And stupid. And bimbos.
We watched as you called a former Ms. Universe “Ms. Piggy” and then spent four days continuing to insult her.
We see your weakness. Your lust for attention at any cost, your need to denigrate women. We see all of it. And we’re mad.
Yes. We’re mad. And fired up. And here’s the thing about us… we can be bitches.
Gone are the days where we question our power or our influence. We are strong. Smart. We know our worth and it doesn’t reside in the size of our bras or our skinny jeans. We build each other up. We have our sister’s backs. And our brother’s. So when you took on the former Ms. Universe, you took on all of us.
And right now you’ve got a lot of angry women to contend with. And let me remind you, Mr. Trump… hell hath no fury like a pissed off woman who’s tired of this sexist bullshit.
Posted by ismnotwasm | Sat Oct 8, 2016, 12:20 PM (4 replies)
On the blindness of white liberals with any number of replies that completely validate the article.
I'm not special. I was raised by uneducated racists, so I know the overt racism personally. And have no delusions but it impacts my responses. I've lived in the streets, I've lived in dire poverty. For the last couple of decades though, my life is at the lower edge of middle class and I'm a comfortable white person. I have a collage degree. Yet knowing I have had racism ingrained in me from birth makes me want to root it all out. It's repulsive to think I have the patterned responses of an entire culture of whiteness. Fucking gross. I want it out of me. In order to do that, I can't afford to be fragile, I can't afford to engage in toxic whiteness, I can't afford not to listen and I have to actively search each rootlet of cultural racism I have.
I shouldn't get, or expect praise for this. I don't deserve a cookie. It's simply the part of me that wants to be a decent human being.
Posted by ismnotwasm | Tue Oct 4, 2016, 12:39 PM (0 replies)
Who continues to be FFR'd. Again.
Let me say, after the death of HOF, this is my favorite group. I've watched as racial issues pertinent to African Americans get belittled when inconvenient, held up like a flag when not. I've watched you all fight the good fight--even when you didn't agree on things like, oh, who should win the primary---the quality of posts here has always been apparent.
Watching the people from this group get silenced was one of the most disturbing experiences in my 12 years on DU.
Fighting inherent racism is never a comfortable or easy fight, and uncomfortable people tend to get reactive. I miss 1SBM's voice here.
I AM left wondering ... have the admins decided that he is more trouble than he is worth? I certainly hope not--this would be a shameful statement for a left-leaning site. Despite admins assertion, his problems with (and alert stalking by) DUers was not "partisan", it preceded the primaries, and largely revolved around discussions of racial matters. It, also, should be noted that his problems with (and the alert-stalking by) was with that segment of DUers whose primary home is now JPR. Finally, it should be noted that a quick view of JPR will reveal a/the number of JPR posts that are as racially and gender intolerant. It was those types of posts here on DU (by the same characters) that earned 1SBM their attention, and the alert-stalking and jury abuse that Admins finally had to acknowledge.
Now personally, I hope this is just an oversight, as 1SBM is an outspoken and passionate advocate for AA concerns, and a valuable DU member.
Posted by ismnotwasm | Tue Aug 2, 2016, 08:11 PM (106 replies)
The Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump, has chosen this week to unmask himself as a de facto agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a KGB-trained dictator who seeks to rebuild the Soviet empire by undermining the free nations of Europe, marginalizing NATO, and ending America’s reign as the world’s sole superpower.
I am not suggesting that Donald Trump is employed by Putin—though his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was for many years on the payroll of the Putin-backed former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. I am arguing that Trump’s understanding of America’s role in the world aligns with Russia’s geostrategic interests; that his critique of American democracy is in accord with the Kremlin’s critique of American democracy; and that he shares numerous ideological and dispositional proclivities with Putin—for one thing, an obsession with the sort of “strength” often associated with dictators. Trump is making it clear that, as president, he would allow Russia to advance its hegemonic interests across Europe and the Middle East. His election would immediately trigger a wave of global instability—much worse than anything we are seeing today—because America’s allies understand that Trump would likely dismantle the post-World War II U.S.-created international order. Many of these countries, feeling abandoned, would likely pursue nuclear weapons programs on their own, leading to a nightmare of proliferation.
Trump’s sympathy for Putin has not been a secret. Trump said he would “get along very well” with Putin, and he has pleased Putin by expressing a comprehensive lack of interest in the future of Ukraine, the domination of which is a core Putinist principle. The Trump movement also agrees with Putin that U.S. democracy is fatally flawed. A Trump adviser, Carter Page, recently denounced—to a Moscow audience—America’s “often-hypocritical focus on democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change.” Earlier this week, Trump’s operatives watered down the Republican Party’s national-security platform position on Ukraine, removing a promise to help the Ukrainians receive lethal aid in their battle to remain free of Russian control.
Now, in an interview with Maggie Haberman and David Sanger of The New York Times, Trump has gone much further, suggesting that he and Putin share a disdain for NATO. Fulfilling what might be Putin’s dearest wish, Trump, in this interview, openly questioned whether the U.S., under his leadership, would keep its commitments to the alliance. According to Haberman and Sanger, Trump “even called into question, whether, as president, he would automatically extend the security guarantees that give the 28 members of NATO the assurance that the full force of the United States military has their back.” Trump told the Times that, should Russia attack a NATO ally, he would first assess whether those nations “have fulfilled their obligations to us.” If they have, he said, he would then come to their defense.
Posted by ismnotwasm | Sat Jul 23, 2016, 12:13 PM (11 replies)
Great read..creepy and intense
What my evening with Milo told me about Twitter’s biggest troll, the death of reason, and the crucible of A-list con-men that is the Republican National Convention.
Milo Yiannopoulos is a charming devil and one of the worst people I know. I have seen the death of political discourse reflected in his designer sunglasses. It chills me. We met four years ago, before he was the self-styled “most fabulous supervillain on the internet,” when he was just another floppy-haired right-wing pundit and we were guests on opposing sides of a panel show whose topic I don’t remember and can’t be bothered to look up. Afterwards we got hammered in the green room and ran around the BBC talking about boys. It was fun.
Since that day, there is absolutely nothing I have been able to say to Milo to persuade him that we are not friends. The more famous he gets off the back of extravagantly abusing women and minorities, the more I tell him I hate him and everything he stands for, the more he laughs and asks when we’re drinking. I’m a radical queer feminist leftist writer burdened with actual principles. He thinks that’s funny and invites me to his parties.
“Feminism is cancer” is one of Milo’s signature slogans, and yet it took him only seconds after learning we’d both be at the Republican Convention in Cleveland to offer me a lift to his ‘Wake Up!’ rally, billed as the most fabulous shindig at the end of America. This time—god help me and the things I do for journalism—I said yes.
So here we are at the Convention, where howling psychopath Donald Trump has just been confirmed as the presidential nominee, to the horror of half of the party and every remaining moderate conservative in America as well as the 15,000 members of the international press who flocked to see the circus in realtime. Milo is loving every second of it. He lost no time climbing on the back of the clown car of the billionaire demagogue who, with ghoulishly oedipal glee, he calls ‘Daddy.’
Posted by ismnotwasm | Fri Jul 22, 2016, 01:06 PM (5 replies)
Yesterday I was tagged in a post by an old high school friend, asking me and a few others a very public, direct question about white privilege and racism. I feel compelled not only to publish his query but also my response to it, as it may be a helpful discourse for more than just a handful of folks on Facebook.
Here’s his post:
“To all of my Black or mixed race FB friends, I must profess a blissful ignorance of this “White Privilege” of which I’m apparently guilty of possessing. By not being able to fully put myself in the shoes of someone from a background/race/religion/gender/ nationality/body type that differs from my own makes me part of the problem, according to what I’m now hearing. Despite my treating everyone with respect and humor my entire life (as far as I know), I’m somehow complicit in the misfortune of others. I’m not saying I’m colorblind, but whatever racism/sexism/other -ism my life experience has instilled in me stays within me, and is not manifested in the way I treat others (which is not the case with far too many, I know).
So that I may be enlightened, can you please share with me some examples of institutional racism that have made an indelible mark upon you? If I am to understand this, I need people I know personally to show me how I’m missing what’s going on. Personal examples only. I’m not trying to be insensitive, I only want to understand (but not from the media). I apologize if this comes off as crass or offends anyone.”
Here's my response;
Posted by ismnotwasm | Fri Jul 15, 2016, 07:14 PM (14 replies)
As always, Dave gives his almost unique, interesting and very valuable insight. This is scary. Terrifying actually.
Well, this is a bit of a shock. The UK has voted to leave the EU — a victory for the forces of racism and unreason that could mean disaster for the UK economy and the EU as a whole. The pound is crashing; markets are poised to plunge.
So naturally the internet’s worst people are thrilled. Let’s start with a literal Anime Nazi before moving on to some more familiar names.
Posted by ismnotwasm | Fri Jun 24, 2016, 09:24 AM (4 replies)