Maybe the ‘older feminists’ don’t know how to click links,
but they sure knew how to “click” brains.

Much bloggy hand-wringing has taken place, focused mainly on calling out Jezebels Slut Machine (Tracie Egan) and Moe for being drunk and making anti-feminist statements in public, while representing one of the internet’s most popular feminist blogs. Some, but not enough, angry verbiage has been directed at Lizz Winstead for her sober-ish attempts to pin the responsibility for rape on women who fuck a lot. I watched the whole interview and can safely say that feminism was not well represented.

People have been calling Moe and Tracie unprofessional, embarrassing, shameful, narcissistic, privileged, drunk, on and on. Its true. Jezebel’s editor apologized for their shitty representation of the site.

Amanda Marcotte, on the other end, offers an apologia that sees “dark”–but essentially feminist– humor in Moe and Tracie’s dismissal of rape, safe sex and women’s oppression.

Personally, I saw nothing funny in the sloshy train wreck of an interview. But there was one thing that I think can be seen as actually feminist; one which points to why internet feminism needs less Vice-magazine- bravado-with-ovaries and more old-fashioned consciousness raising.

See, I recognized one of those drunk “girls” (women?) onstage; the one who is inappropriately working through her rape out loud to friends and strangers, the one who’s been “wasting time” for 10 years, drinking and telling herself and everyone else it was no big deal. I’ve been that girl. Sometimes, I’m still her.

Listening to Moe remember that she said “no” eleven times, and remember that her rapist said he only did it to her because she was a “slut,” recast the earlier “funny” part of the conversation–the part where Lizz asked Moe and Tracie what made a woman a slut. It turned my stomach. I wanted to give Moe a hug and tell her that it wasn’t her fault.

Instead, she got Tracie calling her less-than-smart by implication and Winstead blaming her for not reporting her future-doctor rapist.

But miraculously, Moe got something, somewhere else, and a little bit of feminist consciousness slipped in. After the interview I went back and read this post by Moe, about “grey rape.” In it, she puts on the “no big deal” pose, doesn’t call her rapist a rapist, and doesn’t call her rape a rape. Her commenters and other bloggers point out where she might be wrong.

That on-line feminist intervention seems to have helped. Onstage, Moe called it rape. She got mad. She even names her rapist out loud, but his name is lost in the cross-talk. That’s a big moment. Its a terrifying moment. I’m sorry its a moment that Moe had to share with Tracie and Lizz.

But it is, most importantly, a feminist moment.

Its the beginning of letting go of all the self-hating beliefs that Moe unfortunately expressed in the rest of the interview and is now getting attacked for. Beliefs like “I’m a slut (and thats why I got raped),” beliefs like “I hate the boys club, but I’m not really oppressed,” beliefs like “I didn’t report my rape because I had better things to do–get drunk.”

I didn’t report either. And in Moe’s posts I see myself, and I remember what I used to think. I see myself in her hope that Dr. Douchey Dude “saves” people–as if that would make it “ok” or worth it somehow. I see myself in her search for control; in the way she looks at her decisions in the search for the cause of her rape, in the way that she accepts full responsibility for her decision not to report and thus for any subsequent rapes committed by her rapist.

But I wanted to ask her–and Lizz–”what would have happened if you’d reported it?” Because the truth is, Moe knew then and knows now that what would probably have happened. She probably would have been publicly shamed for being a drunk slut (which is ironically happening to her RIGHT NOW, anyway) and possibly been forced to leave her school. She would have been called crazy or vindictive or a pathetic woman scorned by a “notorious player”. Likely, nothing would have happened to the good doctor.

Realizing that we make choices in limited circumstances–that we are oppressed as women–is difficult. It feels bad to recognize the limits to our individual capacities to control our own lives and bodies. I can see why, for a decade, Moe didn’t want to do that. I know how that feels.

But its the first step to developing a truly feminist outlook, to letting go of the dark “humor,” of the self-blame, and of the internalized misogyny we saw so starkly on display at Thinking and Drinking. Its the first step toward developing the collective strategies that can give us the power we need to stop rape, and all the other forms of violence and discrimination women face. Even if it was ugly, I’m glad it finally happened for one young woman with a powerful public platform.

Congratulations, Moe. You have a powerful weapon in your hands; use it wisely!

*Updated to add*–good work Ann of Feministing, for kicking it old school with your talent for CR-type intervention. You rock.

Holy Fuck

July 2, 2008

one of these is  joke. one maybe isnt.

This made the blood stop running in my veins. I hope its not real. Have you ever wondered what Germans were doing while all that Holocaust crap was happening? Of course you have. But now we know. Some of them thought it was funny, and sat around on the beach saying “It don’t GITMO better than this” and some of them sat around saying “Holy Fuck. No THIS is REALLY over the line. Kid’s T-shirts? I can’t believe it.” Like me.

Meanwhile the machinery of death and war toils on.

Uh…ur doin’ it rong.

Following slowly, and likely unsteadily, on the heels of a few unknown and TV investigatorsnearly-year-old-experiments, everyone’s favorite-to-loathe “drink-soaked former-Trotskyist poinjay”, Hitch, has himself water-boarded.

So, while still completely unoriginal, this time Hitch is at least on the “right” side, and by that I mean the “side that is somewhat opposed to torture.”

That gets him no points with me. First, these supposedly anti-torture demonstrations do much to normalize the practice and make it looks as safe and normal as anything on ‘Fear Factor.”

Second, he couldn’t really do anything to make it all up at this point. This is the same moron who has steadfastly supported the many lies and illegalities of the Bush administration for the last eight years largely on the grounds that these policies, however duplicitous, support and are supported by his deeply racist worldview.

His attempt to take the moral high ground on this issue is repulsive, as his defense of these insane wars and the “clash of civilizations” logic they are rooted in has helped pave the way for secret prisons, torture, shock-and-awe and, yes water-boarding. It seems dishonest. I was hoping he’d finish up the article with a bit about how he tried it and how its not that bad.

Sure, he’d still be lying, but at least he wouldn’t be pretending that the policies hess been advocating for most of the last decade have nothing to do with the horrors he’s now condeming.

But he’s Chrisoher Hitchens; what else did you possibly expect?

Did I mention that he thinks “women aren’t funny?” Reading that essay the first time was like being forced to entertain an aging, rude and hard-of-hearing male relative at an outdoor wedding. I think the face I made while perusing the article must be somewhat like the ones Hitch encounters on women in the real world. Ones that, via the magic of narcissism and confirmation bias, have sadly led him to develop this unfortunate “women aren’t funny” thesis in the first place.

What I’m trying to say is that Htich and I clearly have different ideas of what makes funny.

Hitchens honestly seems to think this latest contribution to Vanity Fair is a probing look into America’s conflicted soul. Whereas the idea itself makes me laugh. “Christopher Hitchens Gets Water-boarded”. Ha! Seriously!

And his constant references to “the enemy” and descriptions of manly heroic soldiers are also a bit giggle- inducing, if they weren’t worrisome; though it is a bit amusing that he is concerned about this one isolated instance of self-torture causing neurological damage.

*UPDATED* to add: I actually find neither alcoholism nor water-boarding funny as general topics. Specifically, I don’t recommend that you watch any of the water-boarding videos all the way through if you are sensitive, as I am. I also don’t recommend that you watch clips of either Hitchens or Amy Winehouse performing live, as these are almost universally sad if they are recent.

The idea of Christopher Hitchens water-boarding himself still makes me laugh, though. I stand by that.

“We didn’t think you’d find out about this! Seriously, what did you expect?”

Meanwhile, the Democrats are my other least favorite political party–Check this shit out. The Democratic Congress secretly approved funding to amp up covert operations against Iran.

Via Democracy Now and my 1st fave.

Zim

July 1, 2008

Developments keep overtaking my drafts. Sorry for the delay.

Victoria Falls

Should the UN intervene?

What about Mbeki’s proposal for a “unity” government led by Mugabe?

Why is South Africa choosing not to participate in meetings with other African nations?

While COSATU is boycotting Zimbabwe, the ANC says the following:

“Any attempts by outside players to impose regime change will merely deepen the crisis.

“It has always been and continues to be the view of our movement that the challenges facing Zimbabwe can only be solved by the Zimbabweans themselves,” the statement said. “Nothing that has happened in the recent months has persuaded us to revise that view.”

This, in truth, strikes me as sensible. Given Mugabe’s vocal condemnation of imperialism, invoked as the justification for every act of violence and repression, and given Tsvangarai’s unabashed advocacy for neoliberal “market solutions,” UN intervention seems likely make things worse.

But can be the same be said of African intervention? It seems unlikely that we will find out.

Instead, “leaving it up to Zimbabweans themselves” means that Mugabe will go ahead with this “election,” opponent-free. Hopefully, the fact that he is the only one running will reduce his need to employ roving bands of thugs to genderate “support.”

In other news on the topic, I cant find a print quote, but WBAI’s Wake Up Call quoted my president, Cynthia McKinney, in a statement on Zimbabwe. Her comment focused on the land question in a way that could be read as implicit support for Mugabe’s campaign of terror and anti-democratic repression. I understand, politically, why that would be her position, but….ew.

While “what next?” remains a swamp of least-worst and worst-worst options, tomorrow I’ll focus a bit on how Zimbabwe got here in the first place.

What was that about mushroom clouds, again?

Did you know that both John McCain and Barak Obama support the expanded use of nuclear power? Is there an idea more deranged? I think not.

For its a jolly good person! I will mis hir.

No Election in Zimbabwe

June 23, 2008

Mugabe’s fight against democracy is now successful; the MDC has withdrawn from the election. There is a very difficult to understand interview with Grace Kwinjeh on Democracy Now! today.

Read more

Yesterday on CNN, coverage of the Obama/McCain race for President of the United States of America included a graphic which contained the phrase “Battle Royal.” Too bad I couldn’t find a screen shot.

This small detail is either just one turd in the coming avalanche of steaming racist horseshit, or incredibly incisive, subtle and stinging political/cultural commentary from a rouge disgruntled graphics designer.M

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