Posts Tagged ‘Mary Beard’

TYT on Trump Supporters Vicious Tweets against Megyn Kelly

February 2, 2016

This shows not just how vile the man’s supporters are, but it also reflects badly on their leader’s own appalling attitude to women. In this piece from The Young Turks, anchor Cenk Uygur talks about the genuinely hateful tweets Megyn Kelly’s received from Trump’s supporters. They’ve called her everything from ‘Bimbo’ to ‘bitch’, ‘slut’ and end with a word so foul I can’t repeat it here.

And all this is because she dared to ask Trump about his own disparaging comments about women. The Turks’ show this here, and although Trump tries to laugh it off, it is a reasonable question. Moreover, as the Turks themselves have repeatedly said, Kelly was actually on his side. When she asked the question, she follows it up with another question about how he would react to the Democrats using it against him. Which is a fair point.

But it’s too much for Trump, who can’t stand criticism, fair or otherwise, no matter how sugar-coated and sympathetic. And so there was the petulance and foot-stamping of his refusal to appear on the Fox News debate, because it was to be moderated by Kelly, and then the sheer venom of his supporters.

There are a number of different aspects to this. The first is the misogynist hatred that comes out of certain corners of the Web, designed to silence women. Mary Beard, the classical historian, was subjected to all kinds of misogynist abuse after her comments denying that immigrants were flooding and destroying various towns in the north of England. In response she made a programme on BBC 2, Shut Up, Dear, about the attempts to silence women’s voices down the centuries.

And it’s not just women, who suffer horrendous abuse at the hands of anonymous posters on the Net. Quentin Letts, the parliamentary sketch writer for the Daily Mail, includes ‘Webonymous’, in his book, 50 People Who Buggered Up Britain. The anonymous tweeters and emailers of the Net are included, because there’s a level of vitriol and abuse in their messages which goes far beyond even those written by the cranks in green ink. No matter how insulting and poisonous they get, wrote Letts, they will at least end their missive with ‘Yours faithfully, X’. No such grace comes from the keyboards of the angry hordes on the Web.

And the Republican Party in particular has a problem with strong women, despite the fact that it’s produced some of the strongest and most powerful. It is the party of traditional masculine values, where men are rugged and tough, and women dutifully subordinate to their husbands. And some of the men in the Republican party are really intimidated by strong, independent women. Remember back in the 1990s when one Republican Party delegate, who I believe was a deranged pastor of some kind, said of Hillary Clinton that she was ‘the kind of woman who leaves her husband, turns to lesbianism, practices witchcraft and sacrifices her children’.

What?

From what I’ve seen of her, she seems just a dull, corporate politico. She’s undoubtedly efficient and highly intelligent, but she always struck me as being very measured in what she says. She’s very definitely not a crazed mouth on legs seething with hate and bile like Ann Coulter, and definitely not as outspokenly airheaded as Sarah Palin, all superpatriotism and booster clich├ęs. I sincerely doubt that she’s got a Satanic temple in her basement, or is part of Wiccan coven in Salem or anywhere else. And the last time I looked, Chelsea was very much alive and well.

Joe Queenan back in the 1990s in his Radio 4 show, Postcard from Gotham, opined that most of the abuse Hillary Clinton got for being a tough, successful woman, came from men, who married to women like her. And since then, the attitude to women and women’s rights appears to have hardened, just as it has against Blacks and the disadvantaged generally. The Republican party have deliberately targeted ‘angry White men’, guys, who feel threatened by the social changes around them, which have seen them and their position in society come under competition from women, Blacks and other, traditionally marginalised groups. Hence the hostility to affirmative action programmes, the rising xenophobia, and the raving antifeminism coming from the Republicans and their supporters. And Trump reflects this poisonous mix of prejudices. He’s supposed to be a grade-A, super Alpha Male, ready to put women, Mexicans and Muslims in their place, for a better, traditional America of pure Republican Party values. And the result is a wave of pure hate from his supporters. Whatever they’re real socio-economic group and their place in the social hierarchy, they increasingly sound like angry trailer trash, ranting about the threat to society from Cultural Marxism, Hispanics, Blacks and Arabs. Sitting in soiled vests in dingy bars, sullenly nursing their pints and reminiscing about the good old days before all this political correctness and the girlie men now in charge, before staggering home to an evening of domestic violence.

Trump shares the same atavistic instincts of this crowd, but with all the smarm and polish of a slick politico and reality TV personality. He may wear a suit, but his followers see in him the same hatreds they have. And when he lets loose against a woman, they follow suit, with the same lack of restraint and all the poison, bile and spite the web can muster. We need statesmen, not ranting demagogues whipping up hate. And that’s why Trump should not be let anywhere near the White House.

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Lower than Cockroaches: Ian Duncan Smith and his Persecution of Victims of the Bedroom Tax

January 29, 2016

Cockroaches probably come pretty low on most people’s list of lovable animals. Nevertheless, disgusting as they are, they do have their positive points. There’s supposed to be a species, which has passages running through its body through which it passes digested food to its young. Who would have thought that an insect like that would have developed maternal feelings?

Sadly, all such tenderness has departed from Ian Duncan Smith, in whose breast the milk of human kindness dried up long ago, leaving only the bitterest gall and vinegar. On Wednesday, a woman, who had been so traumatised by the harassment, stalking and her own rape by a former partner, that she had a panic room installed by the police, won her court case against the DWP over the Bedroom Tax. This was too much for the Gentleman Ranker, who immediately appealed. He also laughed about the poor woman and her predicament in parliament. Go read Mike’s blog at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/01/27/dwp-appeals-after-bedroom-tax-on-rape-victims-panic-room-is-ruled-unlawful-and-discriminatory/. This includes a photo of this shameful incident.

Over the past couple of years, there’s been a big debate over whether this country has a ‘rape culture’. This comes after numerous incidents where women have been trolled with threats of rape and sexual violence. One of those who raised the issue was the classical historian, Mary Beard, after she received such threats following comments she made about their being no Muslim threat in one of the northern cities. This controversy naturally extends to jokes about rape. A month or so ago, one British comedienne felt so outraged about it that she delivered a whole evening to attacking it. And you don’t even have to go to see modern, young women voice their condemnation of this type of ‘humour’. Ted Rogers, the old school comedian and game show compere, who brought the world Dusty Bin and 3-2-1 in the ’70s and ’80s, made it plain that he didn’t find rape funny. But from the looks of it, Ian Duncan Smith found it hilarious.

I am not surprised. Violence and bullying always were part of public school culture, much to the disgust of everybody, who did not go to Eton. Way back in the 1980s Private Eye reviewed a book about the public school. The book was highly admiring, but described some of the bullying that went on. This included one of the boys having a cricket stump shoved up his back passage. The Eye’s reviewer, like just about everyone else reading the book, was revolted. The author wasn’t. He adopted the attitude that it was all jolly boyish japes. It clearly isn’t, and his attitude infuriated the Eye’s reviewer even more. But such violence, and cheerful indifference or even celebration of it, does explain IDS callous laughter and persecutory attitude to those, who have suffered sexual violence.

He’s also determined to carry with his wretched policies, even though they’re coming under sustained, and increasing criticism. That same day his benefit cuts were condemned by the Royal College of Psychiatrists for exacerbating the condition of those with mental illness. See Mike’s http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/01/27/britains-top-psychiatrists-warn-tory-benefit-cuts-are-making-mental-health-conditions-worse/. And yesterday there were calls on him to resign after three senior judges ruled against the Bedroom. Mike reported here: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/01/28/calls-for-iain-duncan-smith-to-quit-after-damning-bedroom-tax-judgement/. It is, of course, no surprise that IDS scuttled away from the Mirror’s hacks as fast as his chauffeur could drive him. Despite his boss’ claim that, as a former army man, IDS could crack heads with his knees, the Gentleman Ranker is an appalling physical, as well as moral, coward. He’s turned up at parliamentary inquiry surrounded by armed cops and bodyguards, just in case the disabled launch an attack on him. He’s hidden in laundry baskets to avoid protestors, fled out the back of Jobcentres to avoid them, and even delivered speeches first thing in the morning to avoid having to brave the ire of the Great Unwashed. He’s even cowardly about answering the Honourable Members questions in the Palace of Westminster. Yesterday he sat quietly by on the benches, leaving it to a junior minister to take the flack over the bedroom tax. See http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/01/28/cowardly-iain-duncan-smith-ducks-mps-furious-questions-over-court-ruling-on-rotten-bedroom-tax/. The minister probably thinks this’ll endear him to his boss, and he’ll be up for promotion. I wouldn’t bet on it. Smith has no loyalty to anyone, except Cameron, and the moment it becomes convenient to put the blame on anyone else for his own failing, he does. It’s only a matter of time before this willing servant of his ministerial vanity gets similarly stabbed in the back.

IDS and his policies are dismal failures, yet he continues to support them, even to the point of being accused of effectively writing blank cheques to lawyers so they can continue their campaign of harassment against those who fought against him and one: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/01/28/iain-duncan-smith-accused-of-writing-blank-cheque-to-lawyers-to-defend-bedroom-tax-in-court/. He’s tenacious in his spite, possibly because it’s the only thing he’s done in public life that counts as anywhere near a success. After all, his attempt to steer the Tory party back to electoral victory under his leadership was a dismal failure. The man’s colossal vanity and megalomania mean that he can’t allow it to fail. Even when it does.

The man is truly the Arnold Rimmer of British politics. A shabby, vain, bully, filled with spite for the poor, who laughs at the traumatised victims of real, horrific violence. The kind, which he himself has neither spine nor stomach to stand up to. He really is lower than the roaches.