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On Roosh and PR

Before it fades to the usual background, I have some thoughts about Roosh. Roosh wasn’t new to me, nor was the Manosphere. I’ve been aware of it since the middle-80s when “Father’s Rights” started becoming a thing.¹ In the intervening years I spent some time in the bowels of the internet, bearding some of these idiots in their dens. Which is where I first encountered Roosh the Doosh.²

Roosh is a scammer. He’s of the grifter mindset. He wrote a number of tracts on how to “Bang *insert country*”. They were banal examples of “How to Pick Up Girls” which mostly boiled down to, “go to someplace where your money buys more than it does here, and pretend to be rich”. This trick works. But that’s all it is, a trick. I’ve seen it play out in Ukraine, where the hotel I was staying in was being used for a “bridal fair”. The Americans who were there, were (in a word) repulsive. Women were things to buy, and poor women were the best of the best, because, “they would be grateful, and obedient, for fear of going back to poverty”.

That’s what Roosh sells. It’s why he struck out in Scandinavia and had to engage in rape in Iceland. Yes, rape. He not only admitted it, he said he knew it was rape when he did it, but, “having sex is what I do”.³ The problem for Roosh is that his business model is not great. He sells e-books about how to engage in power-tripping in places where Euros and Dollars go further. Not only is that a limited market, but it’s one with limited subjects. Unless you think the economic landscape in Poland, or Brazil has changed a lot, a new edition isn’t really going to sell.

It also costs money to do the “research”.

So a few years ago he decided to try converting to a different sort of guru. He started trying to sell social commentary. The problem was, that niche (telling angry white men how tough they have it because ANGRY FEMINISTS ARE DESTROYING THE WORLD) is full. AvFM is soaking up what money there is for that.

So Roosh went for shock. One of his tricks was to argue the problem with rape isn’t that it happens too much, but that women get to do something about it. He argued the way to “stop rape” was to make it too costly for women to be alone with men. He said that, on private property, rape should be legal. That way women would never allow themselves to be alone with men, so they would never get raped. Two birds with one stone. 1: Rape stats would fall. 2: the dread bogeyman of the PUA movement, “false rape” would disappear.

Non-PUAs noticed. That was when Roosh moved from annoying creep on the near fringes of the Manosphere, to What The Fuck, that Asshole is a Menace. He thought he’d hit the bigtime.

Because, for all they whine about Evil Feminists the MRM/PUA crowd don’t really think they matter. They think they feminism is a dead letter, because (like liberal) lots of people are afraid to self-identify as feminists (in part because assholes like Roosh gin-up hate mobs). They fail to take into account that a lot of the ideas of feminism are now seen as standards of decent behavior. This bit him in the ass when he decided to take his new schtick on the road for a series of seminars.

In Montréal he got hounded, pretty much shut down by people who didn’t like him telling his venues what sort of shit they were letting but space. Then he got seen in public, in a disguise. When he tried to put some moves on a woman in a bar, she tossed a beer in his face and he was chased out of the place.

He needed to regain some traction. Being shamed, by feminists (that some of the people chasing him out were male was even worse, this is a guy who thinks “do you even lift bro” is some sort of insult to other men. So he hit on the “Meet-ups”, and tried to riff on the Canada tour, which had some success before Montréal.

A lot of folks are talking about how either there was a great victory, because they were shut down, or a great failure because anyone paid attention. On the whole I think it’s a bit of both, but, in the short run, the pushback played into Roosh’s weaknesses, and he made lemonade. There was no way he was going to have more than 150 successful get togethers. He had four planned in NYC, and another one in Hoboken. There aren’t enough dyed in the wool MRA/PUAs to get more than 2-3 to show up to those. If he’d said he was having 20, and named 20 big cities, mostly in he the US, I might have thought it plausible.

Do I think he planned it all out? No. Honestly, I think he over reached. I’m guessing some 30-60 dudes said, “I’d be willing to host a meetup” and Roosh ran with it. Then he over-reached, assumed 1: all those dudes would actually do it (even with the best of intentions, and most willing of people, one needs redundancy to get that many disparate meet-ups going. Because people have lives). But he committed.

And got some pushback. I think that was a big part of the plan. I’m guessing he figured the pushback would be just enough to get the meet-ups talked about enough to spark interest. What he didn’t count on was how skittish MRA types (even more than PUA die-hards) are. I’m guessing the reaction started out well enough; with more dudes saying, “hell yeah! I’ll stick it to feminists!”, but then the volume of response, married to the ridiculous nature of, “Do you know where the pet shop is”, sooper-seekrit spy-shenanigans, caused even those few who had committed to it to waffle, or back out, and the flood of, “I’ll host in Topeka” types never showed.

So he got to save face, and gain some credibility with his base (because of the doxxing), rather than have to admit to an abject failure. I don’t think he planned that aspect of it. I think that was a fortuitos side effect of the years he’s spent being an offensive waste of carbon. In the long run, I don’t think he can last. His writing is getting more bitter. Less, “oh yeah, banging broads is easy” and more, “The world is shit and women are why”. Even if AvFM weren’t on the scene Roosh has neither the writing chops, nor the sort of backstory, which make converting that from a small base of angry fanboys to the sort of 30-60,000 dollars a year scam of AvFM.

He’s a one-trick pony, and this is pretty much his trick now. I don’t think he can keep racking up successful failures. So yeah, this could have gone a lot worse for him, but wasn’t a win.

¹Are there Men’s Issues that society needs to address? Yes. Are they what the Manosphere is talking about? Mostly no. For those that do matter are Men’s Rights Activists doing anything to improve things? No.

²I stopped needing to encounter them tertially when Dave Futrelle started his blog about the Manosphere, where I spent a fair bit of time, in the course of about five years. The nice thing about it was a pretty good commentariat, and a “honey-pot” aspect. LOTS of MRAs/PUAs/Bog Standard Misogynists/&c would show up to “teach the ladies” a thing or two. We had regulars, and intermittents, ad drive bys. Some, the NWOSlaves, and David Mellers, and Brandons were in turn ridiculous, terrifyingly comical, and depressing in their pathologies, and normalness. Others (the CrackMCees, and Peter-Nolan© types) were just ludicrous. Most were pathetically consistent in what, and how, they argued.

³He also seems to have engaged in rape in other places too. He admits to one in Poland, and has said he “can’t go back to Poland”. The implications are he left for fears someone reported him to the authorities for something.

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On engaging with the Men’s Rights Movement

There is more wrong than I can describe in the column Emily Matcher wrote in the New Republic, “”Men’s Rights” Activists Are Trying to Redefine the Meaning of Rape”. From the slipshod reporting, to the false middle, to the acceptance of one sides arguments without apparent question it has managed to rise to a level of error I am unable to describe; fractally wrong doesn’t begin to cover it.

The problem is there are social issues related to gender which affect men. A number of them aren’t being well addressed. A large part of that is because of the “Men’s Rights Movement” (MRM, the members of which often call themselves, Men’s. Rights Activists, or MRAs) For those who don’t know, the MRM is a collection of people who are engaged in vigorous, rhetorically violent; and usually incoherent, backlash against the modern world. They do this in the guise of being against the “unreasonable aspects” of feminism.

In practice what this means is they rail against anything smacking of equality, and this makes it harder to talk about these issues. Anything which might possibly be seen as less than laudatory of their “movement” brings out the worst in them, baying like hounds for blood (just look at the first comment in reply to the Matcher piece; follow the links, if you have the stomach for it).

They have been described by the SPLC as being worth watching because they have the prototypical signs of a nascent hate group. The violent rhetoric, vicious othering, support for actual terrorists (One of the larger loci of MRM activity listed, for years, under its, “Activism” header, the manifesto of Thomas Ball. In his suicide letter he claimed he was driven to set himself on fire because of an unjust system) §, and a tendency to attack those whom they see as, “evil”.

Which is why Matcher failing to question the things they said, nor to look at their backgrounds when she legitimated their actions, is so disturbing. Her first failure is not making it plain that all three of her sources are from the same organisation (the aforementioned AVFM). Among the most egregious of her faults is that she took their comments about on False Rape Accusations (one of the MRM’s biggest bugbears) almost at face value.

The stats on false rape accusations are about the same as any other crime. Somewhere between 2-8 percent. Figuring this out is simple, take the number of reported rapes, divide it by the number of them deemed to be false. This is not the same as estimates of how many of some type of crime go unreported (e.g. someone stole my knapsack from work a year and a half ago. I didn’t report it; so it’s not listed in the stats for theft in NYC, but there are analysts who try to figure out what the “underlying rate” is for such things).

The MRM defines things differently, they see an unbelievable number of false rape accusations. Partly this is how they define “false accusation”. The general argument they make is that any case which doesn’t lead to a conviction = false accusation.
They are also incredibly fond of finding a single study/event which supports their position (e.g. that Nifong continued a prosecution which wasn’t tenable), and even when it doesn’t hold up; e.g. that a false rape accusation “destroys” a man’s life, forever, the moment it gets made (quick, tell me the names of the Duke Lacrosse Team who were prosecuted by Nifong). From that (because there are some bad studies out there) they argue that half of all reported rapes are false accusations. There is even a large segment of the MRM who will argue that half of all rape victims are men; and that the vast majority of those men are raped by women. *

Matcher just lets that in, doesn’t address any of it; presents the idea that half of all reported rapes are false as if it’s a reasonable position to hold. She also presents the people at AVfM (which is basically the flagship of whatever organised activism the MRM has) as if they were reasonable people. Paul Elam, the owner of the site wrote this,

That’s it. In the name of equality and fairness, I am proclaiming October to be Bash a Violent Bitch Month.

Now, am I serious about this?

No. Not because it’s wrong. It’s not wrong. Every one should have the right to defend themselves. Hell, women are often excused from killing someone whom they allege has abused them. They can shoot them in their sleep and walk. Happens all the time. It’ll even get you a spot on Oprah, and cuntists across the cunt-o-sphere will be lionizing you.

In that light, every one of those women at Jezebel and millions of others across the western world are as deserving of a righteous ass kicking as any human being can be. But it isn’t worth the time behind bars or the abuse of anger management training that men must endure if they are uppity enough to defend themselves from female attackers.

The better option is to kick her to the curb, figuratively speaking, and hopefully move on to some better choices. Besides, violence in self defense should be in some way commensurate with the violence of the attack.

I will say this, though. To all the men out there that decided to say “Damn the consequences,” and fight back, you are hero’s to the cause of equality; true feminists. And you are the honorary Kings of Bash a Violent Bitch Month. You are living proof of just how hollow “don’t fuck with us,” rings from the mouths of bullies and hypocrites.

In he spirit of feminists everywhere, you GO, boy!

Not to mention that he wears a shirt emblazoned with I ♥ FTSU: which stands in for, I Love Fucking Their Shit Up:, harkening back to this comment of his: “I find you, as a feminist, to be a loathsome, vile piece of human garbage. I find you so pernicious and repugnant that the idea of fucking your shit up gives me an erection.”

This is the man the movement Matcher says we need to listen to (lest we, cede the debate).  The man that movement has as its, de facto, leader. This is the philosophical underpinning of the MRM. When you read enough of them (e.g. John the Other, Dean Esmay, Karen Straughn, Fidelbogen, Theodore Beale [who calls himself, Vox Day, the hubris of which is incredible, all things considered] Tom Martin, Peter-Andrew : Nolan(c), /r mensrights, W.F. Price, Eivind Berg, et al.), you realise the kernel of their philosophy, from which all else grows, is “women aren’t fully human”.

So what does Matcher’s piece actually argue?  Her core is this false dilemma:

The MRM’s tirades and hijinks certainly don’t meaningfully add to the debate surrounding the way we handle sexual assault. But to totally ignore the issues that they raise does not further a productive conversation.

Not only are the issues not being ignored, but to address them doesn’t mean one has to acede legitimacy to a movement which celebrates the Marc Lepine, and George Sodoni’s of the world. If we want to have a discussion about the proper role of religion in the public sphere; it’s not helping to take the Westboro Baptist Church as the other side in the discussion.

She also plays some of her own fast and loose with statistics:

A man’s chances of being falsely accused of rape are incredibly small,” wrote Slate’s Amanda Marcotte. (To be fair to Slate and the range of perspectives that it offers, Marcotte’s colleague, Emily Bazelon has written that fairly conservative estimates put the number of false rape reports at 20,000 a year.)

Those two statements are not in opposition. Assuming there are approx. 150 million adult males in the US, and that Bazelon’s estimates are true&dag; the odds of being a random victim of a false rape accusation is about 1:7,500. I might not have used exactly Marcotte’s language, but it’s not false to say the odds of being falsely accused is incredibly small. That Matcher chose to allege that the 20,000 a year figure is based on “fairly conservative estimates” further moves to make it seem false accusations of rape are much more common than they are.

For some perspective on that, I have a pop quiz:

1: do you know anyone who has been raped?

1a Do you know more than one person who has been raped?

2: Do you know anyone who has been, with malice, falsely accused of rape?

Odds are that the answer to 1 is yes. The answer to 2 is likely to be yes. The answer to 3 is probably no.

But Matcher stresses the point to say we need to talk about the false rape accusations, and to say the ways in which colleges deal with rape on campus is flawed, in language which makes it seem the real harm is being done to men, that the women being raped aren’t being treated as well as they might be, but OMG, there are men who are being told not to rape, and this one time, there was a dude who suffered. She ignores completely the women who are punished for speaking out about being raped.

High School student reports assault, gets suspended for public lewdness

UNC student threatened with expulsion for, “intimidating” attacker she never named

UC Berkeley handles all accusations behind closed doors rapists get “same disciplinary process as those caught cheating on an exam, their punishment — sometimes as light as a warning and an essay — decided in informal talks with the university.” (at Stanford, until three years ago, the accused rapist got to cross-examine the victim in a closed door session).

These are the systems the MRM says are too kind to women who file reports. This is what Matcher is giving credit too. These are the people she thinks Progressive need to give credence to, “lest we cede the debate”.

I’m sorry, there is no debate to had with people who say women need to shut up, sit down, “know their place”, and let men run the show. When those same people say women who get beaten, raped, harassed, underpaid, and even killed, “deserve it”, because they are women…

No way in hell I’m going to cede a seat at the table to them. No more than I would let an avowedly racist group set the agenda on issues of race.

§ Thomas Ball was guilty of abusing his daughter. The Court ordered him to undergo a short session in anger management. He refused. As a result he was denied visitation. He lost his job, and did nothing to attempt to get his child support payments modified. As a result he was unable to pay them. He was therefore in contempt of the court’s order, and likely to be jailed.
There are, in that story, some issues of justice to be resolved (i.e. the use of contempt of court findings to create de facto debtors’ prisons), but that’s not a “Men’s” issue, so much as it’s one of actual justice. That so many men are in violation of child support decrees is a different problem, and one the MRM uses to paint women as evil.

*Yes, men can be raped. Yes, women rape men. Yes, it’s under-reported. No, I don’t think forty percent of all rape is perpetrated by women raping men. The ways in which the MRM gets to that claim are ridiculous: Abuse of stats is rampant. I cannot count how many times I have seen this study used to show that men and women are being raped, by the opposite sex, in roughly equal numbers.

†I have some doubts, given the FBI lists a total of 83,425 forcible rapes reported in 2011, and says that of the rapes reported to them 90 percent were forcible, which gives a total of roughly 90,000 rapes in the FBI database. If we are generous and assume that 25 percent of police forces/prosecutor’s offices didn’t report their annual stats to the police we can add another 20,000 rapes (assuming the numbers are large enough to show a tolerably accurate sample; accepting that rates are local). So Bazelon is arguing something on the order of 1 person falsely accused per five rapes, or a 20 percent rate of false accusations (for the sake of simplicity I am treating this as if 1 rape = 1 person accused). That’s at odds with the FBIs stats on the false reporting of rape. If a larger portion of agencies are reporting, then the ratio of false reports being bruited about is even less plausible.


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With the New Year, some things remain the same.

I woke to some fairly standard Men’s Rights Activist Crap.  This time in the form of some video of Phil Robertson (the Duck Dynasty dude) who is a something of a structural racist, to go with his active homophobic bigotry(at the most generous his, “blacks were happy before civil rights is because he was too stupid to notice the reasons they might not tell him they were unhappy with the system.  Also too stupid to notice they fought, and died, to get those rights he said they were happier for not having.  That’s the most generous I can be.  Honestly, I think he’s straight up a racist, but I digress).  As one might expect, most people don’t have just one bigotry, and Robertson has some aspects of a virulent strain of misogyny too.

In the clip in that link he says men need to marry young women.  No, that’s not right,  he says men ought to be marrying children, some of whom are on the cusp of becoming adult.  He thinks the right age for a bride is 15-16.  Why?  At a guess, because they aren’t adults.  By 20, you see, they are, “over the hill”, and more interested in “picking your pocket” than than are in,  “picking yer ducks”.

The comments to that link are about what one would expect; people saying, “it’s a joke” because they can’t believe that such a thing could be serious.  Sadly, it is.  It’s a theme in “The Manosphere” that women are “over the hill” somewhere between 20-25, and that any woman who is older than that is just looking to get married so she can live the high life of the divorcée.  So yeah, I take him at his word.

About which I made a tweet (because sunshine is the best cure).  And to which I got a speedy reply:

So, less than 12 hours into 2014 I got to blog the first of the people stupid enough to think trite bigotry is a useful riposte to pointing and laughing at other bigots.


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Sauce for the goose?

A Catholic School in N. Arlington New Jersey seems to think bad language among its students is a problem. So big a problem they are asking them to forswear vulgarity… if they aren’t male.

Lori Flynn, a teacher who launched the civility campaign at Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington, said the rationale was simple: “We want ladies to act like ladies.”

Incredibly,” the principal, Brother Larry Lavallee, added, the girls have the foulest language.” I suspect Brother Lavallee isn’t getting out much. To add special sauce to the mix, the school admits the boys aren’t actually bastions of genteel speech,

Teachers said they hoped that if the girls focused on cleaning up their speech on campus for a month, their improved manners would take hold and rub off on the boys. They timed the initiative to Catholic Schools Week and the old-fashioned romance of Valentine’s Day. They promised lollipops as rewards and handed out pins showing a red slash through a pair of pink lips.

(apparently Brother Lavallee isn’t so sheltered as all that, “It looks like they mean no kissing,” Lavallee said. “That’s a little harder to enforce.”

Do the boys think there is a problem? Sort of.

“It’s unattractive when girls have potty mouths,” noted Nicholas Recarte, 16. A pitcher on the school’s baseball team, Nicholas said he can’t help shouting obscenities from the mound after mishaps. He said he didn’t expect that to change.

So he’s going to keep swearing, but if a woman does it, that’s unattractive. No unfairness, nor message of accepting double standards there.

We all engage in some sort of “foul language”. I know that I do (and being in the Army certainly seemed to make it more commonplace, but it’s not that I never let an expletive fall from my lips prior. More that I got both more blunt, and more nuanced, in my use of them). One of the things in the article where I found this points out is that 1: most people use more cursing in a day than they think (between 70-100 instances per person), and 2: the sense that the world is going to the dogs.

The latter is an inference I made from this, Swearing has become a persistent part of everyday speech, used to add emphasis, emotion and humor. Become? No. I read Shakespeare, and Johnson, and I’ve seen Meredith Wilson’s, “The Music Man”. The death of decent speech amongst the young is no new thing.

So, if this is such a persistent thing, why are the women being targeted? I’d say it’s sexism. It’s not, “ladylike”. When some (female) students actually took the oath to swear no where on the campus the boys were admonished, “Gentlemen, you are not to swear in the presence of ladies.”

For fuck’s sake.


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Republicans, rape, and reproductive rights: What the fuck is wrong with them?

To listen to the Republican Party is to be told they aren’t waging a war on women.  They say this is rhetorical overstatement of the basest sort.  The attempts to limit contraception aren’t anti-woman, they are rather a way to allow employers to follow their conscience; by forcing their moral views onto their employees.  I’ve also see the argument that conception natural, it’s what happens when one has sex (Viagra, and Cialis, however, are a response to an unnatural condition… age related impotence is somehow different… that not being able to afford the risk of pregnancy might make it harder to use the boners one is able to get somehow doesn’t factor into the equation, but I digress).

Banning abortion?  Not anti-woman.  It’s Pro-life, as if the woman’s life somehow stops mattering the moment she gets pregnant.

Joe Walsh (R-Ill) says all abortions should be outlawed.  Even  granting an exception, for the life/health of the mother was to be forbidden.  Not only does that  go further than the Roman Catholic, his explanation flies in the face of the facts.

Walsh said he was against abortion “without exception,” including rape, incest and in cases in which the life or health of the mother was in jeopardy.

Asked by reporters after the debate if he was saying that it’s never medically necessary to conduct an abortion to save the life of a mother, Walsh responded, “Absolutely.”

His attitude isn’t completely out of keeping with eh the official stance of the Party, despite some attempts to put his comments at arm’s length.  This is the platform statement on abortion.

“Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed,”

A lot of ink has been spilled tying to make it seem that’s not a radical statement.  People saying, “It doesn’t say how the amendment will be worded; it’s silent about the exceptions.”  That’s right, it’s silent about exceptions.  It makes an absolute claim that the “unborn child has a fundamental… right to life which cannot be infringed.”

In a related vein what do Roger Rivard, Mike Huckabee, Todd Akin, Sharon Barnes, and Richard Murdock, have in common? All of them have delusional ideas about rape.

Akin, and Huckabee, are among the crowd which argues for the idea that “rape” can’t lead to conception.  Sharon Barnes accepts that rape can  lead to conception, she is in the “but that’s God’s plan” camp.

Barnes “echoed Mr. Akin’s statement that very few rapes resulted in pregnancy,” according to the Times, and she added that “at that point, if God has chosen to bless this person with a life, you don’t kill it.”

Huckabee is in that camp too, with some of the “gotcha” arguments people use to try and make you feel guilty if you don’t oppose abortion, saying, “rapes, though “horrible tragedies,” had produced admirable human beings.”

“Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of a forcible rape,” Huckabee said of the late American gospel singer. One-time presidential candidate Huckabee added: “I used to work for James Robison back in the 1970s, he leads a large Christian organization. He, himself, was the result of a forcible rape. And so I know it happens, and yet even from those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable and indefensible, life has come and sometimes, you know, those people are able to do extraordinary things.”

Which is where Murdock enters the picture, he said that if you get raped, and then pregant, it was all, “part of God’s plan.”  He’s upset that people are taking his words at face value, but that’s what he said.

“I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen”

His defense of his words, “”God creates life, and that was my point. God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that He does,” he said in a statement. “Rape is a horrible thing, and for anyone to twist my words otherwise is absurd and sick,” suffers from his imputation of “not a sparrow falls” intervention on the part of God.  It’s an esoteric belief among several schools of each of the Abrahamic religions that the the universe was not set in motion, and left to run, but rather God actively; at every moment, chooses to keep it running, because it pleases God to watch it move.  To use the active voice, and say God intended that pregnancy, implies God had a role in it happening.  God could, after all, intervene in a lot of ways to bring about a conception, none of which require a rape. Mourdock isn’t getting the sort of response Akin did. 

Sen. John Cornyn, head of the Republicans’ Senate campaign arm, effectively cut off Akin after that comment. However, Cornyn defended Mourdock on Wednesday. 

“Richard and I, along with millions of Americans — including even Joe Donnelly — believe that life is a gift from God.  To try and construe his words as anything other than a restatement of that belief is irresponsible and ridiculous,” Cornyn said.

But there are a lot of Republicans who don’t really believe in most rapes.  I mean sure, if some jumps out of the bushes and knocks a woman down, and holds a knife to her throat, that might count… anything else, not so much.  That’s what’s buried in Akin’s, “legitimate rape” comment.  Someone who gets a woman drunk, and takes advantage of that to rape her?  Not legitimate.

Akin, and Paul Ryan (R-Wis/VP Candidate) tried to redefine rape in an amendment last year, saying, “forcible rape” was the litmus test to allow exceptions to the Hyde Amendment (which prohibits the use of Federal Funds to pay for abortions).  Statutory rape victims?  Out of luck.  Roofied? Out of luck.  Unconscious?  Out of luck.  Didn’t fight back enough?  Might be out of luck.

In the fight against abortion the Republicans are willing to go to commit more generic harms to women.

Rep. Nunnellee (R-Miss) made this set of preposterous claims when voting to deny all funds to Planned Parenthood.

In this resolution not one dime or womens’ health or family planning health funding is reduced. It simply says those dollars cannot go to Planned Parenthood. This is an organization that has protected those who prey on our children and has protected those who have raped our granddaughters.

This is a guy who voted for H.R.3, that bill which redefined only forcible rapes as, “legitimate”.  Raving that PP, which spends 97 cents of every dollar it gets on generic women’s health issues (and men’s, I got my STD screenings done there when I was in Calif.), and spends 100 cents of every federal dollar on non-abortion services, is protecting those, “who raped our granddaughters, after voting to make statutory rape not count as “real rape” is incredible.

Add that to the “moral conscience” laws they favor, so that pharmacists can make medical decisions based on personal religious beliefs (I can see the furor the first time a Jewish/Muslim pharmacist refuses to dispense a pork-based insulin to a diabetic, and it’s hard to say they aren’t treating women as a separate class of person.

It may not be a war, but it’s one hell of a fight.


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I think this guy misses the point too.

So,  Yaakov Rosenblatt decided he needed to tell Sarah Silverman what was wrong with her PSA about the laws being passed to make it harder to vote.

He says his complaint is about her using biblical language to make her point.  I think he was upset that she said (in some pretty colorful ways) that these laws were designed to fuck people over.  But that critique was lost, in his rant about what was really bothering him… she’s not at home rearing kids and cooking supper, like a good Jewish girl ought to be.  See, if she was fulfilled by having a husband, and kids, she wouldn’t be worrying her pretty little head about things like efforts to strip people of the ability to vote; in an admitted attempt to skew the odds of one party winning.

You stand out among comedians because your comedy is sharper than theirs. It is crude and clever, simple and punishing; your perception of the human condition is acute, which is why your punch lines bite deeper and hurt longer. You have a knack for finding faults and inconsistencies in people and blowing them wide open with carefully plotted language and cleverly nuanced pauses.

If I were to be gratuitous, I would say you mock what is imperfect because you know what perfect should look like and you seek the ultimate perfection.

But I won’t be so gratuitous. You are in show biz. I am in the rabbi biz. You entertain people. I serve people. I believe I have your number.

Nope, no passive aggressive bullshit there.  His argument really is that if she were trying to have kids she’d be happy, then she wouldn’t be so foul-mouthed, and politically active.

All I ask, respectfully, is that you not use traditional Jewish terminology in your efforts. Because doing so is a lie.

Nothing you say or stand for, Sarah, from your sickening sexual proposal to a Republican donor to your equally vulgar tweet to Mitt Romney, has the slightest thing to do with the most basic of tenets which Judaism has taught the world – that the monogamous relationship is the most meaningful one and that a happy marriage is the key to wholesomeness.

What twaddle. There is no respect there.  He’s got no real basis for telling her what to do.  He certainly doesn’t have exclusive license on the use of imagery from Exodus when speaking of people being denied rights.  It’s not a lie for her to use it. People used exactly that rthetoric to overturn the last instance of Jim Crow laws meant to suppress the vote.  It appropriate to use it now.

As you might imagine this has gotten some pushback.  Silveraman’s father wrote an open letter in reply, pointing out that among other things, it’s not just “Sarah Silverman, comedian”, but that her family is observant.    Yes, Rosenblatt’s orthodox, and wouldn’t recognise her sister’s smicha even if she were a man, but Silverman knew precisely what she was doing.

None of which is all that important. It was this response which caught my attention.

When Sarah Silverman, on video, propositions Sheldon Adelson, using her doggie in mock soft-porn as substitute for the elderly billionaire — that’s humor and acceptable.

When Rabbi Rosenblatt tells Sarah Silverman to get married and have children — that’s an expression of hatred and intolerance.

The question is, why?

I propose that many of the Jewish-American commenters got so upset because the Rabbi crossed a line. But the line he crossed was not about his views on motherhood, but rather his views on the role of the Rabbi and of Judaism.

Judaism, to some of those commenters, belongs locked in a box in a synagogue, and should never be allowed out to offer any moral observations, opinions or guidelines that disagree with the most permissive of Western cultural values.

Bullshit.  It’s not that the people who disagree think judaism should be locked in a box.  It’s that they don’t.  Rosenblatt was telling  Silverman he didn’t like the way she was taking Judaism out of the box.  Rosenblatt did cross a line.  He told another adult they had no right to speak in public because it offended his religious sensibilities.  Then he told her to go back to the kitchen and make a sandwich.

UPDATE:  I am not likely to say this often, but read the comments in response to the Open Letter.