"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Friday, December 08, 2017

The Warlock Hunt

The Warlock Hunt

"This article circulated from publication to publication, like old-fashioned samizdat, and was rejected repeatedly with a sotto voce, “Don’t tell anyone. I agree with you. But no.” Friends have urged me not to publish it under my own name, vividly describing the mob that will tear me from limb to limb and leave the dingoes to pick over my flesh. It says something, doesn’t it, that I’ve been more hesitant to speak about this than I’ve been of getting on the wrong side of the mafia, al-Qaeda, or the Kremlin?

But speak I must. It now takes only one accusation to destroy a man’s life. Just one for him to be tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion, overnight costing him his livelihood and social respectability...

One after another prominent voice, many of them political voices, have been silenced by sexual harassment charges. Not one of these cases has yet been adjudicated in a court of law. Leon Wiesenthal, David Corn, Mark Halperin, Michael Oreskes, Al Franken, Ken Baker, Rick Najera, Andy Signore, Jeff Hoover, Matt Lauer, even Garrison Keillor—all have received the professional death sentence... Some have been accused of offenses that aren’t offensive, or offenses that are only mildly so—and do not warrant total professional and personal destruction.

The things men and women naturally do—flirt, play, lewdly joke, desire, seduce, tease—now become harassment... The onus to understand the interaction and its emotional subtleties falls entirely on him. But why? Perhaps she should have understood his behavior to be harmless—clumsy, sweet but misdirected, maladroit, or tacky—but lacking in malice sufficient to cost him such arduous punishment?...

Over the course of my academic and professional career, many men who in some way held a position of power over me have made lewd jokes in my presence, or reminisced drunkenly of past lovers, or confessed sexual fantasies. They have hugged me, flirted with me, on occasion propositioned me. For the most part, this male attention has amused me and given me reason to look forward to otherwise dreary days at work. I dread the day I lose my power over men, which I have used to coax them to confide to me on the record secrets they would never have vouchsafed to a male journalist. I did not feel “demeaned” by the realization that some men esteemed my cleavage more than my talent; I felt damned lucky to have enough talent to exploit my cleavage...

Revolutions against real injustice have a tendency, however, to descend into paroxysms of vengeance that descend upon guilty and innocent alike. We’re getting too close. Hysteria is in the air. The over-broad definition of “sexual harassment” is a well-known warning sign. The over-broad language of the Law of Suspects portended the descent of the French Revolution into the Terror. This revolution risks going the way revolutions so often do, and the consequences will not just be awful for men. They will be awful for women...

Kissing a woman is an early stage of courtship. It is one way that men ask the question, “Would you like more?” Courtship is not a phenomenon so minor to our behavioral repertoire that we can readily expunge it from the workplace. It is central to human life. Men and women are attracted to each other; the human race could not perpetuate itself otherwise; and anyone who imagines they will cease to be attracted to each other—or act as if they were not—in the workplace, or any other place, is delusional. Anyone who imagines it is easy for a man to figure out whether a woman might like to be kissed is insane. The difficulty of ascertaining whether one’s passions are reciprocated is the theme of 90 percent of human literature and every romantic comedy or pop song ever written...

The comedians, by their own account, screamed and laughed—and only later revealed they were “outraged.” They say that they shrieked with laughter because they were traumatized. But if you can’t understand why someone like Louis CK might have genuinely understood their laughter as “consent,” your emotional acumen is deficient...

They’re literally going to airbrush Spacey out of All The Money, like water commissar Nikolai Yezhov in that photo of the Moscow Canal. Comrade Spacey has been vaporized. He’s an unperson. Long live Comrade Ogilvy. Isn’t anyone a bit spooked by this?...

We just can’t hold people like Louis CK and Leon Wieseltier to the same standards of probity and decorum we would—in a highly imaginary alternate universe—hold the President or a Senator from Alabama. Americans love these people precisely because they’re outrageous, lewd, and willing publicly to violate sexual and social norms...

For that matter, isn’t anyone else a bit spooked by the ritual tenor of the confessions that always follow? The most profound mystery of the Moscow Trials was the eagerness of the victims to confess...

They are all confessing in the same dazed, rote, mechanical way...

For God’s sake, why are these men all humiliating themselves? It’s not like confessing will bring forgiveness. They must all know, like Bukharin, that no matter what they say, the ritual of confession will be followed by the ritual of liquidation. If they said, “You’ve all lost your fucking minds, stop sniffing my underwear and leave me the fuck alone,” they’d meet exactly the same fate. Why didn’t Bukharin say, To hell with you. You may kill me, but you will not make me grovel?” I used to wonder, but now I see. Am I the only one who finds these canned, rote, mechanical, brainwashed apologies deeply creepy? Isn’t anyone else put in mind of the Cultural Revolution’s Struggle Sessions, where the accused were dragged before crowds to condemn themselves and plead for forgiveness? This very form of ritual public humiliation, aimed at eliminating all traces of reactionary thinking, now awaits anyone accused of providing an unwanted backrub.

We are a culture historically disposed to moral panics and sexual hysterias. Not long ago we firmly convinced ourselves that our children were being ritually raped by Satanists. In recent years, especially, we have become prone to replacing complex thought with shallow slogans. We live in times of extremism, and black-and-white thinking. We should have the self-awareness to suspect that the events of recent weeks may not be an aspect of our growing enlightenment, but rather our growing enamorment with extremism.

We should certainly realize by now that a moral panic mixed with an internet mob is a menace. When the mob descends on a target of prominence, it’s as good as a death sentence, socially and professionally. None of us lead lives so faultless that we cannot be targeted this way. “Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.”...

Given the events of recent weeks, we can be certain of this: From now on, men with any instinct for self-preservation will cease to speak of anything personal, anything sexual, in our presence. They will make no bawdy jokes when we are listening. They will adopt in our presence great deference to our exquisite sensitivity and frailty. Many women seem positively joyful at this prospect. The Revolution has at last been achieved! But how could this be the world we want? Isn’t this the world we escaped?

Who could blame a man who does not enjoy the company of women under these circumstances, who would just rather not have women in the workplace at all? This is a world in which the Mike Pence rule—“Never be alone with a woman”—seems eminently sensible. Such a world is not good for women, however—as many women were quick to point out when we learned of the Mike Pence rule. Our success and advancement relies upon the personal and informal relationships we have with our colleagues and supervisors. But who, in this climate, could blame a venerable Oxford don for refusing to take the risk of teaching a young woman, one-on-one, with no witnesses? Mine was the first generation of women allowed the privilege of unchaperoned tutorials with Balliol’s dons. Will mine also be the last? Like so many revolutions, the sexual revolution risks coming full circle, returning us right where we started—fainting at bawdy jokes, demanding the return of ancient standards of chivalry, so delicate and virginal that a man’s hand on our knee causes us trauma. Women have long been victims, but now we are in so many respects victims no longer. We have more status, prestige, power, and personal freedom than ever before. Why would we want to speak and act as though we were overwhelmingly victims, as we actually used to be?

Women, I’m begging you: Think this through. We are fostering a climate in which men legitimately fear us, where their entire professional and personal lives can be casually destroyed by “secret lists” compiled by accusers they cannot confront, by rumors on the internet, by thrilled, breathless reporting denouncing one after another of them as a pig, often based only on the allegation that they did something all-too-human and none-too-criminal like making a lewd joke. Why would we even want men to be subject to such strenuous, arduous taboos against the display of their sexuality? These taboos, note carefully, resemble in non-trivial ways those that have long oppressed women. In a world with such arduous taboos about male purity and chastity, surely, it is rational for men to have as little to do with women as possible. What’s in this for us?...

Let us put this in the crudest of Freudian terms. Women have castrated men en masse. Perhaps this panic is happening now because our emotions about this achievement are ambivalent. Perhaps our ambivalence is so taboo that we cannot admit it to ourselves, no less discuss it rationally. Is it possible that we are acting out a desire that has surfaced from the hadopelagic zone of our collective unconscious—a longing to have the old brutes back? That is what Freud would suggest: We are imagining brutes all around us as a form of wish-fulfillment, a tidy achievement that simultaneously allows us to express our ambivalence by shrieking at them in horror."


No wonder we have MGTOW.

Of course, feminists expect men to take on all of the risk themselves.
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