The Bookworm Beat — 9/8/14 Optics edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingThis week, when it comes to the top stories, all is not as it seems. What struck me as I read through report after report, and opinion piece after opinion piece, is that we’re surrounded by a swirl of optics that belie the truth. Evidence to support this statement follows:

College student opts to illustrate optics of rape by toting around a mattress

The mainstream media is filled with a bit of performance art by Emma Sulkowicz, a senior at Columbia. Sulkowicz claims that three years ago, on her first night in the student dorms, a senior raped her. Sulkowicz eventually reported the alleged rape to the college, which opted not to expel the senior, despite the fact that other female students eventually charged him with rape too. Three years after the fact, Sulkowicz, a performance art major, has come up with a senior thesis that, as I said, has garnered a good bit of attention from the MSM:

Beginning this week, Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz has vowed to carry her mattress around at all times until her alleged rapist is expelled from school. The performance, which doubles as Sulkowicz’s senior thesis, instantly went viral and has been splashed internationally across Facebook, Twitter, and even the Today Show as the latest chapter in the ongoing conversation on how colleges handle sexual assault cases.

Sulkowicz, a visual-arts major, says she was raped by a classmate in her dorm bed sophomore year, and when she reported the incident to Columbia administrators they botched the report, the investigation, and the hearing. In April, Sulkowicz filed a Title IX complaint with 23 other students alleging Columbia has mishandled sexual assault cases.

Emma Sulkowicz

The MSM, understandably, is terribly excited by the optics here. Sulkowicz explains:

Over the summer, I was lucky enough to get into the Yale Norfolk Residency, and I worked on a video where I had to move a mattress out of the room. The idea of carrying a mattress got stuck in my head the way a song gets stuck in your head, and I unpacked why carrying a mattress is an important visual for me. I thought about how I was raped in my own bed at Columbia; and how the mattress represents a private place where a lot of your intimate life happens; and how I have brought my life out in front for the public to see; and the act of bringing something private and intimate out into the public mirrors the way my life has been. Also the mattress as a burden, because of what has happened there, that has turned my own relationship with my bed into something fraught.

What’s singularly missing from the articles I looked at (and I looked at 7 or 8) is any information about the rape. Was she asleep in her bed only to wake up to the feel of a knife pressed against her throat (as happened to a friend of mine who sports a large scar on her face that she received when fighting of her attacker)? Or had Sulkowicz invited the alleged attacker into her room and into her bed? Was Sulkowicz drunk or sober? Was her alleged attacker drunk or sober? The only detail Sulkowicz discusses is her claim that the attacker had anal sex with her. It’s still unclear whether they had any consensual traditional intercourse before the senior engaged in an act at which Sulkowicz drew the line or whether it was indeed a stranger rape or a rape without any preliminary consensual behavior.

Another interesting thing about Sulkowicz’s whole rape narrative is that Sulkowicz immediately decided not to report the rape to the police:  “I didn’t report it at first because I didn’t feel like dealing with the emotional trauma.”  Okay, I get that, but you can’t eat your cake and have it — unless, I guess, you’re an American college student.  In that case, you can claim that you were the victim of a genuinely criminal act, but bypass entirely the criminal justice system (which as built-in rights for the accused) and, instead, simply complain to your college.  Then, if the college refuses to follow the usual politically correct path of destroying the male student’s life, you take to the media, so he can again be tried without due process.  

I’m sure something happened that night in Sulkowicz’s bed.  I just can’t escape the feeling that what took place was something called “gray rape,” which boils down to a scenario in which a girl agrees to sex and then, feeling guilty about what she did, later cries rape.  The media, of course, doesn’t care.

The media’s credulity regarding Sulkowicz’s very self-serving claims (after all, she now has a performance art thesis that’s garnered her fame throughout the Progressive world) may come about in part because of the media’s readily apparent statistical ignorance.  After all, the whole “rape culture” (as in “1-in-5 college women will be raped”) is in itself totally untrue:

MYTH 4: One in five in college women will be sexually assaulted.

FACTS: This incendiary figure is everywhere in the media today. Journalists, senators and even President Obama cite it routinely. Can it be true that the American college campus is one of the most dangerous places on earth for women?

The one-in-five figure is based on the Campus Sexual Assault Study, commissioned by the National Institute of Justice and conducted from 2005 to 2007. Two prominent criminologists, Northeastern University’s James Alan Fox and Mount Holyoke College’s Richard Moran, have noted its weaknesses:

“The estimated 19% sexual assault rate among college women is based on a survey at two large four-year universities, which might not accurately reflect our nation’s colleges overall. In addition, the survey had a large non-response rate, with the clear possibility that those who had been victimized were more apt to have completed the questionnaire, resulting in an inflated prevalence figure.”

Fox and Moran also point out that the study used an overly broad definition of sexual assault. Respondents were counted as sexual assault victims if they had been subject to “attempted forced kissing” or engaged in intimate encounters while intoxicated.

Defenders of the one-in-five figure will reply that the finding has been replicated by other studies. But these studies suffer from some or all of the same flaws. Campus sexual assault is a serious problem and will not be solved by statistical hijinks.

Fundamentally, though, statistics and other icky facts just don’t matter to the Left.  What matters is control, something perfectly exemplified in an opinion piece in Britain’s Guardian.  The author, Jessica Valenti, accepts as true the overwhelming horrors of a campus “rape” culture (hyperlinks omitted):

Her performance may be singular, but the deep frustration voiced by Sulkowicz is being echoed by survivors across the United States. Despite increased efforts to curb campus assault and hold schools accountable – the FBI has changed its once-archaic definition of rape, a new White House task force wants answers, and schools like Harvard and Dartmouth have promised new policies – the nation’s university administrators are still failing young people in their care. In the last year alone, 67 schools have had students file federal complaints accusing their own colleges of violating the Clery Act or Title IX.

Oh, the outrage! College is a dangerous place for your daughter! Keep her at home, perhaps in a burqa. Oh, wait. Valenti isn’t saying that last bit. She just wants to control speech more and more (links omitted):

Late last week, the first state bill to require colleges to adopt an “affirmative consent” model in their sexual assault policies passed the California senate unanimously. The legislation, which is headed to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for approval by the end of this month (his office declined to comment), effectively requires the presence of a “yes” rather than the absence of a “no” – or else withholds funding from the nation’s largest state school system.

The legislation additionally clarifies that affirmative consent means both parties must be awake, conscious and not incapacitated from alcohol or drugs – and that past sexual encounters or a romantic relationship doesn’t imply consent. The California bill also, importantly, specifies that “lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent”.

It seems like a no-brainer to only have sex with conscious and enthusiastic partners, but detractors say the standard “micromanages” sexuality. The truth is that a “yes means yes” policy “helps to create a shared responsibility, instead of the responsibility falling on women to say ‘no’,” says Tracey Vitchers, chair of the board at Safer (Students Active for Ending Rape). Anti-violence activists are clearly excited about the bill, which – if all goes well – could be adopted by more states with large public university systems.

Pardon me for cynicism, but I don’t believe there’s a “rape culture” at college campuses. I believe that there is a “sexually-saturated, morality-free culture” at college campuses, brought about in large part by Progressive pressure on those same campuses to abandon the role of pater familias. Once upon a time, boys and girls lived in separate housing, and they were not allowed to take a person of the opposite sex to their rooms. Even when co-ed dorms first came into being, boys and girls occupied separate floors. Then, that changed so that they occupied the same floors, but had separate bathrooms. Now, they share everything — including copious amounts of drugs and alcohol that numb the smart parts of their brains.

My verdict based on the evidence available: Without more information, Sulkowicz definitely gets an “A+” for performance art and self-promotion. I’ll reserve judgment on the rape claim until there’s a full trial, complete with due process, a defense, and testimony under oath.

Obama — he of the Greek columns — explains that optics are hard

On Chuck Todd’s Meet the Press show, Obama finally deigned to explain why he went on a chortling, fist-thumbing golf game within minutes of announcing to the world that ISIS had decapitated an American citizen, something ISIS proudly filmed and then boasted about in a widely disseminated video. According to Obama, it’s just so hard to remember that the world is watching you. Somehow it’s unfair that the world’s eyes should be on the person who still bears the title of Most Powerful Man In The World, never mind that he’s reduced that power to the point where America’s weight in the world is no greater than any other little tin pot dictatorship’s world power.

Obama’s disingenuous claim that political theater is “not something that always comes naturally to me” unleashed a marvelous outrushing of tweets, some of which focused on his more egregious acts of political theater (faux Greek columns, speeches at the Brandenburg Gate) and others of which focused on his more embarrassing acts of visual ineptitude. Legal Insurrection has assembled some of these tweets.

Here are a few more for your enjoyment and delectation:

 

 

 

 

I’ll also add my favorite umbrella optic:

 

 

New Orleans Commemorates 5th Anniversary Of Hurricane Katrina

We’ve all faced that doorway moment but one just has to believe he could have handled it more adeptly.

Commenting on Obama’s risible statement about his deep feelings on learning of Foley’s death (feelings so deep that he was giggling on giggling on the golf course just a few hours later), Scott Johnson had this to say (emphasis mine):

In this case, the photographs suggest that Obama wasn’t all that choked up about the beheading of James Foley. They document that whatever emotion he felt, if any, dissipated very quickly. On that day, the photographs belied the theater. You might conclude that Obama is something of a phony on a matter of great concern to ordinary Americans. Thus Obama’s irritation.

One is struck both by the falsity and the petulance of Obama’s comments. I think Obama lies even to himself.

I disagree with Johnson’s last sentence, insofar as it implies that Obama, when he speaks of his deep feeling, knows that the opposite is actually true, and that he’s a shallow, self-involved, unfeeling man. Instead, I would argue that, when Obama told Chuck Todd that he was really quite shattered, and simply forgot that mere Americans wouldn’t understand the visuals of a man so sophisticated that he could go from shattered to silly within minutes, he was telling the truth . . . his truth. After all, the first rule of malignant narcissism is that the narcissist never lies. Since the truth is defined by his needs, when he makes a statement in accord with those needs, he is telling the truth or, more accurately, he is telling his truth.

The Gaza optics reveal that at least one of the dead wasn’t an innocent child

Elder of Ziyon examined the case of one of those poor, innocent civilians who died in Gaza as a result of Israel’s “unconscionable” Protective Edge assault. He found some damn interesting stuff too.

The optics of Britain’s dissolution are infinitely worse than the reality

A new YouGov poll makes it seem very likely that, after more than 300 years of being a United Kingdom, England will be disunited from Scotland: A majority of Scots suddenly seem inclined to go it alone as their own nation. Traditionalists who are moved by centuries of union, are horrified to think that they might live to see the day when Scotland and England part ways.

One could argue in opposition that what we’re seeing here is a necessary Scottish “reconquista,” as Scotland shakes off the shackles of a mere few hundred years of joinder with England in order to return to its more natural state, which was almost a thousand years of independence. That’s a silly argument, though.

John Fund makes a more serious and impressive argument when he says that, beneath the “it’s all falling apart” optics of dissolution, a Scottish vote in favor of disunion would be a good thing. Currently, Scotland sends a disproportionate number of Leftist members to the British parliament. Getting rid of them would give Tories (who are vaguely conservative) a majority. Additionally, once unanchored to the British treasury, hard Left Scotland might find it economically unfeasible to pursue socialist policies. Sadly, with the older generations dead and gone, I doubt that there’s any possibility that Scotland could revert to the hard-headed, self-reliant Scotland that gave America and the free world some of her greatest supporters of independence.

Scotland, of course, is banking on its oil revenue to keep it afloat, while England will mourn the loss of that same revenue. Again, though, oil may not be all its cracked up to be. As the Saudi countries show, oil money too readily props up otherwise broken, ineffectual economies. And as Venezuela shows, when a government becomes too socialist and broken, even oil money won’t help.

Optics and truth when it comes to American economic health under Reagan and Obama

I’m crowd-sourcing here. A Forbes opinion piece makes a compelling argument that Obama’s recovery economy is much stronger than Reagan’s was, with a better stock market, better corporate health, and better labor participation. I suspect jiggery-pokery here.

The argument I would make, and that many in the comments to that same article make, is that the stock market is propped up by government-printed money that doesn’t have actual wealth backing it; that the labor market is worse because more people have dropped out of the labor force and because the majority of jobs created are part-time or low pay; and that the federal debt and deficit mean that, to the extent we’re completely overextended, even the slightest economic tremor could trigger a massive economic collapse that will make 2008 look like the good times in retrospect.

I would value your input on this one. Both collectively and individually, you guys are better at economic data than I ever will be.

Alcohol, rape, and man-hating sharia on college campuses

Drunk woman in CardiffI thought it would be interesting to juxtapose two stories about drunkenness and rape.   The first is hearsay:  I heard it from a former judge’s clerk who was telling me about the funniest case she ever worked on, back in the 1980s.  I don’t have details, but I do remember the core facts she told me.  The second is ripped from today’s academic headlines.

The first case, which happened in the mid-1980s, was a rape trial.  The alleged rape took place at a beach party that involved lots and lots of booze.  The claim was that the victim was reclining in a beach chair when the defendant raped her.

The victim testified in sobbing detail about her terrible ordeal.  The judge passed a note to his clerk saying, “She’s dumb as a post.”  How right the judge was came out under cross-examination.  It quickly became apparently that the sex was entirely consensual because the “victim” had been so drunk she thought the defendant was her boyfriend — and she thought this even though her boyfriend was wearing a heavy cast on his leg that night, while the defendant was not.  The defendant was swiftly acquitted.

I guess it was that story, which I heard almost 30 years ago, that has made me leery to this day about accepting at face value rape claims from women who were admittedly drunk almost to the point of unconsciousness.

And now for the other rape story, this one coming from Dartmouth, an Ivy League institution that prides itself on — ahem — the quality education it gives its students.  There, a young man named Parker Gilbert was arrested and tried for rape.  He was fully acquitted because all of the available evidence indicated that both he and the young women were drunk as skunks and that the sex was consensual.  (The girl’s roommate said that the sounds of “consensual sex” were present, which makes it sound as if a Dartmouth dorm is pretty much the equivalent of a brothel, with sex taking place openly in semi-public rooms.  Everyone at college is apparently an exhibitionist or, whether unwittingly or unwillingly, a voyeur.)  I pass the narrative baton to Robert Stacy McCain:

The accuser was drunk, the accused was drunk, and the witnesses were drunk — evidently everybody on campus at Dartmouth was completely hammered that night, and the only thing anyone can remember for sure is that “vaginal penetration” occurred.

Permit me to digress: Can someone get a trial transcript and provide me with verbatim quotes of Nancy Wu’s testimony? Because I’m curious to know what she says she heard, which the newspaper euphemistically describes as “sounds consistent with consensual sex.” Was the alleged victim moaning passionately, as if in a state of orgasmic ecstasy? “Oh, Parker! You sexy beast! Do me, baby!” But I digress . . .

You can see why I was so strongly reminded of that long-ago reminiscence about crazy days in the District Court.  But here’s an add-on that would, I think, have still been unthinkable back in the halcyon days of the 1980s:  In modern-day Dartmouth, even though Gilbert was completely exonerated, Dartmouth still considered him guilty:

How did the activists at Dartmouth respond? With a lengthy statement (still labeling the accuser as a “victim”) denouncing the jury, demanding a “cultural shift” in what could be considered a crime. . . .

If Gilbert had been convicted, the message would have been a need to address “rape culture” at Dartmouth. With Gilbert acquitted, the message was a need to address “rape culture” at Dartmouth (and in New Hampshire!). Facts, it appears, don’t matter.

As McCain notes, it’s not a matter of ignoring facts, it’s a matter of not knowing facts — but in the absence of knowledge, the man is guilty.  In other words, America’s finest educational institutions have come up with a mirror image of the sharia standard:  when it comes to sex, it’s always the man’s fault.  While Islam holds that women always ask for it, meaning a man cannot be guilty of rape, America’s universities hold that men are always forcing it and must, even in the absence of knowledge or the presence of consent, be deemed guilty of rape.

Interesting doings this Monday night

Victorian posy of pansiesI’ve been somewhat housebound since my surgery.  I can still drive but I really don’t have many places to go.  I’m a complete failure when it comes to crutches, hampered by a bad shoulder, poor balance, and arthritis in the “strong” leg that is exacerbated by all the work that leg is doing.  Those failings make most destinations more effort than they’re worth.

The driving came in handy tonight, though, as I drove my son to a meeting of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) organization.  Unlike most SAR organizations, this one accepts, trains, and really uses teenagers.  For a teen who takes self-involvement and selfishness to impressive heights (in other words, a fairly typical suburban teen), it would be a great thing if he could be involved in an organization that taps into his incredible athleticism, while teaching him to be more disciplined, responsible, and outer-directive.

Since it wasn’t worth my while to drop him off drive around for 90 minutes and then return to pick him up (especially since I try to avoid too much night driving), I simply stuck around for the meeting, and was very glad I did.  In addition to reviewing that SAR operations since the last meeting, the organization had a special 40 minute presentation by a fireman who is an SAR volunteer and a recognized authority on searching for kids and women who have been snatched by predators.  (Sadly, if the kids are snatched by predators, most of the search efforts are for bodies, not for living children.)

The talk was absolutely fascinating, despite the grim subject matter.  It was also the kind of thing that makes you want to hold your children very close to you and to be thankful that they’re alive and well.

My evening’s activities, while fascinating, left little time for writing.  Nevertheless, I do have a few interesting things to pass on.

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while, but it still deserves mention:  School officials in Chicago are so anti-gun that they’re now opposed to Gun-Free Zone signs showing drawings of guns.  Is there any hope for a society that’s become this stupid?

***

Speaking of stupid, when it comes to believing in astrology and being ignorant about the Earth’s rotation, Democrats win hands down.  Some are saying that this study blows to pieces the stereotype about dumb Republicans, but I wasn’t at all surprised.  Growing up in the Bay Area in the 1960s and 1970s, every hippie I knew was into astrology and some form of mysticism.  Those old hippies are today’s Leftist establishment, and there’s no reason to believe that they’ve outgrown their interest in astrology.  The scientific ignorance about the Earth is just as easy to explain:  public schools.

***

I jokingly suggested that our kids, rather than looking to Ivy Leagues (which I’m loath to pay for), look to Hillsdale, a college that works hard to keep politics out of its classrooms and, instead, focuses on a classic education.  A certain person who shall not be named was horrified and went searching on the internet for information about Hillsdale.  He came back and announced that the college’s president had made racist remarks about dark-skinned people at the college.

Given that Hillsdale was one of the first colleges in America to admit blacks, that didn’t sound right to me.  To the extent Hillsdale may have a small black population, it strikes me that the issue is self-selection (there are few black conservatives, so only few black kids would apply to Hillsdale), not prejudice.

I did some of my own research and discovered that, as is always the case, context is everything.  The Hillsdale president wasn’t making racist comments about black or Hispanic students.  Instead, he was claiming that the federal government’s obsession with race is racist and divisive.  He noted that federal funds would mean that federal bureaucrats would start swarming his campus and, rather than looking at the quality of education and the availability of openings for students of all races, would simply count dark colored faces.  And voila, with an anti-racist statement that used an unfortunate phrase (“dark ones”) a slander about racism was born.

***

My friend and fellow council member Rob Miller, who blogs at JoshuaPundit, has another superb article at the Times of Israel, this one about the 150 American Jews who signed an open letter to Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to accede to John Kerry’s wishes and, essentially, to turn Israel’s security over to the Palestinians.

***

We’ve always understood that the Left would attack Christmas and Easter.  But really, who expected it to wage wholesale war on Valentine’s Day?  But wage a war it did, at least on college campuses, with the romantic holiday turned into a celebration of women’s sexual organs.  Even that seems rather innocuous now that a new movement has come along:  “1 Billion Rising,” which posits that rape victims should dance in the street on Valentine’s Day.  Huh?  Apparently I’m not the only one who finds this a quixotic response to address rape.  Of course, it may be the perfect response to the rising prevalence of “gray rape,” which occurs when a young woman regrets her drugged or drunken hook-up and blames the equally drunk or drugged man for her predicament.  I find gray rape perfectly appalling, since it reduces the seriousness of real rape by drowning the real statistics in a sea of sorry hook-ups.  According to Zombie, I’m not the only one having a problem with the whole 1 Billion Rising thing.

Colorado tries to sell Obamacare by using drunks

It seems that excessive alcohol consumption is the name of the game this week at Bookworm Room.  Yesterday, I posted about the fact that my liberal friends believe that it’s wrong to tell teenage girls and young women that they increase their chances of getting raped if they drink to excess at parties.  They don’t believe it’s wrong because it’s inaccurate.  Indeed, all freely agreed that young men and women who drink too much are a recipe for rape.  What bothered them was that this implies that girls have some control over whether or not they become victims.  It makes them actually responsible for themselves, and that’s just unfair as long as there are men out there raping.  You see, the men are the real culprits so it’s just wrong to let them off the hook in any way, shape, or form by implying that women have some power in the situation.

Today, Igorvolsky tweeted out a genuine, bona fide Obamacare ad out of Colorado:

 

Party hearty, dudes!  Drink up!  Just don’t, like, you know, rape some drunk chick.  But dude!  Here’s the really awesome thing:  If you do rape the drunk chick, and she gets pregnant, Obamacare will, like, pay for the abortion.  Awesome!

The liberal mindset says it’s politically incorrect to tell women not to get drunk at parties, even if telling them prevents rape

Last week, Emily Yoffe, who writes regularly at Slate set of a firestorm when she wrote a post that offered what normal, non-politically correct people, recognize as extremely good advice:  Tweens and young women, if you don’t want to get raped, don’t get drunk.  Yoffe wasn’t giving rapists, even drunk rapists, a pass.  She was just saying that, as a practical matter, a young woman who is to incapacitated to make rational decisions or to lift a hand in her own defense, is a natural victim:

A 2009 study of campus sexual assault found that by the time they are seniors, almost 20 percent of college women will become victims, overwhelmingly of a fellow classmate. Very few will ever report it to authorities. The same study states that more than 80 percent of campus sexual assaults involve alcohol. Frequently both the man and the woman have been drinking.

[snip]

Let’s be totally clear: Perpetrators are the ones responsible for committing their crimes, and they should be brought to justice. But we are failing to let women know that when they render themselves defenseless, terrible things can be done to them. Young women are getting a distorted message that their right to match men drink for drink is a feminist issue. The real feminist message should be that when you lose the ability to be responsible for yourself, you drastically increase the chances that you will attract the kinds of people who, shall we say, don’t have your best interest at heart. That’s not blaming the victim; that’s trying to prevent more victims.

Honestly, I don’t think Yoffe could have been more clear.

I happen to agree with Yoffe 100%.  I agree to the extent that, whether sober or drunk, certain young men see a drunken woman, especially an unconscious drunken woman, as a perfect target for rape.

I also agree to the extent that drunken young women say “yes” when, had they been sober, they would have said “no.”  Men aren’t the only ones who wear beer goggles.  When the girls or young women wake up the next morning filled with regrets, they tend to whitewash their complicity in drunken sex by claiming “rape.”  Those fake cries of rape destroy the men against whom they’re aimed, but in today’s culture, these young women are so brainwashed that they actually convince themselves that their drunken “yes” equaled a rape — and then they go around suffering permanent emotional damage from the mantle of victim-hood that they draped upon themselves.

I know that, on the liberal side of the blogosphere, people went ballistic over Yoffe’s article.  I didn’t have to read those posts to know what they were saying.  I linked to Yoffe’s post on my Facebook page and got more comments than I’ve gotten on any other thing I’ve ever linked.  With the exception of comments from three conservative friends, all of my other liberal friends said variations on exactly the same thing:  While Yoffe is correct factually, they cannot approve of her saying what she said because it’s unfair to girls to say that they have a responsibility to protect themselves.

Please think about this for a moment.  These liberals agree that girls who drink to excess are vulnerable to rape and other attacks.  They simply think that this truism — one with huge practical implications for women’s safety — must go unsaid because its offensive to feminist ideology to state in any way, shape, or form, that young women have a responsibility to protect themselves.

In the comments section, I got all sorts of arguments against warning girls that drunkenness can be their undoing and all of these arguments were premised upon enormous logical fallacies:

There’s no excuse for men to rape.  I agreed, but pointed out that there’s a virtue to making it harder for them to do so.

Suggesting that women can take proactive steps to prevent rape will make them feel guilty if they are raped.  Yes, maybe, I said, but it will also mean fewer women get raped.

Just because people are drunk doesn’t mean they rape.  Huh?  Well, no, most drunk young men thankfully don’t rape drunk or unconscious women, but some do.  Given that reality, why shouldn’t the women avoid the risks of running across the “bad” drunk guys?  And certainly one of the most effective ways to avoid these guys is for you to keep your wits about you.

Men need to be told not to rape, rather than telling women not to drink.  But, but . . . can’t we do both?  And incidentally, we already tell men not to rape, a proscription that carries with it a heavy legal penalty.  Despite that, some still do, whether they are drunk or sober.

Saying that drunken women are essentially willing victims is a free pass for men.  Men are always morally responsible for their actions.  If a thief robs a house, he’s still morally and legally in the wrong.  But it doesn’t mean homeowners are relieved of the obligation to lock their doors.

It’s not fair to tell women not to drink if we also don’t tell other people not to do things that will protect them from crimes.  Okay, now they’re really getting desperate.  How often are we told to lock our houses, carry our purses so snatchers can’t grab them, check our surroundings before going to the ATM, lock our car doors, etc.?  But even if we weren’t told these things, there’s a difference between crimes of property and crimes of person.  While having our house broken into feels like a violation (been there, felt that), it’s not the same as having our person violated.  That means that the need for warnings about careless behavior with our bodies should demand more attention than for careless behavior with our property.

Since I’ve been working on Mr. Conservative, I’ve spent way too much time writing about rape, sexual assault, and pedophilia.  In 90% of those stories, alcohol is a factor.  It’s definitely a factor in terms of the malfeasor’s conduct, but it’s equally a factor in terms of the victim’s conduct.  This is especially true in the cases of the high school girls who find pictures of themselves on social networks naked or being sexually assaulted.  Two things invariably happen:  (1) The girls admit, or witnesses confirm, that the teenage victims had drunk themselves insensible; and (2) the other students at the school place more blame on the drunken victim than on the drunken perpetrator(s).

This last isn’t fair.  Indeed, it’s absolutely vile.  The fact remains, though, that outside of the rarefied world of elite feminism, it’s a reality:  On the street, kids know enough about the world to believe that girls shouldn’t drunk themselves to vulnerability and, if they do, they shouldn’t destroy some guy’s life by complaining if he takes advantage of that situation.

The best thing that the feminists can do for girls dealing with the real world, rather than the elite’s dream of a real world, is to issue constant, graphic warnings telling teenage girls not to get drunk.  If their body is a house, getting drunk is the equivalent of handing the keys to the guy trolling the neighborhood looking for a house to rob.

Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines isn’t a rape song; it’s the depressing 21st century descendent of classic seduction songs

Robin-Thicke-Blurred-Lines-Ft-TI-Pharrell

It’s time for me to take a break from trying to save the world by using my infinitesimally small corner of the blogosphere to talk some sense into the Left (although, somehow, I don’t think they’re listening to me) and, instead, to leap to the defense of an unlikely pop culture figure:  Robin Thicke.  My thesis is that his song is not about rape.  It is, instead, both the lineal descendent of classic (and respected) American seduction songs and a depressingly insightful look into the schizophrenic nature of sex among American young people, which treats women like whores, but allows them to cry foul like delicate Victorian maidens.

One could say that Robin Thicke, riding high on the wave of one of the biggest hits of the year, a song called “Blurred Lines,” doesn’t need my help.  He’s raking money in hand over fist.  If I earn in my lifetime a tenth of what he’s earning on this song, I’d be a very rich woman.

Nevertheless, Thicke has incurred feminist ire because, they claim, Blurred Lines is about rape or, at least, it’s “rapey”:

Having already clinched the number 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100, Robin Thicke’s catchy single “Blurred Lines” is on the path to being the party anthem of the summer.

However, despite its popularity, the hit song — which also features Pharrell and T.I. — and its accompanying music video haven’t been sitting too well with some critics who say the tune is not just disparaging to women, but could be seen as “rape-y.”

Has anyone heard Robin Thicke’s new rape song?” blogger Lisa Huyne wrote in a post in April. “Basically, the majority of the song…has the R&B singer murmuring ‘I know you want it’ over and over into a girl’s ear. Call me a cynic, but that phrase does not exactly encompass the notion of consent in sexual activity … Seriously, this song is disgusting — though admittedly very catchy.”

Before I get any further into examining the claim, let me note that the people who are claiming the song is “rapey” overlap to a significant degree with the women who advocate something called “gray rape.”  Gray rape is consensual sex right up until the woman says it isn’t.  The catch with gray rape is that the woman doesn’t have to say “no” before or even during the actual sex act for it to be rape.  She can decide hours or days later that, despite her drunken “yeses” and gropings, in retrospect she really didn’t want to have sex with that guy, so it must have been rape.  Talk about “blurred lines.”

You’re a classy crowd, my dear readers, and I suspect many of you don’t have children in their teens and twenties.  I’m therefore willing to bet that many of you, even if you’ve heard of the song, haven’t actually heard the song itself or, if you heard it, it was in the context of Miley Cyrus’ twerking and tonguing.  (I have to admit that the twerking was indistinguishable to me from the vulgar dancing that characterizes all modern popular music performances.  It was that tongue . . . that loathsome, snake-like tongue, that seemed to have an independent life force.  Ick.)

You might also have heard about the song because of the unrated video with the topless women (and don’t forget the repeated boasts about the size of Thicke’s  . . . er.  Never mind).  Or maybe you just heard about the yucky allusions to all sorts of perverted sexual practices in the mainstream video (the one your kids and grand-kids watch), which is filled with nudge, nudge, wink, winks about everything from bestiality to bondage.  Both videos are nasty enough I don’t want them at my blog.

But I don’t want to talk about the videos.  I want to talk about the song’s lyrics, which are “rapey.”  Just to be clear, here “rapey” song lyrics are bad.   Drugging and sodomizing a protesting 13-year-old girl, as Roman Polanksi did, isn’t bad because it’s not “rape-rape.”  Presumably, if Polanksi had sung to the protesting teen while he had his wicked way with her, that conduct would have been “rapey” and therefore bad.  It”s important to keep these details straight….

My first point about Thicke’s song is that it’s just the latest in a long line of American seduction songs.  Let’s do a little time travel . . . back to 1949 when Frank Loesser wrote the classic Baby, It’s Cold Outside.  It is such a great song.  My favorite version is the one with Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting, and I have no fear about sharing it with you here:

Were this song to be released today, it would definitely be called “rapey.” I mean, the sleaze is telling the protesting woman how attractive she is and assuring her that she wants want he has to offer. You can see how coercive — e.g., rapey — he’s being when you study the lyrics. In the words that are not in parenthesis, you know that she’s conflicted (blurred, maybe?) and desperate to escape, while in the parenthetical words, you can see how this sleazy octopus groping her, assuming that she wants what he’s offering her, and not taking “no” for an answer. Rapey!!!

I really can’t stay
(But, baby, it’s cold outside)
I’ve got to go ‘way
(But, baby, it’s cold outside)
This evening has been
(Been hoping that you’d drop in)
So very nice
(I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice)

My mother will start to worry
(Beautiful words you’re humming)
And father will be pacing the floor
(Listen to the fireplace roar)
So really I’d better scurry
(Beautiful, please don’t hurry)
Well, maybe just a half a drink more
(Put some records on while I pour)

The neighbors might think
(But, baby, it’s bad out there)
Say, what’s in this drink?
(No cabs to be had out there)
I wish I knew how
(Your eyes are like starlight now)
To break the spell
(I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell)

I ought to say no, no, no sir
(Mind if I move in closer?)
At least I’m gonna say that I tried
(What’s the sense of hurtin’ my pride?)
I really can’t stay
(Oh, baby, don’t hold out)
Ah but it’s cold outside
(Baby, it’s cold outside)

I simply must go
(But, baby, it’s cold outside)
The answer is no
(But, baby, it’s cold outside)
The welcome has been
(How lucky that you dropped in)
So nice and warm
(Look out that window at that storm)

My sister will be suspicious
(Gosh, your lips look delicious)
My brother will be there at the door
(Waves upon a tropical shore)
My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious
(Gosh, your lips are delicious)
Well, maybe just a cigarette more
(Never such a blizzard before)

I got to get home
(But, baby, you’d freeze out there)
Say, lend me a coat
(Its up to your knees out there)
You’ve really been grand
(I’m thrilled when you touch my hand)
Why don’t you see
(How can you do this thing to me?)

There’s bound to be talk tomorrow
(Think of my lifelong sorrow)
At least there will be plenty implied
(If you caught pneumonia and died)
I really can’t stay
(Get over that hold out)
Ah, but it’s cold outside
(Ah, but it’s cold outside)

Where could you be going
When the wind is blowing
And it’s cold outside?
Baby it’s cold, cold outside

With those classy, elegant, seductive lyrics in mind, please take a look at the lyrics to “Blurred Lines” and you’ll see that, while they’re more graphic, the tone is identical:  He’s telling her she’s hot, he’s assuming he knows what she wants, and he’s not taking “no” for an answer:

Pharrell & Robin Thicke Intro:
Everybody get up, WOO!
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey

Robin Thicke Verse 1:
If you can’t hear what I’m trying to say
If you can’t read from the same page
Maybe I’m going deaf
Maybe I’m going blind
Maybe I’m out of my mind

Robin Thicke Bridge:
Ok, now he was close
Tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal
Baby, it’s in your nature
Just let me liberate you
You don’t need no papers
That man is not your maker
And that’s why I’m gon’ take a

Robin Thicke Hook:
Good girl
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You’re a good girl
Can’t let it get past me
You’re far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me

Robin Thicke Verse 2:
What do they make dreams for
When you got them jeans on
What do we need steam for
You the hottest bitch in this place
I feel so lucky, you wanna hug me
What rhymes with hug me
Hey!

Bridge

Hook

T.I. Verse 3:
Hustle Gang Homie
One thing I ask of you
Lemme be the one you back that ass up to
From Malibu to Paris boo
Had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you
So, hit me up when you pass through
I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two
Swag on ‘em even when you dress casual
I mean, it’s almost unbearable
In a hundred years not dare would I
Pull a Pharcyde, let you pass me by
Nothin’ like your last guy, he too square for you
He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that
So I’m just watching and waitin’
For you to salute the true big pimpin’
Not many women can refuse this pimping
I’m a nice guy, but don’t get confused, this pimpin’

Robin Thicke Breakdown:
Shake your rump
Get down, get up-a
Do it like it hurt, like it hurt
What you don’t like work
Hey!

Robin Thicke Verse 4:
Baby, can you breathe
I got this from Jamaica
It always works for me
Dakota to Decatur
No more pretending
Cause now you’re winning
Here’s our beginning
I always wanted a

Robin Thicke Hook

Pharrell & Robin Thicke Bridge:
Everybody get up
Everybody get up
Everybody get up
Hey, Hey, Hey
Hey, Hey, Hey
Hey, Hey, Hey

Pharrell & Robin Thicke Outro:
Everybody get up, WOO!
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey

I’m not comparing the quality of verse.  Loesser’s song is sophisticated and charming, with delightfully light, intelligent lyrics.  Thicke’s song has a catchy (very catchy melody) but the lyrics are crude.  They reflect the realities of culture that celebrates “Hooking up” as a sign of female liberation, even while blurring lines about what constitutes a “nice” girl, a “girl in touch with her sexuality,” a girl who enjoys what voters in Colorado and Washington say should be her inalienable right to pot, and a “girl who’s going to cry ‘gray rape’” the next day.  There are no boundaries in this world — both the world of the song and the sexual world in which we’ve placed our young people.

Yes, the T.I. line that “I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two” is absolutely revolting, but for high-school-aged kids this is their reality.  At high school dances across America, the only dance the kids do is “freak dancing.”  For those unfamiliar with it, freaking is kind of like twerking, except that the girl doesn’t bend over.  Instead, she writhes erotically while the guy stands behind her and rubs himself against her butt (not near her butt, but against her butt).  As I described it the teenage girls I know, take away the “transgressive glamor” and all that freaking means is that a strange guy masturbates against your butt.

My children tell me that this is the only type of dancing done at their high school.  If you don’t want to freak, you don’t get to dance.  Yet another blurred line in today’s sexual culture.

To the extent there’s anything wrong with Thicke’s vulgar, yet catchy song, the problem isn’t with the song, it’s with the culture that gave rise to the song.  (You can read whole books on the subject: Sex and God at Yale: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.) Within that context, the song simply describes the myriad kinds of sexual activity in which America’s young people are encouraged to engage, with the only limitation being a woman’s right to cry rape at any time, before, during, and after apparently consensual intercourse.

I’m not trying in this post to excuse rape.  I am saying only that Thicke and his team, in addition to writing the 21st century version of a “seduction song,” have unwittingly exposed something deeply disturbing about young America’s sexual culture.  It’s a sick Faustian bargain in which boys get virtually unlimited sex, provided that they’re willing to take the risk that the girl who writhed against them Saturday night, got stoned and drunk with them around midnight, and apparently willingly engaged in all kinds of variations on old-fashioned male/female sex with them in the wee hours of Sunday morning, can claim later that, hey, she was just blurred, and her real line was “no.”

Military man schools woman who says rape can be prevented by teaching men not to rape

I posted here about a Zerlina Maxwell, a Democrat strategist who told Sean Hannity that weapons don’t prevent rape, words prevent rape.  According to her, the best way to prevent rape is to teach men not to do so.  Arming women is unnecessary.  Their power rests in the word “No.”

America’s Sargeant Major saw the same video.  Normally, he wouldn’t comment on this type of thing, because concealed carry is a hot topic issue in many states now.  Being assiduously apolitical, the Sargeant Major leaves such topics alone.

What changed his mind about writing a post taking on Maxwell’s argument is that she wrapped it up by saying ““If firearms were the answer, then the military would be the safest place for women and it’s not.”  This is a purely factual statement and, moreover, one about the military, a subject well within the Sargeant Major’s purview.

The Sargeant Major’s marvelous post explaining to Maxwell how the military actually operates — when it comes to controlling the guns in its midst and when it comes to teaching troops to avoid dangerous or illegal activity — is here.  Read it.  You’ll like it.

Democrat strategist says you just have to tell men not to rape in order for them to stop

For decades, the Left has correctly asserted that rape is not a crime of passion, it’s a crime of power.  Second Amendment supporters have in turn pointed out that the great power equalizer is a gun.  A small woman who is trained and armed is effectively equal to (or even greater than) a large man with evil on his mind. Last night on Fox’s Sean Hannity Show, however, a Democrat strategist insisted that the best way to deal with this inherent power imbalance isn’t to let women arm themselves.  Instead, it’s “tell men not to rape women.”

On Tuesday night’s Sean Hannity Show, Democrat strategist Zerlina Maxwell — herself a rape victim — said that guns will never help women.  The only way to prevent rape, she said, it to tell men to stop doing it.  Although Maxwell conceded that telling women to use ball point pens to defend themselves is “ridiculous,” she went on to state that guns aren’t the answer either.  Instead, scolding is:

I don’t think that we should be telling women anything.  I think we should be telling men not to rape women and start the conversation there.

Fellow guest Gayle Trotter, a pro-gun advocate with the Independent Women’s Forum, and Sean Hannity were both shocked.  They pointed out to Maxwell that criminals are not known for their listening skills and that millions of people every year successfully use guns to defend themselves.  Maxwell was unimpressed.  Maybe a stranger rapist won’t listen, to a firm “No,” but she’s pretty darn sure her “just talk to them” strategy will work if a women is on the receiving end of spousal abuse or date rape:

You’re talking about it is as if there’s some faceless, nameless criminal, when a lot of times it’s someone that you know and trust.

But, but, sputtered Hannity, “Evil exists in the world.”  Again, Maxwell shrugged this off:

We can prevent rape by telling men not to commit it.

Showing herself more comfortable with fairies and unicorns than with the realities of life (despite the fact that she herself was raped), Maxwell was certain that educating men against rape was the best, and indeed only, way to deal with the problem:

I want women to be able to protect themselves, yes, but I want women to not be in this situation.

[snip]

There are organizations that do this….  They train young men to not rape.

[snip]

 If firearms are the answer, then the military would be the safest place for women, and it’s not

Watching Maxwell speak, a few things became obvious.  On the plus side, she is sweet, young, pretty, bright, and earnest.  She is not the Nancy Pelosi face of the Democrat Party; she’s the darling girl next door who is coping as best she can with a devastating life experience.  She’s also totally disconnected from reality.

The fact is that we already tell young men not to commit rape.  Indeed, our whole societal structure is premised on our belief that young men can prevent themselves from raping.  In this regard, we’re very different from Sharia-based cultures that believe men are incapable of resisting their animal urges when women use their sexual wiles against them.  Worse, according to Sharia principles, women’s sexual wiles do not require affirmative conduct.  Merely by showing themselves in public, they are evilly inciting man’s baser nature.

Because Sharia holds that women are predators and men are weak, Sharia’s solution is to confine women to their households or, if they must leave their homes, to envelope them in voluminous black or blue tents that leave only their eyes visible.  That should quash men’s uncontrollable urges.

Thankfully, we have a different worldview in the West.  In our schools, in our homes, and in our legal system, the overriding message is that men should never force sex on a woman, and that’s true even if that woman walks into a biker bar naked.  Sex should always be mutually consensual. Our culture believes that the vast majority of men are decent people with self-control and strong moral willpower.

As Sean Hannity accurately noted, though, “evil exists in the world.”  There will always be angry men, opportunistic men, sociopathic men, power-hungry men, or drugged or drunk men who either don’t care that the sex isn’t consensual or who actually prefer it that way.  These are the men who have not been and will never be deterred by someone saying “You shouldn’t rape women.”

Maxwell’s point about women (and men) who are raped in the military is also based upon fantasy.  While she’s right that it does happen, Maxwell seems to have forgotten what all of us learned in the aftermath of the Fort Hood massacre:  the military also has gun free zones.  Even in bases that allow guns, troops don’t normally sleep with a gun under their pillows, nor do they walk around with concealed carry weapons.  In other words, they’re just like the rest of us.

For many years, Progressives proudly pointed to themselves as the “reality-based community.”  They were the political pragmatists who got things done without regard to ideological handcuffs.  The gun debate that has riveted the nation since Sandy Hook, however, has put the lie to that self-delusion.  The useful idiots on the Left — not the ones that dream of total statism, but the ones who truly think that Utopia is possible — have departed from reality.  In their Utopia, whistles and education are sufficient to stop the bad guys in their tracks.

(Written by Bookworm; originally posted at Mr. Conservative.)

Dems are troglodytes about women and self-defense, and they’re selling this as a virtue for the next election

Colorado State Rep. Joe Salazar’s ham-handed, even troglodyte, advice for campus women worried about rape came as no surprise to me.  My experiences at UC Berkeley thirty-odd years ago left me fully prepared for this Leftist approach to females and true self-defense, an approach that hides both misogyny and an overriding fear for the men involved in a potentially dangerous situation.

Long-ago, when I attended Cal, my economic situation  — too poor to afford on-campus housing, too middle-class to get meaningful financial aid — meant that I lived at home and commuted.  This was not an ideal way to attend college.  I spent an awful lot of time in transit and I had a hard time maintaining a social life (something made harder by the fact that I worked my way through college).

A significant chunk of my transit time was devoted to finding all-day parking and then walking to and from that parking.  The closer one got to campus, the more limited the parking options were:  there was resident-only parking, 30-minute parking, 1-hour parking, 2-hour parking, etc.  Since my job and my classes kept me on campus all day, I usually ended up parking between a mile and a mile-and-a-half away from my classes.  The walk, although time-consuming was pleasant, although less so if I had a lot of books to carry or it was raining.

In my senior year, however, things changed, because there was a rash of rapes and assaults on women near campus.  I was less than thrilled when, during winter’s early, dark afternoons, I had to walk to my car alone.

Since many women around this same time were unhappy about walking to their dorms, apartments, and cars alone, the campus police instituted an “escort service.”  With this service in place, women could go to the campus police office and an authorized man (I don’t know if they were employees or volunteers), armed with a walkie-talkie, would walk them to their destinations.

I immediately availed myself of the service — only to discover that it wasn’t a service at all. The deal was that these escorts were not allowed to exceed a half-mile radius.  The reason given was that their walkie-talkies didn’t work outside of that radius, so it was unsafe for them to go further. You got that, right?  It was unsafe for the men to exceed a half-mile radius but presumably more safe for the women to continue on their own.

The nice escorts would stand at their little boundary to listen in case they heard your screaming.  Frankly, I really didn’t feel that this auditory aid amounted to much.  You see, the reality of this so-called “escort service” was that I was left on my own on Berkeley’s dark and unfriendly streets.

Given the program’s manifest inadequacies, I rather quickly abandoned the whole notion of applying to the campus police for aid in getting to my car.  Not only was it unhelpful, it actually increased my risk.  Since there were only a few escorts available at any given time, I had to hang around the office waiting and waiting, even as the skies grew darker and the streets scarier.

This experience at UC Berkeley was the first time I ran headlong into the Progressive’s devotion to lip service over actual service.  They made lots of noise, but they cared more about men than about women, and more about image than reality.

Those unpleasant evenings on campus, when I felt alone and defenseless, returned to me in living color when I heard about Colorado State Rep. Joe Salazar’s bizarre advice to women facing a scary campus environment:

It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop around at somebody.

The gloss is that “he cares.”  The reality is that this ostensible “caring” is mere lip-service.  What Salazar carelessly let slip is the misogyny that underlies so much strident feminism (perfectly realized in this amalgam of this Koran and an anti-rape rally).  The Nanny state is built upon the elite’s belief that individuals cannot care for themselves, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the claim that women are incapable of recognizing danger or acting appropriate when they do recognize it.

Moreover, rather than worrying about high-risk women being hurt, Salazar is terribly worried that low-risk men will get hurt (“you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at”).  Here’s the deal Rep. Salazar:  the good guys, the men who don’t rape, don’t stalk women and they don’t interview women (“Hey, babe, can you tell me the time?  No?  Too bad.  You’re cute.  You know you’re cute, don’t you?”).  What they do is to keep a respectful distance and attitude.  Do that, and you won’t get “popped.”

In other words, Salazar is my UC experience all over again:  lip-service and misogyny, wrapped up in a package of making sure that the men are safe.

It’s not just Salazar, of course.  Looking at this much-publicized advice from University of Colorado.  Apparently awed by the abilities its bulimic students have shown over the years, the university advises women who are threatened to vomit on demand (emphasis mine):

  1. Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself.
  2. Your instinct may be to scream, go ahead! It may startle your attacker and give you an opportunity to run away.
  3. Kick off your shoes if you have time and can’t run in them.
  4. Don’t take time to look back; just get away.
  5. If your life is in danger, passive resistance may be your best defense.
  6. Tell your attacker that you have a disease or are menstruating.
  7. Vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone.
  8. Yelling, hitting or biting may give you a chance to escape, do it!
  9. Understand that some actions on your part might lead to more harm.
  10. Remember, every emergency situation is different. Only you can decide which action is most appropriate.

I especially like that first one:  “Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself.”  With that advice in mind, ask yourself this:  Am I more likely to protect myself against a power-hungry predator who may be hopped up on drugs by doing this?

Or by doing this?

By the way, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that Salazar’s going to be humiliated about this one.  Although the conservative blogosphere is pointing fingers, liberals who were outraged by Todd Akin’s stupid rape quote are perfectly fine with Salazar’s stupid and demeaning advice to women.

And why not?  They agree with it.  Moreover, their agreement matters because, just as the Dems used Akin and women to give Obama that last little push he needed to get into the White House, Dems are planning that same strategy with women and guns.  They’re already starting the “women who love their communities hate guns” trope, which we can expect to get worse with time.

Long-essays like mine are great at educating women about guns and warning conservatives about future gun attacks, right?  Oh, God no!  I wish.  In a short-attention span universe, I am a poison pill.  After the first paragraph, the average voter’s eyes are rolling back into her head, she’s reaching blindly for her TiVo clicker or her smart phone, and she’s totally tuned out.

The reality is that, in short-attention span America, we do not need long essays like mine.  I’m a pre-programmed essayist, though, and, sadly, I can’t seem to help myself.

What I’d love is to be more visual, so that I could create pithy posters or punchy videos that could easily be circulated on Twitter and Facebook, all of which drill home the same point:  guns make women safer, not less safe.

If you have photoshopped a poster that puts together gun statistics (such as these) in a clever, easy-to-see way, or you’ve created a video that does the same, let me know, and I’ll do my best to promote it.  Dems are already planning for the next election, so we need to as well.

Peeing and periods — straight talk about women in the front line

Leon Panetta has given the go-ahead to a plan to allow women into combat situations:

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is lifting the military’s official ban on women in combat, which will open up hundreds of thousands of additional front-line jobs to them, senior defense officials said Wednesday.

[snip]

The decision clearly fits into the broad and ambitious liberal agenda, especially around matters of equal opportunity, that President Obama laid out this week in his Inaugural Address. But while it had to have been approved by him, and does not require action by Congress, it appeared Wednesday that it was in large part driven by the military itself. Some midlevel White House staff members were caught by surprise by the decision, indicating that it had not gone through an extensive review there.

This is an appallingly bad idea.

Boudicca

I know that, at least since Boudicca, women have fought in battle.  World War II resistance units relied heavily on women to provide both support and actual fighting skills.  Invariably, though, these women were in the front lines, not because they went to the front lines, but because the front lines came to them.  Necessity forced battle upon them.

If there is no necessity, why in the world would a government decide to put women on the front lines?  Much as Leftists like to try to shape science to their political goals, one simply cannot get away from the fact that women have a different biology than men do.  Aside from being, on average, smaller and weaker, something that I don’t think should stop bigger, stronger women from participating equally with men, they have two other things that men don’t have:  they can’t whip it out to pee and they menstruate.

Ryan Smith, a former Marine, wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that, while never actually alluding to these biological realities, strongly implies that they will be a problem.  His vivid description of the Marines’ experiences when they entered Iraq in 2003 certainly manages to indicate that, as every toddler quickly figures out, boys and girls are different:

Marines dismounting from an amphibious assault vehicle

We rode into war crammed in the back of amphibious assault vehicles. They are designed to hold roughly 15 Marines snugly; due to maintenance issues, by the end of the invasion we had as many as 25 men stuffed into the back. Marines were forced to sit, in full gear, on each other’s laps and in contorted positions for hours on end. That was the least of our problems.

The invasion was a blitzkrieg. The goal was to move as fast to Baghdad as possible. The column would not stop for a lance corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, or even a company commander to go to the restroom. Sometimes we spent over 48 hours on the move without exiting the vehicles. We were forced to urinate in empty water bottles inches from our comrades.

Many Marines developed dysentery from the complete lack of sanitary conditions. When an uncontrollable urge hit a Marine, he would be forced to stand, as best he could, hold an MRE bag up to his rear, and defecate inches from his seated comrade’s face.

During the invasion, we wore chemical protective suits because of the fear of chemical or biological weapon attack. These are equivalent to a ski jumpsuit and hold in the heat. We also had to wear black rubber boots over our desert boots. On the occasions the column did stop, we would quickly peel off our rubber boots, desert boots and socks to let our feet air out.

Due to the heat and sweat, layers of our skin would peel off our feet. However, we rarely had time to remove our suits or perform even the most basic hygiene. We quickly developed sores on our bodies.

When we did reach Baghdad, we were in shambles. We had not showered in well over a month and our chemical protective suits were covered in a mixture of filth and dried blood. We were told to strip and place our suits in pits to be burned immediately. My unit stood there in a walled-in compound in Baghdad, naked, sores dotted all over our bodies, feet peeling, watching our suits burn. Later, they lined us up naked and washed us off with pressure washers.

[snip]

Societal norms are a reality, and their maintenance is important to most members of a society. It is humiliating enough to relieve yourself in front of your male comrades; one can only imagine the humiliation of being forced to relieve yourself in front of the opposite sex.

That sounds like a vile experience, entirely separate from the risk the Marines were taking just going into battle.  If any Marines are reading this post, thank you so very much for putting up with, not just bullets, but acute physical discomfort, dysentery, and decomposing skin in order to keep America safe.

Tampon

Having had a chance to absorb Smith’s vivid description of front line conditions in Iraq, what you need to do now is to factor into that picture an image of women having to strip down to pee (which they have to do even if they buy a cool little gadget that enables them to pee standing up) or of women dealing with a heavy menstrual flow, which might require their attention every two to three hours if they are to avoid bleeding through their clothes.

There’s something else Smith didn’t touch upon in his article, but that needs to be addressed:  rape.  In any war, when an invading force arrives, the local women risk rape.  The Soviet troops who beat the Germans back to Berlin were famous for the savage rapes they inflicted on the German women.  Sadly, this was nothing new.  Throughout history, invading armies have considered rape one of the legitimate spoils of war.  It’s only civilized Judeo-Christian countries that have insisted that rape is not part of a mission or the reward for a mission successfully accomplished, and that have enforced this ban by prosecuting those troops who nevertheless assault local women.

Swedish gang rape victim

In the 21st century existential war that America is fighting, her enemy — fundamentalist Islam — aggressively supports raping any women who do not subscribe to fundamentalist norms (hijabs, burqas, locked rooms, etc.).  In countries such as Sweden and Australia, rape statistics have climbed rapidly, as Muslim immigrants openly boast about and call for the rape of western women.

One doesn’t need any imagination whatever to imagine what will happen to women combat soldiers whom Islamists snatch from front line battle locations.  They will, quite literally, be raped to death.  Aside from being horrible for the women to whom this occurs, it will be devastating for the male troops who fought at their sides and were nevertheless unable to protect them.  Men go into battle accepting that they might die.  It’s doubtful that they go in accepting that the warrior in front of them will be killed by rape, and that this violent murder will probably end up circulating through the Islamist world on a video.

The decision to allow women onto the front lines is not because of military necessity.  It is a purely ideological decision, resulting from liberalism run amok and, more specifically, from the Leftist desire to erase gender demarcations.

Nor do I care that the Obama administration claims that the military came up with this one, “surprising” the administration.  The Pentagon’s top echelons are purely political.  Their decisions are driven, not by the troops, but by the White House, which determines the highest staffing levels in the Pentagon.  (In the same way, when I refer scathingly to the State Department or the CIA, I’m not talking about the people on the ground doing their jobs.  I’m talking about those organizations’ chief executives, all of whom see politics as their most important mission.)

Let me say again:  this is a terrible idea, because it sees ideology trump biology.  Nature is a harsh taskmistress, and many women and men are going to suffer as this ideological experiment goes forward.

The narcissism of Leftist culture — where bad things are never their fault

I recognize that my mind makes strange, often counter-intuitive connections, but as I hear Progressives rail against guns, I can’t help but think of slut walks.

Slut walk in London 2011 (image by Chris Brown)

What?!  You don’t know what slut walks are?  Slut walks are the latest manifestation of the feminist/Progressive rule holding that a women has no responsibility whatsoever if she is raped.

Slut walks are the exhibitionist version of the same ideology that says that a young woman can go off to college, get blind drunk, fellate several equally drunk young men and then, when she wakes up the next day and realizes that one or all had sex with her, cry rape.  In each case, the entire responsibility for rape (whether it was quite obviously rape at the moment occurred or transmuted into rape along with the morning hangover) is on the man.

Drunken college girls

Before I get deeper into this one, I should say that a man is always guilty if he enters a woman without her consent, just as a robber is always guilty if he enters a house with the homeowner’s consent.  This is true whether the woman is walking down a dark alley in a bikini or the homeowner has left the front door wide open.  Nothing I’m about to say removes the moral and, almost invariably, legal responsibility the man or the robber has for the act he committed.

Burglar

Having said that, though, you and I both know that, if a homeowner leaves a window open at night or the keys in the front door, he’s going to come in for ridicule and criticism from the police and, if he has the courage to confess his carelessness to them, from his friends, neighbors, and colleagues.  “Damn, dude!  That was really stupid.  Why didn’t you just hang a sign on the door saying ‘come in and take my television’?”

Everyone engaged in this chaffing or ridiculing would understand that the homeowner’s stupidity didn’t make the robber less culpable — but that it did also make the homeowner culpable.  And we would all make extra sure to lock our own doors.  Heck, we might even buy an alarm system if we suspected that there were robbers trolling our neighborhood.

Drunken woman on the streets of Cardiff

When it comes to rape, though, political correctness mandates that we exonerate the woman of any responsibility for what happened.  Pardon me if I sound like Mr. Spock, but that’s illogical.  We know that if a half-naked drunk woman walks into a biker bar, she’s more at risk of sexual assault than if a woman in a bulky sweatshirt and mom jeans walks into a church social.  Basic common sense makes this obvious.

In the bad old days, if the half-naked drunk woman was raped in that biker bar, authorities would say “she asked for it,” and give the bikers a pass.  The problem is that, in the bad new days, if the half-naked drunk woman gives a slurred “yes” to the guy who looks cute through her beer goggles, and then cries rape the next morning, his life is over and she gets a pass.  Not only that, the message to other similarly situated young women is “Don’t change a thing — walk around the streets in clothes that western culture associates with the boudoir and get blind drunk or stoned on a regular basis.  We will never punish you.”

Depression; Poor Mental Health

Even if the Leftists give the woman a pass, though, the punishment is still there.  It’s there in the form of young men whose lives are destroyed and, even more, it’s there in the form of young women whose lives are also destroyed.  All those women urged by society into trashy, minimal clothing think that they’re never responsible for the consequences of their actions, but they’re wrong.  Even if society refuses to condemn them, nature does, whether it’s a pregnancy (plus or minus an abortion), sexually transmitted diseases, feelings of self-loathing, or irrational fears of all men that make future trusting, stable relationships all but impossible.

What drives this entire “slut” movement is the malignant narcissism that characterizes almost all Leftist social and political positions.  One of the hallmarks of narcissism is the narcissist’s inability to take responsibility for his acts.  It’s always someone else’s fault.

When it comes to rape (or “gray rape” which is the morning-after guilt a woman feels when her drunkenness led her into acts she regrets), because of feminism’s push within Leftist corridors, it’s always the man’s fault.  No matter what the woman does, no matter how foolish she is, she bears no responsibility for her acts.  She doesn’t even count as a grim warning to others who follow.  (Again, I’m not saying that the man who rapes isn’t fully responsible for his conduct; I’m just saying that rational thinking demands that women must also be responsible for their conduct.)

Carnage after terrorist bomb in Tel Aviv

The same is true when it comes to guns.  What better place to put responsibility than on an inanimate object?  “It’s all the gun’s fault.”

Here’s a real-world fact, though, one that seems to have eluded the “reality based” political party:  Guns do nothing unless people handle them.  When courageous, principled people handle them, they save lives.  When crazy people handle them, they take lives.  Crazy people also take lives with knives, fertilizer bombs, glass bottles, boots, airplanes, box cutters, and whatever else comes to hand.  Knives don’t have great reach, but bombs certainly do — and that’s true whether the crazy person is listening to the voices in his head or the voices from the imam’s pulpit.

Pulp Fiction

Leftists (primarily the ACLU) have made it all but impossible to institutionalize crazy people, no matter how dangerous they quite obviously are.  Leftists have created gun-free zones to which a crazy person can head secure in the knowledge that there’s no one there to stop him.  Leftists operating out of Hollywood have glorified a the most bloody of gun violence of a type that a conservative culture would never countenance.  Leftists up and down the Left coast, with an eye to profit, have put out video games that make it routine and painless to blast human-looking avatars to death.  And Leftists have so highly sexualized our culture that two 7th grade girls at a local middle school had a major falling out because one girl gave a blow job to the other girl’s ex-boyfriend.

Leftists make rape easy by hyper-sexualizing our culture and by exonerating women of all responsibility for their acts.

Leftists also make killing an easy and attractive option for people who, in a more conservative culture, would be kept in humane comfort behind high stone walls.   The great thing for the Leftists, though, is that they can, in good conscience, attack the Second Amendment and the inanimate gun  because being a Leftist means never having to say you’re sorry.

The “ultrasound = rape” meme on the Left is part of a larger movement to discredit Republicans with a Big Lie

I will never forget my first ultrasound, when I was pregnant with my first child.  I was not an enthusiastic pregnant woman.  It was my husband, not I, who wanted children.  I had them only (a) because when I married my husband I felt I owed him a family and (b) because, when I was growing up, those of our family friends who were childless were unpleasant, rigid, unimaginative people, something I attributed to their childless state.  I figured that, like ‘em or not, having children was an inextricable part of growing up.  So there I was pregnant and, starting just one week into the pregnancy, vomiting 24/7.    I therefore did not view the ultrasound with any particular enthusiasm.

The ultrasound experience wasn’t particularly congenial.  I lost my clothes from the waist down, and had to lie on a cold, hard table.  The nurse smeared this nasty, cold, jelly stuff on my still flat belly.  (I really miss that flat belly.)  I shuddered.  She then started rolling a cold, hard device across my stomach.  I shuddered more.  And then I turned my head, and saw a string of pearls appear on the monitor.  That string of pearls was my child’s spine.  Everything else on the screen was kind of vague and fuzzy, but I could see clearly that perfectly formed little spinal column.

I never did get reconciled to the vomiting I experienced during my entire pregnancy, and I still miss the relative hedonism of a life without children (sleeping in, eating ice cream without getting fat, having a tidy house), but that string of pearls transformed me.  There was a human being in there.  I never lost sight of that fact.  And when I look at my blooming teen and tween, both fully realized, interesting, intelligent, and vital people, I remember those pearls.

One thing I can tell you with absolute certainty is that, if I had gone to the doctor’s office for an abortion, I would have bitterly resented that ultrasound.  Instead, of thinking of the fetus as a “thing,” I would have been forced to recognize its humanity.  Instead of disposing of a “thing,” I would have been killing a “person,” with a spine like a string of pearls.  That is a serious disincentive to abortion.  This is so because, even if one sees photos in high school biology class of a fetus, it’s quite different when that fetus is inside you.

Both pro-Life and pro-Abortion people understand the emotional resonance of scans.  That is why the Virginia legislature has passed a bill mandating scans before abortion, and why Progressive commentators are likening these same scans to rape.  Here is Dahlia Lithwick, whose post advocating this rape position is currently the most prominent:

Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced. Since a proposed amendment to the bill—a provision that would have had the patient consent to this bodily intrusion or allowed the physician to opt not to do the vaginal ultrasound—failed on 64-34 vote, the law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law.

Before touching on true purpose behind this manic, and ugly, hyperbole, let’s get the facts straight.  It’s entirely untrue that all ultrasounds performed during the first three months of pregnancy are done using a transvaginal procedure.  In fact, there’s only a very small window of time during which the transvaginal procedure is the only way to perform the scan:

Abdominal and transvaginal ultrasounds are both effective at early stages of pregnancy. This fact is acknowledged in this “continuing medical education” module produced by the National Abortion Foundation (tag line: “A Provider’s Guide to Medical Abortion”):

Transabdominal ultrasound cannot reliably diagnose pregnancies that are < 6 weeks’ gestation. Transvaginal ultrasound, by contrast, can detect pregnancies earlier, at approximately 4 ½ to 5 weeks’ gestation. Prompt diagnosis made possible by TVU can, therefore, result in earlier treatment.

So, yes, transvaginal is more reliable for detecting pregnancies for a period of about seven days. Please note the Orwellian use of the word “treatment” for “killing of the baby.” How does this require a woman to have a transvaginal ultrasound? Short answer: it doesn’t.

Here’s another fact that Lithwick ignores — or maybe Lithwick has never been to any of my OB-Gyns.  (Guys, feel free to ignore this paragraph if it makes you uncomfortable.)  My OB-Gyns have always followed a consistent pattern in their dealings with the women who appear in their offices:  take your clothes off, stick your feet in the stirrups, and have the nurse or doctor poke around inside of you, both with digital manipulation and with that truly nasty speculum.  When you’re at the OB-Gyn, penetration is pretty much the name of the game.  (For those guys who are still with me, this is why women never express the proper amount of sympathy when you complain about having your prostate checked.)  If you show up for an abortion during that one week during which a transvaginal ultrasound is more reliable than a transabdominal ultrasound, the ultrasound is just one among many penetrations.  (Abortion, too, requires penetration.  Just sayin’.)

There’s a reason for Lithwick’s hyperbole, though, and it’s not because she’s upset about the Virginia law.  Or at least, that’s only the smallest part.  My sister, who is as uninterested in politics as can be, called me today outraged that Republicans generally, and Santorum specifically, are making contraception illegal.  She was completely taken aback when I explained that Republicans are only trying to preserve a status quo that has been in place since 1965; namely, that contraceptives and abortifacients are freely available everywhere in the U.S., but that churches don’t have to pay for them.

The Democrats are not making contraceptives even more available than they’ve been before, which is an impossibility given their current unlimited availability.  Instead, they are seeking to shift costs onto employers, including religious organizations and individuals who are doctrinally opposed to contraceptives and abortifacients.

My sister was receptive to the truth, and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to explain to her the entire story.  She got that she was the victim of a Big Lie.  Most voters, however, aren’t my open-minded sister and, even worse, they don’t have me sitting there walking them through the lies and smears.  Instead, they’re begin manipulated into believing that Republicans and conservatives are depriving women of all access to contraceptives and then, once they’re pregnant, raping them.  That’s the Big Lie, and that’s what Democrats think will win them the election in 2012.

Many commentators have shuddered at the way in which Republican candidates are stupidly making this election about women’s sexual rights.  What they miss is that the whole abortion/contraception issue is a tar baby* that Democrats placed squarely in the Republicans’ path, so that it was impossible for Republicans to avoid.

What might happen, though, and what we must hope will happen, is that the Democrats will prove too clever by half, so that this whole thing backfires.  Remember that, in the tar baby tale, despite the tar baby’s initial success in capturing Br’er Rabbit, the rabbit’s own cleverness, and the Fox and the Bear’s hubris, meant that the tar baby ultimately failed.  As Americans realize that the smelly, sticky lies about abortion and contraceptives originated with the Democrats, it might be s the Republicans who head off laughing into the briar patch, leaving the Democrats holding nothing at all.

_____________________

*I recognize the possibility that ill-informed Progressives will assume that, by referring to a tar baby, I am making some sort of racist remark about President Obama.  I’m not.  I am referring instead to an African folktale that came to America with the slave trade, and was preserved in the Southern black oral tradition.

Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear, in their endless quest to trap and eat the small, but clever, Br’er Rabbit, create a tar baby — a doll-like figure covered with sticky tar — in order to trap Br’er Rabbit.  Sure enough, when Br’er Rabbit cheerily greets the tar baby, believing it to be a real person, he is offended by the tar baby’s failure to respond.  Br’er Rabbit eventually strikes the tar baby, and quickly finds himself trapped by the sticky stuff.  (This is why we say that a particular subject or idea is a tar baby, because a hapless victim quickly finds himself stuck to and overwhelmed by the issue.)

Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear pluck Br’er Rabbit from the tar and debate the best ways to kill him.  Br’er Rabbit agrees to each proposed idea, but asks repeatedly “Please, please, don’t throw me in the briar patch.”  Convinced that the briar patch is Br’er Rabbit’s greatest fear,  are Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear, ignoring their own self-interest in keeping that edible little body near them, throw Br’er Rabbit into the patch — the same patch in which he was born and raised.  Br’er Rabbit happily runs away, while Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear are left kicking themselves. It is not a racist tale. It’s a humanist tale about greed, cleverness, and hubris.