Monday, March 14, 2011

Thank you, Johann Hari. Yeah, what she said... Why DO we ignore the horrible abuse of women that "great" men commit?

photo is from here
This is a cross-post from The Independent (UK). You may click on the title below to link back.

Johann Hari: Why do we ignore the abuse of women?

Thursday, 15 November 2007

When is it okay to beat, rape and stab a woman? When it is okay to call these victims "whiny", "money-grabbing" and "bitches"? The obvious answer is never. But that doesn't seem to be the judgement we make, together, as a culture. No. If the wife-beater/rapist/attempted murderer can write novels, kick a ball, create songs or pose as a liberal politician, we treat their misogyny as an irrelevance or, worse, as a laddish affectation imbuing them with the testosteroney tang of authenticity. 
You can see this by looking at four men – about as diverse as they come – who have been lauded as heroes: Norman Mailer, George Best, Tupac Shakur, and Bill Clinton.
For the past six days, we have been saturated with tributes to the "greatness" of Norman Mailer. Not just his work but his life. He has been called "brave", "determined to experience life's richness", "compassionate", even "nice". It is noted only briefly that he violently despised women. He said they are "low, sloppy beasts; they should be kept in cages". He campaigned to halt every move to give women control over their lives, including birth control – because he said he wanted to retain the "thrill" of knowing the woman he was having sex with might later die in childbirth. He said feminists wanted to "destroy men" and wrote a bizarre 300-page book – The Prisoner Of Sex – to "prove" it.
He acted on this hate. He beat his young wife, Adele, punching her in the stomach when she was six months pregnant, and coerced her to have group sex with his friends. One night, in the middle of a party, he picked up a knife and stabbed her. He cut through her breast, only just missing her heart. Then he stabbed her in the back. As she lay there, haemorrhaging, one man reached down to help her. He snapped: "Get away from her. Let the bitch die."
Adele never really recovered. She developed pleurisy and started hacking up black phlegm several times a day. She was too scared even to press charges. She became an alcoholic, sank into poverty and could never trust a man again. When, years later, she told her story in the book The Last Party, the reviews slapped her down. They called her "whiny", "a shrill lush", and "nauseating". The subtext was: how dare this uppity bitch complain about Our Icon? Some even seem to believe that stabbing her made him a better writer – as if one woman is worth sacrificing on the altar of "genius", and it is churlish of her to keep speaking.
(Of course, I believe an artist's work should be assessed entirely separately to his personal life. If we discovered tomorrow that Shakespeare was a child molester, King Lear would still be a masterpiece. But Mailer's misogyny infests his work. As the feminist writer Kate Millett pointed out, his 1965 novel An American Dream "is an exercise in how to kill your wife and be happy ever after". It is revealing that his only genuinely brilliant novel – The Naked And The Dead – has no female characters.)
If Norman Mailer had said black people should be kept in cages, if he had said the civil rights movement wanted to "destroy white people", if he had stabbed a black man in a racist fury, the first line of every obituary would have mentioned it. So why is hatred of women taken less seriously?
It is not only novel-writing that gets you off the hook: if you can kick a ball, we don't seem to mind if you kick a woman. George Best first beat his wife Alex on her 25th birthday, when he punched her to the floor and kicked her six times in the chest and face. Then, on Christmas Day 2003, he gave her a bruised lip and swollen face. "So what if she's in hospital? It's the best place for her," he snapped at the press the next day.
When Paul Gascoigne admitted to having hospitalised his wife, Sheryl, "Bestie" leapt to his defence. "We all give the wife a good slap. I know I do," he said. When Alex finally left him, the press swooped – to attack her. One typical columnist said she had "not done badly" out of him, and claimed Best and Gazza's only flaw was that "they are suckers for romance".
I can almost find traces of this impulse to look away in myself, when it comes to people who have done a few things I admire. The rap artist Tupac is now revered as the messiah of the ghetto, "a man who stood up for black people" with tracks that bordered on genius. So everyone wants to forget about a 19-year-old girl called Ayanna Jackson. In 1993, Tupac met her in a club and coaxed her back to his hotel – where he and his friends gang-raped her. At the trial, the judge called it "a brutal attack on a helpless woman". Tupac did not "stand up" for her, he pinned her down and trashed her life. And Bill Clinton? He has indeed been targeted by right-wing hit machines, trying to take him out for his few liberal policies. And yet, and yet ... Juanita Broaddrick, an Arkansas nurse and supporter of the Democratic Party, told NBC's flagship show Dateline that, in 1978, when she volunteered for his campaign, Clinton lured her into a hotel room, raped her and tore her lip by biting down on it. She has five witnesses who saw her wounds straight after the alleged attack. Broaddrick has never profited from the story, and told it only after she was "outed" by one of the friends who'd heard the tale.
She is only one of several women who have claimed without profit to have been sexually abused by Clinton in strikingly similar ways. As Christopher Hitchens has asked: "What are the chances that three socially and politically respectable women, all political supporters of Mr Clinton and none of them known to each other, would invent almost identical experiences?" (Clinton's spokesman, in effect, claimed these women were liars).
Why do we so carefully turn a blind eye to the bruised bodies of so many abused women? This selective blindness isn't confined to news coverage; it informs our political life. Imagine if in Britain today, hundreds of thousands of men were being pinned down – in hotels, living rooms, and back alleys – and anally raped by their "friends" or acquaintances, and virtually no one was ever punished for it. It would be one of the biggest issues in British politics. Yet it really does happen to women – so it is a third-tier issue, wheeled out once a decade.
This shrugging reaction to the stabbing and raping so enthusiastically carried out by these men is a reminder that millennia of misogyny aren't wiped away in a few decades of progress. Lying dormant beneath the polite feminised surface, there is an atavistic belief that violence against women like Adele Mailer and Alex Best and Ayanna Jackson doesn't quite count. "Let the bitch die," Mailer growled, his hands covered in blood – and still we applaud him to the grave.

Adolph Hitler's lover, Eva Braun, dressed up as a Jewish white man dressed up as a non-Jewish Black man...

photo of A. Hitler and E. Braun is from here
The photograph above is not the one making the news. It appears to be a moment where ol' Adolph is catching a few zzzz's while not attending to his genocidal agenda to wipe Jews from Europe and beyond--if only there had been no Resistance. Who knew Adolph and Eva also had fun with anti-Black racist drag?

Quiz: How many forms of gross exploitation, sexual, ethnic, and racist insensitivity and inhumanity, and genocidal heinousness are wrapped up in this smallish news story?

Please click on the title below to link back.

Photo of Adolf Hitler's lover Eva Braun dressed as black man emerges
Published: Friday, Mar 11, 2011, 14:23 IST
Place: London | Agency: ANI

A collection of photographs of Adolf Hitler's lover Eva Braun has surfaced, and in one of them she is featured with black make-up and dressed like a man.
The picture had been taken in 1937 when Braun was 25, and she had captioned the image "Me as Al Jolson". Jolson was a Jewish American star, the Sun reported.
The images had been found in 1945 at Hitler's Bavarian mountain retreat, the Berghof, but they lay forgotten in US archives until this week.
Other snaps show Hitler playing with the young daughter of one of Braun's pals, and messing about with her pet dogs.

Feminist Event: When is "War" and "Terrorism" neither? Here's one answer.

25 March 2011 UPDATE (please click on title just below for full update):

Malalai Joya, Afghan war critic, gets U.S. visa

A prominent Afghan feminist and war critic was granted a visa to enter the United States on Thursday - by the same State Department office that turned her down last week - and belatedly started on a speaking tour that is scheduled to wind up in San Francisco.
The case of Malalai Joya is the latest of several in which the Obama administration, after at first refusing entry, has allowed a visit by a foreigner who has criticized policies of the United States or its allies.
I am compelled to ask: how are men's wars against each other not part of men's war against women? The elements are all the same, no? Terrorism, domination, invasion, violence, horror, devastation. What's the difference? Oh, men's war against women is often also set up to appear completely normal and non-violent. Institutional. Interpersonal on the most intimate relational levels. Made to seem as though we have nothing to worry about behind the curtain, or under the sheets. And, yes, it's privatised in a way that men's warfare against other men is publicised--even while erroneously reported about by corporate media. When is terror and invasion seen as neither terrorising or invasive? When it is only men only doing each of those only to women. Then it's just "life". Then it's only "love", not ever war.

What follows this paragraph, is from *here*.

Upcoming Colloquium Will Focus on Impact of War on Women Worldwide
Posted on March 13, 2011

Studies Impact through Eyes of Iraqi, Palestinian, Afghan, and early American Women
ST. MARY’S CITY, Md. (March 13, 2011) — When we think of how women's lives have been affected by wars in the course of human history, we often think of them as those left behind. Today, however, they fight on the frontlines, are used as weapons, and live as refugees. This year’s 12th annual Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Colloquium at St. Mary’s College of Maryland March 22-24 will focus on women as participants in, victims of, and rationales for war.

“Women in War: Object/Subject” will include a photo exhibit of Iraqi refugees, and presentations on Palestinian women living in Israel and women in early American warfare. Malalai Joya, an Afghan politician who was suspended from the Parliament because of her comments, also will be here. Her book, A Woman Among Warlords, comes out in paperback this March; Time magazine named her in its 2010 list of the 100 most influential people in the world. For more information on the colloquium, go to

Supported by the Alice McLellan Birney Women Studies Fund, as well as community and college members, the colloquium each spring focuses on a topic critical to the lives of women. It has previously covered subjects as diverse as women in the workforce (2009), marriage in America (2007), and women and technology (2002).

This year’s schedule:

“Collateral Image,” photographic exhibitMarch 22 – April 8. Montgomery Hall Upper Commons. Opening reception at 4 p.m. March 22 in Upper Commons and artist lecture at 8:15 p.m. March 23 in Cole Cinema, Gabriela Bulisova, photographer and photojournalist.

“Gendering the Narratives of Three Generations of Palestinian Women in Israel”4:45 p.m. March 23, Cole Cinema. Isis Nusair, assistant professor of women's studies and international studies at Denison University.

“Neither Battlefield nor Home Front: The Liminality of Women in Early American Warfare, Real and Imagined”4:15 p.m. March 24, Cole Cinema. Andrea Robertson Cremer, assistant professor of history, Macalester College.

“A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice”8:15 p.m., March 24, Cole Cinema. Malalai Joya, Afghan politician, teacher, and author. Reception and book signing to follow—Aldom Lounge, Campus Center.

Listen to Women: Revolt against Nuclear Power: Go Solar and End Patriarchy

Women, especially, have been protesting against the use of nuclear power for decades, including in Japan. Alas, men won't listen to women, internationally. And I'm not talking about a single Chancellor or a Secretary of State, either. I'm speaking about listening to women who do not hold political office. I'm not talking about listening only to women and men with race and class privilege who promote concepts like "sex work" in societies where there is trafficking and sexual slavery and mass rape, all of which are required for "sex work" to happen at all. I'm speaking about the women who know what's happening to the most disenfranchised and assaulted women and girls on Earth because they ARE those disenfranchised and assaulted women. These women's voices may be heard by clicking to some of the blogs in my blog roll and by accessing the important web pages section, linked to on the right side of this page.

Patriarchal men, not because of biology, not because of hormones, not because of genetics, are incapable of producing humane civilisations. How much more evidence do you need, really? How many more wars? How many more systems of gross exploitation of girls and women? How many more men battering women and getting custody of their children if the women leave? How many more Black, Brown, Asian, and Indigenous women disappearing and being raped and killed but getting no media attention or collective outrage from the media and viewers? How much more racist-misogynist capitalism? How many more women have to be oppressed, subordinated, and enslaved to men before we collectively WAKE THE FUCK UP and stop patriarchal societies from ruling? Connect the dots of blood, the missing people, and the cancer tumors. Trust capitalist-patriarchs, and their apologists and defenders, as far as you can throw one.

Source for above video and text below is *here*.

Nuclear Crisis in Japan Sparks Global Protests

The nuclear crisis in Japan touched off mass anti-nuclear protests across Europe this weekend. In Germany, some 50,000 protesters formed a 27-mile human chain from Germany’s Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant to the city of Stuttgart. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently announced plans to extend the life of 17 German nuclear plants for an average 12 extra years. A large anti-nuclear protest was also held in France. Eva Joly is French member of the European Parliament.
Eva Joly: "The idea that it’s dangerous and that we can cope with it, that is finished today. And we know how to get out of the nuclear plants we need renewable energies, we need wind mills, we need geothermy and we need solar energy."
See all headlines for this show

After 9.0 Earthquake in Japan, Electricity is being parsed out and shut down for hours on end. Water from tap is not safe to drink in Tokyo, report says. Details here.

From Japan Today, *here*:

Officials in protective gear check for signs of radiation on children who are from the evacuation area near the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant in Koriyama, on Saturday, following an explosion and radiation leakage at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. 
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The situation in Japan is going from disaster to more dire to worse. Destruction due to the earthquake is followed by many more quakes, called "tremors" or aftershocks. The ground is shaking. People must get down on the floor or ground to keep from falling.

The nuclear meltdowns are a nightmare come true. Volcanic eruption in southern Japan. And now news that the faucet water is not considered safe to drink, while store shelves are empty in Toyko.

Relief workers and able-bodied people from other parts of Japan are heading into radioactive areas to help distribute much needed resources being shipped in.

Pray and do what you can to help out. Prayer won't be enough.

Eat various forms of seaweed if exposed to radioactivity. Eat seven flat sheets of nori (used for sushi rolls) per day per person. Dry or prepared. And other forms of seaweed, with miso. See *this post* for more.

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Source for all that follows is *here*.
DENVER - Japan's prime minister says the country is facing its most severe challenge since World War II after a deadly earthquake and tsunami devastated the country last week.

Colorado native Charles Pribyl is a college professor currently living in Japan. He's been living in Funibashe, a city just east of Tokyo, for 23 years.
He says the bad news just keeps pouring in.
"It seems like its going to get worse before it becomes better. Everybody is really worried about radiation," Pribyl said.
A reactor at a nuclear power plant collapsed Saturday in North Eastern Japan, possibly causing radiation exposure to hundreds.
To add to the problems, the failed reactor was responsible for 25 percent of the city's electricity.
"The problem now is that they announced the rolling blackout that will be for about one month, and depending on where you live it, could be up to 3 three hours," Pribyl said.
He also says they were just told their water is unsafe to drink.
"They're trying to find the source of the contamination, but for now, they're saying drink bottled water," he said.
Pribyl says that, in itself, could be a problem. He says food, water and gas were already hard to find.
"Right now, all of the convenience stores are closed because they ran out food, because people are hoarding food now. And the gas station I usually go to is closed because they are out of gas," he said.
He says in most of the country, the shaking created by aftershocks has yet to subside.
"We are still having earthquakes about every 20-30 minutes now, and they're ranging in magnitude between 3 and 6," Pribyl said.
The devastation is really starting to set it according to Pribyl.
"Most people are still in shock. They never thought it would really happen," he said.
If you want to help, donations can be made to several different Japanese tsunami and earthquake relief funds. More information can be found here: How people can help the Japanese earthquake recovery.
Also if you are looking for a loved one in Japan, visit to register. Or contact the State Department, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 or 202-647-5225.
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)