An avalanche of harassment and abuse

There are inevitably mixed emotions surrounding the many revelations about powerful men using their position to harass, exploit and abuse others sexually. The disgust at their actions, the horror at the scale of the abuse and the tactics used to silence their victims, but also more positive feelings seeing brave women (primarily, but some men also) having their accounts now listened to and believed. Importantly it has been a time in which survivors of the abuse of power by these men got an opportunity to speak and be heard.

I didn’t have anything to add to those voices nor would it have been appropriate but I’ve been watching other aspects of the issue play out. In particular, I have been watching how this both is and isn’t a partisan political issue and that’s what I want to talk about here. In terms of discussing the other wider question of how the specifically Hollywood aspect of these scandals, I think others (again) have tackled it better. I’m not sure Anita Sarkeesian has caught all the complexities and conflicted feelings but she does a better job of it than I would here:

The politics of the issue though is something I think I can talk about in a way that adds something. Indeed, at least one regular reader of this blog seems very keen that I talk about the Harvey Weinstein case. So below, I do and at some length.

The fact that well know Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was a sexual predator has led to much commentary among the right-wing blogs that I track. On the furthest right it has been used to fuel anti-Semitic claims but on less extreme sites it has been seen as something that their perceived “SJW” enemies would find in some way discombobulating. For example, on a post about a book cover I received this post from a Sad Puppy advocate:

“Jeasus floppy, don’t you have anything better to do? Harvey Weinstine, one of the biggest movers and shakers in Hollywood, just got fired from his own company for 30 years of grotesque sexual misconduct”

As I discussed above, there are many emotive aspects of these cases but I find it odd that the right would see them as in some way demonstrating that the left is wrong and that the right is right. Aside from anything else it is the kind of issue that leaves you a hostage to fortune as inevitably such scandals then appear elsewhere on the political spectrum.

One part of the issue is a common error we’ve seen repeatedly on the right: a shortsightedness with respect to differences in ideology. Weinstein is a Hollywood elite and apparently a donor to the Democrats and other liberal causes and hence the kind of person conservatives imagine the left to be. Yet, it would be too easy to ignore Weinstein by pointing at the true political distance between him and the actual left.

That a commenter like Phantom has picked the wrong example, is not sufficient. It is too easy to pick on the more ignorant or poorly informed aspects of somebody’s argument, just at is too easy to pick on its poor expression or muddled thinking. Phantom’s target is a poor choice but the broader point is that there are people on the actual left who are scumbags and sexual predators.

The scandal Phantom should have picked on is one he probably is less aware of but which is playing out currently in British politics. Numerous political figures have been credibly accused of sexual harassment. The most notable have been associated with the government of the day but the Labour Party is caught up in this also:

In the story above on shadow cabinet member Kelvin Hopkins we can see a lot of the mechanics of what has played out at different scales:

  • A man uses his position of relative power over another for their own sexual gratification.
  • The target of their harassment/abuse informs somebody else.
  • The targeted person’s credible claims are either ignored or trivialized and/or
  • There is no lasting damage to the man’s career

Hopkins isn’t Weinstein but the scale of the abusive behaviour isn’t the issue, it is the same mechanics at play. The net effect is that predatory, bullying behaviour faces little repercussions which in turn encourages such behaviour to continue – which in turn creates environments which are toxic to everybody but which in particular force women out.

A recent survey by The Bookseller shows how that plays out in the publishing industry:

“Just over half of the 388 respondents to The Bookseller’s survey on sexual harassment within the book industry said they have experienced harassment, with 54% of women and 34% of men stating that they had suffered abuse.”

The piece goes on to explain:

“Where people have been harassed, it has often been carried out by more senior or high-status male colleagues, professional contacts, authors or clients, and the targets are often young, in junior roles, new in the workplace or working freelance. The risk of harassment also seems to be higher in certain roles; publicists, whose job often takes them on tour and puts them in close contact with authors outside an ostensibly professional setting, showed higher-than-average experiences of work-related harassment, with 66% saying they had experienced it. “

This is why I say that in one sense this is not a partisan political issue – the environment in which this kind of sexual bullying occurs occurs in political parties, in charities, in NGOs, in companies. Indeed, some straight-forwardly capitalist companies may now have less toxic environments because they have realised that such environments impact productivity and create legal liabilities. Whereas, organisations with more ad-hoc work practices such as groups involved in political advocacy maybe far more prone to letting sexual-abusers exploit their organisation. Being of the left is no kind of vaccine against toxic, bullying or sexually abusive environments.

Depressingly, this kind of shit is everywhere. Even more broadly bullying cultures, whether of a sexual nature or not, occur everywhere – from churches to fandoms to protest movements. There will be future waves of revelations of serial sexual abusers and those waves will include people that you may have previous admired or involve organisations you feel affiliated to. Importantly these revelations are important to diminish the impact of harassment. And while women are not the only victims and men are not the only bullies, the disparity is obvious and clear – this is a feminist issue and it is one in which women bear the brunt of the toxic behaviour of men.

Which is why this IS a politically partisan issue and it is also why commentators on the right are wrong to think this is in someway discombobulating to what they call “SJWs”.


That dismissive term “social justice warrior” and its associated baggage of stereotypes – the blue haired feminist railing against sexism and racism and demanding codes of conducts – is a bugbear of the modern right. However, they tend to forget the recent history. This tension between social-justice as a broad but specific cause of a section of the left focusing on the personal impact of power-inequalities has a deep history but played out in the past decade in some unusual places.

Those places were not particularly standard right-left conflicts. It encompassed communities such as the atheist and skeptic communities, video gaming, genre literature and other communities which while not being exclusively OF the left were arguably more left leaning than wider society or (as in the world of online atheism) actively opposed to at least one aspect of the modern right.

Consider, for example, the case known as “Elevatorgate” in the Skeptic community: The extraordinary backlash against one woman simply expressing how uncomfortable she felt being approached in an elevator demonstrated something quite deep. Any attempts to try and make environments/communities LESS prone to the kind of surrounding culture that supports harassing behaviour will get enormous pushback.

That pushback also was not confined to the right but in all cases it highlighted a stark difference in perspective.

For want of a better term, I’ll call what follows the SJW hypothesis – a theory about how the world is functioning that many of us labelled “SJWs” adopt and which is the deep point of contention:

There are deep, entrenched differences in political, social and economic power in society. As well as broad social impact, those inequalities impact people on a personal level and are used by more powerful people both consciously and unconsciously to exclude, demean, and exploit others at multiple levels. In particular there are dimensions of inequality in terms of:

  • Gender
  • Gender identity
  • Sexuality
  • Race-ethnicity
  • Wealth

Those dimensions intersect and the exclusion, demeaning and exploitation occur systemically and individually across multiple layers of relationships and nearly everywhere in modern society.

In a better world the Harvey Weinstein case would be discombobulating because it would challenge a view of how the world is. However, it sadly isn’t – rather it is yet another depressing confirmation of the hypothesis above. This hypothesis keeps being demonstrated in all its complexity but the scale of these scandals can also serve to hide that if such extreme events are occurring then smaller scales forms of exclusion, bullying and harassment are also in play.

Working to improve representation helps mitigate some of this broad impact on less powerful people. Working to improve the culture within a community or a workplace helps make less toxic environments. Providing clear mechanism to express concerns, seek help or report abusive behaviour helps people being victimised. Doing these things takes effort and winning arguments but they are as important in terms of the human cost as addressing physical safety in a building.

So while the problem is non-partisan the solution is political. The push back against reform has not been confined to the right but it increasingly has become a point around which the Alt-Right has rallied. They have sought to exploit conflicts to recruit disaffected men who feel threatened by reform of sexist culture. They have demonised moves to reduce harassment in workplaces (for Vox Day “HR” is almost a synonym for Maoism).

Treating these issues seriously becomes characterised as being:

“about denigrating writers on the basis of their race (if white), Gender (if male), sexual orientation (if straight), etc. ”

Or as “reverse sexism” or “reverse racism” or somehow specifically oppressive to conservatives (itself a bizarre self-directed attack in which right inadvertently characterise themselves as the ones most likely to harass women or ethnic minorities when the whole point was these issues were endemic across political lines).

As time passes the lines become more clearly drawn. Not between the political affiliation of predatory people, psychopaths and bullies but between those who believe we can and should reduce the power and influence of such people in our communities and those who seek to protect the power of such people.


38 responses to “An avalanche of harassment and abuse”

  1. It isn’t a political problem in that it doesn’t seem to be tied to any particular political affiliation. The response to it however does seem to be being increasingly politicized.
    When figures on the Left are exposed they are (increasingly at least) shunned and ostracized, witness Weinstein and Spacey.
    When figures on the Right are exposed they are excused and even lauded (witness Trump and Roy Moore).
    This seems to be a pretty recent thing, until recently these things would have been swept under the rug on both sides.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Penn, I was just going to bring up Roy Moore. A complete RWNJ of the fundie kind. Yet him being accused of sleeping with a 14 year old is immediately decried as fake news, or supported by other RW by, of all things, Biblical references.

      Right-wingers get away with it, often with an “atta-boy” attitude towards them. Remember Strom Thurmond raping his family’s teenage servant and then ignoring the resulting child? The governor who was “hiking the Appalachian Trail” with his South American mistress. Endless RW found with hookers, male hookers, underage girls, forcing themselves on women — and nothing’s done. All is forgiven.

      I think it’s very much to the Left’s credit that the revealed men (Cosby, Weinstein, Spacey, CK, etc.) are being fired and ostracized instead. They’re willing to get rid of the bad element. Unlike the Right.

      Liked by 2 people

      • “Yet him being accused of sleeping with a 14 year old”

        Nobody has accused him of sleeping with anyone underage. The accusations are bad enough in reality — let’s not create fake news for ourselves.

        What he has been accused of is taking a 14-year-old to his home and **trying** to seduce her by disrobing, then fondling her and placing her hand on him. There was no intercourse, and he took her back to her home when she asked to leave.

        He has also been accused of dating a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old (both of which are legal in Alabama, where the age of sexual consent is 16), and giving them alcohol (which is not legal, since at the time the drinking age was 19). Neither of these girls had intercourse with him either.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Well, it’s nice of Phantom to remind us of why no-one takes him seriously. See those goalposts moving? In the last post he demanded CF pay attention to the Weinstein allegations. Now that he’s had his wish, he’s got nothing to say about it but is complaining about not covering a different story instead.
      Let’s look at what he’s complaining that “the New York Times and Mr. Floppy” don’t talk about – a story, exclusive to buzzfeed, that (if I’m reading the timestamps right) was only a few hours old at the time Phantom posted. He claims it wasn’t (and will not be) covered by the NYT – here’s an NYT article timestamped a few hours after the buzzfeed story later that mentions it
      So, that’s another reminder of why he’s ignored – his claims fall over with the minimum of googling.
      And the final nail in the coffin – he uses “boy-on-boy” because he thinks the fact that the principals in the story are gay men makes it worse. Yeah, we all see you, Phantom.

      While his occasional foray from the spam filter is entertaining, I think his place in there is thoroughly deserved.

      (Just for the record, the buzzfeed story is – like the other stories currently coming out – appalling and deserves to be heard)

      Liked by 3 people

    • Camestros is not obliged to blog about anything. And like Mark said, this case is pretty new. Other new cases include an editor at DC Comics, Andrew Kreisberg, producer of Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow, and a British actor named Ed Westwick, where rape allegations caused the BBC to stop production on what was supposed to be a prestige Agatha Christie adaptation for Christmas. Camestros did not mention those either, maybe because things are happening simply too quickly at the moment.

      And besides, Camestros and many commenters explicity pointed out that sexual harrassment happens on all sides of the political spectrum and specifically mentioned a case involving a prominent Labour Party politician in the UK and an older case involving harrassment at an atheist conference.

      Liked by 2 people

    • (Camestros, if Phantom responds to my question, I’d appreciate it if you’d let him out of the spam filter. But I have a sneaking suspicion he won’t.)

      So, Phantom, now that we’re talking about all the lefty offenders like you wanted us to, I have a question for you. What about the Roy Moore blowup? What do you think about all the Republicans, and the people on Fox News (Sean Hannity et al.) that are rallying around him?


      • “What about the Roy Moore blowup? What do you think about all the Republicans, and the people on Fox News (Sean Hannity et al.) that are rallying around him?”

        A coupla years ago I counted up the sex scandals relating to national US political figures (there’s a list at Wikipedia). There were twice as many Republicans on the list as Democrats.

        I think it’s very telling to look at the responses to our current set of allegations. Folks like Weinstein, Spacey, et al — soundly condemned by ALL sides and fired. Folks like Trump and Moore? The right accuses the victims of lying, and elects the perpetrators anyway. Oh, and they get compared to the likes of Jesus (supposedly being martyred) and Joseph (supposedly older than Mary — completely ignoring the fact that Mary was a VIRGIN).

        The hypocrisy is astounding.

        Liked by 2 people

      • “What about the Roy Moore blowup?”

        I have a question about Roy Moore, and the allegations. The question is, why are we hearing these allegations -now- at the end of an election campaign, when it looks like Roy Moore might win? The timing seems very convenient, is all I’m saying. Reminiscent of Clarence Thomas. Allegations of actual wrongdoing don’t usually follow a convenient timeline like that.

        Beyond that, I have no issue with the allegations. Go get him. If he’s bent, I’m thrilled to see him fall. That’s the difference between a Conservative and a Liberal, Bonnie. We don’t cover for perverts.

        The number of perverts in the American Media Left is staggering, and y’all Wimmin of the Left have been COVERING for them all this time. To help The Cause I guess. You should probably stop.

        As you may know from my blog, my opinion of assaults is that they are best dealt with by the intended victim at the time of the assault. I have organized my life around that principle. I see no reason why women should not or cannot do the same. That the SJW fruitbat wing of feminism considers this “victim blaming” is one more reason to despise SJWs. I assure you that any of the women I spend time with would leave the likes of Harvey W leaking on the carpet of his hotel room. Because they have the means, the training and the moral fortitude to do so.

        This will be posted at my blog, Camestros. You can fuck around playing spam filter if you like.


          • Phantom doesn’t get that I’m doing him a favour when his arguments stay in the trash. He combines both logical and ethical fails into a single comment and then demands that people take him seriously.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Oh, for fuck’s sake. Pardon the profanity, Camestros, but this is a sterling example of why Phantom needs to remain in the spam filter. However, I would like to post something here, and then I’ll leave it be. (Or, if you don’t want to publish this, that’s fine. I’m sure you’re getting tired of this jackass, too.)

          Phantom, if you have any question about why the allegations are surfacing now, then you’re not paying attention. (Which we know we don’t, as you want to force everything into your own distorted little timeline, which has nothing to do with reality.) As I understand it, the reporters for the Washington Post, upon hearing the rumors in Alabama, sought out each of these women and interviewed them. Only after repeated interviews did they agree to go on the record and reveal their names. The original story also included 30 other corroborating sources, which are evidently needed nowadays in the face of people like you. As far as the timing, would you rather this be swept under the rug, and this pervert actually get elected to the Senate? (Which he very well might anyway. This is Alabama, after all.)

          As far as the rest of your idiotic comment, I take GREAT issue with this statement. I’ve been pondering over this for a while, and I finally know just what is wrong with your entire attitude towards this.

          “As you may know from my blog, my opinion of assaults is that they are best dealt with by the intended victim at the time of the assault. I have organized my life around that principle. I see no reason why women should not or cannot do the same.”

          This is just straight-up bullshit. While I’m very happy that you, Mr. Macho Man of the Martial Arts, can take out anybody who tries to molest you (really! you go! and hope your opponent isn’t some Very Important Person who can get you arrested, and maybe even sent to jail, or ruined financially, by a crooked cop and/or a crooked district attorney!) NOT EVERYONE CAN OR SHOULD DO THIS. It is INFURIATING, and COMPLETELY out of bounds, for you to insist that just because YOU did it, everyone can. This is simply NOT TRUE, and you have NO BUSINESS trying to make everyone follow in your footsteps.

          Instead, it’s far better to CHANGE THE CULTURE around sexual harassment. We have a sterling example of how to do this: MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers). It is NO LONGER socially acceptable to drive while drunk. People are encouraged–nay, expected–to take intoxicated drivers’ keys away from them, and bar owners are sued up the wazoo–and lose those suits–when they continue to serve obviously drunk people. Designated drivers are part of the culture now. AS THEY SHOULD BE. Even when it comes to domestic violence, though we still have a long ways to go, at least husbands can no longer legally beat their wives, and it’s no longer acceptable to say, “It’s a family matter.” Because it bloody well ISN’T. It’s a SOCIETAL matter, which means you and me, all of us, are responsible for watching out for other people, and many professionals are required to report suspected physical or sexual abuse.

          We can do the same thing as regards sexual harassment. Indeed, I hope what’s happening now is the beginning of this dam breaking. Let’s just suppose that the culture is changing and will change to the point where everyone, man or woman, is encouraged to promptly report all incidents; where such reports are taken seriously, believed and investigated; and perpetrators know that if they’re caught, their balls (or ovaries) will be nailed to the wall, their asses will be fired, and they will SUFFER CONSEQUENCES. THIS IS THE CULTURE WE NEED. This is the culture we DID NOT HAVE at the time that most of these incidents happened. And guess what, Phantom? In such a culture, it is not NECESSARY for anyone to have to learn martial arts (though if you still want to, go for it) or carry a gun all the damn time. It is not NECESSARY to have to deal with your molester yourself, and force yourself to do something you may not be physically or emotionally equipped to do, and possibly further traumatize yourself in the process, because justice will be done.

          Sorry for the capslock and the length, folks. But I’ve been wanting to get this out in the open for a while, because Phantom is completely, utterly WRONG about this. Thanks for indulging me.

          Liked by 5 people

      • Four different women have accused Roy Moore of sexual harrassment. Strange how you don’t believe any of them. None of these four women responded with physical violence, maybe because attacking a prominent judge, even in self-defence, is the sort of thing that will quickly land you in jail. Because physically defending yourself against sexual harrassment can easily be viewed as assult, particularly when the perpetrator is a powerful men and the victim finds herself (or himself) with an unsympathetic police, prosecution or jury. And Roy Moore was a judge, while his victims were teenagers from troubled or marginalized backgrounds. A large problems with sexual harrassment are power differentials, which make it difficult for victims, regardless of gender, to resist.

        I also wonder where you see women and the media covering up sexual harrassment committed by people from the left side of the political spectrum. Because this past month, we have been hearing new allegations of sexual harrassment almost every single day, many of them involving men from the left side of the political spectrum. Over the past few years, we’ve also had plenty of discussion of sexual harrassment in the SFF community, the gaming community, the atheist community, several cases at universities, several cases involving politicians all across the political spectrum, etc… These cases were extensivly discussed among people on the left and largely met with dismissal on the right, except when ammunition against a disliked person was needed.

        And yes, blaming victims for sexual harrassment is such a rightwing thing to do.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I suspect that the spooky spam-trap resident would be surprised at what the women he hangs around with have experienced, in fact. It may not be all men doing it, but for sure it has happened to all women in ways big and small. It’s exhausting and circumscribes one’s life and professional opportunities when one has to weigh the risks of going somewhere and participating vs remaining safe.

        I first became aware of the violent threats from men when I was seven years old and there was a serial killer in my town taking little girls.

        When I was ten, my mother had me accompany her on an errand to drop something off at the house of a family friend because the dude used to corner her and she was afraid to be alone with him.

        In high school, the girl who had the locker next to me was raped at a party (I wasn’t allowed to go to parties). Everyone was talking about it on Monday. She dropped out of school within the month and I never saw her again.

        In university, I came close to being raped while listening to records with a guy friend at four o’clock in the afternoon. The door to his room was open and his parents were home.

        There was a creepy dude who used to sit on a stone wall just off campus – because he was barred from the grounds – and he’d leer and say things to the women/girls walking by. It was intimidating when all you trying to do was get from class to the bus stop minding your own business.

        I’ve seen at least three guys masturbating on buses while staring straight at me.

        I went on a first date with a fancy symphony player to some charity thing. At one point in the evening, I was having a dance with one of the 70+ year old patrons and this dude came over, red in the face and got between us and asked me what the hell I thought I was doing dancing with someone else when I was there with him. He grabbed me by my arm hard enough to leave a bruise and dragged me off the dance floor. For some months afterward, he used to show up at my window, pacing back and forth and banging on it.

        More than once, on a subway, I have been groped or pushed up against by a guy with an erection. Couldn’t do anything because I couldn’t tell who it was.

        I was sitting in a laundromat once, minding my business, doing classwork while clothes were in the dryer. Some 50+ year old dude felt entitled to leave the street, walk through the whole place to the back of the laundry and tell me that I was a slut for having my legs up on the bench and flashing my “cunt” to the world. He said I should be glad he was a gentleman and not going to take what I was “advertising” but that not everyone was a nice as he was. I was wearing baggy pants and a sweatshirt

        I was out for a nice walk with my cousin and all of a sudden a group of guys set upon us, and chased us right off a retaining wall with a 4 foot drop. For some reason, they went away, but if they hadn’t, well….. not much we could have done.

        I was in an undisclosed European country once, sitting on a bench having lunch, and an 80+ year old gentleman sat down beside me and started chatting. I made pleasant small talk, but then without warning he lunged at me, grabbed my breast and slobbered all over my face.

        I was with a tour group enjoying the sunrise over the Sahara when a bedouin camel driver kept inching toward me and put his hand up my skirt before I could slap it away. There were people sitting on either side of us. No one said or did anything.

        I was in an undisclosed foreign country enjoying a tourist show and barbeque. The cowboy doing the horse tricks later came by, scooped me up under his arm, rode off into a field where no one could see us and started kissing me. I screamed until he took me back to the group. He said it was “part of the show.”

        I was in a movie once and a guy sitting next to me put his hand on my knee and started moving it upward. I couldn’t change seats because it was full so I left the theater. Didn’t get to see the movie.

        I was at a conference once and met a prominent guy in my profession. He showed up at the lobby of my hotel with a present for me and wanted to go out. I declined and didn’t come down. He continued to ring upstairs every ten minutes for the next two hours. I became trapped in my room because I was too scared to leave.

        There are many more stories like this but you get the idea.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Yes, this. Every woman has stories like these. Quite often, the harrassment occurred in plain sight, in front of teachers, parents, random bus or tram passengers, etc… Hardly any of them intervened.

        As for physical resistance, when I was in 5th grade, a boy who was a year older than me harrassed me all the time. He wasn’t the only one who did this, many of the boys were harrassing girls, some girls were harrassing boys, at least one girl was harrassing other girls. Most of the teachers ignored this, even when girls were groped in class in front of them. The principal would do something, if the issue came to his attention. But most of the time, he didn’t know what was going on.

        One day, I’d had enough of this boy who’d been harrassing me all the time for months at this point, so I kicked him in the shinbone. A teacher chanced to walk by and guess who got a lecture about how kicking other kids is wrong? Me. And yes, I told the teacher (a leftist long-haired peace activist BTW) that the boy had been harrassing me for months and that I only kicked him to make him stop.

        That was the most horrible school I ever attended, because sexual harrassment ran absolutely rampant there. The kids involved were ten to twelve years old BTW. And mind you, I’m not blaming any of the kids for the harrassment, because at ten or twelve, they didn’t know any better. But I blame the parents who never taught them that harrassing others is wrong and I blame the teachers who didn’t intervene. Nor do I want to see the kids who harrassed others punished (which is what the principal did, when a case came to his attention). But the teachers could have tried explaining the concept of consent to the kids (which is what I did years later, when I was a teacher myself) and why it’s not okay to touch someone without their permission.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Allegations of actual wrongdoing don’t usually follow a convenient timeline like that.

        Yes, they do. When one comes to political prominence, the skeleton’s of one’s past come into the light. This happens a lot.

        That’s the difference between a Conservative and a Liberal, Bonnie. We don’t cover for perverts.

        You should tell your fellow conservatives. They have been rallying around Moore like he’s a hero for the last few days.

        Weinstein – fired from his own company.
        Spacey – dropped from his show, removed from a movie at the last minute.
        Louis CK – had his show cancelled.
        Moore – Lauded by conservatives, defended by Hannity, his relations with children compared to Joseph and Mary.

        Sure, it’s liberals who cover for perverts.

        I assure you that any of the women I spend time with would leave the likes of Harvey W leaking on the carpet of his hotel room.

        You’re deluded. Any woman who did that would almost certainly end up spending most of her life in prison. Or dead, when he took their weapon from them and killed them instead.

        Does it bother you to be wrong about everything? I mean, I’ve seen you posting for a couple of years now, and you have been comprehensively wrong about pretty much everything you have ever offered and opinion on. I really have to question why Camestros lets you out of the spam filter, since you offer nothing but inane drivel to any discussion.

        Liked by 2 people

        • @Aaron

          “Does it bother you {Phantom} to be so wrong about everything?”

          No, apparently not. He left another long-winded, idiotic response to my comment on his blog, ranting about the conservative nirvana of “personal responsibility.” He believes that if laws don’t get rid of every instance of bad behavior, there’s no use having them at all. In other words, he wants to live in an anarchy, not a civilization. I didn’t bother to reply (going back to my theme of not casting my pearls before swine).

          Oh well. I take considerable solace in the fact that he lives in Canada and is therefore stuck with Justin Trudeau. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

      • He left another long-winded, idiotic response to my comment on his blog, ranting about the conservative nirvana of “personal responsibility.”

        “Personal responsibility” is just a totemic statement conservatives make that is meaningless. They don’t actually mean it. If, for example, it actually held any meaning for conservatives, we would be seeing them assert that people who had inappropriate relationships with teenagers while they were in their mid-30s should take responsibility for that action. Instead, we are seeing a lot of people talking about how those evil adolescent teenage temptresses lead good men astray.

        “Personal responsibility” sits in the same space as “Constitutional conservative”, “Family values”, and “Bible-believing Christian”. They are just slogans that conservative repeat to make themselves feel good that they have no intention of ever living up to.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. The way most Republicans have been rallying around Roy Moore is one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen. Sean Hannity passes it off as “no big deal.” Alabama Republicans say they’re still going to vote for him because it’s better than voting for the Democratic candidate, Doug Jones, who among other things prosecuted and put away members of the KKK. One Repub, I forget his name, compared the situation to Mary and Joseph, because Mary was a teenager and Joseph an adult.

    But then again, they’re still supporting the pussy-grabber in the White House, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

    Liked by 4 people

      • My initial reaction was the same: “Uhm, what has Saru got to do with any of this?”

        Though I have to say that even Saru would make a better governor than Roy Moore and I can’t stand Saru. No offence to Doug Jones, the actor, who is actually a fine actor who co-won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival this year for his performance in The Shape of Water.


    • I liked Slacktivist’s comment on this at

      Will any of that matter when Alabama voters go to the polls next month to choose their next senator? I have my doubts. Here’s another nugget from Daniel Dale:

      After a long pause, Alabama Bibb County Republican chairman Jerry Pow tells me he’d vote for Roy Moore even if Moore did commit a sex crime against a girl. “I would vote for Judge Moore because I wouldn’t want to vote for Doug,” he says.

      “Doug,” you see, is Doug Jones — Moore’s opponent in that senate race, who is not just a Democrat, but also the man who prosecuted the klansmen responsible for the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Doug Jones sided with those four little black girls rather than siding with the defense of white hegemony in Alabama.

      For Republicans in the Year of Our Trump 2017, that makes him worse than a child molester.


      • OMG, Jenora, I didn’t know he was the prosecutor of THAT case. It’s super-famous. Or rather infamous — bombing a CHURCH and killing CHILDREN. Bringing those perps to justice is the sort of thing you’d think the right-wingers would approve of, what with all their Jesus talk and “think of the children”. I’d call Mr. Jones a saint, frankly.

        But. Good ol’ boy perps and black victims in Alabama are no harm, no foul. Even today.
        Groping and stalking teenagers in Alabama: doesn’t hurt your image, gets you compared to Jesus’ stepdad.

        The left fires and shuns their molesters.
        The right praises and votes for them.

        Some morals the Right has, eh?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to admit that I find the gleeful reaction on the right to the Weinstein scandal and their claims that this means that leftist Hollywood is finished rather strange.

    I mean, it’s nice that they’ve finally started believing victims of sexual harrassment, though it’s notable that they only believe those victims, if the harrasser happens to belong to a demographic they dislike (here left-leaning Hollywood tycoons). If the harrasser happens to belong to a demographic they identify with, e.g. white Southern Christian Republicans, they still mostly find excuses for them. Though, as the Jeremy Corbyn example above shows, that sort of behaviour is not just confined to the political right.

    However, I still fail to see how exactly the Weinstein scandal and the other allegations that have come up in its wake will mean the end of Hollywood, at least the left-leaning Hollywood that largely exists in the minds of certain rightwingers (because I certainly see plenty of rightwing Hollywood productions, though not as many as there once were). Even if Harvey Weinstein, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, Bryan Singer, James Tobrack, the guy who made a dick joke to Philip K. Dick’s daughter, etc… never make a movie again – which is by no means certain, see Roman Polanski and Mel Gibson, who still manage to make movies, though not necessarily in the Hollywood studio system – movies will still be coming out of Hollywood. Maybe these movies will be a bit more interesting and diverse now, but there will probably be plenty of nutty nuggets as well for those who like that sort of thing. The US film industry is no stranger to sex scandals – see the Fatty Arbuckle case and many other scandals in the 1920s – and it has always survived. The impending death of Hollywood (and traditional publishing and mainstream comic books) proclaimed on the right is mostly wishful thinking.

    I also don’t get the insistence that you or anybody else for that matter blog about the Weinstein scandal. First of all, no one is obliged to blog about anything. Secondly, I’m also not sure why anybody on the left is supposed to react to the Weinstein scandal any differently than to any other sexual harrassment case. Because I for one wasn’t aware that Weinstein was supposed to be some kind of lodestar for the political left. In fact, if the rightwingers weren’t harping about it all the time, I wouldn’t even have known about the man’s political orientation. I know who Weinstein is, of course, but I rarely care for the movies he produces, so I don’t pay particular attention to him and his political leanings. And indeed my initial reaction to the scandal was, “What an arsehole!”, followed by “Maybe this means less Weinstein produced Oscar bait in the future.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A particularly strong post, CF.

    What I think – and agree with you – is that we need to be very aware of the role organisations/institutions can play in allowing or facilitating abuse – be it the appalling allegations getting revealed recently, or lower-level but still very serious issues. The Hollywood and book industry issues show that this doesn’t need to be a formal hierarchy as such, rather it’s a matter of lines of power creating the pressure to silence and complicity that allows abusers to operate. Sometimes it’s direct power, like the boss/secretary version of sexual harassment, but more often it’s an indirect effect that imposes a cone of silence that victims find it difficult to get out of and be taken seriously.
    This argument is nothing new, and women have been pointing at it for decades, but it’s still there and apparently not sinking in to judge from the “why are they only speaking up now?” reactions that inevitably spring up in these situations. (And as you correctly highlight, the recent stuff in UK politics shows that this is NOT a right/left issue, but a “my side right or wrong” issue)
    It’s an interesting point that smaller and/or looser organisations are perhaps more likely to deal with this badly. I think it’s because the issue is not the hierarchy as such, but the lines of power within them – you have smaller orgs, or more independent parts of orgs like a local party branch, which are dependent on a small number of personalities to “get stuff done”, whatever the org chart actually says. If they abuse their power, then even if they’re replaceable in theory they are irreplaceable in practical terms and they get protected – not necessarily consciously, but by the culture.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. People who cling to the authoritarian hierarchies we have now, in whole or in part, see it as a virtue vs. sin sort of thing, one up (superior, virtuous, fair,) and one down (inferior, disobeying, sinning.) They believe that social justice movements are building an image of virtue, of righteous superiority in order to rule (one up,) and censor and repress groups of people and take their stuff, moving them one down – that they are building a new authoritarian hierarchy to replace the current ones we live in, (virtue signaling, gammas, cool kids, etc.) So when someone who has done some social justice work turns out to also be an abusive bigot, they feel that’s popped the virtue image, exposed all the calls for equality as hollow discredited shams and set activists adrift in disarray.

    But social justice work is trying to dismantle unequal hierarchies and institutions from within and shift the cultures, legally, economically and socially, towards equality. That includes social justice workers (SJW) working on themselves, because we all grow up in those hierarchies with the biases and discrimination therein. And the work is constant and dealing with big systems as well as individual cases of harm and thoughtlessness. Nobody gets a free pass exemption from criticism or a cookie for simply supporting equality, not if we want actual change. So when someone who has done social justice work turns out to also have done heinous, illegal, abusive discrimination like Weinstein, it is saddening, it is seen as a betrayal, but it is not discombobulating to the goal of moving towards equality and calling for change. It just shows that the problem is wider than hoped, the protective systems of hierarchy in the society and economy deeply entrenched. It means we double down on calling for and working towards equality.

    For many, they come to accept some changes towards equality because they’ve grown up with them (and been given a whitewashed history of the change,) such as they now may accept mixed marriages because they grew up with them as legal thanks to social justice work. But further pushes for equality that change the culture they are in now are seen as competition, threat and a new form of hierarchy that puts them one down because their identities are invested in the current inequalities. So the hierarchies still stand and people like Weinstein and Moore get to keep exploiting them and have others help them do it. My daughter is, because of past social justice work and sacrifice, going out into a better world with more opportunities for her than the one I grew up in and certainly than my mother grew up in. But she is not equal legally, culturally or economically in any country in the world. So she and I will keep struggling towards that equality in the culture and law, even though neither of us will live to see it.

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