Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thank the Heavens I'm a Magical Chicken

Thanks the Heavens I'm a Magical Chicken. I can go about my merry way without enduring shit being slung at me on account of being a Magical Chicken. Same can't be said, I'm afraid, of being a human woman or girl. I couldn't be quite so chipper if I were one of them - I'd probably want to slam my own head against a wall repeatedly to drown out the torrent of woman- and girl-hating abuse that passes for... for everything, really: law, language, history, news media, statesmanship, advertising, and bicycles, yes, fucking bicycles.

To say nothing of my absolute favourite thing ever - really, this is my favourite thing ever, I love it THIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS much - Rational Male BloggingTM.

Today my favourite Rational Male BloggerTM is Benjamin Cheah, who has taken it upon himself to RationallyTM address Robin Rheaume's mighty fine post about victim-blaming in the recent gang rape case that's been all over the press.

Benjamin Cheah has difficulty grasping the simple proposition that women and girls are human beings, who seek quite rightly to live full and rich human lives, uninterrupted by the violence of having a penis forced inside you against your wishes. For some people, this full and rich human life may even include socialising with new people, drinking, and having consensual sex. Benjamin Cheah, however, appears to believe such acts - socialising, drinking, having consensual sex - can appropriately be punished with rape. Thus:
Here, the woman failed to take responsibility for her actions. She deliberately engaged in high-risk behaviour. To declare ‘The failure of a woman to adequately assess the risk of attack does not mean that she caused what happens and should take blame for it’ is to declare that a drink driver should not take responsibility for running over a pedestrian. It is simply absurd to think that one can divorce one’s action from the consequences of that action. Every action has consequences; the woman has to take responsibility has to take actions. To not do so is both foolish and dangerous.

The woman engaged in high risk behaviour. An example of such behaviour is for a young woman to go alone late at night to a place with plenty of strange young men and alcohol. Another is for a single young woman to play drinking games in a private place with young men unknown to her. Such behaviour puts her at a very high risk of being robbed, raped, and/or killed. This whole case could have been avoided had the victim not showed up, left the moment she realised she didn’t know most of the people at the gathering, or went home before the drinking became serious. She took a risk, and she got burned.
Benjamin Cheah appears to be suggesting that we should simply accept, as an immutable fact, that men will rape women. Gang rape is a simple consequence of drinking and engaging in sexual activity with strangers, apparently, which has nothing to do with the rapists in question choosing to take their penises out of their pants and force them into the body of a non-consenting woman. It's a foolish pipe dream for Magical Chickens to think that maybe, just maybe, censuring, prosecuting, punishing and strongly denouncing gang rape will create an environment in which rapists are discouraged from taking their penises out of their pants and forcing them into the bodies of non-consenting women. (Rather than an environment in which they will be excused because being gang-raped is understood primarily as what happens to women because of women's own actions.) Actually, women who drink and socialise and have sex are extending mysterious tentacles of dark matter from their very bodies, which physically compel other men - struggling and wailing in protest - to take their penises out of their pants and force them into the bodies of non-consenting women.

I'm finding this hard to square with the occasions when I've gone drinking with and/or climbed into bed with strangers without, funnily enough, being raped, because nobody there chose to take their penises out of their pants and force them into me, but hey, what do I know, I'm just a Magical Chicken.
The victim had sex with someone after the game and before the crime. To someone under the influence of alcohol, the victim’s behaviour could be interpreted as a signal of sexual availability. This effect could be pronounced because the members of the group could have pressured each other towards that interpretation (assuming that had happened).
Oh dear sweet fucking kitty cats, where to start with this? Maybe with the terminally stupid concept of "sexual availability", as if the vagina is either Open for Business and must accept all customers, or Regrettably Closed for the Day and must be shut to everyone. I hate to break it to you sunshine, but women sometimes like to fuck. A woman may be sexually attracted to one man without being attracted to his entire cabal of friends. A woman may feel horny at one point (like, just before having sex with one man) without feeling horny at another (like, just after sex with that man). This is basic stuff, please keep up.

To those of us who take the humanity of women seriously, a woman having sex with person A at time X does not amount of consent to having sex with persons B-E at times Y and Z. Yes, to some men the first sex act "could be interpreted" as consent to penetration by their own penises: but their interpretation is misogynist and wrong, and when they act on this belief they become rapists.

If the men in the gang rape scenario had raped the first man in this scenario, I wonder, would Benjamin Cheah believe the same argument applied? After all, he'd been drinking and signalled his availability for sex, ce n'est pas?

And where are Benjamin Cheah's strong words for the men in this scenario anyway? At which point in the entire piece does he ask them to "take responsibility" for their "actions" - including the "action" of taking their penises out of their pants and forcing them into the body of this girl? When will he tell men that they must not socialise with strangers, or have consensual sex, or drink, or go into someone else's home, so as to avoid becoming rapists? The words of one Magical Chicken, circa January 2010, seem appropriate here:
The suggestion that we should solve any problem by deliberately sequestering men at home is ludicrous and unacceptable on its face - and it should be equally so when it applies to women.
I don't want to go into depth about the ridiculousness of Benjamin Cheah first of all claiming there was no evidence of bleeding, and then claiming the rapists stopped when they saw blood. (Apparently, also, stopping at the sight of blood is "not typical behaviour for rapists", a statement Benjamin Cheah supports with absolutely zero evidence, as if rapists are by definition also necessarily men who don't mind getting blood all over their penises or don't find bleeding a turn-off.) I will also pass over his bringing in irrelevant factors like the victim engaging in underaged drinking or having sex with someone who isn't her boyfriend, as if it's more OK to rape women who meet this arbitrary designation for "irresponsibility".

No, I want to highlight Benjamin Cheah's serious, RationalTM consideration of the possibility that AWARE opposes victim-blaming because of a "rape agenda" which might bring in "big money". There's only one possible response to this idea...


Oh God, I do love being a Magical Chicken: you human beings are so gosh-darned funny. "Big money"! A "rape agenda"! Those terms certainly don't apply to the vast pop media and advertising industries which continually tell us that violence against women is sexy, the enormously rich and powerful "family values" lobbies who tell us that merely being female is inherently obscene, or the multi-billion dollar global pornography businesses who consistently push the narrative that rape is what women are for. No, the "big money" is in feminism, who have invented a "rape agenda" of - lookit, this term is also in inverted commas! - women's "rights".

Thank the Heavens I'm a Magical Chicken, or this would all be enough to make me weep.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Why not Morrissey?

There's a certain buzz going around outside of our farm regarding former-Smiths musician, Morrissey's racist remark about Chinese people:
Did you see the thing on the news about their treatment of animals and animal welfare? Absolutely horrific. You can't help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies." (Sauce.)
Here at the barn, we are well aware that everyone farts up once in a while, and hold no illusion -- especially since child rapist Roman Polanski walked free, TWICE -- that even the cutest, most talented, smartest and even most cuddly sorts are saved from being fucked up. Little surprise, hence, that there's very little I care to say about who and what Morrissey is, and why his racism is any more or less egregious than if uttered by mere mortals.

On the other hand, there is much to be said about how fellow concerned life form can deal with famous assholes, much of it brought on by a Guardian commentary by Tom Clark, in which Clark calmly urges Morrissey's fans to "not feel obliged to disown the music we love" and that "nothing Morrissey says or does now would taint my enjoyment of the songs". Obviously the mileage varies between Clark and this male, unfeminist, gay Chinese pig, because I don't see why it's so impossible for offended fans to renounce their loyalty to any artist for the latter's assholicism.

In fact, I think any fan or music lover who gives a flying fuck about making the world a better place has every right to exercise some consumer discretion for an embargo. Here at the farm, we care to do something.

And just why fucking not?

My taking pleasure in one's art rings the latter's cash register, and in Morrissey's case it is precisely because his records are still selling that he feels his artistry will forever save him from truly being held accountable, or being remembered as a racist (apart from a good musician) long past his death. If his being popular from our listening to his music is empowering him to express his racism without contriteness, which is the case, then the obvious key to some humility may very well be in a boycott.

Then Morrissey's music wouldn't live forever. Maybe some day Someone will ask, "Hey, what happened to all the Morrissey songs that you liked?" And you can go, "I stopped listening to them because he turns out to be such a racist asshole that it pains me to even listen to him pluck his guitar." Then maybe when Someone listens to Morrissey on the speakers at your favourite bar, zie will share the racist factoid with hir friends, and they in turn can remind others that this brand of good music is spun from some moral bankruptcy--warning label reads "Enjoy at your own risk."

Personally, I don't have a problem with forgoing some good art for the sake of some humanity. I would rather the holocaust not have occurred and forgo "Schindler's List", than appreciate the impetus for art that Nazism provided. I would rather we didn't live in a kyriarchy and be writing about fluffy bunnies than exercising my writing chops here. Likewise, I would rather a musician not be a racist than have to exercise mental acrobatics over the fact that his racism is somehow an intrinsic part of some very complex, very profound whole, from which good music apparently stems, and which a simpleton like Bacon Bits here will never possess or understand.


Newsflash: greater people have lived without being assholes.

Why not Morrissey? Why not Polanski? Why couldn't Larkin? Why couldn't Churchill even?

The best art simply cannot justify the diminishing of human decency. And if you choose to ignore that, then don't mind if I stop listening to you too.