19 October 2013

What the fuck, kids?

Well, here goes!

Photograph copyright 2013, all rights reserved.

So here I am at SHADDAP!, after a long time away. I expect that most of the people who have read my SHADDAPS in the past will have fallen away. So be it. I am a lazy correspondent at the best of times and it takes a lot to rouse me to post these days.

Photograph copyright 2013, all rights reserved.

I'm in a high dudgeon today, as I have been all week, so when I feel like throwing something, I'll be posting photos. A couple of weeks ago, The Boy and I went to Toronto. We went for a couple of reasons. We used to live there and liked it a lot. We needed to get away for a bit and hang out in a place that we find very comfortable. The graffiti is out of this world amazing. 

Do I need to repeat that? The graffiti is AMAZING, kids. I know San Francisco likes to brag, and it's pretty nice there, but Toronto has it beat all to hell now. I couldn't believe the difference in only the last three or four years. City policy has changed. There are no longer people running around blotting off the street art. The City of Toronto has actually started supporting its street artists, letting them paint on specific walls and organizing events where self-selected artists can just go crazy. 

I'm sure it's a little more organized than that and the building owners give permission and all that. The net result is fabulous. So like I said, you'll get photos with my rant today, if it's all right with you. 

Photograph copyright 2013, all rights reserved.

Back to the topic. 

Over the past week, Emily Yoffe, our very own Dear Prudie, has posted a couple of articles on Slate. From time to time she steps away from the advice column and actually has an opinion on something, which is usually a mistake. She should never do that. 

Why, you ask? Why is it a bad idea? 

Lemme tell ya.........

In the wake of the Maryville rape case fiasco, in which a 14-year-old girl was raped at a party and then left to die on her own front porch in the middle of the night in sub-zero weather........ Emily decided that it was time to let women know that if they drink, they are BEGGING to be raped. 

That's right. Oh, she phrased it in her usual patronizing way, claiming that she was only trying to "help" and that women have to "keep themselves safe" because apparently ONLY women can control whether they get raped or not. 

Now, this isn't anything new. It's classic rape apologist twaddle. It's ugly on a bunch of levels, though, because it blames victims for being assaulted and insults the vast majority of men who would never harm anyone, ever. This line of thinking assumes that women are helpless holes with feet who really deserve to be raped for whatever reason (in this case, drinking) the apologist wants to use at the time. 

It also assumes that men are helpless morons who can't help themselves and are governed entirely by their gonads. Emily came close to saying flat out that men are too stupid to know the difference between sex and rape. 

Again - we've heard it all before. Nothing new there. 

Photograph copyright 2013, all rights reserved.

Now we all know what happens when someone posts an article like this. The boards EXPLODE with posts. The Men's Rights losers try to dominate, posting endless versions of "bitch deserved it", followed by, "You femmunists (yes, someone called me that) are a bunch of emasculating bitches and you MAKE us rape you!"

You know that line of shit. For anyone who thinks that way, I say: 


You fucking morons. 

What surprised the hell out of me, though, was the sheer tonnage of women who support Emily's shite! 

What the fuck is the matter with you, ladies? I read a bunch of posts this very morning from women who are convinced that THEY were to blame for being raped! 

There is post after post after post - in the thousands - all saying that Emily was right. Women are fragile flowers who will be raped and deserve to be raped every time they go to any social event, anywhere and have but a sip of something alcoholic! 

What the fuck is that? And a resounding 


To you, too! 

Photograph copyright 2013, all rights reserved. 

I'm guessing that, at this point, y'all can see that I'm a bit pissed off about this garbage. 


So now, dear Emily has posted a whinging retort saying that no one understands what she was trying to say, furiously backpedalling whilst maintaining that she was right in the first place, and we're all too stupid to understand her. 


Photograph copyright 2013, all rights reserved.

I've been reading this shit all week. And how sad is that? Since when do we make excuses for rapists? Since when is it not only all right for men to rape women, but EXPECTED that it will happen? Emily rabbited on for an entire article about how women are to blame for what other people do to them...... because they drink. 

The sad thing about all this is that I suspect dear Emily could easily have substituted "wore fitted jeans",  "walked home at dusk", or "smiled in public", and her supporters would STILL think she was right! 

Now, Amanda Marcotte over on Salon thinks, as I do, that Emily is full of shit. She's also commented on it, and Emily's rape apologist buddies have slammed the boards over there, too. I've had posts deleted over there just because the Men's Rights assholes don't like it when I say, as I have always said:

Women get raped because men CHOOSE to rape them. 

I didn't think this was a particularly revolutionary thing to say. It's the flat-out simple truth. We've seen so many ugly rapes excused and not prosecuted even when (as in Maryville, Steubenville, et al) the attacks themselves are recorded and posted all over the web. In Maryville, the DA, in the pocket of the rapist's Old Grandad the retired senator, declined to prosecute a rape AND attempted murder. 

To this I say



Photograph copyright 2013, all rights reserved.

What are we teaching boys, here? How would it harm boys to be told, from earliest youth, that its NOT OK to:

1. Shove your penis into an unconscious human. 

2. Shove your penis into someone who says "no".

3. Shove your penis into someone that you've never met when both of you are sober. 

How complicated is that? 

Why is it that so many people think that, instead of educating boys, we have to train girls to be constantly frightened, constantly on watch, constantly monitoring themselves because it's somehow their fault if someone attacks them? 

What the fuck, people? 

Now, another side of this is that rape victims who don't fall neatly into the "bitch deserved it" slot that the apologists are so fond of. ANYONE can be raped. An 85-year-old woman in a wheelchair was raped in Alberta recently. Babies are raped - as in a 17-month-old who died of internal injuries because someone CHOSE to rape her recently. 

Photograph copyright 2013, all rights reserved. 

And here's where I have to disclose that I have been raped. Violently. Repeatedly. Left for dead. (Clearly I didn't die) 

I don't want sympathy. That was a LONG time ago, I have moved on. 

The point is that I was in university, and I don't fit into that box that everyone wants to shove young women into. I was attacked in my home, in broad daylight, stony sober. My attacker was someone I knew slightly. A bunch of us had been studying all day at my apartment. I was wearing baggy jeans and an ancient, equally baggy sweatshirt. No, I wasn't wearing makeup. In fact, I hadn't even bothered putting my contact lenses in that day. 

I posted this on Salon, and was greeted with outpourings of  - I can't describe it any other way - absolute and utter rage. There were posts saying that I must have done SOMETHING to deserve it. I was accused of lying. One particularly vile individual (who posts under the sobriquet "Lodatz") said that I deserved to be raped, beaten, and strangled because I lived off-campus. 

To these people again, a rousing


Photograph copyright 2013, all rights reserved. 

NO ONE "deserves" to be raped. NO ONE "asks" to be raped. NO ONE who has been sexually assaulted in any way should have to listen to the shit that people seem to be fond of spouting right now. 

Emily managed to start her very own shitstorm, and I have no doubt she's feeling very pleased with herself right now. She's never had so many page hits, and I'm guessing that the Slate editorial board is dancing in the streets because of that. They're making a fucking fortune right now, and all they had to do is roll over the bodies of rape victims to do it. 


Photograph copyright 2013, all rights reserved. 

On a personal level, I don't really care what people think of me. I really and sincerely don't. The above screed is my own way of saying.... what the hell is going on, kids? Why can't anyone have a decent conversation about this topic without flinging blame around and making ugly comments? How is it that this society, that we seem to think is so fucking enlightened, still makes excuses for criminals and the people who cover for them? 

I'm going to end this with a pretty picture - the money shot that everyone who goes to Yellowstone tries to get. Gorgeous, right? 


  1. Hey Messy. Renegade from salon here. I'm posting my response that I also posted on Salon here.

    Yeah, I've heard about Maryville. Definitely a travesty of justice and it makes me re-think my opposition to the term rape-culture. I'm not quite to the point where I agree with that term applied to society at large, but Maryville certainly seems to have a rape culture.

    Let me make a suggestion that nobody seems to be making, anywhere. I went to school with a lot of kids that everyone knew were bullies and I think were probably sociopaths. A lot of them (but not all of them) were on the football team.

    Just as you're saying about people watching rape happen, lots and lots of people watched these guys bully, harass, and intimidate whomever they wanted. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if some of these same guys went on to be serial sexual predators.

    I don't know what the solution is, but I'm pretty sure that part of it is to not ignore the warning signs of sociopathic behavior in younger kids.

    1. Thanks for coming!

      The term "rape culture" is overused, but when you're looking at places like Maryville and Steubenville, it's the perfect descriptor. The frightening thing is that in both cases, there was a football team involved, and a culture that turns those little turds into tin-pot small "g" gods. It's happening in younger and younger grades, too. I have to believe that there's something inherently wrong with this focus on winning at all costs and to hell with the consequences.

      If you've been following me at all, you know that I grew up with a sociopath or two all up close and personal. One thing I'm pretty good at is reading people. So yes. You're right that there are always a few of those people around. I can think of three that I encountered (and knew to stay far, far away from) in Grades 1 through 12.

      All three were horrible bullies. All three did things that should have had them in prison. Only two were boys, though. I also ran into a couple of kids like that when I was teaching.

      I can see it a mile away, of course. They have flat affect. They ape emotions, but their eyes are dead, and they're a beat behind the people around them. If you look for it, you can see that they laugh a beat behind everyone else, like they have to study other people to know how they should be reacting.

      The sad part about that, though, is that people don't want to see that in a kid. Adults flatly refuse to acknowledge that these emotionally dead kids can't be changed. They'll make excuses for them 'til the cows come home. Their parents will deny that there's a problem even if they've see evidence about where the kids are heading from when they're little. I understand the impulse. Kids are cute and little and no one wants to think there could be a real problem there.

      One of the kids I went to school with committed his first rape when he was only 12. Nothing happened to him. Everyone knew to stay well away from him and I personally know of at least two more rapes he committed. He also put several people in the hospital just for looking at him funny (his words, not mine). One of the others (also a boy) left a trail of dead pets wherever he went, tortured his younger siblings and even set his own mother's clothing on fire with lighter fluid and a match once. I suspect that he's either in prison or dead.

      At every step of the way, someone was making excuses for these people. Heck, there are even people who will tell me what a "great guy" my father was and he's been dead since 1997! They have no idea, or if they do, they choose not to see it. Our next door neighbours were the kings and queens of denial. Both husband and wife SAW what was going on and said nothing. So yes. You're right.
      People need to know that they have a duty to report crimes - that it doesn't make them "un-cool" to make an anonymous 911 call when they see something horrendous happening. Can we make it "cool" for kids to feel as if they can go to an adult they trust with these things? How do we go about that? Spotting these people early is never going to happen, though. I've tried to point out problems and have been accused of being some sort of "nazi" or "paranoid" to the ranting howls of,"But they haven't DONE anything yet!"

      Of course they HAVE done some pretty horrendous things by that time...but again, no one wants to see it.

      Sigh. Rant over. I do hope you pop around here from time to time, though. I also post at onemessylady@blogspot.com. Generally, those are nicer (as it were) subjects.

      I know we disagree on a lot. I really appreciate that you were willing to come and talk. Now. What do you think of the photos? Pretty cool, right? I wish I had half the talent some of these guys do....

  2. I think we disagree on a lot but have a very similar moral philosophy, a similar ethic, and a similar pathos. I think you're a lot like me, but you've reached different conclusions. I base this idea on my ability to read people, even people I've never met. You read a lot like me. You're perceptive and honest about your perceptions. I think your perceptions are wrong, sometimes. I think you're wrong about Yoffe, in this case. I don't follow her so I can't speak to her specifically, but I think that it doesn't hurt to point out to women that binge drinking = bad.

    I know from personal experience that it's very bad. And I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I'm very glad that on the occasions when I've been shitfaced, I wasn't a woman.

    Women are definitely easier targets for predators. Women are weaker physically, on average, than most men. And they're more culturally and genetically compliant.

    I realize these "insights" won't win me any awards. And I realize that I'm spouting an uncomfortable truth.

    But hey, I've been in a situation where I was likely to be raped. I was lucky my friends were there. And I was raped as a very young boy. With a plunger.

    So I do know whereof I speak. Surely you have known me long enough to know that I think about the things I say, before I say them.

    I don't get your outrage over Yoffe's piece. I really don't. I don't see it as "giving hell" to women who get drunk. Given that we live in a culture where getting plastered is normalized, I see her article as a painful truth.

    And yeah, I'll come around here. I like you. Hope your blog takes off, man. :)

  3. @Nunya. We do agree here, although it takes a bit of peering around corners to get there.

    Emily has been in the advice biz for quite a while now and I've been reading (and writing parodies) her column ever since she replaced Margo. That's my basis for comparison, so when I say that Emily is in turn humourless, outright silly, and completely tone-deaf from time to time.

    That said. Emily aimed at low-hanging fruit this time - right into the niche that a whole lot of news stories are crawling into these days and she completely missed the mark. She did take aim and binge-drinking, and so she should. It kills kids. However, by repeating the old saw that only women are responsible for being assaulted the crossed a line. She stopped short of saying, "Girls who drink deserved to be violently assaulted", but the subtext is there, and it's incredibly offensive.

    Yes. Men ARE stronger than women. We make easier targets. It's all true. But here's something you missed. Even though my attacker was more than twice my size (I weighed 115 pounds at the time, he was over six feet tall and literally twice my weight), and even though he started his assault by punching me in the stomach with all his strength, I STILL had people telling me that it was my fault.

    Seriously. Both men and women attacked me. A HUGE majority claimed I should have fought back, that it was my fault I got raped because I could have "done something". As if. It doesn't take much to incapacitate someone if you aren't afraid to hurt them very badly, and I was hurt very badly.

    It made them uncomfortable that they couldn't put me in the "drunk slut" box. It enraged some of them that I was so blunt about what happened. They had to find some way to blame me for getting attacked because they just can't admit that it was just bad luck. I could have been anyone. I was an object to this person. I did nothing wrong (and neither did you, BTW, and I'm sorry you were victimized), so they had to find something I did that "made" this person attack me.

    Of course Emily didn't go there, either. It's scary to think that attacks can happen out of the blue, with no reason to them. She, like many others, seems to think that if she can pretend that campus rapes only happen to drunken slutty girls at parties, then her daughter will be safe. The truth is that she might be safer at parties full of drunks and that's about it.

    There's a lot of baggage around this. There are people who just don't want to believe that the "clean cut" young man would commit a violent crime, even though (as in Maryville) the proof is overwhelming. There are the bystanders who chuckle nervously and don't report crimes because they don't want to be thought "uncool". There are police and district attorneys who don't even bother investigating crimes because... I don't know. I think in Maryville cash exchanged hands. I would LOVE to look into certain bank accounts.

    So no. I don't disagree with you. I do think that Emily knows damned well that this is an extremely complex issue and CHOSE to ignore it in favour of taking the easy way and banging out a column in an hour or less.

  4. I agree that rape is never a woman (or gay man's) fault. Even if she is walking around in a string bikini in mid-winter. Even if she is down to her panties and changes her mind when he starts to open the rubber about actually engaging in coitus.

    However, I disagree that women (and men) should not be cautioned that NOT being aware of their surroundings at all times is dangerous. I'm not saying not to drink, or even to imbibe in other, even perhaps less legal (depending upon the participant's age) pleasures. However, to do these to excess makes a person less able to say no, less able to see an attack coming, less able to try to run or to fight or to yell for help.

    None of this makes the person or people who cause harm - rape, robbery, whatever - less responsible for their choice to commit evil. None of these makes the victim responsible for the harm which has come to him or to her. However, like a deaf man walking on a railroad track around a curve, or a small child crossing a freeway, or a white person walking in a dark alley in a black neighborhood, or a black kid buying Skittles late at night in an exclusive white neighborhood, there are actions which can cause one to be at a greater risk for harm; even though their actions may be legal, moral, and harmless.

    Absolutely men should be taught from a very young age to respect others, regardless or gender, race, religion, size, etc. Absolutely people including straight and lesbian women and gay and even straight men should be able to report a crime without fear of being made to feel that she or he is responsible for the harm done to him or to her, or that they are somehow less human for having reported this crime.

    Sadly, there are too many parasites, homophobes, and bullies in this world for the world which should be to exist now. Therefore, we must warn our sons and our daughters, and our mothers, sister, fathers, and brothers, to take such precautions as they can to minimize the chances of what happened to you to happen to them.

  5. You're right. Read above. The binge drinking that's causing so many problems on college campuses and else where is a massive problem for everyone - we have to deal with it. Enforcement is the other key to the problem in that instance.

    But make no mistake - no one is immune. No one can stop someone who's bent on hurting them from doing just that. Absolutely people have to be cautious. I'm the first one to have my keys between my fingers when I walk home. I never use an IPod when I'm walking in the streets (although I've seen people driving with earbuds and what the hell is that, if it's not begging for an accident?).

    We can't blame women for rape any more than we can blame men for being mugged. Crime happens. Blaming all rapes on booze when we know for an absolute FACT that the vast majority of rapes happen when both parties are sober is idiotic. It's a lie.

    I've never been one to grab for an easy answer. I don't see anything in only one dimension, and I NEVER see in black and white. I know just how easy it is for life to throw a curve ball that can either destroy or make a person. We can analyze this stuff until the sky turns green and unicorns poop marshmallows and I will stand by everything I've said above.

    Emily fucked up. She was being glib instead of cogent. She insulted women - assuming that we are nothing but a bunch of fluffy idiots who can't take care of ourselves, but she also insulted men. Never forget that. This assumption that men (in the words of a good friend) are nothing more than a bunch of helpless wandering penises that spend all their time looking for a human to shove themselves in is as ugly as any victim blaming that people indulge in when they talk about women.

    Why do we take this shit? Why isn't someone standing up and saying, "This is not us. We are better than this. We will not permit these things to happen if we can prevent them"?

    Life isn't fair. Nowhere is it written that life is fair. So let's stop blaming people for being hurt. It's only random chance that it wasn't you in the same position.Instead of blaming women for rape, blame the few assholes who rape women. Flush them out. Put the bastards away. Don't LET corrupt police forces prevent investigations. Don't LET colleges protect the privileged few. PUSH for better enforcement.

    Sigh. I'm quite sure that there are a lot of people who will still tell me I'm wrong. Whatever. This isn't a popularity contest, after all.

    Never let the bastards get you down. Sage advice from a person I used to know, who knows better than most what that's all about.

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