Tag Archives: letters with lishra

Keith Olbermann Either Awful or Not Paying Attention

20 Dec

Oh, but it was a trick! He’s both apparently. So, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann kicked his voice back into the ring on Twitter today regarding #MooreandMe. He left an extra-long tweet which was so full of wrong, and I feel I have to address it. Below, his über-tweet with my comments interspersed.

I endorse, sympathize with, and empathize with, the rape consciousness goals of #mooreandme, and have already apologized accordingly. [Didn't actually apologize for spreading one of the accuser's names or for not challenging Moore's lies when he was on your show last week.] But I cannot defend and will not accept their tactics which mirror so many of the attitudes and threats they fight. [Yeah, because our campaign is... like rape? Good to know!] I do not know of what Julian Assange is guilty, if anything, and neither does anybody else. [Sure, but you DO know what the accusations are and you SHOULD know that rape culture is fueled by people not believing rape victims, yeah?] But given the extraordinary efforts by Sweden to extradite him, to say he is benefiting from some form of rape apologism is not fact-based. [We're not saying he's benefiting in a legal way at least, we're saying that misinformation and demeaning the accusers is DIRECTLY harmful to other women who may never report their assaults now, or blame themselves, etc. All of this doesn't occur in a vacuum. This is just one example in a whole line of victim-blaming and rape apologism.] It is also unfair to condemn as anti-feminist those who merely address the juxtaposition of this prosecution to the fact that Assange threatens the secret and nefarious activities of dozens of governments. [I think literally everyone in the #MooreandMe protest agrees that the extent prosecutors have gone to get Assange to return for questioning is not what normally happens. That's one of the reasons this whole thing hurts so much. IF ONLY all accused rapists got this treatment.] And I will not engage those who suggest that those who do not prioritize one issue to the exclusion of all others ["Why do you ladies keep talkin' about all this LADY stuff... let's get back to REAL politics!"] should succumb to forced financial contributions [suggestions that you donate to an anti-rape organization are just suggestions, and if you read what people were saying, you'd know that], or should ‘kill themselves’ (examples of each will be retweeted shortly, along with my previous apology). [Obviously it's terrible that someone said you should kill yourself. Clearly not okay. Did you happen to see the 550+ tweets from just one person who called all the protesters 'cunts' and threatened us with rape as well? How about the other people who did that too?] The #mooreandme attacks do not help those who fight against rape, they hurt them. [Are you KIDDING me? The feminists and anti-rape folks who are participating are the ones who fight against rape culture ALL THE DAMN TIME. Lots of us are even survivors of sexual assault. WE ARE THOSE WHO FIGHT AGAINST RAPE. You have 5 hours worth of TV time every week, and you certainly haven't made defeating rape culture a priority (until now, I watched your show every day). And indeed they feature something larger than anti-feminist. This is, to use a clunky phrase, anti-personism. [Oh, those feminists just hate EVERYBODY! Can't please them, amirite?]

Really, dude? Really? You think that this campaign hurts those you fight against rape? That is just the biggest steaming pile o’ LOL I’ve seen lately. And now, a Special Comment.

*turns to camera two*

Who the hell are you, sir, to tell a bunch of sexual assault survivors and activists that we are the ones “hurting the cause”. A cause that you, sir, have disregarded as “prioritizing one issue to the exclusion of all others”.

This “one issue” by the way? It’s creating a world where women don’t have to face rape. A world where a woman who is raped can report it without being shamed or disbelieved. A world where supposed progressives don’t diminish the testimony of women who say they were raped, even if the accused rapist is a man whose organization you support.

This “one issue” is women’s rights, and I think you know that. You have to. You are not the first progressive man to suggest that progressive women should just pipe down a bit about “women’s issues” since it “hurts the cause”. Well, you are hurting the progressive cause. There is no room in a truly progressive, Leftist movement for persons who don’t consider women’s rights a top priority. We’re half the population, if you haven’t noticed.

If I may, I will now quote Sady Doyle quoting Robin Morgan. Forty years later, still relevant as hell.

And that’s what I wanted to write about—the friends, brothers, lovers in the counterfeit male-dominated Left. The good guys who think they know what Women’s Lib, as they so chummily call it, is all about—who then proceed to degrade and destroy women by almost everything they say and do: The cover on the last issue of Rat (front and back). The token pussy power orclit militancy articles. The snide descriptions of women staffers on the masthead. The little jokes, the personal ads, the smile, the snarl. No more, brothers. No more well-meaning ignorance, no more cooptation, no more assuming that this thing we’re all fighting for is the same; one revolution under one man, with liberty and justice for all. No more… A genuine Left doesn’t consider anyone’s suffering irrelevant or titillating; nor does it function as a microcosm of capitalist economy, with men competing for power and status at the top, and women doing all the work at the bottom (and functioning as objectified prizes or coin as well). Goodbye to all that.

Goodbye to me watching your show every day at 5 pm. Goodbye to me watching the repeated episodes or going online to catch what I missed. Goodbye to me defending you. Goodbye to me believing you were on our side to begin with.

There is something every woman wears around her neck on a thin chain of fear—an amulet of madness. For each of us, there exists somewhere a moment of insult so intense that she will reach up and rip the amulet off, even if the chain tears the flesh of her neck. And the last protection from seeing the truth will be gone. Do you think, tugging furtively every day at the chain and going nicely insane as I am, that I can be concerned with the peurile squabbles of a counterfeit Left that laughs at my pain? Do you think such a concern is noticeable when set alongside the suffering of more than half the human species for the past 5,000 years—due to a whim of the other half? No, no, no, goodbye to all that.

Assange Can Be Both Hero and Rapist

14 Dec

[Trigger warning for sexual violence.]

I wrote an email to Michael Moore tonight, since his victim blaming is the final straw for me. I’m tired of progressives defending Julian Assange and discrediting his accusers. I can’t fucking take this any more. Consider this an open letter to any other defenders as well.

Dear Michael,

[Stuff about how I love and own lots of his films, etc... How his films were what first got me politically active, etc...]

Upon reading your reasoning for posting bail for Julian Assange today, I found myself disagreeing with one part — a very important part. I am not naive about “how the government works” because I refuse to wholly support Assange. I support Wikileaks, and, luckily, Assange is not Wikileaks. It is entirely possible for a man to do awesome things politically and also be a man who sexually assaulted women.

Again, I am not dumb. As a feminist and a blogger, I am more aware than most about how infrequently rape cases are prosecuted, let alone lead to convictions. I also know how common sexual assault is. Ask me, ask all of my female friends. The fact that Assange has been given inordinate attention for his alleged crimes is heartbreaking not because he’s innocent, but because he’s only being pursued because certain governments don’t like what his organization has done. They’re trying to get him on anything they can since what they’d actually like to get him on can’t be done (see also: Al Capone being imprisoned for tax evasion).

You are not the only progressive I have been disappointed in lately for their victim blaming in this case. Assange is accused of holding one woman down and raping her, and raping another woman while she slept. This is not “the condom just broke” or “she felt guilty the next day” or any number of other victim-blaming excuses. It seriously hurts to see you and others I thought were on “my side” act like there’s no way Assange may be guilty of a crime that at least 1 in 6 women experiences.

Really, what’s more likely… that the accusers are CIA operatives sent in by the U.S. government to ensure Assange is put in jail for a crime not normally taken seriously by law enforcement, or that a man raped two women?

Finally, I invite you to read the following articles and reconsider your previous impressions about the accusations.

“What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape” by Jaclyn Friedman at The American Prospect

“The Rush to Smear Assange’s Accusers” by Kate Harding at Salon.com

After seeing your appearance on Keith Olbermann’s show tonight and screaming at my television before turning it off while my eyes teared up, I’m not sure I want to see your films in the future. I will be too reminded of your “doubts”, which in turn reminds me of the “doubts” of a million other rape apologists I’ve heard over the years.

I will continue to subscribe to your newsletter for a while longer in the case you alter your views about Assange’s accusers, which I certainly hope you do.

-[lishra]

*Update (12/15/10): Shakesville and Tiger Beatdown have more on Michael Moore’s rape apologia.

Letters with Lishra: Julian Assange & Victim Blaming

7 Dec

[Trigger warning for victim blaming and sexual violence.]

Dear Internet,

hey, remember that time you got all victim-blamey because that one guy you like was accused of rape, and you totes thought that his accusers were lying bitches? About that… it appears you missed out on Consent 101 and that you lack basic fact-gathering skills. You instead prefer to assume rape victims make shit up for fun, it appears. Below is some helpful information for you to review before pressing the ‘post’ button on your favorite news website’s comment section.

First, some groundwork.  New York Times, November 19, 2010:

“According to accounts the women gave to the police and friends, they each had consensual sexual encounters with Mr. Assange that became nonconsensual. One woman said that Mr. Assange had ignored her appeals to stop after a condom broke. The other woman said that she and Mr. Assange had begun a sexual encounter using a condom, but that Mr. Assange did not comply with her appeals to stop when it was no longer in use.”

You will note that what didn’t happen is the two women were pissed that he didn’t call them the next day, which is what you think their accusations are about.

Also, do tell why the following information about one of the women (if even true) is relevant to whether or not Assange is guilty.

An attractive blonde, Sarah was already a well-known ‘radical feminist’. In her 30s, she had travelled the world following various fashionable causes.

While a research assistant at a local university she had not only been the protegee of a militant feminist ­academic, but held the post of ‘campus sexual equity officer’. Fighting male discrimination in all forms, including sexual harassment, was her forte. (via)

Good to know that if a feminist is raped, she should automatically be presumed to be making it up. Believe it or not, feminists are not to blame for rape – rapists are.

Finally, Internet, go read this entire post, because I’m too weary to summarize it having done extensive screaming at you this morning.

Best,

lishra

P.S. – How’d you get Naomi Wolf in on this bullshit, by the way?

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