If, when I say that my comments section attracts some big fucking idiots, your first thought is not, "Yeah, that's true," but rather, "Does he mean me?" then the answer is yes. Caveat loquens: this is partly by design. Obviously the forum is unmoderated, and obviously I don't want to turn this into an exercise in recriminative victimhood à la our good friends at Shakeseville &c. But I think I'd be remiss if I didn't mention a little contretemps following a recent post. In that post, I said that Barack Obama was an asshole. I said so subsequent to talking about the torture of Bradley Manning. A commenter named Karen later said:
I knew who Obama was when he called a woman reporter "Sweetie" and when called upon it defended himself by saying he often calls women Sweetie.Now within the context, this is a perfectly reasonable statement. It does reveal Barack Obama to be an asshole, and I can't see the slightest evidence that this person was, beyond that, trying to make our dickhead president's offhandedly revealing comment commensurate with torture. Fortunately, such restraint eludes some folks; who rushed into the breach, preaching: how can you suggest that this is the same as torture, you fucking woman, you!? Well, hold onto your balls, ladies, and by ladies I mean gentlemen, because I am about to do exactly that.
It's true, of course, that offhanded misogyny and torture aren't equivalent as singular acts. If the universe were a ninth-grade physics textbook, in which difficult and inconvenient forces and interactions could simply be discarded, then the two couldn't be more different, but we don't live in a simplified text, and it turns out that the rope has weight and the pulley doesn't turn frictionlessly on its axle. (Thanks, btw, to the commenter I stole this from.) For instance, Barack Obama is not actually torturing Bradley Manning. It's doubtful he's specifically ordered it. The DoD is working him over; Obama is being assured that it's cool. Proper procedures followed. His offense in this sense is willful obliviousness; heartlessness; thoughtlessness. The sin isn't commission, but allowance; not causation but complicity. You know, but by the same logic, condescending to a grown woman, though in and of itself a rather dully and insignificantly offensive act, is participation in a history of violence and subjugation long predating the imperative of American state secrets, long predating the modern state. Women are an inferior class; they exist in a state of enforced subservience; they are lesser beings in the hierarchy, and the fact that Obama thoughtlessly and automatically treats them as such is indicative of the almost insurmountable totality of their position. The fact that a woman (presumably) can make mild note of this fact and be immediately attacked under the false claim that she proposed a false equivalence is indicative of exactly the same. Let me just put it to you straight, you'll pardon the expression: the torture of political prisoners, categorically, while awful, pales to insignificance next to the subjugation of women and girls, both historically and in the present day.