Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Gender Studies: An Introduction

 New chocolatey-goodness from the ever-flavourful 6oodfella. The creator of the surely-by-now immortal 'Hugh & Mary Discuss Feminist Issues' YouTube series has hit another rich seam of comedy gold with his new Introduction To Feminism course, presented by Ms Andrea Dworkin to a classroom of faces you might recognize...

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Learn To Love The Unloveable

Today I joined in Erin Pizzey's 'Ask Me Anything' on Reddit, & her reply to my question was big enough & wise enough to make me think I would share it here:

Erin, I very much admire your ability to speak to both men & women in a way both of them can hear & relate to, without watering down your intent or dressing it up as something it isn't. Do you have any suggestions as to how others can go about doing this? And also,do you have any thoughts on what the MHRM can do to not end up repeating the mistakes of feminism?
Wasn't Byron the great lover? Lovely poetry. Great lover of women actually. But anyway...

My suggestion is, read my books! Particularly "Prone to Violence" and "This Way To The Revolution." 
My philosophy is that you have to learn to love the unlovable, which is what we are when we have been badly abused as children. And to remember that you can only love people better... there is nothing you can do to help violent and abused people that is punishment, punishment doesn't work, punishment doesn't care and it can't love.

To speak the truth bluntly and openly without offending is hard but if you have processed your anger, and don't let anger by behind your words, but the truth as you see it, and forgive those who get angry and don't let them get your goat, don't insult them, just say the truth that you know, this will help.

For the Men's Human Rights Movement: be true to yourselves, because feminists certainly did not do that. Do not blame women, do not hate, be yourselves, and love one another. I once said to a group of men that "if I asked you to build me a house you'd have it done in 24 hours, but if I asked you to love one another you'd look at me as if I was insane." Learn to love and accept each other. And don't fall into hate and especially competition, you men compete to your own detriment sometimes.

But otherwise cling fiercely to fact not feeling whenever you can.


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Wicked Witch Is Dead

You'll have to forgive me, but I live in the north of England, & here the celebrations are very much still continuing. Normal service will resume soon I promise, but for now it feels more pressing to pause & give an account of the people & the times in the face of the public hagiography in the mainstream media that we have already begun seeing & will no doubt continue for at least the next week or two. 

The fact is, Margaret Thatcher was perhaps the most reviled British Prime Minister of all time, certainly of the second half of the 20th Century, though you'd find it hard to arrive at that through the whitewash of history & especially the international media. But I was alive in the 1980s, & I can still vividly recall just how scary the Thatcher years were to live through. As one of the many protests song from the time once said:
"The hate that she inspired / had to be seen to be believed" 
And that's very true. I'm 41 years old now & I've still never met anyone who'll admit they voted for her. No-one I knew back then ever spoke highly or admiringly of her. They were ugly, fearful, genuinely fascist times, & we're still living in the broken, divided mess she helped create.

Under Thatcher, British industry was effectively ended, she closed down the mines & privatized everything that was not nailed down. Unemployment figures more than doubled during her term in office, & though the yuppies voted her party in throughout the 80s, she herself had consistently the lowest approval ratings of any Prime Minister on record. Margaret Thatcher destroyed whole communities for short term profit, she intentionally set out to break the trade unions & all the families that relied on them for a fair wage. She attacked the poor, the weak, the homeless, political prisoners, gypsies, homosexuals, & anyone to whom money mattered less than life. She was everything bad about Britain, the way Richard Nixon was everything bad about America - greedy, cold, heartless, petty & vindictive. And I wish we had someone like Hunter S Thompson still alive to write a fitting obituary, but he's gone too, so I guess we have to use the tools we have, ill-fitting & blunt though they be.

In another age, the people would have dug up her body & stuck her head on a spike at the gates of the city. Though I guess there's still time.

It's rare that I say this about another human being, but I'm ever so glad she's dead.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Tramp The Dirt Down

I saw a newspaper picture from the political campaign
A woman was kissing a child, who was obviously in pain
She spills with compassion,
As that young child's face in her hands she grips
Can you imagine all that greed and avarice
Coming down on that child's lips

Well I hope I don't die too soon
I pray the lord my soul to save
Oh I'll be a good boy, I'm trying so hard to behave
Because there's one thing I know,
I'd like to live long enough to savour
That's when they finally put you in the ground
Ill stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down

When England was the whore of the world
Margaret was her madam
And the future looked as bright and as clear
As the black tarmacadam
Well I hope that she sleeps well at night,
Isn't haunted by every tiny detail
Cause when she held that lovely face in her hands
All she thought of was betrayal

And now the cynical ones
Say that it all ends the same in the long run
Try telling that to the desperate father
Who just squeezed the life from his only son
And how it's only voices in your head
And dreams you've never dreamt
Try telling him the subtle difference
Between justice and contempt
Try telling me she isn't angry
With this pitiful discontent
When they flaunt it in your face
As you line up for punishment
And then expect you to say thank you,
Straighten up, look proud and pleased
Because you've only got the symptoms,
you haven't got the whole disease
Just like a schoolboy, whose heads like a tin-can
Filled up with dreams then poured down the drain
Try telling that to the boys on both sides,
being blown to bits or beaten and maimed

Who takes all the glory and none of the shame

Well I hope you live long now,
I pray the lord your soul to keep
I think I'll be going before
We fold our arms and start to weep
I never thought for a moment
That human life could be so cheap
But when they finally put you in the ground
They'll stand there laughing and tramp the dirt down


Viva Chavez

The death last month of Hugo Chavez, much beloved president of Venezuela, has been playing on my mind awhile. I know he was - in America at least - a very controversial figure, but the little I know about him I've always found most inspiring. Whether you want to think he was a triumphant demonstration of true democracy winning out over capitalism, or just a communist dictator, the one thing I'm sure we can all agree is that he was a man in possession of a pair of brass balls so big he must have had to carry them around in a wheelbarrow.

He was, as they say, A Real Man: a man who fought - literally fought, with a gun in his hand - for what he believed in, laying his life & freedom on the line to work towards what he believed was a better world for all. You would have to go back to at least Castro (or perhaps a young Mandela), if not Napoleon, to see the leader of any prominent country so hands on an action hero.

And I started thinking about my own society, & what it would actually take for a revolution to happen here, or in America, whether we even have men like that anymore, or whether they've all been bred out of existence, or locked away in jail. And I can't help but wonder if the wholehearted embracing of feminism by both communist & capitalist states is not at least in part to weaken any possible resistance against their control.

Because face it, women (for the most part) can't fight. Or at least women can't fight against men: an army of women vs a same-sized army of men would not be much of a fight, I think we can all agree on that without having to see the sorry spectacle played out in horrifying colour. An army of women ganging up on ONE man... well, that's much better odds, & you can see that any day of the week, in any country in the world, sometimes without any bloodshed at all.

But the point is, all great political change has overwhelmingly depended upon men, upon men being prepared to band together & accept the risk of their lives in working against the few who otherwise decide their fates. If you weaken the men - & if you demonize them especially, if you make women (& a large number of the men) believe that men themselves are 'The Enemy' - you weaken all chance of resistance & revolution. No country divided in half like that can ever rise up as one against oppression. The same goes for race, religion, political affiliation, sexuality, disability... The ever-increasing focus the past hundred years on 'identity politics' has succeeded principally in keeping us apart, down, & subdued.

Can you imagine the French, American or Russian revolutions happening if the women had refused to support & work alongside their husbands, fathers, brothers & sons? If they had in fact blamed all the problems that led to those revolutions ON their neighbours, their husbands, fathers, brothers & sons?

In the old days this was more honestly referred to as "Divide And Conquer". Now we get to call it "empowerment". But in plain terms it simply means everyone looking out only for themselves.

Everyone knows the world is not the way it should be. We disagree only on where we think the problem most pressingly lies. Meanwhile, the rich get richer & the poor stay poor, the earth is poisoned & ruined. So long as the decision making remains at a higher level, no fundamental change can come. This is why feminism's 'revolutionary' status is so ill-deserved: everything that movement ever asked for has been handed over gladly, because at root it changes nothing, & only strengthens the control of the state.

State-supported programs will never bring about change to the state itself. Revolution is not something that will be allowed. The revolution will not be subsidized. The revolution will not be authorized. And no, in all likelihood, it won't be televised.

"The gangs & the government, they make me 1%" 
 - Jane's Addiction

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Warren Farrell "Incest" Hoax

At the University of Toronto at the end of last year, radical feminist protestors attempted to shut down Dr Warren Farrell's talk on 'Transforming The Boy Crisis" by claiming it was "hate-speech"(?) & that Farrell was an "incest apologer"(!).

Crazy stuff, obviously, if you've ever read anything by Dr Farrell or seen him talk: the man's whole life's work has been to speak out for equality of both sexes, love & fairness for all & to facilitate communication between men & women. I could start to try reel off the man's long list of achievements but it may well be simpler to just watch the presentation the protestors were trying to shut down for yourself, & see if you don't agree with me that they would have done better protesting the hate speech of someone more violent & extremist. Such as, say, the Dalai Lama:

The "incest apology" nonsense originates with an interview Farrell did with Penthouse magazine way back in the 1970s (while still a feminist spokesperson, by the way) for an issue they put together titled "Incest: The Last Taboo". I spent a little time today trying to track down both the original piece & the origins of the smear campaign, which appears to have begun with a feminist website called The Liz Library in 1998. The line that caused all the kerfuffle was a misprint of Farrell's saying to the interviewer:

"millions of people who are now refraining from touching, holding, and generally caressing their children, when that is really part of a caring, loving expression, are repressing the sexuality of a lot of children and themselves." 

In Penthouse this (possibly intentionally) became:

"millions of people who are now refraining from touching, holding, and genitally caressing their children"

And so a whopping great internet fib was born. Even in the context of the rest of the article, the misquote ceases to make a great deal of sense, but within the context of everything else the man has ever said & done his entire 40 year career, it seems absolutely incomprehensible, as well as preposterous, & the people believing such hogwash, pond-dwelling imbeciles.

For the record, Dr Farrell's public statement upon this matter was made almost 13 years ago, & the full text is as follows: 
 Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2000 16:11:46 -0700
From: wfar...@home.com
To: Scott Garman <
Subject: Re: Response from Warren....
Dear Scott,
Thanks for writing to me directly about Liz Kates' accusations. I appreciate the opportunity to separate the truth from the fiction.
A few years ago I informed Liz Kates that the 1977 article in Penthouse about incest had misquoted me - that the word "generally" had been mistranscribed as "genitally." Nevertheless, Kates and a woman named Trish Wilson continue to publicize the misquote. I am seeking legal action. They have been making similar accusations of many other men's issues; their most pointed attacks are on men working on fathers' issues ("they all just want to molest their children").
If you'd like more detail, I'll start with some highlights.
I have never been pro-incest. (Obviously.)  I did do a study about incest. I conducted it in the '70s after Random House published my first book, The Liberated Man, a pro-feminist book based on my years on the Board of N.O.W. in New York City. I never published the findings on incest despite having a contract with Bantam books to do so in book form. As a result, the topic of incest is not the subject of any of my writing. All five of my books -- as well as my experiential workshops -- are attempts to get both sexes to understand the other. (The bad news is that this is not likely to be achieved in my lifetime. The good news is I guess I'll always be fully employed!) Their tables of contents are all available on www.warrenfarrell.com. Incest is not a topic in any of them.
Now, some more detail...
I refrained from publishing the incest findings because I feared that what I found would be distorted and misused. (It's a bit ironic that it still is, even though I did not publish it!) I allowed myself the one interview with Penthouse to get a sense of whether the message would be distorted in print, or after print, or both. When I saw that the answer was both, I gave up a multi-year research effort. Obviously this cost me considerably.
You may wish to know my motivation for undertaking the incest study. It evolved from reading in Ms. and other sources in the early '70s that incest was like terminal cancer. This attitude seemed to me to hold out no hope for a cure. I wondered whether therapists, by seeing the most difficult cases, were creating this conclusion in the same way we had about homosexuality being a disease by looking largely at a patient population that was unhappy. I felt that if a non-patient population had a larger variety of experiences, we might have information to better help people who were traumatized.

So I put ads in papers soliciting anonymous over-the-phone intensive interviews from people experiencing any form of incest, from cousin-cousin and brother-sister to father-daughter and mother-son, asking them to rank their experience as positive, negative or mixed. I created  lie detector tests that I built into the interviews. Some of the ads I placed solicited experiences perceived either as positive or negative; other ads solicited only positive (since the negative ones were obviously more easily attainable), until I attained enough people who perceived their relationship as positive to have numbers large enough to make comparisons to the negative.The focus of the book was broadening the base of therapeutic options for interventions that could reverse trauma. The Kinsey Institute ranked it as the best and most responsible study ever done on the subject. However, in the process of always being asked about the positive experiences, the deeper purpose of the study often got lost. I saw this happen in the Penthouse interview, and sometimes I contributed to the process by not being media savvy enough. Bottom line, I felt that publishing the material might do more harm than good, so I did not publish it.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call, fax, or email me any time.  I am at (H/O) 760-753-5000; (Fax) 760-753-2436; and wfar...@home.com.
Warren Farrell, Ph.D.

A scan of the original Penthouse article can be found here & a transcript which is easier to read is here.

A more in-depth analysis of all the kerfuffle can be found at http://voiceofreaaaasoooon.blogspot.co.uk, & I recommend giving that a look.

A well-written overview of the Toronto protests can be found here.