Tag Archives: hypocrisy

Does the Reaction to the Stanford Rapist Signal a Cultural Shift?

By now you’ve probably heard that Stanford student Brock Allen Turner was sentenced to only 6 months in prison for raping an unconscious woman at a party. You’ve probably also heard his father shamelessly attempt to downplay Turner’s actions as “20 minutes of action”.

Hopefully, you’ve also read the letter written by the rape survivor. In it, she breaks down many of the myths around rape, myths Turner’s defence used to attack her testimony and represent Turner as some kind of victim instead. Her heartbreaking personal account has broken down the defences of almost everyone who has read it (except Turner and his father, it would seem). According to Buzzfeed, one of the main sites to release her letter, her words have “gone viral” in a way few conversations about sexual assault ever do.

And as the word has spread, almost everyone has gotten behind this brave woman. Her story has brought light to the problem of systemic injustices, like light penalties for many cases of sexual assault and disproportionate penalties based on racial or economic background.

More than anything her story has prompted a united public outrage. Every comment I have read expresses distain and anger towards Turner and sympathy for his victim. Even internet trolls who would normally find a reason to challenge the victim’s story (i.e. some members of the Men’s Rights Reddit page) admit that “outrage over this issue is legitimate” (although their comments inevitably lead back to criticizing feminism).

In some ways it’s encouraging to witness the attack on Brock Turner. It seems like we’re experiencing a massive shift in the way we talk about rape and sexual violence. As this story has unfolded we’ve seen few if any attempts to slut shame or victim blame in the media or public conversation.

As glad as I am that this conversation has come out in favour of the victim, I can’t help but wonder if the public condemnation of Turner actually signals for a yearning for justice, or if perhaps other factors are at play. I’ve been struggling with two questions in particular. Continue reading

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The Stupid Stops Here

Life is a lot like a dairy pasture, in that you can’t get from one side to the other without wading through some serious bull****.

Existence is full of little irrationalities and absurdities, and we’ve got to be able to shrug them off if we’re going to maintain any sanity. That said, every once in a while we’re going to come across a steaming load of stupidity too gigantic to ignore.

Let me show you what I’m talking about:

This “12-Week” Fetus Model

I’ve probably got as many conservative friends on Facebook as I do liberal and leftist (liberal and leftist being two separate categories), so every once in a while I’ll catch something on my news-feed mocking the president, or gun control, or over-regulation. And I don’t have any issue with that. What I do take issue with is what popped onto my screen yesterday morning:

This photo claims that this is what a 12-week fetus looks like.

Let me be clear as possible.

No, it ****ing doesn’t. Continue reading

Re: Do Western Christians Want Martyrs? – Yes, They Do

Yesterday, CWR’s own Kat posted “Do Western Christians Want Martyrs?”, a short post questioning the motivations behind the recent outpouring of Western sympathy for the plight of Iraqi and Syrian Christians, currently being massacred by the forces of the terrorist group formerly known as ISIS. That post prompted the following comment: “[it] seems a bit sick to turn this into a critique of Christians or Christianity… what is it in you that wants to make this a critique of Christian hypocrisy?

Now I don’t think it was Kat’s intention to downplay the genocide in progress in the Levant and it certainly isn’t mine either. So why critique Christians?

Because Christians are guilty.

No, they’re not pulling the triggers or wielding the swords, but the actions of Western Christians have contributed not only to the slaughter of Iraqi and Chaldean believers, but the persecution, suffering, and misery of the church  all across the world. And even as Western Christians switch their profiles to the Arabic letter “nun” for “Nazarene”, the self same people continue to be part of the problem.

Let me show you a picture:

These are the first of the first. The oft-forgotten Christians of Palestine. The descendents of the very first followers of Christ. These people are literally Nazarenes.

Where is their defense? Continue reading

Ms. Marvel, #3: A Comic Book Review

msmarvel3This is the second cover in a row to show Kamala Khan decked out in her superhero getup, and it’s nothing like the silhouette that was #2. This is Ms. Marvel bold and heroic, an image fully supporting my assertion that this issue we’d see her don her crimefighting costume.

Why do you make a liar out of me, G. Willow Wilson et al.?

So no, we do not in fact get to see Kamala don the beautiful McKelvie-designed outfit, but we do get yet another rock solid issue. At this point I honestly don’t see this falling flat on its face any time soon [much like the little boy running on the 15th comic page]. It’s storytelling that’s in absolutely no rush, and it’s hard to complain when the view is so gorgeous. Continue reading

You Are Not The Flag You Wave, Or “Enough with the Equal Signs for Profile Pics”

Yesterday, I saw a picture of Kabul, taken in what must have been the late 70s or early 80s. It was either in or near a university- I recall there being a stone courtyard with tall, shady trees and an ornate water fountain. There were also a couple of young women, wearing short sleeves and pants, carrying their books. The comment section for this picture was awash with sighs about “how beautiful Afghanistan had been” once upon a time and “what a shame it was that religion had come along and messed it all up!”

I was, needless to say, a little ticked off by the responses to the picture. While there were a few people who managed to point out that Islam didn’t one day appear in Afghanistan and wipe out every last vestige of modernism (and that a major Soviet invasion may have played a part as well), for the most part it was all comments on the terrible threat to civilization religion plays. Continue reading

More Writing On Sexual Standards

The dearth of creativity that went into titling this post aside, I thought I’d tackle yet another double standard that appears to exist in our culture. To begin with, let me refer you all to my primary example, Season 4 Episode 5 of Top Chef: Masters, “Holly Madison’s Pool Party.”

In this case, the background behind the show itself is pretty inconsequential: 12 award-winnings chefs compete against each other to raise money for charity, et cetera. On this season the chefs spent the vast majority of their time in Sin City [Las Vegas, aka where Gordon resides] and rubbed shoulders with quite a few celebrities. The superstar for this episode was Holly Madison, of Playboy’s “The Girls Next Door” fame, and their task was to cater her pool party.

Enter James Oseland, editor of Saveur and one of the show’s judges. At the party musclebound hunks abound, and after one is encouraged to sit next to the critic he somehow manages to ask “how are you guys gonna like, keep the, this thing [abs], going with, wha- all this food.” As he refers to the man’s midsection he gives it a few pats, prompting responses like the following [which I found on The A.V. Club, of course]:


And Larrybaby’s points are all incredibly valid. Thankfully the guys and girls who peruse the TV Club reviews weren’t the only ones to notice this, and celebrity chef website [yes, it is a real thing] The Braiser did a short bit on the episode. Oseland’s antics are described there as follows:

So, naturally, the daytime cocktails start flowing, the croque madames sizzle on the griddle, and James Oseland starts giddily stripping pool boys. Wait, what?! Yes, Saveur editor-slash-very esteemed and shmancy Top Chef: Masters judge James Oseland gets a little on the trashed side of tipsy at brunch and takes matters into his own hands when a cluster of bikini-clad women fail to get a pool boy to take his shirt off.

James marches right on over to the ripped hunk of manflesh (née “Warren”) and strips his shirt right off. And then he grabs another equally buff guy and steals his shirt, too! James Oseland is shameless, you guys.

Of course, the article then goes on to describe how they’d love Oseland to be their celebrity BFF, but we won’t go into that. The point I’m trying to make is that this man, who, yes, is a homosexual, acted in a way that was inappropriate. More than that, he wasn’t stopped but was actually encouraged by those around him with cheers.

I’m not saying that I dislike watching homosexual characters on television, or that they make me uncomfortable; far from it. Max is easily my favourite part of the sitcom Happy Endings, and his adventures in romance  are both engaging and hilarious. I’m still waiting [and I know I’m not the only one] for Raj on The Big Bang Theory to come out of the closet, and more and more I’m realizing that it really is just art imitating life. Living in Toronto I’m very aware that there’s a gay population  out there, and it just so happens that TV has finally gotten around to representing them.

What I don’t want to see is gay people, men or women, being handsy when they shouldn’t be. I don’t really appreciate it in heterosexuals, and the same extends to all other orientations. If James Oseland thinks a pool boy is cute that is fine. If he wants to touch him, that is also fine. If he touches him in front of others and without the permission of said pool boy, to flirt openly in a physical way, that is not fine. It’s kind of gross.

There’s not much more I can add to what larrybaby said, because he [or she, I don’t know] sums it all up really well. I’m not a homophobe by any means, but I’d like the world as a whole to keep people to the same standards. Let’s not cheer someone on when they paw at another person they’re attracted to. If we’re going to acknowledge homosexual urges and relationships as on par with heterosexual ones let’s treat them the same way.

I end with another comment highlighting the actions of both Oseland and his fellow critics [context: the hunks were asked about sit-ups, and one actually did push-ups for the critics’ benefit a little later]:

jmann

Let’s Talk About Hypocrisy

Before I begin, I believe I ought to clarify something.

In this post, I’m going to be addressing the issues of hardship and tragedy and our responses to both of these things as a culture. Naturally none of this is meant to rob any gravity from Friday’s events- pain is, as always, pain. Any and all criticism here is directed strictly at hypocrisy, not sorrow.

There is a scene in season 2 of AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead, in which one of the group’s children goes missing and the other is [accidentally] shot and badly injured- both of which are bad things even without the ongoing zombie apocalypse. After managing to stabilize the boy, his mother begins questioning whether or not her son would be better off dead, rather than going on living the horrific and nightmarish existence life had become. Her exact words went as follows:

Why do we want Carl to live in this world? To have this life? So he can see more people torn apart in front of him? So he can be hungry and scared for however long he has before he…

So he can run and run and run and run and- and even if he survives he winds up- just another animal who doesn’t know anything other than survive…

Now whether or not you’re familiar with the series, this scene will still probably get a reaction out of you. Horror, perhaps, at how vile life must be for a mother to suggest her son dying would be a better alternative. Pity, maybe, for a person so driven and desperate.

Or, if you’re like me, utter indignant rage.

Let’s take a look at that soliloquy again. What’s the criteria this person puts on a life so awful it might as not be lived? Constant hunger, constant fear, and exposure to violence. In other words, the life of the majority of men, women, and children on this planet since the dawn of time.

You heard the lady- might as well just keel over.

And what’s her description of people who live this life? Oh, right- animals.

“And a very merry **** you to you as well”

What really gets me is that this (almost certainly) wasn’t meant to portray Lori as the vicious, self-pitying hypocrite that she came across as. Someone- nay, a whole line of writers and editors and censors- let that whole speech slide on the basis that it’d portray the character as sympathetic and troubled. And it’s this twisted attitude towards life that I want to address.

Early in the summer, I wrote a post on the need to portray graphic violence in media– especially in regards to war. I argued that our distance from the conflicts the US was engaged in made war too easy to ignore. The lack of the presence of violence, or our understanding of the consequences, made it all cheap and trite. Really this problem exists not only with violence, but with every aspect of our alienated society. We love beef, but how many of us could actually kill a cow? I’m not talking about hunting one down using nothing but a smooth rock, I’m just talking about simply ending one’s life. Could you do it? If not, I submit that you shouldn’t have a right to eat beef or wear leather.

Take a look at this cartoon.

Hard to argue with that, huh? Just as you shouldn’t be able to eat meat if you’re unwilling to kill the animal, you really shouldn’t be able to buy clothes and shoes unless you are personally willing to oversee the sweatshops in which they’re made. One way or another, you shouldn’t be able to reap the benefits of something without being at least capable of getting your hands dirty- and nowhere does that apply more than perhaps our government.

You might be familiar with the famous scene from Fahrenheit 9/11, in which Michael Moore attempts to pass out army recruitment flyers to members of congress (not surprisingly, most duck the offer). These people who were more than willing to send other people’s kids out to die in the desert suddenly found themselves far less eager when in the same situation- one congressmen protesting that his son had kids of his own (after all, all soldiers are childless and single).

And before any liberal readers get too smug, you’re far from exempt either. After the tragic mass murder in Newtown on Friday, I came back from work to find a letter in my inbox from a progressive organization I’ve signed petitions with before. “Act now!” they cried, “Demand gun control!”. This from the same people who bombarded me with pleas to re-elect President Obama, author and owner of a freaking “kill list“, to say nothing of his administration’s shoot-first-and-suppress-questions-later policy with drone strikes, and the “operation fast and furious” debacle.

Now all of this is just to demonstrate the social pathology this culture is suffering from.It’s not that we’re involved in countless injustices (that’s all bad in and of itself, but it’s not the point right here)- it’s that we have the gall to act hurt, or shocked, or horrified. Injustice is not greater for having finally happened to you. Pain and suffering don’t intensify based on their proximity to you. If you won’t cry out over the violence overseas, what right do you have to cry out over the violence at home? What right does a person have to feel depressed about cyber-bullying when he’s wearing a shirt made by an eight year old?  If you shrug your shoulders, stick your hands in your pocket, and walk off whistling when you’re told about homelessness in India, what right do you have to complain about mortgage payments in Indiana? Let’s cut the narcissism, shall we?