Friday, December 08, 2006

Blamers Dispatch Junior Misogynists with Alacrity

So the other day I was perusing Twisty Faster’s blog (I Blame the Patriarchy), which the mere thought of makes me smile, and saw a post about an ugly brouhaha that had flared up in The New Hampshire, which bills itself as The Student Publication of The University of New Hampshire, obviously a place to avoid.

A student named Melissa DaCosta had written a letter to the editor about what struck her as sexist overtones on a poster promoting safe sex. The poster showed a man with a baseball bat and a woman with a catcher’s glove on, suggesting that sex is something done by a man to a woman.

Her well-written opinion (which, of course, she is one hundred percent entitled to whether others agree with it or not) occasioned hundreds of comments from men saying she needed a “deep-dicking” and worse, thus neatly proving her point.

I’d put a link here, though normally I don’t like to put a link right in a post because I think it clutters up the text in an unpleasing way, but I can’t because the letter and all the responses have disappeared from The New Hampshire’s website as of this morning.

Twisty used it as an occasion for reminding her readers that—well, here, you can read it for yourself. Now I’m on a slippery slope with these horrible links:

After reading many, many hateful, violent comments from male “students” at this institution I had formerly not thought ill of—in fact, I had not thought of it at all, but henceforth, any mention of it will cause a frisson of distaste—I became worried that no woman was going to second Melissa’s view, or at least say that she has a right to express it without being buried in threats and insults.

I imagine these jerks would not dream of making such comments in front of their sisters, mothers or grandmothers. They also probably would not make them if their real names and addresses were attached.

When a woman did finally respond, it was to agree with the male commenters, which was rather depressing.

I realized I would have to charge to Ms. DaCosta’s defense and made some notes that evening. The next morning I posted my response and then set to the task of reading the comments between the last one I’d read and mine. There were 452 comments in all at that point.

There was much more of the same, and then, finally, some intelligent and supportive responses from women, and, nice to see, intelligent and supportive responses from men.

Then I saw a post signed Twisty Faster and then a whole series of posts via which Twisty’s smart, well-spoken and indomitable readers—I’m sure it was them, following the same impulse I had—effortlessly assumed control of the discussion, in terms that made the first responders sound like absolute morons. It left me a little dewy-eyed.

By the time the Twisty Crew was done with the “You need to get laid” crowd, any further comment in that vein sounded not menacing or alarming, which the first several dozen had, in part because there were so many of them, but just feeble and ridiculous. Such posts trailed off mighty quickly after the Blamers arrived.

All such comments would always be completely laughable if it weren’t for the real abuses being committed against women all the time, all over the world, from the view that women must be, look, act, and speak, or not speak, in certain ways in order to be in compliance, to hourly rapes and murders of women all over the world, very often by their husbands or boyfriends.

In the end, the discussion in The New Hampshire was a bracing and uplifting experience. It reminded me that some men hate women, as Twisty says (except she says men hate women, period), which is not a bad thing to be aware of, and also reminded me that there are lots of smart, assertive feminists around, of both (I mean, all) genders. Thanks, Mom, for being a feminist and teaching me to be the same.

Hammett ended up having diarrhea all day yesterday, and then he ate only one third to one half of his dinner. This morning he was still having diarrhea. I called Dr. Gordon and we will begin an anti-diarrhea antibiotic, which will be in liquid form, to be administered via syringe, plus I will start the Panacur again this evening or tomorrow, after I get some baby food to put it in.

As in Thelonious’s final weeks, the sheets and comforter cover need to be laundered nearly every wash day, and there is much dabbing at little smears of poop in between.

I hope Hammett is not a generally frail cat who will die young. He doesn’t seem one bit unwell, though he risks becoming dehydrated if the diarrhea persists. He seems very energetic and enthusiastic. All I can do is take him to the vet and do what the vet says.

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