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April 03, 2012

Comments

Simen Thoresen

Off by two days.

Good try, though - you had me for a second, but then I saw the Zohra Moosa post. That's not a real name.

Yours,
-S

David

Oh, she’s quite real. Though not, I think, realistic.

carbon based lifeform

pretending there's no such thing as multi-tiered hierarchies of racial privilege.

It's a competition with these people isn't it?

David Gillies

They never take a break, either. Penny Dreadful is wandering around in her knickers drinking whisky and eating bacon, which sounds like fun, for her at least, but then she has to go and spoil it by revealing she's talking about 'gender politics'. FFS, Laurie. I suppose we can't categorically reject that she finds this fun, as well, but I fear the combination of cured meats, booze and rancid Leftist bile are going to land her with a crippling ulcer. As for the rest of them...

It's so self-referential as to be like a little bubble of spacetime that's so highly curved it's pinched itself off from the rest of reality.

Rich Rostrom

I gather M Henry is a vegetarian, who finds Penny Dreadful sinful for eating meat...

There's always someone who is holier-than-thou. It almost makes me sympathize with her. I've seen it on the other side, too - though the devotion to moral posturing in everything one does is rather more leftist.

(I go back to Iowahawk's arrival at a Hollywood party, where the lovely Valet (parking) Girls noted that it was the first non-Prius of the night. "I marvel at the irony of eco-hairshirt hybrid shitboxes being parked by supermodel servant girls.")

David

David Gillies,

“It’s so self-referential… it’s pinched itself off from the rest of reality.”

The less the statement refers to reality, the more statusful the speaker is (or imagines themselves to be). It’s about signalling that one is aware of some incredibly rarefied and unverifiable form of oppression that other people – lesser people – can’t see. Once you think of it as a positioning exercise, a way of being superior by pretending to feel guilty, it makes a twisted kind of sense. And so we get the Guardian’s Lara Pawson struggling heroically against “the hegemony of coupledom,” “heteronormative privilege” and the “smug tyranny of husbands and wives”:

I want to divorce the man I love and he wants to divorce me. We do not wish to separate – simply to end our seven-year marriage… We are both fed up with being part of the hetero-husband-and-wife brigade that is accorded so much status and privilege… For those of us who are married but have seen the light, our work is cut out. There is only one ground for divorce: that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. So if we really want to get one we will have to lie. We may have no choice.

By going out of her way to invent a problem that doesn’t actually exist, Ms Pawson can draw attention to herself and thereby become interesting.

Bart

"We were talking about sexism in games and whether pac man is gender essentialist"

Well it was a tough contest, but I do think discussing whether a yellow circle in a 30+ year old video game is oppressing women, then thinking it's a good idea to advertise your brainfade on Twitter is the winning entry.

Surreptitious Evil

On the Penny Dreadful example, possibly because she had actually been eating bacon and drinking whisky - therefore there is no problem saying it. Equally, if she had shot her slave or raped her wife (actually, she'd have had to commit s2 SOA06 "assault by penetration" rather than s1 rape, not that it makes much difference to the victim) then the problem is that she did it, not that she talked about it. Equally, veggies being averse to you eating bacon, not really talking about it.

Or is it some mysterious lefty thing where hypocrisy is fine as long as you keep it private?

Sam

It's a competition with these people isn't it?

'multi-tiered hierarchies of racial privilege' sounds like a winning hand.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

The ghosts in Pac-Man seemed kind of effeminate to me. I figured the game wasn't oppressing women; it was oppressing gays.

A more interesting question would be what group Q-Bert was oppressing.

Bart

Q-Bert resembled a penis and scrotum and he starts each level on the top of a pyramid of blocks (a multi-tiered one, no less), then proceeds to stomp on all the blocks beneath him in order to make them change colour. You could write and entire dissertation for a Grievance Studies PHD on the symbolism of racial and phallocentric privilege within Q-Bert.

David

It’s remarkable just how much oppression our betters can discover, especially if they tilt their heads and squint really, really hard.

For instance, there’s the belief that people with functional hearing are wickedly “phonocentric” and indulging in “audism,” an “institutional form of oppression” and of “dominating, restructuring, and exercising authority over the deaf community.” No, really. Apparently “phonocentrism” is “violent” and being “enforced,” because whatever the majority of people do or have – in this case adequate hearing – is therefore some kind of heinous imposition on those who don’t. We must therefore “deconstruct the hegemony of voice as presence, voice as being” until we achieve “post-phonocentric awareness.”

It’s one thing to say that deafness is unfortunate and often puts one at a disadvantage – one might feel deafness itself to be oppressive. But for some that statement of the obvious isn’t enough. And so they must assert that people whose hearing works fine are actually “oppressing” deaf people – “violently.”

Stuck-Record

Ryan Gosling saves Penny's life in NYC (in NY again? Think of the polar bears!)

http://hurryupharry.org/2012/04/04/ryan-gosling-rescues-laurie-penny/

Proves that Laurie Penny is intelligent enough to know how I should run my life, but not intelligent enough to cross the street in a foreign country.

Anna

A sane HP comment:

Hmm… let’s see:
Far-fetched scenario? Check.
Author in precisely the right point at the right time? Check.
Impeccably-timed bon mot from unverifiable bystander? Check.
Yup, it’s a Laurie Penny story, alright.

AC1

Are you suggesting Laurie Penny was visiting Hari for tips on making up stories?

David

Anna, Stuck-Record, AC1,

The Laurie Penny parodies have begun:

Everybody needs to calm down about Angelina Jolie saving my life and stop responding to my hysterical, attention-seeking tweets on the subject… I was thinking about an article I’m writing about sundry political questions that demonstrate my moral superiority and I didn’t remember not to walk into the Hudson River because I’m from England. A famous actress happened to be passing and stopped me from drowning with an extended leg. I said “thank you,” and that was that, apart from six tweets on the subject and an article on Gawker. And in the Independent. And this post, of course.

I think Heresy Corner captures the essence of it:

Just think, gentle reader, what dire calamity must have ensued... how our heroine must instantly have been crushed beneath the inexorable wheels of that chariot... had not fate, and fortune (ever Laurelia's faithful handmaiden) not at that very moment intervened. For it so happened that Mr R__ G__, an actor whose performances both tragic and comedic were much applauded by the press, and whose manly features received daily the swooning compliments of ladies on two continents, was strolling along the same pavement. Of course Laurelia had not noticed him, any more than her eyes had apprehended the approaching carriage that would have ended her earthly existence, and our tale. Yet he had seen her; that was what mattered.

Given Laurie’s track record of hyperbole, distortion and outright fabrication, you’d think some of her admirers might be a little more, um, sceptical.

Anna

Yet he had seen her; that was what mattered.

Lol.

AC1, she's an attention-seeking liar. Think we should be clear on that.

Tom Foster

"The Laurie Penny parodies have begun…"

I love the way that, early in her absurd Gawker piece, she writes…

"Look, I am kind of an idiot. I am constantly walking into things, losing my phone and keys, and wandering into traffic because I'm thinking about something else or have spotted something interesting in the sky, and that's when I'm not in a country where all the cars come in the wrong direction."

…then follows this up with:

"What's more, I really do object to being framed as the ditzy damsel in distress in this story."

Does she actually have any self awareness at all?

David

Tom,

“Does she actually have any self-awareness at all?”

I fear we’ve answered that one pretty conclusively. Perhaps it’s for best. Think of the pain it spares her.

Slartibartfast

Where was Gosling when Treacher needed him, I ask you?

dicentra

pretending there's no such thing as multi-tiered hierarchies of racial privilege.

Well, in Latin America, social status is definitely a racial gradient: what with three bloodlines all mixed together six ways 'til Sunday—white Europeans, black Africans, brown Natives—it's impossible to neatly partition people off into one of three groups.

So they fret about degrees of darkness, instead; the lighter the better, because the Spaniards were the first moneyed inhabitants of that neck of the woods.

Interestingly, the folks at the very bottom of the racial hierarchy are the pure-blood natives who live in the mountains and speak Spanish as a second language. They rank below even the darkest African.

Oh, and this conservative became aware of it while living in Colombia back in 1985, as she watched a dark-skinned friend use an umbrella in the sun and obsessively "try on" nylons over her hand, lest the stockings make her legs the merest shade darker.

So, sorry, Amanda. Latino racism is ten times worse than gringos'.

Stereotype denied.

David

dicentra,

How dare you dispute Amanda’s egalitarian license to feel superior to you? You’re not supposed to question that social hierarchy. You’re supposed to lower your gaze and shuffle away quietly, being an inferior person who’s “never considered” such things.

ftumch

And where was Ryan Gosling when Emily Davison stepped out into busy traffic?

dicentra

How dare you dispute Amanda’s egalitarian license to feel superior to you?

Well, OBVIOUSLY it's because I'm safely ensconced behind a keyboard, not because I could totally take Marcotte mano a mano in the meatworld.

Though to be fair, in a face-to-face confrontation with la Amanda, I'd probably concede the argument a few minutes in just to make the self-righteous shrieking stop.

T.K. Tortch

Hmm. Something just occurred to me. There are some people I know, that I've known for years, that I'm very fond of, even though they're pretty much Penny type idiots.* Some of them aren't quite sane. But they're not insane. Some of them just seem to lack self-awareness very much like Penny. Some of them even tend to spurt out tendentious moralizing tweets. Nonetheless, I do enjoy their company.

So, for a second there, I imagined that Penny might possibly be fun to hang out with and her articles / tweets / bloggings are just a (dismal) stream of consciousness melodramatic alternate reality for her that doesn't necessarily have much to do with how she actually presents herself and interacts with people.

Sometimes I go all soft and can't believe people are actually as horrible as they seem to be.

*I admit I pretty much entirely avoid politics around these folks, or social commentary that might lead to politics. Which can be - daunting. Thing is, though, you can actually socialize with them for some time without conversation invariably veering in that direction. The ones to watch out for are those for whom the personal and political really have merged. That kind of person (and they're not all lefties) has lost a pretty important part of their human dimension.**

**Which brings to mind something that's a sort of old-saw of mine; I doubt original to me: that the old lefty chestnut "the personal is political" is not a descriptive. It's an aspiration. The desire is to subject your most personal depths to politics, specifically theirs.

David

T.K. Tortch,

“...melodramatic alternate reality.”

That does rather capture the flavour of Ms Penny’s self-inflicted dramas.

Ace puts it quite pithily:

The stealth form of self-flattery is not to announce “I’m incredibly empathetic, compassionate, and altruistic!” -- that would be gauche – but is instead to strongly, strongly imply those things by giving me a running tally of All The World’s Woes You’re So Terribly Concerned About. The statement “I’m really worried about violence in the Sudan” is not about the violence in the Sudan. The subject is “I.” The sentences exists not to communicate anything about the Sudan, but something about the speaker -- the speaker really wants you to know she’s the sort of Enlightened, Compassionate person given over to unsolicited one-sentence Statements of Principle regarding violence in the Sudan.

And hence Laurie’s need to tell us that she only walked into traffic because she was “thinking about an article I’m writing about birth control and the importance of reproductive freedom to women’s rights, and I didn’t remember to look the right way.” And her need to self-flatter and display what she thinks are her credentials is apparently so great she doesn’t register even the most comical contradictions of her own statements. (For instance this, noted by Tom.)

“…the old lefty chestnut ‘the personal is political’ is not a descriptive. It’s an aspiration. The desire is to subject your most personal depths to politics, specifically theirs.”

Well, yes, I think the idea is to subject others to it - to make them pretend too. To make them dishonest, neurotic and/or absurd. Imagine a world in which other people’s personal thoughts and preferences – almost everything about them - can be subject to endless judgement and correction by the anointed caste, all in the name of altruism and compassion: “Why aren’t you pretending to worry about the things we pretend to worry about?” “Why aren’t you feeling guilty when we say you should?”

I suppose that world might appeal to a certain kind of sadist.

Henry

dicentra: "I'd probably concede the argument a few minutes in just to make the self-righteous shrieking stop"

I think exactly that scenario has taken place a thousand times - nonsense being spread by sheer force of personality.

T.K. Tortch: "The ones to watch out for are those for whom the personal and political really have merged. That kind of person (and they're not all lefties) has lost a pretty important part of their human dimension"

I got talking to someone on the bus the other day - whose quite pleasant demeanour still somehow rang the "some-variety-of-Marxism" alarm bells. It was notable how fast his conversation turned to the political, with remarks like "people don't think about these things".

So I began innocently dropping one or two ideas and facts into the conversation that I guessed might not fit with his worldview. Worked a treat.

Some very political leftists are more subtle* about it. Their approach is to undermine, for example, any residual patriotism that may be going round, or historical figures like Churchill, etc. This style may owe much to Chomsky, from what I've heard of him.

I guess the ideologue's single-mindedness comes from needing a great cause, and wanting to think they can 'fix' everything. Hence the sociological similarities to some religious groups/cults

* surprisingly, I wouldn't categorise Penny in this way :|

Tom Foster

"And her need to self-flatter and display what she thinks are her credentials is apparently so great she doesn’t register even the most comical contradictions of her own statements."

Having been self-obsessed enough to put the story out there, she's now ramping up the indignation. Latest tweet:

"I'm leaving twitter until all this bloody fuss dies down. Honestly, it would have been less trouble to get run over."

first time caller

Just found your blog via AoS. Glad I did.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Well, yes, I think the idea is to subject others to it - to make them pretend too

For some reason I'm reminded of this old ad campaign. Not that the Laurie Pennys of the world would see themselves in the people in the commercial.

sackcloth and ashes

Brian Whelan (who did much to expose Johann Hari's fabrications) is hinting that he's going to go to town on Penny's 'journalism'. Should be fun.

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