David Thompson


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August 08, 2012



Some speakers, radically situated.

Heh. Paypal tip on its way.



Much appreciated.


"Male readers should note that - according to Amanda, her admirers and the ladies at Feministing - you have, and can have, no legitimate feelings on the subject of abortion, even if the images above were of something – or someone – you helped create"

Sadly that attitude, often unspoken, is common. Feminists are pleased to tell us they are saving both men and women from the patriarchy, and some genuinely do seem to believe in absolute equality between the sexes.

But in discussing the issue of abortion, I've too frequently realised that 'equality' - that noble tenet of feminism - is suddenly nowhere to be seen. The angry assertion is that men should have no rights at all on the issue. The implication is that they should not even express an opinion. Many men choose to keep quiet - they have allowed themselves to be shouted down.

It's packaged as "a woman's reproductive freedom". And who can argue with noble words like 'freedom' - except when we're talking about the freedom to end another life, or freedom from any responsibility towards the father of the baby. Freedom is, of course, not the issue so much as power.

I'm aware of how difficult this issue is, and how my statements may be taken. Unfortunately I think that to not say it is to duck a sad truth. I know very well that not all women take this attitude, but I'm staggered by how often, and how freely it is expressed.



“The implication is that they should not even express an opinion.”

Yes, what struck me at the time was just how vehemently the ladies turned on anyone who expressed even the most tentative and qualified reservation. And having created an environment in which people with questions are reluctant to speak at all, and often banned if they do, the Pandagon gals can then assign motives to their critics that aren’t actually in play, thereby flattering themselves. And so Marcotte et al frame practically any objection to abortion, however qualified, as driven by an urge for dominion over women. That objections are more typically driven by something else – i.e., a fear that abortion entails the destruction of a nascent human being – is an idea the ladies at Pandagon and Feministing don’t seem willing to tolerate. And I’m inclined to wonder why.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Radio Sweden had a wonderful report yesterday on the clash between the values of the Swedish homosexuals and the homophobic Jamaican reggae musicians. (The link is a ~25MB audio file that will be vaild for about a month; sadly this seems to be the one report that doesn't have a print version on their site.)

It's so much fun hearing the Swedish homosexuals tie themselves into knots trying to excuse the naked bigotry of what in Sweden would be just another minority group. It's also infuriating listening to the credulous journalist think that we should take these people seriously. But it's instructive in that it's yet another lesson in how "multiculturalism" seems to mean every culture but Western culture.

Rich Rostrom

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA: How is reggae not "Western"?

It's non-white, and has some African roots, but Jamaica is about as far west as one can get geographically.

But of course it's non-white and therefore pure.


Amanda Marcotte, BS, MA, PBH

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Rich: Perhaps I should have phrased the dichotomy as First World culture vs. Third World culture.


Hillegonda Rietveld used to work in the cloakroom of the Hacienda club.

True story.



Now she seems to spend her time grafting bits of Barthes, Baudrillard and Foucault onto ramblings about house music and its “radical intertextuality” and “semiotic practice.” Here’s one of her less wilfully obscure passages: “Although the beat is outside the body, the development of sound systems over the last twenty years now enables the volume to be so high in clubs that its vibrations can be felt by… the body of the dancer. Thereby it starts to resemble the heartbeat of the mother as the dancer is like a speechless infant in the moist and warm womb-like environment of the club.”

Yes, the vibrations can be felt by the body of the dancer. Who knew? This, remember, is scholarship.

Rich Rostrom

St. John's work appears to be pseudo-scholarly gibberish.

Which is a shame, in a way, because there could be real scholarship to be done. How this music genre and its subgenres develop and propagate; the economic mechanisms that support it; the social codes which govern activity in it; the larger cultural trends which affect it.

Suppose a scholar of medieval music discovered that a particular chord progression appeared among the trouvères of Flanders in the 1330s, and was found in Provence in the 1340s, and then that a particular trouvère had migrated from Flanders to Provence in 1343 in the retinue of a Flemish noblewoman who married into a Provencal family. Wouldn't that be real scholarship?

A "scholar of electronic dance music" might trace the propagation of some musical pattern derived from Indian bhangra to American EDM via Canada, identifying the particular agents of it and explaining why it went that way.

Aside from historical distance, why is one more "scholarly" than the other?

This is a classic problem with dismissing "interdisciplinary", "post-modern" pseudo-scholarship: in most cases, if the subject is approached seriously and rigorously, there is real knowledge to be had.



“St. John’s work appears to be pseudo-scholarly gibberish. Which is a shame, in a way, because there could be real scholarship to be done.”

Possibly, though I’m not a huge fan of attempts to intellectualise one’s own pop culture. Trying to intellectualise the structure and effect of house music is particularly unconvincing. As St John inadvertently demonstrates, objectivity and solid argument are in short supply. Instead, the tone is fanciful, nostalgic and credulous. And as Anna noted in the comments, the whole thing has the air of a mid-life crisis – as if St John were desperately trying to justify – and retrospectively politicise - his teens and early twenties. I’ve nothing against house music and its variants – in the early Nineties I worked for an unspeakably hip New York house label and had a whale of a time. But when “scholarship” reads like the more florid and pretentious extremes of Nineties club culture journalism, it’s hard to see that “scholarship” as deserving of public money or intellectual gravitas.

[ Tweaked for clarity. ]


Who in God's name is sleeping with those harpies in the first place?

I'm amazed they would even tolerate a man in their life who was still intact.

Or that any man who was, would tolerate them.

Bryan Ferality

Sweat is a performance piece by Peter De Cupere, choreographed by Jan Fabre, in which five narcissists spend fourteen minutes rolling about and jumping up and down...

Bingo. Narcissism. The key concept in terms of issues around the liberal community. There are two modalities in terms of confronting issues around so-called "objective" so-called "reality": one can look at it to see what is there or to find a mirror to posture in front of. The liberal community are interested in mirrors, not facts. Whatever the issue -- climate change, Stephen Lawrence, mass immigration, gay marriage -- the only important thing is to look good to oneself and to one's liberal peers. Hence the stiflingly conformism of the edgy, über-transgressive non-conformist community. They're not called the hive-mind for nothing.

Just Thwarted Sperm.

When being callous and vindictive is a badge of feminist virtue.

Imagine an alternate reality in the Patriarcho-fascist Hegemony hadn't retained its iron grip on the throat of society and ensured these wymbyn had no political power or influence. Alternatively, visit this alt-reality role-playing site:


Mike James

I notice you brought back the crotch funk. It doesn't improve with age.


David: “That objections are more typically driven by something else – i.e., a fear that abortion entails the destruction of a nascent human being – is an idea the ladies at Pandagon and Feministing don’t seem willing to tolerate. And I’m inclined to wonder why.”

If one has feelings for a fetus, then it suggests that abortion is morally different from the act of blowing one's nose or squeezing one's pimples. Since these individuals are adamant that an abortion ought to be done at a woman's convenience and no morally different from getting a pap smear, one should never feel bad about having an abortion for any reason. QED.

The only moral issue, for them, is whether or not a woman's decisions are being attended-to. Failure to cater to a woman's decision is the highest form of immorality. Hence, emotions that make one think twice about attending a woman's decision are immoral and oppressive emotions.

Their demand goes beyond merely insisting that abortion be legal, safe and accessible. Their demand is that abortion be legal, safe, accessible and free of negative emotions.


Sorry, in the above post when I wrote, "then it suggests that abortion is no morally different" should've read "then it suggests that abortion IS morally different." Sorry, I wish I could correct it.

[ Done. DT ]


Not saying what you think about abortion is very sly, David.



“Not saying what you think about abortion is very sly, David.”

I stated my own position, twice, in the original comments:

I should point out I’m reluctantly in favour of abortion, though current term limits are an area of concern… The issue seems inherently fraught and any practicable position, including my own, is a compromise; a juggling of evils. The idea of the state governing a person’s reproduction is repellent and I’ve no urge to control what people do with their own bodies. But current UK law allows terminations up to 24 weeks, at which point what is being terminated looks very much like a human being with a body of its own. I don’t know exactly where in gestation a person could be said to begin, but at some point in the womb there’s a new person involved – an innocent person. And destroying the innocent is a repellent idea too.

To reiterate, I wasn’t planning to start a debate on abortion itself. I wanted to draw attention to the competitive callousness on display and the willingness to sneer at grief, at the very idea of grief, based solely on a person’s gender. It’s an interesting, if unflattering, aspect of Ms Marcotte’s brand of feminism.

I’m not sure why you think that’s sly.


Putting what you think about abortion twice in the comments is a sly way of confusing idiots.

The Sanity Inspector

I appreciate these From The Archives posts, and would like to suggest that you create a special tag for them.


Ask and ye shall receive.

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