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MRAs respond, predictably awfully, to the arrest of IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn

There have been some strange, but hardly surprising, reactions in the MRA-verse to the arrest of IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn on attempted rape charges.

On The False Rape Society blog, Pierce Harlan seems bothered that the police would arrest such an important man, citing an assortment of articles saying that Strauss-Kahn’s arrest will likely have a big effect on markets and on the global economy.

Harlan titles his piece: “So rape claims aren’t taken seriously? Reuters says the claim against Strauss-Kahn could impact “the well-being of the global economy.”  After quoting from an assortment of news stories that suggest that, yes, Strauss-Kahn’s arrest has already affected markets and could affect the global economy, Harlan ends with this petulant conclusion:

All because of a disputed rape allegation. Right now, that’s all it is. I have no idea if a crime was committed, and neither do you.

But I know one thing: the entire world is taking very seriously — and perhaps way too seriously — the word of an unnamed maid it knows nothing about.

First of all, just as we don’t know whether or not Strauss-Kahn is guilty of this alleged attack, we also don’t know what evidence the police have. What we do know from other media accounts suggests that there is more to go on than the “word of an unnamed maid” – including DNA and other evidence at the scene, footage from the hotel’s security cams, injuries suffered by the maid, who was treated at a local hospital. There may well have been witnesses too; we simply don’t know. (Also, the maid has now been named in the French press. Wonderful.)

Second, and more importantly, why should the fact that the arrest has affected world markets have any bearing whatsoever on the case? By this logic, no important political or financial figure should ever be arrested for anything.

To make myself perfectly clear here:  Harlan does not say explicitly that DSK is too important to be arrested on the word of a lowly maid, but that seems to be the implicit suggestion of his post, the whole reason to quote several articles about the effect this is having on the world economy, all because of  “the word of an unnamed maid [the world] knows nothing about.”  I have asked him to clarify what exactly he did mean, and he has refused. In a followup post he asks rhetorically “Have we handed an unnamed maid too much power to destroy a presumptively innocent man?” and answers himself by saying “The question scarcely survives its statement.” Which I will take as a “yes.” He goes on to say:

We reported yesterday what the world press is saying about the sexual assault claim against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. About how it could impact not only the IMF he heads, and France where is a presidential hopeful, but the global economy itself.  It is widely believed that Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s reputation has been marred beyond repair, regardless of the outcome of this affair.

To say this is morally grotesque does not capture the evil of what is happening to a presumptively innocent man. …

If there is a running theme in this blog, it is this: we have handed anonymous women and children far, far too much power to destroy the lives and reputations of presumptively innocent men before even a scrap of evidence has been introduced to prove their guilt.

If I am reading this correctly — and please correct me if I am wrong, Mr. Harlan — he is saying that ALL men are too important to be arrested on sexualk assault charges based on the word of “anonymous women and children.”

Again, let me ask you, Mr. Harlan, is this what you mean? I invite everyone here to read the two posts in question —  the first one here; the second one here — and tell me what you think he is trying to say.

Mr. Harlan, if you want to clarify what you mean here, I will put that clarification up without comment as a post, under a neutral headline (Pierce Harlan clarifies what he meant in his posts on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrest”).

I would also like to point out, again, that the police seem to be going on a lot more than the “word of an unnamed maid,” including surveillance tapes, statements from those who spoke to the maid immediately after the alleged incident, DNA evidence in the room. There may also be DNA evidence on her clothing; that we don’t know. But it seems fairly clear that there is evidence beyond the maid’s testimony.

Meanwhile, over on In Mala Fide, a guest blogger from Human-Stupidity.com, an MRA site that devotes a lot of its attention to railing against child porn laws, attacks the accuser and dismisses the charges. It’s hard to know what in the post is sarcasm and what is simply astounding stupidity. But as far as I can figure it, Mr. Stupidity is far more distressed by reports that the maid accidentally walked in on a naked Strauss-Kahn than he is by the possibility that he sexually assaulted her:

The story is very strange, and dominated by clear mistakes and screwups committed by the accuser. A five-star hotel maid trespasses into a naked client’s room?  Unforgivable. …

This is not supposed to happen in a high-class hotel. Were the sex roles inverted, were a male employee to walk in on a prominent female guest, like Mrs. Hillary Clinton, the male employee would be fired and arrested for sexual harassment.

Mr. Stupidity then goes on to suggest that such a powerful man would never try to rape anyone because, you know, powerful men don’t do that sort of thing.

A hitherto well behaved, civilized man, suddenly goes crazy? Just because he was naked, he wanted to take advantage of her and rape her?

A man pictured on the covers of magazines, admired by millions of women, who could get any woman he wanted with a snap of his fingers. A man from a country with legalized prostitution who could afford two luxury prostitutes per day, if he happened to be a sex addict. And this guy, exactly the moment the woman walks in, illegally, incorrectly, grabs her and rapes her?

Never mind that other women are coming forward with stories of assaults by Strauss-Kahn, suggesting that he may not be quite so well-behaved as Mr. Stupidity assumes.

So what does Mr. Stupidity think really happened? After raising the possibility that this is all some political setup, he ends the piece suggesting that the maid – who, he says “committed a serious professional lapse, almost a crime” by accidentally walking in on Strauss-Kahn – simply made up the story in order to protect her job. Because maids are instantly fired for accidentally walking in on guests? Because never ever in the history of hotels has a maid walked in on someone naked? (A quick Google search suggests not only that this is relatively common, but also that it’s a sexual fantasy of quite a few men.)

Meanwhile, Ben Stein – not, as far as I know, an MRA, but a neocon and a bit of a dick – has offered his own highly problematic defense of Strauss-Kahn, which boils down to, well, envy:

this is a case about the hatred of the have-nots for the haves, and that’s what it’s all about. A man pays $3,000 a night for a hotel room? He’s got to be guilty of something. Bring out the guillotine.

More on this as it develops. And it’s developing fast.

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SallyStrange
SallyStrange
10 years ago

Being a slut doesn’t cause harm to anyone (provided you always practice safe sex). Being a misogynist does.

mediumdave
mediumdave
10 years ago

You’re missing the point, Ion. Feminists work to reclaim words like “slut” and “bitch”… that’s what the slutwalks are about, for instance. There’s nothing wrong with being sexually free or assertive. MRA’s know that there’s no way to reclaim “creep” or “perv” or “misogynist”. And deep down, they know that these epithets are true. And they are things to be ashamed of. Hence, the defensiveness and the whining.

Really, what other option is there if you’re ashamed of yourself but unwilling to change? The hatred gets turned inward and turns into self-loathing. MRA’s know that they are “creeps”… and in vain, they try to hide from this knowledge… and project their self-loathing onto women.

You know I’m right about this.

darksidecat
10 years ago

@Snowy, the wikipedia link, because it goes into a rather old fashioned formulation of rape as having to be due to force or threat, which may seem an okay way to set up a legal code, but really doesn’t work so well when put to the test.

Ion
Ion
10 years ago

No, your basic argument is still “women can call men names because they’re true! so it’s fine and not shaming language!” So I guess that when someone calls you dumb in an online debate, your first thought is: “Hmm, I wonder how I can improve my intelligence so people don’t rightfully point out my dumbness anymore”? Agree to disagree.

mediumdave
mediumdave
10 years ago

A weak comeback, because you don’t really believe that. No, Ion, I’m saying that the names sting because you know that they are true. Insults have only the power that you let them have. You calling me a “mangina” wouldn’t sting, because I know that it’s nonsense. I laugh it off. Whereas MRA’s compile lists of insults to whine about, because the insults do sting. With reason. Again, you know that I’m right about this.

Snowy
Snowy
10 years ago

darksidecat, I don’t know if I agree with that. I know wikipedia is pretty changeable but as of right now it says:

“Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by force, under threat, or with a person who is incapable of valid consent.”

I read that as saying that the lack of consent is the main issue, and that force or threat *may* be involved but doesn’t *have to* be part of it for it to be defined as rape.

I do of course agree that no means no and the laws should reflect that, I just don’t see how the wikipedia article is not saying that.

Do you have a better definition I could link to if the subject were to come up again? I’m not particularly attached to wikipedia’s definition, it was just the first thing that came up on google when I was invited to define rape and “have a few laughs” with the distinguished Mr Harlan.

Ion
Ion
10 years ago

mediumdave: That’s an interesting comeback. I’ll be sure to use it next time someone reacts to being called names by me. I’ll tell them they are reacting because deep down they know it’s true. Muhahaha.

Pecunium
10 years ago

Ion: No. Once more unto the breach:

Not all insults are false. Is it fair to let any accusation of perfidy stand, just because the accusation has been made? No.

But that doesn’t, ispo facto make all such accusations false. Is false shaming a bad thing? Yes.

But… this is the part you refuse to admit, honest shaming isn’t always a bad thing.

That you use shaming tactics in your arguments is pretty strong evidence you agree with the latter point.

Which means we are just arguing the question of reasonable justification, for which you seem to be arguing that no use of “shaming language” by feminists is justified.

Which is an unreasonable position, and rightly rejected by people who believe in equality.

Ion
Ion
10 years ago

But how do you tell the difference between false and honest shaming? Someone called my comments ‘creepy’. I didn’t think they were, and saw it as an attempt to shame me into silence. This is not, by the way, ‘because I knew I was wrong’. In fact ‘shaming language’ means precisely ‘trying to make the target feel that their comment is wrong or unacceptable somehow, even if it’s not’. So who’s right? Who decides when shaming language is justified? One side can say it is, while the other doesn’t have to agree. Here, it seems that the majority decides.

SallyStrange
SallyStrange
10 years ago

Ion:

Being called a slut doesn’t bother me. I don’t feel that there’s anything wrong with enjoying sex and having lots of it, possibly with lots of different people. But I do think it’s wrong and damaging to try to use “slut” as an insult, and it does fool people into thinking that there’s something wrong with having lots of sexual partners.

So, what about “creep”? Creep is an insult that, like slut, is sort of a gloss for a series of behaviors. A creep is someone who tries to manipulate people into giving him what he wants without asking for it directly and taking the risk of an honest “no.”

If you really feel that there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that sort of behavior then you need to reclaim “creep” and explain why there’s nothing shameful about trying to get around issues of consent and honest communication.

Trying to make “shaming language” into a universally Bad Thing is silly, unless you’re a 100% moral relativist. It reveals the bankruptcy of your objection to being accurately identified as a creep, asshole, misogynist, or other characterizations that are widely viewed by non-sociopaths as unflattering.

Pecunium
10 years ago

Creepy is subjective. You take it, and move on.

You can decide how much you care about not being “creepy” to that person, and change; or not, as it suits you.

But you don’t get to tell them they are wrong about how they react to what you said/did.

Others are less subjective. When someone says, “All men are sexist assholes”, they are being sexist, and they can be called on it.

Same is true when someone says, “all women are conniving bitches who want to soak men for everything they can before moving on to the next victim”.

That’s sexist.

SallyStrange
SallyStrange
10 years ago

If you really feel that there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that sort of behavior then you need to reclaim “creep” and explain why there’s nothing shameful about trying to get around issues of consent and honest communication.

Alternatively, you could try to explain how you were misunderstood, and you really aren’t into that sort of behavior.

Or you could try to modify your behavior.

But don’t try to tell me that calling a creep a creep is intrinsically wrong.

SallyStrange
SallyStrange
10 years ago

Anyway, let’s not forget that Ion is a dirty low-down liar who spreads lies about feminism.

Yes, Ion. That’s shaming language. You should be ashamed of spreading lies.

I have factual information–direct quotes from you, in conversation with other people–that will back up my characterization of you as a liar.

This is not an attempt to silence you. It’s an invitation for you to be honest, explain why you decided to spread lies about feminism, apologize, and promise not to do it again.

Though I suppose, if you insist on clinging to your falsehoods, I will eventually resort to telling you to STFU and go somewhere where there’s a more sympathetic audience for your lies.

mediumdave
mediumdave
10 years ago

Ah. I think we’re getting down to basics here. Ion, I’m not naïve enough to think that you’ll change your attitudes overnight, but trust me, there is a way out of this trap.

It begins with being honest with yourself, and admitting that there is a problem. Women mistrust you, and most men think that you’re “weird”. This is not because they are wrong… it’s because you have mistaken ideas of what it is to be a man. And I have some sympathy for that… I’ve struggled with it myself.

The important thing is to move beyond blame, and see that the capacity for change is within you. No one can stop you unless you let them. Admit that women are not out to get you, and that (as Sally says) feminists are not evil. You know this. Stop listening to the liars (that you know are liars) and you’ll be on your way.

Lyn
Lyn
10 years ago

Speaking of feeling like you’re talking to a grade schooler…

I said: Moreover, pretty well EVERYONE in the interwebs (irl too) uses shaming language, often in the comments sections of blogs where it’s all nice and anonymous. It’s an argumentative tactic. Feminists didn’t invent it. And by the by, the MRM engages in so much shaming language it’s unbelievable. Mangina, anyone?

Ion said, in response: Hmm, so we go from “we didn’t use any shaming language but MRAs use it, like, all the time!” to “everyone uses it!” and so the circle is closed.

I said feminists didn’t INVENT it. Not that they didn’t USE it. Words: they, like, mean things. I was saying that making out like it’s exclusively a dirty feminist tactic is silly. Because everyone uses shaming language – it’s an argumentative tactic not a feminist one. You can challenge individual applications of shaming langauge, if you like, but making out like it’s the worst thing in the world to use shaming language and that ONLY feminists use it is not sustained by evidence.

titfortat
10 years ago

Colourful conversation, I wonder if it would be the same if we were all having a pint together?

Roving Thundercloud
Roving Thundercloud
10 years ago

Ion, you deliberately mischaracterized what I said (a liar’s technique, I’m afraid).

I didn’t call you creepy or even call what you wrote creepy. I was agreeing with others that a particular MRA behavior (constantly questioning how do you know you’ve gotten consent from a sexual partner) is creepy because of what it implies–a legalistic and rather punitive mindset that, at its base, believes that it’s too much trouble to bother with consent at all.

Laura
Laura
10 years ago

Ion, creepy or not, is there any need to be so fucking obtuse??? You really can’t fathom how it would disturb someone that you had to ask how not to rape them?

Maybe with a little child, you will teach them “never touch someone if they don’t want you to. always make sure someone is happy before you think about having sex.” but a grown man?

I’ve had a lot of great sex when I was tipsy. When I was raped, I was drunk. I was confused, vomiting and not sure where I was, or who with. Do you see the difference now? Do I have to spell out the Mysterious Code of Not-Raping again? Most of the population seem to manage it just fine.

Other tips: try and avoid people who you would consider sex with without consent. Try and keep a friend with you at all times.

I’m not accusing anyone of being a rapist, I’m saying this level of ignorance about human sexual autonomy is shocking and definitely ‘creepy’.

Seraph
Seraph
10 years ago

Colourful conversation, I wonder if it would be the same if we were all having a pint together?

Quite frankly, there are people on this thread that I hope to never meet in real life. And if I did, I would immediately switch to something non-alcoholic, and advise everyone with me to do the same.

Xtra
10 years ago

Ok, I think I get it. Shaming tactics used against an MRA=bad. If used by an MRA=good.

Pecunium
10 years ago

Xtra: No, you don’t. If a woman/feminist/mangina says it, then it’s shaming tactics. If an MRA says it, then it’s, “speaking truth to power.”

Intent you see, the MRA isn’t trying to “shame them into silence,” but rather show them the error of their ways, so they can better understand the harm their words cause. If they don’t at least other people (the one’s who are wise enough to understand) will see what’s going on.

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