Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

The Harvey Weinstein story goes much deeper than one big creep

original article: The Human Stain: Why the Harvey Weinstein Story Is Worse Than You Think
October 09, 2017 by Lee Smith

The New York Times last week broke the story of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s long record of sexual harassment. Actresses including Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd came forward to detail Weinstein’s depredations, and so did former employees of the man who founded one of the most important independent film companies of the last 30 years, Miramax. The details were so jarring and the trail of abuse so long, that it was impossible to read the story and not come away wondering: How did no one know what he was doing?

But of course people knew about Harvey Weinstein. Like the New York Times, for instance. Sharon Waxman, a former reporter at the Times, writes in The Wrap how she had the story on Weinstein in 2004—and then he bullied the Times into dropping it. Matt Damon and Russell Crowe even called her directly to get her to back off the story. And Miramax was a major advertiser. Her editor at the TimesJonathan Landman, asked her why it mattered. After all, he told Waxman, “he’s not a publicly elected official.”

Manhattan’s district attorney knew, too. In 2015, Weinstein’s lawyer donated $10,000 to the campaign of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance after he declined to file sexual assault charges against the producer. Given the number of stories that have circulated for so long, Weinstein must have spread millions around New York, Los Angeles, and Europe to pay off lawyers and buy silence, including the silence of his victims. But he had something else going for him, too. He knew his victims would be reluctant to go public because it might suggest that some of their success, their fame even, was a function of their inability to protect themselves from being humiliated by a man who set the bar for humiliating others at the precise level of his own self-loathing.

Hollywood is full of connoisseurs like Weinstein, men whose erotic imaginations are fueled primarily by humiliation, who glut their sensibilities with the most exquisite refinements of shame. A journalist once told me about visiting another very famous Hollywood producer—you’d know the name—who exhibited for my friend his collection of photographs of famous female actresses—you’d know their names, too—performing sexual acts for his private viewing. As with Weinstein, this man’s chief thrill was humiliation, and the more famous the target the more roundly it was savored: Even her, a big star—these people will do anything to land a role; they’re so awful, they’ll even do it for me.

One of the refrains you hear today from media experts and journalists is that they’d known about Weinstein’s transgressions for a long time. The problem, they say, was that no one was able to nail down the story.

Nonsense. Everyone had it, not just Waxman. Sure, reporters hadn’t been able to get any stars to go on the record. But that means the story journalists were pursuing wasn’t really about Weinstein’s sexual depredations. It means that what they wanted was a story about actresses, junior executives, or assistants who had been humiliated, maybe raped, and chose to remain quiet in exchange for money and/or a shot at fame.

Of course no one was going to get that on the record—very few journalists would even want to publish a story like that. But journalists always had the actual story of how a Hollywood producer humiliated and sexually assaulted women. How? Because he victimized journalists.

Fox News reporter Lauren Sivan told Huffington Post that a decade ago, Weinstein masturbated in front of her. She says she didn’t say anything at the time, when she was an anchor on a local cable show, because she was “fearful of the power that Weinstein wielded in the media.” She was right and her fear was understandable.

Writing in New York Magazine, Rebecca Traister remembers the time when she asked Weinstein an interview question at a book party, he screamed at her, spit in her face, called her a “c—t,” and then put her boyfriend in a headlock and dragged him to the street. Traister said nothing at the time because she figured she had little chance against “that kind of force.”

I don’t blame her or Sivan for not saying anything, never mind reporting the story. Weinstein is violent, vindictive, and litigious—as well as sexually abusive—facts that the entertainment and political media knew for years. No one wanted to publish that story. But that’s not the same thing as “not being able to nail it down.” “Nailing it down” would have amounted to nothing more than printing a collection of facts under a byline.

The real issue, as Traister notes, was that “there were so many journalists on his payroll, working as consultants on movie projects, or as screenwriters, or for his magazine.” Traister is referring to Talk, the magazine Weinstein started at Miramax with Tina Brown. The catchword was “synergy”—magazine articles, turned into books, turned into movies, a supply chain of entertainment and information that was going to put these media titans in the middle of everything and make them all richer.

Traister and I worked at Talk together in the late ’90s. There were lots of talented journalists but it was still a mess. Outside of “synergy,” there was no idea driving the magazine, and Tina’s search for a vision was expensive. She spent lavishly on writers, art directors, photographers, and parties. Harvey got angry. Every time Tina went downtown to meet with him he screamed at her the whole time. He humiliated her. At least this was the story that went around the office every time she went down there, a story circulating through, and circulated by, several dozen journalists.

Or, to put it another way: More than 20 people in one magazine office alone all had the story about Harvey Weinstein’s “mistreatment” of women.

So why didn’t anyone write it? Not to take anything away from Jodi Kantor’s excellent New York Times piece, but the reality is that everyone had the story.

The reason no one wrote it is not because the press wanted to get Weinstein, but couldn’t prove the story. No, it’s because the press was protecting Weinstein.

Why wouldn’t they? He made terrific movies and he was a big mover in Democratic party politics, raising millions for local and national campaigns, including the Clintons. (Hillary, some readers will recall, was on the cover of Talk’s first issue.)

John Kennedy, Jr. tried to blend politics and entertainment with the magazine he founded, George. His basic insight was correct; but he misunderstood something crucial. And John John misunderstood it because he was, by all accounts, a good man.

You know the old joke about Washington: That it’s Hollywood for ugly people. Kennedy thought that this was unfair to Washington and that the people in the nation’s capital had the capacity for glamour, too.

But it turns out that the joke works in the opposite direction: Hollywood is for ugly people, too. That was Harvey Weinstein’s essential insight, and how he managed to combine the worlds of politics, entertainment, and media. They’re all repulsive—and I know they’re disgusting or else they wouldn’t be courting, of all people, me.

Thus his fortress was quarried from the misshapen material of human vanity, ambition, and greed. Writers and journalists—the intellectuals, in his mind—were nearly as contemptible as actors. They wouldn’t dream of crossing a guy who could turn them into culture heroes with a phone call. Hey, I just optioned your novel and I already know who’s going to make the movie. And oh yeah, please confirm that you don’t, like I think I may have heard, have a reporter looking into a story about me.

A friend reminds me that there was a period when Miramax bought the rights to every big story published in magazines throughout the city. Why mess with Weinstein when that big new female star you’re trying to wrangle for the June cover is headlining a Miramax release? Do you think that glossy magazine editor who threw the swankiest Oscar party in Hollywood was trying to “nail down” the Weinstein story? Right, just like the hundreds of journalists who were ferried across the river for the big party at the Statue of Liberty to celebrate the premiere of Talk—they were all there sipping champagne and sniffing coke with models in order to “nail down” the story about how their host was a rapist.

That’s why the story about Harvey Weinstein finally broke now. It’s because the media industry that once protected him has collapsed. The magazines that used to publish the stories Miramax optioned can’t afford to pay for the kind of reporting and storytelling that translates into screenplays. They’re broke because Facebook and Google have swallowed all the digital advertising money that was supposed to save the press as print advertising continued to tank.

Look at Vanity Fair, basically the in-house Miramax organ that Tina failed to make Talk: Condé Nast demanded massive staff cuts from Graydon Carter and he quit. He knows they’re going to turn his aspirational bible into a blog, a fate likely shared by most (if not all) of the Condé Nast books.

Si Newhouse, magazine publishing’s last Medici, died last week, and who knows what will happen to Condé now. There are no more journalists; there are just bloggers scrounging for the crumbs Silicon Valley leaves them. Who’s going to make a movie out of a Vox column? So what does anyone in today’s media ecosystem owe Harvey Weinstein? And besides, it’s good story, right? “Downfall of a media Mogul.” Maybe there’s even a movie in it.

Rebecca Traister says the stories are coming out now because “our consciousness has been raised.” Between Bill Cosby and Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and Donald Trump, argues Traister, people are now accustomed to speaking and hearing the truth about famous, sexually abusive men.

This is wrong. It has nothing to do with “raised consciousness”—or else she wouldn’t have left off that list the one name obviously missing. It’s not about raised consciousness or else the Democratic party’s 2016 presidential campaign would not have been a year-long therapy session treating a repressed trauma victim with even its main slogan—“I’m with her”—referencing a muted plea for sympathy for a woman who’d been publicly shamed by a sexual predator.

Which brings us, finally, to the other reason the Weinstein story came out now: Because the court over which Bill Clinton once presided, a court in which Weinstein was one part jester, one part exchequer, and one part executioner, no longer exists.

A thought experiment: Would the Weinstein story have been published if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency? No, and not because he is a big Democratic fundraiser. It’s because if the story was published during the course of a Hillary Clinton presidency, it wouldn’t have really been about Harvey Weinstein. Harvey would have been seen as a proxy for the president’s husband and it would have embarrassed the president, the first female president.

Bill Clinton offered get-out-of-jail-free cards to a whole army of sleazeballs, from Jeffrey Epstein to Harvey Weinstein to the foreign donors to the Clinton Global Initiative. The deal was simple: Pay up, genuflect, and get on with your existence. It was like a papacy selling indulgences, at the same time that everyone knew that the cardinals were up to no good. The 2016 election demolished Clinton world once and for all, to be replaced by the cult of Obama, an austere sect designated by their tailored hair shirts with Nehru collars. “That is not who we are as Americans,” they chant, as Harvey Weinstein’s ashes are scattered in the wind.

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Transgender boy defeats girls, so much for empowering women

original article: Matt Walsh: Please, leftists, explain how this ‘transgender’ madness empowers women
June 6, 2017 by Matt Walsh

Tell me again, leftists, about your abounding concern for women. Please tell me about the need to empower young girls and provide them with opportunities. Please tell me all about your “pro-woman” stances and policies. Then, if you could, kindly explain how this story fits into all of that.

A mustachioed boy who “identifies as a girl” heroically won gold in the 100 meter dash and 200 meter dash for the Connecticut high school girl’s state championships last week. His times would have placed him a full second behind last place in the boy’s competition, but against the girls he easily came in first. Aside from the general insanity of the situation, there are two particularly disturbing aspects of this story, and I’m hoping you can help us all see the positive in these:

First, the boy and his parents have demonstrated total disregard for the girls he disenfranchised in order to win. The boy, “Andraya,” gloated that he’s happy to have won but he “kind of expected it.” Gee, I wonder why?

His dad graciously conceded that fairness is irrelevant and all that matters is whether his son is happy. “In terms of the fairness aspect, I don’t think about that as a father. I only think about, is my [son] happy, healthy and able to participate in what [he] wants to do… [He] got to compete as a girl where [he] feels [he] should compete.” This is what you call terrible parenting.

His mother also waved her hand dismissively at the girls who were robbed of an opportunity to win a fair race. “I know they’ll say it is unfair and not right, but my counter to that is: Why not… [He] is competing and practicing and giving [his] all and performing and excelling based on [his] skills. Let that be enough. Let [him] do that, and be proud of that.” It should be “enough,” she says, that her son is happy and proud. That’s all that should matter to anyone. Please explain, leftists, how the parents and the boy have the right attitude here.

Second, the actual girls in the race have been so beaten into silence and submission that they were afraid to even voice their displeasure over the competition being blatantly rigged against them. Kate Hall, the student who came in second but really came in first, cried and confessed to being “frustrated,” but then added, “that’s just the way it is now.” “I can’t really say what I want to say, but there’s not much I can do about it,” she muttered dejectedly.

So, leftists, tell me how these girls have benefited from this fantasy that biological males can also be girls. Better yet, tell them. Go up to Kate Hall and explain to her that she has no right to be disappointed. Explain that, although Andraya has insurmountable biological advantages, it’s still fair that he compete against her because that’s what he wants. Explain that his desires and his feelings must always come before her own. Explain how the happiness of one biological male outweighs the happiness of every girl he raced against. Please, explain.

And then perhaps you should have a sit down with all of the girls across the country and let them know that the extinction of women’s sports is on the horizon. Please explain how this is all for their own good. After all, women cannot compete in women’s leagues if men are competing in women’s leagues. So, there will be no more women’s leagues. There will be men’s leagues and then cross dressing men’s leagues. I’m really hoping you can explain to my daughter and to all of our daughters how empowering it will be to witness the end of female athletic competition.

And, while you’re having this discussion, make sure you also explain how their silence and submission is, in this case, right and healthy. These girls are scared of speaking out and letting their feelings be known. They’re scared of saying they want their own leagues, and their own bathrooms, and their own identity. They’re scared of asserting their right to safety and privacy. But this is good, yes? Those bigots ought to be intimidated, right? They ought to just shut up and go along. Please tell them that. Please explain it. I don’t think they quite understand yet. Please, you pro-women folks, you women’s rights defenders, you protectors of female autonomy. Please come forward and lay it out clearly so everyone comprehends it. Say it just as it is, like this:

“No, girls, you don’t get your own bathrooms anymore. You don’t get your own leagues. You don’t get your own identity. Not if men want in. Shut up and let the man beat you. Let him take your gold medal. Let him disrobe in front of you. Let him do what he wants. You have no choice. The proclivities and fetishes of men must come first. The desire that you may have to retain and defend your own unique identity is transphobic. Shame on you. Your feelings are not legitimate.”

Put that on the banners at your women’s marches.

Make it your rallying cry.

Go ahead.

Please.

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Pence reveals a triple standard, and you should care

Imagine if you will two men, public officials in American politics (so we’re dealing with only two big political tents). These officials each belong to opposing sides of the political isle. The issue of sexual harassment is of particular significance to both.

For one, let’s call it the Gentleman’s standard. This official is accused of sexual harassment by one woman. She can’t keep her story strait, so the allegation is difficult to corroborate. But the public narrative is not deterred. We are told the following:

  • character matters
  • women don’t lie about this sort of thing
  • the nature of the evidence doesn’t matter, only the seriousness of the charge
  • the allegation itself should be treated as evidence
  • therefore, the accused man is disqualified from public office on ethical grounds

For the other, let’s call it the Politician’s standard. There is no pretense of integrity in this scenario. This official is accused of sexual harassment and assault by numerous women. Some of them produce significant evidence to support their claims. But the public narrative is not deterred. We are told the following:

  • character does not matter
  • a man’s personal life has no affect on his professional life
  • bimbo eruption (women lie about this sort of thing all the time)
  • vast rightwing conspiracy
  • when damning evidence is finally recognized (despite dismissing previous damning evidence) we are told it doesn’t matter anyway
  • therefore, the accused man is not disqualified, leave him alone, move on

These two men are both confronted with allegations of sexual harassment and they are treated with opposite standards. Some of you are old enough to know exactly who is being described here. The Gentleman’s standard was applied to Clarence Thomas during his supreme court confirmation hearings. The Politician’s standard was applied to president Bill Clinton throughout his two terms.

To those of us who have the stomach to actually pay attention to politics, this is no surprise. Republicans and Democrats are treated very differently regarding scandals. For Republicans, allegations of sexual misconduct are serious matters; sexual harassment is sexual harassment. For Democrats, allegations of sexual misconduct are often no more than amusement; sexual harassment is nothing more than a meaningless sex scandal. If you defended Clarence Thomas, you didn’t care about women. If you failed to defend Bill Clinton, you didn’t care about women.

Enter Mike Pence. Pence knows politics works this way. He knows Democrats will be defended when sex scandals are made public, and he knows Republicans will be crucified. So he adopts a very reasonable policy to avoid putting himself in a situation where he can be too easily accused of such things. This has the twofold result of protecting his career and that oh-so-minor detail of guarding his marriage.

So what is the political left to do when it turns out Pence hasn’t provided enough room for them to manufacture an empty sex scandal? Easy – find a way to misconstrue anything else.

Pence’s recent admission that he doesn’t go to dinner alone with women he works with has caught the liberal left by storm. Instead of acknowledging the obvious political reality of the situation, they simply contorted the logic into some other form of scandal.

PenceProtest1

This photo, borrowed from Campus Reform, is a microcosm of the objection. The statement reads “Because women are people, not weird demons who you can’t be trusted to enjoy a meal with #NotMyCommencementSpeaker”.

If you haven’t heard, the fake scandal drummed up by liberals is that Pence is discriminating against women, making it more difficult for them to advance their careers by not giving them an opportunity to schmooze with him after hours. Does the notion of performing well AT THE JOB count for anything? On the other hand, has the political left completely forgotten about Rape Culture, the notion all men are predators and potential rapists? Does “Duke LaCrosse Team” mean anything to anyone? The fact Pence has often declined to dine with men after hours conveniently escapes mention in the criticism.

Notice, also, the swipe at Pence’s religious beliefs: the comment about demons is obviously meant to suggest he is some sort of religious extremist, given the well known fact Pence is Christian. Ah, gratuitous religious intolerance added onto the fake scandal. What’s cherry picking worth without the cherry on top? Douglass Gibbs at Canada Free Press has a good take on this fake scandal.

So the double standard is not available for those who want to attack Pence. But making up a fake scandal is always a valid option. Simply by being smart about defending himself, Pence is faced with a logical distortion only politically correct feminists could invent. This is the triple standard: it really doesn’t matter what happens, if a way can be found to make Republicans look bad, that becomes the official narrative of the day.

But if you think about it, you already know this. We all do. The main stream media has an obvious preference for the Democrat perspective on any and all subjects. That’s precisely what we see with Judge Thomas and President Clinton. There was a way to construe Anita Hill’s allegation against Thomas to make it appear more legitimate, and the main stream media ate that line hook, line, and sinker. And they delivered that line to the people with enthusiasm. There was also a way of defending Bill Clinton in which the women he abused were made to look like liars. While the mere allegation of impropriety was enough to convict Clarence Thomas in the eyes of his critics, suddenly the mere allegation of sexual misconduct was not enough by itself for Bill Clinton’s defenders (the same people who condemned Judge Thomas a few years earlier).

Even if you can’t stand Trump (and I sympathize with you), please defend his administration against this hypocrisy. Partly because of his high dislikability, Hillary Clinton’s hypocrisy wasn’t called out in the main stream press when she pretended to be a defender of sexual assault survivors. She had the exact opposite attitude as first lady when she defended her philandering husband by attempting to destroy any woman who made an allegation against him. Also partly because of his high dislikability, Trump was not defended on the matter of his past treatment of women when the media applied the Gentleman’s standard to him. They could just as easily have applied the Politician’s standard. They opted to attack him, rather than to defend him the way they defended Bill Clinton.

If you don’t want to defend Trump, at least hold liberals to their own standards. “But they don’t have any standards” some might retort. They claim they do. But their supposed standards are quite fickle (such as claiming to value free speech when they want to say something, but are eager to restrict other people’s right to speech). Please don’t let them get away with that. It does none of us any good to let the political left lie to us. Yes, one can say it does us no good to let Trump lie to us either, and you’re right (some of us said the same of Obama for eight years). But if you’re willing to call out Trump’s lies, why would you let other lies from the media, Hollywood culture, and Democrats go unchallenged? Don’t play that game. If you act like you care about truth and justice when Trump says something absurd, you can at least act like you care about truth and justice when other people lie about Trump, Pence, Jeff Sessions, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, etc. You don’t have to like any of those names to be intellectually honest. Truth works for the betterment of all of us. Play that game.

Keep in mind, there was a time when all politicians were expected to act like gentlemen.

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Western feminism now defends restrictive, intolerant patriarchy

original article: Upside-down Down Under
April 12, 2017 by Kay S. Hymowitz

Here’s a riddle for our politically twisted times: when is a black woman a white supremacist? Answer: when she speaks out against female genital mutilation, sharia law, and jihadism.

This is the tortured logic of the feminist Left in Australia, which helped stop a lecture tour by the human rights advocate Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Anonymous protestors warned venues and insurers not to have dealings with the Somali-born, anti-radical-Islam activist if they wanted to avoid “trouble.” The “Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia, Inc.” accused Hirsi Ali of being part of the “Islamophobia industry . . . that exists to dehumanize Muslim women.” Another group, “Persons of Interest,” took to Facebook to describe her ideas: “This is the language of patriarchy and misogyny. This is the language of white supremacy. This is the language used to justify war and genocide.”

Hirsi Ali canceled her trip in early April, only days before she was due to speak in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Auckland, New Zealand. In Australia, as in the UK, the costs of security have to be borne by event organizers, not the government, as is the case in the U.S. Perhaps there were disagreements between the speaker and her sponsors about security. In any case, Hirsi Ali travels with armed guards, but it was still too dangerous for her to speak in public. Yes, in Australia.

Anyone familiar with Hirsi Ali’s personal and ideological history is doubtless picking their jaws up off the floor at the Orwellian nature of these goings-on. She “dehumanizes” Muslim women? But it was Hirsi Ali who was dehumanized when as a girl she was subjected to a clitoridectomy, a barbaric and horribly painful ritual still visited upon girls in many Islamic countries to prevent them from experiencing sexual pleasure. She speaks “the language of patriarchy and misogyny?” But as a vocal opponent of the forced marriage of young girls to older men, which she describes as “arranged rape,” Ali vehemently attacks the patriarchy in its most oppressive manifestation. The Muslim feminists who seek to silence her are the ones linking arms with misogynists.

How has Western feminism come to a point where up is down, and a restrictive, intolerant patriarchy must be defended? Hirsi Ali blames it on the naïveté of liberals, besotted by political correctness in the face of religious extremism. “In liberal societies, those on the left [are] in the grip of identity politics,” she said after announcing the cancellation. “This fascination is not caused by the Islamists, but the Islamists exploit it.” Radicals know the social-justice drill—minority identity is good, regardless of any of the actual precepts of that identity, and its critics are by definition white supremacists. Within this mental universe, accusations of “Islamophobia” are a cudgel for silencing moderates and advancing the cause of radicals.

It’s worth recalling that the feminist Left’s silence on the Islamic treatment of women precedes the advent of microaggressions and race and gender obsessions. In fact, it goes back as far as the early days of second-wave feminism. Sent to Iran to cover the revolution in 1978, the French philosopher Michel Foucault, an intellectual godfather of contemporary leftism, was enchanted by what he viewed as the religious revolutionaries’ anti-globalist authenticity and “political spirituality.” When Ayatollah Khomenei took power after the fall of the Shah, he reintroduced polygamy, reduced the age of marriage for women from 18 to 13, and restored the punishment of flogging for those who violated compulsory veiling laws. Neither Foucault nor his comrades in the anti-colonial, feminist-influenced Left were troubled by this dramatic retreat from women’s most basic rights.

Over the years, some feminist organizations have protested female genital mutilation, but for the most part the sisterhood has focused its ire on a mythical Western patriarchy rather than the real thing making headlines in Muslim countries and immigrant enclaves at home. Now that feminists have adopted an updated form of anti-colonialism called “intersectionality,” there’s virtually no chance that the principle of basic rights will prevail over special pleading for medieval cultural norms. Intersectionality refers to overlapping and self-reinforcing marginalized identity-group identity; hence a black woman suffers two levels of oppression, while a black gay woman struggles with three. Intersectionality leads directly to the conclusion that Muslim women must be protected from a racist and sexist West. Any hint that Muslim culture could be a source of oppression against its women is tantamount to a colonialist war on native identity.

That this latest example of feminist Orwellianism comes from generally moderate Australia is not entirely surprising. The country’s Muslim population is small; as of the last census in 2011, Muslims made up only 2.2 percent of the population. But over the past several years, the country has endured a number of stabbings, thwarted attacks, and a shooting by a radicalized 15-year old. The most infamous Islamist attack, in which three people died, took place in a 2014 siege of the Sydney Lindt chocolate cafe by a lone-wolf gunman, who brandished a black flag emblazoned with the Muslim statement of faith.

Stirring up tension has been the Trumpian figure of Pauline Hanson, a senator from Queensland and a founder of One Nation, Australia’s populist party. As her party’s name hints, Hanson has been hostile to immigration. In recent years, she has taken an aggressive rhetorical posture toward Islam, calling it “an evil faith.” One Nation suffered a decisive defeat in Western Australia in March, but populist victories abroad have put many Australians, both Labourites and Liberals (conservatives, in our parlance), on edge.

In a feedback loop similar to that existing in other Western countries, including the United States, One Nation’s populism is in part a reaction to political correctness but winds up prompting more of it. Conservatives are a rare breed at Australian universities, whether as professors or speakers. Meanwhile, accusations of racism, sexism, hate speech, and Islamophobia are becoming almost as commonplace in Australia as marsupials. One of the biggest political contretemps these days involves Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act, which includes prohibitions on any speech that might “offend, insult, and humiliate” on the basis of race. Alert to potential dangers to free speech, Liberals want to tone down the language of the provision, while Labourites argue that it serves as a vital protection against hate speech.

Labour might want to look more closely at the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In a country where the woman who speaks out against forced marriage and jihadism is an extremist and the people who threaten her are praised as virtuous representatives of diversity, who exactly requires protection?

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Healthy masculinity is exactly what our young boys need

original article: The ‘Toxic Masculinity’ Trend Blames Boys For Being Born Male
April 12, 2017 by Nicole Russell

The term “toxic masculinity” is en vogue now, from college campuses to Playboy. But the term implies there’s a problem with masculinity, and teaching our boys and men that their innate wiring is wrong, stupid, and even toxic creates far worse problems. If anything, society doesn’t need less toxic masculinity, we need more men embracing their natural masculinity.

The latest in the explorations and denigrations of toxic masculinity is the University of Regina, a school in Canada. They’re hosting a program called “Man Up Against Violence,” which asks male students to sit in a Catholic-style confessional booth and confess their sin of “hypermasculinity.”

What’s that? You weren’t aware masculinity, hyper or otherwise, was a problem? Well, universities want guys to own it and apologize for it—not just inwardly, but outwardly too. After a female colleague wrote about toxic masculinity, New Zealand’s Martin Van Beynen observed, “Toxic masculinity is the new male burden.” He is also trying to figure out what it means.

You then have to ask what aspects of manliness its accusers don’t find toxic. Surely they can appreciate the masculinity that builds cities and roads and fixes things. Maybe they could also find the hardiness associated with masculinity commendable and worthwhile.

Of course, some men do rape and beat up their partners and make excuses for rude behavior. But nothing suggests a rape culture is endemic to the male psyche—not anywhere close to the majority of men are rapists—and to stigmatize masculinity on the strengths of some bad attitudes among teenage boys and some men is simplistic, counter-productive, and unfair. Labeling masculinity itself as toxic is hardly going to change attitudes, particularly among teenage boys, or enlist the help of men who can make a difference.

Do the Actions of a Few Men Characterize Them All?

While I applaud that Regina University is hosting a “Healthy Relationships and Healthy Masculinity” workshop—who’s not for “healthy masculinity?”—I’m afraid the whole initiative reinforces the myth that men are toxic just because of their natural biology, not because they’ve done anything wrong. Man Up Against Violence says, “[W]e challenge mindsets and behaviors about the social construction of masculinity and its relationship with violence. We work together to bring light to the causes of all types of violence related to gender, race, socio-economic status, ability level and beyond.”

The phrase “social construction of masculinity and its relationship with violence” carries an assumption that some men, even all men, are violent. Some women are prostitutes too, but does that mean it’s healthy for society, particularly universities tasked with shaping young minds, to automatically equate females with selling sex? Of course not.

Even Playboy has started using the term. Earlier this month the publication said British singer Ed Sheeran had a “Toxic Masculinity Problem”: “[Sheeran] sometimes comes off as sad and out-of-control. And his attempts to own that—in both his music and his interviews—is what makes it feel like he’s dealing with a severe case of toxic masculinity, one that is continually fueled by binge drinking and sex.”

What this author describes isn’t a toxic male but an immature one. This kind of behavior has been common among musicians and Hollywood celebrities for a long time. In the 80’s, Eddie Murphy joked the band The Busboys made his fish stop swimming because of their propensity to, “f–k anything that moves.” But this says more about Hollywood culture than “toxic masculinity.”

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

Even advocates of this thinking can’t agree on what “toxic masculinity” is, save for things men do that women don’t like. Of course, rape, misogyny, and abuse are toxic. Any civilized society should demand that criminal or abusive behavior to be dealt with as a legal and moral imperative.

But if the “We-hate-toxic-masculinity” crowd were just referring to this, they wouldn’t have a confessional booth set up on a college campus for the average male student, and abuse is more serious than that. Criminalizing manhood is a sure way to trivialize actual crimes by comparison by lumping two completely unlike things under the same heading.

Suggesting men confess a crime they didn’t commit, or confess to a crime that’s not even a crime (being a man) is progressive virtue-signaling in overdrive.  Such a scheme is framed in such a way to deliberately hurt young men and thus our society at large, which benefits most from men meeting their masculine potential.

What We Need Is Healthy Masculinity

Our culture is so wrapped up in trying to blur the lines of sexuality, and women have become so obsessed with their warped concept of feminism, we seem dead-set on confusing, even hating, men for their masculinity. Equality doesn’t mean sameness. Yes, society should strive for equality between men and women, but no phrase, whether “cisgender,” “toxic masculinity,” or “gender binary attack helicopter,” will ever change that men and women are not the same. Nor should it mean men shouldn’t be as proud to be masculine as women can to be feminine.

Camille Paglia once said, “Men have sacrificed and crippled themselves physically and emotionally to feed, house, and protect women and children. None of their pain or achievement is registered in feminist rhetoric, which portrays men as oppressive and callous exploiters.”

Masculine men are as much the bedrock of society as strong, nurturing women. Don’t think so? Read a bit of history about the men and women who traversed this country’s wilderness and winters with minimal belongings on horseback and in carriages during the pioneer era. Talk about the sexes working together. Without each other, they likely may not have survived. Even though survival is easier today, men and women still need each other. We both have unique and complimentary things to offer each other and society.

Because feminists are so clueless and careless about the differences between men and women they seek to emasculate even an “average” guy as opposed to calling out men who are actual misogynists.

Instead of teaching our boys to embrace a healthy masculinity that includes what at first glance appears to be trivial—such as holding doors, carrying groceries, or throwing a coat over the shoulders of a wife or girlfriend—society forces them to not only to eschew such chivalrous gestures but to repent of exuding masculine strength.

I have two boys and believe teaching them the value of healthy masculinity is as imperative as teaching girls it’s good to embrace their femininity. Even the simple truth that maleness is nothing to be ashamed of seems to be a radical concept. Healthy men and boys know their strengths, and instead of seeking to annihilate these traits, we need to encourage them to use their strengths for good. Society needs it far more than we need men to apologize for existing.

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Student whistleblower: Diversity class presents multiple ‘isms’ as fact without allowing debate

Student whistleblower: Diversity class presents multiple ‘isms’ as fact without allowing debate
February 10, 2017 by NATHAN RUBBELKE

What does a fictional “Normal University” look like?

It’s a place full of racism, homophobia, toxic masculinity, white privilege and sexism, according to a diversity class currently taught at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

At UMass Amherst, students are required to take two “social justice” classes to earn diploma, and this course — Education 115: Embracing Diversity — fulfills one of those requirements.

In it, students must act out examples of racism to prove America is racist “from A to Z.” Students must also read about how society is dominated by “white privilege” and discuss ways to combat that. They’re charged with creating a mock sexual assault awareness campaign and taught U.S. society pushes male “domination” over women. Another assignment has them coming up with ways to make a university more welcoming to a low-income black lesbian majoring in engineering. New vocabulary words thrown at students include “internalized classism” and “cultural imperialism.” And a “Man Box” assignment teaches students that when men try to prove their masculinity it ends up “with frequently disastrous consequences.”

‘It was just these are the facts and that was it’

The class is led by Professor Benita Barnes, who has a definite liberal bias, a student who took the course told The College Fix.

“She really thinks that everyone [in the United States] is inherently racist or sexist, and I think she just thinks that the school is a subset of that,” said the student, who requested anonymity to speak freely on the course.

Barnes, both a professor and Director of Diversity Advancement, did not respond to a request for comment.

The student described the course as a “hostile” environment where the professor and some students would get agitated when comments were made pointing things out that might be false or when ideas were questioned.

“There were no real discussions. There [were] no debates or anything like that. It was just these are the facts and that was it,” said the student, who provided to The College Fix a stack of assignments from the course, which he took last fall.

According to the syllabus, “Embracing Diversity” is designed for first-year students and dedicated to how students can better see themselves and others “through an appreciation of attending college as a cultural experience, with its own unique set of rules, biases, and expectations.” The course, the syllabus adds, pushes to move “the discourse of diversity beyond mere tolerance, celebration, or appreciation.”

‘Embracing Diversity’

One reading assignment in the class, “Normal University and the Story of Sam,” tells the story of Sam, a low-income black lesbian who attends “Normal University,” an Ivy League-like university whose namesake had a role in the slave trade. Sam faces all sorts of oppression during her freshman year.

Her roommate’s friends make racist remarks, funds are diverted from the campus LGBTQ organization and a protest over the use of bathrooms remind her of stories shared “about the Jim Crow era.” To top it all off, she studies in a “male-centric” engineering department where a woman has never been promoted and tenured.

At the end of the reading, students in the course are tasked with choosing an option to make the university more welcoming for Sam.

This is one of many course assignments obtained by The College Fix that were included in the course and purport a society of racism, sexism and oppression.

The course, according to the syllabus, used a “team-based learning” strategy and included numerous in-class activities that pertained to the class’s five modules.

Here’s a few examples:

Module 2: ‘Men have domination over women thus they (women) become their property’

Covering “Inequality and Oppression,” module 2 included a reading about “Social Justice University.” The case study explained four “folk beliefs” regarding sexual assault and, at the end, tasked students with creating a mock sexual assault awareness campaign for the fake university.

Expanding on one of the four “folk beliefs,” the reading stated “our society has socialized both men and women to believe that men have domination over women thus they (women) become their property as well as are required to bend to their wants and wishes.”

The document goes on to say that when a man acts aggressive or possessive towards a significant other, “women internalize this (bad) behavior as acceptable and end up feeling ‘loved’ as opposed to harmed.”

Module 3: Racism ‘from A-Z’

Dubbed “Race, Racism, and (White) Privilege,” the course’s third module included readings titled “What is Racial Domination?,” “Understanding White Privilege” and “White Institutional Presence: The Impact of Whiteness on Racial Campus Climate.”

An in-class assignment told students “examples of racism can be found in our society from A-Z.” To prove it, students were given 15 letters and had to “identify an act, behavior, law, practice, etc., past or present, that exemplifies racism.”

Module 4: ‘Internalized classism,’ ‘privilege,’ ‘cultural imperialism’

Dealing with “Class and Classism,” a Module 4 class activity required students to define terms like “internalized classism, “privilege” and “cultural imperialism.”

At the end of the assignment, students were asked “what are the possibilities and restraints of what students can do to create a less classist environment on campus?”

The assignment also called for students to apply five of the defined words to the stories of Emily and Matthew, two Amherst College students profiled in the book “Speaking of Race and Class: The Student Experience at an Elite College.”

Emily came to campus unsure how to talk to black students and was once called “White Trash.” However, she forms a diverse set of friends but begins to see people back home as close-minded and judgmental.

“I would never want to bring my gay friend home or my black friend,” she said in her account.

Conversely, Matthew came from an affluent family but also broadened his social group in college.

“He embraced the exposure, the learning, and the people he met and liked, all the while while increasing the awareness of his relative privilege,” the book states.

Module 5: The ‘Man Box’

The course’s final module dealt with “Gender and Sexism” and students watched the film “Guyland: Where boys become men.”

According to a class assignment, the 36-minute film “maps the troubling social world where boys become men” and shows how men try to prove their masculinity “with frequently disastrous consequences for young women and other young men.”

Following the movie, students created a “Man Box,” which the assignment described as “a figurative box made up of acceptable qualities for men to possess and society’s expectations of how men must act.”

Terms inside the box included “objectifies women, emotionless, aggressive and dominant.” The assignment forced student to either pull six traits from the box or add six from a separate list of positive traits. Words on the latter included “honest,” “open minded” and “ambitious.”

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Is feminism anti-human?

Feminism is far from a monolithic single-minded entity. There is vast diversity of thought within feminism, and not all denominations of the movement agree with one another. Some wings of feminism are not even acknowledged by others. Part of the problem is that, while all feminists at least seem to be fighting for equality for women, not all of them actually are fighting for that goal.

Among the nuance one might have noticed 3 primary schools of thought within feminism: the pro-equality school, the pro-women school, and the anti-male school. The latter has a fairly bad reputation in western culture with the most extreme flavors of feminism falling into this category. That reputation, sadly, is well earned. It should not have to be said that an anti-male attitude is not the same as a pro-woman attitude, and certainly not a pro-equality one. This radical brand presumes to be the primary voice for women in the world. This ultra-left flavor of feminism gives all feminism a bad name and it should be called out for what it is. So what is it exactly that needs to be called out?

First, not all brands of feminism are inherently Marxian, as is the ultra-left anti-male feminism. Marxism teaches, among other things, that life can be understood as a contest between oppressors and the oppressed. The problem with this mentality is that it is tragically reductive, over simplifying life to a simple equation utterly dependent on fomenting anger and bitterness. In the anti-male feminist school this amounts to treating men as inherent, inevitable enemies of women. To understand life in these terms is not to understand life at all. While plenty of evidence can be found to support this rabid view of life, to maintain such view the believer must ignore most of life’s experiences or distort them in a way as to confirm the predetermined bias. Any confirming evidence is treated as the norm (i.e., “rape culture”), and conflicting evidence treated as an aberration, if acknowledged at all. This is how confirmation bias works, but it is not how understanding (or intellectual honesty) works.

Second, the anti-male school of thought unintentionally ends up being anti-woman. Think about it. What are the most common ways extreme feminists advocate to empower women? By urging women to act more like men! Women are denigrated for living a lifestyle which militant feminists would ridicule as “gender stereotypes”. Motherhood is often treated as a form of slavery, marriage as a form of oppression. The maternal instinct is regarded as something like a disease that must be educated out of a women in order to free them. In this way womanhood itself is denigrated and shunned. Women are instead encouraged to abandon traditional hallmarks of womanhood and instead become aggressive, like men. On the one hand we have the feminization or Oprahfication of men and the masculinization of women, both of which are designed to reduce men and women to a politically correct delusion where the sexes are the same. Not equal, mind you – the same. Treating people equally is one thing, trying to make them the same is quite another. You are not the same as other people in the world, you are a unique person. You are more than your sex organs or life choices. But the militant wing of feminism has made it seem they reduce women to mere tools, politically viable weapons and force women into a victim mindset. Whether that was the intent of this brand of feminism, this is in fact how it makes itself appear.

Which leads us to a third issue with militant feminism: it is anti-freedom. We are not allowed to think for ourselves regarding militant feminism. If these feminists see a situation as the oppression of women, even falsely accusing men of rape is blindly accepted as truth, where there is no need to verify any evidence. If something is deemed sexist we are not permitted to view the situation is any other way. (Some feminists insist the tradition form of narrative (story telling) is sexist because it models the male sexual experience – as if that were the only legitimate way to think of narrative).

Ruling in Twitter harassment trial could have enormous fallout for free speech
July 14, 2015 by Christie Blatchford

Likewise, women find militant feminism attempts to control them by pushing for some choices and denigrating others. A woman who has a college degree is often pressured into following a career, as if she has an obligation to womanhood to do this. If such a woman instead, of her own will, chooses to be a home maker and mother, that same woman can expect to be treated as a traitor to her sex or as a blind zombie mindlessly falling into a patriarchal trap. Women are encouraged to treat sexuality with the same selfish, consequence-free fantasy (and childish) attitude men are often criticized for. With bully tactics like this (telling other people what to think) we find militant feminists constructing a way of womanhood while claiming to abhor social constructs.

At the end of the day it seems modern feminism (the anti-male type) is intent on destroying anything feminine in women, even the freedom to make their own life choices.

On the other hand there are women who fight for equal rights for women without devoting their lives to attacking men. Such women have the misfortune of being attacked by extremist feminists but they also offer a far better picture of empowering women. These women fight an uphill battle against a hyper-politicized and well funded extreme left wing brand of feminism.

One such woman is Christina Hoff Sommers of The Factual Feminist. Sommers is an academic who does not allow falsehoods and fraudulent augments to pass for truth in feminist circles. She challenges bogus data and politically motivated bunk because feminist fraud doesn’t help women, it harms real efforts to help them.

Another woman fighting against bogus feminism is the infamous Phyllis Schlafly. I say “infamous” because Schlafly is often accused of being anti-woman. I’ve seen Schlafly in person and read numerous criticisms of her. I can’t help but notice a deliberate effort to misconstrue and mischaracterize her work by those who accuse her of being against women. Besides, Schlafly’s experiences show she didn’t need a militant feminist movement to earn her education or establish her career – she did all that before most modern feminists were even born (let alone “helped her” achieve what she has achieved). I’ll let her tell her own story:

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Selective respect for academic freedom in higher education

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Andy Thomason supports academic freedom. In How One Professor’s Tweets Got Her Fired — or So It Seemed at First Thomas makes no bones about his opinion: academic freedom should be respected no matter how racist a woman of color (Zandria Robinson) may be. The University of Memphis’s questionable handling of the situation is secondary; Thomason clearly thinks academic freedom is the essential element of the debate here, not Ms. Robinson’s racism. This is different from the plain, matter-of-fact reporting about another incident where a student hung a noose on a civil rights statue at the University of Mississippi. In both cases someone expresses overt racism out side of the academic setting (not in class, not in any official capacity of a university function). But, the woman of color gets a pass and the white student gets punished.

Saida Grundy, another racist (and sexist) woman of color working at an American university, who also happened to express vile hatred and racism via social media, also drummed up a little storm but also got a total pass from her employer and from the Cronicle of Higher Education where Thomason again has no criticism for the racism of the instructor in question, but certainly makes a plug for academic freedom by quoting a Boston U official whose more concerned about allowing anti-white racist professors “latitude to express their opinions and provoke discussion” and “supporting a new colleague”.

But, as is common knowledge, former Harvard president Lawrence Summers lost his job (as president of Harvard University) because of comments that, by many, were deemed sexist. Why the outrage there? What happened to academic freedom there?

An athletic coach at U of North Carolina gets fired after working to defend men accused of rape (given the almost complete absence of due process for the accused). The university claims his firing pertains to the athletic team’s performance over the years, and has nothing to do with his advocacy for the men he’s trying to help. So we are apparently supposed to take the university’s word for it, rather than assume the worst. But if someone accuses white males of rape, oh there’s no need to verify any facts or anything, is there?

Apparently there are different standards in place. If you’re a white male, even if you hold and promote a progressive world view, there is very little forgiveness for you. But if you’re black or female (especially black and female) you can be as venomous and hateful as you want and you’ll suffer no professional set back because of it. In higher education, academic freedom means nothing in the former situation, but it means everything in the latter. Privilege is a wonderful thing. Never mind of education itself is corrupted in the process.

Do you think there should be a separation between school and state?

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Real rape culture on campus: the war on men

Another reason to separate school and state

original article: Columbia Univ. sued for supporting fake rape allegation
April 25, 2015 by streiff

Most of you have heard Emma Sulkowicz. She’s the rather homely girl, shown above in her natural environment, who has made a college career of lugging a mattress about campus as a way of commenting on sexual assault on campus. You see, Sulkowicz claimed that she, herself, was raped and the Columbia University did nothing about it.

In fact, Columbia and other authorities have cleared the young man with whom Sulkowicz is obsessed several times and they have done this even in the feminist dominated world of academia and under the impossibly low standards of proof required to convict in the Star Chambers/kangaroo courts that universities use to investigate these matters. Both parties were subject to confidentiality agreements. The young man kept his end of the bargain. Sulkowicz, unsurprisingly as it has turned out, did not. Rather she began a campaign of harassment that has driven the innocent man from college, achieve heroine status for herself among the hairy-armpit feminist set, and she got college credit for doing it. Because carrying a mattress to protest something that didn’t happen qualifies as performance art, much like covering yourself in chocolate syrup and beans sprouts. For instance, slightly bonkers NY Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)2% invited Sulkowicz to be her guest at the last Obama “State of the Nation” speech.

Via the New York Times

The lawsuit alleges that Jon Kessler, the professor who is named as a defendant, not only approved the project but also “publicly endorsed her harassment and defamation” of Mr. Nungesser.

“She is actively earning course credit from Columbia for this outrageous display of harassment and defamation,” the lawsuit says, with the school aware that “Paul’s legal rights are being violated and that his well-being and future prospects are suffering immensely.”

Ms. Sulkowicz is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which was filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan. The suit seeks damages in an amount to be determined at trial for what it calls the harm caused to Mr. Nungesser’s reputation, and his loss of educational opportunities and future career prospects.

Mr. Nungesser’s suit only involves Columbia so Sulkowicz will not be able to testify. And by filing the lawsuit, he is able to tell his side of the story, something he had been prevented to do while Columbia colluded with Sulkowicz to paint him as a rapist. The lawsuit is here. Read it. Some of it is gold. For instance, this is Sulkowicz in mating mode:

nungesser-complaint1And Sulkowicz gives public health advice:

nungesser-complaint2

Fake rape seems to be the sign of sisterhood these days. You have the pudgy Lena Dunham claiming that an easily identifiable Oberlin student raped her. You have the fabulist at UVa conspiring with a polemicist from Rolling Stone magazine to smear and slander a fraternity. You have the Duke Lacrosse case. This is probably only the tip of the iceberg.

Conservatively, Sulkowicz is nuts and should be institutionalized. She enlisted at least two friends of hers to also accuse Nungesser of rape and she filed a false complaint with the NYPD. Columbia grossly violated its own rules in how to handle complaints and it is probably going to be an expensive lesson to them in letting political correctness and feminist-weirdoism run amok. Unfortunately, Mr. Nungesser’s life is damaged, His academic career is probably over. He will forever be the guy this promiscuous woman accused, from the Pantheon of possibilities, of raping her.

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Lack of outrage at Letterman shows us the real war on women

original article: PC LETTERMAN’S REAL ‘WAR ON WOMEN
April 23, 2015 by Joseph Farah

There was David Letterman last week warming up his studio audience before airtime, preparing them for live laugh tracks for the show.

Apparently, not being prepared with any jokes he wanted to waste off air, he decided to react to questions from the group.

According to an account in the New York Post and other sources, the first one came from a college staffer who asked what advice the scandal-scarred funnyman would give to this year’s graduates.

Without missing a beat, what came to mind for the late-night host was these politically incorrect sage words of wisdom: “Treat a lady like a whore, and a whore like a lady.”

Huh?

This from a guy who panders to so-called “progressives” with uncanny consistency – referring to Rachel Maddow as “the smartest person in the world,” characterizing Michele Bachmann as a “whacko” and throwing softballs to Barack and Michelle Obama?

Scratch a so-called “progressive” and they reveal their true character.

Now, I’m 60 years old, and I have never heard that expression. I did not grow up as a sheltered Christian. I was a bomb-throwing lefty as a young man. But this is one of the most insulting proverbs I have ever heard in my life – particularly about women.

But Letterman will survive this little controversy unscathed – mark my words. Because he has paid his dues by paying homage to “progressive” causes and personalities over the years. He’s earned immunity. He can say whatever he wants. He’s got a get-out-of-jail-free card from the PC police. That he is retiring as host of his show is beside the point.

By the way, if it was a joke, it bombed. That’s how the world even knows about it.

This is the real Letterman, by the way. Don’t forget in 2009 the married comic was forced to admit having a series of affairs with female staffers. That didn’t matter to the radical feminist crowd either – any more than Bill Clinton’s sexual predatory behavior, including at least one credible allegation of rape, did.

He, too, had earned “progressive immunity.” So did his wife who helped him cover it all up. She still does, as she carries on about the “war on women.”

We’ve learned the saying uttered by Letterman is a throwback to another age, first attributed to 1930s screenwriter Wilson Mizner. But it’s those quick retorts that often reveal more about a person’s character than the scripted material he’s used to following.

When the zinger fell flat, Letterman tried to recover by urging future alums to “eat a lot of salad” and always be nice, said one person present in the studio.

Nice try, Letterman. Quick comeback.

Think about what that saying really means: It suggests nice women want to be treated like tramps. It turns women into sex objects. It’s disgusting. I can say that as the father of five daughters. One doesn’t need to be a feminist.

Interestingly, I haven’t seen the NOW gang jump on Letterman. That makes my case. If you say Rachel Maddow’s the smartest person in the world, you can get away with being a misogynist.

Personally, I think it’s time to judge people on the basis of what they do and what they say in unguarded moments behind closed doors rather than by the carefully rehearsed patronizing political pabulum they spew.

But keep in mind, it’s not just Letterman. You will see this behavior throughout Hollywood. They love everything that smacks of progressivism, but watch what they do behind closed doors. I’ve seen it firsthand. I’ve been there. The hypocrisy is palpable. And nobody seems to care.

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