‘Rape culture’s Abu Ghraib moment’

I’d like to preface this Laurie Penny article with a tiny ray of hope. I was in the drugstore a few weeks ago, and a customer was kidding around with the young man behind the pharmacy counter about being in college. He asked if he’d ever taken part in a “dogfight.” The young guy looked puzzled. The older man explained it’s when a group of guys compete to see who can pick up the ugliest girl.

The young man looked at him. “Why would I want to do that?” he said. “Seems kind of mean. I’d be upset if someone did that to my sister.”

The older man looked embarrassed. “Ah, it’s just for fun.” The young guy shook his head and walked away.

So at least one young man understands. Women and girls aren’t “things” for your amusement, they’re human beings. What a radical notion!

Steubenville is rape culture’s Abu Ghraib moment. It’s the moment when America and the world are being forced, despite ourselves, to confront the real human horror of the rapes and sexual assaults that take place in their thousands every day in our communities.

Susan Sontag observed of the Abu Ghraib atrocities that “the horror of what is shown in the photographs cannot be separated from the horror that the photographs were taken – with the perpetrators posing, gloating, over their helpless captives. If there is something comparable to what these pictures show it would be some of the photographs of black victims of lynching taken between the 1880’s and 1930’s, which show Americans grinning beneath the naked mutilated body of a black man or woman hanging behind them from a tree. The lynching photographs were souvenirs of a collective action whose participants felt perfectly justified in what they had done. So are the pictures from Abu Ghraib.”

The pictures from Steubenville don’t just show a girl being raped. They show that rape being condoned, encouraged, celebrated. What type of culture could possibly produce such pictures? Only one in which women’s autonomy and right to safety counts for so little that these rapists, and those who held the cameras, felt themselves ‘perfectly justified’. Only one in which rape and sexual humiliation of women and girls is so normalised that it does not register as a crime in the minds of the assailants. Only one in which victims are powerless, silenced, dismissed. It is impossible to imagine that in such a culture, assault and humiliation of this kind would not be routine – and indeed, the most conservative estimates suggest that ninety thousand women and ten thousand men are raped in the United States alone every year. That’s what makes the Steubenville case so very uncomfortable – and so important.
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Art on acid

I never did anything like this, but I still have some notes I made during an acid trip, and the letters look like an electric current was running through my hand as I wrote.

Bradley Manning on why he leaked the videos

Ten years of this obscenity, and Americans were made to choose between supporting an illegal, immoral war or being a “patriot.” Remember the Dixie Chicks getting death threats while male country stars recorded war-loving songs? Good times!

UPDATE: War is always obscene, in case you need a reminder.

Poor vampire squid

Well, boo fucking hoo. How dare these pesky people hold them accountable for their lying, cheating and stealing? This is some satisfaction, since there is nothing significant in sight from the ironically-named Department of Justice:

(Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc suffered a defeat on Monday as the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a decision forcing it to defend against claims it misled investors about mortgage securities that lost value during the 2008 financial crisis.

Without comment, the court refused to consider Goldman’s appeal of a September 2012 decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.

That court’s action lets the NECA-IBEW Health & Welfare Fund, which owned some mortgage-backed certificates underwritten by Goldman, sue on behalf of investors in certificates it did not own, but that were backed by mortgages from the same lenders.

In afternoon trading, Goldman shares were down $2.47, or 1.6 percent, at $152.37 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Other bank stocks also fell, amid concern about an escalation of the euro zone crisis, with the S&P financial sector index down 0.7 percent.

Goldman and other banks have faced thousands of lawsuits by investors seeking to recoup losses on mortgage securities.

The bank has said that letting the 2nd Circuit decision stand could cost Wall Street tens of billions of dollars.

Well, if the politicians won’t break up the banks, maybe we can bankrupt them instead. Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

I heart Liz Warren

WARREN: During my Senate campaign, I ate a number 11 at McDonald’s many, many times a week. I know the price on that. $7.19. According to the data on the analysis of what would happen if we raised the minimum wage to $10.10 over three years, the price increase on that item would be about four cents. So instead of being $7.19 it would be $7.23. Are you telling me that’s unsustainable?

BUSINESS OWNER DAVID RUTIGLIANO: Senator Warren, not all restaurants are created equal. I’m in a full service restaurant business. McDonalds has efficiencies and they operate completely differently than I do. I have many jobs, many jobs that pay well above minimum wage. We have a retirement plan. We offer health insurance to our salaried employees. So my business is a little different. I can’t raise a four cent price. I mean I don’t have, I don’t operate like a fast food restaurant. I would hope you appreciate the distinction.

WARREN: I do appreciate the distinction and I’m not going to be in the business of being a McDonald’s representatives but they would talk about having some higher paid jobs and some opportunities for management and advancement as well. But I get your point, maybe it’s only four cents on $7.19. But if your entrees are $14.40 we’ll see how fast I can do the math — are you telling me you can’t raise your prices by eight cents?

Let’s be clear

Even if there had been WMDs, the U.S. was still committing a war crime when we bombed a civilian area with “shock and awe.”

Bill O’Reilly’s custody fight

Wow, he really is as big a putz as he is on teevee!


  • Tried to destroy the career of the Nassau County detective his ex-wife married;
  • Hired the “neutral” therapist who was supposed to oversee their parenting as his kids’ nanny;
  • And he reported her to the Catholic Church for going to communion because she remarried before his annulment action was valid. She was reprimanded by her parish priest in writing.
  • What a fucking, whiny, pathetic excuse for a human being. Fuck you, Bill, and fuck the Catholic Church who did you that little favor in exchange for your payoffs contributions.

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