Sunday, September 20, 2015

Grape Can Be Funny

Murder. One would hope that such an event would be one researched, investigated and reported on by knowledgeable and diligent people that invest a great amount of time bringing relevant and timely information to light.

Unfortunately, in the days of BuzzFeed, HuffingtonPost and Gawker, murder is just an excuse to publish a poorly researched "investigation" into some fake crisis created by and maintained for poor journalists in need of clicks.

Grace Mann was a student at University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia and a member of the "Feminists United on Campus" (FUC) student group. Grace Mann was found dead on April 17, 2015. The suspected murderer is one of her roommates, a 30 year old man who is now facing trial and has pleaded not guilty.

Apparently the murder did not happen within a tranquil campus environment, as in May the FUC group filed a Title IX complaint alleging the campus administration did nothing to stop threats against outspoken student feminists.

As Washington Post covered the complaint:
Banks, the attorney, said a majority of the 700 comments aimed at Feminists United were name-calling or sexist, but a handful were direct threats. In one, members were threatened with rape “in the mouth,” and at another point, someone posted about killing a “bitch.”
Threatening oral rape is no laughing matter. It is outrageous that school administrators did nothing. How could this be? Something must be done!

BuzzFeed sheds more light, with some screenshots:

Yik Yak users began posting derogatory messages about FUC last November when its then-president Paige McKinsey spoke out against fraternities on campus and their reported relationship to increasing incidents of sexual assaults.

HuffingtonPost shares the same concerning threat (as does Mic):

On the app, students also joked that McKinsey "makes her boyfriend sleep in a dog crate," feeds him pepperonis through the wires, and that she does meth. Yik Yak bans certain keywords that are typically assumed to be offensive, but posters found a way around that to threaten to rape members of the Feminist United Club:

Jezebel (a Gawker property that does not deserve a link) picked up on the story from HuffingtonPost: 

At this point, many concerned emphatic human beings are rightly worried about the safety of the feminist club and UMW. However, any person well versed in comedy and popular culture is shaking their head in disbelief.

For this "threat" is actually a silly reference to a famous sketch:

At least four media outlets and one campus feminist club did not pick up on the reference. It is not a question about not agreeing with the "rape joke" being appropriate or not - it is a question of whether or not they even understood that this wasn't original material. One cannot even begin to discuss a threat on its merits if people do not even understand the reference or perhaps even maliciously cover up the connection.

Not only is it absurd that this is floated as an example of threatening abuse to be covered by the Title IX obligations of the university, it is absurd to believe the university had the authority to police anonymous social media applications used by students. How would the university legally act on this?

The simple fact is Title IX is toothless and worthless, and modern "feminist journalism" is a gendered version of a hyped-up ebola paranoia. No evidence has been presented that suggests that Mann's homicidal roommate spent his time trolling campus feminists by quoting WKUK on social media. That a tragedy is being used as a springboard to speak about farcical 'threats' that speaks volumes about our "think of the children!" culture that cries wolf before thinking critically.

The Return of FHRITP

For those who don't know, FHRITP is a vulgar phrase with vulgar and fraudulent origins. FHRITP is a YouTube meme that has seen tremendous growth in popularity precisely because it's obscene and outrageous - the thought of someone shouting it during a live TV broadcast boggles the mind.

Yet that is what some men are doing. The Toronto Star describes the situation:

On Sunday, Hunt hit her breaking point when it happened to her while reporting from outside BMO Field. Instead of ignoring the men or apologizing to viewers or yelling back a one-liner, all of which she says she’s done in the past, she calmly confronted two huddling nearby, conspicuous by their giant smirks.
They admitted their plans. The one with the Top Gun sunglasses called the phrase “quite substantial.” His friend with the FC scarf said that it was “hilarious” and “amazing,” that Hunt was lucky they didn’t stuff a vibrator in her ear like they do in Britain.
Their goon friends grinned and leaned back in that manly belly-laugh way. It gave me flashbacks of those terrible frat parties where the price of female admission is degradation.
Not one stopped their friends. Not one passing soccer fan stepped in to support Hunt.
Not that she needed help: she handled the situation flawlessly. Still, the silence that grew around her spoke volumes about this city.
Many men in Toronto find entertainment in verbally raping women.
Apparently ruining a live TV broadcast is "verbally raping" women. And to some extent, there is a distasteful gendered component that is reminiscent of catcalling. The yelling is usually done by men, the professional embarrassment is usually felt by women. One hopes that this trend balances out by having more women yelling something nonsexual at the male anchors doing live broadcasts.

As distasteful as the FHRITP prank is, comparing a YouTube gag with rape and sexual assault is an insulting equivalence. Furthermore, the "live TV broadcast with pretty lady standing in front of a drunk crowd" is arguably a vestigial form of the booth babe made extinct by concerned "feminist" activism, it's simply a matter of time before the entire trope is rendered problematic.

Enter the Ironic Misandrist

Bahar Mustafa is a student union "diversity" officer at Goldsmiths, University of London. Mustafa became widely known as word spread that diversity meetings on campus were to specifically exclude white people and men. Some people found this absurd, and managed to find past tweets that Mustafa had made that allegedly included the hashtags "#Misandry" and "#KillAllMen".

Online petitions were created that asked the administration to remove Mustafa from her post. Whatever the merits of Mustafa's exclusion of men and white people, what seems to have been really provocative was the indifference and abrasive way this message was communicated. It is difficult to imagine Mustafa as a literal misandrist or actually wishing to kill all white people. 

Fast forward to Amanda Hess' coverage of the Mustafa drama:

Mustafa is not the first to have her reputation raked across the Web on account of some lousy tweets. But she may be the first to crumble over a case of ironic misandry, a tongue-in-cheek form of discourse favored by the young feminist Internet natives. You may have spied them on Twitter or Tumblr, working on their “KILL ALL MEN” cross-stitch or sipping from a mug labeled “MALE TEARS.” Ironic misandrists say they’re poking fun at long-standing stereotypes about militant feminist man-haters. That seems to fit Mustafa’s tweets. In a statement to Goldsmiths students, she owned up to using the hashtags, calling them “in-jokes” between herself and other members of “the queer feminist community.” If some people failed to get the joke, well, that was kind of the point.
Apparently it's just ironic misandry and people that do not get the joke only have themselves to blame. Nothing to see here.

Moving on... 

The Triumph of the Social Justice Edgelord

Once upon a time, there was an internet drama called #GamerGate, which had something to do with videogames and misogyny. Two participants in this was Milo Yiannopoulos, a pro-#GamerGate man with a great number of opinions, and Sarah Nyberg, an anti-#GamerGate advocate and outspoken Twitter "feminist" and "social justice" activist.

As it happens, there were chat logs of Sarah Nyberg saying a lot of things that were decidedly not politically correct and perhaps illegal. Milo Yiannopoulos compiled this evidence into an article that essentially alleged that Nyberg may have been a racist tax evading software pirate that was attracted to children

Amazingly enough, Sarah Nyberg responded not by saying that the evidence was false, but by saying she was a reformed "edgelord" that was being unjustly harassed. More surprising was that the count of Nyberg's allies largely remained the same - with a great number of concerned Twitter "activists" sharing Nyberg's post and actually thinking Milo Yiannopoulos was leading a "harassment campaign" for publishing words Nyberg has not denied writing.

Let's recap what this all means.

If you reference sketch comedy on an anonymous chat application, people will believe you're about to commit murder.

If you troll a live broadcast, people will say you're sexually assaulting a reporter.

At the same time, if you write "kill all men" or advocate for nonconsensual sexual encounters and fail to pay your taxes, you're just being very "ironic" and people are failing to treat you like a human being.

Eventually everyone must decide if everything is serious or everything is funny, with the latter choice being the only option unless someone never feels the need to say something they do not literally mean. At the very least, pick a standard and stick with it. Dongle jokes cannot be forbidden while bad inverted scrotum jokes are said to "punch up".

A key part of humor is who says what, when and how. It's entirely possible that context matters a great deal. But it simply is not the case that the rules of comedy are as moronic as to nearly always absolve what one gender says while policing the other. This is the dogma of a "social justice" that values identity over all, with the content of the message being secondary to one's race, sexual preference and gender identity. 

Let's not check our minds at the door to appear to be better "activists" or "allies". Growing a thicker skin is not actually an activity that always must help the "privileged", but rather an activity that helps one pick meaningful battles.

If one has a hard time understanding this, there is a radiator one can be tied to.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting that video! I never saw it before and I about died laughing!
    My day just got a little brighter despite the dismal state of affairs discussed in the article.
    Good article, BTW!