Thursday, December 21, 2017

Famous Actor Denounced for Saying That There Is A Difference Between Rape And Butt-Patting

It's weird to watch as this public...whatever it is...microcosm or representation (or parody) of our society descends into madness.
  This story is about this strange public / celebrity slice of culture that mostly exists on a kind of stage. It's about the vocal vanguard of feminism Twitter-mobbing the few celebrities who are incautious enough to occasionally let a truth slip out of their mouths or keyboards.
   Here's what Damon said:
You know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?” he told Peter Travers of ABC. “Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”
This part is extremely skippable:
What Damon said is just about as true and sane as it gets...except in that it's actually kinda nuts and actually goes way, way too far in the feminist direction. That is, with respect to this bit: "[patting people on the butt] need[s] to be confronted and eradicated without question." That's ridiculous. I'm as against non-consensual butt-patting as a sane person can be. But to think that it's something that needs to be "eradicated" "without question" is...nuts. Though perhaps Damon means:'s something that needs to be stopped. I'd rather say: Without a a doubt, non-consensual butt-patting is one of those nutty human things that--to speak in realistic terms--there needs to be a whole lot less of; just don't do it. Because if he means: Every case of alleged non-consensual butt-patting must be met with the strongest possible response--and no questions... (Or however one would say that) ...that's nuts.
   Story time:
   One of my profs in grad school had a much younger wife. He was/is great--a really, really admirable, smart, sweet and accomplished dude. She was/is great, too...and a real breath of fresh air in the department. A free spirit and no mistake. Among her many quirks was that she decided that I had a nice butt, and hence, that it would be funny idea to remark on it and grab it / pinch it more than occasionally. To be clear: this was all in good fun. It was a joke, I knew it was a joke, her husband (generally, anyway) seemed to think it was pretty funny, too. There was no doubt that it was a pretty effective way to genuinely discombobulate me. My only response was basically Goddamnit, x, stop grabbin' ma' ass, ya' perv. Now, I recognize asymmetries between males and females--though there are definite limits to those asymmetries. I wasn't traumatized in the least, but I was genuinely annoyed more than once--which was, obviously, part of the allure for x, the antagonist in question. The important take-aways here, obviously, are:
(a) Butt grabbing is not the equivalent of rape, and must not be met with maximal and unquestioning moral outrage in every case
And, much more importantly:
(b) I had a really nice butt in graduate school.
Uh...where was I?
Oh yeah:
Let's not get all f*cking crazy about this.
But here's a general rule, my dudes, that will almost never steer you wrong: don't do it. Unless you know it's welcome, of course.
But none of that's really the point.
This was just a sidebar

Here's the real point:
Damon's main point is undeniable: there are differences--including profound psychological and moral differences--between a pat on the butt and rape. And if you find yourself denying this, you've slipped over the edge of sanity. You should probably turn around and come back.
Also: extreme feminism has slipped over said edge en masse.
   It's one of the crazy left's most common tactics: pretend there's no difference between something terrible and whatever it is they're against. Politically incorrect speech IS violence. Unauthorized cleavage-glancing is rape. 
   Damon is right. His critics are wrong. Period. 
   And it's a sign of how far the crazy left has managed to move the Overton Window that we're even having such a conversation. It reminds me of the John McEnroe / Serena Williams discussion...a plain and undeniable truth generates hysterical shrieks of sexism...except, of course...even sexism is's "misogyny," of course...
   This all does bring up a rather obscure and moderately interesting kind of dispute. Specifically, the dispute about the nature and extent of the putative epistemic/moral advantages of women's perspective on such things. (Actually: of the wronged party in general.) I say that the reasonable view is: women typically have a more reliable/well-informed view of the nature and severity of such insults to their persons. Feminists have sometimes argued that, in addition, only women have a right to even discuss the issue. The suggestion seems to be that men can't even take the testimonial evidence provided by women and then participate in discussions of it. I say that's wrong. But also, that's the general kind of thinking that has landed us with subjectivist sexual harassment policies that have been stripped of any constraint by reasonable person standards: if a woman feels x'd, she's been x'd. I say those are cracked. 
   This seems to be the kind of view of Minnie Driver (lord, our public discussions of serious matters are being conducted by celebrities...):
“I honestly think that until we get on the same page, you can’t tell a woman about their abuse,” she said. “A man cannot do that. No one can. It is so individual and so personal, it’s galling when a powerful man steps up and starts dictating the terms, whether he intends it or not.”
   It's not exactly clear what she's saying here. But it seems to mean that, if a man bumps into a woman and she reports that it is literally the Holocaust, then that's that. And it's never permissible for a man to say Hey, that isn't right. No matter how patently false the assertion. 
The very fact that there seems to be some dispute about Damon's almost-entirely-true (except insofar as it actually goes way, way too far) claim is an indicator of the madness that has gripped us--in some sense of 'us', anyway.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually have a strongly contrarian view of the epistemic value of the victim's perspective. I actually think it's pretty obviously inferior to that of a dispassionate party. Here's a pretty good analogy in my mind: the criminal justice system. Going back to English common law, we've determined that the criminal justice system functions most fairly when decision-making is done by either impartial peers or an impartial judge. Whenever a conflict of interest is discovered, we remove those people from the process asap. The progressive "stack" (a dimwitted attempt to seem like computer science that irritates me to no end) is basically then analogous to populating a murder jury with the families of former murder victims.

And it's actually even worse, because families of murder victims genuinely are victimized. The patriarchy does not exist, those "victimized" it are in many ways fabulists. So you have to add the emotional impairment victimization brings to judgement to prior understanding that the people participating in this charade are basically full of shit. Exhibit A, this Allyssa Milano comment from the piece:

“They all hurt,” Ms. Milano wrote on Twitter on Friday. “And they are all connected to a patriarchy intertwined with normalized, accepted — even welcomed — misogyny.”

There is no normalized misogyny, and there is no patriarchy. And the butt grabbing doesn't even hurt, strictly. It's mostly awkward, but ultimately harmless unless taken further.

Also, adding to the analogy, part of the reason why the use of disinterested parties is such a good test for grievance, is if a grievance is real, you should be able to express it in common language and prove it exists to any fair-minded speaker of that language. A lot of these issues aren't actually that hard. If your "grievance" requires you need to abuse some of the most plain terms of the language, like rape and violence, to get your way, that is not a good sign. It basically means you're trying to socially lynch people for patting butts.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, those are great points, A, and I've thought about them but they tend to get lost in the shuffle when I think about this stuff.

I think the other point can still be salvaged in a way--though I'm not like committed to it or anything. It's something like: questions about insult to one's person are *something like* reaction-dependent (*something like* it--I don't trust that concept at all). The most reliable judges about how much of an affront such a thing is are *other reasonable women, reflecting on such actions in a cool hour.* Not the victim herself, but people who are more likely to understand what such an act means (signifies even?).

But maybe adding so many normative qualifiers basically eviscerates the thesis.

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah reaction-dependent injuries are conceptually shaky in my mind too, but they obviously exist in some sense as well. I'd really hope we leave the State out of those things though, and handle it like civilized people: by throwing drinks in each others faces.

Also, for things like this, I obviously don't mind women being the judges in thse cases (although it seems very shaky that they are the only judges, if they have a claim, they should be able to convince men it is valid. Men and women still speak the same language and same moral vocabulary). Being a woman does not imply partiality whenever the patriarchy is discussed.

What's happening though is the grievances are carried out on Twitter, which means the women who are prioritized by the progressive stack are actually nutty Twitter feminists, who are neither fairminded nor reasonable, and not to be trusted to deliberate on these issues. Because they are basically trained to round up lynch mobs.

10:13 AM  

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