Two things that go together in a weird way . . . unfortunately.

Mr. Robertson,
You, sir, are a douche-bag.

                   

Reposting this as it’s too good not to pass along:

An Open Letter to the Guys Who Told Me They Want to See Lara Croft Get Raped

By Alyssa Rosenberg* on Jun 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm

In last week’s conversation about the fact that Lara Croft will be threatened with sexual assault in the latest release of Tomb Raider, commenter Yitzhak Ben-Moshe wondered “One wonders how many sick puppies will let it go and watch the rape happen. Disgusting.” No sooner had he said that than two people showed up in the feed to validate his fears. “As long as you get to watch Lara Croft get raped uncensored, I’ll pre-order the special edition right now,” wrote Jordan Cunningham. “I been wanting to see that foe nearly a decade.” And Eric Ericsson chimed in “Rape in my tomb raider? Oh boy, I cannot wait to raid her tomb.” This letter is to them.

Dear Jordan and Eric,

I have a lot of questions for both of you, but let’s start with this one: why do you want to see Lara Croft get raped?

I ask because I’d be willing to bet it’s something you hadn’t considered much before Ron Rosenberg and company laid out the scenario (one they’re now walking back) for the new Tomb Raider game that will give Lara Croft a backstory. And once you heard that Lara Croft was going to be at risk of rape in the new game, you jumped on the idea. But I still want to know why. It’d be one thing if you wanted to see the character have fairly explicit consensual sex—Lara Croft has been marketed to us as a hot, adventurous woman for years, and all manner of non-exploitative fantasies can come out of the way she’s been sold in-game and on-screen. But no, what Jordan wants is to see her get “raped uncensored,” and Eric wants the chance to do it himself.

So, in all seriousness, why do you want to see Lara Croft get raped?

Do you think she has an obligation to be sexually available, if not to you in real life, to someone else in-game, and if she violates that obligation, that it should be enforced upon her? One of the hard, immutable truths of adulthood is that no one owes you, and there is no mechanism to guarantee that everyone gets some mysteriously-allotted fair share of happiness and sexual satisfaction. I get that there’s this fantasy of a time before feminism when women were more broadly sexually available to men, when some men think they would have experienced less of that pain of loneliness and that fear of rejection that is baked into modern life. But I’d bet if you think about it carefully, you’ll acknowledge to yourself that it’s not really true, that participation in that fantasy was limited to certain very powerful and wealthy men, that it probably wouldn’t have served you as well as you think it would, that then, as now, you would have been required to exercise persuasion and charm and negotiation to get what you wanted. This fantasy of yours, it’s a fantasy. And nothing, not pretending you’re owed something, not seeing a video game character get raped, is ever going to bring it back.

So if it’s not that, is it entertaining to you to see this powerful woman reduced in some way, made vulnerable to something whether you’re the person enforcing her powerlessness or not? Because if that’s the case, really, what are you so frightened of? Lara Croft is not some sort of proof that men have been replaced as adventurers, or that men are unnecessary. To paraphrase Orson Scott Card’s Piggies talking about their desire to participate in the full life of the universe alongside humanity, feminism is not about being there first, about rendering men irrelevant. It’s about being there, too. I’d think that needing to see Lara Croft, or any other strong woman, made vulnerable isn’t pushback against misandry, the unicorn of oppressions. It’s evidence of fear, proof of John Scalzi’s theory that relying on patriarchy is really playing the game of life on the easiest setting rather than being willing to collaborate, and in some cases compete. If that’s what you really want, to be spared the presence of women in your lives because you find us threatening and upsetting, you may be able to find a way to do that, for a little while longer. But I don’t think it’s going to last. You can’t put all of us in whatever it is you perceive to be our places. There are too many of us. And whether you want to acknowledge it or not, there are a lot of men who will tell you that having women is a value add to their lives, not a painful surrendering of territory. You can fight for whatever barren rock you want to make your last stand on. But why not check out what men and women are building together? If you like what you see, then welcome.

Or are you at that point in your life where you think there’s something inherently exciting about violating norms, and so the fact that women are upset about the prospect of seeing Lara Croft get assaulted lights up some part of your brain and makes you want not so much to see it happen as to see them upset? I sort of suspect that this is where you are, that you aren’t so much deeply angry or afraid as amused by the idea of eliciting a reaction from people like me and from guys like Yitzhak. And to a certain extent, I get that impulse. There’s a lot of censuriousness in our society today, particularly around video games. I’m as much a fan of anyone as picking apart hollow moralism and self-righteousness. But it’s a mistake to assume that just because some things are specious that nothing means anything. And wandering around smashing things indiscriminately doesn’t make you smart, or clever, or brave. It just makes you a blank shield, without cause or metaphorical country. That sounds more lonely than liberated.

Honestly, I don’t feel particularly threatened by your comments, because they’re so predictable. But I do feel profoundly sad that you would leave them in the first place, and that you’d leave them under your own name, in a form that means those tossed-off, ugly sentiments show up in your Facebook stream. Maybe you assume that the only people reading them are on your same wavelength, that this is a joke you can share on the uptight feminist blogger. But you may be wrong. There may be someone reading your comments, someone you love and who you wouldn’t want to hurt, who has been raped or sexually assaulted or harassed, who you may be wounding all over again without you even knowing it. There may be someone out there in your future who will stumble across these comments, someone you’ve gotten close to and come to care about, who will read these words and have their sense of you rearranged in an instant.

I don’t really care if you don’t care about hurting me. But I suspect that there are people in your lives that you don’t want to hurt, whose respect you’d like to maintain. And if you don’t care about doing damage to other people, I’d hope you’d at least care about doing damage to yourself. There’s a world out there you’re cutting yourself off from by saying things like this, perhaps without ever having seen or experienced it. Having some basic respect for women, being revolted rather than gleeful about rape culture, these things won’t automatically make life easy. But they’re a precondition for certain opportunities, a whole range of conversations and interactions. Publicly embracing patriarchy isn’t just playing the game on the easiest difficulty setting. It’s committing yourself to not playing all the way through the game.

Alyssa

*Alyssa Rosenberg is a culture blogger for ThinkProgress.org. She is a correspondent for TheAtlantic.com and The Washington Monthly.

“Boni pastoris est tondere pecus non deglubere” (It is of a good shepherd to shear his flock, not to flay them) ~ Tiberius

Political Cartoon by Pat Bagley of The Salt Lake Tribune   

“Mr. Robertson, Mr. Limbaugh, your lives are not worth those of the lowest, meanest, poorest of those victims still lying under the rubble in Haiti tonight . . . You inspire only stupidity and hatred.” ~ Keith Olbermann on Countdown, January 13, 2010

Hello all of you Dittoheads out there. I know that you are lurking, just waiting for some left-wing liberal nut job such as myself to badmouth your idol. You won’t come out in the open, of course, because that might mean engaging in open discourse with someone who uses logic, facts, and sanity (okay, the sanity part might be going too far), but you get my point.    

Marisa Pierre of Haiti lost two brothers, photo by Lynn Sladky/AP

Or most probably you do not. You do not see anything wrong with douchebag Rush Limbaugh saying that this situation in Haiti was perfect for the Obama administration because they will use it to gain credibility with “both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country. It’s made to order for them.”

Oh, so many things wrong with that statement that I do not know where to begin parsing the illogic, so I won’t. Or how about Limbaugh’s contention that the President was “irritated” at having to speak about the “Christmas Day Fruit of Kaboom Bomber,” but he (the president) “couldn’t wait to get out there, could not wait to get out there” to speak about Haiti.

Dick-of-the-day Limbaugh says that the crisis will allow Obama to play up his compassionate side. Funny, I never thought that Obama’s compassion needed to be brought out more, that is unless Limbaugh is insinuating that Obama only shows compassion for black people, which would actually make sense using Limbaugh logic. But Limbaugh was not content to play the supposed race card, he had to add more insult to injury by suggesting that aid to Haiti was superfluous: “We’ve already donated to Haiti. It’s called the U.S. income tax.”     

I’m not going to post the video of Limbaugh’s inanity, but I will provide a link to a vid on politico.com just in case you have not seen this for yourself. For the full transcript of this broadcast (from which I drew my Limbaugh quotes directly), you need to go to Limbaugh’s direct site.    

Rush supporters are already girding their loins, issuing statements that his comments were taken out of context, that he just didn’t want people to donate money to the Red Cross via the White House (because everyone knows that President Obama will take that money and buy a suit for Michelle or something equally preposterous). Right. By the way, the President directed people to the White House site to get information on how to donate, a little discrepancy there between what the POTUS said and what Limbaugh heard.     

On a site that shall remain unnamed, one poster said that the issue is about the president and not Haiti because President Obama mentioned slavery in his speech to “keep slavery in the minds of the (U.S.) people.”  All righty then.  

Have to love logic like that. There is no arguing with such fallacies. I mean, criticize Obama because he didn’t speak out about the Christmas-day panty-bomber for three days . . . Hello? How long did it take for Bush to do anything about Katrina? Let’s get real here. Thankfully, no one died because of that idiot on the airplane. How many have died during the last 48 hours in Haiti?

A refresher on Limbaugh and Haiti if you please: In May of 2009, the ever-obstreperous blowhard jabbed at former President Clinton’s appointment as U.S. Special Envoy to Haiti: “I’m just gonna tell you, if I was named envoy to Haiti, I’d quit government. Envoy to Haiti? You can’t even pick up a prostitute down there without genuine fear of AIDS.” 

For real? Is there anything in that man’s brain but leftover oxycontin? Having sex with a prostitute is a risky business anywhere in the world.

Look. What is needed here is human compassion, people, or in President Obama’s words, doing things “for the sake of common humanity.” Stop playing politics when people’s lives are at stake. I mean, what does the President’s brother or the Nobel Peace Prize have to do with Haiti?     

May I just pause here to remind everyone with any grain of decency that Limbaugh is using as fodder for his broadcast a country that has seen the complete and total devastation of its capital’s infrastructure (such as it is), its population wandering the streets aimlesslessly without drinking water or shelter of any kind, and mortality estimates topping 100,000, all from a natural disaster that could not have been prevented.  

“That’s not the attitude that expresses the spirit of the president or the American people, so I thought it was a pretty stunning comment to make.” ~ White House Adviser, Valerie Jarrett 

Pat Robertson: Priceless Pictures/Clueless Man

But let’s not forget that bastion of all things holy, televangelist Pat Robertson, who avers that the Haitians brought on their misfortune. Now those of you who keep up with these things know that Robertson is a great one for blaming misfortune on the victims: the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the victims of 9/11; in those instances Robertson, in his lunacy, decried that “We have insulted God at the highest level of our government. Then, we say, ‘Why does this happen?’ It is happening because God Almighty is lifting His protection from us. Once that protection is gone, we are vulnerable because we are a free society.”

There you have it: Robertson’s personal doctrine. The victims died, were killed, were destroyed because, in Robertson’s interpretation, our “free” society calls for separation of church and state, allows abortion, acknowledges gay rights, and such a society deserves a good smiting by god. In other words, if the people don’t act/vote/behave according to Robertson’s interpretation of the way, then begone and be damned.

My personal favorite moment of Robertson lunacy came when he said that the citizens of Dover, Delaware were SOL if something bad happened because they had “voted God out of [their] city” (700 Club broadcast on 11-11-05). No, Pat. I don’t think that god was actually on the ballot that day.

I alluded to Robertson in my previous post, but tonight I want to share some of his now infamous statement on exactly why the people of Haiti are now suffering death, disease, displacement, and despair:  

And you know, Christy, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it, they were under the heel of the French, uh, you know, Napoleon the third and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the devil, they said, we will serve you, if you get us free from the Prince, true story. And so the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.’ And they kicked the French out, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free, and ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other, desperately poor. . . 

Of course Robertson’s people were quick to try to clean up the mess made by the dotty proselytizer, stating that Robertson’s “compassion for the people of Haiti is clear. He called for prayer for them.” That he did, just seconds after saying that they had made a pact with the devil. I’m pretty sure that’s what is known las desventajas anulan los beneficios, i.e., invalidation. (Click here for the complete article on Limbaugh and Robertson on politico.com.)     

Enough already. I’m working myself into a lather. More later. Peace.

George Harrison’s “Give Me Love” 
 

    

 

Political Cartoon by David Fitzsimmons of the Arizona Daily Star

Haiti: How to Help: click this link for a list of charities accepting donations as well as information on making donations.
If you would like to file an online complaint with the FCC, click this link. It’s a very simple form, and only takes a few minutes to complete. To find out what station in your area airs Rush Limbaugh, click here (Unfortunately, it’s Limbaugh’s site; I couldn’t find another site that listed all of the stations on which he airs). Be sure to put in Clear Channel Communications Syndication as they employ the ignoramus. The air date was January 13, 2010.