Bolt the revisionist caught in distortions of historical facts for personal gain!

23 Oct

I bet there are women everywhere who’d give a great deal for the opportunity to take public revenge on an old lover, as has Suzanne Walshe, ex fiancée of Andrew Bolt, in this article in The Age.

There’s also plenty who’d rather have needles in their eyes than trot out ancient hurts for everyone to see. Whatever floats your boat, is what I think.

Bolt has publicly refered to Ms Walshe in less than flattering terms, negating the almost six-year slice of life they shared and their engagement, by stating in an interview that he once was a “minder for a belly dancer” who was his “then girlfriend.” It was the belly dancer bit that alerted Ms Walshe to the fact that Bolt was talking about her, as she put herself through college with this employment. The cad later went on to deny there had ever been an engagement, effectively erasing his serious relationship with Ms Walshe from his account of his personal history. Ouch.

“Minder for a belly dancer?” What’s that supposed to mean? He fought off other males?

This just goes to prove, by the by, what I have argued many times to the moralistic furies who want to ban pole dancing, strip shows, belly dancing and the like. There are many young women who choose to support themselves in these occupations while they learn to be doctors, lawyers, academics and a whole host of other vocations. So unless you’re prepared to finance them leave them alone, it’s none of your business if they like to get raunchy.

A series of strangely formal and constrainedly histrionic emails ensued between the two, accusative on the one side, quite grovellingly apologetic on the other. “I am not trying to wipe you from the record of my life.” Bolt protested, even though he wrote on his blog that he couldn’t recall ever being engaged to anybody, except, presumably, he might have been to his wife at some point.

Suzanne fires back with claims of not just an engagement ring but an Irish wedding ring as well that Andrew told her to wear upside down, the custom being that Irish wedding rings are worn upside down during the engagement, then turned right side up after the wedding. The things you learn. Walshe also included in her article a touching note that Andrew sent with the ring (he was apparently in Dublin at the time) as proof positive that she wasn’t making any of this up. Ouch again. That might be a line-crosser, but it’s hard to say.

For myself, I read the personal emails of others made public with a voyeuristic thrill of horror and disbelief. Such communications are almost always cringe-worthy because of their very nature, let alone for what is written in them. I imagine firing off emotive notes intended only for the recipient (which I have done, I admit it, hasn’t everyone?) then waking up one morning to find them splattered across a national daily and I know I’d want to go to outer Mongolia and never, ever come back. Half the nation takes sides about how you’ve conducted your private life, and a good many of those sides are going to be nastily turned against someone, whether the writer or the revealer.

I have some empathy with Ms Walshe’s hurt feelings. It is not pleasant to discover that the man you loved enough to marry (till your common sense kicked in) has turned your six-year relationship into a one-line joke, dismissing it and you as never having been of any importance to him and claiming to have forgotten that he wanted to marry you into the bargain.

If Andrew Bolt is this fast and loose with his own history, where does he get off complaining publicly about how anybody else chooses to recount theirs?

Still, this does happen all the time in people’s accounts of their lives. Things left out, things left in, truths stretched, subjective experience that fails to correlate with the experience of others involved in the events. Family members end up in court charging one another with defamation. Siblings write books about their parents that appear to be written about entirely different mums and dads, and then never speak to one another again. Who owns the story? Whose story is “true?”

There is a considerable body of critical opinion that considers the “facts” of a life always to contain elements of fiction. The nature of memory is enigmatic, as is the question of how facts are remembered by the subject. For example in his autobiographical novel The Facts, Philip Roth states that “…memories of the past…are not memories of facts but memories of your imagining of the facts.”

I wrote that in my Honours thesis.

Luckily Suzanne appears to have kept a written record in the form of Andrew’s letters so he’s stuffed.

It turns out that Ms Walshe broke off the engagement. I’d venture to suggest that people generally attempt to erase or repress memories because they are painful in some way. Likewise people often become dismissive and derogatory about past intensely emotional events for the same reason.

Could it be that Andrew still smarts when he remembers Suzanne’s rejection of him as a husband and potential father of her children? Could publicly pretending to forget be Andrew’s revenge after all this time? Is it an indicator of Bolt’s pathological solipsism that it apparently did not occur to him that the woman he so cruelly dismissed might strike back and show him up for the dorky manipulative tosser he really is? Or was it his intention to draw her out in the hope of instigating fresh dialogue with her? How would Andrew’s wife feel about that, I wonder?  Does anybody really care? Does anyone want to read my Honours thesis? Is “pathological solipsism” a tautology? Shall I go out in the kayak this morning? Should I close my Twitter account before I offend more people like I offended Joe Hildebrand the other day by calling him a toothy git, causing him to fire back that I was a troll?

Hoo Haa! Life is marvellous!!

UPDATE!! Andrew strikes back here! Continues to deny engagement! Bemoans Fairfax Press obsession with his private life! 

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35 Responses to “Bolt the revisionist caught in distortions of historical facts for personal gain!”

  1. David Horton October 23, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    If nothing else, keep offending Hildebrand. Very worthwhile.

    I disagree slightly with Roth (he says, grandiosely). I think we remember remembering. In fact as we get older it becomes remembering remembering remembering, each link in the chain, like chinese whispers, becoming slightly or greatly corrupted. Which is where the “imagining” kicks in.

    Very nice post.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson October 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

      Thanks David – it’s interesting that Bolt and Hildebrand are so very good at dishing out all kinds of unpleasantries, yet the moment they think someone’s doing it back at them, they spit the dummy. Is it News Ltd thing?

      I often disagree with Roth, but I found The Facts in one of those serendipitous moments when I was stuck in my thesis – I had enough Foucault, Deleuze, Barthes etc etc to sink a battleship and I wanted some one from contemporary literature. I was mooching about the stacks bitching and moaning and I just spotted the Roth, which I hadn’t heard of before. I pulled it out and bingo! Same happened with Exit Ghost when I did my PhD.

      Serendipity happens so often in my life it makes me want to believe in good fairies. On the other hand there’s been plenty of times when they’ve left me high and dry, the bastards.

      Like

  2. gerard oosterman October 23, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Or is it forgetting, forgetting and more forgetting? Where am I now?

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson October 23, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

      No use asking me. I hardly ever know where I am. I was in a kayak a while ago and that was nice.

      Like

  3. paul walter October 23, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Sometimes a tumescent boil will just burst, in the most incovenient of places.

    Like

  4. M. November 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    You do realise that it’s not only “moralists”, but socialist, humanist, and feminist theorists who critique sexual labour, including pole dancing and stripping, as indefensible? For a blog entitled No Place For Sheep, it would seem that you’ve joined the flock of fools complicit to both capitalism and patriatchy who think all sexual behaviour is above and beyond critique no matter how misogynist or exploitative. It is intellectually-lazy and dishonest to assert the illusion that people opposed to dehumanising girls and young women are all a bunch of “moralists”, but it is beyond question that the market values at the core of sexual labour make your position and gender politics about as “progressive” as Andrew Bolt’s views on race or nationhood.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson November 22, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

      Perhaps I should have been more specific in my use of the term “moralist.” I could have written feminist moralists, socialist moralists,humanist moralists, etc, it just didn’t occur to me to do so.

      I’m not sure which post your comments refer to, but I think you’ll find that both on the blog and in articles elsewhere I have indeed critiqued both capitalism and patriarchy, and strongly recommended that if the moralists of whatever category really wish to bring about change, they too should address the central role of capitalism in the commodification of children, and female sexuality. I think you will find also that for reasons I can’t fathom, many who vigorously oppose sexual labour of all kinds also strenuously avoid a critique of capitalism’s role. I have never once read or heard of Melinda Tankard Reist and her followers for example, approaching the issue from this angle.

      I do suspect, however, that to critique capitalism is far too threatening for these middle class activists and I refer you to my most recent Drum article: Pornography, the internet and class, in which I address these issues.

      I’ve never thought of myself as a gender politician. As I have no investment in that title, or in being “progressive,” being likened to Andrew Bolt on those issues leaves me underwhelmed.

      Thank you for taking the time to read the bog and comment.

      Like

  5. M. November 23, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    Jennifer,

    D. A. Clarke and Stan Goff,, even Gail DInes, mentioned elsewhere on the blog, et all _frequently_ critique the market values that underpin sexual labour, which is why they have been critical of “leftists” who support what are essentially the commodities of one of the world’s most lucrative industries. That you mention someone as ridiculous as Tankard Reist in your kneejerk response is only proving my point about the intellectual laziness and dishonesty of your positition about… what is it… “moralism”: Tankard Reist is a moralist, but to suggest that these socialists and feminists are “moralists” is no different than arguing that people who loathe Andrew Bolt for his racism are “moralists”; it’s a cop-out that is, quite franky, just plain stupid. Your own blog is moralistic by your own logic, or lack of rather, because it positions itself as the moral authority on race and other social issues. If critiquing what is perhaps capitalism’s greatest achievement since slavery as indefinsible is “moralistic” than critiquing homophobia or racism as indefensible must be “moralistic” too, I guess… Bolt shouldn’t say nasty things about Indigenous Australians or Muslims, because this can cultivate violence, but, of course, when a magistrate says dehumanising images of girls and young women cultivates violence against women he or she must be mad, right? The only people who can match the Tankard Reists of the world for sheer hysteria are people who think anything to do with sex is beyond any scrutiny no matter how harmful its production or product. Your attitude is common. It is, afterall, the new paradigm: a “left” raging against capitalism and patriarchy only to show its own allegiance to market values at their most unconscionable to defend the indefensible. The rhetoric of anti-capitalism doesn’t quite cut it when you’re erecting false dichotomies of moralists just to keep face with vapid simpletons who get off on industries that exploit cheap labour in Eastern Europe, sexualise racism, thrive on hegemonic depictions of girls and young women, and, as evidenced in testominies by both men and women in the industries, use coercive, often violent, measures… and all to make a buck.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson November 23, 2011 at 7:20 am #

      I find Gail Dines extremely moralistic and I agree with you that MTR is an hysteric. Nevertheless these women have a big influence and it’s necessary that they be publicly challenged. When anyone makes claims without researched substance, as do Dines, MTR and their followers, they are IMO being moralistic, as their morality is the only basis they offer for their assertions.

      You seem to be conflating several issues in your efforts to frame me as stupid and dishonest. For example, women who decide to learn pole dancing and wear certain clothes are not in the same situation as women who are victims of trafficking and sexual abuse, yet you write as if they are one victimised homogenous mass. All such conflations of human situations are acts of dehumanisation, and individual women strongly resent being thus categorised. You may like to think about that. Even the most damaged woman has the right to have her individuality respected and acknowledged. She’s not just one of those pole dancers, or one of those victims of capitalist exploitation, so don’t make her a victim of your rhetoric.

      What I find dishonest is the tendency to conflate – and that is a characteristic of hysteria and lack of intellectual rigour. For example, because I think women are entitled to the personal freedom (within the confines of capitalism) to decide if they will learn pole dancing, wear certain clothes, and earn their living as sex workers, does not mean I support trafficking, rape, and child sexual abuse. Of course all these things are products of patriarchal capitalism, that is self evident. There’s hardly a move any human being can make in any direction that is not commodified, as I have said many times.

      I have never suggested a magistrate or anybody else is “mad” for suggesting violent images incite actual violence, and I don’t think for a minute that “anything to do with sex is beyond scrutiny.” As for a desire to “keep face with vapid simpletons”…that’s really silly. Just think about your words, and the emotion you’re attaching to them, and why.

      I am my own moral authority, that is true. This is my blog, and one of the points of a personal blog is that its owner expresses their personal POV which includes their “morality.”

      In theory, many of your opinions are IMO spot on. However, theory is nothing without practice and in practice you are talking about complex human beings with complex needs and complex experiences. Faced with the complications of the human, theories alone fall short. I know women I believe are exploited and abused. I can throw theories at them and about them all day and it won’t make a blind bit of difference to them. Alternatively I can treat them and their lives with the respect they deserve as human beings, regardless of their circumstances or my political views about those circumstances. I prefer to do the latter. This is misinterpreted by you and those like you as me supporting the circumstances.To me, that indicates a lack of insight and subtlety on your part, and that is a normal side effect of rage.

      I’m willing to engage with you, however, I don’t accept personal abuse, particularly from an anonymous source, so if you want to continue the conversation you need to mind your manners just a little.

      Like

      • M. November 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

        Jennifer,

        The only reason I accused you of being either intellectually-lazy or dishonest is because like so many apologists for sexual labour you rather predictably did one of two things: you either pretended that your adversaries amounted to women like Tankard Reist to reduce a debate which I admit is complex to one of mere prudery versus apparent common sense knowing that this simply isn’t true or are or were completely ignorant of women like Clarke whose essays on the internet and globalised sexual labour incisively dismantle positions such as yours making you hardly the most well-read and therefore trusted advocate for sexual labour I’m afraid.

        IMHO Gail Dines’ position isn’t one of morals but one of ethics because her work is framed in a critique of hegemony and has nothing to do with attitudes toward sex or nudity popular among the religious or the superstitious. You call me silly but you’re the one whose advocacy relies on the delusion that clearly hyper-masculine constructions of sexualities calculated for no greater purpose than to make money are “sex” and nothing more or less. As a minority I don’t like Andrew Bolt either but moralising sycophants who go on and on about anything even hinting at nationalism or racialism only to think we ought to consider the complexities of this or that and give the benefit of the doubt to products to their production that are so glaringly obvious in their misogny are simply the height of hypocrital thinking.

        Not once have I denied the obvious reality that some women choose a career in pole-dancing or stripping but that these women choose to pander to misogyny is beside the point and your position completely neglects to address the issue of hegemony with respect to choice and how capital impacts upon the value of choice and worse of consent. I find quite absurd your claim that you support sexual labour from a position of anti-capitalism to be honest.

        Like

        • Jennifer Wilson November 24, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

          I support sexual labour from a position of anti capitalism? That’s news to me. I’m an advocate for sexual labour? More news to me.

          If I’m an advocate for anything, and I doubt that, it’s for the women who work as sexual labourers not to be stripped of their humanity by people taking ideological positions such as yours. As I said before, theoretically we are in some agreement, practically we are not.

          Your phrase “women who pander to misogyny” belies your claims that capital impacts on choice and consent. The phrase is judgmental and pejorative, indicating that you consider these women entirely responsible for their to you, unacceptable choices. If this were not the case, you would not refer to them in that manner, you would acknowledge that their “choices” are hardly free, but subject to the demands of hegemonic hyper-masculinity. You don’t do this. You judge “these women” for their “pandering choices.”

          You can’t have it both ways. Either “these women” are victims, or they are free to choose to “pander to misogyny.” Which is it?

          I’m angered by an attitude that is based in ideology, religion, superstition, or whatever, that marginalizes, demonizes, and paints as deviant women who engage in sexual labour and or express themselves sexually in ways that are disapproved of by representatives of all the above belief systems. If you really believe women are controlled by hegemonic hyper-masculinity then you have no grounds at all for using the kind of language that judges them, and places those women in an inferior position to that which you claim for yourself. I assume, if you are a woman, that you consider yourself to have escaped the confines of hegemonic hyper-masculinity? Or that you have a stronger moral character and so have resisted the impulse to pander to that force?

          I’m also interested in why you single out sexual behaviours for this attention, given that in the world order you describe, every “choice” we make is affected by capitalism. To single out the sexual suggests a specific moral agenda.

          Like

  6. M. November 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    P.S.:

    as far as middle class activism is concerned well… white male liberal bourgeois just about sums up the vast majority of “left-wing” activists in your country so forgive me for not taking you too seriously on that front.
    also speaking on behalf of women accorded the privilege to choose the privilege to make a choice is hardly representing the rights of those without wouldn’t you say? try reading testimonies by men as well as women who speak about the paradigm of women working in sexual labour instead of vieling your position behind the mythologised glamour enjoyed by a disproportionate minority. you are of course entitled to your opinion about sexual labour as much as anyone but you’re insulting those women who don’t fit into your model of choice as much as indeed if not more so than women like dines insult those with the capacity to choose. just saying.

    Like

  7. M. November 24, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    Jennifer,

    Enough with semantics… you said you are critical of capitalism and yet while you apparently express little to no support for sexual labour you raise the spectre of moralism to try to contest opposition to it. Your own position is ideological and it strips those women of their humanity who do have little to no choice and essentially we are talking about industries whose products dehumanise women so the essence of your argument or lack of rather seems to be that we should respect the right of women to work in industries that dehumanise them and their sisters for otherwise we are dehumanising them. Brilliant logic. If people of colour choose a career in self parody or worse in policy making that considerably harms their people I suppose we should simply accept this too? Look at the Australian Left so quick to level accusations of “tomming” against indigenous parliamentarians whenever their indigenous policies support those of the Right… I guess this makes the Australian Left racist for questioning the integrity the humanity of these people too? Your quite frankly predictable ranting about sexual labour and choice is irreconcilable with a critique of hegemony and in spite of your apparent credentials when it comes to opposing capitalism and patriarchy all i see are empty attempts to defend the indefensible. Your responses rely so heavily on the delusion of individual sovereignty that I honestly fail to see how you’re position is any different than that of the average apathetic neo-liberal or neo-con arguing in favour of unconscionable enterprise.

    Complicity to existing pillars of power that harm our sisters our daughters and indeed our brothers and our sons hardly warrants respect… pity maybe… but no… what I said doesn’t belie my claim about capital and its distortion of the value of consent because the two possibilities are not exclusive to one another; I conceeded that some women can and do choose a career in sexual labour but not all do and it is in those circumstances that I believe choice is inauthentic; the only one of us who seems to be struggling to prove what is untrue is you by reducing the debate to one of choice even knowing that for countless girls often underage and women working in sexual labour the reality is being pimped and subject to violence day after day. The mein age of entry into sexual labour is 13 but hey it all comes down to “choice” I guess. The only middle class activist here is the one portraying sexual labour as a pretty little picture of privileged women living in western democracies choosing their career. That is: you.

    I would also like to thank you for once again taking the predictable route by comparing sexual labour to any other labour in a capitalist framework. Allow me to put this bluntly: if a gun is directed at the head of a man and he is made to pack shelves for supermarkets for the remainder of his life this is unjust and indefensible. It’s slavery. However if a gun is directed at the head of a woman and she is made to have sex with several men each day for the remainder of her life this is not only unjust and indefensible it raises serious questions about consent and in turn what is or is not sexual violence well… at least it does for people who give a shit. This has nothing to do with moralism about sex and everything to do with ethics about violence about sexual violence. One second you admit that not all sex is beyond scrutiny is just is harmless and then you turn around and essentially say that there is no more wrong with a women being subjected to what is essentially getting raped by johns than any other demeaning work… this is why I can’t take you seriously as someone apparently critical of capitalism _and patrirachy_…. as soon as something becomes commodified it is wrapped up in the inherent injustices of the capitalism system and you fail to consider the deeper underpinnings of what is going on. I have spoken to women who have and who continue to work in sexual labour and read countless testimonies from these women and others and they insist that this is their experience and the paradigm for these industries with women choosing their career and enjoying it belonging to a disproportionate minority. These are the women you would silence because they don’t support your hyper-liberal fairytale about “prudes” raging against sexual labour and as far as my apparent insults toward those women who do choose a career in sexual labour you might consider how the whole angle of “prudery” and “moralism” makes your own rhetoric frighteningly resemble that of the average misogynist pig complaining about women who don’t approve of or submit to _their_ expectations of women. This inconvenient truth is often neglected among those quick to equate socialist or feminist theorists opposed to sexual labour with the religious and superstitious Right… I loathe such ideologues but neither do i think particularly highly of misogynist shitbags and pimps either. I only mentioned “vapid simpletons” because IMHO these commodities are calculated to arouse people weak of will who exemplify in every imaginable way these two words… allowing one’s sexuality to be constructed by media is pathetic and stupid. If you think that’s just silly just emotional I don’t particular care but it’s hardly mature or rational to think anyone opposed to sexual labour is just “moralistic” indeed it rests on a rather erroneous dichotomy shared and welcomed among juveniles and misogynists alike. It’s the mere rhetoric of edginess; let’s rage against the system against the status quo while in fact reinforcing it.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson November 24, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

      For someone who can’t take me seriously you sure are expending a lot of energy critiquing me!

      Don’t have time to give your comments the thought they deserve tonight. Will get back to you.

      Like

  8. M. November 24, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    Jennifer,

    It’s more than a little telling to find that one of your supporters hereupon would suggest that a particular anti-porn activist needs to be… well… you get the picture. We are “prudes” and you’re a champion for misogynist swine. Bravo!

    Like

    • Sam Jandwich November 25, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

      Hello M,

      Good to see someone challenging the status quo. I’ve always thought that’s where progress comes from.

      Firstly let me say that yes it’s true, I suppose I could be described as “supporting” Jennifer Wilson’s writing. For various reasons I think it is important that, in the interests of intellectual rigour and having something valid to say, anyone who would make statements in the public arena should be capable of acknowledging their own personal motivations for saying what they say, and making this explicit – and I consider Jennifer to be a rare example of a writer who is not afraid to declare herself in this way. It’s very refreshing to read her work.

      However that doesn’t mean Jennifer and I are associated in any way. Anything I say is entirely my responsibility, and has nothing to do with the positions Jennifer (or anyone else for that matter) takes on anything. We’re all adults (at least…most of the time) and we are all capable of independently making up our own minds.

      As to my comment on our friend Miranda, what I would say, and what your lengthy ejaculations (sorry couldn’t resist it) above make perfectly clear, is that you conduct your arguments without much apparent awareness of the preconceptions and assumptions contained in the things you say. And here I think what’s going on is you are projecting your own understanding of what sex consists of onto me.

      My understanding of “sex” is that it is something which is enjoyable, life-affirming, an expression of a deep interpersonal connection, which people do together, through free (ie untainted by patriarchy, “morality”, religion, or any other belief system you care to name) choice and mutual agreement. Anything less than this isn’t sex; it’s exploitation, assault, rape – and completely indefensible. Contrast if you like “mutual agreement” with the idea of “consent”: I think the concept of consent is quite unhelpful when applied to sex because it implies that sex is something that someone “does” to someone else (and in this regard I think you could say that it is patriarchy that is responsible for causing this primarily legalistic concept to be applied to the social context).

      And so when I say “MTR needs a good …” I’m saying in, a slightly satirical way, that I suspect she would benefit from being reminded what it’s like to experience satisfying, deeply fulfilling sex with a loving, respectful partner, because if she could do this on a regular basis she wouldn’t be so suspicious of sex – and instead of criticising every instance of it on the unsubstantiated suspicion that it is usually conducted on unethical terms, she should be agitating for social conditions which let people explore their sexualities safely, and without adversely affecting anyone else. To suggest I meant otherwise is both wrong, and completely out of order.

      Does that help?

      Like

      • Matthew November 25, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

        “MTR needs a good …”
        i) Therapist
        ii) Deprogrammer
        iii) Stiff Drink
        iv) Hobby

        Like

  9. M. November 25, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    Sam,

    To put it mindly and kindly, you’re a cretin, because your position rests on the idiocy that anyone opposed to what is in essence an industry isn’t having good sex. That sort of rhetoric might win over adolescents or those with the minds of adolescents who see the porn debate as simple as sexless prudes versus heroes of libertarianism but to anyone with some semblance of intelligence you just look like an imbecile. Plaiin. Simple. It is almost laughable the way this blog shifts between rage against capitalism (at its convenience) only to defend what is one of its greatest achievements and its resistance against internet filtering is simplistic and about as thickheaded as it gets. The internet is a marketplace like any other but let’s make it unregulated let’s make it free let’s make it a monument of market values… hurray! Down with capitalism! Right…. Jennifer’s lie… I mean line… about middle class activism would be amusing were it not so obvious not so sad who the real middle class activists are here. Try working with women in women’s shelters who have or who continue to work in sexual labour and listen to them about their experiences or reading the testimonies of women working on these industries that make your hyper-liberal myths reducing the debate to one about sex look like the infantile insensitive and sensless shit that they are (when even the most successful woman _still_ working in porn holds views about her work that dismantle your hyper-liberal delusions you’re seriously clutching at straws) and maybe instead of treating the easily dissected and dismissed drivel of white male liberal bourgeois dickheads like McKee as gospel try thinking for a change. Yes there are simpletons and superstituous and religious nutjobs that hate porn. There are also misogynist pieces of shit that hang on the every word of people like Jennifer because they think her half-baked politics of convenience can rationalise their behaviour their sociopathic contempt for women who won’t perform in accordance with the corporate constructions of sexualities that shape their ideas of sex their rape fantasies their patriarchal discourse in the bedroom and the list goes on. “Untainted by patriarchy…” sorry but when you’re defending _an industry_ that thrives on hegemonic depictions of women calculated to arouse misogynist shitbags _an industry_ that fuels human trafficking and exploits cheap labour in former Bloc states well… talking about patriarchy just makes you look like an imbecile.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson November 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

      Didn’t I say something about refraining from personal abuse?

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      • M. November 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

        And Sam’s response to “Abigail Bray” didn’t amount to personal abuse… oh please… it’s your blog and I’m sure you’re not opposed to censoring it at your convenience either but allowing the guy to imply that she needed to get a dick up her to learn a lesson (and keep in mind had he said what he said word for word face to face with her he could be facing court for sexual harassment) is far more abusive than anything I have said here.

        Like

        • Jennifer Wilson November 25, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

          Sam’s response to Abigail Bray? I thought he made a comment about MTR quite a long time ago that I did in fact partially delete. Will go back and check.

          Like

  10. M. November 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    Sam,

    Further I wan’t referring to Tankard Reist but to Abigail Bray… had you bothered to read the thread you would notice that I agree that Tankard Reist is hysterical… pity you people can’t see how the hysteria with which you rant about big bad censorship makes you look as silly as the Tankard Reists of the world. I have read some fairly daft arguments in favour of censorship but the most unacademic most ridiculous arguments I have read on the issue have come from those opposed to a filter. The drawing of analogies that are so flawed that a ten year old could dismantle them in the blink of an eye and adolescent-level abstract drivel about moral ambiguity (because the morality of raping children for entertainment for any reason is open to scrutiny right?) The message of this blog fits squarely into the increasingly predictable paradigm of pseudo-left drivel… racism and homophobia is wrong but misogyny well… it’s good to go. Self-righteous hypocrites…

    Like

    • Sam Jandwich November 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

      M I think you’re getting a little confused, and you’re starting to trip yourself up with your own vitriol. Normally I lay off when people start to self-harm in the way you are, but ok, since you’ve done me the courtesy of addressing me directly I’ll get back to you soon.

      I have to push off now – on the way home I have to pick up the Mercedes, attend an exclusive preview of next year’s champagnes, and rustle up some treats for my bantams, poor things out in the rain all day, but I’ll send you some further thoughts later on if I’ve time.

      Best wishes
      Sam

      Like

  11. M. November 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    You people can legitimise inequality in the name of “equality” to your heart’s content…. your selective definition of patriarchy (e.g. priests are bad; pimps and pornographers are good) makes you look like a bunch of fifteen-year-old boys who think church is evil but Suicide Girls is “edgy” and “different” leaving aside the fact that its founder hates Palestinians as much as he hates women and that he caused an exodus among models because of his abusive misogynist behaviour… but hey… capitalism is inherently unjust so let’s give it all a free ride. Just don’t dehumanise Jews or Negros and reserve dehumanisation for women please. Beyond the meaningless rhetoric about the apparent evils of governments regulating media no matter how unconsionable no matter how much it may play a part in cultivating violence beyond the immature and the irrational notion that people have the right to produce and buy and view anything they want by virtue of being adult beyond questioning the ambiguity of what is or is not good sex no matter how misogynist how manipulated beyond predictable myths and legends about sexual labour you people resemble hegemons for the very things you claim to oppose.: capitalism and patriarchy. “Middle class activism…” and this from people who invioke the name of Alan McKee… academics in their ivory towers who think the common man and woman must be “dumb” to surrender to the messages in media… academics who in a breath suggest that media can play no part in socialising behaviour (this probably explains the exodus of people working in marketing I guess?) and then sook about how hate literature directed at homosexuals or Muslims cultivates violence. You people have to be either the biggest bunch of hypocrites imaginable or just plain stupid to fail to see the glaring inconsistencies in your approaches to equality concerning gender and then concerning race or nationhood. A jackass like Tony Abbott says things that are offensive and essentialist in their depiction of women depiction of sexuality and you people scream bloody murder and call him out for being the misogynist that he is and yet Sam has his own fixed notions of good sex bad sex and it’s good to go because it supports your complacency when it comes to industries that thrive on misogyny. I don’t like Tankard Reist any more than any other rational human being but Sam’s infantile assumption that she isn’t getting good sex and that this is meant to explain her opposition to porn germinates in misogynist thinking no matter how you fucking look at it .. Abbott may be a misogynist piece of shit but no more than Sam and this is where the socialist theorist Clarke is spot on in her critique of patriarchy as trascending identity politics which is a game you people on this blog play and play rather predictably to be frank. You want to pretend to be against the system against the status quo and yet the extent of this seems to be to act like adolescents who think subverting Judeo-Christian morality is the answer despite how obvious it is to anyone with a brain that media that popular culture that these and other manifestations of capitalism share and welcome your idiocy and degeneracy because it sells like hot cakes. You people and your herdlike allegiance to capitalism and patriarchy in the context of sexual labour are as ovine as any congregation.

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    • Sam Jandwich November 25, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

      Ok look, I’ve changed my mind.

      I’m not going to respond directly to your rants because in essence that’s all they are – rants. And please don’t misunderstand me: I am highly sympathetic to the idea that if you want to engage with something, you have to develop an emotional connection to it and speak from the heart as well as the head. I’ve always really appreciated the opportunity to have my beliefs and statements held up to the microscope and examined by an intelligent commentator – an experience all too rare these days since we seem to be so frightened of offending each other. So in that light I just want to stress that it’s really interesting to me to get your feedback M. I’ll go away and try to assimilate it… because like all rants there may well be a grain of truth to be gleaned from it.

      So instead of responding directly, I’m going to tell you where I’m coming from. I’m at a stage in my life where I feel as though I’ve seen enough of the world and what it can do, to trust my own judgment, and to have figured out whats really important and what I think I’m well-positioned to contribute to, and to concentrate on that. And what that is is that I want more than anything else to try to prevent children from suffering abuse and neglect, and for those who have suffered abuse and neglect in childhood to be respected and listened to, and their needs met. And that’s currently what I do in my day job, hence the not using my real name. I have to say that I actually don’t eat jam sandwiches at all! (though my local Vietnamese bakery does a pretty decent beef and salad sandwich (incl. pickled radishes of dubious origin) that I’m quite partial to).

      But anyways, basically what I think, is that we are all guilty, as a society, and as a species, when child abuse and neglect occurs, and I think the world owes a living to the people who have been subjected to it. I don’t think that as a society (speaking for Australia and perhaps to a lesser extent English-speaking countries) we are particularly good at recognising the extent of child abuse, nor are we good at recognising it’s effects. I think we need to get better at this, and this is something I’m interested in pursuing in the long term – so I take every opportunity to tell people about it. I’d like to be able to contribute to making life more livable for people who have been abused in childhood. But for this to be a worthwhile pursuit, it’s important to make sure that life is worth living. I don’t think it’s productive to live in in fear of the lowest common denominator. Instead, we need to call dysfunctionality for being just that… so for example, any pornography that’s made, or any sexual labour that occurs, without the express agreement by all concerned that it is a good idea, is dysfunctional, and should be treated as such.

      And unsurprisingly enough, one thing I’m not prepared to put up with is abusive behaviour, and this is the case even when that behaviour is the direct result of the person in question having experienced abuse themselves (though there is some leeway in this case – more than you’d imagine). And M, essentially what you’re doing by saying the things you are saying is that (quite apart from the fact that you’re barely making sense. In fact i’m half tempted to think that you’re just Abigail Bray on the turps again) you are engaging in abusive behaviour.

      M, I’d really like to have a decent conversation with you as you seem like an interesting person. I just can’t shake the feeling that we’re actually pretty similar in our values and so I reckon we’d get on quite well if we ever got the chance to meet each other. But I’m afraid I’m not prepared to engage with you like this – partly because you’re obviously not capable of taking what any of us says in good faith, and partly because I wouldn’t want to embarrass you by pointing out the obvious.

      “Us people”, as I’ve said before, doesn’t exist. I’ve never met Jennifer Wilson or any of the other people who read this blog (though I’ve recommended it to a few people;-). But perhaps you could say our common interest is that, far from being “subversive”, what we we want is for the mainstream to be sufficiently enlightened so that it can be made to work for everybody. Am I right?

      Oh and by the way, the 2008 Croser gets an honourable mention, but I’m gonna stick to good ol’ Yarra Burn 🙂 Don’t waste your money on French clobber because we Aussies do pretty well, all things considered

      Like

      • M. November 25, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

        Even if it’s true that you work with abused children the fact is that you have said things on here that would probably constitute sexual harassment had they been said face to face so you will have to forgive me for thinking you’re not only far from the best judge of what constitutes misogyny but a coward and a dickhead. Neither do i particularly care what degenerate idiots think of me and least of all one who thinks the subject at hand is a bit of a laugh and who obsiously lacks the intellectual prowess to process the reality that the subject at hand is far more complex than your infantile notions about people opposed to certain industries and their sex lives. I don’t even know who the fuck Abigail Bray is but having read that thread and been more than familiar with her critiques which contrary to Jennifer’s lie about not knowing anyone who opposes porn from an anti-capitalist position were often that and more than familiar with the predictable misogynist drivel you provided in response I think I can safely say she can drink all the turps in the world and still out-think someone like you. Uh huh. “Us people” doesn’t exist but of course you need to think in terms of “those people” when considering your adversaries because you’re a hypocrite and a fool no less… so is your life’s journey and the assertion that you work with abused children meant to somehow vindicate your misogyny or is it just small talk… I have worked with women who have and who continue to work in sexual labour whose testimonies make you and your “moralism” angle look pathetic and stupid so I’m sincerely sorry if I think your point is pointless.

        Like

  12. M. November 25, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    Jennifer,

    If it’s so insulting to think of women who opt to work in sexual labour as naive at best, then what do you make of women who vote for senators whose policies impact considerably upon their rights (e.g. Tony Abbott) or those who parrot the unsettling views of religious leaders? Do you similarly consider these women to be right-thinking able women making valid choices and not to be judged… because to be honest I can almost hear you and your peers talking about how dumb a woman would have to be to vote conservative right now and call me elitist call me a prick but I just don’t believe we as people male or female are always capable of making good choices and I think reducing a debate about a thriving industry to something as insignifant as choice is not particularly smart to be honest. Unlike you unlike DInes unlike most people on either side of the issue who at least claim to represent and respect the women at the centre of the issue (impossible considering its complexity and that there are opposing camps working in the industry) I make no apologies for thinking some people irrespective of their gender are ignorant and that goes for people who are so easily sold on media on popular culture and like any herd believe what they are told and that includes people who consume porn as well as those who appear in it. Listening to braindead hippies go on and on about the new world order only to blindly exclude the normalisation and industrialisation of sexual labour from their criticisms because they don’t want their dickhead friends to think they’re “prudes” just goes to show how the pro-porn brigade can be as thick as posts and as hysterical ss if not more so than people like Tankard Reist. The choice platform fools the foolish who believe in individual sovereignty and abstract ideas about rights trumping the rights of others but anyone with an engagement with ethics with labour theory and with particular philosophies can see it through it like a pane of glass. With that said my views are perhaps more closely aligned with those of Swedish Law at least concerning prositution… to not penalise prostitutes but to penalise johns and I don’t particularly care how much it hurts your liberal sensibilities but were it up to me this would extend to shitbags who think it’s their god-given right to prduce and buy and view porn.

    I’m still waiting for your answers to a few things with regard the mein age of entry into sexual labour and “choice” in these circumstances, the inherent insensitivity and senselessness in your own position toward those women working in sexual labour who defy your model of “choice” , your comment about middle class activism in spite of the liberal bourgeois sentiments that underpin your position as well as the “vision” of men like McKee weighed against the reality that a lot of women arguing from DInes’ position work with women in and out of sexual labour at a grassroots level, as well as others, but won’t hold my breath.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson November 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

      You aren’t seriously expecting any further response from me, are you?

      Like

  13. M. November 25, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    No, because the realities of sexual labour render your politics of “rational choice” almost childish in their idealism…

    is it impossible for you to address the issue of the mein age of entry into sexual labour because it doesn’t support the lies you tell yourself and others?

    is it impossible to see the sheer hypocrisy of calling out women like Gail Dines for insutling women who can and do make a choice when you in turn insult those who cannot but must, by contrast, sacrificing them and others on a pyre of pathetic hyper-liberal rhetoric?

    is it impossible to see how honestly laughable it is for someone who sings the praises of someone like McKee to talk about middle class activism?

    Your blog exemplifies in every imaginable way Middle Class Activism, because, as far as sexual labour is concerned, it represents the interests of individuals, the consumer and the user, and the producer, just as much as the worker, above those of others in what is for most an industry of misery, it reduces the real world to exchangeable ideas and abstracts among you and your peers, it is about the Sovereign “I” not only irreconcilable with labour theory but with common sense, and it is about modernity at its most exploitative and contolling, and, however indirectly, it is also about the primacy of money. The liberal bourgeous nonsense that you hereupon couch in unsound anti-capitalist discourse might fool those whose engagement with labour theory doesn’t extend beyond the pages of pseudo-left drivel like the Green Left Weekly, but you’re a sheep, Jennifer. Of course, it’s your blog, it’s your flock… maybe Sam is the black sheep, but I’m sure he’s not alone among your fans in his borderline sociopathic misogyny when it comes to what he thinks “prudish” women need to see things the way he sees them… you keep real good company in your complacency. So long.

    Like

    • Sam Jandwich November 26, 2011 at 9:24 am #

      Funny, I’ve always thought “class” was a patriarchal construct and as a result I don’t buy into it. We’re all in this together, surely.

      How odd (and apt) then that someone whose mission is to dismantle patriarchy is so beholden to it.

      Like

  14. M. November 28, 2011 at 12:54 am #

    Jennifer,

    1) The egalitarianism at the core of the idea of individual sovereignty and choice is unto itself Moralistic. Further, egalitarianism finds its origins in Judeo-Christian morality about humanity just as much as this spectre of moralistic views about sex which you reduce this debate to, making your hysterical accusations of moralism look rather silly to be honest. [I believe it was Nietzsche who said egalitarianism and Christianity were two weeds from the same root… he also found nihilistic degenerates to be as ovine (noplaceforsheep, indeed) as any church-goer, but that’s another matter entirely].

    2) The basis of your charge of moralism relies not only upon your own personalised definition of what does or does not constitute moralising, which is just plain lazy, and not particularly academic as far as ethics is concerned, it also either ignorantly or conveniently fails to frame this alleged moralism outside of the Judeo-Christian morality you’re, apparently, so ambivalent toward. Moralist attitudes rise from moralities not only on matters of sex, but matters of violence and of life, and of death, and even of race, among other things. You suggest rather erroneously that any opposition to sexual labour is inherently moralistic in its view of sex, but only do this because you don’t want to engage with serious ethical questions about consent in the marketplace, perhaps because your anti-capitalism is superficial at best, and it’s easier to level charges of moralism at everyone who doesn’t agree with you, but, either way, it’s no more moralistic than any opposition to war, to capital punishment, to genocide, or to anything else because you personally believe that people have rights simply by virtue of their humanity instead of of their community.

    PS: Sam’s inane stereotype implying that only women having bad sex would oppose sexual labour is, in spite of its disturbing and disgusting inherent misogyny, rather funny for a few reasons: mainstream hetereosexual pornography is predictable, homogenous, and about as boring as it gets, not to mention directed, and calculated accordingly to make money from vapid simpletons. Women in sexual labour typically don’t have the sex they want but the sex the client or the film director wants from them… I’m sure this sounds fulfilling to the average misogynist clown,… add to this another common stereotype about the dateless lowlives that shape users and consumers of and… well… I recall an episode of a comedy show where one comedian complained about the Classification Board and another responded that he couldn’t think of anything more pathetic than playing champion for losers that use and consume pornography. I agree.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson November 28, 2011 at 6:15 am #

      The problem with your rants is that they continue to demonstrate that you do not understand or care to understand the people you are ranting against. Unfortunately that’s a characteristic of ranters. I’m not going to respond to any of your rantings.

      It’s impossible to have a conversation with you, and that’s unfortunate because you’re intelligent and informed and it would be interesting to engage with you. However, engagement isn’t your goal, ranting is. Not interested Dr Bray. Let’s move on with our lives.

      Like

      • Sam Jandwich November 29, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

        Ah, good to see you two are on speaking terms again!

        Jennifer I was just going to say, I think I remember reading something on your blog a few months ago about the sexualisation of children in advertising, but I can’t find it. Might you know where it is? Because I’ve a sneaking suspicion that it might help to show that what our friend Dr. Bray is trying to achieve here is not at all dissimilar to what you’ve said in the past.

        Our recent exchanges did leave glimmer of interest in my sweet, macerated, aromatic insides, to follow this matter up further, so I sought out the only* published article of Dr Bray’s I could find: ‘The Question of Intolerance: “Corporate Paedophilia” and Child Sexual Abuse Moral Panics’ (Australian Feminist Studies 23:57: 323-342) to see if it would yield any insights.

        It’s about how a neoliberal capitalist marketplace – which through its very nature will tend to amorally seek out new markets, and inevitably come to market sexualised products to girls whom we might refer to as “attractive to paedophiles”, in part through the use of sexualised images – suppresses and denigrates a feminist objection to the sexualisation of children on the grounds that the emotionality of this objection constitutes a failure of “tolerance” – where tolerance of difference, or of concepts seen to be progressive, confronting, is held to be a central virtue in a society where the paramount values are autonomy, self-determination, free speech, and “progressive individualism based on tolerance and respect for each others’ lifestyles”, the opposite of which – intolerance, embodied in the emotional reactions of fear, anger, hate – gets characterised as a pathology under the neoliberal way of thinking.

        As such, the objection to the appearance of sexualised images of children in the media gets characterised under neoliberalism as nothing but a “moral panic”, since such objections are, at their core, not “rational”, viz, the findings of a Senate committee on the issue, which argued that no “rational” person could regard the images in question to be sexualised.

        Ok, so far we’re on the same page. I think that we all three of us have said in the preceding paragraphs that we take expressions of emotion to be valid in assessing the moral or ethical qualities of, well, anything (and yes I remember that David Jones catalogue…).

        However where we differ I think is in our politics. Abigail’s article says, “Tolerance also becomes a discourse of depoliticisation because it reduces the political justice claims of the suffering to personal pleas for respect, and in doing so replaces political change with behavioural and emotional change”. Nothing wrong with that… it corresponds with the feminist entitlement to be intolerant – but the article then goes on to analyse this depoliticised realm in a politically charged way.

        Essentially, through examining the debate surrounding the report ‘Corporate Paedophilia: Sexualisation of Children in Australia’ and the subsequent reactions to it, the article comes up with the position of railing against the neoliberal “fear” of limitations being placed on personal autonomy, which “moral panics” such as for example the concern over the sexualizing of children in the media, and “the subsequent restructuring of normative conduct between children and adults” bring to bear. Bray contends, people living under neoliberalism object to being obliged to adopt the paedophile gaze when looking at children and assessing whether there is a possibility of them being seen as sexualised, as this would constitute a normative influence, and thus an affront to the person looking’s autonomy. The example of Adler is given: “the very act of putting child sexuality into an official discourse has ensnared us further into a paedophilic web”.

        But this isn’t sufficient, because under this framework, isn’t it equally possible to maintain the two views simultaneously? For example, looking at the problem as Adler would have it, maybe it’s not so much a fear that by taking on the paedophilic gaze it will prevent us from being fully autonomous, or from being capable of looking at children asexually, as it is a statement of “this is unfortunate but it’s a worthwhile trade-off” – that is, seeing both the sexual and the non-sexual nature of an image of a child, and simultaneously considering the dangers and the values of both, and acting accordingly? Perhaps it’s simply a question of balance.

        And notice above the non-sequitur: neoliberal capitalism as a set of circumstances which, through reproduction at the most base level, perpetuates the hegemonic ideals of autonomy, freedom, and tolerance, is not subjected to the same emotional or ethical scrutiny as the phenomena which occur within it. However this is important, because it disallows the contention that there is anything dodgy with the concept of neoliberalism to begin with – it is simply taken as an inherent good. Equally it disallows internal self-scrutiny. Bray characterises actors within the neoliberal economy (which I’m not even sure you could say actually exists anywhere) as incapable of engaging critically with their circumstances, or of taking on a moral/ethical standpoint which is different from that espoused by the hegemonic order of things, or on an issue – such as child abuse prevention – whose advancement contradicts neoliberal values. That is to say, the purported argument of the “other side” (and I didn’t know it was supposed to be a competition) is doomed to fail from the start as its structure is not subjected to the same form of scrutiny as its contents.

        But another non-sequitur: people bounded by neoliberalism are wholly amenable to fearing control of their autonomy, but are prohibited from fearing abuse of, or abuse from others. So where does that leave us?

        Ultimately it looks as though, in her desperation to position herself in opposition to anything that she has an immediate negative emotional reaction to – in an effort to justify her intolerance of everything that is not her, or perhaps simultaneously to allay her disquiet over her own intolerance in the face of prevailing neoliberal sentiment (hmmm, sounds a bit like Tony Abbott!) – Bray is failing to recognise that there is actually quite a lot of commonality between her own views and the ethics expounded upon in the most unlikely of places, like Jennifer Wilson’s writing for example; who would I’m sure stand with her against the hapless “anti-moral panic” commentators addressed in the article – and I would suggest the reasons for this are that Bray has not yet managed to shake off the normatising effects of the socially constructed, political binaries – left and right, public and private, male and female, rich and poor, talking and listening (though strangely no acknowledgement of the difference between theory and reality) – which a more reflexive critique escapes from.

        Oh well. I’m not too concerned. I know in my heart that I’m not a misogynist, and that the best way to help people to get along better, and to prevent them from destroying themselves and each other, is to work to emphasise commonalities and strengths, rather than to shame and denigrate and isolate. I just think that you are looking too hard for evidence of an attack on your point of view, when no such evidence exists, just because that’s what you expect from others.

        And if you took that as a personal criticism, then I’ve just proven my point. I for one am still open to listening to you, Dr Bray, but I’m afraid I’m not prepared to tolerate being insulted continually when there’s no justification for it. A little is fine though.

        *I’m not going to read Big Porn Inc. Not because of principle, but because I’m worried that it will make me feel dirty.

        Like

        • Jennifer Wilson November 29, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

          OMG I’m going to have to write something about this – and I just started reading Big Porn Inc as well.

          Your “sweet, macerated, aromatic insides”? Are you looking for trouble, Sam Jandwich? 🙂

          Like

  15. Sam Jandwich November 29, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    Just cut me open (pref. diagonally) and you’ll understand. 🙂

    Like

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