I woke up this morning and realized something while reading my usual Twitter feeds and news sites. And then I immediately started looking for a noose for myself.
As instant global communication reaches a critical mass of ubiquity, the true nature of people is becoming more and more difficult to suppress. This is resulting in the publicizing of thoughts that we in society thought were deplorable.
Penny Arcade's handling of the Dickwolves incident was unfortunate. I think everything that needed to be said about Mike and Jerry's shortcomings in that episode was already taken care of. However, what disturbs me is not them. They made some gaffes, but they ultimately came to the right decision.
No, it was some of their most ardent fans, who took issue with the decision to pull the Dickwolves T-Shirts and declared it a free speech issue.
Nevermind that free speech wasn't at issue, because, well, the feminist bloggers who took umbrage with the shirts and cavalier attitude toward rape, also have free speech to demand something be taken down.
In response, they created a Twitter account called "Team RAPE." Taking a tact of using "RareAnimalPreservE" as a means to coyly explain it as an acronym (so-designed to offend), they have decided to take on feminist bloggers, some of whom are victims of rape, harassing them. They're not the only ones - and some even went so far as to demand proof that some of the protestors were sexually assaulted, declaring "I hope you get raped," or "No one would want to rape your fat ass."
The issue is still ongoing, with people who are planning to attend PAX with their Dickwolves shirts.
Before then, we have Ben Roethlisberger, but more disturbing, the Harrah's security chief who responded to the (alleged) victim by declining to investigate, claim the woman was "overreacting" and stating that "most girls would feel lucky" to have had sex with Roethlisberger. Furthermore, the chief - Guy Hyder - convinced her parents to turn over the key to the apartment (while she was hospitalized for depression) and, again allegedy, entered her home without permission and erased information from her computer.
While none of either side of the story is 100% proven, and Roethlisberger is innocent until proven guilty, what's factual is Perez Hilton's suggestion that the victim may be lying and a golddigger.
There are many more, but the most troubling for me is that of the treatment of Lara Logan, CBS Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent who was in Cairo during the apex of protests and there at the moment of Mubarak's resignation. She had already come back from being arrested and put in an Egyptian jail, and was determined to stay in Cairo for the duration of the story.
Details are limited, but what's ultimately being reported is that she was separated from her crew and sexually assaulted by a group of Egyptian men, who were ultimately chased away by about 20 Egyptian women as well as Egyptian military personnel.
The response by most journalists and blogs were proper. This is a horrible thing. Yet, others felt the need to note her good looks and report on her prior relationship issues, none of which were relevant to the gang rape of one of the last few good journalists in America left. Furthermore came a report from Simone Wilson of LA Weekly, criticized reporting of the incident by CBS, who were tight-lipped about the entire ordeal. Wilson made repeated mentions of her looks, using terms such as "firecracker" - all in the interest of titilating her audience. She's since gone back and updated to clarify (read: backtrack) her thoughts, but the damage has been done.
And let's not forget Nir Rosen, who is currently top on my list of people who could use what my mother would call "an attitude adjustment." The following Tweets he made, that he since "apologized" for: Lara Logan had to outdo Anderson. Where was her buddy McCrystal. -- Yes yes its wrong what happened to her. Of course. I don't support that. But, it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too. Jesus Christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger.
Rosen went on to resign from his fellowship at NYU, but explained it thusly: "I think certainly my tweets have been unfairly attacked and blown out of proportion... and I was not aware of the right wing attack machine waiting to take me down... Had I been a right-wing writer I doubt this would have happened to me."
Verbally abusing victims of rape is also rape. Sending threatening e-mails to victims of rape is rape. Demanding that rape victims prove to other people -- not the courts, just random people on the Internet who "don't believe you" -- is rape. Making fun of victims of rape about their assault is rape.
I hope you feel uncomfortable by this. Because it scares the crap out of me.
What I'd like these people to do, and it's very simple. I would like for the Dickwolves -- including Mike -- for them, for Rosen, for Wilson, and for anyone who felt the need to make comments about Lara Logan's good looks, or for calling the victim of Ben Roethlisberger a golddigger, for all of you, right now, to tell your mother, your grandmother, your aunt -- the women who undoubtedly took care of you before you were capable of saying these things -- and to show them the Tweets you sent. The comments you made.
I would love to see their reaction.