Please Sir, May I Say A Few Words About Rape Culture?
I am officially done trying to protect CounterPunch from bashing its own brains out on me. The first article they ran about me I let go, but then they ran a second one about me, and a third, and a fourth, and a fifth, a sixth and a seventh, and by the eighth one I was done. Even Buddha’s flipping tables by the eighth time.
CounterPunch’s extensive, all-male debate over whether or not I should be permitted to have some occasional social media overlap with “rape apologist” Mike Cernovich (with whom I have never even spoken, by the way) culminated in an unbelievably condescending eighth article by CounterPunch Radio host Eric Draitser. Draitser argued that my ideas arose from stupidity and inexperience if not raw malice, and capped off his smug, elitist screed with an attack based on my public admission that I am a rape survivor.
Here are some of the words that the big, smart man from CounterPunch used to describe me and my work:
I am a university graduate with an IQ of 150, if anyone’s curious. I graduated with distinction from the most esteemed journalism program in Australia while breastfeeding two kids. But perhaps if I told Mr. Draitser that my analysis of US political dynamics is heavily informed by the perspective of my American husband he might not be quite so vitriolic about my ditzy, doltish, damaged brain, knowing that there was a man signing off on them.
After monologuing drearily about how much more experience he’s racked up on these matters than I have, Draitser then writes the following:
“Apparently, Johnstone has acknowledged that she is a rape survivor — I commend her for stating it openly, without shame — which somehow seems to excuse her promotion of a misogynist, fascist provocateur. You know, like how it’s totally cool and not racist for black men to openly say they don’t like dark-skinned black women.”
Ohh, I see. So your experience interacting with a few Ron Paul fans at an Occupy demonstration makes you an unquestionable arbiter of truth when it comes to the subject of cross-ideological collaboration, but my extensive, repeated flesh-and-bone experiences meeting rape culture head-on inside my own body is grounds not only for dismissal, but for an obnoxious, snarky attack as well. You can say with absolute authority that collaborating across ideological lines on issues of convergence is not possible, but my attempt to stand in my own authority on the issue of rape culture is comparable to racism.
This made it past editors. CP editor-in-chief Jeffrey St Clair and its managing editor Joshua Frank, both of whom penned their own smear pieces about me, read through the whole thing and waved it on through. “Yes, this is all good, plenty of condescension and insults about her level of intelligence, basing part of your smear on her rape, good. Yeah, this checks out, can’t see anything wrong with any of this. Let’s publish this baby!”
Pardon me, gentlemen, but with your permission I’ve actually got a few things to say about rape culture, if I may.
I am not familiar with any of Draitser’s other work, and I don’t expect that I ever will be, but I think it’s a safe bet that he is not a career misogynist or Men’s Rights Activist. The boys’ club condescending sexism he demonstrates in the latest release from CaitlinPunch is not the brash, straightforward variety you’ll see in old tweets from Mike Cernovich, but simply the banal, everyday male supremacy which is tightly interwoven throughout all of civilization, across the entire ideological spectrum and most certainly on the political left. And now, right here in this article you are reading, a big, fat spotlight is being shone upon that dynamic.
And thank fuck. This sort of shakeup is precisely why this is such an exciting time to be alive. There are so many old societal constructs being dragged kicking and screaming out of the shadows and into consciousness, where we are being forced to confront them directly, grapple with them and heal them. Eric Draitser probably had no idea that he has some severe unquestioned issues when it comes to women, and it’s entirely possible that when all is said and done he still won’t recognize that he leaned in far beyond his area, but he highlighted something evil thriving even among the enlightened leftist sophisticates, and we’ll all get to take a look at that.
Indeed, the very first CounterPunch smear piece which sparked this all off was authored by Yoav Litvin, who has been dogging me on Facebook ever since I dismissed his opinion about a feminism article I wrote way back in January. I didn’t give him the deference he felt he was owed in his opinion about my take on where women have been and where we are headed, so he followed me and eventually spotted an article of mine which could, with a lot of creativity and imagination, be twisted into an advocacy of an alignment between socialists and fascists. CounterPunch ran Litvin’s piece because its editors have a personal issue with me and with David Cobb, and Left Twitter is still currently convinced that I told my audience to fall in line with Mike Cernovich and the alt-right. I did neither.
This has been an attack on my sovereignty, from my right to say my own words as I said them, to my right to express my own opinions, to my right to determine with whom I associate on social media, and now all the way down to a violation of my perfectly reasonable expectation that my comments about being a rape survivor won’t be used as a weapon to attack me. Which is kinda cool, because if Americans had a better understanding of sovereignty, the world wouldn’t have the problems that it has. We are talking about that now, and all because we live in such interesting times that a man like Mike Cernovich could be mentioned as someone whose material a lefty might consider sharing on social media. The shifting tides have caused old unconscious constructs to stand out against the background, and now America is being forced to confront its demons. This is a good thing.
Why is America in Syria at all? Why? It has no business there at all. Syria is a sovereign nation and the United States has been amassing a greater and greater presence there without the permission of the Syrian government. You hardly ever hear this extremely ridiculous situation questioned in mainstream America though; the talking heads on TV say there are bad guys in that sovereign nation, so obviously American troops need to fly to the other side of the planet, set up camp there and kill them. If Americans had a better understanding of sovereignty, they would never stand for their money and resources being squandered on a military action the US has no business involving itself in whatsoever, or on maintaining hundreds of military bases around the world.
With the corporate media it’s the same. There is a consolidated, concerted effort to manipulate and control the way Americans think and vote, to convince them that it’s perfectly normal that all new wealth is going to the richest of the rich while the ordinary citizen is deprived of the same basic social safety nets accorded to everyone else in every major country in the world. To convince them that it’s perfectly normal for their country to invade sovereign nations and start killing people until it is given what it wants. To convince them that it’s perfectly normal for life to be so hard and for politicians in both ruling political parties to consistently advance policies that keep making life hard. Every effort in the world is made to keep Americans from thinking their own thoughts and forming their own ideas about what their nation is and how it works; their sovereignty is violated by the relentless attempts of the mass media machine to stick its grimy fingers into their minds and ensure they think thoughts which don’t inconvenience the plutocracy who owns the media.
With the new imperialism it’s the same; the way the US exerts control over other nations by way of treaties, alliances, trade agreements, coups, intelligence operations and other manipulations to intrude upon their sovereignty. My own country is a client state of America because of this gross overreach, which is why I spend my time commenting on the US government directly; the people of my country have been deprived of their right to a sovereign government of their own.
Rape culture is a symptom of the underlying cultural mind virus which causes all of these things. There’s a basic, unquestioned assumption embedded deep in our societal heritage that some people have the right to invade the sovereignty of other people. If we had a basic understanding that your right to extend your fist ends at my nose, that we must all be allowed to figure out this human experience without our sovereign boundaries being transgressed by other humans, rape would not happen. Negging and manipulating women into sex would not happen. The notion that men are entitled to sexual gratification in a woman would not happen. Invasion of sovereign nations would not happen. CIA coups would not happen. Media propaganda would not happen. CounterPunch knowingly twisting my words and telling its massive audience that I’m advocating an alliance with white nationalists would not happen. Eric Draitser using my rapes as a weapon to publicly attack me would not happen.
Please respect my sovereignty, CounterPunch. I never had any problem with you before all this started, nor did I ever have any interest in submitting my work to you. I understood and still understand that we occupy two very different roles, and I’ve never begrudged you yours. You are fighting to keep me out of a club that I’ve never had any interest in joining in the first place. You publish your dry, emotionless essays for your own elitist slice of the internet pie, and I’ll keep doing my own thing over here. Thank you.
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