April 9, 2008

It's the new Bloggingheads — with me and Jeralyn Merritt (of TalkLeft)!

Title: "The Loneliness of the Pro-Hillary Blogger."

Topics and times:
Why Hillary should stay in (until June, anyway) (07:36)
Is Hillary a wounded wife, or does she just play one on TV? (06:27)
Ann defends making fun of Hillary and her gender (08:57)
Jeralyn says rape is about violence, not sex; Ann begs to differ (04:50)
Child-porn case raises questions about the role of juries (08:01)
An appreciation of Charlton Heston, actor and activist (02:46)

ADDED: I just listed the topics the way the Bloggingheads website posted them, but not everything we talked about is listed there. Most notably, after we talked about rape, we talked about the lethal injection case that is pending in the Supreme Court.

And here's Jeralyn's post on the diavlog, so you can check out what her commenters are like. The first commenter refuses to watch — despite apparently liking Jeralyn — because I am "pointless" and am at my "best when [I] focus[] on all the women trying to seduce Bill Clinton." (I wonder if Jeralyn thinks that is sexist.) The second commenter says:
Unfortunately, I have to agree. I love Glenn Greenwald too, but I really can't stomach the audio and video clips he occasionally posts with him debating some right-wing nutjob.
The very definition of closed-minded.
No, not bloggingheads! Can't do it. Won't do it....

But still, I'm just not going to watch a bloggingheads.
What is the problem? These people sound like they just don't want to hear their point of view tested.

Jeralyn edits her comments a lot more than I do, so I assume there was some much nastier stuff.

54 comments:

Mortimer Brezny said...

You seem much saner than her.

rcocean said...

Loved it. Good give and take. Both of you are very animated!

Your refusing to attack Rush Limbaugh will fuel the loony left-wing dislike you.

George said...

In the future WalMart will sell home TV studios—folding panel jobs with a rack of lights—for 99 euros.

Maybe Staples will sell Instant Logos that people can glue to their studio walls.

reader_iam said...

Yay! Back on BHTV!

I almost exclusively listen to BHTV (to which I've become addicted) via podcast while multitasking these days, but in this case I'm going to make an exception and watch it.

Meade said...

"You seem much saner than her."

She's a Sixties girl, Mortimer. If you want to hit on her, just ask her what her sign is.

Middle Class Guy said...

Ann,
You left out one very important fact regarding Hillary Clinton being elected to the Senate; you are not alone in this and this is not a criticism.

She was only elected because Rudy dropped out due to cancer. If he had stayed in the race, she may very well not have been elected to the Senate. She would just be a second rate lawyer married to Uncle Festus.

Simon said...

I note my agreement that the commonplace assertion that "rape is just violence" is dogmatic at best. While Jeralyn does her best, she doesn't really answer the point about how much violence would a reasonable person have to sustain before they would honestly prefer rape, and I'm not sure that there is a good reply. How would you begin to quantify whether rape is worse than being blinded? It really does seem to me that if it it were really just about violence, they'd just use violence. Sexual violence is selected over other forms of violence for a purpose, and one can't not ask what that purpose is. And for that matter, even if we said it wasn't about violence and was rather a particularly acute form of imposing, for want of a better term, dominion over a person, that wouldn't hold up either. If that was it, the gendre of the victim wouldn't matter so much, and we'd expect to see higher incidence of male rape. It seems clear to me that sex is very much a part of it. that doesn't mean that rape isn't violence, but it's sexual violence, and it seems misbegotten to try and separate it.

A Concerned Citizen said...

That was a breath of fresh air, compared to what you get when you visit talkleft. I found Jeralyn's comments on the First Amendment very probative. It explains the mentality behind talkleft. Even as I type, btw, the subtle attacks on Ann have already begun on talkleft.

The site is highly controlled and personal attacks on Senator Obama are encouraged while comments relating to the bias of the posters are routinely deleted. For example, she refers to one topic poster in the interview, BTD, as an Obama supporter. He is not, his bias clearly shows in his political posts. I (think) I was banned today for a couple of post in which I said that his bias "bleeds" all over his posts. That was apparently a personal attack (fyi, he claimed that Obama supported a triangulation strategy, and not Clinton, and that NPR's Michelle Norris was biased against Senator Clinton). Misogyny is everywhere, Senator Obama only wins by playing the race card or disenfranchising voters in MI and FL, etc. Jeralyn even critiqued his admission of cocaine use while praising Gov. Paterson's admission (presumably to appear racially neutral while supporting a Clinton superdelegate).

It is truly a world where Senator Clinton can do no wrong, America was a liberal heaven in the 90s, and Senator Obama is, depending on the bent of the post, a beneficiary of affirmative action, an anti-Semite, a Republican, a misogynist, a racist, hateful, etc. A telling example, if it is truly the most prominent blog for Senator Clinton.

somefeller said...

Good points, Simon. While I'd agree that rape is an act of violence before it is a sexual act, one cannot reasonably separate the sexuality from the violence. Rape ties into an aspect of human evil that is separate from, but related to, the aspect that leads people to violence. Feminists were correct to say that rape isn't just sex (i.e.: rapists aren't just sexually aroused men looking for an outlet, and by extension women should not be blamed for rape because of how they dress, etc.), but one shouldn't separate the sexuality from the violence.

I recall reading a book about Red Army's invasion of Germany in World War II, and the large-scale rape that occurred during that invasion. The author suggested that the way such rape was perpetrated, in terms of violence and scope, raised terrible questions about human nature and sexuality that most people don't want to look into.

Meade said...

Simon said... If that was it, the gendre of the victim wouldn't matter so much, and we'd expect to see higher incidence of male rape.

Isn't it possible that incidents of male rape are in fact higher than we expect and that there could be something in the masculine gender that inhibits males from reporting violations when they occur?

somefeller said...

Oh, and while this should go without saying, but because some people on in these comment boxes like to threadjack by focusing on side issues, yes, I know that the Red Army's invasion of Germany followed the barbaric actions that the Germans perpetrated in Russia when they invaded. Either way, the issue of how sexual violence overlaps with, but cannot reasonably be considered to be just a mere subset of, "regular violence" (for want of a better word), shouldn't be dismissed, and the Red Army example is raised as a major historical example of this.

Zeb Quinn said...

I've never seen rape as an act of violence, per se. For 35 years or so it was been de rigeur among feminists to mouthe that little saying, that rape is about violence, not about sex. But I've never accepted it, because it never felt accurate. Nor have I ever believed that it was in any way helpful in trying to get an understanding about why some men do that to women. If it were violence driving it then what we'd see is men beating up women as, in spousal abuse (which is violence). I suspect that forcible rape involves rage. Specifically sexual rage, that is, with a definite sexual component to it.

Alan said...

"Pro-life" is its own religion. Even atheists can be pro-life zealots.

Mortimer Brezny said...

I understand most viewpoints and respect them well enough, but I found Jeralyn's logic to be disturbing and without basis. In comparison to Ann, she sounded insane. That is an observation, not a come on.

While I agree with Simon, it may be the case that most rape is male on male rape, much as most violence is male on male violence, so th real question is why female victims are so much more important than male ones.

TitusI'lltumble 4 ya said...

I am watching Waiting for Guffman right now.

This movie is hilarious.

Currently Parker Posey is singing "A Penny for Your Thoughts".

The best line in the movie is when they are about to dance and Corky says, "Everybody Dance".

I love Corky.

Revenant said...

80% of rape victims are women under the age of 30.

Yes, its about the sex. That's why little old ladies virtually never get raped, even though the elderly are popular targets for other forms of violence.

TitusI'lltumble 4 ya said...

"Nothing ever happens on Mars"-brillant.

I love this movie.

Corky is a genious.

TitusI'lltumble 4 ya said...

I love the trumpet/tympani player in this movie.

He is a diva.

Eli Blake said...

Revenant:

80% of rape victims are women under the age of 30.

Yes, its about the sex.


The same could be said about the victims of serial murderers (most are female, and young.) Are you suggesting that murder is also about sex and not violence? For that matter, many serial murderers rape their victims and then kill them.

Maybe a person's sexual orientation may lead them to select a particular class of targets, but after that it is purely an act of violence (whether we are talking about rape, murder, or rape&murder).

What I believe causes such vociferous anger on this topic is quite simple. If we suggest that it is about sex, then you give rapists (or for that matter serial killers) an 'excuse' that they can claim they are 'sexually addicted.' The fear (and it is not an unreasonable fear given the current state of the justice system) is that this could get them a lighter sentence (treatment?) allowing them to get out and rape (and/or murder) again.

reader_iam said...

Why the dichotomy? That is to say, why the insistence on it?

I've hesitated to jump in because I've not yet viewed the segment (which, as I indicated earlier, I wanted to do, as opposed to listening on podcast, while multitasking; and, tonight, I could not carve out the time to just sit and watch anything).

However, following this thread, I just can't wait any longer:

Why the dichotomy?

I've never gotten that, entirely, for various reasons, most of which I won't share.

But it all comes down to this, in a nutshell?

"Sex!"
"Violence!"
"Sex!"
"Violence!"
(etc. etc. etc. etc.)

Me: Um, it's sexual violence. What the hell?

ZPS said...

Because I've never been raped nor known anyone that has, I'll elect to not try and define it as one way or another...and simply call it the horrible thing that it is: rape is rape.

I don't see how it even needs further explication.

reader_iam said...

Nor have I ever believed that it was in any way helpful in trying to get an understanding about why some men do that to women.

Yeah? What if the "women" are little girls?

Then what, pray tell?

nansealinks said...

you can watch Dr. Zhivago. If you know Russian you might even read the book and say if there is a difference in western interpretation of the words. there is a quote in that movie.

"Don't fool yourself into thinking this was rape", he tells Lara. "That would flatter us both."

If she convinces herself it is violent rape she would kill him? that makes her what? Or if he convinces himself it was violent rape, he would be that cruel and wouldn't have any feelings?

flatter is a good word here in the many dimensions we must live through.

Who knows what happens next?

there is also a hint of cannibalism in that movie, too.

John said...

When we say rape is "about" sex or violence, do we mean what is motivating the perpetrator or what the victim experiences? I think the standard feminist line takes the latter and substitutes it for the former.

Think about date rape. Assume the guy wants sex, she doesn't, he takes it anyway. If the perpetrator would have been happier if the victim had consented, then it doesn't seem like it is motivated by violence. But there are probably as many mixes of motivation as there are rapists.

But that doesn't mean we shouldn't punish it just as harshly.

I think the statistics show that most rape victims are men, but we have decided not to care because they are in prison.

Fen said...

It explains the mentality behind talkleft... The site is highly controlled

I was on TalkLeft for less than a day. Jeralyn has some silly rule that newcomers aren't allowed more than three posts. I had defended some policy linked through Capt Ed, and her community challenged me with a bunch of counterpoints. I wasn't allowed to respond to them - after the 3rd post she labelled me a "chatterer" and deleteted everything else I had written.

I understand its her attempt to manage drive-by trolls, but she twisted it to silence someone who was obviously not trolling, just responding to questions her own posters had raised.

Zeb Quinn said...

Yeah? What if the "women" are little girls?

Then what, pray tell?


So how does wallpapering it over as "eh, just another act of violence" help root it out?

Pogo said...

It is indeed impossible (and unwise) to attempt to disentagle violence from a coerced sexual act when considering rape.

Whether from sexual rage or mere opportunity, it immediately reduces both perpetrator and victim to an animal state, no different than simians. Forced copulation happens in non-human animals, but cannot rightly be called 'rape'.

This is because the meaning of coerced sex in humans is very, very different, and this is why the sex cannot be removed from the violence (and the dual nature should not be ignored).

The loss of control over the most intimate of human rights causes a loss of dignity and shame among victims of sexual violence (shame precisely because one is reduced to a mere animal), which accounts for the serious sense of trauma that accompanies it, such that some victims are forever changed. A fight in a bar between two men rarely results in PTSD, whereas a child or adult of either gender forced into sex frequently experiences the event as sufficiently traumatic to cause PTSD.

I am unsure what the point of an "I was raped" t-shirt. Are there any normal people that disagree it is a terrible thing? Then what?

In my view the only appropriate response is the death penalty for cases of rape involving a DNA match. What other response does she want, much as the "Take Back the Night" marches and t-shirts are probably not much of a deterrent to rapists?

Meade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadisonMan said...

Drinking water? Or was that gin?

Where's the wine?

Pogo said...

The danger in a t-shirt that says "I was raped" is this: wheras surely the victim does not deserve to feel shame about rape, the human community must need continue to feel shame about rapes occurring at all.

Why? Many women wearing such t-shirts might convey to the populace at large that rape is not seen as such a damaging thing after all (Gosh, they don't seem to be suffering. Maybe it is just another form of violence, no worse than getting mugged.)

If it does not remain a thing for shaming the community, does not a risk inhere that while the impact to the victim might decline, the concern for the act itself declines as well, becoming just another item under 'crimes of violence', and punished no differently?

Or is that her intent?

Meade said...

"Yeah? What if the "women" are little girls?"

Yeah, or what if the non-violent rapist IS a "little girl?"

Zeb Quinn said...

My impression of Jeralynn Merritt has nothing to do with her Internet incarnation but goes back to her days as a talking head legal commentator, IIRC all the way back to the OJ trial, and through interviews of her about the Timothy McVeigh trial. She always struck me as a person who was tenaciously following the song of her agenda, and it colored everything she thought, said, and did. Watching this video does nothing to change that impression, nor is it at all surprising that she runs her website the way Stalin ran Russia.

Maguro said...

I though this comment about Althouse from Jeralyn Merrit was interesting:

"I really don't know anyone my age (other than cops or prosecutors, no offense to any who may be reading) whose views are so radically different from mine."

Talk about living a sheltered life! You'd think Althouse was Phyllis Schlafly or Anita Bryant.

George said...

Somewhat related to the comments on rape above, a woman came to my front door last night (after dark)—She was going door-to-door raising money for NARAL.

I didn't know people did that!

Henry said...

"I really don't know anyone my age (other than cops or prosecutors, no offense to any who may be reading) whose views are so radically different from mine."

That's bemusing. I always wonder about people who say or project this attitude if they are orphans.

Surely, at least, they can't have in-laws.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Wow, Althouse. How did you get through that 'Clintons-are-victims' without laughing out loud? And her view of the First Amendment?

You get a 10 for restraint.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

Wild Bill Hickok: Sure you wanna quit playing, Jack? The game's always between you and getting called a cunt.
Tom Nuttall: Meeting adjourned, fellas, take it outside.
Wild Bill Hickok: That dropped eye of yours looks like the hood on a cunt to me, Jack. When you talk, your mouth looks like a cunt moving.
Jack McCall: I ain't gonna get in no gun fight with you, Hickok.
Wild Bill Hickok: But you will run your cunt mouth at me. And I will take it, to play poker
(Deadwood, 2005)

nansealinks said...

That's bemusing. I always wonder about people who say or project this attitude if they are orphans.

Maybe she is talking about coming from a very large family and know that the actions in life differ, but the view that they want the best for their loved ones is quite common and homogenous.

I know this because I have grandchildren and I had to learn to stand back, far back, and say nothing as to certain actions and how children are raised and smile and know they love them...because we both have the same view that we want the very best for someone.

Cream City said...

Still undecided on this debate re rape being sex vs. violence, but it does occur to me in reading this that even those who argue that sexual violence are contradicting themselves in using that very term.

That is, "sexual" is the adjective, only modifying the noun "violence," so the noun is the focus and more significant.

Reverse it to "violent sex" and see the difference. No, rape is not simply "violent sex," and obviously something else and more evil is involved.

To see rape as violence, as dominion over women but aimed at diminishing their men, see The Greatest Silence: The Rape of the Congo on HBO. See the mutilation of victims gang-raped in the millions, then further violated to be left without bladders, rectums, and requiring surgeries for a year or more -- those "fortunate" to find medical relief. But even so, they are women still left without means ever to rebuild their lives and those of their children . . . including hundreds of thousands born of rape but also never to be more than barely survivors in that society.

See this and other documented records and documentaries of mass rapes, and you cannot see it as simply about sex.

Zeb Quinn said...

There are three ways of looking at it. That of the victim, that of the perp, and that of a dispassionate third-party observer.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the whole 'Rape is about violence' line come up at the same time as the 'spousal rape' and 'date rape' ideas?

Wasn't the whole idea to make the attack a violent act, and not a sexual encounter, to lessen a man's control over a woman?

Wasn't there also a 'non-consenual sex' description that was supposed to describe actions that once may have been considered rape, but were now a disagreement on the basic facts?

Mortimer Brezny said...

80% of rape victims are women under the age of 30.

No. Those statistics do not include PRISON RAPE AND RAPE IN COUNTRIES WHERE STATISTICS ARE NOT TAKEN.

I understand its her attempt to manage drive-by trolls, but she twisted it to silence someone who was obviously not trolling, just responding to questions her own posters had raised.

This happened to me also. I posted a substantive post that was rather lengthy and then some regular posters baited me into responses so that my original post would be deleted. Had I know about this 3 posts rule, I would have simply let my original post stand. That's really shitty.

reader_iam said...

Cream City: I don't believe I contradicted myself. I was expressing a blend--a concept that isn't just one thing or another.

Of COURSE the construction "violent sex" means something different from the construction "sexual violence." There's a reason I chose one over the other. And, of course, language sometimes is imperfect in capturing meaning (or, at least, I'm imperfect it in using it to present complex meaning in pithy terms).

Rape "does violence," of one degree or another, on a number of levels, quite apart from whatever motives the rapist may have.

Since Somefeller and others have basically covered the ground I would have, I'll leave it at that.

TMink said...

OK, I did not watch the video, I prefer to read! But I did check out the other blog comments.

Over there the tone seems to be more fawning over the hostess than discussion. Over here, and at Dr. Helen's there are occasional outbreaks of unfettered admiration for the blogger in residence, but they are isolated. Mostly it is about the discussion. Over there it is a consensus blog, where this one is certainly not! But then, that blog is more liberal it seems, and conflicting ideas seem to make them uncomfortable.

And I find it interesting that posting the videoblog was like asking the commentors to play "don't you hate her too?" I did not get any of that vibe from Jeralyn, but the people who commented really took it that way. That was kind of weird!

And there are people who can think of Greenwald without typing sockpuppet? Who knew!

I like it here where I am invited to think and have people disagree with and challenge me. So thanks everyone!

And I find it amusing how people refer to the picture fiasco as about breasts! That (those?) strawmammaries have legs, but no substance.

Trey

John K. said...

"Jeralyn says rape is about violence, not sex; Ann begs to differ."

The issue becomes a little more complicated if you consider that much or even most consensual sex appears at least tinged with violence and domination. Whence the popularity of bondage-type games, which at least in its more moderate forms is not considered that far out of the mainstream? Don't many women admit to rape fantasies, even if the idea of actually being raped is terrifying and abhorrent?

Is this the source of the witticism that sex isn't dirty, unless you're doing it right?

Such considerations as these I think are the real reason for urging teenagers to abstain from pre-marital sex.

So maybe rape is "just" about sex, but maybe sex itself is about violence, and rape is just unadulterated sexual violence stripped of the mutuality and commitment that softens and even blesses what is otherwise a quite dubious impulse.

1jpb said...

I've been a fan or this site and talkleft, I was please to see this back and forth on video.

As a BHO supporter, and myDD exile, I have learned to adapt to talkleft. I've never had my non-OT content deleted, even when it has been very clear that my comments weren't popular with some of (if not all of) the "management." I have learned to avoid sarcasm aimed at HRC and her supporters, but that's a good thing, it makes my comments more meaningful.

DaveW said...

I really enjoyed that diavlog Ann, perhaps the best one I've seen you do.

I don't read that many left wing sites nowadays but TalkLeft is one of my favorites. I don't agree with Jeralyn about much politically but I really appreciate her passion about our criminal justice system.

======

Is it my DSL or have BHTV servers gone crummy? I get a pretty fair amount of interruption, wait, reload, buffer, etcetera on these nowadays.

Daryl said...

ZPS wrote: I've never been raped nor known anyone that has

I doubt that. You might just not know it.

Eli Blake: serial killers who choose victims based on their gender/looks are often acting out of some sort of weird sexual motives.

John K.: Don't many women admit to rape fantasies, even if the idea of actually being raped is terrifying and abhorrent?

Rape fantasies in women are generally about sex and not violence. They are about not being responsible for, and therefore guilty for, having sex. They aren't a "slut" if they had no choice in the matter.

RigelDog said...

I've thought a lot over the years about the "rape is about power, not sex" slogan. As a prosecutor I've had plenty of exposre to criminals and their actions.
Rape can be motivated by many things, none of which have to do with a sexual provocation on the part of the victim. But I do believe that SOMETIMES rape is about sex, from the point of view of the rapist.
Violent criminals are creatures who take what they want. They take your money and your stuff. Sometimes what they want is sex, and if they feel like taking it instead of waiting for it or working for it or paying for it, they do. They use someone for their own sexual gratification and they use violence to obtain it.

Ann Althouse said...

An Edjamikated Redneck said..."Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the whole 'Rape is about violence' line come up at the same time as the 'spousal rape' and 'date rape' ideas?"

Rape is violence is a mid70s meme, from "Against Our Wills." Date rape is more 1980s, but it was important groundwork. If the idea was you've been defiled, then it's harder to see the problem if you already have a sexual relationship or you're a promiscuous woman and there is no additional physical injury. Seeing rape as an act of violence helped get rape taken more seriously, that it is violent even when there is no violence other than the sexual intercourse itself. That was important, but then people sink into dogma and just recite the incantation.



John K. said..."The issue becomes a little more complicated if you consider that much or even most consensual sex appears at least tinged with violence and domination."

This is how you move toward the radical position that all heterosexual sex is rape or something close to it. Women eroticize subordination -- that's what Catharine MacKinnon said in the 80s. It hits a little too close to home, I think.

Simon Kenton said...

Eli, Daryl, it's instructive, if appalling, to juxtapose pictures of a serial killer's female victims to pictures of his mother in her late 20s.

A Concerned Citizen said...

It is impossible to separate the motivations for rape. There was recently an outcry in Saudi Arabia when a woman was set to be punished for being alone with a man when they were approached by what can only be described as a gang and both violently raped (yes, both). I don't know enough about the story to say whether it was motivated more by sex than violence, but one suspects there was at least some power/violence dynamic (unless they were all bisexual and their motivations were all equally sexual, which I doubt).

I think Ann and the commentator she quotes gets it right: the focus was shifted to violence (and power) to explain why rape could exist in a spousal relationship or when combined with alcohol, etc. But then radical feminists expanded on the idea to encompass pornography and (hetero)sexual relationships generally. I think that confuses social and political power imbalances with sexual motivations. The existence of inequality within a relationship does not lead to lack of (relevant) consent within a sexual relationship, just as it does not prevent rape within that dynamic.

It is easy to say that rape (and sex with children) is about power and violence. But that misses an important component of human sexuality that should be considered in determining how best to regulate and deter it.

John K. said...

Ann said: "This is how you move toward the radical position that all heterosexual sex is rape or something close to it. Women eroticize subordination -- that's what Catharine MacKinnon said in the 80s. It hits a little too close to home, I think."

And actually, I think C.S. Lewis said something similar (re: married love softening and legitimizing the domination and subordination that seems such an inherent part of sex) in his book The Four Loves. And Tolstoy in his Appendix or Afterward to The Kruetzer Sonata.