To Clarify on @BenShapiro’s thoughts, via @realDailyWire, on @ArianaGrande’s TOW

Here’s the bit from Mr. Shapiro’s article where he connects Ms. Grande’s “bad girls” lyric with “waiv[ing] consent,” just so it’s clear.

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From Mr. Shapiro’s article on The Daily Wire:

This is an actual lyric from “Dangerous Woman”:

Don’t need permission

Made my decision to test my limits…

All girls wanna be like that

Bad girls underneath, like that

This isn’t Grande just speaking for herself. It’s Grande speaking for all women. That’s why she has an audience – she’s not just speaking about her personal experiences or personal desires, she’s making a deliberate case that women generally oppose boundaries, that they’re all “bad girls underneath,” that women generally want to waive consent (emphasis Mr. Shapiro’s).

Looking at the first line – Don’t need permission – this could mean anything, it’s rather vague, and so to hang Ms. Grande out to dry as an objectifier of women is stretching it a bit.

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Onto the second line – Made my decision to test my limits… – again, a bit vague, nothing much to hang your hat on.

The third – All girls wanna be like that – stating a universal viewpoint, but again it’s not clear what all girls want to be like, so…

Line four – Bad girls underneath, like that – apart from the use of “bad” as a modifier for the noun “girls,” there’s nothing here to suggest that Ms. Grande is “making a deliberate case that women generally oppose boundaries,” or that they “generally want to waive consent.” Mr. Shapiro’s is not a piece of objective reporting, it’s personal #RapeCulture informed bias – and he, like Ms. Grande, also has an audience (just saying (double standards, anyone?)).

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Mr. Shapiro’s place in #RapeCulture is clearly not at the levels of a #BrockTurner, but his attitude is as unhelpful and as unwelcome as that of an #AaronPersky – and that can never be a good thing. And as well as Mr. Shapiro’s thoughts on this, what does The Daily Wire @realDailyWire think of such opinions being put forth on its site by its editor-in-chief – happy to promote #RapeCulture?

(And here’s a further link to a site that publishes the entire lyrics of “Dangerous Woman”)


Yet More on @ArianaGrande’s Thoughts on the Objectification of Women (#TOW) – An Inspection of the Comments Attached to @BenShapiro’s “Ariana Grande Gets Upset With Objectification Of Women. Good. Now She Should Stop Objectifying Women” article thing.

Not convinced we live in a rape culture? Well, let’s trawl through some of the comments inspired by Mr. @BenShapiro‘s recent article at The Daily Wire. We’ll do these one at a time over the next couple of weeks so you can, if you so choose, savour them individually to get a flavour of the woman-hating rhetoric that dominates the site w/r/t Mr. Shapiro’s opinions of Ms. Grande’s reaction to the “hitting that” incident.

Ricky Perrys Parakeet says (with link to RPP’s profile thing):

Rick Perrys Parakeet6 days ago

Dress like a wh^re

Act like a wh^re

You’ll be treated like a wh^re

In reply to this, the following comments:

Bythepeople4thepeople Rick Perrys Parakeet6 days agoExactly. Something we can agree on
                       



Mo86 Rick Perrys Parakeet5 days agoAbsolutely right.
  



Skiddle DeDe Rick Perrys Parakeet5 days agoBoom!


So, according to RPP and buddies, Ariana Grande is dressing like a whore, acting like a whore, and thus deserves to be treated like a whore – whatever that means. It would be helpful, here, if RPP and pals could spell out for us their definition of the word “whore.” What does it mean to be called a whore? What kind of activities must one partake in to be classed as a whore? If one does not count oneself as a whore must one be considered a whore in the eyes of others?

In actuality, Ms. Grande dresses as she pleases and acts as she pleases, presumably, and this is sufficient for her to be treated in whatever manner such woman-haters see fit to throw in her direction.

All helped along by Mr. Shapiro’s opinion that Ms. Grande’s lyric w/r/t being a “bad girl” equates to a woman choosing to “waive her right to consent.” The more you stop to think about Mr. Shapiro’s comment w/r/t the “consent” issue, the more #RapeCulture-ish it sounds. It would also be helpful for Mr. Shapiro to clarify his exact thoughts, here, because this sounds like an incitement to sexual violence.

More @ArianaGrande’s TOW to follow – tune in again soon.


More on @ArianaGrande’s Thoughts on the Objectification of Women

A quick look back at Ben Shapiro’s comments on Ariana Grande’s Twitter outburst shows us the extent to which rape culture rhetoric dominates seemingly innocuous comments. Take Mr. Shapiro’s piece, written for The Daily Wire. It’s not overly long. It’s not massively critical of Ms. Grande. It kind of makes a point that you might agree with – until you stop to think about what it is that he’s actually saying.

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In a nutshell, Mr. Shapiro sees Ms. Grande equally responsible for the objectification of women as the young man Ms. Grande complained about w/r/t the old “hitting that” comment. Mr. Shapiro voices his concerns over the objectification of women, and points out that this is a bad thing that should not happen – all good stuff, you’d think. However, Mr. Shapiro makes plain his feelings on Ariana Grande’s conduct in public, starting with her Twitter account profile pic. He says that in the picture Ms. Grande is “crouching while naked,” which I’m not actually sure that she is (she actually looks like she’s wearing a one piece body suit – dancers wear them), and even if she were, you can’t see anything offensive or inappropriate for the setting in which it appears.

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Mr. Shapiro then quotes Ms. Grande’s words at length, before stating that Ms. Grande’s lyrics and those of her associates (Mac Miller) objectify women and that she should stop this behaviour. He picks up on one particular lyric that speaks of “bad girls” and that he takes that phrase as meaning “that women generally want to waive consent.” To paraphrase Ms. Grande, here: wtf. Ms. Grande’s lyrics, as a popular culture artist, means that they are never going to be all that explicit – and what exactly is wrong with someone wanting to access a bad girl persona? By bringing the consent issue to the fore, Mr. Shapiro is saying that if such women are raped then that’s their fault – and that’s exactly what rape culture rhetoric does, it justifies horrific thoughts w/r/t the treatment of women.

Next, Mr. Shapiro quotes more of Ms. Grande’s lyrics:

I’m talkin’ to ya

See you standing over there with your body

Feeling like I wanna rock with your body

And we don’t gotta think ‘bout nothin’

Then he asks: “Is the crude and ugly phrase “hitting that” a good deal worse than this description of a sexual relationship with no emotional connection?” Now, the four lines could actually be interpreted in quite an innocent way. There’s nothing overtly sexual about the lines, but Mr. Shapiro chooses to treat them as such. He also finishes by stating that Ms. Grande’s “art degrades women by objectifying them and contributes to a culture of objectification that she rightly opposes when it’s applied to her.”

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Mr. Shapiro’s response to Ms. Grande’s feelings of being objectified as a woman is poorly thought out, lacks evidence, and uses common clichés to do with how a woman should behave and present herself to the world. Mr. Shapiro does not wish women to be objectified, but he’d kind of like it if they just stopped dressing so provocatively, and waiving their consent and all. The History of Stupidity prospers at Mr. Shapiro’s keyboard, sadly.


On @ArianaGrande’s Thoughts on the Objectification of Women

It feels like a tiny step forward when an A-list pop star (and not an overt, flying the flag for feminism pop star) is willing to come out to say some stuff about the objectification of women. It is a tiny step because it comes from a person deeply embedded within a system that uses the objectified body of woman as a form of marketing, a tool with which to maximise profit. And it is a tiny step because at 23, Ariana Grande is yet to experience the point at which the objectification of her body ceases to be an issue (and at which point she may, or may not, choose to undergo certain procedures, ensuring a prolonged objectification of her body, paradoxically). However, it seems that Ariana Grande’s recent outburst, vis-à-vis the “not a piece of meat” business, has the potential to mark a new chapter in the History of Stupidity of gender relations.

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A myriad of approaches awaits anyone choosing to engage with such a topic. One might choose to lend one’s support to Ms. Grande, no questions asked, like Ashley Edwards Walker, who views Grande as being “totally right” in her actions and words w/r/t the Mac Miller fan who applauded Mr. Miller for “hitting that.”

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Or, one might take the view that Ms. Grande is complicit in the ongoing objectification of women in popular culture, like Ben Shapiro does when stating that “when Grande isn’t implying that all women are bad girls, she’s participating in the pop music trope of offering herself to the world at large. Her songs aren’t about love with a particular fellow – they’re general propositions.” For Shapiro, Grande is moaning about behaviour that she helps to promote – she’s merely a heteronormative-pop-princess-prostitute in Shapiro’s opinion.

 

Or, one might adopt the @PiersMorgan approach of just shutting down a conversation by simply stating that the person in question is merely pissing and moaning for reasons to do with self-promotion (a marketing stunt). Admittedly, we’re straying slightly, here, because the Morgan stuff has to do with @Madonna and @LadyGaga, but the general approach adopted by Morgan applies equally well to Ariana Grande’s experience of a culture that views women as less than equal to men.

But, and here’s where the story gets a bit less pop-princessy, what if every instance of a young guy growing up thinking that a person like Ariana Grande is a “thing” whose sole purpose is to be “hit” ends up with that guy taking the Brock Turner view of women that if they’re there, they are there to be fucked: whether conscious at the time, or not (excuse the language).

Applauding another man for “hitting that” while the “that” in question (Grande herself) is sitting right next to the man being congratulated is, perhaps, on the lower end of the rape culture spectrum, but it is on the spectrum, and it does speak of a rape culture that seeks to dehumanise women’s bodies in order that the Brock Turners of this world can continue their rapist activities, and that the Aaron Perskys can continue to absolve the Brock Turners of their rapist ways, and that the Commission on Judicial Performance can thus clear the Perskys of any wrong doing in what would otherwise be viewed as either gross incompetence, or just plain bias.

 

So, what next for Grande? Get tagged with the feminist label? Get shut down by her record label? Suffer a backlash like that of a Kesha Sebert type performer? Or, flick the bird to all who would have her shut her pretty little mouth, and keep raging longer, louder, and harder? Let’s hope for the latter.

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Spare Money??? #Conceptual #Art

If you do have some spare money knocking about, why not take a punt on this piece of Conceptual Art. With perhaps a nod in the direction of Carl Andre, this Untitled piece speaks of #Austerity, #Unity, #Resistance, and probably a great many other things if you stop long enough to actually consider it.

 

It is currently listed on Ebay, with all proceeds from the sale going directly to Shelter (England and Scotland), for the benefit of those persons living without a home. The sale price is ambitious, but in a world where Donald J. Trump gets to be President-Elect of the U.S.ofA., who’s to say we can’t achieve the full price?

Dig deep, winter is coming, and being homeless is no fun, no matter where in the world you live.


#ElectionFinalThoughts #Trump #Hillary and the (potential) Continuation of The Hawk’s (#StephenHawking) History of Stupidity?

As the polls prepare to open on #Election2016 / #ElectionNight, it’s perhaps a good moment to step back, pause, and consider with care the next phase in the evolution of U.S. politics. The hashtag, #ElectionFinalThoughts, should be renamed to reflect the fact that following this election, no matter who enters the Oval Office, some serious thinking needs to be done in order to address certain issues that have cropped up during @realDonaldTrump and @HillaryClinton campaigns, respectively. #ElectionContinuingThoughts might be such a hashtag, where issues, once thought to be resolved/won and therefore no longer important issues (Civil Rights, for example), or even issues that rarely get a mention in the mainstream press (Indigenous Peoples, for example), can be discussed in order to figure out the best way forward for U.S., and by extension, world politics.

Another issue that has cropped up, but that pretty much has been skirted around, is one of the practice, whether intended or not, of woman-hating rhetoric, acts, sentiments, and other such stuff. That’s certainly the opinion of Barbara Kingsolver, who makes the case that girls growing up when she did faced overwhelming opposition to ideas that girls “could go to college, have jobs, be doctors, tentatively working my way up the ladder” to the position of president, perhaps. Well, now that time has come. There is indeed a woman knocking on the door marked Commander-in-Chief, and, judging by the press coverage stemming from Trump and his supporters, as well as those from within her own party, you’d think this particular woman was the Devil incarnate. Michelle Goldberg writes:

“I’ve interviewed Trump supporters, conventional conservatives, Bernie Sanders fans, and even a few people who reluctantly voted for Clinton in the Democratic primary but who nevertheless say they can’t stand her. Most of them described a venal cynic. Strikingly, the reasons people commonly give for hating Clinton now are almost the exact opposite of the reasons people gave for hating her in the 1990s. Back then, she was a self-righteous ideologue; now she’s a corrupt tool of the establishment. Back then, she was too rigid; now she’s too flexible.”

So, it seems that Hillary is too this, or too that – she’s just not Goldilocks enough. But it seems that the language used to speak ill of Hillary is the kind of language usually reserved for denigrating women, in particular. She is too “stupid” because she stood by Bill during the Lewinsky scandal. She is too “old” even though she’s not as old as Ronald Reagan when he won. She is too “ill” because she recently suffered an illness whilst attending a 9/11-remembrance ceremony. She is too “risky” because of the old email business (and please forgive any naivety, here, but this seems to be about the worst of Hillary’s misdemeanours, which, when you think about it, doesn’t seem all that bad when on the other side we seem forever to be discussing Trump and over a dozen seemingly plausible accusations of sexual assault). Basically, according to her haters, she’s a stupid, old, unwell, and unstable WOMAN.

And when discussing the other accusation that seems to be ever at hand to beat Hillary down, that she’s too much a part of the “corrupt,” self-serving U.S. politics, are people really saying that she’s all that different from what’s gone before? Really?

Is she worse than James Buchanan, who failed to prevent the outbreak of the Civil War?

Is she worse than Warren G. Harding, and his mishandling of the Teapot Dome oil reserves?

Is she worse than Andrew Johnson, who opposed measures, such as the Fourteenth Amendment?

Is she worse than Franklin Pierce, whose administration was responsible for the so called “Bleeding Kansas” or Border War, considered as being one of the key events that led to Civil War?

Is she worse than Millard Fillmore, who endorsed the Fugitive Slave Act?

Is she worse than John Tyler, the first American head of state to face impeachment?

Worse than Shrub?

Nixon?

Really?

Hillary Clinton is no different than any of the other aspiring Presidential candidates before her, except for one thing: Hillary is a woman. It remains to be seen whether Americans are willing to accept a woman as President, but make no mistake, woman-hating is prevalent in society. Having a woman in The White House may expose more of the woman-hating, as seen throughout the entirety of the election campaign. But how severe does the woman-hating have to get before people call it out for what it is?

When do we stop adding to, as The Hawk calls it, our collective “history of stupidity?”

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Stephen Hawking, #AI, and the “History of Stupidity”

Following on from the very brief post on Adam Curtis’ #Hyper-Normalisation, which is riveting viewing despite its length being around 166 minutes, and despite the fact that it, like most of Curtis’ productions IMO, leaves you feeling oddly numb as the end credits roll, kind of like you’ve seen too much and can’t quite process the wave after wave of stupid human behaviour being presented to you in film format, it’s fascinating to hear Professor Stephen Hawking’s view that: “We [humans] spend a great deal of time studying history, which, let’s face it, is mostly the history of stupidity.” And you’d have to admit, he’s got a point here.

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So, with that in mind, and very much “on-trend” in terms of what’s going on in the world, and as was touched on in Hyper-Normalisation, what’s the deal-i-o with AI? Is it likely to be, as Pro Hawking (can we just call him the Hawk?) predicts, “either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity?” Now, surely that will depend on your viewpoint in the first instance. Watching @Gemma_Chan1 on How to Build a Human the other night, it was interesting to hear views from experts who feel we may need to curb AI’s remit before it even comes into existence, and that AI needs to be for our benefit – but curb it from doing what, precisely, and who are the “we” that we are speaking of?

For instance, AI may reach a level where it decides that we are truly a very stupid species and that things need to change. But what things might it want to change, and how would that impact upon “humanity?” The show gave us a brief glimpse of AI gone rogue, with an example of a Twitter account run by AI that ended up all misogynistic and racist and stuff – so that’s not a great future.

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But what if a supremely intelligent form of AI were to come into existence, take a bit of time to look around and do its research before coming up with the following list of things that need changing:

  • The practice of thinking that the best way of keeping peace on the planet (even though that seems never to have happened, thus far) is to invent the deadliest weapons you can think of that would annihilate the population if used in sufficient numbers.
  • The practice of allowing “humane” end-of-life procedures for animals you care for, whilst at the same time leaving humans to suffer some awful and agonisingly slow deaths through sickness/illness, and the like.
  • The practice of encouraging/forcing the bulk of “civilised” populations to be placated into doing endless tasks that are, and always will be, meaningless – whether that be shopping, working (unless it’s a job that truly benefits society), or engaging in forms of entertainment.
  • The practice of viewing some humans as less human than others, and therefore less worthy of basic human rights – like adequate access to healthy sources of food and water, and the provision of shelter and a safe environment.

And those are just four examples of things that we might consider to be stupid ways of living. What if AI messed with those things? What would that look like, and, more to the point, who would object?


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