The Patriarchy Whines Back

Yesterday much of the leftie blogosphere came down on James Taranto for dismissing efforts to curb sexual assault in the military as a “war on men” and an “effort to criminalize male sexuality.” I mentioned this at the end of this post. Now Taranto whines that the feminazis are picking on him.

Taranto had expressed approval of a clemency granted to an officer who was convicted of aggravated sexual assault. Today he writes,

Our argument infuriated feminists, yielding hundreds of tweets and perhaps a dozen posts on various leftist websites. Particularly noteworthy was a tweet from @Invisible_War, which promotes a documentary described as “a groundbreaking investigation into the epidemic of rape in the US military.” The tweet read: “Appalling: @WSJ’s @jamestaranto thinks we’re criminalizing male sexuality by prosecuting military rape.”

That is an utter falsehood. Our column discussed sexual assault but made no specific mention of rape, a distinct and more serious offense under military law. Herrera was not accused of rape.

It was aggravated sexual assault, which sounds a whole lot like rape to me. If military law doesn’t consider aggravated sexual assault to be that big a deal, then there’s a problem with military law.

Taranto also complains that some of the comments made about him were “abusive.” Seriously. Saying unkind things about him on the Twitter is “abusive.” But aggravated sexual assault is just boys being boys.

I feel an urge to demonstrate to Taranto what “abusive” means. But he’s not worth the effort, frankly.

Update: It gets worse. See Digby and also Think Progress —

Taranto followed up his op-ed with an appearance on Wall Street Journal’s video channel, where he argued that “female sexual freedom” is responsible for a “war on men,” and that war is embodied in allegations of sexual assault. During that interview, he also said that a woman alleging assault and a man denying it “differed… on whether she consented.” Taranto also cast doubt on the report because someone present “didn’t even hear this going on.”

“What does female sexual freedom mean?” Taranto added, “It means, for this woman, that she had the freedom to get drunk and get in the back seat of a car with this guy.”

I feel like declaring war on James Taranto. This monster needs to be out of a job.

18 thoughts on “The Patriarchy Whines Back

  1. I can scarcely believe people who think like this can even exist anymore. Their neighbors would run them off, and they’d have to live in caves in the hills.

    Wait, that sounds familiar…. Oh, right. Taliban.

  2. Herrera had two accusations lodged against him.. Even if he was Snow White you’d have to acknowledge that there’s some sort of a problem there, and the probability of the problem probably lies with him.
    I know this isn’t exactly evidence, but I’ve met guys in the service that were so gnarled up in understanding male/female relationships that a women couldn’t even say hello to them without them interpreting that as a green light to take liberties. No means yes and stop means go…It’s all part of the courting ritual in their distorted perceptions… Guys who are flummoxed by the question.. Gee, how can any women not find me irresistible?

  3. WHAT A SKANKY ‘HO! I mean this asshat – Taranterrible.

    Yes, Dim Jim, the man says it was consensual, and denied any assault, and the woman says that there was NOTHING that was consensual.
    And she claimed there was an assault.
    And, because of the PERFECT record of men in these matters throughout history, he should be believed, and not, she!
    You went to a good school, asshat – did they never make you read any Greek or Roman Mythology?

    And “sexual freedom” for women means not having to deal with the sexuality of men, in anything but a consensual manner.

    And that, involving any matters of involving leadership, should be – may the best man, or woman, WIN! And, at the same pay, and with the same benefits.
    And, may the best woman or man, get the promotions, thanks, and etc…

  4. This all boils down to men still wanting to control women’s bodies. They are appalled at the thought that a woman is capable of knowing what she wants and what she doesn’t want. This shows that there are still way too many men who still do not understand the concept that “no means no”. The men in Congress are putting forth bills that interfere between a woman and her doctor–again, an effort to control women’s bodies. And, while they put a woman’s face on it in the last few days, she qualifies in my book as one of the “stupid” women who thinks men should control all women except her. Taranto does need to be removed from his job. He is a sorry excuse for a human being.

  5. Bits about differing consent… herm. See, I just saw this discussion of “consent in fiction.

    And it got me thinking about an old revelation on the issue.

    People talk about consent like “well, did she say no? Loudly and emphatically enough to be heard?”

    And it’s like, what kind of stupid-ass question *is* that? Dude, she’s right there! If you can’t tell the difference between “she’s having lots of fun and is really into this” and “she feels hideously violated” without her actually saying so, you have *no* business having sex!

    Sex takes *time*. It’s not like reaching out and shaking someone’s hand. Sure, you could shake a hand without being sure of consent – that’s over quickly. It’s not like “whoops, she didn’t say no, and there I went and had sex with her before I had any chance to determine how she was responding to it.”

    (Um. How does this relate to written fiction? Because in written fiction, you can gloss over how sex takes time, and how there’s loads of information about whether a person is happy for anyone who really cares to know.)

    Let’s be honest: “they differ about whether she consented” means a person is accusing the accuser of deliberately lying. Or possibly admitting that the accused needs to be locked up for the safety of others, because they can’t tell when they’re hurting other people.

  6. Maha, you have my vote on the declaration of war bill.

    Taranto is a scumbag, and only a scoundrel would quibble over whether Herrera was charged with rape or aggravated sexual assault. If you read the UCMJ section that defines the offenses, ‘aggravated sexual assault’, of which Herrera was convicted by a court martial differs from rape not in that it doesn’t involve forcing someone to have sex, but merely in the degree of coercion used, and clearly also involves having sex with someone incapable of consenting. So Taranto is basically saying, “Hey, he didn’t threaten to kill her, he just had sex with her when she was too drunk to say no.”

    That’s not a kind of “male sexuality” that anyone should be proud of, and justly ought to be criminalized. Which is why it is.

    Captain Herrera may have been an officer, but he was no gentleman, and his behavior was inexcusable.

  7. “And Lord, don’t you know…
    have me a time with a poor man’s lady..”

    These lyrics from an old Neil Diamond song have always annoyed me. They are an accurate reflection of an attitude – that some women deserve respect and with others, you can do as you please. A huge segment of women feel they can’t object to improper advances, harassment, or outright rape because they will have to defend their entire lifetime and lifestyle and relive before a jury any mistake that the defense can dredge up or fabricate. The number of offenses that go unreported is much greater than most people think – for this reason alone.

    JT’s logic is faulty. He seems to think that it’s OK for a CO to set aside a verdict which a Court Martial came to – usually it’s a jury but I don’t know in this case – because as Commanding Officer, he (or she) knows better than the jury who sat through all the evidence. Them’s the rules and it’s done – clemency granted.

    BUT if the CO can make an arbitrary decision based on the same slanted summary that JT is using, McCaskill has authority also. It’s just as legal and just as binding as granting clemency. As Congresswoman, McCaskill can put a hold on the CO who granted clemency – those are also the rules. But JT only wants the door to swing one way.

    I know my long posts are dull. This is no exception. About 40 years ago, I lived upstairs from a ‘working girl’. She didn’t bring her work home, she was raising a niece or younger sister.. She kept work separate from home. A local massage parlor provided her work. umm yes, there’s only one way I can know her trade for sure – but she was also a casual friend. I loaned her money on occasion and she always paid me back – I never asked for ‘interest’. I kept a relationship as ‘just friends’ separate also.

    She showed up at my door once – she had lost her apartment keys during an attack. I have never seen blue jeans ripped open at the crotch. She was beat up a little – upset – a lot – and I tried to calm her down. She realized I was more upset (in some ways) than she was. I will always remember how she told me, ‘I’ll be OK.’ I challenged her on the idea she could shrug it off easily and she said, “I’ve been raped 3 times before, the first time when I was 11 – by my brother.” That’s when I realized I had lived a sheltered life.

    Naturally, she didn’t report it. It has always angered me that her rapist not only got off free – he KNEW it was a free ride when he attacked her. A rape in the military seldom leads to a conviction – guys in uniform know it’s almost always a free ride, too. I read that service-women in Iraq stopped drinking water in the PM so they would not have to visit the latrine at night because it was so dangerous. How can it be that American men in uniform can stalk American women in uniform with no fear of reprisal?

    I agree with Taranto that the accusation should not automatically be a conviction. Not all women tell the truth. But the ratio of exploited women who are real victims compared to the number of men who have fallen prey to false accusations is like comparing the Pacific Ocean to a mud puddle. Let conservatives get serious about fixing a real social problem like rape in the military and they can go all righteous about an individual case. For now, I agree that JT is a jerk – because he never balanced his defense of the clemency with any admission of the magnitude of the problem American women face in and out of the military. Whether he wants to admit it or not, it was a defense of rape.

  8. As Congresswoman, McCaskill can put a hold on the CO who granted clemency – those are also the rules. But JT only wants the door to swing one way.

    Yeah, Doug. That’s the bottom line. Look at Bush giving Scooter Libby a get out of jail card.. As much as it sucked.. all we could do is bellyache about how unfair the system is. But those are the rules.

  9. OT – the white patriarchy in NC has just repealed the Racial Justice Act:

    “North Carolina legislators barred death sentences “sought or obtained on the basis of race” in 2009, when both houses of the state General Assembly were under Democratic control.

    The, legislation, known as the Racial Justice Act, allowed condemned convicts to use statistical analysis to argue that race played a role in their sentencing.”

    Never mind the statistics that show that the overwhelming number of inmates on Death Row, are minorities, NC.

    Watch out for NC, the state I lived in for 9 years, the Republicans are experimenting, trying to do the things they’d love to do if they took over the US Government – or, until their loon-fever breaks.

    The NC Conservatives are letting their “freak fly.”

  10. Yes, ‘Gulag. They’ve set the wayback machine so that Ayn Rand can hook up with Bedford Forrest.

    It keeps me working on that Rossetta Stone course.

  11. goatherd,
    THAT was an amazing comment!

    I am SOOOOOOOOO steali… liberating, that!

  12. so that Ayn Rand can hook up with Bedford Forrest

    Well, I can’t un-picture that.

  13. “But another conservative uber patriot bites the dust”

    Wow that guy used to be a kindergarten teacher, I wonder how many of his students were treated to his advances? Somehow I think if he had been the co-founder of La Raza that story would be on constant 24hr headline loop!

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