I apologize for linking to Glenn Greenwald

Monday, May 25th, 2009 · 74 Comments »

(Update: I have been asked to preface this post with a warning that readers may find it disturbing.)

When I posted a link to Glenn Greenwald’s column the other day, I was unaware of his history as an advocate for torturers. Greenwald has vigorously championed torturers’ rights, has explicitly privileged their version of events over that of their victims, and has asserted — in agreement with the torturers — that “no real pain was inflicted” on the victims.

Of course these aren’t the torturers at Gitmo or Abu Ghraib. It’s the film company of “Max Hardcore,” an extreme pornographer who grossly abused women while filming the proceedings for the entertainment of other men. Hardcore claims his victims were thrilled to be tortured, and Greenwald accepts this point of view unquestioningly.

Amazing what a difference gender makes, huh?

And if you’re thinking that it’s not a question of gender, that the real difference is between prisoners of war and allegedly volunteer performers, think again. I’ll help you:

Imagine that instead of Max Hardcore, we have a U.S. Army dude stationed in Iraq with a sideline in homemade porn. Imagine that this homemade porn is of a very special kind, involving Iraqi boys and young men off the streets, the ones who are scavenging in garbage dumps and living hand-to-mouth. Our imaginary Army pornographer offers these guys $20 each to be in a porn video. Many of them say yes — after all, $20 is a fortune for a street kid.

Each porn video consists of heavy-duty homosexual sadism and racism. The young Iraqi victim in each film is violently penetrated, choked, beaten, urinated on, masturbated on, fed his own feces, and forced to crawl on the floor while saying things like, “I’m a filthy sand nigger” and “Mohammed is a pig-fucker.” The Army pornographer screams racist epithets at the young victim throughout — that is, when he’s not too busy raping and kicking and pissing and force-feeding shit down the Iraqi’s throat. By the end of each video, the Iraqi victim is shrieking in pain and sobbing uncontrollably. When the camera finally shuts off, he collects his $20 and gets the hell out — shocked, shattered, humiliated to his core.

So think about that. Think about this imaginary series of homemade porn from Iraq, and imagine that it’s widely popular — on Army bases, stateside, anywhere white men enjoy fantasizing about torturing exploited Iraqis. How do you think people like Glenn Greenwald would react? Do you think Glenn would be talking loftily about the Army pornographer’s First Amendment rights? Do you think he would say that the videos are simply entertainment? That no harm is being done, to anyone? Would he insist that the central fact of the matter is that the Iraqis are exercising perfect free will? And that by honoring their desire to be humiliated and tortured for $20, he’s respecting them as people?

Of course not. If porn like that existed, there would be an uproar. Christ! People would throw up after 10 seconds of one video. What kind of sick shit is this? The racism! The hatred! The sheer breathtaking cruelty! And the whole surrounding exploitation — god! Paying these garbage dump kids all of $20 to be tortured! It’s too sick to believe. And what kind of insane people get off on this shit anyway? What’s wrong with them? Is our society really that vicious? Liberals all over the blogosphere would be writing long posts about the black heart of American fascism. And people like Glenn Greenwald would be saying that if this shit isn’t illegal somehow, then by god, we need to find a way to make it so.

That’s if the victims were men.

In the real world, of course, there is porn just like that: it’s what Max Hardcore specialized in. But his victims were female, you see. And that makes it okay. You can do anything to a woman — anything at all — and as long as some dude gets an orgasm out of it, it’s okay.

(And I cannot resist noting the extent to which the orgasm, in our current bizarro era of human-rights-as-defined-by-Larry-Flynt, has assumed preternatural importance as a kind of all-purpose salvific justification. If you’re a guy who likes seeing women get beaten up and raped and mauled, but you don’t get any kind of sexual charge out of it, you’re a creep who hates women. But if it gives you an orgasm, then by god, it’s a healthy and beautiful thing. And anybody who says otherwise is a prude.)

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74 Responses to “I apologize for linking to Glenn Greenwald”

  1. leis says:

    That is always the reasoning the porn industry and porn aficionados give us, she agreed to be paid for it so it can’t be rape. As if the decision to be used in this vile manner is made in a void, irrespective of the woman’s sad, sad situation. I know I am not the first person to say this, but if the people who are supposed to be on our side are defending this shit we are in serious trouble. And when I find myself screaming this at a fellow “liberal”, I realize the truth is women’s equality may never be achieved

  2. slythwolf says:

    This is what it is, from what I can figure out:

    Women are not like real people (men). Sure, men recognize that they wouldn’t want to be tortured, but women, you know, women like that stuff, they get off on it. Women love to submit and be dominated, it’s what they were made for. And if a woman doesn’t, well, that woman is a prude, a dyke, an evil feminazi bitch who doesn’t know her place, is not a real woman. Because real women love to be degraded; they experience degradation as pleasure. Everyone knows that.

    Also, Violet, I love you, but could we get a trigger warning on this post?

  3. Nina M. says:

    Wow. What a seriously deluded piece of shit. This is, of course, exactly the way porn works – it ‘normalizes’ behavior that is de facto appalling and numbs the conscience through repetition. There are so many things wrong with Greenwald’s inability to connect the dots I don’t even know where to begin.

    Here’s one place – thanks to the activism of the good people who care about the welfare of animals, animals that appear in Hollywood films and tv programs are handled by professionals and the set is monitored by specialists (or so I’m told). Thus films carry a Humane Society (or somesuch) certification and include disclaimers such as “no animals were harmed in the making of this film.” The reason for the disclaimer and the certification is because people *presume* that if they see a horse fall over and die on the screen, the horse may well have actually fallen over and died. Thus it behooves the studio to issue a preemptory reassurance verified by a third party observer. The more realistic-seeming the mistreatment, the more prominent the disclaimer (and scrutiny).

    The rats in the remake of Willard probably had more people looking after their safety than some of the human ‘performers’ in porn.

    The issue I raise here is not a comparison between women and animals, or to conflate an animal’s inability to give consent to a woman’s (presumed) inability to consent. The issue is this: we – the consumers – *don’t* give the producers of entertainment the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the depiction of violence or cruelty against animals. The onus is on the people responsible for the film to proactively demonstrate that they have not caused harm. Yet with violent pornography, the presumption is that – one way or another – the ‘performer’ ‘asked for it’ and that no actual harm was inflicted (at least, none that was not ‘asked for.’) And its up to outsiders to demand -futilely – investigations into what actually transpired.

    Amazingly, people will argue that even the most gruesome photos are consensual – even when the victim’s face is never shown. Close-up photos of body parts being mutilated could be of anyone – conscious or unconscious, consenting or unconsenting – and yet people will argue with absolute conviction that the person to whom the body parts belong was a thrilled and/or compensated willing participant.

    Per – “that’s if the victim is men” – nope. I have had the unpleasant experience of having this conversation not (only) in the context of violence against women, but of rape in the gay male community. Show some of our boys a photo of a hooded man being genitally tortured, complete with blood etc, and tell them the photo came from the private collection of a soldier, and they will be horrified. Tell them that the photo came from an alt.com user’s collection, and suddenly, some of our boys say – ‘oh, well that’s alright then. Who am I to judge.’ Instant transformation – like magic. Despite knowing nothing about the masked person being tortured; not even his name, or what he looks like.

    There is so much that is rancid about this. I think its high time to revive a serious conversation about censorship in the name of public safety and public health. I see no reason why other countries – countries where citizens enjoy more liberties than we do – can manage to clamp down on this, and we can’t. I am sick and tired of hearing that the most sacred and fundamental right protected by our constitution is the right to create obscenity / promulgate hate. The message this sends is quite simply that there is no behavior that is beyond the pale, that is too awful that you can’t buy it or make money off it. (The big exception is the molestation of young children and its representation, child porn). There is an excellent argument about human security and human rights to be made here, and its time we started making it, in a big way.

    Sorry for the rambling. Jesus christ, I’d like to slap that fuckwit Greenwald. He already has a grounding in human rights and Constitutional law, he writes about it all the time, and its not like its so difficult to stop for a moment and ask oneself – wait a sec, how do I know that what I’m asserting is true? Where did I get this information? How reliable is it? Is it the full story? That he hasn’t done this with regard to the Feminist Law Professors post reflects very poorly on his intellectual capacity and his character. (For pity’s sake, he’s brilliant in some ways. Is it *that* hard to be a fully developed human being? Is it *so* hard to have an intact conscience?)

    Oh, and thank you, Violet. That was news I needed to see. You are the best.

  4. Ann Bartow says:

    Violet, I appreciate this post more than you can know. Greenwald does some very good political writing, no question. But he’s the consumate Supposedly Liberal Dood who needs to conceptualize women as others, the sex class, not as important as men.

  5. Nina M. says:

    And per slythwolf, Vi, stick a trigger-warning on anything in my post that you think needs it.

    Tho I think the whole fucking world needs a trigger warning. Or maybe a trigger mantra. A feminist trigger mantra, to be repeated first thing in the morning (or whenever one wakes up):

    “Warning: The world you are about to rejoin is filled with violent and hateful stimuli that may trigger overwhelming feelings of revulsion, shame, anger, sadness, anxiety and fear. Consider yourself forewarned, and if you proceed, please prepare yourself in whatever manner you deem appropriate.”

  6. RKMK says:

    I feel so sick after reading that. I actually spent the weekend rad-femming it up by reading Dworkin and Twisty, and I’m ready for the revolution. Anytime now.

  7. Sis says:

    Life–everything–is triggering if you’re a woman. I don’t want Vi to label this. So it makes you think, reflect, maybe get angry, shakey, tears; do something about it. Don’t muzzle the one really effective voice on the femisphere. Get on Greewald’s and other prog left blogs and post until they kick you off.

    Great post Vi.

  8. Apostate says:

    You are correct, but this is depressing. I wasn’t aware he’d defended Max Hardcore. I read Greenwald occasionally and hadn’t noticed sexism peeping through. He’s good on many leftist issues, so it’s a pity that he’s just like most librul d00ds.


  9. Egallantry says:

    I have been living in the US for seven years. I am still trying to identify voices in the media that reflect my views. The humane treatment of women and girls is not a core value of this culture* but it is vital to me. Liberals frequently become libertarians when it comes to the exploitation of my gender. Misogynistic propaganda is the mainstream. It is disheartening.

    *Not a core value of my culture of origin either

  10. taggles says:

    Violet, don’t be so hard on yourself or apologize. I did not know this either. His POV is lost on me with this. And thank you for writing about it.

    I have criticized John Ziegler for his misogyny and sexism and he has produced a film about media bias and malpractice and sexism about Sarah Palin’s VP run.

    I was not warmly received by many, in bringing it to light. Women included. But what can one do?

    I think the best that one can do is try to inform and let people make their own decisions regarding things like this.

    If zero misogyny or sexism is a standard one must reach before a feminist can read or agree or quote, I guess I can see the point that there won’t be many sources or investigative reporting we can read or use, because sexism is so rampant. It’s a catch 22.

  11. taggles says:

    PS If interviewed John Ziegler on PUR in March and questioned him about his views. Take a listen if you would like. I took a lot of heat for this from PUMA’s.


  12. taggles says:

    should read :

    I took a lot of het for this from SOME PUMA’s.

  13. Violet says:

    Yet with violent pornography, the presumption is that – one way or another – the ‘performer’ ‘asked for it’ and that no actual harm was inflicted (at least, none that was not ‘asked for.’)

    The thing to notice is that this reasoning only seems to apply to men’s sexual entertainment. Pornography is okay if women consent, just as prostitution is okay if women consent.

    Yet there are many, many forms of exploitation that are outlawed, no matter how much the participants consent. Organ transplants for cash, voluntary slavery, gladitorial-style combat, sweatshop labor, unsafe work conditions, all kinds of things. All kinds of situations that would result in the grotesque exploitation of people. Or rather, men.

    But the exploitation of women for sexual purposes is just fine.

  14. MojaveWolf says:

    Hey Violet. No need to apologize; that column is hardly typical of Greenwald; I’ve read him regularly since last year (you, he, Anglachel and Corrente are my “must-reads”) and somehow just plain *missed* that column.

    And I don’t think being incredibly clueless there invalidates the rest of his work; he does some outstanding writing and no reason to ignore it because he apparently shot off a column without realizing that one of the examples he used to make a point was, uh, a really, really bad example. To avoid getting long-winded, I think a lot of people (men and women both, tho more often men, and once upon a time me, too, so I have some sympathy for him here) have been brainwashed from an early age into a knee-jerk defense of all sorts of porn under the artistic freedom/1st amendment mantle, and don’t stop to think things out — yes, he should’ve, but there’s a difference between clulessness and malice, and I hold the rest of his work in sufficiently high regard to give him the benefit of the doubt here.

    More troubling is his response to Ann in the post you linked to, accusing her of misogyny and not crediting women’s agency. Again, due to otherwise holding him in high regard, I’m inclined to put that down to an overly defensive mistake cause he was stung by criticism from an unexpected quarter. I *hope* that is what it is. Whatever it is, indefensible, and I hope he has since apologized.

    Or it could be he’s like my hardcore law & econ torts professor who said quite sincerely “Thank God for sweatshops!” because of the wonderful working opportunity sweatshops gave people who would otherwise be unemployed and starving. Greenwald doesn’t strike me as holding this view, and I’d hate to think he was a big hypocrite, who’s all for smacking down sweatshops but thinks exploiting people who are desperate for money is fine as long as they’re getting underpaid and degraded for something involving sex on film.

    Anyone know if he’s since apologized for the comments to Ann, or admitted he didn’t think this through very well?

  15. anna says:

    Must agree with you 100% here Violet. And the sad thing is that this is the majority of porn. Movies of people simply having sex, as the average woman has sex, without violence or talk about nasty sluts are quite rare. (And of course even those are exploitative of desperate women.)

  16. Toonces says:

    Wasn’t Max Hardcore the one who raped a wannabe pornstar in a documentary about her “journey”? It’s upsetting but I’ve just given up on even “good” men with this issue. They like porn and that’s that. There’s no rational discussion to be had. They do not give a shit.

  17. Sis says:

    Anna at one time a couple years ago, I looked at several porn sites, just enough to have an idea what was there. I also looked at the winners in a porn film festival held in Toronto, which where advertised as being loving couple porn. Odd how the camera was on the woman all the time. The camera lens is presumed to be the eye of the viewer. A man, of course.

    Nina what a terrific post, except I have to disagree with you (or someone, can’t go back to check who) here: “(The big exception is the molestation of young children and its representation, child porn). No, there is commonly now justification for this, among the pedophiles, just plain perverts, and the male public who is increasingly indistinguishable from the previous two: “Some are ready sooner”, was said to me by a DOCTOR. “She was very seductive”, said a judge letting a perv off in the rape of a five-year old girl. “I love me some 10-year-old juice” read on a chat board for men who “love little girls.” It’s a “grey area”. From a 2006 post on Twisty’s blog.

  18. Toonces says:

    Yeah, “Barely 18″ with girls/women who they pick because they look much younger…maybe child porn is only taboo in public for most men? Then again, remember in Little Miss Sunshine how funny the grandfather character is, the one who teaches the little girl to do a strip show and talks to his grandson about getting the “young stuff” while it’s legal? Hell, Jerry Seinfeld “dated” a 17 year-old when he was 40 and he (and Woody Allen, the serial child rapist) are still totes cool!

    Also, in reading Glenn’s response on FLP it’s unsettling how precisely his “defense” matches the standard MRA-type tropes about how the real misogynists are the feminazis. Makes me wonder where he got that from. Seems like an argument he’s maybe had/heard before.

    And another also, why should every fetish be catered to??? If I had a vomit or rape fetish (where/how do people get these?), being a person capable of empathy, if I absolutely HAD to see this fetish “performed” on film (and I don’t see why that’s a necessity), I would feel like a sick, sociopathic rapist if I didn’t make ABSOLUTELY 100% certain that all involved were not coerced in any way, and I don’t see how that’s possible in the current reality of the American porn industry. No, actually, if I had a hate fetish I would seek help, but I guess that kind of rationality and empathetic ability is probably why I don’t have a hate “fetish” in the first place. Violet says it much better than I can, but I can’t imagine these liberal d00dz defending this type of “fetish” being catered to if it involved black people “voluntarily” being peed on or mock-lynched or chased by dogs or whatever by people dressed up as Klan members. Not that there probably isn’t porn out there like that and not that there aren’t likely sickos defending it but at least they don’t pretend to be all enlightened and progressive.

    I want to wake up now.

  19. Sis says:

    I doubt there’s a girl raised in a family of men: brothers, uncles, male cousins, and maybe her father, and/or mother’s boyfriends or stepfather, who can say she’s never been fondled, molested, or raped by one or more of them. I absolutely would not believe any woman who said it hadn’t ever happened to her in a family with any men around. If she did deny, it’s because she would have been groomed by her male family and our culture to think she caused it to happen, that it wasn’t rape, she wasn’t hurt, and anyway, she enjoyed it.

    As for the columnist; I don’t need to read him every column to know he can make the divide real easy: men pity other men who are raped. They are outraged by it, because those others are men. Men=human. Women who are raped–it’s incomprehensible the b*tches would claim an injustice.

    One more gaggy piece of information: the DOCTOR who told me “Some are ready sooner” is part of a growing male body which openly supports no age of consent. Because if they had sex with an adult, they wanted it. And if they wanted it, they consented. See how that works? You can find them openly discussing this crap all over the internet, not even behind registration. But not, of course, with real names.

  20. Sis says:

    And the columnist isn’t the worst, by far. There’s a blog called “feminist” by other feminist blogs, which was recently lauded as being one of the best/favourite feminist blogs by Fem 2. That ‘feminist’ pimp has his blog and his porn sites (from which he derives income) on the same eponymous server. So not only can the pimp culture claim to be progressive left, they can claim to be feminist while living off the pain, dehumanization and degradation of young girls, women of colour, and marginalized and addicted women. Who are there by choice, of course.

  21. Violet says:

    It’s upsetting but I’ve just given up on even “good” men with this issue. They like porn and that’s that. There’s no rational discussion to be had. They do not give a shit.

    And they’re not going to give a shit. Ever. That’s because the pornography is self-perpetuating: it trains men to see women as sub-human objects to be reviled, so of course they have no empathy. There’s no motive or even understanding of why the exploitation is wrong. The women are just objects to be used.

    Following on from what Nina said above, the typical porn-using liberal dude has more compassion for animals than for women.

    I really wonder if the only men capable of feminist understanding is that tiny group that came of age when the Second Wave was at its peak, but before the great porn revolution. Certainly the men of today’s generation — the porn-fed, porn-sick crowd — are incapable.

  22. Briar says:

    Great article, but I don’t think this is really because of gender. I think it is because of the “art” and censorship debate. Max Hardcore is in the entertainment business, and once the notion of artistic licence is invoked, you can count on a shameful number of liberals to put down their common sense and start waving the “people know it is fiction, not real: no censorship” banner. The fact that the entertainment business is busily normalising all sorts of war crimes in the name of “fun” passes them by. It is more important, in their eyes, that artists should have licence than that images of unmanned (how apt – “cowardly”, one might parse) remote controlled drones, say, dropping bombs on “terrorist compounds” should be exposed as propaganda for the air wars of the present and future. Oh yes, and Tarantino’s latest offering is criticised by these standard bearers of modernist art for its *lack* of sadism. More wiggling of male fingers in female wounds, please! The war business and the porn business are, in my view, two sides of the same brutalising, sex and violence are fun, coin – and liberals’ free-speech, no censorship fundamentalism gives free rein to both of them.

  23. Nessum says:

    Once saw how a young girl made her debut in a porn “movie”:

    She arrived at the outdoor set wearing a green bikini and enourmous white chunk-heeled shoes.

    A youngish woman in a white bikini greeted her, and they smalltalked for a while.

    Then the white bikini left to bring back a star naked male, holding – not his hand but his dick, cheerily saying: “Look what I’ve got for you!”

    Next clip:
    A dining table has been placed on the lawn, the girl in the green bikini on top of it is no longer wearing her panties, her top is up around her neck, but she’s still wearing the silly shoes. She looks scared as the male is – going full force on her!

    Afterwards the white bikini cooes: “So how was it?”

    The girl in the green bikini looking rattled, stammers: “Er, it was a little bit like being raped.”

    I cried for this girl … but she probably got used to it, don’t you think?

  24. tinfoil hattie says:

    I absolutely would not believe any woman who said it hadn’t ever happened to her in a family with any men around.

    It did not happen to me in my family, so am I a liar? Can I not be trusted? Am I just a silly woman who’s making things up?

    What is the difference between what you said and people who refuse to believe a woman who says she was assaulted? Please don’t assume to take away women’s agency by deciding when they are lying.

  25. Anna Belle says:

    Now you understand why I had such a strong reaction to him in your post. He’s every bit the misogynist I said he was. I don’t care if he occassionally spouts soemthing true–he shouldn’t be leading anyone in forming an opinion until he addresses his own shortcomings. I say we attack his blog until he wakes up. Can we get control of the comments section? I bet we could, if enough of us cared to act, instead of surf.

  26. FLAConnie says:

    First – THANK YOU to all of you for this discussion. I’ve considered myself a feminist for most of my life (I’m 59) and stopped following so-called mainstream feminism many years ago when there was the “debate” over porn. I was firmly in the Andrea Dworkin camp and have read all of her non-fiction books. Frankly, I couldn’t understand how anyone who called themself a feminist could defend porn. It’s good to see that there are other women out there that feel the same: it’s degrading, dehumanizing and totally anti-woman.

  27. Lori says:

    No, Anna, we can’t and we won’t get control of his comments section because that is thuggery and gets nowhere. I didn’t like it when Obama supporters behaved like that, and I have no intention of doing something that I object to other people doing.

    No, Glenn isn’t a misogynist. He’s a guy who doesn’t understand the human aspect of what he is writing about as well as he could – and that doesn’t make someone a misogynist. He is an intellectual and the way to an intellectual is through their mind, not by behaving like the thugs who supported Obama last year.

    Years ago, my husband was hired by Howard Stern to shoot a segment for Stern’s tv show about some gay characters. There were numerous other segment directors but my husband’s work was the only one to get good critical reviews. There was, however, something of a brou-haha about whether the segment was homophobic – which my husband blew off. But he was walking down the street one day, when a guy walked up and asked if he was the director of that particular piece on the Stern show. My husband said, yes, that was his work – to which the guy replied that he found his segment offensive and homophobic. He asked my husband if he could take him for coffee while he explained why he found the segment objectionable. The guy was smart, forthright and friendly. My husband’s response was to apologize and in the end, he backed away from anymore projects with Stern. But that only happened because if how the guy handled the confrontation That’s how you get through to smart people. Not by swarming their comment threads.

  28. AM says:

    I’d like to see Mr Greenwald’s response to this.

  29. gxm17 says:

    The data that I’ve read (and I don’t pretend to be an authority) shows that men who view violent porn are more likely to rape. There is debate whether it’s the porn that makes the man violent or if it’s that violent men are attracted to violent porn. Regardless, the data exists.

    I agree with Toonces. I don’t understand the mindset that sanctifies any and every sexual fetish where all must genuflect to the holy orgasm. Society needs to get a grip and begin to separate the sick from the healthy.

    I recall a case many years ago where a man killed his wife during “consensual” violent sex. He electrocuted her with a cattle prod and he got off with a slap on the wrist. What a load of BS. If a person engages in risky behavior, such as street racing, and kills a participant, it’s still a homicide. Talk about the ultimate “she asked for it” defense!

  30. AM says:

    Just sent Mr Greenwald e-mail asking him for a response to this discussion. His e-mail address is GGreenwald@salon.com

  31. Sameol says:

    Glenn’s not a misogynist but people who have the effrontery to speak up on comment threads are thugs engaging in thuggery? Got it.

  32. Violet says:

    Great article, but I don’t think this is really because of gender. I think it is because of the “art” and censorship debate.

    But the reason that debate exists is because of gender. It’s because the usual subjects (or perhaps we should say objects) of pornography are female. That’s why pornography is enshrined as “art” and “free speech,” no matter how brutal the crimes it depicts.

  33. Aspen Blake says:

    I am a mostly lurking, but needed to post this somewhere. I believe it is very much related to this torture discussion.
    This story is disturbing and contains sexual violence, so please be warned.
    I wanted to alert to an awful story I read. A porn star with screen name Cora Blonde, she also has another name Carolin Berger was sent to the hospital. She was being filmed giving oral sex to a gang pile of dudes (rapists) and after the 70th+ abusive fuckhead did it she appears to have been choked, passed out by asphixiation and was taken to the hospital for treatment. The only articles I have found about this are on tabloid sites at best. At worst full on porn sites I am afraid to click. At least 3 of the blog posts I have found in the tabloids link to a UK Sun article, but the UK Sun article appears to be gone. I am wondering if there is any credible information about this case in a mainstream news source, or better yet a feminist source. Is something being hidden? I would like to find out what happened to her.
    I hate to give any of the disgusting links, even the non-porn ones are extremely misgynistic.

  34. Aspen Blake says:

    I have done some searching, and it looks as if the story I posted about above may have been a joke or spoof. I am very sorry I helped spread such a terrible joke. Though if this is not real I am very glad. There are several sources who picked this up, but none seem very credible. I hope this story is not real. Though if it is a joke that has been spread around and treated as real by some outlets, even second rate ones, that is still pretty disturbing.
    Again, I apologize if I have promoted something false.


  35. Lori says:


    Speaking up is fine. “Getting control of his comments section” is what happened to pro-Hillary sites last year and I have no intention of engaging in any effort to get control of someone’s comments thread. Speak up all you want.

    And no, Glenn isn’t a misogynist. I’m not defending his point of view, but a lot of very thoughtful people share it with him, and you aren’t going to get any farther calling them misogynists than the Obots did by calling Clinton support racist. Same fuckin’ thing.

  36. Anna Belle says:

    How do you think Obama got to be 44, Lori? If you want change, you bleat the loudest or prettiest. Those are your choices. Women will never get anywhere holding themselves to a different standard than men hold themselves to, however odious you may personally find it. My (admittedly impatient) 2 cents (which is a recurring pattern recently).

  37. Sameol says:

    But calling people thugs and referring to thuggery is a superduper way to get them to listen to you? Well, if Glenn’s rape and torture apologia are totally understandable nonmisogynistic views that are shared by all the thoughtful people and we can jolly them out of it with backrubs and hairbraiding, maybe we can extend all that love and understanding even to the far worse domestic terrorists of the Salon letters page.

    Meanwhile, not all things are exactly the same as all other things. Astroturfers who harass and threaten blogs with 3 commenters might be the very same as individuals who try to correct the dangerous misinformation perpetuated by a major paid blogger with mainstream media access at the largest online magazine in America, when said magazine has 100 staff members assigned to control the comment content anyway. Or, those two scenarios might just be ever so slightly different.

  38. Ing says:

    I really wonder if the only men capable of feminist understanding is that tiny group that came of age when the Second Wave was at its peak, but before the great porn revolution. Certainly the men of today’s generation — the porn-fed, porn-sick crowd — are incapable.

    I sincerely hope not, but I fear it is so. The only men I meet who speak out against any porn are religious types who demand “submissive” wives. Other men defend porn (or see no need to do so) or remain silent on the issue, and I can feel how incapable these men are of understanding what it is to be a woman in this society and how deeply ingrained is their sense of entitlement to women, not just to her body and her labor, but to her unceasing admiration of him.

  39. Sis says:

    Kiss kiss Sameol. These trolls are so boring; what a paucity of imagination.

    Anna Belle just keep dolling out the pfennig. They shine so brightly.

  40. orlando says:

    Greenwald refuses to engage with the idea that a person can have her agency abridged by the effects of poverty, addiction, violent coercion or lack of access to employment or education. That is an unconscionable abuse of privilege. The end.

  41. Sis says:

    There are three trolls on the board TFH. Aim your canon somewhere useful.

  42. Lori says:


    Lots of very good people don’t engage with that idea. Calling him a misogynist and “getting control of his comment section” isn’t going to get him to engage with it. That’s all I’m objecting to.

    He’s an intellectual. IF his mind is to be changed, it will changed by reasonable and rational discussion, not by the tactics Obama used to dominate the blogosphere last year.

    After all of the complaining that the pro-Clinton blogosphere has done over the behavior of the Obama camp, it would be nothing but hypocritical to turn around and do the same thing.

  43. Violet says:

    After all of the complaining that the pro-Clinton blogosphere has done over the behavior of the Obama camp, it would be nothing but hypocritical to turn around and do the same thing.

    Except you’re the person who introduced this idea. All AnnaBelle suggested was getting control of his comment section to awake him to a different point of view. It’s a fact that Greenwald reads his comments, and he’s mostly surrounded by people who agree with him. Certainly there is virtually no one at Salon or in the Salon letters/comments section who sees anything wrong with rape and torture porn. They all belong to the Larry Flynt School of Feminist Empowerment. No one over there will ever call Glenn or anybody else on their sexism.

    You’re the person who made the leap from that to “thuggery” and Axelrod-type tactics. Why? (Edited to add: to be clear, I think you’re drawing a false equivalence. There’s nothing wrong with feminists trying to become more visible in so-called “liberal” venues like Salon, which are in fact largely infested by sexists and where a feminist point of view is rarer than unicorn. This is hardly the same as the bullying and astroturfing engaged in by Obamabots.)

  44. Kali says:

    Lori, since Greenwald is defending the torture of women he is a misogynist. If he acknowledged the humanity of women he would not be making the arguments that he did. Not acknowledging the humanity of women is misogyny.

    I think you are giving Greenwald too much credit and benefit of doubt. There is a decades-long record of intellectual, feminist arguments about why porn abuses, objectifies and degrades women, backed up by mountains of empirical data from the field and by laboratory studies. If he is not aware of this, he has no right to call himself an intellectual, especially considering that understanding socio-politics is a big part of his job. I believe it is not ignorance but wilful defense of his privilege that is motivating his comments. To believe otherwise is too naive.

  45. Carmonn says:

    “There is a decades-long record of intellectual, feminist arguments about why porn abuses, objectifies and degrades women, backed up by mountains of empirical data from the field and by laboratory studies. If he is not aware of this, he has no right to call himself an intellectual”

    Exactly. If he’s an intellectual, he’s not stupid. If he’s not stupid, he can understand basic arguments. This isn’t rocket science, if he doesn’t understand it it’s because he’s choosing not to, or more to the point because it benefits him not to. He’s also not a child, so suggesting that he’d be willing to understand if it were only nicely sugarcoated doesn’t work. As Violet points out, if we were talking about men, this amazing mental block would vanish quickly enough. Not caring that women are human beings isn’t just a minor flaw in an otherwise good and intellectual person.

  46. Lori says:


    I’m not objecting to people commenting. I’m objecting to Anna’s proposal to “get control” of his comments section – which is exactly what the Obama camp did last year to innumerable comment sections. I think speaking up is good. I think controlling the comments is bad – unless it is one’s own site. I know of no way to get control of a comment section other than by bullying. That is not the same thing as speaking up and defending your point of view.


    I doubt that Greenwald has ever described himself that way. I described him that way because he is an intellectual. Intellectual sometimes get things wrong. Just look at James Watson’s disastrous comments on race:

    “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing [IQ and Standardized testing] says not really.”

    He may or may not come around on race, but he did come around on Rosalind Franklin and eventually acknowledged her role in his work developing the model for DNA. He admitted to being intimidated by her, but later acknowledged that she had faced enormous barriers as a female scientist. He grew.

    People aren’t perfect. Glenn’s far from perfect. I didn’t like some of his stuff during the primary. But Glenn’s clearly on an intellectual journey and is capable of growth. Appeal to that in him.

  47. Carmonn says:

    “I know of no way to get control of a comment section other than by bullying.”

    How about you assume that there are more anti- than pro- people, and you try to get as many of them as possible to go and share their opinions and stories? hat’s what most people would probably assume that meant. Can you define what you even mean by bullying?

    I don’t want to be mean, but you’re doing a good job illustrating why dialogue doesn’t work, because you don’t listen. You made a leap that’s bizarre and maybe a little offensive, and then you refuse to listen to anyone else and just keep repeating the same thing over and over. It doesn’t make any more sense now than the first time you said it. As kali already mentioned, Greenwald has already been appealed to with reason. He may be capable of growth, but he doesn’t want to grow, and he doesn’t want to listen, and he doesn’t want to admit that he’s wrong. (Oh and to repeat once again, AnnaBelle ALSO wants to appeal to him with reason, she’s NOT suggesting beating him with lead pipes!!!!!)

  48. Sis says:

    Lori please go to Greenwald’s blog and show us how it’s done. It’s seems kind of useless to be saying the same thing over and over. Show us.

  49. Toonces says:

    Oh, we should be arguing our points “intellectually”, like with words and stuff. DUH! What would we have done if Lori hadn’t been so concerned?

  50. Sis says:

    “He grew.” Practically on his deathbed, unable to deny the facts any longer and still maintain face, he ‘acknowledged’ she’d had difficulties. My but you are easily impressed.

    He was the difficulty. Sexist, racist, and sexually abusive to boot. There are accounts of his open enjoyment of being lewd in front of her discomfort. I think most of us here are familiar with that tactic.

    But you are right though that people who come onto a blog and take control of it are thugs. You’re an object lesson.

  51. Sis says:

    Anna belle Rosalind Franklin is a perfect bio for you and your students. (Hahaha. I enjoy being the assignment editor.)

    The injustice done her and those so willing to shrug “eh” and say “move on” makes me cry.


  52. Lori says:

    Wow – so I make four comments on a thread of 50, and I’m “taking control” and I’m a thug? Amazing.

    Fine – I’m out. This is exactly the kind of group behavior that was so destructive last year, and I try really really hard to not engage in thoughtless and destructive behavior. By all means, “get control” of his comments section and call him names. If that’s how you think you move the dialogue forward, be my guest. I thought that was part of what we were objecting to, but if that’s how you think you can change his mind, I can’t wait to see that happen.

    As for Watson, he is a real dick – that’s my point. But he is an intellectual and he did grow. His comments about Franklin came when he was 52 years old and he is now 80 – so he was nowhere near his death bed. Am I easily impressed? Who knows? But I do know it is a better thing for history that he acknowledged that he was intimidated by her, and that she faced unfair barriers because of her gender. I’m not cynical.

    My apologies.

  53. Violet says:

    Lori, I don’t think you’re a thug. But I do think you’re weirdly dense or stubborn.


    By all means, “get control” of his comments section and call him names.

    is the same false equivalence you keep making. Who said anything about calling Greenwald names? No one but you. Who said anything about being destructive bullies? No one but you. Nobody in this thread has proposed doing anything but making feminist comments at Salon.

  54. Sis says:

    I don’t get what the deification is over an “intellectual”. Not that I think this pervert is one. Just wondering why it absolves Glenn (or Watson) of anything, let along women-hating, and it sounds like, Greenwalk and Watson getting their rocks off on women’s physical and emotional pain.

  55. Sameol says:

    So when you said AB was leading a conspiracy to engage in thuggery, that was a term of endearment and nothing to get upset about, and then you throw a fit over being called a thug.

    Well, you may be unbearably self righteous and dense, but at least you’re consistent.

    The “name calling” she’s referring to is
    “misogynist.” If we point out he is one, it’ll hurt his feelings and make us thugs.

  56. Lori says:


    This is the post which I find objectionable:

    Now you understand why I had such a strong reaction to him in your post. He’s every bit the misogynist I said he was. I don’t care if he occassionally spouts soemthing true–he shouldn’t be leading anyone in forming an opinion until he addresses his own shortcomings. I say we attack his blog until he wakes up. Can we get control of the comments section? I bet we could, if enough of us cared to act, instead of surf.

    She calls him a misogynist and wants to attack his blog and take control of his comments. I think it’s a disgraceful post which should be called out.

  57. Carmonn says:

    Lori, are you really, truly, so brick wall dense that you don’t understand that you have completely hijacked this thread? You made your first comment at #27, and after that all but a handful have been about your nonsensical comments. Now, I don’t throw the word “thug” around like you do (although we all know you only do it in the least thoughtless, least destructive way possible and never in a group), so I won’t say that you are one, but you have derailed this thread without a doubt. And by your definition, that makes you a….

    I’m sure an apology will be forthcoming real soon.

    I don’t get what the deification is over an “intellectual”

    Me neither, I think it’s part of this “Love for Misogynists” thing where if you’re steadfast and clean, hating and mistreating women is no big deal. A minor flaw at best, nothing that calls your intelligence or goodness into question. It’s popular, and all the smart boys do it–maybe there’s something to it. Either way, it’s nothing to get upset about.

  58. Violet says:

    She calls him a misogynist and wants to attack his blog and take control of his comments. I think it’s a disgraceful post which should be called out.

    Oh for pete’s sake. This is ridiculous. So Anna Belle thinks he’s a misogynist. Why shouldn’t she? And why shouldn’t she say so? Jesus Christ, this is a feminist blog and we’re talking about the seeming inability of Supposedly Liberal Doods to perceive women as human. Sounds like misogyny to me. But whether it is or not, the freaky thing here is that you apparently think this discussion on this blog needs to be shut down, lest Master Greenwald’s honor be impugned or some shit. Jesus.

    As for “attack” his blog with comments, Anna Belle is a blogger and a teacher, not a thug with a lead pipe. She’s referring to the fact that Salon is a cesspit of sexists and she’s proposing a feminist swarm. Everybody except you gets it.

    Calm down. Eat a sandwich, drink a glass of milk, do some fucking thing. (film quote btw)

  59. Toonces says:

    It seems like Lori’s saying that since Glenn is a supposed intellectual, he can’t be reasoned with and we should just let it go. Smart men are TOO smart to be burdened by an expectation of consistency/non-hypocrisy or that they don’t understand ethics or they do but are incapable of drawing parallels….. or something… I don’t know, it makes no sense to me.

  60. Carmonn says:

    Midnight Run!

    Damnit, I thought she meant we were going to hire a really mean dog to chew on his blog until he surrenders.

    Somebody owes me for the deposit on the dog!

  61. Lori says:

    No, you aren’t getting it, Violet.

    What I am objecting to is the proposal to BEHAVE in the fashion that we all objected to last year. I’m not defending Greenwald’s point of view, attacking Anna’s right to regard him as misogynist or deifying intellectuals. All of those charges are peevish bullshit because I’m not going along with the group on this. I’m objecting to name-calling someone whom we would like to sway to our cause, and attacking their blog because I think it is entirely counter-productive. I do think that organizing a feminist presence and speaking up in a substantive fashion is constructive, but that isn’t what Anna proposed – regardless of what kind window dressing it’s been draped with.

    So that’s it – I won’t respond anymore. I’m not going to open the thread again.

  62. Carmonn says:

    Maybe you meant to say, “I really owe you an apology, Anna Belle, and you too, Violet. You know, sometimes we just snap and say some really nonsensical things, and then the embarassment kicks in, and well, instead of just apologizing, we dig in and turn somersaults trying to justify our bizarre behavior and statements, no matter how hypocritical and flat out strange those justifications may be.”

  63. orlando says:

    Carmonn, not sure if you’re being Lori or Greenwald there. Wish it was both.

  64. Violet says:

    I loved Midnight Run.

  65. tinfoil hattie says:

    There are three trolls on the board TFH. Aim your canon somewhere useful.

    “Why don’t you feminists care about what I want you to care about?”

    “Women are being raped in the Congo. Why are you bothering to argue about broad-based statements removing credibility and ownership from women?”

    Tell you what, Sis: I’ll drive my car, and you drive yours! How’s that?

    And please stop telling me what to do, what to think, and what my life experiences have been.

  66. m Andrea says:

    My sulking is done, but the pouting is not yet finished. Anyway. Let’s do logic!

    Every single stinking time this issue comes up, the porno freaks jump all over all it. It’s always framed in terms of “well she consented” and any remaining discussion hinges upon the various mitigating factors which may or may not render her consent invalid.

    But logic tells us that particular framing is only half the debate. The other half, the one that porno freaks don’t want to discuss and against which they have ZERO defense, is this:

    Does any human have the inherent right to exploit, to cause pain or harm, to another human — regardless of the circumstance?

    When framed this way, the onus is placed fully on the one desiring to exploit. It is impossible to defend the exploiter’s actions, which is why they never want to talk about the desires of the exploiter. So start!

  67. MojaveWolf says:

    This thread appears to be over, but just in case someone checks back in, wanted to express support for Lori. I took the comments the same way she did, and had (still have) the identical reaction.

    Likewise thanks to Tinfoil Hattie for something way back around comment #24.

  68. Carmonn says:

    MojaveWolf, I don’t want to get this started again, but seriously. We don’t have an astroturf army, nor do we have the money we’d need to start one. Greenwald isn’t a kid with a blog and a dream, he’s a columnist with Salon magazine. It’s an online magazine, but that doesn’t mean it only exists in the virtual world, it most likely has an office, staff, interns just like any other magazine. If it was really being suggested that we should saddle up our non-existant astroturf army and “attack” the man’s blog with something other than feminist arguments (I don’t even know what you guys are thinking is being proposed), well jeez, I think our grand master plan might just be foiled by Salon’s expensive, top of the line spam filters and the intern they could delegate to spend an hour weeding out the 14 mean comments we’d be able to produce.

    If you’re imagining something like DOS or threats or something along those lines, which is utter bs nonsense, again, Salon is a major online magazine. They could probably spare a staff member to call the FBI and use their vast, far superior resources to track down and prosecute anyone who did something like that. There are laws about those kind of things.

    Like Violet mentioned, AB is a teacher and thinker, not some kind of crazy thug who would consider it a victory to take Salon offline for 30 seconds on her way to federal prison. We’re talking about speaking up, there’s really nothing anyone can do to afect Greenwald or salon in any way other than by speaking up and trying to get our views out there in comparison to their odious views (and even there, they’re in control, all they have to do is delete, they can publish whatever comments they want and get rid of the rest).

    It just plain, flat out, does not make any sense.

  69. Carmonn says:

    And I would add that this all could have been cleared up in two comments if Lori had simply said, “I’m very, very, very confused about what you mean. I don’t understand. Can you explain?” instead of going off the rails with, “You thugs won’t get ME to engage in your thuggery!” and then going downhill from there. For someone who’s written a virtual dissertation here about how wonderful her comprehension and communication skills are compared to everyone else’s horrible viciousness and how she’s found the secret to the gentle, softpedal approach that gets results….*shrugs*

  70. Toonces says:

    Also, I want to say, just because some people make statements or comments and everyone else doesn’t jump up and say “I disagree with that!” doesn’t mean everyone reading agrees with what’s being said. I don’t think every man is a rapist or a molester (though I think likely every woman has been or will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, at least by the legal definition(s)), I don’t think ALL porn is necessarily evil (though I understand why some feminists do) and I likely would not have gone over to Salon to say anything, mostly because Greenwald and his ilk don’t give a shit about what feminists have to say. Anything that smacks of feminism is soundly rejected by those types, so my response is “fuggit”. But feminists CONSTANTLY have to justify every little thing — I don’t hate men! I don’t hate sex! I don’t hate fun! I have a sense of humor! I don’t think every man is a rapist! And you know what? I don’t have the energy for that AND fighting the good fight. I say what I believe and whatever others infer about me without my constant justifications is their problem/bias.

  71. Violet says:

    We’re talking about speaking up, there’s really nothing anyone can do to affect Greenwald or Salon in any way other than by speaking up and trying to get our views out there in comparison to their odious views (and even there, they’re in control, all they have to do is delete, they can publish whatever comments they want and get rid of the rest).

    Exactly. But Lori’s repeated attempts to create the impression that a feminist terrorist squad was planning to attack Salon has resulted in the complete derailment of the thread. And any outsider skimming this thread will come away with the impression that the feminists here are a bunch of maniacs who want to attack Salon. All those comments talking about the invasion! What a bunch of crazy nuts!

    Thus the original subject of the post is forgotten, and the feminist argument against pornography is once again obscured behind a haze of smoky bullshit.

    Thanks, all.

  72. Sis says:

    I have the greatest admiration for you TFH, which is why I wanted you to re-direct your canon to “somewhere useful”. Nevermind, Carmonn and Toonces did it. Did they ever. Thanks you two.

  73. Sis says:

    This post has been included in the 22nd Carnival of Radical Feminists.


    Then click on Genderberg Forums and see “Carnival”.

  74. Dragonfly says:

    Violet, thank you for this excellent criticism of Greenwald. Men who don’t get it about pornography – whether a woman, man or child is depicted as a sexual object – don’t deserve to have orgasms.

    Dworkin and MacKinnon were right.

    As Twisty would say, I blame the patriarchy.

    Unfortunately, male privilege blinds people like Glenn who won’t take responsibility for what male privilege does in our society. The penetrators are predators, the penetrated are prey, and the natural order dictates and justifies the abuse.

    So, the answer may be to deny sexual access, to the extent that is possible in violent society. But significantly, we need economic justice for women, who are still paid less than men for the same jobs.