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"Mary Beard: I almost didn't feel such generic, violent misogyny was about me"
james_nicoll

Professor Mary Beard describes herself as having a thick skin. But over the past 10 days, during which the 58-year-old classicist has been subjected to a stream of vitriolic online abuse after an appearance on Question Time, even she has struggled to keep on an even emotional keel.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.

My mother is a classicist (not as famous or storied as Beard). She also has an appearance that I would consider entirely normal and fitting for an average academic person, leading an average life, without some deep-seated hunger to look like a young Hollywood starlet. Entirely like nearly all her peers, male and female, that I have known.

The thought that this might just as easily have happened to my own mom as to Beard is chilling.

I wonder how the commenters who heaped this abuse on Beard would feel if their own parent had received similar acts of hatred thanks to some simple, public statement they may have made.

But then, I suspect that many of these commenters do what they do because they're so thoughtless or unsympathetic as to really not have access to that kind of perspective.


No, I'm sure they'd have some specious reason as to why it would be unacceptable for somebody to do that to their mother, but totally OK to do it to Beard. Most men who harass women, after all, have mothers and/or sisters.

It would be the odd man that had no mother ever. Though some of these people I suspect were shat out.

My genetic descendants have no mother. I (egg donor) am not their mother, and the gestational surrogate who bore them is not their mother. They have two fathers, though, so are excellently supplied with parents.

Like Athena sprung from Zeus's brow, only from the other end.

Bruce

Having specious reasons to justify their acts doesn't affect my wonder. My suspicion as to the lack of thoughtfulness and empathy in thuggery remains.

Edited at 2013-01-27 05:22 pm (UTC)

"My mum is a good person, Beard is a [F.i.t.b.]"

Basically, it's because they have trouble having empathy beyond a core group of people, as far as I'm concerned. They're even encouraged *not* to have empathy beyond that group.

I beg to differ.

Every one of these creatures has a justification prepared, and has convinced himself that he really believes he is Fighting For What Is Good.

Bullies always do. No bully has the mental competence to understand that he started it; the fact that someone said something he disagreed with, so much that he became hysterical with fear that it would be listened to, is what he considers the opening "attack".

By this rationalization, it follows that it is impossible for anyone to do the same thing in response, because the person doing it would have to be just as Good And True And Virtuous as the bully, and of course nobody is.

harvey_rrit's definition of sexism on Urban Dictionary:
Men have to live by the rules women invent, but women don't.
Sexism: When a man leaves a woman after 25 years, that's "abandonment', but when a woman leaves a man after one, that's "moving on with her life"; when a man has a fantasy involving two women, that's "perverted", but when a woman has a fantasy involving a man and a horse, that's "romantic".
I suppose Matthew will now whine about how quoting his own statements on women, the second hit for his pseudonym on Google, is bullying. After all, no bully has the mental competence to understand that he started it.

OUT OF CONTEXT! He meant that as a statement regarding women, not about actual people!

One side effect is that these defectives are completely oblivious to irony.

Yes, they are. You're the superior slan, but you think you're being bullied, and you think there's no contradiction.

It's a cultural thing on his part. Remember, the Kzinrretti have been selectively bred to be sub-sapient breeding machines, completely subservient to the superior male Kzintoshi.

Edited at 2013-01-28 07:07 am (UTC)

I don't know, though. If you presented yourself as a humble new author, with deficiencies in your knowledge and a willingness to be tolerant of others -- especially women, who are the majority of posters here -- someone who has a medical condition and a history of emotional trauma and recovery, a man who cares for his pets, people might not actually think you were a typing hemorrhoid.

Might. Of course, you think you're the hottest shit since Glenn Beck took a dump on live TV, so I don't think you're likely to change your behavior.

They are also notorious for ascribing their own motives to the victims they fear so much.

Don't you want to be a decent human being, respected and loved by others? Instead, you're a childish blowhard who thinks he's a victim, who can only think in terms of cartoons and childhood stories. If you were a better person, it would be sad; but I'll bet the fan community ain't going to fundraise for your inevitable health crisis you can't afford.

Grow up.

Could you and harvey_rrit get a room? Your flirting is kind of distracting.

Sure, but I think he'd run screaming into the night.

But scientifically interesting. I'd like to see the much-vaunted retractable Kzinti genitalia in action.

How about it, love? Or are you an anti-gay bigot as well?

I don't think he is - isn't he the one who wrote about Kzinti retractable penises in such loving detail?

Edited at 2013-01-28 07:10 am (UTC)

Sorry, can't take the credit for that.

Though I did once have a kzin see a nude man and speculate about whether that thing gets caught in stuff.

Typically they become stalkers, obsessed with the victim's every word. They exist vicariously, with no lives of their own.

Sigh. Why don't you want to be a better human being, Matthew? You know you'd be happier. People might like you and respect you.

They demonstrate this at every opportunity.

The recovering alcoholic remains at the mental age when he first started drinking.

After a while, of course, their pathetic craving for attention bores even the most easily amused target.

Bye.

I pity the fool who does that to my mom. But nobody should be expected to take it.


It would probably also not occur to the person who superimposed her image on female genitalia to do the same to a man with whom he disagreed.

Not just a pretty face

(Anonymous)

2013-01-27 05:34 pm (UTC)

Perhaps I shouldn't state her name, but I always paid attention when I saw a (now retired) female journalist on TV because (1) Her ideas - which I didn't always agree with - were always obviously well thought through and clearly expressed (2) Her appearance made it transparently obvious that she hadn't been picked for her looks.

Yup. As I seem to keep quoting these days, "Never believe in a meritocracy in which no one is funny-looking." (Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

Not that I think Mary Beard is funny-looking anyway (she looks delightful to me), but you know what I mean.

Heh. It's curious what people complain about: I see those teeth, I don't think "ugly woman", I think "British person of a certain age", which I suppose is another form of unfair stereotyping on my part. :)

Bruce

She has quite a nice series on Rome playing on TVO at the moment. It's concerned with how people other than the upper crust actually lived. I recommend it.

In the second episode she takes us to an actual Roman tenement (suprising that any of these have survived, given how badly they were built, but this was attached to a church). David Wishart's description of these in his novels is pretty accurate. But then he's a classical scholar himself.

And that's one way to look at this. While she has real accomplishments, her critics produce nothing (barring foam coming from their mouths, and we have enough foam).

William Hyde

What gets me is that there wasn't much that Beard said during the programme that was terribly contentious, compared to a lot of these QTs. There was a member of the audience whose experience with immigration in the area did not match Beard's statistics, but there was barely an exchange over that. The only other thing I can remember is Farange getting a bit wild-eyed and frothy, and everyone metaphorically edging away from him. Does every female participant in Question Time get this kind of attention, all the time?

I wonder how much American involvement was involved. That sort of dogpile is a common tactic among the right-wing hate boards of the 101st Chairborne here, and Beard wasn't shy with her opinions after September 11. A few backchannel emails, some phony British diction, and wham!

This is my guess too. Beard was the source of probably the second-most-infamous sound-bite of the era (after Ward Churchill's) for people who were trying to convince themselves of a lefty academics' fifth column. These guys hold grudges.

What, hateful misogynist dogpiling is alien to British culture?

They are, after all, the people who took the two dumbest birds they could find and named them tits and boobies.

One does wonder.

Oh my God that was really funny Matthew! Your insights into women and those silly British are hysterical! You are a wise, wise man, and we should all listen to you! Women should want you and men should want to you! You are a comedy god and words of truth drip from your tongue like honey from a beehive! I cannot stopping laughing at your wit. I am literally rolling on the floor with laughter! Oh my God I can't breathe!

Here, let me contact some of my comedy friends, so that can see your wit in action! This is gold, my friend, sheer comedy gold! It is the most hilariously funny thing I have ever read in my life! Literally, I had to step outside for fresh air, my lungs were so tired from laughing! You need a book deal, a movie deal, a television deal! The world will love your wicked sense of humor! I can't believe that your talent has gone hidden for so long! It is a shame. It is a crime!

Blue tits are about the smartest birds going; something suspiciously like cultural transmission of information, to the point where the milk delivery system had to give up on bottled milk deliveries.

(A small number of blue tits figured out how to get the foil off the milk bottle as it sat there on the steps, and then they *all* knew. And any time one of them figured out the next set of counter-measures, suddenly they'd all know that, too.)

I can only surmise that the British pejorative "You tit!" (made world-famous by Graham Chapman as King Arthur) refers to another color of tit.

(Any other explanation of his saying that would of course be an expression of bigotry against gay men.)

If you're going to go down that route, note that they also named the flushing mechanism of a toilet a "ballcock".

Good lord, they hate everybody!

Watching the QT exchange now on youtube, and it's hilarious; A woman who appears to be on the edge of tears for no readily apparent reason starts talking about how publics services in Boston, Old England, are at breaking point because of all the polish and lithuanians have come over here... and then goes on to mention that she is the half-polish descendant of immigrants who came to Boston, Old England, during ww2 and then asserts that these current polish immigrants are a new generation who are "disrespectful" in some manner that she doesn't elucidate on. XD

Between this and the BigotGate woman's whole "Where are all these eastern european immigrants coming from?", we've turned immigration in the public discourse into this wonderful rorschasch test that distinguishes mere partial idiots from the complete idiots.

Does every female participant in Question Time get this kind of attention, all the time?

Pretty much any female public figure who appears on TV gets this sort of abuse on twitter and in the more mainstream media atm; Somehow the newspaper culture in the UK has legitimised griefing to a degree that has not intersected well with our culture's normative misogyny and the second great september of the internet that facebook and twitter has produced.

...and the second great september of the internet that facebook and twitter has produced.

I just want to admire this for a while.

I like it a lot too. What Hath Delphi Wrought? (No, it wasn't AOL...)

--Dave, September won't get any worse once everyone on the planet is online, will it? ... At least until AIs, uplifted, and aliens start dropping by...