The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I've been unable to blog until today, which has been a pain because I've had to sit and watch the hate unfolding, again, at Maia. I strongly recommend that readers check out Maia's post on the completely unacceptable hateful comments made at Clint Heine's blog towards her, including a threat of rape from a commenter called James. Recent venom at Kiwiblog is less violent, but still shows an attitude that Maia is less than human and thus deserves all she gets, for her tendency to speak out against capitalism and for women. I'm not going to link to or post the details - you can get them from Maia - I just find them too disturbing to perpetuate.

What's with this hate? Why is it that some people become so vile, when faced with a forum where they can say whatever they like anonymously, pseudo-nymously and/or without having to confront the person they are attacking? And why do others host their comments, encourage them, or support them?

I've encountered this kind of hate throughout my involvement in politics, but it's rarely worse in person than online. It's not new - nearly a decade ago I was threatened with rape for posting the lyrics of a song about the holocaust on a forum about education campaigning which was being attacked by a small group of right wing student political types. I'm sure many who challenge the dominant discourse would have similar stories to tell. And I'm also sure that this kind of behaviour puts many people off engaging in political activity, particularly those who don't conform to the norm.

Fortunately the comments section at Capitalism Bad isa much needed reminder that there are plenty of people, men included, who agree that spewing sexist (or indeed racist) hate is not ok in our blogosphere. Maia's also garnered a lot of support from overseas feminist bloggers, including Pandagon, Mandolin, and Ampersand. Idiot/Savant has blogged his condemation and NZ Conservative have removed Heine's blog from their blogroll* as a result of all this.

Maia is a strong person, and I know Clint and James won't get her down. But actually she shouldn't have to be strong or brave or whatever to be able to participate in our political blogosphere. Wouldn't it be great if anyone could blog, and/or be politically active, without the possibility of being hated or attacked. Disagreed with, sure, that's life - but intimidation shouldn't be part of our political interaction.

Comments on this post will be moderated. I refuse to host hate.

* Previous hatefulness of this kind is exactly why I haven't linked to him on my blogroll (or in this post).


che tibby said...

frankly.. how in the hell this guy thinks he's ever going to get into any kind of political position with that site up, or memory of that site up, is beyond me.

seriously stupid. and a lesson to everyone, left or right.

Heine said...

Now you know me Span and you know how I feel about the kinds of language Maia uses against people - as you know how I will respnd to people who get uptight about an issue, as she did about calling bosses and employers parasites.

Interestingly enough, I am the one being painted as the one who made the remarks rather than James, who if you have any idea, know he makes sexual remarks about anything all the time. Why else did I tell him to repeat it to Maia personally as I knew he'd get his ass kicked.

Now I know we don't get on, but you know me better than to ever allow threats of any description on my blog. Especially rape or bullying. It is ironic that the same people who are determined to make me look bad are now doing the bullying and harrassment. Most people thankfully looked at James's statement and shrugged because he as said it many times and has NO intent whatsoever towards rape.

I don't want to have to repeat myself over and over again Span, but I feel that this has been a case where a sexist remark has been twisted into something it most certainly isn't.

Mrs Smith said...

I read the 'dildo' comment. Utterly lame and intellectually void, yes. Threat of rape - no. I think one would need quite a vivid imagination to interpret it as thus.

brenda said...

I agree with mrs smith. Total morons, pathetic idiots both of them. But rape threat - no.

Span said...

James' comment was yet another iteration of the "all she needs is a good root" response that seems to be frequently flung at women who stand up against sexism - and as such it is part of a culture of abuse that proposes imposing sexual acts on women to "fix" them, irrespective of their wishes. In my book that is a threat of rape.

Just because James supposedly often makes remarks of this nature (I haven't encountered him before that I can recall) that somehow makes it ok?

And Clint, as the blogger you can choose whether to delete comments or not. Not only did you leave James' comment there you commented in support of it yourself and have since gone on to make several posts belittling those concerned about James' comment. Your blog posts are frequently nasty attacks on people, which is why I seldom read it. I note that you have restricted anon comments on your blog, which shows that you are not ideologically agin moderating comments.

Insolent Prick said...

You're right, Span, that the comment was along the lines of "all she needs is a good root." It was also along the lines of "go fuck yourself", quite literally, with the dildo.

It was not a threat of rape. As much as some other bloggers might have been offended by the graphic lewdness of James' comment, it is totally out of proportion claim that Clint threatened rape to anybody.

It says as much about Maia, as it does about James' initial comment, that she would interpret an invitation to go fuck herself as a rape threat. It's also clear that she chose to use that interpretation to distract from her outrageous post about "bosses".

I note that you didn't claim Steve Maharey was a wannabe rapist for saying "fuck you" to Jonathan Coleman in Parliament.

Psycho Milt said...

IP, you and Heine are doing sterling work in demonstrating just how deeply you really, really, just don't get it.

exexpat said...

I've come to the conclusion that blogs are much like the walls of public bathrooms. Occasionally there's the odd intelligent comment and stuff that makes me giggle. But mostly it's a bunch of crap that makes me think that the general population are a bunch of idiots.

Heine said...

Apart from PM, I do agree with what has been said and admit that there was a level of immaturity on my side to not delete the comment.

I guess I thought that James was meaning she should participate in a voluntary act and volunteered an object for her to do so. That gets said a lot on my blog for every issue under the sun.

Thank you Span for not joining the lynchmob on this one, I restricted anon comments as some of Maias supporters were posting swearwords and threats of rape through all my archives. They will return early next week!

Sandy said...

I always agree with Ms. Smith. Always.

Cactus Kate said...

Maia is an expert in one thing.

She continues to bait groups of people on her blog then runs for sympathy from all quarters in twisted attempts to play the victim.

This is another example. No one has threatened to rape her at all.

Hell, Clint never even MADE the comment that merely suggested Maia pleasure herself with a dildo. Offensive, yes. But plenty of women perform such an act without James' suggestion on any given day.

Deborah said...

"But plenty of women perform such an act without James' suggestion on any given day."

Sure, but it's their choice. James, with Clint's endorsement, was using the languauge of a moral imperative. And therin lies the problem.

Funny - I thought you were dead keen on choice, Cactus Kate.

Anonymous said...

at some level the simple threat of rape (f*ck) is one of hte most common words in tbe english language particularly amongst those with more street education.

it is a very short step from "F*ck you" to "f*ck you with a X" or some other more vivid imagry that may already have been in the mind of those saying it. classic school yard stuff.

If one wants to stamp it out one might need to start a way further back down the line.

weka said...

Since when does the word 'fuck' mean rape? If someone tells me to fuck off I don't feel that they've intended me to be raped. Or even if they say 'get fucked' or 'fuck you'. They're all expressions of anger, not violent sexual intent.

(I can see a phrase like 'fuck you' being used with violent sexual intent, but that's not how it gets used commonly).

However if someone says to a woman "all you need is a good fuck", then there is violent sexual intent (for the reasons that have been outlined in Span and Maia's blogs and comments). It's all in the context of how those phrases get used and who is using them.

This is why a woman saying to a man "all you need is a good fuck" will generally never have the same connotations, implications, or consequences, as if a man says it to a woman.

Anonymous said...


Fuck means "To have sexual intercourse with." in its other contexts (such as when used to refer to "defeating and victimizing") it gains effect by raising the image of sexual intercourse in that context. For example 'fuck you' raises the image of you being raped and thus subjected to domination.

James' comment refers on the other hand to some sort of underlying belief that women have a requirement for sexual relief. It gains its effect by the imagery created of that person using the item mentioned and that that image is to some degree demeaning to that person (as is the image of you being raped via the term 'fuck you').

The person using that term might not clearly have that thought in their head of course but without allusion to that imagery the term would cease to have 'value'.

Of course the terms have more meaning in those contexts where the imagery has a closer relationship to fears or potential actions. Mike Tyson is likely to get more ‘mileage’ out of saying ‘fuck you’ than a 5 year old girl will. That in itself is some sort of realization o an underlying power structure, related to that persons ability to realize the rape/domination/humiliation imagery.

Heine said...

If only it was intended like that Anon, however to cut a long story and rant short, there was no such intent by James whatsoever.

Sorry to burst your bubble but suggesting that somebody participates in a voluntary sexual act onto themselves does not by any stretch of the imagination suggest rape or violence. Already I have been apologised to by most people who jumped to that conclusion, mainly because I gave my explanation without getting hysterical or fudging the facts.

Span said...

Clint you can impute whatever motive or intent you like on James. My main beef here has been in fact with you hosting, and continuing to host, such hatred. Yes it is your blog, and as such it is your choice, but I also have the right to call you on it (as does Maia, as does everyone else). You are doing all this in a public arena, that means public scrutiny. I personally haven't seen a lot of apologies to you out there. What would impress me far more would be you or James (or indeed many of your other commenters) dialling it down because you *get* it. That seems pretty unlikely.

Heine said...

All fair points Span, and I expect to be dealt back exactly what I serve out.

However there was no hatred, and I think it is rather silly that it is assumed that James, myself or the many other bloggers who have mentioned it hate Maia. We don't hate her, nor (as other women have insinuated) that we hate women.

Of course I will host robust opinion and debate - however if you read the threads the "best" counters I have had on my blog involves swearing and threats of violence from the left, hardly anything to suggest I have been able to *get* it.

I just love all the posts dedicated to it, lke the one linked to this post, that completely distorts the entire "issue" and instead is blaming me for instigating rape and hate. And you wonder why I have been apologised to? I wonder what would of happened if I actually had any intent to threaten anybody?

Span said...

I have deleted an anon comment on this blog which posted a link to a post which continued the hating. Please respect my rules on my blog.

Span said...

Clint with every comment you are just convincing me more and more that you simply don't get it.

You appear to be unable to understand that your behaviour, as the blogger hosting and encouraging comments which many find offensive, is unacceptable to some out there, and that this is a legitimate point of view to hold. I cannot make it any clearer than this:

What James said was unacceptable to me (and to others). That you hosted it and encouraged it, and then hosted further comments of a similar nature, was also unacceptable to me (and others). The issue here is actually your behaviour (and James') and saying that it happens all the time does not make it ok (then or now). Saying it was a joke, or not intended to be threatening, doesn't wash particularly well with those who find this stuff unacceptable - we have seen and heard it all before (eg Kathy Sierra).

I just do not know how to get across to you, or to those who have defended you, what this kind of stuff means to someone in my position, although Dog knows I have been trying.

You see apology where there is none - for example you seem to think I am on your side somehow, which completely baffles me. Just because I have not been abusive to you does not mean I support you.

As to who is turning this situation into their pet project and who is getting on with life - you have posted 5 times on this issue on your blog, along with commenting about it on other blogs. Most other blogs that I have seen mention it at all have only posted once. Maia herself, the target of the viciousness, has posted thrice and hasn't done much commenting that I have seen.

I would prefer it if you don't comment on this post again as I feel it is pointless. We are talking past each other, as we so often seem to do, and I'm bored with it.

Anonymous said...

No one has the right not to be offended - John Cleese

Ms Klake said...

To be completely honest I don't see that comment as remotely related to rape, nor do I find it particularly offensive. It's such a tired attempt at insult that it barely deserves recognition. Mrs Smith makes the right call. If someone were to send that insult my way I'd just be upset that the person couldn't be more creative and original.

Although I do agree that it is "yet another iteration of the 'all she needs is a good root'", but that's tired also and I can't help thinking that I shouldn't be the only one bored rather than enraged by such comments.

Anonymous said...

Clint Heine is often drunk, what he said was no doubt influenced by alcohol, he needs help.

Anonymous said...

His blog has been removed and he's now reduced to trying to chat up women, posting photos of burgers and being a minor annoyance, bet he saved that photocropped image of Helen Clark for old times sake though.

Anonymous said...

He's complaining that UKBA are taking ages to sort his permanent residence visa out and about having to travel on a NZ passport despite posting a photo of a UK passport online and claiming it was his, wonder what UKBA make of their inbox when they open the links to these comments.