Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Masonic Values

I thought long and hard today about whether to say anything at all on Twitter about the John Mason episode.  I'm sick to death of arguing with people, and I know from past experience that some otherwise sensible people seem to lose all rationality when you depart from the approved script on issues relating to gender politics, no matter how carefully you choose your words.  But when I saw a couple of people go so far as to actually say that John Mason should resign (!) I felt I just had to say something, although I did try to choose my words very carefully to avoid being unnecessarily provocative.  This is what I said -

"John Mason's tweet was clearly ill-judged, but it's a profound insult to him to just assume he was talking about sex.  People calling for Mason to actually RESIGN over that tweet have lost all sense of perspective."

And, yup, the reaction was depressingly predictable.  Here is what I've learned over the last few hours -

* John Mason's comment that "The girl does not always say yes first time!" was obviously about sex.  It's completely ludicrous to think that an old-fashioned, religious man like Mason would instead have been talking about asking someone to dinner, or to the cinema, or to marry him.

* OK, maybe it's not so obvious that he wasn't talking about proposing marriage or asking to go on a date, but it doesn't matter anyway, because asking a woman if she'd like to go to dinner this Friday after she told you she was washing her hair last Friday is EXACTLY THE SAME as pestering her for sex.  "No" to dinner last Friday means "no" to dinner for the rest of your natural life, and if you ask the question again, that means you don't respect a woman's right to withhold consent and are basically a bit like a rapist.

* It's unclear whether the "you can't ask for a date more than once" rule also applies to women, or only to heterosexual men.  (I did seek clarity on that point, but to no avail.)

* Men are literally not allowed to have any opinion whatever on what does or does not constitute harassment.  If a woman states that she has suffered harassment, men should simply "shut up and listen".  There are no objective criteria upon which harassment can be identified or ruled out - if a woman says something is harassment, that's what it is.  Full stop.

* If a man argues that there must, in fact, be some kind of objective criteria before anyone can be considered guilty of harassment, he is by definition a misogynist.  No apology is required for calling him a misogynist, and if he asks for one, the onus should instead be put on him to apologise for his misogyny.

* All men, without exception, bear collective responsibility and guilt for any trangressions against a woman's right to withhold consent.  It doesn't matter that collective guilt is inconsistent with the basic principle of individual equality - that objection can be instantly magicked away with the words "mansplaining" and "#NotAllMen".

* If a man does not go out of his way to delete a woman's Twitter handle from his replies to other people on a thread that she is part of, and instead points out to her that the block function is the simplest solution if she does not like his tweets, this again means that he is ignoring women's right to withhold consent, and is a bit like a rapist.  Please note : this principle does not work in reverse.  Women are not required to accede to a request to remove a man's Twitter handle from their replies, and there are no 'consent' issues if they fail to do so.  They are also quite free to continue talking about him on their own timelines, post screenshots of his tweets without alerting him, and make derogatory and abusive comments about him.  None of this constitutes harassment in any way, shape or form, and indeed should be positively encouraged.

*  *  *

I lost no fewer than nine followers on Twitter (update - twelve!) simply as a result of that exchange, but I must say on this occasion I'm really glad I didn't try to keep my head down.  The groupthink on this subject is literally terrifying, and it needs to be challenged.

43 comments:

  1. Seems to me that there was a lot of sense about all this as well.

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  2. There were from mature ladies of indeterminate ages

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  3. Glasgow Working Class 2January 4, 2017 at 12:13 AM

    Mason would fit in well with the USA bible belt. Religious right wing and not surprisingly elected for Glasgow East End. An asset for the right wing Scottish Nat si/Tartan Tory Party.
    The Glasgow East End has had a huge decrease in population since the late fifties this being due to controlled entry in the tenement closes which have seriously affected love making knee tremblers at the back of the close.

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    1. Where would you fit in? The alt-right? Prick.

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2January 4, 2017 at 2:40 AM

      Whit a bunch of pessimist moaners you Jocks are.

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    3. You'll know, not being a jock.

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  4. A much needed down to earth comment on a tweet. Thanks.

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  5. A much needed down to earth comment on a tweet. Thanks.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2January 4, 2017 at 12:31 AM

      Seems you like your own voice excuse for a prick!

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2January 4, 2017 at 2:41 AM

      Whit a bunch of pessimist moaners you Jocks are

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    3. Just fuck off McGibbon. nobody finds you amusing.

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  6. Well said, James, I have unfollowed a few due to their outrageous hysteria, whipped up in their own fevered, lurid brain. It's clear it was about the Indy 'proposal'.
    At a stretch, I would say, he was naive, and left it open for the pearl clutchers, via a clumsy tweet.

    I've seen two tweets from rape victims, say they can't see any inference about rape in the tweet. Yet, there is a witch hunt. I hope Mr Mason takes legal advice about defamation.

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  7. I am so glad I spent today binge-watching the extras DVDs in the extended edition of The Hobbit and wasn't on twitter. I might have got pretty angry with some of the strident sisterhood myself.

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  8. Glad you did decide to say something.
    I am not on Twitter but have been reading about this argument.
    What should have happened, is that, it should have been pointed out to the man he had said something that could have been taken the wrong way.
    I thought it was a marriage proposal he ment.

    The narrative of no means no being the way we speak to educate about sexual consent,is a relitivly recent one.
    Certainly not the kind of expression I grew up with.
    So therefore my go to response was a marriage proposal.

    This way of speaking about and around sexual consent,was not only long overdue,it was hard won, and the offensive thing here is the way that it is being devalued to politically point score.
    This is not a subject to play Political games with.
    Point out by all means that his turn of phrase was open ended,step back and allow him to clarify.
    But to bay for blood,gloat and manufacture outrage and use such an important concept, a concept that is still struggling to become the norm is beneath contempt.

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  9. Sorry, but if you ask a Women to see a movie etc and she says " no, I am busy that night" that means you can never ask her out again. Really? So this woman wants men to assume they actually never have other things to do? Also, can't a woman actually tell the truth? Or, God forbid, change her mind! So Hermione Granger basically raped poor Ron Weasley, who made it clear he had no romantic interest in her?

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  10. I don't think he was in the least making a reference to sex or to rape, BUT it was an amazingly unwise comment, especially from Mr. Mason who is not exactly known as open-minded on issues relating to women and gender. Anyone who didn't see the reaction that would ensue really can't have been paying attention for the past decade.

    And turning sensitivity on this topic into a general attack on women might also not be the height of wisdom.

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    1. There was absolutely nothing in his comment that was unwise or open to any interpretation.
      There's a reason why feminists and feminism are despised by the overwhelming majority of the population and you've just confirmed they are correct do do so.

      All feminists put their bigotry and hatred of men ahead of the ability to read, use language, logic, reason or any kind of rational thought.

      You've just demonstrated this perfectly.

      Is Barry O'Bama a rapist? He's famous for stalking his future wife after she repeatedly turned him down.


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    2. When you're criticising other people's ability to read, you should probably take more care to read the post to which you're replying.

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    3. I held back from responding to J R Tomlin's comment last night, because I was unsure whether her claim about a "general attack on women" referred to this blogpost. Having spoken to her on Twitter, though, I now know that it did (at least in part). I have to say I find that extraordinary. The blogpost speaks for itself - apart from the introductory part and a very short conclusion, it simply paraphrases the arguments that three or four people actually made to me on Twitter last night. All of those extreme statements - men don't have a right to an opinion on the subject, harassment is whatever a woman decides it is, etc, etc - were actually said. It's perhaps unintentionally revealing that someone could possibly interpret the summarising of those statements as some kind of "general attack" on anyone at all, let alone on an entire gender.

      I've been struggling to fathom how anyone could justify viewing the blogpost as an attack on women in general. J R Tomlin claimed on Twitter that I had "shrieked" that "womens" are "horrible", which of course isn't remotely supported by anything that I said in the blogpost or anywhere else. The only way I can make sense of this is as follows : J R Tomlin noticed that the blogpost had a tone of incredulity about the arguments put forward by three or four individuals last night. Because she regards those arguments as somehow being made on behalf of all women, and those three or four individuals as embodying all women, she by extension regards my criticism of them as an attack on all women.

      I find that downright disturbing. The blogpost attacks extreme views that are not held by the vast majority of the population, whether female or male.

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  11. I think you entered into a "damned if you do, doomed if you don't" zone, James ..... your reasoning is balanced but the response was always going to be divisive.

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  12. It was very naive wording ... but Mr Mason took an awful long time to clarify what he meant in which time the vacuum had been filled up by an awful lot of ranting and froth. He did well to clarify later, but a lot of the mischief ... and yes I think much of it was mischief along with some sincere and well meant comments ... could have been nipped straight in the bud.

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    1. Maybe Mr Mason Doesn't spend all his time on Twitter.

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    2. There was nothing naive about it and if your first thoughts on reading those lines involve anything to do with rape then it is you that is a sick cretin who is clearly to stupid to be allowed to live, nevermind have a vote or any say on important matters like the independence of an entire people.

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  13. I find myself bewitched, bothered and bewildered - there has been some kind of rammy, stramash and stooshie somewhere about something someone said that was possibly taken out of context? Oh well, I'm probably profoundly unmoved only because I'm missing the point somehow because I don't really have a clue what anyone's talking about. I should probably get out more. Much love and happy new year to all!

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  14. Vonnie Sandlan: "This is appalling. Elected MSP @JohnMasonMSP trivialising rape & coercion in a discussion about independence."

    This is defamatory. Sick of this kind of bullshit ambush. It should be called out for the shysterism it is. Nowhere did @JohnMasonMSP say any such thing. Libeling-Vonnie is simply lying through her back teeth.

    Disgraceful.

    Problem is, too many spinless pols give in and apologise to these chancers for doing sweet FA.

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  15. So playing hard to get is out of fashion then.take that one to its final conclusion.

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  16. Glasgow Working Class 2January 4, 2017 at 12:18 PM

    Popular muslim TV preacher is condeming orax sex, playing chess, gambling and scientific advanced space research. Doubt the Herr Mason could match that.

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    1. I see you're still struggling to justify your miserable existence to your Westminster masters with your usual tirade of mindless drivel.

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2January 4, 2017 at 4:18 PM

      You are the knob thats struggling with your repetitive drivel.

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    3. Glasgow Working Class 2January 4, 2017 at 4:48 PM

      Whit a bunch of pessimist moaners you Jocks are.

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  17. Wrong choice of words for sure in the current climate of pretending we have an equal society in any way, be it for women, or trans gender. However, had this been a unionist politician, it is absolutely 100% clear that it would not have been picked up by the media at large, and it would have swept under the carpet.

    Just look at the cover ups of paedophiles and fraudsters in WM, at the highest level, absolutely disgusting!

    People should remember and concentrate on the real criminals, they are at large and in power in the notsoUKOK!

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    1. A) There is no such thing as trans gender in Humans. Please stop being a moron.

      B) There was nothing wrong with his choice of words. Unless you really are a moron.

      C) If you live in Scotland then you are a member of a society which happily abuses men, bans men from a wide range of jobs, pays men less than women, spends far less on mens health and watches men die at work on a daily basis without even blinking.

      This is not Saudi Arabia.

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    2. I'm not sure what point C has to do with the subject at hand. But you're right, I stabbed a guy in broad daylight the other day and they let me off with it once I pointed out it was a man.

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  18. James I found the blogg incredulous that anybody could equate asking somebody to go out to pictures/dancing a meal or a drink more than once as tantamount to being a rapist.I do hope I have read it wrong and it was all just a misunderstanding and several "Twitter" lines were crossed.I remember when I was 16 "1968 doesn't seem so long ago",well I asked the assistant to the wages clerkess' out to the pictures,it took a lot of courage on my part just to ask once.She said "No" "OK" I answered and left it at that.Around two weeks later the wages clerkess asked why I had never asked her assistant out again,I replied she said "NO" only to be told that is the way it is you must ask twice,I never did,couldn't find the courage again.So much as it slightly goes against the grain I have to agree with John Mason,girls always so no then you are supposed to ask again a week later,shows she is doing you a favour!!

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  19. Two observations:

    social and low-level sexual harassment of women does happen more than you might think. The new breed of 'pick-up artists' keep trying to sell their pick-up tips based on the notion of wearing women down, being persistent and avoiding being 'friendzoned'. So yes, uncomfortable and irritating harassment - on a SOCIAL level - can occur without women being asked for sex. It's the basis of the 'nice guy' phenomenon: why won't she give me a chance! I'm such a nice guy! The root of it is a refusal to accept that a women just isn't into you.

    Secondly: twitter is an echo chamber and outrage-generation machine in which unquestionably the worst possible interpretation is always eventually going to be put on someone's words. It's one of the reasons I'm glad I don't spend time on twitter. Nonetheless, Mason is an experienced politician and he should have been smarter than that.

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    1. I seem to recall you and I have discussed 'pick-up artists' before. Do you have any statistical evidence that this is as widespread an issue as you're portraying? Very few of these people are advocating a "nice guy" approach, by the way, so there's a a bit of a contradiction in what you're saying there.

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  20. No indeed, but the clients and fanbase of these pick up artists are often frustrated 'nice guys' and sexual failures who have developed a resentment of women to compensate.

    85% of younger UK women have been sexually harassed in public, according to a yougov poll (http://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/news/234/85-of-younger-women-in-uk-have-been-sexually-harassed-in-public)

    but of course the term 'sexual harassment' covers a wide range of behaviours. I don't have specific statistics on the kind of low-level social harassment I am talking about, but given the prevalence of more 'serious' (and illegal) behaviours I think it is a reasonable assumption that it's also a widespread issue.

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    1. Lots of nice guys as you so sneeringly dismiss them get frustrated that women all cream their panties over bad boys, thugs, scum and general arseholes. A very high percentage of, "abused," women deserve every bit of abuse they get.

      Also that's a self selecting survey, and as usual includes, man I don't fancy looking at me on the bus, as harassment.

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    2. "women all cream their panties over bad boys, thugs, scum and general arseholes. A very high percentage of, "abused," women deserve every bit of abuse they get."

      Oh look, we found one. That wasn't hard.

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    3. I'm so obviously nice, people who find me repulsive deserve to get beaten up.

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  21. Look it's entirely politically motivated. We all know it. No point getting angry. They are hollow people without purpose other than to try and ruin a good man's career.

    Murdo Fraser insulted a whole nation when calling the Irish Nazi sympathisers. He's still very bitter that the Irish stuck it to the Brits and kicked them out of the republic. His hatred knows no rationality. Much like the faux outraged feminists who look to be offended. In this case they invent the offence.

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  22. Anyone who professes belief in a sky fairy who spent the first 100 000 years of human existence hiding while humans went through a rather tough time of it to say the least, should probably resign anyway. SNP and religious? That's double dumb!

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