The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Feminist Martyrdom Complex: Climbing Up on the Digital Cross

Posted on | June 30, 2015 | 35 Comments


Laurie Penny (@PennyRed) is a bisexual Marxist with a history of severe mental illness, but other than that, I can’t imagine why her writing would be controversial or attract angry criticism. On the other hand, being a Marxist weirdo also gained the young British blogger a prestigious Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University (the Ivy League having become a place where heterosexual capitalists are unwelcome). Finding that her 2014 book Unspeakable Things approvingly quotes love advice from Soviet commissar Alexandra Kollontai, I remarked:

Anyone who cares to read Unspeakable Things . . . will discover that Laurie Penny is as wholehearted an evangelist for sexual perversion as she is a wholehearted enemy of democratic capitalism.

This is not to say that Ms. Penny lacks talent. Indeed, she is a clever, articulate and persuasive advocate of pure evil. In this, she is much like Jean-Paul Marat or Leon Trotsky — remarkably intelligent, possessed of impressive talent as writers and capable of penetrating insight and yet, unfortunately, fanatical devoteés of dangerous and antisocial ideas. Trotsky was no doubt hard at work thinking up some new plan to advance the worldwide proletarian revolution right up to the instant Ramón Mercader‘s ice-ax slammed into his skull.

One of the wonders of democratic capitalism is how it gives its worst enemies weapons with which to attack democratic capitalism. The wealth that provided Ms. Penny’s education (her parents are successful lawyers who sent her to posh schools) was created by the economic system she desires to destroy, and her weapon is the high-tech system of computer-assisted communication whose development was funded by the white, male capitalists she so ostentatiously despises. This petulant and selfish brat was raised in affluence and grows richer every day as she is paid handsomely to spew her degenerate sentiments onto the Internet, collecting royalties from (and generating profit for) her publisher.

Having made a success of this ironically lucrative racket, and admired by the kind of fools who typically admire such monsters, Ms. Penny nevertheless has a persistent problem: People who don’t like her also have access to the Internet, and employ this technology to tell her what a deplorably bad person she is. Well . . . how dare they?

You come to expect it, as a woman writer, particularly if you’re political. You come to expect the vitriol, the insults, the death threats. After a while, the emails and tweets and comments containing graphic fantasies of how and where and with what kitchen implements certain pseudonymous people would like to rape you cease to be shocking, and become merely a daily or weekly annoyance, something to phone your girlfriends about, seeking safety in hollow laughter.
An opinion, it seems, is the short skirt of the internet. Having one and flaunting it is somehow asking an amorphous mass of almost-entirely male keyboard-bashers to tell you how they’d like to rape, kill and urinate on you. This week, after a particularly ugly slew of threats, I decided to make just a few of those messages public on Twitter, and the response I received was overwhelming. Many could not believe the hate I received, and many more began to share their own stories of harassment, intimidation and abuse. . . .
In my experience . . . the charges of stupidity, hypocrisy, Stalinism and poor personal hygiene which are a sure sign that any left-wing columnist is at least upsetting the right people, come spiced with a large and debilitating helping of violent misogyny. . . .
If we want to build a truly fair and vibrant community of political debate and social exchange, online and offline, it’s not enough to ignore harassment of women, LGBT people or people of colour who dare to have opinions. Free speech means being free to use technology and participate in public life without fear of abuse — and if the only people who can do so are white, straight men, the internet is not as free as we’d like to believe.

Ms. Penny’s 2011 column at The Independent is a typical feminist gesture: “They hate me because I’m a woman! Misogyny! Harassment!”

How much did The Independent pay her for that column?

Think about this. Ms. Penny was only 25 years old at the time and yet, because of her privileged background and elite education (Wadham College, Oxford) had managed to get herself hired as a political opinion columnist at an influential publication. Is anyone surprised that her impudent know-it-all tantrums provoke outrage? And is it surprising that, when readers become (quite understandably) irritated by lectures from this arrogant whelp, they respond by targeting her with what we might call ad feminem slurs and threats?

Like so many other feminists, Ms. Penny would have her readers believe that only feminist writers are subjected to online abuse, and that only “white, straight men” perpetrate it. Let anyone inquire with Michelle Malkin, Sarah Palin, Katie Pavlich, Dana Loesch or Ann Coulter if they wish to learn what sort of hateful misogyny the Left directs against conservative women. Nor, for that matter, are women the only ones who must endure such abuse. Go ask Rick Santorum, Herman Cain or Marco Rubio what kind of harassment, threats and smears they have been forced to endure. Indeed, you could ask Jeff Goldstein what it was like to be harassed by the dangerously deranged Deb Frisch.

The Left celebrates cruel, selfish cowards like Laurie Penny, who gain fame and wealth by denouncing the success of honest, decent people. She is a typical totalitarian, dishonest and sadistic, her politics inspired by a malign appetite for the power to make other people shut up.

All because she is so “lonely . . . ugly and unloveable,” you see.

Having secured herself a platform from which she can promote bad ideas — and get paid for doing it — Ms. Penny then got paid for writing a column in which she demanded action to silence those who criticize or disagree with her. And she wonders why people consider her a Stalinist.

Leon Trotsky could not be reached for comment.



  • DeadMessenger

    Is she equating angry disagreement with “abuse”? I’ll wager that she is, because it makes her sordid tales that much more egregious. Because leftists see any speech that is in disagreement with their beliefs as “abusive” or “threatening”. And also because only those who are in agreement with them should have free speech, i.e., the echo chamber.

    If she wants to see some astonishing threats and vile speech, she should try advocating for a conservative cause sometime, especially if it’s one LGBTs vehemently disagree with. Then the nutballs come out in force like zombies searching for brains.


    It’s weird, so many of these Tumblr feminists and this woman here are not unattractive (questionable hair, makeup and fashion choices set aside). The fact that they profess with such vehemence to be so ugly indicates to me that they suffer from serious mental health and emotional problems. (Which obviously Mr. McCain has pointed out numerous times). But these women are not Charlotte Bunch or Bella Abzug, so in the way that they proclaim that the media makes girls think they are not attractive enough by saturating us with gorgeous, photo shopped models; I have to wonder if Feminists are saturating young women with so much talk about ugliness that they plant these seeds in the minds of young women that they are ugly, when in fact they are not? It may also be that they want to identify with the RadFem crowd, so the pretty ones ugly themselves up with said questionable hair, makeup and fashion choices so that they can fit in with the crowd.

  • robertstacymccain

    In college, I knew a girl — roommate of a girl I was dating — who seemed to have made the calculation, “I’m fat and ugly, but if I add ‘obnoxious’ to the list, maybe no one will notice how fat and ugly I am.” At that time, I was 18 or 19 and didn’t really give a damn about politics, so the connection between this attitude and feminism was not apparent to me. However, over the years I continued to meet other women of that type who, by the late 1980s/early 1990s would characteristically claim that men were intimidated by their intelligence. This is the most transparent sort of self-serving rationalization imaginable, and also obviously false. It is simply not true that, ceteris paribus, intelligent women are less attractive to men. Nor, for that matter, are men “intimidated” by strong women, as so many feminists claim. My wife is strong and smart, or else I wouldn’t have married her. Certainly no wise man ever wished to have a stupid and weak woman as the mother of his children. Yet feminist ideology and rhetoric is always about rationalizing the disappointments of unhappy women, so that we’ve been lectured for decades about how horrible it is that men view women as “sex objects”! That claim never made sense to me back in the 1970s, and the more I’ve studied feminist, the less I am prone to accept their arguments and the more I see their entire ideology as nothing but an excuse for their own unhappiness and failures.

  • concern00

    They are ugly on the inside and this tends to manifest in their presentation.

  • Daniel Freeman

    In college, I knew a girl — roommate of a girl I was dating — who seemed to have made the calculation, “I’m fat and ugly, but if I add ‘obnoxious’ to the list, maybe no one will notice how fat and ugly I am.”

    I’ve known the type, but I always got the impression that self-hatred had transmuted into general misanthropy, and from there into sadism. They enjoyed giving other people the feelbads that they felt all the time.

  • Daniel Freeman

    They literally hate you so much — before even meeting you — that they don’t even want you to enjoy looking at them. But hey, at least it makes them easy to identify.

  • robertstacymccain

    A sense that they are victims of unfairness — for whatever reason — often leads people to develop this kind of sociopathic attitude, a feeling that they are entitled to revenge against society, or against some segment of society that they identify as complicit in whatever wrong they felt had been done them.

    Feminists are certainly not the only people who exhibit this tendency. You can look at Brett Kimberlin as a classic example. Because he was short, we can be sure, he was picked on and treated with disdain by girls who invariably go for tall, muscular athletic types. Brett’s alienation from society — his hostile antisocial attitudes, characteristic of the sociopathic criminal — involved a sort of rationalization where Brett thought of himself as superior to ordinary people and entitled to disobey laws because he was a Special Person. His tendency to ridicule religion and his antipathy toward law enforcement are likewise typical. But what really marks Kimberlin as a sociopath is his sadistic desire for revenge against authority figures or people who (in his mind) symbolize the social forces he blames for what he sees as the unfairness he has suffered.

    Kimberlin is one of those people for whom it is not only necessary that they win, but that others should also lose. He enjoys nothing so much as the sadistic pleasure of humiliating people he condemns as “weak,” because this confirms to him his own superiority.

    You can see how this is relevant to understanding someone like Laurie Penny, a spoiled brat who hated her teenage self so much she ended up in a mental ward, and who now presumes to lecture others about how “society” and “capitalism” are what’s really to blame for everything.

  • Fail Burton

    Miss Penny does a variation of what all intersectionalists do: they go into an ethnic neighborhood, yell ethnic slurs and get yelled at in return. This is confirmation of the previous envisioned immorality of the entire ethnic group.

    The psychological damage for Penny and her compatriots is the straight white man gives them more institutional protections than anyone in the world. The fact they seek to undermine that protection starkly highlights not only their intellectual unawareness but plain madness. Penny and her horde can’t produce anything or even protect themselves.

    In that sense they are intellectual allies to the Sayd Qutb of the Muslim Brotherhood who acknowledged the power of the West but dismissed it as immoral and empty. Given free reign, a Qutbist would as likely throw Penny off a building as look at her. Given free reign, Penny’s own idea of civilization would result in her culture overthrown and herself put in a slave pen, perhaps to be thrown off a building.

    She is a leech on my leg.

    In intersectionalspeak, the only thing standing between Penny and her own demise is me, the thing she hates.


    On the flip side, my close friend growing up was a very tall (over 6 foot), very heavy (over 300 pounds), homely girl. But boy she thought she was hot stuff. It’s like she told herself she was beautiful in spite of it all and started to believe her own delusions. She’s better now, but for a long time she was intolerable to be around. It’s why our friendship ended in our teens.

    A second point, after reading the Feminine Mystique I sought to learn more about Betty Friedan. This was many years ago. I remember thinking, how does no one else see that every single thing in this book is just a broken woman who was married to an abuser taking out all her personal baggage on all men? I mean, I’m sorry she was married to such a lousy guy, that doesn’t make *all* guys lousy. It’s really simple. Down down down the rabbit hole we go.

  • Fail Burton

    These women worship their own thoughts and themselves. The amazing thing about this arrogant cult is how often they throw around the term “science-deniers.”

    Yet according to this cult a man becomes a woman merely by wishing it and not all women have vaginas.

    Let’s be brutally honest about how the minds of these narcissistic sociopaths operate: the only reason they haven’t declared the moon to be made out of green cheese is because they have no emotional investment in doing so.

  • DeadMessenger

    I don’t understand women like this. I don’t know where that comes from. If anybody should be pissing and moaning about not being pretty, it’s me (which you’d’ve seen if you looked at the picture of myself I’d posted here to show somebody my haircut), but you don’t hear me griping, because I Yam What I Yam And That’s All That I Yam™. And I do look better than Popeye, so I got that going for me, lolz.

    I know a girl like this, and I constantly just tell her to shut the hell up and stop thinking about herself so much and move on. She is literally the most obnoxious person I ever met. Her internal ugliness makes her externally ugly, what with the scowling, sour expression, and the exuding of b1tchiness, and all. You’d think that if someone has no real friends, she’d start looking at herself as the source of the problem.

  • wbkrebs

    “Then the nutballs come out in force like zombies searching for brains.” In fairness, it makes perfect sense that they’d be searching for brains.

  • wbkrebs

    I got a degree from Berkeley, and then went down to work in Florida for a while. So, for several years, I was going back and forth between Berkeley and the FSU campus in Tallahassee.

    The difference between the girls in the two towns was always striking. You could immediately see that the girls at FSU were making much more of an effort to look good than those at Berkeley. I always attributed it to the far-left campus culture at Berkeley.

  • Mole

    I used to run a reasonably successful group blog, right of centre good fun.
    We had a person stalk one of our members online for years after we banned them. Even though the messages went straight to trash and were never posted this strange person kept posting a few times a week for years.
    They learnt one of our younger bloggers had survived a nasty bout of cancer and that was the theme of every message.

    When Pennys abuse gets to that stage ill have a little more sympathy.
    (our little blog died when one of our founding members died)

  • DeadMessenger

    Yeah. Good point.

  • The Osprey

    Penny Laurie is a Marxist with a bad haircut…
    Toting Gramsci in a pack upon her back…
    She like’s to think that she’s a great auteur…
    But she’s just a hack…
    Very whack!

  • RKae

    Janeane Garofalo.

    She goes on long rants about oppression from “pretty people,” and she’s perfectly fine looking.

    Her soul is as ugly as a rubbish tip, but physically she’s A-OK.

    It’s just plain unappreciativeness. Sheesh! Some people are born without legs!

    A friend of mine was going into some drama once. I said, “I’ll be right over with a movie.” I brought “The Elephant Man.” We watched it, and then I said, “There. You’re not the Elephant Man. Stop the drama.”

  • Daniel Freeman

    To get rid of a thought, it has to be replaced. Maybe suggest looking for Christ in someone else.

    I used to be scared of semis. Now I feel a rush of gratitude and admiration for the man inside, doing a very demanding job that I wouldn’t want in a million years, as a vital link in the supply chain that brings us all these awesome goodies.

    That kind of change of perspective doesn’t happen overnight, but it is possible.

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  • Dana

    Our esteemed host quipped:

    the Ivy League having become a place where heterosexual capitalists are unwelcome

    Ahhh, but their money is not only welcome, but eagerly sought.

  • Dana

    Our host errs:

    Ms. Penny

    As a never married female, she is properly referred to as Miss Penny. The “honorific” Ms is an abomination unto the Lord, and referring to her properly will piss her off even more.

    It certainly did so when I was annoying a certain Miss Marcotte. 🙂

  • Dana

    Of course she is equating disagreement, whether angry or otherwise, with abuse, because, to the left, disagreement is abusive, along with anti-intellectual, racist, homophobic, sexist and capitalistically patriarchal.

  • Dana

    Fat you can do something about; ugly, not so much.

    I, of course, am a victim, because I do not look like Robert Redford, am shorter than Kobe Bryant, less athletic than Eli Manning, and was born into a poor family. You should contribute here to help my recovery.

  • Quartermaster

    Annoying Marcotte? Such H8! 🙂

  • TimeandtheRani

    Do people like her really not understand that structures exist for a reason?

  • Daniel Freeman

    Of course! Those structures exist because everyone that came before them were dumb, superstitious hicks that just didn’t know any better, so it’s their duty to impose the fruits of their superior intellect on us, for our own good. /sarc

  • Matt_SE

    I keep noticing how inadequate the current crop of Marxists are in comparison to former cohorts.
    Appropriately, this is the result of leftism in schools.

  • Matt_SE

    “…standing between Penny and her own demise…”
    I wouldn’t count on that, if I were her.

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  • arcadius

    I think there was a study done showing men are harassed more than women online. Pew did it I think? On the train now or I’d check.