The Other McCain

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

‘I Feel As If I’m in a Surreal Swedish Movie Being Threatened by Bizarre Trolls’

Posted on | December 7, 2010 | 31 Comments

No, this has nothing to do with Barrett Brown. Rather, the quote is from Mark Stephens, lawyer for Julian Assange, describing his feelings at attempting to get his client off the hook for his not-entirely-consensual hook-ups with two Swedish socialist women.

The same quote would also fairly describe my surprise at finding none other than Amanda Marcotte accusing me of being “pro-rape” in the comments of last night’s post about Assange.

Also, Tommy Christopher condescends to notice me. Not in a good way.

Before we go wading into that troll-infested argument, however, let’s pause to consider a remarkable fact: Interpol is now issuing warrants for men who fail to wear condoms.

Perhaps Julian Assange should convert to Catholicism and ask the Pope to testify on his behalf.

OK, now that I’ve added Catholics to the long list of people who hate me today, let’s just go ahead and offend everyone else: George Bush had it all wrong. Instead of claiming that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction, he should have instructed the CIA to gin up evidence that Saddam refused to wear condoms, at which point Amanda Marcotte would have demanded an immediate invasion of Iraq.

The good news: A British judge has denied Julian Assange bail, which means he won’t be free to keep leaking U.S. national security secrets on the Internet.

The bad news: A British judge has denied Julian Assange bail, which means some other poor shmuck will now have to satisfy the twisted carnal cravings of Swedish socialist women.

More good news: The Left is thrust onto the horns of a dilemma, forced to choose between conflicting principles of feminism and anti-Americanism.

More bad news: This has given Naomi Wolf an excuse to write a column.

In such a storm of controversy, by what lights should a conservative steer? Simple enough: Find out what side of the argument Andrew Sullivan has taken, and get on the other side.

A useful reality-check from Greenwald. I have to say the coincidence of these strange sexual charges and the ire of so many governments is extremely convenient, don’t you think? It’s like a movie. And no bail? Assange is on the road to underground hero status.

The old conspiratorial “question the timing” mood, eh? Perhaps this entire plot against Assange has been contrived by that notorious arch-villain, Sarah Palin’s uterus.

Well, Amanda Marcotte is in my comments. You perhaps remember Marcotte as having helped coin the immortal slogan, “Vote for Edwards, Godbag Christofascists!” And you remember how Senator Edwards — so loyal and courageous and committed to True Feminist principles — defended Marcotte.

Or perhaps you remember something else entirely.

Yet it is Julian Assange who is an “underground hero,” while I remain a very above-ground villain, even though I’ve never been to Stockholm and haven’t slept with any Swedish socialists. Nor have I fathered any illegitimate children with campaign aides while cheating on a cancer-stricken wife.

Obviously, I am unworthy of Amanda Marcotte’s respect.

Wait a minute: It seems self-evident that John Edwards didn’t use a condom whilst demonstrating his potential as a “transformational leader” to Rielle Hunter. Why is Amanda Marcotte denouncing me instead of John Edwards?

The phrase that seems to have particularly offended the feminist furies is when I said of these Swedish women who hooked up with Assange — and of other such women rather generally — “Listen up, sweetheart: You buy the ticket, you take the ride.”

Perhaps the literary allusion went flying right over their pretty little heads, for it was indeed an allusion to a frequent saying of a certain famous journalist, a phrase that became the title of a documentary about his life and work:

While I’ve never seen that particular film, I reviewed another documentary about Hunter S. Thompson, and pointed out that Thompson’s involvement with the Hell’s Angels highlighted “several crucial elements of the gonzo persona, including Thompson’s daredevil attraction to danger”:

While covering the bike gang, he began riding motorcycles himself, totaling his BSA 650 in a wreck that sent him and a passenger to the hospital. Immersing himself into the outlaw culture, Thompson also managed to get himself badly stomped by a group of Angels at a weekend party.

The phrase “buy the ticket, take the ride” (from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) is subject to interpretation, but certainly it has something to do with accepting the potentially painful consequences of thrill-seeking. If you rode with the Hell’s Angels, for example, that ride might end in a brutal stomping, for which you had no legal recourse. You chose the outlaw life and unless you were willing to wage war on the entire gang — a war that could only end in your own painful death — there was nothing you could do, no court of appeals to hear your complaint that you had been unfairly stomped.

You bought the ticket. You took the ride.

No refunds. No complaints.

Well, flash-forward to Nerf World 2010, where overprivileged children expect all the sharp corners of life to be foam-padded so that no one ever gets hurt, no matter what foolish choices they make. And when I try to point out that life doesn’t actually work that way, I find Amanda Marcotte in the comments accusing me of believing that “men have a right to rape a woman who consented to sex at some other point in time under different conditions.”

Ms. Marcotte, where did I assert the existence of any such “right”? Is it not obvious that there are some situations that do not lend themselves so easily to an argument about “rights”?

That’s how it goes in Nerf World 2010, while the children bounce around painlessly and yet complain constantly about minor irritations or anxieties. Julian Assange releases national-security secrets — with potentially disastrous consequences for the U.S. and its allies — and what do the kids in Nerf World complain about? Bloggers who criticize their feminist diatribes about Assange’s Swedish sexcapades.

Never mind. Tommy Christopher requests (and receives) comment from Jill Filipovic:

This isn’t really new material. “She was asking for it because she went out with him / wore a short skirt / flirted / had sex with him before / went to that party / kissed him / etc” is such an antiquated and tired justification for rape that I’m almost more offended by the lack of creativity and hoariness of it than I am by the actual content (almost).  Although I will say that ”Listen up, sweetheart: You buy the ticket, you take the ride” is new and interesting phrasing from someone who also says he isn’t a misogynist rape apologist.

Got that? To say that these women were in some substantial measure victims of their own stupidity is the same thing, in Ms. Filipovic’s mind, as saying: “She was asking for it because she . . . wore a short skirt.”

This is the straw-man argument near the bottom of the slippery slope of false analogies down which the feminist habit of framing every question in terms of “rights” has led us. Let us stipulate, insofar as any discussion of “rights” is concerned, that women have the right to wear short skirts, flirt, have sex, kiss guys, etc.

People have the right to do many things, but arguing about “rights” is a poor substitute for deciding what is wise and counseling others to pursue the course of action that wisdom would suggest.

Once upon a time, before we had intellectuals with blogs to hector us constantly about “rights,” wisdom was expressed in folk sayings and proverbs like, Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.

In Nerf World 2010, however, there can be no common-sense wisdom to guide our actions. Rather, we do whatever the hell we want to do, and then call the cops or sue somebody if we don’t like the outcome.

What our intellectuals tend to have in common is that they have carefully avoided the kind of life-or-death situations where people stop worrying about their “rights” (or anybody else’s rights, for that matter) because they’re too busy worrying about survival.

No, the intellectuals make a point of staying within the foam-padded confines of Nerf World where they never have to cope with the potentially lethal consequences of the elaborate theories of “social justice” they invent to justify the overturning of every restraint that common sense, ancient wisdom or well-established legal precedent might impose on human conduct.

Question their theories, however, and you’re a “rape apologist” (or some other toxic pejorative like “racist” or “homophobe”) who can be accused of making arguments you never made and endorsing actions you never endorsed. That’s how the game is played by the intellectual hall monitors in Nerf World, where I’m obviously a far greater menace to society than Julian Assange or John Edwards or even Osama bin Laden.

Well, I didn’t begin this extended rant expecting to take that long detour. All I’d originally intended to do was to (a) link the most recent Assange-related news from Memorandum, and (b) combine it with a link to an essay I’d posted earlier today at the Hot Air Green Room.

My post here last night about Assange’s Swedish sexual assault case was obviously badly argued, otherwise it would not have provoked confusion among some  conservative regular readers. (The confusion of liberals requires no explanation because they’re always confused, otherwise they wouldn’t be liberals.) So, while driving around on errands today, I decided to clarify my thoughts on the Assange case in a better argument. And it happened that my mind turned to a quote about rape from a certain famous journalist.

“Nothing catches an editor’s eye like a good rape.”
Hunter S. Thompson, Hell’s Angels (1966)

So now go read the whole thing. Buy the ticket, etc.

UPDATE: Linked at Dyspepsia Generation, and an e-mail from a reader:

I Googled the “Sex by Surprise” charges against Mr. Assange. He may be in jail now but these charges do not really warrant jail time in Sweden or really, anywhere else. Aparently “Sex by Surprise” is when you don’t wear a condom during sex when your partner asks you to. It carries a 5000 Kornor fine or roughly $715. Just to put this in perspective, Julian Assange went into hiding and sparked an international manhunt in order to avoid paying the equivalent of a really bad traffic fine. Either this is a really bad publicity stunt or just facepalm stupid. The best we can hope for is that the Justice Dept. asks Sweden to extradite Mr. Assange to face extradition charges here. I’m not betting on that happening.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Edward, R.I.P.

UPDATE II: Jill Filipovic and Amanda Marcotte to Denounce Keith Olbermann in 3, 2, 1 . . .

UPDATE III: Welcome, Instapundit readers!


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