The Other McCain

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Historian Erupts: ‘I Will Not Be Lectured to by a Public School Girl Like You!’

Posted on | September 24, 2014 | 38 Comments

Laurie Penny (@PennyRed) was the subject of an item here yesterday because of her quarrel with lesbian feminist Cathy Brennan, an argument that highlights the profound schism between radicals like Brennan (who are and always have been the core of the feminist movement) and trendy opportunists like Ms. Penny. The American reader may ask, “Who the hell is Laurie Penny, and why the hell are you writing about her?”

Briefly, then: An ambitious young British journalist who attended exclusive private schools (which are for peculiar reasons called “public schools” in England), Ms. Penny graduated from Oxford and then went to New York. There, she was rescued from death by actor Ryan Gosling, an incident that became the subject of an embarrassingly narcissistic article at Gawker. Ms. Penny is a certain type — a “posh bird,” as the Brits would say, whose ostentatious leftism is a fashionable pose among many upper-class youth — and as such is well on her way to becoming the Most Despised Woman in England. She came to my attention here in the States only because, in researching my “Sex Trouble” series on radical feminism, I was browsing Amazon for recent feminist books and came across Ms. Penny’s new volume, Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution. Ranked #6 by Amazon in the “Gender Studies” category, and #11 in “Feminist Theory,” this seemed relevant to my project.

With our American reader’s questions asked and answered, then, we proceed to explain what no English reader needs to be told, namely that Laurie Penny is an impudent young fool with a penchant for making an utter spectacle of herself. As soon as I blogged about her yesterday, comments on the blog and feedback on Twitter began to fill up with notices of Ms. Penny’s previous self-inflicted embarrassments, including this public implosion in June 2012:

More details have emerged of the heavyweight clash of the commentariat this weekend between radical blogger and journalist Laurie Penny and the outspoken TV historian David Starkey at the Sunday Times Festival of Education.
The newspaper released video clips today of the contretemps, which occurred after the historian had talked about the values of the Asian men from Rochdale who were convicted of grooming young white girls for sex as being “entrenched in the foothills of the Punjab or wherever it is”, and how the men needed to be “inculcated in the British ways of doing things”.
Penny accused Starkey of “playing xenophobia and national prejudice for laughs” and asked him in a leading question whether he had a home in America, implying that Starkey might have tax questions to answer, a strong innuendo in the current climate of zero-tolerance.
The video shows Starkey bouncing out of his seat in response to this perceived smear, taking to the lectern to “share a little story” about how he and Penny had both been invited to debate by the Thomas Paine Society, but that while he had agreed to waive his fee the younger polemicist had asked for “such a large fee that the event had to be cancelled”.
“I think that is as mean and grasping as some runt comedian and I will not be lectured to by a public school girl like you!” a visibly angry Starkey spits, advancing on the diminutive Penny until he is standiung directly in front of her, while stabbing the air with his finger to punctuate his points.
“I came from the bottom and I will not have it!” he signs off with a flourish to considerable applause from a crowd quite evidently relishing the ruckus.

You can see the whole thing with video. It’s worth pointing out that David Starkey is no manner of right-winger, but a gay atheist. When he says that he “came from the bottom,” you have to understand that Starkey is from a true working-class background, in a nation where socioeconomic class is much more rigid than in America. His ascent in academia required him to overcome many disadvantages, including being born with two club feet, being stricken with polio, and suffering a nervous breakdown at 13. Starkey has many bad ideas and bad tendencies, but he is a man who has earned by his own merit and labor whatever privileges he has. For him to be lectured in public by such a person as Laurie Penny, accusing him of xenophobia and tax-dodging, was certainly more than anyone like David Starkey could be expected to endure.

“The organisation of human love has little to do with how children are raised and everything to do with the maintenance of the bourgeois state . . .”
Laurie Penny, “Lesbian mums and the end of patriarchy,” 2008

She insists that lesbian motherhood is part of the Marxist revolutionary project to overthrow “the bourgeois state,” even as she insists she is not a lesbian. It’s the same old story, isn’t it? The revolutionary vanguard of an intellectual elite, claiming to speak for the proletariat, thus deputizing themselves with authority. Except instead of Lenin and Trotsky speaking for the peasants and workers, Comrade Penny is a heterosexual intellectual wielding power on behalf of the lesbian proletariat. We who know history expect in a few years a terror-famine against the lesbian kulaks and “show trials” for feminists accused of treason and sabotage — conspiring with the patriarchy!

No, the “runt comedian” Ms. Penny has no respect for anyone or anything worth respecting, and has never been able to understand why adults resent her presumptuous attitude. Here she is, from 2009 when she was 23, engaged in a blogfight:

And when I had my breakdown at 17 and was carted off to the loony bin for a year, I had my parents’ private healthcare insurance making sure that I wouldn’t be kicked out of hospital when the NHS cover ran out, as it did for many of the young people I shared the ward with. There’s every chance that private health insurance saved my life.
It’s not that I haven’t fought, struggled and worked extremely fucking hard every day for the past five years just to survive. It’s not that the struggle to stay well and stay productive and work for a secure future doesn’t take everything I have, every day.

Yadda yadda yadda. Don’t we all know the Laurie Penny type?

Top of the heap within their juvenile millieu — extraordinarily bright and on the academic fast-track — they conceive themselves too good for any humdrum work. You wouldn’t find this type of person getting a job as a city-beat news reporter and working hard to learn her craft. Nor can a Laurie Penny type ever be content to hire on as an assistant editor at a magazine, doing layout work, proofreading copy, happy occasionally to see her byline on a back-of-the-book item, a film review or something. No, she’s Veruca Salt: She wants the whole world, and she wants it now. If she is not recognized as a celebrity — if others don’t praise her and pet her and applaud her every petulant phrase — then the Laurie Penny type believes she has been deprived of what is rightfully hers.

She deserves recognition as one of Our Moral Superiors, you see, and our failure to recognize her as such is a social injustice.

Anyone who ever worked for anything, everyone who literally sweated to collect a wage to pay their bills, must bristle at the insult implied by Laurie Penny’s attitude of entitlement. If it weren’t for TV bookers who decided to make her England’s New Fresh Face of Feminism™, nobody would ever pay attention to her. When her career finally comes crashing down, people will wonder why anyone ever cared. We await Ms. Penny’s post-celebrity memoir, It Was the Patriarchy What Done Me In.

Meanwhile, an actual feminist — the radical lesbian Cathy Brennan — continues to say things so crazy as to be actually true:

The alternative to defining things is not defining things. That is, words mean whatever you say they mean, and God forbid if you try to define words. Defining words is bigotry. This neat Jedi Mind Trick was used very effectively in the run up to the marriage equality movement, where GLBTWTF activists succeeded beyond all imagination in convincing everyone that people who define marriage as “One Man, One Women” are bigots. Never mind that that is what marriage meant — for better or for worse (ha, see what I did there) — for centuries. Using words as defined makes you a bigot — and we all know what happens to bigots.
For what it’s worth, I think people who oppose marriage equality may or may not be bigots. It does not necessarily matter to me to demonize these people. They lost a political battle. Part of the reason they lost this political battle is because of propaganda that changed the definition of marriage.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy propaganda, I’ve deployed it, it is useful. But it’s propaganda. It’s not reflective of reality; it creates a new one.
This same propaganda is now used against Lesbians, to tell us that we are bigots for understanding that Lesbians are female homosexuals. This is transphobia. This is wrong. This is “cissexism.”

Brilliant — and so politically incorrect as to be quite useful for my purposes. What Brennan has realized, and has had the courage to admit, is that in their quest for “marriage equality” the GLBTWTF activists engaged in a sort of rhetorical prestidigitation, playing word-games to exploit sympathy. In the process, however, these GLBTWTF activists established the premises of a syllogism that now threatens what radical feminists like Brennan had hoped to gain for their Lesbian Nation: Sanctuary from the menace of males and heterosexuality.

Brennan sees the old threat recrudescent in a strange new form, i.e., men who not only claim to be women, but say they are lesbians. In this disguise, they seek not only sexual access to females, but also assert authority as feminists to speak for women’s interests!

Cathy Brennan may be crazy, but she’s nobody’s fool. When a man who calls himself “Colleen” exposes his penis to little girls, do you actually expect Cathy Brennan to agree that this is “progress”?

Progress, as General Bullmoose said, is the root of all evil.




38 Responses to “Historian Erupts: ‘I Will Not Be Lectured to by a Public School Girl Like You!’”

  1. Kirby McCain
    September 24th, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

    I read a piece at WaPo “Why we need feminism” and it was such a soft little lie. The soft carpet on the wide path to hell. The lie you tell to placate the masses.As Lena Dunham pointed out, “Feminism isn’t a dirty word. It’s not like we’re a deranged group who think women should take over the planet, raise our young on our own and eliminate men from the picture.”

  2. Durasim
    September 24th, 2014 @ 1:11 pm

    What is doubly outrageous about that incident is that Laurie Penny was not even supposed to be a speaker at that event. She was in the audience and started denouncing Starkey’s comments. She subsequently got on stage so she could harangue Starkey further. Whether somebody invited her to the stage or she just let herself on stage, I don’t know. If the event organizers let her on stage, they seemed to later regret it when they “adjourned” the event.

    So Laurie Penny goes to the trouble of heckling somebody and going on stage to insult that person, and then she complains that the other person is being mean and has “violent discussion” when he dares to respond to her insults. And then she explains that she tried to gouge the Thomas Paine Society as her underhanded way to avoid having to appear with David Starkey. Shrieking at somebody from an audience and then marching on stage to denounce him seems to be a strange way of avoiding verbal altercations with that person.

  3. Finrod Felagund
    September 24th, 2014 @ 1:38 pm

    I would imagine the list of fools demolished by AOSHQ is a very long list.

  4. David Thompson
    September 24th, 2014 @ 1:43 pm
  5. kbiel
    September 24th, 2014 @ 1:53 pm

    She may be trying for the “Most Despised Woman in England” title, but she won’t obtain until Piers Morgan passes away.

  6. Mm
    September 24th, 2014 @ 1:59 pm

    As I read about Miss Penny’s sense of entitlement, I had to double check that you were not writing about Barry of the Choom Gang. As for Cathy Brennan and her ilk, don’t whine when the monster you created to destroy others, suddenly turns on you, licking its chops.

  7. Phil_McG
    September 24th, 2014 @ 2:16 pm

    “It’s worth pointing out that David Starkey is no manner of right-winger, but a gay atheist”

    You can be gay and an atheist and rightwing. A lot of gay men voted for Margaret Thatcher’s party. In the UK, being on the right isn’t so much a question of sex and religion, but more about your take on economic freedom, culture, tradition, immigration, the EU, and your attitude to institutions such as the monarchy.

    David Starkey is a rather eccentric and outspoken sort of conservative, but he is a conservative.

  8. robertstacymccain
    September 24th, 2014 @ 2:26 pm

    “… don’t whine when the monster you created to destroy others, suddenly turns on you, licking its chops …”

    People never learn this, I guess. Often I have to step back from my own arguments, check my premises and my logic, and make sure that I haven’t ceded some principle that ought never be ceded. Everybody makes mistakes, and I’ve made a few, but it is important to recognize your own errors and avoid repeating them. The problem with so many people on the Left is that their membership in the Left is more important to them than truth, and thus they cannot admit error.

  9. Steve Skubinna
    September 24th, 2014 @ 2:31 pm

    Perhaps one may be gay and atheist and still be right-wing in the UK, but it surely does not work that way in the US. Gays and atheists here are absolutely not permitted to be anything other than solidly progressive leftists.

    Just as with women and minorities. Step out of line and it’s the Night of the Long Knives for you.

  10. Steve Skubinna
    September 24th, 2014 @ 2:34 pm

    The “ends justify the means” crowd is always astonished to discover that their tactics are a double edged sword. The discovery comes just about the time they find themselves in the Lubjianka basement or on the cattle cars to the Gulag.

  11. Steve Skubinna
    September 24th, 2014 @ 2:36 pm

    I believe that the Brits invented the term “git” precisely for this sort of person.

    In RSM’s parlance, she is a Special Snowflake.

  12. Phil_McG
    September 24th, 2014 @ 2:45 pm

    “Git” is a masculine term. Laurie is a daft cow.

  13. Wombat_socho
    September 24th, 2014 @ 3:16 pm

    But they are! [/Rocky Horror Picture Show audience chorus]

  14. Durasim
    September 24th, 2014 @ 3:18 pm

    Homosexuals (the ones who aren’t also trannies) have this notion that they are “First Among Perverts.” That is, they believe that any new “orientation” or other deviancy should not assert itself and demand recognition without first obtaining the Homosexuals’ permission and blessing.

    But as you said, the abomination that they unleashed probably does not care for such niceties.

  15. M. Thompson
    September 24th, 2014 @ 4:34 pm

    She should qualify as the Most Despised Woman in England with out a problem, Piers “Moron” Morgan has “Most Despised Person in the English-Speaking World” for the forseeable future.

  16. Adobe_Walls
    September 24th, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

    Now that’s just cruel.

  17. concern00
    September 24th, 2014 @ 6:07 pm

    “…then the Laurie Penny type believes she has been deprived of what is rightfully hers.”

    Reminiscent of Elliot Rodger.

  18. Adobe_Walls
    September 24th, 2014 @ 7:05 pm

    And by “cruel” I of course mean getting our hopes up.

  19. RKae
    September 24th, 2014 @ 7:07 pm

    I’ve met a lot of right-wingers from the UK, and read a lot of blogs by them, and over here they would qualify as RINOs at best.

    Sort of like “Oh! He’s a Republican… from Boston.”

  20. RKae
    September 24th, 2014 @ 7:09 pm

    Or “bint.”

  21. visitor
    September 24th, 2014 @ 8:04 pm

    Hadn’t known anything about Starkey’s background until I read this post, but he did a long multi-part documentary series on the history British monarchy that is excellent. I think it’s all on Youtube. Take a look.

  22. Daniel Freeman
    September 25th, 2014 @ 1:20 am

    You neglected to mention that we are once again suffering her presence, as the English recently bid her “good riddance” on her latest American adventure — a Harvard fellowship. (Just imagine how insufferable she will be with that on her resume.) Mike Buchanan was kind enough to warn us and/or gloat.

  23. Mr. Saturn
    September 25th, 2014 @ 1:23 am

    It is your fault why I even know who this woman is. I demand an apology now sir.

  24. Adjoran
    September 25th, 2014 @ 2:00 am

    Because nothing says, “TAKE ME SERIOUSLY!” like magenta spray-on hair color.

  25. K-Bob
    September 25th, 2014 @ 3:04 am

    Well, they’re not all necessarily in RINO territory, but many of them are “squishes” because they sound conservative til it gets to gay marriage and abortion, and usually aren’t too keen on the military being used offensively.

    Gabe Malor, over at Ace’s is a pretty decent conservative. In his case, he’s not really any more squishy than Captain Ed and Allah Pundit.

    For some reason a lot of people seem to think those two are conservative. (I think they leave wet footprints whenever they walk, and I’m not a conservative, either.)

  26. ajpwriter
    September 25th, 2014 @ 12:18 pm

    Oh, that Starkey? I did not put the two together?

    Great series. And good for him for telling this silly bint off.

  27. Bob Belvedere
    September 25th, 2014 @ 1:08 pm

    So good to have you back.

  28. Bob Belvedere
    September 25th, 2014 @ 1:11 pm

    He is very good at his craft and always entertaining in his narratives.

  29. Steve Skubinna
    September 25th, 2014 @ 2:10 pm

    Or perhaps, in the words of W.S. Gilbert, “a bit of a chit.”

  30. DavidEssex
    September 25th, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

    Huh? I don’t understand how you think you can speak for a whole group of people. Oh wait. Yes I do. You’re self entitled.

  31. DavidEssex
    September 25th, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

    Hahahaha. Yes!

  32. Adobe_Walls
    September 25th, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

    Good to be back.

  33. Durasim
    September 25th, 2014 @ 3:53 pm

    I am not speaking for anybody, just reporting on trends and events that have happened in the history of sexual identity politics, or radical politics in general. When persons of a certain category view themselves as the “founders” of a movement, they may not be so keen to cede territory to some new group now claiming space under the same mantle.

    When “bisexual” people started claiming and asserting their “orientation,” the homosexual group response was even more hostile than the heterosexual response. It was gay rights advocates who coined the phrase “You’re either gay, straight, or lying” as a way of dismissing bisexuals as confused liars. Even though the new “inclusive” party line is supposed to include bisexuality, we can see hints that this acceptance is not entirely genuine among homosexuals. Like Andrew Sullivan joking at Tom Daley’s insistence he still liked females too.

    Now we have people of so called “asexual” orientation wanting visibility. Sure enough, Dan Savage was out there shaking his head and acting skeptical, suggesting that “asexuals” were just homosexuals in denial.

    Anyway, if claiming to “speak for a whole group of people” is unfounded, that has not stopped whatever social movements from continuing to do so. When mainstream gay organizations claim to be against pedophilia and pederasty, clearly they weren’t speaking on behalf of Allen Ginsberg or Harry Hay.

  34. Conservatronic
    September 25th, 2014 @ 4:35 pm

    I’m familiar with Penny Red through David Thompson’s wonderful blog. Just look for his category “Agonies of the Left.”

    EDIT: Turns out Mr. Thompson himself commented below.

  35. Bodycrimes
    September 25th, 2014 @ 4:48 pm

    FYI British private schools are called ‘public schools’ because at the time of their founding, it was the norm for boys to be educated at home by a tutor. Hence, sending them away to be with other boys was ‘public’. Schooling was still limited to the elite at the time, so there calling a school ‘public’ caused no confusion.

  36. Jean V. DuBois
    September 28th, 2014 @ 11:24 pm

    The Laura Penny type is exactly who Danny Elfman was thinking of when he wrong the song “Capitalism.”

  37. Robert What?
    September 29th, 2014 @ 5:31 pm

    Regrettably this is what years of “You go grrll” has given us: legions of young women who think their sh*t don’t stink.

  38. Robert What?
    September 29th, 2014 @ 5:37 pm

    Unfortunately this is what years of “you go grrll” have given us: legions of young women who think their sh*t don’t stink.