Archive for May, 2011

Wearing a hoe’s uniform

May 8th, 2011

“Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised.”

Those are the words of Canadian police constable Michael Sanguinetti, as reported by the BBC.

Constable Sanguinetti has since been reprimanded and has apologised. I hope he apologised for his poor and offensive choice of words, rather than his message, because his message was not entirely wrong.

All right, before every woman who reads this starts reaching for a pair of genital shears, allow me to make my position clear.

Firstly, I believe the constable should have said: “From a purely practical, though not moral, perspective women should avoid dressing in a way that is highly sexually provocative if they want to mitigate the risk of  being victimised. However, a victim of an assault should always be treated as a victim and with sensitivity.”

Should women have the right to “dress like sluts”? I believe  they should, assuming they adhere to any local bye-laws and establishment dress codes.

Do I find sluttiness attractive in a woman? Yes, I do, because I have the brain and hormones of the male of my species and at some primitive level I am going to respond positively to a woman who effectively advertises that she is sexually available.

If I were on the dating scene, would I try to chat up a woman dressed in a slutty way? I doubt it. I like a woman to be sexy, but I value elegance and taste very highly.

When teaching martial arts, I teach my students to behave in such a way that minimises the risk of ever needing to defend themselves. I emphasise that skill in avoiding trouble is far better than skill in getting out of trouble.

So I try to make my students, particularly the young adults, aware of the kinds of behaviour that could get them into trouble. After that, it is up to them to decide how they should behave.

Here are some examples of the kind of advice I give them.

Males:

  • Do not get drunk when you are out and about. Most street violence is perpetrated by young men on young men when one side or the other is intoxicated.
  • Do not be quick to take offence when another man spills your pint, looks at your girlfriend, bumps into you, etc.
  • Be quick to apologise to another man if you spill his pint, look at his girlfriend, bump into him, etc.
  • Do not try to stare other men down.

Females:

  • Do not get drunk when out and about.
  • Do not walk home alone at night, particularly through isolated, unlit areas.
  • Try not to park your car far from the entrance to any building you are visiting.
  • Try to park your car under or near a lamp-post.
  • Always reverse into a parking space, so that if you are being pursued on returning to your car, you can pull away quickly.
  • Always have your car key in your hand and ready before you get to your car, rather than fumbling through your handbag at the car door.

Do men and women have the right to violate these guidelines I set down? Of course they do. One female student of mine complained that she was worried about the dark lane she walked down in order to get to her house and wanted to know what to do if she were attacked there. I observed that it was unusual to have to use a dark lane to get to a house and that lanes are usually shortcuts. She then admitted that there was a longer way to her front door, but that the lane to her back door was more convenient. I politely told her to shut the fuck up and start using the front door.

Did she have the moral right to be able to walk down that dark lane and expect not to be attacked by the tiny minority of men who might be inclined to do so? Of course she did.

Was it unreasonable of her to desire a certain level of behaviour from men? Of course not.

Would she have been responsible for the consequences had she been attacked? From a moral point of view, not at all, but from the practical point of view of risk mitigation, absolutely.

Years ago I dated a young woman who was very feisty and always insisted on fighting for her rights. This was a good attitude in general, but sometimes she took it to ridiculous levels. For example, I often observed that she did not keep an eye on the traffic when on a pedestrian crossing. Her response was that she had the right to cross the road safely and that it was the responsibility of the drivers to drive safely. This attitude served her well until the day she was knocked down. Morally she had the right to be safe on a pedestrian crossing. Practically, it was her damned fault.

In relation to the BBC article mentioned above, a friend recently said: “Are men not capable of controlling themselves? Do they not know right from wrong?”

This point of view is naive in that it expects that because there exists the moral right to expect good behaviour from men, that women can behave however they like and not expect there to be consequences on occasion. Again I emphasise that I am speaking in terms of risk mitigation and not moral rights.

The fact is that a minority of men will see a woman dressed in a sexually provocative way and not think less of her as a woman. Such men are unlikely to approach a woman dressed so. However, I suspect the majority will not see past the sexual advertisement and see only a sex object. Some of those men will be disgusted and will not approach. Most, I suspect, will be highly aroused and are likely to approach the woman, expecting easy sex, but then will insult her verbally if she does not deliver the advertised sexual goods.

The tiny minority of those men will see only a sex object that they are entitled to, and are prepared to inflict violence on the woman if she does not deliver the advertised sex.

Those men exist.

Ladies, grow the fuck up and accept that reality. And stop throwing out the crude generalisation that men should not behave that way. Men do not behave that way. The tiny, fucked-up minority of men behave that way.

A short analogy: If a woman dressed like a slut to go to a job interview at anything other than a porno production company, whose fault would it be if she did not get the job based solely on the fact that she exercised her right to dress like a slut on that occasion? The right to act a certain way does not immunise you from its consequences.

But a man who assaults a woman never, ever, has an excuse and the victim of an assault is always a victim, regardless of what they were wearing at the time.

I leave you now with American comedian Dave Chapelle, on the subject of women dressing like “hoes” (that’s prostitutes and not garden tools):

How to feel like a man

May 6th, 2011

There is nothing quite like taking pieces off a car and then putting them back on again to make a man feel like a man.

HOOO-AAAAHHHH!

Having put it all back together I can now crack open a beer, watch The Dirty Dozen and not talk about my feelings while basking in the idea that my self-esteem is based entirely on my performance reviews at work.

By the way, all that effort was just to change a light bulb. It’s one of the drawbacks of owning a very compact car. I even managed to get oil on my hands, despite not working near the engine.

Say ‘Salaam’ to my little friend!

May 4th, 2011

I’m not sorry Osama bin Laden is dead.

I’m not glad either. Unlike the many who gathered in Times Square, I do not celebrate death. OBL probably got what he deserved and his last words may well have been: “Say ‘Salaam’ to my little fr…”

This probably did not happen.

President Obama ordered Navy SEALs into OBL’s compound and watched the proceedings live. I imagine Obama knew that OBL would not want to be taken alive, but we do not know whether the mission was a planned assassination from the outset. Initial reports said that a SEAL shot OBL in the head when OBL fired at him, but the Whitehouse now says that OBL was unarmed. Even so, considering the penchant Muslim terrorists have for blowing themselves and people around them to Paradise, I probably would have shot him on sight too. Or thrown up. Not sure which. But one of those two.

Of course, the Whitehouse is already backtracking on what supposedly happened, but that is to be expected. It turns out OBL was not armed, he was not using a woman as a human shield, the mission was not carried out by Navy SEALs but by actual seals, the blubbery kind.

I don’t believe the mission was ever to take OBL alive, however, because what would they have done with him? Put him on trial? That may well have had every self-esteem-lacking, brainwashed Al Qaeda wannabee flying planes into buildings all over the world, demanding the release of OBL. Alternatively, it might have made the statement that counter-terrorism should be about law, and not a military mission that kills thousands more innocents than terrorists.

No, I believe it was an assassination and that’s fair enough. OBL was a bollix. Mourn him not. Even if you are a Muslim reading this and you hate what the West does in many Islamic countries, OBL was not a bearded Robin Hood. He was a murdering bollix who sent other people out to kill and die. Quite similar to most world leaders in that respect.

What interests me, though, is the two-faced language that has come out since.

President Obama said: “Justice has been done.”

Really? Justice?

Let’s see what the Merriam-Webster dictionary of American English has to say about justice. There are several definitions relevant to this context:

  • the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments
  • the administration of law; especially : the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity
  • the quality of being just, impartial, or fair
  • the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action
  • conformity to this principle or ideal
  • the quality of conforming to law

Notice the use of the word “impartial”. Justice is impartial. But what happened in Abbottabad was not about justice, despite what the eloquent Mr. Obama might say. It was highly partial. I don’t have a problem with that. Had my loved ones died in New York, London or Madrid at the hands of terrorists, I doubt I would have the dignity of the “September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows”. Read their response to the news of the killing of OBL here. I would probably be punching the air.

But Obama revealed his true nature when he said this was about justice. The naive part of me was hoping he would be honest and say it was about revenge. Although, to be fair, it might not have been about revenge for Obama. As Frank Castle said:

“In certain extreme situations, the law is inadequate. In order to shame its inadequacy, it is necessary to act outside the law. To pursue… natural justice. This is not vengeance. Revenge is not a valid motive, it’s an emotional response. No, not vengeance. Punishment. “

Of course, I should point out that the Marvel character ‘The Punisher’ is a vigilante who is himself considered a criminal by the authorities.

In any case, Obama is just another politician playing to the crowd.

Speaking of the crowd, I assume that the majority of those gathered in Times Square to celebrate where Christians. I couldn’t quite make out what they were shouting and at first I thought it was:

“In your face, Jesus, with your panty-waist, un-American, turn-the-other-cheek nonsense!”

It turns out the ordinary citizens were claiming credit for the actions of the US Military with cries of “We killed bin Laden!”As Gary Younge points out, if they claim that, then they must also claim collective responsibility for the many atrocities committed by coalition forces in the the so-called “War on Terror”.

Again, if I had lost a loved one, I would probably be chanting too, but I hope, with a little more honesty.

I think Steve Bell sums it up beautifully and without a single word:

My final word is to recommend a book by Pumla Gobodo-Madikize, titled “A Human Being Died That Night” (subtitle: ‘Forgiving Apartheid’s Chief Killer’).