By Ben Pensant
Donald Trump has done some truly despicable things. From deporting transgender soldiers to mocking a disabled beauty queen, from building a wall around Charlottesville to grabbing his daughter’s pussy, there are few depths this dangerous pillock hasn’t plumbed in the name of white supremacy.
Yet just when we think he can’t stoop any lower he horrifies us again with his alarming capacity for perversion. And so it was last week when his latest outrage sent shock waves through college campuses and dinner parties throughout the land.
Because while US pundits were fretting about jobs, hurricanes and the imminent Nazi apocalypse, Trump was pulling off his most disgusting trick yet. No, not pardoning a racist sheriff with a penchant for chain-gangs. Not engaging in a pissing contest with a pint-sized Bond villain fond of launching missiles over neighbouring countries for a laugh. And not telling football clubs to sack players for kneeling during the national anthem as part of a widespread protest no-one outside of the White House and the Huffington Post give two shits about.
Amazingly, Trump sunk to this most recent nadir via EVEN MORE illiberal means. For when no-one was looking he offended women and right-thinking liberals everywhere by – brace yourselves – tweeting a dumb gif showing Hillary Clinton being hit on the head with a golf ball.
(Apparently he also gave a speech at the UN or somewhere which I’m certain was racist and offensive despite not having heard it or even knowing what it was about. But like my educated, liberal friends who I regularly send these columns to, I don’t need to actually read something to know it’s racist and offensive and make smug comments about it.)
That the leader of the free world deems it acceptable to make fun of a woman being assaulted with a golf ball when everyday women worldwide are assaulted with with golf balls is sickening. Luckily, the media aired their disgust, with principled voices from CNN to The Guardian lambasting Trump’s toxic masculinity and accusing him of glorifying violence against women. The fact that many of the same outraged voices reporting him to Twitter were eerily silent when weird-voiced fraggle Kathy Griffin posed for a photo holding Trump’s dismembered head is unimportant.
Because there is satire and there is sickness and a silly video showing a famous politician falling over is quite clearly the latter. But this malaise is no surprise to those of us who sussed long ago that what people REALLY have against Hillary has nothing to do with corruption or war-mongering. In fact, it’s got nothing to do with politics at all. It’s because she’s a woman. Period. And the reaction to her recent book proves it tenfold.
As feminist fun-sponge Sarah Ditum put it in The New Statesman last week: ‘The vitriol aimed at Hillary shows the fragility of women’s half-won freedom’. It couldn’t possibly show that Clinton is a deeply divisive individual with enough skeletons in her closet to stage a Broadway revival of Jason And The Astronauts. Luckily, Sarah had no interest in debating Clinton’s ‘flaws’, instead filling her piece with straw-man after straw-man without once mentioning the multitude of reasons people dislike Hillary Clinton that have nowt to do with her lack of a Y-chromosome.
‘Look at the reaction to Hillary’s book. Too soon. Can’t she go quietly? Why can’t she own her mistakes?’ wrote Sarah, expertly mocking the overriding consensus about Clinton’s memoir despite providing no evidence whatsoever that anyone other than Sarah actually thought that.
‘Bernie Sanders put a book out a week after the election and no-one said “too soon” about that’. Indeed they didn’t though no-one appears to have said it about Hillary’s book either. It’s safe to assume, however, that Bernie’s tome was treated like the second coming by the same people now hatefully laying into Clinton simply because she has curvier hips than him.
Because as anyone familiar with Sarah’s joyless work knows, her entire ice-cold output is built on ‘safely assuming’ stuff, whether it’s the inherent sexism of the masses, the inherent sexism of men who criticise her columns, or the inherent sexism of women who disagree with her because they’ve been brainwashed into it by the evil patriarchy or something. Like many modern feminists, her inability to accept criticism without reducing it to misogyny is matched only by her ability to read the minds of millions of people she’s never met.
And when it comes to female politicians she point-blank refuses to entertain the chauvinistic notion that they are just as deserving of scrutiny as their male counterparts. So the fact that Hillary has dropped more bombs than Darth Vader is irrelevant. That she’s spent so much time in Wall Street’s pockets she might as well be a jar of Rohypnol is immaterial. The millions that have vanished from her and her charming husband’s Saudi-funded foundation is nobody’s business but theirs.
Because as Sarah and anyone else with half a brain knows, the only reason people attack Clinton is because she has a vagina. And that includes the women: ‘I’m angry with the men who engage in Clinton-bashing. With the women, it’s something else. Sadness. Pity, maybe’. As with most issues Sarah tackles, anyone who disagrees with her is to be disdained and patronised, their crime of viewing a female politician unfavourably a sledgehammer to her concrete heart. Unless the person disagreeing with her is a man in which case it’s simply because he hates women.
I mean, who but a card-carrying misogynist could possibly have issues with the establishment hawk who wrote of the dissident-torturing baddies in George Orville’s seminal 1994: ‘The goal is to make you question your logic and reason, to sow mistrust toward exactly the people we need to rely on: our leaders, the press, experts who seek to guide public policy based on evidence, ourselves’?
Stirring stuff and no doubt a shock to those dumb idiots who had no idea the message of the novel was ‘we must trust our leaders’. I look forward to volume two in which Hillary reviews Orville’s other masterpiece Animal House. I hear she loved the happy ending.
Elsewhere, The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman took to Twitter to praise Sarah’s column, which unsurprisingly resulted in both women being abused and mansplained to by rabid misogynists, self-hating women and people who are neither but H&S have decided are equally deplorable. Wise move. Because to engage with the criticism might have meant admitting that maybe, just maybe, men and women are capable of making up their own minds about a flawed, problematic politician without having their tiny brains swayed by the bastardly patriarchy.
So when they came under fire from the snarling mob they did what they do best and dismissed every arrow fired at them on the grounds that the shooter had a cock and balls. In response to someone pointing out they never hear anyone say people only hated Margaret Thatcher because she was a woman, Sarah shot back: ‘That’s because you don’t listen to women who talk about sexism’, utilising the brilliant social media trick of deducing someone’s aural habits on the basis of one tweet.
Of course, the fact that Sarah said this while simultaneously not listening to someone talking about sexism was too delicious not to exploit. Which Sarah subsequently did by abandoning the chat as soon as people – or rather, men – started derailing her narrative by making legitimate criticisms of Clinton that had bugger all to do with her gender.
Elsewhere Hadley had Sarah’s back, deploying variations on the standard middle-class feminist argument of ‘what would you know, you’ve got a penis’ that has won them countless Twitter spats and shut down more debates than the Corbynite classic ‘What about Saudi Arabia?’.
‘I do love it when men lecture multiple women – one of whom is American – about Hillary Clinton and what American voters really feel’ blasted Hadley, conveniently forgetting that she’d just praised a column lecturing people who dislike Hillary Clinton on how they really feel. The difference is that when Hadley and Sarah give an opinion they’re educating people less enlightened than them on right and wrong. When men do it they’re ‘lecturing’. Which makes it easier to abandon thread when someone makes a point they can’t counter, a necessity in the social media age where women are violently assaulted on a daily basis by sexist men they’ve never met disagreeing with them.
So on it went, the Salt-N-Pepa of progressive misandry effortlessly despatching misogynists with zinger after zinger, such as Hadley’s response to the suggestion she thinks Hillary was a flawless candidate: ‘To point out Hillary has faced an enormous amount of sexism is not to argue she is without flaws’. Indeed it isn’t, though if any man points out these flaws Sarah will write a column calling them all sexist and Hadley will nod approvingly.
‘Oh no!’ mocked Sarah in an unexpected stab at humour, ‘some men have shown up to insult me over the Clinton column. I guess they definitely aren’t sexist after all, my bad’. Ouch. That’s what you get when you insult Sarah, fellas. And yes, I’m not just talking about the abusive trolls but also the ones who merely criticised her column. In many ways they are worse than the abusers as they cloak their violent misogyny in a pseudo-tolerant veneer, pretending to judge Sarah exactly as they would a man they disagreed with. Snakes in the grass, every last one.
As Hadley pointed out to the umpteenth alpha male who accused her and Sarah of ring-fencing a demonstrably dishonest politician from criticism just because she’s female: ‘I’m criticising people for holding her to a different standard than they do with male politicians’. Which, funnily enough, is exactly what Hadley did when dismissing legitimate criticism of Hillary and her book as sexism. Some days beating the trolls is like swatting flies.
And with that they were off, no doubt bored shitless with relentlessly assigning viewpoints to their opponents that they don’t hold before attacking them for holding that viewpoint. In other words, a textbook example of the enduring ability of identity politics to shut down every argument it doesn’t like by citing the gender or ethnicity of the person putting it forward. Like racists and misogynists do.
Which is meat and drink for Hadley and Sarah. Especially the latter, as she proved in January when passionately defending a sneering Suzanne Moore column about how ghastly hen parties are and how women only get married because society forces them to.
When someone made the entirely unremarkable point that SOME women have hen dos and weddings because, well, they want to, she responded in a heartbeat, accusing them of ‘preserving the institution of marriage from critique’ despite the fact they never once mentioned the institution of marriage. It says everything about modern feminism that pointing out that most women are clever enough to make their own minds up is now regarded as clear evidence of not only sexism but a deep attachment to the patriarchal terrorism of forced marriage.
Because the only people who need to be preserved from critique are inspirational women like Hillary, Hadley and Sarah. And now more than ever we need to protect them and their opinions at all costs, especially when we have a lunatic president running around tweeting terrifying ten-second videos depicting him trying to murder one of them with a golf ball.
But as ever, if you want a shining example of the correct way to treat women look no further than the triumphant Labour conference, where female delegates were treated with such respect one of them had to employ a bodyguard just in case the Momentum top boys were left with no choice but to counter her Corbynphobic smears by head-butting her.
So by the end of the riotous three-day bash Angela Raynor had been referred to by her party’s Twitter account as an ‘absolute babe’, Emily Thornberry had brought the house down by summoning the spirit of Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, and Diane Abbot had delivered a powerful, platitude-packed speech which left the adoring throng moved, inspired and terrified to criticise it in case they got accused of misogynoir.
All of which left no-one in any doubt that the blatant sexism and misogynist abuse that still threatens Hillary Clinton’s life has no place in Jezza’s Labour, a warm, inclusive space that welcomes women of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and viewpoints.
Even that slag Laura Cuntsberg.
(Photo from huffingtonpost.com)