mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
 
From the front page of the app this morning, the headline

Bill Cosby rape allegations, diminishment of )
Damn the New York Times.  Damn its editors, and especialy damn Kate Zernicke, who wrote this piece of trash.

mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
Note: I'm linking to the Guardian rather than the New York Times because the G is not (yet) paywalled. 
George RR Martin has said that omitting scenes of rape and sexual violence from the epic Game of Thrones series "would have been fundamentally false and dishonest", as fans express mounting concerns about the graphic way certain scenes from Martin's novels have played out in the television adaptation.
...
But Martin told the New York Times that although his books are epic fantasy, they are based on history (the series is loosely inspired by the Wars of the Roses). And "rape and sexual violence have been a part of every war ever fought, from the ancient Sumerians to our present day".
 
"To omit them from a narrative centered on war and power would have been fundamentally false and dishonest, and would have undermined one of the themes of the books: that the true horrors of human history derive not from orcs and Dark Lords, but from ourselves. We are the monsters. (And the heroes too). Each of us has within himself the capacity for great good, and great evil," the author said.
 
History, according to Martin, is "written in blood", and although Westeros – the fictional continent where the series is set – is not "the Disneyland Middle Ages", it is "no darker nor more depraved than our own world".

Dear George R Fucking R Martin:

There is a lot of stuff in the past. Rape. Murder. Incest. Unkindness to children. We get that. You're writing a dark fantasy. We get that, too.  Nobody said -- not even once -- that your works, and the TV show derived from them, should never have a rape. I know that's a fun point to debate, because it's obviously wrong.

Let's look at what people are actually saying. They're saying "The TV show is adding rapes where rapes weren't before." They're saying "Rapes are being used as casual plot development". They're saying "When women are raped, the rape is shown from the male viewpoint, and staged to emphasize the women's bodies."   In short, they're making points about authorial choices.   Unlike you, they're making limited, targeted points.  This rape was gratuitous.   This rape was shot in a titillating way.

As many, many people have pointed out, Westeros may not be the Disneyland Middle Ages, but it's certainly not the real European Middle Ages.   No magic.   No years-long winters.   No fricking dragons.    That means that you are choosing, deliberately, to introduce elements incongruous with history.   Furthermore, you are picking and choosing elements from European history -- and Orientalism, but let's not go there -- as they suit your purposes as an author.   Don't present your choices as inevitable truths.   They aren't.   You've chosen  to use rape, in particular, as an  illustration of Things Being Bad and People Being Evil.    The TV series, in turn, has taken scenes in the book that were, at least, ambiguous, or didn't contain rape at all, and made them explicitly rapeful.   You choose where the authorial point of view focuses; the TV series chooses where the camera is pointed.   All of those choices spring from the culture you live in; they aren't some sort of Platonic self-creating ideal.  

We aren't overreacting when we criticize those particular choices as they occur, and when we notice culturally-driven patterns in those choices.   We are reacting.  Our analysis is just as valid, and just as appropriate, as the analyses of people who work out the ecological consequences of long winters, or the troop emplacements at the Battle of Blackwater.  We're fans.  We analyze things.  It's what we do.   

To drop down from the abstract plane, the TV series Game of Thrones uses women's naked bodies as interior decoration, in a way that it does not use men's naked bodies.   The TV series Game of Thrones uses rape as a plot device in ways that the source did not.  I, as a consumer, don't enjoy those parts of a series I otherwise enjoy.   I would rather have my raisin pie not be 15% moose turds.
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
Anything in quotation marks is actual dialogue. I rewound this, er, tripe so this recap would be accurate for you and you and you.

I am not Cleolinda, nor was meant to be )

Summary: I'll probably be there, but I'll be ashamed of myself the whole time.
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
In the last month there has been a long sequence of ugly allegations (by multiple people, backing one another up) of sexual abuse by teachers at the Royal Northern Academy of Music. One former professor has just been arrested for rape. Another has revealed that he resigned in protest after his protests against hiring a known abuser were ignored.

The head of the school is, as you would expect, concerned.

Merrick, a professional clarinettist who took up her role on 10 January, said many teachers were now terrified that they could be falsely accused of abusing students. "I've had a lot of male staff coming to me and saying, 'There is no way I would ever, ever, ever condone this sort of behaviour, ever be in that sort of position, but I am really nervous about doing my job,'" she said.

"Remember, they've had a close colleague who had worked with them for quite a long time who was arrested completely out of the blue.

"Of course people are thinking: 'Well, it could be me. What if somebody raises an allegation against me and there was no substance in it?


What if -- and I realize this is just a woman's unsubstantiated whimsy -- students are thinking 'Well, it could be me. What if my teacher harassed me? Would I be believed, unlike the women who went before me?'

Somehow that doesn't seem to be the nightmare scenario most on Principal Linda Merrick's mind.

"As a "good employer", she had to protect her staff against false allegations, Merrick added. "The safeguarding issue goes both ways."

The current heightened sensitivity had not yet led to a witch-hunt, she said. "But I think there's a danger it could become that."


For years two different teachers at her school sexually harassed their female students. One woman committed suicide shortly after testifying at the trial of her teacher (he was convicted). One teacher resigned in protest when a known sexual harasser was appointed as the head of the string department.
As for any damage allegedly caused by RNCM teachers in the past, Merrick said she "may well" write to those women who claim they were abused or taken advantage of sexually at the college.

"When it's died down and we're clear who we are apologising to for what, then yes, we might well do that," she said.

You could start, of course, by apologizing to the people whose testimony led to the conviction, in a court of law, of one of your teachers. That one is pretty damn clear, no matter how much you'd like it to be ambiguous. While you're at it, you could apologize to Martin Roscoe, who tried to keep your institution out of the mess in which it now finds itself.

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