Friday Reads: Boys will be Boys and many of their victims resist and persist

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

It’s been a week where toxic masculinity has been on full display.  So, should I qualify that or not?  Do I need to say not all men? Do I need to say enablers count?   What do we say about all of this? Every day in Trump’s America is a day where we find yet another example of #MeToo but most of it is not a current event unless you point out that we’re finally getting some accountability but also some blowback.  Let me count the ways.

Katie J.M Baker writes this for the NYT: ‘What Do We Do With These Men?’

The bad men are plotting their comebacks.

In recent days, Page Six reported that the former CBS anchor Charlie Rose, accused by employees of acts ranging from groping to walking around naked in their presence, is shopping a return to television. His new project? Interviewing other men felled by #MeToo.

Mr. Rose isn’t alone: In the past few weeks, men from Tom Ashbrook to Matt Lauer to Mario Batali to Louis C.K. have reportedly been testing the waters. The response has been swift and incredulous. “Maybe don’t,” wrote Jessica Goldstein in a ThinkProgress piece called “Men who pulled out their penises at work think people want to see more of them now.” “Perhaps these guys could just stay quietly at home for a few more months and jerk each other off,” Anna Merlan wrote in a piece for Jezebel (where I previously worked).

I get it. For the first time in history, it seems, an unprecedented number of powerful men are facing significant consequences for predatory behavior. For a minority — such as Bill Cosby, who was found guilty this week in the first post-#MeToo celebrity sex crimes trial — the road to justice seems obvious. But for the vast majority, it isn’t. Still, it feels appalling, unfair, even beside the point to turn to questions of what should happen to the #MeToo-ed men who aren’t headed to court.

Yes, Cosby had his day in court.  He lost.

The verdict was widely celebrated as a win for sexual assault victims. Gloria Allred, the lawyer for dozens of Mr. Cosby’s accusers, said outside the courtroom, “After all is said and done, women were finally believed.”

Still, they persisted.

Will Tom Brokaw?  What about all the women of NBC that had to deal with Matt Lauer?

In the news business, “I think people generally did not care” about women’s stories of sexual harassment, said Soledad O’Brien, who worked at NBC for 12 years, went on to CNN for another decade and now runs her own production company. “I don’t think that people who were victims would feel particularly supported by going to someone and asking for help, whether that person was in HR or that person was a colleague.”

O’Brien added that she did not experience sexual harassment at NBC but said that within the industry, “People were mostly concerned they would lose their jobs if they complained. I think those concerns were valid.”

But, these weren’t the only stories making headlines this weeks.  We have the arrest of two mass murderers.  One that destroyed millions of lives of women over a period of time and another that shattered the lives of people in a few minutes.  What does it take to get folks to realize there is a common thread here?

Gary Younge writes this for The Guardian: “Nearly every mass killer is a man. We should all be talking more about that.”

From the Oklahoma bombing to the massacre in Norway it is always the same. In the immediate aftermath of mass murder, the initial hypothesis is that it must be a Muslim. And so it was on Monday that, within minutes of a van mowing down pedestrians in Toronto, a far-right lynching party was mobilised on social media looking for jihadis. Paul Joseph Watson, of conspiracy site Infowars, announced, “A jihadist has just killed nine people”; Katie Hopkins branded the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, a “terrorist shill”.

But there is a far safer assumption one can generally make. For while a relatively small proportion of mass killers in North America are Muslim, across the globe they are almost all men.

There will be, though, no appeals for moderate men to denounce toxic masculinity, no extra surveillance where men congregate, no government-sponsored schemes to promote moderate manhood, or travel bans for men. Indeed, the one thing that is consistently true for such incidents, whether they are classified as terrorist or not, will for the most part go unremarked. Obviously not all men are killers. But the fact that virtually all mass killers are men should, at the very least, give pause for thought. If it were women slaying people at this rate, feminism would be in the dock. The fact they are male is both accepted and expected. Boys will be boys; mass murderers will be men.

Who got the Golden State Killer?A sort’ve public library of 23 and me for one.

To get a leg up in the investigation in the cold case of the “Golden State Killer” (aka the “East Area Rapist”), authorities recently turned to modern DNA and genealogy analysis tools.

But they didn’t use any of the big-name DNA analysis firms like 23andMe; instead they relied on GEDmatch, a free, open source site run by a small two-man Florida company that just a few years ago was soliciting donations via PayPal.

According to the East Bay Times, which first reported the connection to GEDmatch late Thursday evening, California investigators caught a huge break in the case when they matched DNA from some of the original crime scenes with genetic data that had already been uploaded to GEDmatch. This familial link eventually led authorities to Joseph James DeAngelo, the man who authorities have named the chief suspect in the case. To confirm the genetic match, Citrus Heights police physically surveilled him and captured DNA off of something that he had discarded.

The former police officer was arrested Tuesday at his home in suburban Sacramento, having eluded law enforcement for decades. DeAngelo is expected to be arraigned Friday in Sacramento County Superior Court.

The Yolo County District Attorney said Thursday that DeAngelo “is suspected of committing over 50 rapes and a dozen murders across 10 different Northern, Central, and Southern California counties between 1976 and 1986.”

Paul Holes, a retired Contra Costa County District Attorney inspector, told the East Bay Times that the investigation’s “biggest tool was GEDmatch, a Florida-based website that pools raw genetic profiles that people share publicly. No court order was needed to access that site’s large database of genetic blueprints.”

BB has suggested–and I would argue rightly so–that the obsessiveness of one woman brought the ice cold case back to life. This is from the New Yorker and it was published this last January.  (Caution Rape Trigger)

You were your approach: The thump against the fence. A temperature dip from a jimmied-open patio door. The odor of aftershave permeating a bedroom at 3 a.m. A blade at the base of the neck. “Don’t move, or I’ll kill you.” Their hardwired threat-detection systems flickered meekly through the sledgehammer of sleep. No one had time to sit up. Awakening meant understanding that they were under siege. Phone lines had been cut. Bullets emptied from guns. Ligatures prepared and laid out. You forced action from the periphery, a blur of mask and strange, gulping breaths. Your familiarity freaked them. Your hands flew to hard-to-find light switches. You knew names. Number of kids. Hangouts. Your preplanning gave you a crucial advantage, because, when your victims awoke to the blinding flashlight and clenched-teeth threats, you were always a stranger to them, but they never were to you.

Hearts drummed. Mouths dried. Your physicality remained unfathomable. You were a hard-soled shoe felt fleetingly. A penis slathered in baby lotion thrust into a pair of bound hands. “Do it good.” No one saw your face. No one felt your full body weight. Blindfolded, the victims relied on smell and hearing. Floral talcum powder. Hint of cinnamon. Chimes on a curtain rod. Zipper opening on a duffel bag. Coins falling to the floor. A whimper, a sob. “Oh, Mom.” A glimpse of royal-blue brushed-leather tennis shoes.

The barking of dogs fading away in a westerly direction.

These are the words of Michelle McNamara.

This piece is excerpted from “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer,” which was published on February 27th by HarperCollins. The Golden State Killer is the name McNamara gave to an unidentified man who raped more than fifty women and likely killed ten or more people in California in the nineteen-seventies and eighties. Several years ago, McNamara began investigating the case and blogging about it on her Web site. She died in April, 2016, at the age of forty-six.

Still, she persisted until death.

But again, not all men.

What caused Paul Ryan to dismiss a Catholic priest serving as chaplain for the House? The rumor mill is is busy with this one.

If you’re going to fire a beloved House chaplain, it helps to have bipartisan support. Even better if that person is a Catholic, too. Ryan thought he did have House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) sign off. “She and her office were fully read in and did not object,” AshLee Strong, Ryan’s spokesman, told Kane.

Pelosi’s office denies they agreed Conroy should go. Ryan and Pelosi may fight in public a lot, but behind the scenes they have a fairly good working relationship. The fact they can’t agree on the basic facts of a conversation about the chaplain just adds to the mystery surrounding this.

There’s also talk that it came from outcries of the religiously whacky freedom caucus. “Ousted House chaplain: Ryan told me to ‘stay out of politics'”

Ousted House Chaplain Patrick Conroy said Thursday that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told him to “stay out of politics” after he offered a prayer on the House floor as the chamber was debating tax reform.

“A staffer came down and said, We are upset with this prayer; you are getting too political,” Conroy told The New York Times. “It suggests to me that there are members who have talked to him about being upset with that prayer.”

Conroy said that shortly afterward Ryan told him, “Padre, you just got to stay out of politics.”

The prayer was said in November amid debate about overhauling the tax code.

“May all members be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue to struggle,” Conroy prayed on the House floor. “May their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.”


Whatever the reasons, it’s another clear example of the many way that men who have power or seek it through destroying others run amok in these times. The irony that Paul Ryan is supposedly Catholic is not lost on us.

Still, we persist.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


It just keeps on keeping on …

professorFrom the time I was an undergrad to the time I was left at the ripe old age of 42 by a molecular biology professor significant other for a 20 year old undergraduate who just adored the presentation I helped him write, this shit has rolled on around me. As some one who has spent plenty of time in academia, I think the time is now to purge these perverts from higher education. This headliner at the UK Guardian just makes me want to drive to my daughter’s dorm room and adorn her in a burkha. I’m not kidding.

Are female students ‘a perk of the job’?

A vice-chancellor is encouraging lecturers to enjoy gazing at, even fantasising about, attractive female students

In an article for the Times Higher Education magazine on lust, part of a feature on the seven deadly sins of universities, Kealey wrote: “Normal girls – more interested in abs than in labs, more interested in pecs than specs, more interested in triceps than tripos – will abjure their lecturers for the company of their peers, but nonetheless, most male lecturers know that, most years, there will be a girl in class who flashes her admiration and who asks for advice on her essays. What to do?

“Enjoy her! She’s a perk.”

Flashing a few literary allusions, he continued: “She doesn’t yet know that you are only Casaubon to her Dorothea, Howard Kirk to her Felicity Phee, and she will flaunt you her curves. Which you should admire daily to spice up your sex, nightly, with the wife.”

Displaying a more surprising familiarity with the etiquette at lapdancing clubs, Kealey added: “As in Stringfellows, you should look but not touch.”

I would just like to say that me, my mother, my grandmother, and my two daughters sat in those chairs at university for an education, not to spice the sex life of some nasty old, over-educated and undersexed Humbert. Even as I write, I can name at least one colleague engaging in a grad student in the PhD. program from which I came.

Kealey, who has been vice-chancellor at Buckingham, the country’s only independent university, for eight years, said it was a myth that an affair between student and lecturer was an abuse of power, saying accountability has meant that “the days are gone when a scholar could trade sex for upgrades”.

But he added that some female students still fantasised about their lecturers.

Kealey’s comments were attacked by Olivia Bailey, women’s officer at the National Union of Students.

She told the Telegraph: “I am appalled that a university vice-chancellor should display such an astounding lack of respect for women.

“Regardless of whether this was an attempt at humour, it is completely unacceptable for someone in Terence Kealey’s position to compare a lecture theatre to a lapdancing club, and I expect that many women studying at Buckingham University will be feeling extremely angry and insulted at these comments.”

My daughters are not the perks of jerks. This guy should be fired post haste along with any one that agrees with him.

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