We have discussed this before; the issue of dudely political bloggers of the small L liberal persuasion, and their consistent failure to actually see women as part of the political landscape (and their consistent failure to reflect on this consistent failure, and you know, LEARN).
Today I want to talk about Andrew Elder, who writes the poliblog “Politically Homeless” a male groupthink blog, and a particular discussion that has been happening there over the last week. Elder claims to have been a Liberal Party member, among other things, back in the day. He also claims to have been a”libertarian punk” whatever that is supposed to mean; sounds like an oxymoron to me, but whatever. He presents himself much the way that P.J. O’Rourke does – a dude who as a youngster, used to be kind of wild and edgy but who also cared about social justice issues, but has now seen reason and is therefore presenting a balanced view. He also, curiously, claims to be politically homeless. Yeah right. For someone who claims to be politically homeless he sure behaves with a sense of entitlement more consistent with someone who is a member of the political landed gentry class. He’s a consistent promoter and recipient of male supremacy. That’s his political home, and it’s more like a castle really. But of course he wouldn’t see that as political. That’s just the natural order of things. By his own admission he disdains the “interest groups” that “flit” around australian politics – see, he’s above all that nonsense like feminism, he is a voice of reason, a noble source of fresh, manly wisdom, writing as a lone outsider who is really safely tucked up within. Delusional. You get the picture.
Elder pretty much sticks to blogging about how crap australian journalists are as though this is news, or some recent phenomena instead of the way it’s always been, or as John Pascoe Fawkner put it in 1828, [that his newspaper] would be “devoted to the support of the Government…”. The latest post is about the Obeid drama, which is in the papers almost every single day. It’s not really news. Corrupt men, abusing power and exploiting anything and everyone within sight, for personal gain – not news. Male supremacy is the default situation right across the planet and has been for thousands of years. But men who don’t have as much Stuff as some other men, love to talk about every individual example of this shit all the freakin’ time, as if each example is somehow unconnected to the broader context of a male-infested planet. Snore.
In this particular post, Elder chooses not to actually blame men for the hideous shit that men do, but instead goes after a woman journalist who he accuses of not doing her job to expose Obeid all those years ago. Because a lone woman can totally stand up to male supremacy and like, stop shit happening! We all know how angry and emotional men can get when we say perhaps they should not do x, y or z. That perhaps they’re not the glowing examples of human decency that they’re working so hard, around the clock, to convince us that they are. We know what happens to women who call men out. Draw a small dagger on the giant beast of patriarchy and it will eat you alive in a second. Women simply cannot win; call men out and we’re fucking heartless bitches. Don’t call them out and we’re blamed for the bad things that men do. Elder is actually doing the exact thing he is accusing Anne Davies of – not blaming a man for something he has done. Much easier and culturally safer to blame women for men’s total disregard for nature and humanity. As it turns out, this particular journalist actually was doing her job in investigating Obeid, so much so that Obeid sued the paper that she was working for at the time. Elder conveniently left that part out of the story but he did not like being reminded of it. Like I said, do not tell a man he is not nice, or wrong about something, cos men are really really nice ok, bitch?
The OP is not really any more snarky than all his posts directed at “bad” journalists. However, when Anne Davies herself posted in response, pointing out the inaccuracies in his critique, his replies get really nasty. He refused to publish it at first, then he lost the plot completely and forgot all about the topic, instead turning it into a soap opera about how unfair Davies was being to him personally. He plays the victim and whines about being tarnished with the dreaded “slur of Misogynist”, and sputtering at her that she is ” lazy, not smart enough, careless, idle, petulant, desperately silly” to level such a “flimsy, dirty slur” like that at him. Too far, Anne, too far. Because women do not get to define themselves in this world. Men get to define women and tell us stories about who we are and what we do and what we experience and how, and men’s accounts of this, written or verbal, are undeniable truths. Men control the knowledge pools in this world. Men get to destroy the joint and then say, with eyes wide open, that women are destroying the joint, and then have that lie taken seriously by many many people, lending it political traction. Anne Davies accused Elder of misogyny and that’s when he really got his feathers ruffled. As did several other commenters. As is typical in blokey blog spaces when a woman dares to drop the M Bomb. Because unless they are out raping and mutilating women 24/7 they can’t possibly be misogynist – they’re the Nice Guys. They’re the ones who don’t have to do all the dirty work of physically annihilating women because there are enough other men who will. They just sit quietly sanctioning it in order to benefit from the system of male dominance that it perpetuates. Then they get to write the stories and to say there is no misogyny and women are crazy bitches to say there is. Guys like Elder think that misogyny is nothing more than individual thoughts of individual men who hate women, rather than a bigger system of oppression that all men benefit from. This is not rocket science.
The other thing that annoys about this post is that he ambiguously refers to the “Bulldogs scandal” without bothering to clarify whether he is referring to the salary cap scandal or the time when several Bulldogs players were accused by a woman of gang rape. Because men raping women is so far off the radar of male political bloggers that Elder can write “bulldogs scandal” and be confident that everyone will know what particular scandal he means, that he is of course talking about men and their money, not the silly issue of sex-based violence and oppression experienced by half the world’s people. This is rape culture and misogyny in practice. The great forgetting of women’s lived experiences, and the replacement of memories with male perspective. Because it benefits all men to not refer to the things that men routinely do to women and children with impunity. Ever. Like it benefits all men when men go ape shit at a woman for daring to stand up to them, like Elder has done with Anne Davies. Men only need a small excuse to turn on women who expose men as not the nice guys they tell us they are, and intimidate them into silence and complicity. Men keep women silenced and compliant in this way, then they use that silence and complicity as evidence that they must be nice guys, because silence and complicity. Elder thinks he is being all gender-neutral and simply criticising just another journalist* totally oblivious to the underlying misogyning oozing out of his responses and completely without any objective assessment of relative power. But this is not a part of Real Big P Politics. This is just the natural order of things. Because men say so and in a male supremacist world it is ideologically impossible for a man to be wrong about male supremacy.
*It is in fact his second attack on a female journalist in the space of a week. The first one has a thread of sexist comments also directed at that journalist which Elder failed to acknowledge, but hey he’s defo NOT a misogynist ok? And any woman who says he is, is a dirty, lying desperately silly bitch who should just shut the fuck up now.