Arriving, delivering, and why Jordan Peterson’s decimation of Cathy Newman shows why nothing has actually changed for women.

I

Idea-shaming seems to be the only trick in #MeToo’s bag.

It didn’t work for Hillary Clinton. She lost an election because of her perpetual mental laziness and inability to come up with a strategy other than trying to shame enough people not to vote for her rival.

Because shaming doesn’t actually work. 

Once upon a time people who were gay were shamed, but we can see that once a little light went off in an entire shamed group’s head, they rejected the shaming, demanded their rights, and made strides, that in truth, they should have never had to fight for in the first place.

Human beings have an uncanny ability to waste everybody else’s time for absolutely no good reason.

#MeToo, as I have repeatedly said, has way too many problems going for it, and it will backfire. It is not as if the problems outlined aren’t real. They are.

The problem is that people have mistaken an ambush as the one strategy that will continue to work.

And it won’t work in the long-term.

We have gone through this game before. Women’s rights got them so much and then there was the requisite media cheering…and then comes along #MeToo that revealed that these so-called “strong” women were being treated as slaves and victims in their places of work, even if they were bringing home millions of dollars.

So, what that basically shows is that, everything until now was some sort of sham.

It is that reality that can easily undermine #MeToo.

The marches yesterday also greatly undermine #MeToo. People who march are not the wealthy powerbrokers. It is the weak and dispossessed who missed every chance to make changes where they count, and now have been driven out into the streets to throw a temper tantrum because they have no power. It is a de facto admission that you have no influence.

You do not see management striking against workers. You see workers striking against management.

For a reason.

People in power do not resort to marches. It is beneath them. People who have no power do it as a last resort.

So to have a second march actually is an admission that nothing has changed. It is a waste of time and resources.

And the President gleefully tweaks the noses of those who are seeing themselves as victims.

And they earned that tweaking for staying static.

You cannot do the same thing and expect a different outcome.

II

Women have not begun, and proof is the Cathy Newman’s humbling by Jordan Peterson on her own program. The Independent has no clue what actually happened, and babbled some nonsense about how now poor victim Newman is being attacked because things are changing against the Old Boys Club.

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That is deluded wishful thinking.

Those men in power are in power for a reason. They know war strategy and women still think idea-shaming will magically force men to relinquish control and admit they were wrong and the queen bees and fairy princesses will live happily ever after, the end.

The Spectator actually understood what went down.

But there is far more to it than that.

Peterson is the superior intellect and Newman adheres to rules and scripts. People who follow rules blindly huff and puff and rely on feints and ruses, including idea-shaming.

Peterson is an experimental psychologist and an academic. He does his research and presents facts.

As someone whose undergraduate degree was in experimental psychology — and whose graduate degree was in journalism, I can tell you there is no comparison: it is the psychologists who have the upper-hand intellectually. I had once written a piece for my alma mater’s alumni magazine stating that the journalism absolutely needed the psychology to stay relevant.

It’s why psychology thrives and journalism collapsed.

And what proof do we have that #MeToo is effective?

The media reports. That’s it.

And that should worry any woman who thinks they have made true progress.

Peterson understood he was a soldier. Newman thought she was a queen bee. Soldier took apart the queen. The end.

This debate is far more devastating to #MeToo than most people realize: that program was Newman’s. She had editorial control and could do research on Peterson as she set the terms of engagement.

Had she done her homework, she would have never used idea-shaming because Peterson has had his ideas under attack by other academics and journalists for a long time, and he is primed to defend those ideas with ease. He has managed to carve a niche for himself, and there are almost no other psych professors in Canada who can make the same claim.

She grossly underestimated her target, the way Bill O’Reilly grossly underestimated Jeremy Glick. I discussed that exchange in my book OutFoxed, but O’Reilly’s misstep was a rare one for him. He usually was the master of sizing up his prey and then tailor-making his campaign depending on the guest’s intellectual strengths and weaknesses. His schoolyard taunts were used to unnerve guests as they were a cover to hide O’Reilly’s true cunning.

Newman is nowhere near the intellectual mettle of O’Reilly. She is a poor debater, instead, relying on a predictable and confined number of tricks and techniques that preach to the converted.

Her arena is safely rigged to protect her, but the psychologist took one look, saw all the rigs, and then covertly rejigged them to work in his advantage.

The attack was not just a one-off: it screams that it is time for those who wish to truly make changes for women to sit up and take notice that idea-shaming is not effective because unless you can think like a soldier, you are going to get mowed down by a single mediocre soldier who knows it’s all just puffing.

A man like Peterson can undo every gain of #MeToo without even trying.

Because women have no war strategies that work to their own natural ways of thinking and reacting.

III

Most of the changes that came with #MeToo have been shallow, and of the men who have lost power, a good number of them can easily make comebacks. Americans love a comeback kid. They live for tales of redemption and the phoenix who rises from the ashes. OJ Simpson is out of jail, golfing away. Bill Cosby can still pack a theatre as he is a free man. Bill Clinton is still a man about town.

And of the ones on the #MeToo Hitlist, they can stay low, get a crisis management team and a good lawyer, and turn the tables on the accusers.

Woody Allen still makes movies, for instance. He is in his eighties and had his full career and will have a longer and more successful legacy than any female director can ever hope to achieve. Roman Polanski still gets a free pass, too.

That is the truth. That is reality. And no amount of shrill squawking and sophistry can alter either.

There is something else that is equally troubling: even with cosmetic changes of adding a few more women on the news programs, for instance, the structure of the shows remain the same. The stories remain the same. The content remains the same.

They are still patriarchal shows. The ratings are still eroding. The profession is still dead.

In other words, when the profession has hit the skids, jump ship, give it to women, and let them be happy to go down on a sinking ship thinking they are going somewhere.

And nothing gets accomplished and nothing changes.

Why?

Because women have become so obsessed with arriving, that they have not given one second of thought to delivering.

If you arrive, but cannot deliver, you have wasted everyone’s time, including your own.

That’s the blind spot. That’s the weakness of #MeToo. That is what happens when your strategy is based on the slacktivist notion of idea-shaming.

You need facts, logic, strategy, feedback, and ideas. You need vision. Recently, Open Democracy had a very stupid article asking why there wasn’t a feminist Intercept…

Except I had one seven years before the arrival of the actual Intercept. The fact that two authors did not do their homework or ever considered the idea that perhaps there was a feminist Intercept, but was struggling because it is being ignored, showed the absolute ignorance and arrogance that threatens everything riding on this movement.

Their narrative was more important to them them than facts. When narrative is undermined by reality, you lose credibility, not just from enemies, but you alienate allies in the bargain.

You cannot expect victory if you do not do your research. Cathy Newman did not do her research. To be unprepared while your target is prepared and experienced is a recipe for disaster.

The problem is that you have women who can deliver. You have women who are innovators and visionaries.

But they get no support because of that tunnel vision that will derail #MeToo.

At the Golden Globes, you had grown women acting like teenagers: all wearing black dresses, having little pins, ignoring the women who were the impetus for #MeToo, such as Rose McGowan, and then having an opportunist mug for the camera hoping to run for president instead of, I don’t know, using a platform to do bring something tangible that would benefit other women.

It was all #MeMeMe. Fairy princesses and queen bees dance to the patriarchal structure, not their own natural rhythms, meaning their own thought patterns are rigged to fail when they get too close to threatening actual power.

The show was a farce that revealed every weakness of #MeToo, and there are several fatal weaknesses, make no mistake.

You had women who only hopped on the #MeToo express when they saw they could benefit, such as Meryl Streep, at the expense of Rose McGowan.

You had lip service and grandstanding, which underlined just how naive the movement has become.

#MeToo has never been about everyday women. This has been mostly a confessional for women in the arts and communications industries.

There is a great divide, and divides bring resentments, allowing anyone who wishes to throw such a movement into disarray, to easily find those vulnerabilities and exploit them.

Because there has been no plans to deliver, the arrival comes, but at a great disappointment.

Feminism needs to break away from victim-based strategies. Stop relying on passive symbols and victim-marching because you are always in a subservient position. You have visionaries and innovators who can deliver.

But they are being prevented from arriving because #MeToo has always been about following, and following a defeatist patriarchal narrative.

Do not stick to something because it seems to work. Peterson’s victory over Newman happened precisely because he actively read her, got prepared, and then used her own unoriginal and passive strategies against her. She stuck to a script and he adlibbed his way to international triumph.

And on her own program. Her rigs failed her.

Because she arrived, but failed to deliver.

The confines of the victim’s narrative did her in. Peterson is out to win. If you want to have the life of a independent free agent, you have to think like one.

And it is high time women who want a better life start breaking away from the shackles of their own mind to do it.

Why fooling journalists has always been child’s play

The Hijab hoax is yet another black eye for journalists.

CNN reported the story as fact.

So did the BBC.

And the Guardian.

Newsweek did.

The New York Times did.

The Toronto Star did.

The Globe and Mail did.

BuzzFeed did before their cleansing.

The CBC did, linking it to other hate crimes.

Oh dear, and a 11-year-old can fool the international press with ease.

No wonder people no longer believe the press.

How can such a hoax be believed by “seasoned” reporters?

In this case, the “hate crime” was part of a convenient narrative for the press in their never-ending feud with the American president.

It is the reason #MeToo took off so rapidly. It was part of connecting the dots.

Or removing liberties in a game of Go.

Except there were way too many red flags to ignore.

There are real cases of things happening, except the crimes are not palatable for the press. Here is a cute little kid who is eloquent, and the crime was PG-13 friendly.

Real-life attacks are not so clean and sanitary.

So the press rolled with it with a roar, without asking hard questions.

You ask about the surveillance footage. You walk the same path with a stopwatch, and take notes of possible witnesses and possible inconsistencies.

That was the problem from the get-go. The media didn’t look at all for corroborating evidence. You talk to neighbours and teachers. You talk to the local gossips. You talk to the crossing guards and schoolmates.

You find out who is the victim. You work toward finding the culprit. Even as a journalist, you have to do the legwork. Why would this girl be a target, rather than another girl. Was it convenience, for instance, or something else?

This was a classic case of journalism by stenography. Grab a press release and roll with it.

And then other media crib the notes, amplifying the story that was never, even if it were true, been overplayed as it did, considering the number of real hate crimes that never make it into the news that were far more violent, severe, and persistent. It did not warrant that kind of coverage it got. I can see the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun making a mention of it without naming the victim to protect her identity…and ensure what was reported was, you know, true, and a couple of local stations, but that’s it.

Hate crime hoaxes are a murky area: people feel uncomfortable with them, and they are on the outskirts of being a more hardcore version of a hoax: it is a form, inventional or otherwise, of propaganda, and even war propaganda.

Because it incites and takes advantage of the already established line in the sand.

This will set back a lot of real hate crimes. It will play into the hands of those who think these are not real cases. The press had the duty to pull back. They could have said there was a report of an attack, but instead of giving the girl’s identity and then speculate whether it was a hate crime or not, they should have given the details of what they had — and didn’t have. Was there surveillance? Witnesses? Evidence?

That’s what good journalism needed to be — but as usual, we didn’t get that at all.

And that is the reason a world of grown-ups got fooled by a child.

 

Is #MeToo war propaganda?

I

So many scared sycophants say it has gone “too far.”

Whatever that means.

Apparently, men in positions of power should be able to rape women at their will.

And women should just sit in silence and take it.

But let’s ask real questions.

Since #MeToo, how many laws have changed?

Zero.

How many arrests?

Convictions?

Oh, I see.

Nothing has changed, but people think it has gone too far. Nice try.

Actually, it has gone nowhere.

Some creeps have been fired (but still are wealthy), and many, many of those men admitted to wrongdoing.

Wow, and people say it was a witch hunt.

Yet, I have said from the beginning, there are elements of #MeToo that do not sit well with me.

Do not misconstrue my sentiment or twist my words: I have no tolerance of sexual terrorism anywhere, and that includes the workplace manipulation.

It is not sex: it is war strategy. Freak out the woman so much at work, that she will be too scared to think or take you on.

But also, it is a form of blackmail: if push comes to shove, the man can pretend the woman is a willing participant and ensures her silence.

He may even manipulate her into thinking she was a participant, not a victim.

Gaslighting for the ignorant.

So I applaud those who speak out.

Yet, from the beginning, there were things that never sat well with me, and I resent it.

Because this movement isn’t about liberating women.

But using them as pawns in a bigger game.

II

Most of those on the #MeToo Hitlist come from Hollywood, journalism, and a dash of politics.

I find that very interesting. Silicon Valley is rife with sexism, yet it was spared for the most part. Fortune 500 companies also weren’t outed, and for all folksy talk, most local stories never took. Legal and medical industries also got a free pass.

Both journalism and Hollywood are veterans at using PR firms and image consultants as well as crisis management — yet they are the ones taking the hits that less seasoned industries aren’t getting.

The arc is very specific. Certain people were targeted, even though there are industries, such as law enforcement where there is an established history of sexual harassment.

What happened?

It is hard to tell. Unlike many social movements, #MeToo has no leader. Rose McGowan isn’t organizing or stumping. Who is at the forefront? Who is the face, the voice?

That’s a red flag in many regards. Something that powerful needs a driving force of one, or a cluster of people. We can proffer a theory that this movement is taking place on Twitter, and it is a mosaic of voices speaking out.

If that were the case, we’d have a wider variety of industries taking a hit, but that’s not what we’re seeing at all.

It has struck at the beautiful people, not the women next door.

And for the illusion of McGowan of being at the forefront, she wasn’t invited as any actress’s guest at the Golden Globes where most of the women wore black.

So she’s not it.

And neither is Ronan Farrow.

Both have commendably pushed in different ways: Farrow is still after Weinstein. McGowan is ensuring the movement doesn’t fade without proper fixes.

Yet nothing congeals, and in my experience as a journalist, a movement without a leader means something else is at play. Who coordinates? Who is working the phones? Who is getting the lobbyists and the rallies ready to make the most of public goodwill?

We don’t know — and that’s a huge void, and one that makes me question how safe are women with #MeToo.

Remember in the 1960s and 1970s when Women’s Liberation broke through, and even during the Woman’s Suffragists movement decades earlier that got women the right to vote: there were definite leaders guiding and pushing because they had a plan.

Where are the strategists?

And what is the actual plan?

That’s the missing variable, and that’s reason I cannot give any of it the benefit of the doubt.

III

A lot of the optics of #MeToo remind me of World War II propaganda posters.

Aside from the vile and overt racist underpinnings, there is something else: the women under attack look very attractive…and yet while the initial reaction is to feel that lust, another look, and the young childless man to whom these posters targeted are inciting him to hate enough to kill strangers.

The posters aren’t about liberating women or giving a damn about their rights. They are to be seen as victims, and the point is to scrounge up enough soldiers to defeat an enemy force.

The women are mere pawns of convenience.

‘Enlist’; poster by Fred Spear, 1915. ‘The unspoken reference,’ James Fenton writes, ‘is to the sinking of the <i>Lusitania</i>, an event that made it hard for America to stay out of the war.’

And that is what has been sticking in my craw about #MeToo from day one.

I do not doubt Ronan Farrow. I do not doubt Rose McGowan. They have no reason to play games.

But the fight was co-opted along the way: a legitimate grievance and outrage was turned into an instant movement, but one with a more smug purpose: getting rid of Donald Trump before the next presidential election.

IV

It is very doubtful that gambit is going to work. It did not work in 2016 when there was that little recorded exchange between him and Billy Bush, but perhaps if it was made into a more powerful movement, perhaps…

Perhaps nothing. It is akin to having cancer and someone giving you a little bit of antibiotics to cure you.

It doesn’t work in a small quantity and it won’t work in a bigger one, either.

Trump never pretended to be a feminist choir boy. His core will not be bothered at all.

And the press never learned from their past.

The late Toronto mayor Rob Ford was caught on camera hanging out with drug dealers smoking crack cocaine while in office.

The local press hated his guts to the point of being irrational, but had he not be stricken with cancer, he would have sailed to a second term.

On crack.

He could have smoked that pipe in front of reporters, and he would have won.

But the Canadian media just kept up their “ewww, gross” narrative of Ford.

The US press had done the same, but then Ronan Farrow got it in his head to expose Harvey Weinstein for the untalented predator that he is.

And someone saw an opportunity for a little game of war.

But what worries me is that once it becomes obvious that Trump is not going anywhere, and can sail into a second term even if he smoked a crack pipe in front of reporters, that those who spoke out during #MeToo are going to get abandoned and then punished for not doing what they were “supposed” to do for someone who fancies himself as a strategist and puppet master.

And women will be set back once again, not roar forward.

V

It is for this real threat that anyone who believes in the rights of women be more proactive about the next critical steps. With discipline and a plan of action. What should now happen? What laws need changing? How do we deal with predators who have money, connections, power, and control who can save himself through a crisis management firm, or through the court system? How do we bring equity in those areas?

To make a difference where it actually counts, it means taking control away from those who decry that the movement went “too far.”

Or that it has become a “witch hunt.”

It has been neither. No laws have been changed, for instance. There has been no calls for immediate legal reform. Corporations have not come out with a workers’ bill of rights with improved protocols to combat abuse. We have not heard from any Fortune 500 company making any pledge to increase the number of women getting promoted into positions of power, or how they will ensure sexual harassment doesn’t happen.

If some super-rich robber baron wants to get rid of Trump because he is afraid of losing a few billion dollars that he was never entitled to own in the first place, let him do the dirty work himself out in the open like everybody else.

Women are not pawns to be exploited and discarded. There is too much about the movement that leaves it vulnerable to be misused, and then discredited.

It is a real threat — a pseudo backlash when #MeToo doesn’t prove to be some way to weaken a political rival.

Because any society that mistreats women, it is not a society worth bragging about.

Exploit and Punish: How journalistic predators operate.

Metafilter’s discussion is here, with more links than the one I am providing here and here.

But Harper’s was never a very good magazine.

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And now the anonymous author of the Media Men list has been forced to out herself before the magazine was going to out her, though other women in the industry tried to protect her identity.

The list was an underground warning signal to other women in the industry, not truly meant for public consumption. In the grossly unequal power balance in the communications industries, the list was a small weapon.

When #MeToo gained traction, so did the list, but now its author has been outed.

The press first got lots of stories reporting about the fabled list…and then, when it went as far as it could go, the secret author was exposed.

Exploit and punish to ensure another whistleblower does not come forward to challenge the tyrants. It has been a very old war tactic, and it continues to this day. I am certain there will be reprisals for the list, but really, why should there be?

If you are sick and weak enough to attack underlings to pretend to be strong, then you should go public with your wickedness because why be ashamed of it?

Oh, that’s right: it would show the world just how weak and incompetent you really are.

The episode is a vile one, but typical of how predators in the industry operate…

 

Man speaks mind; People outraged. Why Twitter is the most boring place on Earth.

Don’t you dare speak the truth.

Poor Seal. He did not march lock-step with an inaccurate script, and now the world cannot handle it.

He called Oprah Winfrey a hypocrite. Big deal. Most people in Hollywood are big hypocrites. You do not make it in that business unless you are.

Harvey Weinstein’s swinishness was an open secret, yet we are supposed to support a revisionist history and applaud everyone who now is using #MeToo as a platform to generate some good press.

 

#MeToo does not now mean women get a Get Out of Being Called Out On The Carpet For Eternity Card.

Sorry, but you cannot place one backside on two chairs and sit.

If you like Oprah, by all means, like her. For the record, I am not impressed with someone who has given a platform to literary grifters and bad science. Her wealth is her own.

I don’t go on social media to slag people who are impressed with her. Waste your life however way you wish.

But for those who are not impressed by Oprah, they are allowed to state their distaste for her methods. It is a legitimate grievance.

Mind you, it is not an Oprah problem, but a systemic rig that Hollywood has that rewards certain behaviours over others.

Hollywood created the Kardashians, and that’s enough for me to find other ways to amuse myself. It thrives on sucker circuses and freak shows. It glorified sexploitation and jiggle flicks. It made violence noble and dysfunctional mindsets to be the gold standard. It made false promises to little girls as it created narratives that justified deception and dishonesty.

Hollywood is full of hypocrites. So one singer points out one and the world loses its collective mind.

Get over yourselves.

Twitter has become the place where people turn into helmet-hair blue rinses who wear white pantyhose and then moralize to people who do not buy their sermons.

How very boring.

Here’s hoping 2018 brings real controversial ideas to snap those preachy duds right out of their slumber…

Memo to Catherine Deneuve: If you do not know the difference between flirting and sexual harassment, you should not be running loose on the streets.

Catherine Deneuve needs lessons in reality.

There is no “puritanism” threat with #MeToo.

Women do not want to be used as human toilets on the job. They do not want to be abused on the job.

But abuse has become such a way of life, that you have people panicking because the destructive cultural aspects of humanity are being addressed.

This is classic case of ignorance. Learn the difference between love and hate, Ms. Deneuve. Flirting is the seeds of love.

Sexual harassment plants seeds of fear, hate, and abuse.

No boss should terrorize workers. They deliberately use something as intimate as sex to do it; so that their prey can no longer feel freedom in love ever again.

Get your facts straight before you defend men who are adults and are capable of being grown-ups who do not need your meddling.

Hate crimes are not sex. Period.

Is #MeToo about women’s rights? It never was. It was about Donald Trump and the Golden Globes showed its ugly side.

I admire Rose McGowan.

golden-globes-logo

Of all the people in this #MeToo cluster, only she and Rowan Farrow can be considered heroes.

She called the Golden Globes farces “fakery“, and of course, she is right.

It was a childish high school play with absolutely no connect to reality.

Symbolism of wearing black? Gee, what a sacrifice.

And what bothers me the most, isn’t that McGowan wasn’t invited or acknowledged, but that for years, all those same people knew what happened, and said nothing.

It was just fine to abuse women, and then suddenly, it was finally acknowledged that it was a vile and cowardly thing to do.

So how did the evening end? With Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey demanding that those in power do something to make it up to McGowan?

Don’t be silly: it was just the right time to try to run for president!

Revealing that #MeToo was never about women’s rights: it was, as I have always maintained a war gambit to get back at Trump.

So if Trump wasn’t elected, Weinstein and his ilk would have never been made accountable for their sins.

It would have been okay to abuse women.

But now that he is the president, we have to turn women into pawns in some big game of war.

Nice try.

Opportunists will always be opportunists. They will never truly feel empathy toward people who were harmed by others. They are always looking for a way to benefit at someone else’s expense.

Those actresses should have skipped the farce of that pseudo-ceremony and lobbied various levels of government, demanding change in the laws.

That would have been a good first step.

Bringing in Rose McGowan would have also been the moral thing to do.

But even when women’s troubles are being exposed, there is always an agenda to finagle something more, turning women into pawns, not seeing them as human beings. #MeToo is a feint and a misdirection now.

And it is about to get even worse. If it hasn’t been hijacked already, it’s coming.