Naomi Wolf went on Matthew Sweet’s BBC show Sounds to promote her new book Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalisation of Love, but she wasn’t expecting the entire premise of the book to be taken apart, and she for sure wasn’t expecting it to have it happen in a few short minutes.
The book is about the poet John Addington Symonds, and the increased prosecution of homosexuality in the 19th century and onward, resulting in contemporary pervasive homophobic views. But it kind of doesn’t matter if she’s right or wrong, because she misread the research rather dramatically.
Wolf’s claim is that backlash against homosexuality in the late 1800’s was about curtailing behaviour and speech, toward the emergence of homophobia. She believes that this was because “parliamentarians and gatekeepers sort of created a fake moral panic around what we would call gay sex, gay male sex, in order to distract attention from very effective first wave feminist scrutiny of heterosexual men’s misdeeds.”
Matthew Sweet draws Wolf through the narrative, and her research, leading up to the bombshell. He asks about her subject, Addington, and the penalties for sodomy. Wolf says “I found 14 kids, 11 year olds, 12 year olds, 13 year olds, sentenced to hard labour, for y’know decades, transported, executed, at the Old Bailey.”
She speaks about the change in attitudes surrounding homosexuality. “Suddenly there was, as the historian Scott Long calls, a moral panic, around sodomites, and sodomy, and the coinage of the tenor of aversion toward homophobia that we inherit today. And then you see, for the next 30 years, sentences growing and growing in extremity, consensual male couples being arrested in couples, being brought in… sodomy is moved from the category of minor offenses like sheep stealing and coin clipping to rape, arson and murder. It’s tried by magistrate instead of by jury of your peers, so you’re must more likely to be sentenced by a stranger from another social class, and you get these mass arrests.”
Sweet jumps in, repeating Wolf’s words. “Mass arrests, and executions.”
“Exactly,” she says. Wolf details her research as those documents of arrests and sentenced from the Old Bailey and “regional crime tables in national newspapers.”
“So who was executed?” Sweet asks.
Wolf answers: “After 1857 with the introduction of penal servitude, and the crackdown on this ‘vice,’ and the new kind of discourse that said that man’s sex with that other man threatened my nuclear family, which is a completely new idea, you get sentences, like I mentioned, of penal servitude for 10 or 15 years, and I found like, several dozen executions, but again that was only looking at the Old Bailey records and the crime tables.”
“Several dozen executions,” Sweet repeats.
“Correct,” Wolf says. “And this corrects a misapprehension that is in every website, that the last man was executed for sodomy in Britain in 1835.”
“I don’t think you’re right about this,” says Sweet. “One of the cases you look at that’s salient in your report is Thomas Silver.” He reads from her book the details Silver’s trial. “Fourteen year old Thomas Silver was actually executed for committing sodomy. The boy was indicted for an unnatural offense, guilty, death recorded. This is the first time ‘unnatural offense’ entered the Old Bailey records.”
The sound of pages turning is audible in the recording as Sweet refers to his own notes. “Thomas Silver wasn’t executed. Death recorded—I was really surprised by this—‘death recorded’ is what’s in I think most of these cases that you’ve identified as executions. It doesn’t mean that he was executed. It was a category that was created in 1823 that allowed judges to abstain from pronouncing a sentence of death on any capital convict who they considered to be a fit subject for pardon. I don’t think any of the executions you’ve identified here actually happened.”
Wolf sounds shocked when she asks what Sweet thinks “death recorded” means, but Sweet has read the definition from the Old Bailey records, the same records that Wolf used as the data for her entire book.
This is entirely damning, and pretty awful. To have the basis for your research for a book you’re on air to promote be discredited on BBC radio would be a crushing blow for any author.
This brings into question not only Wolf’s book, and her research method, but the standards of publication. Wolf’s argument, that homosexuality used to be not considered such a bad thing by society, but increased in public and legal shamefulness to bring us to the hate filled morass of contemporary society, fits in nicely with our idea that our human ancestors existed in some kind of paradise where our natural urges toward love, joy, and play were nurtured.
She noted earlier in the interview that it’s essential “to warn people about not reading historically backwards to our current understanding of sexual identity,” but that’s exactly what she’s done. In wanting to prove her theory, she did not question the assumptions she made about her research discoveries.
Where were the editors and fact checkers? Writers have much of the burden to get everything right, and when they’ve got a thesis, and find research to back it up, they are free to run with it without anyone stepping up and asking questions. Scientists have peer review, writers have publication deadlines.
In the new literary marketplace, where departments are stripped down, writers are out there on their own, trying to make sure everything is clear, well told, and accurate. But accuracy, for historical books like this, needs to be a team effort. That’s why there were editors, fact checkers, and people who looked into this stuff. With all the cuts, those people barely exist.
Writers find the idea for the story, come up with the hook, do the research, then write it, with a focus on story and narrative, making it readable and interesting, consideration for clicks or sales, wanting readers to be engaged. The risk of messing up is high, and when writers make mistakes, it’s not the outlet or the publisher that takes the heat, but the writers themselves.
Wolf was, in part, done a disservice by her editors, publisher, and their staff for no one having done the due diligence to check this thing out. More importantly, she was done in by her impulse to believe her theory with the support of only the most basic research, which was handily discounted by a BBC reporter in preparation of a 15-minute interview.
Shortly after Don Cherry’s comments emerged and the leftist elites started ginning up controversy about it, I pointed out that the vast silent majority of Canadians agree with the sentiments Cherry was expressing.
Cherry himself pointed that out himself when he spoke to some of the media following his firing.
And it became very clear how much support Cherry had as social media exploded with expressions of backing for Cherry, and outrage towards his totally unjustified firing.
Yet, that explosion was also matched by the massive nationwide outrage towards Jess Allen of The Social, who made clearly bigoted remarks about hockey fans and players being “white boys” who “weren’t very nice.”
Then, instead of doing the right thing and firing Allen, CTV made clear that she would stay in her job, even as the family of a Humboldt Broncos crash survivor said they would boycott the network.
Allen even doubled down, refusing to retract her comments.
For a long-time, patriotic Canadians have been saying there is a double-standard, where anyone who upsets the tiny (but loud) far-left outrage mob gets silenced and cancelled, while those who attack the very foundation of Canada (like insulting hockey, accusing Canada of genocide, denigrating Canadian patriotism), get to stay in their jobs and even get rewarded.
Some dismissed complaints of a double-standard as the usual partisan disagreements, and the silent majority remained silent.
But now, it’s clear something is happening in this country.
The silent majority is waking up and speaking up.
In the last few days, the reaction to Jess Allen’s comments has been unlike anything seen before in this country. Canadians of all backgrounds have finally had enough of the corrupt elites tearing down everything we love about Canada, and regular Canadians are pushing back like never before.
This has the feeling of a lasting change, with millions of Canadians really seeing for the first time how deeply corrupted and biased the establishment press has become.
We have seen that those in power in the media will listen to a tiny politically-correct outrage mob and fire Don Cherry, yet won’t listen to millions of hockey fans, hockey families, and patriotic Canadians when we demand that Allen be fired.
The hypocrisy and double standard are undeniable.
Now, there is no going back.
With the elites exposed like never before, with the anti-Canadian agenda and rhetoric of the far-left no longer even hidden behind any kind of pretense, Canada is descending into a full-blown culture war.
And that’s exactly what the far-left fears the most because until now, the culture war was one-sided, with only the left fighting and winning over and over again.
Now, the tables have turned, and it’s a real battle for the soul of our country.
The Canadian National Railway will be laying off almost 2000 staff members.
According to a report by the Globe and Mail, the Canadian National Railway Co. is laying off roughly 1,600 people, as freight volumes decline largely due to trade tensions and the overall weakening North American economy.
To provide some perspective, the company says it has about 24,000 staff.
This is nearly 7% cut across the board.
According to Global News, a spokesperson for CN said some employees would be placed on furlough and management and union job numbers would be cut “due to a weakening of many sectors of the economy.”
“These adjustments have already started to take place across the network,” senior media relations adviser Alexandre Boulé said in an emailed statement.
South Park is a notoriously offensive animated television show, which is why it’s not surprising that they recently spoofed one of the most absurd things to come down the pike of late—trans women in women’s sports.
Invoking the spirit of Randy “Macho Man” Savage, the latest South Park episode straight-up savages the issue of biological males in women’s sports. Here’s a clip from the episode:
Of course, the trans lobby is furious. Outrage and indignance is what they do best these days. Quillette editor Jon Kay quite rightly points out the fact that, with responses like these, they are quickly becoming the zealots of our time: “You can always tell who the real zealots are in any society: They’re the ones who despise humour and satire—because they know that spontaneous laughter marks one of those few moments when people are immune to the strictures of mob-enforced dogma.”
If anyone thought that South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone would shy away from skewering the absurdity of biological men dominating women’s sports just because they feel like women, they obviously haven’t been paying attention. This is the team that brought the world Tony Award-winning Book of Mormon, which takes aim at Mormon missionary work. Just like South Park, the show was initially reviled by the offence police but is still running nine years later.
The funniest part of all of this is how trans advocates keep thinking we shouldn’t laugh at how ridiculous these claims are. Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais have also made fun of biological men invading women’s spaces too. It’s because biological men forcing women into scenarios where they get their asses kicked (as is the case in many sports from MMA to rugby to cycling) or are forced to touch genitals against their will (as is the case in the Jessica Yaniv saga) are either criminal or funny, and since this madness keeps happening with complete endorsement of the elite political class and media, it must be funny.
Biological men with 12 months of estrogen treatment trounce women in every sport they enter, from cycling to track & field to weightlifting. Not only that, but in the case of cycling world champion Rachel McKinnon, they brag and call the women losers. It turns out that taking 12 months to lower a lifetime of testosterone levels doesn’t actually do much to handicap trans male athletes. It’s pretty funny that international athletic associations in so many sports, including rugby, one of the most violent contact sports around, allow men, taking performance decreasing drugs, to compete with women. Even when women take testosterone—which would be against the doping rules—they can’t match the decreased male testosterone levels.
South Park points out the extreme absurdity that we have allowed to happen because of the fear of censure for saying something politically incorrect. While no reasonable person denies the right of trans people to exist in the world and have their identities respected, there must be common-sense limits. When it comes to biological men dominating women’s sports, it must be said loud and clear that in this case, men are not women. And since the people in charge are too cowardly to say so, we must rely on comedians to mock the absurdities of the situation.
Besides: dudes beating the hell out of women in competitive sports is just an objectively funny spectacle worthy of mockery. And when it comes to the women who have trained hard their whole lives to achieve athletic excellence only to be beaten by these men, it’s funny enough to make you cry.
Toronto’s viral Chair Girl has pleaded guilty to mischief causing danger to life on Friday, after throwing a chair off a 45th-floor condo balcony near the Gardiner Expressway earlier this year.
Marcella Zoia, the 19-year-old who threw a chair off a sky-high condo building in February while being videoed has officially pleaded guilty on Friday in a Toronto courtroom.
While she has pleaded guilty to mischief causing danger to life, that does not cover all of her original charges.
When arrested, she was charged with mischief endangering life, mischief endangering property under $5,000 and common nuisance. According to the Toronto Sun, those remaining charges are expected to be dropped by the Crown Prosecutors.
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 14, although the crown has called for six months in jail.
While sentencing awaits, according to CTV, Zoia’s lawyer has confirmed that his client has been expelled from the dental hygiene program she was previously in and is currently modelling.
Zoia’s account has significantly grown since the chair girl incident, according to the Toronto Star, her Instagram account grew from 6,000 to more than 32,000 today.
“There was a job opportunity that she had and a decision was made not to proceed with that,” he said outside of the courthouse. “Right now she does modelling when the opportunity presents itself.”
“She was doing modelling before this and she has had contracts since this. If you are asking me if those contracts were a result of this case, I honestly have no idea.”