Sommers beats Gay in feminism debate despite antagonistic crowd
The video Roxane Gay’s public relations team did not want you to see is now available online. It features extended clips from a two-stop mini tour of Australia in which she debated Christina Hoff Sommers on the topic of feminism. The tour garnered much attention online after reports of audience misbehaviour and diva-like demands by Roxane Gay and her handlers. Even before the tour started, Gay had slimed Sommers as a “white supremacist” in the pages of Sydney Morning Herald. Anyone familiar with Sommers’ work, knows that she is the farthest thing from a white supremacist. She is the world’s most prominent equity feminist.
Jesse Singal over at New York magazine has a detailed account of all of Gay’s backstage shenanigans, including a demand for a new host and legal threats.
I admit that the debate, organized and hosted by Desh Amila’s This is 42, was at times difficult to watch. This was not the fault of Sommers or Gay, or Amila (who did an admiral job hosting), but due to the fact that the pro-Gay audience was an almost-perfect replication of an online mob—uninformed yet strong enough in numbers to drown out honest questions and points of contention.
For two hours, Sommers and Gay jousted on topics such as #MeToo, feminism in the Middle East, women in sports, rape culture. A pattern emerged early on. When posed a question, Sommers would thoughtfully explain her position, often backed with statistics. Gay would effortlessly shut down lines on inquiry with empty, snide comments, or blatant misinformation.
Sommers: “As a woman of a certain age, age enhanced, actually, you.gov does a poll every other year and asks people ‘are you a feminist,’ and actually it’s a fairly low number.”
Gay: “People are really hesitant to consider themselves feminists because there’s such a stigma around it that if you’re a feminist then you’re a troublemaker, or you’re an unpleasant person, you’re angry, you’re man hating, and you know these are all entirely reasonable ways to be. So… what’s the problem here?”
On the subject of #MeToo, there was a distinct lack of empathy on Gay’s part as she dismissed the suffering of unfairly “cancelled” men like Louis CK: “He’ll be fine. He’s a millionaire.” (The beleaguered comedian lost his entire career as well as 35 million dollars in one year. His transgression was minor and Joe Rogan has since hinted that there is much more to CK’s story that will be revealed.) To her credit, Gay did admit that there should be a distinction made between “offenders” like Aziz Ansari and criminals like Bill Cosby.
Sommers, on the other hand pointed to the potential for #MeToo to turn into a modern-day witch hunt: “We have a bad history with black lists, going back in the United States to McCarthyism, calling someone a communist. You have to have evidence, you can’t have anonymous informants that have the power to take someone down.”
In the most appalling moment of the night, Gay claimed that “Charlie Hebdo was bombed [sic] for many reasons” and that the most persecuted religion in the world is fair game for mockery because “Christianity in general has been the oppressor, not the oppressed. And so it’s punching up when you make fun of Christianity because it is so dominant throughout the world. When you are making fun of Islam and looking at a lot of the rhetoric where people equate thinks hitting Islam is punching down.”
The discussion also touched on athletics. Gay claimed that women’s sports were not as popular as men’s sports as a result of the patriarchy and misogyny. Sommers, on the other hand, opted to stick with facts and common sense in her approach to the subject, pointing out that there is nothing wrong with, say, women’s basketball, but the level of athleticism and the quality of the product is not even close to that of men’s basketball. This reality easily manifests itself, and there are far less fans of the WNBA than the much more dominant, athletically, and culturally, NBA.
Gay then made the preposterous claim that the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks regularly sold out their home games. In fact, they have had one sell out in 19 years. It may seem like a fairly innocuous white lie, but it is indicative of a larger truth about intersectionality and the people who peddle it. Facts don’t matter to these people. They callously claim their own alternative facts, and if you dare to point it out, you are a racist, sexist oppressor.
Throughout the two hours of footage, Sommers brought nuance, research, and goodwill to the conversation. Gay countered mistruths, defiance, and snark—all the while being showered with hoots and hollers from her equally rude supporters who also made sure to boo and shout down Sommers. It was an embarrassing moment for campus-style feminism, and it’s no wonder Gay’s people wanted to keep the video from seeing the light of day.
Around halfway through the debate, Gay proclaimed, “The media is lazy. Oftentimes, they find a few talking points that are inaccurate, and they regurgitate them for years on end.” Well, there you go. She’s actually 100% right. But if that doesn’t also perfectly describe Roxane Gay’s career, I don’t know what does.
You can watch the entire video here:
Quebec politician says that you should be able to commit suicide if you're worried about climate change
Quebec politician Luc Ferrandez has suggested that euthanasia could be extended to those who wish not to be a burden on society.
Writing in a Facebook post, the former mayor of Plateau Mont-Royal said, “Could we, for environmental, social and economic reasons, decide that we want to receive help to die so as not to be a burden for our family and society in general?”
When confronted about his comments, Ferrandez stated that he merely intended to “deepen the discussion” on assisted dying, according to Journal Metro. “Is it immoral to ask a question,” he added indignantly.
Currently, for assisted dying to be permitted, a patient must be suffering, and their death must be imminent. Ferrandez appeared upset as the law does not consider the possibility that a patient may want to die for environmental or economic reasons.
In 2016, several advocates requested that the government expanded euthanasia legislation so to fit Ferrandez’s definition, however, the provincial government is not ready to rethink the legislation in the immediate future
A popular parody account has been suspended from Twitter following outrage by one of the largest media outlets in the world. The man behind Shaniqua O’Tool, an account that had over 15,000 followers at the time of suspension, says The Guardian forced Twitter to censor comedy.
He spoke to The Post Millennial to reveal details on the campaign waged by The Guardian against his satirical tweets. While his identity is known to The Post Millennial, it is being withheld for reasons of privacy.
Starting as a Godfrey Elfwick-styled account, the account owner says the Shaniqua O’Tool character was meant to “poke fun at both the far-left and the far-right.” He says the name was inspired by the 2003 single “Shaniqua don’t live here no more” by Little T and One Track Mike.
The account’s owner points out the existence of a Twitter account dedicated to compiling the Guardian’s most meme-able headlines, including one where Guardian columnist Abi Wilkinson suggests the “tears of joy emoji” mocks human suffering.
“Some of [The Guardian’s] headlines bordered on insanity, so I felt it was worthy of satire.” He says. In 2017, he began posting edited Guardian headlines with Shaniqua’s face photoshopped in as the columnist.
Some of Shaniqua’s antics were so indiscernible from authentic Guardian headlines that they attracted the attention of outraged media outlets. Gateway Pundit wrote an article decrying Shaniqua as an “ISIS sympathizer” for her headline on police needing to learn the importance of spotting a “fake suicide vest” before shooting. The Gateway Pundit article, which claimed to have read the non-existent Shaniqua column, was quickly deleted.
“I mocked [Gateway Pundit] for it,” the account owner says, “and when my headlines caught conservative commentator Katie Hopkins off guard, I mocked her for it too.” He says, asserting that his satire was bipartisan. However, he notes that there was a difference in how people of different political orientations handled being the target of his comedy.
“It is a consistent and recurring pattern over the last few years that if you poke fun at conservative or right-leaning people, they tend to just go with the joke or ignore you. If you poke fun at left-wing people, my experience is very different. They report you, verbally attack you, mobilize their followers to report and block, and ensure your name is added as a ‘Nazi’ to block lists.”
On November 29th, 2019, the account received a copyright strike notice from Twitter. The claim was apparently filed by Guardian editor Tom Stevens, who wrote that Shaniqua’s infringement was “pretending to be a Guardian writer. The tweets are fake and offensive.”
The claims were made through Twitter’s copyright system, which is intended to protect the rightful owners of intellectual property. Prior to completing a claim within this system, a complainant must acknowledge that they considered “Fair Use” laws, and accept responsibility for damages in the event they misrepresented fair use material as infringement.
Fair Use is a provision which states that copyrighted work can be utilized if the use is sufficiently transformative. According to the University of Minnesota, transformative content uses original work in a “completely new or unexpected way,” and lists parody as being the clearest example of “transformative content.”
In the case of Shaniqua, the account was not utilizing anything more than the template of Guardian headlines. The headlines themselves, lede, and photo were original.
In 2017, Buzzfeed called Twitter’s copyright system “hair-trigger,” and stated that “a copyright violation from a major media company is the surest way to lose access to one’s account.”
The Guardian filed two subsequent copyright claims on December 2nd, and the account was suspended the same day. In the claim, Guardian editor Tom Stevens writes “Becoming a serious problem now. Please take appropriate action.”
After the news of the Guardian‘s apparent campaign against Shaniqua surfaced, Twitter users began posting their own parodies of Guardian headlines using the hashtag #trollingtheguardian
Prior to getting suspended, the man behind Shaniqua attempted to open dialogue with Guardian media editor Jim Waterson, but his direct messages were not returned.
“He never replied, presumably, because he knew my days on Twitter were numbered.”
While appeals on copyright strikes are possible, the account owner says he was discouraged from doing so as it would mean providing consent for Twitter to share his personal information with The Guardian. Fearing harassment or a lawsuit, he did not appeal.
“It’s clear they don’t like being mocked,” he says, “I was followed en mass by Guardian journalists [the day of my suspension]. Being followed suddenly like that was deeply unnerving. It felt like they were letting me know they were watching me.”
The account owner has filed an appeal with Twitter over the account’s suspension but has not heard back as of publication.
The Post Millennial reached out to The Guardian but has not heard back by the time of publication.
Georganne Burke is a Senior VP with the Pathway Group, a government relations consulting firm. She is a long-time Conservative activist focused on volunteer recruitment and outreach. She spends most of her time in Ottawa.
Full disclosure: I supported Andrew Scheer for leader in 2017. I had been the campaign manager for Maxime Bernier until I walked away in September 2016. Andrew had always been my #2 choice, so he quickly moved up to #1.
I liked the way they approached the campaign. They understood it was about members and GOTV. Andrew had to spend time in church basements, at coffee parties, at small events all across Canada. He worked hard, sacrificing time with his young family and reaching out to all who would hear him.
That is how he won: One member at time and by attracting nearly 2,000 volunteers.
I also had observed him interacting with his team and was impressed by his respectful and collegial way of participating with us, and making decisions based on the input he got from everyone.
I saw his intellect and sense of humor, his kindness and real warmth towards all people.
And that leads me to wonder how Canadians could miss the things that I saw, and so easily accept the narrative pushed successfully by the Liberals and their friends in the mainstream media: “He is untrustworthy, he’s a hater, he will cut jobs, he’s a racist and a white supremacist, he’s ‘Doug Ford’ etc., etc.”
I came to the conclusion that like most first-time national candidates that are not Justin Trudeau, Andrew made mistakes. Mistakes that can be fixed, but mistakes that reflected a lack of experience. Justin Trudeau also made mistakes but he had special dispensation from the media and to some extent from the Canadian people. I keep trying to picture the outrage and bloviating that would have occurred in the media had Andrew Scheer worn blackface once, let alone multiple times (so many times he could not remember how many).
So why should we let him stay?
Perhaps people have forgotten 2004 when our then leader Stephen Harper ran for the first time in a national campaign. His infamous accusation against Paul Martin of supporting child pornography, candidate Randy White’s social conservative outbursts on same sex marriage and abortion, Cheryl Gallant’s comments on abortion. Harper did not do enough to distance his party from these comments and also may have reinforced them himself. Sound familiar?
A few days later, after the social issues blow-up, Harper said that his government would revise the legislation that mandated French on Air Canada flights causing more uproar that needed to be tamped down.
After that election, in which we reduced the Liberals to a minority, won more seats, and came in second, people were calling for Stephen Harper’s head (does this sound familiar?). I remember attending the Toronto post mortem the day before my son got married in 2004. It was a rant-a-palooza, the likes of which I had never seen. Imagine if the media attacks on Stephen Harper by our own members had happened like those we are seeing now against Andrew Scheer, if, God forbid, we had driven Stephen Harper out of the leadership. We would not have had ten years of Conservative governments, the first two of which were minorities.
Stephen Harper learned from his mistakes. I believe Andrew Scheer can as well.
What are the “tells” that we need to look for to assure ourselves that Andrew Scheer is making the changes that are needed?
First, can Andrew Scheer face his critics and listen to them?
Second, can he take constructive criticism and turn it into meaningful action?
Third, can he open up to a wider circle for advice in order to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated?
This is what I have seen to this point. Andrew has begun a national tour in which he is meeting with candidates, campaign managers and volunteers to listen to them, respond to their concerns and to thank them for their hard work. No leader in our party or a previous iteration of the party in my memory has personally undertaken this. He has faced anger and vitriol in some meetings, but in every meeting has heard criticism and taken it to heart.
Second, I know that he received several reports from campaign workers and supporters, along with the report and review he personally requested from Hon. John Baird. The first actions he took to remove his chief of staff and comms. director were almost unanimously sought by the authors of those reports. Even though they were his friends and trusted confidants, Andrew recognized that he would lose the trust and confidence of many if he did not take action. There are other changes that must happen, but as I have said many times over the past few weeks, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
And third, but not in importance, I believe that Andrew has opened up to a wider circle. He recognized that perhaps he was not served as well as he should have been and that confirmation bias could have been an issue in the decision-making process. It is a good practice by any leader to seek as wide a variety of thoughts on any issue, allowing him or her to weigh the pros and cons and make a fully informed decision. His approach to the review of the campaign and seeking input widely is a good sign. What remains is to ensure that he takes decisive action on the advice he is given.
What I am saying here is that while no one, least of all Andrew, is happy with the outcome, there is an upside. We increased our seats in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan. We managed to win the popular vote. We gained 22 seats nationally. We have a young, intelligent and decent leader, who deeply cares about our country.
We need to give him the same chance we once gave to a young Stephen Harper, who made mistakes in 2004 but found a new path to defeat the Liberals just two years later. It is my hope that our party stays united behind the Leader, and does not give our opponents what they want: a chaotic, infighting Conservative Party that will be vulnerable to a snap election loss.
Look out Ontarians, a storm is brewing and coming your way. A storm similar to the one that kicked off at the beginning of the month has its sights set on southern Ontario. It’s predicted to hit tomorrow with high winds and low visibility due to strong flurries. The storm will also hit Toronto, according to the Weather Network.
There is a good chance the temperature may rise by Sunday, creating a mess of slush for drivers and pedestrians alike. What is worse yet is the predicted absence of the sun for the coming week. TWN projects that the sun will shine bright over Toronto for only one solitary hour, this Wednesday afternoon.
The GTA may have it even worse still as Environment Canada has sent out a warning of hazardous snow hitting certain regions of southern Ontario.
Both Kitchener and Barrie are looking at a potential of 15 centimetres of snow in a short order of time due to the volume of flurries en route.
This does not bode well for drivers, “Monday night will be clear and cold, so untreated surfaces may become icy again,” said TWN’s meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham. There were approximately 500 car crashes reported on Dec. 1st in Ontario alone due to chaotic weather and icy roads.
The weather is likely to improve after this week according to Gillham who said, “A brief warm-up is expected to start the second week of December.” Although not out of the woods yet Gillham went on to say, “followed by colder weather for the middle and end of the week.”
The OPP advises everybody to be cautious while out on the roads this Christmas season.