A piece in yesterday’s Times:
The classics professor and broadcaster Mary Beard is well on the way to becoming a national treasure thanks to her personality and wit. She has conducted herself in an admirably courageous way against much personalised insult and nastiness, giving as good as she gets.
That doesn’t mean, however, that her judgment is flawless. Discussing Greek myths at The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival last week, she observed that men sometimes installed women in temporary positions of power so that when these women mucked it all up men could “come in on their white chargers”. This, she thought, might explain Theresa May’s rise to power. “Part of me thinks she has been set up to fail; they needed a female leader . . . to let one of them come in later to rescue her.”
Excuse me? May became prime minister only because she happened to be the last person standing on the battleground after her opponents stabbed each other in the back and themselves in the head. Her political failings, for which she alone is responsible, are on conspicuous display for all to see.
Beard, who has made this general argument on previous occasions, acknowledges that successful and powerful women now work as politicians, CEOs, prominent journalists, police chiefs and so on. Her objection seems to be that power for such women is narrowly identified with prestige and celebrity and is thus largely “coded as male”.
Well, perhaps this might apply to Medusa, Athena or Clytemnestra but down here in the world of mere mortals the claim seems to be a few laurel leaves short of a circlet.
Women are often levered into top posts, sometimes above their level of competence, not through some infernal male plot but to fill an ideological quota in response to feminist pressure for equal representation in public life. Yet success still isn’t enough. Dame Inga Beale, the first woman to run Lloyd’s of London, says all female chief executives accept that their successors will be men determined to take power back. So let’s get this right. If women get to the top, it’s a conspiracy against them by men; if they don’t, it’s a conspiracy against them by men. It’s an all-purpose, all-weather, all-exits-closed theory of female victimhood.
Rational? Hardly. It’s also sinister and nasty. Quite how much has been on display across the Pond in the confirmation circus around Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the US Supreme Court. Democrats determined to stop his appointment in order to prevent an inbuilt conservative majority on the court deployed the forces of #MeToo to do their dirty work.
Kavanaugh was accused of attempted rape, in claims for which there was no corroboration and which were full of holes. In the world of #MeToo, however, all men accused of rape are guilty and all their women accusers tell the truth.
So the Democrats and their feminist allies doubled down. Kavanaugh was subjected to vicious character assassination and smears. He was deemed guilty as charged merely because women had made these charges. More than 300 vigils were held against his confirmation. “Kavanaugh has shown that he is hostile to women,” wrote MoveOn, one of the groups behind these vigils. Demonstrators broke into chants of “Vote him down!” and “Believe survivors!”
The treatment meted out to Republican senator Susan Collins was a particular eye-opener. While displaying empathy with sexual-abuse victims, Collins justified her vote for Kavanaugh by defending the presumption of innocence. For this, she and her staff were targeted by protests, mailings, phone calls, physical intimidation, direct threats and a tweet that plastered the words “rape apologist” across her image.
The actress Nancy Lee Grahn went further, tweeting of Collins: “You may have female parts but you are no woman.” Wow. Isn’t the sisterhood wonderful? The level of viciousness by certain women was astounding. Ariel Dumas, a writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, sent out a tweet (later deleted) that read: “Whatever happens, I’m just glad we ruined Brett Kavanaugh’s life.”
After Kavanaugh’s appointment was finally confirmed, a Georgetown professor called Carol Christine Fair denounced the “chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement”. She went on: “All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.”
Why are women behaving in this appalling way? Male sexual violence towards women is real. So too is male sexual violence towards other men, as well as female violence against men and other women.
What we are witnessing is the gross abuse of power fuelled by explosive rage. Why are these women abusing power in this way? Because they can. What is the cause of their pathological rage? An ideology of victimhood that turns men into monsters.
Everything that happens is viewed through that prism. Those events thus confirm the initial prejudice. So a perfectly closed thought system is created, grotesquely inflicting vicious oppression in the name of justice.
The Greek philosopher Socrates was executed for dissent by being made to drink hemlock. It would be nice if Mary Beard — herself no stranger to hateful attacks — supported the real victims of today’s sexual show-trials rather than providing further justification for those administering the poison.
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