I swear that I will not make a habit of breaking my topic rotation (I set up a rotation of six different topics, largely to prevent me from going on extended political rants). And I will never post two unrelated political posts in a row. I think of this post as more of an addendum to what I wrote yesterday. After I wrote yesterday's post, professor Rachel Fulton Brown wrote three more. One that inexplicably made a lengthy metaphorical connection between Milo Yiannopoulos and Jesus Christ (seriously), one where she played ignorant about why so many people were upset with her views, and one, titled "Bully Culture," which is the main focus of what I need to address today. At the end of yesterday's post, I noted that I was not angry, but rather disappointed that a scholar of Fulton Brown's stature bought Yiannopoulos's scam so completely. After reading Fulton Brown's "Bully Culture" post, I went very quickly from disappointed to angry. The cause of this shift was that Fulton Brown, in that post, went very quickly from ignorant to dangerous.
I'm going to take an unusual step here, and speak directly to professor Fulton Brown.
Professor, you open "Bully Culture" with the following line:
"Everybody hates a bully, or so we say. Yesterday, the national media bullied into silence a young man who had risen to fame speaking to audiences of young women and men about the lies that the grown-ups had told them for decades."
You essentially open a blog post about lies with a lie. The "national media" bullied Yiannopoulos into "silence"? How? By reporting on the words that he said? By seeing a video that clearly depicted a man supporting sex between adolescent children and adult men, and somehow NOT seeing that this sort of egregious view supposedly meant the exact opposite in "English humor" language? And how did they silence him, exactly? Did they do it when they turned out en masse to cover his press conference? Did they silence him when they provided a massive platform for him to announce the planned creation of his new media company? Nobody silenced him. He said a horrendous thing for shock value. When it didn't get the kind of shock he wanted, he lied about it, getting MORE attention. This narrative that he is the victim is, like most narratives from Breitbart and its ilk, pure bullshit.
But that isn't what took me from "disappointed" to "angry," professor Fulton Brown. I became angry when I started reading your lists of "lies that grown ups" tell to children. And before getting into those in detail, I want to thank you, professor. You did more to expose the kind of person you and your Breitbart ilk are in those few paragraphs than any expose could have done. You start by spinning the hell out of liberal positions by suggesting that the furthest extreme--an extreme held by a scant few--represented the entirety of liberal thought. I've translated your "lies" below. The extreme version (the one you used) is on the left. The real liberal position is on the right.
You claim that "everyone knows these are lies" and then go into several ridiculous "for example" statements, like a young woman who loses her virginity to a man who doesn't want to marry her and a young man who is "tempted into exciting and transgressive sex with an older man and finds himself trapped by his desire in a lifestyle he cannot leave." Professor, this is just ridiculous. Did it ever occur to you that the young woman in your example might not want to marry that man either? And incidentally, very subtle work here, trying to bring back fraudulent and hyperbolic claims that the LGBT population "recruits." This entire concept is absurd. You may have tried to be more sneaky about it but professor, like Anita Bryant, you have pie on your face.
After these offensive remarks that attempt to bring society back into the 1950s, you spin a fantastical narrative, professor. You spin a world so magical and unrealistic that it would likely sit somewhere between Narnia and Hogwarts. In your ridiculous fantasy world, young people are flocking to Milo Yiannopoulos because:
" All their lives they had been wanting to push back against the grown-ups for taking away their sense of self as boys or girls. For telling the girls that they should want to play with trucks as much as dolls. For telling the boys they were evil for wanting to play with swords. But the grown-ups had bullied them into silence.
Some bullies were worse than others. Some were their parents, forcing them to pretend to like their step-parents and step-siblings. Some were their teachers, forcing them to pretend that they liked talking crudely about sex while learning English or math. Some were actors and actresses, forcing them to pretend that they enjoyed watching ever more violent sex. Some were their peers, forcing them to pretend to like not being boys or girls. Some were adults who called themselves friends and promised to take care of them if they let the older person have sex with them."
Where is this world, professor? Where is this world where straight children are pressured by the adults in their lives to be gay and transgender? Hell, where is the world where adults even tell children that it's okay to be that way? Where is this world where girls and boys are encouraged to play with the toys they enjoy rather than the toys that society has dictated belong to children of their gender? Where is this world where children pressure their peers to be gay and transgender? The world I grew up in, an exotic place called "reality," looks quite different. In "reality," children are often thrown out of the only homes they've ever known by the adults in their lives for being gay and transgender, leading to absurd rates of suicide and homelessness among LGBT youth. In "reality," conservatives are so concerned that clothing and toys are gender conforming that they boycott stores just for removing the gendered advertising. I once sent a class of freshmen composition students to the Strong Museum of Play. The only order I gave them was to observe the children at play and look for gendered trends. Almost every student, on separate visits, noticed that the children wanted to play at every exhibit, but their parents, sometimes forcefully, herded their children to the "gender appropriate" exhibits. In "reality," professor, children are not pressured by their peers to be gay and transgender; they are tortured by those peers for being gay or transgender. You have created a false world where up is down in order to sustain your persecution complex. Your concept of the world is not only false; it's ridiculous and dangerous.
Why dangerous? Why did I go from disappointed to angry? It comes down to two lines in particular:
" He joked about wishing that he might be cured, perhaps through prayer or electric shock. And he described how he had learned to be gay."
"He hated the bullies for telling young women that it was okay to be fat, despite the health risks and guarantee that it would be harder for them to find boyfriends if they were morbidly obese."
In these two lines, you further so many dangerous and false beliefs. Beliefs that, when uttered by someone who should know better, influence people who don't know better. First, you reference (with reverence), Yiannopoulos's support for electro-shock conversion therapy. You repeat the absurd notion that people choose to be gay. These "therapies" have been shown to be abusive, dangerous, and completely ineffective. They scar children for life. Seek out people who have been through these "therapies," professor. Do your research. Your words encourage people to inflict this kind of suffering on children.
Your second passage is just as bad. This may come as a shock to you, but insulting someone doesn't encourage them to lose weight. Even more dangerous is your absurd concept that the motivation for women to lose weight is to make it easier for them to "find boyfriends." That comment made me throw up in my mouth a little. I am likely not alone in that, as that comment reflects the exact mindset created by the "beauty industry" that encourages eating disorders.
And so, professor, I am no longer disappointed. I am now angry. I am angry because you have been conned by this obvious con-man (Milo Yiannopoulos). I am angry because your "Bully Culture" post clearly shows why you were so easily conned. He told you what you wanted to hear. You wanted to hear that gay people were dangerous to children. You wanted to hear that gay people have a privileged life. You wanted to hear that women should feel an obligation to be wives and mothers. You wanted to hear that overweight women were faulty. You are a person filled with thoughts and views that demonstrate both a disconnect from reality and a disdain for your fellow human beings (at least the ones that don't look and think like you). When you research, your work shows skill and careful attention to fact. When you blather--and professor, that's exactly what you've done over the last couple of days--you ignore any fact that doesn't fit your world view.
In your most recent blog post, professor, you state that you are "quite honestly struggling to understand" why people are upset with you. I will explain it to you. It's not just because you have a long-standing and frankly odd obsession with Milo Yiannopoulos. It's because the clear source of your support, the clear reason he resonates with you, is because of the fact that you both hate. You hate a great number of things and people. And Milo Yiannopoulos arrived and told you what you wanted to hear. He told you that that hate was good and Godly. He told you that the clear facts about the dangers of your views weren't real. He told you that you were the one being persecuted. And you bought it. And you had the temerity to compare him to Christ. So I'm angry, professor. I'm angry as a scholar and a Christian. I'm angry that you have the gall to wrap Republican far right bigotry, misogyny, and homophobia in the trappings of religion and then judge us from your self-made cross. I'm angry because you have lost sight of actual Christianity in the process. I'm angry because, in your insistence to play the victim, you write things that perpetuate behavior that leads to the creation of actual victims.
I ask that you apply the same drive and effort to research your social positions as you do your academic texts. And when you do so, and you find the hate within you that is so clear to the rest of us, I recommend seeking help from Christ. The real one. Not your three-named false idol.
PS: Please stop referring to "Chivalry." You clearly only understand the concept in terms of the way the Victorians re-imagined it. Call Richard Kaeuper. He can teach you something about the concept.
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