Jennifer Schuessler wrote for The New York Times in 2013:
The soldiers who landed in Normandy on D-Day were greeted as liberators, but by the time American G.I.’s were headed back home in late 1945, many French citizens viewed them in a very different light.
In the port city of Le Havre, the mayor was bombarded with letters from angry residents complaining about drunkenness, jeep accidents, sexual assault — “a regime of terror,” as one put it, “imposed by bandits in uniform.”
This isn’t the “greatest generation” as it has come to be depicted in popular histories. But in “What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American G.I. in World War II France,” the historian Mary Louise Roberts draws on French archives, American military records, wartime propaganda and other sources to advance a provocative argument: The liberation of France was “sold” to soldiers not as a battle for freedom but as an erotic adventure among oversexed Frenchwomen, stirring up a “tsunami of male lust” that a battered and mistrustful population often saw as a second assault on its sovereignty and dignity.
“I could not believe what I was reading,” Ms. Roberts, a professor of French history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, recalled of the moment she came across the citizen complaints in an obscure archive in Le Havre. “I took out my little camera and began photographing the pages. I did not go to the bathroom for eight hours.”
Nathan J. Robinson writes for Current Affairs:
It wasn’t that he told a woman there was something wrong with her for wearing a hijab in America. It wasn’t that he encouraged people to “Purge the Illegals” and gave out ICE’s hotline number at a presentation. It wasn’t that he mocked a transgender college student in front of a crowd, saying he’d still almost bang her because she looked like a man. Instead, it was his discussion of the complexities of his sexual experiences with adults as a gay teenager that caused Milo Yiannopoulos to lose his $250,000 book deal with Simon and Schuster.
The swift recent reversal of Yiannopoulos’s fortunes is in many ways illuminating. The [now former] Breitbart editor had spent the last year building a public profile by going around American college campuses giving “lectures” with titles like “Why Do Lesbians Fake So Many Hate Crimes?” and “Why Ugly People Hate Me.” At these events, he would tell people why “feminism is cancer,” refer to various people as “cunts” and “retards,” and make jokes about how Muslims were probably terrorists. When appalled students tried to have the talks canceled, he would insist that the PC left was simply afraid to deal with arguments, facts, and statistics. (The more obvious explanation is that the PC left doesn’t think a person whose idea of elevated political discourse is “100% of fat people are fucking gross”—and who gigglingly posts pictures of the overweight people at his gym—is sincere about wanting to improve political dialogue on campus.)
Ross Douthat writes for The New York Times:
[…] From Dubya’s evangelical conservatism to Milo’s Rimbaudian new right, from “marriage is between a man and a woman” to “well, we draw the line at ephebophilia” is a rather dizzying trajectory. But if you understand what’s happened to cultural conservatism over the last decade, the strange career of Yiannopoulos makes a striking sort of sense.
First, post-1960s social conservatism — the bigger-than-the-religious-right tent that once included a lot of moderately religious fellow travelers — has collapsed back to its zealous core. On practically every issue save abortion, liberals won the culture war decisively, and religious conservatives awoke to find themselves strangers in their own country, dismissed as bigots from liberalism’s pulpits and stuck on the wrong side of 40-60 or 30-70 public-opinion splits.
But social liberalism’s sweeping victory produced new forms of backlash — less traditionalist and more populist, less religious and more rowdy, not sacred but profane. These forms of resistance take aim at liberalism’s own forms of social-justice sanctimony, which have smothered academic life and permeated notionally apolitical arenas from late-night comedy to sportswriting. The resisters don’t exactly have a program. Instead, they’ve got a posture — a “whaddya got?” rebellion against any rules that the new liberal order sets.
Laurie Penny writes for Pacific Standard:
Have you heard the one about the boy who cried Fake News?
This is a story about truth and consequences. It’s a story about who gets to be young and dumb, and who gets held accountable. It’s also a story about how the new right exploits young men — how it preys not on their bodies, but on their emotions, on their hurts and hopes and anger and anxiety, their desperate need to be part of a big ugly boys’ own adventure.
It’s a story about how so many of us have suffered the consequences of that exploitation. And it’s a story about how consequences finally came for Milo Yiannopoulos too — the worst kind of consequences for a professional troll. Consequences that nobody finds funny. Consequences that cannot be mined for fame and profit.
As I write, Yiannopoulos, the fame-hungry right-wing provocateur and self-styled “most dangerous supervillain on the Internet,” is fighting off accusations of having once endorsed pedophilia. Former friends and supporters who long tolerated his outrage-mongering as childish fun are now dropping him like a red-hot turd.
Dorian Lynskey writes for The Guardian:
So there is, after all, a line that you cannot cross and still be hailed by conservatives as a champion of free speech. That line isn’t Islamophobia, misogyny, transphobia or harassment. Milo Yiannopoulos, the journalist that Out magazine dubbed an “internet supervillain”, built his brand on those activities. Until Monday, he was flying high: a hefty book deal with Simon & Schuster, an invitation to speak at the American Conservative Union’s CPac conference and a recent appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher. But then a recording emerged of Yiannopoulos cheerfully defending relationships between older men and younger boys, and finally it turned out that free speech had limits. The book deal and CPac offer swiftly evaporated. The next day, he resigned his post as an editor at Breitbart, the far-right website where he was recruited by Donald Trump’s consigliere Steve Bannon, and where several staffers reportedly threatened to quit unless he was fired.
In the incriminating clip, Yiannopoulos prefaces his remarks with a coy, “This is a controversial point of view, I accept”, this being his default shtick. Maher absurdly described him as “a young, gay, alive Christopher Hitchens” – a contrarian fly in the ointment, rattling smug liberal certainties – but Hitchens had wit, intellect and principle, while Yiannopoulos has only chutzpah and ruthless opportunism. Understanding Yiannopoulos requires a version of Occam’s Razor: the most obvious answer is the correct one. What does he actually believe in? Nothing except his own brand and the monetisable notoriety that fuels it. That’s Milo’s Razor. Understanding how he got this far is more unnerving.
Margaret Atwood has said worries about women’s issues after the US election have made her book The Handmaid’s Tale the latest dystopian novel to shoot back up bestseller lists.
The book, about a theocratic dictatorship in the US where women are forced to bear children for the ruling class, topped Amazon’s bestseller list earlier this week, and still ranks in the top 10.
In an interview during Cuba’s international book fair, Atwood said sales of The Handmaid’s Tale were also boosted by a trailer during the Super Bowl for its new televised adaptation by video streaming site Hulu.
Sarah Lacy writes for Pando:
[…] The press didn’t make Sandberg into a feminist tech hero, she did. There was no pressure or precedent for female tech leaders to identify so heavily with women’s issues. And that’s why she struck such a chord with so many women. Finally a woman in power was saying all the things we all felt. It was particularly meaningful to me that she openly talked about motherhood– the joys, the challenges, and the strength of it.
This matters because Sandberg is easily the most senior woman in tech, and the most respected despite not being a founder or a CEO. According to First Round’s 2016 State of Startups, Sandberg was the most cited female answer to what tech leader people admire most. She got 1% of overall responses, compared to 6% for Mark Zuckerberg and 5% for Steve Jobs. She got 5% of the write-ins from female respondents. No other female leader came close.
Is that brand, that admiration solely because she is the COO of the only major super unicorn of the social networking era, and one of a few companies bucking to be the first $1 trillion market cap super duper unicorn? Maybe. But my hunch is her positioning as the flawed and vulnerable and yet commanding and respected woman a top that company, a woman who helps lift up other women, has played a massive role in people’s esteem for her.
So having voluntarily taken on this cause– and let’s face it, benefitted from that it in many ways– Sandberg must be well positioned to be a leader in this precise moment of feminist consciousness, right?
Jordan Smith reports for The Intercept:
At the end of a three-day hearing, a federal district court judge in Austin, Texas, on January 19 issued a temporary injunction blocking state officials from excising Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program — a move that would deny more than 11,000 of the state’s poorest residents from accessing preventive care from their provider of choice, and would annually strip Texas Planned Parenthood clinics of several million dollars.
The current court action is just the latest in a long string of attempts by the state of Texas to defund local affiliates of the nation’s largest provider of women’s health and reproductive care. And it is part of a larger movement by conservative state and federal lawmakers to cut off Planned Parenthood from all government funding.
If anti-choice lawmakers in D.C. have their way, it may be easier for Texas, and other states, to get their way.
Amy Goodman speaks to Dawn Laguens of Planned Parenthood reinstated the controversial “global gag rule,” which women’s rights advocates fear will increase unsafe abortions around the world. The policy originated in the Reagan era and bans U.S. funding for any international healthcare organizations that perform abortions or advocate for the legalization of abortion or even mention it, even if those activities are funded by non-U.S. money. Trump signed the order surrounded by seven other men just two days after millions of people poured into the streets of Washington, D.C., and cities around the world for the historic Women’s March. (Democracy Now!)
Naomi Wolf writes for The Sunday Times:
In all my years of feminist activism, I have never experienced standing in line at a bleak US highway rest stop as a radicalised moment. But there I was in the queue for the ladies’ room with women all around me wearing pink-knit hats with adorable cat’s ears.
“What does the hat mean?” I asked. A woman who looked like an suburban Republican soccer mom said with a grin: “Pussy hats! It’s the Pussyhat Project. For the march.”
And there I noticed was a hippyish 60-year-old in a pussy hat, knitting another one, with her daughter and young grandson nearby.
There was a gaggle of college girls in pussy hats, defiant, tired and laughing from their night on the bus. Everywhere, the hats.
Nafeez Ahmed writes for Insurge Intelligence:
Women of the world have stood up in over 30 countries to raise the banner of unity in diversity. #buildbridgesnotwalls.
There is a powerful symbolism in this movement.
For we find ourselves at the tail end of history standing at a fork in the road. The very future of civilisation is at stake.
The global repression of women is in many ways a defining structure of the present. Despite progress on many fronts, the violence wrought against women today is so colossal, so systematic, and yet so insidiously casual, that it is difficult to conceive.
It’s widely known that in 2013, the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that one in three women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence from either someone they know, or a stranger.
This phenomenon is happening in the most advanced, ‘developed’ countries. In Europe, one in three women over the age of 15 suffer some form of physical or sexual abuse. In the United States one in three women experience domestic violence, and one in five are raped.
What. The Fuck. Is going on?
Akeela Ahmed writes for Hope Not Hate:
2016 was unfortunately marked by dog whistle politics, the rise of the Far Right, and an increase in hate crimes against women and minorities. We are living in increasingly challenging times, and when I speak to everyday grassroots women, they often tell me about their fears for their safety, anxieties about what the future holds, and report a sense that the most divisive elements of society have been emboldened on the back of political campaigns which have been dogged by xenophobic rhetoric. I was keen to participate in the Women’s March, so that I could mark the beginning of 2017 with positive action, which would unify and bring people together, irrespective of their background or views.
The Women’s March is taking place in many cities all over the world, on the 21st of January 2017, the day after President-elect Trump’s inauguration, and will be a global show of strength and solidarity of diverse communities marching for equality and the protection of fundamental rights for all. As a passionate believer in listening to and promoting diverse women’s voices, I couldn’t wait to get involved with and support a global movement for everyone, organised and led by women. Women’s voices are fiercely needed now more than ever before, as during the US elections we have seen how women have been demeaned, patronised and are expected to put up with routine sexual harassment. Moreover, we are now living in a world in which for many women of colour and especially Muslim women, physical assault, verbal abuse and anti-Muslim hate attacks, are not only on the increase but have become a daily norm. Thus it is vital that women’s voices of all backgrounds, including minority groups, are meaningfully heard, and their experiences which are often intersectional in nature – that is they face multiple challenges such as racism, misogyny and ablism – are acknowledged and amplified.
Shelina Zahra Janmohamed reports for The National:
Dark clouds are gathering overhead for the world’s women. With the inauguration of Donald Trump the state of global gender relations will probably face another onslaught.
We’ve seen the bad behaviours against women that he has exhibited at a personal level.
Now what we must face up to is that his powerful public leadership status underscores a resurgence of the demagogic “strongman” in global politics. Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, and of course the persistence of the strongman in the Middle East affects the tenor of global politics.
The macho leader, egotistic, unilateral and chest-thumping, worries us because of the grandstanding, bullying and violence that all too often follows in their wake.
What a strongman at the head of a nation also does is to impact our ideas of what it means to be a “man” and what is acceptable male behaviour at an ordinary day-to-day level. It sets a precedent about how men can or even must behave in order to be men and gives permission for treating women – or minorities – badly. It gives permission to regressive notions of gender relations which still fall desperately short of balance for the genders.
Kathleen Geier writes for The Nation:
[…] Trump’s election is an unmitigated disaster for American women, but the way forward for feminism is clear. It requires jettisoning the corporate feminism of elites and replacing it with a feminism for the 99 percent—the kind of feminism that Clinton, with her history of support for neoliberal economic policies, could not credibly represent. During the campaign, Clinton cynically asked, “If we broke up the big banks tomorrow…would that end sexism?” But her distinction between economic issues on the one hand and gender issues on the other is a false dichotomy. Wall Street’s relentless financialization of the economy has been a major driver of the economic inequality that, in recent decades, has dramatically slowed women’s advancement. Soaring economic inequality is implicated in the stubborn persistence of the gender pay gap and in women’s declining levels of labor force participation. The domination of the rich in our political process is why we get austerity policies that entrench our society’s dependence on women’s unpaid caring labor.
has noted that in recent decades mainstream feminism has almost exclusively emphasized issues of “recognition”—addressing the cultural harms done to women—while marginalizing those of redistribution. But in order to reignite our stalled gender revolution, we must make the fight for economic justice central to feminism once again. Feminism cannot allow itself to be bought off with a superficial layer of gender diversity at the top that leaves the female masses behind and the oppressive structures and institutions of our society unchanged. Nor should feminists shrink from demanding the bold, radical changes that we need for women to thrive, including universal-childcare and basic-income programs, aggressive equal-pay laws, and more.
Joanna Walters reports for The Guardian:
It began as a spontaneous feminist rallying cry via social media. It has morphed into what is expected to be one of the largest demonstrations in American history – a boisterous march about a smorgasbord of progressive issues, and an extraordinary display of dissent on a president’s first day in office peppered with knit pink hats.
Before the bunting and barriers are even cleared away from Friday’s inauguration of Donald Trump, hundreds of thousands are likely to attend the Women’s March on Washington the following day, 21 January.
“A march of this magnitude, across this diversity of issues has never happened before,” said Kaylin Whittingham, president of the association of black women attorneys. “We all have to stand together as a force no one can ignore.”
The Women’s March now has almost 200 progressive groups, large and small, signing on as supporting partners. The issues they represent are as varied as the environment, legal abortion, prisoners’ rights, voting rights, a free press, affordable healthcare, gun safety, racial and gender equality and a higher minimum wage. Men are invited.
Maria Popova writes for Brain Pickings:
In his insightful reflection on the crucial difference between talent and genius, Schopenhauer likened talent to a marksman who hits a target others cannot hit, and genius to a marksman who hits a target others cannot see. Among humanity’s rare genius-seers was pioneering astrophysicist Vera Rubin (July 23, 1928–December 25, 2016) — a coruscating intellect animated by a sinewy tenacity, who overcame towering cultural odds by the sheer force of her unbridled curiosity and rigorous devotion to science. In confirming the existence of dark matter, Rubin revolutionized our understanding of the universe, paved the way for modern women in science, and recalibrated the stilted norms of her profession.
Rubin fell in love with the night sky as a young girl, but knew no astronomer, living or dead, to hold as a role model. Eventually, she came upon a children’s book about 19th-century trailblazer Maria Mitchell — America’s first professional female astronomer and the first woman admitted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences — whose story reframed Rubin’s landscape of possibility and emboldened her to pursue stargazing as a vocation rather than a hobby. “It never occurred to me that I couldn’t be an astronomer,” she told Alan Lightman many years later in their wonderful 1990 conversation.
Branko Marcetic writes for Jacobin:
[…] It’s not unusual for journalists to talk about Megyn Kelly’s “brand.” In fact, the more cynical among us might even view Kelly’s late-era turn away from conservative orthodoxy as at least somewhat part of a wider brand-building exercise as she takes her career to the next level. So it pays to ask: what has Kelly’s “brand” been for most of her reporting career, prior to this?
At Fox, Kelly spent a decade perfecting a style of journalism that could be described as one-two punch of bug-eyed, right-wing outrage and contemptuous, sarcastic dismissal. Along the way, she has championed some of the Right’s most damaging and irresponsible myths, provided an uncritical platform for a who’s who of right-wing kooks, and consistently—and often wrongly—backed the perpetrators of state violence.
More than any other, the subject of race is where Kelly has consistently displayed views that should disturb anyone remotely left of center. Viewers with a keen memory might remember Kelly’s 2010 headfirst dive into right-wing conspiracizing when she joined the Fox News pile-on on the “New Black Panther Party,” a small, fringe, racist and separatist group that has no connection to the original Black Panthers.
Juan Gonzalez speaks to Jeremy Scahill, investigative journalist and co-founder of The Intercept, who says despite Mike Pence frequently being portrayed as a counterbalance to Trump, his ascendance to the second most powerful position in the U.S. government is a “tremendous coup for the radical religious right.” (Democracy Now!)
Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine writes for The New York Times:
For a great many women around the world, Donald J. Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton feels like a painful setback not just for democracy, but for our gender.
Voters chose a loose cannon of a man with zero government experience over a calm, collected and supremely qualified woman. The root cause of this injustice, many have suggested, can only be sexism — proof that the glass ceiling protecting the highest reaches of power cannot yet be shattered.
The reaction is understandable. It’s also wrong and unnecessarily demoralizing.
Of course no female or nonwhite candidate with Mr. Trump’s lack of experience, angry outbursts, boasts of sexual assault or trail of broken marriages could have gotten elected. That Mr. Trump did, while spouting such ugliness about women and minorities, speaks to deep and persistent strains of misogyny and white supremacy in American society.
But we can recognize all this yet still reject the idea that all women who reach as high as Mrs. Clinton will meet the same fate. Yes, she had a gold-plated résumé that more than qualified her to be president. But that overlooks an important fact: Virtually everything about Mrs. Clinton’s biography made her uniquely unsuited to draw blood where Mr. Trump was most vulnerable.
Liza Featherstone, author of False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton, writes for The Guardian:
It turns out many women don’t care about Trump’s sexism – nor that Clinton is a woman. A majority of white women voted for Trump. And while Clinton did carry the female vote overall, her advantage among women was a percentage point less than Obama had enjoyed over Romney in 2012. This has left many American feminists reeling. Just how did this happen, they ask?
Lena Dunham, one of many woke, rich, Clinton-supporting celebrities who apparently do not impress the voters of Wisconsin, mourned that white women had been “so unable to see the unity of female identity”. But there is no unity of female identity and there never has been.
Clinton believed her major appeal was her gender. She also counted on women to be offended by Trump’s misogyny. But it turns out “woman” isn’t much of an identity – or even basis for solidarity – in itself.
Paul Jay speaks to journalist and author Frederick Clarkson who says that Donald Trump is not seen as a moral or religious leader, but as a vehicle for their political purposes. (The Real News)
Jim Kavanagh writes for The Polemicist:
[…] It was Hillary Clinton who called Gennifer Flowers “trailer trash” and a ”failed cabaret singer who doesn’t even have much of a résumé,” and who got on national television with her husband to ridicule Flowers, who was telling the truth. It was Hillary who called Monica Lewinsky, who was telling the truth, a “narcissistic loony toon.” It was Hillary who described Bill’s mistresses as “bimbos.” Carl Bernstein also told how Hillary not only “thr[e]w herself into efforts to discredit Flowers,” she tried to “persuade horrified campaign aides to bring out rumors that Poppy Bush had not always been faithful to Barbara.”
Hillary could have stood by her man, and said nothing about the women Bill was screwing. Instead, she chose to publicly and aggressively slut-shame and ridicule those women in order to actively support her husband’s lies about them. Hillary Clinton did to those women what Clarence Thomas and Alan Simpson did to Anita Hill. To quote Henneberger and Lithwick again: “If her biggest fans knew who she really blamed—other women—they might not still be fans.”
That’s what’s causing Hillary to “tread lightly” now, and that’s what you’d never know from reading this NYT article, even though it’s exactly what the article purports to explain. Furthermore, the NYT and the author know these facts and have deliberately chosen to hide them within vague terms like “imperfections” and, you know, “It’s complicated.” For the Times, what occurred between Hillary and these women has all been so “painful” and “haunting”—for Hillary. That’s a kind of rhetorical protection that the NYT would never offer one of its/the Democratic establishment’s political opponents.
Kathleen Geier writes for New Republic:
If you searched for a single headline that distilled what has been so depressing about feminist commentary on the 2016 election, you could do worse than pick this one, from The Guardian’s Lindy West, a writer I usually admire: “Hating Trump isn’t enough—we need to talk about why Clinton rules.” On the one hand, there’s the fixation on Trump’s awfulness, which is hardly a secret. On the other, there is the relentless cheerleading for Clinton, which sounds suspiciously like the desperate overselling of an underwhelming product. The piece accompanying the headline shares the defects common to the feminist pro-Clinton op-ed genre. In one short article, there are two long paragraphs about the sexism Clinton has suffered, but no attempt to probe into the policies she is proposing, or to grapple honestly with her actual feminist record.
Of course, most feminists—albeit with some notable exceptions—support Clinton in the presidential race. But though you’d never guess it from West’s piece and others like it, there’s a viable alternative both to outright opposition to Hillary and the happy talk of her feminist fans—one that is at once more intellectually honest and more politically constructive. Political theorist Nancy Fraser has dubbed it “critical support”: a vote for Clinton, combined with “vociferous criticism of her policies and explicit campaigning for Sanders-type alternatives.” Critical support, says Fraser, is “a strategy that looks beyond November to the ongoing struggle to build a new American left.”
Rachel Stockman reports for Law Newz:
Los Angeles based attorney Charles Harder is a busy man. First, he represented Hogan and won a $140 million defamation suit which resulted in Gawker‘s demise. Then, he was hired by Melania Trump and filed a $150 million lawsuit against The Daily Mail which led them to retract a story. Now, the libel lawyer has been retained by former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes to represent him in possible legal action against Gabriel Sherman, a reporter for New York Magazine, LawNewz.com has confirmed.
“New York Media and Gabriel Sherman were contacted by Charles Harder on behalf of Roger and Elizabeth Ailes, asking that we preserve documents related to the Ailes, for a possible defamation claim. The letter sent by Harder was not informative as to the substance of their objections to the reporting. Sherman’s work is and has been carefully reported,” Lauren Starke, a spokesperson for NY Mag said in a statement to LawNewz.com.
Sherman is best known for his series of articles accusing Roger Ailes of sexually harassing multiple woman. He’s been a constant thorn in the side of Fox News ever since publishing Ailes’ unauthorized biography. The network even reportedly had a massive opposition research file on Sherman. In the journalism world, he’s been praised for exposing the alleged culture of sexual discrimination at Fox News.
Phyllis Schlafly, the outspoken conservative activist who helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, has died. She was 92.
Schlafly died on Monday afternoon of cancer at her home in St Louis, her son John Schlafly said.
Schlafly rose to national attention in 1964 with her self-published book A Choice Not an Echo which became a manifesto for the far right. The book, which sold three million copies, chronicled the history of the Republican National Convention and is credited for helping conservative senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona earn the 1964 GOP nomination.
She later helped lead efforts to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment that would have outlawed gender discrimination, galvanizing the party’s right.
Sandra Laville reports for The Guardian:
The number of prosecutions relating to violence against women and girls in England and Wales reached a record level last year, the director of public prosecutions said, as she warned of the increasing use of social media to threaten and control.
Alison Saunders said the ease with which such crimes could be committed online was contributing to the increase in prosecutions. The number of offences against women, including domestic abuse, rape and sexual assaults, rose by almost 10% to 117,568 in 2015-6.
Speaking to the Guardian as the Crown Prosecution Service published its annual report on violence against women and girls, Saunders said: “The use of the internet, social media and other forms of technology to humiliate, control and threaten individuals is rising and it is something that we will possibly see increase further. It is undoubtedly easier to commit a lot of these crimes online, people do it without thinking, it is more immediate and it is about the reach and ability to communicate to so many more people.”
Jim Naureckas writes for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR):
“We’re the platform for the alt-right,” Donald Trump’s new campaign CEO, Stephen Bannon, told Mother Jones‘ David Corn (8/22/16)—”we” meaning Breitbart News, the online news outlet that Bannon headed until he was picked to run the turbulent Trump campaign.
And the “alt-right”? Well, Breitbart (3/29/16) tried to explain what that is in a 5,000-word piece last spring, written by Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos—perhaps best-known for being banned from Twitter for harassing actress Leslie Jones—and Allum Bokhari, who describes himself as the “resident kebab at Breitbart Tech” and “Milo’s deputy.”
Not that Bokhari and Yiannopoulos find it easy to explain the “alternative right.” When it comes time to sum it up in a nutshell, this is the best they can offer:
Young, creative and eager to commit secular heresies, they have become public enemy No. 1 to Beltway conservatives…. The alt-right has a youthful energy and jarring, taboo-defying rhetoric that have boosted its membership and made it impossible to ignore.
They can tell you what it’s not, though—racist! Despite the fact that everyone seems to think it is:
Some — mostly Establishment types — insist it’s little more than a vehicle for the worst dregs of human society: antisemites, white supremacists and other members of the Stormfront set. They’re wrong…. Lefties dismiss it as racist, while the conservative press, always desperate to avoid charges of bigotry from the Left, has thrown these young readers and voters to the wolves as well.
Rather than giving one definition of the alt-right, the Breitbart article chooses to describe it piece by piece. Let’s put the pieces together and see what kind of picture it makes.
Katrina Karkazis writes for The Guardian:
The image that will stay with me long after the last competitor leaves Rio this week is a decidedly un-Olympic one. Caster Semenya, the women’s 800m gold medallist, extends her arms to fellow competitors Melissa Bishop of Canada and Lynsey Sharp of Great Britain. Sharp, who came in sixth, holds a tearful Bishop, who took fourth, in a tight embrace. Rather than respond to Semenya they remain in their embrace ignoring her. The photo was a sad endnote to one of the most vitriolic media and social media uproars I can recall, one in which the athletes were the casualties. And the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) did nothing to quell it.
In the month leading up the to the race, a cacophonous and spurious alarm sounded unfairly on Semenya’s right to compete. She endured relentless hostility and a deluge of cruel harassment from both the traditional and online media, something she has been withstanding for the seven years since the IAAF confirmed it was investigating her. It was reported she was even provided with a security team in Rio due to concerns the hostility might turn violent.
Semenya’s athleticism was attributed to a single molecule – testosterone – as though it alone earned her the gold, undermining at once her skill, preparation and achievement. South Africa as a nation has pushed back with #handsoffcaster, coming to the defence of one of the world’s most scrutinised athletes despite her having done nothing wrong and competing with the support of the court of arbitration for sport (Cas).