July 21, 2015
Meet Stephanie Guthrie.
In 2012, Guthrie learned of a crude videogame in which players punched an image of bothersome feminist blogger and #GamerGate bogeywoman Anita Sarkeesian until the screen turned red. So, basically a digital voodoo doll.
Guthrie announced on Twitter her intention to “sic the Internet” on the game’s author. One Gregory Alan Elliott (with whom Guthrie had enjoyed a cordial online “friendship”) replied that her plan to publicly shame the young man “was every bit as vicious as“ the video. What if her target, say, lost his job or committed suicide in despair? Guthrie replied that if either or both occurred, well, the misogynist thought-criminal had brought it on himself.
Following a further flurry of tweets, Guthrie charged Elliott with “criminal harassment” for making her “feel creepy.” The two are currently facing off in a Toronto courtroom, even though police have testified that “Elliott never made threats, sexual innuendo, or anything else of the sort” toward Guthrie.
That she is the one harassing Elliott, because he demurred at her planned harassment of another man.
At this juncture, I imagine not a few Taki readers are typing, “Thank God America has a First Amendment!!!” into a comment field. Alas, I”m less than impressed by what passes for “freedom of speech” in your country of late. Don”t be too sure that such a patently absurd charge would never have gotten this far in the once-great U.S. of A.
(No less a toxic farce than the Scopes Monkey Trial has been called “a nontrial over a nonlaw, with a nondefendant backed by nonsupporters””and it turned into an award-winning play and major motion picture that has warped numberless minds.)
Whatever your feelings for either defendant or plaintiff, the spirit that animated the not-guilty decision in Hustler Magazine v. Falwell is now as quaint as a Shaker, and just as extinct. In fact, that particular Supreme Court judgment already seemed dated and out of step when it came down: It was a very “70s, “do your own thing, man!” decision for as late a date as 1988.
Instead, let’s talk about shame.
Frankly, I quite approve of the instinct behind “public shaming.” My husband has just popped in to inform me that hackers are threatening to release the personal data of wannabe adulterers that they”ve scrounged from the servers of AshleyMadison.com. I replied: “Good.”
Wielded wisely, wouldn”t shaming be a welcome tonic to our enervated “participation trophy” culture, in which, for instance, morbidly obese girls”who, in another era, would have been visible only as sideshow attractions”are dutifully described as “curvy” when “lumpy” would be more accurate?
Yet I”m reluctantly forced to concede that, beyond the realm of pure theory, shaming only seems to work in practice when the other side is in charge of the stocks.
Some of us tried unsuccessfully for decades to embarrass Michael Moore, Ted Kennedy, Jane Fonda, and the Als Gore and Sharpton into ignominious retirement. Whereas the Left has experienced lasting success (and never let us forget it) by pointing and laughing at Richard Nixon and Joe McCarthy, to cite only two whose names have been rendered bywords among the nations.
What’s revealing is how eagerly young women of the Jezebel.com variety, such as Stephanie Guthrie, have taken up “shaming” as a vocation. They hound ideological nonconformists for committing such make-believe crimes as “slut shaming” or “fat shaming” or “trans shaming,” i.e., talking like normal people about abnormal ones.
I hate women like Stephanie Guthrie. Charles C. Johnson got it right in these virtual pages when he noted that SJWs “want to take the Internet frontier from us, though””I would have written “because”””they are too stupid to invent it for themselves.”