Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ellis unleashes his "wowser-feminism" conspiracy theory

This ludicrous article from Bob Ellis is barely worthy of comment, really. Except I, along with hundred of others, can’t help myself.

Clearly The Drum saw it as an easy means of courting controversy and therefore traffic to its site. And on that front it worked, inspiring a huge reaction.

Ellis has created his own unique conspiracy theory that “sexual complaint” is “being used to bring down left-leaning and Liberal-reformist artists and politicians”.

According to Ellis, so-called “wowser-feminism” has gone too far in its agenda to kill off the Left — the “Strauss-Kahn Moment” being the final straw.

Note: “left-leaning” is a very broad category in Ellis's book. It seems all artists and politicians cut down by scheming women conveniently morph in to "left-leaning" types once aligned against a common enemy: the wowser-feminist.

I mean, what has the world come to? When did it become legit for women to ruin the blokey fun of Ellis and his mates?

After all, it wasn't that long ago that you were allowed to come on to your secretary at the office Christmas party and it was all a bit of a lark. Hell, in some countries it’s still the done thing to “deflower” the 12-year-olds in your village.

And paedophilia is only a bit worse than schoolyard bullying, isn't it? Playwrights and filmmakers have raped the youngsters in their acting troupe for centuries. It was all in the name of Art, for god’s sake.

Ellis seems to be suggesting that sexually predatory behaviour is just a by-product of creative genius or political brilliance. That we should ignore the crimes of important figures if outweighed by their cultural contribution.

This article is absurd on so many levels. It's all very well to say that some matters are private issues that should not bring into question someone’s ability to do their job; another thing altogether to say we should avoid making people accountable for their blatant abuse of power, breach of responsibilities or, indeed, criminal acts because it may put at risk their future masterpieces or capacity to solve Greece's economic woes.

Yes, there are times when the public, or media, reaction outweighs the misdemeanour in question (the downfall of Labor minister David Campbell after his car was spotted outside a gay resort being a case in point). But, sorry, when did feminists have anything to do with that?! What of the genuinely scary problem of governments increasingly under pressure from the Christian right?

To chuck a series of complex and sometimes severe events in to one bag for the sake of a "neat" argument is not only stupid and offensive, but also undermines any serious (and more interesting) conversation we could have on the subject of private morality versus public good, or on the legislation of behaviour.

No, sorry, my heart does not bleed for an extremely powerful politician who tries to force himself on a woman (and friend of his daughter no less) during an official press interview.

Why, yet again, are women being made responsible for mens' bad behaviour? Are we really meant to believe that for hundreds of years countless famous but hapless blokes have been at the mercy of feminists with an agenda to orchestrate their downfall, especially if they're of the liberal variety?

As for Polanski, surely his story better illustrates the way rich and powerful men manage to avoid paying for their crimes, rather than the opposite — “35 years of harassment”, “despite his evident genius” — as Ellis sees it.

I don't use the word misonyny often, but this crazy little article smacks of it.

Surely great men of genius can find a way to change the world without sniffing their female colleagues' chairs or raping their underage muses.


Lily Mae Martin said...

I wouldn't know where to begin with how offensive I found his article. Offensive and dangerous. It's almost unbelievable.
Not only am I perplexed as to why feminism gets the blame (after-all, I would think rape/abuse/violence is a human rights issues??) aren't there many a brilliant man out there who didn't abuse women???
And as you said, why are women being blamed for mens bad behaviour?
I am so disappointed that the ABC gave it air time.

Turas said...

I found the notion of the IMF chief being "left" rather mad. But it is Ellis after all; not sure why they let him out of the asylum.

Frances said...

"...deeds long common at office parties.."; "..what, in my day, occurred in drive-in theatres every night".
These statements are both wrong and derogatory. The book "Mistakes Were Made: But Not By Me" (Amazon) explains the psychology behind BE's comments. One aspect: in an endeavour to exonerate ourselves and justify our own behaviour, we say that it is widespread, that everybody else does it.
Or, in BE's case: the masses, the lower classes do it all the time.
This is a common theme in Bob Ellis: the poor are lower class amd embrace if not all vices, then certainly all lower standards.
BE was brought up in a religion that is, to the rest of us, a little like a sect. I have been told that he is terrified of death - and has been for years. Death or judgement? I wonder.
As someone who likes to expose others, his finest hour was not when, having fathered a child out of wedlock, he pleaded with reporters not to report it: they published his rather craven pleas.
In his career, his wife has been the stable income provider. I have never seen him acknowledging this or her.
I was at SU when he was there: I regarded him as louche, ambitious, deeply unattractive: short, skinny, grubby, prematurely bellied and with his fat bottom lip like a slice of kidney. But, something of a magnet, evidently, for ambitious women lacking judgement.
My opinion, only.
"Fleshy" teenager, he says. "Bastard" child. "Mere" affair...his adjectives are well chosen to endorse prejudice.
But: are people involved in the arts "special"? I'm inclined to think "no".
Particularly when looking historically, one is likely to see those outstanding in the arts as having had outstanding opportunities to pursue the arts.

Frances said...

It would have been quicker to say, Rachel, that unless a man has control of himself, he shouldn't be trusted with the control of anything else.

Rachel Power said...

Great point, Frances. It's astounding that we're meant to believe men responsible for high-level political decision-making cannot/should not be held responsible for their behaviour when it comes to women. And yes - if they are capable of such despicable actions in this aspect of their lives, what does this say about their general integrity?

As Lily says, there are plenty of brilliant men - and women - who do not exploit their influence by becoming abusive creeps.

I really appreciated this comment from David G on the Drum site:
"Would I prefer to be without the great works of a person because they were a pederast? Hell yes! Nothing is worth the loss of innocence of a single child let alone many and I would prefer the death of a pederast over the ongoing misery of a victim no matter what the cultural cost."

Steve Holmes Boom said...

I don't know nothing about this theory but well it depends of a lot of things 'cause feminism is like a social phenomenon as viagra online not a theory that's what I think.