On being called a cunt by Laurie Penny

This post was written by Jacob on January 28, 2011
Posted Under: Uncategorized

Last night I attended a debate between AWL organizer Ed Maltby and journalist-cum-activist Laurie Penny. I won’t pretend it was the most interesting debate in the whole world, but nonetheless it was one of a number of fora in which activists are coming together to discuss theoretical issues in the emerging anti-cuts movement. The event culminated, though, with Laurie Penny saying, “we all have to work with people we don’t agree with” and then gesturing at me, “for example, I think Jacob is a cunt.” When it was suggested, after the meeting, by another activist that she offer some kind of apology, her response was, “no, he is a cunt.”

An artist's impression of last night's meeting

I’m not going to claim I’ve never called anyone a cunt, but I certainly haven’t in a public meeting, and wouldn’t. There were about 100 people at the event, of whom I knew perhaps a quarter. Laurie Penny seemed to know even fewer. Now the issue comes that I, as an activist, have to work with these other people. If I had a cushy job at the New Statesman, if I could do all the activism I wanted without working with other people, whilst promoting my own personal (or personality) brand as “the voice of a generation”, then maybe I wouldn’t be so concerned about being so rudely denounced at a public meeting. But the fact is that these fora of debate are the places where we make links crucial to effective activist work. They are not places for mud-slinging or attempts to viciously sideline people from what has so far been a wonderfully inclusive movement. For Laurie Penny it seems that “solidarity” is just a throw-away piece of rhetoric used to make her voice “authentic”; it certainly doesn’t influence how she behaves.

So this is what many years of activism has come to. I’m not going to claim to be the greatest activist in the world, but I’ve been involved in a whole range of struggles for many years, ranging from environmental work, to student politics, to anti-capitalist movements as well as solidarity work for international struggles. I also wouldn’t use a press card to get out of a kettle, as Laurie Penny has been known to do. Quite clearly I do not take this lightly; in a political context I expect to be taken as seriously as I take the politics. I most certainly do not expect to be the victim of arbitrary personal attacks made by platform speakers, which bear no relation to substantive and important ongoing political arguments. Apart from anything else, if Laurie Penny had ever attempted to address any issues she has with me (i.e. speak to me if you have a problem with me – I’m hardly unapproachable.) then maybe I’d be more forgiving. For the moment I can only wonder how long she will get away with abusing her new-found power and popularity.

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Reader Comments

Laurie Penny

Actually hon, the sentiment was based on the many abusive tweets you’ve sent me over the weeks and months, the flippant misogyny with which you treated me and others at the occupation, and the way you’ve belittled and patronised me on this blog and on many other occasions. If you’re too chicken to actually have these things out face to face then fine; I think you’re just shocked that your private and internet sniping and hateful messages actually

As I said in the talk – I respect your activism. I’m happy to work with you and march alongside you. I just don’t really want to hang out with you on a personal level, because I find you tooth-achingly rude, sexist, obstreperous and unkind. To whit: a cunt.

And for the record – ‘I also wouldn’t use a press card to get out of a kettle, as Laurie Penny has been known to do.’ – that’s entirely untrue. I don’t HAVE a press card yet. So I was trapped in the kettle with the rest of you lot, both times, and I was glad to be there.

#1 
Written By Laurie Penny on January 28th, 2011 @ 6:29 pm
Laurie Penny

that should have read: ‘I think you’re just shocked that your private and online sniping actually got a public response.’ I have, in fact, attempted to talk with you about this before, and you’ve dismissed me every time or told me to ‘lighten up’ because, apparently, your sexist comments (‘why are we letting a woman write a press release?’) were ‘just a joke’.

And as for this:

‘in a political context I expect to be taken as seriously as I take the politics.’

Last night you came to the meeting in question wearing a giant green viking helmet. If you want to take the piss, then fine, but don’t get annoyed when others take the piss out of you!

#2 
Written By Laurie Penny on January 28th, 2011 @ 6:34 pm
Greg

I have to admit that I am surprised, Laurie, that you believe using your position as a platform speaker in a meeting to call somebody in the audience a cunt is congruous with any kind of “anarchist” theory.

#3 
Written By Greg on January 28th, 2011 @ 6:41 pm
Kit

TBH can you not just kinda get over it? Not being horrible or anything, but worse things happen. I don’t think it’s really worth an article. And stuff about Laurie (I’ve never met either of you I’ll mention) escaping with a press card is pretty feeble. It’s irrelevant most of all – but who wouldn’t escape a kettle? What’s the point of staying when you can get out? Masochism for the point of claiming you’re part of the struggle? No, get out and go and harangue those in charge to help end the kettle. I don’t know too much about this but it seems pretty petty. There’s a man at the end of my road who calls me a cunt every day. I have to work with him, too – I take over from his carer some weekends. Get over yourself.

#4 
Written By Kit on January 28th, 2011 @ 6:46 pm
Laurie Penny

Essentially, if you make ugly misogynist comments and then order me to ‘take a joke’, expect to be called on it. If you turn up to a meeting wearing a viking helmet and making fatuous sweeping generalisations, don’t expect to be taken seriously. If you go through life being rude to everyone, don’t piss and moan when people are rude to you. And if you act like a cunt, don’t whinge when people call you one.

Ok?

Now let’s get back to the struggle.

#5 
Written By Laurie Penny on January 28th, 2011 @ 6:53 pm
Tigre en Papier

There is a power dynamic at the heart of this situation. A journalist with a national profile called an activist a cunt from a platform, at a public meeting. This is an abuse of power.

Laurie might call objecting to this “whinging” but we’re not talking about harsh words between friends or even a political complaint made in private conversation. This type of abuse, in public, in front of people who may know neither of you, is just a cheap way of silencing Jacob and he’s justified in discussing it here.

It doesn’t matter what you think he may be guilty of, or how justified you are, because you didn’t raise any of those arguments at the time; you just essentially told the room he was a horrible person. To air your ire in such a vicious, irresponsible manner only reflects badly on you.

#6 
Written By Tigre en Papier on January 28th, 2011 @ 7:15 pm
Kit

Tigre: an abuse of power – oh, like man-to-woman you mean?

#7 
Written By Kit on January 28th, 2011 @ 7:16 pm

For the sake of clarity, in the light of accusations of the “many abusive tweets you’ve sent me over the weeks and months” and “the way you’ve belittled and patronised me on this blog” I though I’d collect up all the tweets that I’ve ever written about Laurie. You’ll probably notice that all criticisms have actually been political. I’m also not saying that others haven’t made substantial political attacks on Laurie on The Third Estate – I’m not going to go through each and talk about where or not I agree with the analysis – and anyhow this blog is not one that’s so doctrinaire as to demand all writers agree with each other (although often we do.) Anyhow, here are the tweets and blog mentions.

“@spitzenprodukte then again it’s better than the one the other week that claimed that situationissts had no coherent ideology. Sat Jan 22 19:38:21 2011 via TweetDeck”

“# Laurie Penny’s reading of Debord is the weirdest I’ve seen so far. Sat Jan 22 19:11:46 2011 via TweetDeck”

“Does Laurie Penny know anything about the internet? So far she’s made an argument Adorno made about radio and telephone in 1944 Mon Jan 17 23:02:15 2011 via TweetDeck”

“@UCLOccupation @PennyRed @GuyAitchison please RT http://bit.ly/hueedB – important exposé of the Browne Review – needs publicising. Thu Jan 6 13:31:54 2011 via TweetDeck”

“@UCLOccupation @PennyRed @GuyAitchison please RT http://bit.ly/hueedB – important exposé of the Browne Review – needs publicising. Thu Jan 6 13:31:54 2011 via TweetDeck”

“@Sunny_Hundal Laurie Penny slagged them off in the guardian, then you wrote a piece on your blog. Wed Dec 29 15:46:21 2010 via TweetDeck” (with reference to the debate over the SWP in the student movement)

“The SWP have done shit all for student movement. Getting press cos Laurie Penny doesn’t know other factions. Others aren’t better though. Tue Dec 28 19:12:50 2010 via TweetDeck”

“# Why is it everyone sees the SWP and Laurie Penny as the only two options? Both need better politics, and both need to read more theory. Mon Dec 27 16:35:31 2010 via TweetDeck”

“@UCLoccupation @GuyAitchison @PennyRed we’re now settled into the council chamber at Birkbeck. Please spread the word for us. #Solidarity”

And then here are all the mentions I’ve ever made on this blog.

“Generational politics: Shiv Malik and Laurie Penny are wrong. Politics never has been and never will be about generation, and in saying that it is they limit what young people can say they can believe, and why.” (in New Year Abolitions – posted a few weeks back.)

“Pink News gives a good summary of an LBGTQ campaign that has started on facebook, alongside a petition, whilst Penny Red has written a comprehensive argument about why we must oppose May on women’s issues, both of which are really worth reading and campaigning around” (in a Carnival of Socialism from May 2010)

“Penny Red reminds us that there’s an important feminist perspective (alongside all of the other reasons) on getting the vote out against the BNP.” (in a Carnival of Socialism from May 2009)

Erm, stop making shit up, and stop digging.

#8 
Written By Jacob on January 28th, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

As for the so-called “sexist comment”, if I believed there was any chance of the comment being taken at face value I would not have said it. As soon as I noticed you had not recognised it as a joke, I clarified that it was indeed not meant to be taken seriously. I don’t really see this as a massive problem. If you do, if you really think this counteracts my longterm engagement with feminism (many articles written, many protests attended and organised, many meetings/discussion groups/reading groups, long-term volunteering at a feminist organisation, etc. I could go on) then I suggest that you have a real long hard think about who are your friends and who are your enemies.

#9 
Written By Jacob on January 28th, 2011 @ 7:30 pm
James

” I also wouldn’t use a press card to get out of a kettle, as Laurie Penny has been known to do”

I would, better to get out communicate and organise support for those inside.

That is just using what advantages you have to confound and confuse the police

#10 
Written By James on January 28th, 2011 @ 7:37 pm
fellow activist

Tbh though, Jacob is a cunt.

#11 
Written By fellow activist on January 28th, 2011 @ 7:58 pm
Roger

God, I’ve enjoyed this thread. I wouldn’t have thought this an issue worth an article on, but had it not been put I’d never have got to read these gems:

“To whit: a cunt.”

“in a political context I expect to be taken as seriously as I take the politics.’

Last night you came to the meeting in question wearing a giant green viking helmet.”

It’s like an intellectual Jeremy Kyle.

#12 
Written By Roger on January 28th, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

To deal with this matter in the proper democratic fashion, should there not be a debate at Friends’ House proposing the motion ‘this house thinks that Jacob Bard-Rosenberg is a cunt’?

See, this is where Habermas becomes really useful, because this is precisely the sort of scenario that is most in need of a coherant discourse ethic.

#13 
Written By Max on January 28th, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

If it makes any difference, I think you’re all a bunch of cunts.

P.S. Pics of the viking helmet plz.

#14 
Written By D. Quail (expat) on January 28th, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

Hilarious post and thread. Several people are in serious need of cheese to go with their whine.

#15 
Written By septicisle on January 28th, 2011 @ 8:55 pm
Ash

Public slanging match. Yeah you’re right, that’s EXACTLY what the movement needs.
To both parties: please watch Mean Girls to develop an inkling of self awareness, and stop boring the world with your spats. We all have better things to do!

#16 
Written By Ash on January 28th, 2011 @ 9:13 pm
pigskin

If you did say them, both the ho ho joke about ‘Why are we getting a woman to do that?’ and ‘lighten up, it’s just a joke’ are pretty classic ways in which women’s contributions are subtly denigrated by their male comrades. Pretty pathetic, and I’m surprised you’ve never come across discussions of these tactics in your long experience of feminist activism?

#17 
Written By pigskin on January 28th, 2011 @ 9:13 pm
Dan L

I’m with Kit on this. I’ve been at events where one or other of our protagonists. Both of them are dedicated, and pretty impressive activists. They are highly accomplished – and I mean that literally: they have accomplished a lot in the service of progressive politics. They are both a little precocious and can be hurtful. I think that Jacob doesn’t see it this way but, to me, his focus on Penny is not helpful. His tweets are a kind of petty bullying, not matter whether they are on the mark or not, not matter whether they are justified or not. Jacob has to take responsibility for how his actions make Penny feel. He can react defensively at first: that’s totally normal. But it’s an opportunity for him to learn and see penny’s behavior as a reaction to his. He could talk over with a female friend a little about about what his behavior does to other people. Fundamentally, Penny and Jacob are great, warm, funny, charming Renaissance people who could learn to get along.

#18 
Written By Dan L on January 28th, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

“As soon as I noticed you had not recognised it as a joke, I clarified that it was indeed not meant to be taken seriously. I don’t really see this as a massive problem”

Not doing yourself any favours here. I don’t like the use of the c-word, but probably the best thing if you’re a feminist and you’ve been called on a sexist comment is to acknowledge it, take responsibility, and treat it as seriously as the person who is offended by it does. I know you’re saying it was a joke, but is that really relevant here? Andy Gray was joking when he asked a female co-worker to intervene in his underpants situation, but it was still sexist.

#19 
Written By Richard Seymour on January 28th, 2011 @ 9:40 pm
Bob

Fantastic. You both sound like cunts who have changed fuck all of any consequence in your miserably righteous lives. Keep on keeping on…

#20 
Written By Bob on January 28th, 2011 @ 9:42 pm
Laurie Penny

http://bit.ly/g3Vg9C

I am loving this thread so hard.

#21 
Written By Laurie Penny on January 28th, 2011 @ 9:58 pm
Lucian

Absolutely fucking priceless. Solid gold. I especially like the argument over who is the bigger feminist, and the hilarious evidence marshalled in support. So, this is really what the modern left has come to…

Me, I’m glad I work in fucking investment banking.

#22 
Written By Lucian on January 28th, 2011 @ 10:03 pm

@Richard I think you’re mistaking two possible forms of joke here. The first, in the case of Andy Gray et al. is to make a sexist comment and justify it as a joke (i.e. this sexism is justified because it is in joke form.) The second, in the case state above is for the joke to be that a feminist (TBH I’m pretty explicit about my politics most of the time) to make an “out of character” remark (i.e. the humour arises from the irony of the comment in the context that everyone involved – the teller and the listener – accept and understand each other to accept.) That is, for it to be a joke at all relies on some kind of existing background, which in a fully politically reasonable manner is reasserted rather than undermined by the jokeness of the joke. Where, in this case, it became apparent that such a background was not established, explaining it should rectify the problem.

See the formal difference? In the case of Andy Gray the “making into a joke” has the effect of putting the meaningful content of the joke beyond question. In my case the “making into a joke” absolutely negates the meaningful content.

Who said jokes weren’t funny when you explained them.

#23 
Written By Jacob on January 28th, 2011 @ 10:08 pm
Laurie Penny

In the situation in question, though, Jacob, we’d hardly met before, and hence I had no idea you were such a burning brand of enlightened, self-effacing, pro-woman, privilege-examining male feminism. All I heard was some guy who’d read out a nasty poem about menstruating donuts earlier in the day making a crass sexist ‘joke’ and then explaining to me why I should in fact have found it funny when I in fact found it rude and slightly threatening.

On the other hand, when I make a joke at your expense in public – ‘I respect the activism of all sorts of comrades, even when I find them personally awful, like Jacob for instance, who I think is a cunt’ cue huge laugh from the audience – you suddenly lose your sense of humour.

I agree with Ash, there’s a big demo tomorrow and we really need to be not scrapping like kiddies.

#24 
Written By Laurie Penny on January 28th, 2011 @ 10:19 pm
Roger

PLEASE keep up the scrapping, I’m absolutely loving this.

“But the fact is that these fora of debate are the places where we make links crucial to effective activist work. They are not places for mud-slinging or attempts to viciously sideline people from what has so far been a wonderfully inclusive movement.”

“nasty poem about menstruating donuts”

#25 
Written By Roger on January 28th, 2011 @ 10:27 pm
Lucian

Laurier why are your New Statesmen articles full of non-sequiturs and very literally meaningless phrases, incidentally? I’m thinking in particular about the Erotica fair one and the ‘damply obscene’ hotdog, etc. You shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it any more than Jacob should be allowed to get away with not bowing down to the conventions of feminazis thought policing (even though he actually does, in many substantive and deliciously ironic ways).

#26 
Written By Lucian on January 28th, 2011 @ 10:27 pm
Tigre en Papier

“cue huge laugh from the audience”

Actually there was gasping, open-mouthed amazement that you would say that from a platform.

The misogyny thing is a side-step from the point. You didn’t accuse Jacob of misogyny. That came later, a retrospective excuse for your behaviour. You called him a cunt, and just that.

Apologise, take responsibility for behaving badly in public. This is important, it doesn’t detract from tomorrow or activism in general. Using tomorrow’s march to shut down discussion is just cheap.

#27 
Written By Tigre en Papier on January 28th, 2011 @ 10:33 pm
Laurie Penny

In that case, I apologise. I’m not trying to shut down anything. We’re all comrades here.

#28 
Written By Laurie Penny on January 28th, 2011 @ 10:52 pm

To deal with this matter in the proper democratic fashion, should there not be a debate at Friends’ House proposing the motion ‘this house thinks that Jacob Bard-Rosenberg is a cunt’?

Right after our pastry-themed poetry evening…

#29 
Written By BenSix on January 28th, 2011 @ 11:07 pm

let’s hear this poem then

#30 
Written By PJ on January 28th, 2011 @ 11:22 pm

(Feel mean for snarking, actually. It’s just I never thought I’d see a leftist reenactment of This Bloke Came Up To Me.)

#31 
Written By BenSix on January 28th, 2011 @ 11:30 pm

Right, well since we’re on the topic of apologies, am I going to get one for invented accusations of abusive tweets and patronising and belittling comments here on The Third Estate?

#32 
Written By Jacob on January 28th, 2011 @ 11:47 pm

Jacob – as you urged me to read your response, here’s mine: at the considerable risk of finger-wagging tediousness, and a certain amount of hypocrisy (you would not be the first male, blogging socialist to unconsciously display destructive sexist attitudes).

I get that you thought you were ironising, but your intention isn’t all that matters. The wider social context, as well as the immediate context of the interaction, is surely more important. If you had said “are they letting a black man do our press release?”, I think you would already understand that this would be offensive regardless of how you intended it. Such a statement coming from a member of the dominant caste would be a kind of verbal violence, and it would hurt regardless of whether you meant it to or not. You might hope that the person receiving it would make benign assumptions about your intentions, and brush it off just as s/he has brushed off any number of similar micro-aggressions, petty sleights, insults and diminuations every day for his/her whole life. But you probably wouldn’t feel entirely comfortable expecting the person to take it that way, or even lecturing them that they shouldn’t be so serious. I think you would quickly realise the gravity of what you had done, however unintentionally, take responsibility and apologise. And you’d probably feel a bit shit for a while.

Well, what’s so different here? Sexism humiliates, degrades and kills, on a mass global scale. And before it does that, it grinds women down on a daily basis with mindless condescension, harassment, and aggression. For some reason, Laurie Penny gets more than the usual amount of this sort of stuff – among other things, this has recently included calls for her to be raped. Are you absolutely sure in this context that when you make such a joke, it’s unreasonable to see in it a certain amount of hostility and contempt, and to be hurt by it? And even further insulted by your insistence that the problem is with the person who is offended by it? And then, with this insistence that you don’t see it as a big deal, as if you alone have the authority to determine whether what you’ve said is sexist or offensive, do you see how that would look arrogant, like the attitude of someone who has the reassuring armoury of patriarchy backing him up? How do you think it looks that you’ve written a long post about being called a c-word and humiliated in public, and everyone’s supposed to feel sorry for you (and okay, I do feel a bit sorry for you), but you don’t concede any validity whatsoever to any offence taken by Laurie Penny?

The fact that you didn’t intend to cut this figure just tells me that you don’t want to be a sexist, not that you weren’t in fact being sexist. But if you don’t want to be sexist, the first step is to take accusations of sexism seriously, and try to deal with them honestly. The next step is to eschew solipsism and try to see it from the perspective of the person who isn’t you. It’s either that or keep bungling in the same way, with the same inevitably humiliating response when someone takes offence and decides to prick your bubble.

Well, Jacob, that’s my good deed for the day. Now I can masturbate without making God angry. Salut.

#33 
Written By Richard Seymour on January 29th, 2011 @ 12:29 am
Jen

Richard Seymour is fucking good. This thread is pretty wonderful too, i now wish i’d attended this meeting rather than sit in the bar!

#34 
Written By Jen on January 29th, 2011 @ 12:50 am

Richard, I think you are making too strong an appeal for what’s quite an old-fashioned structuralist conception of culture that ends up with what are basically transcendental value-judgments (which I can only imagine are built around an equally transcendental notion of hegemony.)

Let’s look at a couple of sentences: 1) I think it’s really good we have a woman writing press releases; 2) ‘why are we letting a woman write a press release?’. Now, for you, in your old-fashioned structuralist anti-dialectical language/culture model would say “oh, well the first one’s fine, and the second one is sexist.” For me this misses the point – actually the first one reaffirms societal structures in its weak attempt to break through them, the second one can truly be read two ways, the first makes no attempt to break societal structures and the second actually breaks them far more effectively than the first can ever do. I’m not arguing here that humour is some magical way of breaking hegemonies, but certainly within a critical framework it uses some of the tools that have become necessary in the discourses of identity (It’s, for example, close to Spivak’s notion of a catachresis, or in the Adornian terms that I prefer to use for this sort of shit the creation of an negative identity – see the passage on Beckett and the Holocaust survivor in the meditations on metaphysics from Negative Dialectics.) Anyhow, if we are to (correctly) reject both the first expression as broadly essentialist and the first reading of the second expression as plain sexist, the ironic, humourous, or critical reading may apophatically allow us a way out of discussing the qualitative oppression inherent in deep societal and linguistic structures in a way your non-critical version just doesn’t allow.

Then again, this may be a bit complicated and perhaps we should return to some bland and vulgar transcendental systems of value as you seem to be suggesting. This is, in my book, about as bad as the vulgar Marxists who note that all quality becomes quantity by focussing just on that quantity (with an outcry of “fuck, everything can be exchanged with everything else: this can’t be right!”) as opposed to the theorists who attempt (and it’s just an attempt) to talk apophatically or catachretically about that quality that has been lost. It is, perhaps here and only here that we can start talking about identity, at least in properly dialectical terms.

As for offence, well I think if you use this as a basis for judgment you’ll quickly find yourself defending charges of blasphemy and equally pointless nonsense.

Also, I want to be clear that my problem is not really with being called a cunt. I expect my post would have been the same had she called me a dick, or a wanker. The point is that she was abusing a position of power to attempt to alienate me from an inclusive movement. I don’t care about being humiliated – after years of work, years of being locked up in school, I am frankly used to it as a way of life. What I object to is having the sole means by which I can attempt to organise ways out of the humiliation of everyday life being arbitrarily undermined by someone with a chip on their shoulder.

Perhaps you can tell me how to stop bumbling through this life without causing offence, but you seem to be basing such a way of life upon a totally static value system that must be undermined by identity theorists and Marxists alike.

#35 
Written By Jacob on January 29th, 2011 @ 1:57 am
Kit

Skipping the philosophical shit, which I disagree with anyway, how exactly did your blog post make any of this better in any way?

#36 
Written By Kit on January 29th, 2011 @ 2:08 am

Kit, I think people do need to be held to account. All I wanted was a simple apology – a simple “yep, I hold my hands up, I shouldn’t have done it – it’s not a good way to act, you didn’t deserve it (in fact no-one does), and it shan’t happen again.

Instead I get called a cunt again and again, I get some lame back-peddling, and all sorts of accusations of stuff that Laurie has just invented.

Well if you’re wanting to think I’m responsible for some speaker on the platform of a meeting calling me a cunt, that might be fine. And if you think I’m responsible for people inventing shit about me, that’s fine. But as you can imagine it’s hardly easy to let go. Actually I don’t think this sort of argument is massively useful, but I’m not just going to sit here silently while Laurie abuses her popularity to sideline me in public meetings. I had enough of that in school playgrounds.

#37 
Written By Jacob on January 29th, 2011 @ 2:18 am

Oh, and to clarify, Richard, yes I think the context was clear. It was a bunch of four very serious lefties in a room drafting a press release.

#38 
Written By Jacob on January 29th, 2011 @ 2:30 am
Montana

Well, I was unfamiliar with Jacob until reading this, but I’ve read some of Laurie Penny’s efflue — er — ouevres on CiF. Penny’s an irritating, talentless little twerp, but Jacob, you’re not coming out of this thread looking any better.

It was rude of her to call you a cunt in a public forum. It was dickish of you to make your little “joke” about a woman writing a press release and no amount of you trying to justify it is going to make it any better.

If you’re sincere about not wanting to be or seem like a sexist jerk, you need to re-read Richard Seymour’s comment at 12:29 am and take it to heart. He’s right — you would never have said a similar comment about a black man and you know it.

But it would behove Penny to quit throwing the word ‘misogyny’ around at every little thing a man does that she doesn’t like. It makes feminism look like a joke.

#39 
Written By Montana on January 29th, 2011 @ 3:23 am
Montana

One other thing:

Laurie Penny might want to re-think the appropriateness of a feminist using the word ‘cunt’ as an insult. It implies that there is something odious about cunts. I don’t know about her, but I like mine and don’t see anything odious about it at all. Kinda glad I have it, really.

#40 
Written By Montana on January 29th, 2011 @ 3:31 am
Cream Crackers

`For the moment I can only wonder how long she will get away with abusing her new-found power and popularity.’

For as long as there are self-righteous cunts like you around.

#41 
Written By Cream Crackers on January 29th, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

If ever a comment thread served to show nothing but how massive a disconnect there is between Real People and bloggers/activists/pundits, surely this is it.

#42 
Written By D. Quail (expat) on January 29th, 2011 @ 2:34 pm
Bitterweed

Put the kettle on luv.

#43 
Written By Bitterweed on January 29th, 2011 @ 3:19 pm
Bitterweed

Laurie smashed it.

#44 
Written By Bitterweed on January 29th, 2011 @ 3:36 pm
AJT

Well, clearly the “cunt” remark was anti-Semitic.

#45 
Written By AJT on January 29th, 2011 @ 3:41 pm
MJW

wouldn’t normally comment on stuff like this but my goodness Jacob, your response to Richard totally proves Laurie’s point – you are an utter cunt. Or ‘cock’, to keep things balanced. Perhaps ‘fuckwit’ in neutral terms.

#46 
Written By MJW on January 29th, 2011 @ 5:03 pm
MyrnaMinx

Don’t blame laurie for using bad words, she’s so angry and radical she can’t help it! When you’ve graduated from the school of hard knocks (Balliol?) this sort of language is second nature. And she’s right, a real male feminist would join her in “privilege examination”! Not her own privilege, obviously, but other peoples.

Pennys totally radical, don’t be fooled by the chipmunk-like vocals, she’s fucking serious and she’s fucking angry!

Go penny!

#47 
Written By MyrnaMinx on January 29th, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

I’ve just deleted two comments, one for being spam (and illiterate spam at that) and one because it was anti-semitic abuse. Play nicely, kids.

#48 
Written By Owen on January 29th, 2011 @ 7:27 pm
Captn Tripps

What an unexpected source of mirth. One person things being called a cunt is blog-worthy and writes (at length) about his harrowing experience, and another rather eagerly tries to defend (at length) the reasons for calling him a cunt.

Nothing is learned.

I have not had the privilege of the company of Laurie or Jacob, but given the amount of energy they have put into this petty argument I will stick my neck out and say they are both horrible, horrible, human beings.

#49 
Written By Captn Tripps on January 29th, 2011 @ 9:09 pm
Bitterweed

My deleted response was to the post “Well, clearly the “cunt” remark was anti-Semitic.”

When I said “Jew cunt” it was a riff on that.

Your failing, through either the heat of the moment, or the dullness of your bone-headed dogma, to spot this makes you a double-cunt.

Cunt.

PS Penney’s a public-school vacuuous loudmouthed bullshitting no-account ranting pseud; a cunt who is discouraging potential activists by the second through her sub-Bidisha bullshit hypocrisy. This makes her much more of a cunt. A wanker in fact.

Hope this helps.

#50 
Written By Bitterweed on January 30th, 2011 @ 12:49 am

Yeah, I really don’t give a shit why you posted what you did – for the record, it was ‘yid cunt’, not ‘jew cunt’ which was why it was deleted. (And if you’re going to try and be clever and claim I’m being hypocritical because I’ve just quoted the post I deleted, look up the difference between ‘use’ and ‘mention’, then shut up.) If being all edgy and taboo-busting by using racist epithets ‘ironically’ is what floats your boat, you can fuck off and do it somewhere else. In fact, you can fuck off anyway. Swearing is fine; personal abuse for its own sake isn’t.

Edit: Oh, and I’m locking this comment thread. It stopped being anything like a productive discussion some time ago.

#51 
Written By Owen on January 30th, 2011 @ 1:24 am