I received an email from Change.org urging subscribers to sign a petition calling for Canada to ban Julien Blanc from entering Canada. I never heard the name before, but his Real Social Dynamics is indeed despicable. One doesn’t need to delve too far into this crap to know that it’s crap.
My knee-jerk reaction was to agree that Canada doesn’t need someone like Julien or anything like what’s he’s selling and to sign the petition. I’m not sure I should have done so, but the deed is done.
I had a quick look around for some information about him, taking the usual care to bypass sketchy sites. I landed on a Guardian article, “Julien Blanc: petition urges UK to deny visa to controversial US ‘pick-up artist’,” by Alexandra Topping, who (or whose boss) doesn’t provide an email address for those who might like to question her. There’s a lot of that out there. The journos who are under attack are hard to reach as they find themselves hunkered down behind walls. Do they want to be reached?
The article served it’s purpose and confirmed essentially what Maria del Mar’s alert relayed. But I didn’t feel too good about signing a petition that I might not have signed if I hadn’t let my initial strong reaction of repugnance take over, so I wanted to email her to point that out or to ask her whether she believes in free speech. I’m not happy about the message I saw when I clicked on her name on the Change.org petition she sent me. I don’t like being talked at. It’s not democratic. And there’s already too much of that. Here’s what greeted me on her section of the Change.org site:
And it occurs to me that that is unnecessary. Listen up media orgs! Here I am blogging on WordPress. It’s amazing, although what the future holds for us WP bloggers who use desktops and laptops I don’t know. A few times now, WP has made some very startling and disturbing ‘improvements’ that hobbled bloggers using WP. One especially was evil, but the squawking that followed might have been sufficient to make their geeks back off. I don’t enjoy being critical of an organization that has given me so much, but what else can I do? For free, I have this incredibly powerful voice amplifier. Will I always have it though? The internet itself began that way, thanks to the vision of some of it’s early designers whose values were progressive. But powerful, entrenched special interests that have no use for democracy and believe in inequality and conveniently see the people as the enemy have other plans for ‘our’ internet. Hell, If they prefer that only those who can afford it have water (as in Detroit), Will they care if the internet comes to be wholly owned and operated by private companies? But I digress. Maria’s distance from Change.org’s subscribers may mean that she isn’t bothered by some who have bad intentions, but she can minimize that without jettisoning democracy, just the way WP allows me to simply click and add a form to my blog or any section of it that allows readers to contact me, after going through certain automatic screens. Easy peasy!
Here’s what the button from my composition page looks like:
And here’s what you see when I use that button (which doesn’t always work, forcing me to simply copy the code and use that instead):
An excerpt from the Guardian article by Alexandra follows:
Thousands of people have called on the Home Office to deny a visa to a controversial US “pick-up artist” who holds seminars that critics say teach men sexually abusive and racist tricks to attract women…
Blanc – who tours the world carrying out seminars and $2,000 (£1,250) bootcamps – is due to arrive in the UK for a series of events, but a petition on campaigning website Change.org calling for a ban has gathered more than 5,500 signatures since it was launched on Saturday.
The City worker who started the petition said Blanc’s seminars promoted dangerous behaviour and attitudes towards women. Caroline Charles, a pseudonym she is using because of the abuse and vitriol experienced by other female campaigners against sexism, said: “Julien Blanc dresses up his seminars as dating advice, which at best is disingenuous – he focuses on tricking women into having sex, in order to make money.”…
show him shoving women’s faces into his crotch and on one occasion assaulting a Japanese checkout worker – who appears to be deeply uncomfortable – by kissing her neck and ear. He is shown speaking to a room full of men who laugh at his anecdotes, at one point commenting about women in Japan: “If you’re a white male, you can do what you want. I’m just romping through the streets, just grabbing girls’ heads, just like, head, pfft on the dick.”
Blanc’s promotion of racist behaviour was “supremely arrogant”, said Fiona Elvines, from Rape Crisis South London. “Blanc is training white men to abuse their privilege to coerce women into sex; he is not unique but he is being so explicit about it. London has one of the best violence against women and girls strategies in the world, which is focused on prevention – the fact that he thinks he can come to this city and promote these sexist and racist attitudes is unbelievable,” she said…
Sarah Green from the End Violence Against Women coalition said that there was a strong legal case for denying Blanc a temporary work visa for the UK. “Some of the behaviour Blanc demonstrates in his videos amounts to sexual harassment and sexual assault,” she said. “More broadly this is part of a culture that makes light of assault, that tells victims they will not be taken seriously. We need a social conversation about why this type of ‘advice’ is commercially viable.”
I was at work (I’m a security guard) the other day and was forced to listen to this young man’s YouTube videos. It was the most vile, dark, disturbing crap you can imagine. The problem, alluded to in the above excerpt, is that too many would react to my statement with “What’s your point?” I blurted out to my young colleague that if he wanted to torture me he could just tie me up and force me to listen to that all night long. He offered to put headphones on. I should have said “Please do,” but I didn’t want to be rude and I didn’t even mean to blurt out what I did. With normal people, though, my calm outburst would have at least stimulated a little bit of discussion about the cause. He didn’t enquire. I don’t think he’s entirely normal. He flitted from some MTV award thing where dancing girls hammering on sex pranced to machine music to other similar stuff, some of which pushed the limits fully, with language so violent and foul it was not a little disturbing. The young man is black and he was giggling at a lot of this stuff by mostly black artists. One video showed a plump girl casually showing how to perform fellatio. I have no idea whether it was meant to be a joke. She used a vegetable or fruit and made the slurpiest sounds she could. He replayed that quite a bit. Why? (Well, It was funny. But the nasty rap was horrifying. These are people who don’t get boundaries. They get force. They only behave to the extent that they have to. They lack principles.) Some of the more violent stuff involved black guys rapping menacingly – the standard – about trash, as usual, making frequent references to niggers. That seems racist to me. “We can say the word. You other colors can’t.” I have no use for rap or anything that sounds like it, and Democracy Now’s frequent playing of political rap (which is not trash content or full of attention-getting expletives and references to sex and sex acts, but is still angry sounding) doesn’t change my mind about that. I get no more pleasure from it than I would if I was being mugged by someone in a dark alley. Apparently, That’s how those fools want some of us to feel.
We all need attention. There’s two ways to get it. You can attract people to you, by being interesting and/or helpful and/or kind or you can force it from people by behaving in such a way that they can’t ignore you even if they would rather do so. Those who choose that second way to get attention, obviously, don’t care what they do to get your attention, and that’s scary. They clearly would do whatever nasty thing they can, so long as they feel that society will protect them from the consequences.
Will Change.org be sending out petitions to ban all those filthy ‘artists’? It’s a free universe. And vile rappers are free to reproduce. And we are in the darkest time of the history of imperfect mankind. The world’s dominant paradigm is ‘riches for the strongest’ and it’s clear that for many, ‘strong’ means evil that you can get away with and which involves your taking something from others, whether they want to give it to you or not. As for rappers, Where were their parents and role models? I know that there are many issues here and that blacks have faced challenges that, generally, whites have not faced. Not everywhere and not always. But often and all throughout the United States. (I’m wondering what my newly purchased book, “Defending White Democracy” will have to say about that. I haven’t read it yet.)
I made a few comments in the discussion attached to the Guardian article by Alexandra. They were:
“To allow someone into the UK who is explicitly promoting these things is abysmal.” This is terrible English. I should say it’s terrible language. But it’s all going rapidly down the toilet. Like minds. People don’t think at all about the words and phrases they use. And I don’t understand it. If you’re clearly not mentally lazy and clearly a caring person, then why doesn’t it matter to you how well you communicate?
Something might be abysmally bad. But you don’t just call behavior ‘abysmal’. A hole can be abysmal. Sheesh!
I’m reading Jane Jacobs right now and sighed when I came across the popular phrase ‘attested to’. She also wrote ‘attest to’. That’s also called affectation. It sounds cooler than ‘testify to’, which no one uses now, always a good thing to consider. ‘Attest’ is a contraction. It includes the ‘to’. You might as well say “I can testify to to that.”
Or there’s the mind-numbing “As far as…” and that’s it. That’s like me saying to you that I want to tell you something, gaining your invitation to do so, and then saying nothing. The phrase used to be “As far as that [or whatever] goes.”
And the brain dead phrase people use that goes “I could care less.” Yep. People literally say the exact opposite of what they mean and neither they nor those they say it to notice. ‘I could care less’ means I care. ‘I couldn’t care less’ means I don’t care.
Yes, I signed the petition and may blog about it, tying [it] into a situation here in Canada (and subject of many other petitions) involving a Canadian professor named Hassan Diab. He’s done nothing but be a good citizen but France wants to try him for terrorism on evidence that experts say doesn’t hold up at all. And our political leaders couldn’t care less. Our extradition laws are crap and barbaric and need changing but we have a rightwing government that’s evidently in the business of making, not jettisoning, such laws. (And that’s why the anachronistic, anomalous ‘first past the post’ electoral system is undemocratic and unsupportable. And that’s only one problem with our unfree electoral marketplace.) I would simply make the point that Canadian (and insert the country of your choice here if it isn’t Canada) values shouldn’t include embracing Julien Blancs and punishing innocents like Hassan Diab. And I can’t support political leaders who would reverse those positives.
I have to admit, I’m ambivalent. My knee-jerk reaction – to my surprise – was yes he should be banned. However, I believe strongly in free speech. I think perhaps instead of banning him we should just do what journos and activists are doing, which is loudly complaining about him. Expose him. Let’s ban cigarettes instead.
What I might also do is show how our ‘leaders’ have no problem with hateful people like Julien while they attack and ban good people. Here in Canada, as my post above notes, they want to deport an innocent man, Hassan Diab, to stand trial for terrorism, which there is not a [scintilla] of evidence he engaged in. While they ban or attempt to ban speakers like George Galloway, who, while not perfect, certainly has useful things to say about destructive imperialism of those who would attack him. Or take Noam Chomsky (who strongly advocates for free speech – for all), who recently gave an incredibly powerful talk at the UN about the atrocities committed by US/Israel, regularly, against the Palestinians. He has in the past been prevented from entering Israel. (I thought he had been prevented recently from entering Gaza, but perhaps I’m mistaken about that. I can’t seem to find anything to confirm it.) In this upside down world, a defender of human rights is a criminal, while the violators of human rights, and their militaries, are righteous and moral and worthy of protection and adulation. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2LNyZ6NNeE)