Essays

The Age of Fiction: How Donald Trump Rewrote My Life

By posted at 6:00 am on January 20, 2017 64

1.
The Bolsheviks shot ’em, chopped ’em up, threw ’em in a hole, poured acid on ’em. This was my high-school History teacher’s recounting of the Romanov murders. He sat at the back of the classroom grading while we watched a video, the people of the early 20th century jerking along soundlessly in black and white. Then the finish: the forest of today, grown up where the scattered royal bodies had recently been found and DNA-tested, proving the story was all real. In spite of two of the skeletons being missing, this was passed off as a happy ending.

Grigori Rasputin came up too, of course, and took over. They couldn’t kill him. Poisoned him. Shot him. Clubbed him. Tied him up and threw him in the water. Intrigued by the whiff of the dark, I wrote a long, galloping essay about him. I stared at his stark photographs in books, sucking up descriptions. He smelled like a goat, and always had food in his beard, yet was extremely attractive to women. He looked that way. Like someone who stank and didn’t care, whose lack of caring was behind his ability to get any woman naked in a hurry. Under his caveman brow, his eyes were pale and startling. “A flaming glow,” as Boney M. put it in the song about him and the Russian queen. My parents had the album.

I could see how the eyes got to that queen (another Alix, as I noted with a thrill). I’m sure I included them in the essay. I got a B, and was irritated. I was usually an A student, a prim compiler of what teachers wanted to hear. “Great! A little inconclusive,” the teacher wrote in red. There was something I clearly hadn’t gotten at. Something I didn’t see, or didn’t yet know how to write about. And didn’t know was coming.

2.
This year, I didn’t see Donald Trump’s election win coming either. At home in British Columbia, watching poll results on my phone half the night, I drifted into bleary memories of high school, of sadistic boys, of History class. Rasputin floated up again when I skimmed an article about Trump seeking to bro down with Vladimir Putin. Trump is no Mad Monk, but there are other similarities. Like Rasputin, he projects himself as a “man of the people” with heroic powers, including the ability to transform a sick country into a healthy one. Like Trump, Rasputin was proud of his genitals, and enjoyed grabbing and kissing and firing others once he got some governmental clout. And both he and Trump show themselves as ringmasters of narrative: they tell their own heroic stories, and reroute everyone else’s.

That’s especially true of women’s stories. Aside from persuading the queen that he was cousin to Jesus Christ and knew everything she was thinking, Rasputin told “my little ladies” that sleeping with him wasn’t the sin they had been brought up to believe, but conversely, a sin-removing act. Trump is similarly possessive about “my women,” but is a less subtle deflector. We’ve all heard his “Pussygate” responses: the accusers are wrong, the assaults never happened, they’re liars. This technique spreads easily. When his campaign manager was accused of aggressively grabbing a female reporter by the arm, Trump said, “Perhaps she made the story up. I think that’s what happened.” It goes beyond gaslighting; it’s a rewrite, or a writing-over.

Like many people who’ve been sexually abused, I’ve gone over and over my past in my mind, keeping it mainly to myself. And like them, I’ve felt chewed up and spat out by this presidential victory and what it’s peeled away from the world. A lot of women I know have said the election result feels personal, and it has surely reanimated old occurrences for us, things we thought were dead. Inconclusive things. Things with zombie afterlives that are difficult to tell. Here’s one of them.

3.
All the things you don’t remember line themselves up first. After watching so much political posturing, I now feel the need to note that, to defend my honesty upfront.

I don’t remember leaving the party at the house near the river in Oxford, where all my A’s had taken me. I was studying English Literature there at the end of the 1990s. I don’t remember getting back to my college closer to town, going up the stairs to my room, putting the key in the lock, turning on the lamp inside. He must have been with me all the way. I feel the need to list details, too. There were three flights of stairs. He was in a tux, I was in a long gown. Oxford parties often required oddly formal dress, and we’d sit around on the floor drinking like that, as though we were minor Russian royals from some other time.

I look for connections, trying to give this story a shape.

I don’t remember what we talked about, walking over the cobbled street in the cool winter night. We must have talked. I do remember sitting on my small couch chatting about families. I liked talking about mine then, with anyone who would listen. And complaining about things wrong with England: the eyedropper pressure of the showers, the clerks’ pain upon eye contact at the grocery store. I was very obviously homesick. I’ve wondered since if that marked me.

He wasn’t Russian or American. He was English. I can’t remember his eye colour. He had glasses.

My room looked out onto the shoulder of the chapel next to the quad. It was late, it was dark, as we sat by the windows. I do remember being cheerfully drunk, amused. I don’t remember us getting into my narrow bed. I don’t remember how we started kissing. I do remember stopping and telling him, “I don’t want to have sex with you.” His odd compliments: You’re so feminine. You’re so female.

How I ended up out of my rustling pewter ballgown: No.

His weight: Yes.

The pain when he pushed into me: Yes.

I said nothing else, except asking him to finish, so it would stop. He did, and fell heavily asleep with his arm over me, blurting out Bloody fucking in his dreams, twice. I had wavery, still-drunk thoughts about pregnancy and disease. These seemed to be far away but coming, trains that had left their stations. I held very still.

I remember him leaving in the earliest morning with a kiss and his number, and me going along with it, already deciding this script would make things better, though I felt like a wasteland. Chopped up and thrown in a hole and covered in acid, yes. Him calling later to say, “I owe you an apology. I’m sorry I raped you.” His voice was slightly abashed in that English way, permanently level. And me trying to figure out what to reply.

No words came to mind. I still hadn’t slept. I was sitting at my desk, trying to work, with the heavy curtains closed against the white sky. I’d taken a shower, avoiding thinking about what I was washing away. I’d stripped the navy sheets from the bed and taken them straight downstairs to the laundry. He stayed on the phone a while, mentioned his girlfriend, how he had one, yeah, and he was sorry about that too. I’m not sure which seemed worse to me at that moment.

Then all I did was think, for weeks. All the old donkeys trotted out in the service of rape explanations. Your fault, your drunkenness, your strapless dress, your taking him to your room, your kissing him back, men can’t help themselves, men can’t stop themselves, nobody knocked you unconscious, it wasn’t your first time, you asked him to finish, you must have wanted him. And others, less clear. Your unanchored need. You wanted to talk with him, you wanted to meet someone, the cute story, the happy end. Isn’t that why you went to parties?

Via email, I blurted out a summarized version to a guy I knew, as if a male witness would cement it. His reaction: Are you sure? Rape-rape? I had nothing to say to that either. I think I wrote the rapist a blistering email at some point. But I’m not sure I sent it. My Oxford email address disappeared years ago, so I can’t check. Are you sure? That question never dies.

coverI tried to go on working, too, making a thesis out of piles of 19th-century research. In the Bodleian Library — everyone called it the Bod, which now made me queasy — I felt swallowed up. Waiting for my books to be delivered to my desk, I looked up at the faces of ancient greats painted high on the walls. Ovid was one. I remembered first reading his Metamorphoses as an undergrad back home in Canada. The people changed into rocks and trees and animals still felt human, still had human emotion, but nowhere to put it now. The back of my brain wondered: How was I changed? It was the same stew of disbelief and fascination I knew from reading fairy tales all my life, Russian or German or Irish, the ones that kept turning up in my research now. Girl into bird, sister into deer, queen into witch. How did it happen? What happened to her after that?

4.
The morning after Trump’s victory, I posted a broken heart on my Facebook feed. I usually hate emojis, but I was out of words, tired and blasted, as if it were again the morning after in Oxford. Another memory circled: the day, weeks later, when I was brusquely declared clear of pregnancy and sickness by the clinic, and went back to work in the library with a goodie bag of condoms they’d handed me. It felt like an ending, though it wasn’t, there isn’t one. Looking at that Facebook heart, I wanted to write my story, all of it, in point form or tweets or emojis, sure. Something shapeless.

Trump’s campaign brought the prevalence of sexual assault into the open, and then brushed it away. It felt like a nation turning its eyes on victims and asking what my male friend asked me: Are you sure? You’re not sure. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. There are other issues. Turn the page, tear it out, write it better.

He tells it like it is.

The subtext of that favorite comment of Trump supporters is this: That isn’t the story. He’s telling the story. Their impatience for the victory, the desired finish, is palpable. Trump has always wanted to keep hold of the narrative, saying, for instance, that he would be the one to “reveal all” about his accusers after the election. Rasputin did the same, teasing his followers along with opaque predictions about the future. After a financial fall in 1997, Trump declared, “Anyone who thinks my story is anywhere near over is sadly mistaken,” like Rasputin undying, staggering up from poison and bullets, controlling the tale until the absolute end.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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64 Responses to “The Age of Fiction: How Donald Trump Rewrote My Life”

  1. Helen Melone
    at 9:18 pm on January 20, 2017

    One wonders whether you had the same feelings of “rewriting” when Bill stood next to Hillary on the podium during one of her campaign speeches, for I do recall a long line of women accusing him of sexual assault. But perhaps these traumatic memories are only triggered by Republicans.

  2. Susan
    at 1:05 am on January 21, 2017

    A beautifully written and scorchingly smart and honest piece.

  3. steven augustine
    at 12:06 pm on January 21, 2017

    @Helene Melone

    Good luck getting a substantive discussion out of that inconvenient observation: you’ll either be ignored or treated to a bucket brigade of nutty invective! I know it’s standard to claim that “things are worse, these days”…. but I think they really are, when it comes to the general population’s always-fragile relationship with those dusty old clichés of Truth and Justice. I suspect it’s Social Media to blame: the brainwashing goes deeper now and short-circuits the logic-centers. The Zombies are real, but, in a delightful inversion, they’re much better-looking than the actors who play them in the movies. Oh, and they don’t eat brains, either… though, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea…?

  4. Ed
    at 7:24 pm on January 21, 2017

    Helen Melone,

    Does one wonder that? Maybe if one is a horrible person incapable of empathizing with people, then yeah, I can see how one’s first reaction to reading this rape essay would be to wonder that, then go to one’s computer and write a comment that again question the author’s ability to tell her own story, which is the entire point of the essay.

    SA,

    Yeah, that sure is a substantive discussion “Helen” is trying to have. I really don’t see how you can read a personal essay about someone’s rape, and the feelings that our election of a rapist evoke, and have your first response be, “BUT DID YOU FEEL THAT WAY ABOUT BILL TOO?!!” And then some snarky shit about zombies. I mean what is wrong with you people? Why don’t you take the shitty axe you bring into almost every comment thread about liberals and Paul Beatty, and go grind it somewhere else?

  5. dame
    at 8:59 pm on January 21, 2017

    An amazingly written essay that must have taken a great deal of courage to share. Thank you. And thanks Ed, for a perfectly written retort to Helen and Steven!

  6. Allen Morgan
    at 10:04 pm on January 21, 2017

    “Ed” (and, by extension, Alix):

    As I am someone for whom Trump’s inauguration was a day of immense and ineffable joy, I shouldn’t be giving you advice, but since you people on the other side of the aisle are so crestfallen nowadays, I’ll do an act of charity and give it to you anyway:

    Crying “rapist” didn’t help us get rid of Bill Clinton. In fact, it only made him stronger. If you wanna get rid of Trump, you (as a camp) should drop the rape/assault allegations or they’ll bite you in the behind really, really hard. Stick to the economy, minority and civil rights, foreign affairs. Drop the rape business or you’ll have President Trump handing over the keys to the White House to Ted Nugent in 2025. Seriously, beware.

  7. Robin
    at 12:09 am on January 22, 2017

    Allen:

    Thanks for the advice. I can see why, after today’s March on Washington, you might be worried about us sticking to our guns on sexism in general and sexual assault in particular. You know how vulnerable your candidates are on those issues, not because of their personal conduct but because of their sexist public policies. So you desperately want to change the subject.

    The desperation, on your part, is justified. You lost the popular election by nearly 3 million votes. We’ll be back, and soon.

  8. Ed
    at 12:13 am on January 22, 2017

    Allen,

    The fact that he’s a proud sexual assaulter is only one of a hilarious multitude of disqualifications (or should-have-been disqualifications) for your boy, chief among them being an utterly unstable narcissist. His rapeyness is germane to this article and people’s shameful response to it, but I have no doubt that his biblical venality and utter lack of qualifications will undo him–and likely the country along with it–long before his little orange penis does (barfed a little in my mouth, there). But enjoy your triumphal moment!

    Also definitely keep the advice coming, because I really really give a shit what you or anyone like you thinks about anything. And along the same lines, please don’t die in a grease fire!

  9. Allen Morgan
    at 1:50 am on January 22, 2017

    Gosh, you liberals are so angry! I’m more than happy sticking with this subject, but frankly I was fearing that moderators would censor me or close down the thread if we did. Surely language as filthy as Ed’s would not be allowed to stand if it came out of my mouth, but I see no reason to use expletives. People on our side of the fence can discourse without resorting to profane personal attacks. So by all means, let us continue discussing sexual assault, but please watch your language lest the wrath of moderators be upon you. Now how ’bout this conjecture, which a fellow militiaman intimated while we were shooting at Busch tallboys from the back of his pickup truck:

    Rape is like anti-Semitism: everybody’s complaining about it, but there ain’t much of it around.

    Discuss.

  10. Robin
    at 2:22 am on January 22, 2017

    Thanks for the invite, Allen — mighty neighborly of you — but I think we’ll just get back to the task of beating your candidates in the next sets of elections. Bye!

  11. steven augustine
    at 6:34 am on January 22, 2017

    @Ed the Z:

    QED

  12. steven augustine
    at 7:28 am on January 22, 2017

    @Ed the Z:

    “Why don’t you take the shitty axe you bring into almost every comment thread about liberals and Paul Beatty, and go grind it somewhere else?”

    You mean I’m not allowed to do any axe-grinding at The Millions, which has been, for at least six months, a giant *Anti-Trump Axe Grinding Echo Chamber* (which also talks about Lit, sometimes, too)?

    If a Lit site presents balanced political commentary: I’m all for it. When it churns out almost nothing but a one-sided, *emotionally-manipulative* content-stream which swerves very blatantly around several mountain of evidence undermining any rational support for the bias: that is pure Propaganda. Donald Trump is a chauvinistic plutocrat and HRC and Hubbie are profoundly corrupt War Criminals; therefore, the rhetorical sighs and the hair-tearing about “what might have been” if the election had gone the other way are contemptibly uninformed at best. You’re all adults (presumably) and you have a responsibility to know *something* about “your” candidate’s record (other than her/his self-lauding speeches and photo opps).

    Hijacking Lit (and vulnerable readers too passive to recognize or counter the problem) for the purpose of spreading Propaganda is unethical. Worse, The Millions is (unintentionally, I hope) reinforcing the Philistine’s notion that “worthwhile” Lit exists to confirm the reader’s biases.

    If writers and staff at The Millions want (self-indulgently) to use this platform to work through the PTSD reality has inflicted on them with this election, no one can stop that from happening. But don’t expect zero feedback on the sorry sight this self-sabotaging group-therapy presents. Don’t expect a uniformly passive commentariat. 100 Zombies to every non-Zombie standing? That strikes me as appropriately cinematic, Ed!

    Now, back to your groaning and shuffling…

  13. steven augustine
    at 7:51 am on January 22, 2017

    @Allen

    “Rape is like anti-Semitism: everybody’s complaining about it, but there ain’t much of it around.”

    (cue: theme from Deliverance)

    The sentence cited is almost too stupid to respond to, so I’ll keep it short: Rape is common but it often goes unreported; one of the biggest reasons it goes unreported is that when Powerful Men indulge in it (usually serially), the victim can be intimidated into silence (or the police investigating the report can be shooed away). Some of these cases come to light years after the fact. Expecting you to be conversant with any of these important cases (or to care) would be ridiculous. Re: Antisemitism: it’s been my experience that people who say that Antisemitism is “greatly exaggerated” tend to be antisemites. And, btw: both ethnic Jews and “Arabs” are Semites. Quite a few ignorant people feel that they have to choose between “Jews” and “Arabs” and that “Jews” are the lesser of two “evils”. That’s as close as they get to being “not Antisemitic”.

    But thanks for giving me a chance to deal with an idiotically cardboard cutout “Conservative”, for a change, around here. Refreshing.

  14. Ed
    at 10:46 am on January 22, 2017

    Allen,

    I get that you’re trolling for liberal reactions here, and obviously I’m not going to engage you on any of these “points.” But I do wonder what brings a person to a place in their life where they feel the need to come to the comments field of an essay written by a young woman about her rape and subsequent trauma, and say stuff like this. You’ve become desensitized or damaged somewhere along the way, and lost some part of your humanity. I really do wish you luck with that.

  15. Ed
    at 11:02 am on January 22, 2017

    SA,

    You’re missing the point. I think it’s disrespectful and gross to come into the comments field of a very personal rape essay and immediately start commiserating with a commenter whose callous take on it is to question that author’s political bias.

    As to your other points, all I can really say is you spend an awful lot of time building straw men around here. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I was never under the impression that HRC was flawless or indeed not severely compromised. I’m also aware of Bill’s checkered past and personally found his decision not to intervene in Rwanda the most morally suspect of his administration’s decisions. I suspect most folks around here have similar reservations, but voted for Hillary at the very least because they didn’t want a desperately unstable con man running the country–because they’re, you know, adults. Your characterization of liberals as unthinking zombies says more about you than it does them, revealing a brittle superiority complex and the painfully obvious need to feel smarter than everyone else.

  16. steven augustine
    at 11:50 am on January 22, 2017

    Ed:

    “I can’t speak for everyone else, but I was never under the impression that HRC was flawless or indeed not severely compromised. I’m also aware of Bill’s checkered past and personally found his decision not to intervene in Rwanda the most morally suspect of his administration’s decisions.”

    This is what’s called praising with faint damnation, I think. How about starting with the unnecessary, politically-motivated killing of the state of Kosovo under Bill’s polls-boosting bombs… or the war crime of the rape of Libya? How about the deaths-by-starvation under Daddy Bush, then the Clintons, of 500,000 Iraqi children? How about Bill’s *many* rape accusations (one of which he settled out of court for $850,000, a strange thing for an innocent man to do)? How about the endemic corruption of The Clinton Foundation in Haiti (how many houses were they supposed to build with that money, again?). On a lower level, how about the Clintons’ racialist dog-whistle speeches/ comments over the years (from “super-predators” to the “Sista Soulja” Strom Thurmond moment)? Or HRC’s libelous demonizing of Bill’s rape-accusers? I could go on here, Ed. But I’ll give you time to catch up first.

    So, to be concrete: How is/was Trump *possibly* worse than a tenth of that? Because he’s *crude*?

    I seriously want to hear the details of the logic there.

  17. Ed
    at 12:52 pm on January 22, 2017

    SA,

    QED right back at you buddy.

    And no, as you have no interest in addressing your lack of decency earlier in the comments, I have no interest in getting into a back and forth about the clintons misdeeds, real and perceived, except to say that even if everything you say was true (it isn’t), HRC would still be obviously more qualified than Donald Trump to be president, by every conceivable metric.

  18. steven augustine
    at 2:42 pm on January 22, 2017

    “QED right back at you buddy.”

    You sound uncannily like Allen there, Ed. Allen on that front porch with the banjo.

    “I have no interest in getting into a back and forth about the clintons misdeeds”

    No, you’re only interested in *Trump’s* misdeeds… that’s the point. And the problem.

    That thin veneer of casually-acquired and sort of sketchy “knowledge” you deployed, in the comment before my previous comment, is all you have, then? The “Liberal” version of Realpolitik! Admitting to the very (very) least of the WJC/ BHO/ HRC sins to affect a show of worldliness. Instead it illuminates how little you know (just like the Bushites)… but that’s usually enough, isn’t it? Well, not in a debate with someone who’s actually well-informed on the topic at hand, no. This is what I learned when I was young: never get in a “heated” argument over a topic you know little or nothing about. Although, sure, the Internet is a vast, ongoing celebration of the violation of that rule, Ed. The ecstatic assertion of your Clueless You-ness! The newest Human Right.

    Re: “decency”: Well, I’ve said nothing indecent on this page, but I’ve noticed that people like you, having done very little of the reading I’ve done over the past 20 years, are ill equipped to join *any* of these debates on a serious level. You invariably reach, instead, for the junior demagogue’s favorite stick: trumped up pseudo-moral “outrage”. “People have died!” or “Think of the children!” And then you flounce off, miraculously relieved of the minor duty of coming up with anything meaningful to say. It’s horribly easy to see through, Ed.

    If I feel “superior”, at times, it’s only relative to intellectually dishonest bullshit of that nature.

    It’s not saying much.

  19. Ed
    at 3:01 pm on January 22, 2017

    “No, you’re only interested in *Trump’s* misdeeds… that’s the point. And the problem.”

    The only thing I’m interested in IN THIS THREAD is you being an insensitive dick to a rape survivor. How fucking dense or interested in the sound of your own e-voice are you that you don’t get that?

    And guess what, your ability to inappropriately filibuster comment sections with talking points from right-wing websites doesn’t make you an intellectual, it makes you a tiresome bore.

  20. steven augustine
    at 3:20 pm on January 22, 2017

    “The only thing I’m interested in IN THIS THREAD is you being an insensitive dick to a rape survivor. How fucking dense or interested in the sound of your own e-voice are you that you don’t get that?”

    Well done, Ed. Eloquent. The gloves are off and you’re going for it. Have you flounced off again, already?

    (meanwhile, earlier today, someone wrote)

    “The fact that he’s a proud sexual assaulter is only one of a hilarious multitude of disqualifications (or should-have-been disqualifications) for your boy, chief among them being an utterly unstable narcissist.”

    Ed, Ed! Wait! Who wrote that insensitive comment? The thing about a “sexual assaulter” being “hilarious”? I think we should call him out on that insensitive comment, don’t you?

    Ed…?

  21. Ed
    at 3:29 pm on January 22, 2017

    That “hilarious” is obviously modifying “multitude,” referring to the ridiculous number of Trump’s disqualifications and not the character of them, genius. Try harder, or you know, just stop posting for a little while.

  22. steven augustine
    at 3:53 pm on January 22, 2017

    um, no, Ed. That is one wholly insufficient explanation. The word “hilarious” was a bad choice for a guy with such clearly elevated sensitivities. Flippant! Inappropriate, even. A slight misstep from out of the pious character you’ve adopted for the sake of this thread…? Probably. You’re only human, Ed!

    And re: “Right Wing” websites: the Right Wingers who bash WJC/HRC/BHO are obviously idiots, since WJC/ HRC/ BHO, et al, are Right Wingers themselves. When I visit political Websites, they’re *Left Wing*, my friend. Anti-War, Anti-Corporate-Greed, Anti-Anti-Intellectual. That kind of thing. But most of my reading is actually done from *books*. The damning info on WJC/BRC/BHO/ BUSHES is available to all in BOOKS. If some Right Wingers use the info, too, to score “own goals”, it’s nothing to me.

    Are you under the impression that William Blum, Dr. Michael Parenti, John Pilger, Gary Webb, Tariq Ali, Daniel Brandt, Ed Sanders, Ishmael Reed, etc, are of the Right Wing? You know so little, Ed. But you feel so much….

  23. Ed
    at 4:12 pm on January 22, 2017

    Wtf are you talking about? Are you actually this stupid or just pretending to be right now? “Hilarious” modifies “multitude.” If I’d wanted to say I thought the disqualifications were hilarious, I would have said, “A multitude of hilarious disqualifications.” This should be entirely obvious to anyone who can read at a fifth grade level, or who isn’t desperately trying to score points and deflect attention. You trying to call me flippant and insensitive, when the only reason I’m posting was you and Helen’s insensitive flippancy, is actually a very Trumpian move.

    Look, I get it, I called you out for being a dick to a rape survivor, you’re mad, maybe do a little self-reflection instead of just insisting to hammer on this Bill Clinton Is Horrible and I Know More About It Than You thing that I don’t know why you have insisted on introducing (here and many other places on The Millions), and that I literally could not care less about in this thread.

  24. steven augustine
    at 4:20 pm on January 22, 2017

    Right, Ed!

    And now, back on-piste:

    Here’s something from a *Left Wing* site showing that D. Trump and B. Clinton (and B. Clinton’s enabler, HRC) are not exactly feminists; the list was compiled by a “reluctant (future) Hillary voter” (at Counterpunch):

    “No, Bill Clinton is not just accused of consensual affairs. Yes, he and Hillary Clinton are a team. She has been a regular part of attacking Bill’s victims, has worn the mantle of his supposed successes, and has promised that he will have a key place in running the economy in her administration.

    “No, Donald Trump did not just use naughty, “locker room” words, nor was he just suddenly accused of sexual assault as an October surprise.

    “At least 40 women have accused Bill Clinton or Donald Trump of rape or other sexual assaults going back to the 1960’s and forward through every decade since.

    “What holds this system in place? Well, partisans from Team Red or Team Blue relentlessly attack the guy on the other side while dragging, shaming, and mocking accusers or otherwise dismissing accusations against their guy.”

    […]

    1/ Eileen Wellstone accused Bill Clinton of raping her at Oxford in 1969. Capitol Hill Blue, a kind of pre-cursor to Politico which reported positively and negatively on both parties from inside the Washington D.C. beltway, confirmed the accusationwith Ms. Wellstone in 1999 and found a key State Department official who had originally investigated the accusation to support the claim.

    2/ In 1972 a woman at Yale University accused then law student Bill Clinton of sexual assault. Capitol Hill Blue‘s outstanding reporting on all of this included finding the accuser, who confirmed the accusation but would not allow her name to be used, and multiple policemen from New Haven at the time who confirmed the incident.

    3/ In 1974, also reported in Capitol Hill Blue, a female law student of Bill Clinton’s in Arkansas accused him of blocking her departure from a room then forcing his hand down her blouse. Daniel J. Harris and Teresa Hampton, the Capital Hill Bluereporters for this piece, again tracked down the accuser and obtained her confirmation of the incident, but not her consent to use her name.

    4/ Juanita Broaddrick accuses Bill Clinton of raping her in 1978. The most nuanced, in-depth, and dignified piece on Broaddrick is Katie Baker’s stunning profile in Buzz Feed earlier this year. Broaddrick explains why she initially gave an affidavit saying Clinton had not raped her, an explanation Megyn Kelly, Hillary Clinton, and tons of Democrats are completely and conveniently ignoring.

    5/ Unnamed (1978-1980)

    6/ Unnamed (1978-1980)

    7/ Unnamed (1978-1980)

    8/ Unnamed (1978-1980)

    9/ Unnamed (1978-1980)

    10/ Unnamed (1978-1980)

    11/ Unnamed (1978-1980) – Harris and Hampton, in the Capitol Hill Blue investigative article, were able to discover that state troopers in Arkansas knew of at least 7 complaints from women who said Bill Clinton sexually assaulted them during his first term as Governor of Arkansas. The Washington Post quickly discusses what may be one of these claims in one of the laziest “fact checks” it has ever unloaded, but dismisses it out of hand because “[w]hen sexual harassment claims were made against GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain, [Rand] Paul dismissed them because the women refused to publicly identify themselves.” Allowing Rand Paul’s hypocrisy to invalidate a woman’s claim is, of course, standard corporate media schlock. The anonymous woman, a “former Arkansas state employee,” said that “during a presentation, then-Governor Clinton walked behind her and rubbed his pelvis up against her repeatedly.”

    12/ Carolyn Moffet accused Bill Clinton to Harris and Hampton of forcing her head into his lap when she refused his request for oral sex in 1979. Ms. Moffet also spoke with Harris and Hampton.

    13/ Leslie Milwee has recently come forward to accuse Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting her on three separate occasions in a newsroom in 1980. Milwee says Bill rubbed himself against her to the point of orgasm without her consent.

    14/ Jessica Leeds accuses Donald Trump of grabbing her breast and trying to shove his hand up her skirt on a flight in the early to mid-1980’s, as recounted in a recent New York Times article:

    “He was like an octopus,” she said. “His hands were everywhere.” She fled to the back of the plane. “It was an assault.”

    15/ Becky Brown accuses Bill Clinton of sexual assault in the the Arkansas Governor’s mansion in the mid-1980’s, according to a book written by her husband, an Arkansas State Trooper. Without consulting the book, the Washington Post “fact check” column claiming just three sexual assault allegations against Bill Clinton spuriously dismissed what appears to be the same claim as an anonymous “woman identified as a third cousin of Clinton’s [who] supposedly told her drug counselor during treatment in Arkansas that she was abused by Clinton when she was baby-sitting at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock.”

    16/ Elizabeth Ward Gracen, according to multiple accounts including a former friend’s deposition during the House of Representatives’ Paula Jones investigation in the 1990s, accused Bill Clinton to family and friends of raping her in 1982. Gracen eventually very publicly stated that it was consensual sex. Not long afterward, however, Gracen indicated in an interview with the Toronto Sun that she and her family were under duress when she walked back the rape claim:

    “I think Clinton is a very dangerous, manipulative man and I’ve had to be very careful,” she says. “There was a lot of pressure on my family and friends, people were being staked out. I was a little bit afraid for my own safety at one point. It’s just not an area where you’re safe.” She pauses, then says, “I would never have said what I just told you a month ago.”

    Sally Miller, another woman who had a consensual affair with Clinton, reports that a Democratic Party official threatened her around the same time. “They knew that I went jogging by myself and he couldn’t guarantee what would happen to my pretty little legs.”

    17/ Helen Dowdy accused Bill Clinton of groping her “up there” on a dance floor at a Rodham family wedding in 1986. She tried to pull away, per Dowdy’s recounting the story to Jerry Oppenheimer in State of a Union (page 215), but “he’s a big man.” She says she was eventually rescued when Hillary Clinton turned it into a three person dance. “He was holding me very close, pulling me into him. … It was so inappropriate.”

    18/ There is now a cascade of people supporting accusations that Donald Trump repeatedly raped underage models in New York beginning in the 1980s. Katie Johnson has filed a suit accusing Trump of raping her at one such party with convicted pedo rapist Jeffrey Epstein when she was 13 in 1992. The details of the unusual accusation and lawsuit are most fairly reported in Jezebel. Michael Gross, writing for Daily Beast, dug out two male witnesses/participants at several of the parties to go on the record, one of the men allowed his name to be used, one of them is unnamed.

    19/ Paula Corbyn Jones accuses Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting her in 1991. After she tried to walk away from his initial advances, according to her story, he grabbed her hand, pulled her toward him, lowered his trousers, and asked her to kiss his erect penis. Clinton paid Jones an $850,000 settlement after the US Supreme Court reinstated her lawsuit against him during his Presidency. Jones continues to speak out against both Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, whom she accuses of shaming and lying about her.

    20/ Sandra Allen James accused Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting her in 1991. She told Harris and Hampton that Clinton pinned her up against a wall in a hotel room and forced his hand up her dress and that he only stopped when she screamed loudly enough for the Arkansas State Troopers outside the room to hear.

    21/ Ivana Trump, Donald Trump’s first wife, accused him, during 1992 divorce proceedings, of raping her. She later said it wasn’t rape in the criminal sense, apparently as part of the divorce settlement. The initial charges in court papers, along with the partial retraction, can be read at Gawker.

    22/ Christy Zercher, a flight attendant on Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign plane, accuses Bill of groping her without consent on the plane while Hillary Clinton slept a few feet away.

    23/ Kristin Anderson recently accused Donald Trump in the Washington Post of sexual assault by reaching up her skirt and touching her vagina through her underwear at a Manhattan night club in the early 1990’s. Anderson says she was deep in conversation with friends, shoved his hand away, and only noticed it was Trump after she fled several steps away and turned to see who the stranger who had groped her was.

    24/ Kathleen Wiley has repeatedly accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault in the Oval Office in 1993. Like many of the women accusers, Wiley says Hillary Clinton has been complicit in shutting her down: she’s “been calling me a bimbo for 19 years.”

    25/ Jill Harth accused Donald Trump of groping her multiple times without permission and of trying to rape her in one of his children’s bedrooms in 1993. The claims were first aired in a 1997 lawsuit and were reported in the Guardian in July, well before the Billy Bush-Trump Tapes were released.

    26/ Temple Taggart accuses Donald Trump of sexual assault on two separate occasions in which, according to her account, he kissed the 21-year-old 1997 Miss USA contestant on the lips without permission.

    27/ Mariah Billado accuses Donald Trump of intentionally walking in on her and several other Miss Teen USA contestants in 1997 while they were in a state of undress. Her claim was supported, according to the Buzz Feed story in which she first reported the assault, by four other contestants and by Trump’s own words on a Howard Stern show where he bragged of purposefully walking in on naked beauty pageant contestants for sexual gratification. Such voyeurism counts as sexual assault according to a wide variety of statutes and definitions, including the one used by the Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    28/ Cathy Heller accuses Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her at Mar-a-lago around the year 1997. According to her account in The Guardian:

    “He took my hand, and grabbed me, and went for the lips,” she claimed. Alarmed, she said she leaned backwards to avoid him and almost lost her balance. “And he said, ‘Oh, come on.’ He was strong. And he grabbed me and went for my mouth and went for my lips.’” She turned her head, she claims, and Trump planted a kiss on the side of her mouth. “He kept me there for a little too long,” Heller said. “And then he just walked away.”

    29/ Karena Virginia accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in 1998 by touching her breast without her permission as she waited for a car to pick her up after the U.S. Open tennis tournament. While she is not planning to file a lawsuit, Virginia told the story with her lawyer Gloria Allred by her side. Trump has threatened to sue all women who have made allegations after the election is over.

    30/ 2001 (1) Unnamed

    31/ 2001 (2) Tasha Dixon and another unnamed 2001 Miss USA contestant accuse Donald Trump of sexual assault, also by way of voyeurism, when he purposefully walked in on contestants naked on two separate occasions, as detailed by an article in the Guardian.

    32/ Virginia Roberts first accused Bill Clinton in 2011 of having regularly been with now convicted pedo rapist Jeffrey Epstein and said that she had seen him with particular underage girls, though she did not see sexual activity or participate in it. According to a deposition with Alan Dershowitz, Roberts “described in great detail a dinner with Bill Clinton and two underaged Russian women who were offered to Bill Clinton for sex” in 2002. Flight records have proven that Bill Clinton often flew on Epstein’s “Lolita Express,” and that, during the at least 26 flights, Clinton sometimes ditched his secret service detail.

    33/ Mindy McGillivary accuses Donald Trump of sexual assault in 2003 at Mar-a-lago where, she says, he groped her butt without permission. McGillivary’s account is supported by her companion that day, Ken Davidoff.

    34/ Jessica Drake recently held a news conference to accuse Donald Trump of sexual assault by holding her tight and kissing her without her permission at a celebrity golf tournament in 2005. According to Drake, Trump then offered her $10,000 and the use of his private jet for sexual favors.

    35/ Also in 2005, Rachel Crooks accuses Donald Trump of having sexually assaulted her by kissing her multiple times, including on the lips, without her permission when she tried to shake his hand at Trump Tower in Manhattan where she worked as a receptionist. Crooks told her story first to the New York Times as a part of the story also including Jessica Leeds’ account of her unpleasant encounter with Trump.

    36/ Natasha Stoynoff, a third woman to accuse Trump of assaulting her in the year 2005, is a journalist and wrote her own story up in People Magazine earlier in October of this year. She was working on a story on Donald and Melania at the Trump mansion. Donald, according to her account, sent Melania to change clothes then began showing her around: “We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat.”

    37/ Ninni Laaksonen just recently accused Donald Trump of sexual assault just before an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman during her time as Miss Finland in 2006. “Trump stood right next to me and suddenly he squeezed my butt. He really grabbed my butt,” she said. “I don’t think anybody saw it but I flinched and thought: ‘What is happening?’”

    38/ Unnamed – Very soon after the tape of Donald Trump bragging to Billy Bush about taking tic-tacs before kissing women and just grabbing them “by the pussy,” CNN anchor Erin Burnett told the story on air of her friend who was “once ‘really freaked out’ by Trump: He ‘took tic-tacs…and kissed me almost on the lips’.”

    39/ Summer Zervos, a 2007 contestant on The Apprentice, read a five page statement at a press conference accusing Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her. As excerpted by the Hollywood Reporter:

    “He then grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me again very aggressively and placed his hand on my breast,” recalled Zervos. “I pulled back and walked to another part of the room. He then walked up, he grabbed my hand and walked me into the bedroom.”She said he asked her to lay down and watch television and, when she tried to push him away, “he began thrusting his genitals.”

    40/ Finally, Cassandra Searles, Miss Washington 2013, accuses Donald Trump of sexual assault by groping her without permission. After the Trump/Billy Bush tape broke, she took to Facebook to say, “He probably doesn’t want me telling the story about that time he continually grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room.”

    So, with due deference to the Washington Post’s “fact checkers” and Megyn Kelly, it isn’t just three women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault. And, no, it isn’t “just words” from Donald Trump while Bill Clinton engaged in actions. More than a dozen and a half women have accused each man. Both are deeply entangled with Jeffrey Epstein. Many of the stories bear the same hallmarks. And high-ranking women and men from both parties have said and done horrible things to go after the accusers on the other side while letting their guy off the hook.”

    ***

    So, forget the voluminous War Crime evidence for now. Why are people swooning over the “missed opportunity” of the Clintons in power again? Brainwashing…? What other *rational* explanation can there be?

  25. Allen Morgan
    at 4:23 pm on January 22, 2017

    Sorry for the late response. Midget wrestling at the state fair went into overtime, and then we got into a brawl with a bunch of… Well, I guess you in namby-pamby land have some politically-correct name for them. Luckily the Sheriff is also my cousin and my brother in law, so he straightened things out for us.

    Now, Ed, if you wanna know, what brings me to these points is that I know a thing or two about rape. Someone very close to me was raped, and it saddens and upsets me to see rape used to push a political agenda. This whole essay is a spit in the face of rape victims because it implies that a rape victim who is not disgusted by Trump somehow wanted it.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, Pa wants me to go in the pen and bring some bacon.

  26. Ed
    at 4:40 pm on January 22, 2017

    SA,

    Oh, cool, I get it, you’re insane.

  27. steven augustine
    at 4:45 pm on January 22, 2017

    Al:

    “This whole essay is a spit in the face of rape victims because it implies that a rape victim who is not disgusted by Trump somehow wanted it.”

    A singularly absurd reading of this article, Al. Care to elucidate?

    I’m not arguing that the article made a *ton* of sense (still don’t quite get the Rasputin angle), but it makes more sense than you or Ed, in your pseudo-diametrically opposed ways (note how you both use the “appeal to moral outrage” maneuver… Ed didn’t like it one bit when I turned the same Clown Gun on him, eh? And then there *you* are doing it!)

    Serious question, Al: are you *genuinely* close to someone who was raped, or was that a rhetorical gambit to give you a launching point for your flimsy claim of moral outrage against the article-writer…?

  28. Allen Morgan
    at 5:05 pm on January 22, 2017

    I’m beginning to feel like a psychology professor who’s wondering whether he should stop the experiment… It’s weird when the negative control (that’s you, Steven) produces results far more interesting than the experiment itself. So I’ll be checking out now, and thanks for playing.

    Robin: You sound like a decent person, so here’s a piece of advice: lower your expectations. I knew a woman who got clinically depressed when G. W. Bush won his second term because she was sure he was going down in a landslide, and I’d hate to see that happen to you too. Our boy is likely to be there until 2025. Live with it, and start campaigning against Nugent.

    Ed: If you just tone down your sanctimony, you might discover you’re a half-decent guy.

    Steven: pick up a dictionary and look up “irony”.

  29. Heather Curran
    at 5:09 pm on January 22, 2017

    “As if a male witness would cement it. ‘Are you sure, like rape-rape?'”

    Enough said.

    Thank you Alix.

  30. steven augustine
    at 5:13 pm on January 22, 2017

    Al:

    I see you haven’t quite learned that “irony” in its textual form needs some kind of framing device to signal and activate it… well, you used a signal or two to “ironize” your banjo-playing persona, but the rape “irony” stuff wasn’t handled very well, was it?

    For example, was this “irony”…?

    “Crying “rapist” didn’t help us get rid of Bill Clinton. In fact, it only made him stronger. If you wanna get rid of Trump, you (as a camp) should drop the rape/assault allegations or they’ll bite you in the behind really, really hard. Stick to the economy, minority and civil rights, foreign affairs. Drop the rape business or you’ll have President Trump handing over the keys to the White House to Ted Nugent in 2025. Seriously, beware.”

    If not, it’s fairly stupid.

  31. Heather Curran
    at 4:56 am on January 23, 2017

    Alix Hawley relates her story of rape and places it in a cultural context of her choosing. Eloquent, timely, brave. It is her essay and her experience and the hostility in the comments reminds me why rape culture will never go away. Power and violence. Casting aspersions of doubt. I lost my virginity to rape as a teen in 1978 and did not leave my parents house for 3 years, except to go to work, while telling no one what happened. Have a bit of compassion.

  32. steven augustine
    at 8:43 am on January 23, 2017

    “I was with you until “I owe you an apology. I’m sorry I raped you.” No one, no matter how stupid, would ever say such a thing, let alone over the phone.”

    Tell us more about your expertise in Rape, Dan. But, omniscient as you no doubt sometimes are, you’re probably taking your implicit claims of mind-reading clairvoyance a bit far this time, aren’t you?

    Years ago, when I first got to the city, I scored a job in a trendy nightclub and made the acquaintance of a (n as it happens British) bartender; he was good for time-killing banter when I wasn’t being chased into the WCs, by the manager, to deal with messes (after emptying the ash trays on the tables around the dance floor and serving beers when the bartender was swamped). Anyway: he quit one night and I didn’t see him again for a few months until I wandered into a cafe one Saturday eve and there he was, behind the counter. I had wandered in during the hour when all the clubs were opening so the cafe was empty. And the first thing he told me, with this abashed look on his face, eyes averted, when I sat at the counter, was:

    “I just raped my girlfriend.”

    He wasn’t joking, as it turned out. She’d told him, in bed before leaving for work (we were all on vampire hours back then) that she’d dumped him for a dancer… so he held her down and raped her to assert his ownership, I guess, one more time. This was in the days before the wide use of mobile phones so I can totally imagine him calling her from a payphone, at the end of his shift, that night, and apologizing for raping her. His civilized veneer slipped back in place after he did it. He didn’t wear glasses but he was well-spoken and very polite.

    I can’t remember what my response was when he confessed to me but I know I didn’t ask, “Rape rape?” I do remember meeting a friend somewhere else a little later (I didn’t hang around long after that confession) and telling him the story and both of us going “Holy shit,” over and over again like a couple of kids (I was 30).

    “Not only was Alix not raped, she hasn’t even bothered to research rapey behavior on either side.”

    Huh? So, Dan: just because it doesn’t match your “experiences” (how could it?) doesn’t make it untrue, and to take the risk of being wrong about AH and asserting it, anyway, in a public forum… that’s mildly psychopathic, no?

    On the other hand: I think it’s a mistake to assume that AH is fragile. It’s a mistake to assume anything about her just because we know she’s been raped.

    I think, on one level, very old attitudes about Women-as-Property, and Rape-as-Property-Damage, still creep into our attitudes to the matter. Rape is, first of all, a physical assault, isn’t it? I think there’s a discussion to be had about the subliminal perception of “taint” that brings Shame into it for the crime’s victim. Isn’t the culture magnifying the injury with all these ancient superstitions about a woman’s “treasure” and all that? Within the context of the culture’s post-Internet Porniness, where it meets these very old Tribal Values, it’s a minefield of triggers and traps and confusions.

    “Now you, Heather, what’s your story? Come on, spill, but make it believable.”

    Yeah: psychopath. I’m no mind reader but I have a pretty good idea what you were doing when you wrote that comment.

  33. Heather Curran
    at 8:50 am on January 23, 2017

    Steve, thank you. I was so shaken by Dan’s comment, I emailed Alix, not to take it down but to just point out how odious it was. Now i see it HAS been taken down. Thank you for having my back.

  34. steven augustine
    at 8:55 am on January 23, 2017

    @Heather

    But I think it’s a mistake to treat AH *differently* because she’s been a victim of rape. She’s strong enough to publish an article about the experience, is responding to the article, in any way other than total agreement, somehow taboo? Why is the question that triggered this 5km thread off limits? I think it’s a valid question: why are the Politicians (aka Powerful Men) on “our side” (ie “Democrats”) somehow exempt? Why isn’t Clinton triggering disgust/ revulsion wherever he takes his smarmy leer and smile?

    Allen Morgan made the point up thread (a point I totally disagree with) that accusing Clinton of rape only made him “stronger”.

    I think the truth of the matter is that Clinton’s machine was powerful enough to suppress his rape record to the extent that the vast majority of the Electorate missed the issue (or failed to find it credible). But that was *pre-internet*. How can letting a Perp walk for *anything* major be an option….?

  35. steven augustine
    at 8:56 am on January 23, 2017

    @Heather

    I was wondering when we’d hear from actual “Rapey” types in this thread…

  36. Heather Curran
    at 9:36 am on January 23, 2017

    I will give it some thought, they did try to Impeach Clinton right? And i doubt very much JFK didn’t abuse his power, we probably can go back a millennium. And it isn’t just women being abused of course. All of history is just one big wasp’s nest filled with the cruelty of mankind.

  37. steven augustine
    at 9:52 am on January 23, 2017

    @Heather

    The irony being that they Impeached Clinton based on his actions as an adulterer! And now he’s the flagship raconteur / teddy bear/ Liberal Elder Statesman of the West…! Weird World, yes. Power is still ALL.

  38. Denise Bukowski
    at 2:35 pm on January 23, 2017

    Playwright Eve Ensler wrote about the phenomenon Alix Hawley addresses in the Guardian over the weekend. it is a worldwide phenomenon.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/21/womens-march-donald-trump-inauguration

  39. Heather Curran
    at 8:11 pm on January 23, 2017

    Thanks Denise Bukowski for the Link. And thanks The Millions for your judicious monitoring of this weirdly contentious comment section.

  40. Kirk
    at 11:21 am on January 24, 2017

    Wow, I used to be perhaps the only conservative comment poster on this website. Now I can sit back, without getting my dander up, and go yessssss!

  41. Heather Curran
    at 1:01 pm on January 24, 2017

    Just love. Be kind, be gentle. It is easy. Politics has nothing to do with it. Nor does the tedious duscussion of MFAs. All anonymous comments lack credibility. And there. I am done and will not revisit this comment section. Startling that the obvious crime of sexual assault (an act of violence) engendered such a divisive comment section.

  42. steven augustine
    at 1:54 pm on January 24, 2017

    @Heather

    (I know you don’t want to come back to the thread; I’m not addressing you so much as your last comments, and I’m doing it with a Hug)

    “Just love. Be kind, be gentle.”

    Where it’s appropriate, sure. But sometimes it’s appropriate to be strong, skeptical and ready to fight bullshit. And how one fights bullshit is to publicly call out bullshit and counter it, methodically, with facts and reason.

    “Loving” is easy until it costs something and that’s when it counts… and that’s the problem, no? Who is ready to pay these costs on a large scale and on a long-term basis?

    But the deeper question has to be: what does “Loving” actually mean? What does it involve doing? What are the specific commitments involved, on a case-by-case basis? Is “Loving” about saying nice things or does it involve hard work; does it involve, sometimes, doing for people in ways they may not even like or want…? Does it mean risking your own happiness/ safety/ comfort/ lovableness…?

    And does it mean we have to love Trump/ Clinton/ Insane Clown Posse/ whoever…?

    “All anonymous comments lack credibility.”

    Unless the comments are true or false, in and of themselves, with no need for autobiographical support. The converse of that: putting a name to a comment is no guarantee of quality! Laugh

    “Startling that the obvious crime of sexual assault (an act of violence) engendered such a divisive comment section.”

    Well, to be fair, the comment thread wasn’t a referendum on the Pros and Cons of Rape; half of it was about wondering why the culture (in this case, the “Liberal” culture) anoints one famous character an avatar of Rape while another famous character becomes an avatar of Progressive Wisdom, despite the fact that both characters have been accused by many, many women of Rape. I’m not naive enough to think that Bill Clinton will actually go to prison for Rape, but why is he getting this Free Pass, so often, where non-Conservatives gather, virtually, to chat about these things?

    If someone could answer that question without hurling ad hominems, in the process, that would be great.

  43. Heather Curran
    at 3:00 pm on January 24, 2017

    Don’t over think my dear friend Steven. I am talking about basic instincts to love and protect unconditionally (as you do your little girl). With a kindness you extend to a stranger, with the gentleness you extend to someone you love. I know relationships are complicated and that people are flawed. But if we can only keep to the subject of the essay, I think we can agree. Otherwise – in politics – fight the power. But that is a whole other essay. Trumplandia will implode. I must believe that. Best wishes, H.

  44. steven augustine
    at 3:08 pm on January 24, 2017

    H!

    Hug!

  45. Heather Curran
    at 7:18 pm on January 24, 2017

    I have placed my complaint about the abuse women sustain from a supposedly enlighted group of men on my FB page, mentioning The Millions and Alix Hawley’s essay. Clearly men have a long way to go.

  46. James McFadden
    at 10:54 am on January 27, 2017

    Well, okay, so the guy touched women inappropriately. I’m not saying it’s okay, but he is the President of the United States, so there are bigger issues at stake than sexual harassment. The world is unstable, terror is all over the place, the economy is still struggling. Maybe Hillary never sexually harassed anyone, but if she brought us to terrorism and unemployment, would that be, in the grand scheme of things, better or worse? it’s rather selfish to think that the President should not be President because his election elicits unpleasant memories in one woman (who is not even an American). Big picture, please.

  47. Robin
    at 10:57 pm on January 27, 2017

    @James McFadden:

    Big picture: Far greater numbers of women are sexually assaulted every year than are killed by terrorism in America. In addition, the economic abuse of 50 percent of the population due to their gender is an economic issue of massive importance: it’s at least as important as any other economic issue, and no other American economic issues can be understood clearly without taking this abuse into account. Moreover, the sexual assault and the economic abuse both stem from the same source: a vision of women that reduces them to the role of fulfilling the desires and fantasies of men. When Hawley talks about her rape and Trump’s rewriting of that rape, she’s not just talking about her own experience. She’s also talking about the larger experience of an entire society being taught to devalue and distort the significance of the economic and physical oppression of half the nation’s population.

  48. James McFadden
    at 1:11 am on January 28, 2017

    — Far greater numbers of women are sexually assaulted every year than are killed by terrorism in America

    And in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Turkey, France, Germany, the CAR… Why are you focused only on America? Aren’t Iraqis human?

    — the economic abuse of 50 percent of the population due to their gender is an economic issue of massive importance

    What economic abuse? You have to understand that putting the words “woman” and “victim/abuse/discrimination” in the same sentence is not by itself an argument. What abuse are we talking about, specifically?

    — a vision of women that reduces them to the role of fulfilling the desires and fantasies of men

    Now you’re just quoting Catharine MacKinnon. Use your words: what vision? Whose vision? How is this vision manifested? Maybe an example would be nice.

    These kinds of hysterical generalizations may impress at the weekly meetings of Campus Feminists for Change or some such, but not here. Not with me, at least.

  49. Robin
    at 3:28 am on January 28, 2017

    @James McFadden (and Steven Augustine)

    1. American perspective: You are the one who made an issue out of Hawley not being an American and insisting her perspective was therefore irrelevant. I was just trying to keep the issue in the American bounds that you set. Since you are a troll, you would have attacked me for talking about an international perspective if I had done that.

    2. Vision: The vision, as is obvious from the full context of my statement, is Trump’s vision. I am talking about Trump’s sexist vision and the relationship between that vision and sexist viewpoints that are influenced and reinforced by Trump. The connection between Trump’s sexism and the sexism of others is not hard to understand.

    You will now come back with more misrepresentations and misstatements. While you’re doing that, I will get some rest and wake up to do some practical things to help defeat your candidates in the next elections.

  50. James McFadden
    at 6:40 am on January 28, 2017

    — I will get some rest and wake up to do some practical things to help defeat your candidates in the next elections.

    Is that really what you’re doing on a Saturday morning? You lefties really are miserable drudges, aren’t you? On Saturdays I shaft my girlfriend, eat a lot of pancakes, watch football, play tennis, drink a pint or two of White Russian. You do “practical things” so that maybe someone will beat “my candidate” in a Senate race two years from now. It’s 5:35 AM here, and I’m just about to go to bed after a good night out on the town. You’re probably waking up just now to prepare your signs for a demonstration.

    I almost pity you. Then I remember how much I pay in taxes, and I don’t.

    Enjoy your weekend.

  51. steven augustine
    at 1:09 pm on January 28, 2017

    @Robin

    Why are you including me in your conversation with James McFadden? If you think he and I share perspectives you’ve done an awfully lazy job of reading my comments… which puts you solidly in the rank and file of the Commentariat, of course. But if you think I’m “pro-Trump” you’re quite mistaken. I have no problem believing Trump has committed sexual assaults and I’d love to see him in prison for it… but there’s something wrong when a rapist who dwarfs Trump’s evil activities gets a mysterious Free Pass just because he’s “on your team”. With a selective sense of justice like that, Duh Masses will continue to accomplish precisely *nothing*.

    “Big picture: Far greater numbers of women are sexually assaulted every year than are killed by terrorism in America. ”

    True, now if you factor in the staggering numbers of women, children and men who’ve been terrorized and then *slaughtered,* Over There, by your heroes, we’ll be getting somewhere. I presume you’re pro-gun-control (as am I)… how about including drones, missiles and depleted-uranium shells in your anti-gun feelings?

  52. steven augustine
    at 1:24 pm on January 28, 2017

    PS in case you missed it, btw, “Samira Al-Nattib” turned out to be a sock puppet who followed up “her” “lovely comment” with a misogynist rant. The Mods deleted the misogynist rant but decided to leave the initial “lovely comment”, for some reason… I’m hoping it was done to irritate whoever left it. Still, a strange thing, to leave it there knowing it’s fake…

  53. steven augustine
    at 1:44 pm on January 28, 2017

    @James McFadden

    ” You lefties really are miserable drudges, aren’t you?”

    Jesus Christ, get your terminology straight: Liberals are not Lefties. Lefties don’t support the (profoundly Right Wing) US Government (or the personalities associated with it). Lefties are anti-War, anti-Corporate and anti-Hegemony… Liberals are perfectly fine with any of the above if a Liberal Leader says so (which is the function of the Liberal Leader, obviously). America has drifted so far right in forty years that the “Left/Right” pseudo-dichotomy is perfectly meaningless, even as a vestigial abstraction, there.

    The truly hilarious thing being that you Conservatives are too dogmatic (and confused) to recognize how far to the Right BHO was of Ronald Reagan! He was one of your own (ditto Clintons) and you attacked him! He was a more effective Conservative than Dubya! Idiots! Who’s more confused: Murkkan Liberals or Murkkan Conservatives? That’s almost a Koan…

  54. Ed
    at 3:28 pm on January 28, 2017

    SA,

    I hate to wade back into this, but I feel like you have this weird mental construct of liberals as unquestioning minions of political overlords like HRC, for whom they have nothing but slavish adoration. Maybe some people feel this way, but it’s painting with a pretty cartoonish brush, and the truth is, most liberals I know recognize HRC and mainstream DNC candidates as 1) essentially conservative, and 2) severely compromised from the outset as corporate shills who will never do anything substantive to fix the outrageous disparity of wealth and wealth distribution in this country. It’s why Bernie was so exciting to so many people (though I assume you will now tell me how Bernie is responsible for a genocide).

    That said, when HRC became the candidate, I volunteered for her because I was horrified of Trump, and that horror has seemed well justified in this first week. You are of course welcome to beat the “Bill (and by extension Hillary) is a war criminal” drum as much as you like in comment sections, but you should do so while aware that most people do not have their head entirely in the sand on these matters, they were just appropriately frightened of Trump. When has politics ever been something besides choosing the lesser of two evils, and when has there ever been a clearer choice?

  55. steven augustine
    at 5:53 pm on January 28, 2017

    Ed:

    “Maybe some people feel this way, but it’s painting with a pretty cartoonish brush, and the truth is, most liberals I know recognize HRC and mainstream DNC candidates as 1) essentially conservative, and 2) severely compromised from the outset as corporate shills who will never do anything substantive to fix the outrageous disparity of wealth and wealth distribution in this country.”

    I think you’re expressing an admirably minority opinion, there (I only wish you could take off the goggles and admit that the war deaths under Bushes/Clintons/ BHO are *horrific* and would definitely register as such if the victims had been Swedes or Belgians, say; why are you privileging problems of money over problems of mass murder?). That semi-nuanced view of yours is far from common and I’ve yet to see more than one other commenter express something half as clear-eyed about HRC around these parts. It goes without saying that I’m talking about the general tone of the worldviews expressed at The Millions. If these people I’ve been “debating” for months were leery of Clinton, I find it peculiar that only two have bothered to say so… why would they be hiding this opinion?

    In all the essays you can find, here at The Millions, dating from, say, July of 2016, I’d be stunned if you found five that echo your sentiments. HRC is presented as some kind of heroic figure, even when she isn’t explicitly discussed: Trump-the-devil becomes her signifying opposite. Lesser-of-two-Evilism doesn’t cause people to scream and rage and freak and swoon when their candidates lose. Only True Believers scream and cry and rage in the comment section when handed a political defeat. My question: what caused the Believing in the first place?

    My larger project/concern is the Propaganda that causes this distorted worldview (while occluding Reality). Especially at a Lit Site and regarding Lit in general: I’m concerned/ fascinated when Lit becomes co-opted by Propaganda; fascinated when Propaganda co-opts Publishing to manufacture Propaganda masquerading as Lit.

    In any case: thanks for engaging peaceably! One thing I hate about the ad hominem fests around here is that I spent more time sparring than articulating ideas or working them out any further than I get in initial comments. What I’m interested in is the ideas and people capable of discussing them.

  56. Steven Augustine Follower
    at 2:48 am on January 29, 2017

    Maybe it’s just the late-Saturday-night beer talking, but I’ve got a confession to make:

    I love Steven Augustine.

    At first I sort of didn’t like him all that much. Like everyone else at The Millions, I’m a woollie-headed Hillary Clinton supporter who was too cowardly to recognize the singular brilliance and insight of Steven Augustine when he first appeared. And because I am, regrettably, a woman (but not a real woman like the kind who Augustine likes but a fake liberal woman who supported Hillary), I resisted the sheer unstoppable intellectual force of his mansplaining.

    Let’s talk about that word mansplaining, in relation to Steven Augustine, since all subjects must be discussed in relation to Steven Augustine. I used to think mansplaining was something bad. Now, thanks to Steven Augustine, I realize that some men are so powerful in their intellect that it is their right to mansplain how a rape victim like Alix Hawley must be viewed and interpreted. There is only one correct way to look at her experience, and that is the way Steven Augustine has provided all of us in his infinite wisdom. You see, Steven Augustine has made it clear that what matters in Hawley’s rape is admitting that Bill Clinton was definitely a rapist. (I used to worry about it when I would check Augustine’s facts and find out that they weren’t facts at all but unproven speculation or even outright fraudulent agitprop, but now I know that Steven Augustine’s facts tell a higher truth that does not need the verification of ordinary facts because his facts are based on his infinite insight and are true even when the facts are false or made up or manipulated by completely unreliable sources.)

    I also used to think that it was a little silly to keep coming back to the topic of Hillary Clinton over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again when she has now lost the election and Trump is now the person in office who has the powers of the president. But this was just me being a silly little woman using silly little female reasoning. Steven Augustine has made it clear that when he attacks women and treats them, oddly enough, much more viciously and makes much more personal attacks on them than he does against most men, he is doing this to help us and protect us from our own silly little fake-liberal-feminist notions. So now I know that it was just me suffering from fake-liberal-feminism when after the election I turned my mind to worrying about Trump. Really, any time any silly little woman worries about Trump, Steven Augustine has not only a right but a duty to tell her, quite forcibly and regrettably but necessarily often quite insultingly, that what she and all of us must instead be thinking about is Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton.

    I can’t wait for Steven Augustine to continue giving us more of his wonderful insights in the future. I’m sure he’ll start by correcting my own misconceptions about him and what he is saying. Nothing is more wonderful than the way Steven Augustine (I just adore writing the magnificent syllables of his name) teaches us little silly-heads the right way to understand and interpret every tiny nuance of his infinitely precious thoughts.

    I especially can’t wait to hear Steven Augustine (that name! it gives me shivers!) explain how his sock puppets and trolls are essential to his teaching methods. We will all learn so much from Steven Augustine (I melt, I gasp). After all, we have all learned so much from Steven Augustine (my master) already.

    I can promise I’ll be back to provide my support to Steven Augustine from now on. I don’t have quite as much free time as Steven Augustine does to write at The Millions, but I will definitely come back often enough to remind everybody just how lucky we are to have Steven Augustine here to educate us. Especially us ladies (though Steven Augustine’s mansplaining isn’t JUST for women).

  57. steven augustine
    at 4:58 am on January 29, 2017

    @Samira

    In your deleted comment you referred to the author of this article as a “rancid skank”… are you trying to maintain the pretense that you’re a woman posting from “the Arab world”? Also, your diction has improved immensely since your initial comment; from “Earnest Third Worlder” to “American Sock Puppeteer” in a few short days!

    @Sybil

    The comment I posted that triggered your wonderfully nutty display was aimed at Ed. I made that comment as a response to a comment addressed to me by Ed. Are you A) under the impression that Ed and I are both simultaneously men and women, and therefore “mansplaining” to each other… or are you just B) the unofficial, undesignated, Puritanical Control Freak Hair-Trigger Comment Police? I’m leaning toward “B”.

    Before that, I responded to Robin’s lazy reading of my comments… the lazy reading that inspired her to lump me in with the conservative James McFadden. I understand that you think my function here is to be a passive target of abuse and bad faith misrepresentations of my points but I won’t be playing along with your fantasy there, thanks. If you don’t want to hear from me, don’t address me and don’t read my comments.

    Simple? Yeah, but unlikely.

    “I don’t have quite as much free time as Steven Augustine does to write at The Millions”

    Whereas you obviously have enough free time to read him. Me? I usually comment while making Daughter’s breakfast, lunch or dinner… a great little way to kill time while (eg) the lasagna is baking. Just now I made her a pita thingy. She’s super cool, super smart (top marks in her class, dominating the boys in math and science) and indicative of a better world to come.

  58. Ed
    at 8:54 am on January 29, 2017

    SA,

    “why are you privileging problems of money over problems of mass murder?”

    Because 1) I think the problem of money is behind the problem of mass murder, and 2) honestly, we likely have different thresholds for what we consider mass murder and what we consider realpolitik, i.e. the nasty shit the US almost perforce gets into trying to protect its interests, (which, as an American, are to at least some extent my interests, and which I therefore have a problem fulsomely criticizing without feeling some measure of hypocrisy).

    A sincere question: is there an American president you would not consider a mass murderer? Is it possible to be the American president without being a mass murderer?

    “Lesser-of-two-Evilism doesn’t cause people to scream and rage and freak and swoon when their candidates lose. Only True Believers scream and cry and rage in the comment section when handed a political defeat.”

    Characterizing the crying and raging as a temper tantrum indicates to me that you are underestimating both how terrified people were about Steve Bannon, I mean Donald Trump, becoming president, and the danger Trump poses.

  59. Ed
    at 10:27 am on January 29, 2017

    SA,

    Btw, when the commenter above you, says, “You see, Steven Augustine has made it clear that what matters in Hawley’s rape is admitting that Bill Clinton was definitely a rapist,”

    she’s responding to what I initially, did, i.e. immediately criticizing a personal rape essay with “gotcha” politics comments regarding Bill Clinton. Alix is allowed to respond to Trump’s election and its overt misogyny however she wishes, and is not under an obligation to be politically consistent or consider every single instance of misogyny by government officials in a short essay. I understand that you’re on a kind of crusade to pull the scales from democrats eyes regarding the evil their leaders do, and you’re not wrong about many of your points, but the best way to win hearts and minds is probably not to barge into a rape essay comment field yelling BILL CLINTON! It’s insensitive and condescending at best, and you still seem not have grasped that.

  60. steven augustine
    at 10:42 am on January 29, 2017

    Ed:

    “A sincere question: is there an American president you would not consider a mass murderer? Is it possible to be the American president without being a mass murderer?”

    To the first part of that question: I don’t think every President can be held directly responsible for all the evil he/she appears to preside over as the regime’s figurehead. Carter, for example, always struck me as a patsy who appeared to have no idea what he was in for when he ran for office (and was probably an early experiment in using Liberal Cover for Right Wing maneuvers)… and he spent the rest of his life doing humanitarian penance for his naive collaboration.

    Nixon was obviously (via Kissinger) quite vigorous in his killing; do you know this famous exchange?

    “Nixon: We’ve got to quit thinking in terms of a three-day strike [in the Hanoi-Haiphong area]. We’ve got to be thinking in terms of an all-out bombing attack – which will continue until they – Now by all-out bombing attack, I am thinking about things that go far beyond. I’m thinking of the dikes, I’m thinking of the railroad, I’m thinking, of course, the docks.
    Kissinger: I agree with you.
    President Nixon: We’ve got to use massive force.
    Two hours later at noon, H. R. Haldeman and Ron Ziegler joined Kissinger and Nixon:
    President: How many did we kill in Laos?
    Ziegler: Maybe ten thousand – fifteen?
    Kissinger: In the Laotian thing, we killed about ten, fifteen.
    President: See, the attack in the North that we have in mind, power plants, whatever’s left – POL [petroleum], the docks. And, I still think we ought to take the dikes out now. Will that drown people?
    Kissinger: About two hundred thousand people.
    President: No, no, no, I’d rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that, Henry?
    Kissinger: That, I think, would just be too much.
    President: The nuclear bomb, does that bother you?…I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes.”

    So, Nixon definitely: mass murderer. LBJ (not enough space to go into detail): yes. Reagan presided over a tiny overt war but a very large covert war that brought crack to “the ghetto” and led to the torture and slaughter of thousands in Central America (we’re talking Iran Contra), so, Reagan’s a yes with exotic qualifications, given the question’s context.

    But the modern era of Mass Murdering Presidents didn’t properly kick off until Bush 1, and it ran through the Clinton, Bush2 and BHO eras… massive civilian body counts tallied, massive environmental damage (scorched earth policy of depleted uranium). Largely civilian deaths. And not a one of these Caesars has shown a bit of remorse over the brown and “faceless” dead. Worse yet, many of the lethal military actions weren’t even necessary to the Imperial project but were used to goose approval polls (or distract from various scandals)… which ranks even higher as an evil.

    To the second part of that question: to be an effective President, post-9/11, means being an effective sales(wo)man for policies that inevitably entail deliberately massive War Crimes. Maybe that won’t be true eventually. Now it is.

    “i.e. the nasty shit the US almost perforce gets into trying to protect its interests, (which, as an American, are to at least some extent my interests, ”

    Ed, I guarantee you, the interests of the people at the tops of the controlling pyramids do not overlap with your interests; they are, in fact, antithetical to them.

    “Characterizing the crying and raging as a temper tantrum indicates to me that you are underestimating both how terrified people were about Steve Bannon, I mean Donald Trump, becoming president, and the danger Trump poses.”

    “Lesser Evilism” implies a choice between things which are not terribly different, and certainly not different by category (the term implies they’re both Evil, no?). “Lesser-Evilism” was how the Rational Types voted. I’m talking about the explosive reactions of a Personality Cult (see the comment above my previous comment; do you know the “Did you just cough at me?” videos…? Someone sent me one after a recent Millions comment debacle: hilarious).

    Anyway, Ed, we can certainly agree to disagree! And, again: thanks for the Totally Rational Discussion. It was totally refreshing.

  61. steven augustine
    at 10:50 am on January 29, 2017

    “but the best way to win hearts and minds is probably not to barge into a rape essay comment field yelling BILL CLINTON! It’s insensitive and condescending at best, and you still seem not have grasped that.”

    Rape Essays are not sacred territory, Ed. If Alix is too fragile to have some aspects of the article questioned, is she too fragile to publish? If serious questions are off limits on some articles, by all means, someone in charge should post a disclaimer to that effect. And how can anyone “barge” into a public comment thread?

    Anyway, not here to “win hearts and minds”. That’s what politicians do; it’s a skill that goes hand in hand with the Big Lies.

  62. James McFadden
    at 11:23 am on January 29, 2017

    — Rape Essays are not sacred territory, Ed. If Alix is too fragile to have some aspects of the article questioned, is she too fragile to publish?

    Thank you, Steven, for finally contributing a thought to this thread. It took approx. 4,000 words, but you did it!

  63. steven augustine
    at 11:56 am on January 29, 2017

    @James

    And I now eagerly await your contribution, JM! Laugh.

  64. Lydia Kiesling
    at 10:39 pm on January 29, 2017

    Thought the original had been deleted but it seems to have found its way back; deleted.

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