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The Dumbest Thing Ever Written Until The Next Time The National Review Publishes Something

[ 108 ] February 28, 2013 |

Shorter Heather MacDonald: First, feminists say that rape is bad. Then, they say that gender equality is good. Make up your mind!

  • penpen

    I read it as more, “what did you expect, a US Marine is a rape machine!”

  • Captain Haddock

    As a military prosecutor focusing on sex crimes, I can assure you this is not the dumbest thing ever written on this subject. But it’s damn close.

    • Tnap01

      When did Jennifer Rubin write about this topic?

      • Book

        Or MoDo.

  • sharculese

    So I was waiting for the Metro today, and notice a bit of graffiti on a temporary barricade. One person had written ‘Don’t Get Raped’ and someone else had crossed out the ‘get and the final ‘d’.

    It is great to know that people who mark up plywood walls are smarter than your average NRO contributor.

    • S_noe

      I kind of hope that it was the same artist writing both – but either way, right on.

  • Njorl

    Last time you posted one of these, I think it was someone defending the poor Nazis from Obama’s vicious anti-Nazi slurs, the commenters at the site mostly chastised the author. It was refreshing to see that even conservatives thought it was tasteless to publicly champion the Nazis.

    This time, not so much. The “legitimate rape” crowd are out in force.

  • Seriously? Rape = gender equality? Really?

    • commie atheist

      Alternate shorter: By pushing for gender equality, women are just asking to get raped.

      • Brenda Johnson

        Yup, that’s about it.

      • sharculese

        Shorter shorter: Bitches are asking for it.

        • DrDick

          But as long as you are out in public, not completely covered from head to foot, and not accompanied by several heavily armed male relatives, you are always asking for it.

          • Origami Isopod

            And if you are at home and you’re raped by a male relative, you must have tempted him into it.

            • delurking

              Well, according to the comments over there, rape by male relatives doesn’t happen.

              From what I can tell, though, it’s because the commenters defending honor killing as a way to defeat rape (because it keeps the bitches at home where they belong) don’t define what gets done to women by their male relatives *as* rape.

              After all, when a woman’s your very own property, well, that can’t be rape, then, can’t it?

    • anthrofred

      It actually works in a perverted way if you start from the conceit that the state is male, male dominated, and with men’s interests in mind, so that protecting women from rape = patriarchy.

      Somehow I don’t think she’s thinking on that kind of level, and if she were I somehow doubt her proposed solution would involve actually challenging power as it exists. Because she’s being completely disingenuous.

      • Pestilence

        Somehow I don’t think she’s thinking on that kind of level

  • Some of these women come from environments that made their descent into street life overdetermined, whether or not they experienced alleged sexual assault in the military.

    Is she saying that poor women will always end up in the street, despite their attempts to get out by enlisting, getting a decent paycheck and lifelong benefits that will help lift them out of poverty?

    Ho.Lee.Crap! That is asteroidally stoopid!

    • sharculese

      Why would she have to say something that her readership already knows in their heart of hearts is true?

    • Shakezula

      I stopped there because I didn’t want to puke. And not quite. She is saying that SOMETHING about these women (not the fact that they were raped) is what caused them to wind up on the streets.

      The nifty thing is, that with just a few alterations her spew can also be used to blame ANYONE who winds up homeless. Male vets, civilian rape victims …

      Bottom line – In Neoconville, if something bad happens to someone it is always their fault. Unless the NeoCon is the victim, in which case, it is Obama’s fault. (Note, the NeoCon is always the real victim).

      • UserGoogol

        It’s fair to say that rape is not a sufficient cause for becoming homeless, since yes, lots of people get raped and don’t become homeless, so it’s entirely reasonable to look for other factors. She just tangled that fact up in all sorts of stupid fucking bullshit.

        • Shakezula

          How about this: Different people react to similar events in different ways. What’s more, the same person may react to the same event in different ways.

          The military is fucked because it is just starting to deal with the fact that a significant number of combat vets did not come back from combat and resume normal lives.

          And I have no doubt that millions of dollars will be spent attempting to determine who will come home and blow his brains out or rob a convenience store or wind up on the street, but at best they’ll have a bunch of charts that show that certain people are more likely to react in certain ways, because people will insist on being unique.

          • David Nieporent

            How about this: Different people react to similar events in different ways.

            How about that? It’s actually saying exactly the same thing that you criticized her for saying, except phrasing it more gently.

            • Shakezula

              More gently is it? OK. Let’s try this. In response I could say:

              1. You are without a doubt the dumbest motherfucking, knuckledragging dick blister it has ever been my displeasure to encounter or the internet. You are a pox-ridden scab and a disgrace to the species who couldn’t be more wrong if he tried. I intend to invite my friends and relations to laugh at the epic levels of idiocy present in the few words you managed to bash out on the keyboard.


              2. I disagree with your statement.

              Now, I think we’ll agree that the essential message of both responses (I disagree) is the same. Further, no one could argue that Response 2 is “more gentle” than Response 1. But Response 1 would understandably cause people to cry out “Whoa bitch. Are you using a hedgehog for a tampon?”

              I would further argue that Response 1 is so different in tone and content that attempting to say the responses are exactly same is – at best – a lame attempt to create a false equivalence and – at worst – an outright lie.

              • DrDick

                False equivalencies are David’s stock-in-trade (along with non sequiturs and making shit up).

                • Origami Isopod

                  Well, yeah. David’s a glibertarian.

              • sibusisodan

                I very much enjoyed this response. I found it witty, on point and bracing. I sniggered. Would recommend to friends.

      • Brandon
      • David Nieporent

        Not sure what you think this has to do with ‘neocons’; I thought that the Internet meme of labeling ordinary conservative views as “neoconservative” in order to make them sound scarier to semi-educated liberals stopped being trendy about a decade ago.

        And yes, the idea that one is responsible for one’s own situation is a pretty standard conservative view.

        And of course something about them other than the fact that they were raped is what caused them to end up on the streets; we don’t see most people who were raped end up homeless, do we? That’s all she was pointing out.

        • Hogan

          “Certain people are just bound to end up on the street.” You down with that? How does that line up with your personal responsibility thing? What do you think “oversetermined” means?

        • And of course something about them other than the fact that they were raped is what caused them to end up on the streets; we don’t see most people who were raped end up homeless, do we?

          That’s all she was pointing out.

          That’s only true if you ignore 2/3rds of the post. Her ultimate aim to present a false dichotomy of choosing between rape prevention and allowing women to serve in combat.

        • S_noe

          Eh, “that shit’s your own damn fault” – with the corollary “it could also be your parents’ fault” – is not a terrible summation of neoconservative social policy thought (as commonly understood). Is it?

  • I’m thinking about clicking but I’m pretty scared. Because I think Heather MacDonald would rape a woman herself if she thought it would get her head pats from men.

    • In other words, she is just a huge huge misogynist…and she’s like that because it gets her validation…to put it less shockingly.

      • Yes I resist the temptation to get out of the boat too

      • Bill Murray

        well she comes from a world where being stupid is overdetermined making her descent into execrable punditry normal.

      • cpinva

        more importantly,

        “and she’s like that because it gets her validation”

        she’s well paid to do so. she probably gets paid to go on FOX as well. she is of the coulter/malkin ilk.

    • Shakezula

      Um. Perhaps this will help you decide:

      Now here is a tentative alternative hypothesis: Some of these women come from environments that made their descent into street life overdetermined, whether or not they experienced alleged sexual assault in the military. To blame alleged sexual assault for their fate rather than their own bad decision-making is ideologically satisfying, but mystifying.

      • sharculese

        It is adorable when they try to use words they don’t understand, though.

        …I mean, it would be adorable if it weren’t in the service of arguing that all women are dumb sluts except me.

        • Malaclypse

          I assumed “environments that made their descent into street life overdetermined” means women who are not white, rather than women who are not Heather MacDonald. But I may be wrong.

          • sharculese

            There’s probably that connotation to it, yes. I assumed that this was general scorn directed at any woman who didn’t have the good sense be born white and middle class, and I was using ‘me’ as a shorthand for ‘in my circumstances.’

            • daveNYC

              Even that might be giving her too much credit.

            • ironic irony

              “I assumed that this was general scorn directed at any woman who didn’t have the good sense to be born white and middle class and had the balls to join the military…”


          • Shakezula

            The next line is something about having children out of wedlock makes you poor, but I had to bail.

            I swear it is like they all read Swift’s A Modest Proposal and
            1. Thought he was serious.
            2. Decided to apply that mindset to everything.

            • sharculese

              MARRIAGE CULTURE!

            • David Nieporent

              The next line is something about having children out of wedlock makes you poor, but I had to bail.

              If you make fun of the bad facts, or refuse to read them, they will cease to be true!

              • It’s a fact that all single mothers are poor?

                • Anonymous

                  I saw a graphic in some business magazine where single moms made more than $180,000, so yeah

              • DrDick

                Reading comprehension, as been noted here before, is not your strong point, David. Of course you do not really have any strong points, other than delusional idiocy.

              • Anonymous

                David probably also deeply believes MacDonald’s other main contribution to the field of woman-hating is true, which is that rape doesn’t make the bitches crazy, bitches just be crazy. It’s a fact!

              • sharculese

                You can’t possibly be this stupid.

                • Pestilence

                  We have yet to plumb the full extent of Nieporents stupidity, it is possibly limitless

              • Pseudonym

                So rape doesn’t make you homeless because not everyone ends up homeless after being raped, but having children out of wedlock makes you poor because some people who have children out of wedlock are also poor?

            • anthrofred

              They could get out of poverty if only they would sell those babies as food. Another example of the lack of American entrepreneurial spirit among the 47%.

  • Brandon

    Jesus christ the comments on that thread:

    “Here’s my standard for rape: if you don’t report it you weren’t raped.”

    “You may be unfamiliar with the physiology but if there is a rape her body will show trauma. Reporting it is key since there is also DNA evidence. No scarring or fighting needed.”

    “If she wasn’t raped enough to take the obvious steps to both prevent her own rape from continuing or to attempt to prevent the guy from every attacking another woman by putting him behind bars forever then I reserve the right to believe that she wasn’t raped at all.”

    • Standing by my decision not to click.

      • Origami Isopod


        • DrDick


    • sharculese

      No scarring or fighting needed.

      Christ. Tell that to the courts.

      • Shakezula

        I know, WTF? You can’t even blame that on dimwitted legal procedurals.

    • Hogan

      “Here’s my standard for rape: if you don’t report it you weren’t raped.”

      And if you do you’re probably lying.

      • bexley

        No no – just asking for it. If they didn’t want to get raped why were they wearing those sexy fatigues?

      • anthrofred

        If you don’t report being stabbed, were you not stabbed? Especially if you cover it up real good with a bandage and a sweater?

        Face, meet palm. Hello, palm! These people.

    • Uncle Kvetch

      If she wasn’t raped enough

      I fucking hate these people.

      • anthrofred

        Yeesh. “On a scale from one to ten, how much would you say you were raped?”

        Anyone who doesn’t find that question completely absurd is borderline sociopathic, and way-over-borderline a jerk.

    • sibusisodan

      If she wasn’t raped enough

      Ugh. Humanity is depressing.

      • Pestilence

        possibly, but there’s no evidence of any humanity there

    • FlipYrWhig

      “You may be unfamiliar with the physiology but if there is a rape her body will show trauma”

      In other words, the female body has ways of shutting that whole thing down?

      • Anonymous

        I think he (and it’s almost always a he, MacDonald not withstanding) is trying to say something about vaginal tears*, and just failing because: cooties.

        * and vaginal tears are hardly a metric of rape/not rape, anyway. Obv.

        • anthrofred

          It’s a reflection of just how central the body as physicality is to the way she thinks about rape, as if it isn’t connected to a brain that is gendered and beyond that thinks, feels, and experiences trauma. Also, connected to how much she’s an idiot.

    • Royko

      Not to mention the lovely comments arguing that a woman who can’t prevent her own rape (regardless of the circumstances) isn’t fit for service. *sigh*

    • ironic irony

      If you were murdered, and didn’t prevent the murderer from murdering other people, then I believe you weren’t really murdered. Yep, seems legit.

  • I’m trying to comprehend how she thinks that saying that women who are sexually assaulted in the military tend to come from Circumstances (which I believe is true on average of people who enlist) somehow mitigates or invalidates the problem of those women being raped in the first place.

    It’s hardly earthshaking news that women who are already struggling are likely to suffer particularly badly from sexual assault. That’s kind of how trauma works, isn’t it?

    • Shakezula

      Let me spell it out for you: She is an mendacious dirtbag.

      Tentative alternative hypothesis: She is an evil dirtbag.

      Take your pick.

      • efgoldman

        Actual, provable hypothesis: She is a mendacious, evil dirtbag.

        • Shakezula


    • penpen

      Obviously crimes are just not as objectionable when suffered by minorities and the poor. The tragedy they face is a mere fraction of that suffered by Real Americans (conservative scholars currently estimate this fraction as 3/5).

      • weirdnoise

        Oh, it’s worse than that. Her argument essentially boils down to being raped doesn’t make any difference to those people.

    • BigHank53

      It’s retreaded Calvinism. Remember predetermination? God’s already picked out who he was going to save? It’s like this:

      1. Those people were already going to hell.
      2. Nothing we can do will save them.
      3. Therefore, we should do nothing.

      The only addition here is that McDonald has (a) assumed she can determine who God has picked out*, and (b) done her level best to excuse felonious behavior committed by men. I’d go for evil, mendacious dirtbag myself.

      *GOP Calvinism consists mainly of looking at one’s net worth. That’s why they hate George Soros so much: he’s a filthy class traitor.

      • Shakezula

        If memory serves, early Calvinism also looked at net worth. If your life sucks, it is because God hates you. Being poor sucks, ergo if you’re poor, God hates you.

        • cpinva

          your memory serves.

          “If memory serves, early Calvinism also looked at net worth.”

          those of high net worth were deemed the ones “pre-destined” for heaven. by an amazing coincidence, rev. calvin’s patrons just so happened to be wealthy nobles and merchants. this had absolutely no bearing on how the story ended.

      • daveNYC

        Calvinism combined with Just World Fallacy. The plus side is that it really cuts down on having to think.

    • David Nieporent

      I’m trying to comprehend how she thinks that saying that women who are sexually assaulted in the military tend to come from Circumstances (which I believe is true on average of people who enlist) somehow mitigates or invalidates the problem of those women being raped in the first place.

      She doesn’t. That’s not what she said.

    • ironic irony

      This is what I was thinking as well.

  • Decrease Marher

    From the comments:

    I’m assuming you’re talking about the fact that Muslim women who are raped are declared damaged and potentially stoned to death. Yeah, that is barbarism. It is also one heck of a rape deterrent. A Muslim chick living under such a system will not, for example, dress such that her assets are all on full display, drink herself into a blackout, leave the bar alone at closing time, and go wandering off into the night (Which is exactly what happened in one particular high profile rape/murder case of which I am thinking…I think they eventually convicted the bouncer?). Is she avoiding this behavior to avoid the actual act of rape or is it more because she finds it prudent to avoid the repercussions, in that environment, of being raped or even, simply, exhibiting that socially unacceptable behavior that increases the chances of being raped?

    • Just trying to remember that smashing my own property won’t make that anonymous internet commenter any less of a monster.

      Deep breaths.

  • Patrick

    I vehemently dislike and disagree with basically everything NRO ever publishes, but I read the article as saying something like “It isn’t plausible to claim that rape is a significant causal contributor to later homelessness. If this was the case, then (1) it must be something about rape itself, but rape statistics about other populations don’t seem to support this claim or (2) it must be something about the sort of women that join the military, or the stresses that women undergo once they get to the military, but that doesn’t make any sense either, because combat is a worse stress [and women seem to deal with that OK].”

    I don’t think this argument *works* (it’s way too simplistic about the harms caused by rape, and about the mechanisms behind these harms), but I fail to see how the sort of discussion here, which basically says “NRO loves rape and hates women” really does anything to help move the ball forward, either.

    • Anonymous

      Your concern over balls and them moving forward has been noted.

    • Hogan

      Let’s try this: it’s something about being raped while in the military, and the way the military as an institution responds to that, that results in something like the PTSD that afflicts other veterans of violence while in combat situations.

    • Uhm no. She clearly thinks MST is a made up “syndrome” for lying women who were never sexually assaulted or were at worst asking for it. She is not trying to advance any sort of conversation as to what is leading these women into homelessness.

      Second sentence of the article:

      Military-sexual-trauma syndrome is that debilitating condition that befalls female service members who have allegedly been the victim of sexual assault by their fellow service members.

      Why is the word “allegedly” there? Why would women who have falsely claimed to be raped be suffering from a syndrome? Answer: because it is a made up syndrome.

      She then does proceed to make the case that being raped is not a sufficient explanation for homelessness. This is of course true, but it is also the case that another traumatic disorder, namely PTSD, is not sufficient to explain every bad thing that happens to vets with it either. That does not imply that it should not be treated.

      That is unless you think it’s a BS made up syndrome.

      Her final paragraph is about how “ironic” it is that liberals who think rape is traumatic think women should be allowed to serve in combat which is also traumatic! The idea that liberals thinking that “traumatic experiences should be treated” is a gotcha against equality in combat service is obviously something only a complete idiot could entertain, but that is only a brief conserava-lolz before we come to the conclusion:

      Perhaps they think that with enough multi-million-dollar gender-equity training contracts showered on the gender-industrial complex, the problem will go away. Or perhaps they think that keeping before us proof that the patriarchy is alive and well is more important than protecting women from “MST,” especially if that image can serve as grounds for remaking the military.

      Got that? “MST” is a construct of feminists so they can destroy our military effectiveness by making all our Marines go to sexual harassment seminars.

      • anthrofred

        Because we’re not “remaking the military” to protect soldiers from trauma to begin with, by using for example drones or airstrikes whenever possible or putting our active-duty troops on alarming doses of anti-depressents and anxiolytics. We love trauma! We want all our soldiers to experience it! Or not so much.

      • ironic irony

        Too late. Service members already go through sexual assault prevention training quarterly. Have since at least 2000. She’s a day late and a dollar short.

      • S_noe

        Your reading misses the full Alinskyite argument she’s making in the last sentence – the feminists want to “remak[e] the military” through the vehicle of more rape and the resulting backlash against it. Feminists are all for rape, if it helps their eventual policy goals. I guess they want to highlight the contradictions or something.

        I’m sorry – only “perhaps” in favor of more rape. Maybe they just don’t know better, I guess.

      • S_noe

        Thanks, by the way, for calling out her dickish use of “allegedly” – as though she were a reporter referring to an actual case. Goes hand in hand with the over-reliance on scare quotes.

  • Anonymous

    My favorite bit is how rape is just a “sexual experience.” Not good or bad, just something that happens to women and why are feminists against it, and so forth.

    • Shakezula

      Did she now? Huh.

      You know. If Normal Earth started ignoring these pox scabs on Sunday, they would set themselves on fire on Thursday. Not that I’m saying this would be a good thing. Of course. My vord, no.

      Seriously, these fucknuggets are running around screaming all women must be allowed concealed carry because RAPE RAPE RAPITY RAPE RAPE! If rape is “just a sexual experience” there is no need to put an exit wound in someone who wants to have one.

      In short, this is the sort of shit that made Camille Paglia famous and we shouldn’t be surprised that other desperate attention whores are going the same route. Who knows, maybe some doucheclog at the Post will cite that exercise in translating fart noises into words in an article about rape in the military. Just to be fair and balanced.

      I actually feel a bit better now.

      • Anonymous

        Yep. All of these things.

        I’m fairly certain, however, the characterization of rape as one of many “sexual experiences” women will invariably experience in their lifetime is her none-too-subtle way of suggesting rape victims are lying, being hysterical, or blowing “it” out of proportion. Again, the message is that if you’re victimized by a man, you did something to deserve it, so no rape for you. Same old “bitch regrets sex, cries rape” routine, but with an extra dab of Milking the System. (Where milking the system means seeking counseling and assistance when your PTSD gets in the way of living.)

        • Origami Isopod

          If you don’t believe that consent matters, then you can’t really distinguish rape from “rough sex.” Therefore, it’s just a “sexual experience.”

          Same deal with the Rethugs like JenBob who don’t understand why voluntary abortions are OK but forced transvaginal ultrasounds aren’t. Dumb broad’s having something shoved up her cooze in either case, right?

  • This Yglesias tweet says it well:

    If women aren’t tough enough to be raped by fellow soldiers how can they fight in a war?

  • S_noe

    I just want to highlight the last sentence of the NRO post:

    Or perhaps [the feminists who advocate for women serving in combat] think that keeping before us proof [i.e., more military rape] that the patriarchy is alive and well is more important than protecting women from “MST,” especially if that image can serve as grounds for remaking the military.

    Yes, perhaps that’s an ethical calculation anyone who’s not a psycho would make. Jesus frickin’ wept.

  • Kiwanda

    It’s not a good sign that almost every mention of sexual assault or rape is “alleged”, even when talking in generalities, including saying “whether or not they experienced alleged sexual assault”.

    Her main argument seems to be that support groups for female vets with Military Sexual Trauma should not be needed: the bad situations those vets are in are their own fault (children out of wedlock); rape isn’t causal to those bad situations, because famale college students are raped in large numbers and don’t become homeless like those female vets; women who are tough enough for combat ought to be tough enough to handle rape (as Yglesias tweeted).

    Even if her reasoning wasn’t bogus, even if her arguments were in good faith, I don’t understand what she’s got against support groups for MST.

    • Pseudonym

      Simple: she doesn’t believe that MST exists, or (non-alleged) sexual assault in the military.

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  • Gandydancer

    Running across this post at random, my first impression was that Lemieux was quoting MacDonald. But he’s not, he’s misrepresenting her. The question she’s addressing isn’t whether rape is bad. It’s whether women are delicate easily traumatized flowers or whether they’re tough enough for ground combat. And it’s the former characterization she expresses the most doubt about.

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