My campus newspaper hit rock bottom, or: you think it’s ‘cool’ to abuse your readers?

[CN: Anti-Arab racism, misogyny, Zionism, anti-Semitism, incendiary rhetoric, mansplaining, male rage]

Actually, they hit rock bottom last November. They have since blasted through the crust, plowed through the mantle, and are fast approaching the iron core, and the extreme temperatures and pressures will not stop this phallic penetration by Menz logic  because male entitlement is stronger than any element in the known universe.

My campus newspaper has ran some seriously awful garbage in the past. There have been plenty of MRA talking points that the editors deemed fit to print. (Because any byline that dares to argue that women are human beings must be met with a counter-piece, y’know, for neutrality!) There have been white women writers who actively silenced women of color and queers, sabotaging their spaces and events with willfully bad press, charging them with “divisiveness” for merely asserting that they exist and that their experiences are real, and then purport to educate us all on how to be a good ally.

But now, September 10 2014, volume cxxv issue 3 Opinions section, all I can say is: holy shit. When I read the words that appeared on this issue, I could feel my gorge drop. I felt my respiration spike. I felt stinging tears behind my eyes and I went to go throw up even though I hadn’t eaten.

This is the first time my campus newspaper triggered me.

You think it’s ‘cool’ to support Palestine?
Christopher Day, guest writer
Being a contrarian, I gather, is rather popular.
So any opportunity to seem “hip” and progressive is eagerly seized by many a naive student.
Thus explains the “old Israel accountable for genocide,” “Israel is the true terrorist” and “boycott Israeli products” mantras going around campus lately.
To that I say — grow up.

Men love this shit.

We love to front like we’re so above it all, so cynical and “hip.” Self-interest is the taproot of all human decisions, so even altruism is an opportunistic exercise in narcissism. By insulting anyone who might be emotionally invested in critiquing oppression as infantile (“naive,” “grow up,” seriously, wtf) we conveniently place ourselves at the top of the hierarchy of genuine human behavior. And the only genuine behavior is calling out all other earnest action as in-genuine self-interest. Hell, we can even put ourselves above the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the center of this topic (see quote below). Don’t worry, everyone! The righteous and rational manz is here to tell all you Twitter activists that nothing you do is genuine, complete with abusive sexist tropes (aloof male = smart, activist female = idiotic child). You’re welcome!

Our awesome powers of judgement are unclouded by emotion — that is until women and all other “Others” stop reaffirming how great we are. Then we get maaad as fuuuck.

As we all settle into another year at this picturesque little campus, it can be easy to watch news of the outside world with a far-away gaze and pretend to care.
On the other side of the globe, two relatively small groups of individuals reignited a centuries-old conflict over supposedly sacred claims to a tract of land.
It’s complex and tragic, but in the time it takes to read the 140-character headline blurb, deeply held beliefs are formed, and idiocy is soon to follow.

And the idiocy does indeed follow:

The Hamas government is based on pure, unadulterated anti-Semitism. Palestinians elected terrorists to run their country. Palestine was digging tunnels into Israel so they could invade and kill.
Don’t forget that.
The guiding philosophy and principle of Hamas is to kill all Jews and inhabit their land. Don’t believe anyone who tells you different.

Who is your audience, Mr. Let Me Explain To You What Your Real Motivations Are You Silly Social Justice Freaks? Because this piece vacillates between addressing the “General Educated Reader” to whom we are taught to shape our discourse , and the meanie-bo-beanie pro-Palestine strawfolk being set up to burn, sometimes in the same phrase.

Yes, the writer is speaking from a space of rage.

And that’s why it was so wrong to run this piece: Male rage, in a newspaper that’s supposed to be the “voice of the community” is not acceptable. Not when the entire system, our laws, our culture, our society, is on the side of male violence against all others. You are proliferating a politics that is already backed by capitalist and colonial power (you used the word “contrarian”) and are doing so with blunt antipathy. Are you listening, Collegian editors (who should be drafting their resignation letters, seriously). Your publishing of this drivel is an act of hostility to the community you claim to represent.

As the author calls sympathy with Palestinians “cognitive dissonance” since they apparently all endorse terrorism (real complex of you), he goes on to say that critics of Israel have made “rational discussion” impossible. Diplomacy has failed!

(Also gotta love the underhanded toss of the F-bomb: “We live in a culture where the terms fascist and racist are thrown about too easily and too frequently. These terms should be reserved for the worst of the worst. And in this case, they apply.” Look, the only one with a totalitarian bent around here is you, good sir, who seem to know exactly what the right thing to do is for everybody.)

Next is obligatory lip-service to the subjugation of women under Islam (as if white women and anyone else who isn’t in the chosen gender in the U.S. isn’t living under the shadow of rape culture and terrorism, even right here on campus).

“I support a two-state solution,” the author says. Here’s the problem: a two-state arrangement is not equal. A two-state existence means one is on top. A dualism of any sort fundamentally implies hierarchy and domination (Man and Woman, White and Black, Settlers and Indigenous, Israel and Palestine, Sames and Others, Human beings and Bodies). As men with authoritarian desires to control everyone and everything and a masculinity that demands expression, we need dualism the way Popeye needs spinach.

Dualism is a framework that allows the author to say that anyone who isn’t pro-Israel is of course a genocidal anti-Semitic and vice versa. Yes, I think the Israeli government is oppressive (what government isn’t?) Yes, I think the Hamas are fanatics and need to be stopped. But nothing is gonna happen until both Israelis and Arabs start working together in attacking the economic and political barriers that authoritarians like Mr. Day believe are necessary for peace, where “peace” means an economic and racial domination maintained by violence, and those uppity brown folk remain subjugated and silent behind the barrels of Israeli guns.

There are so many Israelis and Jews who are sympathetic to Palestinians and are mounting meaningful critiques of Israel’s policies. I don’t have to dehumanize all Israelis as a monolithic genocidal force completely behind their government. The author did so when he gave the same treatment to Palestinians. That’s the catastrophe of dualist thinking.

Mr. Day, you wanted to talk to me like I was born yesterday. You called me a genocidal racist, fascist and a child for trying to be a decent human being. You and the Collegian decided to escalate this shit by using a campus paper as your personal soundboard for uncompromising attacks. You wanted to front like you knew everything about me when I bet you couldn’t pick me out of a line-up of social justice warrior “cynical anti-Semetic fools”. You could have written an op-ed arguing that the police shouldn’t give cocaine to babies and I would still be taking the piss out with you if you used the kind of language and the misogynist forces behind it that you trotted out here. You could have said that the tiny sliver of conscious students at this otherwise highly anti-feminist campus were wrong in expressing sympathy with the Palestinian people without wholly dismissing their motives, experiences, and humanity. But that would mean engaging with the ideas of others. Like a grown up.

Anti-Semitism is a real problem. Are you doing any good by projecting it onto anyone at a tiny conservative liberal arts school who might disagree with your willfully intransigent opinions?

I think I see where you’re coming from though: us men are socialized from birth to believe our opinions and ideas are always awesome and we must always be spouting them and gracing the world with our beautiful insights; that we are the masters of reality and we know what’s going on in every non-cismale’s head and can thus tell them what they are doing wrong. And we can dismiss outright anything and anybody we please, owing explanation to no one.

And so you lashed out at me emotionally and I don’t even know you. I felt your venom even though I wasn’t your target. (Your target was the activist female student body. Don’t believe anyone that tells you different). You and the editors of the Collegian decided that it was “cool” to actively punish me for reading our newspaper with this vitriolic anti-Arab screed. As if the Collegian’s typical shitty content wasn’t already punishing enough.

The final lines of the article:

You don’t want to look back on your college years and shudder at your callousness.

Get on the right side of history.

Think carefully.

I will look back on my college years, and there will plenty of things to cringe about. But siding with apartheid will not be one of them.

Your bullshit talking points were neither new nor interesting. Your (dualistic) conception of history sucks.

You and the rag that published you need a ceasefire order.

(What will come first, a public apology or explanation from the editors or Israel breaking the current ceasefire, as they have consistently done?)

It should be noted that another piece ran in the Opinions section opposite to this one, written by a female student. This one was a little nicer, using an interesting personal narrative. It was the nurturing female piece that works as the antithesis to this specimen of macho rage. FFS, Collegian, even you are playing the dualist game with this gender-ized bullshit. Can this post be the third space article in a gender trinity of Israel-Palestinian conflict rants?


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