Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Call Chomsky on His Sexual Bigotry

I've received an email from Cindy Sheehan, informing me that she will have Professor Noam Chomsky on her radio show shortly and inviting listeners to submit questions for him. I've submitted this one:

"Hi! Here's what I'd like to ask Professor Chomsky:

"'In light of Hustler magazine's long history of offering both editorial and financial support to antiwar causes; in light of the fact that most of their readers, like those of other mass publications, need more not less education about the true US role in the world; and in light of the fact that women have made the most economic, legal, and political progress, as measured by the Gender Equality Index, precisely in those states where publications like Hustler are most widely available* — in light of all this, how can you justify your repudiation of the interview you gave them? How can you put your personal prejudices ahead of both scientific fact and the needs of the antiwar movement?'

"Eric Hamell
"Philadelphia, PA

"* The following can be read at http://libertus.net/censor/rdocs/candle2.html:

"'In 1990, findings of more recent research by Dr Larry Baron were published. He examined "the relationship between the circulation rates of soft-core pornographic magazines and gender equality in the 50 American states. Gender equality is measured with the Gender Equality Index (GEX) which combines 24 indicators of the status of women relative to men in the three institutional domains of politics, economics, and legal rights. Multiple regression analysis is used to test the hypothesis that the higher the circulation rate of soft-core pornographic magazines [such as Hustler — E.H.], the lower the level of gender equality. Several additional variables are included in the analysis to control for spurious relationships. Contrary to the hypothesis, the results show that gender equality is higher [my emphasis — E.H.] in states characterized by higher circulation rates of pornography. This relationship is interpreted as suggesting that pornography and gender equality both flourish in politically tolerant societies."' And:

"'Also, in 1991 Cynthia Gentry found no relationship between rape rates and circulation of sexually oriented magazines across metropolitan areas in the USA.'"

My interest in confronting Dr. Chomsky about this arises from an email exchange I had with him -- itself triggered by learning about his repudiation of the interview from a reference on Nina Hartley's discussion board (not safe for some workplaces!). Amazingly, he refused any responsibility to define the terms he used, such as "degrading," in justifying his decision. He also repeatedly misrepresented my plainly expressed positions -- something that particularly tends to drive me up the wall. I can provide a full transcript of our exchange to anyone who's interested.

The interview will air Sunday, October 25 [postponed to November], 2PM Pacific at www.cindysheehanssoapbox.com or 3PM Central at 1360am Rational Radio, Dallas, TX). You can submit your own question for Professor Chomsky by writing Sheehan at cindy@cindysheehanssoapbox.com.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Protest Rape at Movie Theaters Tomorrow

Actions are being organized nationwide for Saturday, 10 October 2009 to protest the denial and belittlement of sexual violence that has been exhibited by many in connection with the Roman Polanski case. They are taking place at movie theaters and you can get information for your area at http://promotingawarenessvictimempowerment.wordpress.com/nationwide-cities/

The information is presented in a confusing fashion and I initially had the false impression that nothing was planned for Philadelphia. I recommend using your browser's search function to find all occurrences of your city's name, so as to be sure you don't miss anything.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Protest One-Sided Coverage of Consent Question in the Polanski Case

It seems the mass media's Polanski coverage has been rather biased. Most inexcusably for NPR, their news briefs have often mentioned that he claims the incident was consensual, yet don't mention that the victim told a grand jury just the opposite. Since he's described as having pled guilty only to "having sex with a 13-year-old girl," this leaves the listener (including me, until I saw Deb's link about it on facebook) with the false impression that this case arose solely because of the girl's age. Whatever you think about age-of-consent laws, presumably everyone agrees that this makes a big difference.

I posted a comment on their website a few days ago. I also called their Ombudsman's office Thursday, and was informed that they'd received many complaints along the same lines and were looking into it. Good! But I haven't heard any correction yet.

You can contact the NPR Ombudsman at http://www.npr.org/ombudsman or 202-513-3245.

Thanks to my friend Deborah Seeley for bringing this to my attention.

Eric Hamell