Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Duns - Raping Women Is Not Acceptable.

Jeremy Duns has once again been telling the world how much he admires Ian Fleming. In the LA Times, he sings the praises of 'Casino Royale'.

‘Casino Royale’ is probably my favorite novel by Fleming: It’s a taut, brutal, devastating book. I also love his short stories, particularly ‘Octopussy’ and ‘The Living Daylights,’ which also show the more human side of Bond. I enjoy the series most when there’s a friction between the thrilling fantasy of this globetrotting superman and the real and dirty world of espionage, and that’s something I guess I’ve tried to re-create in my own work.” - Duns. 

I think that statement is perfectly clear. 

Duns thinks Casino Royale is one of the best books he has ever read. He does not have a word of criticism for it. 

So consider this point. 

Casino Royale is one of the most extreme women-hating books in modern British literature. There may be worst stuff in hardcore porn. But in books published by mainstream publishers, this is as bad as it gets.

I have pointed out before that the book ends with the line: 'The bitch is dead', in reference to the heroine of the story, Vesper Lynd.

But that is far from the worst of it.

What about this line?

"And now he knew that she was profoundly, excitingly sensual, but that the conquest of her body, because of the central privacy in her, would each time have the sweet tang of rape."

(There is a reference here if you want to read it).

Near the beginning there is this line -

 "women are for sex only, on the job they get in the way with their emotional baggage"

The sweet tang of rape? Women are for sex only? How can anyone get away with supporting this kind of writing. 

 Of course, Fleming is full of this kind of stomach-churning sexism. Take this line from 'The Spy Who Loved Me'. "All women love semi-rape. They love to be taken."

(There is a reference here.)

Now, I know that Duns's little army of rape-deniers and abuse-deniers will immediately jump onto the comments section of this blog, and start arguing that the world was very different when Casino Royale was published in 1953. And they will say it is just a piece of fluff, not to be taken seriously. 

Wrong, wrong. 

It is true that the world was more sexist in the 1950s than it is now. Women were not allowed into the workplace, or into politics, in the way they are now. But it was also more respectful towards women's bodies, even within the paramenters of male ownership. I do not believe it was normal in the 1950s for writers to refer to the 'sweet tang of rape'. Show me four or five other books from that era, or films, or songs, that use that kind of extreme women-hating language? 

They just are not there. 

Casino Royale was not typical of its times. It was an extreme women-hating book then, and it is now.

Also, this is not fluff. The whole point of a feminist analysis of society is that it is cultural sexism that matters the most. While women may have legal equality, they are very far from having real equality, because men still treat us as objects, and threaten us with violence everyday. So books like this are the real problem. When men like Duns (right-wing and public school, as you might expect) champion them, what they are doing is championing a culture in which rape and violence against women is seen as acceptable. 

Perhaps the worst of it is that Duns actually describes himself as feminist. 

No doubt he thinks that makes him look cool and right-on - and might even sell a few of his books. 

But no feminist could possibly cite Casino Royale as one of thir favourite books.

You are not fooling anyone. 

You are a women-hater, who through his work turns women into victims of violence every day. 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Jeremy Duns - Calling Women Bitches Is Repugnant

After I blogged about Duns's un-authorised taping of telephone conversations, I was subjected to a wave of vile sexist abuse.

One of Duns's supporters described me as a 'bitch'.

I highlighted this as an example of women-hating, and went on to explore in more depth the evidence of Duns's sexism in articles he has written. 

Duns has responded to my points. You can read his full answer below. On the 'bitch' point, he states that he cannot be held responsible for the comments of his followers. "The idea that I am responsible for what people who follow me on Twitter write is daft – after all, you follow me on Twitter. I don’t know the person who referred to you in the comments here as a ‘man’s bitch’ at all, but they thought you were Steve Roach, who is of course a man," writes Duns.

This is an extraordinary statement to make, and one that deserves to be exposed for the violent woman-hating nonsense it is. 

Duns is publicly stating that it is acceptable to call people 'bitches' so long as they think they are a man (just as his loyal sidekick Steve Mosby, who has threatened me over this blog, thinks it is okay to call people 'cunts'). Why he thinks I am a man is very odd in itself, except that in Duns's world of right-wing, public school writers all women are either housewives or whores, not people with their own views. But leave that aside. Is it okay to call black people 'niggers' - if you happen to have mistakenly decided they are white. Of course not. It is a vile racist term. By the same token, 'bitch' is a vile sexist term. 

'Bitch' is a word that is no longer acceptable in any circumstances.

Duns could have taken the opportunity to disown it. And yet his choice was to defend it.

That is morally repugnant. 

But then Duns defends other writers who use it.

Duns has written extensively in praise of the book 'Casino Royale'. You can read one of his articles here. 

The last line of that book (referring to the heroine Vesper Lynd) is this. "The bitch is dead now."
(there is a link here). In fact he refers to her as 'bitch' several times in the book (a link is here). 

So Duns praises a book in which a women is described a 'bitch' without a word of criticism of that expression. 

'Bitch' has become a word that symbolises male violence towards women. 

Every day women are attacked and hurt because men like Duns promote a culture in which violence against women is seen as cool and acceptable. 

It has to stop. 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Does Duns Hate Women - An Open Reply

Jeremy Duns states on this blog that he is a feminist. 

This is a ridiculous thing to say.

I will leave aside the question of whether a man can be a feminist - there is an interesting discussion summarized here. 

What is certainly clear is that Duns is not a feminist. Why not? Because he put his name to a vile article glorifying violence against women.

I blogged here about an article Duns wrote for The Times describing how many women died in each Bond film, as this was an achievement. You can read it online here.

People can form their own opinions. To me, it is rubbish like this that creates a culture in which women are assaulted by men every day in their thousands. 

From his response, on this blog, Duns seems shame-faced about this article as he should be. 

After pitching a different article to The Times, he claims, this one appeared. ' A few days later, the article you have linked to appeared. It was the first I knew of it. It’s a complete fluff piece', he writes. 

This is not good enough.

Are you disowning this article? Your name appeared on it.

If you want to disown it, you need to take the following steps. 

1. Write a public apology on your blog disowning the article. 

2. State how much you were paid for it, with documentary evidence. 

3. Donate the money to a recognized women's charity.

4. Write a letter to the editor of The Times asking for your name to be removed from the article, and publish the letter online, together with the response. 

If you are not willing to take these steps, I am completely justified in describing you as a women-hater, that is as someone who celebrates and glorifies violence against women, and who women's groups should be campaigning against. 

Violence against women is the most major violation against human rights in the world today. There is an excellent summary of the issues here.

It is the casual acceptance among men - typified in Duns's work - that violence against women is okay that creates this problem. That is why it is important to stand up against it. 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Why Telephone Taping Is Immoral - An Open Letter To Duns

Since you have replied at length to my earlier post I will answer your points, even though it probably means that I will be subjected to yet more violent personal abuse by you and your followers.

Readers of this blog should be aware of one thing, however. I only set it up because when I tried to post questions on Duns's own blog, he did not run them. Duns himself is always allowed to comment on this blog, at whatever length he likes, and his comments are never edited. He is entitled to state his defence fairly. I, on the other hand, have been subjected to several threats of legal action and vicious personal abuse merely for raising legitimate points about his behavior.I suppose that is what public school, right-wing writers like Duns think is fair. 

New readers can catch up on this debate on earlier posts. In brief, Duns recorded a phone conversation with the writer Steve Roach without his permission. In my view, this may well be banned if the tape was not for personal use (and Duns later wrote extensively about it). That aside, it was certainly immoral - and the rest of this post will explain why.

I find it extra-ordinary that you have resorted to the argument that you needed to tape your phone conversation with Steve Roach because Stephen Leather threatened you with libel. To begin with, I can find no evidence of that threat apart from one flippant Tweet. If I am wrong please correct me. Have you received a lawyer's letter? If so please post it here, or on your own blog. If not, you cannot seriously claim to have been threatened with legal action - and so that is not a serious defense of your actions. 

The arrogance of your claim that you - one person on Twitter - can put himself on the same level as Panorama is breath-taking. Panorama is a major news program. Its reporters and editors are accoutable for their actions. If they make a mistake they get in trouble. But you are acountable to no one. If you overstep the mark, who do you report to? Nobody. It is only legitimate for jounalists to tape conversations because they are subject to supervision. It is not legitimate for everyone to tape phone calls. If we go down that path, all our calls will soon be recorded.

It is clear that you quite regularly make mistakes in your work. Here is one example here.When you make mistakes like that, who do you report to? Nobody. So it completely wrong to compare yourself to a major news organisation.

You have still not answered my questions about your qualifications as a journalist. Have you been trained in journalism and if so where? Have you ever been on the staff of a major news outlet? Are you a member of the National Union of Journalists? If the answer to those questions is no, then your claim to be acting as a reporter is very, very weak. 

You state that "the very word ‘recording’ is an emotive one, and has connotations of hacking, tapping and other illegal and unrelated activities that have been in the news." Well, it does. In fact, what you have done is far worse than anything News International did in the phone hacking affair.

There are two reasons why that is so. First, when you leave a message on an answer phone you know you are being taped, even though you do not expect that tape to be hacked. When you make a personal phone call you have every right to assume it is not being taped.

Second, News International is at least subject to legal and regulatory oversight.  People can complain to the Press Complaints Commission about them. Murdoch can be called before Parliament. But who are people going to complain to when you injure them? Nobody.

So it is far, far worse.

You state that there is no difference between taping a phone conversation and making notes of it. There is a huge moral difference. You are entitled to make notes as your record of the conversation, just as you can make notes of anything that happens to you. It is a very different matter to record a person's voice without their permission - that is a gross invasion of their right to privacy. It is a form of theft. Can you really not see that? Would you not accept that there is a clear difference between making a note of what someone looks like and filming them in secret and then broadcasting the images? Or is it that because you went to a famous public school you think you are entitled to treat the surfs in any way you like.

As I have said, I agree it is not clear that you broke the law in taping that conversation. Unless charges are bought we will not know. You are of course innocent until proven guilty.

But to me what you did was morally repugnant. And it was dangerous to our civil liberties to a very high degree.

It is time you stopped trying to defend it, and made an apology for your actions. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Does Duns Hate Women Part II

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post here about Jeremy Duns's championing of unauthorised phone taping. 

I happen to think that is wrong. After all, if Duns is allowed to tape people's phone calls without their agreement what is to to stop a political party, or an arms manufacturer, or the security services? It is important - I believe - to make make a stand.

Duns disagrees, arguing that he is justified in doing so to expose what he sees as unethical marketing, or the supporters of Julian Assange (a great exponent of press freedom). 

He has his view and I have mind. There is room here for legitimate debate in a civilised way.

What shocked me was the storm of violent misogynist abuse thrown at me for raising this issue.

I am aware that right-wing public schoolboys like Duns and his gang are not used to having their opinions questioned by a mere woman. Even so, the violence of the language suggests men with very  sexist state of mind.

One of Duns' followers called me a 'bitch' repeatedly - and a man's bitch as well.

Another - an unpleasant looking character with a shaved head and tattoos called Steve Mosby - tweeted that I would be 'very, very sorry' for the blog post. 

Duns himself started posting that he was tracking down my place of work - whether he planned to come and confront and threaten me he didn't say, but that seemed to me the clear implication (why else does he need to know where I work?)

It is incredible that in this 21st century men like this still think it is okay to threaten and bully women like this -and that we will put up with it. 

It set me to thinking about the rest of Duns's work. And what I have found it is series of articles with a level of hatred towards women that makes me sick. 

I will detail them in the next few weeks - because it is important the people who read his books are aware of this. 

I have to start somewhere, so I will start here - this article in The Times from 2009 (it is behind a paywall, but you can read it on this message board). In loving detail, Duns researches how many of James Bond's girlfriends have died. 

"Women! Are you thinking of having a relationship with James Bond? Think! Almost a third of Bond’s sexual partners have died since the British superspy began his adventures, and the death toll is rising sharply."

So that's ok is it Duns? You have sex with a woman and then she dies. And that is something you want to celebrate? Superspy? That's what killing women makes you is it. 

At no point is there even a hint that Duns thinks there is something sexist about this. 

As I said, shocking. 

We live in a world where violence and abuse against women is still very common - and growing worse with every year that passes. 

Women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria, according to the World Bank - see more details here. 

In my view, there are a whole host of reasons for that. 

But right-wing, sexist articles like that one create a culture in which violence against women is seen as acceptable. The same culture in which you dismiss a woman who disagrees with you as a bitch.

It is disgusting - and it has to stop. 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Does Duns Hate Women?

It is probably not a surprise that Jeremy Duns and his little club of right-wing thriller writers have accused me of being a man.

Duns has stated clearly that I am Steve Roach.

I guess in his public school/spy circles, a women's place is in the kitchen, or the bedroom. It obviously has not occured to him that a mere women might be capable of having a debate, and even questioning a man on points of principle.

There is something very creepy about the attacks you have made on me. I have raised a legitimate issue about whether it was ethical or legal to record a telephone conversation with Steve Roach without asking his permission. You are perfectly entitled to argue that it is. I disagree. But it should be possible to have a civilised debate about that without stooping to personal abuse.

You - and your supporters - have threatened me with legal action, and you have yourself stated that you have been making enquiries about where I live. Surely you can understand that for a group of men who boast about their connections to the security services to demand the address of a women is in itself designed to be intimidating.

Your follower - Mr Cartright - refers to me as 'Leather's bitch'?

Do you condone that kind of language?

Are you in fact Mr Cartright and is that how you normally refer to women?

Violence against women - like unauthorised surveillance - is a serious problem in our society.

I refer you to this website - which has many of the relevant statistics.

A staggering 43% of young women in London (aged 18-34) experienced sexual harassment in public spaces over the last year.
One in 10 women has been raped, and more than a third subjected to sexual assault according to this research.

It seems to me that insisting that a women is a man when she raises a serious issue and then calling her a 'bitch' (a man's bitch at that) is directly creating a culture in which that happens.

There are serious, important issue, and you should answer them.