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.