Author: has written 5298 posts for this blog.

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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21 Responses

  1. BW
    BW April 6, 2010 at 9:51 pm |

    When I hear articles seem to imply that humans are overpopulating the earth but the elephants/Amazon forest/etc. is endangered and therefore efforts to save the endangered species/area justify the loss of human life, my mind vacillates from horrified to ‘well, statistically speaking, yeah’ to horrified again. Anyone else?

  2. Holy!
    Holy! April 6, 2010 at 10:44 pm |


    Here’s a great link on the subject:

    great quote about man made animal and plant extinctions :”In a slow extinction, various balancing mechanisms can develop. Noone knows what will be the result of this extremely rapid extinction rate. What is known, for sure, is that the world ecological system has been kept in balance through a very complex and multifaceted interaction between a huge number of species. This rapid extinction is therefore likely to precipitate collapses of ecosystems at a global scale. This is predicted to create large-scale agricultural problems, threatening food supplies to hundreds of millions of people. This ecological prediction does not take into consideration the effects of global warming which will further aggravate the situation.”

  3. RD
    RD April 7, 2010 at 1:27 am |

    Good post but why do you keep linking to that rape apologist?

    Holy! and BW, if the environment is the concern, its the West that needs to depopulate most.

  4. piny
    piny April 7, 2010 at 1:48 am |

    No, BW, just horrified. I understand the frustration, but the Owenses are a pernicious influence. Theirs is the mentality that favors invasion over diplomacy, overseas adoption over infrastructure, paramilitary over police action. It doesn’t really work, and innocent people invariably die. These are home lands we’re talking about, villages where people live and work. They shouldn’t be under private martial law.

  5. RD
    RD April 7, 2010 at 2:30 am |

    So I didn’t actually read that whole article before, just skimmed some of the first page. Just went back to read it…um WOW. Horrified too.

  6. Holy!
    Holy! April 7, 2010 at 10:25 am |

    Holy! and BW, if the environment is the concern, its the West that needs to depopulate most.

    Which “West” are you talking about? Population growth among nearly all developed countries is stagnant, or declining. what developed countries need to work on is using less resources.

  7. Sailorman
    Sailorman April 7, 2010 at 12:33 pm |

    Holy! 4.7.2010 at 10:25 am

    Holy! and BW, if the environment is the concern, its the West that needs to depopulate most.

    Yes and no. The West is leading the worldwide environmental catastrophe. But there are still specific areas and/or species which need to be protected, not all of which are under the domain of the West.

    To put it differently: Even though we can easily identify the relatively few countries who drove the right whale close to extinction, we still can’t let anyone else kill right whales. And even though the local people may not be responsible for the initial degradation of elephant habitat, that doesn’t mean that we don’t need to protect the elephants. You can’t achieve broad social goals if you prioritize individuals.

    What we DO need to do, though, is to compensate people a la eminent domain, instead of just taking stuff. It’s one thing to say that the broader social need must prevail; it’s another thing entirely to also say that the individuals who give way just need to suck it up and bear the loss. That doesn’t make much sense, nor give much moral support to the social model.

  8. Auguste
    Auguste April 7, 2010 at 1:37 pm |

    I second the request for more information from RD about Ta-Nehisi Coates’ supposed rape apologia.

  9. RD
    RD April 7, 2010 at 5:03 pm |

    That football player, an article about him.

    Of course you also had a rape apologist guest blogger pretty recently so what should I expect.

  10. Alison
    Alison April 7, 2010 at 5:14 pm |

    Jill, I assume it’s that post RD is talking about, on Roethlisberger. Doesn’t read as apologism to me, but…

    As far as the guest blogger, I’m lost on that one.

  11. . . .
    . . . April 7, 2010 at 8:19 pm |

    To me, this article is worse:

    I’m not advocating that you blacklist links to Coates but I think the above-referenced article is, at a minimum, blatantly sexist and misogynistic. First, he says Roethlisberger is innocent (of sexual assault) but not that his accuser is innocent of filing a false police report (which is also a crime). He continues to adopt the stance of concern about the presumption of innocence for Roethlisberger but not for his accuser in his responses to the second article. Why does he focus on and proclaim Roethlisberger’s innocence but not the innocence of Roethlisberger’s accuser? Is she less important or less deserving of this presumption? Apparently, Coates believes that she is. I don’t see how to frame that as anything but blatant sexism and misogyny.

    Second, in the article I referenced, one of his main points was essentially, some boys will be boys. (“The fact of other people depending on you, of other people’s lives being at stake, tends to make men out of a lot of boys. And then sometimes it doesn’t. “) At the very least, that is extremely insensitive and privileged in the context of two possible sexual asssaults.

    Finally, he closed with “Some of us [presumably referring to Roethlisberger] are just wired to ride the bike with no helmet.” Since the concern with riding a bike without a helmet is for the rider (Roethlisberger), not with those the rider might injure, the only concern Coates seems to have is for Roethlisberger and his potential self-destructiveness, not with those he might destroy like the two women who have accused him of sexual assault/rape. At the very least, his concern for Roethlisberger but not for his potential victims is very disturbing.

    I’m not suggesting that you should never link to Coates or that my wishes should constrain what you write (or who you link to). However, your linking to someone who has so recently written an article that is more concerned about a potential rapist than his possible victims is disheartening to me (and probably others).

  12. kate_b
    kate_b April 8, 2010 at 10:12 am |

    I comment over at TNC’s and he actually had a good discussion about the post afterwards. I thought it was pretty bad too, but I give him credit for making an honest effort to understand what wasn’t ok about it, and apologizing for it after realizing that it wasn’t a productive contribution to the discussion.

    I don’t think it is fair to blacklist somebody for that.

  13. Sailorman
    Sailorman April 8, 2010 at 10:27 am |

    First, he says Roethlisberger is innocent (of sexual assault) but not that his accuser is innocent of filing a false police report (which is also a crime)

    He doesn’t seem to mention the subject at all, which makes sense. That’s because almost NOBODY ends up being guilty of filing a false police report. It’s perfectly rational to think that someone raped you and report it to the police. And it’s fine even if–in 20/20 hindsight–the prosecutor can’t pove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused’s behavior fell within the restrictive categories of “sexual assault” which are set out by the state.

    I’m only emphasizing this because it’s such a common misconception. If you have reason to believe you’re the victim of a crime, you should report it to the police. You are not the prosecutor and you’re sure as hell not the jury. You will not be charged with filing a false report just because the defendant gets a not guilty verdict.

    1. Cara
      Cara April 8, 2010 at 10:41 am |

      No, Sailorman, you will not automatically be charged with filing a false report just because your rape accusation doesn’t end in a conviction. In fact, it’s pretty statistically unlikely that it will happen. But the fear is an entirely valid one. Also, people will frequently say “she made it up” even when there are no charges to that effect, and then flip out if someone says that so-and-so is a rapist when charges have been filed but there has been no conviction. There is a culture of giving the benefit of the doubt and accepting innocent until proven guilty for the accused that does not exist for accusers. If we’re going to assume innocence, it should be for both parties. Right now, it’s not.

      In any case, not that this issue isn’t important, but this post is about something else. And I think that’s pretty important, too, personally. And this conversation is derailing from it.

  14. Kristin
    Kristin April 10, 2010 at 1:48 pm |

    Yeah, wow… Derail central here. I loved the Granta piece, fwiw. It’s spot-on, every word of it, about how we Westerners tend to think, write, and go to/live in African countries. For much of the article, I was laughing along with the writer as well, but then this bit hit home:

    “Bad Western characters may include children of Tory cabinet ministers, Afrikaners, employees of the World Bank. When talking about exploitation by foreigners mention the Chinese and Indian traders. Blame the West for Africa’s situation. But do not be too specific.”

    And I realized that that move…is one that I’m guilty of, and it’s just another way of romanticizing Africans and ignoring their real specific subjectivity. It’s true that Western colonialism ended not long ago in many parts of Africa and that it bears tremendous responsibility for many of the structural challenges facing the continent today. But… yeah, the article is spot-on. And it lets no one off the hook, not even Good Lefties like me. I loved it.

    And what is says about the activity of “conservationists” in Africa…. Also pretty accurate.

  15. Kristin
    Kristin April 10, 2010 at 6:53 pm |

    I kept thinking more and more about how this stuff operates, and here’s what I might have added:

    “Screenplays about Africa are in fashion these days. Just remember: You can only write movies about great African statesmen (such as Nelson Mandela) or evil despots (such as Idi Amin). No one in the United States wants to see a move about Yoweri Museveni. Why? Because moral ambiguity, mixed administrative records, and dealings with the World Bank are boring. American studios can only sell movies about African heroes or African villains. Even if you find the moral ambiguity in the biography of a Mandela or an Amin striking, you must write your characters either as total heroes or total villains. Anything deeper will be confusing to the Western audience.

    When writing your screenplay, keep in mind that you should write your film with a distinguished African-American actor in mind for the lead role. Nothing says Oscar bait like an African-American playing one of these great African heroes or villains. Besides, you will never get your film into the studio without a big Hollywood star behind the project. In order to prepare for the role, the African-American can simply meet with a dialect coach who can teach him the Standard African Dialect that African-Americans use to portray African characters. The dialect training is so standard that the same dialect may be used for every African-American who ever plays the part of an African in any part of the world.

    While your movie must center around the trials of a great African hero/villain, the story should be told through the eyes of a white person or white people–think the South African rugby team or that guy who narrated “The Last King of Scotland.” Americans will not be able to relate to a movie in which African people are granted full human subjectivity or allowed to participate in reflection or deep thought.

    If your screenplay centers upon a big human disaster like the Rwandan genocide, refrain from including anything that could be understood as commentary on political or economic circumstances. African human disasters can only be explained to a Western audience through the lens of the “ancient hatreds” theory. That is, conflicts in Africa happen because of the “ancient hatreds” that certain tribal groups have had for one another since the dawn of humanity. If you are not dealing with a conflict that can be described as “ethnic” in any terms, then you must play up the involvement of African criminal syndicates (especially those run by Nigerians) and warlords in the conflict. Furthermore, the story must include a clear Moral Message; this means that one side of the conflict must be designated as unqualified “evil” and the other as unqualified “good.” Again, moral ambiguity is confusing and upsetting and to be avoided at all costs.

    Speaking of Nigerians: Nigerians are the Quintessential African Villain. Do not include any Nigerians who are “good” or morally ambiguous or complex in any way. Avoid giving your African characters depth in general, but make your Nigerians even more one-dimensional than the rest. Nigerians are to Western films about Africa what Italian-Americans are to Mafia films. Thugs, drug runners, criminals. Always ruthless. No Nigerian women may figure into your story unless they are prostitutes. In general, it’s taboo to depict African cannibalism–unless, of course, you are depicting Nigerians. It is a-okay to write Nigerians as cannibals (Just see “District 9″ for an example.).”

  16. Kristin
    Kristin April 10, 2010 at 7:19 pm |

    P.S. My mistake, I need to reword this. Sorry about possible elision. (I think the main comment is still in mod queue):

    “While your movie must center around the trials of a great African hero/villain, the story should be told through the eyes of a white person or white people–think the South African rugby team or that guy who narrated “The Last King of Scotland.” White Americans will not be able to relate to a movie in which black African people are granted full human subjectivity or allowed to participate in reflection or deep thought.”

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