I am sure he is a jerk. Possibly worse. He is most certainly a narcissist, an egoist.
But I find the way this man is being used by various groups, various interests, to hammer home their version of ‘what makes a man, a man?’, quite disconcerting.
According to Liberal Conspiracy, Assange did an interview with Private Eye in which he said the Guardian ‘failed’ his ‘masculinity test’ in the way they dealt with him and the rape accusations story. That is obviously a ridiculous way of portraying a newspaper’s editorial policy. Even if I did find some of the Guardian’s reporting of the case pretty pathetic. I wouldn’t call it ‘unmasculine’!
And yet, there are people- feminist, ‘liberal’ people on the whole, who are somehow trying to say that Assange himself is ‘unmasculine’ because ‘real men don’t rape’, because he is a lecherous ‘creep’. Because he is obviously guilty of something.
Someone on twitter today wondered what the ‘questions’ would be to Assange’s ‘masculinity test’
‘Do you think ‘no means no’?’ quipped someone else, quick as a flash.
I said to a feminist columnist I hoped she wasn’t going to write about Assange (I am tired of the discourse of ‘rape’ it is reproducing over and over).
‘You love him. You want to marry him!’ she teased, as if we were teenage girls at school, ribbing each other about the school Pick Up Artist.
Then there’s the jokes comparing Assange to other ‘disgraced’ men in the media at the moment, such as Charlie Sheen, John Galliano and Colonel Gadaffi. As if they are all just laughable, pathetic creatures. Pathetic men.
‘I imagine being touched by the Holy Spirit feels a lot like drinking a psychic cocktail made of Assange, Sheen and Gaddafi’ went one tweet.
‘At least Assange knows he can get discounts on suits for his next court appearance from Galliano’ went another, tying in Galliano’s anti-semetic rant with Assange’s more oblique references to ‘Jewish conspiracies’ in the media in the process.
And here is a pictorial representation of a parody of the ‘Masculinity Test’ which is bound to become comedy legend before the week is out: http://twitpic.com/453nvs
I just don’t find this stuff funny. Especially because, if anyone ever dares to ‘make light’ of ‘rape’, to make ‘jokes’ that refer in any way to sexual violence or non-consent (Keys springs to mind and the hellfire and damnation he received for saying ‘I’d like to smash it’, as does Brian McFadden’s new pop song, in which he says he wants to ‘do some damage’ to his girlfriend when she’s drunk), they get it in the neck from feminists and their allies. They get called ‘misogynist’. But are these jokes against Assange misandrist?
I don’t have any interest in this person as an individual. Some of the details that have been published of the accusations against him have given me serious pause for thought, as basically the incidents described sound pretty similar to quite a few situations I have been in, in sexual relationships/encounters with men. But I never thought of my experiences as ‘rape’. It’s made me a bit depressed in a way. It’s reminded me that quite often, sex between men and women can be a battleground, a site of power and conflict, and not in a ‘good’ ‘consensual’ way. Thats life.
But I have even less interest in this creation of a comedy ‘idiot’ man figure. A man who isn’t a real man. Not like those decent upstanding men that we all know and love and marry. Not a Guardian-reading, tweeting, father of two, who does the school run and makes risotto for dinner. You know the kind of guy. The kind that would probably find me pretty unpalatable as a ‘woman’.
I don’t like Assange. But somewhere, somehow along the line, I have come to feel for him.
Is that allowed?