27 February 2010

The problem with hook up culture is that it's anti-feminist

Via Samhita at Feministing, I found this interesting article by Rachel Simmons, "Is Hooking Up Good for Girls?" Her basic argument is that feminists should criticize the hook up culture on university campuses, and the biggest problem I find with it is that it follows the dating history set forth by "courtship" advocates and anti-feminists. When I was doing research on the manifestations of Jane Austen in anti-feminist literature, I found plenty of what I would call false histories of dating:
Advocates of an old-fashioned system of “courtship”—in which dating cannot precede parental approval, physical contact is not allowed, and men must “call” on women and their families—suggest the same causal relationship between a culture that accepts sex and the occurrence of rape. Terrence Moore’s lengthy description of courtship, outlining its benefits, implies this causal relationship:
At the beginning of the twentieth century, if a man wanted to court a young woman, he had to call on her at home. At home the young woman was on her own turf, so to speak. […] The couple was never totally alone. Mother might enter the parlor to offer some lemonade or iced tea, or hot chocolate or coffee, depending on the season. Father might be reading or cleaning his shotguns in the adjacent room. Therefore the encounter had to remain seemly. Conversation, singing and piano-playing, games of chance, all were encouraged. As a result, young people really had to get to know each other. Necking and groping and making out were strictly verboten. Parents hardly had to lay down such rules. A girl never had to say ‘No’ because she was never asked. Any man who tried to take liberties would have been shown the door. Word would have spread, and he would thenceforth not have been ‘received’ in any respectable home.
Moore is not subtle about the relationship between a culture that allows (and even encourages) sexual activity between young people and rape. Like Fields, Moore assumes that rape is a result of sexual freedom because he assumes that rape is in the same category as voluntary sexual activity, like “necking and groping and making out,” only worse in degree. He suggests that if a “girl” has the opportunity to consent to sexual activity, she is already in danger of being raped, and this danger is not the result of her being in the company of a rapist, but the result of too much privacy and the absence of her parents. Moore—who suggests that sex education should be substituted with reading “Rousseau’s Emile or any Jane Austen novel”—and Fields both admire Austen because her novels are, in their perceptions, pre-sexual. Not only is this understanding of Austen and her era simply incorrect, but it assumes that sex crimes like rape are the result of a culture that condones and celebrates (consensual) sex. Again, this positing of a causal relationship between the two is a result of figuring rape as similar to consensual sex in degree, not type. Positing that rape and sex are related is problematic, because this position leads (almost inevitably) to what are common claims and attitudes today: that women who have sex cannot be raped, that women who dress a certain way “deserve” to be raped or are “asking for it,” that prostitutes cannot be raped, or even that wives cannot refuse consent with their husbands. All of these claims assume that rape is a form of sex. But reading more Austen novels—a solution posited by Moore and other abstinence advocates—and encouraging men to “court” women in the presence of her parents will not reduce the prevalence of rape, because rape is fundamentally a different activity than consensual sex.
The problem with this history is that it links rape to increased consensual sex (placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of the victim, who, if she just hadn't been alone with a man, would never have been raped), ignores that rape happened in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and allows advocates of courting to place the blame for rape and female dissatisfaction with their romantic relationships (or lack thereof) on feminism. Feminism is what allowed women to date outside the household, the narrative goes, allowed them the freedom to make out and have sex without being severely censured and called a slut, and thus feminism is why the hook up culture and rape exist. From Simmons:
My concern led me to Hooking Up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus by sociologist Kathleen A. Bogle. It’s both a short history of dating culture and a study of the sexual habits of men and women on two college campuses. Hooking Up is a nonjudgmental window into the relational and sexual challenges facing young women today. It’s also a fascinating read.

Bogle opens with some downright cool history: In the first decade of the twentieth century, a young man could only see a woman of interest if she and her mother permitted him to “call” on them together. In other words, the women controlled the event.
I haven't read Bogle's book, so I don't know if she's actually suggesting that women have control in a culture that enforces courting. But Simmons, as a feminist, should know better. The era of courting, mostly the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was not an era when women had control of dating and marriage. When women are financially dependent on their male relatives or husbands, their control over the dating game is illusory. The whole situation of calling was situated to give parents (mostly fathers) control over who their daughters were seeing (if a woman were to see a man in private, her reputation was in great danger) and who she would marry. Men had the financial power, the ability to "call" (if women can't even pick their suitors, but have to just choose from what presents itself at her door, is she really in control?), and the ability to ask (the suitor) and even accept (the father) marriage proposals. Women had the ability only to refuse proposals, and many times had not even that.

My point is that romanticizing this era and practice as some sort of feminist, girl-power dream is ridiculous, unhistorical, and dangerous. And hooking up isn't a break from courting, but a continuation.
Like the girls who write to me at Teen Vogue, most of the women Bogle interviewed crammed their dreams of a boyfriend into casual connections determined entirely by the guys. Susan, a first year student, has a typical story: “…We started kissing and everything and then he never talked about…having it be a relationship. But I wanted…in my mind [I was thinking] like: ‘I want to be his girlfriend. I want to be his girlfriend.’….I didn’t want to bring it up and just [say] like: ‘So where do we stand?’ because I know guys don’t like that question.” Susan slept with the guy several times, never expressed her feelings, and ended the “relationship” hurt and dissatisfied.


College men, Bogle writes, “are in a position of power,” where they control the intensity of relationships and determine if and when a relationship will become serious. In case you haven’t caught on yet, us liberated girls are supposed to call this “progress.”
There is a big parallel between this situation (which anti-feminists call the hook up culture, but I have issues with that term) and the practice of courting. Men are in control; in courting practices, men get to choose which women they see and how often, when to propose, and the fathers have the power to answer for their daughters (particularly if their answer is no). In what Bogle and Simmons describe, men have the power over where the relationship goes, and women are forced to bury their feelings and take whatever is offered. So, no, this isn't progress. And Simmons is right to think that when women feel they must take romantic encounters on men's terms, that is an unfeminist situation. But it is not the effect of increased sexual liberation or feminism, but a continuation of sexist and patriarchal structures, which relegate dating power to men, make it so that women feel uncomfortable voicing their desires, and allow men to think it's okay not to listen or to get angry and confrontational when women do voice their desires.
So what’s the deal here? Is a world in which guys rule the result of the so-called man shortage on campus? Fat chance. More likely, we’re enjoying some unintended spoils of the sexual revolution. As authors like Ariel Levy and Jean Kilbourne and Diane Levin have shown, the sexualization of girls and young women has been repackaged as girl power. Sexual freedom was supposed to be good for women, but somewhere along the way, the right to be responsible for your own orgasm became the privilege of being responsible for someone else’s.


Does that make me a right-winger? Can I still be a feminist and say that I’m against this brand of sexual freedom? I fear feminism has been backed into a corner here. It’s become antifeminist to want a guy to buy you dinner and hold the door for you. Yet – picture me ducking behind bullet proof glass as I type this — wasn’t there something about that framework that made more space for a young woman’s feelings and needs?

What, and who, are we losing to the new sexual freedom? I realize a guy buying you dinner is not the only alternative to the hook up culture (and I, like Bogle, am not discussing the lives of GLTBQ students here). Still, the question bears asking. Is this progress? Or did feminism get really drunk, go home with the wrong person, wake up in a strange bed and gasp, “Oh, God?”
Again, I agree with Simmons's basic argument: this is not good for women and girls. But the framing of the whole conversation is straight out of anti-feminist rhetoric. The sexual revolution did not suddently introduce male-controlled dating situations out of the blue; they have always existed. The progress that feminism (and the sexual revolution) has given us is that less women feel uncomfortable controlling and defining their relationships. That there are still many, many women out their (particularly young college students) who feel pressured to get into non-committed sexual relationships because they think they can't ask for anything else is not the fault of feminism or the sexual revolution, but the fault of patriarchy. The only reason this isn't obvious is because we've bought the anti-feminist narrative of dating history.

22 February 2010

Turns out that gays don't go around raping people anymore than hetero folks

In the "well, no shit" category, a study shows that allowing gays to be in the military doesn't actually cause a disruption. No decreased morale, no increased harassment(though if the military actually gave a shit about harassment, they'd do something about their rape epidemic). Will this change the Republican party line about how dangerous it is to allow gays to openly serve in the military? Probably not, but now we can back up our claims of how fucking stupid they are with a study.

20 February 2010

Doctor Who fans disappoint me.

So I joined a Doctor Who forum, looking for wild speculation and the rating of episodes. But, masochist that I am, I almost immediately got caught up in political conversations and they took an ugly turn. In a discussion about the recent Family Guy episode about the mentally disabled, I said that it is morally reprehensible to make jokes that trivialize the experiences of marginalized populations and contended that no, it doesn't make it fair and equal if you make fun of everyone. I was mocked and treated like a radical for suggesting that we should consider how our words affect others. Take note, everyone, compassion is apparently a radical political act.

It got out of hand, made me pissed and stressed, and was emotionally exhausting. In a last-ditch effort to get someone (anyone) to exhibit some compassion, I told a personal story about experiencing violence because of one's gender. I was told I needed to attend therapy because I clearly had a stressful life. I was dismissed and labelled crazy, basically. It was extremely upsetting. So I left the forum, and was reminded of why so many women avoid sci fi fan culture. Lesson learned.

(Sorry such a short post. I'm just still really upset.)

18 February 2010


As if to apologize for their terrible job at not sucking, the Battalion actually has a decent issue today. One article about repealing DADT, one about how denying gay marriage is an affront to human rights, and a mail call calling them out on running a pro-life article outside of the opinion/editorial section. Yay!

17 February 2010

Where would I be without the Battalion?

So I joined this Doctor Who forum recently, and every time I talk about sexism or women on it, the room gets quiet. Or changes the subject. Why would an SF forum NOT want to talk about sexism? That is a good question. Here is what I wrote recently:
The OP:
Much has been written about the huge volumes of romance { mostly here lol } in the show since its return under RTD, and now seems likely to continue under the mighty Moff.

One simple question, when the classic show was on air, what was the percentage of regular female viewers compared to male ??

the answer is surprisingly low { well maybe not that surprising really } it was a sci fi show after all, and girls just dont get sci fi { i'm gonna get slaughtered for that lol }

RTD booted in the door and made the show accessible to every viewer be they male, female or something else. and that can only be viewed as a good thing, huge viewing figures gives the show a fighting chance of survival in these uncertain times of ever changing tv scheduals, lets be honest the show has been given a new lease of life, and added a new dimension to a show we clearly care a great deal about.

How many ladies do we really have on this board who wouldn't be here if the romantic element of Nu Who hadn't been introduced ?? and how many have gone on to become serious hardcore fans of the longest running sci fi show in the UK.

Romance in Who, its a good thing in my book.
And my response:
Originally Posted by Stealth Womble
the answer is surprisingly low { well maybe not that surprising really } it was a sci fi show after all, and girls just dont get sci fi { i'm gonna get slaughtered for that lol }

That's because it's a rather stupid thing to say. Sci fi is also historically dominated by a white audience. Is that because POC don't get sci fi? Maybe women aren't attracted to sci fi in large numbers for the same reason that women are not a large (visible) portion of gamers: when the culture is clearly not aimed at you, and in fact has a tendency to show an ugly amount of misogyny, it's unsurprising that women either opt out or opt in and stay out of the fan culture. For example, I was on this Doctor Who forum board and some dude suggested that ladies don't get sci fi! 'Cause it doesn't have enough kissing or something. Everyone knows women are obsessed with romance and marriage, amiright?

With nonsense like that being posted almost without apology (granted, this forum doesn't appear to be nearly as bad as other sci fi or *shudder* gaming forums), is it any wonder women don't feel welcome? Is it any wonder they think sci fi is for men?
All the women are there are also quick to point out that they're not like MOST women, women who care about their hair and shopping and shoes. Those silly, shallow women who don't like sci fi. And I want to call them out on it, but it's like I'm invisible there when I say things like that. Maybe I'm not made for forums. Much better to blog. It's more me-centered. And I like me-centered.

Speaking of naval gazing, what would I do without the Battalion? Seriously, I'd be reduced to ranting about things in the NYT or something. What a disaster. The Battalion just got around to writing about Abby Johnson. Oh, Abby Johnson. If you don't know who Abby Johnson is, she's a woman who worked for a Planned Parenthood in Bryan, TX (where I live). She claimed to have seen an abortion so bad it converted her from pro-choice to anti-choice, quitting her job as a director at the Bryan PP in November. She worked at Planned Parenthood for EIGHT YEARS. She and her family were regularly harassed and threatened. Despite this, she was apparently unclear about how she felt about abortion, having never seen a picture of a fetus. Or something. She claims that seeing a fetus move away from the probe during an ultrasound-guided abortion made her realize that fetuses feel pain. Which, by the way, isn't true. Movement is a reflex that fetuses have, not the experience of pain, and certainly not a concerted effort to avoid feeling pain by a conscious being. Which, of course, a woman working for PP for eight years would know.

And if that wasn't unbelievable enough, Abby also claims that Planned Parenthood was pressuring their clinic to perform more abortions to line their pockets. A standard smear from the right that makes no goddamn sense. It goes against their purpose (pregnancy prevention) and something like 80-90% of PP's services are preventative. If they wanted to just perform abortions all over the place, they'd stop offering preventative services, since PP is one of the only places (particularly in smaller towns, like Bryan) that poor women can access reliable and cheap birth control methods. If all the PPs in the country started offering only abortions, then unplanned pregnancies would skyrocket! They'd be raking in the cash, right?

There was also the issue of whether the abortion even happened. From the Texas Monthly article about Johnson:
Johnson’s account is so plausible and rich in detail that even Planned Parenthood seems not to have investigated whether this event ever took place. At my request, the staff at the Bryan clinic examined patient records from September 26, the day Johnson claims to have had her conversion experience, and spoke with the physician who performed abortions on that date. According to Planned Parenthood, there is no record of an ultrasound-guided abortion performed on September 26. The physician on duty told the organization that he did not use an ultrasound that day, nor did Johnson assist on any abortion procedure. “Planned Parenthood can assure you that no abortion patients underwent an ultrasound-guided abortion on September 26,” said a spokesperson. It’s difficult to imagine that Johnson simply got the date wrong; September 12 was the only other day that month that the clinic performed surgical abortions.

Could clinic staff and the physician be mistaken? The Texas Department of State Health Services requires abortion providers to fill out a form documenting basic information about each procedure performed at a clinic. This document is known as the Induced Abortion Report Form. The Bryan clinic reported performing fifteen surgical abortions on September 26. Johnson has consistently said that the patient in question was thirteen weeks pregnant, which is plausible, since thirteen weeks is right at the cusp of when physicians will consider using an ultrasound to assist with the procedure. Yet none of the patients listed on the report for that day were thirteen weeks pregnant; in fact, none were beyond ten weeks.
Basically, it's fairly clear that Abby Johnson is full of shit. Most likely, she was a disgruntled employee (she had a poor performance review before her "conversion") who thought (correctly) that if she made herself a right-wing angel, she could at least make up for losing her job with speaking fees from right-wing organizations. And she lives in Bryan, for chrissake. Even if she spoke for free, everyone she knows would think she was a moral hero.

So, anyway, the Battalion article. The author of this article clearly thinks that Abby Johnson is a sainted person, someone who would never lie. You know why? Because she's broke now!
Her newfound conviction took a toll on her finances, she said.

"It was scary to leave that second income," Johnson said. "We certainly didn't leave for financial gain."

Shawn Carney, outgoing executive director of the Coalition for Life, said Johnson is only a volunteer for the Coalition and has not received any money from the organization.

"If she's doing this for money, it's a very bad financial decision," Carney said. "She had a change of heart on abortion, and so many people refuse to accept that. That's the only thing that explains this situation."
Seriously? We're supposed to believe that PP falsified state mandated paperwork to disprove her? And we're supposed to believe this because she, a middle class white woman with a husband (who is still employed), quit her job? People quit their jobs. Like, all the time. It's not proof of wrong doing on Planned Parenthood's part. But according to the author of this article, it's good enough. As a bonus, it makes PP look so desperate for money and good publicity that it would lie to the state, while Abby Johnson is an upstanding, honest woman just trying to stand up to the man, even if it makes her broke. It's a ridiculous framing of the whole story, but I didn't expect much better from the Battalion.

16 February 2010

Racism and Pop Culture

Sometimes I watch Jay and have only this to say: YES.

I often have a hard time ignoring John Mayer. He is probably the biggest celebrity douchebag out there, a perfect storm of misogyny and racism. I agree with Jay that analyzing what a fucking asshole Mayer is isn't going to make systemic oppression change. However, it may make people stop buying his shitty music and then the world might be rid of one big-mouthed bigoted celebrity. That's fewer journalists for him to sexually harrass and fewer black actresses that have to read about how they're white enough for John Mayer to have sex with in Playboy. So, while I totally agree with Operation Ignore John Mayer, I implore you: don't give John Mayer money. If you must listen to his music, download it illegally.


09 February 2010

Words do things, and I get all emotional.

So apparently telling racists to fuck themselves is good for blog traffic. Which is kind of funny and kind of heartening. But there are now a couple of anonymous commenters attempting to call me out for, I don't know, being mean and lazy. (Now that I'm thinking about it, doing so anonymously is totally cowardly.)

Here's the bit of conversation we've already have, if you aren't obsessively following the comments like I am:

February 8, 2010 6:10 PM
"pointing out hypocrits (sic) said..."
I attended A&M for my undergraduate degree and completely acknowledge that at times many people seem to have come straight out of 1861; However, the opening to your blog is just as judgemental and wrong as the rude comments made by the bigoted people in the papers and on campus. I was part of the liberal movement at A&M (and yes there is one) and part of the Enviromental Issues Committee. If you are unhappy with something, instead of constantly whining and being rude, try changing things. After all, "Be the change you wish to see in the world" not just a jerk. Do not assume that ags are all racist ignorant fools, some of us are not. Please refrain from painting an entire populous with one brush based on the actions of some. You are simply doing the very thing you loathe in others...becoming a judgemental ignorant ass.
February 8, 2010 7:46 PM
"Courtney said..."
A little of my answer to that is: pfft. I'm not assuming that A&M is *entirely* made of a special kind of asshole. But lots of it is. And the Battalion and the Maroon Weekly are an almost daily proof of that.

I'm surprised that THIS particular post drew this kind of ire from you, because I'm specifically talking about one guy: Tony Listi. And he is clearly a racist douche.

I'm well aware that there is a liberal minority on campus. I'm also well aware of the fact that they are largely disparaged and unwelcome by the majority of A&M students. Maybe if I was a) not a graduate student with too much other shit to do and b) going to be at A&M for (hopefully) no more than two years, I would attempt to help change that culture of bigotry. But I can't battle everything at once, and frankly doing my schoolwork and blogging my rants to help keep my blood pressure down is more effective than me trying to undo years of the worst of Texas socialization on this campus.
Then another commentator (keep in mind, different person) upped the ante by accusing me of being hateful. (Ha! Did you know telling racists that they're assholes is hateful! Man, the world we live in.)

February 9, 2010 5:40 PM
"Anonymous said..."
I do agree with everyone that A&M is messed up quite often. I also agree with "hypocrits" that instead of simply criticism action is more necessary. You claim you do not have time to do something constructive because of your blog, this seems like a misallocation of your priorities. I know it gets difficult in College Station, but join the rest of us frustrated friends in action, not passive aggressive complaints.
We feel your pain, we've been there (or are there).
Won't you join us in attempt to make it better, instead of stewing the pot of rancore and hate?
Well.First of all I never said I don't "do something" because of my blog. I said that my blog is part of how I cope with the oppressive air of A&M without going crazy, and right now it's the most effective way I can do that. So, let me clarify: school sucks up my life. I'm fucking busy. Trust me, I don't even really have time for a blog. I know most of you don't know anything about the job market for English Ph.D.s, but let me tell you, it's fucking dismal. And I can do so much more in battling racism and other social evils by being a college professor than I can working at a book store for minimum wage and hating my life. So, I only have two years at A&M, and if I had any free time, I'd need to employ it by joining the graduate-level working groups, not by joining undergraduate liberal organizations on campus. So, let's all think about long-term effectiveness for a second before you call on me to join the revolution.

Second, how is telling Tony to fuck himself "stewing in a pot of rancore (sic) and hate?" Criticism is important when it comes to racism and bigotry. One of the great strides against racism made in this country is that is no longer socially acceptable to spew hateful racist nonsense in polite company. When public figures do it, they get unpopular and have to apologize. People call you out on racism, and that is awesome. This is even slowly (and thankfully) becoming the case with homophobia as well. So, it is not okay that Tony's article got published, and I don't think it would be okay for me to ignore it. I have a blog, so I wrote about it, but if I hadn't, I would also have pointed it out to my friends, talked to people about it (I've obviously done this, too). If Maroon Weekly accepted letters to editor, I would have written one shaming them as well. Calling out racism is important. Which is so obvious I don't know why I'm even writing it. But both of these commentors seem to think that "doing something" involves not shouting from the mountaintops that racism is not okay and that Tony is not okay for writing racist things. They're wrong. I don't have a mountaintop, obviously, but I do have this blog, and for what it's worth, I used it to do something I think is important.

I'm open to suggestions as to doing "something constructive," but, man, you guys were vague. Joining an undergraduate liberal organization is not going to make Tony and other students like him not-racists, and it's not a practical use of my time. Other than that, I don't know what you guys even mean. Frankly, I think the most effective way for me in particular to battle a culture of bigotry at A&M is to (right now) write and teach undergrads. And, what to do you know, I get to do that next semester! And you can be sure that if Tony had written this article next semester, we would have been discussing it critically in my course, minus most of the cursing and sarcasm. And when it gets written in some other form by some other person next semester, we will. And I'll tell you all about it here, adding that missing cursing and sarcasm. Everybody wins.

So, racism makes me angry. And I think it damn well should. This does not mean I'm stewing in hate. You make it sound like I accused him of killing his mother, or burned his house down. All I did was call him a racist, a terrible human being, and told him to fuck off. All of which were the direct result of him writing an article blaming black people for their own social inequalities, so I think it was all justified. I was angry. I still am angry. Thinking about this article being run makes me angry. But anger is a useful tool, and it is not the same thing as hate. I will not be apathetic or just sad about bigotry; anger is the emotional reaction that leads to action, that keeps you sane, and staves off despair. Anger is useful and productive, and it has driven many a progressive social movement. It is not hate, so don't make that mistake. Hatred is destructive and eats away at you. That is not me.

Also, both of these comments seem to suggest that blogs aren't important or effective tools in battling racism or other bigotry. To which I say: get with it, gramps. My personal blog may not be that important, because few people read it, but your underestimation of what words can do on the interwebs completely ignores that this has, by far, been my most commented on post and has received the most page views. I'm starting conversations that otherwise may not have been started. Me! Shitty little blog with, like, ten regular readers. And that, my friends, is powerfully inspirational shit. Or something.

Your calls to "do something" might be admirable if you both weren't ignoring that I'm already doing something. I'm writing, I'm thinking, I'm talking about bigotry, and I will be teaching soon. I'm challenging racists where I find them and I'm encouraging people I know (not just students) to think critically about race (among other things). I'm staying sane in an environment that alternatively makes me want to punch a hole in the wall and cry. And I think it's rather rude of you to suggest that this isn't enough. There's not going to be a revolution that ends racism. If there was, fuck school. I'd be there, on the front lines. But we have to pick at it a little at a time, and I'm doing my part the best I can.

Ha! Bet you didn't expect me to get all personal on you, right? If that makes you uncomfortable, I'll write an alternative response: Suck it, anonymous posters.

07 February 2010


UPDATE: Tony Listi's racist ass article is now on the Maroon Weekly website. Enjoy.

Also, I didn't have the energy to deal with this gem from the same issue. It's a goddamn train wreck. The very first line lets us know that black people only exist in "the ghetto," and if you've never been there, then you don't know what black people are like. So, you know it's fucking genius.

The Economist has declared that feminists should shut up

All rejoice. The Economist finished their debate. And while those arguing for the "women have never had it so good" motion have been insisting that, no, they don't really mean women and feminists should stop agitating for equality, the moderator's final remarks prove that, yes, telling feminists to shut the fuck up is exactly what this whole debate was about:
But I think it also reflects a wider recognition that we live in a different world from the world that produced modern feminism, that women have been doing well for themselves over the past few decades, that they will do even better in the future and that progressive reformers might be better off finding other dragons to slay than the dying one of gender inequality.

Right. We (still) don't have equal pay, we live a world of misogyny and unapologetic sexism, one in six American women will be the victim of a rape or attempted rape in her lifetime (90% of rape victims are women), and complacency about sexism and the attitude that it isn't around anymore or a "big deal" is exactly why our girls are growing up in a world that encourages them to hate themselves, hate their bodies, and hate other women. So fuck you, Adrian Woolridge. And fuck you, the Economist, for thinking this debate was even close to a good idea.