Bullard and Gordin epitomise rape culture

I’ve tried to steer clear of the Bullard-Solomon slugfest but Jeremy Gordin’s smug, masturbatory “article” on Politicsweb has pushed me over the edge.

I’m not going to link to it – you can google it if you really want to bathe in its excremental depths – mainly because I don’t want to lend credence to the very-old-boys club that is clearly in charge at that site.

I’ll offer a summary instead:

  • “This Bullard-Solomon thing is lame, dude, fully lame”

  • “Threesomes are totally cool, chick, so chill”

  • “Yo! Who would the third person be? Tee hee! Funnnny!”

  • “Bullard doesn’t hit on chicks – he’s waaaay too cool for that, bro.”

  • “You’re all way too outraged, yo, we’re just joking and shit”

Or to sum it up in one line: “Bros before hos forever, right?!”

It’s not the limp and mechanical writing that offends me – although I’d be ashamed if that was my level of expertise after four decades in the game – it’s what is behind the words.

Neither Bullard nor Gordin have raped anyone – at least not to our knowledge – but their behaviour is the very epitome of rape culture. In their tone, in their approach, in their attitude we see their message clearly: “Stop making such a fuss, woman, it was just a bit of drunken sex which you secretly wanted anyway. If all you mouthy bitches would just shut up we would all be happy.”

Of course both of them will deny this to the ends of the earth. They will point to the specifics of what they actually wrote – to their words in their most literal and narrow sense. This is a vital part of rape culture – focus on the details of each case and treat each incident on its dubious merits. She was wearing a short skirt. She was flirting. She was a bit of a slut.

None of this is to say that either Bullard or Gordin are stupid. They know how to pick their battles. Bullard chose Solomon carefully. Her polarising militancy makes her an ideal target for his attacks. As soon as anyone objects he can immediately appeal to the specifics of the case – “She’s a shrew! She needs to lighten up.” – which is great cover for what is essentially verbal abuse and hate speech.

But this kind of mechanism is exactly how the most insidious and established bastions of rape culture operate. It’s not about the 21-year-old bros screaming “Suck my cock” – those are just the inexperienced vanguard of the unspoken global rape alliance. In time they learn the best weapons: spin, dissimulation, trivialisation, ridicule, scoffing dismissal.

The fact that a white man in his 60s with considerable resources and connections has used that influence to openly attack a woman in her 20s, however strident she may be, on behalf of another man in his 60s (also gifted with money and influence) should be sign enough of what’s wrong with this picture. This isn’t journalism, commentary or even free speech. This is bullying by the most unforgivable class of bullies this planet has to offer: old, rich, connected white men.

Bullard and Gordin make me ashamed to be white, male and South African. To be associated with them, even obliquely, fills me with disgust.

29 Responses to “Bullard and Gordin epitomise rape culture

  • Thank you. Thank you for writing this.

  • I agree with pretty much everything you say about this whole sordid business, but just two things. One: you can’t seriously call Gordin’s writing “limp” and “mechanical”. It’s over-the-top and quaint in its classical references, yes, but it is neither of the things you accuse it of being. Two, why the ageism? You keep calling Bullard and Gordin “old”, as if that in itself is some kind of sin. Ageism is not that much different from racism and sexism. It’s just a little stupider, because in effect, you’re discriminating against your future self.

    • Alistair Fairweather
      4 years ago

      Hi Travis,
      Thanks for the comment. I do think Gordin’s writing is terrible. In my opinion it’s stilted, horribly old-fashioned and solipsistic. But let’s agree to disagree on that point.

      As for ageism, I agree. I should not have leant so heavily on that trope. Their age is only really relevant insofar as they are acting like men a quarter their age – i.e. like carefree thugs. They should know better. Thanks for calling me on that point.

      • rudzani muhanganei
        4 years ago

        The two make you ashamed to be white!!! So you did not expect that from a white person?

      • Victoria
        4 years ago

        The age point is relevant because they are abusing positions of power. Their age is a factor in the power dynamic: 60 year olds versus a 20 year old.

      • Thanks Alistair. Of course, age is no guarantee of maturity, just as youth is not necessarily a condition for reckless behaviour. But “old” is too often and too easily used as a pejorative, when in fact, pretty much every culture in the world has respect for age and experience as one of its founding principles. This unholy duo don’t deserve our respect, because of what they have done and said, and their chronological age has nothing to do with that. Thanks again for understanding.

    • … and of course, adding the “white” puts him on the popular side of his politically correct little world!

  • Thanks for puuting it so succinctly Alistair.

  • rowena1Rowena
    4 years ago

    Good for you Alistair. They are a pair of nasty little bullies

  • davidrobertlewis
    4 years ago

    Can I republish this piece on my blog Medialternatives.com?

  • Fiona Wallace
    4 years ago

    Yes. All I have to say (which is unusual in itself).

  • A number of comments have also focused on the “alleged” aspect because she chose not to go to lay a charge with the police. While this has put her in a tenuous position should she name-and-shame the other person involved so many years down the line – over above the usual difficulties – it is also a very selective use of the word “alleged.”

    “Alleged” is usually far from the tips of people’s tongues when other types crimes are committed and not reported, such as a mugging or basic theft, because people dismiss the ability of the police service to assist. Bullard has made sure that this is brought up time and again.

    Unfortunately, Bullard and Gordin are slick characters and (usually) know how to keep fractionally within legal borders, and they make Michelle Solomon an easy trolling target for their written sputum.

  • Thanks, good piece, puts the “nudge – nudge – wink – wank” brigade ala Bullard & Gordin into sharp focus

  • Johnnie Maquze
    4 years ago

    So, now that you’re ashamed to being white what are you gonna do? Go black and never go back! Maybe this is what Mr. Hofmeyer meant when he said whities are not used to being raped by other tribes, cause white-rape has different names, first its not brutal cause poor Mich never lay charges cause her clothes were not ripped off, a victim can advise perpetrator to wear a condom & he can listen, She can spend the entire night & get dropped in the morning. Black rape is war, a victim knows immediately. On top of that 100s of black women are raped daily, they don’t campaign for sympathy on social networks

  • Bullard says what the guys standing around the braai say every weekend in this country. Bullard put it out there, squirm if you relate?

  • Insensitive of them, Alistair

  • You lovely man. Thanks for saying this.

  • I completely agree, as strongly as it is possible to agree. But why the need to bring race into it. The second last line: “… make me ashamed to be white, male and South African.”

    What does being white have to do with rape culture in SA? It doesn’t take many conversations with black women to realise that rape culture is about as race-specific as the common cold.

    I don’t mean to be churlish or diminish anything about what you’ve written – what you said cannot be said often or loudly enough. It’s just that these creeping internalised new race filters we have started to self-apply are also dangerous.

  • Jeremy Gordin
    4 years ago

    Hmmm … remarkable piece … attacks me on the the basis of my race, age, class (so-called) and sex – without engaging with a single thing I actually said, let alone the main point/s of my piece. Good going lad; you should have a threesome with De Waal and Davis. One split infinitive though – that shouldn’t be found in the work of a such a master of prose and .. oh yeah .. technology. Have a disgust-filled day, Hemingway.

  • Amanda Reekie
    4 years ago

    Had to be said and sadly had to be said by a man, otherwise whichever woman had said it would have been written off as a shrew!

  • Ali, please could you declare your sexual orientation…?

  • Rick Borain
    4 years ago

    David Bullard is an utter creep. He needs as much negative publicity as possible

  • I agree one has to speak out against rape and the rape culture,but clearly these 2 dinosaurs were seeking controversy to market their fading appeal. The energy expended to entertain their vitriol could surely be put to better use. Trolling is an Internet phenomenon which is perpetuated by the attention it seeks and then receives in abundance from the aggrieved persons targeted.

    The reaction has given them the platform they seek. They commented on a serious issue in a derogatory manner, and when targeted for that, they back peddle by acting surprised and feel misunderstood, mitigating the issue. So much noise is made that the true issue of endemic rape is lost. The focus should rather be on why these dinosaurs and many others like them feel the way they do about rape. The reasons for rape perpetuated on a daily basis on our street, in our households should rather be investigated and solutions sought to stop rape in it’s tracks.

    It is understandably difficult to deal with this when you are confronted with negative comments made.

  • Excellent piece. Thanks for writing it.

  • Ag come one, who started this all. Solomon ! and who is doing the bullying, is it not the politically correct self righteous liberals. She publicly accused Bullard of to trying to get her into a threesome, no ? And who best to pick on, the columnist everybody loves to hate . There’s always to side to the story, and Bullard and Jermey has the fullest right to state their side of the story, despite their age and sex. Or are straight old men not allowed to have an opinion.

  • Excellent piece. Thank you Alistair.

  • What a disgraceful piece of journalism by Gordin. I’m sorry to anyone who read that article.

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