Sunday, November 18, 2012

What Happens When A Misogynist Takes Over A Newspaper?

This, by Michael Calleri,  a movie critic,  is an interesting take on that question.  It begins with the purchase of a small newspaper by someone with strong views on masculinity and traditional gender roles.  The events, according to Calleri?

This happens:

As often happens in life, things change. Editor Hudson, a mercurial guy in his mid-fifties, wanted something different. His wife was the managing editor of the Reporter, and he had a loyal staff of talented writers, including a couple of Pulitzer Prize winners he knew, who contributed the occasional column. But Hudson was discontent. He had created a weekly newspaper that shook the status quo. The team at the Gazette weren't happy with Hudson and the Reporter. The citizens of Niagara Falls were so enamored with Hudson's paper that its power grew. The city's government often printed many legally required public notices in the Reporter. If you are unaware, legal notices are a huge source of income for newspapers. The feisty little weekly was, for many, the heart and soul of communications in Niagara Falls. The newspaper's fans in Buffalo were equally enamored.

Soon Niagara Falls would have its heart broken.

In late 2011 and early 2012, Hudson took a sabbatical and went to Los Angeles to recharge his creative juices. This being the era of long-distance editing by computer, he continued to oversee the newspaper's content, ably assisted by his wife and other members of the Reporter's team.

Los Angeles wove its spell over Hudson. Yes, it's the old story about pastures being greener on the other side of the fence. Hudson fell in love with the southern California lifestyle. He decided to stay. His wife was in Niagara Falls putting out the paper with the rest of the staff. As time passed, his marriage fragmented, and he sold the Reporter to a new owner whose journalistic experience could fit into a peanut shell. As a prospective publisher, the new guy's only genuine association with professional journalism was that he read newspapers.

But, this new man was a political and sociological firebrand with a point-of-view all his own. And a rather charged point-of-view at that. Over a short period of time, the pages of the Niagara Falls Reporter went from being an avenue for a variety of expressions and a fact-based gadfly to City Hall--to its being a nasty, mean-spirited, hyperactive assault on sensible interaction with city government.

Suddenly the pages of the Niagara Falls Reporter, once a well-respected weekly that people sought out and generally enjoyed reading, were filled with sexism, racism, the mockery of immigrants, the condemnation of gay men and lesbian women, crude demeaning political tirades, and poorly-written, loopy cultural points-of-view that drew attention, but lacked depth and a coherent understanding of the history and progression of the cultural touchstones being discussed.

The new owner is called Frank Parlato.  Next, according to Calleri,  this happens:

I continued to write for the Reporter, which under its new owner was slowly altering its content. Perhaps he was feeling his wings, or perhaps he had the complexities of running a new business to occupy his mind, but I was still in print. I soon noticed something disconcerting. The Reporter's two important female staffers, the managing editor (the wife of the founder/editor) and the senior editor no longer had their names on the masthead.

Proper gender roles coming back?  When Calleri asks the owner more questions about how his movie reviews disapper, he gets a long e-mail back.  Snippets from it:

Michael; I know you are committed to writing your reviews, and put a lot of effort into them. it is important for you to have the right publisher. i may not be it. i have a deep moral objection to publishing reviews of films that offend me. snow white and the huntsman is such a film. when my boys were young i would never have allowed them to go to such a film for i believe it would injure their developing manhood. if i would not let my own sons see it, why would i want to publish anything about it?
snow white and the huntsman is trash. moral garbage. a lot of fuzzy feminist thinking and pandering to creepy hollywood mores produced by metrosexual imbeciles. 

I don't want to publish reviews of films where women are alpha and men are beta.
where women are heroes and villains and men are just lesser versions or shadows of females. 

i believe in manliness. 


with all the publications in the world who glorify what i find offensive, it should not be hard for you to publish your reviews with any number of these. 

they seem to like critiques from an artistic standpoint without a word about the moral turpitude seeping into the consciousness of young people who go to watch such things as snow white and get indoctrinated to the hollywood agenda of glorifying degenerate power women and promoting as natural the weakling, hyena -like men, cum eunuchs. 

the male as lesser in courage strength and power than the female. 

it may be ok for some but it is not my kind of manliness. 

Turns out that Parlato hasn't seen the movies he criticizes.  But nevermind!  His is the subtractive concept of masculinity which defines what men are by what women are not.  This creates a never-ending war of the sexes, and our Frank has proudly taken his side in this battle.

Here's an interesting question:  Could someone like Frank Parlato ever do hiring without coming a cropper?  How could someone with those values  avoid promoting women legally?  Getting them off the masthead is one thing; getting them off the paper a whole different ballgame.

As an aside,  Parlato sounds exactly like all those weird-type MRA guys on the hate sites  whose views on a fair society hinge on the concept of subtractive masculinity and the unfairness of everything which doesn't allow all men to be ranked higher than all women.

As a second aside:  Snow-White as degenerate feminist thinking!  My stomach hurts, from the laughing.  But Parlato's point is perhaps that there shouldn't be any movies about women at all,  not even movies based on a fairy tale where the only powerful woman is pure evil and where the heroine spends a lot of time apparently dead and the rest of the time passive.