When James Massola compiled publicly available information to ‘out’ Grog’s Gamut, the Left lost its shit. ‘How dare the Australian,’ it wailed, ‘try to silence views in this way?! It’s bullying!’
Recently, Jennifer Wilson of No Place for Sheep discovered a new passion for informing anybody who’d listen that Melinda Tankard Reist was a certain type of Christian who regularly worshipped at a certain church in a certain suburb of Canberra. Melinda Tankard Reist is unpopular for a variety of reasons: not least, she has the audacity to argue that the porn industry, taken as a whole, exploits women. The cheek!
Very few people try to engage MTR in her views because it’s far easier to belittle her. I’ve written about this before and complained that it’s yet another indication of a toxic public discussion. When I wrote about the state of the discourse, Jennifer Wilson appeared in the comments. Not to discuss the post, mind. She had absolutely no interest in the problems with the public discussion of pornography. What she really wanted to say was that MTR was a Christian.
Wilson’s argument is that it doesn’t matter what MTR’s arguments are. What matters is who MTR is. We should all know that MTR’s arguments are actually a conspiracy by shadowy religious types to destroy women’s rights while arguing that pornography exploits women… or something. It’s not entirely clear exactly why Jennifer Wilson doesn’t understand why this ad hominem argument doesn’t make a lick of sense.
Perhaps it has something to do with where Jennifer Wilson’s kids go to school…
Oh, wait. I totally wouldn’t start revealing information I’d mined from Facebook, Twitter, &c., &c, (if I could be bothered stalking her like some people stalk MTR) because that would be a Dick Move. I understand that it would be a Dick Move and that it would likely upset Dr Wilson and, being the wonderful human being that I am, I don’t do it.
Initially, this post was going to be about privacy torts and why Australia should have them. Natural persons, regardless of how famous they are or how much of a moral crusader they are, should be able to control the amount of information revealed about them. But it’s deeper than that. This is less about legality and significantly more about being decent people.
I first came across MTR when somebody directed my attention to absolutely vile threats made against her. If I got the number of rape threats as MTR, I would be cagey about my whereabouts as well. I might even make slightly stretched defamation claims in order to get rid of that info. What’s weird is that so many women — from both sides of the political spectrum — are subject to utterly disgusting threats by guys who don’t like to be challenged. Subjecting women to these threats is a way of silencing them.
Fortunately for all the pro-porn advocates who think what MTR really needs in life is a good shag (perhaps even with a firehose…), Jennifer Wilson doesn’t believe in respecting privacy. Instead, Jennifer Wilson and Catherine Deveny (sigh) think that it’s more important that crafty theists like MTR are outed come hell or high water. If something does happen to MTR, well… it was hardly their fault, was it? Freedom of speech, something, something, therefore they are blameless. Plus, Deveny really hates theists so it’s all cool, guys.
But Wilson and Deveny are just jumping on the silencing opponents bandwagon. Women who disagree need to be outed and denied the ability to control information revealed about them.
Jill Singer makes the strange argument that MTR’s attempt to protect her privacy is actually her attempt to silence opponents. Perhaps she’s right. There’s so much silencing going on, it’s amazing there’s so much noise.
At the end of the day, we should just look at ourselves and ask: ‘Why should I have more say in the control of another person’s private information than they do? Who am I to say how much information about them is made easily available to others? Does finding snippets of information in Google caches really mean the information is public domain?’
‘Cause, frankly, I think it’s just another case of people being unreasonably shitty towards each other.