16 augustus 2007


Hopefully the last on a pretentious ultracrepidarian feminist twit



Ms Ophelia Benson lives on and on, it turns out, and reads on and on in her own favourite literature, craftily designed for small minds like hers, for she writes now:

I'm reading Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel, and she lived through just this breakdown in Somalia. Some of it is hard to read - because it was so incredibly hard to live through.

'We are all Hrant Dink,' they said in Istanbul. We are all Hrant Dink, we are all Mahad Ahmed Elmi, we are all Ali Iman Sharmarke. We are all Ayaan Hirsi Ali, we are all Salman Rushdie, we are all Ibn Warraq, we are all Taslima Nasreen, we are all Tasneem Khalil. Back off - we're connected.

As I said before: "Naturally! Of course, m'dear! Thank you, dear! Whatsoever you say, sweetie!"

And the asylums used to be filled with men thinking they're Napoleon. Surely there's now place for feminists thinking they are Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Mata Hari, plus a handful of others. Why not?

Ms Benson has some apparent problems of identity, next to some other problems, of character and mentality, but then one must remember in partial exoneration that she is presently close-reading "Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel", which not only is (she says undoubtedly truth-fully) "hard to read" (in part at least), but that also happens to be wholly not written by Ms Ali/Magan, for the "autobiography" of "herself" is - identity-problems! miracle! - written by a ghostwriter, in this earthly life an anonymous male journalist. (The Text Is Authorized by Ayaan The Blessed Herself though, o ye faithful of the Ayaanic faith, whose motto must be "As honest as Ayaan - verily, I swear!".)

Anyway... the logical mind notices a marked absence of explicit identity of Ms Benson with Afshan Ellian, Efshan Jami or Geert Wilders, for one so fond of these as was Ms Benson. Besides, according to Afshan Ellian, Efshan Jami is the equivalent of Ayaan, and according to Ayaan Herself (from Washington, at the AEI, at the feet of the admirable and great Dick Cheney) Efshan Jami is "A Freedom Fighter".

Also Afshan Ellian is Efshan Jami's mentor and Ayaan's friend - "koet frient", in Afshan's Dutch - while Efshan Jami is interested in Geert Wilders and the other way round, and also is both a great admirer and authentically genuine imitator of Ms Ali/Magan ... so yes, there is some connectedness there. Probably not Bensonic - or so one may  hope, rationally and kindly, for the mind boggles at

"we are all Efsham Jami, we are all Afshan Ellian, we are all Geert Wilders

- but yes... "connected"ness there is plenty.

Similarities too: Careerism, insolence, ignorance, populism, ill-written prose, lack of talent for reason or rationality, enormous pretensions, and the constantly repeated argumentative trope

"who is not for Us is against Us, and "a loon", "a nut", "an idiot", if not "an Islamofascist".
(See: A psychological experiment - 2)

But the main similarity I want to consider - being very tired of Ms Benson and her hysterical antics - is that, as readers who can read both English and Dutch, there is a marked similarity between the style and methods of Theo van Gogh and of Ophelia Benson.

If there is any relevant difference, apart from gender and some topics, it is that Ophelia is far less honest, and far more prone to quote partially and out of context, which indeed is her very specialism, and far less talented, prosaically and otherwise, than Theo was, who - next to his faults - had genuine wit, honesty, courage and talent.

So let's consider the relevant analogies and differences a bit:

Both are or were formidable scolds; both knew how to turn a journalistic phrase; both are or were blind to their own prejudices; both are or were much moved by hate and scorn and the desire to offend others; both are or were far from happy or satisfied; both are or were not very highly educated or learned, though at least reasonably well-read in some literary and political matters; both had  or have some capacity for bitter humor (Theo more than Ophelia); both are or were pessimists.

There are more parallels, and there are some differences too.

Thus Theo was mostly honest, and always spoke in his own voice and style, whether writing or speaking (which was one of the things I liked about him, for very few are this way), and Ophelia is not honest (see A psychological experiment - 1 and A psychological experiment - 2), does not speak in her own voice, has a contrived writing style, and probably is not a really good speaker (while Theo was) - but indeed I have never heard or seen Ms Benson.

Also, Theo was - whatever you may think of him - A Personality, and a man of strong and marked presence wherever he was (if not too drunk or high), and he could be quite funny, witty and amusing in conversation (and very obnoxious and overbearing too) and I doubt much Ms Benson is any of that, apart from obnoxious and overbearing, not for lack of desire but for lack of personality, talent and courage, for Theo had real courage too, if not of a wise or self-controlled kind, and died because of it.

Also, while both Theo and Ophelia are or were more intelligent than most, Theo was more intelligent than Ophelia is. A marked similarity is again that both had or have little self-control.

Now I have known Theo van Gogh personally (between 1984 and 1990), who was an admirer of me (I have most, possibly all, of his books and records of that time with his handwritten dedications, for example), though not conversely (I thought he lacked self-control and was not what he most desired to be: a great film-director), while I have only mailed privately with Ms Benson, and read her Notes & Comments, so I do not know her apart from that (Deo Gratia!), but there also seems a marked similarity in personal motivation of Theo and Ophelia.

I have neither the taste nor the time to enter into that psychological topic, but those who read Dutch are referred to my Nedernieuws of 2004, where there is quite a lot about Theo van Gogh. (Unlike most who wrote publicly at that time about Van Gogh - who was murdered on 2 november  2004, by a Muslim fanatic, apparently also not quite of sound mind - I can and do fully stand by what I wrote then.)

Anyway, if I were to classify Ms Benson, I'd say she is an American leftist feminist very minor Theo van Gogh, indeed without his balls, his guts, his intelligence and his talents, apart from a likeness in journalistic phrasing ability, as far as writing is concerned, and with similar impertinence and obnoxiousness. And I don't know her looks, but I am kind enough to hope for her that Theo and Ophelia are not similarly afflicted that way. Though, speaking as a psychologist ... isn't it often the lack of looks (and brains) that makes women into faithful fanatical feminists?

Why am I so unfriendly about little miss wonderful feminist logic, the mistress of mis-quotation, you may ask?

Well, for one thing, I don't like to be lied to, not to be misrepresented and not to be commanded.

Apart from that, and more importantly, Ms Benson pretends that she stands on some of the sides I stand for - science, realism, truth, rationality, rational and reasonable philosophy and behaviour - while in reality she doesn't: she is a mere internet-journalist, who wants to have her minutes of fame, and something to eat with it too, if possible.

She is not qualified scientifically, has no knowledge of real science, no talent for mathematics whatsoever, no real knowledge of philosophy, apart from the Judy Butler School of Feminist Theory, in which Ms Benson is a great specialist.

Well, these are "friends" I can miss very well and very happily - while also journalism, (would be) philosophical or otherwise, isn't my interest or concern either, and that is Ms Benson's true field and specialism, and also the thing for which she has some talent too.

Finally, having praised Ms Benson I must honestly add that I also do think she is - well, a bit whacky, let's say, to keep it semi-professional yet friendly (and my judgment is based on considerably more than the reader has read on my site, though what is there seems sufficient rational evidence and support for that notion, unscientific though descriptively adequate as the terminology is - and anyway, I do have the handicap or advantage of being (also) a psychologist, excellent degree and all, but her whackyness is her problem (or those of her "parent", her "boss" or those "in a hierarchical position over" her, in her own words), and indeed not mine. (Judge for yourself, though, and good evidence is here: A psychological experiment - 2.)

Also, she may herself take hope and strength from Seneca, who famously said

"There is no feminist without a mixture of madness"

or from fellow-american Edison, who - also famously - diagnosed

"Feminism is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent illusion, delusion or lies".

Yet again - that is her outlook and problem, and Ms Benson is an adult, and indeed apparently also quite old (in which capacity she is entitled to at least a little respect and pity).

And (miracles happen!) I also may be mistaken, since she may even be - for all I really know, kind reader! - the very epitome of feminist mental health and (elderly) feminist physical beauty!

The mind boggles at the thought, but it surely is a genuine logical possibility, even without feminist algebra or feminist logic. There's hope for us all....

Sigh. Let's hope I am done with her, for she is not a pleasant theme at all, indeed. I take my consolation, as often, from Chamfort:

"La meilleure Philosophie, rélativement au monde, est d'allier, à son régard, le sarcasme de gaité avec l'indulgence du mépris."

P.S. For those who care about these things, and for lawyers and friends of Ms Benson, here is, by way of an appendix for the evidence-interested, PuntersComments - or the Sanity of ButterfliesAndWheels fans.

But I am done with this feminist twit -  and wash my hands off her - "Hazlitt is credited with having created the denomination Ultracrepidarianism to describe one who gives opinions on matters beyond one's knowledge."  - no more fame for her by way of my site, if I can help it.

Maarten Maartensz


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