HuffPost Lauds Man For Telling Woman to Eat His Dick

Yes, it’s a bit hard to believe, what with the indie, pro-oppressed groups’ rep HuffPost has build for itself. But this is how it promotes its story about Elan – a chap who allegedly produces the shows Bachelor and Bachelorette – antagonising an irate woman during a flight. If his story is to be believed – and I’m not inclined to – he invaded her personal space multiple times, and when she finally retaliated with a slap, he told her to eat his dick. He has since called upon his Twitter fans and fellow-cunts to tell people they find annoying to eat their dicks. From this I presume he’s talking only to the male of the repulsive and hopefully small community; thank gods for miniscule mercies.

Was the woman of the “incident” – a Diane – a nice person? Hell no. She was one of those who complain incessantly about the inevitable, magnifying their own problem to such an extent that there is no room in their heads to accommodate the rest of the world.

Of course, our only access to any info on Diane and indeed the whole incident is from Elan’s testimony, and as we’ve established before, he’s something of an immature cunt, so one can’t quite take his word for the absolute truth. But let us assume this happened, and he was at least right about the fact that when an attendant tried to sympathise with her Thanksgiving flight delays by saying he was being kept away from his family too, she said, “This is not about you”. It’s certainly very difficult to tolerate entitled people who throw fits at their fellow human beings knowing full well that the economic and social hierarchy will compel them to smile politely and put up with it. They’re the embodiment of the ugly, selfish underbelly of our much-vaunted “humanity” that frankly makes my bile rise.

Of course, this Diane person may have been ill, in the middle of an emergency, of an anxious disposition, or not capable of dealing with changes to schedule due to a differently tuned mind. But let us also assume, for Elan’s benefit, that she was not any of these things.

I still find no way to excuse his harassment of her. After his initial Twitter updates, which were fine and dandy and richly deserved by someone who was being mean to service staff, he claims he started sending her lots of little notes in quick succession. Later, he claims he enjoyed goading her immensely, and even had wine delivered to her with the comment, “Hopefully if you drink it, your mouth won’t be able to talk”.

Diane’s response, via a note of her own, that he had no compassion elicited a further attempt to press more unsolicited alcohol on her. However, the attendant refused to deliver them, Elan says he walked past her, leaning into her personal space to drop two bottles of vodka onto her table. He records, for his Twitter followers, the thrill and fear this act brought to him — not unlike the excitement of a truant child who throws a rock through a neighbour’s window.

By Elan’s own admission, Diane was, at this point, seeking help to combat this harassment. “She is pressing the call button a lot”, he reports, after he first escalated his harassment. I assume the attendants refused to interfere (again, a bit hard to believe), she wrote him a second note, asking him to stop bothering her and threatening to involve the authorities if he didn’t desist. Probably realising how little she had to sustain any allegations against him, though, Elan disregarded her request and continued his harassment. So at the point of exit of what must have been a horrendous flight for her, she walked up to him and slapped him.

And then what happened? Well, if Elan is to be believed, the guards immediately restrained her, and urged Elan twice to call the cops on her.

The thing about Diane’s violence is this. She had, allegedly, been rude to an airline staff about her flight’s delay, and was punished for it with hours of harassment and humiliation in an inescapable, enclosed space. According to her harasser, the cabin crew ignored her call for help and “[made] a ‘let’s just pretend this never happened’ face” because she had been rude to their colleague. Now personally, I find this very hard to believe, but who knows? What bothered me was Elan’s claim, later, that it was “class solidarity” that made him decide to harass this woman. He had, he explained, held low-level jobs in the past, and had been forced to suffer the rudeness of women like Diane.

In my opinion, that’s pretty excuse that simply doesn’t hold. Never mind the fact that the “punishment” was unbelievably out of proportion to the transgression. Much more important to me is the fact that Elan’s plan had no component that would make Diane aware of her entitlement and rudeness, or inspire her to make amends. Instead, it began and escalated a feud till violence erupted. Second, if anything, the incident shifted attention completely from a classist slight to a provocative harassing ‘prank’, and the self-adulatory playing-to-the-gallery on Twitter. If social justice was somehow served in the process, it has passed me completely by.

Anyway, in return for the absurd harassment and emotional assault on her, Elan gets a slap in the face. Given his idea of justice, I’d say it was a perfectly calibrated response. But because of his gimmicky viciousness, someone who was just an irksome person will probably be escalated to a felonious jail-bird, while he, the agent of this change, gets away scot-free, delighted with himself and being lauded on media. And lauded on media is right, for the promotional headline for this piece on HuffPost’s side bar is this: “LOOK: Annoying Airplane Passenger Got Exactly What She Deserved”.

So, business as usual the, I suppose.

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6 comments

  1. Why is it misogynist to tell someone to eat his dick (a colloquial expression in the US) but saying “fellow-cunts” and “immature cunts” is not? If some combinations of words on a page words are sexist, then why not others? I’m not clear on this double standard. Perhaps further reflection on language is called for.

    • “Perhaps further reflection on language is called for.”

      Certainly. Let’s here your opinion of this double-standard. Why do *you* think I felt comfortable calling Elan a cunt while complaining about his misogyny?

      • Several possible reasons:

        1. You are a hypocrite. You believe you can use sexist language but Elan cannot. Perhaps you will say that is because you are a woman and he is a man. I hope not, because that would imply that women cannot be sexist, a concept that I hope you acknowledge is patently false.
        2. You are unaware that in the US, “cunt” is the most degrading word for the female genitalia one can use. You may claim you are using it colloquially, not to refer to a woman’s vagina, but then you would also have to accept that “eat my dick” is also a colloquial term that is not really about fellatio.
        3. You used the word “cunt” in the heat of the moment, without realizing that you were using sexist language. This would result in you acknowledging the double standard and realizing that maybe you were excessive in your charges against Elan.

        There may be other options, but those are the ones that come to mind. I would like to hear (not here) your opinion of your ironic use of sexist language in a rant about sexist language.

        • If not here, then where? I’m entirely at your service now, since you take the time to explain my possible flaws in such detail. Speak, and the most obvious reason you missed shall be yours.

  2. Responses from Facebook:

    Bryce Jon: Ahh, class solidarity through misogyny, in a country politically stunted into apoliticality because ‘class warfare’ is divisive. Don’t you miss this place?!

    Me: Not in the least, Bryce. I live in India, remember?

    Matthew Belmonte: Dear Paula and Rimi, your posts indicate that you hold nearly diametrically opposite positions on this weighty issue. Talk it out? (Whichever of you loses the argument – if indeed there is any clear loser – I’ll hand you a note, then you can slap me. Thik ache?) (Oh how much fun we could have had, you two, the rest of us, and a bottle of good Scotch whisky, had geography and orthopaedics not conspired to keep each of you from the wedding this past August.)

    Paula Berman: I think Elan was fine up until the vodka. The notes were a bit too much, though I am not as willing to call “eat a dick” misogyny, as men are just as capable of eating dicks as women are. However, there is no excuse for physically assaulting someone. She was not entitled to slap him.

    People like Diane annoy the hell out of me and no one ever confronts them out of fear that they will escalate, which she did. Elan could have shown more compassion, and so could Diane. She is not an innocent victim. Both parties behaved immaturely and badly.

    PS–if I were Diane I would have taken the hint with the wine, drank it and the vodka, and tried to engage my sense of humor. Fight fire with fire… vodka is highly flammable 😉

    Rich Weems: I know I’m not really part of the conversation, but feel the need to half-ass apologize ’cause I started reading the Huffpost article I first saw this on and emailed a few people about it. Hell, I may have even put it on my timeline. But I didn’t read the whole thing and I think Elan crossed the line of confronting immaturity/selfishness and into his own immaturity/selfishness zone.

    I’m with Paula on this one: both parties behaved badly.

    Paula Berman: If he could just have refrained from the last sentence of the wine note, the story would have had a much different ending.

    Rich Weems: By the way, there was a comment on that guy’s site from a family member who said the woman had some kind of late stage cancer and it very well may have been the last Thanksgiving she would’ve had with her family. The family member said that was no excuse for her behavior, but posted (supposedly) as a way for everyone to understand that behavior.

    I have no idea if that’s true or not, but it does give me pause as I can be a bit confrontational at times and I need to remind myself that most people aren’t dicks just to be dicks.

    Paula Berman: So every step of the way, each of them went further and further. Diane is complaining to the wrong people about the flight delay. We all know that flight attendants have nothing to do with how or when the plane moves, and everyone on a flight is anxious, dying to get home, etc. Diane may have cancer but that doesn’t mean she needs to dump on hard working people who are all in the same boat. Elan could have left the snotty tidbit off the end of his wine note. Diane also could have used the wine as an opportunity to reflect on how she was disrupting others, but instead, she told Elan he was an awful person with no compassion. She had no right to do that either, because she doesn’t know him, and apparently she also lacked compassion, if the flight attendant was giving Elan vodka to give her in the hopes of getting her drunk enough to be quiet. We all know that telling someone to eat a dick is the conversational nuclear option, but that still does not justify physical violence.

    Bottom line: people need to grow the fuck up.

    Me: Paula and Rich, did you actually read my profound twenty cents on the incident? I strongly suspect not, for I find you’re both repeating lots of stuff I say myself, except that you haven’t noticed we all agree on these things 🙂

    Paula Berman: You strongly suspect wrong, and that is the result of several unwarranted assumptions that have been made. Why would you think I hadn’t read it? Because Matthew says we disagree and we don’t disagree as much as you were led to believe? That is his assessment, not mine. Yes, I read it. Matthew is incorrect in saying that we are “diametrically opposed” and I have no idea where he got that idea from. His imagination, I suspect. I don’t agree with you either, though, because I don’t think “eat my dick” is sexist any more than “kiss my ass” or “fuck you.” I don’t think Elan should be “lauded,” but I also don’t think Diane is the victim you’ve painted her to be either. The harassment went both ways. Your take seemed one-sided to me. But to each her own.

    Paula Berman: Paula, darling, let’s all try to be nice to each other, at least during first contact. (From then on it can be no-holds-barred, if you like.) It’s really quite simple why I suspected you hadn’t read the piece, and I was very clear about it in my comment above: you mention several points I’ve covered in the piece myself – such as the irrefutable fact that both people were wrong, that Elan escalated the matter when it wasn’t necessary, that Diane sounds like an entitled, classist meanie, and so on – and yet you present them here at great length, as if they were novel ideas. Now that you say you have read the piece – and I shall choose to believe you – I must shift my position from “she hasn’t read it” to “dear me, her reading comprehension needs some serious work!”. Rest well tonight.

    Paula Berman: You started off this conversation “not nice.” Since you have chosen to be unpleasant from the first moment you posted, resorting to ad hominem attacks and condescension immediately, I might just have to ask you to eat a dick. Good night.

    Me: Also, just to make my stand clear to the general populace, Diane did not harass Elan in any way whatsoever. She may have irked him extremely, causing him mental stress and anxiety, which he relieved to an extent by bitching about her on Twitter to general support. The first note could have been fine if it edited out the final line. Her final slap was a response to his continued harassment, and if people insist she was the instigator of violence because she was the one who initiated physical assault, then I must say I disagree entirely with their rather heartless and ignorant dismissal of emotional and mental harassment. The validation of the body over the mind is rather, and diminishing of non-physical attacks is… well, it’s unfortunate and ignorant. And sad.

    Paula Berman: She did harass him. And then she physically assaulted him. Physical violence is never justifiable. He told her to drink a glass of wine to occupy her mouth. She returned with a humorless, vile personal attack, saying he was an awful person who lacked compassion. Do you really think that was a proportionate response? His offer of wine and a snotty comment did not need to lead to that. And physical violence is never justified or justifiable. Your apologia for it is rather pathetic.

    Sayamindu Dasgupta: http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/11/bullying-at-35-thousand-feet/ . Can’t find the original link, but someone who claims to be Diane’s relative says that she was going to what was probably going to be her last Thanksgiving ever. Assuming the person is not trolling, this makes it doubly sad.

    Stella Kagan: This is about two people being very rude to each other, The End.

    Dipanjan Chattopadhyay: Seems like a reality show script. Are we sure Elan is not making all this up? He seems to be a douchebag enough to be capable of that.

    Me: That’s what I speculated.

    Rich Weems: I really don’t keep up with this kind of stuff ’cause not only do I have the attention span of a lobotomized squirrel, but, honestly, I don’t really care to beat this dead horse. However…

    I do want to take somewhat of an exception to the contention that I hadn’t read the “profound twenty cents”. I did. And I don’t think I (or Paula) repeated “lots of stuff” you said in that piece. Quite frankly, I’m not sure we’re that close to an agreement.

    My summation: I don’t necessarily think Elan did a bad thing by confronting that woman, though I do think he crossed the line into dickish territory by continuing to confront the woman. It has also made me reflect a little more at my own behavior, and, hopefully, by not being a dick about it.

    And Rimi, here’s your summation: “In short, on the day America unwittingly celebrates the massacre of its first people, Elan and fans of his little vigilante escapade can proudly add institutionalised immaturity misogyny to the list.”

    I don’t agree with that at all.

    James Hoover: Gosh. My only experience is with economy class. There isn’t enough room for so much drama there, and there isn’t any personal space, either. Whenever anyone starts even talking in economy class, all I want to say is, “Please be quiet. We need that oxygen.”

    Paul Berman: Rich is correct. Thanksgiving is a holiday that pre-dates the European invasion of the Americas. The inclusion of the fictitious story about the dinner between Pilgrims and indigenous people is a retconning of a holiday that began as a pagan harvest festival, evolved into a church holiday, then was grafted onto a story about the first meal on the colonized continent. It didn’t become an official holiday until the Lincoln presidency. So Rich is correct to point out the error in the assessment of the meaning of Thanksgiving, used as it is to take a rude little shot at Americans.

    Me: Paula and Rich, I’m very happy the two of you have found each other. Paula, I enjoy your little lecturing stints, but I’m compelled to admit that I do know the history of Thanksgiving, and the fervour with which modern America celebrates it has very little bearing (or claim to a connection) to that origin. I *am* amazed, though, that you can publicly say that pointing out the underlying politics of an appropriated holiday from a massacred people is “a rude little shot at Americans”. Goodness.

    Paula Berman: It is an appropriated holiday, but not from whom you think. It was appropriated from a pagan harvest festival, celebrated by almost all religions and cultures, which was then turned into a church holiday during the Protestant Reformation. That holiday was brought to the Americas, where is may have been shared with indigenous people, though the first recorded Thanksgiving in the US did not include indigenous people. The origin of Thanksgiving, not surprisingly, is giving thanks for a good harvest. It has been later associated with other, less savory events, but the root of it is not genocide. It’s giving thanks. There is no reason to take a big dump on a holiday that is about family sharing a meal and togetherness, unless of course you have an axe to grind with Americans, which you clearly do.

    Interesting that you have abandoned your justification of physical violence. I hope you have decided to rethink that.

    Bryce Jon: There’s another history too, Paula Berman, that has to do with post civil war white appropriations of African American reunions. Seeing these reunions as a challenge to the hierarchy of white familial solidarity as stronger than black, thanksgiving was an instituted reunion day for white families to perform/demonstrate a public form of solidarity otherwise the sole cultural property of black families. But, as in all Am History, I’m not surprised that this process was articulated to a pagan something or other as you point — let’s just avoid chasing the Levi-Strauss-ian father christmas, though 😉

    Rich Weems: You really like jumping to conclusions, don’t you, Rimi? It’s evident in your original post, and it’s evident in your responses here. For example, stating that Elan is an “immature cunt” is not the same thing as establishing that he’s an immature cunt. Stating that Diane did not harass Elan (or any of the other people on that plane, for that matter) indicates that we do not agree on your twenty cents. But keep practicing; maybe someone will make an ass of him or herself on Christmas.

    Paula Berman: The “pagan something or other” came first, and predates American history. A lot of dubious crap has been piled on top of a holiday that is, at its roots, a day of celebration for the Earth’s bounty. Everything that came after–the religious holiday, the Pilgrims and Indians (I use the non-PC term deliberately), the bank holiday, etc.– all came after. I choose to celebrate the original meaning of the holiday– GIVING THANKS. I don’t appreciate being told that I am unwittingly celebrating genocide. There is nothing unwitting about how I choose to approach this holiday, and I suspect most Americans approach it as a time to treasure family and our great good fortune to live in a country where food is plentiful. But of course, taking the dimmest possible view of Americans is a really fun sport for some, apparently, hence my characterization of it as a cheap shot. Because it was.

    James Hoover: We don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving because 1) it would have been far better for America if the Mayflower had sunk in the middle of the Atlantic, and 2) my wife is a vegetarian, plus 3) the last thing we usually have time for, in late November, is taking time out to have a huge, complicated, rather expensive meal to celebrate something (i.e., sending a bunch of Calvinists over here) that was a really, really bad idea in the first place.

    Which reminds by of the tale of the turkey of Pudukkottai. Once upon a time, an American researcher spent some time living in the compound of the Rani of Pudukkottai. A friend showed up, determined to celebrate Thanksgiving, American-style, who had imported some turkeys via the U.S.-funded agricultural research station in Hyderabad. Said turkeys ended up on the Rani’s property, but they couldn’t do anything with them because they didn’t have an oven, not even a tandoor, so the turkeys were spared. I met them (or their descendants, at any rate), when I ended up at Pudukkottai myself. Every morning, walking past their cages on my way to the chai stand, I’d sneak up and say, “Gobble-gobble-gobble,” or words to that effect – in essence, mimicking the sound turkeys make, which every American kid (at least of my generation) knows. The turkeys would rush over and start to “talk” to me, and the Rani’s servants would sit on the veranda and get a kick out of our antics. The Rani’s peacock then would strut past (after an exciting morning of playing chicken with truck drivers), and rub in the fact that he, at least, was not caged.

    Me: Rich, I’d engage further, but as vampire Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer would say, “bored now”. Enjoy your sense of superiority. James, that’s hilarious 🙂 I’m just surprised they didn’t decide to have an “Indian” Thanksgiving and dice up the turkeys for a curry.

    Sayan Bhattacharya: “Every morning, walking past their cages on my way to the chai stand, I’d sneak up and say, “Gobble-gobble-gobble,” or words to that effect – in essence, mimicking the sound turkeys make, which every American kid (at least of my generation) knows.”

    Wow, I had always thought that the “gobble-gobble”, used in association with turkeys, referred to the fact that the turkeys would end up being gobbled (eaten) by humans. It seems, based on what you wrote, that the turkeys themselves make this sound — maybe they are prescient about their fate?

    Rich Weems: I don’t think I could ever be as superior as you and James, Rimi. Adios.

    J. Alfred Prufrock: With all due respect, the comment-space seems to mimic the story itself. Possibly for the same reason – the wine (or some other similar option) wasn’t utilised. (Have people in the USA learned about Old Monk?)

    James Hoover: Rimi… nothing ever comes to an end at Pudukkottai. It just gets dusty and faded. I doubt if anything happened to the turkeys – they’re probably still there, although somewhat the worse for wear. The Rani’s servants needed a lot of minding. @Rich… yeah, I know I was rough on the Pilgrims, but they were heretics.

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