There are a couple of things I forgot to say a propos of Andrea Dworkin the other day, and the most important of them was the one referred to by Joan Smith in her column in the Independent yesterday. Essentially, Dworkin was inclined to believe absolutely everything alleged against Clinton and basked in the paranoia of what it meant to ‘have a rapist in the White House’, as does Smith.
What worries me about this is that there was and is no attempt to consider the possibility that the rape allegations, which were never tried let alone proved, came from the most rabid of sources for the most part. Dworkin and her followers endlessly diss radical women who made excuses for Clinton, but don’t face up to the fact that those women were actually demanding some standard of evidence for charges, rather than assuming him guilty a priori.
And there was and is no attempt to look at the motives of the people promulgating those charges, and at their attitudes to women. Even Hitchens has tended to regard feminism as personal politics, part of what went wrong with the Left in the Seventies.
My real objection to Dworkin was, I guess, that she had tremendous power to communicate and abused it by not applying rigour to what she believed.
Various of the obituaries referred to her habit of booking plane tickets under other names for fear of death threats from the porn industry. Is there any evidence, and I ask this in sincerity and not as a rhetorical question, that those threats were ever serious or that there was ever an attempt on her life?
I speak as someone on whom a real, if random, attempt was made after I wrote an article on trans rights in a London newspaper.
( I was waiting at a bus stop at King’s Cross and a minicab touted me for business and used my name – I went and got a black cab, because I smelled something iffy. As I walked into the courtyard of my flat, a car drove in at me and I dodged and rolled between parked cars. The car appeared to be the one that had pretended to be a minicab.)
And I know many of you have seen this story before. My point is, that was some sort of case for believing myself under attack, but I am uncertain enough about it not to have pursued it, or to have gone around saying death threats.
Let alone demand bodyguards at public meetings.