Saturday, 1 June 2019

Holy writ

It seems to be a growing trend that those who challenge popular opinions with a radically different view are hounded and insulted and told to shut up. Their refusal to toe the conventional line is seen as abnormal, perverse, unacceptable.

Historian Hallie Rubenhold, who has exposed the miserable lives of Jack the Ripper's victims, has been the target of "offensive", "stupid" and "almost laughable" attacks from Ripper fanatics with fixed views on the five women who died.

She has challenged the prevailing belief that the murdered women were all prostitutes, saying that three of the women weren't prostitutes, simply "sick, starving, brutally treated women" who just happened to cross their killer's path.

"There are people out there who feel they have ownership of these women's stories and there is an orthodoxy. If you question those 'facts', then God have mercy on you. The response I've had to this is unbelievable."

You would think people with an interest in a particular subject would welcome different views that added to their understanding of it. You would think their only concern would be to discover the truth, whatever that may be. But no, their views turn into holy writ, and anyone who questions them is seen as a heretic, a blasphemer.

I tend to keep quiet about some of my own views that run counter to the fashionable wisdom, for fear of a hostile reaction. There's no point in confronting people who are most unlikely to change their existing opinions.

I'm increasingly glad I'm not a prominent public figure with markedly unconventional views. The predictable vicious trolling would be hard to cope with. The old British tradition of open-minded consideration of opposing views seems to be crumbling rapidly.

All that matters nowadays is being right.

Pic: Hallie Rubenhold

19 comments:

  1. Women over the age of 30 are useless and create autistic children. Basically, you shuold never date a woman over the age of 25. Old women are stupid.

    https://womenarestupid.site/blog/women-over-the-age-of-30-are-useless-and-create-autistic-children

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  2. It seems that some people will take any opportunity to troll! Whether their interested in the subject or not. I have no idea why.
    Sx

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  3. The first comment is typical of the sort of misogynistic garbage that people like Hallie Rubenhold are confronted with non-stop. It's presumably aimed specifically at her as she's 48. And of course they're anonymous because they would never dare to say such things under their own name and reveal their deranged thoughts to their family and work colleagues and friends (if they have any).

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  4. Ms Scarlet: Indeed. Why they bother to utter such drivel, and what on earth they hope to achieve by it, is beyond me. What a bizarre waste of time.

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  5. Rather be unconvential than being the sort of prat who comes up with the content of the first comment.

    But, to your point, I am a member of a friendly group on FB where the odd political question comes up. I queried the origins of the anti semitism witch hunt in the Labour Party and was fallen upon immediately as issuing fake news! No rebuttal of my point was offered though...

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  6. Helen: Absolutely. Not just a prat but a bitter and malicious prat.

    How can a routine and obvious question about antisemitism in the Labour Party be fake news? Personally I imagine the origin of the "witch hunt" is pretty simple - many Labour Party members are in fact antisemitic.

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  7. I am what is called the Extreme Right in India and have had my share of being trolled by those with opposing views. I am delighted now to be on the Right side with the latest election results which has left the trolls in some disarray. Yes, all that matters is being on the right just now, though, not quite in the same way that you mean it.

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  8. Ramana: Well, it's good to hear that some of the trolls have been wrong-footed! I would probably be categorised by some as the extreme left, but all these simplistic political labels misrepresent rather complex personal beliefs.

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  9. I have some opinions I keep to myself because I know I'm never going to change anyone's mind, so why bother??

    What I try my best to do is let others speak their minds, whether I agree or not. Unfortunately, most people like to put down other people's beliefs because it must somehow make them feel better about their own? Religion and politics being the top categories.

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  10. I seem to remember a phrase like... 'never discuss religion or politics'
    from a long time ago! they must have always and will always be hot button topics. people lose their ability to be tolerant not to even mention open minded and polite! :) and living in an open carry state where people are shot for less... it gives one pause!

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  11. Bijoux: I also aim to let other people speak their minds, even if their opinions are very different from my own, because I want to try and understand how they think. I see my opinions as a work in progress, ready to be revised at any time if I encounter more convincing opinions.

    I think you're right that people try to discredit other people's beliefs to feel more confident of their own.

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  12. Tammy: "Never discuss religion or politics" - I remember that warning from my childhood as well. They're still very inflammatory topics, best avoided unless you know the other person is roughly of like mind to yourself.

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  13. We currently live in an upscale facility. We now get mail assuming we are Republicans. I refuse to register with any party because I prefer to vote for the candidates I think will do the best job in the current environment. That's not very often a Republican. Which apparently would be a big surprise to those doing the mailings.

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  14. Linda: I also go for the candidate I think will do the best job. Here in Northern Ireland that means NOT one of the parties that is forever stoking up sectarianism and perpetuating social divisions.

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  15. The more ideas the better in my view

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  16. John: Agreed. Shutting down debate and putting the blinkers on is no help to anybody.

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  17. We seem to be in a time of aversion to facts.

    And I agree - I wouldn't be a public figure for any amount of money!

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  18. I think there are individuals, could just be kids or people, whose view of having fun is trying to stir up controversy by saying outrageous things or for other nutty reasons. We even have a Govt leader who does some of that in various ways. I suppose some are serious.

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