A tisket a tasket and tit for tat.
Most people are aware of the controversy surrounding Representative Fisher and his connection to the misogynistic website the Red Pill, a demeaning site which promotes violence against women. During a recent NH House session a motion was made to hold a hearing regarding Rep Fisher’s comments about women and his ties to this site. In a move that was a transparent, and shabby, tit for tat, another representative put forth a motion to investigate Representative Sherry Frost at the same time because of some of Frost’s tweets. I assumed, as did a number of other representatives, that these tweets were made in response to The Red Pill and Frost’s condemnation of a site so vulgar and insulting to women. This was not the case. Instead the tweets were made months prior to the news about Rep. Fisher and completely unrelated.
The result was one motion, which passed, to hold two hearings for two individuals on completely unrelated issues. I am not aware of any situation where two individuals would be lumped together unless the two offenses were somehow related. Because the two hearings were unrelated, we were instructed not to make comparisons between the comments of the two representatives. However, since this was most obviously an eye for an eye, it seems that some comparison is appropriate at this point, to put in perspective the difference between the two.
Fisher’s comments promoted violence against women. He is quoted as saying "Rape isn't an absolute bad, because the rapist I think probably likes it a lot. I think he'd say it's quite good, really.” Rep. Frost said after one of our more frustrating session days, she was feeling “homicidal.” This is hyperbole; Fisher’s comment condoned rape. Fisher said that in order to commit rape, one only needs “roofies” and “duct tape.” Frost used the f-word. Fisher said women have “sub-par intelligence” which only demonstrates Fisher’s sub-par intelligence. Frost made the comment that terrorists are “mostly white, Christian men.” which is, in fact and sadly, true.
At the hearing for Frost, one element I found to be quite extraordinary was the vagueness of the allegations against her. Cilley asked Rep. Hinch, the chair of the Legislative Administration committee, if he could articulate exactly what the allegations were and on what information the final report on Frost would be based. Rep. Hinch seemed unable to do so and resorted to obfuscation, a device used when your goal is to confuse people even more. He succeeded. He said that the report presented to the house would be “relative to the merits of the allegations made.” Pressed further as to what those allegations were, he said the allegations were “relative to the remarks we have seen on public websites.” Lot of relating going on here but not a lot of content.
This is not just about freedom of speech. Pretty much anyone can say anything in the world of the internet. These days, the wide open frontier of the internet requires us to show a little intelligence and proportion. Some people may have found Frost’s use of the word “homicidal” and bit extreme, but it was clearly used as a figure of speech and she was not actually homicidal. Fisher flat out has condoned rape. Frost may have shown impatience which could have been interpreted as unprofessional, but Fisher directly and indirectly incites violence towards women. In my view, Frost’s tweets are quite tame compared to many others. Fisher’s are deliberately degrading towards women. A representative of the government who unswervingly promotes a culture of rape and misogyny should be at the very least censured. Frost’s remarks, while perhaps a bit insensitive, do not rise to the level where attention is required, in my view. Instead, the two and a half hours of her hearing could have been better spent in silent contemplation of the meaning of justice and perspective. No sensible person would be unduly alarmed at Frost’s comments. Fisher’s however, present a real threat and one that has been trolling around on the internet for many years now, with Fisher's’ apparent full support and encouragement.
In the end the Legislative Administration office chose to take no action against Fisher or Frost. The most bizarre event was reported in a press release from the House Democratic Office. Although during the Frost hearing people were cautioned that they could not refer to anything that was said during the hearing for Fisher, “Before the final vote, Chairman Hinch ruled that the two members must be considered together under a single recommendation and that the minority would not be allowed publish a minority report.” These procedural shenanigans are a transparent, high-handed attempt to control the outcome, and they seriously undermine the credibility of the committee. The final vote on Fisher is a whitewash of his egregious positions toward women. And, in a hearing about free speech, which deliberately limited free speech, free speech was further hogtied because the minority was prevented from presenting their report. The final irony is that after all this, Fisher did have the good sense to resign his seat.
Posted on 17 May 2017, 20:38 - Category: NH Legislature