Jill Nelson to Andrew Sullivan: I don't "hate free societies" or support religious zealots. Stop swinging your you-know-what and threatening people who disagree with you.

By Salon Staff
Published December 6, 2002 7:32PM (EST)

[Read "Beauties and the Beasts."]

Andrew Sullivan's quote from my MSNBC.com column is taken out of context and serves to distort my position in order to further his own. This is both a cheap shot and bad journalism.

It's also inaccurate, manipulative and, in the current political and judicial climate in America, dangerous to say there is a "weird overlap" between my beliefs and those of violent radical Muslims. As for characterizing this 50-year-old African-American woman as among those who "hate free societies," that simply shows Sullivan's ignorance and arrogance, characteristics typical of those who feed daily at the trough of white male privilege.

Sullivan's suggestion that I playa-hate Western societies where women "choose how they want to present themselves," demonstrates no understanding of women's roles in Western culture, contempt for feminists, and, possibly worst of all, that he has no women friends. If he had any, he'd know how difficult it is to find one woman in America who actually believes that the way she chooses to "present" herself is determined absent historical, cultural and political conditioning, expectations and constraints.

As I made clear in my column, religous zealots make the world a terrifying place for all of us, particularly women, even as they profess to protect us, whether they're Muslims fighting Christians in Nigeria or antiabortion Christians attacking women and bombing clinics in America. The simplistic "You're either for me or agin me" calculations of an Andrew Sullivan or a George W. Bush -- or an Osama bin Laden, come to think of it -- only serve to make the world a more dangerous place than it already is. Now that's saying something.

Finally, I'm offended and bored by Sullivan and all the other willfully oblivious white guys who thought they were immune from the world's terrors -- and worse, believe they had a divine right to be -- until Sept. 11. Now, having experienced the terror that much of the world lives with every day, they respond by swinging their dicks around and threatening -- with bombs or bombast -- those who do not view the world as they do. Talk about cultural relativism, p.c. journalism, and decadent machismo! But then, what's new? In spite of all the rhetoric about how the terrorist attacks "changed us," the more things change, the more they stay the same.

-- Jill Nelson

Andrew Sullivan responds to Nelson on his own site, here.

Salon Staff

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