Footnote to “teeth-pulling bitch” story: much like the concept of ‘misandry’ itself, the story is false

Revealing what appears to have been an example of global journalistic malpractice — and misogyny — involving some of the world’s most esteemed mainstream news outlets, msnbc.com reported Tuesday that its own basic investigation into the “teeth-pulling ex-girlfriend” story has revealed the story was a hoax.

Apparently, Britain’s Daily Male first printed the story without bothering to perform even cursory fact-checking; regardless, the story was picked up and circulated by Fox News, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, Yahoo! News, MSN, the New York Post, and The New York Daily News and Australia’s Herald Sun and New Zealand Herald among others.

Msnbc.com reports,

when msnbc.com contacted police in Wroclaw, Poland, about the supposed criminal case, a spokesman said they had no record of such an incident.

“Lower Silesia Police Department has not been notified about such an event and is not investigating such a case,” Pawel Petrykowski of the Provincial Police Headquarters in Wroclaw said in an email that was translated into English.

A legal adviser for Poland’s Chamber of Physicians and Dentists, which handles disciplinary matters, said the organization is not investigating and has never investigated any such case, and added that there is no dental practitioner named Anna Maćkowiak listed in Poland’s central register of dentists.

“No information about this kind of misconduct has been provided to the Supreme Chamber,” the legal advisor, Marek Szewczyński, said in an email. “The Supreme Chamber is also not aware of any actions of this kind being taken by the Regional Chamber of Physicians and Dentists in Wroclaw, which would be the competent authority in case of a possible professional misconduct committed by a dental practitioner from Wroclaw.”

[…]

The American Dental Association’s national spokesperson, David Johnson Jr., said the story of Maćkowiak’s revenge was highly improbable — not just as an unprecedented abuse of the doctor-patient relationship but because most dentists are equipped to administer drugs only for conscious sedation dentistry. That would mean the ex-boyfriend would know his teeth were being extracted as it was happening, rather than realizing it after he arrived home.

Why wasn’t this most cursory of fact checking and referencing performed before the story was printed?  Well, when asked that very question, the Daily Male staff writer under whose byline the story was originally written, Simon Tomlinson, said

he does not know where the story came from and distanced himself from it when questioned about its origins.  “I’ve drawn a bit of a blank,” he said in an email. “The (Daily) Mail Foreign Service, which did the piece for the paper, is really just an umbrella term for copy put together from agencies. My news desk isn’t sure where exactly it came from.”

This, after the story was shared more than 75,000 times on Facebook since it was first published on April 27, and after having spawned thousands of misogynistic comments on online news sites none of which have been removed, although most of the online news sources who reported this story have since issued retractions.  Gee, how civil of them.

Interestingly enough, the link to the original story at the Daily Male is now a dead link: they have removed the article entirely rather than print a retraction in the header and leaving the article — and comments — intact, like the other outlets did.  Comments like this from Huff Po:

Women + MAN = LOVE
Women + MAN – Love = Heartache and Pain for you Buddy , because we all know women are some unstable CREATURES .

More-so if I was the judge I would make it a condition of her parole or probation that she must have all of her teeth removed. As well as consficate (sic) ever last thing she owned to pay his multimillion lawsuit and her license removed.

The tone of this article is massively inappropriate. To imply sympathy with this kind of behavior strikes me as incredibly misandric and offensive as a man.  If a male dentist had done this you would be rightfully indignant. Have some class Huffington Post.

That last part made me laugh and laugh.  The tone of the article wasn’t sympathetic enough to the man: the fake, hypothetical man to whom this never happened wasn’t treated kindly enough by Huff Po, demonstrating misandry.  And if the sexes were reversed, the result would have been different.

Indeed, the result probably would have been different: in reality, if a male dentist had allegedly abused a woman this way, it might not have been reported at all.  What news outlet has either the space or a single crap to give to reporting on every egregious abuse, breach of professional ethics, act of sexual violence or human rights violation men perpetrate on women every day?  It never would’ve been reported at all, and would never have had the chance to be picked up and circulated globally.

Even if it were true, it never even would have been reported, let alone circulated globally.  Because there is too much male violence against women to even report.  See how that works?

And of course, if the sexes were reversed, it would have been assumed from the beginning to be a hoax.  If after being fact-checked thoroughly the story checked out and it wasn’t technically a hoax of the journalistic kind, it would’ve still been scrutinized and assumed to be a hoax of the lying-bitch kind, perpetrated by the woman herself, who would have been assumed to have been lying about all of it, including who had done that to her, under what circumstances, and why.

In reality, Huff Po — and the entire global mainstream news industry — demonstrates egregious misogyny here, not misandry, not to mention revealing for the entire world to see that its journalistic ethics are of the bankrupt kind: without demonstrating even the most basic care regarding whether this story was even true, it printed it anyway, and let the entire world believe that a woman had terribly abused a man in a way that was sure to draw the most vile woman-hatred imaginable, and condemnation of women as a sexual class.

In fact, one is left with the impression that this was the goal the entire time.  If it wasn’t “intentional-intentional,” the result — a global orgy of misogynistic woman-bashing and condemnation of women as a sexual class — was foreseeable enough that intent can and should be presumed.

This was intentional.  Which is to be expected, of course, considering that mainstream news reporting is, in actuality, the thinnest of covers for a global misogynistic pro-patriarchal propaganda machine.

If the world were a safe and sane place for women, the global news industry would never recover its credibility after this, but of course it’s not, and it will.  Because credible and male are synonyms, you see.  The global, male-centric mainstream news industry’s “credibility” was never lost and it never will be, any more than an apple can lose its appleness, or a tangerine can cease being tangerine-y.  They will recover.  But we mustn’t ever forget what we are dealing with, when it comes to the global media, and its treatment of us.

As if most of us even could.

Also reported at Radfem-ological Images.

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Wronged man encounters language barrier: what to call jilted ex-gf who pulled all his teeth?

It seems as if the word “bitch” has become so overused, it has lost virtually all meaning, leaving the occasional legitimately-wronged man with no words to describe women who actually harm them.  Poor men!

Last week, the Daily Male reported that a dentist sedated her ex-boyfriend and then pulled out every single one of his teeth, after he had unceremoniously dumped her for another woman.  The man appeared at her office in need of emergency dental surgery just days after he had broken up with her; when questioned, she admitted what she did, saying that she had been “unable to detach from her emotions” and now faces jail time as well as professional sanctions from her licensing board.

The man explains,

I knew something was wrong because when I woke up I couldn’t feel any teeth and my jaw was strapped up with bandages.  She told me my mouth was numb and I wouldn’t be able to feel anything for a while and that the bandage was there to protect the gums, but that I would need to see a specialist.

[…]

But when I got home I looked in the mirror and couldn’t f****** believe it. The b**** had emptied my mouth.

Bitch?  Really?

Apparently, there simply are no words in the English language to differentiate women who actually cause harm from any other woman, or a woman who causes subjective or even made-up harm from one who causes objective, actual harm: the same reactionary, misogynistic slurs are used to describe us all.  What differentiates a bitch from a non-bitch seems to be a man’s pleasure or displeasure with any woman’s behavior, regardless of the reasonableness of his response — the word is never descriptive of the woman, or of anything the woman actually did.

What is revealed by this use of equivalent language (e.g. referring to women as “bitches” regardless of context) is that boys and men think of all girls and women in exactly the same way — essentially, as the scum of the earth, and morally and even criminally deficient, and to the maximum degree — no matter what we do or don’t do.

Another interpretation is that men regard all girls and women and our actions and inactions to be irrelevant in the same way — which, in a political sense, happens to be true.  Because patriarchy.

Including, as in this case, when a woman pulls out every single one of his teeth, bandages his head and jaw, and sends him home, violating several laws and rules of professional ethics in the process.

Here, one is left to wonder what this man would’ve called this woman if she would have, in addition to assaulting him, also lied about it, or worse?  Or what words he had been using to describe her before that, when he was simply no longer interested in the relationship because he had found someone else? If he had ever called her a “bitch” previously, that would indicate that he had held her in exactly the same regard before — before she had even done anything objectively harmful or wrong.

But clearly, while it is frequently the case that men think a particular woman — or all women — are “bitches” all or much of the time, this equivalent response is objectively unreasonable.  Indeed, if determinations of reasonableness or credibility were objective, men who call women “bitches” would be determined to have neither; if all women are bitches — and we all are — the pronouncement is meaningless.

Of course, since all men are presumed to be credible, the issue of “credibility” itself is a meaningless pronouncement, when applied to men.  Saying that a man is credible is like saying “an apple is an apple” or describing a tangerine as being tangerine-y.  Under patriarchy, the words are synonymous, and synonyms cannot legitimately be used to define or describe one another.  Red flags should be raised, every time anyone tries.

Just like with the words “woman” and “bitch.”

ETA:  On May 8, 2012, msnbc.com reported that the original story reported by the Daily Male has been revealed to be a hoax.  See here for additional information and links. — Eds.