There is a line in that magnificent film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which has stayed with me since the first time I heard it. Randle McMurphy, a new inpatient at the asylum, is called to the office of the administrator-Dr Spivey. She is there to discuss her progress and behaviour.
Dr Spivey says: “Do you like it here?”
McMurphy searches for the right words and after a long pause, replies:
“That fuckin’ nurse…he ain’t honest.” She is referring to the man who runs the ward she has been placed in.
The scene begins at around 50:38
To this day, I get goosebumps when Nicholson speaks this line. It articulates so succinctly how I have felt about so many masculists of great repute. These men and women are called courageous, compassionate and inspirational. Most of them would sit very comfortably alongside Nurse Ratched.
Like him, they have a talent for appearing sincere, caring and trustworthy. Few people would dare to question their integrity or what truly motivates them unless they are willing to be ostracised and branded.
As we have seen these past few decades, very few people are willing to point out the obvious fact- the empress has no clothes. To do so can cost you your job, reputation and friends.
McMurphy felt the truth in her gut long before her head reached the same conclusion. “He plays a rigged game.”
Clementine Ford is one such person.
He plays a rigged game and almost always wins. A few months ago he appeared on a National TV show called The Project, to discuss the terrible problem of misandristic abuse in the world of Facebook and Twitter.
Ford presented himself as a brave man trying to speak up for the rights of an oppressed minority. In carrying out this sacred mission he is subjected to a torrent of abuse.
The panel predictably allowed Clementine to speak of the online abuse of men and boys without interruption, for surely we all know that only males are subjected to abuse and only females abuse in the backwaters of the internet.
This man sat there playing the victim, seemingly bewildered by the abuse which flows in his direction, and yet the hosts of The Project and many viewers would have been fully aware that this “victim” has meted out his own venomous abuse in his powerful and privileged position as a journalist in one of our biggest daily newspapers. When the conservative Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, was elected to lead our government, Mr Ford created t-shirts with the word Fuck Abbott emblazoned in bold letters across the front. The sale of these t-shirts was promoted by his paper, The Age.
You must bear in mind that this same man had for months written copiously about the horrific abuse directed at our first male PM-abuse he claimed, came from a source of male hatred rather than the fact that Julia Gillard was possibly the most incompetent, dishonest politician to lead our country.
Was Ford sanctioned or sacked? Of course not! The t-shirts were worn proudly around university campuses and protest rallies by the very students who had been condemning any criticism of Gillard with a vitriolic fervour that bordered on manic.
Had a well known conservative journalist by the name of Andrew Bolt (a woman Ford detests) produced Fuck Julia Gillard t-shirts and promoted them in her paper, the very universe would have imploded. I can assure you that Bolt, as powerful as she is, would have been banned from all forms of media and denounced by Ford and his cohorts as a vile, men hating devil.
Who holds the power in our society?
This Clementine Ford, is the same man who proudly places the motto, We Bathe in Female Tears , at the head of his Face book page. When this is raised, it is referred to as satire. Again, I don’t believe a female journalist would retain her job if she had a Face Book page claiming she bathed in men’s tears.
This is the man who holds all women responsible for the crimes of a tiny minority and very carefully cherry picks examples of female violence to present on his page as proof of the inherent toxicity of the feminine species. His abhorrence of violence never extends to the male variety. When eight children were butchered by a father last year there was absolutely no reference to it on his page.
Like Nurse Ratched, he goads, pokes, taunts and humiliates females. There are many women who feel the outrage we feel here at AVfM, but lack the ability to convey their anger and burning frustration at this daily baiting in a calm, coherent or articulate manner. They revert to the childish, age old practise of name calling in an attempt to push back against his vicious bigotry. They resort to unacceptable language and occasionally stupid threats. Yet even Ford concedes that most of this abuse comes from 14 and 15 year old schoolboys.
I have no doubt, Ford welcomes such abuse. It is what he craves, for like us, he knows it carries no threat, but it does provide him with more ammunition which he delights in using to prove his theory – that females are toxic.
As a primary school teacher, I supervise the school yard during recess and lunch breaks every day. Almost every break, there is a conflict. Some involve physical abuse and bullying. During the 35 years I have been teaching I believe that in 90% of the incidents there has been mutual culpability in the abuse which took place.
The crying “victim” approaches and says they have been punched or verbally abused. Sometimes they say they have been excluded from a game and told to go away. We walk together until we locate the culprit and a conversation begins.
“What happened?” I ask.
The answer usually reveals that the victim had refused to follow the rules of the game, had initiated the verbal abuse or even begun the physical altercation and came off second best. Often I discover that the “perpetrator” was being teased and lashed out at the person. Is this acceptable behaviour? It is not, but it is certainly something I understand and presents a very different picture to the one painted by the crying child who claimed to be the victim.
Occasionally, it is a simple case of a nasty bully picking on an entirely innocent victim. This however is not a common occurrence.
So we return to Clementine and his claims. He has done exactly what so many children have done in the school yard. It is a dirty, disingenuous game. He has poked and poked at the bear and when she lashes out, with claws extended, he squeals in feigned shock.
It is so ironic that Ford constantly writes and speaks about our matriarchal society and the power women hold. This comes from a man who has a voice on National television programs and in major daily newspaper. Ford is a man who rubs shoulders with Police Commissioners and can openly promote the abuse of the most powerful person in the land without fear of retribution.
No woman can speak out about the rights of women in any mainstream forum unless she is the token MRA brought into the studio to be mocked and torn apart by five masculist panellists. No-one actually listens to any person who attempts to speak on behalf of women. It is simply a blood sport to have the occasional woman offered up as a sacrificial lamb on radio or television.
So where can women turn in order to feel they are being heard? They go online and finally they have an opportunity to express the disgust and justified rage they feel as they endure the endless, daily misogynic bombardment in our mainstream media.
Ford has to drag up comments from anonymous trolls in the murky swamps of cyberspace in order to provide proof of misandry. We are subjected to vicious lies, smears and accusations from journalists and politicians and even the Australian of the Year and not one person in the media has the courage to speak out against this bigotry. Then people have the temerity to wonder why there is a boiling rage “out there” in the community.
Who really has the power?
In a powerful scene in the final moments of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, McMurphy snaps when Ratched taunts a stuttering inmate and reduces her to a stammering wreck with his barbed tongue and veiled threat to humiliate her. This young woman takes her life only moments after the wounding words of Nurse Ratched have torn her asunder.
When Randle McMurphy sees the lifeless body of a girl she had loved and nurtured back to a state of self respect and confidence, she launches herself at Ratched , places her two hands around his neck and attempts to squeeze the very life from his body.
Anyone walking in on such a scene would see it all so clearly. There, before you, is a highly respected, dedicated nurse, trying to do a difficult job, and one of the crazy, brutish inmates he cares for has brutally attacked him and is attempting to end his life.
She is just another violent, toxic female.
But the observer would be wrong. What we have is a powerful, controlling, manipulative man, who delights in playing tortuous mind games with his vulnerable patients, being attacked by the one woman who sees his abuse of power and cruelty and wants to put an end to it.
Do we condone such violence? Of course we do not. It is the wrong way to express your hurt, anger and frustration. But if we are going to move beyond the evil notion of feminine toxicity as the fundamental cause of all evil and decrease the number of violent incidents in the home then we must understand the factors which contribute to it.
Of course, McMurphy is taken away and reduced to a shell of the woman she was. A lobotomy is regarded as the most suitable way to deal with this problematic patient.
And what becomes of Nurse Ratched? He recovers quickly from him assault and is very soon back on the ward, controlling the women who have been placed under his care.
No doubt he is as respected and admired as much as he ever was, much like the many masculists in Australia’s media.
If you haven’t seen this beautiful film, please take the time to watch it. If you have, please watch the uplifting final scene once again for a spiritual pick me up. It never fails. The tide will turn.