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>I’m going off the rails on an [ableist slur redacted] train. Also: Cat poll!

>

Well, discussions about my second Scott Adams piece over on Feministe (which was basically identical to my post here) have now been completely derailed by a number of commenters who’ve decided I’m “ableist” because I used the word … “idiot.”  That word, they have decided, is offensive to the “cognitively impaired.” If you want to wade into the mess, here’s the comment that, while polite in itself, started the long slide down this particular rabbit hole. You can see my responses in blue further down in the comments.
I consider this kind of language policing to the EXTREME! to be bad for feminism (and frankly insulting to people with disabilities), and I’m glad a number of others have stood up against it in the comments there.  I don’t think that the language police are in the majority at Feministe, much less in feminism at large. But these debates are so frustrating that many feminists who disagree with the language police end up biting their tongues and/or just walking away. At some point I may post more about this fraught topic here.
In the meantime, I’m am conducting a little poll about cats. Please click the appropriate button in the graphic above. Clicking it won’t actually do anything, but I’m pretty sure what the results are going to be anyway. Go kitties!
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If you enjoyed this post, would you kindly* use the “Share This” or one of the other buttons below to share it on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or wherever else you want. I appreciate it. 
*Yes, that was a Bioshock reference.
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SallyStrange
9 years ago

>Victor, please point out where in my post I said or implied that anyone deserved being treated as an irrelevant non-person. The phrase "sucks don't it" was meant to be interpreted more or less literally. As in, "Yes, we can all agree that that is an unfortunate state of affairs." Funny how Elizabeth was able to interpret that relatively straightforward comment in a manner that was entirely harmonious with how I intended it. What made you look at what I wrote differently from Elizabeth, do you think?

SallyStrange
9 years ago

>There's actually a post of mine explaining my comment to Kave that's caught in the spam filter. I dunno why – it only had one link in it. And no verboten swears that I can think of.

Elizabeth
9 years ago

>If it was only the words "sucks, does it not?" you would be correct Victor however there was context to go with it that shows what she meant was "this is what happened in the past with women. Since you see it sucks with this guy, you can see why it sucked for women."

Tit for Tat
9 years ago

>SallyYou dont even know me. You base all your judgements of me because you think my views are wrong. Of course men have just as many problems as women. They are just different. And your verbiage is nasty too. So, I wait with bated breath for your next insult.

Tit for Tat
9 years ago

>SallyOh by the way, Trip calls himself a feminist.

Lady Victoria von Syrus

>For what it's worth, Tit for Tat, I'm basing all my judgements of you based on the exchange I had with you on a previous entry of this blog. It's certainly not particularly flattering, especially because I feel like I got taken in by a troll. And, frankly, anyone who reads that exchange and sees how you only pretended to listen would likely come to a similar conclusion.

SallyStrange
9 years ago

>T4T, I judge your views by the words you express. You, on the other hand, go a step further and judge Trip on your "energy thing." Guess who's on firmer ground. And yes, I will continue to insult you as long as you continue acting like a disingenuous pot-stirrer. Don't like it? Adult up and express your opinions honestly, instead behind veiled rhetorical questions, a la Glenn Beck.

SallyStrange
9 years ago

>Oh by the way, Trip calls himself a feminist. Disingenuous: adjective. Lacking in frankness, candor, or sincerity; falsely or hypocritically ingenuous; insincere. Not straightforward or candid; giving a false appearance of frankness.

Tit for Tat
9 years ago

>SallyYep, and I dont judge you or trip based on your words,really? Energy, sense, intuition. I shouldnt use any of that. Its just woo, right? I will remember to tell that to the police officer who insisted I make sure my daughter uses it in certain situations. Keep standing on your firm ground.

victor
9 years ago

>"So if you can excuse misogyny with the justification that these men are hurt and lashing out, then you have to also accept that a woman who makes a comment disparaging men may also be hurt and lashing out, and give her the same leeway you give the misogynists in the MRM. "I can do that. I'm not trying to demonize feminists and I can definitely understand that type of anger. It is a natural human response to emotional pain. Men feel it too, despite our 'privilege' and how much that may make us, in some people's worldview, deserve the pain. It can manifest in ways that are a bit ridiculous as in that discussion over at feministe, and with some of the examples that David dredges up about the MRM. In fact, I appreciate much that feminism has done, much of it has been liberating to men as well. I do observe excesses, which can happen in any movement with good intentions (prohibition for example), that have resulted in some profound injustices, particularly on issues where the court system gets involved. The issue of parental rights is very personal for me. These issues, and the men they effect are politically convenient to ignore which is why we need an MRM and why it is growing- no one else has anything but indifference at best.

Kave
9 years ago

>I just need to say that this blog doesn't seem to support more then two hundred posts, and I wrote a really amazing post about topics that made me look brilliant and then my internet connection went down. I'm going to have to give my provider a piece of my mind tomorrow.Also David: I have tomorrow off as well, I've decided I'm going to read some book written by Douglas Coupland but I'll need a break. Could you be a dear and write something scandalous, interesting, and or debatable again?

SallyStrange
9 years ago

>This is the internet, dude. Given that all you know about me is pixels in the shape of words on a screen, I'd say you're best sticking to judging me by the words I write and nothing else. IRL I use my intuition, because that's based on facial tics, eye movement, body language, that sort of thing. I don't think there's anything energetic to it, excepting inasmuch as we are all made of energy. Long story short, you gave the impression of being a troll on the previous thread. You've done nothing to alter that impression here.

Elizabeth
9 years ago

>It must have had bacon in it Kave.

Kave
9 years ago

>Elizabeth…..You meant Iberico ham?

victor
9 years ago

>"The phrase "sucks don't it" was meant to be interpreted more or less literally. As in, "Yes, we can all agree that that is an unfortunate state of affairs."I'm sorry, really, I'm supposed to interpret 'sucks, doesn't it, but you see, men have been oppressing women for all of eternity so…..' as "we can all agree that that is an unfortunate state of affairs."? I really would like to give it to you, but it's just not credible. The implication was very clear.

SallyStrange
9 years ago

>So, sorry victor. If you interpreted it that way then I'm sorry, that sucks, but the implication was not at all clear, as evidenced by the differing interpretations of it.

SallyStrange
9 years ago

>"No, sorry"not "So, sorry"Typo.

SallyStrange
9 years ago

>A: "I am a white wealthy man who has had problems."B: "Yes, having problems is terrible. Now imagine having those problems and being something other than a white wealthy man."That's what was meant. If I was unclear then that's on me. Since there were differing interpretations of what was meant then I will cop to being unclear. However, some people DID understand what I meant, so I wasn't THAT unclear. Now that I've clearly explained myself, victor, are you going to believe me? Are you going to continue to believe that I was INTENTIONALLY justifying hatred of wealthy white guys and stealing all their stuff? If the latter, why?

David Futrelle
9 years ago

>Sally: your post about Kave is now out of the spam filter. But because it's sort of a pain in the ass to ask people to scroll up and then go to the previous page to read it, I'm pasting the whole thing in below:SallyStrange said: Jesus Christ on a Cracker, Kave, that was laughably pathetic. I just lost a lot of respect for you. To sum up: Kave says he's a wealthy white guy. victor responds: you just became an irrelevant non-person. To me, "irrelevant non-person" is a perfect encapsulation of the frustration that comes from dealing with discrimination. I feel like an irrelevant non-person whenever politicians talk about shutting down funding for contraceptive services because trying to be not-pregnant is a Bad Thing which should be separate from normal medical care for normal people (the ones who don't have to worry about being pregnant or not-pregnant). Because the most important thing about me is my fucking uterus (ooo! dirty word!). For my boyfriend, who's African American, it's dealing with co-workers who refuse to give him constructive criticism until months after the fact, because they're actually afraid of him, like he's going to curse them out and throw shit or something. What evidence do they have for him being a scary violent guy who can't take criticism? None, aside from the fact that he's black and male. My comment was intended to inspire Kave, and any other wealthy white guys out there reading, to imagine what it would be like to have his problems, which are real and important, PLUS a whole host of other problems that arise due to factors beyond his control–being born with the wrong skin color, the wrong genitalia, the wrong sexuality, etc. IOW, try a little empathy on for size. It might suit you. But instead we were treated to a paranoid rant involving the persecution of the Jews in Germany. And how my request for a little empathy was really my way of saying why it's totally justified to hate Kave and take all his stuff. And they say feminists play the victim card. And they say Black people play the victim card. Shit. We ain't got nothin' compared to wealthy white guys when it comes to playing the victim card. April 4, 2011 6:58 PM

SallyStrange
9 years ago

>Mille mercis, M. Futrelle. The uterus being a dirty word thing was a reference to the FL state legislature, where Repubs recently chastised a Dem politician for using the word "uterus" in his speech, saying that it was "inappropriate" for the kiddies to hear. This, at a time when they are pushing a bill for force women to view images of their uterus before getting an abortion. The link was embedded. Misogyny in our government. And language policing run amok!

Elizabeth
9 years ago

>Now Kave, stop using that wealth given quality education against us ghetto rats.

ginmar
9 years ago

>I can't remember who said but somebody accused me of Godwinning. Yeah..no. Rich white dude whines about how haaaaaaaaaaaaaaard he has it, then compares himself to the Jews during the Holocaust? Oh, heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllllll no. HELL NO. And he does nice things? Really? OMG, give him a cookie! Dude, doing nice things is not something you get rewarded as, especially as your amount of privilege rises. By God, you should do nice things and lots of them if you're lucky enough to be rich—especially these days. That's the problem with a lot of so-called allies—they want to get a cookie no matter how easy they have it, how little they do, because they know the bar for womens' rights issues is ridiculously low. So if the first time I see a guy he's simultaneously boasting about how great he is, yet how he suffers as a victimized rich white guy—-while acting like nobody else has problems—and then compares himself to the victims of the Holocaust? Yeah, no. My father's family was wiped out in the Holocaust. Great grandmother, uncles, cousins, etc., etc., etc., My father himself fought in that war, and my mother's brother was killed by the Nazis. Don't try that shit around me. Things you can compare to the Holocaust…… The Holocaust. The end.

Kave
9 years ago

>DavidFirst my last post was in jest, I hope you know that. (about you coming up with a witty entry for tomorrow etc)For the record. I am the most privileged person. Ever. Can you please tell me though where I ever said I was a victim? I did say everyone has bad things happen in their lives including myself. Either we have a great misunderstanding David or you just attacked my character and told me I lack empathy.

Kave
9 years ago

>GinmarNothing. I can't possibly respond to you. You are the same as every bat shit crazy mra who grabs onto a small statement for dear life to decide they are going to tear someone down with it.

Elizabeth
9 years ago

>The most privilege person ever was George W. Bush. And we all know what happened to him.

Lady Victoria von Syrus

>I was the person who mentioned Godwin's Law, and it wasn't directed at you, Ginmar – it was referencing Kave's Holocaust metaphor. By using the term 'Godwin's Law', I was conveying that I thought that bring up the Holocaust REALLY wasn't helping his greater point.

David Futrelle
9 years ago

>Kave, I have lost rack of what I said to whom, but I believe I was talking generally about the general idea of anyone being able to claim victimhood. Which is true, anyone can, and endless pissing contests over just who is the biggest victim may not be very constructive. But at the same time I think that we do need to keep in mind that some groups really are victimized more than others, and that some people really do have privilege.

David Futrelle
9 years ago

>Kave, actually, I think what happened here is that you mistook the spam-filtered comment from Sally that I pasted into one of my comments above as being from me.

ginmar
9 years ago

>And Kave's true colors come out. God, how guys do love to whip out the crazy label when their argument sucks and they've been hoist by their own petard.

Lady Victoria von Syrus

>Kave pointed out that even his fairly privileged situation wasn't enough to insulate him from grief and sadness, that's all. Love is universal, which means that the suffering which comes when that love is lost is also universal. He's not the enemy. Being rich, white and male doesn't mean that someone is automatically the enemy. It's possible to be all three and be for feminism and for equality. I won't defend Kave's Holocaust metaphor, because I think that was ill-chosen. But it's not enough of a faux pas to roundly condemn him as lacking empathy. Come on, flip through the archives and read his comments. He's not our enemy.

triplanetary
9 years ago

>Trip you have to come out and meet the real world. Standing in line in the grocery store if you turn to your side you will find dozens of tabloids which deal exclusively with knocking down the rich and/or famous. Picking on me , my wife, my family, etc is a national pastime.You have got to be kidding me. For starters, there are multiple facets to this public attention that the famous receive. Sure, the tabloid media can be seen to delight in the misfortunes of the rich to some extent. But what a middle- or lower-class person really sees when s/he looks at the cover of People or a tabloid is that the problems of rich people are way more important than the problems of other people. People who aren't rich and famous don't get headlines plastered across People Magazine when they get cancer.

triplanetary
9 years ago

>But whatever the nature of this public attention, you're trying to tell me that it's as bad as the issues faced by poor people, and that is complete and utter bullshit.In fact, for the sake of contrast, consider what happens when lower-class people do get national attention. It ain't pretty.You're the one who's detached from reality. The disadvantages of being rich are that you get your face on tabloids and you have a lot of shit from the IRS to deal with? You poor thing. I feel so sorry for how hard it is to manage the MASSIVE FUCKING WEALTH you possess. And then, in the finest tradition of conservative pundits, you any calling you out on your privilege denial as class envy. You're ridiculous.

triplanetary
9 years ago

>He's not the enemy. Being rich, white and male doesn't mean that someone is automatically the enemy.Not automatically, no. But it is incredibly difficult for upper-class people to sympathize ingenuously with people of lower classes. We've seen this pattern repeated many times. Kave isn't the first rich liberal who turned out to be blind to much of his own privilege.It's possible to be all three and be for feminism and for equality.Certainly. In the same sense that it's possible for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.Jesus was pretty clear and unambiguous when he said, multiple times, that owning a lot of wealth and being a good person aren't compatible. I'm not Christian but I have to agree with Jesus on that point.

Eliza Doaslittleaspossible

>I'm going to say it's really hard for people who were born wealthy to realize what it's like to be poor or even middle class, and that people who WEREN'T born rich but BECAME rich might forget what it was like. I'm sure there are some fabulously wealthy people who try to be as good as possible. And there are plenty of Dick Assmans of various socioeconomic levels. Also, what if you liquefied the camel and squirted it in very small water jets through the eye of a needle?? What then??? I mean, it wasn't EASY but if all a rich man needs to get into heaven is a blender and some kind of tiny hose …

DarkSideCat
9 years ago

>If Kave were living in Nazi Germany, he would be complaining about how Aryan Germans had things hard too so the Jews, Roma, communists, etc. shouldn't be complaining so much (okay, so I Godwined, but he went there first).

SallyStrange
9 years ago

>Recent studies have shown that as wealth inequality increases, the degree of empathy rich people feel for the less-rich decreases.

SallyStrange
9 years ago

>Kave, again, you're missing nuances of the conversation because of your privileged position in society. Guess what? When women talk about problems we encounter specifically because we are women, and how we’d like to change society so that merely being a woman doesn’t mean having ton of extra, unnecessary problems, we’re accused of playing the victim card. When POC talk about experiencing racism, racist discrimination, and racist stereotypes, and how that causes problems for them in their lives, they are accused of playing the victim card. See, if you weren’t wealthy, white, and male, you’d be aware of this trend. I was mocking that silly trend by saying that when you stated that, “Hey I have problems too,” you were “playing the victim card.” Also, when you compared the problems you faced just for being rich to the problems Jews in Germany faced just for being Jews, you really were playing the Victim Card, in the truly negative sense that the haters mean by it when they deploy the phrase against social justice advocates, and in a really despicable way. You should really own up to that.

triplanetary
9 years ago

>(okay, so I Godwined, but he went there first).Yeah, you didn't commit a Godwin when the discussion has already been Godwinned. Can of worms is already open.Recent studies have shown that as wealth inequality increases, the degree of empathy rich people feel for the less-rich decreases.That makes sense. Not sure which way the causation flows, but the correlation does make sense.And as most of us here probably know, income inequality in the US hit its highest point in 95 years in 2007.

triplanetary
9 years ago

>Standing in line in the grocery store if you turn to your side you will find dozens of tabloids which deal exclusively with knocking down the rich and/or famous. Picking on me , my wife, my family, etc is a national pastime.Seriously, I can't get over this. Our ENTIRE SOCIETY is built to the advantage of the wealthy, and you think you're being oppressed by tabloid coverage.I could write an entire book about all the levels on which that statement is incredibly awful.

Rach
9 years ago

>The title of this post made me spew coffee out my nose I laughed so hard. Nicely done.

Nathan
9 years ago

>Captain Bathrobe said… " This issue, like so many, is complicated. There are people who are genuinely offended by what they consider to be ableist language and/or contemptuous of those who use it. There is definitely a value to examining the words we use. It is naive, however, to suggest that the motivations of everyone who calls out other people's language are pure as the driven snow. There are very definitely those in the left/liberal/feminist movement who engage in oneupmanship (sorry, no gender neutral term came to mind) for its own sake. Often, these are people who are fairly privileged themselves and, feeling insecure about it, take it upon themselves to pile on anyone perceived as being more privileged any chance they get as a way of burnishing their street cred. Thus, we get the 200+ post pile-ons we saw on Feministe. "I'd just like to second this. And add that another issue I see is that too often, people take a name and a handful of sentences posted on a blog like Feministe and make extremely broad generalizations about the person behind them. Furthermore, from those generalizations, they decide focus their comments to reflect those generalizations in a personalized manner and use that as an opportunity to brandish a string of insults and accusations. Meanwhile, unless the person offers a narrative about their background in detail, there's no way to know what social status and experience any given commenter has. And even if you get the narrative, there's still the chance that it's all bullshit. And so conversations – including a lot of this one over the past day – go from discussing and debating actual issues to things like "You're a feminazi cunt supporter!" and "You're an evil, privileged dipshit oppressor." And members of audience chime in on whether said commenters are "angry" or "violent," or if they are "justified" in insulting others because of their "status." As far as I'm concerned, it makes any discussion about the careful use of language totally laughable.

ginmar
9 years ago

>It comes down to He jests at scars that never felt a wound. Yeah, and Nathan, sometimes it is possible to tell what a person's status is. Maybe you're just not paying attention or don't want to see what it is. Kave's a good example. His sufferings, let him show them to you. Just like Nazi Germany. I see he didn't take me up on my kind offer to make things easier for him in the way he claimed he desired. And I'm really curious—where are these death camps for rich white guys in America?

Nathan
9 years ago

>ginmar – What's the point in pushing a whole discussion in the direction of a guy like kave?I find it amazing how often people will derail discussions about issues of social justice, oppression, sexism, and all the rest in order to "virtually" – i.e. online) tear some guy a new asshole. Taking Kave down a peg does absolutely nothing to address the systemic issues that land us in conversations like this in the first place. In fact, even if the goal is to perhaps educate someone, it's more likely the case that a person with piles of privilege is simply going to walk off and ignore every last word that was said. Except the insults and personal attacks. They'll remember how those righteous fucks online said such and such, and that's about it.

Islands
9 years ago

>I was going to write a letter to Feministe to say that they've shot themselves in the foot with their commenting policy. It is truly awful, and moderator Cara reminds me of a Chinese village enforcer during the cultural revolution, policing every word for ideological purity. It does silence voices, and certainly deters me from commenting, or even reading, on their site. I looked up Cara in their "about" section. She does a lot of writing, including the anthology for "Yes Means Yes", which I highly admire. And the first word in the their comment policy is "safe". So, what they're doing is fully supported, and I even understand why they're doing it. I just completely disagree with the final results.And really, the women who agreed with David got called "cheerleaders"? And that wasn't called out for the rampant sexism that it is? Not ok.So, I won't write to them to say they've lost a feminist reader, but I'll say David, keep up the good work. This is a tough blog to run, and tough sometimes to read. But an eyeopener, and highly enjoyable if I'm up for the fight.Also, Diane K., I heart you.

SallyStrange
9 years ago

>@ NathanYour concern is noted.

ginmar
9 years ago

>Gee, Nathan, I notice you're implying that I'm the righteous asshole for taking Kave down a peg, while he devoted paragraphs and paragraphs to whining about how hard he had it as proof that rich people don't have it so great. It's always fascinating to me how men stand up to men and don't like it when the uppity women don't tolerate the bullshit.

Lauren
9 years ago

>God mother fucking damnit, I had the best comment ever just eaten by the internets.

SallyStrange
9 years ago

>Yeah ginmar, didn't you know that the only way to move the cause forward is to be unfailingly nice to anyone who doesn't get it? I mean, being NICE has worked so well for women for the past 2,000 years… wait…

Lauren
9 years ago

>I'm going to try this again, but the shorter, less thoughtful version. Humor me by imagining that whatever I say was going to be much more brilliant than it is.Personally, the "safe space" ideal is one that doesn't make sense online. Safe spaces are very useful when you need a therapeutic atmosphere and can control the level of discourse and manage conflict directly. Blogs, especially political blogs, where the level of discourse is motivated by us vs. them outrage and snark, are terrible spaces to try to make safe. You just don't have the ability to create that type of atmosphere in an "unwalled garden".On top of that, triggers are very tricky things. It's difficult even with a lot of training to anticipate your own triggers (and I've had a lot of training). Fifteen-plus years of training still don't prevent me from reacting negatively to triggers, and oftentimes these are triggers I wasn't aware of. The world at large — hell, the internet at large — isn't responsible for my peace of mind. I am. It's my responsibility to manage my triggers and my depression as a part of my own mental health management plan. Which is to say that creating this expectation that blogs should serve as therapeutic spaces is wrong-headed and unfair to all involved, including PWD and the owners of said spaces who, unless they are trained therapists, have no business crafting group therapy for the rest of us. Also. In the comments at Feministe, nobody really got into how problematic it is, nor how arguably ableist it is, to try to protect PWD and women from potentially offensive language and/or experiences. I get the reaction to the language and feel like the disagreement should have died and everyone should agree to disagree. I get cranky about certain words and the nastiness implied, but I also recognize that the usage of that language says a lot of useful things about the speaker and his or her philosophies. I'm more interested in the meat of the argument than its presentation, and I am very wary of anyone who thinks that PWD/WWD are unable to handle difficult discourse without first yanking out a row of fainting couches.

Nathan
9 years ago

>ginmar – You really proved some of my points far too easily. But hey, go ahead. Lump me in with him, and continue to focus on his whining (which I agree was mostly whining. I never defended the dude's arguments, and have zero interest in continuing to talk about them. Sally, I'm not talking about being nice. I'm talking about strategy. Name calling and personal attacks don't tend to get people to stop talking bullshit. In fact, it often just brings out more bullshit. And it's a sure fire way online to take any discussion away from the issues on the table. On another note, I forgot to vote. Cats. Yes. Gotta love 'em.