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The Honey Badgers file their suit in moon court. And possibly in Alberta, too.

We Hunted the Mammoth Legal Advisor Sweetie P. Jonus, Esq.
We Hunted the Mammoth Legal Advisor Sweetie P. Jonus, Esq. is skeptical of the Honey Badgers’ legal strategy

You remember that lawsuit the GamerGate-loving, feminist-hating “Honey Badger Brigade” was apparently going to file against the Calgary Expo (for tossing them out) and The Mary Sue (for saying mean things about them, or something)? You know, the suit that they raised more than $30,000 to finance from their angry and apparently quite gullible fans? 

Well, apparently they’ve filed the suit?

I ended with a question mark because they’ve been a teensy bit vague about what exactly they’ve done. 

Rather than go with the traditional press release, you see, the Honey Damsels Badgers have decided to let the world (and their donors) know about this new development by obliquely referencing it on Twitter, nearly a week after the fact, and then pretty much refusing to answer any questions about it.

Like, for example, what exactly they filed, and where, and how exactly they think they can sue a website headquartered in the United States for allegedly getting them kicked out of an expo in Canada. Especially if they don’t actually file a separate lawsuit in the US.

Here’s how things went down on Twitter.

I asked a few followup questions, trying to nail down some details about the filing — if the disbarred lawyer they got to help them with “research” was involved in the filing, and whether they had filed a separate claim against The Mary Sue in the US because, you know, the Mary Sue is based in the US.

Well, so much for that, I guess.

I also sent a note to The Mary Sue to see if they had any statement or if they had even been notified that the HBB had filed anything. I haven’t heard back from them yet.

Given this dearth of information and the HBB’s apparent unwillingness to answer questions, my best guess is that they filed a Statement of Claim in Alberta based at least loosely on the “Legal Draft” posted on the HBB website back in July, prepared by the aforementioned disbarred lawyer, Harry Kopyto.

In that draft, the HBB’s declared that they were seeking

damages in the amount of $50,000 jointly and severally against the Defendants Alberta Comics and Entertainment Expo Inc. and The Mary Sue for injurious falsehood and also against the Defendant Alberta Comics and Entertainment Expo Inc. for breach of contract and against The Mary Sue for inducing breach of contract.

The Legal Draft describes The Mary Sue as “a daily internet newsletter which promotes itself as the premier destination for entertainment geeks.”

How do you do, fellow entertainment geeks. Could you kindly direct me to the nearest daily internet newsletter?

And it goes on to declare that

the false and disparaging comments published by The Mary Sue also dissuaded persons from engaging in and refusing to have any contact or purchasing merchandise from the Plaintiff.

Can I get in on that? No one bought anything from me that day either, and I’m pretty sure The Mary Sue was to blame. I’ll settle for $60,000 or maybe just a fruit smoothie.

If the HBB’s actual filing looks even vaguely similar to this draft, it will be interesting to see how one goes about suing an American entity in a Canadian court for allegedly saying things that allegedly stopped alleged persons from buying Honey Badger merchandise at a convention in Calgary.

I’m no disbarred lawyer, but somehow I just don’t see this working out for them.

Oh, and how do you “dissuade persons from engaging in?”

Engaging in what? 

 

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Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
5 years ago

@EJ

The code is actually pretty short but I’m getting tripped up in the places.

Here is the part that actually has the skeleton parts:

var oldValue = textNode.nodeValue;
var v = oldValue;

v = v.replace(/bsjw(s?)b/ig, “skeleton$1”);
v = v.replace(/bsocjusb/ig, “skeletonism”);
v = v.replace(/b(a)n (skeletons?)b/ig, “$1 $2”);
v = v.replace(/b(s)ocial justice (warriors?)/ig, “$1keleton $2”);

if (v !== oldValue) {
textNode.nodeValue = v;
}
}

I’ve tried switching things out but, like…I don’t code stuff like this. I just do HTML. I need to look up shit for Python and I’ve made one DOS game that didn’t work. That is my non-HTML experience.

CCD
CCD
5 years ago

This is so fucking precious. I wish I could get video of the judge’s eyeroll as they dismiss this suit, if this make-believe kiddie version of a lawsuit even makes it that far.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@Pandapool:
Java isn’t my language but I’ll see what I can do. I am currently four minutes overdue to get out of bed and into the shower to begin my day, so I’ll ponder it on my commute.

If there are any real Java coders in the house, your expertise would of course be gratefully accepted and paid for with cat pictures.

I think what has you tripped up is the capitalisation code. It searches for initial capitalisation and tries to preserve it, so ‘Socjus’ becomes ‘Necromancy’ and ‘socjus’ becomes ‘necromancy’.

As regards which languages you do: In my experience coding is a mindset thing. If you have the right mindset then learning a new language is easy, in the same way that if someone is good with dogs then they can easily befriend any given dog.

guest
guest
5 years ago

🙂 ‘was’ is a verb.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
5 years ago

@EJ

You don’t have to mull over it. I’ll figure it out myself.

Paradoxical Intention
5 years ago

Thomas Hobbes | September 7, 2015 at 11:17 pm
The Honey Badgers are indeed, without a shadow of ambiguity, performing the work of the Lord, and clearly you are all acting in a very sexistic manner by insulting them. Indubitably, and consequentially, they strive vigorously to free the female of the human species from the autocracy of intersectionality, which calls women to bow down before the avaricious goddess of marriage equality and privilege economics.

“Sexistic” isn’t a word. I think you’re trying to reach for “sexist”, but your reach isn’t that long.

Though, I did have a laugh at the notion that women criticizing other women whose main goal in life is to be anti-feminist and spout GG propaganda while hiding behind their gender to avoid criticism is somehow sexist.

And the “autocracy of intersectionality”, really? I’m not sure you know the meanings of these words.

Intersectional feminism is about reaching out and dealing with other issues like racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc.

An autocracy is a system of government where one person holds all the power.

I don’t see how this is going to work out, unless Katie’s running for Matriarch again and no one told me.

Thomas Hobbes | September 7, 2015 at 11:19 pm
It is well known that Shakespeare’s character Katie from the Taming of the Shrew, and Ofelia from Hamlet, are forerunners of the badger spirit.

Willy Shakespeare’s rolling in his grave. Whether it’s from you gravely misunderstanding his work or butchering his language, we’ll never know.

The Hufflepuffs in Harry Potter, and Cedric Digory was assassinated; this has been used as a code of communication by the networks of those whom know the truth about civilizatory remobilization.

http://38.media.tumblr.com/bace0dba2231fab292cfea31f3bc26d5/tumblr_n1878x3SDL1tsnj79o2_500.gif

First off, “civilizatory” isn’t a word, but more importantly…

You come into this comment section, and insult my house? Motherfucker, take a goddamned seat. In fact, take a whole fucking row of seats. Classes are in session.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/rapgenius/filepicker%2FKXWbxbYRT4ih8tgz6wCl_tumblr_m21bmcIU4r1qcmfnio1_500.gif

How dare you come in here and disrespect Helga Hufflepuff like that. She strove for acceptance and equality, she valued hard work and fair play, and she said she’d take any student, even if they weren’t the bravest, the most clever, or the most ambitious. In fact, because of that attitude, Hufflepuffs have been unfairly mis-characterized as being dull, not talented, and just a bunch of slackers, despite the fact that that’s the furthest thing from the truth.

In fact, let’s quote the sorting hat on this one:

You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;

For Hufflepuff, hard workers were
Most worthy of admission;

Said Hufflepuff, “I’ll teach the lot
And treat them just the same.

There we go. Three different versions of the song. Emphasis mine.

BUT WAIT, I have more!

From the Harry Potter Wiki:

Hufflepuff is the most inclusive among the four houses; valuing hard work, patience, loyalty, and fair play rather than a particular aptitude in its members.

Emphasis mine again.

Helga Hufflepuff was a beacon of social justice who vouched for equality for all her students regardless of their talents with magic, their best traits, what they wanted out of life, or the lineage of their blood, and the idea that you’d compare her and the house she founded on the principles of equality, hard work, justice and fair play to these women who are using their gender as a shield for their shitty behavior so they can continue to harass and taunt women they don’t like and aren’t part of their special MRA wannabe club is sickening.

[/Hufflepuff rage]

http://i.imgur.com/DlOyVRJ.gif

Paradoxical Intention
5 years ago

Fuck you italics mammoth, I was angry. >:[

Twisted Inspiration
5 years ago

“#GGers and other social conservatives; we saw it recently in another thread about offensive comedians not getting bookings, for example”

Hm, must re-read the thread again, seem to have missed that. But just in case you have any illusions here: I’m strictly anti-GG and liberal.

Zeb Berryman
Zeb Berryman
5 years ago

Thomas Hobbes: Thank you. For a while now the trolls have been rather boring, so its really great to see the return of your conspiracy theories. I particularly like your misspelling of Ophelia and calling Kate Katie. Truly a masterstroke.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
5 years ago

@Paradoxical

Your rebuttal was all I expected and more.

Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes
5 years ago

Cheers

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@PI:

That was inspiring. I feel I need more mic drop gifs for rants like that. The honour of Hufflepuff has been upheld.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@Twisted Inspiration:

I misread your meaning, then. My apologies.

(Since English is not your native language or mine, this is probably going to happen a lot between us.)

Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes
5 years ago

I shall indeed retire for the night, my brave and beautiful adversaries. May thou discover the joy of Augustinian liberty; BTW Teresa of Avila spoketh to me in a dream ahsd say she pray for you all and also prayeth for all the women to find God and think outside the postmodern thought balloons. Salutations and blessings for peace profound!

Robjec
Robjec
5 years ago

@paradoxical intentions
I think one of the biggest problems with gamer gate is they can’t see how in relavent and unwanted their views are. They think they represent all gamers not just the few that are really I’m their group.

I think this is why they blame sjws for everything. It let’s them continue on with the falsehood they have built for themselfs.

Also I’m hufflepuff too. I knew I liked you for a reason lol 🙂

katz
katz
5 years ago

You guys like this clown? I mean, if you’re having fun with him, knock yourself out, but I can’t stand the ones who are obviously just taking a piss.

Twisted Inspiration
5 years ago

@EJ: Accepted. Sorry if I wasn’t clear enough. I probably agree to 99% of the things here (well, the good things, not the horrible stuff quoted from other places). Ok, let’s be honest, agreeing with the fact that GG and MRM are really, really evil is easy, it’s like agreeing not to like the guy who kicks puppies for a living. I just sometimes have problems with details that rub me the wrong way. Most of the time it’s just me not having understood the full implications of some of my (wrong) beliefs, but still, the way to get around that (for me) is to question everything (including myself) and not unquestioningly falling into anyone’s party line. But of course, I realize that many of you (not me, fortunately, another privilege) here had bad experiences with trolls, etc. so it’s easy to misread a (probably badly worded) question as a veiled attempt to attack. I am sorry if this was the case, it wasn’t my intention to upset anyone.

takshak
takshak
5 years ago

“Augustinian liberty”

wasn’t Augustus the one that killed the Republic for good?

Kat
Kat
5 years ago

Media Relations 101
Professor Honey Badgers

Relax Manboobz.

Snottiness? Check.

Missing a comma? Check.

You’ll know the outcome almost as soon as we do.

Stonewalling? Check.

Don’t bother to rinse. Just repeat.

Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes
5 years ago

The saint, not the emperor, my notorious colleague. John Steinbeck in the Grapes of Wrath also writes about how feminism is an encomium on the social relations of the family. Now goodnight, forsooth.

Kat
Kat
5 years ago

The Honey Badgers file their suit in moon court.

I was all set to alert David to his unfortunate typo: “Moon court” should be “moot court.”

Then I decided to Google “moon court.”

Duh.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
5 years ago

Okay, Tom, don’t overstay your welcome or else you’ll get boring again. Just pop in every few days to spout your Illuminati shit and leave.

Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes
5 years ago

Ok. Good advice.

Paradoxical Intention
5 years ago

Pandapool — The Species that Endangers YOU | September 8, 2015 at 12:59 am
@Paradoxical

Your rebuttal was all I expected and more.

EJ (The Other One) | September 8, 2015 at 1:03 am
@PI:

That was inspiring. I feel I need more mic drop gifs for rants like that. The honour of Hufflepuff has been upheld.

I’m glad y’all enjoyed my Hufflepuff Brand Nerd Rage, though I do feel that this comes up every time these particular women are mentioned.

Robjec | September 8, 2015 at 1:20 am
@paradoxical intentions
I think one of the biggest problems with gamer gate is they can’t see how in relavent and unwanted their views are. They think they represent all gamers not just the few that are really I’m their group.

I think this is why they blame sjws for everything. It let’s them continue on with the falsehood they have built for themselfs.

Of course they think they represent “all gamers”, because they live in an echo chamber, and they try to disqualify anyone who disagrees with them as “not a real gamer” for whatever reason. : /

They can’t believe that someone who also identifies as a gamer would ever think they’re wrong, and it’s terrifying the lengths they will go to try and keep that narrative.

Also I’m hufflepuff too. I knew I liked you for a reason lol 🙂

http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140114000112/ididntdoit/images/4/43/Aww_zps3509580d.gif

Aw, you’re my new favorite now.

(But, after Pandapool, because Pandapool is my favorite and she was in that position first.)

Moggie
Moggie
5 years ago

This thread has reminded me that I miss Madeline Kahn so much. Fuck cancer.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
5 years ago

(But, after Pandapool, because Pandapool is my favorite and she was in that position first.)

Slytherin’s and Hufflepuffs make the BEST OF BUDS.

http://img02.deviantart.net/b36a/i/2012/164/b/e/a_hufflepuff_and_a_slytherin___as_friends__by_416bunny-d53ek6e.jpg

(I didn’t draw that BTW.)

Paradoxical Intention
5 years ago

I thought the Slytherin girl was me for a second because she has the same color hair and hairstyle that I do. XD

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
5 years ago
sunnysombrera
5 years ago

(Pssst, Paradoxical. Team up with Ravenclaw if you want to “http://here-be-fangirls.tumblr.com/post/118650578624/ravenclaw-friendships”>rule the world.

Mwahahaha! TOGETHER WE SHALL BE UNSTOPPABLE.

sunnysombrera
5 years ago

GOD DAMMIT HTML MAMMOTH. I’M TRYING TO CONQUER EARTH HERE.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

As a fellow Ravenclaw, I think I must concur.

(Do we have hand signs like street gangs do? I feel it’s necessary. I’m not really down with the Potter fandom as much as I should be.)

ej
ej
5 years ago

@EJ (the other one)
Are you sure we’re not the same person? Because I’m a Ravenclaw too. Add that to the list of similarities.

I laughed through the Ravenclaw/Gryffindor list because that pretty much describes my relationship with a former coworker. There were days when I felt like half my job was to say, “No. That’s a really bad idea. We’re not doing that.”

The Ravenclaw/Ravenclaw list also sounds a lot like my relationship with my boyfriend.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

We may well be the same person. I wonder how we’d test this hypothesis?

ultimateprotagonistnerd

Adding to the list of Ravenclaws here. Ravenclaw is me, I was sorted into that house by none other than the official Pottermore site.

Which reminds me, why think about the Honey Badgers/Gamergate when I can be playing around on the internet and do witchcraft.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

*waves little Ravenclaw flag*

Chaucer Conspiracy Dumbass is annoying (why make up nonsense words when there are perfectly good real words to use? NERDRAGE), but anything that results in a Harry Potter derail is fine by me.

Orion
5 years ago

Is there an appropriate forum for raising possibly contentious issues. I was too busy to participate in the latest round of discussion about ableism (re: gun nut), but it reinforced an impression I had already formed, which is that I simply don’t understand what posters here are talking about when they use the word “ableism” — I thought it was a term I understood, but I think I have been using it quite differently from some other people.

It’s easy enough for me to refrain from using contentious words — I don’t think I ever have used language that anyone called out as ableist — but I’d like to interrogate the assumptions behind those judgments, if anyone is willing to have that debate with me.

Lisa C (@hppykittystudio)

http://m.memegen.com/vh7plb.jpg

Some kitty cuteness may be needed after a troll, albeit a mildly amusing one with poor spelling (Ofelia-yep…)

@cupisnique-When you do finish Inquisition, I think you’ll be pleased.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@Orion:

I can give you my take, if you like.

Ableism is pretty much anything that uses any sort of disability as an insult or a pejorative, or part of an insult or pejorative. Obviously you want to avoid splash damage with your insults when possible (and our culture’s view of people with mental illnesses or disabilities is already bad enough), but also ableist insults tend to be pretty off-base in my opinion. And even if they were accurate, they still miss out on the actual problem.

I’m trying to purge the word “stupid” from my vocabulary because people just generally aren’t stupid. That’s not what makes them misogynists or what-have-you, and there are plenty of high-profile cases where “intelligent” people do or say some really terrible shit, but other people get trapped in the idea that because those people are “intelligent,” there must have been something to what they said.

But eh, that’s just me. “Stupid” is kosher on this forum. It’s easier to see the issue with dismissing anyone with terrible opinions as “nuts” or “crazy,” because generally that’s not what defines them and the insult has major splash damage on people who are “crazy” and facing enough issues.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

I’m a Ravenclaw. I wasn’t sure I was remembering correctly so I retook a quiz and confirmed it.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

The Honey Badgers are indeed, without a shadow of ambiguity, performing the work of the Lord, and clearly you are all acting in a very sexistic manner by insulting them. Indubitably, and consequentially, they strive vigorously to free the female of the human species from the autocracy of intersectionality, which calls women to bow down before the avaricious goddess of marriage equality and privilege economics.

Finally! A white knight come to save the Honey Damsels…er, Money Badgers! (repairs to fainting couch, swoons)

Also, wow. Same-sex marriage is so threatening to those who like their inequalities as unequal as possible, and their society so bass-ackwards it could actually eat its own tail. How is is “avaricious”, though? Unless you’re talking florists and caterers, that makes no sense.

those whom know the truth about civilizatory remobilization.

What am this shite? DO YOU EVEN ENGLISH, BRO???

John Steinbeck in the Grapes of Wrath also writes about how feminism is an encomium on the social relations of the family.

Actually, no, he did not. He wrote about the Joad family and how they were forced to flee Oklahoma during the dustbowl years, and how they got treated like shit in California for daring to seek work as migrant laborers. Nothing about feminism or encomiums there.

(I’m pretty sure this troll is just a random word-salad generator, but I’m trying to see if it engages meaningfully with us or not.)

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

Urgh. How is IT avaricious. I CAN type, just not before I finish my first cup of tea.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

It’s like Hobbes is taking the straw-feminist idea where criticizing any woman for anything is sexist as a given, then wondering how we could all be so sexist for not being straw-feminists.

Cut out the middle-man Hobbes! There’s a much simpler explanation for why we confuse you so greatly when we don’t follow your script.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

I think M said the smartest thing about ableism that I’ve yet seen. I can’t find her photoshopped image, but the caption was “Asshole is not a mental illness.”

I’m not as funny as M, but I think it’s basically true.

Firstly, if you insult someone by calling them “crazy”, this is no different from insulting them by calling them “gay” or “black.” Nobody chooses to be insane, or gay, or black. To use it as a term of dishonour is deeply offensive. I think we all agree on this.

Secondly, if you discredit someone’s opinion by calling it “crazy”, then you are suggesting that it correlates closely with a chemical or biological disorder in the brain; which in the case of gun nuts is factually incorrect. People with too much or too little serotonin are not more likely to commit gun crimes, any more than people with too much or too little insulin.

The second implication, while not directly offensive, can cause one to make bad decisions or implement bad policies, which may be offensive or even endanger others or yourself. For example, I am a pacifist with an eating disorder. I know people who are sane and massively racist. Faced with the choice between which of us to arm, I know which would be the more likely to cause a tragedy.

ShakeB
ShakeB
5 years ago

@takshak
““Augustinian liberty”

wasn’t Augustus the one that killed the Republic for good?”

Short answer: Pretty much

Long answer: There’s almost a century of wiggle room where you can make a decent argument for the Roman Republic ending. Caesar or Augustus are probably the points with the best cases, but there are other points. Additionally for almost a century before Augustus the Roman Republic was very dysfunctional at best and the Romans kept pretending they were a Republic long after it’s pretty obvious they weren’t.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants

Hobbes writes like a Mad Lib filled out by Dr. Bronner, but without the pleasing peppermint scent.

(Just for the record, feminism is not an encomium. It’s a euphonium.)

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

@EJ

http://i.imgur.com/M7DgVn7.gif

Here y’go. =)

I swear, it says so much about society that “Don’t use “Crazy” as an insult” is the most contentious rule I’ve seen in all my decades on the ‘net. Even rules that flat-out don’t make sense (for example, I know one site where talking to the mods is grounds for a suspension) don’t result in this many arguments.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

Re: Ableism

I think people have covered the main three objections in that

(a) Ascribing every bad thing that people do to being ‘deranged’ or similar lets them off the hook as it were. It implies a lack of fault where there may well be fault. Even the most rational people can do evil things.

(b) Associating mental illness with a propensity for violence is just another burden that people with mental illnesses have to put up with, when there’s no real evidence to suggest such a connection.

(c) Using a condition over which people have no control as an insult is objectionable in itself.

Now it’s true that in the real world words like ‘crazy’ and ‘insane’ have just taken on new meanings. Cracked probably couldn’t write a headline without using such words. There’ll always be an element of linguist drift in how words are used. Even on this site words like ‘idiot’, ‘moron; and ‘cretin’ seem to be acceptable despite their initial uses as categories of mental impairment. I suspect that that’s the way word’s like ‘crazy’ are heading. There’s also a cultural element. Across the Pond ‘spastic’ and derivations seem to be socially acceptable in a way they never will be in England.

On this site though we’ve agreed not to use certain words that make people uncomfortable and if that helps provide a space where people can get some respite from their condition being used in a negative or even jocular way then surely that’s a good thing?

Orion
5 years ago

Okay, let me lay out my perspective, then.

People with mental illnesses are pretty much just people. They are equally likely to be good or bad, and while they are by definition impaired in some way, they are usually not entirely debilitated and usually don’t look like anyone’s stereotype of a “mental patient.” In many cases you would never know that someone was mentally ill if you didn’t interact with them in a very specific context.

Psychiatric ableism is the tendency to confuse “being mentally ill” with “being unbalanced, unpredictable, emotional, dangerous, foolish, malicious, or confused.” Linguistic ableism is language that confuses or equates the two. It is important to choose wording that maintains a clear distinction. This is difficult to avoid because these ideas are historically intertwined and because both ideas are useful, even vitally important. People are never going to stop calling each other out there/ unreasonable / berserk / out of control / profoundly confused / etc., so the important thing is to make sure that (a) they realize this isn’t the same as being mentally ill and (b) they know how to expresses themselves in a way that acknowledges the distinction.

As a temporary measure to facilitate dialogue and preserve safe spaces, it may be necessary to avoid this area of language all together, but this is not a long-term or universalizable solution. The ideal goal would be to take the existing slate of words that mean “mentally ill or dangerous,” “mentally ill or mistaken,” “mentally ill or extremist,” and so on, and split them down the middle. We would agree as a culture that some words refer to disorders, some refer to behaviors, and go from there. It is possible that some words will be so strongly attached to both meanings that they can’t bet fixed. I’m thinking mostly of “crazy” here. It might be impossible to get people to agree on one way to use it, which is why it makes sense to cut the word out altogether from use in social justice spaces.

At the same time, “crazy” is such an oft-used, well-loved, powerful word that I don’t we’ll ever convince the general public not to use it, so I do think as a matter of long term strategy we should pick one side of the line and try to push “crazy” over. I myself use “crazy” in my common speech, and in fact I use “crazy” when I am explaining what ableism is. When I give someone my standard spiel on mental illness, I say something like this:

“I have a mental illness, but I’m not crazy, at least most of the time. I have irrational thoughts about some topics, but honestly so does everyone. It does affect my mood, but not in a way that makes we especially scary, weird, or exciting. I mostly just get quiet or evasive.Mental illness can certainly make someone crazy. There are a handful of unfortunate people who are permanently crazy, many more who get crazy if they don’t take the right medicine, and lots who go crazy temporarily under specific circumstances. That said, you don’t have to be mentally ill to be crazy. Extreme stress, extreme emotion, or extreme ideology can make you just as crazy as any biological defect. So can wounded pride or willful ignorance.”

I’m not advocating that was start using “crazy” here — I think it’s a sensible rule because it’s such a hot-button word, and anyway it’s not hard to refrain from using any one phrase. I’m just trying to explain the way I understand the problem and the way I make judgments about what is and isn’t acceptable. I’m bringing this up now because I was surprised that so many people objected to “gun nut.” “Nut” isn’t used as a term-of-art in any caring profession, and in my part of America, I have never heard actual mentally ill patients described as “nuts, “nutty,”, or “nutters.” If anyone did do that, I’m sure we would call them out as ableists. Maybe it’s different in the UK, but in my experience “nutty” only means people with odd beliefs or quirky obsessions. If we’re not willing to let people call sick people “nuts,” then I should think we ought to allow them to call cranks, eccentrics, and obsessive types “nuts.” Otherwise we’re just banning more and more words and creating a euphemism treadmill; I feel it would be more useful to ask the public to use these words more thoughtfully than to ask them to reject these words, which will only lead them to find new words to express the same confused concepts.

Therefore, I personally am fine with “gun nut.” I’m also fine with “lunatic fringe,” and with “sheer lunacy” as a shorthand for “rash, foolhardy behavior,” because it has been a long time now since anyone was diagnosed with lunatic disorder. I try to avoid “idiot” because it takes an essentialist view of intelligence, but I am fine with “idiocy.” The consensus here seems to be against “gun nut,” so I would be grateful if someone could explain where they feel I’ve gone wrong.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ Orion

Maybe it’s different in the UK,

Whilst it’s common here for people to use nuts and nutter in the sense you describe (i.e. a bit quirky) the terms are also uses in a pejorative mental health context; for instance ” nut house” is a common synonym for asylum as indeed is “loony bin”. So words can be innocuous in one sense but potentially problematic in another.