Saturday, April 2, 2011

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!

-- 

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.

267 comments:

  1. I just recently had a similar incident occur because I used the word "crazy" ~ *sigh* ~ and as the daughter of a mentally ill person, I'm the last person who would use the word "crazy" as a disparagement of the mentally ill.

    Words are benign...intent and context behind the words are what matter. *shakes head* And I say this as a card-carrying member of the feminist axis of evil...

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  2. You can take away my use of the word "pussy" when you pry it away from my COLD, DEAD HANDS.

    I think there's a distinction between words like "retard" (pretty much just offensive), words like "special" or "crazy" (closely associated with ableism, but can be used in an otherwise unrelated way; judgement call) and words like "idiot" (the people who use "idiot" to mean the mentally disabled are the ones who are actually being offensive).

    And of course there are contextual differences too. I comment on Shakesville and I'm careful not to use any terms that could possibly be offensive, because that's the culture there. On the other hand, on my own personal blog I'll call a crazy person a crazy person, as it were.

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  3. OTOH, it is interesting as a writing exercise to try not to use any word ever found offensive. "What about gypped? Damn, no, offensive to the Roma..."

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  4. You are insulting women by mention sow which used to be used to describe a pig. You think women are swine!

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  5. And no, I am not saying I think that. I am saying that is a hysterical reaction.

    oops! I said hysterical, I must think women (and the men who love them) are overly emotional creatures who get offended at nothing.

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  6. Prosey - actually, no, it's not the intent that matters. Using words that are derogatory creates an atmosphere of disrespect for people that those words are aimed at.

    I actually am trying to cut "idiot" out of my active vocabulary. And I've written about how we use the word "crazy" here and here.

    And I was just reading a post on Hoyden About Town, talking about how calling people out on the language they use isn't about being offended.

    Generally, when someone says to me, "you shouldn't use that word, it's hurtful to this group of people," I listen to them and then make an effort to not use that language in the future. All the arguments against making such an effort sound to me, too much like the justifications that people use for telling rape jokes, or for using "gay" as an insult.

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  7. "And of course there are contextual differences too. I comment on Shakesville and I'm careful not to use any terms that could possibly be offensive, because that's the culture there."

    Sure. I don't comment there because I don't like that culture. (Not particularly the "calling out" aspect of it, but other things.)

    Generally, Feministe is a place where there's a high watermark for what's considered ableist. I don't always agree with the terms that are singled out. But why exactly is the Feministe community not deserving of that respect?

    Re: gypped, I actually consider that pretty out of bounds, at least for social-justice-oriented discourse (which is what we're talking about). I mean, one hopes (or at least I hope) that you wouldn't say someone Jewed you out of your money.

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  9. I think I mentioned something about this the first time you posted on Feministe.

    I have actually seen someone on Feministe get tsk-tsked for using "gypped." I don't remember where (maybe not Feministe, but it might have been) but I did see a person complain that using "teabagger" as an insult is insulting to those who "lovingly" suck their partners' ... well, you know. (Yes, they said "lovingly.")

    It's too bad that Feministe has gone that route. It didn't used to be that way. I also notice that commenting has gone down a lot on there and on Feministing. I wonder if it has anything to do with the Word Police. Pretty soon the only insult you'll get to use is, "Oh that disagreeable person!" And I'm sure they'll find a way to make that something-ist. Or else the insinuation that disagreeing is a bad thing means you're worse than Hitler.

    Also, yay, kitties!

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  10. I agree with you. Avoiding the use of "retarded," "lame" and "gay" in a pejorative, Katy Perry-like way? That makes sense. But banning the use of "crazy" and "idiot" is going one step too far, especially when these terms have been used to designate people who don't act rationally or who don't think things through for a long, long time.
    There are many things that could be changed in language to make it less needlessly harmful, but right now I think feminism has bigger fish to fry. Once rape has been eradicated, women earn as much as men, abortion is legal worldwide and chores are equally divided, maybe we can start worrying about the harm that the word "idiot" does to the cognitively impaired when it's used against people who think they are much smarter than they actually are. But until then, we have more important battles to fight.

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  11. "I agree with you. Avoiding the use of "retarded," "lame" and "gay" in a pejorative, Katy Perry-like way? That makes sense. But banning the use of "crazy" and "idiot" is going one step too far"

    OK. But the argument a couple years ago went, "Avoiding the perjorative use of "gay" and "retarded?" That makes sense. But banning the use of "lame" is going one step too far."

    It's not about the words inherently. There are far too many abelist/sexist/racist/etc words to purge them all. Retarded/gay aren't actually inherently worse than idiotic/lame. It's about PWD and their anti-ableism movement being granted the right to decide what language being used to refer to them is okay.

    The difference between whether "black" or "colored" is the more polite term? Historical, not inherent, and actually reversed at least once. And this was (appropriately) decided by the people affected.

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  12. (BTW, I totally argued that banning "lame" was too far. I also argued that banning "crazy" was too far. I find it irritating that "idiotic" has been highlighted because it's a fucking convenient word.

    But I never got all defensive about my right to use "retarded" because that had been stigmatized before I got involved in social justice writing, and so it wasn't ever a new thing I had to adjust to. I just accepted it. But if my arguments about "crazy" and "lame" are accurate, then the same thing should basically apply to "retarded."

    The only difference was my emotional reaction. "Retarded" had already been successfully tabooed so I accepted that without arguing.

    Anyway, more thoughts @ link, and then I'm going to withdraw from this thread/probably post on Alas eventually -- http://www.amptoons.com/blog/2009/06/16/why-not-to-use-the-word-lame-i-think-im-starting-to-get-it/ )

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  13. OK. But the argument a couple years ago went, "Avoiding the perjorative use of "gay" and "retarded?" That makes sense. But banning the use of "lame" is going one step too far."

    It's not about the words inherently. There are far too many abelist/sexist/racist/etc words to purge them all. Retarded/gay aren't actually inherently worse than idiotic/lame. It's about PWD and their anti-ableism movement being granted the right to decide what language being used to refer to them is okay.


    Repeating this because I think it needs to be repeated.

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  14. David, I really like your blog, but.. I think you're a bit overly defensive here. I know that lots of people have THE PC POLICE in their minds whenever people ask them to not use sexist/racist/abelist, etc language, but to me it just makes sense. If you look at these words, historically they've been used to hurt people. I don't think people are intentionally going "LET'S PICK SOME RANDOM WORD AND PICK ON PEOPLE WHO USE IT JUST FOR KICKS". I think they're people who have had these words used to hurt them, or know the history behind them to make it awkward whenever people use them around them. It just kind of makes you go "Oh, surely they don't mean it in THAT way."

    Which, I'm sure they don't. I'm sure you don't, either. But. There are people who still refuse to stop using "gay" or "faggot" as insults because they don't feel that it means the same thing anymore. They don't intend it in THAT way.

    But it still hurts. And I don't think it's being overly PC Killing The Feminist Movement With Your Bullshit to ask people not to do that.

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  15. I support you. Some people see liberalism as a contest to see who can "win". They, I don't think, will ever be productive or satisfied. You are both, so there you go.

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  16. Also, the shaming of "crazy" is missing the point. That some people are crazy against their will doesn't mean the willfully crazy can't be called out, anymore than the fact that some people are mentally disabled means I can't call the willfully ignorant "stupid".

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  17. Eliza: I'll point out that Pandagon's comments are as strong as ever, and that's because the Word Police are beat down like motherfuckers (a word that insults people who lovingly fuck their mothers). So you're probably right.

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  18. @Amanda

    The "wilfully crazy" can be called out without using language that marginalizes people who are being neurologically atypical.

    Interesting that you centre the perspective of people who are using hurtful language (aw poor babies feel like they're being "shamed") instead of the experiences of people who are actually hurt.

    The exact same argument can, and has, been made about words that we no longer find acceptable. You could easily replace "crazy" and "stupid" in Amanda's comment with "faggot". I don't understand how people are comfortable making such arguments.

    Also:

    Some people see liberalism as a contest to see who can "win".

    What in the sweet mother of fuck is that supposed to mean? What kind of contest are people trying to "win"? Who can be the most "politically correct"? I think you're mistaking people's efforts to not step on others, for efforts to make you look bad. Good job centring yourself, again.

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  19. Wow, that's one site where I will definitely not be joining in on any discussions. Kinda enjoyed Diane K's comments, though.

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  20. "... who are neurologically atypical." No "being". Need to proof-read my comments.

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  21. The first attempt I made met with "we were unable to complete your request." I don't know what the problem was (probably too long a comment).

    Second try, and sorry if it turns out to multiple post.

    A useful post:

    http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=9735

    I've spent the last few years working on thinking through and discarding language and attitudes that were transphobic (picked up because of intense immersion in radical white feminist texts from the 1970s) and ableist. Some parts of fandom where I hang out are trying to do the same--and coining new terms (which are sneered at by other parts of fandom).

    I like dickbiscuit myself. Very satisfing in the mouth :>

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  22. 2nd half of comment (if the original problem was length).

    The defensiveness in support of using terms like "lame" and "retarded" and others reminds me too much of the false claims that all of western civilization would fall if "Ms." became common usage (it did in some places, not rural Texas where I teach), and if "he" was changed from meaning "universal human being but really only those with dicks" (which it was--my writing textbooks now all embed gender neutral writing as a recommended style along with a slew of other 'rules').

    The Romany are still persecuted--so the attitudes expressed by "gypped" still exist. The Welsh (all four of my great grandparents were from Wales) not as much, but I still don't like the term "welched/weshed" on a debt.

    As Kenneth Burke says, "Language is never innocent."

    It always strikes me as intriguing what bit of language some people have to cling to and why.

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  23. Cat poll: dang, forgot this part, maybe it was why comment got trashed first time.

    Cats: we haz seven of them (down from thirteen, all spayed/neutered, all because of work with animal rescue).

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  24. On cats: I've never had one, but they seem nice enough.

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  25. What happened over at Feministe can best be described as niggardly. DO YOU HEAR ME? NIGGARDLY, I SAY!!!

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  26. David, I really enjoy your blog and am grateful for what you're doing here. I was excited to see you posting at Feministe, and think that's been fun to read too. I wish the process of editing your posts from here to make them more appropriate for that community had made you a little more prepared for this.

    I really don't care if you continue to use "idiot"-- I personally have no plans to stop using it. And I agree that those derails can get very tiresome. They're not interesting to the majority of people who click through expecting a different discussion, and they're not good for the community if they happen all the time.

    But Amanda is flat-out wrong that people point out that language because they are hoping to "win" anything. None of us are here because we just love arguing about an abstract progressive ethic that we believe doesn't affect anyone. Rather, I think most of us care about reducing harm to very real oppressed people. I hope you'll consider that, if the words you're asked to avoid ever seem laughably normal, you'll consider that that's because in our society hurting and insulting entire classes of people is normal.

    You don't actually have to stop doing every little thing someone complains about in order to be a good feminist. But please don't seriously suggest, as a writer, that reconsidering your words and context isn't a valuable activity-- no matter what conclusions you draw. No matter how much you disagree with those commenters or how frustrated you are that that discussion got off-track, I really don't think insulting them here after their community welcomed you is becoming.

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  27. @Pam

    What can I say? I see people who are way too damn touchy and I simply can't stop poking and laughing. It was the (warped) way I was raised.

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  28. Kitties: yes please. Family has a 17yo shelter rescue who is worshiped as a household god.

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  29. You'll have to prove I'm White first! Bwahahahaha!

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  30. Aw man, and I just got banned. Is it still trolling if you actually believe everything you wrote?

    This is the most fun day I've had on the internet in months.

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  31. That thread...Jesus...

    I think the original comment - "Hey, this word has a history you might not be aware of" was a bit of a derail but was polite and sincerely meant, and hey, I learned something I didn't know.

    It's when other posters came in demanding that you change your post IMMEDIATELY and in one case threatening "I will roll over your precious privileged toes until you beg for mercy. I will not allow anyone to erase our lived experiences" that took it to a...(the word on the tip of my tongue is "crazy" but I don't want to commit ThoughtCrime!)...let's go with 'deeply unfortunate' place.

    There was no room for you to respectfully disagree, and honestly no way you could win. I agreed with Florence's comments and think she pretty much won the thread with her link here.

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  32. Is that a requirement? *has no idea how to do the real word police thing, she just wanted to use a 12 year old political reference.*

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  33. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that doublespeak is one of the main reasons I've largely stopped giving a shit about a lot of things.

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  34. @Amanda
    One reason I still LIKE reading Pandagon is that people actually still comment there and whenever the Lame Police show up, everyone ignores them or shoves them in a cupboard or ... whatever happens to them.

    Anyway,
    The difference with "lame" and "gay" and "retarded" is that "lame" pretty much in our modern language has one meaning. It used to mean "physically disabled" and now that meaning is almost never used. The meaning now is something around "dull and stupid." "Gay" went from being "happy" to "homosexual," and then saw the tween population try to shift it to being another "lame." "Retarded" has held dual meanings for a while, meaning both "being mentally slow" and also "being slowed."

    Language changes.
    You wouldn't say "gay" to mean "happy" and you wouldn't say "lame" to mean "disabled" nowadays. You see it in older books, but both words have transformed into something else. And you probably just shouldn't say "retarded" much at all, unless you're talking about fire or something.

    I guess it just seems like wasting time to get all offended over words that don't even commonly mean what they used to mean. There are bigger battles to fight, even linguistically. If you think "idiot" is a bad word because of its history, don't use it, but don't get pissed if other people use it. Although not quite the same thing, it's about as useful as trying to get your grandma to stop saying the n-word or your grandpa to stop saying horribly sexist things.

    I personally try to avoid using "girl" to refer to women over a certain age. But I don't bother other people who do this. That would be lame.

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  35. Damn, I mean Newspeak. I was thinking of Doublethink.

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  36. @Diane K

    Looks like you can't say anything over at Feministe unless you've used snark-checker on your comment before posting.

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  37. I used to think "retarded" was harmless, until I had a job working with learning disabled adults. One day, we had a conversation about the use of the "R" word, and the shame and humiliation they expressed at being called "retards" taught me never to use the word again.

    As a rule, though, I'm not big on policing language overly much, as it tends to derail important conversations. I'm more than happy, however, to respect the wishes of individuals with a specific disability to not use a term they consider pejorative.

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  38. Ooh! I wrote an article about this in university once! Specifically, Gay and Retarded.
    http://mondomagazine.net/2008/lexipoeia-offensive-content/

    One thing I can add is that changing the word doesn't change the attitudes. The reason that you can insult someone by calling them "special" now is that there was a movement to get rid of the term "retarded", as it was seen as derogatory. So special was used instead, and it got all the old connotations attached. I forsee a similar future for "atypical" to mean "crazy".

    Example from conversation in the not too distant future.
    Crazy Steve: I don't think women should be able to vote. They can't penetrate things with their genitals!
    Megan: Well, that certainly is a (deliberate pause) neurologically atypical line of reasoning you're persuing, there.

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  39. I am with Marissa and Rachel on this one. Besides, it is not really too damned hard to avoid using these terms. Asking marginalized people to just shut up and take it is far harsher than asking for small edits to vocabulary. "Insulted and attacked" for being called out on one's privileged use of harmful language is impermisible, but it is perfectly find to insult and attack the marginilized group. Well, as an aspie who used to have PTSD and depression and who had a narrow miss with being misdiagnosed as schizophrenic, let me tell you that I cannot see the word "crazy" without wincing. It has been thrown at me time and time again, including by people of power, to deny me access and services (one doctor told me to stop "acting crazy" before dismissing me without even bothering to test for a health condition that ended up costing me six years of exhaustion that deteroriated down to the point of hallucination and health risks that could easily have killed me). These words contribute to our suffering, our loss of freedom, and even our deaths. So forgive me for feeling not a bit of pity for those who are too fucking lazy to bother to stop using certain words.

    You want to know if I have had fights over ablism outside of the internet? Yes, I have had them again and again and again. With principals, teachers, professors, doctors, administrators, classamtes, parents, siblings. But, then again, as a person with disabilities, I have far less choice in that matter, don't I? I have sat in rooms and listened to people question my very personhood and my right not to be locked up against my will over these issues. Try that out and then get back to me about how very hard your life is because you were politely asked not to use certain terms.

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  40. I was called "four-eyes" in school once. It hurt. I'm not saying that pain stays with me today, or that I consider that an example of marginalization.

    But I'm not going to deny unprivileged people of any stripe the right to express offense at the use of a given term. It's your choice whether or not you care. But you're not the one being persecuted here, as DSC said.

    There's also another angle to it. Like Marissa said way up at the top of the thread, sometimes it's not just offense. When someone uses the word "gay" pejoratively, I don't feel offended. But I do feel a certain amount of contempt for the person who said it. Of course, I'm bisexual but I easily pass for cis, so I reap a lot of privilege in that area, so if others are outright offended by the word "gay" used pejoratively, I understand entirely.

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  41. Crap. The internet ate a nice long comment. (It was my fault, not blogger's, for once.)

    Anyway, what Capt. Awkward said.

    Beyond that, a few other thoughts: I am certainly happy to avoid using language that contributes to the further marginalization/stigmatization of a marginalized/stigmatized group. Darksidecat, you make a pretty persuasive case for avoiding the word crazy. As someone who has suffered from depression for most of my life I've long been troubled by the stigmatization of mental illness. But because I don't get called "crazy" I have probably vastly underestimated the ways in which that word can be stigmatizing.

    But it's one thing to bring up these issues, and another to do, well, whatever you want to call what happened in that thread. These weren't people who had been stigmatized by the word "idiot." These were people who were declaring themselves offended by proxy for others, and presuming to speak for them. And trying to roll over everyone who disagreed. It was a pile-on; it was a kind of bullying. Reading that thread in fact "triggered" a friend of mine who faced a similar kind of intellectual bullying in college.

    I spelled out more of my thoughts in the comments there; I may try to pull them together in a post here. Or a may just let it drop.

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  42. I'm actually deeply appalled by the Feministe debacle (I've been posting as Sarah J.), particularly because it's being supported by the moderator. Said moderator seems incapable of acknowledging exactly how extreme the comments have been.

    It's a problem I've encountered in feminist spaces. I advertise my blog on Feministe, when I actually have time to update it, and sure enough I got a bitchy post from someone over my use of the word "crazy." Important info: my use of the word "crazy" regarded Janet Folger Porter, who masterminded the "testimony" of two fetuses in the Ohio statehouse.

    I replied to the bitchy comment by mentioning that I have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and will therefore use the word crazy as I damn well please. End of troll.

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  43. I replied to the bitchy comment by mentioning that I have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and will therefore use the word crazy as I damn well please.

    There is some flexibility as far as this goes, certainly. Being bi, I have a couple gay friends that call each other and me a fag occasionally, and it's all a good larf. I suppose it's like the n-word (which, being white, I don't use). But if someone ever asked me to stop saying the word fag in their presence, I'd stop immediately. Because it is super-offensive.

    I don't doubt that you're similarly sensitive with your use of the word crazy. I'm just commenting for the sake of conversation.

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  44. Oh, I agree that context is vital. I've tried to argue that point on Feministe to no avail. And there certain terms I do feel are always ableist: schizo, the r word, etc. Similarly, it bugs me to hear anyone use "bipolar" or "schizophrenic" or "OCD" casually. If you don't have the disorder, leave the word alone, because you clearly don't understand the implications of what you're saying.

    I suppose what really bugs is that the worst Feministe commenters (and the troll on my blog) don't claim to be people with disabilities, yet they've apparently appointed themselves the grand high arbiters of all that is ableist. I resent that. If you don't have a diagnosis, you haven't faced the sort of discrimination I've experience and you do. not. speak for me.

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  45. I agree with Amanda. Once you let the language scolds dictate your vocabulary, you can no longer call your keyboard your own.

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  46. Oh, and regarding the kittehz: two.

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  47. I'm totally on board with what (almost) everyone has been saying. Yes, the words we use matter. Yes, if I were unknowingly using a word that made you feel hurt or marginalized, I would stop immediately.

    But on Feministe (I've also noticed it in parts of the Tumblrverse), it's actually difficult to have a conversation on any topic because, for every reply that actually addresses what you said, you get a whole cascade addressing your wording. It's a problem when your language use expectations are actually preventing communication.

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  48. BTW, 0, but hopefully 1 soon. I'm at the humane society too, and it's just a question of which one.

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  49. BTW, 0, but hopefully 1 soon. I'm at the humane society too, and it's just a question of which one.

    Good luck! If I ever had a male cat, I would name him Captain John Sheridan, Welcome to Babylon 5. Not John. Not even Captain John Sheridan. Captain John Sheridan, Welcome to Babylon 5.

    If I had a female cat I'd name her April.

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  50. Makes me think of Daniel Tosh's joke about having a restaurant named "Thank you for calling, how may I help you?"

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  51. I broadly agree with David, Florencem et al. Two comments

    --Sam, the Feministe viewpoint is a little more reasonable, and a lot more complicated than that. I know about the euphemism treadmill, and it might look like they're just trying to spin the wheel of euphemisms ahead a notch, but they aren't. What they want is more ambitious, for good or ill.

    They would still be angry if you call your opponenets "neurologically atypical," because their complaint is that you should not equate moral badness or wrong conclusions with mental disability.

    --Diane K, I read your comments. They were deliberately hostile and inflammatory. I would definitely call them trolling,. In my mind, trolling is not about saying thigns you don't mean (necessarily), trolling is saying things you know will be inflammatory to your audience. I think you should take a step back and rethink whether those posters really deserved some of the things you said to them.

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  52. I honestly don't get this. I'm agnostic on the content of the disagreement itself, but I find the eagerness to mock and belittle -- and misrepresent! -- the other side that's evident in this thread deeply weird. As folks have noted, people are putting forward arguments are literally identical to those of the defenders of "faggot" and "retard" and "bitch." Literally identical. That doesn't give you pause?

    There's a glee to the slamming of the "language police" here (language police? seriously?) that I don't get at all.

    Oh, and as for this...

    Pretty soon the only insult you'll get to use is, "Oh that disagreeable person!"

    It's assholery. It's asinine, ridiculous, bullshit, wrongheaded, disingenuous, snotty, ignorant, unimaginative, absurd assholery.

    We've got a rich and vicious language. Always have had, always will. Chill out.

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  53. ...And now I've been over to Feministe, and I see that the first polite criticism of David was followed immediately by an aggressively abusive rejection of that criticism. Which was in turn followed by another polite, but more insistent, response to David, which David replied to in a dismissive and hostile way.

    After that, both sides got louder and angrier, but it's really clear who turned things ugly, and it wasn't the PC police.

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  54. My feeling is that not everyone can speak for everybody. Context is important as well. However, if a word makes someone uncomfortable, I won't use it around them. They have expressed a preference and the polite thing to do is to stop. But that doesn't mean that it applies to everyone, in every situation and context. Language is fluid and meanings change over time. Unfortunately, just changing the usage of the words won't eradicate the underlying thought behind them. New words will be used to insult and hurt people. It will always be there.

    I honestly thought that the first "idiot" response was reasonable. After that, though...not so much. I do think that there is a certain type of person who will nitpick to dismiss arguments and make the thread about them, and sometimes it does walk a fine line between concern and concern trolling.

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  55. anthonybsusan: "my use of the word "crazy" regarded Janet Folger Porter, who masterminded the "testimony" of two fetuses in the Ohio statehouse."

    I'll throw in my $0.02. No one can seriously argue that right-wing conservatives are marginalized in the United States, but I would certainly argue that they should be. Calling their actions "batshit insane" (or the like) is not the act of marginalizing an oppressed minority, but the argument seems to be that we shouldn't do so because this may be insulting to batshit insane people. In other words, we can never say "something is seriously wrong with you if you interview fetuses in the Ohio legislature," because other people do indeed have something seriously wrong with them and therefore could find it offensive.

    If someone asks me not to use certain terms on their blog or in their community, I will absolutely make the effort out of courtesy (which is an outgrowth of empathy and respect), just as I would in their home. But in a public forum or on my own blog it's another matter entirely. I think that we have to be very careful here. In our discourse we need far more mockery and ridicule aimed at stupid and dangerous ideas and people, whether or not other stupid and dangerous people may be offended. To insist that liberals in general should always be above employing potentially offensive tactics is foolish and short-sighted, precisely because language is such a powerful weapon - mockery works. This very blog is built entirely on that concept. If one wants to marginalize right-wing conservatives, anti-feminists, etc., how does one do so without using marginalizing language? And while I agree that we can and should consider the potential harm to marginalized groups of the terms we use, the outright banning of a word like "idiot" in all contexts is...pardon me, idiotic.

    Maybe I should just change my blog header to read "This is NOT a safe space for idiots."

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  56. Oh, and I haz da bestest kitteh EVAH!

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  57. @Orion,

    I will definitely grant that my initial response to Tori was a direct hostile attack. I could see where things were going (another ableist language police shit fight) and I was angry.

    My mock "apologies" in my later reply were clear sarcasm against everyone.

    I'm guessing you're referring to my direct attacks against sabrina and Nahida. Sabrina declared that my "awful language" gave her a panic attack. I don't know what the hell we were supposed to do with that piece of information, but I never RSVP to pity parties. Honestly, swearing and vehement disagreement give her panic attacks? So now we must lower the bar to there in order to protect her?

    Nahida lost it because saurus decided that "butthurt" must be indicative of anal rape. No matter that I didn't use it that way, and the term is commonplace in the feminist blogosphere. One person said it was a RAPE TERM (which I think I'm naming my next Rock Band, btw), and thus it is now verboten by all.

    So yes, I found both those things offensive, both people looking to claim victim status in order to gain control over other people. Only instead of getting butthurt, I poked. Hard.

    Why don't we all continue down the road to Duckspeak, only instead of quacking all we say is "privilege."

    I also found it ironic that I was called "douchey" and no one rose up to defend me after I pointed out how sexist the origins of "douche bag" are. I thought we can't use any words that are -ist?

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  58. Diane, it's not at all clear to me what your complaint is. You went over to a site where you know your position is mostly disagreed with, and you acted hostile and aggressive. You mocked people. You abused people. You argued in bad faith. And now you're ... What? Surprised? Offended? Appalled? ... that people got angry and upset? That was the whole point, wasn't it?

    I'm seeing in Diane and David's comments throughout this brouhaha a sort of willful jumbling up of objections to the form and content of arguments. David would (I'm gathering) never object to someone criticizing the use of "retarded" or "nigger" as an epithet, but when people criticize "idiot," suddenly they're Maoists? Seriously?

    I just can't take that kind of double standard seriously.

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  59. I was commenting angry. Part of my point was to argue how absurd I thought people were being. Part of my point was to mock the people I thought were being most so.

    So yes, trolling. Guilty as charged.

    Although I will say that I no point was I arguing in bad faith.

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  60. Thank you for this. This extreme language policing has driven me away from several feminist blogs that I otherwise loved.

    That is all.

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  61. The problem is when well-meaning people jump on you for using "offensive" language based on an *incorrect* understanding of what's offensive to the population they claim to be speaking on behalf of.

    For example, I have a work colleague who's a member of the a Sioux tribe. I was telling friend of mine about him, and she explained to me that I shouldn't use the term "Sioux"--I should use the term "Lakota" instead--because Sioux is a pejorative term in that community.

    The problem is, that's not true. I asked my Sioux colleague, but you wouldn't have to--all you'd have to do is Google "Sioux" and you'd find things like the Rosebud Sioux tribe's website. Basically anyone with even the most minimal engagement with the Sioux know that the term is not offensive to Rosebud Sioux (maybe it's offensive to some other Lakota-speaking tribes, I'm not sure). I think it's reasonable to expect that if someone is going to tell you which terms are and aren't acceptable to a community, they should have at least some kind of minimal engagement with that community.

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  62. I just can't understand how asking someone to please not use a word is abuse, and triggering, yet going to a site to willfully troll about how ABSURD YOUR FEELINGS ARE isn't.

    And..I just..this language police bullshit. Really? You're going to use the SAME EXACT ARGUMENTS that people have used to defend their use of "faggot" and "retard" and the like? Because it's the same wording being used here.

    ARGH.

    In regards to the cat poll, cats are awesome.

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  63. These discussions bring to my mind, Whoopi Goldberg's "Most of all, I dislike this idea nowadays that if you're a black person in America, then you must be called African-American. Listen, I've visited Africa, and I've got news for everyone: I'm not an African. The Africans know I'm not an African. I'm an American. This is my country. My people helped to build it and we've been here for centuries. Just call me black, if you want to call me anything."

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  64. I follow SleepTalkinMan on twitter (someone tweets what their partner says in his sleep). And the most recent tweet seemed relevant, in that it sounded kinda like what the people complaining about Feministe here are saying:

    "Okay, okay, you've got to meet me halfway, alright? I'm sorry for smacking you in the face, but, you've got to apologize for existing."

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  65. I just read through the comments section over there. This is so awesome on so many different levels.

    David, you were doing great standing up for yourself, at least until the mod stepped in. You're in the right, of course, about the language issue. And you defended yourself manfully, I was impressed. You used the internal inconsistencies of their logic to turn the point around, bringing in your supposedly feminist abuse survivor experiencing a trigger from the comments, making it a social class issue, etc. Ha! Awesome. But, that's very similar to what I see Scott Adams as having done in the original essay that upset so many people- he was using the logic of the MRM worldview to derail their own arguments. That seems to be the point that you and others have missed here. (Not that he didn't screw up with his deletion/response/I meant to do that which was pretty lame.)

    Another thing: I read the MRM blogs myself because they are the only ones talking about father's rights which is an issue that I have a strong personal stake in. I enjoy and appreciate your blog for calling out some of the extremes from these blogs - helps me to keep things in perspective and not let myself get carried away by anger over injustices in my personal experience. So I appreciate what you do for my own reasons even if I often disagree with you.

    That said, if you are going to call people out for extreme bullshit, you're a hypocrite if you only do it where the MRM is concerned. I thought it was cowardly of you to back down when the mod stepped in, because you were in the right and the language police bullshit was complete bullshit. Not incidentally, this kind of ridiculous victimhood competition in those comments could have been a parody written by an MRM, I doubt even a parody could have gone as far as some of the commentators over there did. I wonder if you can see that this sort of thing is part of what the MRM is reacting against?

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  66. Okay, I updated my commenting policy to state: "This is not a safe space for idiots." Perhaps this will serve to keep away idiots, as well as those who would be offended by my use of that term.

    Win-win.

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  67. diane k, you used a rape attack against a woman who has on several occasions been extremely open with her situation on feministe. The use of the term butthurt has always been a rape narrative. To dismiss people who have trigger episodes over that is cruel. I'm glad that you personally don't have to live through that but as a rape survivor myself I see your comments as attacking and then you go on to mock her for getting upset over being triggered? Not okay. Not okay at all

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  68. "I think it's reasonable to expect that if someone is going to tell you which terms are and aren't acceptable to a community, they should have at least some kind of minimal engagement with that community."

    Here's my problem with that, Joe. I dislike it when people appoint themselves the voice of all PWDs. "This is offensive to PWDs, don't use it!" Well, no. Not necessarily. But thanks for appointing yourself my representative. It's actually just as ableist as anything they've accused David of.

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  69. @victor:
    And you defended yourself manfully

    The thing MRAs but also everyday privilege deniers like yourself never seem to grasp is that people like David aren't interested in being "manly." This is a central part of the feminist critique of social attitudes: concepts like manliness and femininity need to be seriously questioned.

    I wonder if you can see that this sort of thing is part of what the MRM is reacting against?

    The main thing the MRM is reacting against is that uppity women are demanding full human being status. Don't sugarcoat it.

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  70. "The thing MRAs but also everyday privilege deniers like yourself never seem to grasp is that people like David aren't interested in being "manly.""

    I knew that would get a response. But you knew what it meant.

    Different people have different levels of privilege depending on the situation. There are plenty of situations where women enjoy privilege. I don't deny my privilege where I have it, but I won't pretend to have it when I don't. It is very easy to paint large segments of society as privileged, then anything they do or say or want can just be dismissed. It's cheap, dirty and disingenuous. There are real issues, and real people getting screwed over. You don't see it because they are in a class of people who's concerns you have decided are irrelevant. There are lots of people with lots of motives in the MRM, if I'm sugarcoating it, you are deliberately demonizing it to score a rhetorical point.

    There is a difference between demanding equality and demanding privilege. I'm very happy if we could all enjoy full human being status in all areas of life. This would mean addressing the issues where women enjoy privileges that men don't. Like parental rights and equal time for equal crimes, just as a starting point.

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  71. "David would (I'm gathering) never object to someone criticizing the use of "retarded" or "nigger" as an epithet, but when people criticize "idiot," suddenly they're Maoists? Seriously?

    I just can't take that kind of double standard seriously"

    The problem is, how can anyone keep up with all of it? I've been visiting Feministe for a good year now, and I can't recall ever seeing the word "idiot" called out. It seems like about every two weeks at Feministe, an otherwise thoughtful post is derailed by policing a single word or phrase within that post.

    And the thing is, once someone calls a word or phrase out, you get a rush of dogpiling afterward. The moderation on the site is really sloppy at times, and I sometimes think they enjoy seeing this kind of argument unfold. Who cares about the subject matter of the post, let's make sure that we beat this asshole and her/his defenders into the ground for saying the word "crazy!"

    It makes us all look foolish and silly to outsiders, including those who love to tear feminism to shreds. Furthermore, it makes it that much harder for people to get together and actually work around these issues. I sometimes get the sense that amongst some feminists, it's an all or nothing attitude. You best be the most polished, well read, articulate, up on every last form of oppression known to humankind with all the attending language - or you're an enemy unworthy of respect or consideration.

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  72. "privilege deniers like yourself never seem to grasp is that people like David aren't interested in being "manly." This is a central part of the feminist critique of social attitudes: concepts like manliness and femininity need to be seriously questioned."

    One more point: I'm sure the irony of taking issue with a word I am using in the comments for a post about absurdist language police is lost on you. The disagreement here seems to be about where exactly to draw the line, what laws the language police should be enforcing, rather than to question whether having language police in the first place is a good idea. If you spend your time worrying about form, then you don't have time to worry about substance, which should be what really matters.

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  73. The use of the term butthurt has always been a rape narrative.

    You're assuming that everyone is aware of the perpetual usage of that term being a known rape narrative, and I can only answer for myself here, but that's the first that I have ever seen that term and my initial thought was that it was referring to a spanking. Not everybody is up to speed on the use of various terms or how various terms are understood in different groups.

    There's nothing wrong with pointing out how a word or phrase might be considered offensive or a trigger within any particular group, but if the aim is to prevent someone from unintentionally provoking (at this point I am referring to the pointing out of David's unintentional provoke), don't be provocative in your explanation. For example, Tori's initiating the topic of the use of the term "idiot":
    "David, I know that idiot is a pretty commonly used term, but it’s also one with a lot of ableist implications. I agree that what he did was misogynistic, lacking in good judgment, and bad — but I don’t see the need to conflate any of those qualities with cognitive impairment."

    In my opinion, the drawing attention to the usage of the term, as was done in the first sentence, was okay. But the second sentence ended on a provocative..... almost a holier-than-thou.... note. Even if not meant in a holier-than-thou way, the explanation of why "idiot" has ableist implications could have been handled in a manner more akin to a simile than a metaphor.

    In addition, I thought GallingGalla's response was even more provocative. If I'm not mistaken (and if I am, I apologize), Feministe is a moderated site and comments are not published until approved by a moderator. Did it not then occur to anyone there to maybe give David the benefit of the doubt in that when he fixed his "typo" and responded about said fix, he may not have seen Tori's comment because it may not have been published yet when David viewed the existing comments? No, GallingGala has to provoke by equating David's lack of response to Tori to Scott Adams' behaviour, "I dunno, but I wonder if you think that those pointing out ableist language in your posts have poor reading comprehension and that’s why you’re not bothering to respond?"

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  74. Actually, it wasn't your word choice I was taking issue with, it was your unquestioned assumption that being "manful" is a virtue. And that's an issue of substance.

    Nice try, though.

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  75. I have to call into question your title, David. A woman's breast is a beautiful thing that can give pleasure and/or nourish an infant. To use it to refer to misogynists is a terrible insult to boobs everywhere.

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  76. Oh yes, and it's also full of fat-hatred too--you know, towards the big-boned fellows whose physique gave rise to the term "man boob."

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  77. Putting 'pussy' in there as if it's harmless is bullshit. It's like 'nigger' and anybody who thinks they're being edgey by using it is just being blatantly sexist. Even if they're a woman. So's cunt and hysterical, which is still used to call women emotional, unreliable, on the rag, hormonal, all that bullshit. I've seen people excuse it by saying, "Oh, I'm using it the British way,' or "I'm calling a man that, so it's okay." No, it's not, ya fuckin' moron. You're saying that a man is a woman, and that's the worst thing you can say. There are some things that say more about the speaker than his target. That's one of them.

    There's just some really offensive insults that shouldn't be used. It's that simple. However, beyond that relatively small group, there's been a lot an explosion of calling out, ever-more-niggling at more and more obscure wordsa nd meanings, and the joyous dogpiling that happens on so-called liberal sites over anything but truly substantial things. Feministe and Shakesville are the two biggest offenders. I saw an amazing discussion about how 'dwarf star' was ableist or some such shit once, and recently---as in the past month or so---I saw trigger warnings for dog dick and dog teeth. You can't warn for every fucking thing. What it comes down to, is nothing ever winds up getting resolved, interesting discussions get shut down in the dogpiling.

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  78. Victor: Different people have different levels of privilege depending on the situation.

    There were some really awesome posts on feminist blogs about this exact issue earlier this week: Relational privilege and situational privilege. I won't link to them, because I don't want to send people with opposing points of view to their door (as they don't so much have discussion boards for open debate, as David provides here), but the basic idea is that, for example, a white, cis, able-bodied woman might be less privileged than a white, cis, able-bodied man but more privileged than a black, cis man with a disability (relational privilege). And a woman might generally have privilege over a man in the area of child care (situational privilege). So these seem to me very feminist concerns you've raised.

    Ending my response to Victor and moving on to the original topic, I guess what's always struck me about the concerns regarding "idiot" (and its sibling terms, "cretin," "moron," and "imbecile") is that they haven't been used (to my knowledge) as actual categories for people with disabilities in ... I'm not sure how long. Probably not since I've been alive. Possibly not since my parents have been alive. I don't think that necessarily means their use won't be hurtful to someone who has a low IQ, but it's something I'd toss into my equation.

    My idea about terminology (which is somewhat separate from my use of such--I try not to use possibly offensive terms in places I'm not sure about) is a kind of balancing test. What is the usefulness of the word? How likely is it to offend? I might be tempted to say, "Boehner is such a moron!" or "The war on uteri drives me crazy!" but, even if the likelihood that those terms will offend is pretty low, the words I've used aren't as accurate as they might be. What I really mean is: "Boehner is an evil asshole," and "I am enraged over the war on uteri." Much better on two counts.

    That said, I couldn't help but notice that at least one of the commenters at Feministe seemed on the verge of saying that any word describing a person's intelligence as less than sufficient is wrong. I've always been afraid that this is where this debate is going, frankly. Oh, it's not like a large part of my day will be empty if I suddenly can't call people stupid. It just seems weird that some would take offense if, say, I said that Sarah Palin's repeatedly demonstrated stupidity caused me to think she wouldn't make a good president.

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  79. I always thought butthurt meant someone who had been smacked or spanked.

    Oh the things you learn.

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  80. @Nathan, I just added a comment over in that thread (horrible coding errors! Embarrassing!) but I just want to say -

    Some of the commenters who later got very angry at David and demanded that he change his language posted ON THAT POST in a humorous, on-topic way until the initial "idiot has an unfortunate history" link. Then suddenly they were offended and David was evilly ignoring them. Which tells me that they didn't even notice the word until it became the "Official Word We Are Offended By This Week."

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  81. I always thought butthurt meant someone who had been smacked or spanked.

    I thought the same thing, Elizabeth, and it's the first point in my post that might be revealed when it makes its way out of the spam filter. One might think that a certain word or phrase is universally and perpetually known as a trigger/slur/etc., but that might not be the reality.

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  82. When I first heard the word butthurt my mind went immediately to anal sex. But then, my mind always goes immediately to anal sex.

    However, it didn't take me long after that to realize that it only makes sense in a rapey context, so I don't use it.

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  83. From context, I always thought "butthurt" was a word created to discount and make fun of a person's real emotional reaction to something by putting the word "butt" in front of the (false) acknowledgment of said emotional reaction.

    Which is why I don't use it. Knowing that it's meant to discount the feelings of someone who's been spanked or anally raped doesn't really make me feel any more kindly toward its usage.

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  84. ...they didn't even notice the word until it became the "Official Word We Are Offended By This Week."

    Yes, and not only that, some of the more vocal offended ones are oblivious to their own usage of potential "Official Word We Are Offended By This Week" words/idioms. For example, "Is David somehow not able to convey that Scott Adams sucks because someone asked him not to use the word “idiot”?" Sucks?? Do they not know that that word has oral copulation implications? They are conflating someone's negative behaviour with something that some of us would like to think is a positive experience, sucking genitalia. They might also be triggering someone's negative experience, in that oral copulation may have been forced upon them.

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  85. Ugh, thread closed before I could respond to the last poster who responded to me.

    Being snarky in a response: Not Silencing.

    Demanding that someone go back in time and redact/unsay things to manufacture a faux history of agreement and never having been "incorrect" in the first place? ACTUALLY SILENCING. YOU ACTUALLY MADE THE WORDS GO AWAY.

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  86. I wrote about this on my blog, mainly because I wanted to address the fact that the Feministe detractors seemed to completely fail to understand the importance of context in determining privilege. David didn't use the word in an ableist context. That is absolutely vital to understand. And it bugs the hell out of me to see any word portrayed as inherently bad.

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  87. Bee (from this comment):

    I was thinking something in that direction, but then I realized that, for instance, the n-word hasn't been a correct, scientific word for black people for a long time, either. Maybe the difference is that the history of "idiot" or "imbecile" is a bit of arcana now that most people don't even know, whereas everyone knows what the n-word means and meant.

    -katz

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  88. Of course the practical difference is the derailing. It seems like any long Feministe discussion inevitably devolves into a discussion about who used inappropriate words, thereby precluding any real conversation about whatever the post was about. Perhaps there wouldn't be a problem if one person could just say "Please don't use the word 'idiot' on this site in the future" and leave it at that, but that never happens.

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  89. I'm sure you'll want to keep misogynist, woman hater, has a small dick, can't get laid, rape apologist, deadbeat(unemployed)dad, loser, white privilege, has mommy issues, man up, manchild, ect. ect. ect. in your arsenol of goodies.

    Funny how Dave and the rest of the mutual admiration feminisite gang rapid fire these gems out like theres a gun to their collective heads. Try practicing what you preach. And quoting feminisite as a "model" for a commenting policy is the definition of oxymoron.

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  90. "Actually, it wasn't your word choice I was taking issue with, it was your unquestioned assumption that being "manful" is a virtue."

    You zeroed in on the word, rather than the points I was making. You wrote two comments about it, neither one discussion the content of what I said. You even admit that you know how I was using it in the quote above. Form over substance.

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  91. The important thing about the difference between "idiot" and, say, "nigger" or "bitch" is that it's largely lost any clinical loading it once had, and in fact had a long history of pre-clinical use in largely the same sense as it's used now. In other words, it's being used in a sense that's older than any medical sense. You can argue ableism all you want, but if you're not paying attention to the history of the word, there's a very good chance you're wrong.

    Or should I stop calling someone a schmuck because it's a somewhat belittling term for a penis?

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  92. I'm back! just catching up on all this.

    Pam had a good comment in the spam filter; it's up now. (It was originally posted at 12:17.)

    Now off to read the new Feministe comments. In case anyone was wondering, the reason I haven't posted there (or here) since the moderator stepped in is that I was asleep much of the time. Sleep is good.

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  93. 200 comments on that post, 85% related to the use of the word "idiot." A good example of movement self-destructing in action. This is exactly why for every step forward, three are taken back.

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  94. Oh, and according to this:
    http://www.bing.com/dictionary/search?q=definition%20manful&qpvt=definition+manful&FORM=Z7FD

    manful is defined as "traditionally brave and determined"

    A woman can behave in a manful way, just like a man can behave in a motherly way. They are just words, and they have definitions.

    There is a direct line between taking issue with this word and posting, like the commentator at feministing did, about how the use of the word 'idiot' caused him or her to have a panic attack.

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  95. "privilege deniers"

    ROFL. Me as the average male, I don't feel one tiny winy little bit of privilege over women. Feminists are highly delusional laughable nitwits

    But but but male privilege and patriarchy is everywhere I tell ya. Even that there’s no logic explanation or real evidence, it’s everywhere because delusional feminazitards say so

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  96. Interesting that Feministe hasn't posted its usual Self Promotion Sunday, the most recent post glorifies a singer who's made truly awful statements about victims of sexual assault, and despite what Cara claimed, they clearly don't cap comments at 200 since there are 294 on your other Scott Adams post. Hurray hypocrisy!

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  97. anthonybsusan, I'm actually glad the topic is closed over at Feministe. You, Capt. Awkward, Florence, switchin and a few others there pretty much made all the points I wanted to make, and then some. Time to move on.

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  98. A woman can behave in a manful way, just like a man can behave in a motherly way. They are just words, and they have definitions.

    *Facepalm*

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  99. ROTFLMAO!!! About time nicko weighed in with a pathetically futile attempt to stir the pot!

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  100. There are 10 comments on the most current Feministe post, the topic of which is a cool female musician whose sense of style the poster admires.

    1 is making issue with the poster's definition of androgynous
    1 is making issue with how the poster conflated "popular femininity" and "conforming"
    3 are about how the musician has actually made some horrible statements.
    3 are of the poster trying to defend herself.

    I have no idea why anyone would waste their time posting there at this point.

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  101. That's some nasty language policing, yeah. Especially because as David correctly pointed out, the dictionary definition is "showing complete lack of thought or common sense : foolish" and this is also both the common usage and the original meaning of the word.

    Sure, it was used in ways that were ablist some years ago, but so were all the other synonyms that could've been used instead, and for the exact same reason: ablism meant that society didn't really distinguish between acting in a way that lacked thought or common sense and having a mental disability until relatively recently. Which says a lot about ablism and justifies not using words like "idiot" to describe the cognitively impaired, but makes the language policing a bit much.

    This kind of language policing leaves us with no clear, short way to express the idea that someone's acting in a thoughtless manner. That's starting to get outright Orwellian.

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  102. I like cats. One of my friend's friends has a black cat with green eyes that was supposed to be mine, but I couldn't take him in. (The cat, not the friend.) He's grown up now and looks slick like a panther. He also doesn't shut up. It's awesome. I sneak him food when no one's looking.

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  103. @makomk (and those that have expressed similar ideas), I do not use "crazy" or "retarded" and try my hardest to avoid intelligence/intellect based terms and manage to insult and namecall just fine. "This kind of language policing leaves us with no clear, short way to express the idea that someone's acting in a thoughtless manner. " How about "acting thoughtless" or using "thoughtless" as an adjective? We also have terms like "rude", "uncaring", "unthinking", "callous", "foolish", "silly", "absurd", "ridiculous", etc. My neice loved to call things "silly" when she was barely two. These words are not inacessible or too advanced, the problem is that we are raised in a culture where it is acceptable and habitual to use ablist (as well as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.) language automatically and without consideration.


    @NWO "I'm sure you'll want to keep misogynist, woman hater, has a small dick, can't get laid, rape apologist, deadbeat(unemployed)dad, loser, white privilege, has mommy issues, man up, manchild, ect. ect. ect. in your arsenol of goodies." I do not use all of those terms (man up, man child, mommy issues, can't get laid, small dick), but those I do use I use with the specific intent and knowledge that I am using them with negative moral judgement. When I call someone a rape apologist, I am saying that I believe they are a literal rape apologist and that this is bad (the same with misogynist, woman hater, and white privilege). It is not a metaphor or an insult by association, it is a direct and literal statement of a negative behavior.

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  104. @Darksidecat See, the trouble is, with the possible exception of callous, those are by and large some toothless insults. Part of what makes invective effective is that it IS by design hurtful, and much like a weapon, a particularly devastating word choice WILL have some collateral damage. By way of example, "Rude" is something your mom might tell you you're being at the dinner table eating with your elbows up; I doubt she would call you classless, trailer trash or human garbage. That is because these terms are much more loaded and, therefore, more judgemental. They're also WAY more classist. The point is, if you want to use language to be offensive, you will have to offend people.

    Of course, if you don't WANT to be offensive, well where's the fun in that?

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  105. Bee said:
    My idea about terminology (which is somewhat separate from my use of such--I try not to use possibly offensive terms in places I'm not sure about) is a kind of balancing test. What is the usefulness of the word? How likely is it to offend? I might be tempted to say, "Boehner is such a moron!" or "The war on uteri drives me crazy!" but, even if the likelihood that those terms will offend is pretty low, the words I've used aren't as accurate as they might be. What I really mean is: "Boehner is an evil asshole," and "I am enraged over the war on uteri." Much better on two counts.

    This this this, so much.

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  106. nicko81m said...

    "privilege deniers"

    ROFL. Me as the average male, I don't feel one tiny winy little bit of privilege over women. Feminists are highly delusional laughable nitwits

    But but but male privilege and patriarchy is everywhere I tell ya. Even that there’s no logic explanation or real evidence, it’s everywhere because delusional feminazitards say so


    I think we can safely say that this post has removed all doubt as to whether nicko is a spambot. Seriously, nicko, would you like some dressing on that word-salad?

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  107. Sam:

    I don't think in a good discussion you should be shooting to offend the OP or anyone else, but you should be shooting to express exactly how pissed you are, and that's why words like "rude" just aren't going to cut it. That suggests that you're moderately annoyed at the OP, when in fact you're completely pissed off.

    It's also worth pointing out that "foolish" and "silly" have both referred to mentally handicapped people in times past.

    -katz

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  108. I don't worry much about offending people. I say what I say and frankly if someone is going to have a panic attack because of a word they read on the internet that is very much their problem, not mine or society in general.

    I've read through David's blog pretty much from start to finish, often the comments are as amusing as the posts themselves. This is the first time feminists have come out looking like idiots.

    It could be said that feminists can't leave the house or they would be rendered helpless from overhearing a word that upset them.

    Not the feminists I know, but on a blog dedicated to mocking the crazy in the mra it's interesting to have a post that really does point out the crazy in the feminists.

    (if that set upon you a panic attack... I recommend you seek medical attention)

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  109. I don't worry much about offending people. I say what I say and frankly if someone is going to have a panic attack because of a word they read on the internet that is very much their problem, not mine or society in general.

    Ooh, a declaration of edginess and political incorrectness. That's not trite at all.

    Nobody's impressed, trust me.

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  110. Why would I trust you Trip?

    I have no doubt not everyone would agree with me, but I also wouldn't have the audacity to say that no one would agree. What I will say is I will not censor myself because someone somewhere might be upset.

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  111. What I will say is I will not censor myself because someone somewhere might be upset.

    A reasonable position. But when someone actually is upset and expresses that, I think it's a little inconsiderate to just brush them off. You can choose to do something about their offense or do nothing, but at least consider it. I just don't see the value in making a sweeping declaration that you're not going to worry about offending people.

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  112. Oh, and to answer your other question (why you should trust me), because I'm sexy.

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  113. It could be said that feminists can't leave the house or they would be rendered helpless from overhearing a word that upset them.

    Yes, Kave, and wasn't that one of the many tactics that have been employed over the centuries in an effort to keep women confined to a narrow sphere? Y'know, how women needed protection from the harsh realities of the outside world that would do undue harm to their delicate sensibilities. Let's call bullshit on that, and then set about to display how the harsh realities of the outside world do indeed harm our delicate sensibilities.

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  114. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  115. But when someone actually is upset and expresses that, I think it's a little inconsiderate to just brush them off.

    Yes, that would be inconsiderate. But the world outside of the Feministe blog doesn't come complete with "Trigger Warnings" for everything that might trigger a panic attack or offend someone.... are feminists not equipped to handle that?

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  116. @Sam, there remains profanity as well. Fuckwad, asshole, shitstain. Besides, have you stopped for a second to ask yourself why a word like "idiot" is considered so much harsher than a word like "silly"? The reason is precisely because it invokes that social hierarchy in associating a person with someone with intellectual disability, which is seen as a horrible and terrible thing. The same principle applies to invoking classism with use of terms like "trailer trash" or "classless". If you think that being associated with group X is terrible and horrible and so you use it as an insult, it is fair to say that you are, in fact, making a statement that you know is degrading and negative about group X.

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  117. DSC's got a point there. "Shitstain" does get the point across rather effectively, and it doesn't marginalize any group of people.

    Of course, some may consider "shitstain" overly vulgar, but perhaps we should reflect on why our society is uncomfortable with a word like that but completely comfortable with words that marginalize and demean swaths of people.

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  118. @Darksidecat Well if we agree, why are we arguing? We seem to have the same points, but are approaching them from differing language > people/ language < people perspectives.

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  119. Context is usually everything. I remember years ago having a discussion with a female colleague and I referenced something about my "girlfriend". She stopped me and said, "You mean your ladyfriend". Pardon me? "Girl means prepubescent".
    "No, Girlfriend is a term of endearment".
    I think it pretty obvious when words are used to hurt. Do we really need language police, I think not.

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  120. As a person with irritable bowel syndrome, I'm higly offended by your use of the term "shitstain".

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  121. You know, so many of these disputes could just be resolved with the immortal words of Inigo Montoya:

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

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  122. Offtopically speaking . . .

    Inspired by David's and triplanetary's monumental fact check of the "Mean Feminist Manhate Quote List" (see sidebar under "Further Reading"), I have taken it upon myself to rearrange the quotes on the list in chronological order, to see if any patterns suggest themselves. Results can be found on my blog here.

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  123. God, the language police. Has anyone used the term "idiot" in a clinical sense in the past two hundred years or so? Same with lame. No reasonable person would hear you referring to a television program as "lame" and think you're talking about a show that features lots of people with physical impairments. Language changes over time, and lots of the words we use have sexist, ableist, or otherwise sad histories. "Sucks" as a pejorative is pretty sexist, when you think about it, but most people don't use it that way. The language police and excessive trigger warning stuff is what keeps me away from Feministe and Shakesville, honestly. I don't like being regarded as someone who's going to collapse into a pile of sobs if I'm offended.

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  124. I think a good benchmark for using "trigger warning" in a post is to ask yourself, "is this more or less upsetting than a spoiler alert?"

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  125. 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.

    It's a difficult issue, because, as a supposedly grass-roots movement dedicated to empowering the disempowered, we should probably err on the side of deferring to those who object to certain terms. On the other hand, this sort of thing easily gets out of hand, especially on the internet, to the point where meaningful discussion can be easily derailed.

    It would be really helpful if there were a universally accepted protocol for dealing with these issues as they come up--a kind of Robert's Rules of Order for internet discussions on the left. It would be nice if David could have simply invoked a rule that says: "I hear your concerns and I respectfully disagree; let's discuss this at another place/time"--and that would be the end of the issue on that particular thread. Others who wish to discuss the language issue would then be free to hash it out in a designated sub-thread, while everyone else could continue to discuss the original post in the original thread.

    I know this solution would be far from ideal, but it's a starting place. This sort of this has been an issue in leftist/feminist circles for a long, long time, and it has derailed many, many discussions and has driven many sincere people away from activism. If anyone has any ideas about this, I'd be happy to hear them.

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  126. @CAPT Bathrobe: "This sort of this has been an issue in leftist/feminist circles for a long, long time, and it has derailed many, many discussions and has driven many sincere people away from activism. If anyone has any ideas about this, I'd be happy to hear them."

    Uh................






    Did I mention I like cats?

    Honestly, asking how we might stop derailing discussions and driving sincere people away reminds me of that old joke that ends: "And God begins to cry."

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  127. @Capt Bathrobe

    Bullies are not all made the same, some use fists, others use words.

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  128. "I'm totally on board with what (almost) everyone has been saying. Yes, the words we use matter. Yes, if I were unknowingly using a word that made you feel hurt or marginalized, I would stop immediately.

    But on Feministe (I've also noticed it in parts of the Tumblrverse), it's actually difficult to have a conversation on any topic because, for every reply that actually addresses what you said, you get a whole cascade addressing your wording. It's a problem when your language use expectations are actually preventing communication. " - @cboye

    THIS a million times over. It's a matter of priorities for me. Striking a balance between policing speech that is honestly hurtful and words that have negative connotations but are being used according to their dictionary definitions isn't easy. I think your first response to being called out on Feministe for using the word "idiot" was pretty fair. You were using a standard dictionary definition and while the word has connotations that extend beyond that, it cannot be ignored that you were actually using it appropriately (as opposed to inappropriately using it to describe someone with cognitive issues). Like many people here have said, words matter but context matters too and I think a lot of people focused on the word in isolation and not its actual usage.

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  129. jenny: The idiot/imbecile/moron nomenclature was actually first used in 1910 and persisted, horrifyingly enough, into the middle of the century.

    But yes, the point still stands.

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  130. Tit for Tat said...

    @Capt Bathrobe

    Bullies are not all made the same, some use fists, others use words.



    Well, there are bullies and there are people who sincerely care about this sort of thing. I'd like to assume good faith on the part of most people for whom this is a concern. It's a question of how people can respectfully disagree but still carry on a civil dialogue. One way to do so is to have rules of engagement--i.e., here's how we have agreed to deal with language issues without derailing a discussion. It's like when couples agree to have a discussion about one particular issue in order to avoid a "kitchen sink" argument, where all past resentments are dredged up and aired. Sometimes sincere, intelligent people have to agree to disagree and move on...for the time being. The challenge is how to do that without sweeping legitimate concerns under the rug.

    Such rules could also have the effect of shutting down bullies.

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  131. Bullies are not all made the same, some use fists, others use words.

    I find it amusing that you label language policing as bullying, but you don't label the marginalization of certain groups that language policing seeks to address as bullying.

    Wait, that's not amusing. That's hypocritical. My mistake. David would be the first person to acknowledge that words can be used to marginalize oppressed groups, and that a certain amount of language police is therefore justified. You're just trying to use his experience in this case to further your own agenda, which is "I should get to decide what does and doesn't offend unprivileged groups." That's not the way you frame it, of course, but that's what you and people like you are really clamoring for. You take umbrage at the notion that anybody should critique what you say, but you'll be the first to cry foul if somebody harms your sensibilities. Hypocrite.

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  132. Trip

    I dont mind so much you critiquing me. I take more issue with the fact that you like to insult me because I dont necessarily agree with your critique or position on certain things. The thing is, I know oppression, though I am supposedly one who has "white male privledge" I know oppression very intimately.
    Tell you what, stop calling me things like a
    "disgusting maggot" and you might be able to hear something.

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  133. Raoul,

    Yeah, I like cats too. Some days you just have to keep the discussion on that level, I guess.

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  134. marginalization


    Here's the thing Trip.

    I am the "man". White wealthy male who actually owns an industry family owned for generations business . That doesn't stop me from having an insane brother who tried to kill his family, or stop me from holding my parents hand as they died, and frankly I'd think about trading place with the middle class when it comes with dealing with their estate. It didn't stop me from having a child die of cancer, etc.

    I know my family has privileges that others wish they had, which turns to envy. Envy isn't a pretty thing. It leads to just what this thread is about meaning who can claim being worse off. It leads to people saying things like so what your kid died you have everything.

    People can be mean or kind, the only thing that is in your control is how you choose to deal with it. You can look up and say "why have you forsaken me, I give up", and put the blame onto someone else, or you can just do what needs to be done and stop worrying about what the other projects on to you.

    EVERYONE from the weakest human to the strongest goes through shit in their lifetime. You can always find someone worse off or better off then yourself.

    I'm a white male who is wealthy. That's three points on your privilege guide. I could be a white man who is poor and homeless. Two points?

    One thing I do know is if someone is going to have a panic attack because someone used the word idiot, that my friend is called natural selection and about the most un-feminist comment ever posted.

    I believe you are male? If so stop treating woman like they need to be protected by you! If you are female then stop being a prime example that people can point to to say "see, riding the pity party wanting others to make her life more comfortable.".

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  135. I am the "man". White wealthy male who actually owns an industry family owned for generations business .

    That does explain a lot about you. There's very little in your response that I consider worth addressing (class envy? Really? You're a dipshit), but there is this:

    I believe you are male? If so stop treating woman like they need to be protected by you!

    I'm not sure at what point you got confused about what we're talking about here, but what we're talking about is use of marginalizing language. I never said women need to be protected from that. This isn't a "women" issue at all. So your attempted accusation of white knighting is not only a strawman, but a completely incoherent strawman that appears to be born of actual stupidity rather than mere mendacity.

    I don't think you have the brainpower to deal with the content of Manboobz. I recommend Maxim magazine. It's aimed more towards your reading level.

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  136. Urg, doodz look, saying "You have privilege" =/= saying "Your life has been consistently awesome with no problems whatsoever."

    Pay attention to the definitions of words other people are using. That is, I believe, what this whole conversation is about.

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  137. Urg, doodz look, saying "You have privilege" =/= saying "Your life has been consistently awesome with no problems whatsoever."

    Thank you. I was considering posting yet again to say this, but you said it better than I would have. Especially since you managed to say it without unnecessary invective.

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  138. I don't think you have the brainpower to deal with the content of Manboobz. I recommend Maxim magazine. It's aimed more towards your reading level.(Trip)

    And there it is again. The meaness that you own. I have a sneaky suspicion if you could, you would love to use your fists too.
    Sally is right, we should pay attention.

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  139. Oh T4T, you are giving the straw feminists a run for their money in oversensitivity.

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  140. "..White wealthy male.."

    aaaand .... you just became an irrelevant non-person. Nothing you say or think, no hurt that you feel, no injustice that you experience is of any importance, because you have 'privilege'. You have identified yourself as the enemy, just for existing, so now anything you have to say can be dismissed without a second thought. If any of this sounds wrong to you, then it is obvious that you hate all women, and want to take away their rights.

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  141. you just became an irrelevant non-person

    Sucks don't it? Imagine being told that from the day you're born onward. Imagine that being the normal state of affairs for the type of person you are, for all of recorded history, with the exception of the most recent few decades.

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  142. So... you admit that there is injustice, the implication being that it is ok because what, it makes up for other injustices? This is evil thinking. Have you ever considered that any injustice is wrong?

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  143. Trip-Kave is not some troll who is here to pull a Nick.

    You two essentially agree on most things and your attacking him is unfair since he is just pointing out that he will speak his mind (as you do) without care to what people get worked up about.

    Kave-While I agree that if someone wants to be offended, they will be but I cannot imagine if I said politely to you to please not use a word that has very hurtful meaning for me, you would not stop. It is simple common courtesy to politely request someone not use a word and honour that request.

    I will also point out that if you really ARE offended by something, either make a single request and move on or keep the discussion to emails-derailing is just as rude as using offensive language.

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  144. I don't have the privilege to claim victimhood. Hence I am a victim.

    That explains a lot about me?

    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.

    I've spoken about what my wife has done regarding homeless men here before, (she's a real estate developer) Why would you imagine her work has never been in the public eye? The answer would be because if it was someone would decide that she should be meeting their needs instead of the people she decides to help. She has refused any comment to the press because of people like you.

    I know I'm lucky to be born into my family, but again everyone has shit. People like you put people into segregated boxes of what you call privilege or not without ever seeing them as individuals.

    It's what I dislike about the MRA's and from what you have shown me the feminist camp has these individuals as well.


    I've seen comments which I agreed with and said myself "show me this kind of idiot on a feminist site.. make your own blog about crazy feminists "

    Strawman... Trip etc has done it for you.

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  145. Sally

    I was just making an observation. Its an energy thing. Angry people have this sense to them. You know what I mean, dont ya?

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  146. This may seem like an off-the-wall, overly abstract, philosophical point, but I think the moment a discussion about values, ethics, or power becomes framed in terms of a quantitative metaphor (e.g., what is "more" offensive or who is "more" privileged), constructive dialog becomes impossible.

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  147. Elizabeth

    Of course.

    Real world: I might suggest that a person in the company should be fired.

    I could say it like :"They are a cancer and we need to remove them"

    I would not say that to someone who is dealing with cancer. But I would say it when that person dealing with cancer isn't in the room. There is a difference between empathy and manners and having your speech being dictated by the p.c police.

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  148. you just became an irrelevant non-person

    Sucks don't it? Imagine being told that from the day you're born onward. Imagine that being the normal state of affairs for the type of person you are, for all of recorded history, with the exception of the most recent few decades.



    What you are saying is because I am white and born into a wealthy family you are totally justified in hating me? Or perhaps confiscating my families property for the common good?

    Funny how envy works. There were a lot of people just like my family in the early 1940's in Europe. People perceived them as having more then they did. We all know what happened.

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  149. Exactly Kave.

    As for the non-Jews who were perceived to have more then other people, they all went on to pay 90% tax rates that led to Monty Python's Search For The Holy Grail. A seminal achievement in cinema that shows...we need to raise taxes on the rich.

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  150. I can't believe an MRA just compared whiny rich white assholes to the Holocaust. Jesus wept, get over your little stubbed toe.

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  151. injustice is justice
    freedom is slavery
    war is peace

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  152. kave, as has already been explained the panic attack was over the term butthurt. Butthurt reminded that particular poster of anal rape and she had a triggered episode. She also went on to explain that the reason that when she is at feministe she isn't prepared to deal with that bullshit. She prepares herself to go out into the rest of the world. That was her problem. You need to be a bit more sensitive to the trauma that rape victims go through here.

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  153. Ginmar

    I can't believe an MRA just compared whiny rich white assholes to the Holocaust. Jesus wept, get over your little stubbed toe.

    People in the mra feed my brothers delusions enough that he tried to kill my niece. I've spent 10 years following him on mra blogs, I'd rather my time was spent elsewhere.

    You called me a mra, and a whiny rich asshole. Why?

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  154. LOL@ pull a Nick

    Which is making me wonder what happened to our other good friend, Richard (AKA Random Brother). I am missing the lulz he gave us!!

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  155. kave, as has already been explained the panic attack was over the term butthurt. Butthurt reminded that particular poster of anal rape and she had a triggered episode. She also went on to explain that the reason that when she is at feministe she isn't prepared to deal with that bullshit. She prepares herself to go out into the rest of the world. That was her problem. You need to be a bit more sensitive to the trauma that rape victims go through here.


    I've never heard the term buthurt before.. Perhaps Ginmar should be a little more sensitive about calling me a whiny rich asshole?

    No I do not need to be a little more sensitive, not does Ginmar.

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  156. YOu whined about how you were rich, blah blah blah and how you'd love to change places with the middle class. Then you coyly referenced people getting their property confiscated in'Eastern Europe'.

    YOu really want to change places with the middle class? Well, here's your big fuckin' chance. Email me and hand over the check book. You can switch places wtih me, see how that goes.

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  157. ginmar

    Why do you feel the need to misquote me?

    Why is it ok in your mind to call me a whiny rich white asshole?

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  158. But it's not ok to use the word idiot.

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  159. Funny how envy works. There were a lot of people just like my family in the early 1940's in Europe. People perceived them as having more then they did. We all know what happened.

    That same type of motivation also spurred on a lot of the accusations during the periods of witch hunts and witch trials.

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  160. When I posted the comment about how Kave "just became an irrelevant non-person" I really thought I was using hyperbole, but apparently not. The response was, basically, "yea, so what?". I swear, with this and the feministe comments about 'idiocy', you can't even make a parody of this style of thinking because it already is one. This is part of what the MRN is reacting against.

    Sure, you can cherry-pick the most absurd, offensive, egregious comments from dozens of sites and paint a pretty dark picture, but I could do this with feminist sites as well. And I don't even mind it, I regularly get a good laugh from this site, I'm glad it is here - helps to keep a sense of humor about things and to temper the tendency to extremist thinking. A lot of the guys over at the MRM sites are damaged, hurt people who have been totally screwed over - they are venting their anger and pain in what they think is a safe space to do so, and some get carried away and do it in unproductive/offensive ways. Again, I'm pretty sure you can see the same thing on many feminist sites. My guess is that if they weren't men, the same people who attack them and mock them would be sympathetic and outraged on their behalf.

    I'm glad commentators here feel confident enough in their opinions to pretty much openly say that injustice, if it happens to a man because he is a man, is ok, apparently we deserve it. Thank you for your honesty. But this is exactly why an MRN is necessary.

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  161. Belated thanks to Johnny Pez for doing the chronological "evil feminist possibly made-up quote" list.

    Kave, your arguments would have been a lot more persuasie if you left the Holocaust out of it.

    On the issue of whether "protecting" people from nasty bigoted language is patronizing and ineffective (because in the real world they're going to run into it anyway), I would like to say, it really isn't quite that simple. There is a certain logic to making some spaces "safe spaceds," or at least relatively safe spaces, to give the people in them some respite from the sort of abuse they might run into in the real world. I do very little moderation of comments here, but I will delete those in which people use really nasty slurs directed at other commenters. Yeah, people do run into that shit in the real world, but, you know, there's no reason to let these sorts of bullies run wild in the comments here.

    But as the Feministe discussion shows, trying to make a space completely "safe" is really quite tricky indeed, and can lead to endless derailed discussions over what words might possibly offend someone. It can also lead to manipulative bullying on the part of the people who are ostensibly trying to keep the space safe.

    Given that the type of misogynistic stuff I write about and quote from on this blog is already going to be "triggering" to some people, there doesn't seem to be much reason to keep all of that sort of stuff out of the comments. In order to promote some kind of real discussion I leave the comments open to people who are misogynists and/or assholes, and so they're going to sometimes say misogynistic and/or assholish things. (And yes, people on "my side" here are also free to say assholish things, and they sometimes do.)

    Unfortunately, that means that some people who do get "triggered" by this kind of stuff aren't going to feel comfortable here. And that does trouble me, but there is simply no way to arrive at a solution that works for everyone. Leave things open, and people will have their feelings hurt (and that is a real problem; I don't want to dismiss that). Crack down and people feel they can't really express themselves freely (and that's a problem too).

    Though the discussion on Feministe infuriated me at times, it has made me think a bit about my reflexive use of some language (like "crazy") that might be unnecessarily hurtful to some people. I'm not giving up the term "idiot," and I'm not going to ban "crazy" here either, but, I dunno, the word "obtuse" is a pretty good word. Maybe I'll start using it a lot more often than some words I've used in the past.

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  162. Victor-we have asked again and again and again for the same kind of commentary to be shown to us that reflect what the MRAs routinely post on their blogs and websites. To date zero has been posted.

    And no one has said they affirmatively support injustice. Ignoring your comments is not saying they support injustice-nor have you paid attention to someone defending that so called "irrelevant non-person."

    Ginmar-Kave is not an MRA. He has personal reasons for having to deal with those people over the years and thanks to his family's wealth he has been able to protect some of his relatives from the type of crap that MRAs can cause to happen.

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  163. Um, Kave, I quoted you word for word.

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  164. "And no one has said they affirmatively support injustice."

    No, they didn't affirmatively support it, they just implied that it was deserved.

    "we have asked again and again and again for the same kind of commentary to be shown to us that reflect what the MRAs routinely post on their blogs and websites."

    I don't understand what you are saying here - for real, would you restate?

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  165. I dunno about anyone else, but I enjoy reading Kave's comments and have ever since I first read his comments at Spearhead, where he didn't pull any punches calling them on their bullshit. And I am glad that he discovered and joined our "community" here, as he calls the non-feminists who post here on their bullshit, too. But because he's doing so in a feminist space, does that mean that he has to turn hypocrite and not call self-proclaimed feminists, myself included, on their bullshit when he thinks they're pulling it?

    ginmar, you posted in the comments on another article here, "It's not the language issue at Feministe that's the problem: it's that they assume bad faith from allies". I agree. But how do we know who our allies are? Are they only our allies if not wealthy, not white or not male or not any combination of the three?

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  166. Kave is not the enemy here. Summing up someone's post as 'blah blah blah' is not quoting them word for word. The Holocaust reference was probably an unnecessary manifestation of Godwin's Law, but he's not the enemy just because he's wealthy. If anything, I remember Kave writing about how his wife's homeless shelter project directly helped more men than the entirety of men 'helped' by the MRM.

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  167. Victor-MRA peeps come on here, claim that feminists say the same kind of thing about men that David posts that MRAs say about women and then never provide examples despite being asked to do so.

    Sally pointed out that you should think of the fact that women have had to put up with being thought of an "irrelevant nonperson" for centuries. That does not mean she supports making Kave into such a thing-it means "think about this. Now you see what we are talking about?" Ginmar, well that one I addressed him or her directly.

    Clearer now?

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  168. victor, MRAS here and elsewhere have said it's unfair to focus on hateful posts and comments from MRAs, because feminist blogs are similarly filled with hateful comments against men.

    And so I and others here have asked some of the MRAs who have said that here to provide some examples from feminist blogs -- say, for example, some of those in my sidebar here. And the MRAs have never been able to provide any examples (except for one 4-year-old post on Jezebel which was admittedly pretty awful).

    But I challenge anyone to look at any of feminist blogs in my sidebar -- lets say over the past six months -- and show me examples of hateful anti-male speech similar to the hateful anti-female speech I find so often and so easily on the biggest and most popular MRM/MGTOW websites.

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  169. Shit, I called this blog a feminist space when its not my privilege to call it anything as I'm not the "owner" of the blog. Please accept my apologies.

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  170. Also, I second these comments about Kave. Yeah, the Holocaust comparison was a bit much, but Kave =/= bad guy.

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  171. It did let me make a Monty Python reference so it was not all bad David and Lady V.

    We need more Monty in our lives.

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  172. David

    Not at all, one of the main reasons why Jews were so easily targeted in the 1930's within the depression was because they were considered to be the bankers. We forget that the Germans were in a state of panic to the point of food shortages and even starvation when the Nazi's came in to give them something to blame for their plight. People like to have someone else to blame,

    I hope I didn't come off as whining. (I'm being sarcastic) The point I was trying to make was two point. One: Everyone can claim victim status if they try hard enough. Two It's not a contest. Or at least it shouldn't be.

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  173. We need more Monty in our lives.
    AND more POPCORN!!!

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  174. Pam, no problem. I'm not sure what kind of place this place is, actually.

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  175. BACON flavored popcorn!!!

    And David-it is obviously a bacon flavored popcorn Monty Python repository.

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  176. And if I can interject a bit into the 'Finding Hateful Feminist Quotes on Blogs' project by re-quoting victor:

    "A lot of the [women] over at the [feminist] sites are damaged, hurt people who have been totally screwed over - they are venting their anger and pain in what they think is a safe space to do so, and some get carried away and do it in unproductive/offensive ways."

    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.

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  177. BACON flavored popcorn!!!
    YES!!!!! Wait......do they have such a thing?? If not, they SHOULD!!

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  178. It is really expensive apparently but yes Virginia, I mean Pam they have Bacon Flavored Popcorn.

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  179. @ Pam:

    They have bacon salt, so you could always salt your popcorn with that!

    http://www.baconsalt.com/

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  180. I should say again that this blog has been a blessing for me. I've had ten plus years of having to read through comments that literally made me sick sometimes, sometimes I would laugh, and sometimes I just had to bite back.

    Finally people are laughing with me. It feels great.

    Please don't make this a "safe space".

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  181. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm..... thanx, guys, for the recommendations!! LOVE bacon!!

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  182. Kave, I understand your broader point about victimhood but I think you're grossly oversimplfying German history here.

    On the "everyone can be a victim" issue, yes, oppression is a very complicated thing, and people who are privileged in some arenas are victims in other areas. And I do find pissing contests over who is the most victimized to be generally counterproductive.

    But I do think we can say that in rough general ways certain people ARE more victimized than others; we sort of have to make this judgement in order to understand the world. Yes, we are all human, and the death of someone close to us is going to hurt us tremendously even if we have lots of money. Yes, men have various issues they face because they are men.

    But women have more issues to deal with than men. The poor have more issues to deal with than the rich. So do racial minorities.

    That's not to say that, say, rich white men have no problems, or that they are somehow immune to problems that face all human beings (physical disabilities, mental illness, you name it). But we can't ignore the privileges that rich white men have either.

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  183. Pam, no problem. I'm not sure what kind of place this place is, actually.

    LOL, I don't know either, but it's sure a fun place to be!!

    Please don't make this a "safe space". Oh geez, I second that motion! If Feministe is an example of a "safe space", I'd much rather be here!
    With bacon flavoured popcorn!!

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  184. 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.

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  185. BTW, David, I like the way you run your blog. I don't think there's a need for more feminist safe spaces on the web--there are already plenty. Here, I can engage with people who are actively anti-feminist on a more or less even playing field--which would NOT be the case if I were to go comment at Spearhead, or if Nicko were to (try to) comment at Shakesville. I find it stimulating and educational, if also frustrating at times. I think you're on to something here. So keep it up!

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  186. Sally

    I was just making an observation. Its an energy thing. Angry people have this sense to them. You know what I mean, dont ya?


    Nope, I have no fecking idea what you're talking about. You think Trip wants to use his fists, because he maligned someone's reading comprehension level? Nah. I don't see it and I don't actually believe that you think that. I think you're just trying to stir shit up. Like you did in the previous thread when we went over and over the patriarchy thing, only to finish with you asking the EXACT SAME QUESTION that began the thread in the first place, just as if you hadn't been paying attention to anything at all, except what you yourself were saying.

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  187. With bacon flavoured popcorn!!

    The Power of Bacon! (Compels you!)

    And I like that this isn't a "safe space". Although the bacon talk is now making me hungry.

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  188. Kave: I could say it like :"They are a cancer and we need to remove them"

    I would not say that to someone who is dealing with cancer. But I would say it when that person dealing with cancer isn't in the room. There is a difference between empathy and manners and having your speech being dictated by the p.c police.


    Please understand that I'm not at all trying to police your language, Kave, or call you out on it either. But one thing struck me as I was reading this, and I wanted to address it. Assuming, as you seem to, that referencing a cancer in front of someone who you know to have cancer might be uncomfortable for that person, I'm not sure why you say you'd be fine making the same reference when that person has left the room. Part of my understanding about people is that I don't always know what everyone's going through all the time. Even if I've known them for years. Even if I talk to them every day. They still might have secrets--a recently diagnosed cancer, a miscarriage, a rape, an institutionalized aunt, a disabled brother.

    Again, not trying to change the way you speak. I'm sure you've been doing it for years just fine. Just putting the idea of an expanded view of empathy and kindness out there.

    And yeah. I also generally like the nature of the comment section here. Obviously. I also just realized that the two options for the cat poll are OK and OK. I like cats OK.

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  189. But women have more issues to deal with than men(David)

    I think this is where the problems creep in. Do they really have 'more' issues or just 'different' problems?

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  190. And David-it is obviously a bacon flavored popcorn Monty Python repository.

    HUZZAH!!!

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  191. SallyStrange said...

    BTW, David, I like the way you run your blog. I don't think there's a need for more feminist safe spaces on the web--there are already plenty. Here, I can engage with people who are actively anti-feminist on a more or less even playing field--which would NOT be the case if I were to go comment at Spearhead, or if Nicko were to (try to) comment at Shakesville. I find it stimulating and educational, if also frustrating at times. I think you're on to something here. So keep it up!


    Seconded, thirded, and fourthed.

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  192. Kave:

    Yes, you're absolutely right about victimhood--everyone can cast themselves as a victim and it should never be a contest. If bad stuff has happened to you, that's bad. Period. Even if worse stuff happened to other people.

    But several of your comments (here and here) seem like you're just listing all the stuff you've had to deal with. And when you say that sort of thing, of course people are going to respond by pointing out other people who have had to deal with worse stuff.

    For instance, you're never going to garner sympathy by talking about how you had to pay estate taxes.

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  193. Sally

    Nope, I actually believe Trip is an angry somewhat violent individual. I just dont think he expresses it physically. Though he may if that were an option.

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  194. I just dont think he expresses it physically. Though he may if that were an option.

    See, this is what I'm talking about. You contradict yourself within the space of two sentences. You're incoherent. It's unnecessarily provocative. You have zero, zip, zilch evidence, besides your woo-ish "energy thing" for thinking Trip is a violent angry person. You're just stirring the pot. It's obvious and it's stupid. Knock it off.

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  195. Sally

    Am I not allowed to interpret his verbiage as aggressive and angry? If so, why am I not?

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  196. You can interpret his "verbiage" in any way you want. How is me telling you that your interpretation has no evidence besides your stupid woo-energy thing behind it preventing you from interpreting anything? Interpret away. Just know that I think your interpretation is silly. And designed to provoke. Go ahead, show me that I'm wrong. Provide some evidence--a quote and link, for example--besides "it's an energy thing" for why you think Triplanetary is the type of person who'll lash out with his fists, "if that were an option."

    If I call you a disingenuous pot-stirring jackass, does that make me a violent angry person?

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  197. Here is one of Trip's comments. I wonder if he meant me when he said 'certain men'

    Feminists aren't a bunch of man-haters who want to go around kicking men in the nuts. Certain men, perhaps(Trip)


    Violent
    caused by or displaying strong or undue mental or emotional force: a violent tongue.

    Sally, if the shoe fits.

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