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  1. BStu
    BStu March 4, 2007 at 4:48 pm |

    At least he didn’t call you skirts.

    Ilyka’s take is absolutely right. If you aren’t part of the problem, then don’t act like they are talking about you. You can’t discuss a problem if you spend all of your time listing the exceptions so those people know they are an exception. How much would a class learn if a teacher had to spend all of her time excusing people from class? The entitled classes just need to suck it up on this. I know I’m not a sexist or racist white male. But even I can stand to learn something from the critiques of sexist or racist behavior. Because I don’t think I’m perfect. I know I might be doing things or thinking things that betray prejudices I don’t hold or don’t want to hold. Looking at myself and my behavior is an appropriate response. Not getting all bitter and annoying by trying to flaunt my innocence.

  2. ilyka
    ilyka March 4, 2007 at 5:46 pm |

    ‘Cause, you know, none of that is actually hateful.

    Oh, man, I almost responded to that one when A Different Brad cross-posted it at Sadly, No! That one broke my heart because previously, for about 2 minutes, I thought he was halfway to getting it. And then he laid that little turd.

    But I mean, is it rocket science that you don’t address a queer transguy, the author of the post at which you want to comment, as a “sorta lady,” and then complain that your comment didn’t make it out of moderation? What the fuck did you expect there, assface?

    Thanks for the link. I’m always a little embarrassed when all I have to post about is a conversation I had about freakin’ blogging, which says more about my nerdly quality of life than I’d like it to, but it’s nice to know it’s been appreciated.

  3. Lesley2
    Lesley2 March 4, 2007 at 5:48 pm |

    well, as you know…reading Twisty’s post has made me think twice, and Coulter — a maggot chewing on the rotting corpse of human enlightenment is a far superior take down than “skank,” “whore,” and “transvestite.”

    Ironically, someone recently said in a SN! thread:

    Given the choice between being called a fatassed cunt or being called a racist (or sexist or homophobe or a war mongerer-enabler or so forth) I know which one I’d pick.

    Insult the size of my butt or the shape of my genitals all you want, but I’d rather not have my character insulted.

    So, given a choice, I hang with people who will probably call me a bitch, or a twat, or whatever once in a while – but will NEVER call me something that’s seriously offensive.

    Seems simple enough to me.

    Simply idiotic. If being called a cunt has less impact than having one’s character criticized, then why opt for that cheap shot when it comes to a sadistic individual you want to take down?

  4. Dharmaserf
    Dharmaserf March 4, 2007 at 6:13 pm |

    V has a response post to this blow-up here: http://www.violentacres.com/archives/117/maggie-and-the-client

    I sympathize with everyone she is talking about here– the manager, who is accused of racism and V her supportive friend. However, I also sympathize with the black women who may or may not have been systematically dominated by burocratic bullshit for years because of her class and race, and is fed up and takes it out on unsuspecting Maggie.

    However, V’s rant about this, in the politically incorrect post misses the point, and wades into innorance. I posted at another blog what I think is part of the history of PC:

    Political Correcteness (PC) was a name given to a very powerful concept that, yes, came out of French feminism AND the insight of other french thinkers like Foucault et. al. The idea was that knowledge IS power and that power structures disseminate themselves in pervasive and insidious ways like language. The idea is that if we can change how we speak to eliminate the way those dominating structures play out in everyday language then we can meaningfully combat those very structures.

    Then in the history of things, people gave this idea a name, PC, and actively interpreted language to understand how these things things play out and combat them. So, some loose “rules” about language were disseminated as counter-political activity against dominating language.

    The next step in the history of things is that the “rules” became distanced from the theory that spawned them and people lost the understanding that made PC what it was and not only did PC get out of control, but so did the backlash against PC. This backlash is a simulacra of criticism because it doesn’t attack the theory, but attacks the “rules” without any understanding of why or how they got there in the first place. For these simple souls, these “rules” are arbitrary and an attempt to control them (which, in a way, is correct–it is the attempt to manipulate them into actually being thoughtful, respectful, and most importantly, ethical langauge-users). As such, I think the criticism of the backlash is right on target. The sustained opacity of knee-jerk critiques of PC does nothing but show the entitled, privilaged, problematic positionality of those who undertake it.

    YMMV.

  5. amanda w
    amanda w March 4, 2007 at 6:16 pm |

    Hey! It’s me!

    Again I have to reiterate that it’s damn annoying when people fail to face up to their privilege. And that’s really all this is about, in the end.

    I think some people will come around to it in time, when tensions are long since forgotten and they can look at the issues themselves, rather than getting all wrapped up in feeling implicated in oppression. I’ve had those sorts of moments myself. I try not to get too put-off by some of these commenters — I’m an unedumucated newb to all this myself, have made plenty of my own mistakes, and I know that the process of learning is life-long.

    But still, there are other people out there who really just don’t care about the struggles of the “other” in the first place. They’ll latch onto safe positions that enjoy popular following, but when forced to start using their critical thinking skills and digging deeper into things that — guess what — they just might have a stake in — they balk. Because they didn’t care about you in the first place. It was just another issue they could use to feel more righteous than the next dude.

  6. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne March 4, 2007 at 6:17 pm |

    Predictably, this got up the nose of some liberal dudes who felt personally slighted and came into Twisty’s comments to tell her how personally offended they were, and to mutter darkly about how feminists better shape up, ‘cause liberal men might just withdraw their support from feminist causes, and then where would feminists be?

    I was thinking about that this morning, and I’ve decided to call it, “Shut Up and Get Me a Sandwich Liberalism.” It’s all the guys who go, “Hey, you’ve got the vote and I’d let you get an abortion any time you wanted. Now shut up and get me a sandwich.”

  7. Jeff Fecke
    Jeff Fecke March 4, 2007 at 6:23 pm |

    1. The Chris Rock bit was never done better than on “The Office.” Steve Carrell delivering it transformed it rather impressively from perhaps amusing to shockingly racist–funny in the situation, of course (because it’s funny to watch someone make an ass of themselves, and Carrell is a fairly fearless comedian), but the joke’s not funny coming out of the mouth of a white man.

    2. I used to mock Ann Coulter’s looks and mock her as possibly transgendered; I do less of the former and none of the latter these days.

    It’s tough to avoid going for a shot at Ann Coulter’s looks when she spends so much of her time taking shots at liberal women’s looks. Her USA Today column of three years ago (the one that starts out with her being at the “Spawn of Satan Convention”) was just incredibly misogynistic. It’s hard to lay off firing back the same way at her. Probably for the best if we do, though–Ann’s appearance is not nearly the worst part of her, and if we could see through straight to people’s inner lives, I misdoubt Ann’s soul would appear to be far more terrifying than her outward appearance.

    The transgendered thing was a cheap shot, and frankly, pointless, and only hurts the transgendered by making it. Ann Coulter should be so lucky as to be just your average transgendered person (which is…surprisingly like just an average person) and not Ann Coulter. Meanwhile, I would hate to be part of any group–male, female, transgendered, blonde, what-have-you–that would be compared in any way to Ann Coulter. That’s almost as bad as being compared to Dick Cheney.

    3. Don’t think that there aren’t times still where, as a man, I wince at some rhetoric here–heck, it took me until about 2006 to get over my instant revulsion at the term “patriarchy,” even though it’s a perfectly valid description for the way society functions to keep people In Their Place. But I decided long ago that I’d read people based on the merits of their arguments, and not dismiss anything out of hand. And let’s face it: the feminist part of the Left Blogosphere is filled with incredibly smart, extremely talented, and truly passionate writers, and if you give that a chance and read even the things that do make you wince–especially the things that make you wince–then you’re all the better for it.

    Yes, feminism helps men, too, but I think the thing I’m happiest about is that it helps my daughter–who’s four now, and already asking me questions about what boys can do and what girls can do. If you’ve ever heard your daughter ask if it’s okay for girls to like dinosaurs–nine months after your daughter started liking dinosaurs–then you stop worrying about whether something might hit to close to home, and you start worrying about how it is we’re still in a place where my daughter is somehow getting the message that she isn’t supposed to like dinosaurs–because they’re for boys.

    Probably it’s still selfish, but I want my daughter to have an equal seat at the table. I don’t want her to be in a subservient position. And while we’ve come a long way toward that in forty years, there’s a long way yet to go. And I know that the people whining about how sometimes their feelings get hurt by reading feminist blogs aren’t the ones who are going to get us there.

    As always–keep up the good work. And sorry for the rant. :P

  8. Lesley2
    Lesley2 March 4, 2007 at 6:24 pm |

    I just want to add that the woman who penned the comment (cited above) about preferring having “cunt” hurled at her, received a hearty round of applause from various men in the thread who are only too happy to have one of the gals approve! This is almost as good as finding a female lawyer to represent you in your rape trial. Ok, that was inflammatory of me. :)

  9. Lauren
    Lauren March 4, 2007 at 6:36 pm |

    I just want to add that the woman who penned the comment (cited above) about preferring having “cunt” hurled at her, received a hearty round of applause from various men in the thread who are only too happy to have one of the gals approve!

    Well, hey, she’s one of the good ones because she’s just like one of the guys. (Until it matters.)

  10. Dharmaserf
    Dharmaserf March 4, 2007 at 6:39 pm |

    Also, I really like Mildred’s analysis. I think she clearly articulates how a discourse of resistance (e.g. PC) can so easily be co-opted by dominating structures these days. I would argue that a similar thing happens with capitalism as well–any resistance to it eventually becomes co-opted into its structures (e.g. Che t-shirts).

  11. FlipYrWhig
    FlipYrWhig March 4, 2007 at 6:53 pm |

    If you aren’t part of the problem, then don’t act like they are talking about you.

    I don’t think this is quite… well, I hate to say “fair” because then it seems like more white-guy whining in this case.

    Because blogs are so adversarial in nature — a feature I’ve seen on baseball ones as well as political ones — people are primed to take offense, challenge back, etc. To respond at all, short of saying, “right on!”, runs the risk of coming across as complaining or special pleading. So to be a member of the group under discussion (white liberal men, LGBT, fat people, etc.) and then to want to participate in the conversation is almost necessarily to act like “they” are talking about “you,” and that’s when nastiness or defensiveness tends to erupt.

    After rereading, I guess that pretty much goes without saying, but, so be it.

  12. Jillian
    Jillian March 4, 2007 at 7:04 pm |

    Hey, I was the one who made the comment above. I stand by it.

    You know, I was going to link to the thread in question, so that it would be possible to see that there is nothing even vaguely resembling a “hearty round of applause from various men in the thread” on it – but then I realized that if I did, it would probably do nothing but perpetuate this ridiculous kerfluffle, and I’m not interested in doing that.

    If you’re curious, I encourage you to look it up, and come to your own conclusion as to whether it was accurately represented in the comments here.

    I’m also the person who made the comment on the earlier thread here on this topic about not even feeling that I can speak in public about the things that keep me from identifying with feminists, and was told by a really kind commenter that I’m not doing feminism any favors by not speaking out.

    Nothing that I’ve seen happen here in the last few days, aside from that one comment, has done anything to give me reason to revise my opinion that topic. Especially not the sort of inaccurate representation of events I see here.

    I’m not looking to be abusive or hostile, and not even really looking to be “argumentative”, except in the most technical sense of the world possible. I just wish there were a way for people who take your approach to feminism and people who don’t, yet still identify with the term, to have a substantive discussion on the topic. Right now, there doesn’t seem to be one, and it’s just hurting both sides here, which is depressing.

  13. exangelena
    exangelena March 4, 2007 at 7:04 pm |

    I think ginmar also posts on this topic sometimes, here’s one example.

  14. ellenbrenna
    ellenbrenna March 4, 2007 at 7:12 pm |

    Chris Rock also ran into what could be described as the classic Richard Pryor conundrum where “hip” white people felt free to come up to him and repeat what he had said in complete agreement.

    It cast his own words in a new light and he did not like it very much. He stopped doing that particular bit very soon afterwards. He mentioned it in a 20/20 Datleine Barbara Walters interview a few years ago.

    Can we just replace the word PC with polite? I think that would clarify the issue for some dense lefties who are laboring under the delusion that the same jokes they made in the 3rd grade are still funny.

  15. Kali
    Kali March 4, 2007 at 7:25 pm |

    I may regret posting this, but:

    FlipYrWhig, I don’t think you’re right. Plenty of liberal men post on feminist websites, even on I Blame the Patriarchy, without coming across all whiny like that. You just have to lurk a little and see how other people do it.

    And Jillian, you seem sensible generally, but at least out of context your quote does seem completely ridiculous. I mean, I too would rather be called a fatassed cunt than a racist, at least online. (in person I would likely feel a threat of violence accompanying the former.) But that is for the reason that I can just dismiss anyone flinging the former insult as being a worthless waste of space that I don’t have to listen to, whereas if someone called me a racist I’d have to stop and think about whether they were right.

  16. R. Mildred
    R. Mildred March 4, 2007 at 7:35 pm |

    Can we just replace the word PC with polite?

    As in “amanda marcotte is an impolite potty mouthed catholic hating bigot”?

    No. That’s been done already, no body liked it except the whiney assholes who complained about it oppressing their whiteness, hell, Kos and the FDL clowns are already highly adept at the “polite” RARR! anti-PCness RARR! stuff.

    Let’s not encourage them or give them even more excuse to whine about how they’re just speaking hip to power and suchlike and how you shouldn’t harsh out their Uber-Proggressive-becuase-they-say-so mellow man.

    I never wnat to see the blogosphere of the winter of 2006 again please.

  17. Lesley2
    Lesley2 March 4, 2007 at 7:36 pm |

    Jillian, when you say you’d rather be called a cunt (btw, has anyone you respect in SN ever called you that? Get back to me on how you feel if it ever happens to you…) than a racist or a homophobe (which you happen not to be…) , well Coulter would probably heartily agree with you. She can more easily turn the tables back on “cunt” than she can on specific citations of her racism and homophobia. That was my point, and yes you did receive a few kudos for not being a petty whiney-assed bitch like the whiney-assed bitches in feministe who didn’t respond kindly to the fat jokes.

  18. R. Mildred
    R. Mildred March 4, 2007 at 7:36 pm |

    Uh, that should have read;

    Kos and the FDL clowns are already highly adept at the “polite” bigotry stuff AS WELL AS the overt RARR! anti-PCness RARR! stuff

  19. Twisty
    Twisty March 4, 2007 at 7:54 pm |

    From Ilyka’s dialog-with-the-boyfriend post:

    “[T]he way you express things sometimes, isn’t it just making it easier for men to get defensive?”

    “No,” I said firmly, “What we aren’t doing is taking care of them. Nurturing them. Putting their feelings first. Looking out for them, making things safe for them. We aren’t making them the center. We’re talking just the way we’d talk, the way we do talk, when y’all aren’t around.”

    This brought a tear to the eye. How often I’ve been in a room of women, and then a guy walks in, and suddenly everybody’s behavior is completely different. And not in a good way.

  20. Jillian
    Jillian March 4, 2007 at 7:54 pm |

    Why does the “racist” epithet garner more serious consideration automatically? I teach at an inner city school, and I get called a racist three or four times a week by students who are mad because I won’t let them play their video games in class. I’m not saying it’s *never* worthy of consideration, but neither is it automatically such.

    Let me see if I can explain what I was saying a different way. People insult each other all the time. Some times it’s on purpose, some times it’s an accident. Sometimes they do it because they’re angry, sometimes they do it because they’re telling a joke, sometimes the joke works, sometimes it doesn’t (Remember, all of this started over a joke that some people do think is funny and some people do not think is funny – no endorsement of either viewpoint here, just a statement of fact).

    If someone gets mad and calls me one of those other terms, I’ll get over it. If someone tells a joke that involves some group I belong to and it rubs me the wrong way, I’ll probably call them an asshole – but once again, I’ll probably get over it. But if someone uses as an insult or creates a joke which states that I am a racist, or sexist, or homophobic, or so forth, that’s in a different category entirely. That’s not something to joke about, or toss out as a casual insult, no matter how mad you are. If you really think I am one of those things, I would hope you respect me enough to talk to me seriously about it, because it’s a big deal. If you are going to toss that sort of accusation around like pizza dough toward me, then I feel like you must hold me in the deepest contempt imaginable. It does a lot to close down effective channels of communication – to my way of thinking, it does more to close them down than an off-the-cuff “bitch” or the like does.

    I hope that makes sense.

  21. Lesley
    Lesley March 4, 2007 at 8:06 pm |

    Speaking solely for myself, the times I’ve read something that’s made me feel defensive have, on further reflection, been the times I’ve secretly been concerned that I was doing that thing or had done it in the past. Which sucks, because I’m not particularly unique – I don’t like to think I’ve been doing something wrong.

    The biggest turning point for me was a few years ago in a now defunct online politics club. I had made a stupid crack and was called on it. I got very defensive, insisting I hadn’t done anything wrong, that the guy who called me out on it was just being overly sensitive, fill in multiple parts of the Art of Defending Racism. However, after more thought on it, I began to think the guy had a point. Thinking about it even more convinced me that he did have a point, and I’d made a racist crack. This was difficult for me to admit, but it was true.

    At a later date, he made a sexist crack, and I called him on that. Unlike my initial reaction to him, he immediately thought about it, admitted his error, and apologized for it. That guy seriously transformed me. Prior to the club disintegrating, I did tell him that and thanked him. I’ve tried to follow his example ever since. It’s fucking hard to check my white privilege, so I get that part of how men feel when reading feminist blogs. But it’s just the right thing to do, and if the only reason you’ll do it is if feminists are nice to you, you’re not an ally in the first place.

  22. Jillian
    Jillian March 4, 2007 at 8:08 pm |

    Lesley, repeating an untrue claim does not make it any more true.

    But I’m not here to stir the pot, so that’s my last comment on that topic.

  23. Jillian
    Jillian March 4, 2007 at 8:10 pm |

    Sorry if the above is unclear – it was directed at the repeated claim by Lesley2 that a bunch of men had made approving comments to me.

    They didn’t.

    That’s all.

  24. kate
    kate March 4, 2007 at 8:12 pm |

    As tiresome and old all this explanation seems to so many of us, it raises its ugly head because it needs saying over and over and over until possibly someday the left gets it. Only then can we be a unified voice for change forward.

    As for Jillian’s comment. Misogynistic epithets don’t ring well with me as every time in my experience, when I’ve ignored them, (as most women learn to do lest they confront the horrible prevalence of women hating) whether in real life or cyberspace, I’ve come to regret it. Men who make such statements do indeed feel they hold the privilege of giving or taking power from women. To give them the benefit of the doubt on such serves as tacit approval of this power imbalance.

  25. FlipYrWhig
    FlipYrWhig March 4, 2007 at 8:24 pm |

    But, Kali, when the point of a post is to be provocative and to cause discomfort — perhaps justifiably and/or constructively so — aren’t the targeted people pretty much _supposed to_ complain? I think to say “don’t act like they are talking about you” gets too many people off the hook, when they’re _supposed to_ be on that hook. They *are* talking about you, and it stings, and it’s supposed to sting. In the blog world, silence is not a sign of engagement with ideas; participation is, and to be stung and to participate looks like defensiveness.

    I dunno, maybe I need to feel uncomfortable more often, and learn how to find nondefensive ways of dealing with that. But complicity ain’t easy to embrace — though I guess that’s also, you know, the point.

  26. defenestrated
    defenestrated March 4, 2007 at 8:25 pm |

    How hard can these realizations possibly be:

    1. If someone belongs to a group to which you do not belong, it’s safe to say that you lack their first-hand experience of being a member of that group, and

    2. First-hand experience is generally the most reliable kind of experience, so

    3. One’s experience of being a member of their group is far more reliable than yours, and therefore

    4. The ways in which members of a group describe the experience of being a member of their group should – at bare minimum – be acknowledged as accurate and meaningful.

    This applies to: men in conversations about feminism, white people in conversation about race relations, able-bodied people in conversations about disabilities…Just get that it isn’t about you and focus on the actual point. How hard? (Clearly, I lack Ilyka’s patience.)

    An example:

    Now don’t get me wrong, he’s got other material, and some of it is even funny, but the bit with the niggers seems to be the only bit that white people ever see for some reason, and way too many see that, go “woohoo!” and run off with some presumption of having license to divide “good” black people from those slave/scum/untermenschen/niggers and get attention from mommy by saying that oh so shocking word.

    zomg1!!!1! I’m white!! But I don’t do that!!1! Where do you get off saying white people do that?!?!? I too hate those entitled assholes.

    ‘Cuz really, how much more awkward would that sentence have been with the caveat those jerks want, something like “…the only bit that some white people, you know, the ones who’re assholes, but not all you nice white folks reading this, because I know you’re all awesome and you rock my world!!1!!1! ever see for some reason…,” stuck in there?

    (Yeah, none of my hypothetical silly people can manage exclamation marks. It’s sad, I know.)

  27. defenestrated
    defenestrated March 4, 2007 at 8:26 pm |

    I guess I should’ve known I couldn’t impersonate an especially wingy wingnut without flagging the modbot. :/

  28. Lesley2
    Lesley2 March 4, 2007 at 8:28 pm |

    Unlike “asshole, ” bitch” and “cunt” aren’t gender neutral and carry a very specific punch. Men on the receiving end of those words are almost doubly insulted by them. If I’m being an asshole and someone calls me on that (and many have!), I’m ok with that, but if they call me a cunt for being an asshole, the wall is instantly up. They’ve not only lost me completely, they’ve completely discredited themselves.

    In my experience, insults are more hurtful when they’re hurled by people whose opinion you care about. I’m assuming the students who carelessly and stupidly hurl “racist” at you are juveniles (in age). That, I’m assuming, might temper your reaction somewhat. It’s kind of like having your own kid shout he doesn’t love you when you give him a timeout. It may hurt a little but it rolls off the back, too.

  29. Lesley2
    Lesley2 March 4, 2007 at 8:35 pm |

    re what I said about men approving of Jillian’s comments, I stand corrected. I was going by my impression about the whole thread and should have double-checked comments that followed J’s, so my bad. I’m sorry for that. Call me an asshole. I will accept that! :)

    Re my first post that quoted J’s comment in its entirety, I stand by that. I don’t feel I was taking anything out of context by posting the quote alone. If I have, I’m sure you’ll let me know.

  30. Lesley2
    Lesley2 March 4, 2007 at 8:41 pm |

    And seriously, I would like – and need - to learn to behave more civilly. Although it’s common for people to routinely hurl insults (harmless and otherwise), when I think about my own behaviour I realize that whatever two seconds of pleasure and relief I’ve gotten out of insulting someone else has never made up for the pain I (often knowingly) caused.

  31. Jillian
    Jillian March 4, 2007 at 8:47 pm |

    Thank you, Lesley2. I really appreciate that.

  32. Lesley2
    Lesley2 March 4, 2007 at 8:48 pm |

    Yeah, well, I hear there was a lunar eclipse yesterday and all kinds of profound things are supposed to occur during such events…so I credit the stars ;)

  33. Isabel
    Isabel March 4, 2007 at 9:25 pm |

    This brought a tear to the eye. How often I’ve been in a room of women, and then a guy walks in, and suddenly everybody’s behavior is completely different. And not in a good way.

    This is really interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever had this happen to me–most of my best friends are guys (coincidence, I have plenty of girl friends too) and I act the same around them as around my girl friends (and they act the same around the boys also)–down to complaining about my period and giggling about crushes (sure, they shudder at the former and roll their eyes at the latter. But I’m totally there for them–even the ex!–when they need to discuss their own girl-woes so it works out).

    But then, maybe it’s a generational thing–I am 19, and one thing I am frequently thankful to feminism for is the fact that I do feel comfortable around guys to both hold my own against them when I need to and to develop truly close friendships with them. So maybe you can take some small solace in the fact that there is progress being made, even if it’s slow (and limited–I am also from the NYC area, where there are fewer people married to traditional ideas than in some other places). But maybe it’s cause for hope for the future.

  34. ilyka
    ilyka March 4, 2007 at 9:28 pm |

    Cuddle pile!

    I’m banned now, right?

  35. EJ
    EJ March 5, 2007 at 12:41 am |

    Well I’m a straight, liberal guy and I despise Ann Coulter with the same cold, ungendered contempt that I have for the likes of Bill O’Reilly.

    Do I get a cookie?

  36. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos March 5, 2007 at 9:04 am |

    Women — along with their poor relations, the transsexuals and the homos — are the lowest form of life imaginable. Liberal dudes might pretend that being gay is OK for somebody else, but don’t be mistaking them personally for somebody who takes it like a bitch. Liberals hate women — and queers — as much as the next oppressive class of assholes. And Ann Coulter’s just an excuse to let’er rip with impunity.

    Hammer, nail, bang!

    It is so nice to see someone else point out that liberals are part of the problem.

  37. soullite
    soullite March 5, 2007 at 9:20 am |

    Saying “You had better not forget your place, or I may have to withdraw my support, and you can’t get anywhere without my support” is just another way of saying “I never cared about helping you in the first place.”

    Perhaps it’s time to grow up and realize that that’s how political coalitions work. You don’t all have the same goals. You just can’t have goals that directly oppose eachother. When you start to have beliefs that are abhorrent to eachother, you kill the coalition. That’s why people generally have to paper over differences within their own political coalitions. Making trouble isn’t “not knowing your place” it’s “attempting to destroy a political coalition”. That’s why it’s met with such hostility from other members of the same coalition. You need to grow up and realize people won’t always see things your way and that they don’t really have to.

    Also, about the “not wanting to help you in the first place” line, that’s just completely wrongheaded. Seriously, if people ALREADY were most concerned about the issues that concern you the most they would ALREADY be part of your faction within the political coalition. That doesn’t mean they don’t think these issues have any value, or aren’t important at all. It just means that other people have different issues that matter more to them and if you oppose them on those issue, they will oppose you on the issues you care about. What do you expect, that they will simply ignore the fact that their issues don’t matter at all to you and keep on supporting the issues you care about?

    Seriously, for the past two weeks the only things I’ve seen on this site are attempts to divide our political coalition between those who completely agree with you all on everything, and those who don’t.

  38. belledame222
    belledame222 March 5, 2007 at 9:32 am |

    soullite, what the hell are you talking about? It isn’t a question of being “more concerned” about issues xyz; it’s a question of maybe making the slightest effort to not be a giant reflexive bigoted asshat. Especially when people ask you nicely, and then less nicely, but repeatedly, and clearly. Is it -that- complicated? I don’t think so.

    You know what I’ve been realizing over the last few days? 98.9% of the time, when people accuse other people of being too sensitive, too concentrated on their own issues to the exclusion of the Big Picture, too demanding in their quest to be Most Oppressed Of All, what they -really- mean is,

    “Now, -completely coincidentally,- the group that -I- belong to REALLY IS the most oppressed of all. Oh, sit down; I’ve got -so much to tell you…-”

    “Shut Up and Get Me a Sandwich Liberalism.”

    Nice.

  39. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos March 5, 2007 at 9:40 am |

    soulite: You don’t all have the same goals. You just can’t have goals that directly oppose eachother. When you start to have beliefs that are abhorrent to eachother, you kill the coalition.

    Isn’t there a bit of a double standard here in that using anti-gay and anti-transsexual slurs to attack Coulter is in direct opposition to my goal of reducing anti-gay prejudice? I don’t expert everyone to sit on speakers panels, man the support lines, or go door to door. I do expect my “allies” to refrain from directly opposing my goals by using anti-gay and anti-transexual slurs.

    soulite: Seriously, for the past two weeks the only things I’ve seen on this site are attempts to divide our political coalition between those who completely agree with you all on everything, and those who don’t.

    I think everyone needs to read Letter from a Birmingham Jail once a month. In it, MLK points out that he is not causing conflict, he is only making it visible. The real conflict was caused by those who treated African Americans as second-class citizens.

    I would say the real conflict here is between those whose support of LGBT rights is a matter of political convenience. The use of anti-LGBT slurs within the “coalition” is just as much a sign of latent heterosexism as Coulter’s use of the term “faggot,” and perhaps even more damaging because it says loud and clear that LGBT people coming out of the closet have no place in the “coalition.”

  40. kali
    kali March 5, 2007 at 9:57 am |

    FlipYrWhig– no, I really don’t think anyone was “supposed” to respond to that post that way. Twisty’s FAQ specifically says her comments are for “advanced blamers only.” By assuming that you were the target of that post you’re actually exhibiting one of the most annoying habits of male privilege, which is to assume that everything a woman says or does is somehow intended for your consumption.
    I keep flashing back to the last time I made a generalisation about all men.
    I’m standing in a queue for an ATM with a friend. We let some guy through the queue; he stops in front of us, eyes us up and down, does a kind of whistle-moan-breath thing, and smacks his lips. Walks on.
    Me: Did he have to smack his lips like that?
    Friend: Men are gross.
    Me: Seriously.
    And then I imagine some guy behind us in the queue was watching and listening and suddenly interrupts with “Hey! You can’t say that! Not all men are gross! I’m not gross! Women like you are the reason I’m not a feminist! Take it back!”
    Surely anyone can see that the hypothetical second guy is a huge bell end, that his interruption is ill-timed, his anger is misdirected, that he is doing as much as the first guy was to assert his patriarchy-given dominance over all women, and that the only response he deserves is a swear word. And that if he gets a rude response and starts whining about how mean we were to him, that he only deserves further rudeness, even if his friends appear to back him up and complain how mean we are too. Surely what the second guy should have done was think “Ugh, I hope I never come across all creepy and disgusting like that.” Or, if he had to say something, commiserate with “What a knob.”
    I’m not sure why it is less obvious in the case of the situation at Twisty’s; it is, somehow, though. But it’s actually quite parallel.

  41. Lesley Plum
    Lesley Plum March 5, 2007 at 10:06 am |

    It just means that other people have different issues that matter more to them and if you oppose them on those issue, they will oppose you on the issues you care about.

    What are the different issues that we’re opposing these guys on? I have to assume you’re not talking about making fat or transsexual jokes.

    Seriously, for the past two weeks the only things I’ve seen on this site are attempts to divide our political coalition between those who completely agree with you all on everything, and those who don’t.

    That is an over-reaction. Criticism is NOT the same as divisiveness. Like you said, we don’t all agree on everything. But if any time a criticism comes up, it’s going to be met with “ZOMG! You’re insisting on ideological purity,” what the hell? That reaction is a form of insisting on purity, because it says that any expressed disagreement on tactics is off-limits.

    In which case, who gets to decide what the most important things are? Tacitly, you’ve just said you guys do. On what basis? No one here said “You guys, out!” Or “We can’t work together anymore!” We all agreed that issues like torture and genocide were more important. What I’m getting from your comment, though, is an implied “Keep your mouths shut, or we won’t work with YOU anymore.” If I’m wrong, fine. It wouldn’t be the first time. Please clarify. If I’m right, I have to ask who’s actually destroying the coalition? We’re still willing to work with you on issues like ending torture and genocide.

    Where the coalition may fall down is on ending prejudice against LGBT people. Because if your tactic to end prejudice against LGBT people is by using prejudiced LGBT stereotypes, then, yeah. That’s a problem for us. Because we don’t think you can end prejudice by using prejudice. That doesn’t mean we’re not willing to work with you on other issues. You might grow up a bit yourself and realize that coalitions exist to work on certain goals, and members of those coalitions might well not work together on different goals. The problem is if one part of a coalition decides another part of a coalition is so heinous that they can’t work with them on anything. No one here has said that about you guys. I realize people have incorrectly inferred that, but that doesn’t make it true. It’s been stated numerous times that it isn’t true.

  42. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos March 5, 2007 at 10:23 am |

    I think this conversation would be much different if we were talking about an epidemic of liberal blogs using the n-bomb to talk about Condoleeza Rice rather than anti-gay slurs to talk about Coulter.

  43. Lesley Plum
    Lesley Plum March 5, 2007 at 10:43 am |

    And, now that I think about it, I see Atrios criticize Kevin Drum a lot. Sometimes not in the most polite fashion.

    And yet, not so much of the “Oh noes! Atrios is destroying the coalition!”

  44. Rob G
    Rob G March 5, 2007 at 11:03 am |

    I think you’re being oversensitive. And irrational.

    God, men are so emotional.

    That’s the most fascinating non-substance thing about the various threads in the last few days – some of the men very quickly adopted supposedly “female” attitudes. You could almost hear the sound of size 12s stamping, and see heads being tossed, lips quivering.

    Sitting reading all this stuff is doing nothing for my thighs either.

  45. FlipYrWhig
    FlipYrWhig March 5, 2007 at 11:40 am |

    Surely what the second guy should have done was think “Ugh, I hope I never come across all creepy and disgusting like that.”

    Right, I agree — but that’s still a function of hearing the comment about “men,” recognizing himself as a man who is covered by the statement, and then reacting. It might not be _intended_ for him, but that process you’re describing only unfolds after he hears it and has a shock of recognition. If he never has that shock of recognition, he’ll just continue blithely along, thinking, “Good thing I’m special, not gross like those other men they were criticizing.” And that just builds privilege on top of privilege, I think.

  46. Lauren
    Lauren March 5, 2007 at 12:00 pm |

    Or a joke that relies on the contemptibility of being woman.

  47. FlipYrWhig
    FlipYrWhig March 5, 2007 at 12:02 pm |

    Touché. Giving offense and taking offense are tricky.

  48. FlipYrWhig
    FlipYrWhig March 5, 2007 at 12:12 pm |

    I still think there are differences between insults and slurs, although maybe the dividing line is elsewhere than I would have thought. For example, Dan Savage’s redefinition of “santorum” relies on a strong reaction that would come pretty close to homophobia in the wrong hands. That doesn’t seem that different from the Coulter/trans jokes, but for Savage’s other cred. It’s an insult, but not a slur, to mock Bush for having a chimplike appearance. To do so is still frivolous — which was one of the big terms in the piny “GFY” post — and still takes the place of substantive critique. So not all insults are slurs, and not all frivolities are destructive or quietist.

    BTW, thanks for engaging.

  49. FlipYrWhig
    FlipYrWhig March 5, 2007 at 12:15 pm |

    Oops, left out a connecting piece of logic there — I meant to say that IMHO there’s still a place for insults in political discussion, even when they’re unproductive, because they’re fun, at least when aimed properly and used aptly.

  50. FlipYrWhig
    FlipYrWhig March 5, 2007 at 12:26 pm |

    the distinction between an insult and a slur is best determined not by the person throwing it, but by the person receiving it

    Yes, I absolutely agree with that, and I try to live by it in real life. Online, that can break down, alas.

  51. Frumious B
    Frumious B March 5, 2007 at 12:50 pm |

    I think Ilyka is my new blog crush.

    in need of a night in the Mug then my friend’s big ass double in Joss

    you know, I don’t even know what this means.

  52. anon
    anon March 5, 2007 at 1:31 pm |

    On that cunt vs racist/homophobe thing, here, this is comparing apples to oranges. Calling you a cunt is *being* misogynistic, not pointing out shortcomings in your own behavior.

    If you do some dumb shit, say call someone a nigger, and get called on it “Hey that was racist”, yes you should take that seriously.

    If you do some dumb shit, say call someone a cunt, and get called on it “Hey that was mysogynist”, yes, you should take that seriously.

    So…if someone calls YOU a cunt, how come you aren’t turning around and saying “Hey that was mysogynistic”?

    And if the guy wouldn’t even pause for two seconds under that scenario, what does that tell you about the person who recognizes the importance of being called on for specific behaviors vs the person WHO DOES NOT.

  53. Moira
    Moira March 5, 2007 at 2:11 pm |

    Dear M. Frumious,

    I believe that refers to the assumption that all any uppity woman needs is some relaxation (i.e. getting drunk) and then a good solid fucking. Because the penis, it has magic.

    Moira

  54. Cerberus
    Cerberus March 5, 2007 at 4:54 pm |

    Right, I agree — but that’s still a function of hearing the comment about “men,” recognizing himself as a man who is covered by the statement, and then reacting. It might not be _intended_ for him, but that process you’re describing only unfolds after he hears it and has a shock of recognition. If he never has that shock of recognition, he’ll just continue blithely along, thinking, “Good thing I’m special, not gross like those other men they were criticizing.” And that just builds privilege on top of privilege, I think.

    I think it can, and that should be a worry but here we start to run into recursion of all the introspectives that can lead to the same bloody problems.

    On the other hand, despite that unfortunate possibility there is still a distinct difference between Version A and Version B.

    Version A responds without thinking, without introspecting and with the iron-fast decision that he has nothing in common with first offender. At the same time, he has instantly identified as well and took a slight to one man as a slight to him.

    Version B at least introspects before dismissing. He may arrive at a wrong answer, ala “I’m not like that, thus those women should worship me, I rock.” But he’s still made that first step of looking into himself and asking “am I that asshole? Do I unfortunately have anything in common with him?”

    Not letting B off the hook, but I think it’s an important first step to get people in the habit of doing hard introspection and asking the tough questions of themselves. It can suck to think of yourself as enlightened and then find yourself thinking or responding in a way that’s racist and sexist, but at the same time it’s important to recognize when you do or else you’re never going to change.

    I think there’s never a bad time for proper introspection.

  55. TRex
    TRex March 5, 2007 at 7:36 pm |

    This may also explains why Chris Rock was gibbering crap with his “and then there are niggers” skit, because nothing quite says responsible, politically aware black dude quite like using nigger with the exact same meaning as it has when Klansmen use the word.

    Now don’t get me wrong, he’s got other material, and some of it is even funny, but the bit with the niggers seems to be the only bit that white people ever see for some reason, and way too many see that, go “woohoo!” and run off with some presumption of having license to divide “good” black people from those slave/scum/untermenschen/niggers and get attention from mommy by saying that oh so shocking word.

    No you don’t. Also, grow the fuck up already

    What the fuck? This was absolutely fine with you guys when Liza Sabater did it here:

    http://www.culturekitchen.com/liza/blog/theres_a_civil_war_going_on_with_black_people_and_

    So, let me get this straight. As long as its one of your friends saying something wildly stupid and offensive, it’s not racist?

    Nice. I’ll keep that in mind.

  56. Kathy McCarty
    Kathy McCarty March 5, 2007 at 10:08 pm |

    I have read and digested the ENTIRE 600 post thread, Twisty’s 128 post thread, and this thread, without commenting once (!)

    But now that I have come to the end of it all, I must say:

    Zuzu is a goddess; that’s some clear thinking and excellent brain usage she’s got going there

    Piny’s original post was on-target, and I SIMPLY CAN NOT BELIEVE the lengths to which the gentlemen in question (not Piny) were willing to go in order to defend themselves when a MOMENT of introspection would have settled the whole thing once and for all.

    I mean, how hard is it to say:”Wow, I really hate the idea of not getting to call Ann Coulter a hideous tranny, because I hate her so; but now that I think about it, you are right, I am insulting and marginalizing people I like, like YOU, Piny. I apologise for being an ass.”

    Bit NOOOOOOO! Can’t admit you are wrong, or even POSSIBLY wrong. SN could have just said, “I may be wrong. I will think about what you are saying.” I think this IS to some degree “a guy thing”. Not being able to admit you are/might be wrong. (I said “to some degree”. OBVIOUSLY, gals do it too)

    ALso, it is hard to make rules about humor; sometimes a cheap shot is SOOOO tempting that you go for it, even when the target is like, your LOVER or your MOM. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a cheap shot, and best avoided.

    Finally: I DO think it is a GOOD idea to not be like the wingnuts. Ever. If they are all about the shallow ad hominem arguments, we should eschew them. Yes, calling Rush a Pork Tuba is sort of hilarious; but it really isn’t that different than the N word or similar.

    It is hard to give up words like Lardass and Cunt. But we have to. Because they really really are just as bad as Faggot and Nigger. We are quite talented enough, as a community, to think up better new words (like Godbag and Sorry Sack of Shit!)

    What I would REALLY like to see changed, is the ideation BEHIND the words. I would really like for people to stop seeing each other as “less than” when they are not straight white males.

  57. TRex
    TRex March 5, 2007 at 10:58 pm |

    B) Am I required to keep track of everything Liza writes in the event you’re out there, obsessively trying to catch us in some kind of “gotcha” moment? I am not.

    No, but I figured a bit of turnabout was fair play since your entire raison d’etre on the web seems to be lecturing other liberal bloggers about their “gotcha” moments. I thought it was only polite to return the favor.

    C) As you are well aware, dear TRex, having advised Liza not to sass her “betters,” Liza is a black woman. R. Mildred’s quote concerns the reaction of white people to a Chris Rock routine. Am I entitled to tell a black woman how she should feel about a comedy routine by a black man concerning the difference, as he sees it, between black people and niggers? I am not. Nor, for that matter, are you. But I can certainly give white people my opinion that just because Chris Rock says it, that doesn’t make it okay for them to do it.

    I like when you thrash around in shallow hypocrisies and double standards, dear. It almost makes your writing fun to read.

    Run along, now. Shoo, shoo.

    Nah. I like it here. You guys crack me up. While Rome burns, you’d rather nip at the heels of people who are trying to push the movement forward, whip yourselves into self-righteous frenzies, and create massive tempests in tiny teapots. All the while completely oblivious to your own pettiness and hypocrisies. It’s delightfully entertaining.

    And it’s cheaper than cable.

  58. TRex
    TRex March 5, 2007 at 11:11 pm |

    Well, since there was no actual “gotcha” involved here, I really don’t know what your point is.

    The point is that your outrage is highly selective and seems to only be applied to people and organizations that you already have a problem with. You’re just as much of a hypocritical attack dog as Bill Donohue, using your trumped up charges of sexism and racism to attack people you dislike while ignoring what’s actually important.

    Is it sufficiently punk rawk for your tastes? Not too Guy Lombardo?

    Actually, it’s more like endless repetitions of the Indigo Girls’ album of 60′s cover tunes, but that’s okay. I guess.

  59. JackGoff
    JackGoff March 5, 2007 at 11:17 pm |

    You’re just as much of a hypocritical attack dog as Bill Donohue, using your trumped up charges of sexism and racism to attack people you dislike while ignoring what’s actually important.

    Oh, what horseshit. Throwing allies under a bus is not the same as bigotry, and you fucking know it. Fuck that noise, with your comparisons to actual bigots while you defend blackface and tranny jokes. Yeah, because whining about “persecution” against Catholic dogma is the same as criticism about actual bigotry.

    You know, never mind. Don’t fuck it. Just spout it at your own blog, asshole.

  60. TRex
    TRex March 5, 2007 at 11:24 pm |

    I have never, ever urged our commenters to go after the tranny angle on Ann Coulter, and in last night’s thread made them stop. I posted about it here:

    http://www.firedoglake.com/2006/08/25/late-nite-fdl-you-should-see-my-scars/

    But of course, to characterize me as sensitive to the feelings of transgendered people or otherwise responsible would conflict directly with the two-dimensional cardboard cut-out of my political views that you’ve erected in your head, wouldn’t it? But of course, you only cherry-pick my work for things that will back up your prejudices and preconceptions, so why bother?

    But yes, I do have Important Things to Do. My Late Nite post has gone up at FDL and I have to go commune with our thousands of readers.

    You guys are welcome to join us, but I don’t think you’d have much fun.

  61. JackGoff
    JackGoff March 5, 2007 at 11:24 pm |

    Throwing allies under a bus is not the same as bigotry,

    Um, sorry. should read “Throwing allies under a bus is the same as bigotry”

    I need some rest, it seems.

  62. evil fizz
    evil fizz March 5, 2007 at 11:35 pm | *

    My Late Nite post has gone up at FDL and I have to go commune with our thousands of readers.

    So take your fucking cookie and commune away. (Commune definitely being the right word for the echochamber hivemind.)

  63. JackGoff
    JackGoff March 5, 2007 at 11:36 pm |

    Well, TRex, on, it might be best not to come back here and whine. Just a suggestion.

  64. liza
    liza March 5, 2007 at 11:36 pm |

    Ah! The lapdog.

    Zuzu, honestly, I don’t know why you put up with him. Oh, yeah. It’s the pageviews :D

    I have not read any of the threads in question but I am assuming it has to do with hurling “tranny” at Ann Coulter. If this is true, and you think “tranny” in that context is comparable to what Chris Rock is arguing about (and to which I am agreeing with) in his comedy bit, then … well … you are indeed a waste of time.

    Let me anyway write an explanation … you know, for your edification and betterment : When a black person calls another a nigger (as opposed to “their niggah”), we’re talking about the opposite of an Uncle Tom. We’re pointing to the kind of minstrel show that has violence instead of submission as it’s theme. Lot’s of thugs may think they’re revolutionary but to those of us who can tell the difference, they’re just Uncle Toms with grills and a few faked scars.

    Not that you would understand why minstrels (just as lapdogs) are so problematic.

  65. TRex
    TRex March 5, 2007 at 11:41 pm |

    So please spare me the righteous indignation.

    That goes both ways, honey-pie. I could say the same to you many, many, many times over.

    Good night.

  66. liza
    liza March 6, 2007 at 12:39 am |

    btw zuzu,

    the “you” of my previous comment is meant for the lapdog.

    arf, arf.

  67. Lauren
    Lauren March 6, 2007 at 11:25 pm |

    Is T-Rex seriously here to tell us how to handle our business? T-Rex?

  68. Lauren
    Lauren March 6, 2007 at 11:30 pm |

    Fuck that, little ladies, and get down to the important shit.

  69. Kathy McCarty
    Kathy McCarty March 7, 2007 at 2:40 am |

    Is somebody calling me a lapdog? :D

    seriously, guys, I thought my stunning wrap-up of the situation was going to be the last word
    HAR HAR HAR
    I kid

    (WHY does TRex think this is ALL ABOUT HIM?

    IIRC, the major playas were Sadly, No-guy, Piny, Zuzu, Ilyka, this guy who was defending Sadly, No-guy…..Hotty McNaturepants chimed in early….barely remember TRex being there.

    ALthough he MAY be reacting to my criticism of Guys who will NOT for a MOMENT consider the possibility that they may be Wrong.)

  70. Kathy McCarty
    Kathy McCarty March 7, 2007 at 2:43 am |

    liza: it is against the RULES to comment until you have read ALL THE THREAADSS!!!

    See you in a coupla days!

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