7 things @ 11 o’clock (7.2)

1. This is what a hockey stick graph sounds like when played on the cello.

2. Pam’s House Blend is closing shop. Thank you, Pam Spaulding. Bravo for nine years of smart, funny, honest, courageous truth-telling. And I’m looking forward to whatever it is you do next.

3. Eric Metaxas is a silly, silly man. As Michael Sean Winters says, the right-wing activist and professional moralist is: “Two parts politician, three parts marketing guru and one part evangelical Christian. A toxic mix.” Metaxas is a wanna-be intellectual using a flawed biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer as the pretext for playing dress-up in the German theologian’s heroic courage. Just as Bonhoeffer stoof up against the Nazis, Metaxas says he is standing up against Teh Gay — and so, in his mind, we must defer to him as Bonhoeffer’s heir and equivalent.

Well, this would-be heir to Bonhoeffer is also a Breitbart-fan, and based on the false claims he has “learned” from that epistemic circle-jerk, Metaxas recently broke ties with the Evangelical Immigration Roundtable because he thinks it’s a front-group funded by George Soros’ global conspiracy.

Or, in other words, the Man Who Would Be Bonhoeffer wants to restrict immigration because he fears a shadowy international conspiracy of Jewish bankers. Will any of that make the gatekeepers at Christianity Today less likely to continue fawning over Metaxas as a Serious Man of Seriousness? It won’t, but it should.

4.America’s Worst Charities” is a terrific piece of reporting by the Tampa Bay Times. Read the list, avoid being taken in by these scam-tastic frauds. But note that these groups are just exactly that — frauds and scams. That may not be the same as the worst charities.

The Times’ main metric here is “cash paid to solicitors in the past decade” — comparing how much money these groups are taking in from donors to the tiny percentage they’re actually giving out as charitable aid. That’s one form of bad charity. Another form efficiently puts most of the donations it receives to work on its mission, but that mission does harm instead of benefiting the common good. Think of the anti-safety, anti-worker, anti-environment and anti-government “Club for Growth.” They’d score pretty well according to the Times’ criteria, but they’re still flat-out evil. Club for Growth isn’t the same kind of scam. It’s just evil, selfish rich people banding together to protect the interests of evil, selfish rich people no matter how much damage they do to everyone else.

5. It’s your June edition of the Biblical Studies Blog Carnival. And Jim West seems to have noticed that the last few editions of the carnival have been mostly male, so here’s his all-women supplemental/alternative BSBC.

6. Fuller Seminary’s Burner blog looks at the prospects for more “faith-based” and “family friendly” entertainment (noting that these are, in fact, separate categories). It’s an interesting discussion that includes some candid honesty — such as that evangelicals can’t lament foul-mouthed entertainments like Seth MacFarlane’s Ted because we went to see it along with everybody else.

But the post comes to a depressing conclusion: When Hollywood produces “content that is family-friendly or faith-based, you’re going to pay money to see it. Then buy it from the home entertainment division. Then buy the books and toys along with it.” Even if you “have little interest” and even if it’s not “compelling” storytelling.

That’s bad advice and also, I think, bad theology. Settling for dull, safe, tepid storytelling is a kind of sin. If the only good thing that can be said about a piece of art is that it is unobjectionable, then it’s still not worth anyone’s time or money to produce or to endure. If you don’t like the stories Hollywood is telling, tell better stories. Subsidizing bad art doesn’t glorify God, and patronizing bad art only makes us all less capable of producing better work.

7. and here’s some e.e. cummings. because i like e.e. cummings.

dive for dreams
or a slogan may topple you
(trees are their roots
and wind is wind)
trust your heart
if the seas catch fire
(and live by love
though the stars walk backward)

"Ugh. Now i gotta donate for feeding the weed"

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  • Baby_Raptor

    Sorta off topic: So ya’ll remember a couple posts in this series back, the fundie courtship questionnaire?

    Well, the boyfriend and I have been working through it. His mother heard me telling him about it on Skype, asked what we were talking about, and then made him promise we’d “look it over and see if we learned anything from it.”

    The first thing we learned was that it’s ~423 questions because it badly needs an editor. Multiple questions are asked 3 and 4 times. “Do you want kids?” was asked, asked a second time with a pre-assumed answer of yes, and then asked a third time with “within 2 years of marriage” tacked on as an afterthought.

    We also learned that what people wear at public pools is an “issue of morality.”

    In the actual usefulness department, we’ve learned that we have some conflicting ideas on children, so there’s that.

    We’re only 200someodd questions in thus far. I’ll report back again if anyone else is interested.

  • themunck

    Interested, so do feel free to report ^^. And yeah, I only skimmed the first 100 or so, and even then I think I saw a duplicate or two.

  • http://kingdomofsharks.wordpress.com/ D Johnston

    There may be more questions than it appears as well – some of them are split into multiple parts.

  • Persia

    I actually think the re-asking of the kids question is a good idea, if possibly an unintended consequence. First time, you might say what your partner wants to hear. Second time, it’s asked a different way and something might be different.

    The public pool questions sound hilarious.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I’ve heard that questions like that are often control questions used to detect consistency among answers and factor in whether or not the person being asked is legitimately answering the survey or is just doing it for shits and giggles.

  • Lori

    That’s true for professionally constructed surveys. There are ways to use variations of the same question to test whether the respondent is paying attention or telling the truth.

    In this case I think it’s safe to say that someone just didn’t proof read all that well or thought that the question was important enough that it should be discussed more than once. (There’s probably some truth to the 2nd one.)

  • Arresi

    Huh, that’s interesting. I didn’t realize you could do that with a survey. Any suggestions on where I could find more information about how professionals design surveys and survey questions?

  • Lori

    Sorry, I’ve been out of psych way too long to have any resources to hand. I’d just try Googling. Although I’m not even sure how best to phrase the query since Google wasn’t even a gleam in anyone’s eye when I was studying this stuff.

  • Arresi

    Now, see, I knew I’d missed something by not taking any psych classes while I was going for my history degree. Thanks for the quick reply!

  • Lori

    I’m sure that other disciplines that use surveys do the same thing, so you don’t have to look just at psych. Although psych does tend to ask questions that people are motivated to lie about, so they may focus more on it than some other folks are.

  • Baby_Raptor

    It was the first question under the header “Moral Standards” and it read “What are your views on public swimming?”

    I assume it’s a modesty type question, but I really have no idea how to begin to answer it other than “When I was a kid, I really liked the diving board.”

  • Persia

    That’s hilarious.

  • Lori

    A lot of fundies feel very strongly about 2 piece bathing suits. Very strongly.

  • Carstonio

    Barbara Eden’s navel was sometimes accidentally visible during the early seasons of “I Dream of Jeanie.” The network didn’t notice until a few viewers complained, and then it mandated that her navel be covered. I don’t get why female navels would be offensive. Not long before, “I Love Lucy” couldn’t even use the word pregnant.

  • Lori

    Seeing her navel leads to thinking about seeing her naked which leads to thinking about sex. ZOMG!!! SEX!!! NOOOOOO!!!!!

    It’s not much more complicated or sophisticated than that.

  • Carstonio

    The original Star Trek series revealed much more skin on its female guest stars without showing navels. So hypothetically, the fundamentalists would be OK with a skimpy two-piece swimsuit that covers the navel with a vertical strip? Conversely, they would object to a body stocking that had a small hole for the navel?

  • Lori

    The fundies I know object to showing a lot of skin in general, not to the navel specifically. Bikinis, especially thongs, get all the press these days, but a really skimpy one piece would also be right out.

    Depending on the exact believes of the people who wrote the test, the “correct” answer might be that a woman shouldn’t swim in public with adult men who are not related to her, regardless of what kind of suit she’s wearing.

  • Carstonio

    And of course, they put all the responsibility on the woman to refrain from swimming with the men. Like the ultra-Orthodox communities that try to limit women’s place in society to shield men from them, instead of sensibly expecting the men to shield themselves.

  • Lori

    Yup, always.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    You know what keeps popping into my head WRT the ‘what are your views on public swimming?’ question?


  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    Some sects actually ban what is called “mixed bathing,” which basically means y-chromosome-having adults in the same water with non-y-chromosome-having adults at the same time.

    Theoretically this means that swimming in large bodies of water, such as the ocean, should be right out, since there is probably a member of the opposite sex in that water somewhere at the same time. I’m not sure how that plays out. Perhaps if you are not aware of the presence of the opposite-sex person, it’s okay.

  • konrad_arflane

    Something isn’t right in that first link. According to the article, “for every 0.5 degrees warmer a year was, the note would rise half a step in pitch”, and according to the video, “Scientists predict our planet will warm by at least another 1.8 degrees
    Celsius by the end of the century. This additional
    warming would produce a series of notes beyond the range of human

    But even if the first quote is in Fahrenheit, the predicted change is still less than 3½ degrees, corresponding to 7 half-steps aka a (musical) fifth. And the piece doesn’t go anywhere *near* within a fifth of the edge of hearing – which varies from individual to individual by a lot more than a fifth anyway.

    If I were a climate change denialist, I would *pounce* on this as demonstrating the appeals to emotion and lack of scientific chops of the climate change movement. But as I’m not, I’ll just wonder if the article correctly describes the methodology of the piece.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I assume it’s (the hockey stick graph as a musical tune) meant to be an analogy. There are limits to how far one should take them.

  • konrad_arflane

    I agree. Which is why it annoys me – as a musician who takes science seriously – when people take their musical analogies of science too far, as appears to have been done in this case.

  • Flying Squid with Goggles

    He converted the average global temperature for each year to a note,
    with a higher pitch indicating hotter weather. When he plays the data,
    the notes go up and down a bit, as you’d expect from normal variation —
    but the pitch of the song unmistakably gets higher and higher on

    Note that each note represents a year’s average, not the multi-year rolling average. So if the rolling average increases by 1.8˚C, then individual years will sometimes increase more than that, while other years will be less.

    I don’t know if it works out musically, but the year-to-year variation in temperature is rather large, and so may produce individual years with a much higher pitch than the rolling average’s pitch.

  • konrad_arflane

    Fair point, but I doubt it’d make a difference. The interval from the highest note of the piece to beyond the range of the highest-pitched musical instruments is at least a couple of octaves (12 degrees on whatever scales is used), and most people can hear quite a bit higher than that.

  • Flying Squid with Goggles

    I am a 100% musical ignoramus, so if we limit it to the cello, which is what he used, how high do the notes have to get?

    12˚C seems a bit excessive, the likelihood of a +12˚C year given a +1.8˚C rolling average increase is pretty small, given the historical record so far.

  • konrad_arflane

    Now you mention it, it may well be true that the high outliers, if the piece is written “in Fahrenheit”, would be beyond the range of a cello (although considering the possibility of harmonics, I wouldn’t quite count on it). The point is that there’s a long way from the upper limit of the cello to the upper limit of human hearing, so confusing the two is kind of a big mistake.

  • The_L1985

    My best guess is that this is a case of a logarithmic scale being confused for a linear one–like the idiots who insist that because the sound of normal conversation is around 60dB, and the sound of an airplane engine is around 120dB, that the airplane is only twice as loud as the people talking.

  • themunck

    Doesn’t help that logarithmic basic units are really nonintuitive. If you don’t know that dB=10*log(watt/initial watt), then you have no reason to assume that dB aren’t linear. :/

  • GDwarf

    Decibels get much easier once you teach people that every 3 decibels doubles the volume and give them some common noises to calibrate against. But until you learn rules-of-thumb like that log scales are incredibly unintuitive* and difficult, even the log10 ones, which are at least somewhat analogous to how most people count. Decibels also suffer from being decibels, as-in 1/10th of a bel, which just increases people’s confusion. Though full bels is easier to understand, being a log10 system**, but it’s never used. I understand why the system is set up the way it is (120 decibels is, if my math is right, 1.1 trillion times as loud as 1 decibel, making a linear scale somewhat impractical) but it seems like convoluted nonsense to most people, and it’s hard to blame them.

    *Whose brilliant idea was it to have a higher pH mean a more basic solution? I know how the scale actually works, but if we’re talking unintuitive systems…

    **…I think?

  • Alix

    Thanks for actually explaining all that. I’ve just learned more about sound volume than I ever managed to figure out on my own – even running across some of those “common sounds” comparison charts doesn’t necessarily make decibels make sense. :/ At least for me.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    If it helps, lower pOH means more basic.

  • themunck

    Which still doesn’t make sense, since pOH tracks [OH-], not [H+]. For those uninitiated, pH means -log([H+]), where [H+] is the concentration of Hydrogen ions. If we had just used log([H+]), then we’d have a scale going from -14 to 0*, so some bright spark decided to add a minus, giving us a nice scale from 0 to 14…with the stupid little point that now a low number means a high concentration -.-
    * Assuming room temperature, and that the hydrogen ions are dissolved in water

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It’s because of the way logarithms work on powers of ten for numbers less than 1.0; the pOH of 0.10 M sodium hydroxide is 1.00 because the log of 0.10 is -1.00 …

    I personally don’t have issues with the scale, since it’s based on a slight modification to the way logarithms behave.

    Also, H+ and OH- obey an inverse relationship to one another in aqueous solution, which is why low pOH means hgh pH. (well, for 25 degrees C, etc)

  • RickRS

    No, no; 3 decibels (dB) doesn’t double the volume of sound, it double the power. Human audio perception go by another scale all together.

    The perception of sound volume by humans is difficult to quality, but our perception of doubling the volume falls between 6 dB and 10 dB increase in power, depending on who’s talking. And 6 dB is power increased 4x from the reference, and 10 dB is 10x more power. Three decibels is actually only a slight change in volume to human ears.

    Sorry for the off-topic rant, but being a hard of hearing engineer in the severe to profound deaf range (~ 90 to 100 dB) who day dreams of being a musician, it just one of those things I researched years ago and know by heart.

  • Mark Z.

    Click through to the Ensia article and it says “Each ascending halftone is equal to roughly 0.03°C of planetary warming.” Sounds like Grist translated that to Fahrenheit and missed by a factor of 10.

    1.8°C / 0.03°C/half-step = 60 half-steps = 5 octaves. That would put it out of the range of human hearing. And they say the warming since 1880 has been about 0.8°C = 26 half-steps = a little over 2 octaves. Judging by his hand position that’s about right.

    Moral: If you’re popularizing any kind of scientific knowledge, you must understand numbers and units of measure.

  • Carstonio

    The Hollywood-rejecting evangelicals aren’t interested in telling better stories, since they’re really rejecting the concept of artistic expression. For them, a book or a movie is not about its creator’s personal vision, what the creator is trying to say. Instead, these folks see the work as propaganda, a vehicle for proselytizing. Because that’s how they see the world, with audiences as potential converts.

  • http://kingdomofsharks.wordpress.com/ D Johnston

    In that Burner post, they basically admit to all of that. But what I never get is why these people complaining about Hollywood never reach the logical conclusion – make your own films. Yeah, we were having a big ol’ laugh last week at EchoLight and their comically earnest films, but at least those people are doing something. We’re experiencing a sort of second Renaissance of independent cinema – if you hate mainstream entertainment and you have the resources to do it, there’s no real excuse to not make your own movies or shows.

    Of course, EchoLight showcased the problems with this approach, and it’s an issue with secular as well as religious independent films: You can’t just try to emulate Hollywood. If you go the indie route, you have to play to indie strengths – acting, writing, direction.

  • Carstonio

    why these people complaining about Hollywood never reach the logical conclusion – make your own films.

    Because their goal is not a separate genre devoted to promoting their values. They want Hollywood to promote only their values and no one else’s. It’s about cultural hegemony. Somewhat the same reason they want same-sex marriage banned, instead of admitting that such marriages aren’t being forced on anyone.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I can’t see the comment you’re responding to so I’m not sure of the context of your comment, but I will complain about Hollywood all I fucking please, thank you very much, and I will not make my own films because I do not have the skill set or equipment to make films nor the money to acquire same nor the budget for sets and props and actors. And I do not want to ban same-sex marriage; in fact one of my complaints about Hollywood is the lack of queer representation.

  • Carstonio

    D Johnston was partly echoing Fred’s point about evangelicals complaining about the lack of faith-based or “family friendly” films. Most of here recognize that the last phrase is really code for homophobia and anti-feminism.

    We’re not talking about individuals who rightly criticize stereotypical portrayals of women and minorities in films. Such critics are exactly right that these images perpetuate attitudes that in turn perpetuate artificial disadvantages in society.

    A big difference is that this group seeks to reduce privilege and increase inclusiveness among films, while the evangelicals we’re discussing seek to perpetuate privilege and increase exclusiveness. I know of no feminist film critic who wants Hollywood to feature only female protagonists, or a gay critic who thinks children shouldn’t be exposed to straight love on screen.

  • http://kingdomofsharks.wordpress.com/ D Johnston

    I can’t see the comment you’re responding to so I’m not sure of the context of your comment, but I will complain about Hollywood all I fucking please, thank you very much

    Thanks for that. I do so appreciate being called an asshole by people who haven’t read what I had to say. Makes me feel very welcome.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You wanna point to the exact place where I called you an asshole?

  • danallison

    If you think Hollywood lacks “queer representation” you’ve been on fucking Mars for a couple of decades.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Come again?

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    The audience is either potential converts, or already-Christians for whom the film will provide “inspiration.” And so it goes that many of the Christian films out there (especially those aimed at teenagers) are basically instructional videos on such pressing issues as How to React to Your Cruel, Unsaved Schoolmates or What to Do When Your Friends Aren’t as Fanatical as Your Are.


    I have critiqued such movies:





  • LMM22

    Settling for dull, safe, tepid storytelling is a kind of sin. If the only good thing that can be said about a piece of art is that it is unobjectionable, then it’s still not worth anyone’s time or money to produce or to endure.,,, Subsidizing bad art doesn’t glorify God, and patronizing bad art only makes us all less capable of producing better work.

    This. And it’s not just about “family friendly” entertainment, either — it’s about feeling the need to watch a mediocre film just because it’s your particular variant of sf-f or because it features female characters (!) or some such.

    “Voting with your checkbook” sounds great, but it’s ultimately disempowering for everyone involved.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Settling for dull, safe, tepid storytelling is a kind of sin.

    Someone should tell L&J that. Mining the Bible to put words in Jesus et al’s mouths to avoid needing to creatively develop their own way of speaking to 20th and 21st century people is the laziest dodge ever in fiction writing.

  • MarkTemporis

    I would put it in more universal terms: if you are a follower of a religion, and use your art to express your faith, it should be incumbent upon you to make that art the best art you can possibly make to glorify your god — anything less than your best would show a distinct lack of respect, would it not?

  • LMM22

    That’s true, but their version of the Final Judgement is hysterically funny once you realize that, to them, literalism means Jesus never paraphrases future conversations.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Wow, that list of worst charities. It’s eerie to realize that I’ve seen almost all of those around — door to door donation beggars, TV advertising, mail advertising…

    Makes me glad the only groups to which I regularly donate are for scholarships, grants, and Child’s Play Charity (which makes a point to state that they spend the entirety of every dollar on either buying things for kids or shipping what they’ve bought to kids). When the X-Box 1 developers announced their plans for massive DRM, I was actually concerned that CPC wouldn’t be able to continue buying them for hospitals. >.<

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    My problem with Child’s Play is that the Penny Arcade guys are assholes of the first order — assholes enough that I no longer trust them with a charity they started.

  • konrad_arflane

    I’m obviously not going to tell you where to donate your money, but it’s worth noting that AFAIK, the “Penny Arcade guys” who are, as you say, publicly assholes, probably don’t do any of the actual work running the charity these days (if they ever did).

  • caryjamesbond


    Here’s a rundown of the whole Penny Arcade thing. While I think they were wrong, I think they also got jumped on extremely hard for what was, in the beginning, a joke that got blown way out of proportion. Given what I’ve read of the internet reactions, it went from zero to a full on Social Justice Warrior Internet Crusade, and Mike and Gabe reacted….extremely badly. Notable in that timeline is A) mike and gabe stepping in to slap down some people that got way out of line, and B) Mike and Gabe reacting much better to people talking to them like rational human beings, instead of screaming accusations of being rape defenders and monsters.

    The moral of the story, I think, is that rational people willing to lay out their concerns get results, while foamy-mouthed-badger people tend to escalate the situation.

    The REALLY problematic stuff came from sources they had no control over- IE, random internet assholes. It appears that Mike and Gabe managed to shut down at least the worst one.

    Yes, Mike and Gabe did something wrong, but the situation was needlessly escalated and, notably, when smart sane people stopped in to educate them on their mistakes, in a polite reasonable manner, they reversed course. It’s also one of those scenarios where the original intent of their post, and the comic do have an impact.

    tl;dr: things are complicated, and reasonable people get results.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Do you mind not using the fucking tone argument?

  • caryjamesbond

    Look- “tone argument” like “intent isn’t fucking magic” is one of those statements that has gone from “useful rule of thumb” to “magical argument panacea.”

    Yes, sometimes people do use your tone as a reason to shut you down without considering your arguments, or as an excuse to ignore you. And that is wrong.

    But my entire point was that the people who screamed and shouted and the people who spoke reasonably used the same arguments about the same problems. But only one of these groups got results.

    Have you never worked retail? Never been screamed at by a customer? Never been treated like shit over a small mistake?

    Now tell me- when you made a small mistake, which customer got the better fix, the one that said “Oh, sorry, you overcharged me five dollars, see? Oh, no worry, its a mistake, just please fix it and I’ll be on my way!” Or the one that screamed for five minutes?

    Because when you treat people like shit, they don’t want to do things for you. They want to do the opposite, even when the opposite is the wrong thing to do. It’s human nature.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You wanna back up the assertion in the first paragraph? And the third while you’re at it. And I’ve worked fast food–that close enough? For the record, both sorts of customers got the same fix, because I knew how to do my fucking job.

  • caryjamesbond

    Ok- first paragraph:

    “Tone argument” and “intent isn’t fucking magic” are not laws of nature. And actually, Intent does matter. It matters a LOT. It’s the difference between manslaughter and murder one. If I’m in a crowded train and on a bump my hand hits someones ass, that’s an awkward mistake. If I’m on a crowded train and use a ‘bump’ as an excuse to hit someones ass, that’s sexual assault. If I step on your foot, that’s an accident, if I do it deliberately…you see where this is going. The physical result is the same- its the intent that makes it wrong.

    As for the third paragraph- mike and gabe said that they took a (well selling, if assholish) shirt down because of the people who asked nicely. One of the links there is all about a previous time when someone approached them nicely and they changed their approach.

    For the record, both sorts of customers got thesame fix, because I knew how to do my fucking job.

    Yeah, no duh. In my example above you give back the five bucks because- its’ the right thing to do. It’s their money and your mistake, regardless. But in any of the numerous retail jobs I’ve worked there’s always some sort of lagniappe you give out to the good customers- usually with managerial approval. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen managers give a polite customer a coupon, or a voucher for a free drink or SOMETHING, because- nice.

    Or for really the best example of why tone matters- scammers. Scammers and salespeople. All the best con artists do it with a big smile and a polite, cheerful tone because that’s how you get people to want to do things for you.

    I’ve done door to door sales, and made actual money doing it. And you do it by smiling big, shaking hands, and being happy and cheerful.

    High pressure sales doesn’t work. And cursing about something you want someone else to do for you is nothing more than very high pressure sales.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The difference between manslaughter and murder one is jack shit to the dead person. That is what “intent is not fucking magic” means.

    Wanna count the number of times I gave out free shit, or saw my manager give out free shit? Zero. Unless the free shit was a sandwich somebody walked out without, which happened once or twice, and why throw out the sandwich?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I think one issue is that people use the very specific legal usage of intent as a mitigating or aggravating circumstance and generalize it.

    An act itself is unchanged by intent behind it, but what is changed is the downstream train of events. A person with lack of ill intent will more often than not feel bad about it and make amends in some way and not do it again. A person with ill intent will probably put on the trollface and go “PROBLEM?”

    There was someone with a hugely involved discussion of the “intent is/is not magic” argument and I wish I still had it, but alas.

  • caryjamesbond

    Well yes, the manslaughter argument was deliberately extreme. But there are plenty of cases where people are still alive where intent matters. Premeditated ANYTHING- its the difference between simple, aggravated, and premeditated assault. These are all cases where intent really does matter, and to both parties.

    The law understands, and quite reasonably so, that in the heat of the moment, people will not always react ideally, and while we should hold them accountable regardless, perhaps our degree of retribution or interpretation of the situation should change in light of that fact.

    Anger makes people stupid. It’s made me stupid, I’ve done things while angry that in retrospect, were just bad ideas. Deliberately provoking anger in people you’re disagreeing with and then expecting them to react like you were nice is foolish. Then whitewashing your aggravation of the situation with “Intent isn’t magic” is just a cheap way for people to be able to say whatever they want in whatever way they want and ignore the consequences. To act as though they should get the same response for being a jerk that other people get for being nice is…,wrong.

  • konrad_arflane

    So you advocate removing the differences between manslaughter and murder one in the legal system?

    Turning to caryjamesbond’s other example, it’s my impression that the difference between an accidental touch and an “accidental” one often matters quite a bit to the person being touched.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The legal system deals with “okay, we have a dead person, what do we do about it?” Intent can and often should be relevant there. However, the phrase “intent is fucking magic”, which is what caryjamesbond is objecting to, is generally voiced by someone who is not concerned with “what do we do about it”, a person who is actively being or has just been hurt, a person to whom the distinction between intentional and unintentional hurt does. not. fucking. matter.

  • caryjamesbond

    Except, as Konrad points out, the reaction of someone who just got their foot clearly stepped on my accident and someone who clearly just saw me deliberately stomp on their foot is going to be very different.

    Look- people bump into each other, sometimes hurt each other. We all understand this.

    And the simple fact is that in the real world, we’re aware that these things are accidental, and that the person who has just been hurt, yeah, it does make a difference that is was unintentional. Not to mention non-painful but embarrassing contact, like I mentioned before.

    Are you honestly saying that you’ve never been in two situations, one where someone hurt you clearly accidentally, one where someone hurt you clearly deliberately, and you reacted differently in each situation? I’ve stepped on people’s feet by accident because hey- big feet, And their reaction was a lot different than any time I’ve hurt someone deliberately.

    Look, I’ve taken some pretty painful hits in my day. I’ve been accidentally whacked in the nuts and deliberately punched in the face. Being accidentally hit in the balls hurt a LOT more- but it made a difference to me that it was an accident.

  • Carstonio

    It’s even simpler than that – an argument that can be summed up as “intent is fucking magic” is an attempt by someone to make the issue about hirself.

    (edited to emphasize that I’m talking about the person claiming benign intent, not anyone else who uses the term to rightly criticize the claim)

  • EllieMurasaki

    If the issue is “Bob said a sexist thing in my presence; hi, I’m Abby and I’m a woman”, the issue is already about Abby. Abby pointing out that Bob not meaning to be sexist doesn’t actually mean Bob is not being sexist does not change that.

  • Carstonio

    I mean that if Bob claims benign intent, then he’s dismissing the impact of his words on others, as well as any accountability for saying them. It’s an act of misguided defensiveness. The same applies to any apologists for Bob, because they’re projecting their own defensiveness onto him. Bob wrongly assumes he’s accused of being a bad person, and while that could be true, Abby’s goal is for Bob to stop mistreating women with his words.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    In principle, maybe (I would still argue that you’ve gone wrong by moving from “is not magic” to “does not fucking matter”), but in practice, 9 times out of ten, “Intent isn’t fucking magic” is just a phrase people here like to pull out to silence someone who’s fallen into the trap of mentioning what they’d intended to do.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Sure it is.

  • Mark Z.

    “If your tone doesn’t get the results you want, try a different tone” is not the fucking tone argument.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yes it fucking well is.

  • Mark Z.

    Fine, then. If your tone doesn’t get the results you want, just keep doing the same thing over and over while complaining about the unfairness of the universe.

  • EllieMurasaki

    And don’t be fucking surprised when people fucking explode at you when you fucking question their fucking right to be fucking angry.

  • Mark Z.

    You always have the right to be angry. I don’t question that for a moment. Anger happens inside your head, and that space belongs to you and nobody else.

    The question is, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to yell at random strangers? Because that’s a social interaction. It does NOT happen inside your head. It has an effect on the world, and you should consider whether that’s the effect that you want.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Go back through history, Mark. When has anyone ever won expanded rights for an underprivileged group by asking nicely?

  • Mark Z.

    When has anyone ever won expanded rights for an underprivileged group by arguing in a comment thread?

    That’s the problem I have with all of this: you’re attempting to spin your posting of comments that use the word “fucking” five times per sentence (and Lliira’s perpetual slow-burning temper tantrum) as activism, and if it’s activism, then we have to get out of the way and let you do it, because didn’t we read Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, where he powerfully refutes the foolish “moderates” who told him not to take his anger to the streets?

    Except you’re not taking anything to any streets. You’re all fired up with anger, but you’re pissing it away at guys like me instead of finding your real oppressors and yelling at them. Or shooting them in the face, if that’s how you roll.

    I mean, I don’t even know what underprivileged group you’re claiming to speak for or what rights you want for them. That’s how effectively you’re communicating.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If your main concern here is that I’m misdirecting my energies, let me set your concerns to rest: my congresscritters get regular earfuls on assorted topics and my art has myriad social-justice themes. Strangely enough, that doesn’t diminish my ability to inform people, using as many or few swears as I please, that telling people to calm down before you’ll listen to them sounds suspiciously similar to telling people either that their anger is unjustified or that they need to shut up entirely–since if Penny Arcade actually did respond to polite criticism better than to angry criticism, then they’re a rare fucking breed.

  • caryjamesbond

    “When has anyone ever won expanded rights for an underprivileged group by asking nicely?”

    So….Gandhi doesn’t exist anymore? MLK, who, while firm, and righteously angry, was always polite and courteous?

    Tell you what- I’ll send twenty bucks to a charity of your choosing if you can name me one person that won additional rights buy calling people assholes.

    The difference, of course, between your ‘activism’ and their activism, is that in addition to ASKING, they took action. Boycotts, marches, rallies- things that involved getting off their asses and doing something.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You said his name yourself. MLK. I can’t cite him using the word ‘asshole’, but that’s not what I was talking about, so if you’re talking about the same thing as me then it can’t be what you’re talking about. The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network will do nicely as a place to send that $20. And the fuck makes you think I do nothing?

  • caryjamesbond

    Actually, no. Here’s how MLK referred to people policing his tone: “My Dear Fellow Clergymen:”

    Again, no one is complaining about your righteous anger. I’m saying there is a slight difference between expressing your anger firmly and with great fortitude, and sceaming obscenities. That’s why I wanted the citation of asshole, or similar levels of profanity, because anger, and hysterically shrieking curses are different.

    This is an ANGRY letter. This is not a hysterical, foaming-at-the-mouth-fuck-you-you-fucking-fucks letter. This letter got results. Your letters do not. Connections, I see them.


  • LMM22

    Speaking of content notices, I and others have made it very clear before that, for us, flame wars are triggering.

    So, yeah. There are reasons I don’t read Shakespere’s Sister, but Slacktivist is supposed to be a relatively safe (self-moderated even!) community.

  • EllieMurasaki

    And as long as people do not use the tone argument in my presence, I’m unlikely to explode.

  • LMM22

    And as long as … I’m unlikely to explode.

    No. No. No.

    No, it doesn’t fucking work like that.

    You are not allowed to threaten to do something that other people have told you is triggering because someone else does something that you personally find enraging. You are not allowed to trigger other people just because you aren’t happy with another commenter. Particularly in a discussion about piss-poor reactions to triggers.

    Either you care about triggers or you don’t care about triggers. If you don’t care about triggers, this entire freaking discussion is pointless. If you do care about triggers, then you really do have a responsibility to understand that other people find things triggering that you don’t — and that, more importantly, other people find *actions* triggering in ways that content may or may not be.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The reverse applies.

  • LMM22

    What? I’m not mentioning rape. I’m not mentioning anything.

    I am saying: Your behavior is seriously triggering to me. I know that I am not the only person who is triggered by such behavior. Slacktivist has, historically, been a relatively safe space — and you are threatening to destroy that for no reason other than your ability to express your rage.

    If me saying that you are triggering to me is triggering, then the concept of triggers is useless.

    You are acting *exactly* like the people you are blasting from Penny Arcade. You are happily stomping over other people’s boundaries because you can.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Things I am sorry for: hurting you.

    Things I am not sorry for: daring to be angry, daring to act angry while being angry, daring to assert that the tone argument is a bad thing.

    Things I am trying to figure out: whether ‘trigger’ applies only to things that invariably hurt and/or upset one or also to things that invariably enrage one. As you may have gathered, I’m leaning on the side of ‘you are not the only person being triggered by this conversation’.

  • LMM22

    whether ‘trigger’ applies only to things that invariably hurt and/or upset one or also to things that invariably enrage one.

    I think that depends upon whether you find rage to be pleasant or not. I don’t. I avoid it at all costs. I value not raging so much that I’ve been on mood stabilizers for the past fucking decade.

    You seem to find something redemptive in angry flame wars. I don’t. There’s a time and a place for anger, but that’s not against others who aren’t in positions of power and who can’t directly harm you.

    As you may have gathered, I’m leaning on the side of ‘you are not the only person being triggered by this conversation’.

    I have no idea what you’re trying to say here, but I’m going to repeat what I said previously:

    You have been told that I and others have been triggered by flame wars. Being insensitive to that is just as bad as the reaction by the Penny Arcade crowd that you’re up in arms about.

    And you said it in a previous context: Intent isn’t magic. So parsing your apology the way you did is meaningless.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I did not say a single thing about my intent. I said I am sorry for hurting you, because I am in fact sorry. I said I am not sure if I am being triggered on account of I am not sure whether things that induce rage count as triggers, because I am not in fact sure. I leave it to you to determine whether this is a trigger deserving of as much respect as yours.

    And I don’t know where the hell you got this ‘redemptive rage’ nonsense. Rage is not fun. Rage is not healing. Rage is painful. Rage means I cannot think past what I’m feeling or care about what anyone else is. I’m calmer now. I’m sorry I hurt you.

  • LMM22

    Thank you.

    The problem is, I have absolutely no idea how to express the fact that rage triggers me without pointing out that rage triggers me. If that constitutes a tone argument, then I think that it’s going to literally be impossible for you and I to both comment on the same forums.

    I think the real issue here is that saying that a particular means of expression is bad is *not* intrinsically a tone argument. Nobody is saying you can’t be critical, which is what the tone argument originally meant. But there is etiquette that needs to be followed virtually anywhere — and “don’t shout at a nice restaurant” is a totally acceptable argument, especially since it applies to everyone, not just to your side.

  • EllieMurasaki

    There’s a difference between ‘rage triggers me, try to calm down’ and ‘calm down so I can ignore you more easily’. It’s hard to see the difference when both are phrased as ‘calm down’ and nothing more, I admit, but usually the latter is phrased as ‘you’ll get better results if you calm down’ which is tone-policing bullshit. ‘Rage triggers me, try to calm down’ can be seen as tone-policing (and I think I must have seen it that way earlier, and I’m sorry for that too), but it’s not bullshit, it’s self-defense.

  • caryjamesbond

    There is nothing “daring” about any of those. No one is oppressing your right to do any of those things.

    They are however, disagreeing with you. Like other fundamentalists, you have trouble distinguishing between “disagreement” and “oppression.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    Know what, fuck you.

  • caryjamesbond

    And like all fundies, when confronted with the idea that maybe peaceful disagreement with your fundie ways is not the end of the world, you degenerate into shouting. Liberal fundies shout curses, Christian fundies shout bible verse curses. You’re like the preacher on my street corner.

    Notably, no one listens to him, either.

  • caryjamesbond

    Oh that is bullshit right there. If it was JUST the ‘tone argument’, then, yeah, maybe.

    But, off the top of my head things I have personally seen cause you to explode:

    Using the word ‘American’ to refer to the United States.

    Jokes that you misinterpreted, and then refused to back down on.

    Criticism of Kit Whitfield

    Anything you see as “cultural appropriation” including people from that culture using it.

    Any word you personally feel is upsetting


    Jesus fucking christ- any time anyone else has said anything that even remotely bruised your precious little SJW fee-fees, we all have to go around and beg your forgivness and listen to you lecture us about the first rules of holes and how important and special it is to take care of everyone fee-fees and PRIVILEGE and how being triggered is the most important thing to avoid and how we should trigger warn, trigger scan, trigger edit, moderate, everything to keep YOU from having to be triggered-

    And now, someone says the same thing to you, and you make excuses. You say oh its this, oh its that. No, I don’t have to change my behavior because blah blah blah, I don’t have to apologize because blah blah blah

    Shut up. You aren’t willing to follow your own damn rules, so stop pretending you’re anything other than a hypocrite half-assed ‘activist’ who thinks that reading blogs and arguing about words is the modern equivalent of marching on Selma.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Citation needed.

  • EllieMurasaki

    (If you want somewhere with no flame wars, try somewhere with actual moderation that includes the capability to penalize users who break the rules.)

  • LMM22

    If you want somewhere with no flame wars,

    And if *you* want somewhere where people aren’t going disagree with you and use the tone argument, go the fuck somewhere else.

    You? Are being an asshole. You are actively harming other people because you think that your ability to express anger is more important than the mental health of anyone else.

  • caryjamesbond

    Since you’re the one always flipping your shit about everything that doesn’t perfectly align with your ideals…..why don’t YOU try somewhere with actual moderation?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Citation needed. Also, have, actually. I like it better there. But there’s insightful commentary here too. Usually.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    And being told to be all nicey nice over serious issues, or seeing other people told to be so, is incredibly triggering for me. I am sitting here all triggered now, had a mini flashback and everything. So. You’re saying your triggers > my triggers. You’re also tsk tsking at someone for getting angry over rape apologism, rather than maybe looking at the rape apologism itself.

    And this comes back to the original point. Telling a woman who has been raped that she has to be extra careful not to offend the men who made a rape joke that fucking triggered her? That’s the side you want to be on? Wanna think about that for a few minutes there?

  • LMM22

    Telling a woman who has been raped that she has to be extra careful not to offend the men who made a rape joke that fucking triggered her?

    Telling a woman (who has been raped) to not trigger bystanders while arguing with someone over the qualities of a third party who happened to make a joke that involved a reference to rape that triggered a fourth party?

    Yeah, I think I’m totally okay with being on that side. This isn’t rape apology. This is rape apology twice removed. This is you two getting into a political shouting match on a residential street of an unrelated city at two in the morning — and I’m trying to tell you not to fucking pull out a gun.

    I’m not saying your triggers are less than my triggers. What I’m saying is that your reaction to a trigger should not be something that is harmful to a bystander. Which it is.

    I’m sorry that you’re shaking and having flashbacks. But you can get mad without fucking triggering everyone else.

  • konrad_arflane

    I… know about that. You’ll notice that i specifically agreed that they’re assholes. I only pointed out that they don’t run the charity themselves.

  • caryjamesbond

    Well, my point is that its more complicated than that. They aren’t assholes. They aren’t saints- they’re just people that made a mistake, and reacted badly when screamed at. Which is somewhat short of the evidence I need before I judge someone an asshole or cease to contribute to what is actually a pretty awesome charity.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    They didn’t just “react badly when screamed at.”

    1) They got sent a civil letter from a woman who was a rape victim, outlining what bothered her about the strip.
    2) They made fun of her position and said, “hah hah, look at this stupid person,” thereby sending their hordes of fans after her. And let’s not pretend they didn’t know that would happen. These guys are incredibly internet-savvy.
    3) Some of said hordes threatened to rape this woman, and sent her pictures of mutilated women.
    4) People said, uh, guys, your fans are doing this terrible thing. Can you tell them it’s not cool?
    5) They flipped their shit. And didn’t say a peep to try to silence people THREATENING TO RAPE WOMEN AND TALKING ABOUT HOW AWESOME RAPE WAS.
    6) They wrote a comic making fun of people bothered by rape jokes.
    7) Tycho wrote a post pretending rape culture didn’t exist and acting like it was some kind of stupid invention by stupid women, because he had never heard the term before so obviously it must not exist.

    Even if they had been screamed at in the first place, that would have been exactly zero excuse for how they acted. They did not say one word about how you really should not threaten to rape people. Oh, Gabe finally did when someone tweeted something to the effect of, “uh, how would you like this stuff if it were directed against your wife?” Then Gabe pretended that was a threat, and on par with the constant barrage of threats his attack dogs had been sending at rape victims.

    They had people supporting them talking about how awesome rape was. They saw it. And they said NOTHING against it. Instead they pretended rape culture didn’t exist.

    I really really really liked Penny Arcade. Yeah, there were strips I didn’t like, and frankly I never thought too highly of Gabe’s intelligence, but I liked his art and I liked Tycho. But what they did has no excuse whatsoever. These are well-off adult men who decided their pride was more important than the safety of rape victims. That is Not Okay. And we’re not talking about a zoning issue or something. This was over rape.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    There’s “intent isn’t magic” and then theres “abundant levels of proof that someone is not acting in good faith”.

    The latter applies to Tycho and Gabe because no matter how you slice it, the shit they got up to indicates that for whatever reason they decided it was more important to double and triple down on the initial problem at hand here.

    I’d be willing to be none of us would remember a damn thing about the dickwolves comic if they’d just been all like, “Um, our bad, do you want us to remove the comic or have a warning or something?”

    But no, they decided it was like the Strawberry Shortcake thing where they got bullied by a big company to take down a comic, and decided to respond with sarcasm and bullying of their own.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You know, there is the little issue of not obeying the laws of holes:

    1. They dug a hole which they did not stop digging. (dickwolves/semi-sarcastic don’t-rape-anymore/kerfluffle at the convention, etc).

    2. They did not put the dirt back in. (Their apologies are, at best, kind of half-assed)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I had no idea the two were connected. The reason I follow Child’s Play is because they’re local to me. ^^;

    (I was just writing about how I use the wrong words with similar beginnings? I just wrote “collated” instead of “connected.” Good thing I re-read before I posted.)

  • Mark Z.

    You could save a lot of time and just list all the people you don’t think are assholes.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Oh aren’t you cute. Don’t worry, you wouldn’t be on that list.

    The PA guys flipped out on a woman who complained about a rape joke in their comic. They encouraged people to troll this woman. Their followers were threatening to rape and murder her, and many people who defended her, and they did not once say, “hey, not cool.” It took Wil Wheaton stepping in for them to call off the hounds.

  • Asha

    Well. Even if you don’t give cookies for people being decent, that Wil Wheaton did so is still pretty cool. Is there a link here?

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Wil Wheaton is generally rather cool, and I would be happy to give him cookies. Though actually I can’t remember if we knew for sure that he’s the one who stopped it, or if that was the hypothesis adding a bunch of other things up.

    As for a link: most of it happened on Twitter. I’m Twitter friends with the women who were at the center of the storm, and also friends with lots of just generally geeky people who were epically disappointed in the PA guys, and it was all very seriously upsetting. But finding old stuff on Twitter feeds is beyond me. Oh wait, I think there was something on unfunny_fandom… yep, here MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNING: http://www.journalfen.net/community/unfunny_fandom/6995.html.

  • Ursula L


    Anyone who thinks rape is funny is an asshole.

    And anyone who thinks it is okay to threaten to rape anyone who calls out treating rape as funny is also an asshole.

    And anyone who thinks it is censorship to call out people who make rape jokes assholes is an asshole.

    And anyone who thinks it is censorship report to the police anyone who is making a threat of rape or other violence to the police is also an asshole.

    And anyone who doesn’t see a conspiracy to commit rape when many people make rape threats, and those threats are encouraged, to a single individual in a coordinated way, such as through a single blog, is also an asshole.

    But if you think that rape isn’t funny, and that jokes about rape fail as jokes because rape isn’t funny, and making jokes about rape marks someone as dangerous because they see rape as funny rather than bad, and if you consistently call out people who make rape jokes as people promoting rape and therefore bad people, then you aren’t an asshole on the issue of rape jokes.

    Which doesn’t mean that you can’t be an asshole in other ways. Being a genuine not-asshole can be hard work, in a culture which has strong assholish tendencies towards misogyny, homophobia, patriarchy, racism, etc.

    But recognizing rape as not-funny isn’t hard work, and there is no benefit of any doubt available to anyone treating rape as a joking matter.

    There is no possible context or situation in which rape is actually funny, and therefore there is no actual situation in which making a joke about or threat of rape can be excused for the sake of humor.

  • LMM22

    therefore there is no actual situation in which making a joke about or threat of rape can be excused for the sake of humor.

    … except that it wasn’t.

    The PA comic *wasn’t* “a joke about rape or the threat of rape” — it was a joke about the plight of NPCs that relied on the idea that rape is a horrible thing.

    Was the response assholish? Yes. But the original comic was not.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It still would have behooved them to add some kind of content warning before linking to it.

  • LMM22

    It might have. But, honestly, there are very few mainstream groups that include content warnings — and I’m sure that, had anyone thought they had to, they would have simply changed the line to some *other* form of torture.

    Again, I don’t think there’s *anything* to criticize about the content of the original comic. The response to the letter was an entirely separate issue.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Just a flat “the original comic was not [assholish]” doesn’t work. The original comic did in fact seriously upset some rape victims. There were other rape victims it did not upset. Now, unless you want to take the side of berating rape victims for being upset by rape jokes wielded by powerful men, you’re gonna need to find a different way to express that.

  • GDwarf

    Eh, the PA guys have some asshole moments, but they’re definitely better than most people. They also are willing to try to defend their assholism with reasoned arguments, and that matters quite a bit, I feel. At that point it becomes a difference of honestly-held opinions, which I can accept even if I disagree with them.

    Actually, I must confess that with one exception* I’m unaware of them doing anything particulairly assholish in quite a while. What have they done that’s raised in the internet’s ire?

    *Admittedly, that one exception is a bit of a doozy, but see above about reasoned disagreement. What I’m familiar with is the controversy over them making an indirect rape joke. Their argument being, essentially, that it hurt no one and that bending to public pressure to change something after-the-fact is just censorship by a different name. I don’t agree, but most of the other stuff I’ve seen from them vis-a-vis treatment of minorities is pretty upstanding, and I certainly have no reason to think they’d commit fraud with their charity.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    No. They’re not better than most people.

    It wasn’t the bare fact of the rape joke. It was what they did afterward. For which, see above.

    Oh, they were also going to sell “dickwolves” t-shirts at their convention, and proudly wear them. “Dickwolves” in the comic in question = “rapists”. Many women and men were telling them, hey wait, this is really sick, but ZOMG THEY WERE FIGHTING CENSORSHIP!!! so it was of course perfectly okay. A bunch of people defending them were declaring they had and were going to rape women. And Tycho said there was no such thing as rape culture.

  • GDwarf

    On the censorship thing: I’m curious*, do you think the argument is entirely without merit? That de facto censorship is different from the more traditional sort?

    I’m not going to pretend they’re saints, or even amazing examples of human beings, but one incident where the majority of the problem seems to be what other people did is not a hugely compelling case.

    But whatever. I’ve no desire to stick my neck out for them or to defend how they handle criticism. They made some offensive jokes and didn’t reign in their followers when things got out of hand. Alas, I think that might still qualify them as better than most.

    *Genuine curiosity here, not some rhetorical ploy. It’s a topic I have mixed feelings on and would like to hear opinions about.

  • Ursula L

    Yes, the argument is without merit.

    Censorship is the problem of the government, or an entity with a government-like level of power to punish for the undesired speech, suppresses speech.

    People pointing out that you’re talking about rape, and treating rape as something funny rather than something horrible, isn’t censorship.

    People telling you that you are doing something dangerous, putting the person who pointed out the problem in your initial failed joke in danger of being attacked and raped,by letting your followers know you are okay with the fact that they are threatening her with rape, isn’t censorship.

    Likewise, people pointing out that treating rape as something funny undermines actual efforts to stop rapists isn’t censorship.

    And people calling you an asshole for treating rape as funny doesn’t justify further rape jokes or selling tee-shirts as “fighting censorship.”

    People without the power to stop or punish you from speaking calling you an asshole when you say and do assholeish things is in no way censorship. It’s just more free speech.

    And, unlike treating rape as funny, it is truthful free speech, not the lie of defining sexual violence as funny.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I think in this specific case, the argument was 100% without merit.

    They sicced their dogs on this woman. People begged them to stop. They didn’t. They doubled down, again and again (Gabe worse than Tycho at first). Some of us were holding out hope that Tycho would come along and say something decent, but instead he made a post on his extremely well-traveled and hugely popular site claiming there was no such thing as rape culture and making fun of people who said there was.

    I don’t know how that is not a hugely compelling case of them being complete assholes and rape cheerleaders. Would they actually have to rape someone themselves?

    As for censorship, people on one side said, “that joke upsets me and here’s why, it would be nice if you wouldn’t make jokes like that.” People on the other side said, “I’m going to come to your house and rape you for voicing your opinion.” Hm. Which side is championing free speech again?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I still have no fucking clue what happened to those guys in that instance. Were they drinking funny water that month or something?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It is, at least in theory, possible to defend rape jokes without being a total misogynistic douche about it who calls on people to shame, berate, and threaten with rape those who object. For example, one could say “I appreciate your feelings in the matter, but my belief is that it should be permissible to make a joke of absolutely anything, especially the really vile things. But I respect your position and understand if you don’t want to read or promote my work because of this.” (I believe it should be permissible to make a joke out of absolutely anything. But I don’t find jokes at the expense of victims or the disenfranchised funny since I always imagine victimizers and bigots chuckling in agreement).

    But no one ever does that. Instead, every fucking time a man is called out on a rape joke, he responds by trying to call down the hammer of god to smite the “gamma rabbits” and “uppity bitches” who dare challenge his GOD GIVEN RIGHT to make rape jokes, calling anyone who will listen in joining him in acts of harassment and bullying. Even people who have otherwise seemed better than that. For some reason, if you dare challenge their right to make rape jokes, every fucking man goes utterly berzerk about it.

    One suspects that they know they done wrong.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I don’t really think one can make a funny rape joke, especially not with the way teenage and 20something males in particular abuse the word to mean everything from “I failed the exam” to “I got blasted off the map in Team Fortress 2”.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    They have to follow the “punch up, not down” rule: IOW, the victim cannot be the butt of the joke. Examples (trigger warning for obvious reasons): http://kateharding.info/2012/07/13/15-rape-jokes-that-work/

  • Mark Z.

    Well, no, not with the way young males use the word. But here’s a long conversation between a group of women, full of rape jokes. Read it. You’ll laugh.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Because young women can never possibly be misogynistic or further rape culture? No thanks. I’ve seen way too much rape cheerleading from women to want anything to do with women making rape jokes.

  • Mark Z.

    [Edit: You know, I was going to say something else here, but forget it. “Never argue with a fool, for whether he laughs or rages, there is no peace.” — Solomon]

  • reynard61

    The thing that disturbs me the most about that list is how many of those frauds/scams have the word “Police”, “Firefighter” or some other public safety occupation in their names. People distrust or hate government enough already and finding out that law enforcement may be connected to fraud — even if in name only — probably doesn’t help. You’d think that law enforcement agencies and Police and Firefighter’s unions would be concerned enough about public perception in regards to this to do a better job of making charities accountable when they use those words in an organization’s name.

    ETA: Okay…um…is there any specific reason *why* this post was downvoted? Is it the idea that charities using “Police” or “Firefighter” in their name should be held accountable for where their money goes? Is it the implication that some people will use their distrust of government as a reason to not donate to charitable organizations that are supposed to help them, but don’t? I’d be very interested in hearing the reason.

  • P J Evans

    I noticed that they’re all that or ‘children’ or ‘wish’. Part is to make you think they’re serious charities, and part is … well, a lot of people will give money to any group with one of those in the name.

    I always hang up on people calling from organizations with ‘police’ or ‘firefighter’ in their name: too many of them are boiler room operations.

  • reynard61

    Here’s an idea for the *ULTIMATE* charity scam name: “The Christian Police/Firefighter Children’s Anti-kitten-burning Wish Foundation”. Won’t you give today?

  • Alix

    Didn’t mention cancer, which is the other word that kept cropping up in that list.

  • Charby

    reynard61 — It’s not really clear from the article cited that these organizations are actually criminal in nature. As far as I can tell, they appear to be legitimate charities that are actually horribly inefficient, giving a tiny percentage of the money raised to the actual cause. I’m not if there’s anything that police and firefighters’ unions or law enforcement agencies can do to stop them as long as they are adhering to the letter of the law.

    Besides, you can do anything you want if you call yourself a ‘charity’. Trust me on this one!

  • reynard61

    Yeah, “Social Welfare organization” seems to be a pretty flexible term these days too…

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    GODDAMN IT FRED!!!!!! WHY LINK TO IACOBUS OCCIDENTALIS, FLAGELLUM DEI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Note: Iacobus Occidentalis, Flagellum Dei, considers atheists to be “people of color”.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    And he blocked me for supporting separation of Church and State.

  • MarkTemporis

    Didn’t you used to be kind of a fan of Gary North, who more or less believes most of the same things? I’ll note that of late you’ve been a more or less consistent atheist, which seems to conflict with a lot of your earlier posts.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    What do you mean by “kind of a fan”? I’ve always been a “more or less consistent atheist”. See my blog archives. See http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/thread-between-me-and-jim-west/ for where Occidentalis blocked me for supporting separation of Church and State.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Also, he’s a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    And he’s a huge hypocrite.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    And he’s staunchly anti-science.

  • konrad_arflane

    Um. Aren’t you usually some sort of libertarian?

    If yes, where do you get the idea that you get to tell someone off for a link they’ve posted on their own blog?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Aren’t you usually some sort of libertarian?


    If yes, where do you get the idea that you get to tell someone off for a link they’ve posted on their own blog?

    -My head? What kind of question is this? As though libertarians can’t make reccomendations not to do something. Bizarre.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Also, who’s downvoting my comments? Show yourself, coward!

  • konrad_arflane

    All-caps and elevenses isn’t the “tone of voice” usually associated with suggestions, you know.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    What are “elevenses”?

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Elevenses comes before lunch, but after second breakfast.

  • http://estneillaamata.blogspot.com/ JulianaSundry

    In this case, exclamation points in such quantities as to risk your finger slipping off the shift key in a way that may produce unpredictable numbers of 1s. (Or, in cases involving hobbits, what Rhubarbarian said.)

  • Ursula L

    The long row of exclamation points at the end of your original post.

    The numeral “1” is connected to the exclamation point “!” on the typical keyboard, because “!” is usually “1+shift.” There is a years- and decades- long running joke about a row of exclamation points devolving to “1” symbols and the number “eleven”, “11”, as fingers slip as someone who is emotionally overwrought invokes far too many exclamation points.

  • reynard61

    I favor “eleventy” myself…

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Put the caffeine down.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Very well. Jim West is anti-science, an opponent of college accreditation, a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage and on-demand abortion, an opponent of separation of Church and State, and a huge hypocrite (he’s an opponent of separation of Church and State while being a Biblical Minimalist). This isn’t a guy Fred wants to be supporting in any way, even by implication.

  • Ursula L


    I didn’t make the connection in your original post between “Jim West” and “IACOBUS OCCIDENTALIS.”

    It is clear, in retrospect, now that you have spelled it out.

    But for future reference, that is where you post became unclear. Rewriting names in their Latin form is not the most clear way of communicating.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I do not like to directly name people whom I strongly dislike.

  • P J Evans

    Especially since it’;s not at all clear what he’s yelling about.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Yes, it is.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    No it isn’t.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Well, it had become clear with http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/07/02/7-things-11-oclock-2/#comment-949732184 by the time you posted this comment.

  • Ursula L

    It really isn’t clear, unfortunately. I presume that when writing the post in question, you thought you were being clear, but sadly the meaning of the post does not come across clearly to people other than you.

    This is often a problem online, or even in real life communication, when someone says something that they think is clear, but it isn’t clear to someone else who doesn’t know what is going on in the head of the person speaking.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Dude. What the actual fuck?

  • Ursula L

    If you don’t like the stories Hollywood is telling, tell better stories.

    The problem with this is that storytelling is an art, and not everyone has the talent to produce better stories, even if they are not happy with the stories that are available. Saying “Tell better stories” is like telling someone who is paraplegic, but enjoys watching field-and-track competitions, that if they aren’t happy with the quality of the competitions they are seeing, they should start running themselves.

    The ability to tell good stories is not a measure of the right to want better stories.

    It also leaves ambiguous the definition of “better.” From the perspective of those who are looking for stories that fit the neoconservative idea of “faith-based” and “family-friendly,” the stories that are dull but fit their politics are “better” by the political measure they are using – a political measure, not an entertainment measure.

    And, the reasoning goes, if Hollywood and the people telling stories that are high-quality by a story-measure for profit see that stories that fit their political measure do well financially, then the people with story-telling skills will look to explore and tell those types of stories, using their skills, for profit, to tell the right political message.

    And this is not bad reasoning. How many times have we heard “women will watch stories with a male lead, but men don’t like stories with a woman lead” as an excuse made by people producing movies for avoiding stories with women in the lead (and best-paying) parts, while saving the money and attention for male actors? If you want the for-profit storytelling industry to tell the stories you want, then you need to prove that the stories you want will make them money.

    This also doesn’t exclude the measure of enjoyment. I find that stories with a genuinely strong woman protagonist are far to few. So a weaker story that meets my desire for seeing strong women is more enjoyable than a story of the exact same quality with a male protagonist. Because I’m invited to identify with a strong woman, which is a pleasure that is too rare.

    There is genuine pleasure in enjoying stories that affirm your worldview. It can make up for other weaknesses, just as any strength in one aspect of storytelling can make up for weaknesses in other aspects of storytelling. No storyteller is perfect. So a story that is “good” for any individual reader is one where the strengths they most enjoy significantly outweigh any weaknesses.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Yes so much to everything you said here and below.

  • hidden_urchin

    If you don’t like the stories Hollywood is telling, tell better stories.

    Working on it. Give me a few years. Breaking in isn’t exactly a piece of cake.

    ETA: Whiskey tango foxtrot, Disqus?

  • Carstonio

    Heh. I thought Fred was suggesting that evangelicals band together to start their own independent film industry, the equivalent of the Christian Contemporary music industry.

  • Ursula L

    Another thing to consider is that the media you are criticizing are a genuine expression of the idea “If you don’t like the stories Hollywood is telling, tell better stories.”

    There are people who are genuinely unhappy with Hollywood stories. So they are trying to tell better stories. Stories that address the problems that they see in the stories that Hollywood is telling. But that does not make them geniuses at the task of creating Hollywood-Level blockbusters. And they probably know they don’t have that level of skill at writing, producing, acting and funding a movie.

    So they add the plea – if you like this type of story, support us, and support this type of story, so that maybe some professional with more talent than we have will be interested in writing this type of story, because they know it makes a profit.

  • J_Enigma32

    If I could find it again… I remember reading an article that Hollywood had developed software that would cook up screenplay parameters based on the the movies that grossed the most at the box office. That is to say, once the parameters have been determined by this program, the CEOs will give it to the director and the writers and say “make a movie with these parameters” and, volia, you have your next blockbuster which, honestly, looks very similar to the last four.

    You straightjacket the writers and the directors in the name of the Almighty Dollar. Eventually people will get sick of it (Yes, I have faith in people. Misplaced? Time will tell) and once people do, you’ll start to see a growth of indie and homemade movies. The Internet is already pulling people away from the theaters and forcing the movie studios to fight on something that resembles even grounds with Indie producers, who otherwise wouldn’t get that benefit.

    What this means, I hope, is that Indie and homemade movies will become more common and out do the Hollywood cookiecutter blockbusters. Once that starts to happen, the studios will hopefully sink and creativity will be left in the hands of indie and homemade individuals on the Internet. As technology improves, it’ll only level the scale even more.

    I’m being hopelessly optimistic, but hey, I can dream.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    If I could find it again… I remember reading an article that Hollywood
    had developed software that would cook up screenplay parameters based
    on the the movies that grossed the most at the box office. That is to
    say, once the parameters have been determined by this program, the CEOs
    will give it to the director and the writers and say “make a movie with
    these parameters” and, volia, you have your next blockbuster which,
    honestly, looks very similar to the last four.

    You’re kidding me, right?

    Holy god, you should read Isaac Asimov’s Caliban by Roger MacBride Allen. In it, a character excoriates the cultural practice of assigning robots to perform as rote actors in plays and even to the act of writing plays. The idea that the artistic expression and exploration of the gamut of human emotion and thought can be reduced to the consumeristic idea of whipping a Readi-Mix cake is intended, in-verse and to the reader, to be fundamentally repellent.

    Eerie how reality approaches fiction…

  • JustoneK

    “If you don’t like the stories Hollywood is telling, outspend them.”

  • JRoth95

    I kept waiting to read about your girls playing sevens.

  • Jenny Islander

    There is a class of much smaller evil charity that people need to be aware of: horse “rescues” that are run by kill buyers or their business partners.

    Here’s how it works: A person who is known to buy horses at auctions in order to ship them off for slaughter picks up a horse for, say, $50. (Note: This is not an uncommon price for a family horse that is “sold to a better home” via an auction.) The kill buyer takes the horse to the “rescue,” where it usually receives the bare minimum of care required to keep it on its feet. The “rescue” then posts an ad pleading for $500 in order to “save” the horse from the “feed lot” where it is being “fattened up” in order to be shipped off for slaughter by the evil kill buyer. The “rescue” implies, or outright asserts, that the kill buyer paid $500 or close to it in the first place, and that the kill buyer is only holding the horse because the “rescue” staff begged and pleaded, but unless the money can be found to repay the kill buyer for his or her trouble, the truck is coming!!!!!!!!!!!

    Then some unsuspecting kind person pays $500 for a $50 horse that is going to need at least $500 worth of immediate veterinary care. Anything good said about the horse by the “rescue” is probably a flat-out lie, so whatever the new owner bought it for, the horse most likely won’t ever be able to do it. Meanwhile, the kill buyer pockets his or her cut of the price (of course, this is 100 percent if the kill buyer also owns the “rescue”) and goes off to buy another 5 or 10 horses for $50 each in order to immediately ship them off for slaughter.

    TL;DR: If your local horse rescue keeps begging people for money to rescue horses that are bound for slaughter, Google the names of everyone involved. You may get some eye-opening results!

  • hidden_urchin

    I bet that’s going to become an even bigger problem now that horse-slaughter has been approved for the US.

  • Lorehead

    That’s an ugly but necessary cello performance. Here’s a beautiful one.

  • Arresi

    That’s gorgeous.

  • J_Enigma32

    I personally think Hollywood could do with less “family friendly” entertainment. Movies tend to be homophobic, misogynistic, and racist enough without injecting Right-wing Evangelical Christian dogma into the mix, thank you very much.

    Was I the only person who found it funny that he was objecting to violence, only to turn around and cite The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre as an example of “family friendly” Hollywood done right?

  • reynard61

    From the article: “Though films like Fireproof, Facing the Giants and The Passion of the Christ got Hollywood’s attention for their massive profitability, now Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s History Channel mini-series The Bible has got ‘evil’ Hollywood excited again about the huge audience available for faith-based entertainment.”

    Dude, The Smashin’Passion of the Christ was a snuff film *disguised* as a “Christian”/”Faith-based” movie. Mel Gibson pulled the wool over your eyes quite expertly with that one.

  • hidden_urchin

    Hah! That reminds me of my undergrad roommate who wouldn’t watch a movie if it had violence in it. Except The Passion of the Christ. That one was her favorite.

  • reynard61

    Was she a Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christian? I’ve stated many times before that I think that the reason that the snuff-film-level violence in Passion was acceptable to people who would have been horrified by an actual snuff film was that the *context* in which the violence was taking place was acceptable to their sensibilities. In simpler terms: Movie in which random person is tortured and killed = Bad. Movie in which Jesus is tortured and killed, sold as a “Christian” movie = Good.

  • http://www.theburnerblog.com The Burner

    Author here. Note that I mentioned “massive profitability” that got Hollywood’s attention in equation with “faith-based entertainment”, not that all were “family friendly.”

  • CharityB

    So, as long as you dub yourself a charity you can basically do whatever you want?? Some of the organizations listed spend 0 money on their stated cause!

  • http://www.theburnerblog.com The Burner

    Thanks for the link!

    The paragraph was too poorly written to convey my full meaning. It IS depressing that the only way to encourage those that desire more family-friendly and/or faith-based entertainment. It is also depressing that films must be OVERTLY faith-based in order to be considered as spiritually significant by conservative Christians.

  • Alex Harman

    I wonder about the usefulness of the metric used for determining “America’s Worst Charities” in cases where most or all of the solicitors are members of the group the charity is intended to aid (e.g. police officers, firefighters, or veterans) — in those cases, the distinction between solicitors’ wages and direct cash aid seems blurry.