Postcards from the culture wars (7.20)

“He believes in order to be true to God he must be ‘a bad guy’ to me.”

Both the longing for a Westminster Confession/Sola Scriptura/Inerrant Bible full of clear, theological guidelines and for an Infallible Magisterium and Tradition with a capital ‘T’ are ways of avoiding the hard work of thinking through the ambiguities and challenges of modern existence.”

“Let’s just say that, based on the 100 or so signatories, an awful lot of the American religious community doesn’t see it that way.

“In the U.S., social conservatives embraced a hyper-modern economic system and somehow expected it wouldn’t de-legitimize pre-modern metaphysical principles.”

“Many of these critics are bomb throwers who believe that by destroying the credibility of those working for social justice they will somehow enhance the pro-life agenda.”

“Our Catholic social justice tradition motivates us to work for strong families and expansive social protections, and these can only be achieved when all families are treated fairly and equally under the law.”

“Perhaps it was to be expected that a community forum intended to foster dialogue and a greater understanding of Muslims in America degenerated into a hate-filled free-for-all.”

“This is why we must continue our heritage as a Christian nation and remove all other gods.”

“Beware. The text says beware.”

“I know how important this is because as a young woman, the only health care I received — preventative care, cancer screenings, checkups, etc. — came from a women’s health clinic close to where I live in Fort Worth.”

“They really buy into a culture that doesn’t value what we’ve feminized. They begin to devalue their relational parts to themselves, their relational desires. If we’re in a culture that doesn’t value caring, doesn’t value relationships, doesn’t value empathy — you are going to have boys and girls, men and women, go crazy.”

“The result of these teachings has been a generation of Christian youth with warped and toxic ideas about sex, dating, and even their own bodies.

Of course it’s a war on birth control, abortion, everything — ‘that’s what family planning is supposed to be about.”

“So the woman found his mom on Facebook and sent it to her.”

 

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

    Your conclusion still doesn’t logically follow. The solution to privileged behaviour isn’t to send your self-esteem into a nose-dive, it’s to raise your esteem of others. Respect is not a zero-sum game.

  • Daniel Björkman

    You weren’t clear about that.

    I suppose I can see why you would draw the conclusion that the thing I said had made me miserable in the past was the thing that was making me so miserable now. But no, that’s not it.

    I’m telling you “stop doing this particular thing”, not “shut up altogether”. Big difference.

    Okay. But then I am not sure what exactly you want me to stop and what (if anything?) you want me to continue doing.

    Except that nobody here said, or even implied, that a preference for monogamy and/or taking relationships slowly was a bad thing, or even a less-good way to do things.

    Yes, that’s all very tolerant. But the problem is, I’m not tolerant at all. I see risks and costs with everything and think that everything must be tightly controlled or else bad things will happen. You must have noticed that by now. That makes tolerance itself a party line that I chafe against.

    Though I usually do a better job at tactfully obscuring that fact than this time.

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

    There is not an exception. I said “touching without permission.

    Also, while the three basics I outlined above are a good general guide, what underlies them is the importance of respecting the boundaries set by the other person.

    The tendency of men to talk over women, to touch them without permission, and to interpret anything but a clear “no” as a “yes” are all part and parcel of the overarching issue of boundary-ignoring that is really the crux of feminist complaints about rape culture.

  • Daniel Björkman

    Er. Are you thinking that she broke up with me for being bad in bed, or something?

    It… really wasn’t like that, and I don’t want anyone to think that she was anything but wonderful to me. And that’s about all I can say without revealing information about her that she might prefer I didn’t.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I think I see the problem. You’re failing to make a distinction between “When I make an honest mistake, I can be called on it and have ot make amends” and “When I make an honest mistake, I am shamed and ostracised and will never be forgiven.”

    I get that. I get defensive when I am caught out having made a mistake that I’m ashamed of too.

    But the thing is: it’s all in your head. Those really aren’t the same thing.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    But the thing is, that opinion is based on what I can’t help but see as a
    contradiction in what I am told (“sexuality is natural and must be
    free” / “sexuality is dangerous and need to be controlled”)

    It’s not that complicated. “____ is natural and must be free / ____ is dangerous and needs to be controlled” is also true of coyotes.

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

    I read that just now and I am still just amazed at how absolutely berserk some (or should I say many? (<_<) ) men will get when their notion of how society works is challenged.

    Do they really just not like the idea that whatever their intentions were, their actions can be misinterpreted* and OMGWTFHDUIAMCLEARLYANAWESOMEGUY.


    * What they fail to include is that their actions are informed by a model of themselves and of women that implicitly de-emphasizes the woman’s agency in the matter and starts by assuming that all men are fundamentally just nice people.

    Unfortunately, as amply proven in real life, women have to start with a very different set of premises and apparently for at least a sizable number of men, this jars with their sense of themselves as Not-That-Creep.

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

    … I am not sure what exactly you want me to stop and what (if anything?) you want me to continue doing.

    *splutter* What did I say? Right there, above, in black and white? Oh, here it is: “And for fuck’s sake, stop putting words in other people’s mouths. Stop accusing other people of accusing you of being monstrous and whatnot. Stop making excuses for it.” And then, again, here: “You know that thing I just said, about not accusing people of saying stuff that they didn’t say? I’m telling you ‘stop doing this particular thing’.” That’s TWICE!

    Yes, that’s all very tolerant. But the problem is, I’m not tolerant at all. I see risks and costs with everything and think that everything must be tightly controlled or else bad things will happen. You must have noticed that by now. That makes tolerance itself a party line that I chafe against.

    First of all, it’s become obvious that this notion you have that “everything must be tightly controlled or else bad things will happen” is not a rational conclusion at all. That is your jerkbrain talking. The jerkbrain likes to pretend that it’s actually the voice of reason and logic. It’s not.

    Second, putting people under overly tight control frequently causes misery. You prefer rigid strictures for yourself, because you’ve decided it makes you feel safe? That’s your choice. But don’t go saying, “Well, I think it’s good for me, therefore it must be the best thing for everybody.” You do not get to judge for other people what is best for their health and happiness.

    Third… well, say we had someone come on here and say, “Well, far be it for me to dictate other people’s sex lives for them, but I just don’t trust homosexuals.” Naturally, people here would be irked, and say so. Then let’s say that this poster continued, “But the overwhelming social pressure is for me to be just like them! These bloggers, they boast about their same-sex relationships and insult my preference for heterosexuality!” Upon being asked for citations, the poster has to admit that he just got the overall impression of this. Then he adds that he feels disgusted and terrified by the idea of having sex with another guy. The community explains to him, exhaustively, that nobody is forcing him to have a sex life he doesn’t feel comfortable with, that there’s no reason for other people’s sex lives to make him feel so insecure, and can’t he understand that what would make him unhappy could make someone else feel content and fulfilled? He claims that he’s not just being asked to live and let live, he’s being asked to approve — yet, when pressed, he has to admit that nobody has actually said that.

    “Well,” the poster finally admits. “I can’t just live and let live. Sexuality must be strictly controlled, or else bad things will happen. It is tolerance itself that I object to.”

    I’m sure you can anticipate the community’s response: they’d point out that “tolerate my intolerance” is bullshit, that he doesn’t get to practice burkha-logic*, and also that they’re heartily sick of him moving the fucking goalposts in his arguments.

    You’re coming off like that guy.

    ETA: just in case it’s not bleeding obvious, no, I’m not calling you a homophobe. I am trying to get you to understand how your arguments sound from outside your own head.

    *http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2009/04/23/the-burkhalogic-of-nom/

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

    “sexuality is natural and must be free” / “sexuality is dangerous and need to be controlled”

    False dilemma. Try this instead: “Sexuality is morally neutral. People should be free to express their sexuality within the confines of mutual informed consent.”

    Also, you should consider the possibility that you are clinically depressed. This insistence on drawing all the worst conclusions from people’s statements and actions, along with the repeated statements about feeling worthless and miserable — this is the kind of thing that looks like rationality when you’re depressed, but seems completely incomprehensible to anyone whose brain isn’t, or has never been, in that chemical/psychological state. You really, really need to talk to a doctor about this.

  • Daniel Björkman

    Yes, but the thing is, if you take offense to the entire way I think, then I do not know how to “stop” except by not talking any more. Which I admit is starting to seem like a really good idea – I am just not sure what would make me a bigger shit, continuing to explain and defend myself when that does nothing but anger people, or just slinking out because I started something that I was too much of a wuss to carry through with.

    Believe me, I understand completely how I look to everyone here. I do not expect to be tolerated (like I said, I do feel that what I did is not of the level of persecution you are accusing me of, but that is a matter of degree, not of kind. I never expected anyone to like or agree with me). I just didn’t know I’d get as strong a reaction as I did. (and if I had known, I’d have kept my mouth shut)

  • Daniel Björkman

    I am definitely clinically depressed. And yes, at the point of looking for medication and therapy. And I don’t deny that that makes me more extreme – and yes, less tolerant. We would not be having this argument if I was feeling better. You are not wrong about that.

    However, it’s not that simple. My understanding of what feminists say remain more or less constant in good or bad mental health. The main difference is that when I feel like this, I accept it completely, whereas when I feel better I am more likely to take it with a grain of salt, saying, “oh, they are angry or just exaggerating for effect, things are not really as bad as they make them out to be, as long as I remember to act like a decent person it’ll be more or less okay.”

    Which does seem to be the attitude you think I should take, so I suppose you might claim that that is two of my flaws canceling each other out? But it still feels strange to me that you seem to want me to listen less.

  • Daniel Björkman

    I am at a loss for how to respond, seeing your argument is basically that all my reactions are wrong.

    I can say that I consider anger (“What’s wrong with someone that they wouldn’t know this?”) to be part of the message, and that that turns the message into something that is not meant to educate or improve but to berate and drive off – even if the person talking might claim otherwise. But then you will say that that the problem is on my part and that I would receive the right message if my brain wasn’t muddled. And there it sort of ends, especially since I can’t deny that my brain is in some way muddled.

  • dpolicar

    > it still feels strange to me that you seem to want me to listen less.

    Can you clarify what Shiftercat said that seems that way to you?

  • Daniel Björkman

    My answer to a lot of this just comes down to “does not compute,” so I’ll be honest and say that I simply do not understand how things can be as you say, while things are also as I am told they are by other feminists.

    Women live in constant pain and fear. It is worse than I can possibly imagine. This has been repeated to me so many times that I can’t see how I could possibly have misunderstood it.

    Even men who mean no harm can, because of the first fact, harm women they approach in the wrong way. They can terrify them. Traumatise them. Less disastrously but still bad, they can deeply insult them.

    I can not understand how adding more pain to someone who is already in pain is anything but completely terrible. It is like your example about being insensitive to people in mourning above, only a thousand times worse – it like being insensitive to people who live in mourning. And that is only the mild, “insult” scenario.

    I can not square the worldview I’ve been taught with the things you say.

  • Daniel Björkman

    What I meant was that right now I am “listening” completely, by taking the feminist narrative as I understand it and accepting it entirely. No talking back, no second-guessing, full acceptance.

    (this, as it turns out, causes me to draw logical conclusions from the things I accept and end up with beliefs that seem to be even more offensive to feminists, which I admit is an argument against me being that accepting…)

    The alternative being to disregard some of the gravity of what I hear – to admit that there is truth in it, but that it is not as all-important as all that. That, to me, is not “listening” fully. One might say it’s turning down the volume on what I hear – I still hear it, but not as loudly.

  • dpolicar

    There are many alternatives to uncritically accepting the aggregate of some group’s narrative as you understand it.

    Deciding it isn’t “as all-important as all that” is certainly one of those alternatives.

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

    I think if you want a kind of Unified Theory of Social-Sexual Interaction it really comes down to this:

    Respect boundaries.

    When an Elevatorgate happens, it’s because a man doesn’t stop to wonder if maybe propositoning a woman – when she isn’t in the best of physical and emotional spaces to feel like she can decline without adverse consequences – might just be not that shit-hot of an idea.

    It’s not that different from “measure twice, cut once” and “it is better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than open your mouth and prove the fact” and all the other bromides and proverbs littered through Western cultural upbringing that boil down to “use your brain and don’t just zoom off doing whatever you want without some consideration for the context of what it is you feel like doing.”

    Well, boundary-respecting is all about asking yourself if you were in the other person’s shoes, on the balance of probabilities would she be likely to respond favorably or not?

    This is where the gestalt of verbal and nonverbal communication takes place and where men basically get tested on how well they catch the “watch my boundaries” signals women give off.

    This is why I gave more specific pointers, such as don’t talk over her, don’t touch her without her permission*, and assume anything but a clear “yes” means “no”.


    * which can be granted verbally or nonverbally, as in the case of if she’s already initiated contact and you reciprocate.

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

    I don’t want you to listen less, I want you to understand more. Because you’re utterly convinced that you’re drawing “logical conclusions”, when in fact you’re making wild leaps.

    Lurk more. Get therapy and medication. And practice your reading comprehension skills.

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

    …I’ll be honest and say that I simply do not understand how things can be as you say, while things are also as I am told they are by other feminists.

    Except, of course, that feminists don’t all think and feel the same way, and even if they did, you STILL haven’t been able to provide citations to prove your assertions.

    Women live in constant pain and fear. It is worse than I can possibly imagine. This has been repeated to me so many times that I can’t see how I could possibly have misunderstood it.

    “Women have to be on their guard a great deal, and there are a lot of things that make us stressed-out and insecure on a day-to-day basis” does not mean “women can never feel safe or happy”, the way you seem to think it does.

    I repeat: the fact that lots of feminists both male and female continue to get into relationships, some lasting and some brief, gives the lie to your constant assertion that romantic overtures can only cause women suffering. The very existence of every feminist couple out there — and there are a lot — gives the lie to your so-called “logic”.

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

    I can say that I consider anger… to be part of the message, and that that turns the message into something that is not meant to educate or improve but to berate and drive off – even if the person talking might claim otherwise.

    So you’re admitting that your interpretation of something matters more than what the speaker actually says about it.

    This would explain your lack of basic reading comprehension — it’s your own arrogance.

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

    Putting words in other people’s mouths is insulting. Period. Don’t give me that “the entire way I think” bullshit.

    You know what? Fine. Stay lonely and miserable. You’ll at least have the satisfaction of believing that your behaviour is perfectly logical and correct, and that’s obviously all that matters to you.

    …if I had known, I’d have kept my mouth shut

    Better late than never.

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

    There’s a difference between saying you don’t like something for yourself, and saying you don’t like something and it should be taken as the norm.

    A dude named Lee Ratner used to be around here actually, and he once had a fine old foot-in-mouth moment when he fulminated against tattoos but made it sound like he was trying to say they should be objectively disgusting instead of something-he-does-not-personally-do because of his life history and his religious faith.

    Pay attention to the distinction between stating you would not do Thing X and stating that Thing X is objectively (or should be uniformly) bad.


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