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.”

 

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

    Let’s play a game. One of these links scared the crap out of me. Anyone want to take 108 guesses as to which one it was?

    Trick question. They all did.

    And I am quivering like a bowl of Jello in an earthquake.

  • Jim Roberts

    Seriously, I don’t get why progressives are so mystified why conservatives can get away with these comments about rape. Their constituents believe they’re right.

  • Lori

    Important safety tip for all the bro-dudes out there: there are women who would love to see a selfie of your penis. They are not on dating sites. They’re on sites devoted to dick pics or on tumblr, reblogging things that say stuff like “Reblog this if you’re fine with having your followers send you naked pics”.

    When you send unsolicited pictures of your penis to a woman you connected with on a dating site, or other social media not specifically focused on peen, you are not doing it because you think she’d like it, and stop trying to play like you are. It’s an act of aggression. Cut it the hell out. Also, stop whining when women respond to acts of aggression as if they’re acts of aggression. Also, too I don’t care how big it is, if it’s your main selling feature you need to be on Craig’s List in the casual encounters section, not on Let’s Date, or similar. Know your target market, dude.

    If you fail to heed these common sense tips you deserve it if your mom ends up seeing a picture of Little Bro-dude and your messy hallway.

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

    I’ve heard off and on of guys sending pics of their wangs to women uninvited. The women in question always express feelings of revulsion at having been sent a picture of a body part uninvited.

    The worst part is that some PUAs claim you should “accidentally” send a dick pic and then be all like “OOPSIE” because really deep down all a woman wants is the D.

    (>_<)

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Truefax: I have never, ever, had a friend gush about the man she’s just met and include the phrase “…and his dick is awesome!”

    Most of us don’t really care very much.

  • Baby_Raptor

    The only time I’ve ever heard that sentiment, it was me saying it and it was completely sarcastic. The guy in question was truly an “Is it in?” case.

  • https://twitter.com/SecondDigitOfPi Two Pi Man

    To be truthful, I have heard this phrase once. From a woman I was dating at the time. Talking about her ex-husband.

    It wasn’t the most romantic thing to hear…

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Yeah. As far as I know, in the entire history of the world, a woman who has asserted her desire not to see a photo of a potential suitor’s penis has never ever changed her mind after he shows it to her anyway.

  • Daniel

    “The worst part is that some PUAs claim you should “accidentally” send a dick pic and then be all like “OOPSIE” because really deep down all a woman wants is the D.”

    What answer do PUAs suggest when you get asked “Why did you take a photo of your knob in the first place?”

  • Launcifer

    A second opinion on the new haircut?

    And, yes, I have heard someone use the above in response to the question, “Why did you send me that?”. It only got worse from there.

  • guest

    I’m so tired of how many men and women give someone like this the benefit of the doubt–‘he thought he was being funny! He was just being flirtatious! He didn’t know it was inappropriate! Maybe he’s non-neurotypical, we shouldn’t read anything calculating or cruel into his behaviour!’ Everyone, including this guy, knows that it’s an act of aggression, not flirtation or joking. Not only that, it’s a specific kind of act of aggression–boundary-testing–done by a specific kind of person–someone who wants to see how much advantage he can take of you. This is a move in a very carefully calculated game, one in which women are disadvantaged by either response–accept and continue to get pushed until we get hurt, or reject and get called an uptight overreacting bitch.

    I really really hope she really did send the conversation and pic to his mother; I think that was the perfect response. If he honestly believed he hadn’t done anything to be ashamed of, why should he mind?

  • Baby_Raptor

    It’s flirting once you’re in an established relationship with some sort of sexual history.

    Strange people, or potential partners? Not unless they ask for it.

  • https://twitter.com/SecondDigitOfPi Two Pi Man

    There’s a special signal that a woman gives when she wants to see a picture of your penis. It involves her saying “Please send me a picture of your penis”.

    I struggle to understand why so many guys think a picture of their junk is a great way to woo a woman. It was never something that even occurred to me until I started hearing horror stories from female friends on dating sites. I can only assume that they think, “if some woman sent me a picture of her naked crotch I’d be heading out the door to meet & bed her straight away, so a picture of my naughty bits will have the same effect on her. Right?”

  • David Sagneri

    It is baffling the only saving grace is that they are eliminating themselves from consideration early on. Of course the problem with that is that they are doing so in an aggressive and unpleasant fashion,

  • guest

    But they’re not, if they get the response they want. These men aren’t thinking what Two Pi Man suggested; they’re thinking ‘how far can I push?’ If the woman says ‘nope, you’re an asshole’ then they’ve eliminated themselves from that connection. If the woman says ‘um, uh, thanks?’ because she’s too intimidated, or too well socialised, to say ‘fuck you’, then he waits until he can push some more.

  • chgo_liz

    This. It’s a test to see how well socialized the woman is to being dominated.

  • David Sagneri

    Good point my own blinders were on there.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    They’ve been taught for so long that women are trained to say “no” regardless of what the actual answer is that they’ve internalized the idea that what a woman says bears no relation to what she wants. When they get “Nope, you’re an asshole”, they react with anger because they think they followed all the “rules” and are legitimately surprised that the person they were dealing with turned out to be a human being with actual feelings and emotions, and not some kind of video game that pays out when you input the right combo. Contrariwise, if she’s been intimidated or socalized to not respond with an unambiguous rejection, it becomes part of the feedback loop reinforcing their notion that women will say “no” even when they don’t mean it.

  • hidden_urchin

    Well, my response wouldn’t be “fuck you” because that leaves him an opening for a comeback. Personally, I’d use “go fuck yourself.” It seems more appropriate given his apparent fascination with his own penis.
    Still, your point is correct.

  • Lori

    Dame Helen Mirren thinks “fuck off” is the way to go.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2371979/Helen-Mirren-words-shed-taught-daughter-f–off.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

    I aspire to be Helen Mirren when I’m older. (Or as Tom and Lorenzo call her “the Queen of Fanfuckingtastica.”)

  • guest

    ‘Still, your point is correct.’ Um, thanks for the good grade? :/

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

    That’s the thing I don’t get. Do these guys really think they all universally at all times would be like “HOLY SHITBALLS I’D BANG THAT” if they got unsolicited boob or crotch pics from women?

    Conclusion: They only ever think the hottest women ever would send such pictures and therefore conclude that as males, they are the equivalent of such.

  • Daniel

    “HOLY SHITBALLS I’D BANG THAT” if they got unsolicited boob or crotch pics from women?

    That’s exactly my problem with this whole phenomenon. Given that you can see photos of just that any time on the net, what would your reaction to a bodiless vulva picture be? Would you really just drop everything and race out to meet who ever’d sent it to you, or would you just think it was bloody weird? Also, do they ever notice that women when they talk about men they find attractive hardly ever (if ever) talk about their cocks? I would really like to know what they think they’re doing, what they imagine is the reaction they’d get when a woman receives the picture.

  • The_L1985

    I feel tempted to draw a picture of a giant vulva as a response picture for the women who have to deal with this shit. “Thank you for your unwanted picture of your penis. After much thought, I have decided to respond in kind. *GIANT DISEMBODIED VULVA PICTURE* Now, have a nice day and NEVER CONTACT ME AGAIN.

  • Baby_Raptor

    If you ever do this, please let me know. I want to hear of the reaction.

  • Lori

    I think you’re right that in their imagination only hawt women would send them unsolicited pictures of their body parts. I also think that there’s a strong element of performitive masculinity at work.

    It’s an unspoken rule of our culture that men are the obligate sex class. Men always want sex, everywhere, with anyone from whom they can get it. There’s peril in a man in openly turning down sex that’s offered because a “real man” wouldn’t do that. If a guy doesn’t want to all the time, from whomever will give it up* there’s something wrong with him. Probably that he’s a f**.

    I think that’s at the root of some of the extreme cruelty men sometimes display toward women they don’t find attractive. The woman has to be labeled as hideous in order to justify the man’s lack of interest. “Not my type” just isn’t a good enough reason not to want to hit it. Only fatandugly (which in our culture is all one word), let’s a guy off the hook for being uninterested.

    *The rule for women is that we are the no sex class. We’re supposed to never really want sex and to requite persuasion or bribes to give it up and to therefore act as the sexual gatekeeps.

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

    You know, I’ve always been a little boggled at the Mt. Krakatoa levels of overreaction that can ensue for some men when a woman challenges their sense-of-self i.e. by shooting them down as a potential date/fuck-buddy/etc.

    I wonder if it’s related to the dumping-on-a-woman-they’re-not-interested-in phenomenon.

  • Lori

    Obviously that’s complicated, but I suspect it’s often related. A lot of men have really epic levels of resentment over the sexual gatekeeping that women supposedly do. That’s certainly the bedrock of Nice Guy syndrome and PUA nastiness. It would make sense that some of that resentment is in turn rooted in the perception that the woman is keeping the man from performing masculinity correctly. He’s doing what he’s been taught to do and she’s not following the script, and that’s putting him in danger of being labeled a failure or gay.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Some men have an existential paranoia about their penis being rejected as unworthy. What I can’t fathom is why that sort of man would take such a huge risk as to send an unsolicited dick pic to someone. There’s the entirely unfathomable combination of I-am-so-sure-my-penis-is-irresistable-I’ll-send-it-even-though-you-said-no and I-am-so-scared-of-penis-refusal-that-I-will-utterly-lose-my-shit-if-you-speak-ill-of-my-cock.

  • guest

    Thank you–that was my useful insight for the day!

  • Lori

    Giving credit where it’s due, I got the concept of men as the obligate sex class and women as the no sex class from Figleaf. He posts here:

    http://www.realadultsex.com/

    The usual warnings apply. It’s a blog talking about sex, although more about the cultural and political issues around sex than about the mechanics of it. There’s no p0rn, but there are some photos of the blogger not fully clothed. Nothing full frontal and they’re always labeled and below the fold so you can skip them if that’s your preference.

  • guest

    It was the insight that the only way [this kind of] man could be OK with finding himself not sexually attracted to a particular woman was if she was the most hideous and disgusting thing on earth that I found valuable and insightful–have already shared it with a couple of people who also found it a useful tool to understand some otherwise puzzling behaviour.

  • Lori

    Oh. I think that one was mine.

  • guest

    There may also be an element of this in the whiplash-inducing ‘hey gorgeous/ugly bitch’ business we all get when appearing in public. You’ve helped me realise that this is code for ‘I [have convinced myself that I] want to fuck you/I don’t want to fuck you.’

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

    Cynical Sam says: I suspect many of the men inclined to send dick pictures probably are just like that.

  • The_L1985

    Basically. For these men, “lesbian” doesn’t mean that she’s not attracted to men; it just means she won’t go out with you. (See also: That scene from Scarface.)

    “Ugly/fat/bitchy” is just another version of it.

  • Daniel

    I am dreadful with women, but I have always trusted my instinct that sending a photo of my penis would not make me this generations David Niven. I am glad I trusted this instinct.
    In all seriousness though, I’m always curious when I hear stories about these unbidden dick-pics (ever since England footballer and professional knobhead Ashley Cole was found to be sending pictures to models) about the standards of these photos. If you’re sending them because you claim “you think she’d like it” then you may have put in some thought to angle of the shot, the lighting and…position of the subject. So, for any women reading, who have nothing better to do than reply, is there any way for a photo to be taken that would actually achieve the effect desired by the sender?

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

    I suspect not. Unless you are posting it to an XXX dating site which encourages naked pictures as part of the evaluative process.

  • guest

    Depends on what the effect desired by the sender is (I’ve already expressed what I think it is in a couple of comments on this thread).

  • Lori

    is there any way for a photo to be taken that would actually achieve the effect desired by the sender?

    Unsolicited, to someone you don’t know or barely know? No, there is no amount of artistry that will make that pic welcome.

    Conversely, if you’re somewhere in the wide world of p0rn-focused social media artistry is not necessary. Some folks will appreciate it if you make the effort, but mostly people just care that the lighting is good enough to see & the subject is in focus, things your average camera phone is more than capable of insuring.

  • Daniel

    “Unsolicited, to someone you don’t know or barely know? No, there is no amount of artistry that will make that pic welcome.”

    I thought as much. I just wanted to explore that defence “I thought she’d like it”- particularly as it shows no apparent awareness of what women do actually like.

  • Lori

    There are women out there who would be happy to receive an unsolicited, arty photo of your penis. I don’t know any of them, but I feel confident that they exist because people are different and anything you can name, someone is into it. The odds that any given woman is one of them are exceedingly small, so the rule really is assume not and don’t hit “send”.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I am fairly sure I recall there being at least a brief period when demanding he show you a picture of his penis first was considered an effective way for women to shut down an internet-suitor who was pestering her for nude photos of herself, on the assumption that most men in that position had likely made claims about their geometry that would not be justified in photography, this being well before the widespread availability of photoshop. (It is possible that the efficacy of this technique was misreported)

  • Vang

    Now I have the image of someone sending a photo of a penis on a plinth in front of a silken drape, alongside a bowl of carefully chosen suggestive fruits. “It’s art!”

  • Daniel

    I was thinking more black and white moodily lit on the beach, looking out to sea. Admittedly I’m not sure how that’d be possible. I suppose I’m just a romantic.

  • Vang

    Maybe if you put googly eyes on it so that it can stare soulfully into the waters. It’d at least be memorable, which is more than you can say for the norm.

  • Lori

    I once saw a guy post a Halloween picture of his penis—he had taken a white handkerchief and drawn a face on it, then draped it over his dick so that his dick was dressed as a ghost for the holiday. I thought that was funny instead of gross because it was sort of cute and a bit clever and, key point, the penis was completely covered by the “costume”.

  • Daniel

    I’d like to think it was also a satirical swipe at Klan members for being similarly dressed dicks.

  • Daniel

    Well, I assumed the googly eyes would be a given. Who’d be so uncouth as to photograph their genitals without adding a pair of googly eyes?

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

    I dunno, a vulva with googly eyes would look creepy. And I say this as a vulva-owner.

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

    I believe they’re classically considered to be monocular.

  • Daniel

    Took me a while to realise that meant “with one eye” rather than “like Mr. Monopoly.”

  • Lori

    If the person can tell that you’re staring out to sea, moodily or otherwise, it would presumable be a picture of your ass instead of your penis. Same rules still apply though. The ass shot is less aggressive than the dick shot, but it’s still not something that should be offered unsolicited in a non-p0rn context.

  • Daniel

    Just to clarify, I was at no point actually suggesting ever taking said photo. I think the whole idea of the dick pic is absurd as it doesn’t seem like a particularly photogenic organ any way, and unsolicited must just be bloody horrible. As I say, I was really curious to find out exactly what effect the senders of such pictures imagine they’ll have.

  • Lori

    I understood.

    One thing—I would say that the penis can be photogenic. Contrary to the culturally accepted narrative, the penis is not inherently any more absurd or ugly or whatever than any other body part. The idea that it is is part and parcel of the notion that everyone obviously wants to see pictures of naked women, because the female form is so beautiful (blah, blah, blah), but no one wants to look at naked men because they’re obviously not. This is nothing more than a BS excuse for objectifying women.

    Nudes of men, including cock shots, can be quite wonderful. As Shifter Cat noted above, the critical issue in this whole conversation is the unsolicited and unsought part, not the naked dick part.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Totally. Personally, I don’t find penises photogenic – ever – but other parts of the “male form”? HELL YES. Men’s shoulders, backs, abs, calves…

    My fiance was initially quite surprised at this, because he’d thought that men were visual and women really weren’t, so he didn’t really understand why I always went kinda quiet when he took his shirt off – but now, he’s rather aware that I think he’s terrifically sexy. (And yet he’s still had this whole idea so entrenched in his brain that he keeps on being taken aback when I point out that, for instance, he has nice legs. Because they’re male legs, so why would they be something someone would want to look at?)

  • Lori

    I can see why a guy would be unable to really process that women can like looking at the male form. Obviously that’s not the story we’ve all been told, so there’s that. I suspect that, as with homophobia, there’s also an element of subconscious fear of being treated the way so many men have treated women.

    If your body is a potential source of visual pleasure to others it can give you power, but it also opens you up to a lot of ugly criticism, often of things you can’t change. Women have been crushed under the weight of that from time immemorial and I can see why a guy would resist seeing himself in that position. The tyranny of penis size expectations can certainly be incredibly ugly.

    What I hope for, and what ought to happen, as changing social mores and the internet make it more and more obvious that women are so visual and lots of them like porn just fine thank you, is that we can all appreciate each other without being so freaking mean and judgey. What can easily happen is that men end up as objectified and neurotic and damaged as so many woman have been.

  • Fusina

    Hee, this brings back the time I found out my daughter was hetero. We were watching Hercules: the Legendary Journeys and there was a shot of Kevin Sorbo rowing a boat with his shirt off. I said something to the effect of him having a very nice chest, and got a very enthusiasting “MmmmHmmm!” of agreement from her.

    What??? he does have a nice chest. ;-)

  • The_L1985

    Now I’m picturing a morose penis with eyes and a wig.

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

    Apparently I had a bit too much sun today, because all I can think is Peemo, sad prince of unappealing weeping!

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

    A different meaning for Weepingcock.

    http://weepingcock.livejournal.com/ <– Probably NSFW. It's a community for mocking bad erotic writing.

  • Lori

    There are women out there who would be happy to receive an unsolicited, arty photo of your penis. I don’t know any of them, but I feel confident that they exist because people are different and anything you can name, someone is into it. The odds that any given woman is one of them are exceedingly small, so the rule really is assume not and don’t hit “send”.

  • https://twitter.com/SecondDigitOfPi Two Pi Man

    Having been shown some of the dating site pics sent to an ex, all I can say is a surprising number of them are pictured pointing down a dirty toilet… :(

  • The_L1985

    I’ve never been able to figure that out. “MAYBE SHE’LL THINK IT’S SEXY IF SHE CAN SEE MY POOP.”

  • Launcifer

    In an “I made this for you!” sort of way?

  • The_L1985

    I don’t know, maybe. Or maybe he has a scat fetish or something?

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

    I was about to talk about some of the appealing pics-with-dicks I’ve seen (usually they’re professionally-shot and include some of the rest of the guy, if only a pair of hands in the process of pushing pants down), but the “unsolicited” part would always ruin it.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Assuming the “effect desired by the sender” is getting laid?

    Be on a website where that is the main goal.

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

    I think this blogger has hit it: men who send unsolicited cockshots aren’t actually interested in turning women on. http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/hypothesis-the-purpose-of-the-cockshot-is-to-test-boundaries/

  • Lori

    I suspect that when it comes to contact on social media, as opposed to in person, the commenter may be correct that the act of boundary violation is itself the sex act for these guys. They get off on making the woman upset.

    A woman who is offended by an unsolicited cock shot is never going to meet the guy in person so he’s never going to have the opportunity to commit the kinds of abusive acts for which testing is so often a prelude. The offense and negative reaction to it are all he’s going to get, so it’s likely they’re what he’s actually going for.

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

    Amazing blog! I just spent the last half hour reading some of the articles. :)

  • J_Enigma32

    A dick pic is the equivalent of being proud for being white: if your greatest achievement, your greatest selling point, amounts to: “Congratulations, at 20-somethign you found your penis, achievement unlocked!” It might be time to rethink your existence.

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    This reminds me of that one poor fellow I met on OKCupid. He sent me a pic of his willy just out of the blue. He hadn’t even bothered to read my profile which ended up being a big mistake. I was quite unaware at the time that some men send dick pics to women for the sheer hell of it. I figured he had at least read my profile and knew something of what he was getting himself into, so I made an offer to chat with him for cybersex. As my profile clearly explained, I am an aspiring Domme with a deep fascination for CBT (Google if you don’t know…), and I interpreted the peen pic as an invitation for that sort of play. Let’s just say the cybersex session was decidedly disturbing for this man. But, it was nine kinds of amusing for me!

  • Lori

    This story made my day.

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

    My face went kind of like this: http://replygif.net/i/538.gif

  • Baby_Raptor

    How do people continue to believe that America is a Christian nation when the religion and it’s book are never mentioned in the founding documents, and the language used therein is widely inclusive?

  • The_L1985

    Lots and lots of denial and word-twisting.

  • Hawker40

    I believe the technical term for it is “Lying for Jesus”.

  • Matri

    Direct result of Cold War ret-conning.

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

    Cynical Sam says: An inability to imagine people being any other way than themselves. If they must crush freedom of religion, it’s only because they “know” that we’re doing the same to them. Therefore the founders must not have wanted any other way of life for anyone else, either, and their real meaning has just become twisted over time.

  • WingedBeast

    There’s privilege to it, of course. “We the people? Well, we in this room are Christians, and that was the majority faith at the time of the writing of the constitution, so it must mean us and not those invisible people we often forget even exist.”

    There’s the moral algebra. “Christian=good. America=good. Therefore, by the transitive property, America=Christian.”

    “In God We Trust” and “One Nation, Under God”. Those are cold war era relics. Part of the reason “In God We Trust” remains the national motto is that, when it was challenged and brought before the Supreme Court, they decided it was essentially meaningless and, therefore, was not religious… But, there it is, giving false view of national identity.

    “May God bless the United States of America.” Go ahead, I dare you to run an election on the national stage and not say that repeatedly. See how even Democrats use that against you in Primary Elections.

    Fox News and Conservative Radio, nuff said.
    Really, the notion that America is a Christian Nation has just about everything going for it except the facts.

  • Lori

    There’s privilege to it, of course. “We the people? Well, we in this room are Christians

    Folks definitely say this but the thing is, they weren’t. Few if any of them were what modern RTCs would recognize as Christian and some of them weren’t really Christian even by the standards of the day.

  • WingedBeast

    If by “we in this room” you mean the constitutional congress, you’re correct.
    But, the people “in the room” are not the ones in constitutional congress, but the ones interpreting things. The ones that have a tendency to forget that non-Christians exist when discussing public policy regarding religion, then get a nasty shock when non-Christians suddenly, and without warning, exist.

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

    Makes me wonder how many people were Christian the way I was — because everyone else seemed to be, but with little knowledge of the Bible and zero church attendance. Christian purely because it’s taken for granted that everyone is Christian, unless they’re “weird” in some way (born into a Jewish family, foreigners, etc.)

    I had a culture shock within my own country when I discovered how few people are particularly devout Christians.

  • Lori

    IDK. On the one hand, people haven’t changed all that much so I’d assume that folks then were more or less like folks now. That would mean that quite a lot of them were Christians by default more than by active, committed belief. At the same time, the Europeans who came to N. America weren’t randomly selected. They skewed heavily toward religious fanatics. I suppose the question is, in the hundred and some years between their arrival here and the creation of the founding documents how successful were they in passing on their beliefs and what was the fall-out/backlash rate? I have no idea.

  • hidden_urchin

    Not only that, read <a href=http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llac2&fileName=009/llac009.db&recNum=341 Article 11. It’s from the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli.

  • themunck

    I move to have that highlighted and framed on the doors to Congress.

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

    I particularly like the part about having no quarrel with Muslim people or governments. :P

  • Ross Thompson

    Look, it says “creator”, right there. Therefore, Lutheran Reformed Synod of 1812.

  • Michael Pullmann

    “Eastern Convocation or Western Convocation?” “Western.” “Die, heretic!”

  • banancat

    That article about linking virginity (for women) to gum or candy bars makes me so sad. On a message board that I follow, there is a topic about this issue. And so many of the comments there are like “Yeah, it’s fine for dads to tell their daughters not to be promiscuous, but this particular case is taking it too far”. Why are there so few people who think that women are worthy human beings whether they are virgins, have had many sexual partners, or are anywhere in between? And why is it any father’s business anyway (interesting how it’s always framed as being ok for fathers to not want sexual daughters). Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who truly believes that all people have a right to their own sexuality without their parents having a right to interfere, and also that having sex with multiple partners really is as a legitimate a choice as having none or one partner.

  • Alix

    Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who truly believes that all people have a right to their own sexuality without their parents having a right to interfere, and also that having sex with multiple partners really is as a legitimate a choice as having none or one partner.

    You’re not.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Nope. I’m fully on board with the idea that kids are their own people with the right to only the necessary interference from their parents.

    And frankly, those dads that star joking about owning a gun when their daughters come of dating age sicken me.

  • Katie

    FWIW, the guys I know who make jokes like that aren’t worried about their daughter having consensual sex, they’re worried about their daughter being abused/raped/mistreated.

  • Alix

    The folks I know who make greeting-with-a-gun “jokes” are inadvertently revealing to me that they either think their daughters/women are property they get to dispense with as they wish, or that they think all sex is degrading towards women.

    They’re certainly not showing me they trust women to think for themselves or control their own lives/bodies.

    Although FWIW the guys I know who say stuff like that … aren’t really joking. They’re using the guise of jokes to say stuff they really believe, so they have some kind of vague cover when they get called on their sexist shit. :/

  • Kirala

    Actually, FWIW, my dad used to joke about getting a gun when we (oldest of three sisters here) were old enough to date… but was universally friendly and welcoming to ANY guy we brought home, whether he personally approved or not. However he might feel uncertain, he was willing to trust our judgment in who did what with us with our consent.

    But working in criminal law, he knew a lot of the crap that occurs in the world that we were unaware of – which occurs without consent, especially once girls hit dating age, often with people the girls had previously consented to seeing. And he desperately wanted to be able to protect us from the evils of this world. Those jokes were his way of venting steam for worries about how this world can be unsafe, especially for girls and women.

  • Alix

    Clarification: the people I know who make greeting-with-a-gun comments don’t distinguish, in those comments, between rape/abuse and consensual sex. They just make comments about how any guy their daughters show up with is automatically going to be greeted with violence/threats, because apparently any guy is automatically assumed to be Bad For Their Little Princess.

    And I’ve yet to meet a guy who makes threatening-the-boyfriend comments who actually thinks it’s okay for His Little Girl to have sex. No, they all have an unshakable view of their daughters as small children, pure unsullied innocents who would never do something as naughty as sex.

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

    That shit just drives me fucking nuts.

    Especially when literature (of the fanfic and non- varieties both) buy into this gender-essentialist bullshit and write the rawr angry daddy stereotype with the “If you hurt my little girl” one-liner – cue the inevitable “I’d hurt myself first!!” or “I’d find you first!!!” response.

    It just makes me roll my fucking eyes. What, young women can’t figure out for themselves how to decide what they will or will not do with a guy?

  • Alix

    In some ways, the whole scenario is the perfect distillation of patriarchy:
    -It’s always the father who’s “concerned”/threatening.
    -It’s always the daughter who the father is concerned about/policing on behalf of.
    -It’s never with the daughter’s permission, or at least her permission is never seen as something the father needs to be concerned with.
    -It’s always a boyfriend the father is threatening.

    Men are the power, men are in charge, men are threatening, women are there to be protected, to be passive, to be passed on from one man to another who meets the first man’s standards.

    And people think this is just a silly trope, or a joke.

    (My dad tried the “if you hurt my little girl” line on one of my sis’ boyfriends. Her response was to roll her eyes and snap that if he hurt her, she wouldn’t leave anything for dad to go after. Not, perhaps, the best response, but it left my dad utterly flabbergasted.)

  • The_L1985

    I almost wish I’d dated in high school, just so I could have said that.

  • Daniel Björkman

    Yeah. It’s not funny. It’s offensive to men, it’s offensive to women, and it’s offensive to anyone who thinks that people can just get along without having a gun to their heads.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Yes, they are…usually by *their* version of “abused” and “mistreated,” not the daughter’s.

    And yes, I recognize that sometimes, the father is going to know better than the teenager what actually is and isn’t abuse.

    But most of the time, it’s not that way. Consensual sex is not abuse. Most fathers would just rather avoid the whole mess all together, as if it’s really their prerogative to make that decision. So they make jokes about shooting boys and other such things.

  • stardreamer42

    I’ve never heard that kind of “joke” be made without an “ownership” subtext. If a father is seriously worried about his daughter being raped or abused (as opposed to his property being damaged), he teaches her how to recognize warning signals for the kind of guy who may escalate to that, and what to do if she sees them. It’s all about who has the agency, and Daddy threatening the date negates agency for the woman.

  • banancat

    Maybe they should spend less time obsessing about their daughter’s hymen and more time obsessing about teaching their sons to not rape. In every case where I’v heard this used as an excuse, there has always been a huge double-standard when it comes to sons.

  • banancat

    Also keep in mind that at the heart of the shotgun jokes are the idea of a shotgun wedding, meaning that if the daughter ends up pregnant out of wedlock, she and the father are shamed and the father will use the gun to force the man to make an honest woman of her by marrying her. Notice that in no way does this take into account rape versus consensual sex, nor is the daughter’s preference to get married or not taken into account. And the the possibility of abortion certainly isn’t factored in.

    No, if the daughter of these men gets pregnant, the only option they see is to make the man buy the property that he already stole from the father.

    If they really cared about preventing unwanted pregnancy, they would teach their children about birth control and provide it to the best of their ability, and also teach their children, both sons and daughters, that they have the right to demand birth control. But none of that is happening in these cases so I’m not inclined to believe they’re just looking out for the potential rapist or abuser.

  • Carstonio

    That’s not the worry of the guys I know who make such jokes. They buy into the gender essentialism of boys interested only in sex and girls only interested in relationships. Often they smile with pride if their sons are popular with girls, but fume at the idea of their daughters being popular with boys.

  • Daniel Björkman

    Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who truly believes that all
    people have a right to their own sexuality without their parents having a
    right to interfere, and also that having sex with multiple partners
    really is as a legitimate a choice as having none or one partner.

    Well, I’m with you on the first one 100%, and the second one in practice. I have some personal objections to short attention spans and to objectifying others, both of which I associate with having many partners – but I have better (and less non-of-my-business-y) things to worry about.

  • banancat

    Do you truly believe that having many partners indicates some kind of flaw in someone? I have personally had many partners and because I’m a feminist, I make a point to not objectify others. And while I do have a short attention span due to youtube and the internet, my attention span was somehow long enough to successfully graduate from college with a degree in engineering, and also long enough to hold down a job and support myself as well as anyone else in this economy, meaning that I’ve had a period of unemployment and been underpaid in several jobs, but no more so than what monogamous people have experienced. You should be more careful about making assumptions based on sexual preferences.

  • Daniel Björkman

    The problem with that is, I don’t actually know you, so you saying that you don’t objectify people just means that you don’t think that you do. There is really nothing to say that we don’t mean entirely different things with the word – especially since I know that I put the bar for how much attention and consideration we owe each other unusually high.

  • Daniel Björkman

    Oh, hell, do you want a completely honest answer? I didn’t really want to get into all my reasons, because I am so sick of my personality being picked apart and every bit of it found to be abominable. But you feel that I’m passing judgment on you, so I suppose it’s only fair that I give you the ammunition to do the same.

    So: yes, I feel suspicious about people who have many casual partners, especially if they seem to take pride in it. It doesn’t make me immediately think that they are the unclean spawn of Satan, but it does make me think that they are the kind of people who will hurt me if I let them and that I should be wary around them. For reasons including:

    1) I care about things completely, or not at all. I just don’t know how to be any other way. I do no even understand casual platonic friendship, much less casual relationships – for me, it is always Undying True Friendship or nothing at all beyond a nodding acquaintance. People who can attach detach quickly are, to me, people who are in danger of pulling me in, making me think they like me, and then throwing me aside the moment I become the least bit inconvenient. This has happened to me. Often. I do not trust people who treat interaction with other people casually, because experience has shown that they are a danger to me.

    2) People who seem too blithe in their sexuality unnerve me. I have always been told that my sexuality is something that needs to be beaten down and suppressed, because otherwise I can do terrible harm to women. Well, I do not wish to do terrible harm to anyone, so I curl up and make myself as sexless and unthreatening as possible. But I will not accept that it is only my sexuality that is so terrible and dirty and evil – if mine is, so is everyone else’s, and they should treat it with the utmost caution. The ones who do not seem to do so therefore make me suspicious.

    3) People who are happy-go-lucky about sex are forever informing me that my preferences – to move slowly in social situations, to invest myself deeply in people, to be hurt when I am casually thrown aside – indicates a flaw in me; indicates that I am a horrible emotional parasite who wants to steal people’s freedom and energy and who should either change to fit into the game or just remove myself from society so that they can play it in peace. I refuse to accept that verdict. I refuse to accept that everything about me is so thoroughly despicable. Therefore, if only one way can be right, their way must be wrong.

    (there is a certain amount of bitterness and payback attached to this one. They judge me – therefore I judge them right back. I acknowledge that)

    There, soft underbelly revealed.

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

    1. This just means that casual sex, and casual friendships, aren’t a good idea for YOU. That’s something you’ve discovered is a necessity for your mental health. Well and good. But don’t assume everyone is the same way.

    Further illustrations of Not Everyone Has The Same Mental Health Needs:

    – Mr. ShifterCat and I typically have groups of friends over several times a week for game nights. Some people would find this exhausting. Others would find it downright upsetting.

    – I’ve worked retail for most of my career. This means interacting with a lot of strangers. Several of my interactions with these strangers have been positive, and I have pleasant memories of them even though both of us were aware that it was a casual and primarily work-related interaction. For most of them, I’ve forgotten, or never learned, their names. But if someone were to tell me that these experiences were meaningless, or that I was “objectifying” them as customers, I would be quite annoyed.

    ETA: Also, I’ve done art modeling. That means getting naked for a bunch of strangers. For me, it’s interesting and fun. For other people, it would be terrifying.

    2. Your sexuality is not terrible and dirty and evil. Neither is anyone else’s.

    3. The people you describe are jerks. Their jerkishness isn’t about their sexuality — it’s about their insistence that everyone has to be just like them. If they were truly secure in their sexuality, they wouldn’t see anyone else’s as a threat.

    But here’s the thing to remember: that thing they’re doing to you? Judging you badly for having fewer partners, when it’s none of their fucking business? The reverse — what we call “slut-shaming” — happens a hell of a lot more often.

    So yeah. You get upset when people give you shit about how many partners you’ve taken to bed? DON’T DO IT TO OTHERS.

  • Daniel Björkman

    1. As I say, the fact that casualness in all things is considered the default and need not be questioned has directly caused me pain. It’s all very well to say that say that we should just all just tolerate each other, but I am the one being hurt by the way the majority of people behave. By the way they constantly tell each other is the correct way to behave, and that anyone who gets hurt by it has only himself to blame for being such a clingy, over-emotional freak.

    2. I do not believe you really mean that. Not if you really think it through.

    To put it this way: do you really want me to just relax and do what comes natural? Talk to people when it seemed like a good idea? Look where it felt natural to look, instead of keeping my eyes straight forward?

    Because the thing is, there is an entire progressive blogosphere that is devoted mainly to talking about how very bad it is when freaks like me do what comes natural, and about the many many many many many sorts of horrible emotional trauma that can be inflicted by it. And that’s from me just existing, from looks and words, with no physical contact at all.

    Now, I am not entirely unreasonable. Of course other people is better than me at the insane amount of multitasking and social grace that it takes to manage to avoid any such unpleasantness, so I don’t expect them to curl up into celibacy as I do. But the differences between me and a normal person are not so great that I can believe that what is guaranteed disaster for me is effortless success for everyone but me, and therefore, I distrust people who brag about how casual they are about sex. If they bragged about how very, very cautious they were and how meticulously they steered clear of any danger zones, I could accept that the game is the same for everyone and that I just suck at it. It’s the divide between the rules for me and the rules for (a great deal of the time) the very people who have imparted those rules on me that I cannot accept as reasonable.

    3. I do not think that it is just a few jerks. Because again, it looks an awful lot to me like it’s just about the entire leftist part of the Internet. Amanda Marcotte is not any sort of insignificant fringe character as far as I understand. She seems to get linked to an awful lot and be universally praised, in fact. (and I can’t even imagine how she’d react to being told that she’s insecure in her sexuality…)

    You think I am intolerant, but beyond some grumbling I don’t do anything to stop people from doing what they like. Like I said in the post that started this discussion, it’s a personal peeve of limited importance, not part of any political agenda. I am not a prolific, widely-read blogger spitting out endless articles about how the pro-life movement is fueled by bitter virgins, or about how being emotionally vulnerable inevitably drives you towards wanting to enslave others.

    I treat others as I have been treated – not by some random bullies, but by the acknowledged moral authorities. I realise that it would be even better if I could follow the Golden Rule, but I just don’t have that in me at this point in my life.

  • dpolicar

    Implicit in your thinking here seems to be the idea that making mistakes in how you relate to women is unacceptable… that is, not only that there’s a right way to do it and there are real consequences to doing it the wrong way, but that you have to get it right the first time, and every time, and if there’s any chance of getting it wrong the best thing to do is avoid the situation altogether.

    Am I misreading that, or is that idea — that it’s not OK to make mistakes — actually implicit in your thinking here?

  • Daniel Björkman

    You are entirely correct. It is not all right to make mistakes in sexual situations in about the same way that it is not all right to make mistakes while performing brain surgery.

    I expect you will tell me that it is not so? Because if so, I can only refer you to all the feminists who have spent the last decade informing me of how horribly they suffer from men making these mistakes. I do not wish to be the cause of that kind of suffering. I may be an asshole, but I don’t want to be a monster.

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

    There are few things in the sexual arena which can honestly be called “mistakes” that are unfixable. You see someone looking uncomfortable with how close you’re getting? Step back and, if necessary, apologize. Someone still looks uncomfortable? Excuse yourself and go elsewhere.

    Not sure whether someone might like a particular thing? Ask first.

    Now, someone who calls walking up behind a stranger at a party and putting his hand on her ass a “mistake” — he’s full of shit.

  • dpolicar

    It is not all right to make mistakes in sexual situations in about the same way that it is not all right to make mistakes while performing brain surgery.

    The thing is, it is all right to make mistakes while performing brain surgery. It has to be, because brain surgery is performed by humans, and humans make mistakes. The only way to guarantee no mistakes during brain surgery is to never perform brain surgery and in that case more people suffer and die.

    I do not wish to be the cause of that kind of suffering.

    That’s of course a choice you are free to make.

    I certainly agree that if you participate in sexual situations, you will sometimes make mistakes, and those mistakes will sometimes cause suffering. So if your primary goal is to never cause suffering, then it follows that you should not participate in sexual situations.

    Or perform brain surgery.
    Or, well, do much of anything else, ever.

    But… is that really your primary goal?

    I don’t want to be a monster.

    What I understand you to be saying here is that if you choose to do things that stand a chance of causing suffering when you make mistakes at them, you will be a monster. Yes?

    Do you think the same is true of people in general, or are you special in this way?

  • Daniel Björkman

    “The only way to guarantee no mistakes during brain surgery is to never perform brain surgery and in that case more people suffer and die.”

    True, but the same can not be said for me flirting. It has been made very clear to me, over and over again, that my right to flirt is less important than every woman’s right to feel completely safe and comfortable at all times.

    And also that, unlike brain surgery, me flirting serves no good purpose. Women get flirted with enough, my contribution is not required and would in fact be an unwelcome burden for them.

    “But… is that really your primary goal?”

    My primary goal is to survive and not be a monster. That is really all I can aspire to, and believe me when I say that I constantly despair of succeeding at either one.

    Look, are you really saying that I should risk hurting women for my own gratification? I really feel you should run that by some feminists first, because is the complete opposite to what they are always telling me – that I have a duty to first and foremost do no harm to them, and that I’ll just have to arrange my own life around that as best I can. So that’s what I’m trying to do – not happily, perhaps, and not without a lot of whining, but I’m doing it anyway. I don’t want to be the kind of loathsome subhuman who shows up in the stories they tell me. I am pretty worthless as it is, I cannot be one of those drooling rape-monsters on top of everything else. There must be some depths that I avoid sinking to, or what’s the point?

    “What I understand you to be saying here is that if you choose to do things that stand a chance of causing suffering when you make mistakes at them, you will be a monster. Yes?”

    No, not quite. If you manage to avoid causing suffering, all is well. You might be berated for carelessness, if you were in fact careless, but no more. It’s not taking the risk of causing harm that makes you a monster, it is the harm you actually cause.

    “Do you think the same is true of people in general, or are you special in this way?”

    It’s a bit of both. Certainly it is very important for everyone to not make themselves culpable – that is why it annoys me when people seem flippant and happy-go-lucky about risky things. But I am more incompetent than others, and make mistakes more easily, so I need to be especially careful. Also, I have less positive things to offer to make up for the harm I cause than others do, so I must be more careful to avoid assembling debts I will not be able to repay.

  • dpolicar

    It has been made very clear to me, over and over again, that my right to flirt is less important than every woman’s right to feel completely safe and comfortable at all times.

    Do you believe this?

    I mean, I understand that you’re saying people have said this to you on blogs and stuff, and that it’s very important to you to emphasize that. What I’m asking you is different: do you believe it’s true?

    Look, are you really saying that I should risk hurting women for my own gratification?

    Yes, of course I’m saying that.

    In fact, I’m saying more than that, I’m saying that we can’t help but risk hurting people (including women, including children, including ourselves) if we’re going to live our lives at all, and that living our lives is worth doing despite that risk.

    Of course, there are many risks that aren’t worth taking, and part of being a responsible adult is learning to tell the difference and acting accordingly.

    For example, it’s OK for me to drive to work today, even though I can’t drive to work in the morning without risking hurting people (including women). But it’s not OK for me to deliberately drive recklessly (or drunk, or stoned, or etc.) and thereby increase that chance.

    I do recognize that making those kinds of distinctions is hard work, especially at first, and it’s easier to apply general rules more broadly. And as I say, that’s a choice you are free to make, and maybe it’s the right choice for you… it depends a lot on your ability to make the kinds of risk assessments we’re talking about, which you know better than I.

    For example, if (as you imply) you really are sufficiently “incompetent” that you can’t reliably distinguish between talking to women and abusing women, I endorse choosing not to talk to women so as to reduce the risk of hurting them, in more or less the same spirit that I endorse pedophiles staying the hell away from children.

    But this is a rare situation.

    It’s not taking the risk of causing harm that makes you a monster, it is the harm you actually cause.

    I very much dispute this.

    As I say, I’m about to get into my car and risk killing people. This doesn’t make me a monster. If it happens that I do kill someone today, I will feel unspeakably horrible about it, but I won’t actually be any worse a person than if I don’t.

    Put more broadly: morality is about how I make the choice to roll the die, not about what number happens to come up.

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

    My guess is that Daniel Björkman is referring to the axiom “Intent Is Not Magic”. Which is true: just because you didn’t mean to hurt someone doesn’t mean that you didn’t hurt someone. Intent alone doesn’t prevent or ameliorate harm.

    I think where he goes off the rails is in assuming that “Intent Is Not Magic” means “Intent Never Matters, Period”.

  • Daniel Björkman

    I am really, truly, honestly not trying to be difficult here, but… yes?

    My understanding is that sexual misconduct – beyond the very mildest sorts, perhaps – is a permanent mark that defines you as a person. Anytime I have heard someone suggest otherwise, the responding consensus has been that any sympathy with the offender would be the same as erasing the victim.

    Don’t get me me wrong. I acknowledge the justice of the situation. It is the right of the injured party to refuse forgiveness – to hurt someone and then demand that they forgive you would be obscene. But an act that is literally unforgivable is an act that must never be performed in the first place.

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

    …an act that is literally unforgivable is an act that must never be performed in the first place.

    Sure. But my point is that you are massively misreading what “unforgivable” means.

  • Daniel Björkman

    Do you believe this?

    What choice do I have?

    What should I do? Say, “no, you don’t suffer as much as you say you do, quit whining”? That’s what conservatives say. If someone says they are suffering, what can I do but take their word for it?

    And as I say, that’s a choice you are free to make, and maybe it’s the right choice for you… it depends a lot on your ability to make the kinds of risk assessments we’re talking about, which you know better than I.

    Well, let me put it like this.

    Once, a man timidly propositioned a woman. He did it politely and unaggressively. When rejected, he did not press the issue. Had I been asked, prior to this incident, I would have said that that was all that mattered. I would have said that he had all his bases covered, that there couldn’t possibly be anything wrong with it.

    But as it turns out, he did it while standing in an elevator. And because of that, the entire left-wing side of the Internet screamed in rage for weeks. George Zimmerman had to shoot and kill a man to generate the amount of sheer hate that this nameless man caused by flirting while standing in one place instead of in another place.

    So yes, it does look an awful lot to me like the whole thing is one giant minefield wherein a slight misstep makes you the lowest form of human life.

    Put more broadly: morality is about how I make the choice to roll the die, not about what number happens to come up.

    To which the feminists answer, “INTENT IS NOT FUCKING MAGIC!” If you hurt someone, you are a bad person. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t mean to. Damage does not go away because it was unintentionally inflicted.

  • dpolicar

    What choice do I have?

    That depends on the specifics of your situation, of course.

    For example, for some people developing better social skills (including the ability to apologize) is a choice. For others, it isn’t.

    “INTENT IS NOT FUCKING MAGIC!”

    Yup. If I hit someone with my car on my way to work, they really are injured, regardless of my lack of intent to harm them. Intent is indeed not magic.

    If you hurt someone, you are a bad person.

    Nope. If I hit someone with my car on my way to work, that doesn’t make me a bad person.
    It makes me a person who hurt someone.

    There are consequences to that. For example, I may have to make amends for the injury I caused. But my being a bad person isn’t one of those consequences.

    Of course, I may still be judged by others as a bad person. And it sounds like you’re very focused on how others judge you… in fact, now that I think about it, your examples are primarily about being judged; and only secondarily (if that) about people being hurt. For example, if the elevator incident you describe hadn’t been publicized, or if it had been and everyone shrugged their shoulders and moved on, I’m left with the sense that you’d be OK with it… though presumably whatever harm was caused is the same either way.

    And, yeah, if my goal is to control how others judge me, that’s a whole different ball game.

  • Daniel Björkman

    For example, I may have to make amends for the injury I caused.

    How? The injury happened. You can’t undo it.

    Of course, if you did everything right and the accident still happened, then it was, well, an accident. Regrettable, but not your fault. But if you were careless, then you are a person whose carelessness injured someone. There is no escaping that, no arguing it away, no making it better.

    in fact, now that I think about it, your examples are primarily about being judged; and only secondarily (if that) about people being hurt.

    That is unfair. How am I to know that I have hurt someone if no one tells me? I am no telepathic, I can’t feel their pain as my own. I only know how they feel by how they indicate it – by how hurt them seem, by how angry others are on their behalf.

    How people judge me is what tells me what sort of person I am. I can’t tell myself, because I am not objective. Human beings are far too good at making excuses for ourselves. We always tend to think that whatever we do must be right because it’s us doing it. I need a second opinion – or better yet, a thousand second opinions from people whose moral judgment seems sound.

    For example, if the elevator incident you describe hadn’t been publicized, or if it had been and everyone shrugged their shoulders and moved on, I’m left with the sense that you’d be OK with it

    Well, in the first case, I wouldn’t really have known about it in the first place… But in the second, if all those socially-conscious people seemed to think there was any harm done… well, I would trust their judgment.

  • dpolicar

    How? The injury happened. You can’t undo it.

    True, I can’t undo it. If I could, amends would not be necessary… I could just undo the injury.

    I’m staring at this question somewhat incredulously, not knowing where to start. Perhaps here: has anyone ever injured you?

    If so, in thinking about how they dealt with you afterwards, is there any variation in that behavior that seems to correlate at all with how you eventually came to feel about the initial injury?

    Or does your relationship to that injury stay basically the same regardless of what anyone does?

    That is unfair. How am I to know that I have hurt someone if no one tells me?

    My point is not that you ought to somehow mysteriously know.

    My point is… well, let me put it this way:
    Suppose I’m trying to write a computer program and I’m failing at it.

    So I search the Internet for computer programmer blogs, and discover lots of programmers ranting about stupid novice programmers like me, and how stupid our mistakes are, and how the language I’m using is stupid and wrong, and how the platform I’m running it on is stupid and wrong. Maybe there are lots of examples of programming and configuration errors that have disasterous consequences, and I think “gee, I might have made that mistake too!”

    I might just curl up into a ball there, conclude that I can’t ever learn this stuff, everything I could ever do is wrong, there’s no point in trying. A lot of people do that. But I might pick a side on some basis — maybe most of my friends are on that side — and choose a language, a compiler, etc. etc. etc. on that basis. Having done that, I don’t actually understand why my chosen platform, language, compiler, etc., is better… I’m just substituting the judgment of my social circle for my own. All I can do is try to follow the advice of better programmers than I and hope that’s enough.

    Suppose you run into me struggling over a program at that point and say “why not do X?” and I reply “because the programming blogs are full of people on the Internet who say X is bad!”… well, what do you say?

    a thousand second opinions from people whose moral judgment seems sound.

    Agreed that such opinions are useful.

    To my mind, anyone who tells me it’s not ever OK for me to make a mistake when socializing with people because someone might get hurt does not have sound moral judgment, and their opinions are not useful.

    What do you think?

  • Daniel Björkman

    If so, in thinking about how they dealt with you afterwards, is there any variation in that behavior that seems to correlate at all with how you eventually came to feel about the initial injury?

    Er. I have very little personal experience to go on here. While I often feel hurt in various ways, the common opinion is that that is because I am over-sensitive and I usually end up being the one to apologise.

    But… When someone does apologise for a mistake that hurt me, yes, that makes a tremendous difference. So yes, I suppose I take your point… but I am still not sure if it applies to other people. I am uncertain about the reactions of people who are injured by reckless driving, but I cannot recall a single instance of a feminist story of boorish male behaviour that ended with, “though he did apologise and act genuinely contrite afterward, so I guess he’s not all bad.” Furthermore, whenever I have seen someone get in an argument about feminist principles – like me right now, I suppose – and later seem to want to backpedal and apologise for what he said, the response has always been that it’s too late, the harm is already done and apologies are useless.

    So while apologies do matter to me, in the situations where people have apologised to me, I am not sure that the same principle carries over.

    Suppose you run into me struggling over a program at that point and say “why not do X?” and I reply “because the programming blogs are full of people on the Internet who say X is bad!”… well, what do you say?

    Er… probably I would get panicked because I’d been using X myself, and now it turns out that it’s bad and everyone knew about it except me, and oh God I hope my boss doesn’t find out what a lousy programmer I am and fires me…?

    Sorry. I swear I am not trying to be difficult. I think I just don’t quite understand what “I” represent in this metaphor, though I understood it up to that point.

    What do you think?

    But then who should I listen to? Proponents of mainstream opinion won’t do – they are the patriarchy, they support Rape Culture. And anyway, they think that disabled people like myself should starve to death rather than force anyone to pay taxes to give us the help we need. I literally cannot accept their moral authority and remain alive at the same time, so they are not an option for me.

    Feminists (or rather, liberals in general – but while not every feminist is a liberal, I have never seen a liberal who wasn’t a feminist) may not like me much, but they are the only group that want at least in general terms what I want – a world with less inequality, less strife, less pain. If I can’t listen to them, then there is just no one left.

  • dpolicar

    I cannot recall a single instance of a feminist story of boorish male behaviour that ended with, “though he did apologise and act genuinely contrite afterward, so I guess he’s not all bad.”

    And from this you conclude… what?
    It seems you conclude that apologizing to women for making mistakes that hurt them doesn’t make them feel better, the way it does you.
    That seems unjustified to me.
    What do you think?

    But then who should I listen to?

    I think it’s noteworthy that I start out talking about substituting the judgment of other people for my own, and you reply talking about listening to people.

    I think there are important differences between the two, and confusing one for the other is a mistake.

    To continue the computer analogy… suppose I say to you that I’m interested in computers, but the Internet blogs seem full of awful things to say about every computer platform, so no matter what platform I pick I’m clearly just wrong and I just don’t know what to do.

    What would you recommend I do?

  • Daniel Björkman

    And from this you conclude… what?

    I conclude that this type of mistake is simply unforgivable. Or that other people don’t benefit from apologies the way I do. Or both.

    I think there are important differences between the two, and confusing one for the other is a mistake.

    I… don’t trust my personal judgment very much, if that is what you mean. I don’t really trust anyone’s individual judgment very much. I trust consensus among groups with a good track record for turning out to be right (or whose claims about other things I can square with things I know from my own limited experience).

    I mean, I suppose that must sound very strange, seeing as I seem to have gone and started a flame war by voicing an unpopular opinion here. 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”). Since I see no way to believe the full message, I believe the part of it that fits my personal experience. (it is more complicated than that, as I have admitted elsewhere, but that explains why I go against the consensus here even though that is against my nature)

    What would you recommend I do?

    Pick one at random. If no one can agree which one is the best, then they are presumably more or less equivalent.

    But that doesn’t help me. I am not getting mixed messages – I feel like the message is very clear, in fact. “Don’t mess up.”

  • dpolicar

    Well, that’s certainly clear enough.

    For my own part, I prefer to listen to people and try to understand what they believe and why they believe it, and then decide what I believe, which may or may not agree with them. (My advice to myself as a programmer would be similar: try to understand what people are complaining about and why they are complaining, make decisions based on the situation as I understand it, revise my decision as my understanding improves.)

    But if you prefer to go with collective judgments of selected communities, you’re certainly free to do so.

    That strategy will of course create problems for you when you find yourself in a community that is collectively confused/internally conflicted, but all strategies create problems in some situation or other, so maybe that’s OK.

  • 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://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

    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.

  • 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

    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

    Once, a man timidly propositioned a woman. He did it politely and unaggressively. When rejected, he did not press the issue. Had I been asked, prior to this incident, I would have said that that was all that mattered. I would have said that he had all his bases covered, that there couldn’t possibly be anything wrong with it.

    But as it turns out, he did it while standing in an elevator. And because of that, the entire left-wing side of the Internet screamed in rage for weeks.

    Good fucking hell. You know what Rebecca Watson said about this guy? She said, “Guys, don’t do that.” She noted that the guy didn’t mean to be threatening, but explained why it was a creeper move. She made a public statement in the hopes that guys would go “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that” and adjust their behaviour accordingly. And this shit happened: ( http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/10/sexism_in_the_skeptic_community_i_spoke_out_then_came_the_rape_threats.single.html ). This notion you seem to have that the guy was publicly crucified? Is bullshit. The internet blow-up came from the ANTI-feminists.

    To which the feminists answer, “INTENT IS NOT FUCKING MAGIC!” If you hurt someone, you are a bad person. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t mean to.

    B does not follow from A. Stop claiming it does.

  • eamonknight

    Yeah, good grief. I almost had sympathy for Daniel, as a socially awkward guy having trouble navigating the boundaries of sexual negotiation. But if he’s going to support his point by misrepresenting history on that scale…..Screw it.

  • Daniel Björkman

    Well, I am sorry to lose your almost-sympathy. And I didn’t mean to misrepresent history, either, though I suppose I sort of did. It was certainly more complicated than I made it out to be.

    This really is the lesson I learned, though, from that incident and all the arguments that followed (which included plenty of other examples of things I would terrify women by doing that it had never occurred to me was any sort of issue). The default is that I am a source of pain and fear in any woman who comes into contact with me – anything else, I need to work for.

  • eamonknight

    Then I think you need professional counseling about your self-image and social issues, not just looking for understanding from a bunch of amateurs on the internet.

  • Daniel Björkman

    It was important enough for her to go up on a stage and tell all the world how bad it was. And then it was important enough to become a byword for the constant fear women live in. It does seem like it was a pretty big deal to me.

    Not that I will deny that there seems to be large groups with nothing better to do than to start shouting “SHUT UP BITCH OR I’LL RAPE YOU!” at the slightest provocation. I really have no words to express my contempt for those people.

    But the arguments I saw really were to a large extent about how entirely unacceptable it was to proposition someone while in an elevator, and how that should have been obvious to anyone with half a brain right from the start. This also brought up plenty of other examples of things that terrify women, including men walking too close to them on the street.

    You seem to think that I am attacking feminism for overreacting. I am not. If something is a big deal, it needs to be made a big deal of. However, I am saying that if sexual situations are this fraught and such great emotional harm can be done so easily, then they require extreme caution. People thinking that it’s safe as long as your intentions are honourable leads to Elevatorgates.

    B does not follow from A. Stop claiming it does.

    As I said… somewhere downthread, I think… I have never gotten the impression that sexual misconduct was the kind of thing that was forgivable in… just about anyone’s eyes, really.

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

    It was important enough for her to go up on a stage and tell all the world how bad it was.

    As far as the going on stage thing goes… once again, if the general reaction from the internet had been, “Oh, I hadn’t thought of it that way. Thanks for letting us know,” the entire business would have ended right there. Most of the blogosphere would have forgotten about it by now.

    Again: she said the guy unintentionally made her feel threatened. Neither she, nor anyone else that I’ve ever heard or read, said that this was An Unforgivable Sin Which May Never Be Ameliorated Even Slightly. Yes, yes, I know: your jerkbrain insists on reading it that way. But that’s what jerkbrains do: they are experts on picking up stuff that isn’t there in order to make you feel bad.

    But the arguments I saw really were to a large extent about how entirely unacceptable it was to proposition someone while in an elevator, and how that should have been obvious to anyone with half a brain right from the start. This also brought up plenty of other examples of things that terrify women, including men walking too close to them on the street.

    I had to learn a lot of social graces-type stuff later in life. That meant some things which other people thought were blindingly obvious weren’t to me. Even now, I’ll sometimes read something like, “No, you never say this to a person in mourning! You could hurt them terribly! What’s wrong with someone that they wouldn’t know this?” My jerkbrain would like me to think, “You’re awful for not knowing this stuff instinctively! You should never be around anyone who’s in mourning, because you’ll mess up and scar them for life!” Thankfully, I now know enough to shut my jerkbrain up. Instead I say to myself, “I think that person put it a bit harshly, but that is good information and overall I’m glad I read it.”

    I have never gotten the impression that sexual misconduct was the kind of thing that was forgivable in… just about anyone’s eyes, really.

    For things like sexual assault, sure. Problem is, you’re wildly extrapolating that to everything else.

    (Edited to add some stuff)

  • 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.

  • 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://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’m unclear on how you went from “women have a right to feel safe” to “my flirtation will NEVER be welcome and if I dare to try it I will become a MONSTER”.

    Perhaps you could provide some quotes? With context?

  • Daniel Björkman

    I’m afraid that these are impressions gathered from all sorts of different writers and discussions over the course of a decade, not something I can quote chapter and verse on. But if you want to know what observations I base what conclusions on…

    1. Feminists complain a lot about men showing sexual interest in them all the time. While they do not regard it as a universally bad thing, it happens too often, in much the same way as you do not have to hate water to have a problem with being out in a violent rainstorm.
    2. They complain especially much about undesirable (fat, ugly, boring, etc) men flirting with them. This makes sense. If you are very hungry, eating something that tastes badly can still be nice; if you are not hungry, eating something that tastes badly is not nice; and if you are unpleasantly full, eating something that tastes badly is torture.

    3. Combine this with: feminists frequently note that men think that they are more moral, more attractive, and just generally better than they actually are. Therefore, male self-estimation should be adjusted downward.
    4. My adjusted self-estimation puts me at extremely undesirable.
    5. Were I to show sexual interest in a woman, I would be adding one to a number that is already too high. This would be further aggravated by the fact that my specific interest is almost certainly unwanted. If the number of… “flirters” was lower, there might be room for me. If I was desirable, some of the results of my showing interest might be beneficial. Neither of those being the case, however, I have a duty to not show sexual interest to women.

    This feels harsh. However, that does not make it unjust. It is perfectly logical.

    As for the “MONSTER” part, that is simply from me noting the level of anger directed at undesirable men who do show sexual interest. It is very high – therefore, the pain they cause can be assumed to be very high – therefore, they are monsters for causing much pain through their selfishness and stupidity.

    ETA: Oh, and from another perspective, which may be even more important – women I talk to are afraid that I am going to rape them. I am Schrödinger’s Rapist. I have a duty to somehow assure them that I will not. Showing no sexual interest in them whatsoever is genuinely the only way I can think of to do that.

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

    I’m afraid that these are impressions gathered from all sorts of different writers and discussions over the course of a decade, not something I can quote chapter and verse on.

    Yeah, that’s what I thought.

    1. Feminists complain a lot about men showing sexual interest in them all the time. While they do not regard it as a universally bad thing, it happens too often, in much the same way as you do not have to hate water to have a problem with being out in a violent rainstorm.

    The sexual interest is not the problem. The various social issues concerning sexual interest are the problem.

    2. They complain especially much about undesirable (fat, ugly, boring, etc) men flirting with them.

    Context matters a great deal here. If someone’s being an asshole to me, I’m likely to be physically repelled by aspects of them I’d find neutral otherwise. But if someone’s being pleasant to me, I’ll psychologically minimize the stuff I don’t like.

    Also, we sometimes want to call attention to the appearance double standard: “I’m supposed to primp and pluck and diet and choose pretty clothes, not even to be judged positively, just to keep from being judged *negatively* — and this guy thinks I should be grateful for his attention when he can’t even be bothered to put on a shirt without food stains?”

    3. Combine this with: feminists frequently note that men think that they are more moral, more attractive, and just generally better than they actually are. Therefore, male self-estimation should be adjusted downward.

    What is this I don’t even.

    Yeah, women note that men sometimes say stuff about them being inherently more virtuous and whateverthecrap. We also note that it’s bullshit.

    4. My adjusted self-estimation puts me at extremely undesirable.

    5. Were I to show sexual interest in a woman, I would be adding one to a number that is already too high. This would be further aggravated by the fact that my specific interest is almost certainly unwanted. If the number of… “flirters” was lower, there might be room for me. If I was desirable, some of the results of my showing interest might be beneficial. Neither of those being the case, however, I have a duty to not show sexual interest to women.

    This feels harsh. However, that does not make it unjust. It is perfectly logical.

    This is not logic. This is, to use Captain Awkward’s phrase, your jerkbrain talking.

    Consider: feminists, both male and female, continue to form romantic relationships, get laid, etc. Plenty of said feminists, both male and female, do not meet conventional standards of attractiveness and admit to being socially awkward. Therefore, there’s plenty of flirting going on, much of it from people who aren’t fashion models or etiquette masters, and yet it’s welcome.

  • Daniel Björkman

    Since I offered in my last response to stop responding to you if you want me to, I will wait to answer anything else until you tell me to. But I want to clarify that point 3 should be read as:

    “feminists frequently note that men think that they (the men) are more moral, more attractive, and just generally better than they actually are. Therefore,male self-estimation should be adjusted downward.”

  • 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

    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.

  • 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://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I think you’re employing a bit of a cheat by using a different definition of “not all right” in the second half of the sentence than you are in the first.

  • Daniel Björkman

    How so? It’s not all right to make mistakes, when the consequences of your mistakes are sufficiently dire. That was what I meant with that comparison.

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

    1. I’m honestly not sure what kind of interaction you think won’t cause you terrible pain, or how you would go about finding that. It sounds like you want people to be either Instant Best Friends Forever, or nothing. And even if someone was willing to try to be your IBFF, well… friendship doesn’t work that way. Relationships take time to gel, and everyone needs an exit option if that gelling doesn’t happen. Have you tried finding a therapist or someone to talk to about these expectations?

    2. No, I repeat: Your sexuality is not terrible and dirty and evil. Neither is anyone else’s.

    How someone acts upon their desires — that’s where the moral questions come in.

    A guy who expresses his heterosexuality by treating women like they are his equals, some of whom just happen to be attractive to him, is miles away from a guy who expresses it by talking to women’s breasts, sending them unsolicited cockshots, and behaving as though a woman’s primary value depends on whether or not she gives him a stiffy.

    Someone who has fantasies of non-consent and acts them out with a willing partner is miles away from someone who commits assault.

    Likewise, someone who enjoys casual sex and is immediate and up-front about their expectations with potential partners, behaving with consideration and respect for the brief time that they’re with their partners, is miles away from someone who lets a partner think they might be interested in something long-term, behaves selfishly in bed “because this doesn’t mean anything” and then leaves to go crow about another notch in the bedpost.

    3. Okay, I’m going to break the Amanda Marcotte complaints down.

    – I haven’t read everything by Marcotte, so I’d kind of like a citation for this claim. I know she leans anti-marriage, and I don’t agree with her there, but this sounds exaggerated.

    – “Part of the same social/political movement” does not mean “hive mind”.

    – You can follow a blogger while thinking she’s absolutely in the right about some things and drastically wrong about others. See above.

    In answer to your, “I’ve been hurt too much to follow the Golden Rule” business: sorry, no. We’ve all been hurt. Some of us have been hurt badly. That does not give us the right to shit on other people, especially if those others have done nothing to wrong you or yours.

    Again: you don’t like people giving you shit about your sexuality, don’t do it to others. No excuses.

  • Daniel Björkman

    I have managed to make a few friends over the years, actually, so doing things my way is not as impossible as you think. But it’s not BFF-hood from first handshake, no. Perhaps the best way of putting it is that when meeting someone new, I make it a goal to be as good friends with them as our level of compatibility make possible? And while not everyone can make to full-fledged friendship (sadly), I do not give up on people unless there turns out to be some huge fundamental incompatibility. There is almost always some way to form some kind of bond, as long as you both keep trying.

    Also, I note that you are very quick to declare me in need of therapy for the way I do things. In that you are not unique – according to conventional wisdom, my way is neurotic and unhealthy, whereas yours is normal and well-adjusted. I just want to point that out, since the consensus here seems to be that I am a pawn of the establishment trying to oppress people.

    Look. I don’t trust a casual attitude towards just about anything, no. In my experience, things are done slowly and carefully and with much fretting about all the ways they can go wrong, or else bad things happen. I just can’t see it any other way, because in my experience that really is how it works. What do you want me to do, change my entire outlook on life because it’s not compatible with yours?

    As for the discussion on healthy sexuality, I will have to refer you to my discussion with Invisible Neutrino and dpolicar, because I am getting a lot of stuff to answer to here even without repeating myself. But in short, I really have been taught that sex is a minefield where a single misstep leads to disaster, and your general assertion that it’s simple and risk-free as long as you have the right attitude seems to be contradicted by the many, many, many examples I have been told of things going wrong.

    The third point – all right, I get it. The topic here is my sins, not the sins done to me. But may I point out that my “giving people shit” about their sexuality consisted of half a sentence in a reply that actually agreed, albeit grudgingly, that people’s love life was their own affair? Everything after that was people piling on me and insisting that I had to fully approve of everything others do.

    But fine, no excuses. I feel the way I feel, for some reasons that I think are good and for some that even I admit aren’t that rational but which still affect me. You don’t have to like it, and you don’t have to care what I think. But you also can’t change what I think, and while I am not going to go on any major rants about it, the way I think will on occasion slip out – in this case, in the form of grudging support instead of whole-hearted support.

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

    Also, I note that you are very quick to declare me in need of therapy for the way I do things. In that you are not unique – according to conventional wisdom, my way is neurotic and unhealthy, whereas yours is normal and well-adjusted… What do you want me to do, change my entire outlook on life because it’s not compatible with yours?

    I’m telling you you need therapy — and apparently I’m not alone in this — because the way you do things clearly isn’t working for you. It’s making you unhappy. It’s making you go on and on about how you’re an unattractive monster, how the specter of doing something wrong is paralyzing you, how if you slip up in any way it’ll be The Worst Thing In The World*, how you’re in so much pain you can’t practice basic consideration, etc. etc.

    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. Just stop.

    may I point out that my “giving people shit” about their sexuality consisted of half a sentence in a reply that actually agreed, albeit grudgingly, that people’s love life was their own affair?

    Uh, you equated having a lot of partners (whatever “a lot” means to you) with having a short attention span and objectifying others. You don’t get how that’s offensive and judgmental?

    Everything after that was people piling on me and insisting that I had to fully approve of everything others do.

    Nobody said that.

    *http://pervocracy.blogspot.ca/2012/09/the-worst-thing-in-world.html

  • Daniel Björkman

    I’m telling you you need therapy — and apparently I’m not alone in this — because the way you do things clearly isn’t working for you. It’s making you unhappy.

    I really don’t think that that (having fewer friendships) is the part that’s making me unhappy, though.

    But my mental health is certainly… an ongoing situation.

    Just stop.

    People keep talking to me, so I keep responding. But if you like, I can stop responding to your messages so that you can walk away without feeling like you gave me the last word? I really don’t mean to torment you.

    You don’t get how that’s offensive and judgmental?

    No, I understand that. It’s just that you make it sound like I constantly chase after people and scream at them.

    For what it’s worth, I do regret saying what I did now. It was meant to rub people the wrong way, in a no-actually-I-don’t-buy-into-the-party-line sort of way, but it was not meant to cause the level of distress it seems to be causing you. I did not want that. I miscalculated. While, as discussed elsewhere, apologies rarely change anything: I am sorry about that.

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

    I really don’t think that that (having fewer friendships) is the part that’s making me unhappy, though.

    You weren’t clear about that. You’re obviously miserable about something, or a number of somethings, and seeking professional help if you’re miserable is generally a good thing to do.

    People keep talking to me, so I keep responding. But if you like, I can stop responding to your messages so that you can walk away without feeling like you gave me the last word?

    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”, not “shut up altogether”. Big difference.

    It was meant to rub people the wrong way, in a no-actually-I-don’t-buy-into-the-party-line sort of way…

    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. So you can stow that “party line” bullshit.

    And as far as the rest of the internet goes, if you can’t back up your claim that such is the “party line” on the liberal blogosphere, the obvious conclusion is that — once again — you’re drawing conclusions that aren’t there.

  • 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://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/

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • Daniel Björkman

    I had a long reply here. It seems to have just disappeared. Damn it.

    (ETA: No, there’s the reply, right there. Fuck it, one of the many things I can’t figure out is apparently how to handle Disqus comments. Feel free to ignore this reply, then, it contains nothing I don’t say at greater length in the other one)

    Fine. Briefly:

    1) Yes, that’s fine in theory, but in practice it leaves everyone else having fun in their way while punishing me for being different. People don’t usually wear pins that say “when I say that I adore you and I’m so happy to have met you, it doesn’t mean I won’t drop you like a bad habit the first time you admit you have a problem with something I said.” They probably don’t even think about it – they just do what comes natural to them.

    I am not a fan of people doing what comes natural to them without careful examination and great care taken in what they do. That sort of thing is bad for fragile people, of which I am definitely one. And there is also point two.

    2) I do not believe you actually want me to do what comes natural to me. Not if you actually think about it.

    And it’s not because I want to do anything particularly extreme. I want to talk to women. I want to look at them. But in order to do that I have to go through an amazingly long checklist (that gets longer whenever I read a feminist blog) of Things I Must Not Do Because It Might Traumatise Someone. Most of the time, I am just too intimidated by the mental effort that would have to be involved, and resort to being asexual instead.

    Now, I accept that other people can handle that list better than I can. What I don’t accept is that it’s possible to be careless with it and still be assured of not getting anything wrong. Therefore, yes, people who don’t treat sexual situations as precision work that require great care and attention make me wary.

    3) What if I said that the “jerks” seem to make up most of the left-leaning part of the Internet? Should I still not listen to them?

    If you want an example: Amanda Marcotte. Just about the most linked-to feminist I can think of, and very outspoken in how emotional attachment is bad and inevitably leads you to want to enslave people. It’s not just a few random blowhards who make it clear that they despise me, it’s acknowledged moral authority figures.

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

    I want to talk to women. I want to look at them. But in order to do that
    I have to go through an amazingly long checklist (that gets longer
    whenever I read a feminist blog) of Things I Must Not Do Because It
    Might Traumatise Someone.

    It sounds like you’re buying into the “Men’s Rights Activist” reading of what pro-feminist women and men have written about social-sexual interaction with women.

    It’s not as complicated as it’s made out to be.

    All you have to do is remember a few things:

    1. You wouldn’t like to be interrupted unless it was for a real emergency. So don’t talk over a woman when she’s talking and explain how you know more. That is called “mansplaining”.
    2. You wouldn’t like someone touching any part of you without permission. So don’t do it to someone else.
    3. You wouldn’t like someone doing something with you in bed if you’ve said you don’t want to do it. So naturally a woman would tend to feel similarly.

    Now #3 is the “dicey” one because of social conditioning. We tend, and women in particular tend, to be trained to say “no” in ways that don’t look like a no, but have the same effect.

    The problem, however, is that indirection in conversation can be maddeningly frustrating when your desire for clarity runs smack into the other person’s desire to obey social rules of interaction that favor preserving the other person’s ego.

    So cut the Gordian knot and just ask if you’re not sure, and if you don’t get an unqualified “yes”, then assume it means “no”, and proceed from there.

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

    It sounds like you’re buying into the “Men’s Rights Activist” reading ofwhat pro-feminist women and men have written about social-sexual interaction with women.

    I have not read a MRA article once in my entire life. At most, I have seen them quoted and summarily cut to pieces on feminist blogs. Why do people always assume that someone (our society, the patriarchy, the MRAs) must have corrupted me? Is it so impossible to believe that I have spent years pouring over feminists opinions and trying to understand and internalise them, and this is genuinely the message I ended up with?

    It’s not as complicated as it’s made out to be.

    The thing is, that’s what everyone always tells me when I complain. And it always does sound simple, when they put it down like that. And then I recall a thousand stories of men who seemed to follow those simple guidelines, and who apparently did awful harm anyway.

    But for what it’s worth:

    1) No risk there. Just opening my mouth makes me nervous enough. Talking when someone else is talking would make me feel like a massive lout.

    2) I was going to say that I never would, but that’s not entirely true. I was actually instructed once (by a feminist woman, yes) that if someone seemed like she might be interested (if she took to hugging me as a greeting, for instance) I could try touching her a little in return (patting her on the shoulder, say) and see if that made her start touching me even more in escalation. (and if it did not, I was to cut it out)

    But fine, no touching. It’s a simple rule to follow, at least.

    3) This one is even more complicated than you make it out to be, because the way you phrase a question indicates what answer you want. You can carefully phrase it to indicate that you are fine either way, but I’m not sure I always manage to pull that off even when asking people if they want to play chess. Make the slightest mistake and your hopes bleed into how you phrase the question – and we are socially conditioned to do what others wants us to do.

    Still, anything that comes with the qualifier “in bed” is pretty academic in my case, so it’s unlikely to be a problem. (and, drawing on my one point of actual experience – the only time I was actually in bed with a woman, her complaint was that I was horribly wishy-washy and took no initiatives. I doubt that in itself frees me from suspicion of rape, but it does mean I have not sinned against that particular rule as stated)

    Having that said – I repeat that I do not believe you really want to let me loose on the world armed only with the rules of “don’t interrupt” and “don’t touch.” I can off the top of my head think of all sorts of mistakes I could do while being faithful to the letter and spirit of those rules.

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

    But fine, no touching. It’s a simple rule to follow, at least.

    Well, there is a difference between reciprocal touching and unwanted sexual touching. It is one thing to tap someone on the shoulder briefly to get their attention and another to put your hand on certain body parts without being told it is okay.

    The person who told you to try and respond in kind had an assumption built-in: the woman has initiated the first contact to which you respond. That’s a pretty safe nonverbal signal that reciprocal touching is okay, and that permission has been given.

  • Daniel Björkman

    Ah. Gotcha. That does mean that already, we have exceptions to your rules, though. That’s what I mean – even if you remove sex from the equation, human interaction is hellishly complicated and filled with exceptions and ambiguity and risks of misunderstandings. And when we do add sex, the consequences of mistakes become so very, very bad.

    Also, here is a problem that is fairly central for me: your rules, while certainly enough to prune out the worst excesses, say nothing about choosing location. Nor had anyone ever told me anything about the importance of providing physical escape routs for the woman, until some man who followed those three rules faithfully – be polite, no unsolicited touching, take rejection gracefully – failed to recognise that importance, and suddenly we had an Elevatorgate. That could easily have been me, back when I still thought I should put myself out there and when I still thought that all I needed to remember was to be nice and to respect other people’s autonomy.

    That is my point. There is always one more way to mess up, and to mess up catastrophically. And that means I can’t see how anyone can claim that it’s “not as complicated as it is made out to be.”

  • 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.

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

    The woman you were in bed with? You’re better off without her. I’m of the firm opinion that if a guy isn’t that experienced, it’s fine for him to wait for his partner to initiate. And it’s good under any bedroom-type circumstance both to ask for feedback and offer it.

  • 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.

  • banancat

    At least you’re honest that you don’t approve of what I do. So I know to not interact with you should I ever meet you in person.

    Nobody ever said that you everyone has to have casual sex though. You’re allowed to be as selective and committed as you want. I wish you could understand that others aren’t always exactly like you. Some are, others aren’t. But surely you can see that your bias against others who aren’t just like you might be the teensiest bit influenced by the culture you live in.

  • Daniel Björkman

    I am no more keeping you from your way of life than you are keeping me from mine, though. You do not need my approval – though it is true that we probably have incompatible temperaments and could not be close friends.

    I understand that there is social pressure against casual sex. But if you think there is no social pressure towards casual sex – and condemnation of those who don’t want it – then I suggest that that is because you haven’t been looking very hard.

    My biases are influenced by several things – I have already admitted that they aren’t some completely objective, impartial construct but are very personal to me. However, I completely deny that “the culture I live in” – by which I assume you mean patriarchy, Christianity, and so on – is one of them. As near as I can tell, my attitude is informed partly by the things I instinctively value (permanence, slowness, reliability, meticulousness and things along those lines) and partly by feminism (partly obedience to, partly backlash against). My response to the comment below probably outlines that well enough, if you’re interested.

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

    I understand that there is social pressure against casual sex. But if you think there is no social pressure towards casual sex – and condemnation of those who don’t want it – then I suggest that that is because you haven’t been looking very hard.

    I’m certainly aware of it, and I suspect Banancat is too. And I’ll add something you may not be aware of: for women especially, that pressure to be casually sexual often coexists with the culture of slut-shaming! So we get “Your worth is bound up in always being happy to service the dudes, but if you’re too happy about it, you become worthless!” Fun little Catch-22 there.

  • Daniel Björkman

    Yes, I am at least vaguely aware of that. And yes, that’s… fucked up.

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

    2) People who seem too blithe in their sexuality unnerve me. I have
    always been told that my sexuality is something that needs to be beaten
    down and suppressed, because otherwise I can do terrible harm to women.

    The patriarchal aspects of society are mostly to blame for this, because even as men are expected to be “always-on” sexual beings (to the point where gay men in the 1990s often accepted this gender-essentialist perspective uncritically and would henceforth Go Forth And Bang, because it was ~just natural~ that men shouldn’t want a lot of “emotional foreplay”) the downside is that men are also perforce to be considered essentially uncontrollable except under the guidance of a chaste woman.

    It’s a really pernicious little rat’s nest, and I advise you to put that notion out of your mind at once. You are not inherently dangerous unless you have a habit of disregarding the consent given or withdrawn by your sex partner.

  • Daniel Björkman

    I get told this a lot. The patriarchy has put those thoughts in my head, people tell me – feminism is all about my liberation alongside that of women.

    No. This is not true. It is not the patriarchy that is always telling me, “no matter how good a person you think you are, you are actually a festering pile of privilege and entitlement. You must exercise constant vigilance against yourself, or you will end up raping or harassing someone without thinking about it, because it is your nature.” It is not the patriarchy that constantly paints up a picture that looks very much like me – weak, unhappy, socially awkward – and says, “this is the enemy. This is who to be wary of. And if this looks like you, feel shame and repent!” It is not the patriarchy that is always telling me, “every time you talk to a woman, she is wondering whether you are going to rape her, and it is your job to indicate in every way that you’re not.” It is not the patriarchy that is always telling me, “look at you*! You’re a fat sack of foul-smelling shit with no redeeming qualities! Why would anyone want to talk to you? Why would anyone think it was a good thing if you were interested in her? Get over yourself! Lose twenty pounds and get a better job, and then maybe you can come on to someone without it a disgusting insult!”

    To be sure, the patriarchy does say an awful lot of bullshit. I just make a point not to listen to it, because I know that it is wrong about everything.

    * Not me specifically, you understand, but the generic fat sack of foul-smelling shit with no redeeming qualities. I understand that there is a lot of us.

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

    It is not the patriarchy that is always telling me, “look at you*! You’re a fat sack of foul-smelling shit with no redeeming qualities! Why would anyone want to talk to you? Why would anyone think it was a good thing if you were interested in her? Get over yourself! Lose twenty pounds and get a better job, and then maybe you can come on to someone without it a disgusting insult!”

    To be fair, there are many conventionally attractive men that manage to make simple pick-up lines sound creepy as all hell and insulting into the bargain.

    And it is true that some people (even on this blog) have fallen into the trap of equating overweight with generalized sloppiness in personal care and lack of interest in presenting oneself well to their desired male or female counterparts.

    “every time you talk to a woman, she is wondering whether you are going to rape her, and it is your job to indicate in every way that you’re not.”

    Just recently, a friend of mine was accosted by a very offensive young man who actually hooted at her in the street and insisted on loudly getting into her personal space.

    Luckily it stopped at that, but you can see why the “Schroedinger’s Rapist” concept has validity. Enough women have experienced some kind of unwanted interaction with either strangers or acquaintances (or some times, even family; another woman I know was at a family gathering and her uncle wouldn’t quit staring at her tits), that unfortunately they do have to account for the possibility.

  • Daniel Björkman

    I’m not saying it doesn’t have validity. I’m just saying that that is another reason for why extreme care is necessary, to avoid scaring people – and therefore, these are not simple or uncomplicated situations where you can just do whatever comes natural.

  • 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.

  • Fusina

    You’re not, and so I told my daughter, to the point of offering to provide condoms and or contraceptives. I also stressed that it is her business, and she is the one who gets to decide if she wants to, and that I DO NOT WANT details.

    I’m sorry, but the mechanics of sexual intercourse are silly in the extreme, and if it weren’t for the payoff…ANYWAY, just wanted you to know you are not alone. I was raised abstinence only, but I got over it.

  • Jenny Islander

    I wonder what Rep. Christian thinks the “planning” part of family planning is. If you plan to remove all ability for people to determine the number and timing of their own pregnancies, what exactly are you planning?

  • Fusina

    The death of women from bearing child after child. You know, the price for having sex if you are a woman.

    Sarcasm alert. As in, I was.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Returning women to breeding stock status.

  • J_Enigma32

    What is she planning? To win her next election using the crank population.

    What are her masters planning? A return to the 1400s and the pyramid shaped society, rather than a diamond one.

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    I find the old sports adage useful here: “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.”

  • Jamoche

    Planning on having lots of babies. Like earthquake preparedness planning here in California.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    It’s not just a way to avoid the hard work of thinking– it is a way for those who have enfranchised themselves in privilege & un-earned hierarchies to avoid having to fix the fact that those hierarchies are unfair, unjust, uncool. “Hey, sure, you don’t have equal rights but if you did how would I know I was better than you?”

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Did anyone else click through to Eric Teetsel’s delusional article on how the anti-SSM crowd needs to stop being so intellectual and start appealing to emotion like equality supporters? Because how can “the complex natural law web of anthropological, historical, social, and scientific ideas contained in What is Marriage—compete with “all you need is love”?”

    Even worse than this is Teetsel’s claim that marriage equality supporters simply ignored Robert George’s seminal opus “What is Love” rather than even try to counter his obviously superior argumentation: “They don’t have answers to the authors’ claims; they don’t need them. Advocates of same-sex marriage aren’t concerned about the logic of their arguments or the precedents they establish.”

    Except that ignores the 14 part response from Rob Tisinai of Box Turtle Bulletin, and the work of Jon Corvino (including a book where he and NOM’s Maggie Gallagher debate all these issues), and the hundreds of articles Fred and others have written or linked to over the years, and… But why am I even bothering? If Teetsel was interested in the other side’s views he would know what they are by now.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    the anti-SSM crowd needs to stop being so intellectual and start appealing to emotion

    Ow. I think I strained my eyeball muscles.

  • Veylon

    But they don’t have anything but pedantry!

    All the decent arguments against Homosexual marriage also target certain segments of Heterosexual marriage that the arguers want to defend, forcing them to weaken their own case in order to do so.

    But the real millstone around the neck is that opposition to SSM is ultimately about using force on others. That’s something completely out of line with the efforts Bonhoeffer, King, etc. The gays aren’t doing anything to anybody else. And people can sense this.

    And it really doesn’t help that Conservatives haven’t managed to man up and martyr themselves…somehow. Bonhoeffer was hung. King was shot. Their supporters and colleagues were arrested, beaten, and/or tortured. Has anyone Conservative spent so much as a day in jail or been fined a dollar by throwing themselves into the diabolical gears of the Gay Agenda war machine? If so, I haven’t heard.

  • GuestPoster

    You know, this reinforces something I (re)realized after Obama’s recent speech, in which conservatives came out of the digital woodwork, metaphorically tearing their hair out over how terrible and evil the speech was for not focusing exclusively upon proven-incorrect philosophies which conservative America holds as the most important ‘facts’ re: American racism. “How could he give a whole speech that dared diverge from the fact that every criminal in America is black?” “How could he have not spent at LEAST 17 minutes explaining how he’d make it criminal for black fathers to abandon their children?”

    And that, and many of these links, helped me to re-realize. Conservatives are very, very angry about the state of things, and very, very fearful about where things are going. Those are their two primary emotions – anger and fear. Liberals, on the other hand, seem to be very, very sad about the state of things but very, very hopeful about where things are going. Given the choice… if I were conservative, rather than moderate, I think I might have to lobotomize myself, just to get the ‘hope’ part of the equation to occupy some of my thoughts.

    That being said, the Muslim hate-fest ALSO renews my realization of something – the right views education as a quenching of free speech. It views any attempts at all to teach love rather than hate as a way of restricting speech, of setting up ‘illegal thoughts’ or the like. I mean… this should worry us, ESPECIALLY in light of the link right before it, in which conservatism and intellectualism were linked in the conservative mind. I mean, they’re anti-science, anti-education, anti-equality… what’s intellectual about ANY of that?

  • dpolicar

    I remember the U.S. from 2000-2008, when many of my liberal friends were much more scared and angry about national politics than they were sad and hopeful, some to the point of being unsure whether a 2008 election would ever even be held. Some of them still are scared and angry. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

  • Carstonio

    The political fears that liberals express tend to be about people in power taking measures to preserve their power at the expense of everyone else. Some of the political fears expressed by conservatives sound similar, except those are usually about outsiders seizing power, or some version of barbarians at the gates. The latter types sound exactly like people afraid of losing their power.

  • dpolicar

    Yes, I agree that U.S. liberals and conservatives tend to be scared of different things.

  • phantomreader42

    I’m starting to think conservatives view any recognition of actual facts in the real world as an assault on their worldview and persecution of their religion. Their entire belief system is built on making shit up, and they can’t stand the idea of being informed of the facts that cause their lies to come crashing down.

  • GuestPoster

    Also! I agree with Bedrosian – looking at the founding fathers, it IS fairly clear that what they wanted to do was ensure that you could worship the god of the Bible in any christian way you wanted.

    But what he fails to realize is – that’s not what they WROTE. While the majority of them really do seem to have only cared about a small handful of religions being ok, and the government not choosing one as better, they WROTE something else. And as any schoolkid can tell you, what you write on the test is what counts, not what you may or may not have MEANT to write. And as any team or jury can tell you, what you agree to is what counts, not what you felt deep in your black, charcoal brick of a heart is what SHOULD have been agreed to.

    Said another way – what the founding fathers say in their private writings they intended to do is, honestly, a bit of a moot point. Great for history, but doesn’t pertain at all to what they ACTUALLY wrote. And what they ACTUALLY wrote only has, what, two sentences in it where they try at all to explain the purpose? The oath the president must take (which shows what they wanted him/her to do) and the preamble (which the right, in particular, constantly tells us doesn’t count for anything). That’s where the authors said what they were trying to do. If we’re going to look anywhere, those two sentences are both a good start and the place where we have to stop – anything else wasn’t agreed upon, so isn’t law.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    While the majority of them really do seem to have only cared about a small handful of religions being ok, and the government not choosing one as better, they WROTE something else.

    And what they wrote- here and throughout- was intentionally open-ended, adaptable, subject to amendment. To me, this adaptability is the genius of the Constitution- that it codifies ideals that the framers knew would not be lived up to for a very long time, if ever, but that couldn’t just be written off from the start if this experiment had any chance of succeeding. It’s so frustrating that conservatives fail to recognize that the “original intent” of the framers was to keep the creation and maintenance of the United States an ongoing process.

  • GuestPoster

    Indeed. That’s the very meaning of ‘a more perfect’ nation. They KNEW they weren’t getting it right – they just hoped they were doing it better than had been done before.

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

    A wise assessment. In fact, some readings of the Constitution suggest that the Founders (in some cases, at least) knew that the Constitution + the first ten amendments ultimately meant a form of government which would be against their economic interests (perhaps not right away, but certainly within their lifetimes). Knowing that, they still put it in force and into play as the basic law for the USA.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Also, there’s a difference between “But they wouldn’t have thought of…” and “If you were to actually put it to them, they’d have…”

    I would guess at least half of those framers who “only cared about a small handful of religions being okay”, if you cornered them and said “Well okay, but what about jews/muslims/unitarians/hindu/scientologists?”, they’d have thought about it for a minute and finally nodded and said “Well… I guess… Maybe… Hm… Aw what the heck. Sure.”

    (I’m pretty sure this distinction is also what skewed the stats on approval of same-sex marriage for years. The homophobes loved to pull out the high percentage of people who, in a vacuum, assent to the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman — a percentage which is misleading in that there’s a large percentage who, if you said “But what if two men/women loved each other?”, would think for a minute and say “Well… I guess… Maybe… Hm… Aw what the heck. Sure.”

  • Donalbain

    No. There were plenty of people writing and saying in state legislatures at the time of the adoption of the US constitution that it was a horrible document because it meant that Papists and Quakers AND Mohomatans (sic) and atheists would have the right to freedom of religion, and even the right to hold public office. The writers and adopters of the constitution still went ahead. This wasn’t something that people suddenly realised years after the event. They knew what they were writing, and they knew what it meant.

  • Carstonio

    You’re looking at the issue backward. Religious freedom should apply to everyone regardless of what the Founding Fathers intended. If their goal was for it to apply only to Christians, that goal was wrong then and wrong now.

  • The_L1985

    Not Thomas Jefferson. “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

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

    That’s fine as long as the neighbour doesn’t have access to social and politcal levers of power to make his or her particular notions become the norm above others.

  • J_Enigma32

    Let me see if I can wrap my head around this projection. Apparently, the pro-Marriage Equality people are making arguments to emotion, while the anti-SSM crowd have been relying on facts?

    In other news, you couldn’t even lead this horse to a waterhole, much less get it to drink, because it’s to busy thinking it’s a goddamn tree.

  • themunck

    Not fact, philosophy. Logical fallacies, mostly.

  • J_Enigma32

    Mostly? I’d argue their entire argument is nothing but a string of incoherent unrelated statements based around the sole emotional reaction of “EWWWWWW”.

    This is also true for the forced-birthers/anti-choice group, since this type of crypto-fascism relies on purity as a tribal marker and demands it out of others and punishes those who step out of line. They dress it up like it’s philosophy, in order to justify it. They pretend like there was serious thought that went into it. But shit thinking is shit thinking no matter how many fancy looking philosophical curtains you hang on it, and when your entire raisin pour argumenter is summed up with EWWWW, guess what the type of thinking going on is?

    Edit: It occurs to me – no wonder they like Ayn Rand so much. She dressed her rancid thinking up with fancy philosophical condiments, too. There’s just too much similarity for them not to attract. Shit of a failure clumps in the sewer together.

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

    I think you mean “raison”, not “raisin”.

    Though “Grapes for Argument” is an amusing phrase. Milder cousins of the Grapes of Wrath, maybe?

  • dpolicar

    On the Internet, they’re interchangeable.

  • J_Enigma32

    My French is fine. It’s everyone else who’s wrong :P

    (typos are a near constant with me; I can read and reread and one or two will almost always slip past; it’s almost guaranteed, especially when I’m showing off).

    Also: argue with them enough and your grapes for argument will become grapes of wrath, too.

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

    Grapes for Argument are the unripe form of Grapes of Wrath?

    (I knew what you meant, of course. I just pointed out the typo because it was funny.)

  • themunck

    Mostly. Eww is not a logical fallacy.

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

    It is, because appealing to norms of “squick” is not really the best way to make a point. Consider that in some cultures it is considered squicky to eat cats or dogs.

    Basing anti-animal cruelty laws around that squick would not be a good use of moral suasion.

    (And in fact most people who want to make a case for anti-animal cruelty laws usually appeal instead fo the far more reasonable sense that hurting other beings unnecessarily is wrong. (i.e. if you are going to eat a steak, you shouldn’t make the cow suffer when you kill it, and you shouldn’t mistreat the cow while it is alive)

  • themunck

    tl;dr: Bad argument does not equal logical fallacy.

    But there’s not a broken logic in there, so I can’t consider it a fallacy. “I find this disturbing, so therefore I think it should be banned” is a sound logical point. It’s utterly unconvincing, since not everyone squick at the same things. It’s utterly hypocritical, since plenty of things the one making the argument does or support can be squicky.* But being a bad argument, or even a morally unsound argument, does not make it a fallacy.

    * Case in point, few things in the world make me more uncomfortable than being around children (and the younger, the worse). I argue that because of that, I avoid being around children. Sound argument. If I were to argue that children were removed from public places, my argument would be insufficient.

  • The_L1985

    There’s also the fact that some denominations of Christianity are anti-gay. Which just means that they have:
    1. Appeal to religion, which matters exactly zero in a society founded with religious freedom enshrined in law;
    2. Appeal to emotion (“Ewww!”), which also isn’t a good reason to make a law.

  • ScorpioUndone

    The link to the story about Bishop Lori contained a reference to one “Tony Perkins” and I actually read it as “The Liar Tony Perkins” and *then* my brain realized that the honorific was missing. Then I thought, “wait, twice in one month”? It is only proper to recognize The Liar Tony Perkins as a liar and then I realized I was reading something written by someone other than Fred. Ooops.

  • themunck

    I mentally put in his title whenever I his name too :P

  • ScorpioUndone

    It’s jarring to not see it, even in other news stories. It’s like seeing a misspelled word or an improperly used you’re vs your: once you start seeing them, you can’t stop.

    Now I’m imaging a new AP style guide: “All references to the Liar Tony Perkins must include the words “The Liar” in front of his given name. If only….


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