We've got ourselves a sleuth (and he has earned ban #4)

A commenter named The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) has caught me.

Impressive. Instead of taking care of the mess you made, you went ‘LALALALALALALALA I CAN’T HEEEAAR YOU I’M ON VACATION!”, and then you put up a post patting yourself on the back for what a GREAT ‘ally’ you’ve been when you get back.

Oh well, I see all your smug privileged buddies are clapping and cheering, so all is well I guess.

When I look back, I guess it was kind of obvious.  I thought I was being clever by buying the plane ticket to Kansas ages before writing the post on the new comment policy (you know, the one that says you’ll need to provide an argument along with your insults, which Coyote must’ve read).  I even thought the pictures of me at a barbecue would provide the perfect alibi for having the temerity to walk away from my blog to enjoy my fleeting time with my girlfriend.

But no, Coyote saw through that smoke screen like a hawk eying its prey.

As for the post about the SSA and making the world better for high school students, again, I was foiled.  First, I actually did the work with high school students.  I figured that would throw even the most unflappable detective off the scent.  Then, after a small group of thread-derailing people ignored my warnings that they need to actually provide arguments along with their insults, I followed through on my warning and banned them.  I knew it was wrong!  I should just let potentially useful threads get hijacked, otherwise I’m privileged and a bad ally, but I was just so upset that I couldn’t help myself!  I figured at least two people would be furious, and so I immediately got together with my boss to arrange that letter to be sent out so that I could write a post about it to massage my poor, mutilated ego.  Good thing I’d spent doing all that work the previous few years to build up the impression that I actually give a shit about secularism.  Of course, it was all part of my plan.

I bought that plane ticket in March, which means that now months of planning are down the drain thanks to Coyote’s insight.  I even had Stephanie Zvan go in and tell everybody I was on the road, away from a computer.  I thought it all looked so perfect; so natural.  I didn’t think anybody would look at all the readily available and so-obvious-it’s-practically-slapping-you-in-the-face evidence to the contrary and think that it couldn’t be that simple.  Then Coyote did what you’d expect with this discovery: he went with the same tactic of banned commenters before and decided that he knew my true motivations (better than I did, apparently) and went public.  And so now all WWJTD readers know: I must be running away and repairing the damage their insults have done instead of enjoying my vacation and feeling good about the work I’ve done.

Brilliant.

So I deleted the comment and was writing a warning to Coyote that insults don’t do much for changing my mind and that I needed him to include arguments in the future when Coyote posted this comment.

Deleting posts now, JT? *tsk tsk tsk*

But do go on about what a great ally you are and how interested you are in listening to people.

Asshole.

That’s when I decided Coyote was too keen and too witty to be left around.  All my future plots would be in jeopardy if I didn’t nip this in the bud.  So I gave him the ban hammer.

It certainly wasn’t because he was trying to derail threads with only insults, if that’s what you’re thinking.  It’s because he sees right through my story of having a life outside my blog and not being bugged in the slightest by people who can’t lift a finger to make an argument (but who are sure ready to scream privilege and bias instead).  The truth is that I’m emotionally attached to my position, have no interest in revising it, and I see the overpowering arguments of people like Detective Coyote as a threat to my fragile, fragile self-esteem.

He left another comment that got caught in moderation; something about wanting to see me learn from my mistake.  Here’s what kills me about people like this: they vent, rage, and do nothing that even resembles attempting to educate someone (you know, like trying to convince them they made a mistake in the first place).  Then when that person doesn’t want to hear it and instead wants to listen to someone who actually wants to converse or try and educate, we get “I’m trying to help you learn from your mistake!”  What a dishonest sentence.  Neither of those comments resemble wanting someone else to learn or even wanting to help someone else learn.  They’re meant to only demean, not to teach.  They’re you derailing threads while claiming your personal, empty griping is the equivalent of wisdom.

Why would these people think anyone would give their opinion any credibility?

  • Michaelyn

    I’m so tired of all this “you’re not a TRUE ally!” language. Fuck that. What does that even mean? Ally to whom? Originally, it was about feminism, but now it’s just being thrown around without a care.
    “Oh, JT, I don’t agree with that post, so you’re not a real ally for atheism!”

    Anyway. It’s stupid. Also I love you. Glad you used me as a pawn when you were just looking for an excuse to ignore your blog. :]

    • Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

      The answer is simple:

      They seek power over you.

      They may have initially been motivated by justice and equality, and “fallen to the dark side.” They may have compartmentalized so thoroughly that they believe their bullying for bullying’s sake actually serves their cause. They may have been using justice and equality as a stalking horse all along.

      I don’t think it really matters.

    • http://skeptifem.blogspot.com skeptifem

      It was discussed in teh context of being an ally to gay people too.

      Wouldn’t the marginalized group, by definition, be the ones to decide if someones behavior counts as being allied to their own cause or not?

      Heres a clue JT, if you are getting this much push back from the people you claim to be helping, yer doin it wrong.

  • Predator Handshake

    Since you’re now assuring your readers that you’re open to people trying to educate you,

    They’re you derailing threads while claiming your bitching is the equivalent of wisdom

    I bolded the problematic part of that particular sentence for you. You know when you were saying all that stuff about being a great ally? You’re using a gendered word to attack people who disagree with you.

    You’re using a lot of hyperbole to write about this; that’s your prerogative, it’s your blog. But you’re also coming across as very defensive about people daring to disagree with you in a way that you don’t like. I don’t see what benefit there is in writing two blog posts about how you’re banning people, unless you’re hoping they’ll serve as an example of what happens to people that don’t kiss your ass. Total Joffrey move, duder.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      That’s so strange. Because, lots of people who didn’t “kiss my ass” are still allowed to comment and disagree.

      It’s almost like I really do give a damn about removing the derailers and nobody else. Crazy, right?

      And also, you do realize that words can have more than one meaning, right? To bitch, as a verb, means to whine.

      See dictionary.com.

      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bitch?s=t

      • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

        JT -

        Seriously? You’re really going to pull the “bitch is just a word for whining” card? Please go read Feminism 101 now.

        • Adam

          Yeah, can’t have JT using facts now can we? Bitching does mean whining.

          • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

            Dude, I realize that approaching topics with more nuance than a dictionary.com definition is a new concept for you, but maybe if you actually tried to understand a topic on a deeper level, you’d understand why what you just said was idiotic.

            Linguistics 101: the meaning of words is not determined by dictionary definition. Dictionary definitions are arbitrary selections of denotative meaning chosen by individual humans from the metaphoric meanings assigned to utterances by cultural usage.

            So, no, JT can’t use “facts” if by “facts” you mean completely irrelevant statements that aren’t actually true.

          • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

            The term “bitch” has been used, systematically, as a means to drown out womens’ voices.

            When a man is strong, uncompromising, and results-driven – he’s aggressive, he’s powerful, he’s grabbing at the cold.

            When a woman is strong, uncompromising, and results-driven – she’s a bitch.

          • Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

            Linguistics 101: the meaning of words is not determined by dictionary definition.

            Except when UrbanDictionary can be used to bash someone over the head with.

            That said, I for one agree that the arguments that the use of “bitching” is in poor taste and potentially reinforces misogynist attitudes (by associating a negative behavior, unreasonable complaints, with a gender) have merit. I also agree with JT, I assume, that this is not necessarily worth grinding absolutely every discussion to a screeching halt to harp on.

          • skepticalmath

            azkyroth:

            (a) I didn’t use urbandictionary, I refuted the claim that urbandictionary was less reliable than other dictionaries, particularly when it comes to slang and internet jargon.

            (b) in the case of slang and internet jargon, urban dictionary uses a markedly different technique for developing entries than other, more standard dictionaries, which actually makes it more accurate (though not completely accurate, obviously) at determining what a specific subculture associates with certain words.

      • Predator Handshake

        Likewise, more than one word can mean roughly the same thing! Some of them don’t even have a history of being used to silence the people for whom you claim to be an ally. Since you were so kind to direct me to an online dictionary, let me return the favor:

        http://thesaurus.com/browse/whine?s=t

      • Beatrice

        To bitch, as a verb, means to whine.

        Yeah, it’s just short for to whine like a bitch.

        I’m sure that has no implications about women being the main complainers and whiners.

        • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

          Hrm, that implication wasn’t meant.

          Dictionary doesn’t say “to whine like a bitch.”

          • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

            Intent is not magic, JT. It doesn’t matter if you *intended* that implication, the implication was there nonetheless.

            The simple fact is that the word you used has a particular history of usage, and no matter what the dictionary says, it carries its history with it.

            (Incidentally, if you are the type of person who denies that words’ meanings are determined metaphorically through historical cultural usage, please read any book on cognitive linguistics.)

          • carlie

            Oh, god.

            Ok, dictionary, whatever. A large percentage of women, upon hearing someone talking about another person bitching, will then shift their estimation of that someone to “quite possibly sexist”. You can argue until you’re blue in the face that you don’t mean it that way and you can’t find that definition in a dictionary anywhere, but that is the reality of it. And if you don’t want to go into detail on the historical use of that word and varied cultural references and etc., the simplest and most direct thing I can say is that an awful lot of women, more than anybody likes to think about, are used to hearing phrases like “quit your bitching” right before something really bad happens to them from the person who just said it. So maybe in your mind you can use “bitching” in a neutral sense, but unfortunately the assholes already ruined that word and that is why you can’t have nice things like the word bitching as a neutral term.

        • Artor

          You’ve obviously never had dogs. A mother dog with a bunch of puppies hanging on her ears has a tendency to whine. Alot. To make the leap that “bitch” automatically refers to a human woman, especially when the context is obvious that it doesn’t, is pretty damned sexist in my view. You will be much more successful in your criticisms of sexist speech if you improve your aim and your reasoning powers. Really, get over it.

          • http://littlepemo.tumblr.com/ pemo

            Ah, the “you’re a racist if you point out racism!” defense. That usually goes over well.

          • Beatrice

            *damned nested comments*

            Oh, you’re calling me sexist, Artor. That’s lovely. For your information, I don’t think that JT using the word bitch makes him a terrible, unforgivable sexist, but it is a sexist term and I would love to see him stop using it.
            As for you, nah, I won’t even waste my breath. If you keep spouting stupid things, I might call you an asshole. Now, that is a nice non-gendered insult.

      • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

        Also, JT, if you wanted to say “whine” why didn’t you say whine? Oh, because clearly there are *other connotations* to the word you used, which is why you chose to use it. So don’t give us this innocent “but they’re the same” nonsense: obviously, they aren’t.

        • Artor

          Wow, really? You want to be the editor and criticize every individual word choice here? Do you have your own blog? If not, you should start one and edit it to your heart’s content. Your amazing mind-reading powers should be sufficient to let you understand what everybody thinks, so you can write posts that won’t ever be misinterpreted by obnoxious, obtuse, non-gender-specific assholes.

          • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

            Artor, it doesn’t take amazing mind reading skills to note that, when someone has the choice of two words which mean similar things, there’s a reason that person chooses one over the other. I didn’t say what the reasons were in JT’s case, I just said there must have been reasons (even if that reason is simply that one *sprung to mind* in this situation instead of the other).

            That’s all I was saying. The only instance where that would not be true, would be if they were *the same word*, which the two words in question are not.

        • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

          Sure, there are other connotations. “Bitch,” to my ear, carries the connotation of whining loudly and without merit.

          I’m a little torn here. I don’t agree with you, but this issue seems to be derailing the thread, which sucks (because you are actually trying to argue, which I appreciate). So I’m going to change it, because it obviously makes some people uncomfortable, but at the same time I don’t think that’s justified.

          • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

            JT — I’m sorry for continuing this derail, and this will be my last post on the subject.

            But being made uncomfortable by a gendered word (I’m not even going to debate that point with you. I don’t care if it is used for men occasionally, too, it has historically been gendered female) is not something that women (or men) have to justify. If they are made uncomfortable by it, it is fairly clear that in the real of cultural understanding, that word has negative connotations for a lot of people. Like, so much so that it is basically banned at every single feminist site,except when used in a reclamatory sense by women.

            Seriously, just being a decent person should be enough to say, hey look, a ton of people are made terribly uncomfortable by this, so I’m going to use my intellectual prowess to use other words.

            That should be justification enough for you to not use it.

          • RahXephon, Bouncer of the De Facto Feminist Club

            I excised the words “bitch” and “bitching” from my personal lexicon, not because a feminist made a rational and overwhelming argument that trumped my own argument, but because women told me they found it offensive and sexist, and I listened.

            You emphasize rationality and argumentation a lot, which is great, but when it comes down to an opinion like “I’m a woman and to me, the term ‘bitching’ is offensive and sexist”, why do you need a rational argument for their opinions and feelings before changing it?

            To compare, I don’t like being called “faggot” because it offends me and I think it’s homophobic. “Faggot” is also a term for a bundle of sticks. If a commenter came here and used “faggot” and claimed The Dictionary Defense, would you let that slide because he “has an argument” and I only have my feelings and the colloquial usage of the term?

          • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

            I don’t like being called “faggot” because it offends me and I think it’s homophobic. “Faggot” is also a term for a bundle of sticks. If a commenter came here and used “faggot” and claimed The Dictionary Defense, would you let that slide because he “has an argument” and I only have my feelings and the colloquial usage of the term?

            If the person were using it in that sense? Yeah, I’d probably let it slide. It’s when the term gets used derogatorily that it’s a problem.

            I don’t wish to make people uncomfortable (well, sometimes I do, but not in this case), so admittedly I’m tempted to change it for that reason. But, at the same time, I want to convey the message that just being upset doesn’t make a good argument. So admittedly, I’m a little torn. I don’t give emotions much credence in an argument.

            Ultimately, I decided to change it.

          • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

            It’s when the term gets used derogatorily that it’s a problem.

            Look, I know I said I was done, but I’m sorry, that betrays a serious misunderstanding of how language works. I know that isn’t a very substantive comment, but it is literally impossible to rehash the past fifty years of cognitive linguistics theory in a blog post. Seriously, before you continue arguing this opinion, please, educate yourself a bit about how these kinds of slurs function as words and metaphors (anything by Lakoff and Johnson is quite good.)

          • RahXephon, Bouncer of the De Facto Feminist Club

            @JT (ran out of replies)

            But, at the same time, I want to convey the message that just being upset doesn’t make a good argument.

            JT, I realize I’m a new commenter, but I’m trying my best to follow your policy and only make substantive arguments, and I’m even trying not to be rude while I’m doing it, even though you said that’s okay.

            That being said, the part I just quoted makes me think you didn’t read the first part of my comment, or if you did, you didn’t grok the contents. When someone says they’re offended by a word or that they find it oppressive, they’re not making an argument. It’s how they feel, and I don’t need an argument to understand how they feel and to alter my behavior accordingly.

            If you just have to have an argument to understand, though, how about this. The term “bitching” in reference to “whining” compares one’s complaints to the cultural stereotype of women “whining” and the idea that when women have complaints, they aren’t supposed to be taken seriously.

          • carlie

            It’s when the term gets used derogatorily that it’s a problem.

            Yes. And using “bitching” to describe someone complaining is being derogatory. That’s the point. You don’t say someone was bitching if you want to say they were eloquent and insightful. When it’s still being used as a negative term, it still carries all that negative baggage with it.

          • ischemgeek

            @JT: My issue with “bitching” is the same issue I have with the use of “gay” as an perjorative adjective (as in “That’s so gay”).

            Namely, the language has prejudiced connotations even if you don’t mean it in that way.

            As someone with a mental illness, you might be irked if I referred to a right-wing extremeist as “crazy”. As a bi person, I get annoyed with “that’s so gay” because it uses nonheterosexuality as an insult (even if the person using it is not, hirself, a homophobe). And as a woman, I get annoyed with people who use “bitch” as a perjorative, because it uses my gender as an insult. You’d call a woman a bitch as a generic insult, but you only call a man a bitch if you want to imply he’s too feminine. So by saying they’re “bitching”, you’re essentially saying they’re acting like a woman as if it’s a bad thing. That’s the connotation that you probably didn’t see when you wrote it (and it`s the connotation you still don`t see, apparently).

            Let me ask you this, JT: Is someone who calls a fallacious and obviously ludicrous argument “insane” using language that has no effect on those who are mentally ill? No, they’re not, because their use of the language implies that mental illness is a socially bad thing to be stigmatized. Same with bitching: The subtext of using it to describe complaining loudly and without merit implies that women and those who act too much like women tend to complain loudly and without merit. In short, by deriding that action with the word “bitching”, a person who uses that word is implying that arguments from women tend to be loud and without merit.

            In other words, “Bitching” is like “lame” or “retarded” or “gay” or “crazy”: It’s a slang term with prejudiced connotations that should be replaced with language without those connotations (whining, whinging, complaining, griping, grousing) if you don’t want your phrasing to have additional meanings other than the one you intend.

            If you don’t care about the additional meanings, that’s your decision, but don’t be surprised if you get called on it now and again. Like it or not, language like that is loaded. Just like someone using “that’s so gay!” may come off as homophobic, or like someone saying “that’s lame!” comes off as ableist, someone using “bitching” in a derogatory manner comes off as sexist.

            As a final note, JT, your argument is an argument from ignorance. To summarize, you’re arguing, “I’ve never thought it had a sexist connotation.”

            Yes, we know. That’s why those of us who are trying to correct you are explaining how the connotation is sexist. And that you didn’t think it had a sexist connotation doesn’t mean it doesn’t. It’s sexist in the same way “that’s so gay” is homophobic, “gypped” is racist, and “crazy!” is ableist.

    • guest

      I don’t consider “bitching”(verb or adjective) a gendered word. men can be bitching just as well as (or better) women. “Bitch” (as a noun) would be. but that’s different.

      • David Marjanović

        men can be bitching just as well as (or better) women.

        But have you never considered where that comes from? It implies two things in no uncertain terms: 1) that the man in question is like a woman; 2) that to be like a woman is somehow bad.

        It’s using “woman” as an insult.

        • B-Lar

          Intriguingly, I will happily use “bitchin!” to decribe something that I find awesome.

    • NateHevens

      I understand the problem with using the word “bitch” and it derivatives towards a woman… but it’s bad towards a man, too? Perhaps JT’s misjudging the gender of the troll he’s talking about, but wasn’t the troll he accused of “bitching” a guy?

      Or gender doesn’t matter, in this case…?

      • NateHevens

        Nevermind. Ignore me, please. I’m a bit lost…

        • NateHevens

          I swear I won’t reply to myself again. I just answered my own question about why it’s a problem no matter who it’s directed to, and got that confirmed above.

          So like I said… just ignore me…

          • Pteryxx

            Now that was a fine example of self-education.

            *thumbclaws up*

  • RahXephon, Bouncer of the De Facto Feminist Club

    Well, JT, you say this…

    Here’s what kills me about people like this: they vent, rage, and do nothing that even resembles attempting to educate someone (you know, like trying to convince them they made a mistake in the first place).

    …but there were several people making what I saw as very good attempts to educate you and others in the Don’t Derail thread, and you made comments like this in response:

    If you don’t think I’m an ally on this front, that’s your prerogative. I’m sold that I am, and mine is the only opinion I’m really concerned about on that matter. I know I care about the issue and am doing my damndest to be fair-handed in my approach to it. If someone else thinks I’m not, they’re wrong. Pure and simple.

    So, you’re asking people to educate you while saying that yours is the only opinion that matters. Can you tell me how that makes sense, because I’m confused.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      You’ll note the good attempts to educate have not been touched by me, and rightly so.

      And my opinion of my allyhood is amenable to evidence and good argument. If someone’s opinion is different but all they’re doing is screaming privilege without an argument I’m not really moved by their opinions.

      • RahXephon, Bouncer of the De Facto Feminist Club

        You’ll note the good attempts to educate have not been touched by me, and rightly so.

        If by “not touched” you mean the comments weren’t deleted and the posters weren’t banned, then…yay? I guess?

        And my opinion of my allyhood is amenable to evidence and good argument.

        Could some of the issue here be that you seem to be confusing “this specific action or statement X is not consistent with your claim to being an ally” with “you’re not an ally at all”? I don’t remember seeing anyone saying that because of action or statement X, you aren’t an ally at all (except maybe Josh), but I did see people saying that if you are an ally, then doing or saying action or statement X is incompatible.

        For instance, I read a lot of feminist blogs, and occasionally we’ll have a guy come into the comment section and say he’s a feminist ally. That’s wonderful. However, once we start to talk about a specific issue, he says things like “I know the REAL problem with this” and disputes the OP, or talks over women in the thread, or claims that the problem in the OP isn’t a problem at all and they have more important things to worry about.

        It’s not that this guy is not an ally at all, it’s that he’s being a bad ally in this instance. Not listening to the very people in question that one claims to be allied to is not a good way to be an ally. I think the pushback you’re getting is because people think you aren’t listening.

        I haven’t read your blog before other than the other thread, so I can’t say whether you have or haven’t been listening, but it’s apparent that several people thought you weren’t, and statements like I originally quoted don’t really help that perception.

        Now, given that I’ve dealt with the idea that people (or at least most of them) are questioning a specific instance and not your status, what evidence would you require for you to understand that something you’ve done is inconsistent with being an ally?

        • Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

          Could some of the issue here be that you seem to be confusing “this specific action or statement X is not consistent with your claim to being an ally” with “you’re not an ally at all”

          I noticed a whole lot of statements that objectively parsed much, much closer to the latter.

          Maybe we should work on saying what we mean?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1698151270 John-Henry Beck

            This was my problem also.
            And, I think, the main reason JT took it rather badly. Too many of the comments about allies looked a lot like they were questioning motive and intent, rather than a particular tactic or idea.

    • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

      You’ll note the good attempts to educate have not been touched by me, and rightly so.

      Wait, so you write posts saying your open to being educated by people presenting real arguments, some of us spend literally hours writing detailed and reasoned responses, and you think that you “not touching them” is rightly done?

      If you never wanted to engage in an actual discussion with us, you should have said so a while ago.

      • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

        Untouched, as in not banned, not deleted, perfectly welcome, etc.

        I’m still plowing through all the comments.

        • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

          Sorry, I misunderstood.

          • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

            No worries. I was unclear.

  • Mandagator

    *sigh*

    These “derailing” blog posts are making me sad. I genuinely enjoy reading this blog because it’s funny, offers clear yet diverse opinions, is intellectually stimulating, and helps me gain fresh perspectives on important issues. I wish JT didn’t have to waste his time countering with insolent commentors, and could instead write the kind of articles that keep me coming back to the blog. You know, the ones about:
    Atheism
    Sexuality
    Students doing great things
    Video games
    etc.

    To readers: Would you please just follow JT’s simple guidelines,and present an argument when you post? It’ll cut down on the amount of wasted blogs.

  • http://furiouspurpose.me rorschach

    Dig, baby dig.

  • Pteryxx

    To readers: Would you please just follow JT’s simple guidelines,and present an argument when you post? It’ll cut down on the amount of wasted blogs.

    I have been. I’ve even presented evidence (as have others) as to why JT’s taking actual arguments *as baseless insults* without giving them due consideration, while permitting baseless insults framed as arguments to go unchallenged.

    This isn’t a trivial consideration for someone moderating what ostensibly is a progressive discussion space.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jennifer.forester Jennifer, Uppity Bitch and General Malcontent

    Trigger warning for rape description. If you’re tired of me doing this (I believe this is my third time), then perhaps you should consider what actually happened on the last thread versus what has actually happened to me personally and a hell of a lot of other people who are mostly, but certainly not entirely, women.

    After you mansplained to me about how a rape “analogy” was totally awesome and I was just being irrational about the whole thing, I really don’t think you have a lot of credibility on who you are and are not allied with. I can also say, having spent a lot of time patiently explaining things to people and then being met with that glorious mansplain of yours, that you don’t seem to have a gauge of what a reasonable amount of time is before someone descends into snark. Sometimes even bothering to include a reasoned response, after a billion of them, is an act of graciousness that is not warranted.

    I haven’t been a commenter here, but I have been a reader, and I can read the things that you have to say from someone who has more respect for me, and for other women, than to mansplain at us that a dude who “just asked questions” for several hours and then needlessly compared being mocked to, for instance, the time when I drunkenly woke up and found out that the dude I was with was fucking me and, when I told him to stop, he just told me to lie still until he finished, was just making an innocent analogy. Can you give me a reason that I, or any other survivor of rape, or any queer or trans* person, should come back after this entire fiasco?

    You have no respect for at least my intellect and effort. I am inclined to show you similar respect, so I will make this simple for you:

    You’re being unreasonably defensive after a lot of people have tried to lay things for for you and for some of your commenters in very simple terms. You also seem to think that you decide with whom you are allied, but alliances are two-sided, and I know that I’m sure as shit not interested in your “help” since the strings it comes with are “but don’t piss off the ally or he might just not want to help!” You should sit down, take a breather, and think about what you did, because it was wrong. No one was asking you to take a break from your fucking vacation; we were asking you to actually get past your butthurt for a goddamn second and consider how it comes across when you defend needless rape references and exclusively ban queer folk in your quest for “rationality” on your blog.

    I hope your vacation was good.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      TRIGGER WARNING

      After you mansplained to me about how a rape “analogy” was totally awesome

      I almost stopped reading here. Why? Because I never said that. I never said anything close to that.

      This is why I’m not really interested in this subject anymore. So many on our side (and I say “our side” because I do care about the way women are treated in this movement) feel the need to respond to things that weren’t said. It makes it look like we have no legitimate issues when, in fact, we do.

      What I did say is that he made an analogy which clearly depended on the argument “she deserved rape because of how she dressed” being a terrible argument. He didn’t say rape was acceptable, as you declared. Again, you were saying something was the case that wasn’t. Feminism has good arguments. We don’t need to invent bad ones to fight.

      I’m honestly unsure what you’re trying to say with your story. One, that sucks. I think rape is bad. Do you not think I think rape is bad? I’m so confused. You telling your story here only makes sense if you think I said rape is awesome, which I didn’t, and would never do.

      And if you don’t want to come back to my blog, don’t. I won’t hold a grudge. I write to get my thoughts out, not to drive traffic. If you don’t want to be here, don’t be.

      As for respect, I respect good arguments. I respect people playing fair. I’ve seen a real lack of people doing that lately (perhaps they got better, I’m not through all the comments on those posts yet). I respect you enough to respond.

      And I’m not butthurt. I’m in about the same mood as always (remember, thick skin :P). However, there are a lot of people who seem to take these disagreements personally and who are too eager to respond attacking the person disagreeing.

      As for…

      No one was asking you to take a break from your fucking vacation

      Where did I say they did? Hrm?

      If you want people to take you seriously, it’s not enough that you have a personal stake in this. You need to actually pay attention to what’s being said and respond to that. I don’t say that to be condescending, I do it because I want to take you seriously.

      how it comes across when you defend needless rape

      Again, this never happened. You are fighting the people you imagine, not the people who are actually talking to you.

      exclusively ban queer folk in your quest for “rationality” on your blog.

      I have exclusively banned people who derail threads. If they happen to be queer, then that’s a coincidence. Coyote was a straight dude, so your argument here doesn’t hold. Also, there are lots of queer folk who are still welcome here (and welcome to disagree with me), so your argument doesn’t hold.

      • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

        Whoa, JT, that’s some serious fucking quote mining:

        how it comes across when you defend needless rape

        Again, this never happened. You are fighting the people you imagine, not the people who are actually talking to you.

        She actually said:

        how it comes across when you defend needless rape references

        Which you absolutely did.

        • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

          Wow…that was an honest mistake. I totally missed the word “references.”

          My bad. Please ignore that argument.

          I didn’t defend needless rape references though. Jennifer said he was saying rape was acceptable in the metaphor. I said he wasn’t. I stand by that.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jennifer.forester Jennifer, Uppity Bitch and General Malcontent

        JT, if you can give me a reason why the rape analogy, directed at the commenter herself with the personal “you,” was necessary in that particular instance, and why comparing rape to being mocked online, was necessary, then that’s fine, but you haven’t. You haven’t even tried. I keep on including those stories because somehow you seem fucking incapable of understanding that being mocked online is not even in the same galaxy of experiences as being raped, and that is what he was comparing it to. He compared being made fun of online to being raped. If you want to put a finer point on it, he compared arguments that justify making fun of someone online to arguments that justify raping someone. That still includes the implicit assumption that the two offenses are roughly similar. Are you fucking serious, that anyone can just throw rape in anywhere and, as long as you think it’s kind of maybe related if you squint hard enough, it’s cool? I mean it: are you fucking serious, that you cannot see what is wrong with this? You watch this dude continually just “ask questions” that are in bad faith because he has already stated that people who believe in privilege are brainwashed, you watch me calmly explain to him for a few hours, and then you watch him abruptly dive into a rape “analogy” that makes very little sense in context, and you jump all over me for mentioning that he is absolutely in the wrong for personally addressing a commenter with the implicit assumption that, if he deserves to be mocked then she deserves to be raped? Are you fucking kidding me?

        For fuck’s sake. You are not a stupid person. Stop pretending it.

        • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

          JT, if you can give me a reason why the rape analogy, directed at the commenter herself with the personal “you,” was necessary in that particular instance, and why comparing rape to being mocked online, was necessary, then that’s fine, but you haven’t.

          I stopped reading here. Why?

          You moved the goal posts. Your initial gripe was..

          After you mansplained to me about how a rape “analogy” was totally awesome

          I also never said his analogy was necessary and never defended it as such. Nor would I, since I don’t hold that opinion. However, you said he was saying rape was acceptable, which he was not.

          You are continually inventing things that never got said. Please stop. Not because it annoys me, but because I suspect you have some important things to say that don’t get heard because you keep doing this.

          • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

            You are continually inventing things that never got said. Please stop. Not because it annoys me, but because I suspect you have some important things to say that don’t get heard because you keep doing this.

            JT – what she has to say isn’t not being heard because of her, it’s not being heard because of you. It’s because you consider it more important to correct her on every detail you think she got wrong than to just say to the person who originally made the inappropriate and unnecessary analogy that it was wrong.

            If you agree with her that the comparison was inappropriate and triggering, why is it still sitting in that thread, with the commenter not warned, banned, or anything?

          • http://momoelektra.blogspot.com/ Momo Elektra

            “I suspect you have some important things to say that don’t get heard because you keep doing this.”

            The important things she’s saying are not heard by you because you don’t fucking listen.

          • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

            You are simply wrong.

            I’m not going to continue down a rabbit-hole chasing rebuttals to arguments that were never made. It would be a waste of my time.

            It’s still in that thread because I haven’t gotten to it yet, and may yet find that he didn’t do anything warning-worthy. When I read the analogy I recall thinking it was unnecessary. It could certainly have used a trigger warning. But I only just learned about trigger warnings, so it’s easy for me to think it could be ignorance on that.

            And, contrary to the assertions of some very over-the-top people, my policy is not to warn/ban people who err or disagree with me (otherwise I would’ve said that). I might write him a comment saying he should be more careful, but I don’t recall reading it as malicious (I may change my mind when I get to Carlie’s comment which, I’ve been told by a couple people I trust, is good). If I thought he misstepped while actually trying to converse then he won’t get a warning. He shouldn’t.

            We’ll see when I get to it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/jennifer.forester Jennifer, Uppity Bitch and General Malcontent

            I stopped reading here.

            Godfuckingdamnit, JT, you are not too stupid to understand hyperbole, or how language functions. No, you never said, “I think that rape analogies are awesome.”

            Fuck’s sake. You will literally do anything in order to avoid actually having this conversation. Take five fucking seconds, check your privilege (you know, the privilege of a seriously minimized risk of ever being raped, which will skew your idea of what it is like to have experienced that or to live with the risk), and consider that this is not a fucking academic discussion for most of us. When you think it is more important to argue over the literal wording of an argument than over how it reflects on the lived experience of a metric fuckton of fucking people then you have lost your way. Of course I use hyperbole. Do you know why? Because this is not an exercise to me. This is my life. Not that you give two shits.

      • Pteryxx

        JT, so you know, this point was also addressed in comments in direct response to the rape comparison.

        One, that sucks. I think rape is bad. Do you not think I think rape is bad?

        That was not the argument. The argument was that casual use of the victim-blaming rape analogy was inappropriate, regardless of the actual words used, because rape dismissal is likely to remind rape survivors (whose population overlaps enormously with women as a group) of past trauma, and therefore trigger, intimidate, or distress them. That is why such a comment cannot be dismissed as harmless.

        • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

          That was not the argument that she opened with. Go back up and read to confirm.

          I never said his analogy was necessary and never defended it as such. Nor would I, since I don’t hold that opinion. If the argument was made that such an analogy was not necessary, I’d be on board with that. I don’t think it is. However, this point will not be well-conveyed by saying things were said that weren’t, which is what Jen did.

          This proves my point. The idea that the analogy was unnecessary or might trigger a rape victim is a valid point. It’s one I accept (and always did). But it gets lost beneath the mountain of made up points and responses to things nobody ever said.

          It does a disservice to the issue you (and I) care about. That’s why I want it to stop.

          • Pteryxx

            This proves my point. The idea that the analogy was unnecessary or might trigger a rape victim is a valid point. It’s one I accept (and always did).

            If you accept that point as valid, then why did you leave the rape comment up when you were responding to it (instead of removing it, editing it, obscuring it, adding a trigger warning to it…) and why have you not (as of this reading) warned the commenter publicly that such a remark is not acceptable? You’ve spent a great deal of effort telling all of us that misinterpreting a casual dismissal of rape victims is not acceptable.

            While composing this post, I see that you removed the original comment ENTIRELY while letting the discussion about it to stand. I think this is a bad move as a moderator, since it conceals the initiating incident and removes the context of discussion.

          • carlie

            So many on our side (and I say “our side” because I do care about the way women are treated in this movement) feel the need to respond to things that weren’t said.

            Translation time: if someone, in obvious good faith (which should be assumed at first), takes your words in a particular way, that means that that was the meaning it came across with. If many people take that particular interpretation of it, that means that you were pretty definitely providing a subtext that was obvious enough that a lot of people got the same meaning from it. That makes it something that you did, in fact, “say”, even if the words weren’t exactly that.

            One easy example: “Shut up.” “You don’t want to consider my viewpoint on this topic.” “What do you mean, I don’t want to consider your viewpoint on this topic? I never said that!”

            Well, no, that person is right. They didn’t say those exact words. But that was the meaning they conveyed, whether they meant to or not. That person might have simply meant “shut up right at this moment, because I’m trying to hear this vitally important thing that’s on the radio right now”. But that’s not what they conveyed; what they conveyed was “what you have to say is not important to me and I don’t want to hear it”. That is a very direct example; it’s more subtle in this discussion, and sometimes it’s hard to even notice that you’re doing it when it spans over many comments. But when someone consistently interprets your remarks in the same way, you’re probably providing that connotation, even if you didn’t mean to.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jennifer.forester Jennifer, Uppity Bitch and General Malcontent

        And do not fucking tell me that it matters if he was arguing that the arguments were bad. He was also arguing that the arguments are equivalent.

        • Laurence

          Types of arguments can be equivalent even thought the specific elements in individual arguments may not be equivalent. I read Zengaze as saying that both were the same type of argument and can be rejected because that is a bad form of argumentation. In other words, the reasoning is the same. That doesn’t change anything about whether or not it was in bad taste and shouldn’t be used. It definitely wasn’t the most sensitive thing to do.

        • B-Lar

          I wish I had crystallised this thought when we were discussing this the other day.

          “Zengy” was wrong because he used false equivalence, not because of his choice of words. Those make him an insensitive ass.

          I guess JT wouldnt have even needed to comment on that post if instead of saying “OMG you said rape WTF.” everyone had said “Dude thats not equivalent at all, and also WTF? choosing words for maximum shock factor much?”

          • Pteryxx

            B-Lar: several of us did, including me. Why do you think those responses escaped your notice?

  • http://carriagewit.blogspot.com Draco Malfoi

    I am picking up some sarcasm here.

  • coolerbeans

    JT’s blog, JT’s rules. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think it’s insulting, it matters if the person who runs the blog thinks it’s insulting, because ultimately he has the authority.

    • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

      The problem is that JT applies those rules in such a way that people who make reasonable arguments with insulting language get banned, where people who have nothing both unsubstantive insults and derails but couch them in what, to the naive, appear to be reasonable arguments are allowed to stay.

      So his “rule” really just ends up banning queer people, women, and allies who don’t have the patience to be super polite to derailers and JAQers.

      • Artor

        Citations needed. Do you have evidence to back up your claims? I haven’t seen this trend you describe.

      • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

        The problem is that JT applies those rules in such a way that people who make reasonable arguments with insulting language get banned, where people who have nothing both unsubstantive insults and derails but couch them in what, to the naive, appear to be reasonable arguments are allowed to stay.

        Yeah, this is not true at all.

      • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

        Fine, as an example, carlie documented quite thoroughly how utterly unsubstantive, insulting, and otherwise problematic commenter zengaze’s behavior was on the DCS thread. (Link to carlie’s comment here).

        Zengaze, of course, was not included in JT’s derailer ban, where others’, whose insults were more overt, were.

        Of course, some of my point admittedly rests on a fundamental disagreement I have with JT: I feel that people with a lot of experience in social justice issues are not obliged to rehash every single element of every single theory to every single clueless person, and that merely giving them a reference term with which to self-educate (“privilege”, “JAQing”) is a substantive response, even when couched in insulting language. JT clearly disagrees, so no, given his position, the application of the policy is understandable. That doesn’t mean it isn’t enormously lopsided.

        • RahXephon, Bouncer of the De Facto Feminist Club

          I think it would help JT out a lot if he realized that he’s coming from a position of privilege (before anyone says that I’m yelling “PRIVILEGE!” as if it’s an argument…I’m not) and thus doesn’t seem to realize that for women, or gay people, or any member of any marginalized group, defending the concepts of social justice for themselves is not merely an academic exercise that one engages in occasionally.

          Marginalized people argue about social justice because it’s our actual lives that are involved. We’re not trying to convince others to treat an outside interest group like they’re human beings, we’re trying to convince them to treat us like human beings. We’re not justifying why an outside interest group should have rights, we’re having to justify why we should have rights.

          That is the core of why so many people become to frustrated at having to explain over and over again to others “why women should be equal” or “why do gay people wanna get married”. That frustration is exponentially compounded when such basic questioning is used to trap Marginalized People in a loop of having to explain and re-explain everything rather than actually get anything done.

          • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

            Thank you. This, exactly. This subject is not a blog debate to us, it is our lives.

          • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

            This will be my last response for a bit.

            and thus doesn’t seem to realize that for women, or gay people, or any member of any marginalized group, defending the concepts of social justice for themselves is not merely an academic exercise that one engages in occasionally.

            Marginalized people argue about social justice because it’s our actual lives that are involved.

            I realize this. I empathize. It’s why I care about the issue.

            However, because it sucks for you (and I fully am sold on this), doesn’t absolve you from needing to make your case fairly. Make it passionately, but make it fairly and reasonably.

            We’re not trying to convince others to treat an outside interest group like they’re human beings, we’re trying to convince them to treat us like human beings.

            I’m with you. I understand. I want you to succeed. I want to help (though, admittedly, I don’t view “helping” as accepting every argument simply because it’s made by a member of that group).

            I treat you like I would anybody else. I’m honest in my disagreement, honest in where my allegiance lies, and doing my best to understand. (Also, if you think my motives are otherwise, you get ignored. You don’t know my motivation better than I do).

            We’re not justifying why an outside interest group should have rights, we’re having to justify why we should have rights.

            I can certainly understand where this would make you more invested. I really do.

            But I do not see how it automatically makes anybody more likely to be right or how it would excuse them from having to play by the same rules of reasoned argument as anybody else (if that’s not what you’re suggesting, please correct me).

            I can even understand how the feelings of desperation/passion generated by being in the oppressed group could cause someone to get angry even with those who are trying to help but not doing so in the way you want. That’s why I don’t mind when people disagree with me, very insultingly. I know they’re trying.

            But when they are only emotional or only insult and don’t argue, it doesn’t matter how much I empathize with their plight: they’re derailing the thread and making conversation for those of us who are trying to overcome our privilege (because we want to) to get educated. So they get the ban hammer.

            That is the core of why so many people become to frustrated at having to explain over and over again to others “why women should be equal” or “why do gay people wanna get married”.

            Or why atheists aren’t evil or whatever cause we’re fighting for. I get it. I’ve done the same with atheism, with LGBT rights. I realize we have to explain over and over again.

            But we have to do it. Not everybody has lived these issues the way we have and they need our help. I cringe when people get jumped on for asking questions. If you want to change minds, you do it with information and education. Sure, you condemn that bad guys passionately, but you must also be ready to rebut arguments by responding to what people say.

            That frustration is exponentially compounded when such basic questioning is used to trap Marginalized People in a loop of having to explain and re-explain everything rather than actually get anything done.

            If you think someone is trying to trap you, don’t indulge them. Focus on answering the questions of people who do give a shit and who you think honestly want to learn.

            My worry is that the people who ask questions earnestly (like myself) get convicted for the crimes of others and then alienated from the movement. I worry that the acceptability of venting frustration with one’s plight instead of educating people who want to help makes it very difficult to be an ally to this cause for many people who want to be an ally.

            Frankly, I’ve noticed it myself. The hostility to people doing their best to understand, the accusations of darker motives that the commenter couldn’t possibly know (see Coyote and those like him), make me not want to write about this subject again (and I probably won’t).

            I’m honestly probably doing to drop out of this comment section because of it. There might be something really good that gets said further down that I’ll miss. That’ll suck. Blame me if you’d like for not listening or what have you, but I’ve been listening, very intently, and have found much of what goes on in these threads to be useless noise. That makes me want to stop listening. I would think it might worry you that someone who cares about your position no longer wants to listen to you (the “you” here is a general “you”). You should expect that of people contributing to your situation, but not from those who want to help you fix it.

            That’s not to say I don’t think the plight of women in this movement sucks. I do.

            That’s not to say I’m defending those who actively and intentionally keep that plight alive. I’m not. I hate them.

            It’s also not to say that I’ve not done my damndest to listen and understand. I have.

            It’s not to say that I don’t completely understand the feelings of desperation, helplessness, and overall suckiness that can come with being a minority, or that I think those feelings aren’t justified. I may not have lived them, but I don’t have to have lived them to realize they suck. Nor do I have to have lived them in order to have good grounds for disagreement.

            But it is to say that I’ve found that much of the commenting on this subject to be accusatory rather than educational and far more eager to abuse than to teach. Even if your situation sucks, I must still point out that such behavior obscures good points and alienates potential allies who might be fully willing to fight your enemies, but who may not be willing to fight you as well.

          • David Marjanović

            JT wrote:

            If you think someone is trying to trap you, don’t indulge them. Focus on answering the questions of people who do give a shit and who you think honestly want to learn.

            Well, no. I was bullied for years; bullies don’t go away if you ignore them. Trolls don’t go away if you don’t feed them. If you go away from people who try to trap you on the Internet, they may not succeed in trapping you, but they’ll still trap someone else instead.

            Also, on the Internet, there are always lurkers. If you feed pigeons, you feed rats; if you feed trolls, you feed lurkers. :-)

          • http://www.withinthismind.com WithinthisMind

            JT, I asked this question previously and didn’t get an answer.

            I’d like to hear your answer.

            Why is the education of the ignorant the responsibility of their victims?

          • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

            Ok, one more response, then I’m leaving.

            Why is the education of the ignorant the responsibility of their victims?

            I don’t recall asking anybody to codify their oppressors. I do remember asking them to help cure the ignorant.

            Do you really think you are the victim of everybody who is ignorant of the nuances of your plight? Lots of people in these threads have a very black and white mentality that causes them to keep equating the people who are ignorant with the people who are malicious.

            That’s a problem.

          • http://www.withinthismind.com WithinthisMind

            —I don’t recall asking anybody to codify their oppressors. —

            Actually, that is exactly what you did, and what we demonstrated repeatedly that you were doing.

            —I do remember asking them to help cure the ignorant. —

            I’m sorry, JT, I really am, and I wish I could change this, but..

            There is no cure for willful ignorance.

          • RahXephon, Bouncer of the De Facto Feminist Club

            However, because it sucks for you (and I fully am sold on this), doesn’t absolve you from needing to make your case fairly. Make it passionately, but make it fairly and reasonably.

            And believe me, Marginalized People do that all the time, but sometimes we get fed up with having to do it over and over again, even to the same people who are apparently too thick to understand.

            That was the point of my post. I was explaining to you why Marginalized People become so frustrated, not asking you if you think it’s justified to be frustrated. Not to be rude, but I don’t look to straight people for approval on whether or not I can be snarky and dismissive of the 19th “why do gay men want to get married when they only wanna sleep around? I’m just asking questions!” troll of the day. I’m not doing that here because…well, the opportunity hasn’t presented itself, but also because I’m interested in commenting here and don’t want to be banned.

            I’m with you. I understand. I want you to succeed. I want to help (though, admittedly, I don’t view “helping” as accepting every argument simply because it’s made by a member of that group).

            To quote your oft-used phrase (at least in this thread), where did I say that? I never argued that one should do or accept anything a Marginalized Person says or asks for just because they’ve been marginalized. Not using the term “bitching” because women tell me it offends them is well within reasonable bounds for accepting a request without some ironclad, sourced argument.

            I treat you like I would anybody else. I’m honest in my disagreement, honest in where my allegiance lies, and doing my best to understand. (Also, if you think my motives are otherwise, you get ignored. You don’t know my motivation better than I do).

            I didn’t say anything about your “motives”. I said that, for example, you’re a straight person, so the gay rights cause will never directly impact your life as it would mine, and so you don’t argue about it for the same reasons as I do.

            I can certainly understand where this would make you more invested. I really do.

            But I do not see how it automatically makes anybody more likely to be right or how it would excuse them from having to play by the same rules of reasoned argument as anybody else (if that’s not what you’re suggesting, please correct me).

            It doesn’t, and I never said that. What I said was that not everything is a logical, reasoned argument. If being called a “faggot” pisses me off, and you care about whether or not it pisses me off…then don’t do it! (Again, a general “you”) Do I have to prove to you why calling me a “faggot” offends me? How can I even substatiate that? And why should I have to?

            I can even understand how the feelings of desperation/passion generated by being in the oppressed group could cause someone to get angry even with those who are trying to help but not doing so in the way you want. That’s why I don’t mind when people disagree with me, very insultingly. I know they’re trying.

            If you’ll allow me, I’d like to recycle an analogy I’ve used before. You’re fighting in a battle, and someone comes up to you. They see you’re fighting and insist on helping, whether you like it or not. They then proceed to tell you you’re using your gun wrong, fire indiscriminately into the bushes, and dump your spare ammo in the toilet. You then try to tell the person that even if they earnestly want to help, they actually aren’t, and in response they say “How can you complain about how I’m helping? I’m on your side!”

            Would you find that troublesome?

            But when they are only emotional or only insult and don’t argue, it doesn’t matter how much I empathize with their plight: they’re derailing the thread and making conversation for those of us who are trying to overcome our privilege (because we want to) to get educated. So they get the ban hammer.

            So, if a gay person is being trolled and yells at the troll, you’d ban the gay person for being disruptive, not the troll? I’m honestly trying to understand how this policy of yours is supposed to work and be fair.

            The crux of it seems to be that if a gay person (again, this is an example) responds to someone rudely and without arguments, they’re derailing, but the person who is supposedly “just asking questions” that they’re responding to won’t be punished. This relies on your ability to determine if the person “just asking questions” is “just asking questions” in good faith or if they’re using that tactic to stall, silence, annoy, or otherwise troll said gay person.

            I know it’s already been explained more than once that cries of “I just don’t get it!” aren’t always earnest, and there is at least one entry on Derailing for Dummies about this.

            But we have to do it. Not everybody has lived these issues the way we have and they need our help. I cringe when people get jumped on for asking questions. If you want to change minds, you do it with information and education. Sure, you condemn that bad guys passionately, but you must also be ready to rebut arguments by responding to what people say.

            Again, this relies on one’s ability to discern between honest questioners and trolls. Many of us are able to do it quite easily based on linguistic cues and context.

            My worry is that the people who ask questions earnestly (like myself) get convicted for the crimes of others and then alienated from the movement. I worry that the acceptability of venting frustration with one’s plight instead of educating people who want to help makes it very difficult to be an ally to this cause for many people who want to be an ally.

            Just so I can understand what your position is, I’d like some clarification: are you saying here that your “ally-hood” to, say, women’s rights is conditional on how women act? I’m really hoping that’s not what you’re saying, and correct me if I’m wrong.

            I’m honestly probably doing to drop out of this comment section because of it. There might be something really good that gets said further down that I’ll miss. That’ll suck. Blame me if you’d like for not listening or what have you, but I’ve been listening, very intently, and have found much of what goes on in these threads to be useless noise. That makes me want to stop listening. I would think it might worry you that someone who cares about your position no longer wants to listen to you (the “you” here is a general “you”). You should expect that of people contributing to your situation, but not from those who want to help you fix it.

            Again, this sounds like you’re trying to say that how Marginalized People act predicates if and how you support them. If this is not the message you’re trying to get across, I strongly recommend you rethink and rephrase these parts.

          • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

            I should clarify, since my writing was not wholly clear. The “you” in that post was always a general “you,” not a personal one.

            That should clear up a lot of the “where did I say x, y, or z?” stuff.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1698151270 John-Henry Beck

            @JT 11:54 – I just wanted to particularly agree with this comment. I share that experience/viewpoint. It’s nice to see it stated.

            I’ve spent some time lurking in comment threads on feminist and related postings and while I’ve learned some things I certainly do not feel welcome to ask questions, much less disagree on some point. At least not unless I am ready to devote a lot of time trying to clarify and generally deal with being misconstrued and misunderstood and misrepresented.
            So I don’t even try calling myself an ally and often don’t even try reading comment threads. (Though, hopefully, I’m still headed in generally the right direction on paying attention to need of various less privileged sorts.)

        • Zengaze

          What the hell is it with just making shit up?

          Not once did Carlie mention me or my behaviour in that piece you linked to. not once!

          • carlie

            I think it was probably an honest mixup of you and Wes.

          • Zengaze

            Benefit of the doubt? Lol. As I’m the scapegoat for derailers not actually having to deal with their derailing, it’s pretty important to realise that I was not JAQ’in off (a term I was unfamiliar with up until now).

            Seems to me that skepticalmath has just assumed I was jaq’in off without actually looking at my contribution to the dcs thread, My contribution to the dcs thread is that I stated my position “dcs is wrong” then I laid out my reasons, and engaged with those of a different opinion.

            Seems as though some of us have been painted with a broad brush as “the enemy” and since the go to scattergun being used is “jaq’in off’ its assumed I must be a JAQ’er offer lol.

    • Pteryxx

      And that’s why I expect the moderator of a progressive space to educate theirself about what are or are not bigoted insults.

      Because otherwise, they are misusing their authority.

      • Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

        And to arrive at the same conclusion as you, of course.

        • John Morales

          There is no such “of course” in what you quoted Pteryxx as writing.

  • http://momoelektra.blogspot.com/ Momo Elektra

    “If I thought he misstepped while actually trying to converse then he won’t get a warning.”

    Why the benefit of the doubt for him but not for the others?

    I don’t get it.

  • Zengaze

    In the end, I had to walk away from the post, as it was becoming a completely irrational witch hunt.

    TRIGGER WARNING

    See what I did up there, it’s something I’ve never done in a post before, because it has never occurred to me, I never intentionally set out to cause distress to anyone, I was dealing with logics, and attempting to demonstrate a really bad logical argument. I was not offended or hurt by the argument given, so I was not drawing any comparison between being at the bad end of a logical fail, and being a rape victim.

    One question I have is where do the trigger warnings end? What if a person has suffered serious mental abuse in their life, and a torrent of verbiage is their trigger? I witnessed many a person in that thread spewing hate without any mention of triggers. Intention has to be considered, and It was said that I meant to use the rape analogy as a trigger. That is completely whack! But when somebody knows because they just know telling them it wasn’t malicious is futile.

    One other thing that I was picked up on was for referring to Jennifer by a shortened monicker (Jenny). When Jennifer opened her reply to me with calling me on it I actually sat back in my chair, I never meant to diminish Jennifer by it, consciously or unconsciously, I shorten names, it’s a habit, but malicious intent was assumed in it, I apologise for not addressing Jennifer with the monicker she has chosen, I also apologise for what was on my part a deliberate snark reply……… Jennifer had been using jenniferforrester as her monicker and then changed it to Jennifer, I picked up on this and threw it at her for calling me on not using her chosen name…. I shouldn’t have, frustration got the better of me as it appeared to me that that the content of what I was saying wasn’t being addressed and instead were looking for random fault..

    One logical point to this is that nobody should be able to be addressed as shithead from this point forward unless it’s their chosen monicker lol.

    • Pteryxx

      Zengaze: if you’re honest about this (and I make no claims either way) then it might help you to read some basics of commenting in a safe space.

      Intention has to be considered, and It was said that I meant to use the rape analogy as a trigger. That is completely whack!

      Look for: Intent Isn’t Magic. Explained here among other places:

      http://www.shakesville.com/2011/12/harmful-communication-part-one-intent.html

      Also see Shakesville’s Safe Space commenting policy for guidelines as to what is offensive to sexual abuse survivors, including suggestions about the use of trigger warnings or content warnings.

      http://www.shakesville.com/2010/01/commenting-policy.html

      My warning to you: Shakesville is a *heavily moderated* safe space. Some of the casual comments you’ve made, Zengaze, WOULD be grounds for immediate banning there. I still think you’d benefit from reading the policies. (And no, I don’t intend to come back and help explain them any further to you.)

      • Zengaze

        Thanks for the links.

        Perhaps this is part of the problem, peoples perception of what any given blog is. Really the only person who can determine what the purpose of a blog is, is the blogger.

        This whole idea (in my opinion) of a safe space neuters rigorous debate. It may suit some blogs, but it won’t suit others, my perception is more one of debate where good and bad ideas are thrashed out.

    • David Marjanović

      Intention has to be considered

      Let me put it this way:

      When I started writing scientific papers, the first thing my thesis supervisor said to me was: “You will be misunderstood – by someone, sometime, somewhere –, so it’s your responsibility to minimize the number of opportunities for misunderstandings.”

      He was right.

      • Zengaze

        Yep very good point, I’m not going to rehash that whole thread, but I take that on board

        • David Marjanović

          Thank you.

      • Spartan

        Agreed David. I also add though that the listener has the responsibility of realizing that language is not perfect and that many if not most statements have multiple implications. It’s the communicators responsibility to reduce the possibility of misunderstandings, agreed, but I think the listener bears the responsibility of recognizing the ambiguities in almost all communication and NOT assume one particular interpretation (which on these topics is inevitably the absolute worst interpretation) without further evidence.

        And Shakesville is great, I’m glad a ‘safe’ place like that exists, but must every feminist post follow that extreme commenting policy? There is a cost to having a safe place, in that Shakesville is not really a place for debating, or even disagreeing.

        • Pteryxx

          Spartan:

          And Shakesville is great, I’m glad a ‘safe’ place like that exists, but must every feminist post follow that extreme commenting policy? There is a cost to having a safe place, in that Shakesville is not really a place for debating, or even disagreeing.

          No, and you’re strawpersonning when you say “but must EVERY feminist post…” Shakesville is not a space intended for vigorous debate as its primary function, as FTB mostly is. Shakesville is explicitly a space for supportive, progressive feminist discussion where the voices of survivors are heard first and foremost. However, any vigorous discussion ABOUT issues of oppression, such as takes place here, must moderate for similar offences if the voices of the oppressed class are to be given a fair hearing.

          As I said, I linked to those very strict policies because they contain the best explanation of the underlying concepts that I know of.

          • Pteryxx

            clarification, because I’m getting really exhausted here. I do NOT suggest adopting Shakes-style comment policies at FTB. Consider them examples of issues to consider when moderating a highly personal, social justice discussion.

    • Pteryxx

      Meta comment:

      Because I am not the moderator of this blog, it shouldn’t be MY duty to inform another commenter that they have contravened principles of respectful discussion. I learned from Pharyngula, where PZ’s moderating style is to permit and encourage commenters to educate and correct each other so he doesn’t have to bother.

      JT doesn’t necessarily have to allow commenters to correct such mistakes on their own. However, if he prefers to do the correcting himself, then he also needs to be familiar with the principles so that he can apply them fairly: so I hope, JT, that you also read the links I (and others) have provided.

      • Pteryxx

        I see my comment with the links is in moderation. I provided links to “Harmful Communication, Part One: Intent is Magic” at Shakesville, and also to Shakesville’s strict comment policy, as well-explained examples of the rules of safe space discussion.

        • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

          Unmoderated. That was links, not intentional moderation. Glad I caught it before stepping away for a bit.

          • Pteryxx

            Thanks, JT.

          • Pteryxx

            JT: if you haven’t stepped away yet, my comment with the links is still in moderation, here:

            http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd/2012/05/31/weve-got-ourselves-a-sleuth-and-he-has-earned-ban-4/#comment-65164

            Otherwise: here are the links I suggested in non-link format.

            –www.shakesville.com/2011/12/harmful-communication-part-one-intentDOThtml

            and

            –www.shakesville.com/2010/01/commenting-policyDOThtml

            Note to all readers: those are STRICT comment policies for maintaining a safe space for survivors. They’re still the best explanations I have to hand.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jennifer.forester Jennifer, Uppity Bitch and General Malcontent

      Trigger warning: Description of rape.

      Here’s my last lesson for you.

      Do you want to know why I put a trigger warning on those posts? I do so because I don’t want to cause anyone to flash back to something that they have been through that is horribly traumatic. Incidentally, the multiple times that I have been raped are not particularly triggering to me. I have other things that do that to me. However, I am aware of what it can be like for those people, so I include trigger warnings.

      The reason that I include the content that requires the trigger warnings is to give you an idea of what, precisely, you were making a cutesy analogy to. Complete with “lol.”

      You are comparing every time I–or anyone else–has been raped with people pointing out that you are an idiot on the internet. Why it is that you would automatically think to make that argument is beyond me. There are any number of bad arguments you could reference; after all, this is a skeptical community. You went for rape and you addressed it at the commenter using the personal “you.” Either you completely lack self-awareness–and I am willing to entertain that possibility, but you are also uninterested in developing any–or you deliberately picked something that you knew was inflammatory and possibly triggering to many readers for your analogy. (A lack of self-awareness, incidentally, is a hallmark of privilege.) Neither reflects well upon you.

      You are comparing it to the time my ex-boyfriend shoved his penis in my mouth while I was sleeping and I let him because I was afraid that biting down would mean that my parents would find out that I was having sex. You are comparing it to the time that he tried to shove his penis up my ass but didn’t get all the way because I started bleeding. You’re comparing it to the time I lay there and cried in a guy’s van while he had sex with me because he waited until I stopped saying “no” and I had nowhere else to go. You are comparing it to every time someone told me to lie still or be quiet or shut up or just stop fucking fighting so that they could use my body as they saw fit.

      Fuck yourself, you vile piece of shit. Both you and JT “I’d love to listen, but bitches with their hyperbole!” Eberhard are ineducable, and I am fucking done with this shitpile.

      lol.

  • carlie

    Please please please step away from the blog for a bit. Turn off all the comments on everything if you have to. Nothing good can come of this right now with this amount of heat, and these are arguments that, trust me, pretty much everyone is so sick to death of having to make. I really think that a few days of distance and some deep reading into all the links everyone has provided all over the place could provide a lot of clarification.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      Honestly, I don’t feel a tremendous amount of heat. Then again, I don’t really care what people think of me. I do my best to be a good person and that’s enough for me. If others don’t like it, it’s never really ruffled my feathers. :)

      I did want to say, I’ve heard from a couple people that you left a really good comment. I will probably get to it tonight (probably, I’m still playing catch up from my faux vacation :P).

      • David Marjanović

        Then again, I don’t really care what people think of me. I do my best to be a good person and that’s enough for me. If others don’t like it, it’s never really ruffled my feathers. :)

        See, that’s where the accusation comes from that you believe your opinion is the only one that matters.

        I’ve read practically nothing of your blog other than this post and its comments, so I don’t have an opinion on whether that accusation is justified; I’m just saying that’s where it comes from.

        As I just commented on comment 11…

        • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

          There’s a good question: can somebody not care about other people’s opinions and still treat the opinions seriously?

          For example, here we have JT saying he doesn’t care about people’s opinions of him. I read that as “it doesn’t matter if people think I’m mean”. However, I can see how you might see it as “your opinions don’t really matter.”

          I think the problem is that JT is doing what he normally does: separating the idea from the person. In the same way that the idea of a talking snake is a dumb idea, but the person holding that belief isn’t necessarily dumb, we see that JT’s feeling on people’s opinions of him are separate from his feeling on people’s opinions of his ideas, something he clearly cares deeply about, hence the arguing, blogging, activism, etc.

          This is not me saying that people just don’t understand the Great and Powerful JT of Oz, but rather trying to understand where the disconnect happens. Intent may not matter, but it does provide a direction for events, so tracing it back can avoid future disconnects.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1698151270 John-Henry Beck

            That’s how I was reading it also.

      • drbunsen le savant fou

        Honestly, I don’t feel a tremendous amount of heat.

        How nice for you.

    • Richard

      I disagree with you carlie, this discussion has quite alot of merit. Yes, from an outside observer there is alot of heat, but frankly it is revealing on both sides of this and boils the debate down to the fundamentals.

      My opinion is that the only thing nothing good ever comes from in context of discussion is silence, unless you got a David Silverman face going. Silver lining and whatnot.

      I’m not sure I agree with either side at this point, both have some valid points.

      • carlie

        Richard – that’s true, but every time I’ve seen a discussion over anything veer off into dictionary definitions of sexist terms, it goes the exact same way. I guess I was being a little selfish and thinking more “please let’s not rehash this exact same thing again for the millionth time” rather than that no information could be learned at all.

        • Richard

          I’ve learned at bare minimum five things from these comments, and to be completely honest I’ve skipped over at least half of them, when their length approaches the size of a wonder of the internet. To quote another person who comments on this blog: “Still learning” that being his signature.

          I get your point though this type of discussion often falls apart into pieces because of behaviors exhibited here, like the dictionary definition and to be fair, authoritarian suffering hammer.

  • http://www.withinthismind.com WithinthisMind

    Shorter version of JT’s post:

    Shut up, that’s why!

    • Richard

      Shorter version of your comment
      Durrr

      • http://www.withinthismind.com WithinthisMind

        Let the double standards commence.

        • Richard

          Triple Standards for extra protection!

  • http://momoelektra.blogspot.com/ Momo Elektra

    JT at 12:07

    “I don’t recall asking anybody to codify their oppressors. I do remember asking them to help cure the ignorant.

    Do you really think you are the victim of everybody who is ignorant of the nuances of your plight? Lots of people in these threads have a very black and white mentality that causes them to keep equating the people who are ignorant with the people who are malicious.

    That’s a problem.”

    You still aren’t listening.

    You do not get to define who is or isn’t an oppressor or part of the oppression over someone of the oppressed group.

    You also do not get to define what actions are oppressive and what not over someone of the oppressed group.

    You do not get to do that because they will most likely know this shit a lot better than you.

    You are giving the benefit of the doubt to stupid, entitled morons but you refuse to give it to the ones you want to educate them.

    And it seems you are doing that not for the benefit of the oppressed, but for your own, so YOU can learn something.

    • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

      This brings up an interesting, though somewhat tangential point, and I hope you’ll excuse me if this seems to miss something.

      Does the act of being marginalized in any fashion grant somebody the ability to understand marginalization more generally, or do the specific problems experienced by specific groups negate the ability for an outsider to really “get it”? For example, JT is an atheist, and an outspoken one. He is part of an oppressed religious minority. Does that give him the ability to comment on LGBT marginalization with at least a little authority, or are the experiences so far removed from one another that they cannot be equated?

      I’m inclined to fall on the latter side. My experience as a bisexual (who gets the benefit of homophobia from outside my in-group and biphobia from inside) is not the same as a black person’s experience of racism. That being said, I think there is a certain amount of overlap, much like Martin Luther King Jr., known for racial politics, also spent a lot of time talking about poverty and labor and was being persuaded by Bayard Rustin to take on gay rights, or the recent support of marriage equality by the NAACP. It’s a question that I’m having trouble really pinning down because the above paragraph feels like relativism, but I don’t know how to resolve that.

      • Pteryxx

        Kaoru Negisa: The concept you’re asking about is called “intersectionality”:

        http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Intersectionality

        Basically, being subject to one form of oppression MAY help in understanding the experiences of others in principle, but not in the details. That takes either 1) a great deal of empathy, or 2) listening carefully to the experiences of people who have actually lived with the factor being considered.

        • Pteryxx

          Woo, I found an even better introductory article!

          http://lipmag.com/opinion/broadening-feminisms-intersectionality-101/

          Note that this is getting into advanced discussion, away from feminism-101 material or discussions of how to moderate a space. I’m leaving it here for further reading, because it’s a good article with very extensive links to all the concepts it mentions.

          • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

            Thank you very much. Will get to reading this during lunch. I appreciate the link!

          • Pteryxx

            *thumbclaws up*

    • A nym too

      Sadly that’s what happens when people think that their belief in equal rights is something truly radical, and praiseworthy.

      They’re so chuffed with themselves that they simply do not realise that the lofty perch they’re on is the one marked “Minimum standard of human decency”

      No cookies should ever be awarded for that. If the response to not getting a cookie is to say “Fine! I won’t support you if you’re mean. I’m walking away, I’m not supporting equality if I don’t get rewarded, what’s the point? Doesn’t affect me! Byesies lol :-P” then frankly, I’m glad.

      I can’t walk away from being a woman, a dyke, being poor, from my disabilities, from the abuse in my past. I don’t get to do that, not to mention that I literally can’t walk!

      But, I’d rather focus on the fight myself, just me and my compatriots, instead of relying on people who need their hands held, but still feel entitled to ‘splain.

      We have a phrase in the disability rights community, “Nothing about us without us”. We need to centre the voices and experiences of the marginalised to fight the kyriarchy effectively.

  • fastlane

    Shorter version of JT’s post:

    Shut up, that’s why!

    While I think this is stupidly missing the point, I’m going to tentatively agree that this post comes across as unnecessarily antagonistic and authoritarian.

    Seriously, JT, if you really want productive conversations on this topic, making a special blog post about the people you’ve banned comes across in all the wrong ways. Just ban them, send a private email telling them why, and can the gloating. (If it isn’t gloating, it certainly looks that way to me.)

  • Pteryxx

    Also, JT: may I suggest, if you’re going to step away from this discussion, please close comments on this thread until you’re able to actively participate and moderate. Otherwise the conversation WILL turn toxic.

    • David Marjanović

      …unless the influx of Pharyngulites becomes high enough to counteract that.

  • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

    Well, there’s an argument, so I have to wade in (it’s a problem I’m working on).

    First, I’m sure frequent comment thread readers will know that I am obviously biased toward JT, so the rest of this comment can be readily ignored by those who are sure that he’s an anti-ally bent on making himself immune from criticism.

    I can see what JT is saying in a number of cases. The people he’s banned have had a history of making wild accusations that don’t seem to conform to his message. Were their arguments reflective of what he was saying, I would agree with them, but often people are objectively reading something that isn’t there. Part of that is that it’s difficult to communicate via text, and it’s easy to read things in a way that changes the message. You can try to read the best of intentions into things, but it doesn’t always work. That being said, it is impelled on the person communicating to then clarify those points, something I believe JT attempts to do and is usually pretty successful.

    That being said, there are times when JT does go off message. JT, you know I respect you highly, but I tend to agree with the above people that the “bitching” comment was gendered, for example. I know you changed it and I’m not trying to get on you about it again, but your initial reaction was less than I generally expect of you. You’re an excellent debator, so the Dictionary Defense was far below your high standards of dialogue. I believe you when you say you’re not feeling any heat, that this isn’t a high pressure thread, but many of your responses do come off as if you’re feeling the pressure because they’re below your normal standard of debate, and it then makes it seem as if you’re flailing just to protect yourself, even though I doubt you were. I want to stress that this is not an accusation, but rather an observation on how it appears from the outside, and while you may disagree on whether it is actually the case or not (I don’t think it is), the perception is outside of the scope of your ability to argue since it’s about other people’s reactions to you, not what you were attempting to convey.

    Now, I’m going to go back to working on my swordsmanship in anticipation of the attack on Castle Pharyngula.I should probably invest in an eight-legged pell…

    • http://umlud.blogspot.com Umlud

      Although this (really long, somewhat rambling) comment is written in response to Kaoru Negisa, I’d like others’ input, since it’s something that I’ve been wondering, and something that no one has yet provided reasoning that makes sense beyond, “because I say so,” or, “because it’s that way,” or, “because it has a gendered use that I find offensive, even if the writer didn’t mean it in that way.”

      The question I have is, “At what point in time does a word’s definition become ingrained enough in a language that the ‘dictionary defense’ becomes valid?”

      Shall I never use the word “quaint”, because it had a very gendered meaning back in Chaucer’s day (and arguably through to Shakespeare)? Analogously, shall I never use the word “actor” to refer to female thespians, even though the usage of actress has become evermore diminished in relatively recent years? Furthermore, shall I never use the word “fellow” to refer to a female member of an academic society, since the word had inherent gender dating back before women were allowed into academia? And shall I never use the word “guys” to refer to a group of humans, since the word’s meaning was originally a reference to the infamous (and male) conspirator of the failed “Gunpower Plot”?

      I recognize that there isn’t really a fixed “time limit” to these trends, but it seems obvious to me that “quaint” no longer exists in the popular lexicon in its gendered meaning. It also seems obvious to me that “actress” has become less used because of its gendered meaning (thus making “actor” less gendered). However, terms that never really had a “feminized gender” to them (i.e., “fellow” never had the female equivalent of “fellowess”)… these are somewhat more problematic. Similarly, terms that have had very recent shifts (e.g., “guy”) are also often problematic.

      A further example is the use of “dude” as a generalized exclamation; something that has been happening relatively recently, lexicographically speaking. This appears to me to be analogous to the increasing gender-neutralized usage of “guys”; another relatively recent shift in language.

      The reason I bring this up is that there are – doubtless – words in our parents’, grandparents’, great-grandparents’, etc. generations that have undergone increased or decreased gendering; words that we are unlikely to immediately recognize as having been more (or less) gendered than how we encounter them today. And yet (depending on the dictionary that is used), both the historical and contemporary meanings may well be presented (and not always is there an “archaic” indicator). For example, take the radically changed meanings of “flapper”. Unless someone reading this comment is over 90 years old, many will think of the definitions associated with young women, while others might think of paddles in a mechanism. I’d wager that few would recall the original human-associated meaning coined by Swift back in the 1700s, though. Which definition is the “correct” one? Do all commentaries that don’t explicitly state which kind of flapper one is describing therefore have to contend that it could be any definition that could be construed from the context in which the reader encounters it? Obviously not, I’d wager.

      I feel, though, that I’m drifting from my original question, so let me return to the question: “At what point in time does a word’s definition become ingrained enough in a language that the ‘dictionary defense’ becomes valid?”

      Perhaps it is only when a word’s definition is so commonplace that everyone listening to or reading the word can understand the context, history, and implications of that word. However, that leaves a different sort of dilemma, since no two people can have the same level of understanding nor share the same frame of reasoning. How I read a statement is not going to be the same as how anyone else reads it, nor will it likely be the same as when I read it a year later. People’s own histories, their own perceptions, their own recognitions and brain maps and word associations make the sentences have particular meaning and nuance to them that may well not be shared by anyone else… even while the basic information of the sentence is conveyed. A partial recognition of this is (I believe) encompassed in the recognition of the need for the announcement of a “trigger warning”, as shown and debated above. It’s also (almost certainly) true that many people can be moved by words in a similar manner (either toward elation or – likely in the case of my writing – toward boredom or annoyance), but I’d say that you can’t judge that any two responses are the same.

      Therefore, this means that my understanding of a word may be more naive than someone else’s, or vice versa. I may well understand the nuance embedded in the culture of the reader (or listener) when I phrase a sentence. I may – if I know something about the receiver – be able to also draw upon meanings unique to that person to strengthen or weaken the effect (or to – more cynically – play the “it was just meant as a joke” or “it was only meant as a rhetorical statement” or “but the dictionary says…” weak argument). While I might consider myself to be well-read and to be facile with English, I recognize that my own understanding of English has been shaped by my inherent associations of words with memory and emotion, and those associations have been shaped by both my upbringing as well as any personal interest I may have with the language itself.

      To that extent (and bringing it back to the original point), I recognize that the implied meaning of a word is as caused by the knowledge of the speaker (or writer) as it is to the listener (or reader). To use an admittedly simplistic example, if (A) I didn’t know that “dude” was held by the listener as a highly gendered term or (B) I didn’t perceive it as being gendered at all, is it wrong for me to use it as an exclamation of excitement or wonder? Conversely is it wrong for the listener to recognize that the word has a gendered meaning, thus taking my meaning out of context? (And is it a different answer for conditions (A) and (B)?)

      On the one hand, I think that there is a measurable movement in American English to move away from gendered terms (such as “actress”, “stewardess”, “fireman”, etc.) to more gender-neutral terms (such as “actor”, “flight attendant”, “firefighter”, etc.). However, since language is in a state of flux – we can witness this through great tools like Google’s n-gram viewer – we have to also recognize that some terms that we grew up with may be changing (sometimes quite quickly) to have different meanings (and associated connotations); some in a more gender-neutral direction (e.g., “fellow”) and others not necessarily so (e.g., “to bitch”), and dictionaries – in fulfilling their role – are encouraged to incorporate these new meanings as they become increasingly normalized in social use (whether it is in a wholesome manner or not).

      On the other hand, as we mature, we learn about race and gender, the politics of race and gender, and the inherent biases that English has with relation to race and gender (and if we reach fluency in other languages, we learn of the biases that these other languages also hold), and we may well feel a need to fight against the negative uses of historical gender bias. In my mind, this runs up against the shifts in language that we are living through. Shifts that may well have left our ever-aging minds and social conventions in the dust. While I have been working on finishing a PhD at a major university in the US, I have recognized that my form of social English is no longer of the same tone, insight, or unconscious connection as the 18-year-old Freshmen that I teach nor even the 24-year-old masters students that are in my department, just like my use of English at those ages was not like that of the PhDs that were, themselves, trying to to finish their degrees.

      Therefore, recognizing all of the above (and I think that the points are valid – please let me know what you might think as invalid argumentation), “At what point in time does a word’s definition become ingrained enough in a language that the ‘dictionary defense’ becomes valid?”

      • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

        That was very eloquently put. I feel almost bad to simply answer “never.”

        The problem with the dictionary defense is that dictionaries are not objective sources, they’re snapshots of the state of language at the point of their publication. There are no natural mechanisms by which words evolve and change; they change based on the nature of human interaction, the efficiency with which they communicate knowledge, the needs of those communicating, etc. But it’s not like nuclear fusion or the motion of the planets which continue unabated without concern for humanity or their preferences regarding the subject (e.g. “totes” can enter the popular lexicon because people like saying it more than “totally,” but you can’t turn down the temperature of the sun no matter how hot out it is and how much you don’t like it).

        Asking when the dictionary defense becomes appropriate is much like asking when a map of Middle Earth will be usable in real world navigation. Thanks to the movies, people are now widely familiar with places like Rivendell, Mordor, Gondor, the Shire, etc. When The Hobbit comes out, they’ll learn where Murkwood is as well, and a number of other landmarks. However, no amount of familiarity with and ingraining into the popular culture (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/one-does-not-simply-walk-into-mordor) will ever make Middle Earth a real place.

        In the example used in this thread, “bitching” is specifically linked to the insult “bitch,” an insult aimed at women who do not behave in a manner that the user, generally a man, approves of. “To bitch” is to act like a “bitch,” and the implication is not “a female dog, wolf, fox, etc.” The nature of the language has it that that word is specifically designed to be degrading and insulting by either saying that a woman is being irrational or, when applied to a man, that he is acting like a woman. Either way, it says that women are effectively bad.

        Now, you could argue that if we move past the point where “bitch” ceases to be used as an insult to women (and men who are being called women), then it would be appropriate to use. However, at that point, the nature of the word will no longer apply, since the insult behind it is no longer an insult, therefore it cannot be used to refer to a negative trait. Even if it does survive its original meaning, it will likely shift definitions, much like “brouhaha” used to be specifically used to insultingly refer to a gathering of Jews or “Goodbye” is a portmanteau of “God be with you.” In both cases, though, the words in their current form no longer mean the same thing as they originally did and have shifted from insult to innocuous term. As long as “to bitch” is still an insult, it will remain a gendered insult because it specifically is equating somebody to being like an unruly woman, which is supposed to be bad. If it one day shifts to no longer being insulting, it may take on a new form, but for now this is what it is.

        • http://umlud.blogspot.com umlud

          Thanks for the answer. It helps explain some of the dissonance that I’ve encountered. That said, if your position is that the dictionary is not an objective source, then how do we learn new words or determine the correct word to use in a situation? Precision in meaning matters, and there is a reason why all our sentences aren’t merely variants on, “I did it,” “You did it,” etc. True, dictionaries aren’t ultimate authorities of language (at least not in English), and depending solely on the dictionary definition in one’s argumentation is merely a version of “appeals to authority”, and is bad reasoning at its start.

          However, the dictionary does often provide supplemental evidence. To use your example, one can use the map of Middle Earth to learn cartography, learn how to read maps, learn about geography, and (if Middle Earth’s physical geography were to conform to what physics would imply) learn about physical processes that are identical to how things operate in “the real world.” Therefore, you’re right in saying that you can’t navigate using a map of Middle Earth, but that would be relying solely on that map. I would say that you can learn a boatload from studying the maps of Middle Earth, with many of those skills being directly usable in day to day life. IOW, the map is a great tool to use when it isn’t your primary tool.

          Under that rubric, using the dictionary becomes another line of evidence. Depending on how one uses it, the argumentation can be strengthened or weakened, but it would be a mistake to throw out such a line of argumentation that uses a dictionary definition merely because it uses the dictionary. (Again: this is different than building one’s entire argumentation upon the dictionary definition, especially if it is an obscure definition.)

          Therefore (to build an argument based on past experience in other blog commentaries), pointing out that contemporary popular use includes an obviously non-gendered use of an historically masculine gendered term that didn’t have a feminine equivalent (like the exclamation, “Dude!” or the membership recognition of “fellow”) isn’t an appeal to authority (unless one is stating that social trends in language don’t confer meaning to words, which would be a hard argument to make). Further, using the dictionary to buttress the social evidence of the example isn’t an appeal to authority, either (since it is confirmatory of the social trend, and not – so long as the dictionary does try for objective recognition of social trends – because of an appeal to the authority inherent in the dictionary being a dictionary). However (and this was the major impetus of my initial comment), I often see commentators matching the exclamatory, single-word comment of, “Dude!” with, “Check your privilege. Dude is masculine.” Or once seeing a commentator point out that a female professor ought not to be referred to as a “fellow”, since that was a gendered term. In these ways, it seems that the counter commentators were effectively making “dictionary defense” types of arguments. To me, these lines of argumentation make little sense, since they are effectively appeals to the authority of one dictionary definition over another.

          In sum, I think your analogy isn’t quite right, since you can use a dictionary to add credence to an established line of argumentation as well as be use it as the sole defense of your argument. The former is – in my opinion – more logically defensible, while the latter is merely a form of appeal to authority. Analogously, maps of Middle Earth (or of any fantasy realm) can help a budding mind learn about many facets of cartography and navigation. Even though knowing how to go from Bag End to Mt Doom and back again doesn’t directly help me get from my house in the woods to Mt. St. Helen (and back), learning the basics of map reading from a youth filled with maps and atlases of imaginary and effectively imaginary (but real-world) places (such as the Winnie the Pooh’s 100 acre wood, Dragon Lance’s world of Krynn, Middle Earth, ancient maps of the known world, medieval maps of Europe, and early maps of the Americas) undoubtedly helped me learn many aspects of map-reading (and making) that I was able to transfer to real-world applications (including the GIS that I use in my dissertation research).

          Perhaps your meaning of “dictionary defense” was only meant to include appeals to authority, and in that sense I would agree with you. However, I would argue that use of a dictionary isn’t – in itself – a bad thing to use in all cases, especially if the dictionary in question is written with an eye toward objectivity.(We can have a whole discussion – no doubt – about the nature of objectivity versus the precision and inherent bias of language over time, but I hope that we can agree that credible dictionaries attempt to approach objectivity in their definitions.)

          Also, by the by, if the blog that is linked to your username here is yours, then I want to say that I’ve been reading it and find it well-written and insightful, and I’ve added it to my Google Reader list. Please do keep writing!

          • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

            I think I see what you’re saying and you hit it right on the head when you mentioned that a dictionary defense is basically an appeal to authority fallacy. The biggest problem with dictionaries is that they don’t necessarily reflect the meaning of words as they are used right then. They drag behind the evolution of language and don’t necessarily address slang, insult, or derogatory uses of words that are nevertheless present in common parlance. Ultimately, it smacks of somebody trying to prove that a word doesn’t mean what it manifestly does because meaning doesn’t stem from the dictionary itself, but rather the dictionary reflects (often poorly) the meaning society has given a word. There are some uses for it, yes, and I like what you said about how studying maps of fantasy settings can give us a chance to learn how maps work and what they can tell us, but I also think you’re right that it’s a logical fallacy to appeal to it as if it originates rather than details the meaning of what a word is.

            Also, yes, the blog linked in my name is mine. I’m glad you enjoy it. I wish I could write more, but I try to get stuff out every few days. I liked having this conversation and I hope to have more in the future.

  • baal

    I don’t see where being an oppressed minority allows one to inflict emotional abuse (or try) or to be a bully and have that be an excuse for behaving badly.

    For example, I’m very white and feel that I should pretty much never use the n-word in any context (n-word since i don’t feel like getting quote mined later). If others from a minorty group feel comfortable calling each other the n-word in pretty much any context, that’s up to them and I don’t have a “should”. Now let’s say I accidentally cut off a dark skinned guy in traffic and he calls me an n-word. I’d be offended. I’d not be offended to be yelled at for being an idiot (though I don’t think it helps to yell in anger regardless). I’m due the same respect that I give to others.

    One commenter in a pharylangula post has some 20 posts of “you’re privileged so I get to swear at you.” This isn’t helpful and it is redundant. It’s linguist bullying or attempts to shame. Some of them were right but I couldn’t see the objection in many of the cases.

    To belabour the point, it’s not enough to say “straw man, I hope you get chainsawed by a grizzlybear.” Most posters actually bother to spell out why something is a straw man after they label the argument. This second part has been lacking from a subset of posts in the JT Blog’s comments. Whenever someone says, “I’m baffled” the response has been, “how dare you oppress the minority with yet more JAQing.”

    Not everyone with questions is JAQing and not all of them haven’t bothered to read Pteryx’s links (thanks for those). Some of us even read Natalie Reed and work on figuring out when it’s ok to ask what and why (she’s really good, go read her if you’re not already). The accusation that we’re all lazy or stupid or willfully mindless is simply wrong and it’s wrongful to treat everyone with questions or makes a point like we are.

    • RahXephon, Bouncer of the De Facto Feminist Club

      I don’t see where being an oppressed minority allows one to inflict emotional abuse (or try) or to be a bully and have that be an excuse for behaving badly.

      To quote JT again…here’s where I stopped reading.

      Nobody, repeat NOBODY, has made the argument that oppressed minorities get to “inflict emotional abuse…or…be a bully”. If that’s what you think this is about, you’ve fundamentally misinterpreted the situation.

    • Pteryxx

      Not everyone with questions is JAQing and not all of them haven’t bothered to read Pteryx’s links (thanks for those). Some of us even read Natalie Reed and work on figuring out when it’s ok to ask what and why (she’s really good, go read her if you’re not already). The accusation that we’re all lazy or stupid or willfully mindless is simply wrong and it’s wrongful to treat everyone with questions or makes a point like we are.

      baal: You’re welcome.

      I want to point out (to everyone) that I almost always respond with efforts to educate as a personal preference. I can afford to do that because (usually) I’m not so frustrated or traumatized by the topics that I get angry. But – and this is vitally important – anger is justified. Frustration is justified. Even insults can be justified.

      I respond in good faith by personal choice. As I’ve stated elsewhere, 95% of the time, my presumption of good faith is wasted. When other commenters assume (more likely, estimate) that “everyone” with questions (more likely, everyone who doesn’t read or doubles down) is arguing in bad faith, they’re probably right.

      My choice to respond with educating doesn’t imply that I’m right to do so. I risk enabling really toxic bigotry by engaging in good faith.

      Further reading:

      http://theangryblackwoman.com/2008/02/12/the-privilege-of-politeness/

      • baal

        Thanks again Pteryxx.

        I’m down with being angry and a person gets to decide for themselves how to express that anger. I also agree that it’s up to me (or any person) to find it offensive to get asked to answer XYZ – there isn’t a duty help out or even a duty to be polite.

        My complaint (thinking mostly of Josh who ironically does and does speak for all gays) is that if you chose to express your anger solely by lashing out, repeatedly, and when it’s not clear what in specific is the problem, even otherwise sympathetic people will use their power and attach consequences (rightly or wrongly) to your lashing out.

        @RahXephon. Yes, I do think he was lashing out. No, I couldn’t always tell why. He’s endlessly negative and attacking with little other contribution. He doesn’t even make a decent idiom out of it (unlike Aquaria whose rants are great and I rarely don’t know what’s set her off). It didn’t help that he was among a group of magpies either. The issue isn’t limited to “Is JT overstepping his progressive blog host mantle in squashing commenter in a facially biased (they are all gay) fashion.” The issue is broader and includes the behavior of the commentators and when comments stifle discussion and chill discussion. I know I was afraid to make any comment in those threads – even to disagree with some fine points of what JT said.

        • Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

          The issue isn’t limited to “Is JT overstepping his progressive blog host mantle in squashing commenter in a facially biased (they are all gay) fashion.”

          I would try not using facial or as applied until you understand the terms.

          Reading Yick Wo wouldn’t hurt either.

        • Pteryxx

          Further on this:

          The issue is broader and includes the behavior of the commentators and when comments stifle discussion and chill discussion. I know I was afraid to make any comment in those threads – even to disagree with some fine points of what JT said.

          I actually agree with this as an observation. I disagree that it’s necessarily a problem, or that it could be corrected. There IS no way to discuss whether a certain group of people are being treated as equals or not without folks getting offended. Seriously – either you’re getting called out and flamed for saying something horrible or you’re being told your kind isn’t worthy of consideration. Sometimes simultaneously. (General you, but this is the kind of crap that every individual poster has to deal with.)

          I don’t have a solution to this. I will point out, though, that the EFFECT of immediate fiery disapproval such as Josh displays, is to make most commenters from the privileged side seriously wary about posting without being very careful and thinking through what they’re about to say. It’s an imperfect way to shift the balance towards the people who are USUALLY silenced and disregarded.

          The best good-faith gesture of all is to disdain getting even, own up to one’s mistakes (we all screw this stuff up at some point) and sincerely apologize.

    • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

      What I find somewhat ironic about your post is that I was having a similar discussion on Facebook a few hours ago to your second paragraph. I had used “queer people” in a reply and was told by a straight person that it’s insulting. I had to explain that as part of the in-group, I get to decide that, though I avoid its use to people who are insulted by it. However, the nature of reclaiming language is that the people who have done so get the option of determining whether out-group people can use any given term. As to your example, it makes sense to be offended, but I don’t think it’s likely that a PoC would use that word to refer to a white person in anger. However, I get your greater point, I think.

  • http://momoelektra.blogspot.com/ Momo Elektra

    “Does the act of being marginalized in any fashion grant somebody the ability to understand marginalization more generally, or do the specific problems experienced by specific groups negate the ability for an outsider to really “get it”? For example, JT is an atheist, and an outspoken one. He is part of an oppressed religious minority. Does that give him the ability to comment on LGBT marginalization with at least a little authority, or are the experiences so far removed from one another that they cannot be equated?”

    There was not a uniquely academic discussion, to which everyone with knowledge can contribute, it was very much a discussion about experiences and feelings.

    One who does not have such experiences should not tell others their perception might be wrong.

    • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

      I’m inclined to agree with you on this point. We can only really speak to our own experiences, and I suppose we have to separate them as much as possible. For example, I can share the feeling of being unsafe with a gay man for being openly queer, but that same gay man will not understand what it’s like to be openly bi among a group of gay people. There are points and pieces we can assimilate, and even reflect on, but others we simply can’t understand and just have to go with other people’s perceptions.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

    Felt I should say this:

    Thanks, most of you, for your input, your interest, and I really am taking what is said under advisement.

    I appreciate your efforts to help not only me but the situation as a whole. Your input will absolutely be reflected the next time I address this issue.

    • RahXephon, Bouncer of the De Facto Feminist Club

      I don’t know if you’re including me, but I tried to be as reasonable as you want us to be when commenting. I do hope you got something out of my posts.

  • Walton

    @JT Eberhard: Are you really claiming that the word “bitching”, as a synonym for “whining”, isn’t a gendered insult? As David M said above:

    men can be bitching just as well as (or better) women.

    But have you never considered where that comes from? It implies two things in no uncertain terms: 1) that the man in question is like a woman; 2) that to be like a woman is somehow bad.

    It’s using “woman” as an insult.

    Of course it’s a gendered insult. I can’t believe this is even being debated.

    I’ve stayed out of this so far, and I’m certainly not intending to attack you, but you really seem to be behaving bizarrely on this issue. I’ve read and appreciated some of your posts in the past (particularly on the subject of mental health; I myself have a mood disorder, so it’s an important subject to me), but I think you ought to rethink your position on gendered language.

  • cccbccc

    Also please pay attention when you get to the discussion in that thread about shortening women’s chosen (or given) names to a diminutive form.

  • QueQuoiHuh

    Your blog is like an Open House, right?
    Don’t let a few people crap on your carpet, when most people are here to buy, and they are not happy about the smell.

  • http://www.withinthismind.com WithinthisMind

    JT,

    Remember that one time, when you weren’t feeling very well, and you were tired, and stressed out? And then somebody did something that annoyed you, and you bit their head off?

    Remember that time?

    Hold it for a moment.

    Then go back and read the thread that kicked off this mess.

    Then remember that other time, when you were sick, and tired, and stressed, and somebody deliberately set out to irritate you, and you bit their head off, then someone got mad at you for ‘overreacting?

    Remember that time?

    Hold it for a moment.

    Then go back and read the thread that kicked off this mess.

    Get it yet?

  • http://florilegia.wordpress.com Ibis3, denizen of a spiteful ghetto

    I used to read your blog every day. I really liked you and what you had to say. I went away for a few days (I have relatives visiting and have been offline more than on for the past week or so) and found this mess. Now I’m just disgusted and disappointed. Now all I see is another sexist, ignorant jerk who doesn’t want to listen to anyone call you on your crap. Banning people who are defenders of the oppressed and protecting people who are the worst kind of assholes. I hoped that maybe when your vacation was over and you had some time to reconsider your actions you would back up, admit your mistakes and move forward with a new awareness. Instead, you’re doubling down. Too bad.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1698151270 John-Henry Beck

      I don’t think this is a fair description at all.

      Just because someone is defending the oppressed doesn’t mean their methods are acceptable. Also, the bannings came after continuing the behavior.

      The way I see it is that JT is (and I definitely lean that way also) much more inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to someone asking questions that they are sincere. Compared to others who are comparatively quick to see trollish behavior of intentionally inciting frustration.
      Personally, I think a lot more of that question asking is genuine than someone like Josh gives credit for, knowing I could be wrong. But I also know at least one study has shown that people who think they are best at spotting lies & guilt are often the worst at it. Also, just because someone doesn’t understand or accept a particular explanation doesn’t make them an evil troll.
      In any case, maybe JT is giving too much benefit of the doubt to people asking questions and they really are just using a tactic to infuriate the oppressed (& their defenders). Even if that’s true, the worst you can say is he’s hoodwinked by a skillful use of a misleading tactic – claiming he’s ‘protecting the worst kind of assholes’ is way too far.

      • Anonymous

        The way I see it is that JT is (and I definitely lean that way also) much more inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to someone asking questions that they are sincere. Compared to others who are comparatively quick to see trollish behavior of intentionally inciting frustration.

        Giving the benefit of the doubt to people “just asking questions” is an example of privilege in that JT (and most likely you) do not have to deal with trollish behavior on the internet and even in real life because of who you are. As I pointed out above, Marginalized People have to deal with this all the time and we can’t not deal with it because it’s not an academic exercise for us, it’s about our actual lives.

        As far as people’s sincerity, if you’re constantly being harassed with fake questions regarding, say, your sexual orientation, it hones your ability to tell whether someone is actually ignorant or if they’re trying to troll you. I can usually tell within a post or two if they are.

        Personally, I think a lot more of that question asking is genuine than someone like Josh gives credit for, knowing I could be wrong.

        Depends on the question. If it’s something like “why would gays wanna get married?” or “why should women be equal?”, these questions are both too basic and in the case of the second one, as a leading question, then these questions are probably not genuine; if one cannot see that gay people would want to marry their partners just like straight people do, or that women are people and should be treated just as well as men are, then they’re either too far behind to educate (at least in the comment section of a blog) or they’re trolling.

        I’d also like to reiterate that the onus for education is not on Marginalized People, and putting that onus on MP is itself a diversionary tactic. I recommend reading Derailing for Dummies, it has several relevant entries.

        • RahXephon, Bouncer of the De Facto Feminist Club

          Oh, for shit’s sake. That “anon” post is me, I didn’t notice I was logged out.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1698151270 John-Henry Beck

          “As far as people’s sincerity, if you’re constantly being harassed with fake questions regarding, say, your sexual orientation, it hones your ability to tell whether someone is actually ignorant or if they’re trying to troll you. I can usually tell within a post or two if they are.”

          See, I don’t think the above is actually true. I think you’re highly vulnerable to confirmation bias (or something like it) in situations like that. Especially with the emotional investment. What I see on comment threads looks like a whole lot of false positives – just because you’re certain you’ve pegged a troll doesn’t mean you actually did.

          I think JT’s policy leaves plenty of room to point out leading and otherwise dishonest questions, explaining why you think so. You don’t have to be nice if you can explain why. You just can’t dismissively attack without backing it up – because you could be wrong, and the conversation won’t get anywhere if you’re merely dismissive.

          So the onus isn’t on the marginalized to be educators. You don’t have to engage, or you can point out the trolling if you can explain why. It just seems that on JT’s blog you can’t get by with relying on being marginalized to allow you to shout down someone trying to ask questions without backing it up.

          From an outside perspective, a privileged perspective even, shouting down people for asking questions or disagreeing without giving a valid reason why and then falling back on the claim (valid or not) that the marginalized don’t have a duty to be educators just looks like another silencing tactic that stops discussions and otherwise derails threads. And it doesn’t appear that you’re (general) actually all that accurate at spotting which questioners are really trolls versus various other explanations.

          • RahXephon, Bouncer of the De Facto Feminist Club

            Yeah, you’re right, rarely, if ever, does one know if they’ve definitively “nailed a troll”, because trolls never go “Oops, ya got me! I’m a troll! Tee hee hee hee!” We’re getting into the nature of trolling here.

            Trolling doesn’t really work the way I just caricatured, especially not with the quasi-intellectual ones who play the JAQing game. In fact, an inherent part of the JAQing game is that one doesn’t reveal that they’re not actually interested in learning, and in fact, they themselves may not realize that’s what they’re doing. Often, when people are confronted with something that challenges their belief systems but they also make a claim to being “rational”, will claim that evidence and argumentation can change their mind, but then they set the bar for their evidentiary standard unreasonably high.

            JAQing enters a grey area where honest poster and outright troll can actually merge to some degree, because in some cases what you’re actually dealing with is someone who’s been confronted with an incongruent phenomenon (i.e. “I say I’m not sexist but a woman has just told me I’m sexist”) and they’re attempting to remain in congruence. One way to do that is to be arbitrarily strict about evidence and arguments, and even how one presents them.

            So, are there chances that the “JAQing” heuristic causes false positives? Sure. However, the trade-off isn’t always worth it to us. Take, for example, an instance with two possible outcomes: you spend three hours arguing with someone about gay marriage. First result is they turn out to be trolling you and they wasted three hours of your time. Second result is they honestly wanted information and they DO change their mind. Result 2 is wonderful, but given that the incidence rate of Result 2 is so low, I may have to engage in five, ten, or more instances of Result 1 before Result 2 ever occurs, and each argument, failed or otherwise, exacts a psychological cost. That’s why sometimes, a simple “fuck off” is far less damaging to a Marginalized Person than going through yet another series of Feminism 101-arguments when the chance for a payoff is slim.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

    Holy crap.

    That is all.

    • John Morales

      You express astonishment, but take care to indicate neither in which manner or at what.

      • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd Christina

        Yes, and that is intentional. ^.^

  • Turehu

    Unlike Ibis3, denizen of a spiteful ghetto, I will actually read your blog more.

    The freethoughters here just love rationality and sceptical enquiry up until the point that it crosses their own emotional trigger point. Then it’s all on for young and old, and the baggage is pulled out for all to see. It’s only human I guess.

    • msironen

      Seconded. It’s really refreshing to see someone stand up to idea that Pharyngula’s commenters represent some sort of gold standard that all blogs should aspire to. It’s also been fairly amusing watching them have a collective apoplexy about this heresy for the past few days.

      • David Marjanović

        If you want to laugh at angry reactions by pharynguloids, why don’t you simply come over and troll? Why do you wait for other people to trigger reactions?

    • Ze Madmax

      The freethoughters here just love rationality and sceptical enquiry up until the point that it crosses their own emotional trigger point

      Must be nice, being able to discuss everything without worrying about a trigger point. Obviously, people should just avoid issues that are triggering, because after all, why would you want to listen to the people who experience oppression directly?

      Asshole.

      • Turehu

        Feel better now Ze Madmax?

        Arsehole.

        • Anteprepro

          And here is an example of someone not addressing an argument and relying simply on insult. I wonder what will happen to hir?

          • Turehu

            Hmm. Anteprepro. Sounds like a haemorrhoid cream.

            Actually, Ze Madmax triggered my humour threshold. It always makes me crack up to see someone write “asshole”. So their attempt to insult me, or express contempt, fell flat, because they weren’t speaking my language.

            And what, pray sir, is a hir? Is it a he or a she?

        • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

          Turehu,

          The comment policy for these threads applies to everybody. If you’re responding, you need to have an argument in place. You can insult, but your comment must contain some substance.

          This is your warning.

          • Turehu

            Fair enough JT.

            I was actually just musing rather than insulting without cause. I thought that Ze Madmax calling me an asshole was a) unwarranted in terms of progressing a discussion, and b) funny for the reason I later expressed – what donkey orifices have to do with anything I’ll never know.

            Had Ze Madmax engaged in a conversation, then we might have violently agreed that it is important to listen to those who are oppressed and help where necessary to shift the power balance (non-gender specific pronoun might also have discovered that I actually do this in my day job).

            We might also have come to some agreement about the importance of self-awareness and knowing which hills to die for when consciously stepping into a veritable minefield of triggers.

            We might also have worked out that some people approach discussions and debates from a dispassionate perspective because that is the way they are wired.

            Oh the conversations we could have had.

        • John Morales

          And what, pray sir, is a hir? Is it a he or a she?

          It’s a gender-neutral pronoun, one more convenient than the singular “they”.

          (Read it as ‘his or hers’ as a first approximation)

          • Turehu

            Thanks John. I actually did know how it is used – I was just playing with a bit of doggerel. Cheers.

          • John Morales

            Ah.

  • julian

    Well this is a clusterfuck…

    Probably won’t be visiting anymore. Not that anyone cares as don’t really comment here but meh.

    I’m so tired of all this “you’re not a TRUE ally!” language. Fuck that.

    If it makes you feel any better, I’m sick of hearing you whine about it. So we’re equally getting on one another’s nerves.

    That’s gotta mean something, right?

  • julian

    Also

    I totally always pictured TLC having a mustache like that.

  • crayzz

    JT, this is your blog and as far as I’m concerned it should be treated as your home. That is, to be treated as you see fit. However, you seem to have set up a commenting policy that, if followed, is more likely to moderate those who are personally involved (i.e. the victims) than trolls. That’s a problem. That creates a space where victims are less welcome than jackasses. Your choice in doing so makes me believe you are less competent of an ally than you think you are, your intentions not withstanding.

  • John Morales

    JT:

    That’s when I decided Coyote was too keen and too witty to be left around. All my future plots would be in jeopardy if I didn’t nip this in the bud. So I gave him the ban hammer.

    This is supposed to be sarcastic, I think, rather than revealing.

    (I am charitable enough to grant that the author so imagines)

    • msironen

      Oh shut up you moronic self-loathing fuckface piece of shit.
      (Just to demonstrate the level of response a female speaker of TAM got at Pharyngula for expressing dissent; this response was later on defended by other commenters).

      • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

        I’m sorry other people had this said to them.

        However, that does not excuse it here (without the presence of a relevant argument of some kind accompanying it).

        If you despise that behavior, please don’t indulge in it. Remember, you can insult people here, but that cannot be the sum of your comment.

      • David Marjanović

        John may be many things, but he’s not self-loathing.

  • Nonplussed lurker

    This whole situation has been disappointing on many fronts–the level of vitriol on the one hand (the largely Pharyngula commentariat-driven responses)and the relative lack of engagement demonstrated on the other (JT’s responses) are not what I expected of FTBs (and I am well aware that neither party exists to meet my expectations, so no need for anyone to point that out).

    I do find it interesting, however, that the “standards” that bloggers are held to–according to a number of vocal members of the “Horde”–seem somewhat arbitrary. Just one example I’ve observed over the last few days: Lousy Canuck posted the LOLcats: the later yeas video on his site, which was met with (very valid) disgusted and angry responses directed at the video AND very pointedly at Jason Thibeault himself, both for posting the video and for failing to provide appropriate trigger warnings. He did post a trigger warning, which itself was criticized for being inadequate, and so he amended it again. He was also criticized for being a shitty “ally” and so forth. PZ Meyers posted *the same* video on his site, which received only 29 comments to Thibeault’s 65, and only two of the commenters addressed PZ directly in their criticism–and no one seemed to care that no trigger warnings had been posted on *that* particular site, or that posting such a video did not seem to reflect the appropriate actions of an “ally”.” It does seem odd to see such outrage directed at one blogger for posting something offensive and problematic and yet another receives (almost) nary a finger wag. So, JT, by all means take under consideration the criticisms that have been leveled at you the last few days–but maybe some of those going out of their way to educate you should consider being a little more consistent in their efforts to enlighten.

    • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

      (1) Hypocrisy is really irrelevant here. If we are correct in our arguments against JT, it is utterly inconsequential that we may be hypocrites.

      (2) I say “we” because I’m one of those who posted on The Lousy Canuck and not on PZ Myers blog. Why? I saw it on his first, and while you may have unlimited time, I prefer not to have *exactly the same debate* at many places at once. (Hence, also, why many commenters debated the Grothe issue at B&W but not at pharyngula or vice versa or at a third site.)

  • B-Lar

    Pteryxx, only just got the chance to come back to this thread, and I couldn’t reply to you direct.

    I just had to slap myself round the face a bit. I read all the posts in the previous thread and posted in respect to the general feeling that I had rather than to the actual comments made. This leaves me in a position where I am responding to what I think I hear/read, not what I hear/read. A colossal error.

    Irony is so wonderful, witty and pretty until you wake up next to it.

  • Anteprepro

    Holy shit, JT. Are you new to FTB or something? You said “bitch,” but there’s a bingo card related to a different gendered insult, presented in a very exotic internet locale. I believe you hit squares C1, C3, U4, and a dash of T3. Do you honestly fail to grasp how using a word that is inextricably linked to women as an insult might be sexist? Because that appears to be your only defense: That even though “bitch” as a noun is literally “female dog” and is almost universally used as something to the effect of “mean-spirited woman”, “bitch” as a verb has ABSOLUTELY NO RELATION NOSIREE. WTF, JT?

    Sure, there are other connotations. “Bitch,” to my ear, carries the connotation of whining loudly and without merit.

    I’m a little torn here. I don’t agree with you, but this issue seems to be derailing the thread, which sucks (because you are actually trying to argue, which I appreciate). So I’m going to change it, because it obviously makes some people uncomfortable, but at the same time I don’t think that’s justified.

    Yeah, you aren’t doing an incredibly poor job of arguing your point. It’s just that there is no legitimate case to make that “bitch” is sexist, no matter what specific dictionary definition is intended, so everything is just opinion and feelings. Yessiree. It is just that the word makes us oh-so-uncomfortable. The dictionary gives multiple meanings, so all of those meanings are independent of one another, and the word could never give suggestions off that are relevant to the other meanings of the word, and we are all derailing and whining and blustering about nothing of merit by bringing any of this up at all. Thank you, JT, for settling this matter once and for all, by showing us all that this is just a simple matter of opinion and it can be resolved by placating the foolish, complaining masses with “I’m sorry I offended you” notpologies. While outright stating that the offense isn’t justified. Great work there.

    This whole thing is getting sad.

  • petria

    I think that changing your opinion of JT over him using the work ‘bitch’ is pretty pedantic. It’s too small an issue and some words are pretty nebulous. I know we have to be careful of words that can imply gendered insult but I wouldn’t have even noticed it in his blog entry. While I use the word ‘bitch’ myself I have also winced when the context is malicious. It’s just not simple. Even Jennifer has commented with ‘uppity bitch’ in her moniker. I don’t have a problem with it, but if some do should that be censored? No.
    There are so many rules of language and meaning that are broken by swearing and slang, then exacerbated by derogatory meanings that change over time.
    Whilst I love the Godless Bitches podcast I strangely don’t like that they have used that word, but they can call themselves whatever they like. I have joked about with friends and used the word ‘bitch’ in all sorts of contexts but if someone were to call me a bitch seriously then the word would swell up with venom and I would hear it quite differently. That situation would become more complex again if it was a man calling me a bitch. Maybe ‘bitch’ is going the same way as ‘nigger’ Women can use it to empower themselves and take the sting out of it and men stop using it. Calm down it’s just a theory.
    Another female commenter here has ‘feminist fucktoy of death’ in her title. I am getting all types of sexual violence imagery from that! She can use whatever alias she wants but the meaning of those words would become quite different and possibly savage if used by a male. Imagine if a male commenter used that moniker, or even started referring to her as ‘fucktoy’ or does it need a trigger warning? Who am I to say? But we can’t outlaw the words or write off anyone who uses them in a way we wouldn’t ourselves. I find the grey areas in this debate fascinating.

    “Only a ginger, can call another ginger…ginger!”

    • Anteprepro

      Hint: It’s not his intent, it’s not that he used a bad word, it’s that he is doubling down and presenting the most shoddy, paper-thin excuses in order to ignore the case for why the word is bad (you know, “bad” for reasons other than “OFFENSE!”).

      Also, there is no censorship here. Really. The specter of censorship is the last defense for people who are so beyond the pale that they can’t deal with the criticism of their position without suggesting that deserved criticism is akin to oppression and silencing. Stop with that. (Note: Also not censorship. A suggestion.)

      A few more tips:
      This comment of yours is right on the money.

      Maybe ‘bitch’ is going the same way as ‘nigger’ Women can use it to empower themselves and take the sting out of it and men stop using it. Calm down it’s just a theory.

      That is exactly the principle at work here. Which is why these complaints look strange:

      Even Jennifer has commented with ‘uppity bitch’ in her moniker. I don’t have a problem with it, but if some do should that be censored? No.

      The “uppity” should be the clue.

      Another female commenter here has ‘feminist fucktoy of death’ in her title. I am getting all types of sexual violence imagery from that! She can use whatever alias she wants but the meaning of those words would become quite different and possibly savage if used by a male.

      Yeah, let’s go back to your insight that you subsequently ignore. A feminist calling herself a “fucktoy” to make light of the demeaning perspectives of MRAs towards women (i.e. women exist simply to sexually gratify men) is analogous to a black person calling themselves “nigger” to make light of a historically oppressive word/attitude. A man calling a woman a “fucktoy” is obviously NOT as acceptable as a woman calling herself a “fucktoy” in the same way that a white man calling someone “nigger” is obviously NOT as acceptable as a black man calling themselves “nigger”. The reasons?
      1. Self-identifying with a label is obviously less morally questionable than labeling others. A similar principle holds for in-group labeling versus out-group labeling. This is regardless of label.
      2. Given a negative label with historical baggage and association to a group, it is far more obvious that the label is being used ironically when the person using the label is a eager member of the group that is stigmatized/historically affected by that label. It is less obviously satirical when the person applying the label is not also in groups to which the label traditionally applies. One might also argue that it is not their right to grapple with (and help repurpose/redefine) such labels.

      Please don’t condescend to the critics and assume they are overreacting/irrational. Or suggest that criticism is a desire to end free speech. Neither of those is the case.

    • John Morales

      It’s too small an issue and some words are pretty nebulous.

      Therefore, it is an issue.

      You think it’s too small to be of relevance, yet that is the crux of the matter.

      [1] Another female commenter here has ‘feminist fucktoy of death’ in her title. I am getting all types of sexual violence imagery from that![2] She can use whatever alias she wants but the meaning of those words would become quite different and possibly savage if used by a male. [3] Imagine if a male commenter used that moniker, or even started referring to her as ‘fucktoy’ or does it need a trigger warning?

      1. Yes.

      2. Yes.

      3. You utterly discount that perhaps its relevance is to bring this issue into consciousness, and that this is deliberately sardonic?

    • NateHevens

      I notice you quote Tim Minchin’s “Prejudice”, but I think you are a bit confused as to the meaning behind the song.

      Let me link to my favorite version (off the Ready for This CD with the band) here:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1HXmYkxwSE

      (Side note: is there a way to embed videos in these comments?)

      Tim is using the word “Ginger”, and the medium of comical song, of course, to raise consciousness about “taboo words”. The best judge of a word is not the dictionary, nor is it “intent”… it’s history. So what if “nigger” was not always considered a derogatory term because, way back when, it simply denoted a “black-skinned person”. It’s history is that of racism and oppression; therefore, it’s one thing for those oppressed to decide to reclaim the word as their own, be the rest of us don’t have the right to use it.

      The exact same thing applies to the word “bitch”. Yes, it technically means “female dog”, but it’s history is one of misogyny and oppression. It has been used to silence women who’ve dared to have an opinion. That is the history of the word, whether we like it or not. As such, “intent” and “context” mean nothing, here. The fact of the matter is, the word “bitch” is a historically derogatory, misogynistic word of oppression. As such, it’s perfectly fine if women decide to reclaim the word as their own, but we simply need to stop using it.

      This is the message in Tim Minchin’s “Prejudice”. This is the point of that song.

      And it’s something that, I think, should be remembered by all.

  • Smhlle

    Two cents:

    I think that possibly the best way to state ones alliegance (or allied-ness) to feminism might be to say “I think of myself as an ally to X” or “I like to think of myself as an ally to X.” (If Allyhas become a hot button word, then the word supporter might serve as a potential substitute.)

    I think the best way to dispute someone’s use of the word ally is to state “I expect my allies to codemn sexist actions like…. or sexist tropes like…” (And I may be firing my suggestions at both the offender and the offended in totally the wrong direction, because I sort of remember the is / not an ally discussion being about mock homosexual behavior being flaunted by heterosexuals? Brain overload, sorry.)

    TL;DR. I like the use of “I” statement that are specific much more than “you” statements that are broad, and think the former are more likely to reach the listener.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1698151270 John-Henry Beck

      I was noticing that it appeared different ideas of ally, and what it means to be an ally, were at work here.

      I think this looks like a good way to improve the discussion so that people can actually hear each other.

      • John Morales

        I was noticing that it appeared different ideas of ally, and what it means to be an ally, were at work here.

        Ideas perhaps. Reasonable ideas… not so much, I think.

        (When your supposed ally repudiates your purported alliance, is the idea of such an alliance reasonable?)

        • Zengaze

          Any person who has allegiance, has always compromised principle.

          • John Morales

            Allegiance and alliance are different relationships; neither implies the other, their intersectionality notwithstanding.

          • Zengaze

            On the contrary, it has been suggested thought this discourse that having allegiance to the alliance is a pre requisite for being deemed an ally. You don’t get to call yourself an ally if your not an ally on all subject matters pertaining to one interest grouping of the alliance, remember?

            Perhaps this word ally is as moronic as those who wield it as a weapon. When ideas converge then we are people in agreement, when our ideas diverge then we are not. I am not your ally nor am i your enemy.

            JT’s abhorrent breaches of his “allyness” are a refusal to straight jacket his blog, a non plus attitude towards silence of debate in favour of “safe space”,whatever the fuck that means in a blog of open intellectual exchange, and the most hideous crime of using a common language phrase as a descriptor, without having given it due consideration as a gender stereo slur.

            For that he must have his sleeves torn and drummed to the gate by the ranks, who shall, in obedience, about face to shame. “No True Feminist!” They shall say……… Who shall we have left in the ranks of the “ally’s” once those with more issues than playboy, and whose doctrine rivals the Vatican, decide that unless you concur with their manifesto in every minutiae you too shall be purged, just as the great purge of 37, the movement will have order and all shall be made equal under those who are more equal than others.

            http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=plpp&v=NTXIUNEtw8Q

          • John Morales

            On the contrary, it has been suggested thought this discourse that having allegiance to the alliance is a pre requisite for being deemed an ally.

            “allegiance to the alliance”, eh?

            (Allegiance refers to an undertaking of loyalty to some cause, alliance to a collaboration between parties; mutuality is a salient discriminant)

            Perhaps this word ally is as moronic as those who wield it as a weapon.

            And perhaps not.

            When ideas converge then we are people in agreement, when our ideas diverge then we are not. I am not your ally nor am i your enemy.

            I just told ya that they’re different things, and you imagine that I mean that they’re dichotomous?

            (What part of ‘interesectionality’ was confusing to you?)

            JT’s abhorrent breaches of his “allyness” are a refusal to straight jacket his blog

            Your contention that his “allyness” [sic] (alliance) is abhorerently breached implies it existed in the first place.

            (Begging the question begs the question)

            For that he must have his sleeves torn and drummed to the gate by the ranks, who shall, in obedience, about face to shame. “No True Feminist!”

            Why, yes!

            The purported allies repudiate the claim to his alliance (via professed feminism), as I originally noted.

            (Those to whom you refer as “the ranks” are the purported allies, no?)

            Who shall we have left in the ranks of the “ally’s” once those with more issues than playboy, and whose doctrine rivals the Vatican, decide that unless you concur with their manifesto in every minutiae you too shall be purged, just as the great purge of 37, the movement will have order and all shall be made equal under those who are more equal than others.

            Funny, I thought “the ranks of the “ally’s” [sic]” were supposedly those who factually are repudiating such a claim.

            (To the point of being banned, FWTW)

          • Zengaze

            You have said your name, I have said mine, this was a good conversation.

  • Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

    That’s why sometimes, a simple “fuck off” is far less damaging to a Marginalized Person than going through yet another series of Feminism 101-arguments when the chance for a payoff is slim.

    I feel that people with a lot of experience in social justice issues are not obliged to rehash every single element of every single theory to every single clueless person, and that merely giving them a reference term with which to self-educate (“privilege”, “JAQing”) is a substantive response, even when couched in insulting language.

    That’s a reasonable response. It’s also not the only possible, or even only productive, response on this topic. So given that you have ample space (all of Pharyngula, for instance) to have the conversation and give the responses YOU want to have, what is so objectionable about being asked to leave THIS space for the conversation JT wants to host in it?

    • http://lordsetar.wordpress.com Setár, self-appointed Elf-Sheriff of the Pharyngula Star Chamber

      …what is so objectionable about being asked to leave THIS space for the conversation JT wants to host in it?

      That JT wishes to hold the conversation while ignoring obvious aspects of it that need to be controlled for (such as the prevalence of disingenuous Social Justice 101-type questions) that have come up in every single iteration of the conversation.

      Also, that JT has exclusively gone after the marginalized and their defenders, ignoring everything that’s been said to him about microaggressions.

      You, too, would do well to learn how social justice works before talking about it =/

      • Zengaze

        TRIGGER ALERT…. Obscene language

        I don’t really care much for the “privilege argument” something is either lofgically correct, and ethically sound or it is not, I also don’t care much for the concern trolling of demanding trigger tags when discussing issues, it’s a blog, bad shit gets mentioned.

        I for one am going to start demanding trigger alerts when the word fuck is used, as it triggers emotional abuse flashbacks……. The logical permutation of demanding trigger alerts is absurd.

        But back to the privilege argument, as displayed above no doubt.
        Who the fuck has the right to determine when someone’s question is disingenuous, beyond that who the fuck has the right to not only deem a persons question disingenuous but to then post a dismissive reply that contains nothing pertinent to the question asked. The unprivileged with relation to the topic you may say, as they have been the victims of the privileged majority with relation to the topic, yet they are the privileged with relation to the discussion, the person without the knowledge and seeking it is in effect in the unprivileged position. The solution is simple if you don’t like people asking questions, don’t fucking read the questions. If you don’t want to engage the question, don’t post a fucking reply. For a conversation to take place there must be more than one participant.

        • John Morales

          Who the fuck has the right to determine when someone’s question is disingenuous, beyond that who the fuck has the right to not only deem a persons question disingenuous but to then post a dismissive reply that contains nothing pertinent to the question asked.

          That’s what you’ve just done.

          But back to the privilege argument, as displayed above no doubt.
          Who the fuck has the right to determine when someone’s question is disingenuous

          I see no mention of privilege (never mind an argument to it) in the answer to the question you posed and to which you are ostensibly responding.

          (I note in passing that if I read your purported trigger warning as intending sarcastic mockery of the concept, everything you’ve written makes more sense)

          If you don’t want to engage the question, don’t post a fucking reply.

          There’s a term for people who preach against something whilst simultaneously engaging in that something.

          • Zengaze

            I disagree with the entirety of your reply, as my reply obviously was responsing to setar’s position, but this is a good conversation :)

          • John Morales

            You might have responded to your perception of Setár’s position, but you did not address neither of the two specific clauses in Setár’s answer, i.e. that to which you ostensibly responding.

            As someone you admire once wrote: “If you don’t want to engage the question, don’t post a fucking reply.”

          • John Morales

            [erratum]

            you did not address neither of the two specific clauses in Setár’s answer, i.e. that to which you ostensibly responding.
            &rarr
            you did not address either of the two specific clauses in Setár’s answer, i.e. that to which you ostensibly responding.

            (This one is of significance)

          • Zengaze

            Your perception of whether my response to setar’s clauses was sufficient may or may not be a miss perception on your part, regardless since I do believe my response was sufficient I feel no requirement to elaborate at this juncture, unless you have a specific point within setar’s respons or mine that you wish to unpxk and engage on. Many thanks for the good conversation :)

          • John Morales

            Specifically, what Setár wrote stands unchallenged by your response; instead of addressing it, you used it as an excuse to posture ineptly about privilege theory (as you understand it) and mock people who get triggered.

          • Zengaze

            I specifically disagree, what setar wrote was addressed by my apt response, is there a specific part of setars reply that you wish to address with me, if so please elucidate, as you are using your perception of a misgot as an excuse to posture ineptly about sufficient responses (as you understand them).

            With regard to triggers I make my position quite clear, they are absurd, I redirect you to the relevant post for argumentation.

          • John Morales

            I specifically disagree, what setar wrote was addressed by my apt response, is there a specific part of setars reply that you wish to address with me, if so please elucidate

            What part of “you did not address either of the two specific clauses in Setár’s answer” requires elucidation?

            I can’t make it clearer, but I can provide more specificity, to wit, the second clause, as an example: “Also, that JT has exclusively gone after the marginalized and their defenders, ignoring everything that’s been said to him about microaggressions.”

            What part of your “apt response” addresses that?

          • John Morales

            With regard to triggers I make my position quite clear, they are absurd, I redirect you to the relevant post for argumentation.

            You don’t need to refer me to it, since it was I who noted how this claim has nothing to do with what Setár wrote.

            Whether you consider that the concept of trauma triggers is invalid (it isn’t), or whether you were objecting to your perception that demands for such were made (they weren’t), the fact of the matter is that your position on the matter is (at best) thoughtless.

        • John Morales

          [erratum]

          I see no mention of privilege (never mind an argument to it) in the answer to the question youAzkyroth posed and to which you are ostensibly responding.

          (For accuracy’s sake only; point remains the same)

          • Zengaze

            It’s great that you don’t see it, I do. Have you passed through the mountain yet?

          • John Morales

            Neither your opinion as to what I do or do not get nor your gnomic inanity advance the conversation; at best, they indicate you’ve run out of ideas.

          • Zengaze

            Neither your opinion as to what I got or misgot [new entry into the dictionary of zen, meaning to misget] nor your general inanity advance the conversation; at best they demonstrate a disinterest in the supposed misgot, demonstrable through lack of illumination.

          • John Morales

            You think not? :)

            I am exhibiting you as an exemplar of that which JT wanted to target with his policy.

          • Zengaze

            I most assuredly did not misgot that and have been engaging you on that premise :)

          • Zengaze

            Ahhh he who thinks he is doing the exhibiting is in actuality the exhibit :)

        • Zengaze

          Clause 2 is an extension of clause 1.

          1: control disingenuous social justice type 101 questions.
          I addressed this cause specifically with the following statement:
          “Who the fuck has the right to determine when someone’s question is disingenuous, beyond that who the fuck has the right to not only deem a persons question disingenuous but to then post a dismissive reply that contains nothing pertinent to the question asked. The unprivileged with relation to the topic you may say, as they have been the victims of the privileged majority with relation to the topic, yet they are the privileged with relation to the discussion, the person without the knowledge and seeking it is in effect in the unprivileged position. ”

          I also posited a solution:
          “The solution is simple if you don’t like people asking questions, don’t fucking read the questions. If you don’t want to engage the question, don’t post a fucking reply.”

          2: JT “went after the marginalised and their defenders”
          This clause is an extension of clause 1, the “marginalised” claim privilege with relation to the discussion as to deem who is disingenuous and deserved of insult and derision, and therefore grant themselves the right to respond without substance. My position as to this is also contained within my response to clause 1. What I didn’t include in my response, as it has been mentioned continually throughout the debate, is the false positive. Though I did include the solution which would have prevented the voluntary martyrdom.

          • John Morales

            I care not to engage in further analysis.

            This is not Pharyngula, and I have done sufficient anti-sophistry legwork on this issue.

            (You are not my true audience, JT is)

          • Zengaze

            That’s a shame, but oh we’ll it was a good conversation.

            No it’s not pharyngula, I thought that was self evident, but now you can scupper back to it with a woof woof and sit for a cookie.

            You honestly think I didn’t know JT was your audience, you bloody posted your intent “to show JT” on the blogs. Yeah John you really showed him, and you stayed within the blog policy ain’t you a smart cookie.

            Two options to your inanity, ignore or spiral you until you are forced to engage, or ditch, I chose spiral, I would have equally been as happy to ignore but I had time to burn :). Finally you really did show JT didn’t you.

          • John Morales

            [meta]

            No it’s not pharyngula, I thought that was self evident, but now you can scupper back to it with a woof woof and sit for a cookie.

            Your imagination is quaintly amusing, but clearly my meaning was not evident to you.

            Two options to your inanity, ignore or spiral you until you are forced to engage, or ditch, I chose spiral, I would have equally been as happy to ignore but I had time to burn :) .

            Spiralling, indeed.

      • Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

        That JT wishes to hold the conversation while ignoring obvious aspects of it that need to be controlled for (such as the prevalence of disingenuous Social Justice 101-type questions) that have come up in every single iteration of the conversation.

        So write this instance of the conversation off as a loss, if you’re that convinced it won’t be productive.

        Also, that JT has exclusively gone after the marginalized and their defenders, ignoring everything that’s been said to him about microaggressions.

        I haven’t seen the evidence of this, though it’s possible given the “bitch” thing (I hope he learned from that one, at least) and you don’t get to claim the label of “defenders of the marginalized” exclusively for your particular approach – that puts all other claims of disingenuousness to shame.

        You, too, would do well to learn how social justice works before talking about it =/

        Resistance to allowing one group’s attempt to have their viewpoints and priorities to dominate every single conversation is inconsistent with social justice?

        • http://lordsetar.wordpress.com Setár, self-appointed Elf-Sheriff of the Pharyngula Star Chamber

          So write this instance of the conversation off as a loss, if you’re that convinced it won’t be productive.

          Where did I say that?

          I haven’t seen the evidence of this,

          So why are you commenting on an issue that you obviously haven’t been paying attention to, then?

          Or did you not notice his failure to ban any of the people who were “just asking questions”?

          though it’s possible given the “bitch” thing (I hope he learned from that one, at least)

          Uh, what?

          and you don’t get to claim the label of “defenders of the marginalized” exclusively for your particular approach

          Where did I do that? Don’t waste your time — I didn’t. I know you may not particularly like Pharyngula, Azkyroth, but that doesn’t give you permission to strawman people who proudly hail from there.

          Resistance to allowing one group’s attempt to have their viewpoints and priorities to dominate every single conversation

          Where?

          • Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven
            and you don’t get to claim the label of “defenders of the marginalized” exclusively for your particular approach

            Where did I do that?

            ….by explicitly contrasting “the defenders of the marginalized” with anyone who disagreed with you?

            I mean, duh?

  • Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

    Heres a clue JT, if you are getting this much push back from the people you claim to be helping, yer doin it wrong.

    Pot, meet kettle.

    And again, this one particular clique of mainly people from Pharyngula doesn’t speak for everyone who’s in a marginalized group.

    • Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

      Damnit, that was supposed to thread to Skeptifem’s post near the top. >.>

    • http://lordsetar.wordpress.com Setár, self-appointed Elf-Sheriff of the Pharyngula Star Chamber

      Yes, because being from Pharyngula makes us wrong.

      Come on, Azkyroth, drop the cheap strawmen and well poisoning already…=/

      • Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

        Where did I say people were wrong because they were from Pharyngula?

        The point is that I recognize most of the handful of people who feel entitled to control the discussion here and I’m aware they already have spaces they control.

        • John Morales

          The point is that I recognize most of the handful of people who feel entitled to control the discussion here and I’m aware they already have spaces they control.

          Your attribution of motive is phrased as a factual no less than your claim of space control.

          To what spaces do you refer as being controlled by a handful of people, and what form does this control take?

    • http://www.facebook.com/jennifer.forester Jennifer, Uppity Bitch and General Malcontent

      Let me give you a hint: I am a regular Pharyngula reader, but a never-commenter. I did not hail from Pharyngula until this. JT’s douchery is part of what made it look so appealing to comment there, where people actually give a shit about marginalized people. Not everyone who pushed back is from Pharyngula, but a lot of people went there after this.

      Seriously. Check the comment logs there if you want evidence and if you hate Pharyngula so goddamn much.

  • John Morales

    [semi-OT]

    Re:

    I thought I was being clever by buying the plane ticket to Kansas ages before writing the post on the new comment policy (you know, the one that says you’ll need to provide an argument along with your insults, which Coyote must’ve read).

    Speaking of which, it is now quite some internet time since you closed comments there with this explanation:
    Comments closed for the time being.
    I’ve closed comments on this post.  I’ve not been reading them the last couple days because vacation is awesome.  A couple people who I trust have suggested I close the thread so those jockeying for a ban so they can have something else to gripe about can stop feeding off each other and then reopen it, and it seems like good advice.
    For those who have contributed in good faith, thanks.  I’m hoping to learn something from your comments.”

    (I guess patient waiting is the order of the day for the time being, and thus my impatience is poor form)

    • John Morales

      Comments closed for the time being.

      Such credibility JT has!


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