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April 06, 2015

Comments

I'm sure that the question of how FF vs MM porn is received has been studied extensively, at the Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, but they keep a pretty low profile.

BTW, it only occurred to me later how my blindness to the possibility of stalking was an example of privilege. Baby steps.

I just went back and read the entire set of threads that the guy lj was referring to posted on.

That was not anything I intended or would ever wish on anyone. Sorry about that.

the issue with the guy that was harassing lindsay wasn't that he was sexist, it was that he was deliberately and consistently rude, to the point of being threatening.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that we boot folks who are sexist, or who have more than a minimum amount of permitted sexism, or who display more than a prescribed amount of sexism. If I can make a metaphor like Brett, it's like the FDA permitting a small amount of rodent hairs or insect parts in your peanut butter, but not the whole mouse or bug. To stretch the metaphor even further, if we could tolerate a higher level of insect parts, it would probably be good, because we wouldn't have to use nuclear pesticides. Unfortunately, some folks argue that if there a grasshopper part in the 50 pound sack, that means that there must be a swarm of locusts lurking somewhere in the warehouse.

What prompts this is thinking about the commenting culture that CT has. I enjoy reading all of them, and when Belle goes on a tear (like when Belle queried Brett and he did his level best to ignore what she asked), I can't imagine that I would do it even half as well as she does. But if that is what it takes to deal with the commentariat, I wonder how many voices are not there because they can't muster the same level of righteous anger. They try to deal with it a bit by compartmentalizing the blog writing, so apparently Brett has not been kicked off the site, but has been kicked off of any threads written by Henry, so he can take solace in that.

again, sorry about the meta comments about comments, just with Areala coming and saying that she felt she wasn't the equal of the folks commenting (and then proving that premise completely wrong) has me thinking about that.

Seriously, lj: no worries.

I actually kind of enjoy revisiting old stuff like that, even when it's cringeworthy. If my own personal history cannot serve as a lesson to me, then it's worthless.

That bit of history also contained what I had imagined was the argument that had Jesurgislac pack up and eave forever. But that turned out not to be the case.

Sometimes I wish we had Jesurgislac back. I would basically have to ignore her for that to happen, I think.

Completely unrelated: I happen to be, right now, within 2 miles of Megacon, and worked within 1 mile of Megacon, and I can't go. Or won't, because I don't have enough time to spend there to warrant the entry fee.

So, feel my pain.

I still think Brett should be banned here for, calling Arabs and Persians "murderous savages".

His narcissism probably will not permit him to apologise and I don't see how people can just move on as if nothing has happened.

Brett is barely skirting the edge of the posting rules.

It's a quandary, I think: he can be proud to be banned yet another place, but then again he'd be banned by a fellow conservative. And what kind of trophy would that be, I wonders?

Oh yes, I wonders.

I am, by the way, just as inclined to ban him as anyone else here. Not because I disagree with his fundamental perspective, but because he makes really bad arguments. Worse than me, as of a decade ago, is how bad.

We're talking about countries that execute you for changing your religion, punish women for being raped, and so forth. If that doesn't qualify them to be called murderous savages, what would? Forgetting to extend their pinkie when holding a tea cup?

I refuse to be mindlessly nonjudgemental.

Oddly enough, I'm not at all inclined to ban Brett. He is what he is.

For every ten really bad, [email protected], torn from the pages of Breitbart, paranoid boilerplate wingnut screeds he comes out with, he makes at least one really interesting, thought-provoking point.

Why do so many things have to be done in the corporate form? That is one that I'm still chewing on, lo these many months later.

So, there's that. Batting .100 would probably get you bounced out of the big leagues, but we're a modest establishment here at ObWi. One out of ten ain't bad.

It would be really good, if only out of respect for novakant, someone who's been in this neighborhood probably as long as Brett has, for Brett to walk back the "murderous savages" remark.

Because it's nothing more or less than contemptible racist crap.

Over to you, Brett.

What prompts this is thinking about the commenting culture that CT has.

To be honest, I think CT is a great blog, I try to read it every now and then, but I always walk away feeling like it's just too clubby, in the good old posh English sense, for me.

The conversation there seems to assume a frame of reference that just isn't on my radar.

with Areala coming and saying that she felt she wasn't the equal of the folks commenting (and then proving that premise completely wrong) has me thinking about that.

RIght?

I am, straight up, delighted to see Areala chiming in a number of times since her first comment.

I hope she keeps it coming, and I hope there are 100 other lurkers hanging out who feel inspired or compelled to jump in also.

We really are just folks here.

Mindlessly judgmental is fine, though.

The majority of Americans supported the CIA's interrogation program according to a recent Washington Post poll, so we are murderous savages too, I guess. My favorite political essay is Orwell's "Notes on Nationalsim"--it's about how ideoluges of all stripes secular and religious, left and right, all have this amazing capacity for moral outrage regarding the crimes of their favorite demon figures, but they can switch it off in an instant when the crimes are committed by people they support. Or voted for.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that we boot folks who are sexist, or who have more than a minimum amount of permitted sexism, or who display more than a prescribed amount of sexism.

Yeah, I'm not hearing any suggestion like that from you.

That was kind of my point. I think ObWi is not particularly politically correct in the sense of excluding people who display any glimmer of any kind of ism.

In general, you have to be really freaking abusive to get booted out of here.

If you harass people with comments about what a pretty mouth they have while sporting a nom de blog that identifies you as a rapist in a dead language, we're probably gonna kick your ass out.

If you're just some normal level of blockhead, you're probably good to go.

Just ask me.

If that doesn't qualify them to be called murderous savages, what would?

Comments like this put me in mind of Mao's comment to Nixon about it being legal to beat your wife in Texas, as long as the stick wasn't bigger around then your thumb.

Self-awareness. So valuable, yet so out of reach, for so many.

Nationalism, not Nationalsim. And there are other spelling mistakes there too. I think my IPad is ignoring those,waiting for an opportunity to turn a perfectly legitimate word into the capital of some Balkan country like it did a few weeks ago.

There is a middle ground between "mindlessly nonjudgmental" and "mindlessly judgmental" though. Think of it as being "selectively judgmental".

Give the benefit of the doubt until are presented with evidence to the contrary, and then don't use that evidence to do more than evaluate what it's related to. In other words, it's fine to label a group of people who deliberately set fire to a house as "arsonists" but completely ridiculous to lump everyone in their racial, ethnic, religious, or even clothing style groups as "arsonists."

So by all means, I agree with you that those who enforce Sharia law, those who believe honor killings are not only right but necessary, and those who would deliberately harm another human being based on the victim's religious views or gender identity are perfectly deserving of the label of "savages".

But one of my dearest friends is Iranian. She's (at the very least) a non-practicing Muslim if she hasn't completely abandoned the religion. She certainly doesn't agree with the idea of killing people for apostasy, would never support a call to punish a woman who was raped, and doesn't believe public flogging accomplishes anything resembling justice. She's about as far from a savage as you can get, but your broad brush strokes paint her as one simply based on her ethnicity and nothing more.

That's what novakant seems to be objecting to, and it's what I would object to as well if this is truly your viewpoint, Brett. I don't think it is (I HOPE it isn't), and I hope you'll pop in here and say I read you correctly. :)

That stick-bigger-than-your-thumb thing is a myth, just to be clear.

Google it, and let me know if you disagree.

Brett reminds me of some of my white southern friends back in the day who evidently felt vindicated in their racism by the atrocities committed in sub Saharan Africa by people like Idi Amin.

I like CT a lot in part because they don't focus at all on what the Democrats are doing--it's dominated by a non US centric viewpoint.

But there is a sort of clubbiness there, or smugness, or something. I'm really surprised to find myself sympathizing with Brett, but I didn't like how they handled him in that thread.

That stick-bigger-than-your-thumb thing is a myth, just to be clear.

As a specific point of fact, that may well be so.

The general point about self-awareness is one I'm happy to stand behind.

I actually would point to Mao's disappointment in Nixon for taking all that crap from his critic and detractors that he, Mao, would not have dreamed of taking.

Not without a lot of bodies hitting the floor, anyway.

Mao and Nixon formed some kind of bond together. An understanding between assholes, if you will.

The problem with Brett's comment isn't just that he labelled an entire region as savage, but that he will only focus on the crimes of one group and not others. Western nations can be savage. If he wants to condemn specific people or groups for their actions, fine, but be consistent and don't be too sweeping and remember what Jesus said about motes and beams, a useful bit of advice whether one is a Christian or not.

I sometimes read or glance at Human Rights Watch reports or those of the Israeli group B'Tselem. They are unflinchingly honest or try to be in describing who has done what to whom, but somehow they manage to do this without falling into the sort of language Brett uses for just some groups. Funny how the people who know the most about these things avoid racist and stupid generalization

That's an excellent point, Donald.

Are ME Muslim women murderous savages? Are the homosexuals murderous savages?

Maybe some thought applied to how one categorizes people who are behaving badly is in order.

That, or mindless judgmentalism.

Areala makes an excellent point, I think. If Brett (or anybody else) wants to label as savages those who are implementing (or pushing to implement) the nasty parts of sharia law, I doubt any of us would argue. I certainly would not.

But to apply the label entire nations or ethnic groups is excessive. Certainly both Iran and the Arab world have a lot of people who oppose that kind of thing. And it is part of the essence of bigotry to attach the nasty characteristics of some to every member of some group that they belong to.

But there is a sort of clubbiness there, or smugness, or something.

I used the phrase echo-chamber upthread, but this (and russell's "missing frame of reference") really does a better (indeed, near-perfect) job capturing what's always left me ill at ease with CT. Nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

"An understanding between assholes, if you will."

for the record - Mao: not my favorite guy.

my point there is limited to the concept of self-awareness.

point taken, and accepted ;)

I am sometimes slow on the uptake. It may take a few iterations, but eventually I just may see it.

I am compelled to post this someplace, but am afraid of offending Patrick and Teresa. Also the original thread at Making Light has almost certainly had it.

When I knew what SP was up to, or what I thought they were up to, which was to post 5 suggestions and have their followers vote for the one they liked/the one they thought could get crossover(these are Republican sympathizers. Who was I kidding?) I posted at Lawyers, Guns, & Money (somewhere) that I agreed that the Hugos were broken, but Sad Puppies was not the answer. The Hugo voters are such a small group and after you have been following them for a while you can predict some of the things they will like. I remember reading "Among Others" and saying "The voters will eat this up". I ate it up, and it got me to read "Trouble on Triton", for which I'm very grateful. but the people who vote for the Hugos have certainly read every book mentioned therein. This is the story of their lives even though the fantasy element was not the driving engine of the book. I am also on record at Whatever as dying laughing for the first 50 pages of Redshirts. But I ended up telling my husband that this could not win because the Hugos could not give their honor just to making fun of Star Trek. It was an admission that SF was dying. Unfortunately, "2312" was the only real competition. The Hugos also represent that an author has reached a certain level of broad popularity. Bujold can get a nomination automatically. So at least could Seanan McGuire and Charles Stross, and I suppose Rachel Swirsky could get one, since she has been getting them with some regularity. Scalzi cannot always get one, but I firmly expected "Locked In" to since it had actual artistic ambition. When Brandon Sanderson won two years ago, it was a triumph for him because fans with evidently no particular love for WoT had seen what he could do on his own. I am also bewildered that that particular story was Angsty Message Fic. The idea that Abi came up with--to nominate someone who has never won--would do a huge amount to fix this particular brokenness. You don't need a conspiracy if each author has 200 or fewer fans who are clued in and will vote for them.
Ursula K. Le Guin once wrote that subjecting women to rape, torture, and murder debased stories otherwise inventive and imaginative. Over the years I have used that as a secondary criterion. What SP has done this year is make it very difficult to see if a story is inventive or imaginative because you are first looking to see what side it is on. (Last year I admitted that Correia's magic system had potential. But the story was terrible.) This is less than productive if you want an award that is fair. It will incentivize authors to write things that the SPs/anti-SPs will like to get an award.

I will be paying my $40 shortly.

I think what I was trying to say which would have offended Patrick and Teresa is that when the Hugo voters get the opportunity to celebrate themselves, they take it, whether the book was the best of the year or not.

Looking at American Kristians(TM), I can only say 'pot, kettle, black; glasshouse, rocks, throw'.

Let's see how far the California ballot initiative gets to execute anyone having gay or anal sex and to imprison for life 'propagandists' for the same. And who has already forgotten the Uganda 'kill the gays' bill pushed by USians and applauded by the usual suspects who want the same in the US? Then there are those Kristian(TM) groups that would, if we believe their rhetorics, kill about 90% of the US population for being the wrong kind of Christian (i.e. not Kristian(TM)) right after nuking the rest of the world preemptively. the difference between them and murdererous ME regimes and/or ISIS is that they lack the means and have to limit themselves to beat the occasional gay person to death, torch what they believe to be a mosque from time to time and to support murderous non-Muslim regimes abroad.
We are talking about a matter of degree of murderousness not the quality.
And btw, I have my doubts about the sincerity of at least the leadership of most murderous regimes of whatever label (religious or secular). The true believers are imo a rarity, the others are simply corrupt, power-hungry sadists that would take any ideology that allows them to do what they do and ignore it in their own private lifes (cf. rampant sexual abuse of boys among Taliban leaders, cf. televangelists caught with boys on a regular base).

I could also easily quote high Vatican officials from the 1980ies and Catholic cardinals and arch-bishops even more recent that express similar sentiments (regretting the loss of the burning at the stake option for women having an abortion etc.). It's not just some lone-wolf loonies in the US.

"It would be really good, if only out of respect for novakant, someone who's been in this neighborhood probably as long as Brett has, for Brett to walk back the "murderous savages" remark.

Because it's nothing more or less than contemptible racist crap.

Over to you, Brett."

I think you know my answer, which would be that neither religion nor nationality are "race", and that if you wanted to call me a "bigot" rather than a "racist", I'd dispute it, but you'd at least not be misusing the language so badly.

Now to dispute it. Here's the actual remark:

"This is like somebody complaining that England is getting too much influence with the US government, circa 1941. In the Middle east you've got a choice between Israel, and a bunch of murderous savages who happen to live on top of oil.

Some people hate the fact that Israel keeps reminding us that their neighbors are murderous savages, by not conveniently being destroyed. Wish they'd just go away. Of course, if they did go away, that would just free the savages up to attack more distant targets."

If I'm talking of "Israel", and Israel's neighbors, I'm clearly talking at a high level of generality, nation-states, societies, maybe as low on the scale as organizations. NOT on an individual level.

Clearly in Israel, in Gaza, in any of these nations, there are people who support what their governments are doing, and people who oppose what their governments are doing. (Outside Israel, such people are rather heroic, risking their lives by expressing their dissent.)

But that's not the level of generality I was speaking at, I try not to mix levels of generality in a given sentence, so if I speak of Israel and it's neighbors, the neighbors are not individuals.

So, I'm not a bigot, either.

Hartmut, I believe that even most fundamentalist Christians in the US would utterly reject the ideas of the nut cases you describe.** While being utterly unable to see that the same is true of most Muslims worldwide and their fundamentalists. Even though both sets of fundamentalists have remarkably similar views on most of the issues which define the Culture Wars in the US.

As with most of us, getting a grip on how others see the world is difficult. How much more so if you have been taught that your way of seeing the world is the only correct way, and that other ways are, at best, massively ignorant? And that those who persist in maintaining their different views after they have been exposed to the correct views are doing the devil's work.

** There is severe doubt that the petition you refer to will even manage to collect the (relatively tiny) number of signatures needed to make it onto the ballot. Even if the Secretary of State fails in her effort to get it banned as unconstitutional.

mr. bellmore, given that since 2000 133 israeli children have been killed by palestinians while 2,060 palestinian children have been killed by israelis, who exactly are the "muderous savages?"

since 2000 1,195 israelis have been killed by palestinians while 9,128 palestinians have been killed by israelis. even accepting the context of your original remark your continuing enthusiasm for labeling israel's neighbors as the murderous savages shows enormous bias, and while you may claim that this bias has no religious or ethnic component the facts on the ground make that claim seem like mendacity at worst and self-delusion at best.

Ok, let's pretend that those numbers are actually reliable, and that the Palestinian territories have something vaguely resembling press freedom, so that reporters there wouldn't risk their lives calling BS on them.

It seems to me that the simplest way for the Palestinians to improve that ratio, would be to stop launching rockets towards Israel from school yards. Just saying...

enthusiasm for collective punishment doesn't seem like a very libertarian trait.

It's not collective punishment. It's refusal to heed the human shields.

I tend to lay such deaths at the feet of the opponents. It's at least partially consistent with our domestic laws: if you commit an armed assault, and the police wind up exchanging gunfire with you with attendant fatalities, then you have committed murder.

If I'm talking of "Israel", and Israel's neighbors, I'm clearly talking at a high level of generality, nation-states, societies, maybe as low on the scale as organizations. NOT on an individual level.

First, your point as regards race not being religion or nationality is noted.

Thanks for the clarification regarding who the murderous savages are.

If we're talking about nation-states, it's hard to know who doesn't qualify as "murderous savages". Certainly if we're considering any kind of historical time frame.

But yes, nation states are not synonymous with the people who live in them. IMO it's not hard to understand why that distinction might have been lost on navarro, and possibly others, but it exists nonetheless.

It's not collective punishment. It's refusal to heed the human shields.

where "human shields" = unwilling children who have failed to convince the armed men to please take their weapons somewhere else. and so they deserve to die.

"It's not collective punishment. It's refusal to heed the human shields."

Exactly. I'm not even sure of the extent to which it's that; As I say, it isn't as though there's press freedom in the Palestinian territories. I don't see why we should trust numbers coming out of there, when nobody can safely check or dispute them.

Deserve to die? Who said that?

"If we're talking about nation-states, it's hard to know who doesn't qualify as "murderous savages""

Fair enough, which is why I'm so hostile to government. Even the best of governments are pretty nasty by normal standards.

"where "human shields" = unwilling children who have failed to convince the armed men to please take their weapons somewhere else. and so they deserve to die."

Where the armed men deliberately set up next to the children, because children getting caught in the return fire is useful for propaganda purposes. Is Israel supposed to let the Palestinians attack them without response, just because they use innocent shields? Place more value on Palestinian innocents than the Israeli innocents those rockets target?

How much worse would the attacks on Israel be, if setting up a rocket launcher in a school yard meant it could continue to operate without worry of response?

innocent children, dead.

QED

There are innocent children in Israel, too. They get rockets launched towards them, without even the excuse of Israel using elementary schools to shield military facilities.

You're just setting up a dynamic where using innocent shields works, and putting more blame on the people who don't let that tactic prevent them from defending themselves, than the people who are using the innocent shields.

It's a double standard, I would say.

I am not arguing to justify what Israel is doing. I am simply laying the blame for the results where I believe it belongs: with the people who set up the battle the way they did.

It'd be cool if everyone would just stop, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Yeah, it's just terrible how Hamas launches missile strikes against Israeli kids playing soccer on a beach.

If only those evil soccer balls didn't use kids as human shields.

Hey, I know!

Let's use sarcasm as a means of persuasion, instead of real arguments.

That would totally work!

I'm out of here for now.

I think I've made my position very clear, or as clear as I am capable of. Swapping sarcastic comments with people isn't going to help anything. If that kind of fencing is anyone's idea of fun, I don't want to play.

Even the best of governments are pretty nasty by normal standards.

Yes, if by "normal standards" you mean the standards that apply to people dealing with each other, face to face, as individuals.

Unfortunately, as somebody once noticed, humans are social and political animals, and we seem to be prone to the government thing.

Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em, apparently.

There are human rights groups in Gaza that criticize Hamas, actually, and Brett's skepticism about the numbers is just a convenient dodge. There are people who go into Gaza--it's not remotely like trying to check out reports of civilian casualties in ISIS controlled territory.

Brett isn't serious and it is a waste of time trying to convince him that Israel might be morally guilty of anything, but Slarti, if you want to read serious accounts of the crimes and actions of both sides you could go to the B'Tselem website or Human Rights Watch and browse a bit. They aren't flaming website commenters (like me sometimes) trying to score points--they understand the laws of war, the obligations of all sides and they find plenty to criticize on both sides, in Gaza last summer and before. Hilzoy is not the only person in the world who can write fairly about the crimes of both sides in a conflict. I think there are a fair number of people like her who work in human rights groups.

One of the aspects of the coverage in the US Is how everyone who knows anything about the conflict knows about the rockets, but few seem to know that Israel regularly shoots at Gazan fishermen, for instance, sometimes killing them. If Palestinians regularly shot at Israeli fishermen then that would be common knowledge. And Brett wouldn't have to be told more than once about this before he would start to use it in his careful analysis of who is good and who is evil.

mr. bellmore's first implies that the numbers are not to be trusted and then goes on to suggest that, even if the numbers were to be trusted, that the israeli killing of palestinian children is mostly, if not completely, the result of palestinians using the children as human shields and he uses all of this maneuvering so that he can continue to assign a group of people to the category of "murderous savages" without any thought as to the possible savagery of the other side in the conflict. he also fails to acknowledge the overall disparity in total civilian deaths which i might attribute to the disparity in military aid from the united states (currently running about $8.5 million/day to israel and $0/day to the palestinians) and to the fact that the palestinians are prevented from creating their own defense infrastructure by the israelis.

On the "human shields" issue, Israel uses them--their soldiers sometimes use Palestinian civilians as shields.

Here is HRW's end of the year summary of 2014 in Israel-Palestine. Note the info gathered by a Palestinian human rights group on Hamas abuses against Palestinians. I don't think these Palestinian groups criticize Palestinian violence against Israelis (or anyway I haven't seen it), but it is false to talk, as Brett does, as though it is impossible to criticize Hamas inside Gaza. Hamas is repulsive, rather like Likud, but it isn't ISIS.

http://m.hrw.org/world-report/2015/country-chapters/israel-and-palestine

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