Open Thread and Link Farm: Just Wash Your Hands Edition

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  1. Daughters Will Suffer From Medicaid Cuts – The New York Times
    “The burden [of elder parent care] is particularly demanding for daughters, who spend as much time on such care as spouses of older adults, and as much time as sons, in-laws, grandchildren and other relatives combined.” (Indirect link.) Thanks Grace!
  2. Why Are So Many Young Voters Falling for Old Socialists? – The New York Times
    “Britain and the United States used to have parties that at least pledged allegiance to workers. Since the 1970s, and accelerating in the ’80s and ’90s, the left-wing planks have one by one been ripped from their platforms.” Again, hat tip to Grace. (Indirect link.)
  3. For Foster Teens Seeking Abortion, Going to Court May Be the Only Option – Rewire
    Grace says: ” Remember my post on restricting access to abortion, a few years ago? I missed a spot.”
  4. This 2016 HuffPost article, “North Korea Proves Your White Male Privilege Is Not Universal,” was disgusting when it was published over a year ago; it seems even worse now that Otto Warmbier has died.
  5. Mathematician turns Juno images into stunning Jupiter flyby video: Digital Photography Review
  6. News media do under-report some terror attacks – just not those involving Islamist extremists | The Independent
  7. Lawmakers across the US are finding ways to turn protesting into a crime – Vox
    So much for conservatives’ commitment to free speech.
  8. How G.O.P. Leaders Came to View Climate Change as Fake Science – The New York Times
    At this point, very few GOP leaders would dare speak out in favor of climate science. It really makes me despair. The Times article blames Obama for using executive powers to address climate change, but what other approach was possible?  And it exaggerates how willing to accept science the GOP was during McCain’s run, although it certainly was better than it is now. (Indirect link.)
  9. NEW YORK 1911 | MoMA
    Amazingly clear film footage of NYC in 1911. Mostly just street scenes, almost entirely of white men, but still fascinating to me. I forget how universal hats once were.
  10. Don’t just blame Trump for quitting the Paris deal — blame the Republican Party – Vox
    Trump isn’t an outlier on this one; his ignorance and his denial of science lies firmly in the mainstream of his party.
  11. The Myth of the Kindly General Lee – The Atlantic
  12. Far right raises £50,000 to target boats on refugee rescue missions in Med | World news | The Guardian
    “Far-right activists are planning a sea campaign this summer to disrupt vessels saving refugees in the Mediterranean, after successfully intercepting a rescue mission last month.” Perhaps not legally, but morally this is basically murder.
  13. On Harvard and Humor – In A Crowded Theater
    A blog post (which I mostly agree with) criticizing Harvard’s decision to rescind acceptances of students who had a private online conversation where they exchanged offensive memes. There’s also a follow-up post in which she addresses some criticisms of the first post.
  14. Body-cam study: Oakland police spoke less respectfully to black people – San Francisco Chronicle
  15. Amazon Patents Method to Prevent In-store Comparison Shopping
  16. Obama / Trump / Caesar – Rob Melrose – Medium
    Essay from the director of the Obama Caesar about the current controversy with the Trump Caesar. Apparently the controversy was started by a Brietbart writer who hadn’t actually seen the play and who thinks it ends with the death of Caesar.
  17. Nevada’s legislature just passed a radical plan to let anybody sign up for Medicaid – Vox
    Calling it a “plan” is a bit of an exaggeration – essential details are lacking. But still, this is potentially very exciting. UPDATE: Nevada governor Sandoval vetoes Medicaid-for-all plan. That’s too bad, but I won’t be surprised if this comes up again.
  18. How Many People Are Wrongly Convicted? Researchers Do the Math. – Phenomena: Only Human
    They estimate that about 4% (!) of prisoners on death row are innocent.
  19. Eager To Burst His Own Bubble, A Techie Made Apps To Randomize His Life : All Tech Considered : NPR
    I saw someone on Twitter criticize this person for being privileged, to be able to assume that he could go to any public event (including parties thrown by people he’d never met) and be welcomed. If so, I think it’s one of those privileges that we should want all kinds of people to have, not a privilege that we should want wealthy white men to stop having.
  20. 3 ways Senate Republicans can pass Obamacare repeal – Vox
  21. Silver lining watch: Republicans are about to make Medicare-for-all much more likely – Vox
    “If Republicans strike down Obamacare, the ‘Medicare for all’ movement will become more powerful than they can imagine.”
  22. The real reason Republicans can’t answer simple questions about their health care bill – Vox
    Because the bill itself – which is cuts health care for millions of people and uses the savings for a tax cut for the rich – is too odious for them to risk talking honestly about it.
  23. Maria Tiurina: My Giant Watercolor “Eden”
    Inspired by Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights.”

Maria Tiurina eden

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100 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm: Just Wash Your Hands Edition

  1. 1
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Re terrorism coverage, from the paper:

    The Boston Marathon bombing accounts for nearly 20% of the media coverage on terrorism during this time period. Hyper-salient events like this drive media coverage. When people think about terrorism, this is the kind of event that comes to mind.

    Yes. Much of the paper’s ‘conclusions’ could probably be explained by this simple acknowledgement.

    First, they define terrorism differently than how the majority of the population seems to define terrorism; then, they apply that definition to the papers who serve that majority; then they conclude the papers are biased. A simpler explanation might be that the papers just take a different view about what terrorism is.

    Then:

    Yet, so much is missed. Based on fatalities, there are a few attacks in the dataset that received less coverage than we would expect. Wade Michael Page’s attack on the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin killed 6 people and it only received 3.81% of the total coverage. Frazier Glenn Miller’s attack on a synagogue in Kansas killed 3 people and it only received 3.27% of the coverage. Dylann Roof killed 9 people in an African-American church in Charleston and received 7.42% of the coverage. These attacks have three things in common: the perpetrator was a white man and the targets were both religious and minority groups. These instances highlight disparity in media coverage of terrorism.

    As usual, these studies depend on a whole lot of classifications done by people with a whole lot of agendas. But this section from the paper basically sums it up: They think that the Boston Marathon bombing improperly received more coverage, and they imply that it primarily stems from the fact that the Boston perps were Muslim. All of those other differentiating factors (bombs; hundreds injured; complex planning; bombing literally in the middle of an enormous televised event with hundreds of thousands of spectators, TV viewers, and participants) are, apparently, secondary to the “Muslim perps” issue. How is this credible?

  2. 2
    nobody.really says:

    Education level was a strong predictor of voting behavior in the last election. We’ve focused a lot of attention on white working-class voter without a college degree. But what about the other extreme?

    In 15 congressional districts at least half of voters have college degrees. If you’d guess that these districts lean Democratic, you’d mostly be right. For example, the D’s outvoted the R’s in San Francisco by 81%, which seems pretty high—until you consider three districts in which Republicans didn’t even bother to run.

    But there are two exceptions to this pattern—and, by the end of the day, perhaps only one!

  3. 3
    RonF says:

    Re: #13 – I see that punishment of wrongthink by academia is expanding once again. It’s easier when the initial target is something as universally condemned as child abuse. Once people get used to that, they can go after other things.

    The B.S.A. now requires Scouts to earn a “Cybersafe” badge before advancing to certain ranks. Basically it’s a course on how to avoid a$$holes and child molesters online and how to keep from ruining your life by doing something stupid on the Internet. Guess who gets to teach that for our Troop? I add some of the things I’ve learned in 30+ years in IT and using the Internet. One thing that I think the B.S.A. does not stress enough is that nothing ever disappears from the Internet, regardless of what the purveyors of a given app will tell you. There’s always a backup tape that could get accidentally restored or a cache that’s been saved and available somewhere.

    If I was thinking of applying to an Ivy League school – or pretty much any school these days – I’d be real reticent to express a conservative thought online. There has been a debate in MIT’s Admissions office regarding whether or not they (or their Educational Counselors, among whom I am numbered) should look up an applicant’s Facebook page. The expressed policy that I last heard was that they would not forbid it but recommended against it. While I’ve never done it, I felt free to do so. Now I’m having 2nd thoughts. I would not want my opinions to be biased based on a prospective applicant’s politics. But I don’t doubt that there are plenty of admissions officers at Harvard, Yale, etc. who would actively select incoming students based on such.

  4. 4
    Ben Lehman says:

    4% false conviction rate sounds about right, given that “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard seems to be aiming for ~95% certainty (unlike “preponderance of the evidence, which is explicitly 50/50, no one is mathematically specific about “reasonable doubt,” but that seems to be where the line gets drawn.)

    I think that this is much too high. I’d much rather our conviction standard was 99%. But 4% seems in line with what I’ve seen in standard American legal practice.

  5. 5
    RonF says:

    It’s that 4% that keeps me from approving the death penalty. Surely there are some cases where it would be easy to say “She deserves death.” But how do you draw the line to avoid that 4%?

  6. 6
    RonF says:

    I’m amazed that there’s only 15 out of 435 Congressional districts where 50% or more of adults have college degrees.

  7. 7
    LTL FTC says:

    At Princeton, they don’t just want diverse students, they want diverse students who specifically play up their identities. And we’re somehow surprised when elite campus culture looks like it does.

  8. 8
    Ben Lehman says:

    RonF–

    Do you consider the viewpoints expressed by the Harvard prospies to be conservative? If so, how?

    (edited to remove superfluous quotation marks.)

  9. 9
    RonF says:

    I have no idea what their political views are. But this makes it clear that there are college university admissions officers who are looking at applicants’ Facebook posts even after they’ve been admitted. On that basis and given the current hostility on American campuses towards expressing conservative thought – to the point of outright violence – I would fear that this news would prompt anyone hoping to get into those schools to make sure that whatever an admissions officers might read would be politically correct.

  10. 10
    Ben Lehman says:

    Let me rephrase.

    Do you consider ‘mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust and the deaths of children, including calling the imagined hanging of a Mexican child “piñata time.”’ to be conservative thought?

    As an extra question do you consider those actions to “bring into question [the poster’s] honesty, maturity, or moral character?”

  11. 11
    Grace Annam says:

    Amp,

    I’m not sure why you believe #4 is “disgusting”. The author never condones North Korea’s actions. On the contrary, she says that she is “shocked”. She says that 15 years of hard labor in North Korea is “unimaginable”.

    Otto Warmbier’s death is a tragedy, and the authorities in North Korea are probably responsible for abusing him in custody and/or neglecting essential medical care. I don’t blame Warmbier for his own death. I don’t think La Sha (the author of the piece) would, either. But, of course, his death hadn’t happened when she wrote that piece. She was blaming him for committing a crime in circumstances which were very dangerous.

    And while I don’t blame his parents for pressuring the State Department to negotiate his release, I wonder where they were when their son was planning a trip to the DPRK. Didn’t they impress upon him the hostile climate that awaited him? Didn’t they rear him to respect law and order? Did they not teach him the importance of obeying authority?

    The three things she wonders if his parents taught to him are some of the things which many black parents call The Talk, where they try to prepare their children to step out the door in the United States, a country which is not a totalitarian regime by any stretch, but where, nevertheless, black people receive unequal treatment. She knows that someone like Warmbier didn’t have to have The Talk in the United States, but she marvels at the level of blindness which led people to not guide him, or which led him to disregard that guidance, when he entered the most totalitarian regime in the world.

    Why is this disgusting?

    Grace

  12. 12
    desipis says:

    Re #1: Daughters might spend the most time doing caring, but I wonder which gender contributes the most money.

    Re #13:
    Ben Lehman:

    As an extra question do you consider those actions to “bring into question [the poster’s] honesty, maturity, or moral character?”

    The posts demonstrate they have a dark and crude sense of humour, but demonstrates nothing about their honesty, maturity or moral character.

    Re #4:
    Grace:

    Why is this disgusting?

    1. Trying to score cheap political points (about “white privilege”) in response to someone else experiencing gross misfortune:

    On the Revocation of White Privilege in North Korea

    2. Trying to connect the mentality of mass murders to an act of youthful stupidity, simply because they share the same skin colour:

    When you can watch a white man who entered a theatre and killed a dozen people come out unscathed, you start to believe you’re invincible.

    3. Trying to pretend the disadvantages faced by black women in any way compare to the horror of being a political prisoner in the most brutal regime on the planet:

    I’m a black woman though. The hopeless fear Warmbier is now experiencing is my daily reality…

  13. 13
    Sebastian H says:

    La Sha seems to believe his confession, and works with the premise that he actually committed the “crime”. But she strangely doesn’t extend the empathy she might get from knowing that even in the US false confessions are extracted from prisoners. So there is no reason beyond stereotyping to invoke white privilege, frat boys, etc.

    It makes an interesting juxtaposition with the Harvard story–apparently dark humor mixed with stereotyping in a private forum is terrible, but using stereotypes about a physically tortured white man in North Korea to promote a completely unconnected political discussion in a very public forum is fine.

  14. 14
    AcademicLurker says:

    I have to go with 12 and 13. The article in 4 struck me as an impressively jerkish performance back when it was published, and nothing since then has caused me to change my mind.

  15. 15
    RonF says:

    Ben @ 10:

    Do you consider ‘mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust and the deaths of children, including calling the imagined hanging of a Mexican child “piñata time.”’ to be conservative thought?

    No. But I don’t see what that’s got to do with my point.

    As an extra question do you consider those actions to “bring into question [the poster’s] honesty, maturity, or moral character?”

    They certainly could, if that’s what they did. But, again, that’s not germane to my point.

  16. 17
    Ben Lehman says:

    Ron: Thanks for answering. Your initial response left it unclear if you thought this particular incident was an instance of prospies being punished for conservative thought or not, and I read it as implying that they were. Now I’m clear on your statement that you do not believe that their posts constitute conservative thought. (I agree.)

  17. 18
    Ampersand says:

    Hey, Grace, I started writing a response to you, but it just got longer and longer and longer, and long story short here’s a new post.

  18. 19
    Grace Annam says:

    Amp,

    Kinda the same thing happened as I responded to you. Briefly, I considered making it a post, but then I decided that would be silly. ;)

    Grace

  19. I am linking to this here, in an open thread apropos of Amp’s comment here about the Chicago Dyke March. The Electronic Intifada is obviously partisan in its own right, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong about what happened at the march.

    I don’t know that they are right or wrong; I just think it’s always important to have another perspective, especially when it comes to issues connected to Palestine and Israel and antisemitism and the left.

  20. 21
    Ampersand says:

    On another thread, Desipis wrote:

    The fact there are now university courses called “The Problem of Whiteness” shows how significant the anti-white attitude is within the left.

    Let’s look at the course description of “The Problem of Whiteness” at University of Wisconsin, which is a course that a lot of right-wing news sites were furious about back in December:

    Have you ever wondered what it really means to be white? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably “no.” But here is your chance! In Frantz Fanon’s famous Black Skin, White Masks (1952), his chapter “Look, a Negro!” interrogated the meaning and experience of coming to know oneself as Black under the constant scrutiny of the white gaze. It is an experience concomitant with W.E.B. Du Bois’s observation that under systemic racism, even well-meaning whites are constantly asking, in one way or another, “what is it like to be a problem?” But, Like Richard Wright’s quote above, philosopher George Yancy’s book, Look, a White! (2010), turns the question around, and rightly returns “the problem of whiteness” to white people. After all, since white supremacy was created by white people, is it not white folks who have the greatest responsibility to eradicate it? Our class begins here. We will come together with our socially ascribed identities of Black, white, mixed and other and, with the problem properly in its place we will ask ourselves and our allies, what are we going to do with it?

    Critical Whiteness Studies aims to understand how whiteness is socially constructed and experienced in order to help dismantle white supremacy. Our class will break away from the standard US-centric frame, and consider how whiteness is constructed globally, with particular attention to paradigmatic cases like South Africa. Whereas disciplines such as Latino/a, African, and Asian American studies focus on race as experienced by non-whites, whiteness studies considers how race is experienced by white people. It explores how they consciously and unconsciously perpetuate institutional racism and how this not only devastates communities of color but also perpetuates the oppression of most white folks along the lines of class and gender. In this class, we will ask what an ethical white identity entails, what it means to be #woke, and consider the journal Race Traitor’s motto, “treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity.”

    I don’t see any problem with this course being taught, Desipis. Yes, it has a political point of view, but it’s perfectly open about that in the course description, so it’s easy for students to avoid it on that basis if they want. And there’s no reason whiteness should not be studied.

    The problem I do see highlighted by this is how many conservatives and anti-SJWs – including, crucially, their elected leaders – are both anti-intellectual and anti-free speech.

  21. 22
    Sebastian H says:

    Richard, I’m not sure what you make of your link, but it seems highly problematic. They claim “Chicago Dyke March accuser A Wider Bridge has a record of fabrications”

    Their headline seems completely unsupported even if you only hear their side of the story. If you actually follow the link that says A Wider Bridge is “at the center of fabrications”, the closest they come is showing that another organization “Stand With Us” tweeted a story from the Times of Israel which was headlined “protestors obstruct Jewish prayer service at gay rights convention”. Allegedly they ‘partner’ with A Wider Bridge.

    Then we have the A Wider Bridge director saying “part way through the reception, a handful of anti-Israel protesters entered the room and later commandeered the stage, denying the leaders of [Jerusalem Open House] the opportunity to tell their powerful story to the more than 100 participants, Jews and non Jews, who had assembled inside.”

    The rebuttal is (and remember this is from someone at least as politically interested as the A Wider Bridge director) “There were four protesters that entered the reception room. Three of the young women occupied the stage. They were outnumbered by almost 100 reception attendees, most of whom were not conference participants. The protesters inside were vocal but not physical, and at one point they tried to leave the room but were prevented by hotel security.”

    That is practically the same description with very slightly different spin. You’ll note that the director did not say “during prayers” which allegedly is the deeply harmful lie.

    He also apparently said “many of the Jewish participants at the conference were truly shaken by the ferocity of the protest, especially the anti-Semitism that was on display in some parts – including the chant of ‘from the river to the sea, all of Palestine must be free.” This is not contradicted, but is rather called fanning the flames. A totally different group characterized it as “invaded by hateful protesters, who interrupted the event and threatened people gathered to hear gay rights activists from Jerusalem.” And a bunch of other totally different groups ran with it from their with various amounts of hyperbole.

    But that only counts as A Wider Bridge making false accusations of anti-Semitism if you impute a whole bunch of other people’s take on the event (some of them also attendees) to A Wider Bridge, in direct contradiction to what they are reported (by the electronicintifada so I’m presuming they already farmed for the worst quotes) to have actually said.

    You can impute what other Jews said to the protests against A Wider Bridge if you believe that all Jews are working together behind the scenes to spread lies, but that seems a bit anti-Semitic to me. So if this is all they have, frankly it looks anti-Semitic.

    Also, they seem to be using the label “Zionist” as if it is a showstopper. Now if Zionist means “Palestinians should be wiped from the face of the earth or held as vassals forever”, ok. But they seem to count anyone who thinks that a two state solution where Israel gets to continue to exists is a Zionist, which may be an accurate label, but one that might illicit a “so what?” if they were explicit about it. That kind of Zionist shouldn’t be expelled from a US Dyke march.

    Further they rely VERY heavily on the idea of ‘Pinkwashing’ which strikes me as setting up a racially charged catch-22. The original concept was to draw attention to the fact that some pink ribbon companies weren’t doing too much to support breast cancer treatments despite marketing themselves with the pink ribbon.

    The translation to gay rights issues gets ugly though. There it is used to suggest either that Israel only grants gay rights to make nearby countries look bad (solution, other countries could grant gay rights) or that Israel unfairly uses gay rights as propaganda against nearby countries to make them look bad (solution, other countries could grant gay rights!)

    But that still doesn’t get us to A Wider Bridge, because it is a separate LGBT boosterism group (a lot like say the Dyke March group). You only get to protesting them if ALL LGBT boosterism by people who happen to be Israelis is part of this ‘pinkwashing’ effort (which to be clear I’m not even convinced is a bad thing if it were done by the Israeli government–oh no, they are helping out gay rights which is bad because anything that makes the Israeli government look even remotely good is bad.) This is of course the EXACT argument people make to discredit Hezbollah-run social programs.

    So, I don’t see anything “there” yet which even remotely excuses the Dyke March actions. And they have now had quite a bit of time to come up with plausible sounding explanations, so I’m thinking they won’t be coming up with any.

  22. 23
    Mandolin says:

    The Israeli record on LGBTQ doesn’t erase it’s record with Palestine… the opposite is also true.

  23. 24
    Sebastian H says:

    Right, and that is my whole frustration with the progressive movement trying to mix everything together. It is perfectly plausible that there will be a range of opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian question. You don’t have a Pride Parade march that tries to exclude everyone who doesn’t believe in a one state, Palestinian majority solution. Those are TWO DIFFERENT ISSUES.

    Similarly I support much of what BLM does, but I don’t appreciate the push to make Pride all about BLM issues. There are still Pride issues to deal with, and banning proud gay cops is actively working against those. We can ally with each other on things we agree with and let us go our own way on things we don’t IF we are willing to let separate organizations be separate. If everything has to be everything, it is all going to fall apart.

  24. Sebastian, I’m on my phone and can’t read your whole comment comfortably. But to answer your first question, sort of: I think asking those people to leave because of a flag with a Star of David on it, for the reasons given, is antisemitic on its face. I also think, though, that it’s important to read both sides of a story like this, as there are people claiming that things happened very differently than it was described in the original reporting. Even the reporting of the events referred to in the link you summarize has been contested, by people who were there, not just Electronic Intifada. I’ve heard some of that personally. So I just think it’s important to read both sides.

  25. 26
    Sebastian H says:

    Sure. My critique of the electronic intifada report was wholly on its own terms. Without reading any rebuttal from others or anyone from the other side–the defects are glaring enough that it fails on its own–without any need to weigh each side’s respective credibility. The facts they present are not in line with the conclusion they give in the headline.

  26. 27
    Kate says:

    I’m moving discussion from the Otto Warmbier thread to here:
    Depsis @46 said:

    About 10 years ago things were at the stage of a few anecdotes. Over the last ten years the frequency and publicity of incidents has increased that trend has become much clearer

    .
    I’d agree that these incidents are probably more publicised now than they were in the past because of the internet and twitter, especially. But, I don’t think that they are more frequent IRL. Most of the complaints I see cited come from schools and universities. From my perspective, things don’t seem so different now from when I was at college almost thirty years ago. But, I have spent all that time in or closely adjacent to universities. Maybe it is more publicised now so people further removed see more?
    Do you have any actual data to support your contention that these incidents are more frequent, for example, statistics on students and/or faculty disciplined, expelled or fired for various offences over time? I’ve looked, but have been unable to find anything. Until we have that, we have only dueling impressions, which doesn’t amount to much.

  27. 28
    Kate says:

    Another from the Otto Warmbier thread
    Michael @47, you just listed a bunch of unsupported assertations and anecdotes. I don’t have the time or inclination to respond to them all.

    many leftists view supporters of Stalin and Mao as matyrs

    In the U.S., in the 21st century? I don’t buy it. Maybe among a few antifa radicals, but the heart of the American left is Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren supporters. And, this is my main point, Sanders and Warren aren’t plying footsie with those antifa radicals, who generally consider anyone associated with the Democratic party to be sell-outs. Trump and the Republicans do send out dog whistles and encouragement to the white supremacist right, which celebrated Trump’s victory.

    Jezebel reported TEENAGERS to their school administrators for saying racist things (edited to add hyperlink)

    I have no problem with this. These young people obviously need more guidance from their elders. All of the schools respected their student’s privacy, and did not reveal their disciplinary procedures (if any). But, if any of the schools handled the revelations badly, that’s on them, not Jezebel.
    And, then you linked to an article about a college professor who made a tweet mocking the white supremacist concept of “white genocide”. Seriously? It was a joke. Kind of offensive, maybe (?). But, if you read that article and come out more offended by that professor’s tweet than by the alt-right concept of white genocide, that’s f@$#d up.

  28. 29
    Michael says:

    @Kate#28- I agree that Trump and his people are FAR more dangerous than the Left, since they’re in power.
    Kate, we’re talking about stupid teenagers here- and Jezebel tried to get them in trouble with their schools for stuff they said outside of school.
    Now, let’s contrast this with George Ciccariello- Maher- this was one of a series of offensive tweets:
    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/04/18/documents-show-drexel-investigating-professors-tweets-its-unclear-whether-faculty
    He tweeted that we should do Ben Fields like Old Yeller.
    He tweeted “Off the Pigs”.
    He tweeted that seeing a passenger give up his seat for a soldier made him want to vomit.
    Oh, and contrary to your claim that leftists who praise Communists no longer exist, he did just that:
    https://www.mintpressnews.com/redneck-revolt-builds-anti-racist-anti-capitalist-movement-with-working-class-whites/229127/
    And no, I’m not more outraged by what he said than by the alt-right white genocide- I’m outraged that leftists like yourself think it’s OK to punish teenagers but not adults that have been repeatedly warned. (Personally I don’t think either one deserves punishment.)

  29. 30
    Kate says:

    Kate, we’re talking about stupid teenagers here- and Jezebel tried to get them in trouble with their schools for stuff they said outside of school.

    Yup. I have no problem with that. For me, the purpose of contacting the school is not for punishment, but to open up an educational opportunity. Public speech has consequences. Best they learn it now, when the consequences will probably be a call home to their parents and some sensitivity training, than ten years from now, when they could lose their job.

    Now, let’s contrast this with George Ciccariello- Maher- this was one of a series of offensive tweets:
    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/04/18/documents-show-drexel-investigating-professors-tweets-its-unclear-whether-faculty

    Yes, the new piece you link to (that was not the one I commented on earlier) establishes that this is a college professor who had made some really offensive tweets. But, again, without broader context, this is just an anecdote. How common is this? Is it really a serious problem if a dozen or so college professors go of the rails on Twitter each year?
    I’d never heard of redneck revolt. It seems quite new. Some of the rhetoric about armed defense and revolution on their website is worrying. But, again, this is all without context.

  30. 31
    Kate says:

    Here are some examples of contextualization. The Southern Poverty Law Center collected incidents of harassment in the ten days following Trump’s election. They fully acknowledge that theirs is only a partial picture:

    Of the 867 hate incidents collected by the SPLC, 23 were anti-Trump. In the days following the election, there were far fewer reports of anti-Trump harassment and intimidation than there were of the other types of harassment catalogued in this report; however, the small number of anti-Trump incidents may also reflect the fact that Trump supporters may have been unlikely to report incidents to the SPLC.

    Or this report from the AntiDefamation league chronicling 150 incidents of right-wing terrorism over the past twenty-five years Surely you can see how, in the context of these levels of harassment and violence, citing even a couple dozen incidents over an undefined timeframe is not meaningful. All systemic studies that I have been able to find indicate that these problems have been heavily tilted towards the right in the U.S. for at least the past twenty-five years. I’ve looked a bit more into the Redneck Revolt as well, because it is alarming. I found a report on left-wing militias in Mother Jones Magazine They provide brief descriptions of them and three other groups, with a link to a piece on the broader Antifa movement. So, again, we have the left policing itself, calling out the extremists on their own side. Note, that these groups exit in the context of 917 hate groups identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as operating in the United States. So, again, pointing to half a dozen groups is sort of meaningless in the big picture. Especially since the incidents that I could find mostly involve them battling with right wing protesters.
    This is important, because I think a large part of the reason the right won the last election is that they are energizing their own extremists and, when called on it, loudly change the subject to a relatively rare occurrence on the left. No group encompassing millions of people is ever going to be without a few people like this. The left does a pretty good job keeping our extremists under control. The right does not.

  31. 32
    desipis says:

    Kate:

    Until we have that, we have only dueling impressions, which doesn’t amount to much.

    That does seem to be where we’re at.

    Edit: Of course, given the strong political leanings within the social sciences, it’s unlikely we’ll see the topic studied with any serious effort anytime soon.

  32. 33
    desipis says:

    Ampersand:

    And there’s no reason whiteness should not be studied.

    Of course there’s no reason to not study “whiteness”, as in white people’s sense of a racial identity. Nor is there a reason to not study “white supremacy” or institutional racism. But to frame the racial identity of white people, even if it’s a modern construction, as a “problem” is rather repugnant.

    As is ascribing moral responsibility for the immoral actions of others, simply because of they share the same race. This is one of the ideological tropes of the left builds up racial divides by fostering contempt for white people on the basis of their race.

    Would you be OK with a course called “The Problem of Blackness” that frames blackness as cultural construct that causes poverty and crime? Or how about “The Problem of Islam”, that frames Islam as nothing more than an ideological framework that is used to justify terrorism? Or a course called “The Jewish Problem”?

  33. 34
    Michael says:

    #30-“Public speech has consequences. Best they learn it now, when the consequences will probably be a call home to their parents and some sensitivity training, than ten years from now, when they could lose their job.”
    Firstly, people should NOT have to lose their jobs because of something offensive they said on Twitter. But more importantly, leftists only play the “Public speech has consequences” card when it suits them. You have no problem with someone losing their job over a racist tweet. But would you say the same thing if a feminist called someone a virgin as an insult in a tweet and her boss lost his virginity late in life and fired her?

  34. Desipis:

    Would you be OK with a course called “The Problem of Blackness” that frames blackness as cultural construct that causes poverty and crime? Or how about “The Problem of Islam”, that frames Islam as nothing more than an ideological framework that is used to justify terrorism? Or a course called “The Jewish Problem”?

    Of course not, but those courses would be in the interests of a power structure that already oppresses/discriminates against Black people, Muslims, Jews. It would, in other words, just to take the “Black problem” example be an affirmation of white supremacy, which you have implicitly agreed is a thing; and if white supremacy is a thing, and if whiteness as a racial/social construct more or less originates in white supremacy—which it pretty much does—then what is wrong with saying there is such a thing as “the problem of whiteness.” Because anyone who is white and who has grown up within a white supremacist culture, and who believes white supremacy is wrong, will have to face the problem of how to understand/redefine/whatever word you choose their own racial whiteness in a way that does not perpetuate the supremacist ideology.

    It seems to me there is a difference between saying that white racial identity can me problematized in this way and saying, as I have read some people on the web saying, that whiteness is a “scam” or that whiteness is just “empty”—sorry I don’t have time right now to search for links—precisely because these latter definitions don’t allow for the kind of problematization that I just talked about.

  35. 36
    desipis says:

    Richard Jeffrey Newman:

    It would, in other words, just to take the “Black problem” example be an affirmation of white supremacy

    If recognising the “problem with blackness” implies “white supremacy”, then recognising the “problem with whiteness” implies “black supremacy”. I would think it preferable to avoid labelling a race (social construct or otherwise) as either “superior” or a “problem”.

    if whiteness as a racial/social construct more or less originates in white supremacy—which it pretty much does—then what is wrong with saying there is such a thing as “the problem of whiteness.”

    I think that’s both a gigantic and a racist “if”. One can just as well claim that “blackness as a racial/social construct originates from criminal gangs”, or that “Jewishness as a racial/social construct originates from a tribe that believed in the divine supremacy of their race, so what’s wrong with saying such things as The Jewish Problem?”. Even if it’s possible to demonstrate a historical correlation between the two, that’s a long way from demonstrating that the racial identity of white people in the present is so strong founded in white supremacy that they can be treated as equivalent.

    That’s beside the point that the concept of dividing people into “white” and “black” groups (and hence the social construct of “whiteness”) is a logical prerequisite for determining that one of those groups is superior to the other (“white supremacy”). So claiming that the later is the origin of the former would seem rather nonsensical.

    Because anyone who is white and who has grown up within a white supremacist culture…

    There’s going to be a tiny minority of white people who have grown up within a white supremacist culture. Unless you’re using the term “white supremacy” to refer to something more mainstream than the KKK or neo-nazis, which I hope you’re not. Because if you are that circles us back to my point about the left aiming contempt at white people.

  36. 37
    Sebastian H says:

    I want to push back hard on the idea that people should be losing their jobs over things like this. (Including the professor who was mocking Warmbier’s death). Very few people have jobs where their political views are remotely relevant. Fire someone for being insensitive enough to Palestinians to bring a Jewish symbol to a dyke march? Cause that’s the kind of thing we can get if we help normalize it.

  37. Desipis,

    I am leaving on a trip and so I can’t respond in detail, nor will I be able to for quite some time, so I will say, simply, that what you’re arguing is so profoundly ahistorical that I wouldn’t know where to start to respond even if I had the time. Ignoring history and historical context is convenient, but it is nonetheless the act of ignoring it, as opposed to accounting for it, including it in your analysis—which is, at best, intellectually lazy. (Slightly edited for clarity)

  38. 39
    Sebastian H says:

    Kate, I’d tend to say that the left suffered a backlash from its inability to keep violence under control in its factions in the communist influenced years. So until recently it had gotten pretty good about policing that.

    The way I see it, the US right is about two steps ahead of the curve on failure to police it, but that the trend is such that we appear to be rushing to catch up. Which is not a good development.

  39. 40
    desipis says:

    Richard Jeffrey Newman:

    If and when you get the time to respond, you should know that I don’t consider “because history” as an acceptable justification for racial contempt.

  40. Desipis:

    “you should know that I don’t consider “because history” as an acceptable justification for racial contempt.”

    Which is precisely the kind of intellectual laziness I’m talking about. That statement has nothing to do with point I was trying to make.

  41. Here’s a link to the Chicago Dyke March Collective’s statement: https://chicagodykemarchcollective.org/2017/06/27/chicago-dyke-march-official-statement-on-2017-march-and-solidarity-with-palestine/. I don’t agree completely with their analysis of Zionism, but I don’t think it is an inherently antisemitic one. In other words, I understand how one can arrive at it without being Jew-hating. Exactly what I mean by that is, I think, a longer post than I can write on my phone, and I know there are people who will disagree with me about that. Now, I’m not entirely sure what to think about the whole episode, but I do think this is true: the whole affair is not as straightforward as it has been made to seem. (Edited for clarity.)

  42. 43
    Mandolin says:

    There’s a problem with academic versus casual vernacular here, mostly, I think. The course title “the problem of whiteness” means different things in the two.

    Casual: the problems with being white

    Academic: weird stuff about the term white

    If the course is anything like I expect, it’s not teaching that theres any problem with being white. What they’re saying is, this word you took for granted, it has a super weird and complicated history, and let’s talk about that.

    If the course is being offered at a 101 level, I’d have probably picked a different title. If it’s later in a curriculum then I’d expect the students to know what it meant from earlier classes.

  43. 44
    Mandolin says:

    And if it isn’t the kind of course I’m thinking of, but rather one about whiteness as a political force only and not a sociological construct, then maybe saying white supremacy would have been better. I suspect they’d want to shore up the idea that whiteness as a categorical construct contributes to white supremacy, but it’s the latter that’s the problem.

    This still rests on a foundation that analyzes whiteness as a weird thing that history made, because who’s white and who’s not has changed a bunch and still changes, so it’s not an innate quality, it’s a cultural label, just like blackness (where different responses to mixed race children and phenotypically white-looking people vary over time and place), but even more so. Your family history can tell you if you’re Italian (mostly, I mean, since Italy as a modern thing isn’t that old, but if you know your geographical origin you can map it)– but it can’t tell you if being Italian means you’re white in the local context.

    Whiteness is weird, it’s not just an objective thing like a table. Of course even if it were, to be honest, it would be trivial to have a linguistics course on The Problem of Tables, talking about platonic ideals versus what we actually recognize as belonging in categories, and how that works. (Tables would, I imagine, be a briefly touched on example, but the course title would still work.) And there’s nothing wrong with being a table.

  44. 45
    Ampersand says:

    On another thread, Humble Talent wrote:

    It’s an interesting idea… And one that I think is almost universally found to be untrue the moment it’s used. Technically, cis is not a word, it’s slang… And I’m struggling to think of any slang used as a descriptor of a demographic that held to the pure purpose of describing that demographic without falling into the trap of being a slur.

    I think in general that the term cis was contrived to try to shift the standing of non-trans people away from “normal”, despite non-trans people making something like 99.7% of the population, calling that 99.7% “normal” was seen to stigmatize trans people, so social justice concocted the term to replace normal. However odious I find that, for the purpose of this comment, I’ll use the parlance.

    On that thread, I replied:

    I don’t think either “cis” or “cisgender” are slang words. The OED listing doesn’t mark either word “informal” or “colloq,” the designations they use for slang terms.

    But in any case, slang words are still words.

    “Cis” is a useful word in my daily life, and I don’t find it insulting or a slur.

    I wanted to reply a little bit more, about “normal.” It’s interesting looking at that sentence if we were talking about a different group. Like:

    I think in general that the term goyim was contrived to try to shift the standing of non-Jewish people away from “normal”, despite non-Jewish people making something like 98% of the population, calling that 98% “normal” was seen to stigmatize Jewish people.

    Or:

    I think in general that the term straight was contrived to try to shift the standing of non-homosexual people away from “normal”, despite non-homosexual people making something like 96% of the population, calling that 96% “normal” was seen to stigmatize Jewish people.

    In all three cases, I’m on the side of the stigmatized minority. Calling goyim “normal people” vs “Jewish people” would be stigmatizing of Jews. Even if not everyone would use “normal” in an intentionally stigmatizing way, anti-semites do exist, and some would be using “normal” this way. And that implication would carry over into everyone’s use of the term. There’s no “seen to” about it; it would be happening.

    Similarly, given that there are people who are bigoted against trans people, inevitably one common usage of “normal” to stigmatize trans people. (I’m pretty sure I’ve actually seen this.) Having a way of referring to non-trans people that doesn’t seem to imitate or endorse stigmatization of trans people is useful. It’s certainly not “odious.”

    The opposite of “normal” is not trans, or Jewish, or homosexual. The opposite of “normal” is “abnormal,” and everybody knows it. And “abnormal,” in everyday conversation, carries extremely negative implications.

    Words matter. Words carry more than their literal meaning. I doubt it was random that HT chose to say the word “cis” was “contrived,” rather than “coined”; the word “contrived” has sneaky, underhanded connotations that the word “coined,” which would be the usual word to use, does not. The “normal/abnormal” distinction is stigmatizing and nasty in a way that “trans/cis” is not. And saying that’s not the case requires either a complete tin ear for English, or being disingenuous.

    Also, “cis” is simply a more useful word, because it’s more specific. “Normal” can mean a bunch of things. If I say of Erica Example, a trans weasel-trainer from Antarctica who is allergic to stereo speakers, “she’s not normal,” what am I referring to? If I want to be understood, and if what I mean is that she’s cis, it’s much better communication to be able to say “she’s cis.”

    Related reading: Whipping Girl FAQ on cissexual, cisgender, and cis privilege | Whipping Girl

  45. 46
    Sebastian H says:

    Richard, your response in the context of this blog is really odd.

    A constantly recurring theme on this blog is that trying to determine whether or not someone is in their heart a KKK-level racist ends up functioning as kind of a dodge about whether or not particular actions functioned as racist actions. We don’t need to determine if in some ideal state it is theoretically possible to be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic. We can talk about whether or not ejecting someone in the circumstances which occurred functions as an anti-Semitic action. I think under the standards used around here to analyze other racist actions, it would.

    What you link to appears be the third official statement i’ve seen from the CDM; the other ones troublingly have disappeared so far as I can tell. But let’s treat it as the most refined statement of their position.

    The most refined statement of their position no longer mentions two key things which were mentioned in both of CDM’s previous statements and in all of the accounts from both sides that I’ve seen previous to this. It no longer says that other people were afraid of the flag, and it no longer says that they were asked to leave for having an Israeli flag superimposed on a rainbow flag.

    This is suspicious, because reports at the time from both sides mentioned those as the key issues.

    Now we have 3 women changing a chant [interestingly to make it MORE inclusive]. Did these women drown out the hundreds of other people making the other chant? I would tend to think not.

    Then we have a callout to pinkwashing, which I have discussed before is a suspiciously close to racist category as used for Israel anyway. (Short version, it dismisses LGBT groups in Israel as being unable to talk about LGBT issues without supporting Israel and *therefore* being innately Zionist and *therefore* being enemies).

    Then we have an allusion to a zero-specifics given discussion that led CDM members to believe the 3 women were ‘Zionist’–which the women have said consisted of them being badgered about what they thought about Israel until they admitted that they support a two state solution, which then got them labelled unacceptably Zionist.

    Whether or not their statement of anti-Zionism in their most refined statement is racist is beside the point. Their actions, even in their most refined statement look pretty racist, and if you allow in their own previous statements it looks racist.

    And as I was finishing it up, their key statement is very troubling from a Jewish conspiracy mindset.

    “The group in question was heard disrupting chants, replacing the word “Palestine” with “everywhere,” saying: “From everywhere to Mexico, border walls have got to go.” One of the individuals, Laurel Grauer, is the Regional Director of A Wider Bridge, an organization with ties to the Israeli government that was protested for pinkwashing at the Creating Change Conference in Chicago in 2016.”

    “Ties to the Israeli Government” no mention of the fact that it is a big LGBT group, ‘pinkwashing’, ‘was protested against’ so it must be bad. But the electronicintifada link you provided before shows on analysis that that is all innuendo.

    So yeah. It looks like the Chicago Dyke March engaged in some pretty racist actions, and even their most refined statement of what happened (even after they received a lot of pushback) ends up playing up some pretty racist tropes.

  46. 47
    Kate says:

    Firstly, people should NOT have to lose their jobs because of something offensive they said on Twitter. But more importantly, leftists only play the “Public speech has consequences” card when it suits them. You have no problem with someone losing their job over a racist tweet. But would you say the same thing if a feminist called someone a virgin as an insult in a tweet and her boss lost his virginity late in life and fired her?

    I said “….could lose their jobs”, not “should”. Under current U.S. law, that is a simple statement of fact. It contains no value judgement as to whether that state of affairs is right or wrong. It would be true of the scenerio you describe as well.
    In fact, I think there should be vastly different standards for different jobs. On one end of the specturm, there are ministerial positions in religious organizations, which are exempt from many basic laws against discrimination (eg. many will only hire men). That it vital for the free exercise of religion, and they certainly should be legally able to fire clergy for any speech that they find offensive.
    Close to that, would be an owner of very small, privately held businesses. I think they should have more freedom, just as someone renting out a room in their own home has more freedom to discriminate, whether I agree with their values or not, than a large landholding corporation.
    I’d also put people who have high profile, public roles as spokespersons for a company or entity. If their private speech is publicised in such a way as to reflect badly on the institution they represent, then the institution has the right to preserve their public image.
    On the other end of the specrtrum, I’d place academics, researchers, journalists, and others playing roles in which intellectual freedom is vital to a free society.
    I’d also place all low level employees in large corporations and governments in the ranks of the highly protected (I realize they aren’t there now).
    The place where it gets tricky is with jobs like police officers and school teachers. There, such predjudices could (and, I think, often DO) impact their job performance for the worse. In both cases, racist speech is a serious problem, and I’d want at the very least an investigation into whether those attitudes were affecting their work. In the case of the virgin comment, I think that would have little impact on a police officer’s job perfromance. But, it might be a real issue for a high school teacher.
    Ultimately, I’d like to see a society in which losing ones job is not as catastrophic as it currently is. And a pony, please!

  47. 48
    Ampersand says:

    I pretty much agree with what Kate just said.

    There are some jobs – like official spokesperson for a big company or a politician – where being uncontroversial and not saying anything that reflects badly on your employer is a de facto job requirement.

    But those are relatively rare. The vast, vast majority of workers are not in such a position. And the danger to free speech if employers routinely police what their line workers say when off-duty is much larger than the problems caused by letting someone with terrible opinions be a bagger at the supermarket.

    I’d really like to see some legislation protecting workers from being fired for off-duty speech, with some carefully-crafted exceptions for positions like “company spokesperson.” Without such legislation, we’ll continue to see people on all sides of the political spectrum attempting to get people fired.

  48. 49
    desipis says:

    There’s a problem with academic versus casual vernacular here, mostly, I think. The course title “the problem of whiteness” means different things in the two.

    Casual: the problems with being white

    Academic: weird stuff about the term white

    The terminology the academic left uses only serves to highlight the problem though.

    If you look at how political correctness has gone over the decades, the left has shown they have a willingness and an energy to change the way language is used in order to avoid offence and shape perceptions. It’s not coloured it’s negro, it’s not negro it’s black, it’s not black it’s African American, etc. It’s not idiot or moron it’s mentally retarded, it’s not mentally retarded, it’s intellectually disabled, etc. The academic left have shown they are willing to fight to change not just academic terminology, but also the use of language in culture, social norms and laws.

    However some groups don’t get this courtesy; quite the opposite in fact. There is a pattern of terminology that consistently frames these groups as negative. Whiteness is a problem, white privilege is bad, white power is bad, etc. Male privilege is bad, patriarchy, toxic masculinity, men’s sexual jokes are rape culture, etc.

    Given the linguistic pedantry the left shows with language, this consistent pattern of negative inferences can only be seen as intentional. It has all the appearance of an intentional campaign to direct contempt at these groups, to direct contempt at straight white men. And there are plenty of examples of the language having this exact effect.

  49. 50
    Ampersand says:

    Given the linguistic pedantry the left shows with language, this consistent pattern of negative inferences can only be seen as intentional. It has all the appearance of an intentional campaign to direct contempt at these groups, to direct contempt at straight white men.

    This sounds like you’re turning conspiracy theorist. But I hope that’s not what you’re saying. Would you like to clarify?

  50. 51
    Kate says:

    toxic masculinity

    The way masculinity is constructed in our culture literally kills men. The way men are expected to suppress their feelings; the way their worth is so often reduced to a paycheck (and how harmful that is for poor and working class men); the way men are more likely to commit suicide, or die violent deaths… I would think that you’d be on board with that. “Toxic masculinity” is, at root, about how patriarchy hurts men, too.

  51. 52
    desipis says:

    Ampersand,

    This sounds like you’re turning conspiracy theorist.

    No, I’m not suggesting a conspiracy per se. Something more along the lines of a revealed preferences.

    Kate:

    The way masculinity is constructed in our culture literally kills men.

    No. Some parts of masculinity are harmful. Some other parts are incredibly beneficial. Some parts can be both harmful and beneficial with the balance depending very much on circumstance. The term “toxic masculinity” ignores this complexity in favour of overwhelming negativity aimed at men. As does the term “patriarchy” does with the complexity of gender roles.

  52. 53
    Sebastian H says:

    I’m not sure if I agree with desipis, but his discussion doesn’t have to lead toward conspiracy theory. It looks much like structural/institutional critiques of racism applied to the university structure.

  53. 54
    Ampersand says:

    …this consistent pattern of negative inferences can only be seen as intentional. It has all the appearance of an intentional campaign…

    What the above quote describes is neither a “structural/institutional critique,” nor is it revealed preferences. Desipis specifically said it was an intentional campaign.

    But Desipis has since clarified that he intended to be talking about something like revealed preferences, and I accept that.

  54. 55
    Harlequin says:

    The way masculinity is constructed in our culture literally kills men

    .

    No. Some parts of masculinity are harmful.

    Right. So we call those parts toxic masculinity, to distinguish from the parts that are not harmful.

  55. 56
    Ampersand says:

    Like most English phrases, what “toxic masculinity” means depends partly on the context.

    For example, when I say that I’ve been hurt by toxic masculinity, what I mean is that the cultural construct of masculinity led to both a great deal of bullying against child-Amp, and taught child-Amp to loathe himself for his inability to live up to the demands of masculinity. I don’t intend, and don’t believe any fair reader would infer, that I hate men.

    And of course a single phrase, out of context, lacks complexity and nuance. That’s why it makes sense to criticize what specific people actually say or write, rather than criticizing out-of-context phrases.

  56. 57
    desipis says:

    So we call those parts toxic masculinity

    Yet that term implies the problem lies with the men that suffer. Would you accept calling concepts such as unreasonable beauty standards and female emotional labour as “toxic femininity”? What about calling the issues surrounding the high rate of suicide amongst trans people “toxic trans-genderism”? What about calling the way black people have lower expectations of themselves as “toxic blackness”?

  57. 58
    desipis says:

    Ampersand (quoting me):

    …this consistent pattern of negative inferences can only be seen as intentional. It has all the appearance of an intentional campaign…

    What the above quote describes is neither a “structural/institutional critique,” nor is it revealed preferences. Desipis specifically said it was an intentional campaign.

    To clarify further, my sentences mixed two ideas. The first being the “revealed preferences” or “structural/institutional” that being the cause (although I suspect there is also a small minority of overly influential extremists engaged in deliberate action). The second idea being how this all appears from the outside, to the average person ignorant of and uninterested in the particularities of why this pattern of language emerged, to the average person who experiences the misguided actions of teenage and college student “activists” who act as much on the emotions contained in the terms as they do on the complex ideas and technical meanings.

  58. 59
    Kate says:

    Yet that term implies the problem lies with the men that suffer.

    I don’t know where you get that impression, but I really thing this is where we’re disconnecting. You seem to be equating the constructs – masculinity, femininity, whiteness, blackness, etc., with the individuals who are assigned to those categories. The whole point of using this terminology is that it is not supposed to be personal.

  59. 60
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Kate says:
    July 2, 2017 at 5:08 pm
    Yet that term implies the problem lies with the men that suffer.

    I don’t know where you get that impression, but I really thing this is where we’re disconnecting. You seem to be equating the constructs – masculinity, femininity, whiteness, blackness, etc., with the individuals who are assigned to those categories. The whole point of using this terminology is that it is not supposed to be personal.

    This does not often seem to be how it works, and reminds me of SSC’s “Social Justice and Words, Words, Words” post from way back.

    In social justice discussions it is common to use generalized terms to discuss large groups of people. And in theory it is certainly possible to avoid any explicit or implied conclusions about individual members of those groups. Because we all know, group conclusions are not attributable to individuals.

    But in social justice practice it seems like the general terms are often brought up in relation to individual actions and/or individual people. So this suggests that people are deliberately using those terms in a sense of individual responsibility and action.

    IOW, when it is convenient, the claimed “construct” seems to expand into a larger area and encompass individual actions and non-theoretical discussions; it is not a construct. When it is less convenient (for example, when that expansion is challenged) it seems to retract into the most defensible spaces, the largest defenses being “it’s theoretical” and “it’s not about you”.

    I don’t think you’re doing that in this post. But those terms are highly suspect in my view.

  60. 61
    Ampersand says:

    Desipis, one problem with unproven, unsourced statements about what “average people” believe – and isn’t it a funny coincidence that what you argue “average people” believe just so happens to comport perfectly with your own anti-feminist beliefs? – is that it’s an unfalsifiable narrative. There’s no way you can prove what you say to be true, and there’s no way anyone can disprove it, because you literally just made it up. So it’s not really an argument, in my view; although you may not intend it this way, in practice it becomes a method for you to slip in insults about feminists without having to own what you’re saying. (“This isn’t what I think, it’s just what average people think!”)

    If an average person hears me talking about toxic masculinity – talking about my childhood, talking about how I was harmed – I don’t believe that they’ll walk away thinking “Amp hates and blames men!” Because that’s awful, and I choose not to think that average people are awful. But I do know, from direct personal experience, that there certainly are some anti-feminists who take it that way.

  61. 62
    Sebastian H says:

    Much how ‘privilege’ isn’t supposed to be personal, but in actual usage it tends toward: shut up you’re not part of the in group for this discussion.

    There are a lot of academic terms that break out and get used in ways that are well beyond their narrow academic senses. Responding to the common usages with “that isn’t the academic definition” doesn’t really speak to the issue unless you think you can recapture the solely academic meaning. it just causes massive confusion and unnecessary feelings of accusation. This is especially true when talking to people who have experienced them as weapons rather than clinical definitions.

  62. 63
    Ampersand says:

    Much how ‘privilege’ isn’t supposed to be personal, but in actual usage it tends toward: shut up you’re not part of the in group for this discussion.

    It seems a bit unfair to hold the handful of people here responsible for everything any feminist anywhere has ever said. But that’s certainly what the way you, Desipis, and G&W are discussing this issue “tends towards.”

    This is an example – without a doubt, the most prominent example – of me using the term privilege. (ETA: It is also the most popular post I’ve ever written, so it’s not a usage of the term that has no appeal to anyone but me.) It is an “actual usage” of the term. I don’t think it can fairly be interpreted as meaning “shut up.”

    Here’s a problem for me: I understand that there are people here (perhaps including you? I’m not sure) who would prefer that me and others never use terms like “privilege” or “toxic masculinity” or “bigotry” or “_____phobia,” etc.. But most (not all) of those folks seem to be people who don’t, themselves, feel any pressing need to discuss those topics, other than to dismiss them.

    I certainly agree with you that there are SJ folks who sometimes use “privilege” to mean “shut up and go away.” (In some contexts “shut up and go away” is actually an appropriate request, but obviously that’s not always the case.) Indeed, I’ve had the word “privilege” used against me in that sense, on occasion. But I also think that word, and other words that I’ve been told SJs should stop using, have important and necessary uses, as well. And I’m not willing to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  63. 64
    Ampersand says:

    This is off-topic to the discussion going on, since I don’t think there’s anyone here actually defending the term “Motte and Bailey,” but I’m linking it anyway because I think it’s a good post: Against Motte and Bailey | Thing of Things

  64. 65
    Ampersand says:

    Yet that term implies the problem lies with the men that suffer.

    I don’t agree that it does.

    Would you accept calling concepts such as unreasonable beauty standards and female emotional labour as “toxic femininity”? What about calling the issues surrounding the high rate of suicide amongst trans people “toxic trans-genderism”? What about calling the way black people have lower expectations of themselves as “toxic blackness”?

    These things really aren’t up to me. If, of those women who discuss politics, a large portion used or were comfortable using the term “toxic femininity” to describe their own experiences, then I’d be okay with it. Ditto (with the nouns changed) for trans people, and for Black people. It’s not my job to police what terms Black people, or trans people, or women, use to discuss their own lives and experiences.

    However, they do not use those terms in any significant numbers. It’s my guess that all but an incredibly tiny minority of people in those groups would even find those terms offensive. Therefore I do not find it okay.

    The fact is, among those men who discuss politics, there are plenty of men who are comfortable with the term “toxic masculinity,” or even (as I do) find it an essential term for discussing our own lives and histories. It’s not as if all “SJ” people are women! I think that makes the term very different from any of the terms you suggested.

  65. 66
    Sebastian H says:

    We can’t give up useful terms just because they get misused. So what am I asking?

    I guess.
    1. Be sure that you don’t use them that way.
    2. Don’t be be dismissive when other people say they have experienced them (perhaps on a regular basis) in the bad ways.
    3. When you see someone using them in a bad way, call them out on it (actually I don’t intend to invoke call out culture, I intend to convey that letting it slide is complicit in letting it get out of control; if you aren’t correcting it you can’t complain when it gets out of control.)
    4. Be careful when you select/expand terms that ALREADY have well understood social meanings.
    5. Be aware how the term is different in different contexts.

    I’m not saying that privilege CANNOT be used in a useful way. I even think it can be a great way of thinking about things and discussing them if used carefully. I’m also absolutely certain that it isn’t used carefully in the majority of times that I personally encounter it. Let me tell you about my most recent encounter:

    I was talking with a trans activist about how the demand to keep gay police officers from marching proudly at Pride events cuts against a large part of the idea of Pride–i.e. that we are Proud and Out, willing to publicly pair our queer identity with our other identities. I suggested that having a cop willing to publicly identify as gay was still a powerful symbol for a Pride march. If you want to restrict for a BLM march it is a different enough movement that maybe it would make sense (though still giving up on a powerful symbol) but that it attacked the basic sense of what a Pride march is to ban a gay police officer in uniform from it.

    I was told that I couldn’t understand because I had cis-privilege–a silencing move. She said that it might trigger people by making them feel uncomfortable (another word that is getting quite a bit of activist usage well beyond its clinical description) I said, that quite the opposite, when I was originally marching for gay rights, police officers beating up gay people was a regular occurrence. Police officer stings against gay men were common when I was growing up. I had been chased down the street by a gang of skinheads that had been terrorizing the neighborhood in the 90s and had left an acquaintance with serious brain damage. So not only am I not unaware of the intersection of violence and police violence, I have had it personally touch on my life on multiple occasions. She told me that if I wanted to be an ally, I needed to check my white, cis, gay(???) privilege and let people like her lead. I told her that good allies don’t let their allies do things that harm their mutual cause without at least warning them. She said that was just proof that I wasn’t an ally at all.

    I said that at a time when police were regularly beating (cis) gay people, we still let gay cops march because the symbol of being willing to be publicly queer in a deeply homophobic profession was powerful. She said that gay cops are too institutionally privileged to face any danger so the symbol was worthless. I said that erased the dangers of coming out in a police force, which she dismissed as further evidence of my privilege.

    Now in theory I’m open to the idea of weighing whether or not the symbolic power of having gay cops march is worth weighing against the triggering of fear that it might bring against the possibility of seeing cops “like you” which might mitigate against that fear. But the discussion never happened because my contribution was erased by an appeal to privilege.

  66. 67
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Ampersand says:
    July 3, 2017 at 9:25 am
    It seems a bit unfair to hold the handful of people here responsible for everything any feminist anywhere has ever said. But that’s certainly what the way you, Desipis, and G&W are discussing this issue “tends towards.”

    Is this an example of the problem?

    I explicitly avoided talking about anyone here and deliberately used extremely general terms. I sure as heck didn’t hold anyone here or elsewhere responsible for anything (much less everything!) that any feminist anywhere has ever said.–I responded to Kate, not to you, and I explicitly disclaimed her.

    So in essence, this is a more personalized response to a very generic statement. And that is totally OK…

    But if we agree your response is reasonable, then how can we be surprised if other people have similar reactions to discussions of whiteness or privilege or whatever?

  67. 68
    Sebastian H says:

    The motte/bailey thread is fascinating.

    I think it reveals EXACTLY the same thing as ‘privilege’. It is a useful term that can be used in non-useful ways.

    But I think the thing to learn is that if it keeps getting used in more and more harmful ways, you have to fight to keep the term, or it gets taken over by the harmful uses.

    I don’t see current evidence of a fight to keep the term “privilege” from its bad uses.

  68. 69
    Kate says:

    But in social justice practice it seems like the general terms are often brought up in relation to individual actions and/or individual people. So this suggests that people are deliberately using those terms in a sense of individual responsibility and action. (my emphasis)

    I read depisis as referring to individual people – that people are attacked, or silenced by the left based on identity alone. I don’t deny that these terms are used to criticize actions. I don’t have a problem with that. Good people can make mistakes. Criticizing an action should not be taken as a full on condemnation of the actor as a person. And, sure, you’re going to get people who get it wrong and unfairly criticize others from time to time. That’s pretty universal. Expecting never to be unfairly criticized is, well, kind of privledged :).

    Taking the example of Sebastian’s experience as described @66 – my impression is that Sebastian did not go into the converstation willing to engage with the possibility that he might be the one who is wrong. It seems that the young activist leader he was talking to was also convinced her position was the right one. The activist used cis male gay privledge as a silencing tactic. Sebastian used the authority of age and experience as a silencing tactic against a young person, who is trying to take on a leadership role in the movement. Even from Sebastian’s perspective, it sounds like a pretty even exchange of hostilities to me. I’m just wondering how Sebastian expected this young activist leader to react to this challenge to her authority. Sebastian, you’ve described a response that you deem unacceptable. Can you descibe a response that you would have considered acceptable?

  69. 70
    Sebastian H says:

    I see what you’re saying, but I don’t feel as if I tried to silence based on age or experience. Both of those were defensive gambits to allow me to speak. I’m cut off because I’m cis and because gay isn’t oppressed enough to allow voice, but I’ve experienced the fear of cops and fear of violence over sexual identity. I was using those to try to get back to ground one of the conversation (talking about the issue itself rather than our right to speak).

  70. 71
    Sebastian H says:

    What should I have done? Accepted being silenced and worked behind her back to make sure that it didnt happen without ever engaging her? That seems worse.

  71. 72
    Kate says:

    What should I have done? Accepted being silenced and worked behind her back to make sure that it didnt happen without ever engaging her? That seems worse.

    I’m not sure, but I’ve got a few ideas.
    1.) Accept and acknowledge that the concerns of gay men were initially prioritized by the movement and within the context of the gay community gay men have priveledge.
    2.) I don’t think that you intended it this way, but invoking your experiences with violence can come across as “you think you have it bad – well back in the day…” and diminishing their current experiences with violence. I understand that you were in a defensive position, but this increased the division.
    3.) The experiences with police violence you relate seem to be in the past. Were you marching with out cops, when cops were also engaging in stings against you? If not, was there a signigicant lag between the time when those stings ended, and when out cops started marching with you? If so, maybe that gave some time for healing that marginalized groups within the LGBT community have not been able to benefit from.
    4.) Acknowledge that something needs to be done to address the fact that many trans and/or black members of the LGBT community do not feel safe around police. Police violence is not a separte issue for them, because it is making them feel unsafe within the LGBT community.

  72. 73
    Sebastian H says:

    I don’t think that you intended it this way, but invoking your experiences with violence can come across as “you think you have it bad – well back in the day…” and diminishing their current experiences with violence. I understand that you were in a defensive position, but this increased the division.

    But that reveals the nasty nature of the privilege dismissal. The only way to respond without calling the person an asshole is to illustrate that your experiences are actually connected to the topic. But in doing so you’re opening up to being accused of being dismissive AGAIN. (That wasn’t real police violence, etc.”). It is especially nasty because it makes the person being dismissed feel like even their connected experiences aren’t valid.

    “The experiences with police violence you relate seem to be in the past. Were you marching with out cops, when cops were also engaging in stings against you?”

    They are in the current past (looking from now). They absolutely were not in the past when we had very brave cops marching during the very same years that also sorts of police stings and police brutality against gays was rampant. This isn’t like some distant past, this is less than 15 years ago. That is what makes the whole discussion so frustrating, they are dismissing people who lived through the exact same type of problem, less than a generation ago. You don’t get to erase that by calling me ‘cis’.

  73. 74
    Mandolin says:

    I think we’re debating what comprises toxic femininity all the time, it’s just more sort of one of the main topics of feminism and isn’t sectioned off particularly. There’s certainly an over broad rejection of feminine things in the radfem tradition where this is very visible.

    Trying to find an uncontroversial and extreme example:

    Angel of Death nurses are (often) an example of how femininity can become toxic to others.

    eating disorders are (often) an example of how femininity can become toxic to oneself.

  74. 75
    Sebastian H says:

    Actually I was wrong. You DO get to erase all that by calling me ‘cis’. And that is precisely the problem.

  75. 76
    Ben Lehman says:

    Sebastian H:
    There’s a particular thing about “cis gay men” in the current discourse which I have a very hard time reading as anything other than [a brutal slur I edited out]. It’s bullshit.

    The thing is, in the broad-spectrum definition of transness — which I think of as Bornstein’s Gender Outlaws, and is the definition of transness generally at use in this particular activist circle — almost no gay men are cis. Even setting aside the “straight acting” vs “non straight acting” division, which is absolutely about gender norms, there is the issue that fundamentally, masculinity in our society is deeply tied up in wanting to fuck women. Being a gay man is inherently pretty fucking gender-nonconforming, which is at the root of a lot of homophobia.

    It drives me nuts. I’m sorry you had to deal with it.

    –Ben

    P.S. There’s a whole separate point about masculinity and wanting to fuck women but it’s a wide tangent.

  76. 77
    Grace Annam says:

    desipis:

    Yet that term implies the problem lies with the men that suffer.

    I don’t think that necessarily follows. Much of toxic masculinity is enacted by men, but there are plenty of examples enacted by women. “Be a man.” “Man up.” “You’re crying? What’re you, a sissy?”

    Heck, here’s a favorite artist of mine promoting a bit of toxic masculinity (Annie Lennox) in a very catchy song:

    ’cause there’s just one thing

    That I’m looking for
    
And he don’t wear a dress.

    I need a man
    
I need a man

    Baby baby baby
    
Don’t you shave your legs

    Don’t you double comb your hair

    Don’t powder puff
    
Just leave it rough
    
I like your fingers bare.
    
When the night comes down
    
I can turn it round
    
I can take you anywhere.
    
I don’t need love

    Forget that stuff

    You know that I don’t care

    I need a man
    
I need a man

    desipis:

    Would you accept calling concepts such as unreasonable beauty standards and female emotional labour as “toxic femininity”?

    As Amp points out, this is contextual, but in some contexts, sure. Why not? It’s just that usually people express those ideas more specifically. I’ve used the phrase “Western beauty standards” many times, and Western beauty standards are enforced, enacted and decried by many men and many women.

    Also, unreasonable beauty standards and the devaluing of women’s emotional labor are also aspects of toxic masculinity, or at least tangled up in it. Because all of these ideas are interrelated, and we are limited humans trying to describe very complex systems seen and understood incompletely.

    What about calling the issues surrounding the high rate of suicide amongst trans people “toxic trans-genderism”?

    No, because the high suicide rate is a result of transphobia enacted upon trans people, not a result of being transgender or of “transgenderism” (whatever that is; it seems mainly to be a word which cis folks use when they want to generalize about a phenomenon instead of talking about actual people).

    If you want to label the toxic system which tends to target trans people, but which also harms cis people (paralleling “toxic masculinity”, which tends to hurt women but also hurts men) you could do worse than “toxic cisnormativity”.

    There are toxic conversations/concepts/phenomena which happen among trans people, the foremost in my mind being the trans hierarchy, where some people claim to be more genuinely trans than other people, often on the basis of what surgeries they have undergone. I would be happy to label that as toxic, but then we’re still missing a noun for your exercise in parallel construction.

    What about calling the way black people have lower expectations of themselves as “toxic blackness”?

    Seriously? You don’t see that as a manifestation of systemic white supremacy? It’s toxic, for sure, but it’s not a toxicity of being black per se; it’s a symptom of being black in a racist society which regards white people as the unmarked and superior default, and black people as deviations from that unmarked norm. It’s not toxic blackness. You could say, though, that it’s a manifestation of toxic whiteness, in the same way that viewing women as lesser is a manifestation of toxic masculinity.

    And, just as “toxic masculinity” is not longhand for “masculinity” and is not code for “masculine people are toxic”, “toxic whiteness” would not be longhand for “whiteness”, and would not be code for “white people are toxic”.

    As Louis CK puts it, “Let me be clear, by the way. I’m not saying that white people are better. I’m saying that being white is clearly better. Who could even argue? If it was an option, I would re-up every year! ‘Oh, yeah, I’ll take “white” again, absolutely, I’ve been enjoying that, I’m going to stick with “white”, thank you.’”

    In other words, it’s not what you are, it’s how people treat you.

    It’s not about taking a group and slapping “toxic” on the front of it in order to blame the group. It’s about trying to understand a self-reinforcing, self-perpetuating way of looking at things, which frameworks we tend to name after the most dominant, most visible, group involved.

    Grace

    [edited to fix formatting glitch]

  77. 78
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    This really does have a lot to do with semantics.

    “Western beauty standards” is a good example of what I see as a communication-oriented phrase. It’s reasonably precise (yet broad enough to be useful); it is fairly comprehensible to laypeople; the definition has a reasonably high overlap between people who use it. Obviously it’s not as precise as “the pressure to use hair straighteners” but it’s

    “Toxic masculinity” is a good example of what I see as a signal-oriented phrase. It is imprecise on its own; it is not really comprehensible to laypeople; and the definition is floppy depending on who is speaking and what they think of as “toxic”.

    Then again, a lot of smart people use the term “toxic masculinity”. Since they’re smart folks I assume they are well aware of the limitations of the term–and it’s clear they could easily use alternate terms which don’t have those limitations. So it seems like the decision to use “toxic masculinity” is inherently a decision to prioritize signaling to already-in-group members, over communication with non-group members.

    Having made that choice I assume the “toxic masculinity” people are fine with the impression that others reach based on that choice; and I assume they’re fine with the varying responses they get. Everyone knows that the use of those code words is a choice, and it is treated as such. I don’t think it’s a wise choice, so I don’t usually use that term, but it’s their call.

    Sp Amp, when you say:

    Ampersand says:
    July 3, 2017 at 8:46 am
    If an average person hears me talking about toxic masculinity – talking about my childhood, talking about how I was harmed – I don’t believe that they’ll walk away thinking “Amp hates and blames men!”

    I think you are ignoring the signal. You can talk about your childhood and how you were harmed for as long as you want, without ever mentioning the words “toxic masculinity.” But if you choose to use the signal, you can’t be very surprised by the reaction to the signal.

    And FWIW, this holds true across a large group of SJ terms. Say you’re discussing the travel ban. Some opponents might call it unreasonable, unfair, unconstitutional, unjust, unethical, inhumane, etc. Those opponents are prioritizing communication. We have a lot of practice discussing reasonableness, fairness, constitutionality, justice, ethics, and humane practices and there is a lot to be discussed w/r/t the travel ban. Other opponents go straight to “Islamophobic,” which prioritizes signaling over communication.

  78. 79
    Harlequin says:

    Okay, g&w–what word or words should we use instead of “toxic masculinity” that convey the same information? And do you think those words would not then become “signaling” communication, as you call it, once they were in wide use among feminists to describe the phenomenon of toxic masculinity?

    You describe some of the problems with toxic masculinity as a term:

    It is imprecise on its own; it is not really comprehensible to laypeople; and the definition is floppy depending on who is speaking and what they think of as “toxic”.

    Leaving aside “comprehensible to laypeople”, which I don’t think is a reasonable objection to a word used mainly among non-laypeople, do you think the words unreasonable, unfair, unjust, unethical, inhumane, have a lot of meaning in isolation? Are their meanings absolutely fixed? If they are so clear, does everyone agree on what is reasonable vs unreasonable, just vs unjust, ethical vs unethical, etc, or even on what criteria we should judge the distinction?

    Also, you compare

    unreasonable, unfair, unconstitutional, unjust, unethical, inhumane

    to

    “Islamophobic”

    and say this

    prioritizes signaling over communication.

    But, of course, Islamophobic is not synonymous with any of those previous words. It’s expressing a different aspect: that the travel ban is all of those things because the people who wrote it are motivated by bigotry. By saying it prioritizes signaling over communication, you’re saying that pointing out bigotry is done to get cookies from your in-group, rather than to point out bigotry, which is bad.

    To put that another way,

    So it seems like the decision to use “toxic masculinity” is inherently a decision to prioritize signaling to already-in-group members, over communication with non-group members.

    misses the most obvious explanation: the decision to use “toxic masculinity” is a decision to prioritize communicating with already-in-group members who understand this concept, over newly educating every non-group member who might stumble across the conversation. I feel like we had this discussion all the time a few years ago, but I firmly believe it is okay to have high-level discussions with other people who agree with you, and to have those be separate from the conversations you have that are trying to convince new people. When I’m talking to somebody who isn’t that familiar with feminist ideas, I do not use the phrase “toxic masculinity.” But communication is contextual, so sometimes I use it–because it communicates my meaning well to those who also use it. That’s what jargon is for; it’s a shorthand for people who talk to each other about the same things a lot.

    Basically: if we’re going to get rid of a word, let’s fucking get rid of “signaling.” It’s a pretty serious assumption of bad faith: your opponents don’t really mean the words they’re saying, because, apparently, those words have no meaning (“floppy” and “imprecise”); they’re just spouting shibboleths to mark themselves as the Right Kind of People. Is that a thing that happens? Absolutely. I think insults are often that, for example. But it’s weird to say, “I wouldn’t use that word, therefore you must agree–on some level–that this word prioritizes in-group membership over the concept you’re trying to convey.” And, furthermore, it implies that there is some large pool of communication that is not signaling group membership, which is also ridiculous. I mean–I just used the word “furthermore.” You think I use that everywhere I go? I’m positioning myself as a certain kind of thinker from a certain kind of education and with a certain arrogant attitude about it. And I didn’t sit there and decide to do that, just like I don’t consciously think “don’t swear in front of my grandmother.” Because we’re constantly adapting our communication to the people we’re talking to and the messages we’re trying to convey about who we are and who we think our audience is.

    I’ve never heard “signaling” used in the way you used it from feminists, SJWs, etc. So, if I were to fully buy into that concept the way you’re using it, I could just dismiss your entire comment #78 as demonstrating to other people here that you are on the other side of…whatever this debate is…than the rest of us, and that it contains no information I should think seriously about. In that reading, you don’t really have strong opinions about how we should communicate; you’re just making a show to others that you aren’t cowed by our use of the word “toxic masculinity.”

    But, of course, signaling is a word you obviously find useful for a concept you run across a lot. So I bet you’re going to keep using it, just as I’m going to keep using toxic masculinity.

    ***

    A few years ago, I was wandering through Bandelier National Park (near Los Alamos National Lab) with a group of physicists. There are abandoned cave dwellings in Bandelier, and we were standing around the base of the ladder up to one of them, waiting our turn, as there was only room for one of us at a time at the top. Another group came up behind us. After a couple of minutes I heard one of them say quietly to another, “They just used the word ‘nontrivial’–they must be scientists.”

  79. 80
    Harlequin says:

    That’s what jargon is for; it’s a shorthand for people who talk to each other about the same things a lot.

    I should have said, that’s one of the things jargon is for. It can, obviously, be used primarily to exclude as well. Opacity to outsiders is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition to show that’s the use it’s being put to. For example, when Ozy explains compersion by comparing it to fanfic shipping, I go “Aha!” and need no other explanation. I’d be happy to try to explain what shipping is–it’s not a secret and I’m not gatekeeping–but at the same time I bet that entire previous sentence was Greek to most of the people here!

  80. 81
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Harlequin says:
    July 6, 2017 at 11:36 am
    And do you think those words would not then become “signaling” communication, as you call it, once they were in wide use among feminists to describe the phenomenon of toxic masculinity?

    Out of order, but when it comes to in-group communications (“among feminists”) where everyone has the same assumptions or definitions you can use whatever phrase you want. See, also, teenagers: I can’t even count how many times I have agreed to do “something” while knowing precisely what it was.

    As for this:

    what word or words should we use instead of “toxic masculinity” that convey the same information

    Well, start by telling me what information you want to convey and then I can happily answer the question.

    Leaving aside “comprehensible to laypeople”, which I don’t think is a reasonable objection to a word used mainly among non-laypeople

    The problem I am talking about arises when people are talking outside their in-group. Did you not get that context? Amp spoke of other men (presumably non-feminists.) Kate talked about people misinterpreting constructs. I quoted both of them in my posts. Other folks were talking about the “average” person, which generally implies a layperson.

    do you think the words unreasonable, unfair, unjust, unethical, inhumane, have a lot of meaning in isolation? Are their meanings absolutely fixed?

    As things go they are reasonably rigid structures for analysis, I think. Nothing is ‘absolutely fixed’. They really represent scales rather than points

    If they are so clear, does everyone agree on what is reasonable vs unreasonable, just vs unjust, ethical vs unethical, etc, or even on what criteria we should judge the distinction?

    I’d say there is a lot of overlap, actually, in what people think. And in my experience there is even more overlap in how people select criteria, and how they discuss that selection.

    But, of course, Islamophobic is not synonymous with any of those previous words.

    Isn’t is in a dependent relation, though? Because if something is reasonable, just, ethical, and so on, it is hard for it to be Islamophobic–unless, of course, you’re using that particular revised definition of ___phobic which is wholly outcome-dependent.

    It’s expressing a different aspect: that the travel ban is all of those things because the people who wrote it are motivated by bigotry. By saying it prioritizes signaling over communication, you’re saying that pointing out bigotry is done to get cookies from your in-group, rather than to point out bigotry, which is bad.

    I’m saying what I said. Please don’t go down the “I will rewrite you in a manner which is convenient for my argument” road, it’s obnoxious.

    To illustrate with your own example, “the people who wrote it are motivated by bigotry” is a perfectly clear statement and good communication; I encourage folks to use it wherever they feel it’s needed. The nice thing is that it is verifiable: other motivations can disprove the claim, for example. That’s why it’s not so popular, I suspect.

    misses the most obvious explanation: the decision to use “toxic masculinity” is a decision to prioritize communicating with already-in-group members who understand this concept, over newly educating every non-group member who might stumble across the conversation.

    You might have missed the context in this thread, where people were talking about how frustrating it was to have other (non-group) members react poorly to signals. I quoted them in my replies. Like I said, you can make that choice, if you want.

    Basically: if we’re going to get rid of a word, let’s fucking get rid of “signaling.” It’s a pretty serious assumption of bad faith: your opponents don’t really mean the words they’re saying, because, apparently, those words have no meaning (“floppy” and “imprecise”); they’re just spouting shibboleths to mark themselves as the Right Kind of People.

    Again, it would be nice if you could avoid strawmanning my argument for your ow convenience. “done to get cookies”? “spouting shibboleths”? Seriously, dude.

    What I said, actually, could better be summed up as “you shouldn’t choose signaling over broad communication and then complain when people react to the signal.” Of course these things have meaning to the in-group. And of course everyone can do what they want.

    And, furthermore, it implies that there is some large pool of communication that is not signaling group membership, which is also ridiculous.

    You keep using these extremes, which makes it a meaningless argument.

    Yes, yes, all language signals a bit of something, like the choice of “furthermore” instead of “also.” But that’s like saying “anything is possible”: it’s technically true and practically irrelevant in most contexts. When the signal applies to a sufficiently large and/or amorphous group we don’t usually treat it as signaling, and the overall role of language is a much broader subject than we’re discussing.

    I’ve never heard “signaling” used in the way you used it from feminists, SJWs, etc.

    Like, literally, never? Or is that rhetorical overstatement?

    So, if I were to fully buy into that concept the way you’re using it, I could just dismiss your entire comment #78 as demonstrating to other people here that you are on the other side of…whatever this debate is…than the rest of us, and that it contains no information I should think seriously about. In that reading, you don’t really have strong opinions about how we should communicate; you’re just making a show to others that you aren’t cowed by our use of the word “toxic masculinity.”

    Well, we were able to talk about masculinity and harm to self and others before some dude started using the “toxic masculinity” term. That was probably more approachable overall. And actually, I think your post is a pretty good example of how we should communicate, in most parts. The equivalent ‘bad’ example would be to respond using some sort of lingo which I can’t credibly emulate.

  81. 82
    Sebastian H says:

    The problem seems to be when the in-group words get out into the wild they sometimes function in different ways from the way they get used in-group. And when they get commonly used outside the in-group fashion (or when they are specifically used to signal that someone is in or out of the group) you’ve lost control of the meaning, such that in the following exchange someone like you in the wrong:

    Me: I was just silenced based on my identity. I was told that cis-gay-males don’t have the experience to talk about cop uniforms at gay pride marches.

    Someone (seemingly) like you: cis is just a neutral description of non-transness.

    Me: No, ‘cis’ was saying “shut up faggot”.

    Someone like you: that can’t be right, cis doesn’t have any judgment attached to it.

    Me: Ugh.

    Now it turns out that all sorts of terms CAN be turned to bad ends. But for some it is easier than others. Compare Western Beauty Standards to Toxic Masculinity. The first is a description which will need to have some explanation if you are to interpret it negatively. You could easily understand a sentence like “I was raised in the US so I’m most comfortable with Western Beauty Standards, though I’ve learned to appreciate Eastern and Northern ones.” [neutral] or “I was raised in the US with Western Beauty Standards, but I had to learn that having black hair, while it didn’t conform, was still beautiful.” [somewhat negative]. Its harder to imagine “I was raised with in the US with toxic masculinity” as neutral. And considering how much gets thrown in with toxic masculinity, you often can’t help but thinking that the speaker might believe the ‘toxic’ is superfluous.

    The problem with identity politics in its current iteration is that it seems to be a lot about othering, rather than just self describing.

  82. 83
    Mandolin says:

    But didn’t some guys here just say that they use toxic masculinity to *self-describe*?

  83. 84
    desipis says:

    Harlequin:

    what word or words should we use instead of “toxic masculinity” that convey the same information?

    How about a combination of “misandry” and “internalised misandry”, depending on whether it’s source is external or internal to the man/men in question?

  84. 85
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Sebastian H says:
    July 6, 2017 at 9:00 pm
    The problem with identity politics in its current iteration is that it seems to be a lot about othering, rather than just self describing.

    Mandolin says:
    July 6, 2017 at 10:50 pm
    But didn’t some guys here just say that they use toxic masculinity to *self-describe*?

    Yes, Amp said that, and of course Amp can do what he wants. But of course the thing about some of those terms is that they spread the tar with a pretty broad brush.

    Say that I talk about the asshole kid who used to beat me up. Then I’m accusing good old Jeff and assigning him the fault for his actions. It’s hard to imagine that would raise anyone’s ire other than Jeff’s, and I don’t care about him.

    But say that I talk about it in the context of toxic masculinity. Well, now to an outgroup member I’m accusing… well, maybe all men? All the men who interacted with me and Jeff? The men in my town? At my school? All the men who helped create the culture in which Jeff was motivated to beat me up? Maybe all the women, while I’m at it? And perhaps I’m even lessening the blame on Jeff.

    This might get a worse reception. When you combine a feeling of accusation with a feeling of non-responsibility, then people react poorly.

  85. 86
    Grace Annam says:

    desipis:

    How about a combination of “misandry” and “internalised misandry”, depending on whether it’s source is external or internal to the man/men in question?

    As I understand and occasionally use the term “toxic masculinity”, it includes misogyny. Also, it does not include the core concept of my understanding of misandry, which I might first-approximate as “hatred of men generally”. Toxic masculinity, in my experience, is not usually used to describe men as inferior, but rather as assumed-to-be superior in ways which, as a class, they aren’t.

    So I don’t think I could usefully substitute “misandry and/or internalized misandry” for “toxic masculinity”; the Venn diagrams overlap, but the borders differ significantly.

    Grace

  86. 87
    Grace Annam says:

    gin-and-whiskey:

    Well, start by telling me what information you want to convey and then I can happily answer the question.

    So, you object to the term but don’t understand it well enough to propose a better one?

    I might accept that from a neophyte to this sort of discourse. I might ask them to use their Google powers to self-educate rather than asking to be spoonfed, but I could understand why they might not be familiar with a term which people involved in a conversation find useful. But you? You’re a professional thinker, reader and writer. You are certainly capable of understanding what meaning someone like Harlequin intends when she uses a term in context, and you’ve been around long enough to have seen this particular term enough to infer an adequate meaning for it. I think you do understand the term. You just don’t like it.

    You’re saying, “To me, this term has the following implications and therefore I don’t like it” and others are saying, “I don’t think that’s true; in fact, it has these different implications.” This is an argument about reality, not labels.

    In any language, there are only ever simple terms for concepts which already exist. When we are trying to understand something in new ways, we very often have to invent new terms, because to use old terms with existing meaning actually obscures the meaning we’re trying to convey. Using new terms can enable a fresher cognitive approach.

    So, fine, if you understand the meaning but think that a given label doesn’t convey it, feel free to suggest a different label. But if you don’t understand the meaning well enough to suggest a different label, you’re not in a great position to declare the existing label inaccurate.

    Grace

  87. I’ve never liked the term “toxic masculinity” because, even though I understand (and fundamentally agree with) its intended meaning. I just think the underlying metaphor, which is medicalizing and perhaps even pathologizing, is ultimately not all that helpful. To start, what is the opposite of toxic masculinity? The term I have seen used most often is “healthy,” but is healthy the same thing as the absence of toxicity? I am not trying to be pedantic here. Clarity of thought when it comes to these kinds of issues matters. If something is toxic it will poison you; if something is not toxic, it won’t, but that is not the same thing as saying that the quality of being non-toxic is synonymous with being healthy (or with something being healthy for you).

    To put this another way: Is toxic masculinity different in degree or kind from non-toxic-masculinity? If the latter–which in my reading experience is not the case–then I am very curious to see that difference fully developed. If the former–which is how I have always understood the term–then the implication is that the quality of toxicity is always already there within masculinity and the problem is with figuring out how to manage masculinity so that it doesn’t become toxic. The metaphor then implies that the “solution” to toxic masculinity is something like what we mean when we tell people that they ought to drink, or eat, or whatever “in moderation” so that the behavior does not become toxic to them or those around them. Yet I don’t think that being masculine “in moderation” is really what we mean when we try to promote a healthy/non-toxic masculinity. Or, if it is, then the term toxic masculinity itself signals an (almost essentialist) acceptance of the gender binary.

    For me, what the term toxic masculinity does not capture is the fact that the masculine behavior we tend to label toxic is almost always exhibited in the interests of demonstrating, earning, proving manhood, which is not synonymous with masculinity, though masculinity is obviously something manhood could not exist without. Manhood is a value system, an ethics. To put it another way: masculinity is a performance; manhood is what gives that performance value, determining whether your masculine performance is sufficient for you to be counted as a man and what your place is within the hierarchy of men. So, for example, in most cases anyway, and in the US certainly, a person performing female masculinity does not get counted as a man within traditional notions of manhood.

    I think the term toxic masculinity is supposed to speak to that dynamic, but, for me anyway, it doesn’t, because the underlying metaphor is sloppy and does not get at the relationship between masculinity and manhood. I don’t have another phrase to propose right now and so I don’t object to “toxic masculinity.” I just wanted to explain why I think it’s insufficient.

  88. 89
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Grace Annam says:
    July 7, 2017 at 10:48 am
    So, you object to the term but don’t understand it well enough to propose a better one?

    Sigh. Come on, Grace, I have no idea which definition Harlequin wants to use, which is half the problem with the term in the first place; I also have no idea which information Harlequin is focusing on.

    Google “define toxic masculinity” and you will find all sorts of things…

    Toxic masculinity is an inherently narrow and restrictive band of behavior, belief and appearance. It reduces the idea of “what is a man” to someone who’s emotionally repressed, thuggishly violent, sexually aggressive almost to the point of mindlessness and inherently self-centered, whose status as a man is based almost entirely on the size of his penis. It’s the natural endpoint of “I’ve got mine, fuck you”, where everything is about the performance rather than the reality.

    or

    Deeply embedded in the patriarchy are the socially constructed norms that define masculinity; think physically strong, unsentimental, and assertive. These descriptions make up the traditional image of men and define the term “toxic masculinity.”

    or

    the term toxic masculinity serves to outline aspects of hegemonic masculinity that are socially destructive, “such as misogyny, homophobia, greed, and violent domination“. Kupers states that other aspects of hegemonic masculinity such as [BUT NOT] “pride in [one’s] ability to win at sports, to maintain solidarity with a friend, to succeed at work, or to provide for [one’s] family”, are not part of the concept of toxic masculinity

    And of course there are the various definitions which rest on the “including” or “…and so forth” or “…etc.” angles, without drawing boundaries about anything, which means that just about anything gets lumped in at times, e.g.

    Toxic masculinity is one of the ways in which Patriarchy is harmful to men. It refers to the socially-constructed attitudes that describe the masculine gender role as violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, and so forth.

    My own definition would not have matched any of these, but my definition is irrelevant to know what Harlequin means. That’s why I responded to Harlequin’s “tell me the replacement word” challenge by saying “start by telling me what information you want to convey.”

    So, fine, if you understand the meaning but think that a given label doesn’t convey it, feel free to suggest a different label. But if you don’t understand the meaning well enough to suggest a different label, you’re not in a great position to declare the existing label inaccurate.

    I understand each of those meanings above, as I suspect you do as well. But they’re not the same meaning; I don’t need to cling to one of them in order to point out the accuracy problem.

    P.S. It would be nice if you, too, could stop with the “you’re saying…” intro. Like I wrote to Harlequin, I’m saying what I said. Feel free to make up as many hypothetical opponents as you like, but please don’t paste my face on them and claim they’re me.

  89. 90
    Grace Annam says:

    And so it came up: “What is toxic masculinity?
    “Isn’t it just
    “Misandry?”

    Surely not. That’s too easy.
    Toxic masculinity is a misogynist, too.

    “Well, what’s the opposite of ‘toxic’?
    “Healthy?”

    Surely not.
    “Healthy” is a state of being.
    “Toxic” is an effect on a state of being.

    It seems so clear to me.
    I wonder at this difficulty.
    Surely the opposite of “toxic” is “nourishing.”
    Surely the opposite of “toxic” is “sustaining.”
    Surely the opposite of “toxic” is “uplifting.”
    Surely the opposite of “toxic” is “strengthening.”

    Years ago, I heard my wife tell our toddlers,
    “We don’t make ourselves feel big by making others feel small.”
    She steered our child away from toxic masculinity
    in small words to make it plain for small ears.

    Toxic masculinity tears down, wears away.
    Toxic masculinity feels big by making women feel small.
    Toxic masculinity feels big by making men feel small.
    Toxic masculinity feels big by making other masculinities feel small.
    Toxic masculinity must prove himself
    by bellowing at the vortex of his own uncertainty.

    Nourishing masculinity keeps a weather-eye on the vortex
    and gets on with it.

    Sustaining masculinity does not cry
    unless it’s time to cry,
    and then cries,
    knowing that toxic masculinity will point and laugh,
    and then stops when the time to cry is done,
    and gets on with things.

    Nourishing masculinity puts a steady hand on the tiller.
    Toxic masculinity wants you to know that he’s steering.

    Nourishing masculinity does not wonder
    whether he’s better or worse than femininity,
    and thinks that’s a weird question.

    Uplifting masculinity lifts up
    women and men,
    men and women,
    and those in between
    and other people
    because surely everyone could use a lift up,
    except toxic masculinity,
    who doesn’t need you
    (except as audience),
    and doesn’t ask for help
    or directions
    (and particularly not from women,
    those in between,
    and other people,
    all of which he dismisses as feminine).

    Sustaining masculinity strives against friends,
    exults in his victories,
    and their victories,
    and savors the striving.

    Toxic masculinity strives against friends
    (he thinks he knows friendship when he sees it)
    and exults in you noticing his victories.

    Sustaining masculinity mocks gently,
    tapping your shoulder
    with an eye to helping you widen your stance.
    Toxic masculinity mocks roughly,
    slapping the back of your head
    with an eye on the camera.

    Nourishing masculinity gets on with the business
    of a community thriving
    and shakes his head as toxic masculinity insists
    on making it harder.

    -Grace

  90. 91
    Ampersand says:

    My theory is that there’s been no chat since Grace’s post because it’s such a hard act to follow. Amazing post, Grace!

  91. 92
    kate says:

    Grace, that was beautiful. Thank-you.

  92. 93
    Harlequin says:

    Your theory is entirely correct, Amp. Thanks, Grace!

  93. That’s a lovely meditation, Grace.

  94. 95
    Harlequin says:

    Thanks, everyone, for taking the question about other terms for toxic masculinity so seriously–that was super interesting to read!

    To respond more specifically to g&w:

    The problem I am talking about arises when people are talking outside their in-group. Did you not get that context?

    There’s a difference between intended audience and actual audience. This whole conversation started as a result of a college class called “The Problem of Whiteness”–presumably intended for a certain kind of audience, but which got play outside that audience. The comments here at Alas are public and new people sometimes (often?) wander by and see things, even if the discussion was originally just between social justice-y folks. Etc. So I think you would see people who object to feminists (or whatever group) using “toxic masculinity” even if feminists only ever used that phrase to each other, as long as they did it in public. The discussion arenas would have to be limited very severely, to in-person discussion, locked Internet forums, or similar, if we were to avoid non-SJ people ever hearing those phrases.

    But although I disagree with your framing, I see that your comment was intended to be taken to apply only to discussions between social justice-y types and non-SJ types. So some of my criticisms don’t apply to your specific comment. I’ll also say before I begin that after reading your response and going back to the original comment, I do agree I interpreted you as making the dichotomy you proposed more extreme than you actually did, so that also reduces some of my criticisms.

    Because if something is reasonable, just, ethical, and so on, it is hard for it to be Islamophobic

    True. But something can be unreasonable, unjust, unethical, and so on, without being bigoted. And I think the bigotry is a point that also needs to be addressed. You agreed that describing it just as bigotry is fine (and I think it’s fine, too)–but your original list included only one word that addressed bigotry, and it was a word you were putting in the bucket of “better not to use to non-SJ people.” I wanted to point that distinction out because–while I don’t think you intended it–I also don’t think it’s coincidental. If you recommend that SJ people limit their vocabulary to non-SJ terms in certain situations, you’re going to remove a lot of words that address various kinds of bigotry. That may be what we want to do, but it’s worth considering that loss.

    Again, it would be nice if you could avoid strawmanning my argument for your ow convenience. “done to get cookies”? “spouting shibboleths”? Seriously, dude.

    What I said, actually, could better be summed up as “you shouldn’t choose signaling over broad communication and then complain when people react to the signal.” Of course these things have meaning to the in-group. And of course everyone can do what they want.

    I think, perhaps, you misunderstood what I said. Or I’m having trouble parsing this if you didn’t. Let’s see if I can explain better. In your original comment, you said:

    “Western beauty standards” is a good example of what I see as a communication-oriented phrase. It’s reasonably precise (yet broad enough to be useful); it is fairly comprehensible to laypeople; the definition has a reasonably high overlap between people who use it. Obviously it’s not as precise as “the pressure to use hair straighteners” but it’s

    “Toxic masculinity” is a good example of what I see as a signal-oriented phrase. It is imprecise on its own; it is not really comprehensible to laypeople; and the definition is floppy depending on who is speaking and what they think of as “toxic”.

    Then again, a lot of smart people use the term “toxic masculinity”. Since they’re smart folks I assume they are well aware of the limitations of the term–and it’s clear they could easily use alternate terms which don’t have those limitations. So it seems like the decision to use “toxic masculinity” is inherently a decision to prioritize signaling to already-in-group members, over communication with non-group members.

    The way I interpreted this–and I can’t see another way to interpret it, but if I am incorrect, please tell me–is that you think there are words which have clear meanings to laypeople, and words that are less clear but also signal…something…to the in-group. Therefore, people use the second category of words because they want to signal in-group membership more than they want to clearly communicate something. (I suppose there’s probably at least a third category of “generally incomprehensible,” as well as a fourth category of “very comprehensible but very strongly indicating group membership. I’m not sure if you felt you didn’t need to address those because they weren’t germane to the situation, or if you didn’t think about them, or what. Also, your examples also imply that group membership signals vs the communication of ideas is something that happens on a word-by-word level, and, at least in English, I don’t think that’s accurate. But that may be beyond the scope of this conversation. :) )

    The original dichotomy is somewhat more comprehensible if I change my understanding of your comment to “only in discussions with non-group members,” which I didn’t originally for the reasons stated above. In my original understanding, you were assigning all uses of the phrase “toxic masculinity” to the second thing–primacy of conveying group membership–which I found silly, and it’s why I went for the hyperbolic sarcasm mode of describing it as shibboleths and cookies. I still think you’re assuming mental state where it’s not warranted, though, because the only way I can interpret the last two paragraphs of that last quote is for you to be saying something like, Since I do not believe toxic masculinity has a reasonably precise meaning, other people who use it must be in agreement, and therefore they are using it to signal group membership more than they are using it to communicate what they think the meaning is. So your lack of understanding of a term is used to categorize not only the effect but the intent of other people’s speech, when the explanation “other people understand this word differently from me” should also be at least on your radar.

    In other words, when you say:

    What I said, actually, could better be summed up as “you shouldn’t choose signaling over broad communication and then complain when people react to the signal.” Of course these things have meaning to the in-group. And of course everyone can do what they want.

    I wasn’t confused on this point. I was objecting to which things you categorized as signaling vs non-signaling, and to the reasoning you say you used to decide that. And more generally objecting to the idea that this was a neat dichotomy at all.

    As a side note: you listed a whole bunch of meanings in comment 89, and then claim that you can’t know what I mean by toxic masculinity, because the definitions don’t agree. But I think they do agree. They’re just on a continuum from abstract–“the term toxic masculinity serves to outline aspects of hegemonic masculinity that are socially destructive”–to concrete–“emotionally repressed, thuggishly violent, sexually aggressive almost to the point of mindlessness and inherently self-centered, whose status as a man is based almost entirely on the size of his penis.” (And the femmagazine one is overly broad and imprecise, I will grant you, but the rest of the article is decent. Anyway, “thing is imprecise” and “people explain thing badly” are related but distinct phenomena.)

    Like, literally, never? Or is that rhetorical overstatement?

    Literally never, in a very specific sense of “how you’re using it”: afaict, you’re using it to mean “signal (common?) group membership”, but you’re just calling the thing “signaling”, without saying what it’s signaling (or, in some cases, to whom). If you’ll forgive the phrase, this usage seems floppy and imprecise, and it might be part of the reason I’m having trouble finding common ground to discuss this with you.

  95. 96
    Sebastian H says:

    I think the in group out group discussion identifies a big part of the problem, but additionally I think the phrase toxic masculinity is trouble because it seems to be used in a way that is ambiguous about whether or not we are to interpret ALL masculinity as toxic or not. So it seems a lot like a slightly coded attack against all forms but in a defensible way. (Think dog whistle which again gets to in group out group issues).

    Part of it may also be where people are in the feminist conversation. Until trans issues came to the fore, the “all masculinity is toxic” side of the argument seemed more ascendant than it does now if you are super plugged in to feminist discourse. If you aren’t, you might not be aware of how much that has lost ground in say the last 5-10 years.

  96. 97
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    The way I interpreted this–and I can’t see another way to interpret it, but if I am incorrect, please tell me–is that you think there are words which have clear meanings to laypeople, and words that are less clear but also signal…something…to the in-group. Therefore, people use the second category of words because they want to signal in-group membership more than they want to clearly communicate something.

    Yes. And I believe this is common.

    I feel some obligation to keep pointing out counter-examples, to make it clear that I think folks can communicate effectively without those interpretation problems. Take the RJN link he posted. Those paragraphs offer a SJ perspective, which is not unusual. But what makes them unusual–and unusually good–is their clarity. They can be evaluated, discussed, and responded to, whether you agree with them or not.

    **BTW, can someone clarify whether “SJW” is OK to use? I thought from a while back, maybe months ago, that Amp thought the term was insulting, not to mention that the term is vague, so I stopped using it. But everyone seems to use it now–including Amp.

  97. 98
    Ampersand says:

    I don’t think I use the term “SJW,” except as part of the term “anti-SJW.” Since I’ve yet to meet an anti-SJW who finds the term “anti-SJW” insulting [*], and since it does (imo) usefully identify a political perspective that exists, I use the term.

    I would prefer you not using “SJW.” “SJs” seems like a reasonable alternative.

    [*]Although I’m sure they exist, of course.

  98. 99
    nobody.really says:

    Three thoughts:

    My theory is that there’s been no chat since Grace’s post because it’s such a hard act to follow.

    Your theory is entirely correct, Amp.

    Yet another example of liberals using their language as a means of silencing others. Where will it end?

    This is off-topic to the discussion going on, since I don’t think there’s anyone here actually defending the term “Motte and Bailey,” but I’m linking it anyway because I think it’s a good post….

    In a similar vein, this might be off-topic, but it’s close enough to justify the link to my favorite (if long) discussion of in-group/out-group dynamics: I Can Tolerate Anything Except [the Out-Group].

    Sustaining masculinity strives against friends,
    exults in his victories,
    and their victories,
    and savors the striving.

    Toxic masculinity strives against friends
    (he thinks he knows friendship when he sees it)
    and exults in you noticing his victories.

    I’m reminded of the traditional distinction between Honor Culture and Dignity Culture.

    Honor Dignity Culture reflects the idea that all people have intrinsic worth. To act in a manner so as to advertise your worth would merely advertise your lack of faith in your intrinsic worth—and thereby undermine the claim you seek to make. In contrast, Honor Culture reflects the idea that worth arises from your position in hierarchy. People are expected to advertise their status, demanding and giving acknowledgment of the status of others, and taking retribution against those who fail to offer the desired acknowledgment. The dignified person responds to an offense by ignoring it, or if that is not practical, by addressing the matter in private, or by referring the matter to authorities. The honorable person responds to slights by demanding a public apology and, if the apology is not forthcoming, challenging the person to a fight. Duels, or “affairs of honor,” arose from Honor Culture.

    Visitors to the early US would remark upon the relatively taciturn and even abrupt nature of New Englanders, compared to the more courtly Southerners. Arguably, they simply observed that New Englanders had less to fear from actions that might be seen as giving offense. In contrast, people who live under constant threat of being challenged to a duel learn to make a display of acknowledging other people’s status.

    I read Grace’s comments to suggest that “toxic masculinity” reflects Honor Culture. I’ll have to reflect on this.

    (For what it’s worth, scholars analyzed an altercation at Amp’s alma mater to suggest that campus life is becoming dominated not by Honor Culture or Dignity Culture, but by a new value system they dubbed Victimhood Culture).

    [edited by Grace to fix an apparent typo]

  99. 100
    Sebastian H says:

    So, perhaps clarifying a bit more on the Chicago Dyke March. They (or at least the holder of their twitter account) used an anti-Semitic slur popularized by David Duke and double down about how responding to that by noting its origin is unfair by comparing People of Color to the KKK. Ugh.

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