Open Thread and Link Farm, Melting Butter Edition

  1. Amia Srinivasan · Does anyone have the right to sex? · London Review of Books
    A long read, but interesting. “The question, then, is how to dwell in the ambivalent place where we acknowledge that no one is obligated to desire anyone else, that no one has a right to be desired, but also that who is desired and who isn’t is a political question, a question usually answered by more general patterns of domination and exclusion.”
  2. The Media Must Stop Taking ‘Incel’ Agitprop Seriously
    “The proposition that sex is ‘unequally distributed,’ which is taken for granted in all of these chin-stroking arguments, is a highly contestable claim. Being outside of hegemonic beauty norms does not inherently deny you love or sex; your place in that hierarchy instead shapes other things untethered to your actual sex life.”
  3. It’s 2018, and people are suddenly screaming at each other about 85-year-old comic strip character Nancy
    The new “Nancy” – or at least, the strips that currently exist to be read – seems fresh and funny. I hope she can keep it up.
  4. State of Conflict: How a tiny protest at the U. of Nebraska turned into a proxy war for the future of campus politics
    Excellent, nuanced, a bit long.
  5. McInnes, Molyneux, and 4chan: Investigating pathways to the alt-right | Southern Poverty Law Center
    Basically they just compiled some numbers from a thread on an alt-right board about how people found the alt-right. They say something that strikes me as very foolish right at the start – “Respondents recount a transformation that takes place almost entirely online,” which seems like something that might be meaningful, but might also be just because the only people in their “sample” are people who participate in online communities – but there’s some interesting stuff here, too.
  6. Upstate NY farmer says ICE officers stormed his farm without a warrant, cuffed him, threw his phone | syracuse.com
  7. CIA Discrimination Against Disabled Officers Is Hurting the U.S.
  8. Why Is Charles Murray Odious? | Current Affairs
    Lots of stuff here I hadn’t know, from his teenage cross-burning (he says he had no idea it could be taken as racist) to his theory that virtually no Black musicians have made notable contributions to culture.
  9. For Survivors of Prison Rape, Saying ‘Me Too’ Isn’t an Option – Rewire.News
    Content warning for descriptions of rape.
  10. Emailed exchanged between Ezra Klein and Sam Harris
    A bit of a train wreck, but fascinating anyhow. As Harris comments, “Judging from the response to this post on social media, my decision to publish these emails appears to have backfired.” This exchange of emails eventually led to a podcast debate, which you can read and/or listen to here.
  11. The Woman Who Accidentally Started the Incel Movement
    “I can’t uninvent this word, nor restrict it to the nicer people who need it.”
  12. How White American Terrorists Are Radicalized – Pacific Standard
    “When hundreds of ‘lone wolves’ are reading the same websites, talking to each other, consuming the same stories, picking up easily accessible weapons, and killing the same targets, they have become a pack.”
  13. She Tried To Report On Climate Change. Sinclair Told Her To Be More “Balanced.”
  14. Trump to cancel TPS protections for Hondurans who’ve lived in US for decades – Vox
    All these folks are in the US legally.
  15. Teenager’s Prom Dress Stirs Furor in U.S. — but Not in China – The New York Times
    Definitely one of those “I’m embarrassed for the left” moments. But also an example of how the internet makes us worse off by turning what should have been a controversy for the school paper, into a national story involving tens of thousands of people criticizing a random teen for her prom dress.
  16. ICE held an American man in custody for 1,273 days. He’s not the only one who had to prove his citizenship
    The Obama administration deserves a great deal of blame for this.
  17. Sexual Assaults in Immigration Detention Centers Rarely Get Investigated, Group Charges
    Content warning, obviously.
  18. DNA blunder creates phantom serial killer | The Independent
    “The only clues that “The Woman Without a Face” left behind at 40 different crime scenes were DNA traces. These were collected on cotton swabs, supplied to the police in a number of European countries. Now police investigators have established that in all probability the DNA had not been left by their quarry but by a woman working for the German medical company supplying the swabs…”
  19. How the Border Patrol Faked Statistics Showing a 73 Percent Rise in Assaults Against Agents
    “Tomsheck said that during his more than three decades of police work, he has never heard of any law enforcement agency multiplying assaulted officers by the perpetrators and the weapons. When I asked Franklin Zimring, a criminologist at the University of California, Berkeley and author of When Police Kill, if he’d ever heard of such a method, he burst out laughing.”

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83 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Melting Butter Edition

  1. 1
    Michael says:

    The problem with much of the discussion of the problem of “incels” is that people seem to be conflating two groups- (1) involuntary virgins who are no more violent and hateful than the average man and (2) involuntary virgins who are violent and hateful. Sex workers, for example, might be a good idea for (1) but not for (2).

  2. 2
    kibbitz says:

    Re: #4. This was a great article. It’s also exhibit A in how the norms of academia are actively undermining it with the world it claims to study and benefit.

    In the world where the 46-year-old Lawton lives, it’s not shocking for an older instructor to loudly berate a 19-year-old student espousing political opinions well within the mainstream of her community. To say otherwise would be tone policing. In Lawton’s little bubble, the 19-year-old’s whiteness serves as a carte blanche for Lawton to say whatever she wants, however she wants to say it. Any hurt feelings are “white tears.” Any offense taken is so-called White Feminism. Case closed, end of story.

    Outside that tiny little world, however “Becky” compares to words we know as slurs, people know when they’re being insulted and react accordingly. Bringing up a generation of activists who actually believe in stuff like tone policing is going to mean a generation of activists who get laughed out of non-academic settings. Assuming, that is, if the wider electorate is willing to continue pay for those academic settings in the first place.

  3. 3
    Jokuvaan says:

    @Michael

    The problem with much of the discussion of the problem of “incels” is that people seem to be conflating two groups- (1) involuntary virgins who are no more violent and hateful than the average man and (2) involuntary virgins who are violent and hateful. Sex workers, for example, might be a good idea for (1) but not for (2).

    Of course they are. The word incel includes both groups so yes obviously they conflate them.
    Also not all incels are men or straight.

    Though why would sex workers be a good idea for group 1?
    To avoid shaming by society they could just lie about whether they are virgins or not.
    Its not like anyone gets their hymen checked in a western country.

    Though what amuses me greatly is how the same people whom defend Islam as a whole are concerned about incels because of the safety of women.
    Truly truth is stranger than fiction.

  4. 4
    Ampersand says:

    Though what amuses me greatly is how the same people whom defend Islam as a whole are concerned about incels because of the safety of women.

    By “Islam as a whole,” do you mean they defend extremist fundamentalist Islam? For example, are they defending laws like this or like this from fundamentalist Islamic run governments?

  5. 5
    Gracchus says:

    #15 says: “Others were quick to point out that the qipao, as it is known in China, was introduced by the Manchus, an ethnic minority group from China’s northeast — implying that the garment was itself appropriated by the majority Han Chinese.”

    Article seems to forget or not know that the qipao was popularised when the Manchus were ruling China as the Qing Dynasty. So while they were technically a minority, they enthusiastically promoted the Qipao and other forms of Manchu fashion (pigtails are a good example) among Han and other ethnic groups as a sign of subjugation. Saying the Han “appropriated” the Qipao from the Manchu is like saying Indians “appropriated” the English language from the British.

  6. 6
    desipis says:

    The issue in #15 was never about the dress. The issue was that the girl was perceived as white. The left has managed to frame the harassment and intimidation of white people due to the colour of their skill as a morally righteous act.

  7. 7
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    The whole incel discussion is incredibly frustrating to me. Especially the reactions to Douthat and Hanson.

    On one hand, there’s some serious arm-chair theorizing going on about sex, sexless men, sexual hierarchies, and the ideology/motivations of actual self-identified incels. I’d really like to see more quotes from real incels- what do they think about proposed “solutions” to sexual inequality? I think these interactions would be revealing, and I’d really love to see an organization like Vice.com do one of their little mini-documentaries, taking a deep dive into the incel community.

    On the other hand, as someone familiar with Robin Hanson and Douthat, I’m disapointed with the way they are being misrepresented and vilified, including calls for Douthat to be fired. Hanson is a very strange man with a unique but valuable perspective. It’s in his nature to imagine controversial though-experiments. We need people like that. I thought his interview at Slate was excellent (found here: https://slate.com/business/2018/05/robin-hanson-the-sex-redistribution-professor-interviewed.html ). His emotional detachment and linguistic precision are on full display throughout, but especially in this exchange:

    Jordan Weissmann: Isn’t the simplest explanation that money’s really important and you can’t live without it?

    Robin Hanson: We live in a rich society.

    Jordan Weissmann: Not everybody is rich, though. That’s the whole point.

    Robin Hanson: They’re still rich compared to most people who ever lived in history. Compared to the median person in history, almost everyone in our society is rich. And so, the threat of not dying if you don’t have enough money is really a pretty minor threat for the vast majority of people in rich societies.

    Jordan Weisman: Is that the standard we really want to judge by now? Not dying?

    Robin Hanson: Well that’s the one you mentioned!

    Jordan Weissman: I want to move on to another one of your most controversial posts or series of posts…

    To me, the entire interview was thought-provoking, and I especially appreciated Jordan’s reaching out, and Robin’s willingness to speak cordially with someone who had just called him a creep. More of this sort of thing, please.

    As to Douthat (his op-ed: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/02/opinion/incels-sex-robots-redistribution.html). I hardly ever agree with his opinions. He’s a traditional conservative catholic, and I’m none of those things. I still appreciated his take on this, and I was disappointed that so many people misunderstood that he’s writing the piece as a traditional conservative with reactionary tendencies. He’s not calling for sex redistribution, he’s lamenting the fact that we even have to have this discussion at all. He’d like to go back in time to a (IMO fictional) world where traditional values make it easier for people to form lasting romantic partnerships. To me, his view is valuable because my own attempts to repsond to his arguments help clarify my position, which more closely resembles…

    Link #2 is written by a woman who recognizes that Douthat is being misunderstood. She goes after some of his assumptions rather than a Douthat made of straw (I wish she wouldn’t have started by associating his ideas with incels, themselves though- it would have been enough to simply point out how she thinks the ideas are wrong). I’d like to see more dialogue between these two writers and others along the same lines. They both make assumptions, and I’d like to hear more about how they came to understand human sexuality, and more evidence from both of them would be nice. I’d love to hear an interview or podcast between them- I’m just afraid Douthat will be silenced first- either by a twitter mob, or the NYT itself. I don’t tweet, but I lurk twitter, and tweets mischaracterizing his op-ed are getting tens of thousands of views, likes, and retweets. They are going more viral than the article itself! I’ve never been subject to anything like that, but I imagine it’s crushing.

  8. 8
    Jokuvaan says:

    By “Islam as a whole,” do you mean they defend extremist fundamentalist Islam?

    I’m not sure if that’s a thing. If its fundamentalist its rather predictable as they are simply adhering to their written doctrine which is public information.
    I mean that alone justifies ethnical cleansing, genocide, torture, slavery, rape, throwing gays of the roof, pedofilia, suicide bombings, turning a ice cream cart into a IED to kill children whose only sin was wanting to eat before the sun has set, ect.
    What could a extreme fundamentalist possibly add to the list?
    Cannibalism?

    For example, are they defending laws like this or like this from fundamentalist Islamic run governments?

    Not directly. Besides even if they did support it, it would be a tactical mistake to do so openly.
    However they are indirectly supporting it as in defending the ideology that justifies said laws and are in the larger picture defending and enabling islamists/jihadists through various means like spreading disinformation that benefits them or oppose border security.
    Even to a guy like me that’s cold.

    Practical example: Frontpage Editor Jamie Glazov got suspended from twitter for referencing verses from the Qur’an and Hadith because its hate speech.
    However when the same verses are being quoted by a muslim to incite violence then its religious freedom and gets hushed up.

  9. 9
    Ampersand says:

    Nah. I think violent Islamic misogynist terrorists are trash, just as I think violent Christian misogynist terrorists are trash.

    But the large majority of people, in both religions, are against such violence. You seem unwilling or unable to acknowledge that distinction. Instead, as we both know, your response to that would be something along the lines of suggesting that because I make a distinction between violent, misogynistic Muslims vs Muslims “as a whole,” then I don’t really oppose misogyny, or whatever.

    You are boring. Your views are nonsense. And your thinking is too calcified and shallow for you to even be capable of having an interesting discussion.

    So you’re banned from “Alas.”

    The good news for you is, now you get to go around and lie and claim you were banned for being against Muslim misogyny. You know that’s not the case, but you’ll tell the lie anyhow.

  10. 10
    Michael says:

    @Jeff#7- I think Robin’s arguments WERE creepy- comparing cuckoldry to rape.

  11. 11
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    I think his posts on the topic are bizarre but kind of fascinating.

    It’s weird. People can talk about ethical dilemmas in an abstract way when they involve death. We do it all the time. The standard trolly problem is a good example of this. People talking about the dollar value of saving a life are engaging in this. People do the same when they discuss war-game-theory. I don’t see trolly experiments as creepy- uncomfortable maybe, but not creepy.

    Abstract conversations about rape do feel different, and I think this feeling is precisely what Robin is trying to force you to ponder. I really like exploring my own moral intuitions, so naturally, I’m drawn to thinkers like Hanson.

  12. Regarding “incels:” I think it’s important to point out that there are at least two countries—China and India—where involuntary male celibacy is a material and socioeconomic reality brought on by the very male dominant, patriarchal preference for male children endemic to those cultures.

  13. 13
    David Simon says:

    Amp, thank you for banning Jokuvaan, they were definitely degrading the high quality of discussion I’m used to here.

  14. 14
    Dee says:

    “Amp, thank you for banning Jokuvaan, they were definitely degrading the high quality of discussion I’m used to here.”

    Yup, you’ve got to keep those jerkballs out. I so admire you, Ampersand. I have three children, and I’ve named each of them “Ampersand,” just so I have experience the pleasure of saying your name often every day. You really are the best blogger in the universe. And you’re sweet as a button and well-dressed. I admire you almost as much as I admire that famous man-about-town Richard J. Newman.

  15. 15
    CLE says:

    Dee, you may THINK you admire Ampersand, but I admire him twice as much as you do. He is the Black Panther movie compared to me, while I am the Fantastic Four movie. Not even the awful recent FF movie; I’m saying I’m like the 1994 Roger Corman Fantastic Four movie, which is widely regarded as the worse superhero movie ever made. Ampersand is the delicious sizzling steak from an expensive steakhouse; I am the McDonalds burger that’s been lying on the pavement for two days, before I picked it up and ate it.

    Professor Doctor Richard J. Newman MD., you are awesome too. I wish that I had one-tenth of your good looks, writing chops, and Mr Rogers like cheer.

    I admit, it’s possible that me and Dee are sock puppet trolls who have been banned, and it’s also possible that one of the moderators altered the text of our comments. But not in any major way – a word or two, tops.

  16. 16
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Good riddance.

  17. 17
    desipis says:

    Is ‘Ladies Lingerie’ a Harmless Joke or Harassment?

    Last month, during a conference for scholars who study international affairs, Simona Sharoni, a professor of women’s and gender studies at Merrimack College, asked a crowded hotel elevator what floor everyone needed. Richard Ned Lebow, a professor of political theory at King’s College London, replied, “Ladies’ lingerie” (or, as Sharoni remembers it, “Women’s lingerie.”) Several people laughed. Was that sexual harassment?

    Academics have been debating the question among themselves since last month, when Sharoni filed a formal complaint about the incident, triggering an investigation by the International Studies Association. The ISA would later conclude that Lebow must apologize in writing by May 15.

    So far, he has refused.

    The article does a thorough job of analysing both sides of the issue as well as the problems in the process and policies of the International Studies Association.

  18. 18
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks for posting that link, Desipis; I thought the article was excellent.

    And I found something to disagree with in the actions of virtually every actor in this case. :-p

  19. 19
    Sebastian H says:

    I was just about to suggest the Atlantic Ladies’ Lingerie article as an excellent analysis. A bunch of the problem is a studious lack of proportion. The discussions I’ve seen on the topic go round and round like this:

    A: I can’t believe she is trying to get an academic reprimand out of a joke.

    B: Jokes belittle and demean people, can be used to harass, and are often used to silence women.

    A: Isn’t that a little hysterical?

    B: [head explodes]

    The problem is that while jokes CAN belittle and demean people, CAN be used to harass, and CAN be used to silence women, this particular joke didn’t actually do that.

    We shouldn’t engage on the level of “can jokes be harassing” but rather on whether or not THIS joke was harassing.

    Similarly the committee isn’t doing its job by saying that reaching out to the complainant in an email can be harassing. Of course emails CAN be harassing. The question is whether or not THIS email was harassing.

    A lot of academic debate seems to be about whether or not certain edge cases can do certain edge case things. Yes “it was a joke” shouldn’t be considered some sort of universal defense, but neither is “it was a joke” some sort of universally appropriate attack. Have a sense of proportion.

    I want that from the joke tellers too. Yes mild ribbing shouldn’t be banned, but purposely making people intensely uncomfortable with ‘just a joke’ isn’t ok either. Exercise a sense of proportion.

    The worst actor in the case was the committee. They should have specifically analyzed the case at hand and determined either that it wasn’t serious enough to be worth acting on at all, or was worth the mildest of reprimands to Lebow.

  20. 20
    Michael says:

    Barry, regarding some of your comments earlier on twitter, I think there’s something that you should know but I don’t feel comfortable discussing it here, so I’m going to be emailing you.

  21. 21
    Gracchus says:

    @Ampersand: I’m curious. What do you think the victim did wrong in this case? I can see a lot of bad faith and harmful actions from the committee and the “joke-teller”, but I don’t see how the actions of the victim can be disagreed with from a feminist perspective. She felt harassed, she took appropriate action. Surely we should all encourage and support that?

  22. 22
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Grachus, if a “feminist perspective” doesn’t allow one to disagree with this particular “victim,” there may be something wrong with the “feminist perspective.”

    FWIW, I don’t think it’s at all fair to define the “feminist perspective” so rigidly. I think the perspective you’re pointing to needs another name. To me, the over-combative righteousness on display in Connor’s article sounds like a straw-man version of feminism- something Ben Shapiro would rail against in an effort to smear an entire movement.

    Overly combative ideologues exist, but being on the fringe, their voices are amplified louder than they should be, and sometimes they will be over-represented in leadership roles and the like (such as a professorship, leadership positions within the ISA, etc). This happens in so many movements. No one should let their movement be defined by it’s fringe actors- not if they want to be taken serious anyway.

  23. 23
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Not sure who did it, but I’m really digging the way those puppet-posts were handled. Funny and likely effective.

  24. 24
    Gracchus says:

    @Jeffrey: First, please be aware that the “overly combative” criticism is a very hackneyed one when it comes to criticism of feminists. In fact it’s not limited to feminists – every time a member of an oppressed group speaks up about their oppression, there is always a member of a privileged group ready to tell them s/he would be happy to listen to their grievances if only they weren’t so “combative”.

    Secondly, could you point out what about the victim’s behaviour strikes you as “combative”? She was harassed, she made a complaint to the responsible organisation. Is making complaints through a procedure that specifically invites complaints “combative”?

  25. 25
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    To me, filing a complaint with an authority, with the expectation of some kind of punishment, is itself combative. Filing a complaint over that joke is combative because it’s a stretch to find any slight there- she’s combative like a man with a chip on his shoulder, looking to punch another guy in the face.

    It’s true that much of the time a member of an oppressed group speaks up about their oppression, a privileged person will doubt their experience or judge their emotional reaction. Every now and again, the privileged person is actually right, though. When that does happens, it often makes the news and goes viral, as it did here.

    Sebastian H said:

    We shouldn’t engage on the level of “can jokes be harassing” but rather on whether or not THIS joke was harassing.

    He’s right. In the same way, we shouldn’t engage on the level of “feminists are often unfairly dismissed as being unnecessarily combative,” but rather on whether this feminist was unnecessarily combative. Because it’s not at all outside the realm of possibility.

  26. 26
    Gracchus says:

    If you consider filing a complaint to be “combative”, I honestly don’t know what to say to you.

  27. 27
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Yeah, that first paragraph is unclear and doesn’t really convey my meaning well. My bad.

    I meant it was combative in this instance where there’s nothing offensive in the joke. Obviously there are offensive jokes, and filing a complaint in response to such a joke would be justified and likely proportional.

  28. 28
    Kate says:

    This piece on maternal mortality in the U.S. is really good. Watch the embedded video as well.

  29. 29
    Gracchus says:

    @Jeffrey: Well for the record, I think the joke was offensive.

    But here’s the thing – what you’re describing is not the woman in question deliberately acting in a combative or confrontational way. She could obviously have been way more confrontational or combative. She presumably had an honest belief that the joke was offensive, but if we take that belief as a given, she was about as non-combative as possible; the only way to be less combative is to have done nothing, or perhaps vented to her friends.

    You might disagree with her, but it seems you are basically saying “this woman was combative because she believed something was offensive that I don’t believe is offensive”. If that’s the case, then the issue is not really “combative” vs “non-combative”. The issue is what is and isn’t offensive. So your problem with certain feminists isn’t that they behave in a certain way, but rather that they believe certain things.

    This is often what lies behind the “combative” criticism – it’s phrased as an argument about tone or behaviour, but it comes down to the critic’s desire to police what others do or do not experience as offensive or harmful. When the person doing the policing is a man policing a woman’s experience of sexist jokes, that’s even more problematic.

    This is the kind of thing that makes me pretty sceptical when I hear the “I’m not against feminists/anti-racists/queer rights activists, I just wish the minority weren’t so combative” critique.

  30. 30
    desipis says:

    Gracchus:

    I think the joke was offensive.

    I’m curious, why do you find it offensive?

  31. 32
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    This is often what lies behind the “combative” criticism – it’s phrased as an argument about tone or behaviour, but it comes down to the critic’s desire to police what others do

    Grachus, what’s up with the use of the word policing here? It seems like you apply it asymmetrically.

    A woman felt slighted because… well I’m not sure why, so she escalates the situation by filing a formal complaint with an authority But that’s not policing (?).

    A guy on a forum disagrees with you that a “feminist perspective” must entail supporting this woman no matter what, and thinks she’s being unnecessarily combative. He makes no calls for firing or punishment or anything like that, he’s just critical of the professor’s behavior. That is policing.

    I get the idea the when someone criticizes cultural norms or actions you don’t like, it’s justice-in-action, but when the criticism is directed at norms you do like, it’s policing.

  32. 33
    Gracchus says:

    Not necessarily Jeffrey, but I don’t have the time and I’m sure you don’t have the interest to outline all my various beliefs.

    You’re saying that the woman should not have made use of support systems designed explicitly to support people in the situation she found herself. I’m sure you have no intent of actually physically preventing her, or advocating anybody else do so, but you are saying that she’s discrediting feminism in doing so. This is very strong language, which is why I’m comfortable using the term “policing”, as opposed to “criticising”.

  33. 34
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    …but you are saying that she’s discrediting feminism in doing so.

    I didn’t say that. I was explicit in pointing out that a “feminist perspective,” shouldn’t (and IMO doesn’t) require a person to side with this professor in this particular situation.

    She’s discrediting herself.

  34. 35
    Gracchus says:

    You said her behaviour was a smear on the entire movement.

  35. 36
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Here is what I wrote:

    To me, the over-combative righteousness on display in Connor’s article sounds like a straw-man version of feminism- something Ben Shapiro would rail against in an effort to smear an entire movement

    .

    That’s not at all what you said I wrote.

  36. 37
    Sebastian H says:

    “If you consider filing a complaint to be “combative”, I honestly don’t know what to say to you.”

    That level of generality isn’t helpful. If I file a complaint with the police asking them to investigate something that absolutely may be “combative” or grossly inappropriate depending on the severity of the situation. If I’m a Starbucks employee who calls the police on black men sitting down but who haven’t ordered yet, it is just ‘filing a complaint’ but it is also grossly inappropriate. If there is a slight against women in that joke, instead of the self-deprecating “guys are often weirdly nervous about shopping for intimate apparel for their partners” thing that I see, it is at very worst an extremely tiny slight. A proportionate response would have been to counter joke or visibly roll your eyes or something.

    Reporting it to the ethics committee as ‘harassment’ is closer to calling the cops on the black guy who hasn’t ordered yet. There are a million things you can do without escalating to the cops. There are a million things you can do without escalating to the ethics board.

  37. 38
    Sebastian H says:

    That said, I want to offer A LOT of sympathy for why some women overreact to things like that.

    I have a number of friends who are or were in the Marines, and have been under heavy fire. Some of them have PTSD, and it is awful for them. They end up overreacting to certain types of common loud noises and it sucks. I totally understand WHY they overreact. Their brains have literally been rewired by trauma, and they have to work really hard to rewire it again. Sometimes you can help by reassuring them that they aren’t under attack again. Sometimes that doesn’t help.

    Some women who have been harassed in the workplace show a similar hypersensitivity. They have been subject to so much abuse that they are very vigilant about anything that even hints that direction. They have dealt with so many awful men that they might overreact to non-awful men and/or non-awful situations. Some of them even misinterpret neutral things. I totally understand why they do that. It is one of the pernicious effects of abuse that in some victims they end up that way.

    So I’m very sympathetic to WHY someone with that kind of history might overreact to neutral/maybe-if-you-squint-just-right slight.

    But that doesn’t mean that we should pretend it isn’t an overreaction. It is an overreaction. We should help them get past their trauma. Aiding them in escalating to wildly inappropriate levels isn’t helping them.

  38. 39
    Gracchus says:

    I’m still very curious as to what Ampersand found to criticise in the victim’s behaviour.

  39. 40
    Kate says:

    Reporting it to the ethics committee as ‘harassment’ is closer to calling the cops on the black guy who hasn’t ordered yet. There are a million things you can do without escalating to the cops. There are a million things you can do without escalating to the ethics board.

    Reporting to an ethics committee is not even close to being the same level of “policing” or “combativeness” as calling the cops on random black people minding their own business, in a country where that too often leads to police violence against innocent black people. At the end of the day, after an investigation, the man who told the joke that some find offensive was asked to submit a written apology. That’s it. A man told a joke that some people found offensive and was told to apologize for it. No lives ruined. Nothing “wildly inappropriate”. This should not be a big deal.

    But that doesn’t mean that we should pretend it isn’t an overreaction. It is an overreaction. We should help them get past their trauma. Aiding them in escalating to wildly inappropriate levels isn’t helping them.

    Making slightly inappropriate jokes is something all of us do from time to time.
    Unfortunately, it is also one of many ways that sexual predators test boundaries. If the person who reported the incident had the sense that this was what the joker might have been doing, and she doesn’t report, the worst case scenario is that he will take that as a sign that he can get away with escalating to another level with his target. If the predator is subsequently called on a more serious offence, he will use the fact that she didn’t have a problem with the previous steps as a defense. He thought she was cool! How was he supposed to know? Women who have been assaulted in the past and had these types of incidents used against us aren’t being “hypersensitive” or “over reacting”. We know damn well that if we don’t speak up, and that man escalates, having accepted sexual banter in the past will weaken our case against him.

  40. 41
    Gracchus says:

    Thank you, Kate.

    It’s worth noting that for all the joke teller’s claim that he is a feminist and women’s freedoms are important to him, apparently his need to not write an apology letter is far more important. This is the way with so many people (most, but sadly not all of them, men) – they care about feminism as long as it’s something that enhances their social status and ability to influence others, but the moment being a feminist requires something from them – not even necessarily something particularly onerous – they go feral.

    The implicit bargain is “I will be a feminist and support feminist causes as long as it costs me nothing”.

  41. 42
    desipis says:

    Gracchus:

    @desipis: https://www.bustle.com/p/why-believe-women-means-believing-women-without-exception-5532903

    So to clarify, you think it’s offensive purely because there is a woman who claims it was offensive?

  42. 43
    Kate says:

    I’d like to expand on how I sometimes “get the sense” that a seemingly innocent joker might in fact be a predator.
    I often have a brief moment of panic when men talking to me in social situations get closer than about a foot or foot-and-a-half away from me for no good reason. I sort of tense up, my breathing becomes a bit shallow, my eyes might widen a little. Then, I collect myself immediately. It is subtle. After some 35 years of experience, I now understand that there are basically three types of responses I get from men:
    1.) There are those who make eye contact as they approach, appear to register my discomfort and stop. People who I have broader contact with who do this often treat different people quite differently. They hug huggy people, and stand even further back from other women than they do from me. They appear to be looking for consent, and back off when they aren’t sure whether they have it.
    2.) There are those who appear to be oblivious to my discomfort as they move into that space. People who I have broader contact with tend to stand the same distance away from people more generally. They appear to be following a rule for what distance is appropriate in a professional context.
    3.) There are those who make eye contact as they approach, appear to register my discomfort and get an amused look on their face as they move in past my comfort zone.
    When I was younger, I just would have known that the men in category 3 scared me, whereas those in category 2 just made me uncomfortable, but I’d have been unable to articulate why.
    I think it would be totally reasonable to report people in category 3 for anything remotely sexual said in a professional context, because I think they know they have already pushed past one boundary with me and are now going for another. But, the fact of the matter is, I’ve never reported anyone. It would take too much emotional energy. It takes a lot of courage to report things like this. I don’t think most people do so lightly.

  43. 44
    Jake Squid says:

    I’m with Kate & Gracchus on this. It wouldn’t be a big deal if the guy had just said, “Huh. I never thought that could be offensive but somebody was offended and an ethics panel thinks it’s bad enough that I should apologize. So I’ll write an apology.”

    His feeling that he was right was more important than another person’s offense and overrode the findings of a panel. If nothing else, he’s a jerk.

  44. 45
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    The implicit bargain is “I will be a feminist and support feminist causes as long as it costs me nothing”.

    This is so weird to me for a few of reasons:

    1) I still don’t think you’ve made the case that an apology is in-line with feminism broadly. Go on twitter, and you can find many feminists who accuse the Gender Studies professor of giving “feminism” a bad name. I don’t know if there’s a majority on one side or the other, but I’m not seeing consensus.

    2) People prioritize different parts of their identity and the responsibilities that come with those identities. I’m a member of my family, but I’m also an individual thinking person. My family is important to me, especially my brother who I love dearly. If my brother asked me to apologize to him over an action I deemed justified, I wouldn’t do it, because I prioritize being an individual thinking person above being a brother. If that makes me a less loyal brother, so be it. Asking people to give up other parts of themselves to be a better feminist is asking people to become ideologues.

    3) If being a feminist means suspending independent observation, reasoning, and judgement, most people will want nothing to do with it. I think there are broader ways of looking at it. People will disagree with me, but I see feminism more as a tool- a lens through which people can see the world, and then think and act independently. You probably see it differently, but that’s because 50 feminists in a room will define feminism in 100 different ways.

  45. 46
    Kate says:

    If my brother asked me to apologize to him over an action I deemed justified, I wouldn’t do it, because I prioritize being an individual thinking person above being a brother. If that makes me a less loyal brother, so be it. Asking people to give up other parts of themselves to be a better feminist is asking people to become ideologues.

    If being a feminist means suspending independent observation, reasoning, and judgement, most people will want nothing to do with it.

    This is just so hyperbolic, it makes me laugh.
    No one is “asking people to give up other parts of themselves” or “suspending independent observation, reasoning, and judgement”. Offense is a subjective thing. Different people find different things offensive. There is a case to be made that any sexual jokes or comments are inappropriate in a professional context and therefore offensive when made in those contexts. This is a pretty common set of beliefs in society, especially in academia.
    Jokes are supposed to be fun for everyone involved. When kind people make a joke that offends someone (and, who among us hasn’t), we say something like “I’m sorry that I made you uncomfortable.” and avoid those types of jokes around that person in future. It’s just respecting other people’s feelings. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and say “I found that offensive”. People don’t tend to do it lightly. If someone goes out on a limb like that over a joke that I’ve made, I listen to them.

  46. 47
    Sebastian H says:

    Kate, I think you are exactly right about the three broad approaches, and the point I was making in #38 is that some women, when they are closer to their trauma, will mistake type #2 for predators. And btw, type #2 are much more prevalent than actual predators, so someone who is still reeling from a PTSD like situation will end up encountering a lot of people who set them off, even though those people are not predators.

    “Making slightly inappropriate jokes is something all of us do from time to time.
    Unfortunately, it is also one of many ways that sexual predators test boundaries.”

    Leading with the word “unfortunate” in that second sentence is also exactly right. Unfortunately predators mask lots of their behavior through innocent seeming behaviors. The reason it is so innocent SEEMING is because from most people it would be ACTUALLY INNOCENT. And the problem is that when someone does something actually innocent it is hard to get people worked up into the need to punish them.

    A huge part of the problem is that Sharoni characterized the incident as ‘harassment’. She didn’t characterize it as merely a (maybe) very slightly inappropriate joke. She says it is ‘harassment’. This illustrates the problem with using wide ranging catch-all definitions. ‘Harassment’ in modern feminist parlance runs all the way from (maybe) very slightly inappropriate jokes to “he said if I didn’t suck his dick he would get me fired”. That is rather wide range. Sexually based ‘harassment’ is one of the very very few things that can get a professor ejected from a tenure protected job, so charging a professor with public harassment is much more like calling the cops on a black man at a Starbucks than it is like saying “that was a mildly awkward joke”. She engaged in a very clear escalation.

    Now as a survivor of harassment by other people, she probably felt self-justified in the escalation. But she knows that charging someone with harassment is a very serious charge, offering dismissal as a punishment yet she did it anyway over what was at very worst a mildly awkward joke.

    If anything this certainly reveals a flaw in our current method of dealing with such things. Is there something we can use where ‘inappropriate’ does not automatically equal ‘harassment’?

  47. 48
    Sebastian H says:

    “When kind people make a joke that offends someone (and, who among us hasn’t), we say something like “I’m sorry that I made you uncomfortable.” and avoid those types of jokes around that person in future. ”

    Right. But in this case Sharoni did not tell Lebow that he made a joke which offended her. She wanted to have a disciplinary committee investigate him for sexual harassment and tell him that. There is a big difference between asking a black man who is sitting at your Starbucks table “tables are for customers, will you be ordering soon?” and having the police come to ask him if he is going to be a customer. Different actions provoke different reactions.

    If she had said “That joke offended me” he might very well have said “I’m sorry that I made you uncomfortable”. Formally accusing him of sexually based harassment and having a disciplinary committee investigate it provokes a different response.

    Now just like I wish that people with PTSD wouldn’t overreact to innocent jokes, I also wish that professors who were frivolously accused of sexual harassment over a (maybe) very slight breach of etiquette in the joke would be willing to apologize even if they think the case is clearly frivolous–I can understand in a very human way why they might not.

  48. 49
    Mandolin says:

    I assume the lingerie joke is a reference to Are You Being Served.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mz6wvKUsP6M

    The floor they work on is menswear and women’s lingerie.

    Are You Being Served was very popular when it was on. Many people won’t recognize the reference anymore, but being upset over it strikes me as similar to being upset over a reference to Seinfeld someone makes in 20-30 years.

  49. 50
    Michael says:

    @Kate#46- the problem with the “she was afraid he might harass her in the future” explanation is that they worked at different colleges. It’s extremely difficult to harass someone you don’t work with regularly. Her reaction might have been appropriate if they worked at the same college but her past experiences prevented her from seeing the situation in the appropriate context.

  50. 51
    desipis says:

    They were both drunk. He sexually touched her. The university suspended her for sexual assault..

    The University of Cincinnati is being sued for violating a student’s due process rights in a Title IX proceeding.

    That is not unusual in and of itself. A previous lawsuit against the school resulted in a new precedent in its federal appeals court in favor of cross-examination in Title IX proceedings.

    What stands out in the new suit: the plaintiff is a woman, and she claims that her accuser filed a complaint against her in retaliation for a complaint she filed against his friend.

  51. 52
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    This is just so hyperbolic, it makes me laugh. No one is “asking people to give up other parts of themselves” or “suspending independent observation, reasoning, and judgement”

    This is exactly what is being asked. In this very conversation, Gracchus linked to this: https://www.bustle.com/p/why-believe-women-means-believing-women-without-exception-5532903 as justification for why the joke should be deemed offensive. How am I not being asked to give up my independent judgement?

  52. 53
    Kate says:

    the problem with the “she was afraid he might harass her in the future” explanation is that they worked at different colleges. It’s extremely difficult to harass someone you don’t work with regularly. Her reaction might have been appropriate if they worked at the same college but her past experiences prevented her from seeing the situation in the appropriate context.

    Are you seriously arguing that sexual harassment can’t happen at conferences? Because, if so, you are wrong about that.

    In any case “she was afraid he might harass her in the future” isn’t an accurate summary of my position, and it certainly isn’t a direct quote. My point was that, although chances are that he was just a bumbling clod, there is a chance that he was a predator testing boundaries. This isn’t just about her. That’s why I used “his target”, not her specifically. His target could have been the other woman there. It could have been the men who were laughing with him, to see how far he could go before one of them would call him out.

  53. 54
    Kate says:

    From the linked piece:

    In short: Yes, I believe women — but not if they’re accusing a man who I love, whom I trust, whom I cannot imagine assaulting a woman.

    This is a privileged position. It echoes why men and women alike argue that we “don’t need” feminism: Because, in their worldview, women are equal to men — and where they’re not, it’s women’s fault. Choosing to believe a worldview that is comfortable for you, a worldview that correlates only with your personal experience — “If it’s not happening to me, it’s not happening” — is why men don’t have any inkling of the kind of daily harassment women endure.

    It’s why the wealthy are more likely to believe in social mobility. It’s why white people often don’t believe that people of color face consistent and pervasive discrimination. It’s why some cis people don’t believe it’s possible to not identify with the sex you were assigned at birth. Make no mistake: It is a privilege to not experience those kind of challenges. You may not have experienced these things in your life, but, dammit, they exist.

    I have no idea how you can read that as “asking people to give up other parts of themselves” or “suspending independent observation, reasoning, and judgement”.
    All this amounts to, in my view, is when you weren’t at the scene of a crime (or injustice), don’t go in assuming that you know more about what actually happened than the victim, who was actually there. If what they’re saying doesn’t make sense to you, entertain the possibility that you might be the one who is missing something, or that you might have honest disagreements, before you accuse them of being either a liar or crazy. Be willing to change your mind and learn.

  54. 55
    desipis says:

    Kate:

    My point was that, although chances are that he was just a bumbling clod, there is a chance that he was a predator testing boundaries.

    And there is a chance that she was a manipulative sociopathic misandarist intent on abusing the system to destroy a man’s career. Of course it’s neither productive nor just to be leaping to such conclusions, and we should only be treating people as such once evidence supporting such a claim has come to light. Treating all men as potential predators is bigoted and hateful.

    All this amounts to, in my view, is when you weren’t at the scene of a crime (or injustice), don’t go in assuming that you know more about what actually happened than the victim, who was actually there.

    Neither should you go assuming that you know more than the alleged perpetrator. Of course in this case there’s no dispute over facts, so your observation isn’t even relevant. The dispute here is over ethics, and whether the fact she was subjectively offended has implications. She was offended? In the word of Stephen Fry, so fucking what?

  55. 56
    Michael says:

    @Kate#53- No, I’m saying that it’s highly unlikely that he would say a joke to test her boundaries, do nothing for the rest of the conference, and then wait several weeks or months if not years until the next time he saw her in a conference before making his move. That’s not how conference harassment works.
    Yes, he could have been a predator testing boundaries. But that works both ways. He could have had a heart attack and died when he heard of the complaint, for example. My point is that it makes no sense to base one’s behavior on unlikely possibilities.
    Now, on the other hand, the professor let his pride get involved as well, by refusing to apologize. We’re talking about two people who were too stubborn to appreciate the other’s position. They both see themselves as the injured party.

  56. 57
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Kate, I actually agree with what you wrote and much of what you copy-pasted from the article. But keep reading and you get to this part:

    What also needs to be made clear is that when you believe women on principle, you believe all women. No exceptions. No “what if”s. Your lived experience does not, and cannot, speak to the credibility of others’ experiences. Believe that.

    This is what I’m talking about. This argument is paradoxically wrong and destined to be applied asymmetrically. Reasonable people, including many (maybe most?) Self described feminists will reject it.

  57. 58
    Sebastian H says:

    I don’t think “believe women” as normally discussed is helpful here. I’m believing Sharoni. I think the only facts in dispute are whether or not the other people in the elevator were Lebow’s ‘buddies’. I believe that she heard a pretty well known joke and that she didn’t recognize it. I believe that she interpreted it as something negative (though she isn’t clear what).

    “Believe women” means something like “listen to what they say, and believe the facts they recount”. So if a woman says “he groped me” and the man says “No I didn’t”, we are supposed to on balance think that a majority of women aren’t just going to make that account up. So if that is the only evidence, we should believe the woman.

    Now if there is a videotape, and he never gets closer than 5 feet away, that can sway us back to believing him. But “believe women” is about believing the facts they recount in he said, she said cases.

    But “believe women” doesn’t require that we always believe their interpretation of the facts they recount. That is what Jeffery and I are concerned about in this discussion. I believe all the facts that Sharoni recounts. I can then exercise judgment about whether or not those facts amount to ‘harassment’. In this case, they don’t.

    Now in some edge cases the interpretation will come more into play for “believe women”. If a woman told me that her husband Ralph would always say “Come Here Please” right before he raped her, and that is why she panicked when he said it in the car, that would make sense to me. But if she said, “the train conductor said ‘Come Here Please’ so I panicked because Ralph used to say that right before he raped me”, I would believe that is why she panicked. However I would not automatically believe that was evidence that the train conductor was sexually harassing her unless there was some other evidence that he knew why those words would scare her. (I.e. Ralph used to say that right before he raped me, including a number of times in front of his friend the train conductor.)

    I believe all of the facts recounted by Sharoni. I believe that she is accurately representing her reactions to those facts. But adding those together doesn’t get to harassment in this case.

  58. 59
    Sebastian H says:

    One case where “believe women” might extend to the interpretation would be in cases where maids unexpectedly come upon a naked man. Sometimes that is actually unexpectedly. Other times it has been engineered by a predator to happen. I would tend to suspect that the reactions are pretty different in the two cases, and if the women told me “he didn’t act like it was really an accident” I would tend to believe that interpretation, especially if followed up by “because he didn’t try to immediately cover up, or turn away”.

    But this incident is nothing like that. She doesn’t suggest anything beyond the joke.

  59. 60
    Gracchus says:

    “misandarist”

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that we arrived here eventually.

  60. 61
    desipis says:

    And where exactly is “here”?

  61. 62
    Gracchus says:

    The point where people start throwing around accusations of “misandry”.

    http://www.gender-focus.com/2016/02/29/friendly-reminder-misandry-isnt-really-happening/

  62. 63
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Linked article at comment 62 is mostly a semantic dispute masquerading as an argument. It’s a not-at-all-clever attempt to define the concept of “misandry” is such a way as to make it non-existent, rather than address arguments that use the word as it is commonly understood. This paragraph from the article is where I throw my hands in the air:

    In the same way, misandry doesn’t exist in practice, but prejudice against men can. There are some people who truly believe that men are the problem and freely spout insults about men as a whole. But the difference between systemic oppression (misogyny) and a personal prejudice (the so-called misandry) is something that too many people fail to recognize.

  63. 64
    Michael says:

    BTW, I just realized Kate and I seem to be imagining two different scenarios. The conference took place from April 4th to April 7th. The elevator incident occurred on April 5th and she reported it on the 5th. Later he emailed her an explanation of the joke. I assumed that one of them left the conference early since he only communicated with her through email. Kate seems to assume they both attended the conference until the end and he could have contacted her in person but chose to communicate with her through email. Does anyone know which is correct?

  64. 65
    Kate says:

    That’s not how conference harassment works.

    Actually, yes it often is. People who go to these sorts of conferences tend to see each other over and over again. Academics (this is a world I belong to) often have closer relationships with people in related fields in other parts of the world than they do with academics in other fields at their own institutions. Continuing harassment on line is also a possibility.
    That’s also often how harassment works in general. It’s called grooming, and some abusers take pleasure in drawing out the grooming process. I’m not saying that is what was happening here at all. But the whole point of the grooming routine is that the victim looks crazy when they complain because the behaviors are escalated in very small increments (like the frog in a slowly heating pot of water), and every step of the way the victim looks like she (or he, men can be victims of such predatory behavior too) consented to the previous step. So, no step seems like a huge leap.

    And there is a chance that she was a manipulative sociopathic misandarist intent on abusing the system to destroy a man’s career.

    By cunningly getting the ethics committee to demand that he write a letter of apology, which was meant to be kept confidential (he is the one who took this public), destroying his career because….yea, I’m not seeing it. She didn’t even want this to be public. This is far more likely to damage her career than his.

    Treating all men as potential predators is bigoted and hateful.

    People proven to be predators (and, let me be clear, female predators can act in this way as well) aren’t ordered to write letters of apology. No one is treating the man like a predator. He’s being treated like a man who made a mildly inappropriate comment at a conference. The reason why some organizations have decided on a zero tolerance policy for such comments is that they want to make it clear to predators that they are not welcome there. That’s why Sharoni keeps saying that is isn’t about her, personally. It is about the broader conference environment.

  65. 66
    Michael says:

    “People who go to these sorts of conferences tend to see each other over and over again.”
    Kate, it says that she wasn’t sure what his name was before the incident:
    https://www.chronicle.com/article/he-makes-a-joke-she-isn-t/243350
    “After glancing at Lebow’s name tag, Sharoni says she went back to her hotel room to check out the association’s code of conduct.”
    Either she has a very poor memory or they rarely saw each other.
    “The reason why some organizations have decided on a zero tolerance policy for such comments is that they want to make it clear to predators that they are not welcome there. That’s why Sharoni keeps saying that is isn’t about her, personally. It is about the broader conference environment.”
    But the major criticism of zero tolerance policies is that morality requires a certain degree of flexibility.

  66. 67
    desipis says:

    Gracchus: ah you mean the point in the conversation where it becomes clear that people have different perspectives on the world. How tragic.

    From that link:

    Men have been systemically oppressing women throughout history and have been making jokes, insults, and laws that work against us without ever asking our opinion. Even today, men are systemically oppressing women and non-male identifying people, often unknowingly;

    The group in power in today’s society is a heterogeneous mix of men and women. It’s not possible to analysis the group of men and women as if they were isolated groups having unidirectional impacts on each other in the way a class based analysis might have made sense when applied to race or economic class. Society as a whole applies unjust and oppressive gendered power against both men and women.

    As if centuries of oppression and forced submission is equivalent to a few jokes about “male tears.”

    Centuries of history are irrelevant to whether something exists in today’s society.

    But the difference between systemic oppression (misogyny) and a personal prejudice (the so-called misandry) is something that too many people fail to recognize.

    As Jeffery pointed out, attempting to define misandry (or misogyny, sexism, racism, etc) as requiring a systematic element to be morally significant is bullshit.

    Kate:

    By cunningly getting the ethics committee to demand that he write a letter of apology, which was meant to be kept confidential (he is the one who took this public), destroying his career because….yea, I’m not seeing it.

    You need to look at it as if she “was a predator testing boundaries”. Perhaps this was just the first step and subsequent complaints would “escalated in very small increments”, and every step would help establish the precedent to justify the next, until far more substantial punishments are being dolled out at her whim.

    He’s being treated like a man who made a mildly inappropriate comment at a conference.

    Except it was an innocuous joke and not at all inappropriate. ETA: To try to force someone to apologise for something that wasn’t morally wrong is itself abusive and morally wrong. It might have been reasonable and appropriate for the institution to act as a mediator and communication conduit to ensure each side understands each others perspective. However, since the alleged conduct doesn’t even come close to “harassment”, demanding an apology was excessive.

  67. 68
    Gracchus says:

    “ah you mean the point in the conversation where it becomes clear that people have different perspectives on the world.”

    It’s not the phenomenon of different perspectives so much as the particulars of the perspective you and your allies are bringing to the table here.

    But hey, don’t get me wrong, it’s a perspective I am very familiar with, and that knowledge is useful to me. But I’ve been subjected to the “but what about the men” argument for the last, oh, fifteen years now? So I can’t say that the umpteenth expression of it is very valuable for me personally. There was at least a possibility that you weren’t a bulk-standard, off-the-shelf internet maninist, but now I know you are, so I guess there’s nothing more to be said.

  68. 69
    Sebastian H says:

    “It’s not the phenomenon of different perspectives so much as the particulars of the perspective you and your allies are bringing to the table here.”

    It’s intersting to me that you appear to want to debate only the most crass, dismissing those of us trying to actually talk about the issue. You are only interested in calling us his ‘allies’ but nothing more. Erasing our differences, imputing his discussion to us, and ignoring our discussion. It’s quite a power move.

    The dangerous thing about it is, however, when you repeatedly lump people in with the worst, some of them eventually give up trying to make the distinction because you’ve made it clear it’s not possible.

  69. 70
    desipis says:

    Gracchus, I wasn’t aware I had “allies”. Are you assuming you know my all my perspectives on the topic on the basis of the fact I used a single word?

    bulk-standard, off-the-shelf internet maninist

    I suspect the term “maninist” is intended to be insulting. It’s not a term I identify with, however looking at the first definition that pops up in google, it doesn’t seem seem all that bad:

    Like a feminist but only for men. Someone who fights for men’s rights and believes in treating men like people not objects.

    Is it a bad thing to believe in the radical notion that men are people too?

    As for “bulk-standard, off-the-shelf”, I find myself disagreeing with pretty much everyone on at least a few significant things, so I really doubt I’m “bulk-standard” anything.

    Perhaps you could spend less time trying to sling insults and actually respond to the substance of my last comment?

  70. 71
    RonF says:

    https://ombreolivier.liberty.me/hell-hath-no-fury/

    An author named Larry Correia got invited to a gamer conference as a Guest of Honor. Someone complained about him using the following terms:

    “He is a horrible human. Has attacked people I love. Is a bigot who tried to lead an effort to take down the Hugo Awards because they dared to acknowledge woman and PoC.”

    It goes on. So the convention uninvited him, apparently without discussing the matter with him first. Reactions followed.

    I’ve never read the man’s work. IIRC he was involved in the “Sad Puppies” thing but I can’t comment intelligently on that. The group of commenters on here had quite a bit to say about it, though. I leave this note to ask if anyone here has a perspective on this.

  71. 72
    RonF says:

    So here’s how I read #4 (and I have read another article on it not cited here):

    U of Neb. student with conservative views sets up a table promoting Turning Point, a group that seeks to sponsor chapters at universities across the country promoting conservative views. Various attempts are made to interfere with her advocacy, including being told by a university employee that her presentation was “propaganda” and being ordered to move (apparently with no right to do so), being reported for no valid reason to the University Police who then questioned her (and who confirmed that she had every right to be there), and finally being subjected to people walking up to her, hurl invective at her and about her (accusations of fascism, white nationalism, white supremacy, etc., etc.). Conservative web sites seize on this and press for the suspension of one of the academics involved in the counter-protest. Conservative politicians take note of this. The suspension happens. and a free speech bill is introduced into the legislature with the announced purpose of ensuring that all views are able to be expressed at the State university without fear of being disrupted.

    It seems to me that one overreaction has spawned another. Certainly being lied to by a university staff member by being told she had to move is official harassment. So is being told that her presentation was “propaganda” – in the context that it happened, where the staff member was ostensibly acting in their official capacity by telling her she had to move. Calling the University police on her for no good or apparent reason was harassment as well.

    The protest against her by giving her the finger and then subjecting her to verbal abuse was within the rights of the individual involved. But it was way over the top IMNSHO, and as we have often seen free speech isn’t free of consequences, especially when the person subjected to it has an emotional reaction and said that it made them feel unsafe. Normally I have little patience with that kind of thing, but in this case it was a direct confrontation, not simply a speech or presentation that someone can ignore if they want. This kind of behavior is tailor-made for people who are looking for examples to illustrate the concept that college campuses are hostile to conservative thought.

    Which leads us to the second overreaction – suspending the protester. I think that was unjustified, and that the University threw her to the wolves. But such is life for adjunct faculty, isn’t it? I do think the bill introduced in the Nebraska legislature is a good thing – I don’t think that’s an overreaction. But I also think Ms. Lawton should still be teaching on that campus – perhaps with a caution that faculty are expected to behave more decorously on campus and towards students.

  72. 73
    Sebastian H says:

    Right, I’m not sure if I’ve just put a name to it so I see it everywhere, or if it is getting worse, but it feels like a complete lack of proportion in responses is everywhere right now.

  73. 75
    nobody.really says:

    I suspect the term “maninist” is intended to be insulting. It’s not a term I identify with, however looking at the first definition that pops up in google, it doesn’t seem seem all that bad:

    Like a feminist but only for men. Someone who fights for men’s rights and believes in treating men like people not objects.

    But you neglected the 2d definition:

    “One who finds the plain bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich too dry (see also mayonnist).”

    Given the way people type around here, I sometimes have to wonder what’s on their fingers….

  74. 76
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Maninist seems to be a bastardization of meninist. AFAIK, the latter was mainly used for some time to parody and satirize feminists. If you search for ‘meninist’ on Google Trends, you can see that it was briefly popular in 2014/2015.

    Amusingly, the people who are currently talking about meninists on Twitter seem to be mostly Koreans. Apparently there is a meme going around where people score their preferences for boy and girl K-pop bands. If they like boy bands more, they are then ‘meninists.’

    So perhaps Gracchus is accusing people of liking K-pop boy bands?

  75. 77
    Gracchus says:

    @Richard: Taking it up here – should I just assume myself banned from all threads you start, or only the ones where the topic is sexual abuse of men?

  76. 78
    Mandolin says:

    Given that he set out to destroy my career, I’m not particularly fond of Correia. (Actually I don’t think he cared about mine in specific, though I could be wrong. Others in his immediate proximity obviously did.) I can’t say I really give a damn about whether this has had effects on his.

  77. Gracchus,

    @77: Given your dismissive, trivializing and, frankly derisive statements and silences on the PSA thread regarding men who’ve been sexually violated by women, I imagine that your presence on any thread of mine, regardless of the topic, would make it feel like an unsafe space for any male survivor–or perhaps for any survivor period–who wanted assurance that their words would be taken seriously. So, no, unless you adequately address the concerns that were raised on that thread about your comments, you are not welcome on any thread that I start on this blog. Thank you for thinking about this ahead of time and thanks in advance for respecting my wishes.

  78. 80
    Gracchus says:

    OK, thanks for the clarity.

  79. 81
    RonF says:

    #1 is behind some kind of paywall, and I’m not going to sign up for their newsletter to read the article. What’s the gist of it?

  80. 82
    RonF says:

    Mandolin – he actually tried to destroy your career? How?

  81. 83
    Ampersand says:

    #1 is behind some kind of paywall, and I’m not going to sign up for their newsletter to read the article.

    That’s odd – there’s no paywall for me, and I don’t have a subscription.

    Anyhow, try this link instead.

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