Open Thread and Link Farm, Riding The Junk Fish Edition

  1. Two recent Democratic party primary series that I’ve found interesting to read (or at least skim). The New York Times did moderate-depth interviews with all the then-still-in-the-race candidates. And Vox has begun a series of articles arguing their best case for each candidate. There are two up so far: The Case For Bernie Sanders and The case for Elizabeth Warren.
  2. Asimov’s Empire, Asimov’s Wall | Public Books
    A short, good article about Issac Asimov’s famous habit of groping women around him, and why it wasn’t okay.
  3. Gougers ‘R’ Us: How Private Equity is Gobbling Up Medical Care | The American Conservative
    Private Equity really is the worse – they add no value, just extract money from businesses that are actually productive – and is leading to needlessly higher medical bills.
  4. The Long Long Man series of gum commercials.
    Eleven commercials, forming a single continuous narrative, from a Japanese gum maker announcing its new line of extra-long gum. It’s… amazing.
  5. Largest Art Heist In History Happened in Germany this month | Daily Mail Online
    As far as I can tell, the thieves – who are described as exceptionally small – cut off electricity to the entire building by doing something to an electrical station on a bridge a block away, then broke a small window to crawl into the museum. The museum isn’t sure how they broke the shatter-proof glass of the display cases. Sounds like a heist movie.
  6. Opinion | I Almost Lost My Career Because I Had the Wrong Passport – The New York Times And an alternate link.
    Anti-immigration demagogues in Denmark have successfully made immigrants feel unwelcome – at considerable cost to Denmark.
  7. Brigham Young University to Students on Medicaid: Buy Private Coverage, or Drop Out – The New York Times (Alternate link.)
    Update: In the face of bad publicity and student protests, BYU relented.
  8. A List of Some Terms Used to Describe Genitals in Fanfiction
  9. On perfect communication and the tyranny of “platform responsibility” | Go Make Me a Sandwich
  10. Does Letting Police Enter Your House Give Them Permission To Wreck It? – Reason.com
    According to the Ninth Circuit court, yes, it does.
  11. William Barr, Donald Trump, and the post-Christian culture wars – Vox
    The Christian Right sees themselves as being oppressively crushed by an endlessly hostile and all-powerful left with no scruples. They’re wrong, but it’s helpful to keep in mind that they really, really believe this.
  12. How ‘The Penis Monologues’ Challenges China’s Toxic Masculinity
    A Chinese play against what we’d call toxic masculinity, inspired by “The Vagina Monologues.”
  13. A Harvard journal’s wild plan to save democracy by adding 127 states – Vox
    Literally nothing in the Constitution prevents Congress from admitting the Obama family’s personal DC residence as a state — a state which would then be entitled to two senators, one member of the House, and exactly as much say on whether the Constitution should be amended as the entire state of Texas.”
  14. This collaboration between a pole dancer and an animator is amazing.
    The great cartoonist Windsor McCay, around 1911, did an act like this, in which he interacted live with an animated dinosaur. But I’m sure that the interaction was not this intricate.
  15. Friends, join me for a pleasant journey into the very tolerant world of Apu fandom
    “We must be unflappable, and if we flap, it’s proof we’re the histrionic, outraged minority lefties they always knew we were.”
  16. A court just blocked Trump’s attempt to slash legal immigration – Vox
    Conservatives are against all immigrants (or at least all non-white immigrants), not just unauthorized immigrants.
  17. The Battle Over E. B. White’s “Stuart Little” | The New Yorker
    The most influential children’s librarian in the country – a woman who literally created the idea of children’s libraries, and who was actually pretty awesome in many ways – hated that little mouse.
  18. Trump’s policies at the border weren’t designed to keep out Mexican asylum seekers — until now – Vox
    “One woman had approached CBP officials at the port in El Paso on three occasions identifying herself as a Mexican asylum seeker, but was turned away. She has a strong asylum case: Cartel members kidnapped her son and told her they would send her his severed head in a cooler if she didn’t pay an extortion fee.”
  19. Canceling | ContraPoints – YouTube
    The vlogger, who was recently “canceled” herself, uploads a looong video with her thoughts on “cancel culture” and her experiences. One thing I liked is that she provides the seeds of a way of distinguishing between cancellation and criticism – in my head-canon, it really shouldn’t be called a cancellation if it doesn’t include at least three of the cancel culture tropes.
  20. Should Public Transit Be Free? More Cities Say, Why Not? – The New York Times And an alternate link.
  21. Climate change: From the beginning, models have been remarkably accurate – Vox
    Unsurprisingly, the models are better at predicting the physics (outputs) than the “humans” (inputs).
  22. Hieronymus Bosch Butt Music – YouTube
    “Music printed on the butt of one of the tortured souls in the 15th Century Hieronymus Bosch painting ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights,’ played on (What else?) Lute, Harp, and Hurdy-Gurdy by James Spalink.”
  23. Muhammad Ali in a Broadway Musical? It Happened – The New York Times (Alternative link)
    The almost completely forgotten 1969 musical “Buck White.” Only one copy of the script is known to still exist.
  24. Heads or Tails: The Impact of a Coin Toss on Major Life Decisions and Subsequent Happiness
    “This paper reports on a large-scale randomized field experiment in which research subjects having difficulty making a decision flipped a coin to help determine their choice. […] Individuals who are told by the coin toss to make a change are much more likely to make a change and are happier six months later than those who were told by the coin to maintain the status quo.”
  25. An American Revolution at Sing Sing – Reasons to be Cheerful
    An in-prison production of the musical 1776.
  26. House Votes to Restore the Voting Rights Act – Mother Jones
    “Although the VRAA has no chance of becoming law this year, the passage of the bill lays the groundwork for Democrats to make voting rights a major legislative priority should they recapture the Senate and the White House in 2020.”
  27. Why Are So Many Evangelicals Okay with David Being a Murderer, But Not a Rapist? | Libby Anne
    Thanks to Mandolin for the link.
  28. There Are Whales Alive Today Who Were Born Before Moby Dick Was Written | Smart News | Smithsonian
  29. St. Marys Kansas and Christian Withdrawal – The Atlantic
    A town in Kansas where the overwhelming majority of residents are members of the right-wing SSPX church. On the one hand, great: People should be able to form communities. On the other hand, it can really suck for non-church-members in town, and especially for children raised there who dissent (or would like to dissent) from the town’s orthodoxy.
  30. Henry Lee Lucas Was Considered America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer. But He Was Really a Serial Liar.
    And a serial killer, too, but with many fewer victims than he claimed.
  31. The corporate poo patrol is coming after your precious toilet time | WIRED UK
    Toilets are being designed to be less comfortable to discourage workers from spending time in the bathroom.
  32. The Grooming Gap: What “Looking the Part” Costs Women – In These Times
    There’s an actual wage penalty for women who buck the (sometimes unsaid) grooming requirements.
  33. Quiz: Which of these 2020 Democrats agrees with you most? – Washington Post
    I wound up with Warren in first, at 15; Sanders and Yang tied for second, at 11; and Biden dead last, at 5.
  34. This post is illustrated with photos of two works by Italian street artist Mr. Thoms, whose website is full of fantastic and surreal paintings.

This entry posted in Link farms. Bookmark the permalink. 

82 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Riding The Junk Fish Edition

  1. 1
    Michael says:

    #7- They reversed their decision after it got bad press:
    https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/11/26/782766331/reversing-course-idaho-campus-lets-students-use-medicaid-as-health-coverage
    #30 should be more accurately titled “Henry Lee Lewis Really Was a Serial Killer But He Killed A LOT Fewer People Than He Claimed”.

  2. 2
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks, Michael. I’ve updated the post.

  3. 3
    Kate says:

    #1 Confirms everything I think about Elizabeth Warren, and why she is my first choice. She has the deepest knowledge base and is uniquely ready, willing and able to wield executive power effectively. When she was in, Harris was my second choice because I think she has similar depth in her area, having been AG of California (I’d like to see her as AG in next Democratic administration no matter who wins).
    Although Sanders pretty clearly doesn’t have the depth of knowledge to wield executive power as effectively as Warren would (or Harris would have), this read did make me feel better about his depth. The points about raising interest rates and foreign policy don’t incline me to switch my first choice (I see no reason to believe Warren will be worse on either point), but they might firm him up as my second choice (Harris, then Castro were my second choices before they dropped out).
    I do think the article downplays the the way many of his followers harass women who have opinions which differ from theirs too much. He has not really publicly opposed their behavior and, most importantly, that his own campaign had problems with the treatment of female staffers in 2016.
    I’m looking forward to reading their profiles of the other candidates.

  4. 4
    RonF says:

    University cancelled seminar by feminist speaker following threats of protest from transgender activists

    A university cancelled a seminar by a feminist speaker, citing “academic freedom”, following threats of protest from transgender activists. The University of East Anglia has been accused of “no-platforming” Kathleen Stock, a professor in philosophy at Sussex University, who was due to address academics there next week about philosophical issues surrounding diversity and inclusion. But she was informed that her seminar has now been postponed in order to respect “the views of members of the transgender community”.

    So apparently it’s not just conservatives who get “no-platformed”.

    The university also cited “security and health and safety issues” and argued that allowing her talk to go ahead “raised issues of academic freedom”.

    A scheduled speaker at a university was cancelled in the name of academic freedom? That’s a fairly egregious example of double-speak.

  5. 5
    Grace Annam says:

    RonF:

    So apparently it’s not just conservatives who get “no-platformed”.

    Did you think it was?

    This particular kerfuffle wasn’t on my radar, so I duckduckgo’d it. At the first link, the story opened with a quote from Stock:

    “It is quite a strange situation to work somewhere where people make it clear that they loathe you,” reflected Kathleen Stock, professor of philosophy at the University of Sussex, on the backlash she faced for her views on gender identification.

    It definitely is. It’s noteworthy that this seems to be a novel experience for her. You’d be hard-pressed to find a trans person, especially an older trans person, who couldn’t sympathize. If you were selecting randomly from the population of trans people, it would also be hard to find one with a significant platform.

    Food for thought.

    Grace

  6. 6
    RonF says:

    Re: @16

    Pres. Trump attempted to block issuance of “family reunification/chain migration” visas and “diversity” visas. A court denied him. That may well have been properly so. Vox presented the court’s action as such, and while one can never be sure of these things based on a single media source I’m prepared to believe that it’s so.

    What I’m wondering is what the heck the justification is for such visas? True, if someone enters the U.S. from a foreign country they have therefore separated geographically from their family. But separating the family was their choice, not the U.S.’s. I don’t see the national interest in permitting someone to immigrate into the U.S. purely on their connection to a family member who (presumably) met the criteria to come here. And what national interest is served to randomly select people from various countries that don’t normally have many immigrants into the U.S. to immigrate here?

    There’s also the problem in blocking people from immigrating here who cannot afford to pay their own health insurance. Historically the U.S. has limited legal immigration to people who can support themselves. In earlier periods of our history a strong back was pretty much all you needed to do that, but not anymore. Again, how is the national interest served by permitting people who can’t pay for their own health insurance from immigrating into the U.S.? Note that I’m not arguing that the Trump administration did or did not have the authority to do this. I’m trying to hear the justification for the existing policies.

  7. 7
    RonF says:

    My second question would more properly be phrased “What national interest is served to give priority to applicants for immigration to people who were randomly selected from a pool of otherwise-qualified applicants from countries that have low incidences of immigration into the U.S.?” I did not mean to imply that people who are selected for visas by the diversity lottery were simply a completely random pool of people.

  8. 8
    Silverfeather says:

    Re: #19,

    I’ve enjoyed Natalie’s videos in the past but this one left me feeling a little queasy. She’s generally entertaining and funny and I really like her video persona, which makes me want to go with her here… but I can’t see myself accepting these arguments from say, an alt right personality.

    If anyone is interested in a nuanced explanation of why a lot of the non-binary community is angry at and hurt by her, I recommend watching Essence of Thought’s videos. I know, they’re long, and they aren’t as entertaining as Natalie’s, but they are, frankly, much better thought out.

    They also do a good job showing the places where Natalie appears to have selectively included information that helps her case while ignoring information that hurts it. And how she deals with the Buck Angel criticisms by essentially refusing to examine the evidence and preemptively discouraging her audience from looking into it on their own by claiming that interviews he gave to media are “none of our business”.

    I don’t want Natalie (or anyone) to be abused or harassed. I also think she has done very real, even if unintentional, damage to people even more marginalized than she is and she’s doing a terrible job of listening, learning, and improving.

  9. 9
    Kate says:

    Historically the U.S. has limited legal immigration to people who can support themselves.

    Historically, U.S. immigration policy has been all over the map, from totally open borders to highly restricted race-based quotas.

    In earlier periods of our history a strong back was pretty much all you needed to do that, but not anymore.<

    No, now our crops magically jump off the vine into baskets with no human intervention. We have no need of strong arms to lift our rapidly expanding elderly population out of their nursing home beds and change their bedding. And we all know how enthusiastic Americans are to take these jobs!

    how is the national interest served …

    Snark aside, I have three reasons:
    fuels innovation
    In general, investing in a wide range of people with many different perspectives – including class (allowing people who can’t yet afford health insurance in) – fuels innovation. Immigrants start roughly 15%-30% of small businesses in the U.S. (I’ve found a wide range of figures via Google, and am not qualified to specify which methodology is the most sound). Allowing immigrants to sponsor family members helps them create stable families and, by extension communities, so they will be more likely to be successful.
    fills jobs that American don’t want
    The need to fill farm and home care worker jobs, in particular, is a major reason to allow people who can’t (yet) afford health insurance to immigrate. And, no, if the wages went up, there still wouldn’t be enough Americans choosing the back-breaking work of picking crops or changing adult diapers to keep these sectors afloat. In fact, it is the people who come to the U.S. able to afford health insurance who are taking the jobs that Americans actually WANT to do.
    promotes global stability
    The money many of these immigrant workers send home (again, the people who arrive unable to afford health insurance) is radically improving the quality of life in developing countries. Over the long term, this is leading to greater global stability. As violent and scary as the world often seems, it really has never been more peaceful than it is today. https://ourworldindata.org/war-and-peace That stability is also resulting in more sustainable birth rates in developing countries.

  10. 10
    Mandolin says:

    I’m just not up for any more “canceling” of trans women. Somehow they have a guest star on for a minute, or write about an age gap couple, or write a story that is somehow read with the same lens that made people think swift eats babies… and then, that’s it. They’re driven off. Their work is devalued or destroyed.

    I’m way more worried about that than I am whether someone’s feelings are hurt by seeing an asshole who’s done more for trans rights than almost any of the rest of us will.

    The theory behind gender changes furiously and rapidly. Ideas ping back and forth, in and out of acceptability, very rapidly -because we’re still figuring it out! Yay! It’s exciting and unknown! But it also means we should probably be giving each other as trans people (possibly each other as people acting in good faith) a wide berth before declaring something abusive or toxic or anything other than “I think you’re wrong.”

    What I watched on twitter this week is one of the worst things I’ve seen happen in sf/f since I joined. I’m appalled and sad and not sure who I can trust to stand near anymore.

    When your campaign is putting a trans woman is in crisis, back the hell off. If it’s over a contentious not a settled issue – a living issue! – back the hell off. This isn’t about hate speech. It’s about who is allowed to make art and what that art can look like. That’s ***never friggin worth someone’s life*** and early on we were told she wasn’t doing well.

    These suppression campaigns will kill someone. It doesn’t seem to be me. My trans friend who went through tit in November seems to be living. I hope it’s not the woman this month who suffers. Or next month. Or next month.

    The advice given to people enduring this is essentially the same if it’s nazis (me), gamergate, or your “own people.” Batten down; find ways to make sure you stay alive; start learning how to deal with ptsd.

    That’s a w ay bigger threat to my freedom as a trans person than a guest spot with buck angel or a story that makes me feel philosophically attacked.

    While these things are often framed in terms of harm to even more marginalized people, and maybe that is what’s going on at contrapponts, it is often a lie. It’s a lie meant to make people feel they are protecting, not hurting. But if you dig at the situation, it often turns out that, no, you aren’t protecting abused children – you’re deliberately isolating and triggering a survivor. No, you aren’t protecting vulnerable trans people – not if you end up disenfranchising people who can’t explain their gender easily to cis people by labeling them as the aggressors or asking why their hurt matters.

    Contrapoints is somewhat different in that It educates and is not just art. Maybe that saves that particular example, maybe what’s happened there is okay—I don’t know. But the application of these principles to art has been devastating.

    I’m not going to be able to care about the content of these controversies until they can sit without devastating the art and lives of women (trans and cis) and transfeminine people.

    To close with some of the techniques Joanna Russ writes about are used to suppress women’s writing:

    She wrote it, but she shouldn’t have.
    She wrote it, but look what she wrote about.

    She wrote it, but she isn’t really an artist, and it isn’t really art.

  11. 11
    RonF says:

    Kate:

    And we all know how enthusiastic Americans are to take these jobs!

    You left out “at rates that exploitative employers want to pay.” My brother was enthusiastic enough to take exactly the job you describe. I thought you were all for getting employers to raise wages for low-paying jobs.

    Allowing immigrants to sponsor family members helps them create stable families and, by extension communities, so they will be more likely to be successful.

    I am partly of Irish heritage. The town I was born in was filled with the descendants of Italian immigrants from back when New England was a textile center. Here in the Chicago area my wife has numerous Polish relatives who came over after World War II. None of those nationalities had that kind of immigration law available to them, but they definitely formed stable families and communities.

    And, no, if the wages went up, there still wouldn’t be enough Americans choosing the back-breaking work of picking crops

    First, what’s your evidence for that? Second, picking crops need not be done by immigrants; that’s why we have H-2A visas.

    Immigrants who send money home likely do improve the quality of life for at least their relatives in developing countries. But it’s an open question whether that makes things better overall or just enables exploitative governments to hold the lid down on their people. Do you have any data to support your statement, or is it just a guess?

  12. 12
    Mandolin says:

    If you don’t know what I’m talking about and want to, there is intelligent twitter commentary by Carmen Maria Machado and Lee Mandelo – who, it appears, like me, have experienced transness in unacceptable ways.

  13. 13
    J. Squid says:

    Historically the U.S. has limited legal immigration to people who can support themselves.

    This is so wrong that I find myself wondering whether you’re truly that ignorant or whether you’re really trolling us. It’s very, very hard to consider other possibilities knowing what we do about you after years of sharing this space with you.

    In any case, it is truly offensive to me when you do shit like this.

  14. 14
    J. Squid says:

    But the application of these principles to art has been devastating.

    The application of these principles to social interaction has been devastating. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “What you wrote is shitty and really offensive and hurts my feelings. There is something wrong saying that and saying, “We’re going to get you, so you better watch your back.”

    Lourde knows that I’ve certainly been told that I’ve said, written or done shitty things. And that hurts. But I take it seriously when it doesn’t come as or with a threat.

    As a wise person I know says, people are great, individually, but they’re awful and dangerous in groups.

  15. 15
    Kate says:

    I am partly of Irish heritage. The town I was born in was filled with the descendants of Italian immigrants from back when New England was a textile center. Here in the Chicago area my wife has numerous Polish relatives who came over after World War II. None of those nationalities had that kind of immigration law available to them, but they definitely formed stable families and communities.

    Yes they did have the ability to immigrate as families and bring over relatives. My own ancestors did.

  16. 16
    Ben Lehman says:

    The legal ability to sponsor your relatives literally saved a quarter of my family from destruction, including my great-grandparents and great-aunt and her son who literally would have been shipped to extermination camps if not for their visas to the US.

    My great-grandparents were old and AFAIK didn’t work when they came to the US. They never learned English besides a few phrases. But they helped raise their family’s children (including my dad). They helped rebuild a Jewish community out of refugees and traumatized outcasts. They absolutely were an asset to the country.

    My first-cousin-once-removed (who would have been killed at 4 years old had he and his mother not been sponsored by my grandfather) went on to serve in the US military and work for decades as a teacher and union organizer on US and NATO military bases throughout Europe. He’s currently retired but he and his wife (who was also a stateless refugee and became an American by marriage) are active members of their community, volunteering and coordinating and helping raise their grandkids. Their kids are both civil servants — one of them works on education for low-income families and the other worked for many years as a peacekeeper and now does trainings for the DOD — with a strong sense of patriotic duty.

    Family immigration is important and necessary because our nation is built on families and communities. Rejecting it is not simply cruel or contrary to family values, it is also deeply unwise.

    yrs–
    –Ben

  17. 17
    Silverfeather says:

    I’m just not up for any more “canceling” of trans women.

    I guess it depends on whether your definition of “canceling” is a deluge of abuse and harassment or if it’s former fans/community withdrawing and criticizing because they cannot in good conscience continue to support someone who is doing wrong or harmful things in their eyes.

    From an outside perspective it seems like both things are happening here, and I absolutely condemn the actions of the portion of people that are “canceling” Natalie in the abusive context.

    The framing that I see of “someone’s feelings being hurt by seeing an asshole who’s done more for trans rights etc..” (those snowflakes with their hurt fee-fees?) conveniently ignores the part where Buck Angel publicly outed a trans woman against her will seemingly for revenge and has never held himself to account for that. Or the part where he publicly attempts to delegitimize the non-binary community, has for years, and won’t stop. He contributes to making an already vulnerable community less safe. Is that nothing? Should they just shut up about it so that people who aren’t affected by it can be comfortable?

    No matter what, you’re basically telling someone to shut up. It’s easier (at least for me) to center Natalie’s pain and minimize the pain her choices have caused the non-binary community because I like her, I watch her videos, and I hear her side. That’s why I think it’s important to deliberately listen to the side that doesn’t have her reach and fanbase. Why are they feeling so angry and betrayed? Hint: it’s not because of some delicate fee-fees or “philosophical differences”. We’re talking about their lives and survival here, every bit as much as we’re talking about Natalie’s.

    The abusive version of canceling is a huge problem, I agree. I also think that even direct, non-abusive criticism can feel like abuse when you’re getting a massive amount of it at once. Without much better moderation by social media platforms I don’t know how we fix that. It sure isn’t healthy.

    I do know that I’m not okay with deciding that the fix is that people who are also dealing with the constant threat of violence and the erasure of their shared humanity (but the group that we aren’t currently empathizing with) need to object quietly and politely, if at all.

  18. 18
    Ampersand says:

    The trouble I have with the criticism of the video is, that it was a one-sentence voiceover that couldn’t even be identified as Buck Angel without reading the end credits.

    I think it’s right to criticize Buck Angel for outing someone as a crossdresser in 2003 (as far as I know he didn’t out her as a trans woman, and it’s not clear to me he even knew she was a trans woman). (I’m going by this 2003 Entertainment Weekly article.)

    But I also think that was 17 years ago, and being angry at the person your wife is leaving you for is actually pretty human and understandable.

    I’m not comfortable with the implied claim from some of Natalie’s critics (I don’t mean you, Silverfeather) that employing a freelancer for an extremely minor gig, is the same as approving of or being culpable for something the freelancer did in 2003.

    Similarly, Buck Angel has stated some opinions I disagree with, and that I know a lot of people find legitimately hurtful. But employing Angel for a 10 second voiceover gig isn’t the same as endorsing his statements.

    The amount of fury and contempt that Natalie has received for hiring someone for a ten-second voiceover seems, to me, vastly disproportionate. The implicit demand that no one should ever associate with Buck Angel, even in an extremely minor capacity, seems (to me) disproportionate.

  19. 19
    Mookie says:

    e. And what national interest is served to randomly select people from various countries that don’t normally have many immigrants into the U.S. to immigrate here?

    Slavery and servitude to Real Americans, a’course, coupled with the prospects of cheap labor cultivating and exploiting cheap land, later urban industry, later still cannon fodder for a certain internal war and several external ones. Speaking of which, that’s your answer for why it was and is desirable and productive to ease the immigration of family members to a naturalized American. (Cf, amongst others, Hart-Celler.) The confusion there feels a little feigned.

    There’s also the problem in blocking people from immigrating here who cannot afford to pay their own health insurance. Historically the U.S. has limited legal immigration to people who can support themselves.

    Historically, the US provided them a means to do so, and enthusiastically. See above. Also, no. Race- and nationality-based quotas were the methods used to curb immigration and the Free Market’s ability to capitalize on it.

  20. 20
    Mookie says:

    I am partly of Irish heritage. The town I was born in was filled with the descendants of Italian immigrants from back when New England was a textile center. Here in the Chicago area my wife has numerous Polish relatives who came over after World War II. None of those nationalities had that kind of immigration law available to them, but they definitely formed stable families and communities.

    Unmitigated hogwash. Europeans and westerners, particularly those bound for large cities and presenting as skilled labor or the children and spouses of skilled workers, were highly favored and the subject of multiple immigration acts. Also, this revisionist history appears to overlook the effects black American migration to the urban North had on the prospects of white immigrant “integration” and the relaxing of white “ethnic” distinctions.

  21. 21
    Mandolin says:

    [mostly removed because I’m tired.]

    Quoting Lee Mandelo: Art does not exist on a scale from ‘harm’ to ‘uplift.’

    It shouldn’t be the case that targets of Gamergate, puppies and left wing campaigns have to exchange survival advice. *But we do.*

  22. 22
    Mandolin says:

    Because there are several different arguments here and there’s no point in trying to argue them in ways that confuse them, I believe:

    Re: campaigns in general:

    1) PTSD and suicidality are *known* and *predictable* consequences of these campaigns. People with psychological vulnerabilities are more likely to be severely affected. It doesn’t matter what percentage of people involved directly induce the problem. The outcome is that campaigns in their current form can never exist safely.

    2) It is immoral to induce PTSD and suicidality in almost all cases. This affects both targets and also anyone whose work might spark controversy as someone who already has PTSD is facing a life-threatening event if they end up as the center of one of these campaigns, justified or not. Bad actors can and have used this to continue or escalate personal harassment or abuse.

    3) It is necessary to fix the campaigns so that they are not potentially deadly before it will be possible to address most of the issues they outline. Until that time, trans creators risk a deadly consequence when producing any kind of art. That’s an enormous problem.

    Re: specific manifestations of the campaigns

    1) It is non-functional to determine right or wrong by ‘someone is hurt.’ (particularly in situations where any action causes hurt)

    2) It is particularly non-functional to apply the scale of ‘harm to uplift’ to art.

    3) What happened to Isabel Fall is bullshit.

  23. 23
    Ampersand says:

    Mandolin, I agree. But I’m wondering, do you have a vision of what a fixed campaign would look like?

  24. 24
    Mandolin says:

    Nope.

    Seems like a good thing to work on, but it’s not something I think I have an obligation to put together. People with PTSD from online campaigns might choose to interact with them in that way, but I am unlikely to do so personally.

    Well, I suppose I do have a couple of notions –

    1) Shunning has to be revisited. It is rarely appropriate, but the desire to shun enables these campaigns by giving participants an incentive to continue as the target is rarely completely shunned.

    2) Taint has to be revisited. The idea that sin is contagious may not have to be dropped entirely, but it exercises a lot of power now.

    3) An assumption of generosity. How you get that to happen, I’m not sure.

    4) We need some form of expiation.

    5) We need some form of expiration.

    6) People have to decide they care about inducing PTSD and how much they value other people’s lives in contrast to the risk of suicide. If they’re choosing that tradeoff — that an onslaught is worth those consequences — then they should be clear about it.

    7) We need ways to distinguish between shades of power and public figures as those factors can sometimes adjust resilience.

    8) We’re not going to stop these campaigns. They do way too good a job of hooking into group psychology. We can at least be honest about it. Maybe all we can hope for is individuals to consider their own moral participation, but that’s better than nothing.

  25. 25
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Tentative about improving campaigns– people need to have a sense of how much is enough, to track how much has already been said and stop if it’s already been said a number of times.

    No threats of physical harm.

    Probably no attacks on livelihood.

    No attacks on associates.

    Careful thought about what you actually know about people’s motivations instead of just assuming the worst.

    I’ve been contemplating the idea that you can’t force a mind– I’m inclined to think that a lot of what’s wrong with the world is people trying to force mind.

    Mandolin, what happened on twitter this week?

  26. 26
    Ampersand says:

    Nancy, I think Mandolin may have been referring to this story.

    The Disturbing Case of the Disappearing Sci-Fi Story | WIRED

  27. 27
    Silverfeather says:

    But employing Angel for a 10 second voiceover gig isn’t the same as endorsing his statements.

    This is absolutely objectively true. Would you feel the same if the person in question were a neo nazi spreading white supremacy in their free time? I think the problem with that line of thinking is that absent the needed information our brains just go ahead and make the connection… this person is in Natalie’s video, therefore Natalie likes this person – I like Natalie, therefore this person is okay. That isn’t a conscious process and it’s also really typical. A person has to work to move out of that automatic assumption, and a lot of us don’t because we have a lot of other things to deal with taking up that brainpower. Also, Natalie reaches quite a lot of cis folks who are now thinking about this stuff for the first time and likely wouldn’t even understand what was wrong with what Angel says if they look him up.

    Even a 10 second voiceover in your video, absent any context or disclaimers, does read as legitimizing that person in general brain shorthand, and we know this. Also, it isn’t that Angel just made one or two iffy comments that he clarified and walked back. He is known for his harm to the non-binary community (and whoever else gets hurt by trans-medicalism). Natalie even says that she knows the trans community “doesn’t like him”, but that “they don’t like anyone” so…

    I agree that she isn’t “culpable” for what he has done and continues to do, but are you arguing that she shouldn’t be criticized for putting him in her video? This line of argumentation comes from the right in a disingenuous way (I don’t think that you are being disingenuous Ampersand) whenever they want to dogwhistle but not be actually held accountable for what messages they’re propping up, and I don’t agree with it coming from them either.

    I think it’s right to criticize Buck Angel for outing someone as a crossdresser in 2003 (as far as I know he didn’t out her as a trans woman, and it’s not clear to me he even knew she was a trans woman)

    I said he outed a trans woman… I don’t see a functional difference in the outcome of the language he used there, especially considering that society at large would have been using the same language at the time. Also, I don’t think Angel is some kind of monster for being jealous and reacting badly to his wife leaving him. That is understandable. The actual Rolling Stone article that most people are referencing where Angel goes into some pretty cruel detail about Lana was published in 2006 though… he’d had years to deal with his bad feelings by then, so this wasn’t just some sad guy lashing out in the heat of the moment. Less understandable. As far as I can see he’s never admitted he was wrong or apologized, which, also… not great.

    Look, I’m really not the best person to re-litigate the issues with Buck Angel. I just asked that others be willing to honestly engage with the actual arguments being put forth about Natalie and Angel, not only the version that she is giving us. Apparently I can’t use the link function, but it’s easy to find Essence of Thought’s videos.

    To try to shift gears, I agree with almost everything Mandolin said if I’m applying it to the abusive version of canceling (or maybe social media mob justice?). A lot of the possible solutions seem to come down to people being better, which I’m all for. Assumption of generosity, yes, we desperately need more of that. Some kind (any kind) of decent moderation from the media platforms would be great. We desperately need a way to allow for criticism (especially from marginalized groups) while shutting down abuse and protecting the mental health of those being criticized. In the meantime, we’re stuck in this mess.

    It is non-functional to determine right or wrong by ‘someone is hurt.’ (particularly in situations where any action causes hurt)

    Yes, agreed. I do not advocate determining right or wrong solely by that measure, though I do think it should be factored in. In this specific case you reference PTSD and suicidality being a special risk factor for people with psychological vulnerabilities and my point is that this includes not just Natalie (and other trans artists) but also the non-binary trans community. When I say “hurt” or “harm” I do tend to use it as shorthand, but in this particular situation it is life or death for them as well, for similar reasons. We just find them easier to ignore or dismiss because we don’t see them, or listen to them, without active effort to do so. That’s the part I think keeps getting either glossed over or maybe just disagreed with.

    In general this would be way more cut and dried to me morally if we weren’t dealing with multiple groups of very vulnerable people who already have suicide rates through the roof when compared to the average.

    What happened to Isabel Fall is bullshit.

    I haven’t read any details, but it looks awful :(

  28. 28
    Mandolin says:

    In general this would be way more cut and dried to me morally if we weren’t dealing with multiple groups of very vulnerable people who already have suicide rates through the roof when compared to the average.

    There’s kind of three things here. To me.

    1) Hurt to the audience.

    This is what you are concerned about and what I have more or less dismissed. I think it is very unusual for an individual creation to have a hurtful impact so severe on the audience that it justifies inducing PTSD and suicide. The audience is suffering smaller, distributed harms. Those SUCK. And it’s easy to hold someone like Natalie responsible than it is to hold, eh, I don’t know, Bill Cosby (although thank God that’s changing for him at least). That’s why the vitriol gets so much higher, I think. You can see her react. But Bill Cosby (not actually Bill Cosby–hell, say Rowling for someone who actually transphobed recently) is probably doing significantly more harm to the community.

    The audience is partially bitey because we’re all trauma victims. Being a trauma victim does not make you nice. (You can be nice and a trauma victim, but a lot of the trauma impulses and behaviors suck, and I strongly wish I didn’t have to cope with it myself.) It’s not your fault (generic you) that trauma happened to you, but it’s your responsibility to deal with even though that SUCKS. I certainly hope we can treat each other with generosity and tolerance, but that does mean that people have to step back from their trauma responses after a while.

    2) Hurt to the creator.

    More or less outlined above.

    3) Hurt to others, including some in the audience.

    This balances number 1 for me very strongly. The existence of these campaigns is a severe inhibition to the creation of art and study. Last summer, when a trans femme friend was attacked for their artwork, it later came out that it was personal. It could have killed her. People who are afraid of that are going to be inhibited in their production.

    If you can see how Gamergate chilled feminist game creators, then you can see this. It doesn’t matter that the group that could kill you theoretically agrees with you. It doesn’t matter that the people who could kill you are also oppressed. It matters that it could be a life-upending, life-threatening event.

    The people bearing the brunt of it are other disenfranchised creators for the reasons listed above. And mostly it’s transfemme people because the combo of misogyny and transphobia is one hell of a punch.

    The art we lose will also disproportionately be by people who actually have something interesting to say. By and large, assholes aren’t deterred by this in nearly the same numbers.

    4) The audience.

    This doesn’t always happen, but in the case with Fall, it was made very clear that the story was transphobic and anyone who found themselves in it was doing so due to self-hate. Many were told that their position was “a cis one” which is not great to say to a trans person.

    **

    The issue with Fall is the most significant here to me because this is not a piece of work that had any broad consensus. It is a piece of work about which there was a great deal of debate and differing opinion. It’s not like we’re all saying “no swastikas on the church.” It’s like, I don’t know, arguing about the quality of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Game of Thrones. There are things in both cases I find not great, but it is not reasonable of me to announce this a settled issue and proceed accordingly.

  29. 29
    Mandolin says:

    I could try this:

    I do not believe these campaigns are in general a significant benefit to reducing distributed harms.

    If they are, then the benefit needs to outweigh the costs. (I mean, it would need to in my moral calculus). I would want a high standard of proof given the situation.

  30. 30
    J. Squid says:

    The actual Rolling Stone article that most people are referencing where Angel goes into some pretty cruel detail about Lana was published in 2006 though… he’d had years to deal with his bad feelings by then, so this wasn’t just some sad guy lashing out in the heat of the moment.

    A side note to the larger discussion…

    Sometimes, years just aren’t enough. I had/have some pretty overwhelming feelings about my ex decades after the marriage ended. Yeah, there’s definitely PTSD from that relationship that ended in 1997. I didn’t actually find a way of dealing with my PTSD (ran across her once, in a public place, in May of 2019, had a panic attack, turned and ran out on the folks I was there with) until the summer of 2019. Even having learned a strategy to deal with the PTSD in the future, the PTSD is still there. I have no nice things to say about my ex. She’s a horrible, terrible, no good person and I can go into exquisite detail about that.

    However…

    I don’t use my platform to name her by name in conjunction with the awful things I feel about her. There is a point where hurt (even PTSD type of hurt) can turn to abuse or worse. But that really has nothing to do with how somebody feels years after an event. The problem is really that he said cruel things on a public platform that (I’m assuming. I know nothing about either person, but given the conversations it seems a reasonable assumption.) she did not have. Even if it had been in the heat of the moment, it wouldn’t have been appropriate or not abusive to do so.

    In summary, I guess that I’m saying that “years later” doesn’t necessarily alleviate the hurt. And I’m saying that public trashing of somebody without the same kind of megaphone is wrong.

    It’s garbled, but I hope I was able to explain what I feel about this.

  31. 31
    Silverfeather says:

    Just as a quick side note, thank you Mandolin for being willing to break down your thoughts on this. I think I better understand where you are coming from now, in your balancing between artists being able to create and audience harms, and I’m going to have to think about some of your points for a while.

    The audience is partially bitey because we’re all trauma victims. Being a trauma victim does not make you nice. (You can be nice and a trauma victim, but a lot of the trauma impulses and behaviors suck, and I strongly wish I didn’t have to cope with it myself.) It’s not your fault (generic you) that trauma happened to you, but it’s your responsibility to deal with even though that SUCKS. I certainly hope we can treat each other with generosity and tolerance, but that does mean that people have to step back from their trauma responses after a while.

    Quoting that because I could not agree more with it. I don’t have PTSD, but I was abused as a child and I needed to do a lot of work on myself before I felt able to have a child of own and not continue the cycle (and it is a conscious effort still). I have a lot of empathy for trauma survivors and what they must have to go through, and how difficult it can be to as you say, step back from their trauma responses.

    I think it is very unusual for an individual creation to have a hurtful impact so severe on the audience that it justifies inducing PTSD and suicide. The audience is suffering smaller, distributed harms.

    So I think this is where I’m differing with you. I’d have to stretch hard to come up with a time where I thought abuse was a justified response, and it is even more reprehensible when it is directed at someone more vulnerable to things like PTSD and suicide. Can we as a society work to separate the abuse from the valid criticism and stop the abuse, instead of saying we need to shut the whole thing down or invalidate all the criticism because we don’t like the abuse?

    I might be misunderstanding, but you seem to be looking at the harm to the audience as a one off thing, and (at least in this case) I don’t. So if I were to say that Rowling is getting way too much criticism (not advocating any abuse she may have gotten) because she just said one transphobic thing on twitter, I’m failing to put that in the context of the broader world. I see this stuff as all interconnected… Rowling has a platform and she’s used it to prop up a transphobic idea that actively contributes to the lack of acceptance of trans people in the broader society, which contributes to high levels of violence done to trans people, and high rates of suicide among them. The harm I see there is… well, it’s bigger than “just one tweet”.

    In the same way, for the non-binary community at least, putting Buck Angel into your video uncritically is more than just a 10 second audio clip. It connects to a broader threat of a negative perception by society of their value, humanity and existence, while throwing into serious question whether Natalie can be trusted to treat them with care.

    So to those examples I believe that abuse is absolutely a disproportionate response. But the criticism just… isn’t. So, I guess, from a lot of what you and other people already said:
    -No abuse (moderation)
    -High standard of proof
    -Assumption of generosity
    -Responsibility to step away from trauma responses before engaging
    -Possibly limit on the window of time open to criticism (depending on circumstances)
    -Possibly limit on the number of times the same person can receive the same criticism in that window (depending on circumstances)
    -Acceptance that the audience may need to step away from you to protect themselves (I think this gets confused with shunning. If a bunch of folks essentially decide they need to stop engaging with you and your work… that’s not a moral failing on their parts)

    In summary, I guess that I’m saying that “years later” doesn’t necessarily alleviate the hurt.

    Completely valid point, and I apologize if my word choice was bad.
    For what it’s worth I look at Buck Angel as another trauma victim and I in no way want to erase his pain or suggest how he should feel. What I meant is that after years his actions were not spur of the moment, he’d had time to think, to process, maybe to get therapy, even if he was still very hurt. And he chose a pretty hateful course of action in spite of that time.

  32. 32
    Silverfeather says:

    Messed up my quotes at the bottom there, but you get the gist >.>

  33. 33
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks for your post, J.

    And I’m saying that public trashing of somebody without the same kind of megaphone is wrong.

    Just to be clear, I entirely agree with this. It’s wrong even if the person has the same kind of megaphone. (In this case, the person Buck Angel outed has a much larger megaphone than Angel does, but, to her credit, chose not to attack back.)

  34. 34
    J. Squid says:

    Thanks, Silverfeather. I thought it was important to separate actions from emotions/hurt where it comes to this.

  35. 35
    Silverfeather says:

    J. Squid I agree, that’s an important distinction to make :)

  36. 36
    Silverfeather says:

    The issue with Fall is the most significant here to me because this is not a piece of work that had any broad consensus. It is a piece of work about which there was a great deal of debate and differing opinion. It’s not like we’re all saying “no swastikas on the church.” It’s like, I don’t know, arguing about the quality of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Game of Thrones. There are things in both cases I find not great, but it is not reasonable of me to announce this a settled issue and proceed accordingly.

    I did a little more looking into this and I completely agree with you here. I’m so sorry for what was done to the author.

  37. 37
    RonF says:

    O.K., mea culpa in that I was wrong when I said that immigrants were always expected to support themselves, and (fingers running faster than my brain) I knew that damn well when I wrote it. What I should have said, and what you are all entirely correct to point out, is that immigration was generally limited to people who would be supported by someone else (i.e., their sponsor) if they could not support themselves. So your grandparents, children, and other relatives could be eligible to immigrate if you stood to sponsor and support them. Which is why all the cases you all referenced (and some I could supply myself) were permitted. Again, my apologies, your condemnation of my comment is well deserved.

    Having said that; it still was the policy then that applicants who were likely to be a public charge would not be favored for immigration. Also applicants with communicable diseases, etc. And yeah, also applicants who were the “wrong race”, etc. But the latter being a horrible idea does not mean that the former is as well. And back then, health insurance wasn’t a factor – if you couldn’t afford a doctor when you were sick there was no option for the government to pay for them. But now there is, so admission of someone who cannot get health insurance is admission of someone who stands a good chance of becoming a public charge.

    That would impose a stricter criteria for immigration. I can put my children and my spouse on my health insurance at work, but (without checking) I rather imagine not my nephews, parents, etc. So there’s no debating that this would put a greater restriction on bringing over family members. Again leaving aside the question of whether or not the President has the authority to do such a thing, that still leaves open the question of whether or not that’s good public policy. Bringing over people who are not likely to be able to either provide their own health insurance or be put on someone else’s private health insurance means that the taxpayers will have to pay for it, which I suspect was not something that was a big issue the last time that immigration law was extensively revised as that would have been before the ACA was enacted.

    As far as repealing the “diversity lottery” immigration process, I think it’s entirely legitimate to remove legislative racial quotas for immigration. American law should not specify certain countries as being favored above others for immigration purposes. But that does not answer for why we should set up a lottery to ensure that people are favored from any particular country just because they were not favored (or simply didn’t immigrate much into the U.S. for any other reasons) in the past.

  38. 38
    Harlequin says:

    Harm is a hard thing to talk about in these conversations, because there is the direct harm (yelling at authors but also…as far as I can tell, the trans people I know on both “sides” of that debate seemed to find the debate itself painful/harmful) and also the indirect harm of possibly supporting false or harmful beliefs in readers, as Silverfeather mentions. And harm is not the only element in the equation either.

    If I had to start setting ground rules to make these conversations easier, they’d probably include:
    – A la Jay Smooth, talk about the story, not the author. Nobody knows the full truth of the author’s mind (including the author–all my characters used to be very passive aggressive, not to make a point, but because everyone I knew was an introverted academic who couldn’t communicate assertively to save their lives). Same goes for your interlocutors, respond to what they say and not why you think they said it.
    – Relatedly, no snitch tagging. Reader discussion is for readers.
    – It’s appropriate to have different norms for conversations and for (attempted) works of art. I think of this as a balance of harms calculation. Any content related suppression will hit marginalized folks first. But “I write something homophobic as a message to you” is a generally unavoidable harm for the target whereas “I post something homophobic in a public place” is more avoidable. So the benefits and harms of regulating discussion are different from the benefits and harms of regulating public dissemination and it’s okay to have different norms for them.
    – Some more nuanced discussion of the differences between depiction and approval is probably warranted.

    (I’ve been thinking about this in another context, basically purity policing in fanfiction communities; I didn’t realize how much commonality there was until this thread.)

  39. 39
    Mandolin says:

    (I’ve been thinking about this in another context, basically purity policing in fanfiction communities; I didn’t realize how much commonality there was until this thread.)

    Some of the same people. They recently went after Tamsyn Muir in YA.

    If the depiction of teenage relationships starts to be treated as pedophilia in young adult fiction then we’re going to see a radical and weird suppression of almost the entire genre. (I am super bored by romances, but the goal of this shouldn’t be making sure that I have more YA books I find interesting.)

    There’s a stop around here called “think of the children” and it’s going to have a lot in common with what Mrs. Lovejoy wants.

    Along with the other things that happen when Mrs. Lovejoy gets what she wants, all of the fiction describing and reaching out to children suffering from abuse — that goes. Because it’s impolite, but also because it’s disturbing. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Ever wonder what the next group of oppressed people we didn’t notice we needed to not be shitty to is? We’re at the point where we can fight back on LGBTQ issues sometimes, but I strongly doubt the entire project of American civil rights is known and complete. Will it be some group of disabled kids who are currently institutionalized in ways that cause them to die? Will it be fat people once the population hits a point at which letting fat people die affects too much of the population? Will it be something orthogonal, something I don’t even know about? I don’t know. But whoever they are, Mrs. Lovejoy’s going to be very happy to make sure we don’t talk to or about them.

    I am not eager to walk into the world where I have to do the equivalent of marking the gay and trans characters. Did that; glad to be done. Let’s be better.

  40. 40
    Mandolin says:

    Also, I note that a purity fanfic person who specializes in leading crusades (presumably plenty of people don’t do that) recently admitted to going after oppressed people specifically because it affects them more.

    (That person has been chastised, but that doesn’t repair the lives of people chosen because they were vulnerable.)

  41. 41
    Mandolin says:

    And a quick reminder mostly because I am aggravated about it right now:

    You don’t know someone’s gender identity unless they tell you.

    That means you usually *don’t know* if someone is cis or a non-cis person who has not presented you with their gender identity.

    This is useful to remember, especially if you are in a group with a lot of queer people.

    It is doubly useful to remember if you are cis and trying to lecture someone as an ally. (As opposed to talking. Talking is perfectly fine.)

    Signed with slightly aggravated love to all of my wonderful fantastic cis friends who I adore who get carried away sometimes.

  42. 42
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    39: Oppression which doesn’t get noticed enough: sexual abuse of men (copiously discussed here, but not so much in the larger culture), physical abuse of children (I think people would rather talk about sexual abuse)

  43. 43
    Mandolin says:

    Nancy — that’s interesting. In fiction, I feel like it is much easier to write frankly about physical than sexual abuse of children. The times I have done the latter I’ve had to be scrupulous in placing the work.

    In the interview that got him in trouble, Samuel Delaney talks about the intense physical abuse he suffered regularly from his father and how traumatizing that was — versus the time a teenager masturbated in front of him when he was happy to watch which is sexual abuse. With the formulation of sexual abuse as worse than physical, and of strangers being scarier than people inside the family, the cultural narrative wants to push his experience the other way. But it was his father’s regular beatings that he says impacted his life severely.

    (His dad apparently apologized and stopped? While Delaney was still a child, IIRC. It’s good to know that can happen!)

  44. 44
    J. Squid says:

    (His dad apparently apologized and stopped? While Delaney was still a child, IIRC. It’s good to know that can happen!)

    This last bit of conversation has grabbed my attention since I was a victim of both sorts of abuse. Yay for being Mrs. Lovejoy’s perfect union of abuse! I don’t know how it works for others in my position, but I find the physical abuse much, much easier to talk about. A big part of that is that my memories of physical abuse are much stronger and clearer both because the physical abuse went on much longer and because my memories of the sexual abuse are fuzzy, at best.

    I think, no doubt due to my experiences and their effects on me, that depictions of abuse in fiction are necessary both to reflect the real world (as fiction commonly does) and to allow for discussion of the subject. Prohibit one and you prohibit the other.

    Granted, it’s always going to be a risk to write about those types of abuse. The line, though it can be hard to see as one approaches, is a hard one and disaster lies on the other side. In the novel I hope to one day write, teens and physical, emotional and sexual abuse will integral to the story. Since I’m a long way from being a teen, I expect to get a lot of criticism, should it ever actually be written and published. Not only because I may very well go over that line (I’m not the most skilled nor most experienced writer of stories), but because I’m not a teen and I will have written about teens & things we, as a society, do not like to acknowledge.

    While I’ll absolutely criticize writing about abuse, I will not attack the author as long as it isn’t clear they intended to be awful about it and/or towards victims. And I have tremendous respect for the attempt (as I do for the current object of fury).

    Oh, how fucking lucky was Samuel Delaney to get an apology? My dad stopped when I was about 13 and he saw what he was doing. He apologized 10 or 15 years later. I know how unusual an apology from an abuser is. I really appreciate that my dad did apologize, even if it can’t take back what he did. It allowed me to have a relationship with him. (Delaney is the first person other than myself that I’ve ever heard of getting an apology.)

  45. 45
    Mandolin says:

    While I’ll absolutely criticize writing about abuse, I will not attack the author as long as it isn’t clear they intended to be awful about it and/or towards victims. And I have tremendous respect for the attempt (as I do for the current object of fury).

    In the same way that Isabel Fall was pinioned for not being trans prior to people pointing out “uh, this sounds super like a description of dysphoria, guys” — and thus called cis over and over which is not great–

    In that way, it has been common for people to assume writing about abuse that they don’t like is being written by people who are not survivors. The same goes for rape. This pertains when the analysis is very deep and emotional, but in a way the reviewer doesn’t like, not just when there’s a toss-off plot point that shows lack of knowledge on the subject.*

    As far as I can tell, the assumption is usually wrong.

    So. Thanks for being aware of that.

    *e.g. an entire book about the emotional experiences of a community surviving rape. It is wildly weird to assume the author of a book like that has no personal stakes in the question. Also, almost everyone has personal stakes in discussing rape. A lot of people don’t know it — but if it’s something that happened to your Mom or your brother or your child, it’s an issue in which you have personal stakes. You could still be crappy about it. People are crappy about a lot of things. But the implication that the band of people who can talk about rape from a space of personal investment is even as narrow as the very large number of survivors – seems sketchy to me.

  46. 46
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    When I talk about physical abuse of children (or adults for that matter) not being taken as seriously as sexual abuse, I wasn’t just talking about fiction.

    I saw one story about Weinstein physically assaulting a man in front of other people, and nothing was made of it.

    One more story about an apology– I talked with a woman who’s mother was on her case about her speech impediment so much she’d be crying about it. Her mother later apologized. I agree it’s very rare.

  47. 47
    Gracchus says:

    “In that way, it has been common for people to assume writing about abuse that they don’t like is being written by people who are not survivors”

    This is part of a more general phenomenon – the idea that certain viewpoints could not possibly emanate from someone with a certain identity, so anybody expressing these viewpoints must be lying if they claim the identity. It’s the dark side of the idea that certain identities lend validity to certain viewpoints.

  48. 48
    Mandolin says:

    Or if not lying then anomalous and thus safely discountable.

  49. 49
    RonF says:

    Well, the Supreme Court has ruled on the “public charge” rule that the Trump administration has attempted to promulgate, and it has ruled in favor of the Trump administration on a 5-4 split whose members will surprise no one. Note that this is not a ruling on the legality of the rule itself. The ruling simply invalidates lower courts’ efforts to block it nationwide while the legality of the new rule works it’s way through the courts.

    Based on what I’ve read about the opinions, you may well see in the future a SCOTUS ruling that will stop lower courts from issuing rulings that purport to apply outside said lower court’s jurisdiction.

  50. 51
    J. Squid says:

    What with the stolen SCOTUS seat ensuring that the Supreme Court is nothing but a poorly disguised GOP committee, this is no surprise.

    We can expect similar rulings on everything the GOP demands. ACA? Gone. DACA? Fuck those losers! ENDA? Obviously unconstitutional. Social Security and Medicare? Unconstitutional communism! Concentration camps and summary executions of asylum seekers? Totally legal and acceptable.

    Welcome to life in a far right wing, dictatorial, kleptocracy. Ain’t it a grand old flag?

  51. 52
    Ampersand says:

    What really frightens me is the future of voting rights. As more Republicans are put on the courts, the courts will get more and more friendly to GOP attempts to make it harder for Black people, university students, and other groups who trend Democratic to vote, as well as GOP attempts to overcome the will of the voters (like gerrymandering). As the courts get more friendly to anti-Democratic legislation, we’ll see more such legislation passed, and the legislation that gets passed will become more extreme in turn.

    Related: Opinion | Why Democrats Still Have to Appeal to the Center, but Republicans Don’t – The New York Times. (Alternate link.)

    We’re facing a plausible future where Republicans will be able to control the government with just 30% of the popular vote.

  52. 53
    Petar says:

    We’re facing a plausible future where Republicans will be able to control the government with just 30% of the popular vote.

    Which would be still a great improvement on the “One man, one vote” systems where the man with the vote was the Emperor/King/Tzar/Sultan/Maharaja.

    Remember how those systems usually came to an end? Well, don’t expect that to happen in a surveillance and data-mining society with heavily robotized, conservative-leaning army.

    If the Left wants to exit the place where it is, i.e. consistently wining the popular vote and still mostly watching the levers of powers through a hole in a sheet, it will have to find a way to work within the existing system.

    I think that we will tribalize in response to shrinking resources before that…

    I have a backup plan.

    I own land in Canada, and I plan to get more involved in working it as soon as my youngest kid goes to college. More important that brushing off my agricultural knowledge is to keep the people who are working it now thinking that I am smart, knowledgeable and kind. Hoping to maintain that illusion is why I went for Canadian farmlands, not Russian chernozem. People there know that no-one is all three.

    (One outta three ain’t so bad…)

  53. 54
    RonF says:

    What with the stolen SCOTUS seat

    Nonsense. Stealing is against the law. No law was broken. It wasn’t stolen. It was subject to the political process, which (since Justices are not directly accountable to the voters) the Founders ensured by requiring that both the Executive and part of the Legislative branches agreed. Often they have not, and nominations have failed. Both GOP and Dem Presidents in my lifetime have seen nominations rejected. In this case the GOP bet on a long shot and hit. Disappointing to the Democrats, but not theft.

    ACA? Gone.

    I seem to recall that the Dems claimed it was a tax in order to use reconciliation to pass it and then claimed it wasn’t a tax in order to get SCOTUS to approve it. But then left a huge constitutional hole in it that the GOP took advantage of. Blame the Dems for the way they passed it. Blame the GOP for deciding to challenge it. But don’t blame the Court for following the rules.

    DACA? Fuck those losers!

    I’m still having problems with the logic that if a given President issues an Executive Order the Constitution would say that his successor can’t undo it.

    ENDA? Obviously unconstitutional.

    Moot until it actually passes.

  54. 55
    RonF says:

    The Supreme Court is too unaccountable to the electorate to make its judgements based on their ideas of what is or is not good public policy. That is both the prerogative and the duty of the Executive and Legislative branches. Otherwise we have a dictatorship of 9 people with lifetime appointments, about as undemocratic as you can get. It is also not their job to decide that they’ll keep a law because it will negatively affect people if it’s negated. Again, that’s the job of Congress and the President; only they are accountable to the people.

    Amp:

    … the courts will get more and more friendly to GOP attempts to make it harder for Black people, university students, and other groups who trend Democratic to vote,

    It’s no outrage to require someone they are a citizen in order to vote. Buying and carrying a gun is a civil right explicitly guaranteed in the Constitution and I have to prove I’m a citizen to buy one (or, in some States simply here legally, but the same level of ID is required). Here in Illinois it was just found that over 500 non-citizens were registered as voters and some voted. A small number, but fewer than that have decided Senate elections and in any case those are just people who self-reported.

    Having said that, a refusal of a State or locality to make it reasonably convenient to register to vote from the viewpoint of locations, hours, etc. should be actionable in my view.

    as well as GOP attempts to overcome the will of the voters (like gerrymandering).

    Here in Illinois gerrymandering has the State at +2 D – in other words, we have two more Democrats and 2 fewer Republicans in our House delegation than the popular vote would indicate. Frankly I’d love to see a system wherein every district had to have a maximum ratio of border length to area encompassed, forcing compact and contiguous districts. But in any case no party can gerrymander unless they control the State legislature.

    As the courts get more friendly to anti-Democratic legislation, we’ll see more such legislation passed, and the legislation that gets passed will become more extreme in turn.

    The courts don’t pass legislation, the legislature does. And for the GOP to ram through “extreme” legislation they’ll need the White House, the House of Representatives, and 60 votes in the Senate. I’m not going to hold my breath.

    Maybe the solution to the Democrats’ problem would be to broaden their platform to attract people in locations and demographics they currently tend to openly insult.

  55. 56
    J. Squid says:

    Go ahead and excuse your party’s theft of the judiciary. You may fool yourself into believing that bullshit, but you’re not fooling anybody else.

  56. 57
    Gracchus says:

    “Maybe the solution to the Democrats’ problem would be to broaden their platform to attract people in locations and demographics they currently tend to openly insult.”

    Maybe the solution would be for the Republicans to aim to get more than half of the popular vote

  57. 58
    Mandolin says:

    A friend told me a while ago that they were glad it wasn’t their party that required voter suppression to win. They figured it would be all too easy, if not inevitable, to succumb to apologetics.

  58. 59
    Grace Annam says:

    For most of my police career, there was no Criminal Threatening statute in Vermont. It was completely legal to hold a knife, stand within reach of someone, and say with perfect sincerity that you were going to gut him like a fish and rape his daughters slowly.

    To do such a thing was totally within the law.

    Weirdly, pretty much everyone agreed that it was still a reprehensible thing to do.

    We also had a saying about the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. It was mandatory to be within the first, but of course it was also a really good idea to be within the second.

    The spirit of American law is “one person, one vote”.

    The letter, not so much.

    Grace

  59. 60
    RonF says:

    Go ahead and excuse your party’s theft of the judiciary. You may fool yourself into believing that bullshit, but you’re not fooling anybody else.

    If the GOP was “my party” I wouldn’t be voting for a Democratic candidate for the House this November.

    The GOP isn’t stealing the judiciary any more than the Democrats stole the judiciary when they changed the Senate rules under Pres. Obama to permit a bare majority of Senators to confirm his judicial appointments. Obama didn’t make it a priority to fill those seats. Pres. Trump and the GOP have, using the very rules that the Democrats created so that THEY could fill judicial seats. It’s not cheating to play by the other guy’s rules.

    Maybe the solution would be for the Republicans to aim to get more than half of the popular vote.

    That wouldn’t solve the Democrats’ problem, it would make it worse.

    The spirit of American law is “one person, one vote”.

    Given that the Founders created both the Senate and the Electoral College (and looking at the writings they left behind) it seems to me that the spirit of American law is pretty specific that we are not a pure democracy and that such a thing is undesirable.

  60. 61
    J. Squid says:

    If the GOP was “my party” I wouldn’t be voting for a Democratic candidate for the House this November.

    I can’t be an antisemite, I have a Jewish friend.

  61. 62
    Grace Annam says:

    RonF:

    Given that the Founders created both the Senate and the Electoral College (and looking at the writings they left behind) it seems to me that the spirit of American law is pretty specific that we are not a pure democracy and that such a thing is undesirable.

    A paraphrase:

    Me: This does not accord with the spirit of the thing.

    Ron: Well, the people who designed the thing designed it that way on purpose.

    Yup.

    Our government is the bastard child of a bunch of parents, some of whom wanted to design by principle, some of whom wanted more power for them and theirs, and most of whom wanted some mixture of both. It is, foundationally, a set of compromises, both practical and of principle.

    One such compromise was that enslaved black people were worth 3/5 of what white people were worth, for representation. We all agree that that compromise was a moral outrage and a travesty, then and now.

    You can hew to a principle of equal representation without enacting a pure democracy. I never said that this country was, or should be, a pure democracy. I *do* think that my vote, here in New Hampshire, should not be worth more now than it was when I lived in California.

    In grade school, we were taught such things as “one [person] one vote” and “no taxation without representation” and so on. These are some of the foundational ideals of our country. They are a portion of what we mean by “the spirit of the law”.

    How we enact them into actual practice is the letter of the law.

    You have just argued that something can’t be the spirit of the law because that’s not the way the law is written. Okay, sure. But the way the law is written is, by definition, the letter of the law. The spirit of the law, if it is to mean anything at all in contrast to the letter of the law, must therefore be something other than that.

    But of course you know that, Ron.

    Grace

  62. 63
    Gracchus says:

    “That wouldn’t solve the Democrats’ problem”

    Depends what you see the Democrat’s problem is.

    Believe it or not, failing to appeal to white rural Americans is no more of a moral or political sin than failing to appeal to any other demographic.

    The Democrat’s problem is that this group’s electoral importance is disproportionately inflated, largely by a Republican party that has built a political structure that inflates this group’s importance, largely because this group is the one that reliably supports Republicans in large numbers.

    The Republicans have then tried to retroactively justify this structure by claiming that the electoral support of white rural Americans is a necessary condition for political legitimacy.

  63. 64
    Mandolin says:

    One such compromise was that enslaved black people were worth 3/5 of what white people were worth, for representation. We all agree that that compromise was a moral outrage and a travesty, then and now.

    Yes, but not because black people were considered fractional white people.

    But because the white people in those states wanted to have the power of a population including black people, but without giving those black people any actual representation at all. They want black people to count as votes to amplify white power, but not as people when it comes to rights. It’s “Our votes should count for more because of all those people we own.”

    The anti-slavery compromise was talking it *down* from one.

    (Which you may already know! To me, your comment just seemed to imply otherwise, and I feel like this is one of those historical misconceptions that just keeps swirling about.)

  64. 65
    Mandolin says:

    I’ve always wondered why people who get more representation don’t get more taxation. If my vote is worth less than yours, then y’all can toss your cash this way instead of leeching all the money from blue states *and* hoarding all the votes.

    (“You” not intended to be anyone here)

    (I don’t think people are really leeches; I am applying a stupid framing in a way that shows its stupidity; everyone here understands irony, I’m sure, I’m just mad about it right now.)

  65. 66
    Grace Annam says:

    Mandolin:

    Yes, but not because black people were considered fractional white people.

    I’m aware, but thank you for clarifying; I can see how my comment could be read.

    I’ve always wondered why people who get more representation don’t get more taxation. If my vote is worth less than yours, then y’all can toss your cash this way instead of leeching all the money from blue states *and* hoarding all the votes.

    I see your reasoning, but I also see that the less scrupulous would take a small sideways step from there to “so if I pay more, I get more votes? Sounds awesome. Sign me up.” And pretty soon we live in BezosZuckerBuffetlandia. For as long as that would last.

    Grace

  66. 67
    Mandolin says:

    It would be silly! I do not advocate it!

    I just think it’s interesting when the rhetoric about taxation without representation matters to conservatives and when it’s “wait, what? No, we just get more votes, why are you so upset about that?”

    It’s not really much of a tea party.

  67. 68
    RonF says:

    Grace:

    One such compromise was that enslaved black people were worth 3/5 of what white people were worth, for representation. We all agree that that compromise was a moral outrage and a travesty, then and now.

    Slavery was the moral outrage and travesty. Permitting representation in the House to fully include slaves to be counted for the purposes of creating legislation would have compounded that, not alleviated it. An insistence on eliminating slavery in the new United States in the Constitution (or on not counting slaves at all for House representation purposes) would have meant that the slave States would not have joined. Back then it was a real fear that should they not join into one Union, Britain would have been able to pick off the various States and re-establish dominion over them. Thus the compromise, satisfying no one and only delaying, not eliminating, the price to be paid.

    I was taught “No taxation without representation” in grade school as well, but I never heard “one man, one vote”. I could look it up, but I may well have gone to grade school before that ruling was made. Certainly there is a distinction between the spirit and the letter of the law, but we have plenty of sources for looking at the spirit of the law. Start with the Declaration of Independence and then read through the Federalist Papers. “One man, one vote” was definitely not the spirit of the law when it was written.

    Believe it or not, failing to appeal to white rural Americans is no more of a moral or political sin than failing to appeal to any other demographic.

    I didn’t say it was a sin. I said it was a problem – which it is, if you want (or need) to win elections using votes from areas where that demographic is a majority.

    Mandolin, I’m betting that you would not only eliminate the Electoral College, you’d want to eliminate the Senate as well. Am I right?

  68. 69
    Petar says:

    “One man, one vote” is not an US thing. It is a slogan that has been very popular in Europe for at least couple of centuries, and in Africa for a while, but in the 80s, I remember people joking that the Americans only discovered it in the 60s, during Reynolds v. Sims and promptly proceeded to forget it.

    Now, this may have been just Communist propaganda, but I was taught that in the US, states have been split deliberately, with the goal to get more votes in the Senate for a specific party. North and South Dakota come to my mind, but I may be wrong. Who cares about such states, anyway, apart around election time?

    California has 30 times the population, 40 times the economy, and half the senators of the two Dakotas taken together. That’s the letter of the law.

    Anything else is wishful thinking, unless something is done to make it happen. Throwing around words like ‘stolen’ is not particularly useful. Especially when both parties are known to use the same tools to secure their access to power, when they obtain control over the legislation.

    And I have little sympathy for people who are heard saying both “Shame on them for abusing the system!” and “We cannot stop abusing the system, or we’ll never stand a chance.”

    From where I stand, a majority of those at the teats of the Democratic Party are not leftists or progressives. They are simply politicians who use leftistishlike demagoguery to appeal to a certain sort of voters.

    There is little reason for the likes of Sanders and Biden to be a part of the same party. They share only two things – a chance with the same voters, and an opponent in Trump. But then again, the New York Times ‘endorsed’ two candidates that have only one extra thing in common, so I guess it makes sense to someone.

  69. 70
    Gracchus says:

    As long as you have a FPP system, you will have two large parties, and those two large parties will include people with extremely disparate views.

    If you don’t like this, the only realistic solution – as many other countries have found – is to change the electoral system away from FPP to some form of proportional representation.

    For some reason proportional representation is very rarely discussed, even within the microculture of people who like to discuss reform of the American electoral system. Even third party advocates are always focused on trying to get third parties to play a prominent role in an FPP system, which strikes me as stacking the deck against themselves. Sure, switching to proportional representation is unlikely, but a third party rising to prominence in an FPP system is even less likely.

    My impression is that even among people who want to reform the US system, there is still a strand of exceptionalism and an extreme reluctance to draw on lessons learned from electoral systems in other countries (moreso than there is when discussing, say, healthcare or education reform). I am not sure why this is, usually these are people who would not identify themselves as exceptionalists or agree with exceptionalist ideas when explicitly stated, so it may just be that exceptionalism is so deeply threaded through the American political system that it affects even those opposed to the system. Or it may be that the US political system is so deeply unique that even those coming at it from a viewpoint of reform find foreign comparisons don’t intuitively arise when considering it.

  70. 71
    Petar says:

    My impression is that even among people who want to reform the US system, there is still a strand of exceptionalism and an extreme reluctance to draw on lessons learned from electoral systems in other countries (moreso than there is when discussing, say, healthcare or education reform).

    Are you talking about regular people shooting the shit at a party, or about politicians talking in public?

    Because alternative systems that eschew winner-takes-all are discussed all the time among immigrants and academics (the two kinds of people with whom I mostly party)

    Now politicians are a different breed altogether. They are too beholden to the existing power structures, to powerful lobbyists, to the system that got them to where they are, etc.

    Kind of far removed” from the struggles of the middle class, and proud of the wealth that made them so, indeed.

    Most career politicians do not want a complete restructuring of the election mechanism, because it will destroy their powerbase. Winner takes all is responsible for the existence of the political machines, which I personally have seen in Chicago and South Carolina. People enter them, spend their time as serfs, and slowly rise, always aware of their feudal duties. Who would want to turn over and plow over that midden?

    There is no correlation between what the American populace wants on issues, and what gets green-lighted by the legislature. There is very strong correlation between what the 1% wants, and what happens.

    This would change with a presidential/senatorial/gubernatorial/etc. election that uses anything but winner takes all (combined with preexisting coalitions of wanna-be-apparatchiks)

    Which is why politicians will not even consider it.

    In Bulgaria, politicians serve the interest of the truly powerful (the heads of ‘insurance’ companies) because they are scared for their lives.

    In the US, politicians serve the interest of the truly powerful (banks, corporations, business groups) because they are scared for their livelihood.

    Trump is an exception. He has half the career politicians kissing his ass, so they can stay at the trough, and the other half foaming at the mouth, because they’ve been kept from the trough. Note that although he did start outside of the political machines, he greatly benefited from the Republican one, both during the election and his presidency.

    And he has served the Machine well, by appointing judges, removing regulations, lowering taxes, hindering immigration, etc.

    He has also made his electorate feel better, on the base that while they may not be better off, they believe that those responsible for their misery are suffering worse.

    Which is so wrong, that it would be funny if it were not so sad.

  71. 72
    Gracchus says:

    @Petar: I am talking about neither ordinary people nor politicians, but the kind of people who are politically active but not seeking office. The kind of people who would organise petitions or go on marches or participate in social media groups around activism. Some of them are probably immigrants.

  72. 73
    Petar says:

    Then it depends on whom those people are working for.

    You could hear some about different election systems among those who worked for Sanders last cycle… although admittedly, in my specific case it was coming from me and other first/second generation immigrants. You can definitely hear more this year… but only as wishful thinking. It’s a non-starter, because we are realistic that we have to avoid antagonizing the political machine. To be honest, for me it’s more a social activity than an actual hope that Sanders can, or should, get elected.

    It’s a lot less obvious in California, because there is a complacency. California is very Democratic, even the relatively wealthy city where I live. It grew when the State bought land from big orange plantations, and build houses for Iranian, Polish, Armenian. etc. refugees.

    We fill all local positions with Republicans (because “The local Democrats are weird, man!”) but vote to send only Democrats to Sacramento and Washington (and not just so they go away)

  73. 74
    Gracchus says:

    I was thinking less of people who are actively working (whether as volunteers or paid staff) for campaigns but independent activism.

  74. 75
    RonF says:

    When I first moved to Illinois there was a very interesting electoral system for the General Assembly (the State of Illinois’ legislature); cumulative voting. The State was divided up into 59 electoral districts. Each district periodically elected one State Senator on a rotating basis much like the Federal Senate. For the State House you got 3 votes. You could cast one vote each for 3 candidates, 1.5 votes for each of two candidates, or 3 votes – commonly known as a “Bullet Vote” – for one candidate. What you ended up with was that in those districts where there was a sizable minority of one party the members of that minority would cast bullet votes for one candidate and the district would be represented by 2 candidates from one party and 1 from the other. The advantage was except in the most unbalanced districts everyone felt that they had a representative in the Illinois State House that represented them.

    In the late 1970’s the General Assembly voted themselves a 40% raise. An activist decided that a House of 177 members was too many for a State with 11.5 million residents and successfully convinced the public to approve a State Constitutional amendment that got rid of cumulative voting and divided each Senatorial district up into two House districts, each electing one member. This was put forward as a cost cutting measure, as it got rid of 1/3 of the House members, saving the expense of their salaries, expenses, staff, etc.

    That was back in 1980. At that time the State’s budget was in the black. Since then the General Assembly has been dominated by Democrats. Fast forward to now and the State is 6 months or more behind in paying its bills (ruining many a small business foolish enough to take a State contract; they collapsed because they couldn’t afford to pay THEIR bills), operates at a deficit, and faces ruin from upcoming public employee pensions it cannot afford to pay because for years the General Assembly did not make the pension payments it needed to pay and spent the money on glittery projects that helped garner votes.

  75. 76
    RonF says:

    And [Pres. Trump] has served the Machine well, by appointing judges, removing regulations, lowering taxes, hindering immigration, etc.

    I don’t think the Machine wants to hinder immigration. I think that recent Presidents haven’t enforced immigration law particularly effectively because the Democratic Presidents were pandering to their base and the GOP Presidents wanted to continue the inflow of readily exploitable labor. I think it’s the grassroots that want to hinder at least illegal immigration, and Trump is doing it.

  76. 77
    J. Squid says:

    If anybody has a few extra bucks lying around, this is a great return on investment.

    Every year, the Portland Trailblazers SBNation blog sends a couple of thousand of low income kids and their chaperones to a Trailblazers game. This is huge for these kids (mostly elementary & middle school) as the Blazers are the only pro-sport in town for the vast majority of locals and this may be the only chance they have to see a game in person during their entire childhood.

    Tickets are $11 each and they’re still looking for a few hundred more before the February 14th deadline. It’s a pittance to make a kid’s year, so if you’ve got a couple of dollars free in your budget, it’s a good cause.

  77. 78
    Kate says:

    I don’t think the Machine wants to hinder immigration. I think that recent Presidents haven’t enforced immigration law particularly effectively because the Democratic Presidents were pandering to their base and the GOP Presidents wanted to continue the inflow of readily exploitable labor. I think it’s the grassroots that want to hinder at least illegal immigration, and Trump is doing it.

    Trump is not just cracking down on illegal immigration. He is also violating the rights of people legally seeking asylum.
    Congress has never appropriated enough money to actually enforce U.S. immigration law without committing massive human rights violations. Trump is fine with committing massive human rights violations, and his supporters absolutely love it.
    Given the limited funds provided by congress, Obama chose to focus on people who were guilty of worse crimes than crossing the border illegally and recent arrivals. Those are good priorities. If anyone were actually honest about how much it would cost to enforce immigration law humanely, I think most people would balk at the cost.

  78. 79
    Petar says:

    If anyone were actually honest about how much it would cost to enforce immigration law humanely, I think most people would balk at the cost.

    I am not sure anyone gives a flying fuck about enforcing immigration law humanely.

    There are those who do not particularly want anyone kept out. They would be perfectly happy with the law not being enforced, apart from where it smooths the path for those who need help on arrival.

    There are those who do not like immigration law because it lets the wrong ones in. They do not care much about how humanely it is enforced, they just want everyone kept out.

    And then, there are those who really, really do not want any humanity shown to those trying to immigrate to the United States. Separating kids from their parents, destroying hydration stashes along the border, shooting people trying to cross the border? Those are features!

    So there are those who would rather not spend any money on enforcement, and those who would just plow the border, and place coin-operated swivel machine guns every 500 yards.

    Maybe there are people who want to apply the existing laws, and even improve them, so they serve the interests of society, and maybe even so that human rights are respected…

    Such people are mostly interested in talking… and are thus rather well represented around here. But i doubt their numbers are significant.

  79. 80
    Mookie says:

    the Democratic Presidents were pandering to their base and the GOP Presidents wanted to continue the inflow of readily exploitable labor.

    You’re using two different phrases there to describe the same phenomenon for seemingly emotive reasons. Because of the skewed nature of the geographic distribution of the two parties at the state level, GOP presidents answer to their rural bases, where agriculture is one of the primary drivers of state GDP (contrasted with California, an agricultural powerhouse with other profitable industries) and which depend heavily on poorly compensated immigrant and itinerant labor. But exploitation of labor and the dismantling/suppression of labor laws in these states also target naturalized and “native”-born Americans. This exploitation, the economic anxiety it engenders in those Americans, makes them vulnerable to anti-immigration (especially anti-Latino) scape-goating as well as pro-corporate, anti-labor propaganda that, predictably and by design, turns efforts at regulating industry, improving workplace safety, and raising the minimum wage into liberal bogeys that will steal people’s jobs. This manipulation of the labor market becomes increasingly important when state leaders fail to court new industry and instead promise non-existent work from faltering energy sectors that will never capture a significant chunk of their market again.

    I think it’s the grassroots that want to hinder at least illegal immigration, and Trump is doing it.

    Not at all. These groups and the thinktanks that dictate party platform policy development and distribute talking points are very well funded by GOP coffers and GOP donors. Astroturf is not grassroots. Anti-immigration in the US, and elsewhere, are not primarily economic positions but culture war positions, by virtue of the immigrants they selectively target cannot readily be separated from racist xenophobia, and they are manufactured on high. What the Trump administration has succeeded at is convincing the Liberal Media to validate their extremism on little more than their own unsupported misinformation; that pattern has been replicated for many previously verboten right-wing radical preoccupations these past three years, with moderate to high levels of success. More crucially, it has allowed a mainstream political party to be transparent in its efforts to more deeply align itself with, legitimize, and strengthen the organizing structures and funding wings of pre-existing hate groups as well as draw upon their membership for support and assist at bringing within the official GOP fold leaders that can be carefully cultivated into viable political candidates and lobbyists. This is where the self-styled academic Heritage suits fistbump their milita, prepper brethren; America is now as great as it was in the 60s, brothers in arms bonding over resistance to bussing, one with an intellectual gloss and the other a torch and a quasi-anti government pose. Same as it ever was.

  80. 81
    Mookie says:

    The novelty of this Quiet Parts Even Louder and Cruder era is that in many cases the party’s elected moderate conservatives are now forced to take on irrational, extremist position to remain viable. Polling the party’s base reveals a similar pattern, where the propaganda is regurgitated and takes on an increasingly strident tone. Perhaps because the economic justification is stale and not tenable, the new line emphasizes Law and Order which, again, defies known reality. Likewise, this paranoia is most potent where comparatively few immigrants actually work and settle; there is little “grassroot” anti-immigration action there, for obvious reasons.

    It is the same in English-speaking countries and in Europe, wealthy and often foreign patrons funding nascent white nationalist groups that adopt a populist, pseudo anti-elitist front with anti-immigration sentiment as one of its pillars.

  81. 82
    Mookie says:

    Also, there is danger in pretending the Trump administration’s radical policies are ‘giving a voice’ to an overlooked portion of Americans or intend to do so. Americans are widely disparate in their views and those individual views are mutable depending on how they are queried and what questions are asked (distinguishing, for example, “border security” from “trafficking” from “asylum” from “undocumented” residence from “illegal entry”). I’d be careful not to imply all self-styled anti-immigrant voters approve of Trump’s policies and aspirations, much less his rhetoric. Someone who consistently ups every ante he’s given, who takes his cues from whatever he’s last read or from whomever he’s last spoken to will eventually hit a ceiling when it comes to public approval and acquiescence.

    It is misleading to think this extremism is responsive to any problem at hand, much less therapeutic. On Trump’s part it is calculated and craven, sure, it may even be sincere (I can name several true believers in his formal and informal circle who undoubtedly have his ear and its arguable whether he believes in anything beyond escalation with a view to winning), but he is also, unbeknownst to himself, fulfilling the wilder dreams of the radical wing of his party’s establishment and of careerists (on the ground and in Washington) in DHS, especially CBP and TSA. I am given to understand from my conservative counterparts that you don’t get more swampy than a federal employee; grassroots and folksy, this ain’t.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *