Well, discussions about my second Scott Adams piece over on Feministe (which was basically identical to my post here) have now been completely derailed by a number of commenters who’ve decided I’m “ableist” because I used the word … “idiot.” That word, they have decided, is offensive to the “cognitively impaired.” If you want to wade into the mess, here’s the comment that, while polite in itself, started the long slide down this particular rabbit hole. You can see my responses in blue further down in the comments.
I consider this kind of language policing to the EXTREME! to be bad for feminism (and frankly insulting to people with disabilities), and I’m glad a number of others have stood up against it in the comments there. I don’t think that the language police are in the majority at Feministe, much less in feminism at large. But these debates are so frustrating that many feminists who disagree with the language police end up biting their tongues and/or just walking away. At some point I may post more about this fraught topic here.
In the meantime, I’m am conducting a little poll about cats. Please click the appropriate button in the graphic above. Clicking it won’t actually do anything, but I’m pretty sure what the results are going to be anyway. Go kitties!
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>Uh huh. Thanks for the advice. Your concern is noted. Thanks for focusing your disapproval on the feminists in the room rather than anyone else. That by itself speaks volumes.
>I'm going to repost my initial comment, then comment on it. marginalization Here's the thing Trip.I am the "man". White wealthy male who actually owns an industry family owned for generations business . That doesn't stop me from having an insane brother who tried to kill his family, or stop me from holding my parents hand as they died, and frankly I'd think about trading place with the middle class when it comes with dealing with their estate. It didn't stop me from having a child die of cancer, etc.I know my family has privileges that others wish they had, which turns to envy. Envy isn't a pretty thing. It leads to just what this thread is about meaning who can claim being worse off. It leads to people saying things like so what your kid died you have everything.People can be mean or kind, the only thing that is in your control is how you choose to deal with it. You can look up and say "why have you forsaken me, I give up", and put the blame onto someone else, or you can just do what needs to be done and stop worrying about what the other projects on to you.EVERYONE from the weakest human to the strongest goes through shit in their lifetime. You can always find someone worse off or better off then yourself. I'm a white male who is wealthy. That's three points on your privilege guide. I could be a white man who is poor and homeless. Two points?One thing I do know is if someone is going to have a panic attack because someone used the word idiot, that my friend is called natural selection and about the most un-feminist comment ever posted.I believe you are male? If so stop treating woman like they need to be protected by you! If you are female then stop being a prime example that people can point to to say "see, riding the pity party wanting others to make her life more comfortable.".
>My rebuttal.I’ve waited for this thread to die to comment back. Move onto something else, those that are interested can read. My comments were meant to say that shit happens and it crosses race and class and some people are hit with shit and some are not. I came out, so to speak as a poster child of class privilege who has also had to deal with horrible things in their lives. Like watching my son die, etc. I would say that I didn’t word things well. My comment about dealing with my parent’s estate to myself was a bit of a lighthearted thing, I would never for instance compare dealing with my parents estate with being a starving child, but I would compare it with the middleclass arguing about who gets grandma’s china. It’s not pleasant and I would love to whine about it… but I guess I’ll have to find some other online community to do so.I brought up the tabloid reference; my family and myself are in no way in danger of being in them. But I do empathize with say Prince Harry for being born into a fish tank. I wouldn’t want to be him.I had amazing parents which is my greatest privilege, they were bohemians way before such thing was, they let me grow up on the factory floor, hang out with the tool and die maker and learn from him throughout my childhood, they supported my insistence at 18 that I didn’t want to continue my formal education (right when my mother got her engineering degree that she couldn’t get in the 1950’s) I just wanted to be in the Plant. I’m still there and I consider myself a success. PS My wife is a saint. She’s a atheist saint, but one nonetheless.
>Someone at Feministe actually said that David's totally offensive use of the term "idiot" was so insensitive as to be "retarded." I don't know if anyone here mentioned that specific example, but it kind of blew my mind.
>In all honesty, I've used "idiot" fairly regularly. I did find the tone of your response to the first comment about ableism to be pretty condescending, whether you meant it to be that way or not. What's more, while you accused your dissenters of bullying, you did not similarly acknowledge that Diane K was doing some serious bullying of her own. Certainly didn't help things. That all said, holy shitstorm on all fronts, and unnecessary, really. However, one commenter did mention that in one State, the word "idiot" was used for the cognitively challenged right up until 2007. Nobody seemed to respond to that one, but I do believe that, if it's true, that significantly changes things. I personally had no idea, but if it's true, I do plan to check my use of the word "idiot" from now on.
>Reality matters, tit for tat. Sure, anyone can claim to be a victim, but not everyone actually is one. Anyone could claim to be the Queen of England, but that does not mean that they are. Over here in reality, poor people, women, queer people, people with disabilities, etc. are the ones who are being victimized by the system here. Not you, you whiner. To use your Nazi example, the Nazis claimed they were being oppressed by Jews and that was total and complete bullshit, however, when the Jews claimed the Nazis were oppressing them, that was totally and absolutely true. You know why? Because of reality. Also, do you think poor people, people of color, and women are suddenly immune to cancer and insults? I'll remember to tell my mom that while she was trying to keep us from starving that she should feel pity because you rich assholes had to hear someone insult you. Of course, as a poor woman with multiple children, she was insulted publically constantly. She also lost several relatives during that time. But, I forget, this is your pity party, you can cry if you want to.
>No question I could have handled it better, Diane K could have handled it better, a lot of people could have handled it better. The very first comment about "idiot" was polite. I didn't actually notice that comment until the second, extremely not-polite comment was made, and that's the one I responded to with, admittedly, some testiness. As for the 2007 thing, here is where it's from:http://disabledfeminists.com/2009/10/11/ableist-word-profile-idiot/There's no source given for the claim there, or much of an explanation; it seems to refer to the term appearing in a law that wasn't changed until 2007. But this is a far cry from showing that the term was actually being used by anyone in a medical context that recently. Our legal system is filled with archaic laws that remain on the books for decades without being referred to or enforced; it may simply be that this law is one of them. I seriously doubt that any doctors have used this term for years if not decades.
>And Kave and Nathan reveal what passes for so-called 'allies' these days—whiny assholes who want to take center stage and kick women down if they dare say anything. Thanks, Nathan! Good luck with that Buddhist enlightenment. Kave's sense of self pity guarantees he'll never do anything for anybody but himself—whining the whole while about being a rich white dude is just like being a Jew during the Holocaust. And that's what passes for enlightenment amongst some men. Nathan's sense of self-superiority matters more to him than any credo of his alleged religion. Gotta win the last word over those bitches that dared to suggest that being a rich whiny self-pitying white dude is not anything on the same planet as being a victim of the Holocaust. So, Kave, you whiny little shit shitstain, why haven't you identified those death camps for men that exist on American soil?
>I think at this point everyone has pretty much said everything they need to say on this topic and then some, so let's move on.
>Agreed. Let's talk about entirely unrelated things.Cough visit my blog cough
>Hey,I biffed off from this because it upset me a lot after a while. But I wanted to say two things:1) It's hard to tell who has a disability and who doesn't in a thread. Moreso even than race or gender, people may have systemic reasons why they can't discuss it. Discrimination against people with disabilities is really common; people who expect employers to google them may not be able to talk about, for instance, mental illnesses, in as open a way as they would otherwise. So when we assume that a majority of people calling others out on language are privileged… well, who knows? At any rate, it's unpleasantly reminiscent of the allegations during racefail that there weren't really that many non-white fans of SF and they were probably all sockpuppets.2) Diane K, I really wish my comment to you at feministe had gone through initially instead of yonks later at the end of the thread. I get that you were being prickly and cat-and-mousing and yeah, that was kind of obnoxious from my POV, but I get it. But the comment about panic attacks and not leaving the house was extremely cruel. As I said at feministe, panic attacks are a common cause of agoraphobia. One becomes afraid of having a panic attack in uncontrolled situation outside the house. You're talking about a real situation, a crippling and embarrassing one, and mocking someone for it. Whether or not she is in that situation, it's cruel. And it's cruel to everyone who's in it themselves, was in it at one time, or has loved ones in it. Maybe "idiot" or "crazy" shouldn't be generically tabooed as metaphorical insults, but when you're using them as insults against specific people *in their literal definition*, come on, you have to know that's ableist. It's not okay to walk up to someone with Down Syndrome and say, "What's an idiot like you doing outside the house?" It's not okay to hear someone saying they're having trouble with mental illnesses and say, "Why don't they just put crazy people like you in fucking asylums already?" You really, really crossed the line. That you can't think of anything else to "do with that information" and that you think people discussing their mental illnesses is a "pity party" indicates that you've got some serious fucking problems with this issue.
>My grandfather regards "Hell" as a serious curse word, and is deeply offended if I use it in his presence. So, I don't. I think he's being silly, but I care about offending him, so I choose not to use terms that offend him.It recently came to light that some members of our Congress find the word "uterus" offensive. I think they're being silly, and I don't give two shits about offending them, so I am even more likely to intentionally use "uterus" around them if I ever get the chance. The thing is, I don't DENY that I'm being offensive after somebody has told me that they find a particular term offensive. I know damn well that I'm choosing to use a term that bums them out (for whatever reason). So, I make sure I only use such words if I really am okay with bumming them out. When it comes to groups like, say, gay people, or disabled people, or mentally ill people, folks who are routinely shat on by society at large, I generally feel like I don't really want to bum them out. They get bummed out enough. So, since I don't want to bum them out, I try to avoid using works that they find bothersome. When it comes to groups like, say, right-winger asshats who find ladybits offensive, I generally feel like they get entirely too much attention and positive regard as it is. So, since I am more than happy to harsh their mellow, I try to specifically use words that hurt their feelings and bum them out whenever possible. 😀
>ROFLMAO… Finally got to experience the irrational thought processes that one must endure when debating some of the entitled feminists. I also see you got called on your male "privilege" at least once, were told you were getting to defensive, simply for explaining yourself, and had your honest questions ignored in favour of continuing to attack your character. Not to mention, never to my notice, were you offered a word alternative that actually applied. I especially liked the condescension and entitlement from this line:"You can change one word, or you can expend a lot of energy to get defensive. Your choice."IE " do what you're told or we'll make it difficult for you"I'm especially amused by the fact that, manyof the reasons they give for insisting you change the word ("because it happens to offend "someone" and thus, should not be used" is often completely forgotten when a man says a commercial depicting manhood as the cause of rape, and calling for a need to teach our boys not to be rapists, right from the crib, is offensive.I'm curious, did they manage to get you banned after all? You should have known better then to show an modicum of free will as a man within the hallowed halls. (is that victim blaming? oh well)