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>I’m going off the rails on an [ableist slur redacted] train. Also: Cat poll!

>

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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*Yes, that was a Bioshock reference.
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Tit for Tat
11 years ago

>@Capt BathrobeBullies are not all made the same, some use fists, others use words.

Sartorial Nerd
11 years ago

>"I'm totally on board with what (almost) everyone has been saying. Yes, the words we use matter. Yes, if I were unknowingly using a word that made you feel hurt or marginalized, I would stop immediately.But on Feministe (I've also noticed it in parts of the Tumblrverse), it's actually difficult to have a conversation on any topic because, for every reply that actually addresses what you said, you get a whole cascade addressing your wording. It's a problem when your language use expectations are actually preventing communication. " – @cboyeTHIS a million times over. It's a matter of priorities for me. Striking a balance between policing speech that is honestly hurtful and words that have negative connotations but are being used according to their dictionary definitions isn't easy. I think your first response to being called out on Feministe for using the word "idiot" was pretty fair. You were using a standard dictionary definition and while the word has connotations that extend beyond that, it cannot be ignored that you were actually using it appropriately (as opposed to inappropriately using it to describe someone with cognitive issues). Like many people here have said, words matter but context matters too and I think a lot of people focused on the word in isolation and not its actual usage.

cboye
11 years ago

>jenny: The idiot/imbecile/moron nomenclature was actually first used in 1910 and persisted, horrifyingly enough, into the middle of the century.But yes, the point still stands.

Captain Bathrobe
11 years ago

>Tit for Tat said… @Capt Bathrobe Bullies are not all made the same, some use fists, others use words.Well, there are bullies and there are people who sincerely care about this sort of thing. I'd like to assume good faith on the part of most people for whom this is a concern. It's a question of how people can respectfully disagree but still carry on a civil dialogue. One way to do so is to have rules of engagement–i.e., here's how we have agreed to deal with language issues without derailing a discussion. It's like when couples agree to have a discussion about one particular issue in order to avoid a "kitchen sink" argument, where all past resentments are dredged up and aired. Sometimes sincere, intelligent people have to agree to disagree and move on…for the time being. The challenge is how to do that without sweeping legitimate concerns under the rug. Such rules could also have the effect of shutting down bullies.

triplanetary
11 years ago

>Bullies are not all made the same, some use fists, others use words.I find it amusing that you label language policing as bullying, but you don't label the marginalization of certain groups that language policing seeks to address as bullying.Wait, that's not amusing. That's hypocritical. My mistake. David would be the first person to acknowledge that words can be used to marginalize oppressed groups, and that a certain amount of language police is therefore justified. You're just trying to use his experience in this case to further your own agenda, which is "I should get to decide what does and doesn't offend unprivileged groups." That's not the way you frame it, of course, but that's what you and people like you are really clamoring for. You take umbrage at the notion that anybody should critique what you say, but you'll be the first to cry foul if somebody harms your sensibilities. Hypocrite.

Tit for Tat
11 years ago

>TripI dont mind so much you critiquing me. I take more issue with the fact that you like to insult me because I dont necessarily agree with your critique or position on certain things. The thing is, I know oppression, though I am supposedly one who has "white male privledge" I know oppression very intimately.Tell you what, stop calling me things like a "disgusting maggot" and you might be able to hear something.

Captain Bathrobe
11 years ago

>Raoul,Yeah, I like cats too. Some days you just have to keep the discussion on that level, I guess.

Kave
11 years ago

>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.".

triplanetary
11 years ago

>I am the "man". White wealthy male who actually owns an industry family owned for generations business .That does explain a lot about you. There's very little in your response that I consider worth addressing (class envy? Really? You're a dipshit), but there is this:I believe you are male? If so stop treating woman like they need to be protected by you!I'm not sure at what point you got confused about what we're talking about here, but what we're talking about is use of marginalizing language. I never said women need to be protected from that. This isn't a "women" issue at all. So your attempted accusation of white knighting is not only a strawman, but a completely incoherent strawman that appears to be born of actual stupidity rather than mere mendacity.I don't think you have the brainpower to deal with the content of Manboobz. I recommend Maxim magazine. It's aimed more towards your reading level.

SallyStrange
11 years ago

>Urg, doodz look, saying "You have privilege" =/= saying "Your life has been consistently awesome with no problems whatsoever." Pay attention to the definitions of words other people are using. That is, I believe, what this whole conversation is about.

triplanetary
11 years ago

>Urg, doodz look, saying "You have privilege" =/= saying "Your life has been consistently awesome with no problems whatsoever." Thank you. I was considering posting yet again to say this, but you said it better than I would have. Especially since you managed to say it without unnecessary invective.

Tit for Tat
11 years ago

>I don't think you have the brainpower to deal with the content of Manboobz. I recommend Maxim magazine. It's aimed more towards your reading level.(Trip)And there it is again. The meaness that you own. I have a sneaky suspicion if you could, you would love to use your fists too.Sally is right, we should pay attention.

SallyStrange
11 years ago

>Oh T4T, you are giving the straw feminists a run for their money in oversensitivity.

victor
11 years ago

>"..White wealthy male.."aaaand …. you just became an irrelevant non-person. Nothing you say or think, no hurt that you feel, no injustice that you experience is of any importance, because you have 'privilege'. You have identified yourself as the enemy, just for existing, so now anything you have to say can be dismissed without a second thought. If any of this sounds wrong to you, then it is obvious that you hate all women, and want to take away their rights.

SallyStrange
11 years ago

>you just became an irrelevant non-personSucks don't it? Imagine being told that from the day you're born onward. Imagine that being the normal state of affairs for the type of person you are, for all of recorded history, with the exception of the most recent few decades.

victor
11 years ago

>So… you admit that there is injustice, the implication being that it is ok because what, it makes up for other injustices? This is evil thinking. Have you ever considered that any injustice is wrong?

Elizabeth
11 years ago

>Trip-Kave is not some troll who is here to pull a Nick.You two essentially agree on most things and your attacking him is unfair since he is just pointing out that he will speak his mind (as you do) without care to what people get worked up about.Kave-While I agree that if someone wants to be offended, they will be but I cannot imagine if I said politely to you to please not use a word that has very hurtful meaning for me, you would not stop. It is simple common courtesy to politely request someone not use a word and honour that request. I will also point out that if you really ARE offended by something, either make a single request and move on or keep the discussion to emails-derailing is just as rude as using offensive language.

Kave
11 years ago

>I don't have the privilege to claim victimhood. Hence I am a victim.That explains a lot about me?Trip you have to come out and meet the real world. Standing in line in the grocery store if you turn to your side you will find dozens of tabloids which deal exclusively with knocking down the rich and/or famous. Picking on me , my wife, my family, etc is a national pastime.I've spoken about what my wife has done regarding homeless men here before, (she's a real estate developer) Why would you imagine her work has never been in the public eye? The answer would be because if it was someone would decide that she should be meeting their needs instead of the people she decides to help. She has refused any comment to the press because of people like you. I know I'm lucky to be born into my family, but again everyone has shit. People like you put people into segregated boxes of what you call privilege or not without ever seeing them as individuals. It's what I dislike about the MRA's and from what you have shown me the feminist camp has these individuals as well. I've seen comments which I agreed with and said myself "show me this kind of idiot on a feminist site.. make your own blog about crazy feminists "Strawman… Trip etc has done it for you.

Tit for Tat
11 years ago

>SallyI was just making an observation. Its an energy thing. Angry people have this sense to them. You know what I mean, dont ya?

Joe
Joe
11 years ago

>This may seem like an off-the-wall, overly abstract, philosophical point, but I think the moment a discussion about values, ethics, or power becomes framed in terms of a quantitative metaphor (e.g., what is "more" offensive or who is "more" privileged), constructive dialog becomes impossible.

Kave
11 years ago

>ElizabethOf course. Real world: I might suggest that a person in the company should be fired.I could say it like :"They are a cancer and we need to remove them"I would not say that to someone who is dealing with cancer. But I would say it when that person dealing with cancer isn't in the room. There is a difference between empathy and manners and having your speech being dictated by the p.c police.

Kave
11 years ago

>you just became an irrelevant non-personSucks don't it? Imagine being told that from the day you're born onward. Imagine that being the normal state of affairs for the type of person you are, for all of recorded history, with the exception of the most recent few decades.What you are saying is because I am white and born into a wealthy family you are totally justified in hating me? Or perhaps confiscating my families property for the common good?Funny how envy works. There were a lot of people just like my family in the early 1940's in Europe. People perceived them as having more then they did. We all know what happened.

Elizabeth
11 years ago

>Exactly Kave.As for the non-Jews who were perceived to have more then other people, they all went on to pay 90% tax rates that led to Monty Python's Search For The Holy Grail. A seminal achievement in cinema that shows…we need to raise taxes on the rich.

ginmar
11 years ago

>I can't believe an MRA just compared whiny rich white assholes to the Holocaust. Jesus wept, get over your little stubbed toe.

victor
11 years ago

>injustice is justicefreedom is slaverywar is peace

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