On Signaling Behavior (UPDATED!)

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Kazzy

One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.

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  1. Avatar Michelle says:

    If it makes you feel any better, I agreed with the bulk of your commentary on the thread in question. I’m not sure, however, that the behavior you called out is what keeps women from participating more actively on the LOOG boards. The couple of other boards in which I participate also tend to be overwhelmingly male with a similar mix of political viewpoints. I don’t know what conclusions to take from this, except that maybe women don’t like arguing politics as much as men.

    Anyway, keep on calling out things that disturb you. Particularly blatant stereotypes that were likely meant to annoy, if not enrage.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Michelle says:

      “I don’t know what conclusions to take from this, except that maybe women don’t like arguing politics as much as men.”

      My hunch is that women might prefer to do it differently than men. But men tend to set the tone of the culture and generally do so in a way that is more male friendly. Not because they necessarily want to exclude women; they are just doing what comes natural.

      I do appreciate your support and am glad to know I wasn’t wholly off-base. As someone who is neither a woman nor gay, I knew there was a risk that I might be acting presumptuously on behalf of those groups. And I’m sure some of those folks will feel that way. But it is reassuring to know not all will. Thanks.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Michelle says:

      “I don’t know what conclusions to take from this, except that maybe women don’t like arguing politics as much as men.”

      I think this is particularly observant Michelle. In my experience with political chatboards and blogs over the last eight years men always outnumber the women and will always hang in there much longer on an argument. If anything I think that dynamic is what keeps women away. It’s not that they are intimidated, they just see it as a waste of time.Report

      • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        For sites with fairly mixed commentary, Balloon-Juice and (not as political), Slacktivist. FireDogLake and Crooks and Liars are also fairly evenly mixed, I think.

        What do these sites have in common? That is left as an exercise for the reader.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Michelle says:

      Indeed, the commenters here seem to have about the same male-to-female ratio as, say, Marginal Revolution. Or, for that matter, Asymmetrical Information. It can hardly be said that the latter lacks a female perspective, and yet the peanut gallery is overwhelmingly male.

      The only political blogs I’ve seen that have a noticeably lower male-to-female ratio among the commenters are explicitly feminist blogs.Report

    • Avatar Erik Kain in reply to Michelle says:

      I think that the name of the blog is offputting to women (or so I’ve heard) and that having more female writers here would result in more female interactions here. And the cycle is a vicious one, and the sexist comments don’t help.

      P.S. If any of our regular female commenters are interested in posting here, I’m all ears.Report

      • Avatar Michelle in reply to Erik Kain says:

        The other blog on which I comment regularly is Outside the Beltway. I haven’t counted, but my feeling is that they have about the same male-female ratio as this blog and a similar mix of political persuasions, although probably more liberals than anything else. All of their main contributors are male. The kind of issues discussed are not nearly as wide-ranging as here.

        I’d say one of the main differences between here and there is that this site strikes me as more clique-ish with a lot more in jokes. I assume that’s because a lot of folks have been around for a while and because it’s a relatively small subset of people who comment regularly. Some women might feel like they’re breaking into the boys’ club.

        I’ll think more about this stuff but, for now, dinner’s ready and my husband will start to get pissy if I don’t power down the iPad and join him.Report

      • Avatar Miss Mary in reply to Erik Kain says:

        Erik, I didn’t like the idea of a name change at first. In light of the reoccurrence of sexist comments and lack of female representation, however, I’m thinking it can’t hurt. Not only am I warming up to it, but I’m thinking that sending a clear message is your best bet. It is waaaaay too easy for a female newcomers to see a few remarks by some not-so-gentlefolks and fail to return. At this point follow up comments by people who are still willing to engage instead of ignore are your only hope for those ladies. Eventually Kazzy and whoever else will burn out. Then what?Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Erik Kain says:

        Yo, I’m interested.
        If you want me up there, I’ll take it.
        (note: if you’re interested, plz respond to this comment, rather than dropping e-mails to non-existent e-mail addys).Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Michelle says:

      Obviously you haven’t been hanging out on dailykos much. tons of women there, tons of men. not sure the breakdown, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see 50/50Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Michelle says:

      64% of dailykos is male. I’d say that’s pretty close to even. a HELL of a lot closer than this place, I think.Report

  2. Avatar Roger says:

    I think this site is loaded with libertarians and progressives, but needs more conservatives such as Tom to balance things out.

    I think Tom’s comments in question were well within the bounds of acceptability. Indeed, I would worry about a PC movement on this site that attempts to try to protect those supposedly defenseless classes that need to be handled with kid gloves.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Roger says:

      Would it really be that hard for the League to find some conservatives who argue honestly and aren’t misogynist? Is that the soft bigotry of low expectations about conservatives, Roger? 😉Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Roger says:

      In all honesty, Roger, you sense of acceptability doesn’t matter. It is the folks who might not come here because of comments like that whose matter. No one is asking for kid gloves. I’m asking for reflection. Consider the messages you send and how they might be received by someone outside yourself, whose experiences are different than your own.Report

      • Avatar Roger in reply to Kazzy says:

        Then you need to consider the opinions of all the conservatives that won’t come here because of all the conservative hit pieces that we do. Have you considered their opinions?

        This line of thought just degrades down to protected and unprotected groups. I’d suggest we avoid that.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Roger says:

          I see it as a line of thought that tends towards not being deliberately and unconstructively offensive. If you found the pieces critical of Fox News, Romney, or other conservative institutions as such, you should call them out.

          When I have seen folks take unfair swipes at conservatives (including someone who thought “Tom Van Rape” was a witty retort), I have called them out accordingly. If I have ideological biases that make me miss certain offenses, I have already acknowledged being less than perfect. Those who do not miss them should do what they fell is necessary to expose them.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

            “If I have ideological biases that make me miss certain offenses, I have already acknowledged being less than perfect. Those who do not miss them should do what they fell is necessary to expose them.”

            This seems like I’m writing off what I miss. No. But I can only criticize that which I identify and can only identify that which I understand. I don’t understand the particulars of every group and therefore, can’t identify that which they might find offensive. If those who do understand those groups and can identify those offenses call them out, I can begin to understand and identify myself. That is how I have come to understand the groups of which I am not a member of but which I seek to serve as an ally; someone somewhere taught me.Report

          • Avatar Roger in reply to Kazzy says:

            I am a big fan of your professionalism, and did not ever mean to imply otherwise. I also agree that the League would be better if it was for ordinary ladies and gentlemen, and that the level of discourse is sometimes not up to the standards we should expect.

            Again, though, I think Tom’s comments were acceptable, and if my opinion or “sense of acceptability” on the issue doesn’t matter, then feel free to delete what I wrote.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Roger says:

              Roger-

              I would never think to delete your posts. You are a worthy and valued commenter here. When I say “didn’t matter”, I meant that it didn’t matter in the context of its impact on members of the targeted group. You and I don’t get to decide what women find offensive. I don’t get to decide what conservatives find offensive. Your opinion on the comment matters in a whole host of ways; but not ALL ways. And, for the record, my personal opinion doesn’t matter either. If it became obvious that women and/or lesbians in general found the comments just as innocuous as you did, I should be rightfully criticized as concern-trolling.Report

        • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Roger says:

          … *blink* you haven’t seen a conservative hit piece around here.
          Maybe I ought to write one, and see what y’all have to say.
          *evil grin*Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:

        kazzy,

        “In all honesty, Roger, you sense of acceptability doesn’t matter. It is the folks who might not come here because of comments like that whose matter.”

        Isn’t that sort of like trying to prove a negative? I don’t know how we can consider the opinions of people who DON’T come here in any kind of realistic way. We can speculate but then we all apply our own biases.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Oh, it can be easily done, if folks really want to know. Take a sample to folks who might not be here and say, “Hey, what do you think of this? Would you want to participate in a community that had exchanges like this?” Rinse, repeat. I’m confident all of us have at least semi-regular interaction with those groups that tend to be underrepresented here. There are ample opportunities to better understand those whose experiences are outside our own if we look for them.

          Jaybird stands as a great example of someone who does this with tact, respect, and true open-mindedness.Report

          • Avatar DRS in reply to Kazzy says:

            TVD is not a conservative, he’s a Republican and probably a right-winger. There is a difference, you know. If you got some real conservatives here, that might be worthwhile.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:

            Kazzy,

            “Take a sample to folks who might not be here and say, “Hey, what do you think of this? Would you want to participate in a community that had exchanges like this?”

            Are we talking about the posts or the comments? Because my understanding (and Erik or one of the other OG writers can correct me) is that the comment sections are mostly designed for open discussion as long as people don’t try to kill one another. That is in-line with most publications and professional blogs.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              MD-

              If we think but aren’t sure that our site, posts and comments alike, are unwelcoming to people of color or women or conservatives or what-have-you, than I think the best way to determine that is by asking those folks themselves.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:

                Well of course one solution, which would suck, is for the contributors to the site to vacate the comment sections and let that exist as a separate entity.We wash our hands of it (again, like many professional publications do).

                The alternative is for us to continue to participate and A) Police it B) Try to steer the ship in a direction we approve of C) Let it exist mostly unchecked as a sort of mini-representation of society at-large.

                I’m inclined to go with option C myself.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                First off, I tend to hate blogs where the writers don’t contribute in the comments section. I think that is one of the best features of this blog and others like it and helps to keep us accountable.

                To your second point, I don’t think it has to be an either/or scenario. Multiple approaches can be used. You can do you and I can do me. But I think it is clear that our current commentariat is NOT a representation of society-at-large, at least demographically. Which is not inherently a bad thing. But it does create a feedback loop that tends toward moving it more to more to the margin than the center. And IF we want to reverse the tendency, we need to do so actively; it won’t happen by accident or on its own. If we don’t want to reverse that tendency, so be it. But I know that *I* do and it seems others do as well.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot2 in reply to Kazzy says:

        Also, if you’re accused of sexism and you were talking about someone being hot, you should be contrite, regardless of whether you can explain how your comment wasn’t really sexist.

        Tom is never contrite. That abscence of contriteness sends the signal that even if Tom isn’t a sexist, he doesn’t think sexism is a big deal.Report

    • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to Roger says:

      Wordsmith, DensityDuck and (ugh) MFarmer fill that void fairly well, without being trolls.

      I don’t see a lot of posts that lack a conservative view-point.Report

  3. Avatar Rose Woodhouse says:

    Interestingly, this kerfuffle happened on the same day that I posted a pic of a shirtless Daniel Craig on Blinded Trials. https://ordinary-times.com/russellsaunders/2012/09/you-asked-for-it-the-chick-flicks-of-rose-woodhouse/ And it is sort of a joke between Russell and me on Blinded Trials that where a post could warrant a picture of a hot man, I will put up a picture of a hot man. I could imagine TVD asking, “Why no kerfuffle there?” It’s a fair question.

    Allow me to remind people that I wrote a long post a couple of months ago on the issue of ogling hotties, and whether there is a moral difference between ogling male and female: https://ordinary-times.com/russellsaunders/2012/07/is-it-okay-to-ogle-hotties-male-and-female/

    A few thoughts on this kerfuffle specifically, especially in light of my Daniel Craig post the same day. Here’s why I think it is reasonable that TVD’s picture is indeed more kerfuffle worthy than Daniel Craig.

    1) As I stated in the post, ogling is not inherently morally wrong. There is a moral difference between ogling men and women. Not a giant moral difference, but some moral difference.

    2) The TVD case is objectionable is because Fox hires women for a skill set (i.e., attaining and maintaining looks) that is a) different from the one that they use for men, and b) different from one that should be used for the job. Not so in the Daniel Craig case.

    3) The Daniel Craig image (which was a still from a movie) was in a scene, as I said in the post, which was winkingly addressing the sexism of another James Bond movie (Ursula Andress in Dr. No), and signaling the shift away from sexism that this movie planned to take. Daniel Craig addresses sexism more explicitly here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC8Ls-5nRxM

    4) Exactly as Kazzy says. What do we wish to communicate? There is concern at the League that we are alienating women. I am a woman not easily alienated by large groups of men. My academic field is 80% male. I am willing to write for this blog before we change our name. I was off-put by the picture and all the bitchslapping nonsense. If I am off-put, others are too. I don’t want people to tiptoe around me, but if it’s a boy’s club, I can go elsewhere. If I see that news and political contributions by women are valued based on the women’s hotness, what does that tell me about my contributions? Should I have put on make-up before doing the LeagueCast?

    5) TVD has been nothing but unfailingly kind to me. We have never been involved in any sort of dust-up. However, he says the highest compliment he can pay me is to treat me like Elizabeth Anscombe. Elizabeth Anscombe, for those who don’t know, was a very prominent philosopher in the mid-twentieth century when there were no other prominent female philosophers. She would smoke cigars and Wittgenstein affectionately called her “old man.” In other words, the highest compliment to pay me is to treat me like a man. Two thoughts about this. 1) I have wondered from day 1 if Anscombe (and other early female philosophers) feel they must disown typical feminine gendered behavior, not because they wanted to but because they felt they must in order to be taken seriously, and 2) would TVD take it as the highest compliment if I invited him for a joint mani-pedi followed by a shared pint of Haagen Dazs while watching Project Runway?Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Rose Woodhouse says:

      Thanks, Rose. For the record, this post was much less about Tom and much more about me: what I did and why I did it. Let’s stop pretending that the LoOG lacks diversity by accident or because other folks just don’t get it. They get it very well. We’re full of microaggressions towards women, people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ folks, and others. And we don’t even seem to realize it.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Rose Woodhouse says:

      How about Hannah Arendt?Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Rose Woodhouse says:

      “The TVD case is objectionable is because Fox hires women for a skill set (i.e., attaining and maintaining looks) that is a) different from the one that they use for men, and b) different from one that should be used for the job”

      I’m going to quibble with this a bit. There is a double standard, but not a huge double standard. Nobody’s hired Steve Doocy for his brains is what I’m trying to say. Trace Gallagher and Shepard Smith are competent (and Smith is great when he goes off script) , but they are also fairly good looking.

      And of course it’s media wide: Brian Williams, George Stephanopoulos, Anderson Cooper, Sanjay Gupta, Peter Jennings (when he was alive), the list goes on of gentlemen that all basically have Hollywood good looks. Hell, even put Hannity on there as someone who looks good on camera, even if he smugness makes one all punchy.

      As I may have said here before, local small market news is filled with people that were homecoming Kings and Queens ten years ago.

      (And I don’t think we’re going to have an ugly President anytime soon either)Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Rose Woodhouse says:

      Of course I’d be flattered and warmed, Rose.Report

    • In other words, the highest compliment to pay me is to treat me like a man.

      There’s the “real life” version of this which, I agree, can veer from the banal to the really, really weird but what would the interactive text version of this look like? If I’m talking to you and you’re talking to me… how should I treat the different sexes/genders differently?

      “Oh, you’re a female? I’ll change my tone when I talk to you” is an attitude that would downright offend me… but, to be sure, I’m not female.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Jaybird says:

        The real question at the heart of this is why does this double standard exist? If the tone might be offensive to women in the first place, then why is it okay for men to use it to each other, thinking it’s normal and acceptable? Doesn’t that reaffirm misogyny, wink wink nudge nudge?

        I agree, I don’t want men talking different because there’s a lady in the room; it is offensive. So the obvious place to look is raising awareness of the talk men currently feel comfortable with when she’s not in the room, ehh?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic says:

          But let’s say that we’re talking about a topic that, for the most part, is pretty neutral. I mean, not body-parts intensive, not talking about urges or anything like that. Just arguing politics, or philosophy, or religion, or any topic that can get heated.

          If I am going to write two or three paragraphs in response to someone, read their response(s), and get down and write some more… there’s no male or female there. If we write a paragraph that we wouldn’t be comfortable reading aloud to a female friend, that’s one thing… but if I write a different paragraph for someone presenting female in the comments than I would for someone presenting male?

          That strikes me as something skewed. (Though, to be sure, in the abortion discussion yesterday, there were comments I did *NOT* make because I knew that I was speaking to someone female when I would have made the comments if the person were male. This worked out to my benefit (or, at least, making the comments would have been to my detriment)… but it’s an uncomfortable dynamic. I don’t like it.)Report

          • Avatar Johanna in reply to Jaybird says:

            I have a pretty thick skin and have on only a couple of occasions here shared my offense at certain statements or subjects here at the League. Both were related to comments that I found particularly sexist in nature. My comments were quickly attacked as illegitimate or biased. This has pretty much kept from being interested in engaging here on issues where additional female views to the few that we have could be of benefit. I don’t expect anyone to feel the need to walk on eggshells or to change the culture of discourse. I don’t however have any interest in engaging with people whose first reaction to a female commenting on something she finds offensive is immediately dismissed.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Johanna says:

              That’s one of those things that I’d like to think that I would have yelled about had I seen but I can just as easily assume that I thought “she can take care of herself, the last thing she needs is me white knighting on her behalf”.

              For what it’s worth, if I should have said something but didn’t, I’m sorry.Report

              • Avatar Johanna in reply to Jaybird says:

                Thanks JB. I have never felt as though I needed anyone to defend me, I do want to point out that gentlefolk who behave badly apologize or at least acknowledge some culpability to offense that arises. In the cases I experienced, this did not happen and you have nothing to apologize for.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Johanna says:

              I’ll go another direction on that Johanna. I think the fact that people did call out those offensive comments (if we’re thinking of the same threads here) is a sign that part of the community, if not the vast majority of the community, if not the entirety of the community save for only a couple-few individuals, doesn’t tolerate that stuff.

              How many people in a community need to not tolerate offensive comments before it could be said that the community doesn’t tolerate offensive comments? For some reason, I hope it’s not the entirety of the community.Report

              • Avatar Johanna in reply to Stillwater says:

                I appreciate that people came to my defense. It is those commenters that have kept me reading here. It is unfortunate that the first response to each issue was to immediately marginalize what I had said. I don’t want to speak for any other women here but I have seen similar reactions by certain individuals to some of the other women here who I see post here are not the type to get easily offended by this forum. If the League wants to continue to attract and keep smart female posters, they should consider what the women are actually saying about the climate caused by a few.Report

              • Avatar Johanna in reply to Johanna says:

                Wow I am tired, I think you get the gist of what I was saying.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Johanna says:

                Yup, I do. I don’t disagree.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Johanna says:

                Johanna, you’re the wife of my Javert of many years, Dr. James Hanley. You simply disclosed that to our readers after I asked you. That was the beginning and end of our substantive correspondence and no disrespect was ever rendered or intended. People could look it up. Everything alleged here otherwise is a lie.Report

              • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                No, she’s not. She is a person in her own right, with her own biasews, opinions and thoughts. I sincerely doubt whether you’d refer to Maribou (if I may be so bold as to drag her into this) as “Mrs Jaybird”.

                So, yes, disrespect was intended, and still is.Report

              • Avatar Johanna in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Tom, I have no more interest in engaging you. I will only respond that I offered an opinion that was mine and that I have been around here long enough that regular posters and FPers know who I am. You did, so why did you point it out? I doubt it was for context for the readers. You and I have no previous context.

                I need not preface my opinions as Mrs. James Hanley for your or anyone else’s benefit that is a standard of misogyny I don’t believe belongs at this blog. I stand by my own words and opinion of what transpired. You are correct, people can look up the exchange and decide for themselves.

                For the record, I was prompted to post because your comments on a previous post were such that I couldn’t on good conscience let slide without saying something. It takes some hubris to insinuate that James is your Javert. You are no Jean Valjean, you are far from the protagonist in this drama. You aren’t the only person I was referring to when I spoke about my experiences with what I would consider sexist attitudes here and I refrained from offering names. I also have seen since our interaction that I am not the only woman who considers what you said out of line. I have also avoided joining into other coversations with or relating to you. If you can’t see that your response to me, ignoring the substance of my comment with an attempt at a “look it is James wife” gotcha was out of line, I don’t know what else to say.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Stillwater says:

                Just a personal experience:
                When that guy (the one running for office now) was being rather blatantly offensive towards me, I started really flaming him. The rest of y’all sat back and watched (or at least that’s my recollection). Felt kinda lonely. (which is not to say that I needed some support — or defense!, though a +1 or something might have been nice).Report

              • Avatar Johanna in reply to Kimmi says:

                If he is who I am thinking of, wasn’t he one of the few here who actually got banned or did he just slink away?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Johanna says:

                I’m late to this thread, which seems to be well and truly done over, but…

                he was banned.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Johanna says:

                *nods* yeah, but he got banned a while after I was talking with him (next day). Someone posting “dude, you’re over the line, you’er gonna get banned” would have been appreciated.Report

              • Avatar DRS in reply to Kimmi says:

                I wasn’t here for that, sorry.Report

              • Avatar Johanna in reply to Chris says:

                Heidi running for office? I doubt it.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Johanna says:

                Oh man, I so wanted that to be true.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Johanna says:

                No, I can’t remember the name, but I’ve seen the name mentioned before. Not ol’ H.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Rose Woodhouse says:

      Elizabeth Anscombe pulled CS Lewis apart like an old carburettor. He never wrote theology thereafter, confined himself to children’s stories and the like.Report

  4. Avatar Rose Woodhouse says:

    Well, I wrote a response, but I suppose it’s waiting for moderation because it included some links.Report

  5. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Okay, well, I did a terrible job of making this point previously, so I’ll try again and hopefully not fish it up quite as much.

    Sexism, racism, homophobia, and other bigotries are character flaws. Moreover, they’re irrational and perhaps even largely unconscious character flaws. They are also, as I understand it, nearly universal in our culture. This means that thoughtful people will spend a lot of time worrying about whether or not we retain unconscious or semi-conscious biases or bigotries. As with any character flaw, many of us balk at calling out others on it because we worry that doing so is to position ourselves as having a moral authority that we probably don’t have. Some of you take that as complacency, but it’s really more doubt about whether, well, whether I personally should set myself up as a moral exemplar here. Am I a misogynist? Eh, it would be pretty hard to work for a woman who’s a lot smarter than I am if I was. Do I judge women or men based on looks? I definitely try not to, but I’d not feel comfortable saying, “No, never!”

    See, my problem is that it’s really hard to write a post like this and not have it come off as, “I wanted to send a message to the readers here who saw the sexism in Tom’s comment that there are people here who are better than that. Like me. I wanted to make it very clear that I am better than that. If my moral superiority offends some people, well so be it.” I get that you’re basically trying to say the site is better than that. However, as others have said, there’s been enough of the “hubba hubba” posts around here lately that I still wouldn’t feel completely comfortable saying that either. The difference between “gay protesters are cool when they’re two hot ladies kissing, amiright?” and “political commenters are cool when they’re two hot ladies being hot, amiright?” is, to my mind, that we all know the guy who posted the first one is no misogynist (especially as he’s saying that ostensibly liberal women are attractive), but the second guy we’ve decided probably is. But your results may vary and certainly I’m open to respectful disagreement here.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Rufus F. says:

      Rufus-

      This is a great point, no doubt. My point is not to hold myself up as the exemplar to which all others should strive to be. But I don’t believe sitting on our hands gets us anywhere. I’m a firm believer in the notion that you can’t stay in neutral on a moving train. I think our society’s train largely heads towards racism or sexism or homophobia. Not necessarily the explicit, rampant kind which we have thankfully moved away from. But it still tilts in that direction if unchecked, because straight, white males are still the dominant class.

      Speaking specifically about the LoOG, I don’t think this site gets better if comments like those go unchallenged. If I come off as holier-than-thou, so be it. Like I said, I’ll take those slings and arrows. If more of us are willing to challenge that which is offensive, even while failing to be free of offense ourselves, we’ll reach a point where signaling behavior won’t be as necessary, because we’ll have achieved a much closer semblance of the type of community we want to create which can better police itself from within.

      And I will say, for the record, I was very uncomfortable with the other post to which you refer and even more uncomfortable with some of the comments in that thread. It was hard to weigh in on in part because the picture was lifted from the article cited and Burt’s reservations about including it seemed in place. Could I have raised objection and engaged in signaling behavior there? Sure. Did the messenger matter? Absolutely, and I make no hesitation to acknowledge that.

      I’m far from perfect. I have my own biases, my own poorly formed signals. I’ll likely be inconsistent in how I apply this approach. But I won’t remain is entirely silent while I think blatant and deliberate attempts at offense go on. And I hope others won’t, even if and when I am the perpetrator of those offenses.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Kazzy says:

        Let me offer a further note in my defense regarding the Chick-fil-A post: I intended to subvert the salacious appeal of the photo with the joke in the end link — if you’re reading the post because you like the picture of the two young women kissing, then you’re at risk of getting Rick-rolled, the oldest and silliest practical joke on the net. I enjoyed the subversive nature of the prank, which at the time I did it seemed harmless.

        Maybe it wasn’t really harmless. If that’s the case I would appreciate feedback.
        In retrospect, of course, I could have picked a different sort of picture and not had to bother with the joke. The content of the post could have been substantially the same.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Burt Likko says:

          I didn’t click through the link, so if that fleshed out your intentions, I’m happy to do so and reconsider. And, as I noted, my initial discomfort was mitigated by what I did understand of your commentary on the matter. What really bothered me was the folks in the comments who seemed to be saying, “More pretty girls kissing, please!”Report

          • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Kazzy says:

            But now I’ve ruined the joke for you by telling you the punchline in advance. It’s only funny if you take at face value that the video offers “mor hawt girlies makin’ out” and you go there looking for specifically that. Now you know you’ll get Ric Astley instead. Won’t be nearly as funny, or subversive.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Rufus F. says:

      Rufus, do you think things would get better if everyone realized that what you said in your first paragraph, about racism and sexism being something that we all struggle with in our own hearts and minds, were true, and then accepted that, sometimes they’ll be the ones calling others on their sexism and racism, and sometimes others will be the ones calling them on theirs? In other words, if we’re all struggling with it, couldn’t we see it as mutually assured accountability, rather than as everyone seeing themselves as better than everyone else, or at least better than the people they’re criticizing?

      I will admit that I think your admission that these are the sorts of things that you, and everyone else, struggle with already suggests a degree of awareness that a lot of people in the world at large, and here on this blog, don’t have, but it seems to me that awareness is precisely the sort of thing that would make it not only OK, but even a sort of duty, to speak up, even if some of the less aware will think that you’re… preening. You’ll know different, and after this comment of yours, so will a lot of the people here, eh?Report

    • Avatar b-psycho in reply to Rufus F. says:

      Especially since in the 1st case all that is known is they’re attractive to the guy commenting. There’s a detachment that is clearly understandable there as opposed to women who you know more about, and who have a role that is based on their brains — saying of the latter “they’re hot who cares what they’re saying!” is to diminish that without even considering it.

      If the furthest I know a woman is by a picture, I really don’t have anything else to say beyond looks. If I know more, I can say more. To know a lot more and just deem looks the only importance is where the insult comes in. In the case of the original comment that started all this, if their looks are the only thing of value then that reflects terribly on the “product” which is supposed to be news. It’s like watching a music video by an attractive singer on mute*: you’re saying that on their primary responsibility they suck.

      (* – I’ve done this many times over the years)Report

  6. I suppose I, along with my co-blogger supra, should make some sort of reference to why I will occasionally comment on the pulchritude of attractive males (various Olympic athletes, Paul Ryan, etc.) without compunction.

    The easiest and simplest answer is that I say these things because they are on my mind. My wee little blog is my space to share what’s on my mind with those who choose to read it. I suspect if it were devoted to nothing but extended meditations on Dannell Leyva’s glutes, I would have precious few readers and it would wither on the vine. But since these observations are generally incidental to the broader point I’m making, and are simply reflective of the personality of the person writing the post, they seem tolerable to me. I could stop doing it, but the resulting posts would be a little less “me.”

    Perhaps I am being self-congratulatory or -deluding, but I like to think that I have both accrued enough good will from my readership to be given some latitude, and that any new readers would be able to appreciate what I was saying in the spirit in which it was intended. Again, perhaps this is a pretty lie to tell myself, but there you are.Report

    • This is another thing that keeps going through my mind and I’m glad you bring it up: absolutely, hearing about people’s lustful thoughts can be pretty alienating if they’re creepy about it, but isn’t it also something people talk about as a way of making other people feel more comfortable? It’s an easy way to relate to someone on a human level to say, “Hey, that famous dude, I think he’s hot, huh?” It humanizes yourself to say, yeah, I have lustful thoughts too. I think it’s a way of saying you’re pretty comfortable with the other people here, and I don’t know if I exactly want to discourage it. (Not to mention the fact that I often take off my shirt when performing with my band and I’ve been planning to post videos here for a Friday Jukebox and I’d really encourage people to make lewd comments!)Report

      • Avatar Miss Mary in reply to Rufus F. says:

        I mostly agree with Rufus (I’m reserving judgement on his bare chest). A tiny bit of (overall respectful) humor or (respectful) throw away comments regarding those you find attractive are usually harmless and build a rapore with your readership. However, that requires giving the writer the benefit of the doubt and determining the intent. Some authors can walk that line. Some can’t.Report

  7. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    One additional thing to add: The League is mostly white, heterosexual males. But we also have some homosexual males, a woman, some fellows of Asian descent. So if we’re REALLY sseking diversity, what would that look like? African American, American Indian, etc? And beyond that, what about geographic diversity? We’re mostly an American blog but we have writers from Canada and New Zealand. Do we need more countries or more parts of the U.S. represented? What about religious diversity and political diversity? Diversity of careers?

    I’m being a little bit saracastic here but not exactly. When you start making ‘diversity’ a goal then in order to tackle it with any seriousness you have to describe what that looks like and then ACTIVELY seek that out. Until then it’s mostly just talk. It almost feels like some people around here lately are acting concerned simply to get credit for acting concerned.

    And I know yesterday some posters took issue with me suggesting that women WRITE A GUEST POST but that’s always been the audition process for getting on this site. I logged several guests posts and commented heavily for two years before I was invited to join. Shouldn’t we hold those writers who we would want to add for the sake of diversity to the same standard? Or at the very least, expect them to tolerate the good with the bad?

    Rose remains the model for me in terms of what that looks like. Perhaps she insulates herself from harsh treatment because her stuff is so damn good, but I don’t see her scared of a little heat. And that also goes for the white, male bloggers. We’ve all been beat up more than once and we hang around.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      If the League doesn’t want to be more diverse and/or is happy with the level of diversity achieved, that is well and good and entirely within its right. There is no objective level of diversity that must be reached to be considered double-plus-good. But there seems to be a lot of conversation, at least in my time here, about why we don’t have more of a particular group of people here or how can we be more diverse. If people are genuine about wanting to change the demographics here, they need to think about signaling.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      No one who either writes or comments here is made of gossamer. We can all take a hit and absorb criticism and address disagreement. That is, in a very real way, what we come here for. If I want my conservative opinions to be affirmed I can go to Pajamas and if I want my liberal opinions affirmed Balloon Juice is there for me.

      I keep coming here because I know my ideas will be tested and evaluated. That way, they get better. Diversity is an interesting goal because it broadens the spectrum of the substantive kinds of critiques available. As for FP privileges, ability to write effective essays is the paramount criterion as far as I am concerned.Report

    • Avatar Rose Woodhouse in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Two things:

      1) there’s a difference between saying “we must have more women for the sake of having more women!”, and creating an environment where women don’t want to be.

      2) If I have insulated myself from harsh criticism, my frequent harsh critics seem not to have gotten the memo :).Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      I’m pretty sure the criticisms of “WRITE A GUEST POST” had nothing to do with getting more women on the masthead, and everything to do with its use as a means to avoid addressing something someone said in the place that they said it. Like I said, if your response always defaults to, “WRITE A GUEST POST,” what will your response be when that person writes a guest post? “WRITE ANOTHER GUEST POST?”

      Also, I think it’s equally important to get more women into the discussions, not just on the masthead, even if getting more women on the masthead might be a route to getting more women into the discussions.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

        For my part, “Write a guest post!” is what I tend to say when I encounter a viewpoint that is so different from my own I think it deserves to be front and center on the main page.

        (I’ve said that we don’t use the “Comment Rescue” feature enough. Sometimes a comment strikes me as the tip of a proverbial iceberg, though, and the thoughts deserve a main post.)

        When someone complains that we don’t have enough of a particular kind of voice, however, I’m more of a “be the change you want to see in the world” kinda “write a guest post!” guy. I can’t write a post flavored with the perspective of a person of color, or a non-CIS-gendered male, or of a gay guy. If you are a person who is from a particular angle of looking at the world and you’re upset that your angle isn’t represented? I cannot write that post.

        Someone else is going to have to and if they ain’t on the masthead, it’s going to have to be a guest post.Report

      • Avatar DRS in reply to Chris says:

        And there’s also the question of whether someone wants to write a guest post in the first place. Mike refers to it as some kind of honour approximating the conferring of knighthood after a tournament but to me it’s just one more chore on top of everything else I have to do. I would much rather take part in a discussion through the comments thread, if people would actually interact with what is said in an open manner. I did not feel that happened in a previous thread yesterday and the day before.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to DRS says:

          DRS,

          “I would much rather take part in a discussion through the comments thread, if people would actually interact with what is said in an open manner.”

          Your comments weren’t ignored and they were interacted with. They just weren’t interacted with in a way that you liked or that you felt gave you extra bonus points for being a woman in a discussion about abortion.Report

          • Avatar DRS in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            …that you felt gave you extra bonus points for being a woman in a discussion about abortion.

            Well, that put me in my place, no question. I think I’ll go into the kitchen and bake something.Report

          • Avatar zic in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            This is hilarious.

            Because when the subject of bringing the responsibility of men who sew unwanted seed into the debate came up, you changed it to ‘they have responsibility, because they have to pay child support.’ I realize you think that means they have to live up to the responsibility of fathering a child.

            But it was a total change of subject from the suggestion that men have some responsibility in preventing abortion by preventing unwanted pregnancies themselves; something that should be focused on anyone claiming abortion is wrong nearly 100% of the time. Most particularly by a man making that claim.

            DRS’s claims you didn’t interact with what was being said, and I agree; you changed the subject.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            They just weren’t interacted with in a way that you liked or that you felt gave you extra bonus points for being a woman in a discussion about abortion.

            See, this is the type of comment that just invites third party refereeing.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            “Your comments weren’t ignored and they were interacted with. They just weren’t interacted with in a way that you liked or that you felt gave you extra bonus points for being a woman in a discussion about abortion.”

            This seems to imply the conversation should take place on your terms only.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:

              Kazzy,

              DRS and I discussed the issue for two days. I don’t feel she was ignoring my position or treating it unfairly or whatever because I don’t ever expect the granting of elevated standing in a debate. I’m of the mind that a debate doesn’t exist on anyone’s terms. It’s a back-and-forth. But DRS says her comments weren’t interacted with in an ‘open manner’ (whatever that means). Since I know I was debating her in good faith I can only assume her complaint is because the conversation didn’t go in the direction she wanted it to. THAT assumes elevated standing or someone expecting the conversation to happen on their terms. I am assuming that DRS is claiming that because she is a woman, but I am open to being corrected on that point.Report

              • Avatar DRS in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                You focused on paying child support and ignored my repeated question about the immorality of a man indulging in casual sex without consideration of a possible pregancy resulting from it, a pregnancy that could be terminated by abortion, something that you describe as immoral. You said that this would be an immoral action by a woman, whereas the man’s action would be irresponsible. And I pointed out that this is just a little too convenient for men. I was protesting – and still do – that the issue of abortion is not something that is woman-only, that this is joint responsibility, and that men have some obligation to take casual sex a lot more seriously if reducing the instances of abortion is a desired goal. That you keep referring to this as “abstinence” and “concern-trolling” tells me that you’re really not open to exploring a subject beyond the narrow confines of what you’ve already decided. So why bother posting something for comments at all?Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to DRS says:

                My suggestions? Let Mike be Mike all by himself.Report

              • Avatar DRS in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                You’re a real piece of work, you know that?

                THAT assumes elevated standing or someone expecting the conversation to happen on their terms.

                Wow, nothing pejorative about that statement, I’m sure. So either I want to be be better than anyone else or I want the conversation to be entirely about me. In other words – I want to be Mike Dwyer. Not in a million years, buddy.

                I am assuming that DRS is claiming that because she is a woman, but I am open to being corrected on that point.

                Let’s see – why might the topic of abortion resonate strongly with women? Hmm. Hmmm. Hmmmm. Nope can’t think of any reasons at all. Must be just because they want to smear their girl cooties all over Mike’s nice posting.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to DRS says:

                I can’t really go into what I want to say at full length, but Mike, I’d challenge you to consider tow hat extent you are failing to acknowledge the extent to which “the norm” here is reflective of the preferred terms of certain individuals and may not be universally accepted as the “best” way. I think it is really easy to forget this reality when you are immersed in the culture of power.

                I’ll try to expand on this later.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Kazzy says:

                One feature set of the conservative vs. the liberal is that the conservative is more concerned with the behavior of the individual and less concerned with what is universally true.

                If it is the case that the best outcome is the individual does Foo, then we shoot for Foo, and build policy around Foo. When people do what they’re supposed to do, everyone benefits.

                The liberal, on the other hand, is much more worried about the side effect of trumpeting the best outcome. If we tell everyone to Foo, and most people Bar, and Bar is bad, we can’t tell people to Foo!

                Both sides assume something odd about humans.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to DRS says:

                Okay. as stated before, I’m going to write a guest post. On Abortion.
                DRS, please do read — it’s an interesting, insightful take.Report

              • Avatar DRS in reply to Kimmi says:

                I look forward to it.Report

              • Avatar Johanna in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Mike,
                I consider you a thoughtful poster and gather you are a good guy but the They just weren’t interacted with in a way that you liked or that you felt gave you extra bonus points for being a woman in a discussion about abortion. comment was really the type of comment I have been seeing that as a woman makes this site inhospitable for any female passerby.
                I didn’t see the debate, but that comment was so unnecessary. Abortion is not a neutral debate for men and woman. A man cannot speak for a woman in this debate. The stakes for women are higher and that cannot be ignored. You were offered a female perspective, something that the League claims an interest in and then throw out the above comment? Whether or not you agree with that perspective, your comment here is an indicator of the type of tone that isn’t going to encourage woman to want to comment here. You could have easily addressed the criticism without the dig on being female. For the record, women should have more say when it is their bodies, health, and life on the line.Report

              • Avatar DRS in reply to Johanna says:

                Most excellent, Johanna. (You are only the second person I’ve ever run into who uses the “h”!)Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Johanna says:

                Abortion is not a neutral debate for men and woman. A man cannot speak for a woman in this debate. The stakes for women are higher and that cannot be ignored.

                Reading Mike’s posts, historically, I think he’s all on board with making the stakes equally high for both parties, to the extent that you can do so without accounting for biology. He might say, you can’t make the man carry the baby to term, but you certainly can make him fiscally and socially responsible for the birth, even discounting his choices in the matter.

                I don’t think this makes it entirely neutral, but from a consequentialist standpoint it helps level the playing field a bit. I didn’t participate in the abortion thread so I can’t say with authority, but I would imagine it was possible that DRS was reading Mike’s comments as though he didn’t believe that.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird says:

    One of the things that I’ve done my best to cultivate in myself is trying to ask myself the question “would I rephrase this significantly if I knew I was speaking to a woman, or a person of color, or a member of the LGBTetc community?” and to consistently come to the conclusion that, no, I’d probably not.

    This has resulted in me generally taking the attitude that if someone is offended, it’s usually their own problem.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

      I love what you said in the first paragraph. That is a great standard to strive for.

      In the second one, I’d caution against immediately coming to that conclusion. I’m sure there was a point where you would have answered, “No,” about a particular comment that now you’d answer, “Yes,” to, based on what you’ve learned in between.

      My own example: As a teenager, I often heard the term “mulatto” used by my parents and applied to folks who were mixed race, particularly of black and white parentage. I had no idea the term was an offensive one. If you asked me then if I would use the term, I would have said, “Sure. I mean, that is the word for that, right?” If you asked me now, I’d say, “Hell no!” Because I learned.

      So, while it might well be that the cause of offense rests with the person and not with you, I’d urge you to remain open-minded that none of us are omniscient in what we know about what offends people. Plus you have the very perplexing reality where that which offends one day does not offend another day and who the responsibility lies with regards to accounting for this is surely up for debate (e.g., colored people was once considered acceptable, than considered offensive, and is still considered offensive but people of color is often preferred).

      But, yea, this:
      “One of the things that I’ve done my best to cultivate in myself is trying to ask myself the question “would I rephrase this significantly if I knew I was speaking to a woman, or a person of color, or a member of the LGBTetc community?” and to consistently come to the conclusion that, no, I’d probably not.”
      This is great.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

      Jaybird, like Kazzy, I think your first paragraph is right on. You follow it with something that suggests a sort of perfect ability, on your part, to empathize with people different from you. I find this unlikely, though perhaps that’s only because I’m not able to empathize with people who are capable of perfect, universal empathy (I kid).Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

      “This has resulted in me generally taking the attitude that if someone is offended, it’s usually their own problem.”

      Which goes to show that you’re double-extra super racist, because the first key realization of modern life is that being offended is never one’s own fault.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to DensityDuck says:

        DD, do you get in any way how this kind of comment is ultra non-helpful in having a conversation? Does bringing out racist victimisation trope move anything forward?Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to greginak says:

          Greg,

          You know what point he was trying to make. You could have substituted prejudice or insensitive for that remark and it would have meant the same thing. And he’s also right. In 2012 people assume that if a remark gives offense then it was the speaker’s fault. That ignores the over-sensitivity problem we also have in modern society.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            I think the issue is the lack of (what was the word used upthread? “contrition”?) contrition on the part of the speaker when the offensiveness of those words is pointed out.

            Is that lack of contrition disrespectful? Is it harmful? Is someone who was personally offended have a legitimate claim to objecting to that speech act? Does a third party who wasn’t the target of that offensive speech have a role to play in criticizing speech because it is or might be personally offensive to others? If a third party doesn’t officiate, are we tolerating a community where people who would have otherwise expressed how they were offended are inclined – encouraged even – to not participate (because offensive speech is tolerated)? Is there a solution to these problems?Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Stillwater says:

              Stillwater,

              Those are good points.

              My wife and I talk a lot about second party offense. IMO all the speaker can say to the second party is, “Sorry you feel that way,” unless they actually agree the remark was offensive.

              On third party offense, I lose interest quickly. The third party can point it out but IMO the first party owes them nothing. This is what we see a lot of around here. A third party claiming offense on behalf of someone else. That stuff makes me bonkers.

              And I will remake the same point as above which I think we need to tolerate waaay more in the comments than we would on the FP.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Mike, I’m a little more sympathetic to the third party argument than you are. If someone says things that are offensive to a second party, but the presumption is that the second party’s views are openly disregarded, there is a tendency for that dynamic to become self-reinforcing. The only way to break out of it is for a third party to critique the original claims.

                I think what you might object to (I know I do) is that third party action can become a form of advocacy in it’s own right. People can become inclined to think that they can legitimately speak for others. I think that’s a real problem. It’s the inverse side of the original problem.

                Like I said, I don’t see any real solutions to these problems. But I don’t think a third party view is illegitimate simply because that person wasn’t the direct target of an offensive comment.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Stillwater says:

                Stillwater,

                “I think what you might object to (I know I do) is that third party action can become a form of advocacy in it’s own right. People can become inclined to think that they can legitimately speak for others. I think that’s a real problem. It’s the inverse side of the original problem. “

                That is indeed what I am talking about. In 2012 I see a LOT of this. I don’t mean to sound partisan here but a lot of this comes from the Left. Because they see themselves as spokespersons for the less fortunate, mis-treated, etc they feel comfortable claiming offense on their behalf and from my perspective it’s a little bit of a chicken little scenario where they see offense everywhere.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Mike-

                This is one of the trickier elements of allying, something I’ll confess to personally struggling with and which I’m actually working on a workshop proposal to investigate. And you are right that it is largely the domain of the left. Part of what makes it “tricky” and not “exclusively bad” is that many folks are far more likely to listen when it is an individual from the culture of power highlighting the offense. Some folks will more quickly dismiss a woman claiming sexism or a black person claiming racism than a male or white person doing the same.

                I’ll ask you this question: Is it worse to see offense where there is none or to fail to see offense where it truly exists? A bit of a false dilemma, I admit, but not a rhetorical question: I have a feeling about the matter though not a definitive answer, but I think coming to one can be very informative in how one opts to conduct himself in such situations.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:

                “Is it worse to see offense where there is none or to fail to see offense where it truly exists?’

                I would say they are equally problematic. I know that’s an unsatisfying answer but it’s all i’ve got.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot2 in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Also,

                Suppose you think that a comment shouldn’t offend people of group A, because you define a comment as being offensive to group A only when that comment meets criteria X, and Y and the comment in question is neither X nor Y. But suppose everyone in group A (or a large majority) are offended by it.

                Should you

                a.) Deride and dismiss the members of A who don’t get that you offended them? (This is Tom and Duckman)
                b.) Say that your comment isn’t offensive to members of A even though many members of A find it offensive and you are “sorry that they” found it offensive (not an apology, but a mix of friendliness and condecension).
                c.) Admit with humility and a degree of contrition that you are sorry and that you didn’t think the comment was biased because you believed it didn’t meet criteria X, and Y, but you are happy to accept new criteria, and that those in the effected group are likely in the best position to determime what the proper criteria for determining whether a comment is offensive.
                d.) Blame the Jews.Report

              • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                It depends on if the third party is part of the class which might take offense. A man taking offense on behalf of a sexist comment could be could be White Knighting, but not so for a woman, even if the comment wasn’t made to her.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            Mike,
            You made a reasonable point. People are to sensitive nowadays. Not just about racism but across the spectrum on many issue (see “Happy Holidays” as a War on Christmas,etc) If someone is offended then it could be someone said something offensive or they are overly sensitive or some combination of both. DD’s response is characteristic of a set responses that serves to mock the idea that anybody could actually say something racist, sexist, etc. If someone tells me i said something that offended them, my first response would to think about what i said and if can’t see what what crossed a line then i would ask them to explain the concern to me since i certainly may be missing something.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to greginak says:

              Greg,

              You are right that you can’t default to automatic dismissal. It’s an over-reaction to the epidemic of over-reaction.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to greginak says:

              ” If someone tells me i said something that offended them, my first response would to think about what i said and if can’t see what what crossed a line then i would ask them to explain the concern to me since i certainly may be missing something.”

              Great, so you do that, and they explain why they’re upset, and it turns out that, for example, they mis-heard the greeting card and thought it said “black whores” instead of “black holes“. But by God they’re still very angry anyway and demand an apology. What now?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Seems like an odd example but what do i know. I’d say “i’m sorry i didn’t mean to offend but it appears it was just a misheard word and not malice” Maybe that person will continue to freak out. Well then, oh well, nothing i can do about that. I don’t think misheard words are the biggest issue to deal with.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

                I was impressed with the response when David Howard used the word “niggardly” (except by Tony Williams himself). My own personal view is that one should avoid using that word (especially when “miserly” is available), but apologies for having done so should be limited to “I probably shouldn’t have used a word that could be so easily misinterpreted” rather than “I was wrong to have used a racist word.”Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

                Yes. If some one is looking to communicate effectively you usually try to avoid words that are vague, might be easily misunderstood leading to people being pissed off and in general trying to be respectful of other. I don’t think its actually that hard to avoid touchy words or insulting people.Report

              • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to greginak says:

                Some folks don’t want “crazy” or “insane” used in general conversation. I could probably go along with “insane” but “crazy” has meant over-the-line a lot longer than it has referred to any mental condition.Report

            • Avatar Shazbot2 in reply to greginak says:

              “People are to [sic] sensitive these days”

              I wonder why women, and black people, and gays, and Jewish people, and Arabic people are so sensitive. They’re probably on their period. Geez, get over it.

              Again, these comments might be sending some signals. Kazzy is right.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Shazbot2 says:

                Shaz- I’ll stand by my statement that people are too sensitive these days. I in no way deny or minimise that racism, sexism, bigotry are real and serious issues. The two ideas can exist in the same world and be true. In fact saying people are overly sensitive doesn’t mean there aren’t real things that hurt people and should be pushed back. The example i used above related to people saying there is a war on Christmas and getting there skivvies in a bundle over the use of the phrase “happy holidays.” If i had said people are too sensitive because they were on their period it would have been correct to point that out as being full of prime jerkness. However i didn’t say that so you are putting an insult in my words that wasn’t there. That = uncool.

                My mom, and her entire family, were Jewish. Even had some die in concentration camps. My mom, in the last few years of her life, saw a lot of anti-Semitism in what i thought were anodyne things. She became overly sensitive. Does that mean there isn’t real anti-Semitism…hell freaking no. But i’ll show you plenty of hair trigger sensitivity over any discussion of Israel.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot2 in reply to greginak says:

                I did misunderstand your comment. I thought you were fully agreeing that people were too sensitive, that “the problem” was not that some groups are justifiably sensitive to racism and sexism. I realize now that you were saying many groups are rightly sensitive, but sometimes too sensitive.

                Personally, I believe that large groups of people who are suffering massive amounts of oppression, discrimination, etc. should be the ones who should be trusted to determine how offended they should be. It is not up to others to tell them how offended they should be, though certainly everyone’s input on the question of offensiveness is useful as long as it is offered in a way that respects the opinions of the offended group. So I do not think your claim that people effected by racism are too sensitive.

                But I do retract the snark and implications of my sentence -in poor taste, regardless of my error- and offer my apologies.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Shazbot2 says:

                Fair enough and accepted.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to greginak says:

              Who gets to decide what is an appropriate amount of sensitivity?Report

              • Avatar aaron david in reply to Kazzy says:

                And that cuts to the heart of the whole problem here.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Kazzy says:

                I know one thing, it isn’t me.

                I highly suspect it isn’t you, either.

                Everything else, that’s up for debate.Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Of course it’s not Pat or Kazzy, because it’s me.

                Kazzy — Tom, if I read him correctly, was making a perfectly sensible point, which goes something like this: The whole world knows that Fox and Friends is stupid; a fairer appraisal of Fox would include their good stuff too. And he ends with a tongue-in-cheek “Here’s a truly intellectual show” by showing two stunning young women dressed like escorts, though still more appropriately dressed than in the picture Tod’s used that shows Laurie Dhue apparently naked below the waist. That picture drew some comment, but no criticism of Tod for embedding it.

                Can we all calm down about this?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to MikeSchilling says:

                Mike-

                It is entirely possible that I overreacted to Tom’s comment. My offering here, in the OP, was less of a defense and more of an explanation.

                “Here is what I thought I saw happening, here is how I felt about it, and here is what I did and why.” There are a number of stumbling blocks along that path which I might have tripped over. But my broader point, which is that I am going to call out that which I think makes this place hostile or unwelcoming to others who are undeserving of that hostility or unwelcomeness, stands.

                From there, the conversation has spun off in a million different ways, many of which I think are quite fruitful as we continue to define who we are.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot2 in reply to DensityDuck says:

        This might send a signal of the sort Kazzy is talking about.Report

  9. Avatar Miss Mary says:

    I was just telling a friend yesterday that I rarely read the comments on the front page anymore due to Tom and people who respond in a similar fashion as Tom. On the F&F post in particular, I read the first 2 or 3 comments and left. I almost always skip over what Tom has to say if I do make it into the comments, but I had a feeling the F&F post would turn into a conversation about how unpleasant Tom can be after I read his comment. And it did. I wouldn’t have even gone back to the post had you not linked to it in this post. I know I’m cheating myself because I miss out on what people I actually like have to say. I also mentioned to my friend that I am more likely to read comments on the sub-blogs that I frequent. There are a number of reasons for this but it comes down to personal preference.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Miss Mary says:

      This is a damn shame, if you ask me. And what I hope to see less of, not more of.

      If you can’t make your point without driving away thoughtful people like Miss Mary, you probably don’t have a point in the first place.Report

  10. Avatar Freeman says:

    I am elated to see the League’s acknowledgement of the outstanding quality and insightfulness of BlaiseP’s commentary here by the granting of occasional FP guest posts. In the comments on his latest post, after rightly criticizing a drive-by comment by {that particular author} for lack of relevancy, and responding to my further critique of {that particular author}’s rhetorical style, you defended him, saying “I think his best would be some of our best” if only he would live up to what “he is fully capable of”, while asserting that it is his practice to “deliberately avoid offering us his best” . (My summary, correct me if I’m wrong).

    I look forward to BlaiseP’s posts — for one thing, we don’t have to wait for him to grow up and realize his potential — but it’s been a while since the last one, and I can only hope his exasperation with {that particular author} isn’t discouraging him from posting here more often.

    On the subject of {that particular author}’s place on the LoOG masthead, I’m with James H. Of course he should be as welcome as any of us in the comments (though he often skirts the edges of the Commenting Policy guidelines, especially on the issue of relevance), but to me his routine behavior in the comments here (ironically, not so much his FP posts) makes him seem out of place on the masthead of such a distinguished League of Gentlemen.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Freeman says:

      I will defend that which I consider defensible and condemn that which I consider condemnable. That’s sort of what we’re supposed to do here, right?Report

      • Avatar Freeman in reply to Kazzy says:

        Right, of course. Sorry for the confusion, but my intent was not to criticize you for defending him, as I fully support your right to do so as you see fit. I was critiquing the defense itself.

        I was pointing out that your defense of him concedes that, while you consider him “fully capable” of ” gentlemanly expression of disagreement as well as the depth of thoughtful consideration necessary to convey his opinion convincingly” (my words you responded to), you perceive that he deliberately fails to do so. Defend him as you wish, I was just saying I thought it was a pretty weak defense.

        But your larger point is well-taken — you did not post your article as a referendum on any other author, you were clarifying your own actions. And let me add that, after much reflection, I have become convinced that your strategy for dealing with {that author} is preferable to that which I and others have suggested. I (along with some of his other critics) have conceded that his FP posts are not usually particularly objectionable, it’s usually something in the way he comments on other authors’ posts that we find the most fault with. Therefore, booting him off the masthead would have the effect of reducing the overall quality (in my perception) of his participation here by eliminating the least objectionable aspect of it. When he steps over the line, you’re usually one of the first to call him out on it. The answer to objectionable free speech is more free speech, and you get that.

        So on the larger point, you’ve convinced me. It wasn’t your words in defense of the author, it was your words and behavior in response to his occasionally objectionable words and behavior. And always, you remain true to yourself and live up to the high standard of gentlemanly behavior that you would hold your fellow authors to. You have led by example. I tip my hat to you, sir.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Freeman says:

      “I can only hope his exasperation with {that particular author} isn’t discouraging him from posting here more often.”

      I wouldn’t worry about that so much. If there was ever a man to do what he will come what may, it would be Blaise.Report

  11. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    By not including my later clarification, Kazzy, you’ve done a disservice to me and to the truth.

    https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2012/09/a-letter-to-fox-friends/#comment-367946

    Tom Van Dyke September 21, 2012 at 2:04 pm
    Lawrence, not Rosie. Hot is hot. And the point is that trolling for the dumbest MFers on the other side is an only somewhat fruitful exercise, and not the whole picture. Clearly there is a larger intent by the author of the OP to embarrass both Fox and the right in general. Only the disingenuous or unimaginative would deny that.

    Fine. Mine is a rebuttal to the picture, or rather a completion of it and not the least bit irrelevant. I take the shoutdowns as a measure of its effectiveness.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      For the record, Tom, (whateverthehell the record has to do with anything anymore), I didn’t construe what you wrote as sexist, or objectifying or anything like that. I thought it was a subtle joke: our team gets good ratings and is smarter than your team, and they’re better looking to boot!

      People are hypersensitive about all things TVD at this point. The very existence of this thread and OP is evidence of that. I think the blame, if blame makes any sense on this issue, goes in both directions.

      Re; this:

      Clearly there is a larger intent by the author of the OP to embarrass both Fox and the right in general. Only the disingenuous or unimaginative would deny that.

      I disagree. The OP in question wasn’t an effort to embarrass Fox News or its viewers. It was an argument that Fox News ought to be embarrassed about themselves. There’s a difference there. Subtle perhaps, but if you don’t understand that distinction, you won’t understand what Tod was actually arguing in that post.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Stillwater says:

        Regardless, that’s a matter of opinion, not fact, and principled disagreement is possible.

        That said, thank you for not participating in the lynching. This is mob psychology, notReport

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          Yes, I agree. Roger made some good points above (excellent points), and Mike D hit the nail on the head early on. There’s alot in play on this issue. I’m not sure but that there’s some librulsplainin going on, and it’s driving, rather than resolving, the Current Crisis.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          When you understand that principled disagreement usually works best when it’s in the form of laying out the points of contention and the reasons you disagree with a position, then perhaps you’ll understand why people don’t consider, “They have an early morning show with hotties who are smart to boot” to be a sign of principled disagreement.

          Sometimes you have to wonder, “Are people reacting to me this way because they’re getting it wrong, or are people reacting to me because I’m not expressing myself well?” Since you’ve never wondered that, in fact since you’ve never shown any indication that you understand at all why people are reacting to you the way they do, people are going to continue to react to you in a way that doesn’t exactly promote engagement with your ideas or theirs’.

          I’ll give you an example. You and I obviously don’t get along. However, when you have laid out some of your views on religion clearly, without snark or obvious trolling, I’ve actually sided with you against a certain bread of… let’s call it dunderhead atheism. You know, the sort of atheism that is not just anti-intellectual on the subject of religion, but proudly so. I’m an atheist, and I’m not a big fan of religion, and I disagree with the philosophy you espouse, but again, even despite all of the conflicts we’ve had, when you actually say what you mean, and why you mean it, I’m one of the first to side with you against bullshit, because I think that your views, while I disagree with them, and in some cases might even find them abhorrent, are not bullshit.

          From another angle, let’s stipulate that this place can be a hostile environment for conservatives. What’s the best way to go about engaging the people in that environment? Blatantly trolling them? Expressing yourself highly elliptically so that it’s not clear what you’re saying, or if you even agree with the stuff you’re saying? Or saying what you mean, and why you mean it? In the end, if you’re still treated hostilely, at least you can know that it’s because of your ideas, and not because of the way you expressed them, right? As it is, you’d have a hard time convincing most observers who don’t already agree with you that the heat you take is because of your ideas, and not because of your personality.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Chris says:

            Most non-leftists here communicate somewhat elliptically, to keep the mob off their backs. Including one in particular mentioned on this thread as a paragon of civility, who was recently raked over the coals here @ LoOG for communicating elliptically!

            Damn right he does, or he gets…this. There are a lot more levels that go on around here than the mob apprehends.Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              I think you’re projecting your rationalization of your elliptical style (which I’ve seen you use elsewhere, in less “hostile” environments) onto others. The most elliptical commenter here is Jaybird, and I’m pretty sure that’s just his communication style, and people get frustrated with him now and then for it. I know I do. But it has nothing to do with the fact that he’s a libertarian. I’d want to throw something at him now and then if he were a social anarchist.

              So again, I’ll just ask you to, instead of assuming that you’re the only sane one in a world full of psychotics, consider whether your own style might play a role in how you’re received. I admit to being disappointed that you appear incapable of doing so. I’d be happy to be proved wrong, then.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

            Chris and Tom,

            I recall a few months ago when Tom actually made an effort to provide justification for his views. The other part I remember is that it fell flat. I think part of the problem Chris and I have with Tom’s views and arguments is that they don’t satisfy what we think constitutes adequate justification, or a legitimate criticism of someone else’s views. Eg., simply denying the conclusion of an argument, or denying a premise, doesn’t constitute a legitimate response to that argument. There’s rules for this sort of thing!

            This might be called “The Tyranny of Logical Reasoning”. I’m not sure it’s the only way to argue or the most effective way to better understand the world. But it’s the way I argue, and the way I try to understand the world, even with all my epistemic and cognitive limitations. Someone who views the purpose of arguments and argumentation thru a different lens may think this type of reasoning misses something important. Or even that it’s just wrongheaded.Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

              Still, I don’t think that’s true. Like I said, on religion, Tom and I are about as far apart as we are on politics. But when Tom speaks about religion, he tends to buckle down and actually say what he mean (particularly if there’s an occasion for mentioning Aquinas). And when he does so, he and I have actually engaged in conversations, despite our history. I’ve seen it happen with him and others as well (James, for example). When he comes here, he has a choice, he can either show some respect to his interlocutors and hope that they show respect back (even if, in the end, they may not), or he can come in here troll guns a blazin’, and when the majority of the commenters don’t respect him, blame it on the fact that they have a different world view than his. He consistently chooses the latter, and when he chooses the former, he may not get universal respect, but he gets some, even from those who are his harshest critics when he’s in troll mode.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Chris says:

                Christopher Hitchens flipped off Bill Maher’s mob of sycophants. This one’s for you, Christopher. R.I.P.

                Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                I wonder, whose sycophants do you think your detractors are here? A couple might be Obama fans and straight center-left American liberals, some are progressives, some are leftists, some are libertarians, some seem to be straight up centrists. I think you’ve built up in your head the idea, again, that you are the lone voice of sanity in the asylum. It’s a bad way to look at the world. Unless you want to be completely alienated, of course, in which case, more power to ya.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

                I’m not trying to excuse any bad behavior, Chris. I think TVD could do better as well. I just think alot of time Tom is trying to accomplish something else with his comments, and in the context from which we view discourse, it strikes us as argumentatively illegitimate.

                I’m just saying that from another pov, what he’s doing might make perfect sense. (Tho honesty compels me to say that I think those comments are all too frequently intended to merely provoke a reaction rather than invite a response.)Report

              • Avatar Shazbot2 in reply to Stillwater says:

                It is illegitimate. It’s mostly red herrings. Just stupid troll stuff, some of which borders in offensive.

                Just a joke to have a guy like that on the masthead of a respectable blog. Many of the people on the masthead could easily write for Reason or Slate or Salon or The Atlantic or National Review or Mother Jones or whatever, depending on their political viewpoint, based on their professionalism and desire to have a real conversation, and their contributions to interesting topics. They wouldn’t embarass the magazine with stupid irrelevant nonsense. (Some here are better than the pros.)

                Tom couldn’t. His comments are stupid, trollish nonsense. Could you imagine Tom writing and commenting at Reason or National Review. They’d fire him as an embarrasment in a week.

                I get that this blog doesn’t have big aspirations to be a bof, professional thing, but everyone should aim at being the best they can be. And Tom on the masthead isn’t compatible with this blog being the best it can be.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Shazbot2 says:

                “Tom couldn’t. His comments are stupid, trollish nonsense. ”

                Or maybe he’s just giving your posts the amount of effort they deserve.

                “And Tom on the masthead isn’t compatible with this blog being the best it can be.”

                dammit i want my echo chamber to be COMPLETELY FREE of nonharmonious echoesReport

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Shazbot2 says:

                Man, the wheels have definitely come off the cart when I’m getting grief for defending TVD!

                I don’t know how to respond to that Shaz. I think Tom trolls. I think Tom’s FP stuff is pretty good (sometimes really good). I think Tom reflexively views criticism of the GOP and conservatives thru an ideological/partisan filter which makes his comments appear to be more trolly than they would be if he didn’t reflexively view things that way. I think TVD believes that merely expressing the conservative view as an alternative to the liberal/libertarian views that dominate the blog has merit.Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Stillwater says:

              That’s fairly where “natural law” fails–or succeeds. “All men are created equal” cannot be arrived at via linear reasoning. I’ve just started to touch on this again in the Dutch courage sub-blog, starting with Plato.

              [Yah, I know, zzzzzzzzz.]

              https://ordinary-times.com/timkowal/2012/09/mortimer-adler-on-plato-positivism-and-natural-law/

              But where it’s leading is that Scalia, unlike Clarence Thomas, is a “modern”!

              UChicago Law Prof George Anastopolo: I noticed in my prepared remarks of April 7, 1997 that the legal realist cavalierly disavows the natural-right/natural-law tradition vital to the Anglo-American constitutional system. I then observed:

              If someone challenges the “wisdom” of our day about the common law–that common law upon which the Constitution rests–it need not be because he is being presumptuous. Rather, it can merely reflect the reluctance of a true conservative to repudiate the sensible teachings and steady practice by centuries of thoughtful jurists in the Anglo-American legal tradition, a tradition grounded in turn on the natural-right/natural-law tradition that the modern legal realist cavalierly disavows, thereby helping Rome to burn.

              This disavowal extends to ignoring the Declaration of Independence in constitutional interpretation, even though that document is identified in the first volume of the United States Statutes at Large as one of the four organic laws of the United States. Symptomatic of this neglect is the failure of the United States Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) to refer to the Declaration of Independence, even though the ruling in that case redeemed the “created equal” language of the Declaration as it came to be applied in the Fourteenth Amendment. It will hardly do to say, as Justice Scalia with many others says, that the Constitution is not really “aspirational” in its terms and tone.

              Justice Scalia, very much the legal realist, does have quite a different view of this matter (Blackacre, April 22, 1997, p. 2):

              I don’t think the Declaration of Independence is part of our law. It was drafted before the federal government even existed. The Declaration of Independence, unlike the Constitution, unlike the Bill of Rights, is an aspirational document! That’s where you hear such wonderful stuff [about] life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness . . .

              The Declaration of Independence is aspirational. That’s something you inspire people with, it’s not something you go to a law court with.

              He then added something which startled several in his Loyola audience, as he went on to insist that he as a judge should have nothing to do with the Declaration of Independence (ibid., p. 2; emphasis added):

              The Bill of Rights, on the other hand, has none of that philosophical poppycock in it. It’s quite precise. “Trial by jury in all civil matters involving more than $20?–that’s not the French Declaration of the Universal Rights of Man. It’s not aspirational, it’s law! The Declaration of Independence was not law, so I do not apply it in my opinions.

              So there you have it. Antonin Scalia agrees with you on things, not me.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Tom, I’ll take this topic up over at your joint on the Plato post. I see some interesting lines of agreement between us on these things, and some potentially stark lines of disagreement as well. Especially wrt Tim’s previous post about process v. outcomes.

                I’ve just got to get a little clearer on things before spouting off.Report

  12. Avatar Liberty60 says:

    For the record, and maybe because my introduction to political blogging was RedState and FDL, I consider the disagreements here to be pretty mild stuff, hardly worthy of this level of drama.

    Right now I’m picturing a mob of gentlemen in bowlers brandishing their bumbershoots. Thats the LOOG version of the Chicago way, I guess.Report

  13. Taking offense at that which we find offensive is certainly reasonable. I thought Kazzy’s response yesterday was disproportionate even though I didn’t consider objection in itself to be objectionable.

    Hanley comments above: Would it really be that hard for the League to find some conservatives who argue honestly and aren’t misogynist?

    Leaving aside the “misogyny” not, because it’s a tough term to nail down and is riddled with ideology, there is a genuine question of what an “honest conservative” would particularly want from this place. I don’t consider that necessary to be a strike against the League – ironically, it’s the conservative in me that believes in prevailing territorial culture – but when I was pondering suggesting recruiting a couple of conservative writers, the thought had occurred to me that it would be a relatively hostile environment.

    There is a reason that we have so few conservatives around here. We have roughly three more-conservative-than-me FPers out of a number approaching 30, one of which is met with great hostility and another limits his participation. We have conservative commenters and they tend to be of the more… combative… type. Why wouldn’t they be? It takes a combative and tinny personality to enter an environment skewed against you.

    Again, I don’t actually consider this to be a weakness of the League, but it’s part of the reason we have the situation we do.

    Every now and again we get an Repulsive Republicans post which demonstrates something (seemingly) outrageous that some Republican said somewhere where the intended response is a (“This is nucking futs amirite?”). The vast majority of commenters agree. Some people disagree – sometimes for the sake of discussion, sometimes sincered disagreement, sometimes a kneejerk inability to believe that the liberals can be right *ever* – and though the conversation runs 90%-95% to the “correct” position, that 5-10% of commenters disagree is considered to be – not without reason – the reason we are skewed so male, white, etc.

    In other words, consider how much “better” this site would be if we just didn’t have any of these people saying things that potential women viewers might find offensive. If the only conservatives we had – and we all want conservatives because we are all open-minded folks – were the ones that limited themselves to things that women/minorities won’t find offensive! Except that in some cases, holding certain positions is in itself considered by some offensive, or misogynist, or racist.

    Tom, though, is different. He’s a FPer and not just some commenter! Ergo, we are all “tarred” by his example. Not infrequently, there are calls for his dismissal. Now, Tom has a way of getting under people’s skin in a very particular way. But to say that this has nothing to do with the ideology he is the primary representative of, is to overlook the obvious. Objections to what Tom says goes beyond the “offensive” way that he is saying it and into the fact that he is saying things that people don’t like. He says things that I don’t like.

    However, if someone chooses to view us all through in kinship with Tom because we fail to kick him off the island, I consider that to be their choice. If the decision were to be made that we will allow ourselves to be judged by the most “outrageous” of commenters, that would be a serious problem for me. That the League is willing to succumb to the peer pressure of a certain mindset of acceptability. I’m not saying that I would turn in my resignation – it’s unlikely I would – but it would fundamentally alter my relationship with this community.

    For the record, I’m not worried about that happening. I suspect that if Tom and the League were to part ways, that wouldn’t exactly be what it’d be about. I just wanted to make my views known.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

      I’ll disagree somewhat about the issues with Tom. Its his style not his being conservative. He comes off as a hyper partisan troll. I read other conservative blogs like OTB that manage to express a conservative view well. I’d say being “combative” is just a common attribute in a lot of movement conservative nowadays.

      I think its really really hard to have a community like this that has equal participation for every viewpoint. Its just not the way people group themselves. At one time this place was almost all libertarian and i was just about the token liberal. It wasn’t’ much fun then. I do think diversity is a good thing since we all need to hear and learn from different people. And the more different viewpoints the better.Report

      • Avatar DRS in reply to greginak says:

        TVD flatters himself that he is criticized for his views – none of which cannot be found on several other public affairs sites and written with more coherence by articulate posters. He does have a unique ability to combine victimhood with condescension that is rarely seen. But it is quite hard to see him as anything more than a pest when he describes being criticized and disagreed with as facing a mob or even a lynching. Not a serious person at all.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

        OTB is the acceptable kind of conservative/Republican: the weak kind. I don’t mean that derogatorily (before sinking into ambivalence, I was the weak kind, too!). And even that may be a stretch. Taylor clearly favors the Democrats, Mataconis dishes it out both ways but is more fundamentally libertarian-minded. Joyner tilts mostly towards ambivalence these days and is more CEO than participant. The commentariat over there skews liberal.

        On that last part, I actually almost mentioned OTB’s environment as an example of a place that’s not too much unlike ours. You have some conservatives (moreso than here, I think) in the commenting area, but they tend to be the more combative sort. Even non-combative sorts are often treated similarly. I know that when I make a liberal comment, I can accept a handful of likes and few or no dislikes, while a conservative comment will reap the opposite. They don’t have the libertarian contingent there that we do here, and we have a tighter sense of community, but there are nonetheless similarities.

        There are other things going on and a reason why things there and here are playing out like they are. The Republican Party is acting in ways that are hard for a lot of otherwise sympathetic people to support. So some shift explicitly like Prather, more implicitly like Taylor, and more ambivalently like Joyner and myself. There is an ideological case to be made that to remain a steadfast Republican means you have to be “hyperpartisan.” But nationally speaking the GOP has a solid amount of support regardless, so I struggle to embrace the notion that it ought to be considered beyond the pale. And yet, I have difficulty imagining a non-weak Republican being embraced here or there as a headliner that is not subject to the Respectability Regime. Nor finding it a remarkably hospitable place.

        Tom has stuck it out here a lot longer than I would have if I had his politics. Or put another way, if my social politics were further to the right, or if I didn’t have a sufficient number of liberal views as encourage people to listen to what I have to say, I probably would have moved on by now. Some of the same things that would have made me move on have, I believe, made Tom more hardened in his responses to people in the last few months.

        Having a locale that is more hospitable to some views than others is not inherently a bad thing. I don’t think equal participation among viewpoints is really really hard so much as it is impossible. I’m definitely not advocating trying, but I also cringe a bit when one of the three conservative commentators is cited as deleterious to the entire site. I don’t think all of the criticism lobbed in Tom’s way is ideological. I do think, however, far more of the problems would remain if his style changed and his substance did not than the other way around. We have liberal contributors with prickly styles that do not get the same sort of attention with the same frequency by the same number of people.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

          Will….Looking at Eric’s new post of a couple videos is more than a bit ironic after reading your comment.

          It seems odd how a place could have mostly liberal and libertarian commenters but somehow not be workable for many conservatives.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

            I think our libertarians (particularly the FPers) tend to be more critical of the GOP on both economic (mildly) and social (more than mildly) policy. There may be some self-described libertarians on OTB, for instance, but they really strike me more of the redcloak variety.

            Over the last week, or last month, compare the number of posts friendly to conservatism of the GOP and those highly critical of it. Even if we count some libertarian posts in the first group, they’re still pretty significantly outnumbered.

            Which is not to say that GOP reductionism isn’t a significant source of the disconnect. But I have no trouble seeing why conservatives would look at this site and think “hostile territory.”

            Again, not that I am even complaining about this, this blog is what it is and I’m not in favor of seeking ideological balance here, but I am saying that it is a thing that underlies this entire discussion. I think that to some extent the libertarian-liberal consensus issues help keep the wheels of conversation greased. There are limits to the extent to which I want to run with that, however.Report

        • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Will Truman says:

          What do you mean by “weak Republican?”

          I find OTB to be fairly reliable Republican-Libertarian but you are right that as a Democratic Party supporter, I find it is a kind of conservatism that I can read and debate on an intellectual manner. OTB does not read as jeering extremism to me. It is not Michelle Malkin or Sean Hannity. It helps that Joyner and Taylor are both academics and Mataconis writes like a lawyer instead of a partisan.

          At the same time, they are not David Brooks, who is the epitome of being the conservative writer that liberals can read and tolerate. They are more willing to go out and criticize liberal and Democratic policies on harsher terms than David Brooks.

          I think it is possible to be a strong Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian and still have respectful arguments. TVD’s problem is his special combination of victimhood with jeering partisanship as stated above.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

            I mean comparatively non-partisan Republicans. People that may vote Republican, but are almost as likely to go after other Republicans as to advance the Republican worldview. The main two commenters on OTB right now are Taylor, who reserves most of his criticism for Republicans, and Mataconis, who is libertarian first and foremost. Joyner participates sometimes, but seems to be shifting towards ambivalence. Dill posts the caption thingies. The rest have left the building. It’s a place I go where I expect to find more anti-Republican arguments as much as Republican ones, and most of the “Republican” ones are actually libertarian ones.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Will Truman says:

              “I mean comparatively non-partisan Republicans.”

              In other words, people who’ll be dismissed as hypocrites not worth listening to because they haven’t got the guts to stand up and be eeeeeeevil the way that REAL Christians, er I mean REAL Republicans ought to do.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to NewDealer says:

            I”ve often heard that D Brooks is the kind of conservative liberals can read. But i’ve never understood that. Yeah i get that he isn’t a firebreathing C. like Rush or Malkin but he more of a Milquetoast DC beltway right leaning centrist. He’s more of the love child of David Broder and David Gergen…. So why am i supposed to find him interesting.Report

            • Avatar NewDealer in reply to greginak says:

              You answered your own misunderstanding.

              Liberals can read David Brooks because he is not firebreathing like Malkin, Rush, or Hewitt and company. I can read a David Brooks column and think he is comes from an opposite prospective but he never taunts liberals and he certainly does not raise my blood pressure like Malkin and company do.Report

              • Avatar Michelle in reply to NewDealer says:

                Malkin, Erickso, and their ilk are looking to throw red meat to their readers and inflame liberals. They have no interest in engaging people with different viewpoints, being that their bread and butter comes from demonizing the left.

                Brooks–meh. But there certainly are other conservatives out there who stand their ground without villianizing the other side. The writers at TAC come to mind. They’re certainly conservative, albeit not mainstream, but can generally stand their ground without painting the other side as evil.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Michelle says:

                I have mixed feelings about the paleo-Conservatives at TAC.

                You are right that they are not interested in throwing read meat and inflaming as much. Each of their writers seems to have an interesting hersey or two but in the end.

                Dreher is still a hardened culture warrior. I disagree with the ultra-isolationism which seems to have the same racist background as the America First movement from WWII. And I have no idea what to make of Millman.Report

              • Avatar Michelle in reply to NewDealer says:

                Yep, Dreher is definitely a culture warrior and comes off as condescending at times. But I have sympathy for some of his other views on localism and economic populism. Plus, he’s willing to mix it up with his commenters.

                I haven’t got a feel for Milman yet either.

                A couple of other conservatives I generally find worth reading are Reihan Seilan and Romesh Ponnuru.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

            Speaking only for myself (who else could I speak for?) I find David Brooks more offensive in his faux gentility than his fire breathing counterparts. This opinion was formed on the basis of both his columns and his NPR performances. He simpers. He’s catty. He talks from his sinuses. Terribly irritating. I am put in mind of that line from The Godfather, where Luca Brazzi says “And may their first child be a masculine child.” Brooks must learn to be a masculine child.Report

    • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to Will Truman says:

      I would nominate Peggy Noonan as an “honest conservative” but I hear tell she is being excommunicated for heresy.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Will Truman says:

      “There is a reason that we have so few conservatives around here. We have roughly three more-conservative-than-me FPers out of a number approaching 30…”

      I don’t know if I fit in that group, however, I never feel like there isn’t enough conservative opinion around here. I think we’re fairly balanced on the political spectrum.Report

    • Avatar James H. in reply to Will Truman says:

      Will,

      For my part I must vigorously disagree. I respect Tim Kowal even when I disagree with him. Mike Dwyer’s pro-life position really bugs me, but I respect him as well. Unless either one made a drastic change in tone, I can’t imagine calling for either of them to lose their posting privileges here. So to the extent you seem to have swept me up in the “they really just want him gone because of ideology,” I think you’re demonstrably wrong. And I think they demonstrate that the League can attract conservatives who know how to argue honestly.

      I’d also note that I don’t see the same calls for Mike’s dismissal (Tim, unfortunately posts to the FP to rarely), so I don’t think you have much basis for making that claim about most of the rest of TVD’s critics, either.

      To the extent you appear to deny that his FP status reflects poorly on you all, I think you are in denial. And to the extent your position is, “hell, no, we won’t succumb to pressure,” I think you’re overly dismissive of your readership and lock yourself into a position where the merits of an issue don’t matter as much as sticking to your guns. From that position, the more people object, the more you can reassure yourself that their objections are evidence of how right you are (see TVD’s self-gratifying “mob” comment above).

      Of course the ironic thing is that I know you all want this issue to go away, but the expressed preference is that people stop criticizing TVD. That’s not going to happen (even if I walk away and never comment again), so you all are hanging your hopes on a non-solution. The possible solutions are in your hands–you can toss him or you can moderate responses to him. You’re unwilling to do either, but don’t like the outcome. You’re trapped between conflicting goals–not giving in (and keeping one of your few conservatives) and ending these TVD kerfluffles. Part of me says you all need to make a decision, but in fact I think you all actually have made your decision: you’re committed to accepting the on-going TVD kerfluffles. You’ve decided, implicitly if not explicitly, that they will be a major feature of the League. Blaming the readership is really a red herring.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to James H. says:

        So to the extent you seem to have swept me up in the “they really just want him gone because of ideology,”

        I don’t think it’s just about ideology. I do think that ideology is a core component here. I don’t think those two things are the same thing. As to how tolerant the community is at-large, we don’t fully know due to the lack of conservative voices. I include Mike on the conservative side, and I think I’m being generous about doing so. I consider the fact that we have so few from which to judge to be significant.

        You and Kazzy both have an extremely long history with TVD. I think for the two of you there is a particularly personal component to it that goes deeper than ideological differences.

        For any community, I believe that there has to be a live-and-let-live mentality with participants we don’t care for or cannot communicate with in a non-toxic manner.

        Incidentally, don’t confuse my view on all of this with the League’s. I am not a part of any of the decisions made and I am not speaking for the decision-makers. I am merely referring to my response. My skepticism towards the notion that cutting Tom loose would actually lead to more grand respectability is not, as far as I know, management’s position.

        By and large, I have started staying out of the TVD kerfluffles for a while now. I mostly comment here because I think something significant will be lost with TVD, and losing TVD will put us down a road that I am not remarkably comfortable with, and as long as we’re discussing this, I figure I should say so.Report

        • Avatar DRS in reply to Will Truman says:

          Okay, so the idea that TVD could simply engage people in polite conversation and disagreement is apparently not on the cards? Too impossible to ever think about? Never, ever gonna happen? Really? Because I really don’t think it’s a matter of ideology – I think it’s a matter of common courtesy. If this is supposed to be a digital version of a 19th century private club – as I read somewhere here – then surely there is as assumption that its members can exchange views in a mature manner.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to DRS says:

            The extent to which conversations with TVD are civil seem to vary from person to person. I’m not saying that it’s the fault of the person with whom things turn nasty (I get along with Hanley and Kazzy quite well and consider them blog-friends), but there is quite more to it than “TVD is an a-hat,” in my view.

            Though I do not believe this to be entirely about ideology, I don’t think this can be divorced from ideology.Report

          • Avatar Shazbot2 in reply to DRS says:

            Yeah, the point is that the masthead should have high standards.

            I’m sure Tom is nice and many of you are his friends. He might do great things for charity or even be a cool artist or important engineer. I know lots of people I’d give my left arm for, great people, who wouldn’t be able to post and comment well enough to be on the masthead of a serious blog. Yet Tom is there.

            The question is: Do his comments fit with the standard (the highest standards, not standards that are bent here and there) set by the blog? If the answer is yes, I’ll lose spect for the standards and whoever set them.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Will Truman says:

          Will,

          You and Kazzy both have an extremely long history with TVD. I think for the two of you there is a particularly personal component to it that goes deeper than ideological differences.

          That’s just too damn convenient. It’s a way of enabling yourself to just dismiss the issue as personal. If it’s really just personal, why would I bother standing by TVD when I think he’s right? I’ve publicly defended him against accusations of racism, and agreed with him on the issue of Catholic hospitals and required coverage of birth control. I don’t think your analysis is taking that into account. And my impression–which of course could be wrong–is that you’re doing so because it provides an easy answer, so you don’t really have to consider the broader ramifications of this issue. And Kazzy, Chris, and me–with our history–aside, can you not see that TVD and TVD alone keeps accumulating critics who accuse him of dishonesty and bigotry? Focusing on me ignore them, but of course they’re real people.

          I’ll say this: as I’ve read this thread today, I’ve come to think seriously about my participation here. The League is indeed a community, but is it the kind of community I am comfortable being a part of? TVD has demeaned my wife and in other ways demonstrated a demeaning attitude about women. I’m the father of three daughter–do I want them to grow up in a world where their worth is judged more by their looks than their intelligence? I don’t. So can I participate in a community that protects that view?

          You’ve made your choice, done some real Leaguesplainin’ to defend it, and I don’t flatter myself that my absence would matter much. But my integrity as father to my daughters trumps any value the League provides. I’m undecided, but if you don’t see much of me anymore, it’s the willingness to provide cover for sexism, the unwillingness–a lack of courage it seems to me–to seriously address it that is the reason. If I had any reason to suspect that behind the scenes any of the principals were saying bigotry against any segment of society just isn’t welcome here, I wouldn’t even consider this. But my read is that you all are saying that bigotry, if it’s soft enough and disguised as clever wordplay, is in fact welcome at the League. And I’m not sure I can support that kind of community.Report

          • James,

            My “personal history” comment was intended to say “No, for you two, I don’t think it is ideological to the same degree I described more generally.” I apologize if I wasn’t clear and it came across as something else.

            To repeat something, though, I am not speaking for the League in my comments.

            I hope that you do not make the decision to retreat. You are one of the commenters that I try to read every comment from. You would very much be missed by me. And on a personal level, I consider you and Kazzy both to be blog-friends. I hope that my perspective on this doesn’t jeopardize that, but I understand if that’s the case.Report

            • Avatar James H. in reply to Will Truman says:

              Will, no, your perspective does not threaten our friendship, virtual though it is.

              But you still mistake my distaste for TVD. It indeed is not ideological. In addition to the sexism, I have, since Positive Liberty days, found him frequently to be a most dishonest discussion participant, a man who refuses to make himself clear then accuses others of knowing what he means and deliberately pretending not to, who refuses to commit himself on a specific explanation or definition while calling others sophists, who pretends social science research is all BS except when he finds a piece that he thinks supports his preconceived views (and who regularly misrepresents that research even when his misrepresentation has been pointed out), who regularly doesn’t make an actual argument but simply links to an articles that he frequently hasn’tvread so he doesn’t realize it doesn’t even supportbhis position, who accuses others of just being partisan while increasingly he engages in pure partisanship (sure, Elias and Jesse are often irritatingly one note in their partisanship, but at least they don’t just write that Romney is a poopyhead, which has become TVD’s tone about Obama). In short, he is intellectually lazy and dishonest in a way that no other FPer here is at the League is.

              My profession is to train people not to be dishonest in discussion. We professors do this because there is no path to truth or understanding that is paved with dishonesty, sophistry, and laziness. TVD’s style offends me because in thread after thread he shows contempt for the value of intellectual honesty.

              As Chris says, on a few topics, particularly religion, he does not do this. That’s why we engage him reasonably on those topics. But if you really want to reduce this to a mere personality conflict, understand that it is the personality of dishonesty that I am reacting to. It’s not TVD the human I despise–I wished him well after his frightening leg injury as much as others did, and I wish no ill for him–it is the dishonesty, as well as the “soft” sexism I despise.

              It’s no more personal than that. An intellectually honest TVD is A-OK in my book.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to James Hanley says:

            I’ll add that i hope you don’t stop participating here James. I disagree with what you write often but it is well thought out and interesting. A blog is a microcosm of society, we can’t abandon society every time with have a person we find difficult or useless to engage with.Report

            • Avatar James H. in reply to greginak says:

              Greg, it’s not the uselessness of a person, but the defense and sponsorship of that person, that is at issue.

              And thanks for the props, but if I do go, you’ll thrive without me. And you’re always welcome to come over to my intermittent ans sparsely populated blog. (But at any rate, I’m not decided yet, and I’m a pretty indecisive person.)Report

              • Avatar Zac in reply to James H. says:

                I lurk a lot here and almost never comment, mostly because most of the regulars here are too witty and erudite and frankly way smarter than me. But I read this site voraciously, and in spite of the fact that I disagree with about 50% of what you say, you’re one of my favorite posters. Please don’t go, because I think this place would be a lesser one without you.Report

              • Avatar Zac in reply to Zac says:

                Since I can’t edit my previous post, when I said “too witty and erudite” I meant in the sense that they are so much more so than me that I don’t think I could really contribute meaningfully by comparison.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Zac says:

                We can’t know unless you try! 😉 And anyway, while I’m sure you underestimate yourself, it’s as valuable to know what others think as to get self-important wit and erudition. If you disagree with me half the time, there’s a lot we could talk about.

                But I get that some people just prefer not to engage, so please don’t see that as criticism of your choice.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Will Truman says:

          “I include Mike on the conservative side, and I think I’m being generous about doing so.”

          I’m slowly redfining myself. The working label is Right-of Center, Independently- Inclined Progressive with Libertarian Envy.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            Mike-

            I tend to think of you as “conservative” not only because of your ideological bent, but because you seem to inhabit certain conservative cultural arenas that are foreign to someone like myself who is largely liberal and has lived almost exclusively in liberal bastions. So when I read your posts on hunting or your experiences living in the South, I think “conservative”. Now, this is fallacious for a number of reasons: while some of those things are largely conservative, they are not exclusively so; one’s habits and hobbies need not correlate linearly with his political persuasion; and you are much more than a hunter from the South.

            Of course, I am a firm believer in the right to self-identify and will consider you whatever it is you wish to be considered, provided you can meet the very minimal criteria necessary for inclusion in a given group (I won’t consider you a Martian or a Madagascan Prince no matter how much you insist).

            And please know that whatever label I might apply to you, even if erroneous, is always offered with the utmost respect. I don’t use “conservative” as a kneejerk pejorative the way some do. And as I’ve noted elsewhere, your posts on hunting specifically have made me few the activity in a totally new light.

            Whatever you are, you often a unique perspective that I value.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:

              Kazzy,

              I would not say that I am a conservative simply because I engage in those activities or have that background but those things definitely shape my particular brand of conservatism. It’s funny that I never take ‘conservative’ as a pejorative but I do have slight pangs when it is implied that I’m not really a conservative. That’s probably just tribalism but when folks like my brother, who unfortunately gets all of his opinions from Fox News, question my conservatism, THAT still bothers me.

              And at the ripe old age of 37 I find even this is becoming less and less of a concern. Hooray for maturity! Or maybe when you get older you just don’t give a damn.

              I suspect you and I will always be cool so no worries bro.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to James H. says:

        “Of course the ironic thing is that I know you all want this issue to go away, but the expressed preference is that people stop criticizing TVD. ”

        I think the expressed preference is that people like you keep a lid on the Angry. Nobody ever said that you couldn’t criticize another poster. Replying “99” is not criticism. It’s an ad hominem attack and we’re all just supposed to understand that it’s OK to do that when it’s Tom Van Dyke because something something HE MAKES ME SO ANGRRRYYYYYY.

        Someone might well look at the whole situation and decide that the problem is not with Tom but with the people who reply. They might note that flamewars start because someone replied, someone with poor impulse control when their Mom isn’t watching and HE JUST MAKES ME SOOOO ANGRRRYYYYYYY.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to DensityDuck says:

          Replying “99? is not criticism. It’s an ad hominem attack

          TVD is really Barbara Feldon?Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to DensityDuck says:

          99 was not an ad hominem. It was a shorthand for saying the argument lacked content. There is a difference. I regret that 99 so confused people that this difference escaped so many people’s understanding.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

            It didn’t.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to James Hanley says:

            “99 was not an ad hominem.”

            You might not have wanted it to be, but it was. “your argument lacks content” is an ad hominem argument, if intended as a counter. And if what you’re saying is “please provide supporting examples and explain your reasoning” then there are less-dismissive ways to say that (unless, of course, you don’t consider the argument worthy of discussion, in which case why are you replying unless it’s just to slag Tom off, in which case see my previous post.)Report

            • Does this mean we’re allowed in general to regard all your postings as ad homs regardless of your intent, given that in general they just seem to be there to slag people off?Report

            • Avatar James Hanley in reply to DensityDuck says:

              “your argument lacks content” is an ad hominem argument, if intended as a counter.

              No, ad hominem means, “to the man.” Technically it means dismissing a person’s argument because of some aspect of who they are. E.g., “Of course, you’d say that, you’re a duck, therefore you’re argument is wrong.” In its bastardized version (which I hate seeing people use), it means any person attack. E.g., “You’re an a**hole.” So it’s a criticism of the person. To say “your argument lacks content” is a criticism of the argument, so by definition it is not an ad hominem.

              Sure, there are less dismissive ways to say it. That’s why I wouldn’t say it to most commenters here. I would only say it to someone who regularly engages in a particular type of content-less argument as a normal method of discourse. Some people earn the responses they get.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to James Hanley says:

                “Technically it means dismissing a person’s argument because of some aspect of who they are.”

                You mean like the way that using an incredibly dismissive and insulting phrasing of “your argument lacks merit” without further clarification is okay when it’s Tom Van Dyke?

                “Sure, there are less dismissive ways to say it. That’s why I wouldn’t say it to most commenters here.”

                In other words, “yes, I dismiss Tom Van Dyke’s arguments because of who was making them, but it’s okay because it’s Tom Van Dyke.”Report

              • Avatar James H. in reply to DensityDuck says:

                No, Duck, it doesn’t mean “I dismiss Tom’s argument because of who was making them.”. You can keep reading that in there if you want, but it’s not true. It means I’m dismissing this argument because it’s flawed, and I’ve explained these particular flaws enough times that I think it’s pointless and superfluous to continue to do it in detail.

                You basically seem to be calling me a liar. I’ve rather liked you a bit better than a lot of other folks do here, but accusing me of lying puts a definitive end to that.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to James H. says:

                I’m not accusing you of lying. I’m accusing you of unintentionally making a fallacious argument because you honestly believe you’re Not That Kind Of Person.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot2 in reply to James H. says:

        I agree entirely. Nothing wrong with Mike. He is a million miles from my position, but he argues for his positions and seems to want to have an adult conversation that stays on topic and that follows the principle of charity (as well as people can interpret conflicting views charitably.)

        Tom is engaged in some sort of “Rah Rah, our side is awesome” and tu quouque-like “Oh, you’re against sexism, but what about Bill Clinton?” stuff. Just garbage.

        I’m liberal and I love reading stuff I disagree with as long as the person I disagree with isn’t just screwing around.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot2 in reply to James H. says:

        Sorry to keep agreeing with Hanley.

        I like to tell friends and new acquaintances interested in politics and academia that they should read this or that.

        I’ve never told anyone to read this blog. If I did, I’d have to go into a big thing about how lots of people are awesome at OG but there are some crazy commenters, and a couple of those commenters get too much respect in the comments, and one of the worst commenters is an FP, but I don’t like that guy.

        I’m not saying Tom is the sole thing keeping me from telling everyone I know to read the blog, but there is a weirdness about his position that doesn’t make me think of this as “awesomest blog” and so I don’t go around recommending it as often as I could.

        Not that anyone cares. Mt two cents. I’ll stop now.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Shazbot2 says:

          Sorry to keep agreeing with Hanley.

          Hey! 😉Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Shazbot2 says:

          You know…you have this really bizarre response to the fact that Tom Van Dyke as front-page posting privileges, like it’s this position of amazing influence and power, like it’s somehow a sign that everyone on this site holds him in tremendous merit and totally agrees with everything he says.

          I’ve never looked at a blog post–anywhere–as anything other than the first comment in a thread.Report

          • Avatar Shazbot2 in reply to DensityDuck says:

            “you have this really bizarre response” that “… “[being on the masthead is a] position of amazing influence and power, like it’s somehow a sign that everyone on this site holds him in tremendous merit and totally agrees with everything he says.”

            That is just an infantile strawman of Hanley’s view. Are you an adult?Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to DensityDuck says:

            I don’t know why David Duke isn’t an FP-er, because the rest of us could just comment that we don’t think the Jews run the world.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

              And no, I’m not comparing anyone here to Duke. It’s purely a reducktio.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                But if Duke was an FPer, would it be wrong to say that the League principals were complicit in supporting the promulgation of those views, even though they didn’t endorse them? Would it be wrong to say that the League was defined in part by anti-semitism?

                I guess what really mystifies me is the chorus of women’s voices here expressing their belief that Tom is sexist, and the combination of silence and defensiveness from the League’s principals.

                I wonder, if Duke was an FPer here, as long as his anti-semitism wasn’t too explicit would the goyim leadership ignore a Jewish person’s complaints and insist that they weren’t going to bow to pressure?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to James Hanley says:

                My argument stops at “Of course that would never be allowed, so it’s foolish to say that being an FPer implies no endorsement.” Trying to go any further offends the mathematician in me, because a contradiction implies everything 🙂Report

              • I’m really trying to keep a distance from this thread, because I think a post and commentary that is essentially devoted to just one person is probably not healthy for a community such as this. Also, I’ve already said my piece elsewhere about the principal character in this drama.

                But I think it should be noted that many, many of us with FP privileges have expressed dissent from the perspectives of the person in question, sometimes with a lot of heat. As one can see, there is hardly a consensus about the degree to which content vs tone is the problem, and I imagine that the editorial decision-makers here are loath to create an impression of ideological homogeneity. As it happens, I think it is a problem of tone. That said, I am also much more liberal that the person in question, so could reasonably be considered susceptible to criticism that my objection is ideological.

                This is not an easy question in a community like this one. I cannot speak on behalf of the decision-makers here, but would respectfully state that they are doing the best they can with a delicate, nuanced question.Report

              • Avatar James H. in reply to Russell Saunders says:

                Russell,

                It’s not the FPers in general I’m critiquing. It’s only the decision-makers.

                As it happens, I think it often appears that the problem is only tone because the person avoids being too direct and explicit. That makes it easy to think the tone is bad, rather than seeing it as a subtle expression of bad content. I’ll stand by my comment that if a sizable number ofa particular group thinks it’s more than mere tone, it can’t easily be dismissed without engaging in Leaguesplainin. If goys were saying it was just tone, while multiple Jewish persons were saying it was anti-semitism, I’d listen to the Jewish folks.Report

              • I was sloppy in my comment above. I can see your point re: content, and have had similar concerns myself. I should have been more clear in that regard.Report

              • Avatar James h. in reply to James H. says:

                Ah, if only we could all always write with perfect clarity, blog threads would only be about half as long, and what would be the fun in that? 😉Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to James H. says:

                ” I’ll stand by my comment that if a sizable number of a particular group thinks it’s more than mere tone…”

                It’s like Bizarro Libertarian, right there. “If your speech made a lot of people mad then obviously the answer is to stop you speaking.”Report

              • Avatar James h. in reply to James H. says:

                Thank you for both missing the point and misrepresenting libertarianism. An impressive double whammy.

                Do you think the commenting policy at my blog is non-libertartarian? It strikes me that the answer to that question might be a pretty proxy measure for a person’s understanding if libertarianism.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to James H. says:

                “Do you think the commenting policy at my blog is non-libertartarian?”

                I think that since it’s your space you have the right to permit or deny speech by whoever you like.

                I think that calling on another site to reduce the privileges of (or ban outright) a commentor because they’re A Bad Person, and taking as the basis of your opinion the fact that They Made People Mad, is entirely not libertarian, because why would a libertarian base his feelings about someone on the reaction of a third party? “Everyone else hates you so I guess I will too”? That’s what you think is libertarian?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James H. says:

                Duck,

                You’re not aware that libertarians are opposed to treating people as collectives, rather than individuals? So you’re not aware that criticizing a blog for hosting someone who evinces a bigotry toward a whole group–not people who have chosen an ideology, but a group defined by an immutable characteristic–is a quite acceptable libertarian position?

                I do like how you keep misrepresenting my position, though. I’m sure it’s much easier for you to argue against the Hanley-argument you’re creating than the actual Hanley-argument. But, hey, if that’s the best you can do, then…well….well, actually, it’s kind of sad, isn’t it?Report

    • Avatar KenB in reply to Will Truman says:

      Just a quick, belated comment to say that Will Truman speaks for me in his several comments here. This has become a place for liberals to argue with liberaltarians while everyone agrees that the Republicans suck. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but I personally don’t find the discussions here quite as interesting as I did a year ago or so. Take it for what it’s worth.Report

  14. Avatar zic says:

    Sometimes, some of the most misogynistic comments/posts are those with some sort of ‘ran this by my wife/girlfriend/mother/sister/other female in my life.’

    It’s like the author knows this is wrong; so he anoints it with a woman’s blessing. Similar to saying you have ‘gay friends.’

    Because I asked my husband, and he agrees, men can be misogynistic jerks without realizing it.Report

  15. Avatar bookdragon says:

    I’m one of the newer females to start reading this blog, I think. I actually looked at it *because* of the name (but I’m a geek and new the reference).

    I was grateful in one thread that someone ‘inside’ remarked that a comment seemed very inappropriate. As it turned it out, it was poor communication, but if nothing had been said, I might well have not bothered to come back.

    As for Tom’s comment, if I hadn’t seen some of his responses in other posts I probably would have assumed it was meant as parody – playing stereotype to the hilt. As it was, the comment wasn’t so much offensive as the sort of thing that makes me roll my eyes. Not misogynistic so much, but exasperating.Report

  16. I’m just going to say that, part of my own signalling is that I usually don’t engage in comment threads that I find repulsive.

    Feeding trolls just makes them bigger.Report

  17. Avatar Jon Rowe says:

    I can’t believe this site has nothing better to discuss than this.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jon Rowe says:

      Jon-

      If you read the post, I was explaining my own actions. This was not intended to be a referendum on Tom. Of course, it has turned into that. But if folks here can’t discuss the thinking behind their actions, what the hell are we doing here?Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kazzy says:

        You deserve every criticism you got for this charade, Kazzy. I didn’t hit back, so you got away with it. Enjoy your victory.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          If explaining my thinking and trying to make this a better place is a charade, than this whole place is a circus, with you as the ring leader.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kazzy says:

            You’ve been attacking me for years across three different blogs, Kazzy. You have issues, man.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              I didn’t attack you. I didn’t even mention you by name, deliberately. Your paranoia is getting the best of you.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy says:

                This must be some bizarre form of satire that I just don’t get because you linked directly to his comment and yet you claim that “you didn’t mention him”.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to DensityDuck says:

                I wanted to give people the proper context for what I was discussing. I didn’t want there to be confusion from the onset (i.e., “Wait, which comment is he referring to? Which thread?”). I also linked to the responses offered by others, which was really the “kerfuffle” that I was referring to.

                Please point to the part of the OP where I ask for commentary on Tom or his statement and discuss his actions. I’ll happily point to the parks where I explain the thought process behind MY actions and MY words. It will be easy seeing as how it was basically the entire damn thing.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                It is also fun how you put “didn’t mention him” in quotes, as if you were quoting what I said, when I explicitly said “didn’t mention you by name”.

                Is this some form of Ducksplaining? “No, no, no. Let me tell you what you said, what you meant, and why you said it.”

                The degree to which some folks here are unwilling to say, “I trust that that person knows him/herself better than I know him/her,” is mind boggling and is likely a key source for many of our various problems.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy says:

                “The degree to which some folks here are unwilling to say, “I trust that that person knows him/herself better than I know him/her,” is mind boggling and is likely a key source for many of our various problems.”

                …unless it’s you talking about Tom Van Dyke in which case you can confidently declare that he’s a bastard.

                At this point I don’t even know what you’re trying to argue. Congratulations, you’ve drowned me in word salad.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                Duck-

                It is one thing to say, “When you say X, it makes people feel Y. Even if you don’t intend to make people feel Y, it is a very real consequence of you saying X and I think it’d be prudent if you considered that when choosing what you say.” That is what I did with Tom.

                It is quite another to say, “You wrote this post to bitch about Tom!” and for me to say, “No, I wrote this post to explain my thoughts and actions,” and for you to follow up and say, “No you didn’t! I know why you really did it!” That is what you did here. You presumed to know my intentions better than I did.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Kazzy says:

                DD,
                like most people around here don’t say stuff like that about me…Report

            • Avatar Shazbot2 in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              I attacked the claim that you should be on the masthead.

              I didn’t attack you. No one did.Report

    • Avatar James H. in reply to Jon Rowe says:

      I can’t believe this site has nothing better to discuss than this.

      Sexist signaling at the League and efforts to counter it with contra signals not worth discussing? With due respect to mt friend Jon, I really do think it’s well-worth discussing. This is in large degree a self-organizing community, so discussions of what kind of community members think it should be seem to me to be every bit as legitimate as discussions of what kind of society we want America to be, and far more likely to have an actual effect.

      And no one’s advocating we become Shakesville.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to James H. says:

        If Shakesville is what I think it is… A magical land of milkshakes… I am indeed advocating for that.Report

        • Avatar James H. in reply to Kazzy says:

          Unfortunately, no. It’s a feminist blog (in and of itself obviously not problematic) where they demand that participants be “all in,” on a specific narrowly ideological approach, which includes never critiquing anything written by the authors. Your post and my critiques would have had us booted long ago if this place was anything like them.

          But if you can manage to turn this place into a magical land of milkshakes, I’ll definitely be all in.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to James H. says:

            James-

            But don’t we require the same thing? We have standards that we insist all adhere to and boot those who don’t. Our standards are different and our booting far less frequent than it sounds is the case at Shakesville, but the notion of having community standards and applying them is not unique to them or something we are above. This is something that is really easy to forget. There are folks who truly struggle to discuss thing politely or amicably; there are those who prefer other tacts. Those folks have to adapt or die in this environment because they are not welcome as they are. Which is okay! It is okay to have culture and standards! It is problematic when folks say, “Well, Shakesville is crazy because they have culture and standards and boot offenders!” because it is not the having of culture or the booting of offenders that is the issue, but the specific culture they have cultivated and how they promote and defend it. Every place has a culture, whether it is explicitly named and defined or not.

            It’s sort of like describing some foods as “ethnic” and others as not. All food is “ethnic”. It is just a matter as to what is familiar and what is not.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Kazzy says:

              Kazzy,

              No, we don’t go into a huge kerfluffle because somebody dared to criticize an OP, with demands that you are “all in” with every post or you’re an evil monster. We encourage debate and criticism; they discourage it. Even tactful and polite disagreement is often discouraged over there. I think that is a qualitative difference from just having standards about debate.

              I’m certainly not denying that we have a culture here, and a fairly distinct one at that.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to James Hanley says:

                I’m not holding the standards to be equivalent. I think we can and should judge standards, so long as we are mindful of what position we are starting in before the judging occurs. But the broad mechanism (i.e., “Here is how we do things. Follow the rules.”) is identical. The specifics vary greatly.

                I think a lot of folks think we don’t have that mechanism in place but we do. “How we do things” includes reasoned debate. “How Shakesville does things” includes squashing debate. But we’re still setting up a structure by which we do things.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Kazzy says:

                But I’m not arguing that we’re not setting up a structure. My argument began as a response to Jon’s complaint that this debate wasn’t a worthy use of time. My argument is that it is a good use of time because it is a debate about our standards and structure. I’m just saying that because we are advocating a somewhat higher standard about certain things than currently seems to be in place does not mean we are going way over the top into a realm of squashing all alternative views and dissenting voices.

                We’re roughly on the same side in this debate about what ought to be the League’s signal about how welcome women are, so I think we’re actually in general agreement about structure and I assume you would also agree that we’re not asking for absolute conformity on all things, ala Shakesville.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to James Hanley says:

                James-

                I definitely think we are agreeing. I was just clarifying what was the real thrust of my point, that is all.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to James Hanley says:

                I got run off because I said it was illiberal to laugh at people, any people, for their addiction-related suffering. That is apparently trollish behavior.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris says:

                Wait, at Shakesville?

                Or are you making a joke about here?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris says:

                Sigh. I really don’t want to dislike them. There are a lot of damaged people there, and they’re trying to create a safe space for discussing their concerns. I get that, and don’t want to seem like I’m just mocking them. And who knows, it’s not for me to say they’d be better-served by doing things differently. I’m just trying to say advocating for less sexism here at the League isn’t approaching that level.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

                James, I agree with you 100%. I think the “safe place” concept is a necessary one on the internet, because talking about certain things, particularly certain women’s issues, inevitably attracts the most mean-spirited sort of troll.

                I just think Shakesville is one of those places where the “safe place” concept has been taken too far. And you know, I don’t blame them all that much. It’s hard to know where to put the boundaries of a safe place. It’s just that Shakesville isn’t a place where I have any desire to comment, whatever that means.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

                Only a concern troll would question the bona fides of people who were demonstrating their opposition to the enemy.

                Whose side are you *REALLY* on?Report

        • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Kazzy says:

          A magical land of milkshakes

          With the villain played by Daniel Day-LewisReport

      • Avatar MFarmer in reply to James H. says:

        The best way to signal that you like women and welcome them is to compliment them, ask their advice on how to cook a particular meal, then listen to them as they share their feelings with you. It doesn’t hurt to have a post on new shoe designs and informative posts about child-rearing. Plus, women like strong men who can also show their feminine side, but not too much of the feminine side, because women don’t like wimps. I think you will attract more women if you simply make them feel special, and act as if their input is valuable.Report

        • Avatar zic in reply to MFarmer says:

          Oh MFarmer.

          Wanna see my stilettos?Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to MFarmer says:

          Mike-

          I assume you are being satirical here, but the only message other than what is directly communicated by your words here is that you are mocking the notion of being mindful of being an environment that is welcoming and supportive of all. If you disagree with the premise, that is fine; express that. But I’m very tempted to delete this comment as its explicit wording is grossly offensive and something I will not tolerate on my posts. Please offer something more than outright mockery, something that is constructive to the conversation.Report

          • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Kazzy says:

            Get a life and a sense of humor. Holy Cow! I can imagine what this site would be with you in charge — a little dictatorship. You are actually funny, though, so it would be entertaining. I think the wrong person is being discussed as appropriate for the FP.Report

            • Avatar Kimmi in reply to MFarmer says:

              what, threatening to dose you with arsenic is not showing a sense of humor? ;-PReport

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to MFarmer says:

              So what exactly was your joke?

              Some folks here, INCLUDING MANY OF THE WOMEN, have identified certain elements of our culture that make it difficult for them to participate. Many of us consider that a problem and are discussing what can be done about it. Your contribution to the conversation is to not only mock those people, but to do so in a way that furthers the feelings of hostilities.

              There are two ways to read your comment:
              1.) Taking it at face value and assuming you believe some of the most demeaning stereotypes about women.
              2.) Assume it is some form of parody wherein you think that those of us who are attempting to make this place more hospitable to women are akin to folks who hold those stereotypes.

              If we read it as the former, it is the type of bullshit that I won’t tolerate on my posts and will delete accordingly. And if that means I sacrifice my FP privileges, so be it.

              If it is the latter, then I am happy to engage that line of argument, but would prefer that we cut through the bullshit snarkiness and stereotyping and actually talk like grown ups.

              If you want to sit around and throw feces, fine by me, but you’re not going to get much better of a response from me than I’ve already offered.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Kazzy says:

                “If we read it as the former, it is the type of bullshit that I won’t tolerate on my posts and will delete accordingly. And if that means I sacrifice my FP privileges, so be it.

                If it is the latter, then I am happy to engage that line of argument, but would prefer that we cut through the bullshit snarkiness and stereotyping and actually talk like grown ups.

                If you want to sit around and throw feces, fine by me, but you’re not going to get much better of a response from me than I’ve already offered.”

                All this melodrama and faux outrage is nauseating. You can write the above with a straight face? Really? I don’t believe it. Show me a picture of you writing this. There has to be a smirk on your face. You can’t be this immature, dense and comically self-righteous. You are itching to delete something, so, go ahead, punk, make my day. Of course, it’s the former. I’m a sexist pig and you are a modern, enlightened gent who denies his gent-ness for the sake of the women-folk. I admire your virtue.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to MFarmer says:

                I’m becoming increasingly convinced that your goal here is to slowly ratchet your schtick up until you get Bob Cheeksed.

                How about you relax a bit, take that chip off your shoulder (seriously bad for the posture) and make a constructive comment at least occasionally again? You used to do that…Report

              • Patrick, do you have a comprehension deficit, or are you just stupid? My satirical contribution was aimed at the silly notion that women are a monolithic group that one attracts with certain sensibilities and word changes. Let’s signal to the women that their group/kind is welcome! The women I’ve known have been diverse, from tomboys to southern belles to bikers to eggheads to rednecks to just about every way of being open to men. I’ve treated women no differently than men in my life because I’ve never seen them as anything but travellers along with me in this Great Cosmic Joke that is funny and serious as hell at the same time. There have been those I’ve been attractd to sexually and we had a different relationship than the relationship I’ve had with men, but the love is the same. I’ve loved men and women deeply and at the level of friendship I’ve never differentiated, never assumed a woman would not like football or politics or that the woman thought in dvious ways so I had to play a game or that the woman applying for a job would be less capable than a man even when it came to loading trucks. I would hire people based on their ability to do the job. When I meet someone and become friends with them I don’t have different standards according to their gender. When I search knowledge, the author of book is a mind that teaches,and I don’t care if the mind is in the head of a man or woman. If I had a site and I wanted to attract participants, I wouldntcareif they were women or men, because I would put forth the same content regardless. I’m not into gender politics, and I don’t have anything against people who are. If women choose to join groups to fight for equal pay and fairness, then I’m all for that — equality. I’m for equality and fairness for all, not female equality and female fairness. I’m sick of people like you with yourpitiful condescension and prejudice. If you aren’t smart enough to read what Iwrote and know that I was making a point with humor, then you’re over your head in any group where intellectuals meet for discussion.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to MFarmer says:

                Dude, Type I or Type II?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to MFarmer says:

                Well, after calling me stupid, at least you offered some actual commentary that had some substance to it.

                My satirical contribution was aimed at the silly notion that women are a monolithic group that one attracts with certain sensibilities and word changes.

                And… that’s a disconnect. The discussion about changing the culture has to do with feedback various members of the League have received from female commentors here, contributors, and people that we’ve tried to recruit as commentors contributors. It’s not based upon a view of “women as a monolithic group”, it’s based upon actual feedback from specific people.

                I’m sick of people like you with your pitiful condescension and prejudice.

                There’s the door. Don’t let it hit you on the ass on the way out. Seriously, you know absolutely nothing about me and my prejudice.

                And if you think I’m condescending, well, I can’t see any scale upon which I might register that wouldn’t trip over in spaces with the baloney you’ve shucked out here in the last two months, or just right now, in the comment to which I’m replying. But hey, that’s just me.

                If you aren’t smart enough to read what I wrote and know that I was making a point with humor, then you’re over your head in any group where intellectuals meet for discussion.

                Oh, I got that you were trying to make a joke. That’s not the same thing as “making a point with humor”. For one thing, the joke actually needs to be funny. Yours read more like a mean interpretation of a Cosmo cover.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer says:

                Patrick, just because you are humorless doesn’t mean that the humor wasn’t there. You just don’t understand humor because your ass is so tight that a ten penny nail couldn’t be driven up it with a sledge hammer.Report

              • Avatar The Bartender in reply to MFarmer says:

                All right Farmer, settle down, that’ll be enough for tonight, someone’s callin’ you a cab. Here, drink some water for god’s sake, you look like yer gonna puke on your shoes.

                It’s never pretty when a man either exceeds, or forgets to take, his recommended dose.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Thank you, Patrick.

                That’s the name. I tried commenting here for a while a few years ago (Thank you, Jaybird, for remembering me.)

                BobCheeks just made it feel like taking a slime bath, so I stopped.

                I read once in a while, and began commenting again when I noticed he wasn’t here any longer. the ‘ed’ suggests a verb, so I presume action was taken? That’s refreshing.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to zic says:

                Bob started off acting like a normal person who would occasionally veer into performance art.

                Eventually it appeared to this observer that he got enamored with the reaction he got from the performance art, and he stopped acting like a person.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

                Thank you, Patrick.

                And this dance between you and MFarmer? (I’m not taking sides;) but it is the kind of behavior — boys jousting on the playground — that tends to send the girls off to talk about shoes and sharpen their stilettos.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to zic says:

                I get that. I’ve been avoiding most of these “you’re a dick/no you are” conversations because I find them tiresome.

                I already know what my limitations are.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to zic says:

                Bullshit, zic, the most fierce, ass-kicking wars I’ve particpated in on the internet and elsewhere have involved sharp-witted women who know how to punch and take a punch. Speak for yourself, not all women.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to MFarmer says:

                Reasonable adults are having a conversation. You seem mad that folks want to think of the needs of someone other than you. And you have the temerity to question my maturity? Holy fucking shit, dude, get a goddamn clue.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Kazzy says:

                Kazzy, you are being petulant, like a teenager who hasn’t gotten his way. Grow up and loosen up. Think before you react with prejudice.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer says:

                Excuse me. I see now from your avatar that you are pre-teen. That explains a lot.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to MFarmer says:

                Seriously? You’re attacking my Gravatar?Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer says:

                Attaqcking is such a melo-dramatic, hyperbolic, weaselly description that it makes my head hurt.Report

        • Avatar Kimmi in reply to MFarmer says:

          For you? Alright sweetie.
          I hope you like bitter almonds.Report

        • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to MFarmer says:

          The best way to signal that you like and welcome libertarians is to humor them in their little foibles, for instance:

          * Agree that areas which have been within the purview of government for all of recorded history constitute “statism” and are a sign of recent and potentially catastrophic moral decay. The Founders (blessed be they) would never have wanted the federal government (ptui!) to run a post office.

          * Nod approvingly when they processed directly from claiming to disdain both major parties to parroting Republican talking points.

          * When they ask if you’ve read Atlas Shrugged, politely refrain from paraphrasing Whittaker Chambers with “It’s even better in the original German.” and instead enthuse “Only four times!” Likewise, in discussions of The Fountainhead avoid “That blowed up real good!”

          * Likewise, when asked about the Atlas Shrugged films, respond “Very powerful, but I can’t decide if I like (insert character name here) better in the first or second one.”Report

  18. Avatar damon says:

    As usual, I’m late to the party, but…

    In regards to Fox & Friends FIRST’s: I know I’d rather watch any news reporting or “analysis” that was presented by cute chicks than some grey haired fat guy or old gal. Why? It would make any of the “analysis” shows bearable to watch. Sorry can’t stand today’s sound byte commentary that has no room for real analysis-on either side. Pretty girls would make that moderately tolerable.

    “…I compared it to explicit messaging… and used the example of forms filled out by parents and the difference between an application that has spaces for “Mother” and “Father” and one that has spaces for “Parent” and “Parent”. While Russell himself said he didn’t pay much mind to that, I know that particular issue is a bother for many same-sex parents and they find it is often more indicative of the openness of a community than anything stated explicitly.”

    I ran into something similar when, while dating a Jew, she wanted to check out a park bench that had swastikas marked on them. She said it had been a continuous complaint and it’d been months and they still were there. She attributed it to “acceptance/tolerance of the message”. That was the reason for our first argument. My position was this: don’t explain this as acceptance of anti jew-ness when the more likely example is bureaucratic inefficiency. In regards to the “parent” spaces in the above example, don’t attribute it to acceptance or lack of same. It’s more likely to be another reason. And I’d be annoyed if my local gov’t trashed a bunch of perfectly good forms to appease the feelings of someone of found this offensive. I’d find it offensive to trash the tax payer money wasted for tossing those forms and buying new ones. Got an issue, cross out “mother” and write “parent”. The bureaucrats aren’t going to care.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to damon says:

      Damon-

      I think that is the type of position that is easy to have when you are not a Jew or part of a same-sex couple. When a government opts to indulge in inefficiency instead of quickly remedying a real problem, they are sending a clear message about their priorities: we’ll tolerate a certain segment of our population being offended because it is more important that we follow procedure. Same thing with the form: changing the forms is more of a hassle than not offending people is desirable so we’ll stick with the former. I’m not saying that every form that says “Mother” and “Father” is blatant homophobia or deliberately intended to offend. It is often the result of something else, such as thoughtlessness. Which doesn’t mean it is any more acceptable.Report

  19. Avatar MFarmer says:

    I can’t imagine anything more clumsily disrepectful and ignorantly offensive regarding women than trying to relate to their concerns and attract them by changing the tone, name or content of a site. If I was a woman I’d laugh at some of you well-meaning clowns. As they say, though, I might be a lesbian trapped in a man’s body, so my insight is probably deeper when it comes to women.Report

  20. Avatar James Hanley says:

    Quite true. If we had a blog called “Kill All Bitches Now,” where we regularly talked about various ways of humiliating and torturing women, it would be ridiculously offensive to women to change the tone, name or content of our site.Report

  21. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    The signals this thread is sending are much more interesting than the signals explicitly discussed within.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      BB-

      In all sincerity, what signals are you receiving?Report

      • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Kazzy says:

        the signal I receive is the passive-aggressive bluster of a zero yearning for a one and more but not possessing the math necessary to create addition, and so much subtraction happens in the softness of his world the minuses are overwhelming. To sum it up is to multiply nothing by nothing and, no, there are no points given for trying, or crying.Report

  22. Avatar MFarmer says:

    “This comment has been deleted. Mr. Farmer, you are welcome to try again when you can do so without indulging in misogynistic, sexist, and homophobic slurs and stereotypes. They will not be tolerated on my posts.
    – Kazzy”

    You are full of it. You can dishonestly accuse me of comments that are homphobic, sexist and misogynist and get by with it. If this site allows this, it has lost all credibility. This is a double standard that is totally unfair — it’s bullshit, and you are a weasel.Report

    • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer says:

      I demand my post be undeleted with an apology from management and a severe hand slapping to Kazzy. That post was a masterpiece and he picked it to attack me personally. This is an injustice that should not stand, not if there is justice left in the world. I talked about Kautsky and his Rosa cheeks, for God’s sake, and now it’s gone, with no copy to go back to. This can’t stand, not if we are to live in a world worth living in.

      I also demand that the above comment accusing me of homophobic, sexist and misogynist comments be deleted, I’m speaking with an attorney tomorrow morning and and I might even bring this up to see if it’s right that this can happen.Report

  23. Avatar greginak says:

    There are times when just closing comments on a post is the best choice. There is no discussion of the OP any more. Farmer is losing it and crossing some lines, the 11:10pm being the worst. Just close comments and throw a bucket of water on the whole mess.Report

  24. Avatar Trumwill says:

    I will go ahead and close them.Report