Eventually we reach bottom, right?

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  1. 1) I once, at a bygone blog, wrote a post about the follow-up show to Ms. Tequila’s MTV “Bachelor”-esque “A Shot at Love.” The few minutes I saw of Ms. Tequila’s version made me (I’m not kidding here) despair for our society, and watching an entire episode of the “Double Shot” follow-up, starring some barely-famous (supposedly) bisexual twins made me hate MTV, irrevocably, for producing it.

    Never before or hence have I seen a television program so chock full of irredeemably horrible people.

    2) May Ms. Tequila live the life she deserves.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    No, we never hit rock bottom because of the inherent depravity of man.

    Lee, who thinks that Calvin might have been on to something.Report

  3. Avatar morat20 says:

    The point of such shows, and such celebrities, is so that we can feel superior to them. No matter how low we might be on life’s totem pole, we can look at them and say “At least we know better than that. We are more classy, more civilized, better.”

    And of course, the actors get a steady paycheck.

    Ever listen to a radio show where they do a revenge segment or a ‘cheating spouse’ segment involving surprise phone calls and putting people on the air to respond? Yeah, those are fake. (How can they be real? You have to specifically consent to be on the radio in most places. Callers calling in do, guys or girls called at work for fake roses can’t. Because they ‘don’t know they’re on the radio’).

    Actors. Just like Tila Tequila. Just like everyone on the Bachelor.

    Even ‘unscripted’ reality shows are, you know, heavily scripted. Then edited to show what the producers want. It’s all fake, every bit of it.

    And it’s there to make you feel better about your life. To feel superior. To have someone to look down on. To validate your life.

    Is it any surprise they are popular?Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to morat20 says:

      They are there to make money. There are likely several reasons why people like them only one of which you talked about. Given how many people seem to do crazy things for celebrity, or even a chance at it, there is far more than just looking down on “celebrities.” Just being famous is a huge motivation and the money that comes with it doesn’t hurt. But really, millions of people madly crave being famous for no other reason than to be famous. There is also the freak show aspect; people will look at something just because its weird or outrageous or at least they were told it is.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to morat20 says:

      The only talk radio shows I listen to are All Things Considered, Studio 360 with Kurt Anderson, This American Life, Morning Edition, Planet Money and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. Otherwise it is just Pandora when I drive (which isn’t often).

      I get what you are saying and largely agree but this might be shark jumping to a whole new level.Report

  4. Avatar Pinky says:

    They’re not celebrities if we don’t pay attention to them.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Pinky says:

      But people do and there were a lot of comments on the Tablet facebook post along the lines of “Who the fuck is Tia Tequila and why should I care?

      That is a whole another level of being snooty and I say this as someone who is largely pop cultured out of it.Report

  5. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    I’m not providing a link, because I have no desire to reward people this obsessed with getting page hits, but after a quick look at Ms. Teqila’s website, she might actually make Lyndon LaRouche look sane.Report

  6. Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

    as a giant in front of the gates of Auschwitz.

    Isn’t it delightful how the entrance to Auschwitz becomes a phallic symbol pointed directly at her vagina?

    Appropriate, in a way, as a non-“Aryan” like her would definitely have been fucked over hard by the Nazis.Report

  7. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Did Costco start pricing out Batshit Crazy by the palletful all of a sudden?

    I’ve got multiple clients going off the deep end on me too, and the combination of paranoia, hyperglossia, and apparently deliberately socially offensive posturing has seemingly become a behavioral cocktail chosen, inexplicably, by many. The flavor I get from them resembles the flavor from the lovely and talented has-been-D-lister Ms. Tequila to a very substantial degree.

    It’s enough stress to make a guy stop enjoying the holidays, I tells ya.Report

  8. Avatar Glyph says:

    It’s likely got little to do with celebrity, or reality TV, or anything other than mental illness and/or drug addiction. She’s not well in the head. She’s been ranting for at least a year about Illuminati, and secret cities inside the hollow earth etc. She’s supposedly had an aneurysm, and OD’d, and may have been mentally ill before all that.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

      Yeah, I think you’re right. This is mental illness combined with a publicist/agent and media/people who can’t look away.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        I’ve got no problem with people making jokes about it per se; batshit crazy can be funny. But making it into some point about “society” strikes me as a reach.

        I was thinking about Jonathan’s piece about Rob Ford, and how since he appears to be a person with substance abuse issues we should, in essence, hate the sin and love the sinner (paraphrasing); to which I took some exception. I am pro-Ford-mockery.

        I think the difference between Tequila and Ford is that he appears to have some agency (I don’t think of drug addiction exactly the same way I do mental illness, though obviously they can be related or on a continuum, and at their extremes rob sufferers of any agency) and also he has allegedly committed criminal acts (sending his dealer/enforcer around to intimidate enemies etc.) Plus he sought out power that he appears to be misusing. Mockery is both personally enjoyable, and hopefully contributes to an atmosphere in which Ford (and others like him) will be reduced in power.

        But, and at the risk of Godwin, this raises an interesting point to me about power.

        Hitler is both hated, and viewed as a madman (syphilis has been speculated about, and there was prolonged amphetamine use/abuse, which can cause psychosis).

        But normally we morally excuse, to some degree, those we deem insane. They know no better.

        Had Hitler never gained any power – if he was just a crazy man, ranting on the street corner about the Jews – he’d only be worthy of our sympathy (and maybe some mustache jokes).

        (Of course, he not only gained power, he used that power to act and get others to act on his delusions, to horrific effect).

        As long as Tequila remains relatively powerless, she’s just a madwoman on a much more highly-trafficked corner (insert joke here). I can’t say that I WON’T make jokes about her (that would be frankly unrealistic), but I do feel more pity for her than you’d think I would, for someone who just pulled the stunts she’s pulled here.

        I’m not sure I have a clear point.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        I think I follow you. I definitely agree with your point about whether Tequila’s behavior says anything about society. It doesn’t, or at least if it does, what it says is not that society has reached a new low, but that society loves when this sort of thing happens (plus, we’re absolutely terrible at dealing with mental illness). And while I probably won’t be making fun of her, I realize it’s because I’m hyper-sensitive about mental illness.

        The moral calculus that goes into evaluating the effects of mental illness is really complicated, and when you throw in power, it becomes all the more so. I suppose any time someone who is clearly mentally ill harms themselves or others, we, as a society, have failed them and their victims on some level. When they gain power and do harm on a large scale, our failing ourselves and their victims so far outweighs our failure to help them that the latter failure becomes irrelevant except insofar as it has a causal relationship to the first two. Does that make sense? I’m not even sure if I’m actually responding to what you say, or it just made me think about these things.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

        I think for it to say anything about society, we need to know society’s response. I am far from a pop culture junkie, but this is the first and only bit I’ve heard about Tila’s recent bit of nonsense. I watched some of her show when it was on MTV way back when but since then haven’t given her a second thought. If society’s collective response is to ignore or disregard it, I’m not sure it says anything much at all about us. If anything, that might be a promising development.Report

    • Avatar dhex in reply to Glyph says:

      she’s a walkin’, talkin’ false flag operation.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Glyph says:

      You are probably right. I generally don’t like armchair analysis but there is enough public information to make a reasonable conclusion.

      Of course this raises interesting questions about when are conspiracy theories and/or bigotry the product of mental illness and when are they not. How do we differentiate and tell?Report

  9. Avatar Mike Schilling says:


    Also: Is this the first time a modern media personality has embraced Nazism as a message?

    Pat Buchanan beat her by decades.Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      Fortunately he didn’t wear a miniskirt.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        . . . that we know of.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I hate to be “that guy”, but I do have to ask (ask! ASK!!! I am not making any accusations!) if these sorts of jokes are the type that might make our space here unwelcoming to others?Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I’m sure Mr. Buchanan has other blogs he reads.
        He’s probably over at Tequila’s site right now.Report

      • @kazzy On my list of worries, repelling Pat Buchanan fetishists is pretty low.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        repelling Pat Buchanan fetishists

        I suggest a moat.

        With crocodiles with sharks with lasers attached to their heads.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @jonathan-mcleod

        My question is if we deem the idea of Mr. Buchanan wearing a skirt as something worthy of ridicule, does that than infer that we consider any man wearing a skirt something worthy of ridicule? Further still, do it infer that we consider any gender non-conformity worthy of ridicule?

        I don’t know enough about Mr. Buchanan to know if there is more to the joke than “man in skirt = gross”, hence my inquiry.

        Again… inquiry… inquiry. I may be way off base in even thinking about this and, if so, will offer all the necessary mea culpas.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        This is the sort of thing that never ceases to amaze me.
        In the ability to detect some statistically negligible deviance from the norm as fully valid, nonetheless the norm itself is held to be void.
        Rather than attempt to argue this from the stance of the norm, consider the position of the deviation:

        Is it true that you suppose that any man wearing a miniskirt might simply be entirely unaware that skirts are, in fact, women’s clothing?
        Is not part of the draw for those doing so that it is, in fact, such a deviation of the norm? That those inclined are themselves acutely aware of such norms?

        This being the case, it is indeed thoughtful to seek to void that norm from which these seek to deviate?

        Where everything is counter-culture, there can be no rebellion.Report

      • @kazzy I didn’t take it as a man-in-skirt joke, more as a less-than-attractive-person-in-miniskirt joke.

        I know it’s not a big difference, but for me the two fall on different different sides of the “is this ok?” line. It’s maybe not fair, and maybe I’m wrong, but a quick jest about the less-than-attractiveness of a privileged, hate-filled white dude doesn’t rise too far up on the social injustice meter for me.

        I also think context is important, and this being a less-than-totally-serious post gives the comments a little more wiggle room*.

        I think your inquiry is worthwhile, I just went with a joke rather than a longer discussion.

        *not a joke about Pat Buchanan in a mini-skirt.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Will,
        perhaps your comment hints at drag performance, but I don’t think the original does.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        So here is when I ask: what precisely is funny about a male-born person in a miniskirt? Explain the joke.

        What is funny about a conventionally unattractive person who nevertheless wears sexy clothes?

        Are these things inherently hilarious?

        Every joke has a meaning and a context, and a matrix of assumed power relations.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Veronica,
        Actually, I don’t think so. I think a certain variety of “bullying” joke does stem from power relations (and this is debatably one of those jokes).

        But a joke about a skittle-sandwich doesn’t have anything to do with power relations. It’s not pointed at anyone. It’s not even making fun of how unhealthy skittles are.

        If Someone makes a joke about the Great Molasses Flood, are they using current power relations, or the ones that existed at the time of the flood?

        [Yes, yes, I know you can all tell which show I’ve been watching by my examples…]Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @Kim :
        Agreed. It was the inquiry which referenced the matter as valid.
        While Jonathan gave a more nuanced response, I considered addressing this, and found the matter to be irrelevant.

        Not everything is indicative of a greater social problem.
        Remember the old Peanuts gag about Lucy pulling the football away as Charlie Brown goes to kick it?
        Not indicative of a greater social problem.
        No great power imbalance to consider.
        Of course, you can read all that into it if you want to, but that says more about the reader than the comic.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I agree with Kim on this. Veronica, a lot of humor revolves around taking people out of their comfort zone in various ways. Some of these ways are more friendly to the powerless on the surface than otherways and some jokes are downright hostile to other powerless groups. A lot of comedy might seem offensive on the surface but really isn’t.

        In this case, James joke may seem to be aimed at men with more fluid gender identities than normal but it doesn’t have to be seen this way. Most men in patriarchal societies had a deadly fear of being seen feminine. The joke about a man in skirt can easily be made to discomfort them, to take them out of their patriarchal comfort zone by reminding them that gender identity is not always a simple thing.

        The other thing is that no good has ever come from taking everything with deadly seriousness. Honor culture and patriarchy, I’m presumming that you are opposed to, take themselves with deadly seriousness and are willing to inflict death on women, homosexuals, and people with fluid gender identities in order to enforce themselves. Being able to laugh at yourself and your beliefs and see some absurdity in it all is a sign mental health.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Every joke has a meaning and a context, and a matrix of assumed power relations.

        1.) Not every joke has a “meaning”; or rather, the only meaning of any given joke may be that which every joke has, which is to startle the brain and provoke laughter.

        2.) I’ll give you “context”, since every joke has a teller and a receiver; between them, and the larger culture, the context is created.

        3.) A “matrix of assumed power relations” – I’ve argued this one with Kazzy before. Yes, many jokes do have this. But by no means all. See #1 – sometimes nobody (or nobody real; or everybody) is the joke’s “butt”; the aim of the joke is general surprise, silliness, wordplay, and/or the highlighting of existential absurdity, rather than to denigrate any person or group. How many knock-knock jokes have a matrix of assumed power relations?

        None of this is intended to address the joke at hand. If you wish to argue it has any or all of these features, that case can be made.

        But I think applying this same framework to every joke is unrealistic.Report

      • My, but you and your lab partners have reduced that frog to many, many very small parts.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @burt-likko – not sure to whom you are replying, but I takes my comedy seriously. I am very interested in why jokes work (or don’t).Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        This vivsection was required, that Mr. Buchanan might don his intended evening wear.
        Or not.
        Maybe.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @glyph

        I’ve asked you about this before but what are the ethics of humor. When does the burden fall on the joke teller or listener?

        I think this is a really interesting but very tricky issue. If the burden always falls on the joke teller, then comedy becomes toothless and inoffensive and comedy is great when it has sharp teeth and can be satrical. Or we all become very humorless.

        However, I am comfortable with always having the burden fall on the listener of the joke about whether to be offended or not because I think it gives too much cover to people who are going to be abusive and say “I was just joking.”Report

      • Avatar Rod in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @veronica-dire , to add to the above comments, the joke here isn’t really about guys in skirts in general or what that might say about such a guy. After all, kilts are a thing. Nor is it about unattractive folks wearing sexy clothing. God knows everyone has the right to try, even if it’s hopeless.

        This is about Pat Buchanan, avowed conservative culture warrior and certain homophobe, secretly letting his inner woman out to play. It’s an absurdity and would make for a positively delicious discovery, politically speaking. Hence, funny. Or at least it was before it had to be explained to death.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @veronica-dire

        If I may ask, were you offended by the joke? Because, rightly or wrongly, you are who I thought of when I raised the initial question. “Jeez… what would Veronica make of this?”

        @everyone else (I wish that actually worked)

        If Veronica was offended, what, if anything, does that require of us? I ask this genuinely… I’m not sure of the answer.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I see this thread in response to my joke, but I’m not going to participate.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @rod

        I considered that interpretation. Again, not really knowing anything about Buchanan, I didn’t know if there was something specific to him being in the dress that was funny.

        I initiated this conversation so the extent to which an explanation was demanded for the joke, I am the guilty party there.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @kazzy
        @everyone else (I wish that actually worked)

        By the way, how do we make that @ business work? I’m clearly doing it wrong, but out of idiocy rather than malice. Can someone edumacate me?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        If you hit the @ sign and begin to type the name of a commenter, a little drop down box will appear from which you can select it. It will then send that person an email informing them that they have been referenced (provided they link their name to a working email). That is all I know.Report

      • Avatar Rod in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @kazzy , Wikipedia the guy, you’ll see what I mean.
        @jm3z-aitch , I just type the @ sign and it gives me a list to pick from.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Huh, OK, it worked this time. But it hasn’t always, and somebody commented to me that they could never find the comments I was referencing. So at least sometimes I’m doing something wrong.

        Didn’t some doctor guy have a post on thisahere blog at some point about what things make us feel obsolete? Yeah, how about technolomogical stuff in general?Report

      • @veronica-dire I see this as taking a shot (perhaps unfair, but not wildlly out of bounds) at a public figure who uses his position to hurt other people. I’m generally cool with such a thing.

        It’s not great to make fun of appearance, but I don’t mind a tiny jab to take the piss out of a privileged hate monger.

        You’re right; there are layers of context here (including the very nature of this post), and weighting each layer differently will result in a different judgement.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        ND, the burden should usually be on the listener because otherwise the easily offended get a veto on everything. This is true when the listerner is from a powerless group and the speaker from a powerful group. There should be a shift in burden when the joke is so subtle or so obviously aimed at punching down that it can come across as an attack on the powerless. In that case, the teller needs to make sure that no offense at the powerless was offended.Report

      • Avatar KenB in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Here is another analysis of humor, by the famed humor scientist Dave Barry.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I believe the term is fish out of water. Pat Buchanan in a mini-skirt can be funny. Iggy pop in a mini-skirt, not so much. Why? Because Iggy Pop has made gender bending part of his career and Pat Buchanan has made being a sanctimonious pr*ck part of his.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @kazzy — Yes, jokes that posit that “men in skirts” are inherently funny are transphobic and offensive. Likewise for dresses, makeup, etc.

        After all, why a skirt? Why not laugh at him dressed as a clown, or wearing dear antlers, or in a fez, or in a utilikilt, or any other comical outfit? What is it about a skirt?

        And a skirt is not exactly a kilt — although their similarity is obvious and also played for a certain kind of humor. But then, why not make a joke about him in a kilt? I mean, if they are the same, then the jokes will work identically, yes?

        Here is the point: why is male femininity such a go to trope to ridicule and humiliate men? Why is femininity seen this way?

        The answer is really, really obvious.

        Have you ever noticed that “wear the pants” means to occupy a position of power.

        Hmmm.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @veronica-dire

        That is what I was thinking, but I couldn’t be sure.

        This past weekend, I attended a conference on a variety of diversity-related topics. For folks like myself (white, straight, cis, male, etc.), there was a big focus on allyship. I also just watched the documentary “Valentine Road” about the murder of Larry King, a teenager whose exploration of his gender identity directly contributed to the attack that ended his life. It has me thinking a lot about the way in which we normalize transphobia and the like and how/when/where folks like myself can take steps to stop it. I am attempting to understand how jokes like the one here might contribute to it, but also what efforts are productive and efficient and which ones might not be. Thank you.Report

      • @veronica-dire and @kazzy I disagree that a man-in-a-miniskirt is inherently transphobic. It’s just as likely that J@m3z was playing off of attractiveness than gender norms (same with Will H. and Burt).

        Now, is that appropriate? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe the layers of context are important, maybe not. I’m open to that discussion, but that’s something that would cover all (sort of) people, cis or trans.Report

      • *man-in-a-miniskirt joke

        Forgot that last word.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Really? And you didn’t learn anything from that? Seriously.
        The phrase “to hide behind a skirt” implies that a skirt is exactly what? What other sort of things might one hide behind?

        Were Buchanan truly a cross-dresser, that would be another matter. He’s not, so it’s irrelevant.

        You take great care to name off a number of things which might be seen as incongruent costume.
        Why then all the tut-tutting over a man who is not a transvestite might somehow be seen as an incongruency in women’s clothing?

        Once again, everything under the sun simply does not apply to everyone at all times.
        To fit every person into the same shoes with the One True Shoehorn is as much an invalidation of the person as the unacceptance which you seek to avoid.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Yes, jokes that posit that “men in skirts” are inherently funny are transphobic and offensive. Likewise for dresses, makeup, etc.

        So what? That’s the nature of humor. Just about anything that is funny is at least a little bit offensive to somebody. That’s the point. Humor is purposefully disruptive. In this, it mirrors the very nature of laughter itself.

        The real issue is whether you are using humor primarily to heap abuse on someone already being abused or whether you are using humor to punch upwards. I consider the former to be bullying and I’m not a huge fan (although sometimes funny is just funny), but either way good humor is generally offensive to someone.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        jr,
        Good humor, like good art, is insightful.
        It shows things in a different light.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        To “hide behind a skirt” is for a male person to seek support and protection from a maternal (motherly, womanly, female) person, which is deemed weak and unmanly.

        Why does one not hide behind his father’s thighs? Why is the joke thus gendered?

        Look, people, are you really this tone-deaf with regards to misogyny?

        On offending people with humor, punch up, not down.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @kazzy — And in response to your first comment about this joke — no, this forum is not a safe place for trans people, nor can it be, as is clearly illustrated by this thread. Transphobia runs deep. The denial of transphobia runs deeper.

        (“Who me,” they say, “transphobic? Never. No matter how many trans folks I offend!”)

        (And this link seems relevant. Warning, the full URI and the article includes profanity. http://tinyurl.com/y8reqfz)

        Anyway, all that said, I knew this was not a safe place when I stepped through the door. I chose to come anyhow.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Against my better judgement….

        “To “hide behind a skirt” is for a male person to seek support and protection from a maternal (motherly, womanly, female) person, which is deemed weak and unmanly.
        Why does one not hide behind his father’s thighs? Why is the joke thus gendered?

        Look, people, are you really this tone-deaf with regards to misogyny?

        On offending people with humor, punch up, not down.”

        There are two problems with this.

        The first is what I call the Dream Interpretation Fallacy, which is the assumption that all words, images and objects have the exact same associations, connotations, connections, definitions, references, and experiences attached to them by other people as you have. This is not the case, though. For example, were you to ask me to write down as many phrases as I could think of in five minutes using the word “skirt,” I don’t think “hiding behind” would occur to me — in the same way “steak” might not occur to Kazzy, or “issues” might not occur to you.

        Even if we’re talking women’s clothing, it isn’t as black and white as we like to think. Because of my own career, when I think of a skirt I think of a part of a pretty standard executive “uniform” (for lack of a better word) — so while the article of clothing called a skirt might make you think of powerlessness, to me it has a very strong association with power.

        The second problem is that

        with humor, punch up, not down

        demands humor be sanctioned rather than subversive. There are lots of white males out there that do things that are unintentionally funny, and who say things that deserve to be mocked. But there are also lots of African American men who do the same. (Looking at you, Herman Cain.) There are also lots of women, and latinos, and asians, and muslims, and gays, and transgendered, etc. etc. etc.

        To say that we divide up people in to two classes, one of which is acceptable to mock and the other of which is verboten, leads us to troubling places.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        To “hide behind a skirt” is for a male person to seek support and protection from a maternal (motherly, womanly, female) person, which is deemed weak and unmanly.
        And yet, I can think of a number of instances where it might apply to other than a male person.

        Just as every fish swims in water, so every eagle soars on the winds.
        Yet both the fish and the eagle nonetheless continue.

        If your eyes are filled with sand, I suppose it is quite normal to see sand in every thing.Report

      • @tod-kelly eh… I think @veronica-dire has the best argument on the “hiding behind a skirt” debate. The point always was that a male was being unmanly because he had to get a woman to protect him. There’s a total gender dynamic going on there.

        That being said, it doesn’t mean that people automatically think that way when they employ it, or that “skirt” used in other contexts has the same meaning, but that doesn’t really change the traditional implications of the term in question.Report

      • Avatar rexknobus in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @veronica-dire One of the great things about humor is how much it can reveal about the laugher/non-laugher in the room. The teller of any joke may or may not be just using the technique to get a response, but a person sees a lot of themselves in what make them laugh or squirm. I find George C. Scott’s monologue in “Dr. Strangelove” about the meaninglessness of nuclear casualties extremely funny (“I’m not saying we won’t get our hair mussed…20 or 30 million. Tops.”), but I imagine there are citizens of Japan who might not find it so. To me, the joke is not only funny, but incredibly valuable, a “punch up,” if you will. But probably still offensive to some. I learn something about my POV, my place in the world, and what matters to me.

        I doubt that the “miniskirt” joke that has engendered this fascinating sub-thread got very many real laughs, and my guess is that any vitriol contained in it was aimed at Buchanan and not at trans people. I also guess that any trans people who read it would not be particularly offended, and that if they enjoyed other parts of this site, it wouldn’t serve to make them feel particularly unwelcome or drive them away. It wasn’t that powerful a joke. Not enough laughs in the room to be truly offensive.

        Of course this forum is a “safe” place for trans people. It’s just typing on a screen and they can leave any time they like. Not the same thing as real life at all. And I, for one, am glad that you ventured into this place, even feeling that it was a risky move. May you always take such risks.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Yeah, there isn’t an interpretation of “hide behind the skirt,” which is a shortened version of “hide behind your mother’s skirt,” that isn’t meant to be emasculating. Since the longer form is also meant to imply that you’re a child running to your mother, I suppose there could be some interpretations that aren’t explicitly misogynistic, but I’m pretty sure most of the time it is so.Report

      • @jonathan-mcleod I’m not at all certain about that etymology, though the phrase is not exactly something that I’ve heard used with any kind of frequency in recent years. So far as I’ve been able to determine, the phrase is not typically used as a gendered reference but is instead typically used to suggest that the target of the expression is acting childishly and fearfully; it’s a reference to the habit of a shy or fearful child looking to cling to a parent for security. Why “mother’s skirt” rather than “father’s pants”? Because that expression would not have made sense at the time this expression seems to have developed (I’ve got a vague recollection of it from 19th century literature, though I can’t recall exactly which author/poet). Fathers didn’t handle as much of the child-rearing, and regardless a child would not be able to physically hide behind pants.

        The expression has little, if anything, to do with the gender of the target, and has even less to do with the perceived masculinity of the target; instead, it’s an expression that criticizes the target for being unwilling to face reality. It’s not even an expression that seems to be specific to the English language: here’s an example of it being used to criticize a form of socialism or capitalism in Icelandic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemon_socialismReport

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I agree with MarkT’s interpretation of the phrase. It’s typically one that references childishness. I suppose it’s possible that it would be used to imply an adult, with the meaning being significantly different depending on the gender of the subject.

        But I believe the notion that women are weak is one that has been cultivated recently, exaggerating any such distinctions from times past for political purposes.
        I can think of a number of cultures– Egyptian, Celtic, Indian, et al.– where such notions would be entirely out of place.

        As for this being a safe forum for trans people, I believe that’s irrelevant. I don’t see anyone coming around to lay their genitalia out on the table.
        The forum is an exchange for concepts and ideas, and if we compete, it is on those terms.
        Before Kimmie, we had Uncle Bob and the H-man Who Shall Not Be Named.
        Not saying that it’s unsafe for anyone per se (excluding those unable to conceive or present a functionable argument); I’m saying that it’s an irrelevant consideration.

        As for humor, psychologists tell us that one of its primary purposes is to enable us to discuss matters which would otherwise be taboo; and that, slowly, over time, those taboos are assimilated into a culture.
        I believe it is noteworthy that the original joke which spawned this whole sub-thread specifically referenced a miniskirt, and not a poodle skirt, or any other type of skirt.

        I find the link that Chris provided to be quite interesting, and I see a lot of the psychology of emotion and meaning in music in that. Same thing, really; anticipation and resolution.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        So let me try again.

        Transphobia is what happens to us; it is what we experience.

        It is not about individual acts of rudeness, nor the intentions of anybody. Instead, it is a pervasive result of things deeply entrenched in our sex/gender system.

        In the vast majority of cases, transphobia is unintended and in fact completely invisible to the person committing the act. That is how it works. But insofar as these acts work in concord with these entrenched bigotries, then they hurt us — in little ways, microaggressions that cut and keep cutting, small things.

        And of course privileged white males don’t want to curb their humor.

        THAT WOULD SPOIL THE FUN.

        Are we trans folks having fun?

        Who cares, right.

        Are our concerns valid?

        Doesn’t matter — they are trivial to rationalize away.

        Unless it is obvious and immediately clear to your average privileged white dude — but, well, intentions are fucking magic, right?

        Never mind that I live this and might know waaaay more about it, have a far deeper perspective.

        The dudebro smugly smiles.

        The “men in skirts/dresses/makeup” thing is a trope, and it is pervasive in society, and each use reinforces the next use. It hurts us.

        Even if the target is a human shitstain like Buchanan.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Oh, and this: “ As for this being a safe forum for trans people, I believe that’s irrelevant.”

        Of course you do.

        I on the other hand consider relevant. I wonder where the source of our difference lies?Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I believe that definition undermines the etymology of “transphobia.” But I’m not going to get caught up in semantics here.

        Really, I don’t live in a cave, though it may seem like it sometimes.
        I’m fairly widely-traveled, and I have known quite a number of people, up close and personal, from all walks of life; quite an astounding range of people, actually.

        As for the statement regarding irrelevancy, I suspected you would latch on to that one.
        I never did explicitly state which portion was irrelevant, though it’s clear from the context of the statement.
        And your reading of it tells me that you are not inclined to argue in good faith.

        Perhaps another time.Report

      • You know, I’m going to change my tune, here. I think I’m tending to agree with @veronica-dire. I don’t think J@m3z was making a comment about men in women’s clothing, but implications matter, and there are elements of transphobia even in the unattractive-person-in-a-miniskirt joke, when that person is a man.

        So, this is probably more hedging-which I’m probably only able to really do because my white cis male privilege-but I’ll agree we probably shouldn’t make such jokes. I still stand by the thought that it wasn’t inherently transphobic, but I think that is outweighed by other concerns.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        For the record, I’m morally certain @jm3z-aitch intends no harm, and is surely a good man worth knowing. That is not the point.

        The point is this: those who are not harmed do not see the harm, unless it gets pointed out.

        And even then, some who are not harmed will very much not want to see the harm, even after it is carefully explained.

        And your “Just a joke” is my “Oh fuck, not this shit again.”

        But anyway, I doubt any further minds will be changed.

        I need to step away for now. These things tend to get under my skin and I was assaulted last night and — well — I am finding I cannot handle things right now.

        I’ll be back, but please for now exclude me from any @-mentions. Thanks.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        The point is this: those who are not harmed do not see the harm, unless it gets pointed out.

        The idea that you or anyone else has been “harmed” by a joke about Pat Buchanan in a miniskirt is such an extreme stretching of the word harm that it is almost to the point of the absurd.

        I fully support everyone’s right to live in this world as the person you are, but that right doesn’t imbue you with the ability to demand that everyone at every time be hypersensitive to anything that might possibly rub you the wrong way. If all it took to silence a conversation was someone’s claim that they were offended, then we would be barely be able to communicate at all. And to the extent that we could communicate it would only be in the most garbled Orwellian-inflected jargon imaginable.

        Real conversation is meaningful precisely because it has the power to upset. Certainly I believe that people ought to be careful and ethical with that power. However, your claim that this blog is unsafe and transphobic is belied by the fact that so many people participating on this thread have gone out of their way to consider and address the point you made. You don’t get to dismiss everyone else as hateful in some way just because they don’t agree with you.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        there are elements of transphobia even in the unattractive-person-in-a-miniskirt joke, when that person is a man.
        It’s an identity fallacy.
        There is human stool in the ice from every fast-food place you eat at.
        Nonetheless, were you to take a year’s worth of stool in a single bite, that would be a very different matter.
        No two things similar are exactly alike.
        The two are not the same.

        @j-r :
        I think we just heard where the hypersensitivity comes from, and I don’t think it’s the right time to push.
        I’d known a few transgendered people years ago, one of whom was assaulted, and directly due to that. To make matters worse, it was another person within that circle who was the aggressor. And yes, there was quite a bit of drinking going on at the time.
        That said, I myself suffer from PTSD, a direct result of having been the victim of violent crime. It’s one reason the notion of untreated mental illness is such a concern. From suffering that, I can recognize the symptoms that others describe.
        That said, I don’t think sitting on the internet discussing the subject the next day is prudent at all.

        A few years ago, I watched from less than 30 yards away as my best friend was gunned down by the police. Due to related events taking place thereafter, I fled that state in fear of my life. I’ve been in something like 28 states, but I can say that there’s only one that I fled in fear of my life.
        That case is in front of an appellate court right now. This is what they’re looking at there:

        Defendants allege that the _____ Police Dispatch informed them there was an outstanding warrant for Mr. X’s arrest. The Defendants have never produced a warrant in discovery. Defendants also have never revealed whether the alleged warrant was infraction, misdemeanor or felony. Police are forbidden to use deadly force to seize a misdemeanant. The _____ call log indicates that the incident started with the first call at 3:14 p.m. and ending with the report of the shooting at 3:30 p.m. They then began looking for Mr. X in the wooded area behind [Will H.]’s apartment. . . .

        Please refer to the Channel [station] video, and the still photo, and labeled still photo for positions of the police involved and the shooting victim, Mr. X.

        [Police] officers Defendant A and B arrived at the scene at approximately 3:22 p.m. Defendant A did not speak to anyone and set himself up at the edge of the ravine behind a tree. Officer A aimed at X’s head (the only officer to do so) with his military semi-automatic M4 service assault rifle, which is virtually indistinguishable from a military M16 military assault/patrol rifle (with field grade scope), the same gun as it is common knowledge has been used by the United States military since the early 1960s. A and the other officers walked to the edge of the embankment near the woods where they saw Mr. X sitting at the bottom of the ravine, holding a gun to his neck.

        At one point Mr. X took the BB gun away from his neck and started waving it around in the direction of the officers as he talked. None of the officers fired at him at that time. Defendant A claims he identified Mr. X’s BB gun as a .45 Hi-Power pistol. He testified in his deposition that he had just run into another incident involving a Hi-Power .45, and he expressed amazement at how large it was.

        The Hi-Power .45 is in reality the Browning version of the venerable Colt military model 1911, 45 ACP caliber pistol that fires a projectile almost a ½ inch in diameter. Mr. Browning designed the model 1911, which was manufactured in massive quantities by the Colt Company for the Military since 1911 (e.g. for 7 WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq war and the Afghan War). This information is in the public domain and common knowledge to any veteran.

        Defendant A testified in his deposition that he had “qualified” in the United States Army with the .45 caliber handgun and he also qualified with the M4 (i.e., M16) light machine gun and the M60 heavy machine gun. A military police officer such as Defendant A would have likely carried the military issue Model 1911 Colt 45. Defendant A, as he testified, knew the pistol well, yet he inexplicably mistook a small Daisy BB pistol for the quite large military weapon, even when viewing it with the aid of a sniper scope. In no way could a .45 caliber Model 1911 military pistol, a.k.a. Browning Hi Cap .45, be mistaken for a small handgun. None of the officers described the BB gun as the large Browning .45 Hi Cap, but the other Defendants and officers did mistake the BB gun for a real handgun.

        In reality, Mr. X was holding a Daisy 008 BB/pellet gun, whose packaging was lying nearby. The parties dispute whether the gun’s packaging was visible or lying under brush at the time of the shooting. Despite the fact that Defendant A had a sniper scope and was relatively close to Mr. X, A mistook the small BB gun for a large military handgun, even though the package for the BB gun clearly marking it as such was nearby on the ground. . . .

        A recording from the Channel [station] news helicopter captured the incident on video.

        At some point, Mr. X attempted to stand or adjust his seating position but fell backwards. As Mr. X pulled himself up to a seated position, Defendants contend and the district court has adopted as fact that Mr. X pointed his gun at officers and simultaneously endangered officers arrayed around him. Defendants allege that he pointed his gun in firing position at Officer A and the other officers above him. . . .

        A minute before the shooting, the record shows that the [police] dispatch radioed to the [police] officers, including Defendant A the following: “Per _____ we can disregard”. The plain meaning of this is that the [police] officers were to leave the scene. This call would have come through to Officer A’s radio at 3:28 p.m. The shooting occurred according to Dispatch after that at 3:29 p.m. Within seconds of Mr. X allegedly pointing his gun at the officers, Officer A discharged his sniper scope equipped military assault rifle at Mr. X one time hitting him in the face. Officer A contends that Mr. X pointed his gun at A and the others, and A fired. A did not testify to a delay of a few seconds of, presumably, reflection. It is not a fact as the district court finds and the defendants allege that Mr. X pointed his gun at all of the officers at the same time. By viewing the video the Court can see for itself that the officers were arrayed in a half circle around Mr. X, and it is a physical impossibility given the positions depicted in the video that he pointed his gun at multiple officers simultaneously as alleged by the Defendants.

        The Court states in its Order that it ignored Appellant’s statement of fact that Defendant A was the only person who aimed at and shot Mr. X in the head and he admits the same in his deposition testimony, while the other officers managed to shoot Mr. X in his trigger hand, disarming him without killing him. The District court found that “this information was never set forth in Defendants’ or Plaintiff’s statements of facts. Therefore, the Court disregards this argument (facts according to Appellant) for purposes of this motion.” However, it is part of the appellate record as referenced above, and this Court need not ignore the important fact.

        Officers C, D, E, F, G, and H also fired their weapons at Mr. X. The shots fatally wounded Mr. X. The sound of the officers firing their weapons was recorded on Officer C’s patrol car video/audio. The sound lasted approximately four seconds. The [police] SWAT team and negotiators were on their way to the scene when Mr. X was shot and killed.

        It should be noted that several officers did not fire. . . . Defendants allege that these individuals (the ones listed by the district court) did not fire for various reasons, including: (1) they were not able to see Mr. X raise his gun from where they were standing; (2) they did not have their weapons in a firing position (and could not fire within the 4 seconds of firing that occurred); and (3) they would have been shooting in the direction of other officers.

        In contrast, the Channel [station] video shows a visibly heavily intoxicated and barely functioning Mr. X falling backward when he tries to stand. He appears to be barely in control of his limbs. At this point, he is aiming his gun at no one. He is attempting to right himself with his head pointed forward and his arms stretched up and out at his sides, bent at the elbows upward as if attempting to surrender when he is shot in three (3) volleys.

        The first volley swings Mr. X around on his belly and he loses the BB gun. It can no longer be found by anyone viewing the video that Mr. X is a threat to anyone at this point. Then the next two volleys strike him in the back and the back of the legs. The entire shooting takes an astounding 4 seconds to complete. At no time in the video did Mr. X aim his gun at anyone but himself.

        I know that I’ve mentioned that a few times; but I think it took a good eight months or so before I did online.
        Not something I really care to discuss, even with people who know me personally.
        A lot of things I don’t talk about, because there’s good reason not to talk about them.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I read this thread and sympathize with James’ desire to check out. He made a funny joke. The mere thought of Buchanan in a mini skirt is pretty damn hilarious. And explaining a joke kills the funny.

        Veronica tho (as she usually does) made some clearly stated and powerful objections to the whole premise upon which the joke rests. And I agree with those too.

        So I’m torn. On the one hand, it’s a pretty damn funny joke. On the other, it assumes some shared preconceptions that I’m not entirely comfortable with. And maybe the fact that I’m uncomfortable with those assumptions is part of why I find the joke funny.Report

      • Avatar Just Me in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I have to say that I don’t find this blog a safe place. Not because of bad jokes but because it has become a classroom where we are watching out for everyone’s feelings. A place where we have to walk on egg shells. A place where there is no room for open discussion. A place where someone asks if it is a “safe place”. Sad really. Are we really at the point where a safe place is someplace where we can not be ourselves? Where we can not express who we are, the good and the not so good? Where every conversation turns into a “teachable” moment by our resident teacher. I miss the days where people could be who they are, the days where free and open discussions were the norm. The days where I used to enjoy lurking in the shadows. The days where we weren’t trying to win some kind of diversity points by rooting out all the evils within.

        Like I told Blaise, this blogging thing is a waste of time if there isn’t a real honest attempt to talk to each other instead of talking at each other. When it becomes a game of I gotcha it’s time to hang it up or move on out.

        There are so many wonderful writers here. So much knowledge to be shared. It all becomes meaningless though when a preset agenda overtakes all discussions. But that is just my two cents, worth as much as any others.

        At least we still have football, how about them Packers.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I have to say that I don’t find this blog a safe place. Not because of bad jokes but because it has become a classroom where we are watching out for everyone’s feelings.

        Emotionally reckless people always say stuff like that.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        On offending people with humor, punch up, not down

        Pat Buchanan is the poster child for up.Report

      • Avatar Just Me in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        So I recklessly disregard the likely hood of causing emotional distress to others? Is that another version of shouting privileged? Something meant to shut down anyone who does not agree while not leaving them any room for actual discussion?Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Emotionally reckless people always say stuff like that.

        Emotionally reckless? You made that up.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        You made that up.

        Yes I did. It’s got pizzazz, no? I was shooting for the triple meta flip with a full twist. I’m not sure how the Judges scored it but I felt like a nailed it.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I think it’s important that OT be a safe place for the emotionally reckless.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      @jm3z-aitch

      The “@” references a commenter, not a comment, making it ambiguous in the common case where the same person comments several times in a subthread.

      @all

      FWIW, Buchanan is a Scottish name, so maybe he does wear a kilt.Report

  10. Avatar Will H. says:

    The value of the market.
    The devils among us will always draw more interest than the saints.
    That “saintliness” thing is drab by comparison.
    Enter MTV . . .Report

  11. Avatar Damon says:

    This is why I long for the apocolypse…

    On the other hand, putting her skankiness aside, I could totally put on an SS uniform and “make the nazi beast with two backs”. You know!?Report

  12. Avatar North says:

    Not to defend her, she’s obviously insane or at least going insanely overboard in a desperate bid for attention, but I would like to ask: does what she’s doing elevate, glorify or reflect well on Hitler or Fascism in any way?

    I could see some American time traveler breaking it to Hitler: “you will fail, you’ll fail completely. Not only will you be defeated militarily but you’ll not even be feared, the most frivolous and brainless of our crack whores will cavort about your works and wear your symbolism and you’ll be a joke for all of history.” I could see the Fuehrer eating a gun after that.Report

  13. Avatar j r says:

    What’s wrong with our culture that it produces enough third-rate celebrities who need to result in increasingly outlandish behavior to stay in the center of attention?

    Ironically enough, this is really a question about what is right with our culture. We produce so much surplus that people are freed from the mindless drudgery of fighting for mere existence and can devote their time and attention so all sorts of other pursuits. Some of those pursuits will create great art and technology and some of them will create… Tila Tequila.

    The normal distribution curve is the nature of the universe. There are some things that you can do to help skew the curve towards the useful and interesting, but you cannot completely eliminate the inane and useless. Plus, what falls where will always be an issue of individual taste. The only way to totally avoid this is to have culture centrally controlled by some authority that gets to decide in advance what is acceptable and what is not. And that won’t get us superior results.Report

  14. Avatar NewDealer says:

    @kazzy

    Re: Veronica Dire.

    That is a very good question and the answer is that I don’t know.

    In all honestly, I think the joke about Pat Buchanon is about his hypocrisy as a right-wing culture warrior and the idea of him in a miniskirt is kind of funny. It is like in the Bird Cage when Gene Hackman’s right wing Senator is forced to dress in drag to escape from the press.

    Then again, I am a heterosexual guy without any inclination or desire to wear skirts or other pieces of clothing that society considers for women.

    I’ve complained about offensive t-shirts on this community before. Glyph did a very artful examination about why a t-shirt like “Love him or hate him. Hitler killed a lot of Jews is funny.” I don’t feel like finding the thread right now but Glyph did an exploration into way to joke works on a variety of levels based on the sheer wrongness of the statement.

    I think the Glyph’s examination/defense on the joke ultimately fails though. It was very sophisticated but I don’t think that the creators or wearers of that t-shirt can parse and analyze the joke in the way that Glyph does. I don’t think they are that intelligent. I imagine the shit and giggles they get out of the joke is more base and really about how many people they offend. IIRC Glyph tried to include this in his defense and make it a “jokes on them” kind of situation.

    On the other hand, you are never going to please everyone and we will all find something really funny that other people do not and there might be nothing to do about this.

    “Punch up, not down” is a generally good rule but there are obvious disagreements about when a joke does this or not.Report

  15. Avatar Kim says:

    ND, Lee
    The burden of telling a good joke is on the teller.
    They’re allowed to tell Holocaust jokes,
    but by DAMN you’d better make half the Jews laugh.

    The burden is well different if you’re telling jokes
    that people are deservedly the “butt” of.

    But those are jokes that shouldn’t be told in the first place.

    Some people use “humor” as a cudgel.
    You know ’em, the folks that constantly cry:
    “Cantcha take a joke??”Report

  16. Avatar Kazzy says:

    @tod-kelly

    To your last point, I think the issue is how their identity factors into the joke. Cain acts a fool? Call him a fool. Don’t call him a black fool or make shuckin’-and-jivin’ jokes.

    We saw this with TVD a while back when he pointed out the percentage of Latinos who thought God helped Tebow won games and got mad when we mocked the faith aspect but not Latino aspect, which was largely irrelevant.Report

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

      I believe this is a common concern among the Right:
      That it is always safe to mock the faith of another.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Will H. says:

        This is largely because there has always been a large strain of anti clericalism in western culture since the enlightenment. Criticism of religion often devolves into a mockery of faith. The line between the two is not particularly sharp. Which is why it can seem to many that one critique of religion is that religious faith is mock-worthy. Of course religion may not be uniquely bad in terms of proffering grounds for belief but that doesn’t stop people from mocking.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Will H. says:

        I will say this, if your faith cannot take a little mocking, it might be a little shakier than you would like.

        I don’t know that this reflects badly on the person doing the mocking.

        That said, mocking faith is crass if you’re mocking it for what it isn’t, instead of what it is.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Will H. says:

        I will say this, if your faith cannot take a little mocking, it might be a little shakier than you would like

        No you’re missing the point. A person’s faith is not some dispassionate attitude about some propositional content, there is a heck of a lot of emotional investment, often because our identities are bound up in it. In a number of ways, that’s just the way a lot of us are built. Mocking stuff I care about a lot doesn’t shake my faith, it hurts my feelings and its not nice. Sometimes its just downright nasty. Which is why I think it is better not to mock unless something really important hinges on being mocking.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Will H. says:

        Patrick, based on a lot of jokes I hear about a religion I think its safe to say that a lot of people really do not understand faith for what it is. I know that a lot of the jokes are based on purposefully getting things wrong but more than a little of it seems to come from really not getting religion at all.

        As to Muralis point, I do not think your understanding what he is saying. He is arguing that mocking a person’s religion is basically a form of rudeness at best because of how closely faith and identity are tied up. Therefore, mocking should be reserved for things that really deserve it in order that you do not hurt a person’s feelings. He is basically saying you don’t mock a person’s faith for the same reason that you don’t make fun of their hobbies, its rude.

        I would point out that the trend towards mass atheism or at least agnosticism is limited to what we would call Western nations, Japan, and Korea. In other countries, particularly Muslim majority countries, religion is going strong.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Will H. says:

        He is basically saying you don’t mock a person’s faith for the same reason that you don’t make fun of their hobbies, its rude.

        Wait, I have to stop making fun of people’s religion and their hobbies?

        So, can’t mock Pat Buchanan, can’t mock teligion, and can’t mock people’s hobbies. I guess that means I definitely can’t mock Pat Buchanan’s religious hobbies?

        Gee, my New Year’s resolution list is gonna be a long one. Anything else I shoukd know before January 1?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will H. says:

        @jm3z-aitch

        Why such a strong desire to mock so many things?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Will H. says:

        Kaz,

        Mockery is critique, and almost nothing should be off-limits to critique.

        That said, I have my limits,mfew as they are. The mentally disbled are outside those limits. This includes those with, say, Downs’ Syndrome, but also those who’ve developed mental problems–when I learned that Tila Tequila might actually be cognitively damaged, I stopped joking about her in that thread).Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Will H. says:

        The right constantly mocks other people’s faiths.
        No, seriously, they do.
        (sometimes it might even be somewhat deserved:
        see mockery of NewAge folks).

        I had to sit through a school assembly where a rightwing
        rockgroup made fun of people in the audience’s faith.

        They make fun of people who worship Allah, who worship the buddha.
        They used to make fun of Jews, a lot. But now we’re they’re favorite group,
        so less mockery.

        Rightwing folks use humor as a form of cudgel, to keep people in line.

        (by rightwing i’m talking less political and more right wing religion)Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Will H. says:

        Murali,
        a drunken ditty about monks fucking nuns in a utopia isn’t mocking faith. It might be mocking the practice of faith… but that’s a different thing.

        Faith itself isn’t really funny, most of the time. But, oh, god, the hypocrisy! That’s a laugh riot.

        (Okay, so swinging a chicken around your head three times (until you break its neck) to get luck in the new year? That’s silly. Nothing to write a joke about, though).Report

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

        @jm3z-aitch :
        Mr. Aitch, respectfully, I believe you cast too broad a net here:
        when I learned that Tila Tequila might actually be cognitively damaged, I stopped joking about her
        I apologize in advance for the length required to address this, but a few examples are in order.
        Mental illness is by no means a homogenous set of conditions.
        There are those which have some genetic aspect or predisposition; schizoprenia, (I forgot my other example here), et al.
        There are those which are passed through generations by learned behaviors rather than genetic component. Narcissistic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder stand out as the prime examples here. Narcissistic parents tend to raise borderline children, and borderline parents tend to raise narcissistic children.
        There are those conditions involving some physical deficiency, either permanent or temporary. Bi-polar disorder and PTSD are the standouts here.

        I believe with Tequila, what we’re looking at is a psychosis; more properly of the sub-set of drug-induced psychoses. I might be wrong, of course; but that’s what it looks like from here.
        A drug-induced psychosis typically follows two stages: the acute (where the drug use is active), and the lingering (where the paranoia sets in, the belief that others are holding but just not sharing with you, etc.).

        Each one of these is a different matter, and I won’t drone on to catalogue each of them.
        Suffice to say that I believe it is entirely appropriate (dependent on circumstances, of course) to ridicule the drug-induced psychosis of one so inclined; not that it’s very helpful to the person experiencing it.
        But there’s a distinct difference between having a drink and being a habitual drunk (certain far-reaching (IMHO, over-broad) theories of addiction excepted). Societal disapproval is to be expected in the latter case.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Will H. says:

        Will,

        I draw the line there because I see it as an illness. E.g., I’ll mock the guy who drinks too much and pukes his guts out, but not the alcoholic, because I think “there but for the grace of a god I don’t believe in, go I.”

        But I’m not trying to impose that standard on others.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy says:

      the percentage of Latinos who thought God helped Tebow won games

      It’s a reasonable hypothesis. He sure didn’t win them with his ability.Report

  17. Avatar NewDealer says:

    @just-me

    You will notice:

    1. Not everyone is agreeing with Veronica

    2. Not everyone agreed with me on my unpaid actors thread

    3. We have plenty of disagreements on issues here especially socio-economic issues

    We also can generally do this without shouting at each other. Usually.

    So I have no idea what you are talking about. You can disagree respectfully and not descend into name-calling. What are you complaining about?Report

    • Avatar just me in reply to NewDealer says:

      this has nothing to do with veronica. it is about kazzy’s response. I’m mobile so that is all I will say att.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to just me says:

        just me, why, do you think, do you feel “unsafe” here merely because Kazzy has raised issues that have sparked discussion? You’ll notice that your reasons for calling this place unsafe for someone like you and veronica’s reasons for calling it unsafe for someone like her (and Kazzy’s asking whether it might be so) are different in kind. Veronica’s point is that people do not even notice the issues that Kazzy’s raising, and when they are raised, do not see them as valid — as you are now illustrating. Your reason for calling this place unsafe is that those issues are raised and discussed, period.

        I doubt very much that either Kazzy or veronica thinks that this place would be unsafe for someone unless everyone, or even the majority, agreed with them. If they do, they are wrong, of course. It looks to me like they merely want to raise issues and have people at least be able to recognize them, to be aware of them, even if they disagree with veronica’s or Kazzy’s position on them. You, on the other hand, seem to be saying that if people disagree with you, and say so openly, on certain issues at least, then this place is unsafe. Ask yourself, who’s being more unreasonable? Who is stifling personalities and discussion more?Report

  18. Avatar Kazzy says:

    @just-me

    “Are we really at the point where a safe place is someplace where we can not be ourselves?”

    @veronica-dire was/is herself and gets told she is worthless by a since-banned commenter and now has a joke made not about her but which indicates there is something inherently mockable or laughable about her existence. What you seem to be saying is that your safety ought to take precedence over hers. Which is a claim you are totally within your rights to make. But do not pretend it is anything other than that; do not pretend that a place which is safe for you is inherently safe for all.
    And Veronica is entirely within her rights to make the same claim — that her safety should take precedence over your own. The issue will be whose claim wins out (presuming these claims are indeed mutually exclusive; I reject that premise but, hey, I’m not either of y’all).Report

    • Avatar Just Me in reply to Kazzy says:

      No place is inherently safe for all. That is my point.

      Veronica can stand up for herself. She expresses herself just fine. If she has an issue she seems well able to let us know. See, if I said something that she feels uncomfortable with she can tell me. Then we would have a conversation and get to know one another. You seem hell bent on short circuiting that. I understand and applaud you trying to include everyone. I feel though that the way you go about it is the way you would teach young children. You are the adult authority making sure that everyone plays nice. If someone is commenting on this site I hope they have advanced beyond the point of needing someone to intercede on their behalf in their dealings with their peers.

      The problem I do have is after I say something like this the usual response is “well you are privileged so how can you understand”. Which in affect tells me to shut up or as we say: go sit in your corner.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Just Me says:

        Of course no places is inherently safe for all.
        But if one excludes the bigots (which this place has gone some ways to doing)
        one can indeed have a forum that is safe for the rest of us.

        Or, if you want, you can go hang out on /b/. Where it’s cheerfully safe for all the bigots, racists, mysogynists, and basically anyone else with a gripe about anything (yes, this includes feminists).Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Just Me says:

        justme,
        Kazzy wasn’t talking about veronica. He was talking about having a more diverse group of folks by being “safer” for certain groups of people.

        If you want a place that takes “safe” seriously, go look at StreetProphets. If you contrast that with 4chan’s /b/ — which would you rather have? Yeah, I know, they are at extreme ends of the scale…

        And I don’t think Kazzy is trying to shortcircuit the conversation — merely to provide certain folks some “institutionalized” (accepted) backup, if necessary.

        Blaise used the word orangutan to describe basketball players — something that people would find offensive. Folks did a little bit of a pile on about that. But it’s still part of a conversation. [the pile on is the “institutionalized” backup, I think.]Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Just Me says:

        @just-me

        I asked a question. Not entirely for Veronica’s sake but for my own sake and the sake of others as well. If we are indulging in a behavior that is offensive to others, it behooves us for our own sake to address that. And I was exploring whether we were even doing that. Because while I applaud @veronica-dire for just how well she comports herself in a space she feels is hostile towards her, the reality is that most people in her situation simply disengage and seek comfort elsewhere. For which we all lose. It is not her job to teach us. It is each of our jobs to reflect on our own practices and, should we find fault and have the desire and will to correct for it, do better. I gave no prescriptions to others. I asked questions. I expressed my own feelings. At no point did I tell anyone what they could or could not say, could or could not feel, could or could not do. To the extent that you read that into my queries, that is on you, not me.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Just Me says:

        Kumbaya ! ! !Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Kazzy says:

      now has a joke made not about her but which indicates there is something inherently mockable or laughable about her existence

      Really, Kazzy? You think that I would suggest Veronica’s existence (as a trans person, I assume we mean) is “inherently mockable or laughable”?* (And please don’t fall back on “it wasn’t you, it was the joke,” or some such, because I made the joke, so if there was such an indication inherent to the joke, I made it, whether advertently or inadvertently.)

      One person, so far, has demonstrated that they got the joke, and nobody really followed up on his interpretation. My guess is that it didn’t provide sufficient grounds for further debate, so it wasn’t interesting enough for anyone to consider. Boring doesn’t make for good blogging.

      I’m not so sure that I’m, as Veronica nicely said, “a good man worth knowing,” but I am sure that I don’t have any problems with her trans identity. Hell, as long as she eats meat and doesn’t insist on praying before meals she’s welcome at my house.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @jm3z-aitch

        The extent to which the humor in the joke was “man in skirt = laughable” then, yes, the joke and the idea behind it (which is larger than you and more of a societal thing) is hostile toward folks like Veronica.

        I don’t doubt for a second that you would be entirely decent to Veronica in person. I similarly hope I would be the same towards any person I came across. That doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes engage in actions that communicate a broader hostility towards them.

        For myself, I used to use the phrase, “Don’t get your panties in a bunch,” a lot. As I thought more about it, I — independently — opted to stop using it, because there was something weirdly gendered about it. It seemed to be communicating that I thought being upset about something was inherently a woman’s thing to do, since panties is generally used to refer to women’s undergarment. It communicated that I thought complaining was unbecoming of a man. And part of me probably did think that. It doesn’t mean I am actively hostile or unkind towards women, but that statement suggested a certain negative viewpoint towards them along at least one spectrum. So, I’ve ceased saying it. No one made me. I just chose to. Because there are other ways I can express my frustration about someone’s complaints that don’t require any sort of gendered language or imagery.

        Now, you may have meant something entirely different than “man in skirt = laughable”. But the fact remains that our society more broadly thinks “man in skirt = laughable” and, as such, presents a certain hostility towards transgender people and others who buck gender norms. It may not have been your intent or indicative of your broader, conscious view on the matter, but it indicates an undercurrent of something.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        The extent to which the humor in the joke was “man in skirt = laughable” then, yes, the joke and the idea behind it (which is larger than you and more of a societal thing) is hostile toward folks like Veronica.

        And if that extent is nil?

        the fact remains that our society more broadly thinks “man in skirt = laughable” and, as such, presents a certain hostility towards transgender people and others who buck gender norms. It may not have been your intent or indicative of your broader, conscious view on the matter, but it indicates an undercurrent of something.

        Ah, my question is pre-emptively answered. Even if the extent is nil, I’m still guilty of “something,” whatever that unspecified something is.

        I fear you may have your tighty-whities in a bunch. (Is that acceptable?)Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        And if that extent is nil?
        Easy for you to say, being a man who frequently comments with female avatar.

        For some reason, I found myself agreeing with you more as Johanna.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @jm3z-aitch

        I should have been clearer. If extent = nil, then I think it fair to say that your comment — in isolation — is not evidence of hostility. What I meant with the “undercurrent” is that surely many folks who laughed at it were laughing because “man in skirt = funny”. So when the peanut gallery erupts because of that, it risks communicating hostility.

        If I made you or seemed to be trying to make you feel guilty, I apologize. Such was not my intent. I do not seek to blame or shame, but recognize that such is often a consequence of my queries. Returning to my own example, when I recognized the potential offense imbedded in the “panties” comment and the wide range of suitable alternatives to such a statement, it seemed a no brainer to me to make the shift. I can communicate my feelings equally effectively without risking offense, which seems an objectively superior approach to communicating my feelings with the risk of offense. And once I was able to see this, I was able to adjust with no loss to myself.

        Now, if there was something specific to your critique of Buchanan that could not be communicated other than via a comment about him in a skirt, than the choice is ultimately yours to weigh the gains in clarity against the cost in potential offense.

        The peanut gallery is another issue and is not your responsibility.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I like the whole “tighty-whities” in a bunch.
        It’s both more graphic and less cliche
        (I’m getting the mental picture of a wedgie).Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @kazzy

        Now, if there was something specific to your critique of Buchanan that could not be communicated other than via a comment about him in a skirt,

        In the context of Tila Tequila dressed in a miniskirt with her legs spread above the gates of Auschwitz? Throw me a bone here, any suggestions?

        Or are to sacrifice all humor on the alter of the gods of sensitivity to ensure we keep the demons of offense at bay? Sounds like a pretty dull religion to me; as self-serious as the fundie evangelicals who worry that somebody, somewhere, might be dancing to rockenroll.Report

  19. Avatar Pyre says:

    Y’know, I can’t help but think that this all goes back to her being attacked by Juggalos.Report

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