To mostly white, cisgender people

Jul 10th, 2020 11:17 am | By

A letter in response to the letter.

On Tuesday, 153 of the most prominent journalists, authors, and writers, including J. K. Rowling, Malcolm Gladwell, and David Brooks, published an open call for civility in Harper’s Magazine

First sentence; doesn’t bode well. Badly written. “the most” out of what?

Plus the 153 didn’t publish the letter, of course, they signed it. Big difference.

So from the very first sentence we know we’re dealing with sloppy writing and weak grasp of the facts.

The signatories, many of them white, wealthy, and endowed with massive platforms, argue that they are afraid of being silenced, that so-called cancel culture is out of control, and that they fear for their jobs and free exchange of ideas, even as they speak from one of the most prestigious magazines in the country.

The people in question are not endowed with platforms. The platforms are not an inheritance or a gift. They have them because of popularity or skill or both – usually both, because popularity in writing requires some kind of skill, even if not a particularly admirable one. David Brooks, for instance – he’s a signer, and I have never been able to figure out why he is such a hot ticket when he is so complacently dull, but he is. He must have a skill at appealing to media gatekeepers who like complacent dullness of his type.

In reality, their argument alludes to but does not clearly lay out specific examples, and undermines the very cause they have appointed themselves to uphold.

Say the people writing a letter in response, who have appointed themselves to do so. This snide accusation of self-appointing is just silly. We all appoint ourselves whenever we say anything, deal with it.

In truth, Black, brown, and LGBTQ+ people — particularly Black and trans people — can now critique elites publicly and hold them accountable socially; this seems to be the letter’s greatest concern.

Oh look who’s being left out; what a surprise.

The writers of the letter use seductive but nebulous concepts and coded language to obscure the actual meaning behind their words, in what seems like an attempt to control and derail the ongoing debate about who gets to have a platform. They are afforded the type of cultural capital from social media that institutions like Harper’s have traditionally conferred to mostly white, cisgender people.

Oops, you did it again!

While the Harper’s letter is couched in the events of the last few weeks, it doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

Ok this is one reason some people get platforms and others don’t. You have to know how to use the word “couch” correctly. I know it seems arbitrary, but I don’t make the rules.

Rowling, one of the signers, has spouted transphobic and transmisogynist rhetoric, mocking the idea that trans men could exist, and likening transition-related medical care such as hormone replacement therapy to conversion therapy. She directly interacts with fans on Twitter, publishes letters littered with transphobic rhetoric, and gets away with platforming violent anti-trans speakers to her 14 million followers.

Rowling “gets away with”…with what now? Platforming speakers to her followers? How can you “platform” someone on Twitter? Do they mean quote, cite, link to, talk to? Are they saying she shouldn’t be allowed to do that – shouldn’t “get away with” it? Yes, no doubt they are. She “spouts,” you see, she “litters,” she mustn’t “get away with it.”

Jesse Singal, another signer, is a cis man infamous for advancing his career by writing derogatorily about trans issues. In 2018, Singal had a cover story in The Atlantic expressing skepticism about the benefits of gender-affirming care for trans youth.

But what if he’s right? What if it really is not a great idea for teenagers to make radical changes to their bodies before their brains have fully developed? What if that is not “anti-trans” but pro-safety? What if skepticism about the benefits of drugs and surgeries is not hostile or malevolent but genuine concern and alarm? What if, even, it’s not wrong or anti-trans to argue that drastic changes to the body shouldn’t be necessary for people to have whatever personality and self-presentation they like?

The signatories call for a refusal of “any false choice between justice and freedom.” It seems at best obtuse and inappropriate, and at worst actively racist, to mention the ongoing protests calling for policing reform and abolition and then proceed to argue that it is the signatories who are “paying the price in greater risk aversion.” It’s particularly insulting that they’ve chosen now, a time marked by, as they describe, “powerful protests for racial and social justice,” to detract from the public conversation about who gets to have a platform. 

Now there I agree with them. I flatly disagree with that part of the letter.

Its conclusion however…

The intellectual freedom of cis white intellectuals has never been under threat en masse, especially when compared to how writers from marginalized groups have been treated for generations. In fact, they have never faced serious consequences — only momentary discomfort. 

Uh…Stalin’s USSR? Mussolini’s Italy? Hitler’s Deutschland? Occupied France? Quisling’s Norway? The postwar US? Greece under the colonels? Pinochet’s Chile?

Guest post: They are actually being validated

Jul 10th, 2020 10:29 am | By

Originally a comment by iknklast on Strict supervision.

It seems that JK Rowlings’ tweets may be the top 10 list all by themselves. But really, when you look at what the trans lobby talks about as harm:

Tweets saying men aren’t women

Tweets saying women don’t have penises

Being called sir by a clerk

Being asked to leave a women’s room

Being told they aren’t really a woman just because they’re wearing a dress

Feminine hygiene products bearing the woman symbol

Women’s health clinics being called women’s health clinics

Not being able to get bustiers in their size (I haven’t actually heard this one, but I have heard some related)

Women writing books that say women are vulnerable to men

Women not liking to be called cis

Lesbians deciding on their own terms who they want to have sex with, and who they don’t

Every now and then, we will hear about something that might be a problem, a serious one, such as high suicide rate and high homicide rate, but this comes with mostly hand-waving and some mumbo-jumbo statistics which don’t seem to support their case, but you’re not allowed to point that out, and some statistics that encompass the entirety of the LGBTQ++++++++++ spectrum, and seem to be mostly LGB statistics that they pretend are totally T statistics. They throw words at you, emotional words, words appropriated from other vulnerable groups, and don’t give you a chance to process the reality that those words do not apply to this group of uber-entitled men who want to be women, but don’t seem to want to be treated like women are treated. When they do receive treatment like women are treated, they assume it is because they’re trans, and never realize that, at least in some cases, they are actually being validated by being treated like a woman. They think women have it great, and they have it badly, and since they do not recognize the treatment they receive as misogyny, they assume they are more oppressed than women, because they assume we don’t experience any of that.

A lifejacket makes me look girly

Jul 10th, 2020 9:24 am | By

It’s almost as if there’s a pattern

Jul 10th, 2020 9:15 am | By

A different style of silencing in a different part of the world –

Sueko Urasaki, 82, who came forward as the “trembling girl” in an image from the Battle of Okinawa, was, according to sources contacted on June 25, visited by a man who made accusatory remarks doubting her story. Urasaki has been avoiding contact with the outside for the past year. There have been other similar incidents involving the individuals who testified to the mass forced suicides in Zamami during the battle. The lasting inheritance of the Battle of Okinawa has become a topic of late, and someone familiar with the effort to suppress the testimonials of survivors raised the alarm bell, saying, “We cannot allow survivors to become hesitant, hindering the lessons to be passed down from the battle.”

That is, Urasaki was photographed by the US military during or after the Battle of Okinawa, and she has been a source of accounts of forced suicides in that battle. I know little or nothing about those forced suicides, and now want to know more. It’s all part of the giant notebook of Appalling Things Humans Do.

An unknown man showed up at her door one day to intimidate her.

Terrified, she began refusing visitors and refrained from going outside. Her relatives reflected, “Reliving the Battle of Okinawa was painful. She felt that the man’s intention was to prevent her from spreading her story.”

There were also incidents of people trying to suppress stories about the Battle of Okinawa in the past as well. Harumi Miyagi, 70, an Okinawan women’s history researcher who compiled her mother’s notes about the compulsory suicides in Zamami, has received hate mail, threatening phone calls and unwanted visitors to her home.

Miyagi’s book was used as evidence when Japanese commanding officers from the battle filed a lawsuit against author Kenzaburo Oe and Iwanami Publishing for his descriptions of the compulsory suicides detailed in his book, Okinawa Notes, supporting their claim that, “They had given no such order.” Miyagi did not intend her writing to be supportive of the officers’ case, and released a new edition of her book that indicated “military orders” and the “compulsory nature” of the suicides.

So she received a lot of intimidation too, as did others.

In September of 2007, when a citizens committee was held to demand that the Japanese government retract their decision to downplay the Japanese military’s role in mass suicides, a survivor of the suicides in Zamami was visited at home by two men clad entirely in black who demanded to know “Were you really there?” The survivor reflected, “I was unable to speak,” but the fear stuck with them. They said of that time, “They meant to scare me to keep me silent. I have not forgiven them, but I refrained from making the incident public so as not to further incite them.”

But the war ended 75 years ago. The people responsible for the mass suicides are all or mostly gone. Why are people defending them with menaces now?

Well. Why are people defending Confederate generals with menaces now?

Right matters

Jul 9th, 2020 6:09 pm | By

Adam Schiff sent a letter to Lt. Colonel Vindman.

This crowd likes calling the manager

Jul 9th, 2020 5:58 pm | By

Jesse Singal on the reaction to that Harper’s letter:

I watched a sizable subset of the online progressive intelligentsia respond with intense fury, disbelief, and indignation to an open letter published online yesterday by Harper’s magazine. The letter, which will also appear in the magazine’s October issue, was simply a stout defense of liberal values from people primarily on the left at a time it feels like these values are under threat. It made no bones of the fact that President Donald Trump and right-wing authoritarianism in Europe are both major threats to liberal society. It simply said that in addition to these threats, it’s probably time to get our own house in order. “The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted,” the letter reads, in part. “While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty. We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought.”

Emphasis mine. The letter is not wrong about that.

Because the American left is basically a war zone at the moment—or online it is, at least—what happened next shouldn’t surprise anyone: A group of us posted the letter and celebrated it, while another much angrier group denounced it and held it up as proof of…well, whatever it is they hate about us and want to get us fired over (this crowd likes calling the manager).


One such reaction came from Parker Molloy, a staffer at the left-leaning Media Matters, who insisted, of a letter that includes Rushdie and Kasparov, “not a single one of them have been censored anytime in recent history.” In the subsequent tweetstorm, she said of the signatories:

“They want you to sit down.

They want you to shut up.

They want you to do as you’re told.

By them. Specifically.”

“They are totalitarians in the waiting,” she wrote. “They are bad people.”

She seems not entirely honest or fair.

All this in response to a letter saying people shouldn’t be punished too harshly over disagreement or missteps!

Well of course, because the reality is no punishment is too harsh. TERFs get the wall etc etc.

Another example of the hit-dog-hollering principle in action yesterday: “i really wonder if some of the people who signed this thought long and hard about whose names they’d appear next to,” tweeted Matt Gabriele, who teaches medieval studies and chairs the Department of Religion and Culture at Virginia Tech.

Again, the amount of stuff being revealed, right in the open, if you only care to look, is surprising: Gabriele, who holds an important, gatekeeping position at a major American university, wants people to think “long and hard” before putting their names on an unobjectionable expression of liberal values, lest someone come along and wrongly judge through the lens of some ridiculous guilt-by-association standard. The writer Oliver Traldi calls this style of discourse “rhextortion“: It would be a shame if someone unfairly judged you as a result of the names on this letter rather than the content of its text itself.

Well, we live in a world where people feel justified in demanding why you follow persons X and Y on Twitter.

One of the points of the letter is to push back against the fire-anyone-for-anything trajectory of the present moment, especially when it comes to social media posts. Gabriele, who enjoys academic tenure, doesn’t have to worry about this. He can call people on Twitter names like “piece-of-shit bigot” or “asshole” without having to realistically fear repercussions, unlike those stiffs out there who have to worry that if the wrong person takes some random Facebook post the wrong way, they’ll be called into their boss’s office and canned on the spot. So Gabriele and his pals get free rein, while anyone who points out that maybe it’s not a good idea to promote the norm of firing people over social-media blowups gets yelled at for being part of the problem, or for being an evil, bigoted reactionary—because who else could possibly want a more forgiving, liberal approach? This combination of enjoying virtually unfettered online speech while angrily lashing out at those who want to extend this benefit to as many people as possible is a good system! If you’re in the in-group, at least. 

Then, finally, there’s Emily VanDerWerff, a critic at large for Vox who happens to be trans. One of her colleagues, Matt Yglesias, signed the letter, and VanDerWerff didn’t like the letter, so she did the only reasonable, adult thing: She sent him a quick DM asking if they could talk the matter over.

Kidding! She publicly announced that she had reported Yglesias to his editors for signing the letter. She posted a version of the note on Twitter, and in it she claims the letter was “signed by prominent anti-trans voices” and contains “many dog whistles toward anti-trans positions.” “Dog whistles” used to mean something like coded, racist appeals of the sort Richard Nixon employed but has more recently, on Twitter at least, taken a definition closer to referring to an accusation I don’t want to provide evidence for. That Yglesias signed a document with such signatories and dog whistles “makes me feel less safe at Vox,” she wrote.

Meaning what, Ygelisias was going to open fire at an editorial meeting some day? Come off it. Also let’s remember that VanDerWerff isn’t literally a “she” but a man. Men don’t usually say things like “my male colleague’s signing a document makes me feel less safe” because men are discouraged from being that kind of performatively fragile.

The note contains some boilerplate closing language about not wanting to get Yglesias in trouble, suggesting an interesting strategy that makes perfect sense: After all, when I don’t want to get a colleague in trouble, the first thing I do is send their bosses an email about how something they have done has made me feel less safe, and the second thing I do is post that note publicly to Twitter. It’s just a classic example of not wanting to get a colleague in trouble, if I ever saw one.

Trans women, being The Most Oppressed of All, are allowed to have things both ways. It’s only fair, right?

Those officers turned their backs on their oath

Jul 9th, 2020 5:06 pm | By

If the chairman of the Joint Chiefs can see it

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley criticized Confederate symbols before the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, and called the Civil War an “act of treason.”

Milley said that minority service members — which he noted make up 43% of the U.S. military — may feel uncomfortable that Army bases are named for Confederate generals who “fought for an institution of slavery that may have enslaved one of their ancestors.”

“For those young soldiers that go on to a base of Fort Hood, Fort Bragg, whatever, named after a Confederate general, they can be reminded that that general fought for an institution of slavery.”

“I had a staff sergeant when I was a young officer who actually told me that at Fort Bragg. He said he went to work every day on a base that represented a guy who enslaved his grandparents.”

And there’s no compelling reason to go on doing that, is there. We’re allowed to change the names of things. It’s not as if there’s a shortage of remarkable people bases could be named for.

“The Confederacy, the American Civil War, was fought and it was an act of rebellion. It was an act of treason at the time against the union, against the stars and stripes, against the U.S. Constitution, and those officers turned their back on their oath.”

But they got bases named after them, and former slaves got lynched.

And we’re not listening

Jul 9th, 2020 1:07 pm | By

Ooh, novelty, the Guardian runs a piece explaining why trans people women deserve all of our attention all the time.

For as long as the human species has existed, so have trans people.

Oh? How would this writer (Eleanor Morgan) know that?

At what point in human evolution did it start? Is it possible that Lucy was trans? Should be have been calling her I mean him Luke all this time?

(In Amharic her name is Dinkenish, which means “you are marvelous.” Better.)

All women’s fears are valid, however they come to be. Our long history of assuming women’s narratives are inherently untrustworthy still lingers. When a woman says she is in distress, it’s like her words come with a pop-up ad saying: not to be taken at face value. Feeling truly heard when we talk about our distress, whatever form it takes, still seems like a rare thing; as though when we say we feel hurt, sad or scared, some kind of “hysterical” or deviant undertow is assumed. This is as true for trans women as it is for cisgender women.

No. This is why we argue.

Or at least, it may be as true (it’s not as if we can measure), but it’s not the same thing. I can easily accept that trans people face heightened suspicion, but what I don’t accept is the claim that it’s the same suspicion as the kind or multitude of kinds that women face, or that we can’t talk about women without bringing trans people into it. I don’t accept the invasion or the appropriation.

I’ve known pain and mental distress, but none of this makes me think trans women are any less “real” than me – nor that the term “woman” is being erased by the existence of trans people who want equal rights.

Are there experiences that make a woman real, anyway? Periods? Giving birth? Many women don’t experience the latter, some don’t experience the former. Or perhaps it is about knowing what a life spent reeling from the objectification of men feels like? Dealing with sexual violence and harassment? But, no: trans women face sexual violence, too.

The issue isn’t being “real.” The issue is claiming to be literally an X that in fact you are not. You are not a nail or an osprey or a peach. I know this because none of the entities named can read what I just typed. Claiming to be something isn’t magic. Sometimes it’s actual fraud and can get you in big trouble.

Trans people are saying they are frightened and in pain because people are questioning their rights, and we’re not listening. Where will this end?

What are women saying?

Strict supervision

Jul 9th, 2020 12:23 pm | By

Another man bravely steps forward to tell JK Rowling what she should be doing instead of what she is doing.

Scrolling through J.K. Rowling’s Twitter page is a surreal experience. 

The Harry Potter author is currently celebrating the success of her new children’s book, The Ickabog, engaging her young fans by retweeting and praising their artwork. 

Well, it’s more that she’s taking the time and trouble to make a lot of her young fans extremely happy by retweeting and praising their artwork.

In between these adorable, enthusiastic retweets, Rowling will, randomly, offer her opinion about trans people. Much of it can be described as “politely worded bigotry,” rhetoric that recklessly harms the trans community, seemingly innocuous on the surface. 

Randomly. Yes, she’s just some bit of fluff who has no reason to have opinions about the way women are being redefined. It’s all so random and inexplicable and puzzling.

Despite constant, vocal pushback from trans activists and medical experts, Rowling continues to post her strange screeds, nestled right next to the artwork of young children, who will likely be exposed to her opinions while exploring her Twitter page, searching for fan art.  

Medical experts? What medical experts? I haven’t seen any vocal pushback from medical experts. Is being trans a medical issue now? I thought it was a matter of self-definition? What could medical expertise have to say about self-definition and the absolute right to be “validated” as whatever you identify as which?

Is Rowling’s Twitter page a place where her young, impressionable fans can browse artwork, or is it a place to debate trans rights? Because this bizarre blend of trans-exclusionary talking points and children’s fanart is deeply, almost hilariously, inappropriate.

Is it any of this guy’s business what Rowling’s Twitter is for? Is Rowling not allowed to decide for herself what her Twitter is for? Not if she’s using it to abuse or harass, but she’s not, so in the real world, can’t she decide for herself what to tweet about? Without journalists correcting her?

“Nobody asked for this” was the joke behind the meme, and considering how Rowling now spends an embarrassing amount of her time passionately engaged in a debate that doesn’t even concern her, it’s as though the meme has manifested itself into reality. 

Dude. The debate concerns us.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when you’re an obscenely wealthy and influential author, constantly using your massive platform to punch down on the marginalized isn’t just stating an opinion – it’s pure entitlement.

The wealthy part comes from the popularity of her books, not from grinding the faces of the poor. She sold millions of books. She didn’t grow cotton with slave labor or mine coal with child labor or market tobacco while lying about its health effects; she wrote books. The obscenely part is questionable given the fact that she’s given a lot of it to good causes. As for the marginalized…women are marginalized. Men who say they are women are not the worst-off people in the world.

They have the best napkins here

Jul 9th, 2020 11:58 am | By

Oops. Michael Cohen was allowed out of prison to serve his time at home because of the virus, and at home meant at home.

He forgot to stay home.


Apparently it was the Post that ratted him out.

Michael Cohen could soon be back to chowing down in a prison cafeteria.

The recently sprung jailbird was caught by The Post dining out on Manhattan’s Upper East Side — and the meal may cost him his freedom, legal experts said Friday.

Exclusive photos show President Trump’s former personal lawyer seated at a sidewalk table outside Le Bilboquet, a French restaurant around the corner from his Park Avenue apartment, on Thursday night.

Cohen, his wife, Laura, and another couple spent about an hour chatting before they became the last patrons to leave around 11:30 p.m.

They couldn’t just order takeout?

The Cohens both put on face masks before exchanging hugs with the other couple and walking off.

So much for social distancing.

Michael Cohen dining at Le Bilboquet restaurant in Manhattan.

The friend guy is on his phone. Look, if your buddy is going to risk going back to prison to eat out with you the least you could do is put your phone away!

Anyway. My god what a doofus. All he had to do to avoid more prison time was stay home, but noooooooo.

Gold medal in vulnerability

Jul 9th, 2020 11:05 am | By

So that’s how it’s done.

In other words, “the vast majority of responses to this are bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch women”…who are pointing out that women as a class are more vulnerable than men.

Simon Curtis is doing this ever-more-popular trick of stacking up privilege-pejoratives in front of the word “women” so that we’ll know to hate them by the time we get to the noun. Oh oh oh they’re middle-aged and white and British and cis, they are KARENS. Women who are middle-aged and white and British and cis don’t get to say they are part of a subordinated group of any kind ever, because they are Karens. (Applies also to American, French, Swedish, Australian etc women too of course. Bitches.)

There are of course plenty of women who have a lot of privilege of various kinds – but they’re still women. They’re still subject to misogyny, they’re still subject to the kind of dismissive contempt shown by this Simon Curtis fella.

Also, it is in fact simply a literal truth that women as such are more vulnerable than men as such. Politically speaking women are of course not always the most vulnerable group in a given situation or conflict, but literally speaking – yes, sadly, we are.

Y they single him out?

Jul 9th, 2020 9:26 am | By

Trump of course is still raging.

Says Crimey McCriminal.


Oh and by the way –

These things take time

Jul 9th, 2020 9:13 am | By

Trump is having a bad day.

The supreme court has issued its decision in one case involving subpoenas for Trump’s financial records.

The justices issued a 7-2 decision that the president’s tax returns and business records may be turned over to a grand jury in New York.

The ruling marks a defeat for Trump, who has pushed for years to hide the documents from the public.

The next ruling is a little more helpful to him.

It is another 7-2 decision written by Chief Justice John Robertsand it calls for sending the case back to the lower court to more closely review concerns over the separation of powers.

“The courts below did not take adequate account of the significant separation of powers concerns implicated by congressional subpoenas for the President’s information,” Roberts wrote in the decision.

The upshot of that is that Congress almost certainly won’t get to see the information before the election – in other words yes we still have to vote on this criminal with vital information about his criminality withheld from us because…he is the president. But that’s the very thing we need to decide on! Do we want a criminal as president?! We need to know now! Sorry, the wheels of justice grind slow.

It’s a win for presidential accountability long-term, but a loss for making Trump accountable this-term.

Like so:

In terms of the substance of the two supreme court decisions, the opinions mark a defeat for Trump because the justices rejected his legal team’s argument that the president should be immune from such proceedings.

However, the president appears to have secured a victory in terms of the logistics of the decisions.

The justices ruled that Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance may receive the president’s tax returns and financial records. However, even if Vance can get the records soon, they will likely not be made public because they will be turned over to a grand jury, legally requiring them to be kept secret.

In terms of the House subpoenas, the supreme court sent the case back down to the lower court to more closely consider separation of powers issues. That will almost certainly delay the release of Trump’s financial records to the committees until after the election.

All very dignified and unhurried and judicialicious, but the result is that vital information about Trump’s criminality is being kept from the voting public until after the election.

Guest post: Being oppressed doesn’t make people immune to being wrong

Jul 8th, 2020 6:09 pm | By

Originally a comment by Bruce Gorton on When two oppressed groups are in conflict.

The admonition to shut up and listen to the members of the oppressed group is a valid one, but it only works when dealing with a non-oppressed group (to-wit, straight white men, preferably but not exclusively middle-class and up).

You know, I don’t think it actually is valid, or more like the validity of “shut up and listen” isn’t on the axis of oppressed versus non-oppressed, but rather on the axis of expertise vs non-expertise.

Because the thing is – being oppressed doesn’t actually make people immune to being wrong, and all too often putting the validity of “shut and and listen” on that axis, leads to a situation in which one ranks oppressions.

We saw it with “Islamophobia”, where concerns around sexism, the mistreatment of apostates, homophobia, anti-Semitism etc… were more or less silenced because Muslims were the oppressed minority of the day. A minority that was deemed more oppressed than these other groups, thus the other groups needed to “shut up and listen”.

The TRAs very specifically aimed to paint themselves as the most oppressed minority, specifically because that grants a greater ability to tell other groups to “shut up and listen”.

And I can’t help but think it is going to end up being the response to women who point out that calling people “Karens” is sexist. In fact I’d be surprised if the argument hasn’t already been floated.

I think there is something to be said for listening to people about their experiences, but it should be an active sort of listening, in which one asks questions and requires claims to be supported.

And yes, this can come off as JAQing off, but there is so much bullshit out there floated as “woke” that you can’t really get around it.

I’m South African so my example is always going to be Bell Pottinger, a PR firm that sought to undo the legacy of Nelson Mandela in order to run interference for a pack of thieving scumbags who were robbing my country blind. They did it using woke points, cynically and expertly playing up racial tensions and pushing “White Monopoly Capital” as the villain, in a way that was indistinguishable from people who may well have been genuine about it.

There is a lot of fakery mixed in with the stuff we’re supposed to be shutting up and listening to, even with causes we’d normally all get behind. “Shut up and listen” – doesn’t help us sort the bullshit from the real, and that has become a real problem that is actively undermining a lot of groups.

And a lot of the bandwagon on bullshit causes is populated by well meaning straight white guys who “shut up and listened” to the wrong people.

You have to EARN it

Jul 8th, 2020 4:24 pm | By

There’s a problem though.

See the problem? Of course – it’s obvious. Who ARE these people and why should I assume they know better than I do? Why should anyone assume that?

It’s not as if angry pile-ons never get anything wrong. It’s not as if the cancellations never get anything wrong. There’s no reason for anyone to just assume that if you see a cancellation, it must be for a very good, in fact a flawless reason.

What if “the thing that got you cancelled in the first place” is not cruelty or racism or persecution or bullying, but an opinion you think to be true? You can “own up to it” but maybe you will then add “and so what?”

Phillipa Soo is just assuming that everyone who cancels a Suspect Person is right about everything, and that no mistakes ever happen.

Why would anyone assume that? Based on what? Twitter is a big thing with a lot of people using it; they’re not all going to subscribe to the list of Correct Things that Philippa Soo (or anyone else) subscribes to.

It reminds me of PZ that summer 5 years ago, when he begged me privately not to leave, but then did a post saying I had to “own up” to my sins. But I didn’t think they were sins. I had told the truth as I saw it, and gone on telling it, so how was I supposed to “own up” to having gotten things horribly wrong when I didn’t believe I had?

Same with Philippa Soo’s instructions on how to grovel to a bunch of callow inquisitors who don’t know much about anything.

By name and by nature

Jul 8th, 2020 12:41 pm | By

This is evil.

One, women refusing to agree that “men can be women if they say they ‘identify as’ women” is not kneeling on other people’s necks. It’s not murder, and it’s not murder-by-torture. It’s evil to accuse women of torture and murder for saying that only women are women.

Two, it’s insulting to George Floyd and to other victims of police brutality to drag their horror into a misogynist attack on women who don’t agree that men are women.

Three, it’s appropriation, the real kind, and an incredibly disgusting example of it.

Four, much more minor, where is “here”? Twitter? Garbage doesn’t get to tell us we’re not welcome on Twitter. Garbage is not the boss of us or of anyone else.

You have your instructions

Jul 8th, 2020 11:47 am | By

Lock down! Also send the kids back to school!

In Wednesday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, one doctor asked four states go back to Phase 1 recommendations after seeing a surge in COVID-19 numbers.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, spoke about an increase in cases and positivity rates when testing in Arizona, Florida, Texas, and California during the briefing.

“To all of the Americans out there that are in these four states, and the states that have in the report in the red zone, because there is a series of other states that we have in that zone, is really asking the American people in those counties and in those states to not only use the face coverings, not going to bars, not going to indoor dining, but really not gathering in homes either. Decreasing those gatherings back down to our Phase 1 recommendation, which was 10 or less,” she said.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos spoke about reopening schools across the nation.

“Students can and must continue to learn full time,” DeVos said.

DeVos said schools must fully open and be fully operational to best serve students. She said local leaders are the best to make the plans for their area’s schools. Citing the American Academy of Pediatric guidance, she said everyone should have the goal of starting students physically in classrooms.

Ok so you know what to do – go back to decreasing those gatherings down to 10 or fewer and also send all the kids back to school.


Your obligation to understand and address inequality

Jul 8th, 2020 8:51 am | By

This guy. THIS GUY.

How belatedly he remembers to mention men. His tribe is white, Generation X, heterosexual, privileged MEN. Women aren’t part of that tribe. He’s astonishingly bad at remembering that, or perhaps at ever noticing it in the first place.

By which he means trans people, and emphatically not women.

Women always last. Women always an afterthought, because trans people always get first mention.

Why? Is it because it gives men like Jolyon Maugham an excuse to lecture and rebuke women? Is there no more to it than that?

How much interest does he have in challenging how he conceives of himself? I can see none.

Blame women

Jul 8th, 2020 8:17 am | By

Not cute.

A San Francisco lawmaker introduced an ordinance that would make it illegal to make a fraudulent, racially-motivated 911 call in response to a number of recent incidents in which white people have called the police on Black people who weren’t doing anything wrong.

So far so good.

Supervisor Shamann Walton introduced the Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies, or CAREN Act, Tuesday, which will “make it illegal for people to contact law enforcement solely to discriminate on the basis of a person’s race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The CAREN Act. Geddit? Hawhaw. Not funny. Not cute.

Imagine if a white lawmaker came up with a SAMBO Act or some such shit. (Some probably have. Not funny, not cute.)

Just stop it.

Three !!! threat

Jul 8th, 2020 8:11 am | By

Now Trump is threatening children.

The Guardian points out:

In reality, many administrators, teachers and parents have expressed concerns about sending students back to school as concerns remain over the spread of coronavirus in the classroom.

Many school districts have also warned they do not have the additional funding needed to keep students safe, and the president is now threatening to cut off funding from them if they don’t reopen.

He’s also threatening the CDC.

And by “meeting” he doesn’t really mean “meeting.”