A Note to Rystefn and Lou
Some writers fall in love with words. The more I write, the more I know how little individual words mean. The more I interact with people very different from me, the more I ignore exact words and tell others to do the same. They’re just not that helpful. “Divided by a common language” and all that.
There were two words placed in close context in one of these posts, “soldier” and “rapist.” The first of these words invoked your pride in a way that probably no other word can. Rightfully so. About the only benefit you’re given in return for the privation and danger of serving your country as a solider is pride. That’s wrong, in that you deserve more in return for what you give, but that’s another post.
It’s also wrong in terms of what pride does, because that second word ran smack into that pride. Honestly, I can’t even begin to imagine how much that must have hurt. That’s a strong word and pride is very vulnerable. I hurt in sympathy, but I know it doesn’t approach what you must have felt to hit that. I’m pretty sure I can’t understand that.
However, and I ask you to bear with me as I explain, rather than starting to argue immediately, this does not mean that Greg owes you an apology for calling you a rapist. For two reasons.
The first is that he didn’t call you a rapist. At least not in the post or the comments on his blog. I will get to the other part later.
- He elucidated someone else’s theory and asked for responses and challenges to it. Those words were fully embedded in that person’s theory.
- He asked for a different word. No, he didn’t endorse Rystefn’s alternative. He didn’t argue with it either. Given the specificity he was looking for regarding a physical response and the confusion in the comments over whether “potential” is even meaningful, I get being hesitant.
- He actually used quite a large number of words to explain what the theory was saying about behavior. In order to claim he called you a rapist in any way that is more meaningful than calling you a motherfucker, you need to ignore a lot of context, context that specifically states you didn’t rape anyone, even if the theory is correct in all its details.
None of that changes the fact that it hurt like hell. It just says that Greg did not call you a rapist.
The second reason is that “you owe me an apology” is a direct functional equivalent to “dance, monkey, dance.” Apologies are rituals. They’re socially useful, but they’re empty on their own. It would probably make you feel better for Greg to apologize for calling you a rapist, but given that he doesn’t believe he did, it wouldn’t mean anything. He’d be dancing.
If you want an apology, ask for one that doesn’t involve him saying something he doesn’t believe. Do you really think he’s any happier about the fact that you’re hurting than I am? (Actually, Rystefn, there’s a pretty fair chance that by the time we got to my blog thread, Greg was hurting you for hurting me. You can ask him.)
In the meantime, you’re walking around in a discussion about rape wrapped in a sense of entitlement. Somebody owes you something. It comes across in your focus, where you’re pushing people to discuss the details of marginalized sexuality, about which you know quite a bit, rather than the general topic of preventing rape. It comes across in your language, where you’re telling women they “have to” do something, generally agree with you. Sometimes apologize to you.
You’re telling these people to dance, too. Some of them are rape survivors. All of them are aware of their potential for victimization, particularly aware at the moment. I’m pretty sure you would generally be much more sensitive to both of these behaviors in this context, so I’m blaming the entitlement.
In most contexts, the shift in behavior that entitlement creates would make me unhappy, because my friends aren’t communicating. In this context, I find it creepy as hell. You’re giving me a very clear picture of how entitlement can lead to me, both personally and as a female in general, being utterly discounted, even by someone I consider a very close friend.
Guys, I understand and hate that you’re hurting, but you’re scaring me.