Majority viciously attacking small numbers of dissent

Speaking of the Charlie Hebdo protests…a few days ago Joyce Carol Oates retweeted a string of remarks by Dan Therriault, then made some of her own.

The first:

Dan Therriault ‏@dantherriault May 22
With PEN dissent, I suspect more writers would have separated themselves from Hebdo content if those few who dissented were not so vilified.

Majority viciously attacking small numbers of dissent used to stop more dissent, to threaten quiet others & maintain their majority opinion.

This devaluing of dissent in the US bleeds into everything, the media questioning authority, political parties, attacking corporate culture.

But it’s truly disheartening to see writers pulled along the cultural move to the right to attack fellow writers for their rational dissent.

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Nobody’s mind seemed to change

Paul Berman starts his long and brilliant article on the Charlie Hebdo-PEN protests by noting that both sides agreed on the values; it was the facts that were contested.

The protesters, most of them, wanted the world to know that, in regard to press freedoms, their commitments were absolute. Willingly they would defend the right even of Nazis to say whatever terrible things Nazis might say, as the ACLU once did in Illinois. But they honestly believed that Charlie Hebdo is a reactionary magazine, racist against blacks and bigoted against Muslims, obsessively anti-Islamic, intent on bullying the immigrant masses in France. A dreadful magazine. Nazi-like, even—therefore, a magazine not even remotely worthy of an award from PEN. On these points the protesters were adamant. Only, why?

A modest heap of useful information about racism in France and the distinctly non-Nazi political nature of Charlie Hebdo and its cartoons did accumulate during the course of the affair, and the modest heap ought normally to have changed a few minds. Nobody’s mind seemed to change, however.

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Josh Marhsall at Talking Points Memo:

In Touch Weekly is reporting that in 2007, when Josh Dugger was 19[,] he sued the Arkansas Department of Human Services to prevent them from making a finding against him or possibly to prevent on-going monitoring of his interactions with his sisters.

I’m writing this here in the Editor’s Blog because In Touch Weekly‘s reporting on this seems thinly sourced and, let’s be honest, In Touch Weekly is not where we normally go for industry standard reporting.

They had documents for the previous stories, but this one is just “as told to.”

According to this report, when local police decided that no crime had been committed within the three year statute of limitations, they nonetheless referred the case to Arkansas’s Families in Need of Services agency. The FNS has a different charge – not criminal culpability but protecting the welfare of children in the state. In other words, the statute of limitations wouldn’t be relevant to their ability or charge to monitor Josh Duggar since he was still living in the Duggar home with his younger sisters.

So a bit less than a year after an anonymous tipster put in motion the chain of events that led to the actual police investigation in 2006, Josh Duggar apparently sued the state to block something the state DHS was doing. This was around the time that the Duggar family reality show was moving into production for its first season in 2008.

So they probably didn’t want quite that much “reality” in their “reality show” about how fabulous they are.

Josh Duggar was apparently successful in his legal action. According to the report, the records of the lawsuit as well as the documentation which the suit was over are both sealed.

Maybe he too will be invited to speak at TAM.

Guest post: In a way ordinary empathetic identification doesn’t explain

Guest post by Josh Spokes.

I have some thoughts on femininity, women, and my relationship to these as a gay man. For months I’ve stewed on this topic wondering how to express it. This may or may not be an elegant exposition. It’s also full of “I” statements, which is tedious and unfortunate. I know no other way to make it clear my subject is my own impressions, not generalizing statements about what other people ought to do or be motivated by.


1. As a man I’m never going to grok what it is to live as a woman. Please know that nothing I write is meant to suggest or imply that.

2. This is not a cookie-seeking project; I’m not going for Best Man Feminist merit badges.

Violence against and denigration of women has always been viscerally emotional for me. It affects me in nearly the same way that my horror of homophobia and anti-gay violence does. Misogyny so upsets me that I worry I sometimes look like that guy who’s SUPER INTO FEMINISM in a way that’s annoying or invites skepticism. [Read more…]


And this is part of the unsavory mix:


Emery Emery @emeryemeryii May 20
Excited that @michaelshermer has been added to the #TAM2015 lineup. Never give in to unsubstantiated slander.

“Never give in to unsubstantiated slander” here must mean ignore multiple accounts by women of various forms of skeevy behavior, including non-consensual sex. It must mean ignore corroboration by witnesses. It must mean ignore what James Randi said himself. It must mean ignore all of that as “unsubstantiated,” in order to include the subject of all those accounts. Ignore what all those women say, because they don’t count; only the Important Thought-Leader Men count.

The old boys-will-be-boys canard

In Duggar-world, girls and women “tempt” men and boys, and “defraud” them with their sexual allure. In the real world…girls and women “tempt” men and boys, because they’re sluts and boys just wanna have fun.

Amanda Marcotte has the story.

20 middle and high school aged boys have been accused of participating in an electronic “trading card” ring involving nude photos of female students. Reading the coverage of it, it becomes immediately clear how these boys got their overblown sense of entitlement: Their parents and community have rushed forward to support the boys for their invasion of privacy —and have demanded, instead, that the girls be criminalized for being such alluring little temptresses. [Read more…]

“I’ve just heard that he misbehaved himself with the women”

What was it that James Randi said about Michael Shermer? Oh yes…

Shermer’s reputation really does precede him, and it predates the recent wave of attention given to sex crimes and sexual harassment. I reached the movement’s grand old man, 86-year-old James Randi, by telephone, at his house in Florida. Randi is no longer involved in his foundation’s daily operations, but he remains its chair, and he is a legend of the movement, famously not fooled by anybody. He seems not to be naïve about Shermer — although he’s not so troubled by him, either.

“Shermer has been a bad boy on occasion — I do know that,” Randi told me. “I have told him that if I get many more complaints from people I have reason to believe, that I am going to have to limit his attendance at the conference.

“His reply,” Randi continued, “is he had a bit too much to drink and he doesn’t remember. I don’t know — I’ve never been drunk in my life. It’s an unfortunate thing … I haven’t seen him doing that. But I get the word from people in the organization that he has to be under better control. If he had gotten violent, I’d have him out of there immediately. I’ve just heard that he misbehaved himself with the women, which I guess is what men do when they are drunk.”

Shermer has just been added to the lineup at this year’s TAM.

I have friends who bought non-refundable plane tickets and booked hotel rooms on the understanding that Shermer was not on the roster at this year’s TAM. They are not happy.

But hey, no biggy. He never got violent.

Mansplaining: The Statue

No doubt you’ve all seen this by now –

Cathy de la Cruz ‏@SadDiego
A friend spotted this in Texas: #Mansplaining The Statue.

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But look closely if you haven’t already. It’s not just that he’s looming, it’s not just that he has her pinned, it’s not just that he’s talking and she’s gazing upward wondering why he won’t stop – it’s that she’s radically out of proportion to him. She’s from another species, or rather, a different set of dolls. You know how when you were a kid you had dolls that were different sizes? And sometimes when you wanted to have a large cast you would make them interact despite the size disparity? It’s like that. She is weirdly, grotesquely smaller than he is.

Never mind. I’m sure their children will be fine.

No accident

More on that how we got here subject. From last month, Emily Badger on how Baltimore got to be the way it is. It wasn’t accidental; it wasn’t just people making choices in accordance with good libertarian principle; it was systematic and deliberate and done by one set of people to another set of people who had less power.

Just a few years ago, Wells Fargo agreed to pay millions of dollars to Baltimore and its residents to settle a landmark lawsuit brought by the city claiming the bank unfairly steered minorities who wanted to own homes into subprime mortgages. Before that, there was the crack epidemic of the 1990s and the rise of mass incarceration and the decline of good industrial jobs in the 1980s.

And before that? From 1951 to 1971, 80 to 90 percent of the 25,000 families displaced in Baltimore to build new highways, schools and housing projects were black. Their neighborhoods, already disinvested and deemed dispensable, were sliced into pieces, the parks where their children played bulldozed.

And before that — now if we go way back — there was redlining, the earlier corollary to subprime lending in which banks refused to lend at all in neighborhoods that federally backed officials had identified as having “undesirable racial concentrations.”

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