Women over there please. No exceptions. »« Another blogger attacked in Bangladesh

Rules for shitheads

Oh looky here – via Stephanie, another Callous Bastards’ Handbook, this time by “vjack” at Atheist Revolution. It’s better written and a little better thought than Vacula’s efforts in the same vein, but it’s still callous bastard bullshit.

You and you alone are responsible for how you feel. Nobody else can make you feel sad, angry, upset, or anything else without your agreement. I know we sometimes talk as if other people cause our feelings, but this is misleading.

If you insult me, I may experience feelings of sadness. My feelings are based on my understanding of our interaction and are guided by the whole of my personality and life experience. If I care what you think of me, I may feel sad; if I do not, I may not feel much of anything. It is not your insult that leads to my feelings; it is my interpretation of your insult, the meaning I assign to it, and the manner in which I put it in context. That is, how I feel following your insult is far more about me than it is about you.

You bet. Perfect for callous bastards. If I insult you, it’s just a thing that happens, like a rock falling down a slope. If you’re at the bottom of the slope, you may get a bruise, but that’s your decision.

vjack is part of the way there. He’s right (of course) that feelings about what other people say and do depend on context, and our feelings about them, and other variables that he conveniently leaves out. But we already knew that. He’s not right that because feelings about what others do and say are dependent in that way that therefore only the person who has the feelings has responsibility for them. Social life and interaction are webs, and responsibility goes in both directions. The fact that if person X is made of stone then she is able to feel nothing when vjack insults her does not mean that person Y has a responsibility to feel nothing if vjack insults her.

Some will object that taking responsibility for our feelings lets others off the hook, giving them a license to behave badly. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Just as we and we alone are responsible for our feelings, we and we alone are responsible for our behavior. Someone who behaves poorly is responsible for his or her poor behavior. The fact that we are responsible for our feelings in no way reduces the responsibility such an individual has for his or her own behavior.

If I call you a series of juvenile names on the Internet and you experience hurt feelings, you are responsible for how you feel and whether you take offense. But I am responsible for my behavior. Your responsibility for your feelings in no way gives me a pass to behave badly. It is nothing behind which I can hide. How you feel is on you, but how I have behaved is on me and nobody else.

That’s incoherent. If other people are responsible for their feelings, then in what sense is anyone behaving “poorly” aka badly by calling people names? In what does the badness reside? What is bad about calling people names?

He doesn’t explain that. He doesn’t seem to realize that it needs explaining. That’s Callous Bastards’ Handbooks for you – they achieve their callousness by ignoring obvious holes in their reasoning.

Stephanie included a screenshot of a different (yet similar) brand of callousness.

Two comments from Facebook. Text in the post.

[Russell Blackford, responding on Facebook to a post by Lou Doench] Sorry, but I no have time for someone who whines about the so-called harassment of vicious bullies who vilify good people and destroy their reputations on a daily basis. The individuals this Doench person mentions as victims are exactly the ones who need to take the pledge. They and of course PZ Myers, who is the worst of all, as he’s called me a bold-faced liar and encouraged a forum where I can be called scum, a misogynist, etc., etc. Doench is part of the problem if he’s going to defend such people.

People like Doench need to understand that people like me are very angry for good reason. Every time I read something like this claptrap, I get that much angrier. Until I get an apology from Myers in particular, I will not let this drop.

Stephanie continues –

What was he responding to?

And in cases like the horrible people who harass Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan, Rebecca Watson and others in the skeptical and atheist movement on a weekly basis… well I’m likely to lose my temper.

Yes, Blackford ranted about having no time for someone who would get angry at the people who harassed us because if people understood Blackford’s position, they would not lose their temper at harassers. Sorry, “so-called harassers”–because it’s all been so carefully hidden away where Blackford couldn’t possibly see it.

Feelings aren’t random, and we don’t have a responsibility to decide to have no feelings and then go on to have no feelings when people spend an astonishing amount of their time every single day harassing and taunting us.

Comments

  1. karmacat says

    So, according to vjack, he won’t feel badly that I think less of him because he uses insults instead of discussion. Or if I tell him I am going to stop listening to him because he is insulting, he won’t try to yell louder. Obviously, this dude doesn’t get it. When these people are ignored, they keep popping up like a whack- a-mole trying to get into any conversation by feminists

  2. says

    This guy, Russell Blackford. He claims himself to be a rational person? In what bizarro world?

    Until I get an apology from Myers in particular, I will not let this drop.

    Umm… By ‘this’, I hope he is not talking about that piece of… y’know, that he has been retaining near the end of his GI tract all this while. Because, boy, he’s gonna wait a helluva L-O-N-G time to ‘drop’ it.

  3. says

    Wait.

    I don’t recall ever calling Blackford a “bold-faced liar”, or encouraged a forum to call him all those names. So he’s going to have to wait for an apology for an awful long time.

    And does he even notice the hypocrisy? The slymepit is a forum that does nothing but encourage name-calling to an obscene degree; shouldn’t they be his target? Oh, except that what makes me “worst of all” is that he believes I targeted him.

    Also, is vjack going to call Blackford to the carpet and tell him only he is responsible for taking offense at this hypothetical insult?

  4. says

    For what it’s worth, I object to sexism not because it hurts my fee-fees, but because bigotry is wrong, corrosive, and destructive to communities. I believe men and women will be better off if women are equaly. The only men who won’t be are these piddle-shits, who have so little to offer the world that they have to get their self-esteem by convincing themselves they’re superior by birth to half the human race.

  5. STH says

    Well, why do people insult other people, then, if it isn’t going to hurt? I mean, isn’t that the whole point? Sorry, claiming that people only have the feelings they choose to have, regardless of how other people treat them, is ridiculous, false on its face, and is meant to excuse all sorts of horrible behavior. By this logic, then, you can do anything you want to people and none of the hurt you cause is your fault! Lying, cheating, abuse of all kinds–it’s the victim’s fault if they find that to be hurtful.

  6. says

    Also, if feelings are not real, but simply choices made by the people having them, then why taunt and harass at all? I mean, if the hurt feelings you desire are not related to your behavior, why not go eat a cookie, with the knowledge that you can achieve hurting feelings without lifting a finger?

  7. says

    By the way, they’re using a common tactic that wife-beaters use. “You can make the beatings stop by calming down. This is your fault because you keep crying.”

  8. Eristae says

    Oh! Oh! This also means that I am responsible for the feelings I experienced (and still experienced) after my father sexually abused me! After all, he couldn’t make me feel violated, sad, helpless, or any such thing, and his sexual abuse didn’t cause physical damage. It is I, not my father, who is responsible for my feelings.

    If only I had received this sage advice earlier! It’s not like this mentality is a weapon used by abusers to silence and blame the abused. When people were telling me that I should have a relationship with my father despite the abuse because I was old enough to stop him and he was the only dad I’d ever had, they were right! My negative feelings when I encountered him (fear, shame, violation, panic) where my responsibility, not his, and he wasn’t engaging in bad actions anymore! Given that his behavior had changed (albeit because of my becoming an adult and refusing him instead of anything else) and my feelings had not, clearly I was the one with the problem. I needed to step up to the plate and take responsibility for my feelings and not blame them on him.

    . . . .
    . . .
    . . .

    Really, there aren’t words.

  9. says

    PZ, I think the answer is that after nearly two years, Russell Blackford is both still mad about and still doesn’t understand that comment which you left in the ‘Dawkins coup de grâce in Vegas’ thread at ERV, where in one paragraph you answered a commenter (‘Mr DNA’) by criticising a rhetorical game Blackford played on the ur-B&W, and then in the next paragraph you went on to criticise Mr DNA’s dishonesty. But Blackford obviously still thinks you were talking about him in the second paragraph, when it is patently clear (and IIRC you yourself have clarified it elsewhere) that you were addressing that commenter in the ERV thread. On this matter Blackford apparently has dug in his fortifications so heavily he can’t admit the possibility that he’s been wrong for that length of time, and so the situation is irretrievable.

  10. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    Right. When someone stabs you through the hand they didn’t harm you, you’re responsible for your own bleeding! Assault is assault no matter the weapon. Risk of death isn’t even necessarily greater with bodily harm
    – suicide is death too.

    Or are we pretending that emotions aren’t also a physical thing here, because magic?

  11. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Is it wrong to think that virtually every shithead pretending that bigotry doesn’t exist, except inside of the heads of those targeted by it, are relatively privileged white people? Mostly white dudes?

    Blackford, Vacula, Paden, justicar, etc. All white dudes. All those the least likely to be targets of bigtory, and therefore the least likely to be able to see it when its happening. All those least likely to be able to empathize with targets of bigotry, and therefore the least likely to be capable of understanding the damage it does.

    I think I finally understand why they are so resistant to reality. They don’t actually live in it.

    Eristae brings up an excellent point – do these shitheads realize the amount of slash damage their cute, self-indulgent, conveniently void of personal responsibility “arguments” cause? Would such reality-stunted people be capable of understanding such? No.

    This is why they’re angry and why they are so desperate to silence women. Its sinking in that perhaps they’re not the perfect geniuses they need the world to believe they are.

  12. arthur says

    I don’t recall ever calling Blackford a “bold-faced liar”, or encouraged a forum to call him all those names. So he’s going to have to wait for an apology for an awful long time

    PZ, I reckon Russell Blackford is referring to this comment by you in 2011(?):

    Scroll down a little further on that B&W post, Mr DNA, to comment #105, where I point out the rhetorical game Blackford played in that comment you liked.

    Claiming that it is the McGraw/Dawkins lynching that has raised hackles is simply a lie, a barefaced, dishonest revision of history. McGraw was not in any way lynched; Dawkins was raked over the coals, that’s for sure, but only after he made a painfully unaware comment. Most of the sturm and drang occurred over Watson’s youtube video, which you now desperately struggle to ignore in order to pretend her angry reaction was unjustified. I can’t fault people for telling you apologists for sexism, you hysterical serial exaggerators, you dishonest rationalizers to fuck off. You do realize that you can lie calmly and clearly, too, and it doesn’t make it any prettier?

    Blackford responded with this:

    All right, I’ve tried to stay out of this whole train wreck as much as possible. My general view is that no good can come out of saying anything in public. That’s been the case for some time. I’m not at all sure that my very limited participation in the public debate has been helpful, and I’m reluctant to get involved any further.

    But I can’t ignore #175. For the record, Paul, I do not play “rhetorical games” and I am not a liar. Over on one (or maybe it was more than one) of Ophelia’s threads, I criticised your actions and views relating to this particular issue. I did so in rather mild and impersonal terms, and I did not attack you personally. I’d imagined until I saw your comments here that we were friends, despite having a disagreement on the merits of this particular issue – not *close* friends, granted, since we’ve only met at a couple of conferences, but still friends.

    I believe that what I wrote on Ophelia’s site was true. Even if I was mistaken, that does not make me a liar – we all make genuine mistakes. At my end, I think that you’re making some serious errors of judgment in this whole debacle, but I haven’t accused you of being a liar. You’re doubtless calling it as you see it. Well, so am I.

    You do “get” that publicly calling someone a liar is a friendship-breaker and a bridge-burner, right? I don’t see how I’ve done anything to deserve that kind of language. Nor do see how I can go on being friends with you after you’ve said that in public.

    Mate, you seriously owe me an apology.

    That was 2011.

  13. says

    Seriously? He misinterpreted a paragraph I wrote two years ago and which I don’t even recall writing now, and he’s been holding a grudge of this magnitude (I’m “the worst of all”!) all this time?

    Somebody is thoroughly screwed up.

  14. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Or are we pretending that emotions aren’t also a physical thing here, because magic?

    Well, emotions are girlie things that only girls do, so they’re not REAL.

    /snark

    I wonder, does this “you only chose to be offended by my bigotry” thing ONLY apply to sexism/misogyny? Would Blackford, et al tell any other group this obvious horseshit?

    This is not an attempt at Oppression Olympics – it’s an honest question. Do Blackford et al think racism and homophobia are imaginary too? Or does those exist because they affect men?

  15. says

    And hey, how do you people have this stuff right at your fingertips? That must have been from about the time I gave up on engaging with the idiots at ERV altogether.

  16. says

    It’s that same strategy Ophelia outlined a day or two ago. They do things deliberately to insult, to injure, to get a rise, to make you angry, to provoke (“a sign of weakness,” “I’ll consider stopping,” remember?), so if you respond, it’s your fault. “LOL u mad bro?” at its most juvenile.

    I remember it from the bullies in school. They push and push and push until you react, because they know eventually you’ll react, and they know that your reaction won’t really do anything to them. Seeing you get angry or frustrated is funny, and if you lash out in return, then they can tell on you. And then you’re the one in trouble.

  17. says

    And then they have an excuse (not that they needed one–they would have found it anyway) to double down the next time, to make it worse. “You brought this on yourself, teach you to fight back,” and all that.

  18. Stacy says

    @arthur, thanks for finding that. Xanthe’s comment at #8 points out that the second paragraph of that comment was not directed at Blackford.

    In any case, Blackford’s refusal to stick up for the people being abused by pitters, while nursing his petty personal grievance, says a lot about him, none of it good.

  19. arthur says

    Regarding the piece by “vjack”: what naive nonsense.

    If you’re on a football pitch and 30,000 people are racially abusing you, you don’t just ‘take responsibility for your emotions’.

    No.

    You petition, organize, force changes, and do your damnedest to ensure that nobody faces that again.

    And it works. We petition, we organize and we force changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again. And it doesn’t happen again.

    Conversely, internalizing and ‘taking responsibility for your hurt feelings’ changes nothing.

  20. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    @Illuminata

    Oh right – because we wimminz aren’t so rational and grounded in reality as then menz so we had to invent these woo-mythical ‘emotions’ so we can pretend that those scary long words are all painful and stuff when really we just don’t understand.

    Why do I get the feeling that’s actually relatively close to how these people think?

    Yeah. Replace sexism with any other form of hate speech and you get complete incoherency.
    You’re only hurt by racism if you choose to be! (Because being beaten up by bigots calling you subhuman for something you can’t control is just you taking too much offense. It’s just words!)

    It’s almost like people don’t grasp the concept that words actually MEAN something, and aren’t just random mouth ejaculate. Oh, and that words don’t just mean things, they also communicate that meaning to others, who may use more than words to get that meaning across. When that meaning is loaded with hatred, the effect is incredibly harmful.

  21. mildlymagnificent says

    OK, vjack says that people are responsible for what they say that, in this case, hurts other people.
    What he doesn’t say is how anyone can be held responsible for what they say.

    That’s a very big hole – because he seems, just my impression, to be saying that both hurter and hurtee are alone responsible for their words, actions and feelings – but there’s no mechanism available for one to inform the other about the interaction. Because they seem to be really ‘alone’ in not telling, explaining, conferring or even eventually agreeing, possibly, about the effects or consequences of each person’s solitary mental and verbal processes.

    I’ve confused myself writing that. But I think that’s got more to do with vjack’s exposition than my lack of comprehension or thinking.

  22. says

    PZ

    If I remember it correctly, you’ve just called a lie a lie. Blackford in a Facebook comment (it intrigues me that RB have been only using Twitter and Facebook to say anything on these matters but never ever his blogs) acused Rebecca Watson of atacking Paula Kirby when in a debate they both and Dawkins had. It was just before the ElevatorGate thing I think.

  23. says

    While we’re in the mood for reminiscing about old threads, here’s the ur-B&W thread where the discussion of applying hyperbole to one and only one side of the issue surfaced:

    How’s it going

    Russell commented at #54 and painted McGraw’s blog as criticism and Watson’s talk as an attack, as well as describing Watson as having ‘behaved pretty badly’ towards Paula Kirby, which were typical of the distortions in the narrative around Elevatorgate, which PZ rather apologetically debunked at comment #105, quote, “I’ve noticed a consistent bias, well represented by Russell Blackford here (not to pick on him, but it’s just fairly typical).”

  24. says

    All the things Amanda said, which you may have missed because they were pending until I got back.

    Amanda gets a lot of this stuff too – this meaningless “stuff” that it’s our responsibility how we react to which. She’s on their radar.

  25. says

    Seriously? He misinterpreted a paragraph I wrote two years ago and which I don’t even recall writing now, and he’s been holding a grudge of this magnitude (I’m “the worst of all”!) all this time?

    Yeah. That’s the origin of the #FtBullies shit. Go figure.

    It’s a patern actually. “-That’s a lie. -I’m no liar!”; -“That’s sexist. -I’m no sexist!”; etc.

  26. F [nucular nyandrothol] says

    Every time I read something like this claptrap, I get that much angrier. Until I get an apology from Myers in particular, I will not let this drop.

    Gee, so why does Blackford choose to be so damned angry about it?

  27. A. Noyd says

    amandamarcotte (#7)

    For what it’s worth, I object to sexism not because it hurts my fee-fees, but because bigotry is wrong, corrosive, and destructive to communities. I believe men and women will be better off if women are equaly.

    Right. The hurt we feel is like the hurt of a gaping wound. Simply numbing the wound and ignoring it isn’t going to fix the problem. That’s a good recipe for massive complications due to blood loss, gangrene, sepsis, and so on.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Illuminata (#14)

    Blackford, Vacula, Paden, justicar, etc. All white dudes. All those the least likely to be targets of bigtory, and therefore the least likely to be able to see it when its happening. All those least likely to be able to empathize with targets of bigotry, and therefore the least likely to be capable of understanding the damage it does.

    You’re forgetting that they’re the targets of Real Bigotry™: getting called things like sexist and misogynist. And that’s a bajillion and a half times worse than getting called bitch or cunt because allegations of sexism could impact their careers and all that! It’s not that they aren’t capable of empathy or understanding; it’s that they’re to busy fending off the bullying of hordes of feminists to worry when some dumb chick feels bad. She has the choice to not be affected, after all.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Sophia (#23)

    Replace sexism with any other form of hate speech and you get complete incoherency.
    You’re only hurt by racism if you choose to be!

    Except people say that about racism all the damn time. I follow a bunch of anti-racism blogs on Tumblr and I see it at least once a day when white people write in to complain about the tone of a blog or when they take exception to being called out for racist bullshit.

  28. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    Gee, so why does Blackford choose to be so damned angry about it?

    At least part of it is, I’m sure, because so many people who aren’t super-duper-smart guys with philosophy PhDs (e.g. Rebecca Watson) are far more prominent and in-demand at conferences that he is – though his siding with the assholes has netted him a gig at TAM, so he’s got his reward.

  29. says

    Of course they are, AGAIN, focusing on the receiver and not the giver! All that has to happen is the giver of harassment (etc) STOP doing it and then . . .

    As Olivia points out, communication is a two way street. When one way is filled with hate, harassment, “parody,” “satire,” and bullying . . . wonder why the other side reacts – hmmmmm ~ thinking~

  30. says

    In response to several comments upthread: I *think* vjack is referring only to verbal abuse, not physical, and in effect recommending the old “Sticks & stones” maxim. Which is fine as applied to a seven year old who has just been called “poopy-head” by the kid down the street, and you know that tomorrow they’ll both have forgotten the whole thing and be playing happily, which is probably the way 90% of such incidents resolve. But the other 10% develop into sustained bullying, which is a real problem, and here we have sustained bullying by people who are a hell of a lot older than 7, but don’t seem to have developed beyond the mentality of ganging up on the little kid in the school yard.

    As to vjack’s point: there was a thing about 25 years ago, in parenting books by certain authors, about owning your feelings. You’re supposed to learn to say, not: “That made me angry” but rather: “I am angry because you did that”. The distinction is somewhat lost on me, and in any case vjack seems to be preferring the second form — but completely ignoring the subordinate clause. The fact is: we are social animals, and words are a primary means of interaction. At some point, they matter.

  31. ajb47 says

    It’s possible I am misreading the article, but did vjack say it wasn’t victim blaming and then go on to post ~8 things that put all the responsibility on the victim for handling problems? Including at least one that is “Shut up”?

  32. doubtthat says

    @9 amandamarcotte

    To add a little to that, often the problem isn’t that any given taunt or insult actually causes hurt feelings, it’s that the target recognizes the intent to generate hurt feelings. It’s such a childish game: snipe over and over, mock the name, make fun of the appearance, just try out whatever you can to upset someone, then when any reaction becomes apparent, say, “geez, chill out, it was just a joke.” No, the effort is transparent and obvious.

  33. Ulysses says

    ajb47 @35

    No, you aren’t misreading it. vjack claims it’s the victim’s fault for reacting to bullying and the bullying would go away if the victim shows no reaction. Which are typical bully justifications for their bullying.

  34. theoreticalgrrrl says

    “I don’t see how I’ve done anything to deserve that kind of language.” RB
    He can dish it out but can’t take it. How typical.

    I asked my sibling once why she keeps saying cruel things to me and she said, laughing, “because I know that it gets to you.” She admits it’s to designed to hurt me, and thinks that’s a valid excuse. Trust me, if I ever said anything remotely similar to her, she would probably beat me up. I know when I’ve put my foot down with other siblings over this behavior, it led to severe physical violence.

    Bullies always blame their victims and then act outraged when called on their behavior, as if it’s worse than their abuse. Suddenly they’re delicate flowers who crumble under criticism, and of course -they- don’t deserve that kind of language. What else is new?
    And you only get sexist abuse when you call a man’s behavior sexist.

  35. doubtthat says

    I’ve been sick the past couple of days, so I’ve read and participated in this nonsense far more than I ever have. I’ll just leave an observation that hopefully makes people feel a little better:

    Having now perused the slymepit, I have to say that my primary reaction is not that it’s a thriving cesspool of hatred, it’s that it’s basically an empty little place where about 6-12 people generate 95% of the posts, and it’s mostly just repetitive crap like, “OMG, did you see what (mock name for FtB blogger) did today?”

    They even have threads dedicated to FtB commenters, and again, the surprising thing is not how vile the attacks are (though there are plenty of those), it’s that most of the threads are just two or three posts.

    Then the amusing thing is that if you go over to Michael Nugent’s blog and read his recent posts, the slymepit sympathizers are the SAME 6-12 PEOPLE!

    Don’t take this as a “avoid the trolls,” “ignore the harassment,” statement, I just hope people recognize that this group is discreet and pathetic. They seem larger because of the way the amplify each other on social media sites and YouTube, but holy crap, I recommend looking through the slymepit just to get a feel for how sad and lonely it is over there.

    Back to the real world for part of today, and I’m a functioning adult for tomorrow, so I’ll have to leave those battles behind content in the knowledge that they’re a marginal group whose behavior is only marginalizing them further.

  36. says

    And does he even notice the hypocrisy? The slymepit is a forum that does nothing but encourage name-calling to an obscene degree

    If they’re saying that nobody can upset you except yourself, why are they insulting people? Because, in their own terms, they just said it doesn’t work!

  37. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    Marcus Ranum wrote:

    If they’re saying that nobody can upset you except yourself, why are they insulting people? Because, in their own terms, they just said it doesn’t work!

    Don’t expect any of them to ever answer that; each Slyempit justification for what they’re doing exists independently of the others, not matter how intellectually dishonest that reveals them to be.

  38. says

    Seriously? He misinterpreted a paragraph I wrote two years ago and which I don’t even recall writing now, and he’s been holding a grudge of this magnitude (I’m “the worst of all”!) all this time?

    Not just nursing a grudge, but deciding that this grudge makes it unacceptable for people to object to third parties being harassed.

    Somebody is thoroughly screwed up.

    Yup.

  39. bad Jim says

    “vjack” is making an explicit case for the classical not-pology: “I’m sorry if you took offense at what I said,” implying that the speaker is not responsible for the reaction of the audience.

    He has a rather unusual understanding of psychology if he really thinks that “we sometimes talk as if other people cause our feelings, but this is misleading.” One doubts that anyone could actually interact with other people under that assumption.

  40. Freodin says

    Excuse me if I didn’t exactly follow who said what to whom where to hurt whose feelings… but is that all here an argument for the principle of “Don’t insult others.”? Or just the common “Don’t let people I dislike insult people I like.”?

  41. Bjarte Foshaug says

    Shithead 1:

    You and you alone are responsible for how you feel.

    I’d like to see him put up with non-stop harassment 24/7/52 and just decide to not let it bother him through an act of will.

    Shithead 2:

    …bullies who vilify good people and destroy their reputations on a daily basis.

    All I see are a bunch of “[doubleplus-]good people” detonating another H-bomb over the crater where their reputation used to be every time they open their mouths.

    People like Doench need to understand that people like me are very angry for good reason.

    Then why don’t you appeal to said “good reasons” for a change in stead of making up shit like the “talibanesque” dress-codes that nobody had suggested?

    Every time I read something like this claptrap, I get that much angrier.

    You and you alone are responsible for how you feel, you know. Shithead 1 said so.

  42. Bjarte Foshaug says

    @PZ #16

    Seriously? He misinterpreted a paragraph I wrote two years ago and which I don’t even recall writing now, and he’s been holding a grudge of this magnitude (I’m “the worst of all”!) all this time?

    Somebody is thoroughly screwed up.

    Apparently it’s only other people who need to have an unlimited capacity to take abuse…

  43. Bill Openthalt says

    Being responsible for one’s feelings is part of NVC’s Observations/Feelings/Needs/Request process. The principles are:

    1. Observation without evaluation
    The idea is to be precise, and limit the observation to what actually happened. For example “John arrived late for rehearsal today”, instead of “John is as unreliable as ever”.

    2. Awareness and expression of feelings
    Again, we have to be able to distinguish between the feeling and interpretations and assessments based on our memory. “Sad”, “angry”, “frightened”, “lonely” and “happy” are feelings, while “attacked”, “insulted” or “abandoned” express an interpretation of someone’s actions. The vulnerability resulting from expressing feelings can help establishing connections, whereas expressing an interpretation usually results in a defensive reaction and hence loss of connection.

    3. Acknowledging the needs behind our feelings
    Humans have needs, and our feelings are determined by whether needs are met or not. How we perceive events, and what we feel as a result of our perception, is wholly our responsibility (the result of an internal process). Events (including the behaviour our other humans) might trigger our feelings, but they do not determine them. Please note that in NVC, needs are universal (all humans have the same needs), and the objective is to meet the needs of everyone, but acknowledging needs does not mean that people have the right to have their needs met, nor does it impose an obligation on others to meet the needs of others.

    4. Formulating conscious, doable requests, avoiding demands
    By formulating conscious requests, minimising vague, abstract, or ambiguous words, and using a positive approach (“can you tell me what you heard me say” rather than “don’t misunderstand me”), we minimise the risk our requests are perceived as demands. By concentrating on our needs and on how the other person can contribute to meeting them, we make it possible for them to give from the heart.
    Empathy is defined as a respectful understanding of the experiences of others. Rather than giving empathy, we tend to offer advice, corrections, reassurance – in other words, pushing our experiences to the front. While this does sometimes have positive results, in siutations of conflict empathy makes it possible to distill Observations, Feelings, Needs and Requests from the words (whatever they are) of others.

    Based on this, we can choose to empathically reflect our understanding:

    “Are you angry because I wrote this paragraph two years ago?” “Are you feeling hurt because you would have liked more appreciation for your efforts?” “Do you want me to tell you why I wrote this paragraph?”, etc.

  44. 'dirigible says

    “You and you alone are responsible for how you feel.”

    Well that’s just silly. What if they insert an electrode into their brain and stimulate the area of their brain that makes them feel shame?

    WHY DO THEY HATE SCIENCE??/

  45. bad Jim says

    Non-Violent Communication has implications for speakers as well as listeners, of course.

  46. NoAssume says

    I agree that people should own their feelings, including negative feelings, a bit more, but this is just ridiculous.

  47. Tim Harris says

    What unctuous, ignorant, unintelligent little …… people like vjack and vacula are. They’d look good in dog-collars.

  48. great1american1satan says

    Ugh. Reading the Nugent’s page has gotten too brutal for me.

    I feel bad about a few things here. One) When B&W is business as usual, I find it too depressing to follow. Ophelia tends to just document horror after horror in total earnestness. Two) I became attracted to B&W for the posts about the ongoing brouha with the Mildew. It’s a similar principle to the Daily Show’s appeal. I don’t have to look directly on shit that fill me with utter loathing, but I can find out about it from a source that tears it apart – both Ophelia and the commenters here. Three) Thing two is bad because the only reason this is a topic of discussion is that it’s effing up Ophelia’s life, so I am drawing entertainment indirectly from her suffering. Four) Pretty much just thing three. Not sure why I made a list of this.

    Ophelia, you do good work and I hope you can escape this piranha pit with all possible health and happiness. What would you like people to do to help you feel better, if that’s even possible?

  49. Brian E says

    Russell’s tweets are just sad. The first rule of holes has been ignored. There’s no bottom Russell, stop digging.

  50. Bill Openthalt says

    Non-Violent Communication has implications for speakers as well as listeners, of course.

    It supposes at least one parties wishes to understand the other, and wishes to establish or maintain a connection. It seems to me concentrating on the facts (observations, one’s feelings) is a skeptical approach. Not judging the other party, but concentrating on our needs as well as their needs to arrive at some form of understanding seems to be the best way out of this endless bickering and name calling. It’s worth a try.

  51. sawells says

    A thought… processing an insult and its immediate implications is a fast system-1 thing; exerting self control and deciding not to get angry is a system-2 thing which takes time and effort.

    So this more than Stoic ataraxy which vjack is preaching is directly in contradiction with the way human brains actually work.

    Yay skeptics.

  52. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Except people say that about racism all the damn time.

    Let me clarify: My original statement was about Blackford, Vacula, et al – not people en masse. So I’m not trying to pretend that people don’t minimize and erase racism (and other forms of bigotry). It happens constantly.

    I’m asking if our White Manly Defenders of Bigotry work as consistantly and hard to erase racism (etc.) as they do sexism and misogyny.

    because I’ve stopped paying any attention to them whatsoever unless someone at FTB posts about them.

  53. Bill Openthalt says

    @sawells, #56:

    I agree that in a face-to-face discussion, dealing with insults isn’t easy, but when writing, there is no pressure to react immediately.

  54. hoary puccoon says

    Bill Openthalt @ 48–

    I’m going to assume you’re sincere and trying to be helpful. But really, “how we perceive events, and what we feel as the result of our perception, is wholly our responsibility (the result of an internal process)” seems to me, in the most generous interpretation, a stunningly naive statement.

    People are hurt, every day, by others who fully intend to hurt them. The people who died when the twin towers came down could not save themselves by taking “responsibility” and “perceiving events” differently, in some “internal process.” Mad men were trying to kill them, for nothing they had done. And so, they died.

    Twisting your head around to believe it’s all just a misunderstanding when somebody is really out to get you is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. And in my experience, it’s something bullies count on.

    Read theoreticalgrrrl @ 38 to understand what it’s like when the mistreatment is intentional. And then read it again. And again.

    And then, maybe acknowledge that the people who say they’re being harassed aren’t reading a slanted interpretation into an innocent situation. Maybe, just maybe, they’re being, you know, harassed.

  55. A. Noyd says

    Illuminata (#57)

    Let me clarify: My original statement was about Blackford, Vacula, et al – not people en masse.

    I don’t think clarification is necessary; the comment you’re quoting was directed at Sophia. :)

  56. dzd says

    “You and you alone are responsible for how you feel. Nobody else can make you feel sad, angry, upset, or anything else without your agreement. I know we sometimes talk as if other people cause our feelings, but this is misleading.”

    Goddamn, that is some borderline sociopathic beep-boop-I’m-a-robot bullshit. People do not have little homunculi living in their heads pulling emotion levers after processing all of the relevant data.

  57. trazan says

    It seems like these people have sociopathy as an ideal. Are they trying to further this ideal by treating people extremely bad in order to expell any trace of compassion in themselves as well as any connection between treatment and emotion in the recipient of the abuse?

  58. jackiepaper says

    So the idea is that they can do and say anything they like and if the person they are attempting to harm (hard to argue that there is another goal for photoshoping, “cunt” calling etc.) is in fact harmed as intended, that is not their fault. The target of their intent is at fault.
    Wow…
    So saying something they don’t like, especially while female = asking for it = her fault for being harassed.
    Being harmed by that harassment = her choice, so also =her fault.

    Not only can they do and say whatever they like, but they can tell you how to feel about it.
    Brave heroes, indeed.

  59. Lyanna says

    This perversion of Eleanor Roosevelt’s “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” makes me furious.

    Yes, we’re responsible for how we feel. But if someone deliberately insults us, they are responsible for that. We’re not talking accidental hurt feelings here. We’re not talking about someone failing to walk on eggshells around us. We’re talking about words invented for the purpose of hurting and humiliating, and said for expressly that purpose.

    Is “nigger” a word that black people should just brush off? Some white people would say so, but probably not most of those who post on atheist websites and posture as liberals.

  60. Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters says

    It’s not necessarily bad advice to assume some degree of responsiblity for one’s emotional responses, but it isn’t advice that can be given except by relating one’s own experience and a whole lot of caveats. It doesn’t mean assuming a straw vulcan stance towards life, but instead figuring out how to reduce how much bad stuff one is exposed to, both by working on changing the system so that less abuse is dished out overall (like Ophelia does by blogging about the abuse she receives) and by taking steps to shield oneself from exposure to abuse. I assumed some responsibility for how bad I felt dealing with abusive family members by identifying their behavior as the problem, ceasing to have a relationship with them, and shunting their emails into a spam filter that I could review when I felt strongest. The result is that I don’t get triggered, humiliated, scolded, and so forth. Basically I try really really hard to keep myself out of abusive situations and relationships, to take as good care of myself as I can, spend time in safe spaces with friends (online and off), to support people who are distressed by abusive treatment, and to fight back in whatever ways I can. And I try to remember that everyone has different psychological, economic, and social resources, so some people have far fewer tools than others to manage their emotional responses to abuse. (And I stay off twitter, since the benefit/abuse ratio seems about as low as that observed in reddit or youtube comment threads…)

    I judge the fuck out of people who give stupid one-size-fits-all advice and people who refuse to condemn the sort of flagrant and ongoing abuse that has been aimed at Ophelia and other feminist bloggers over the last 2-3 years.

    Also, it just occurred to me that a blog devoted to the mildew crowd and their ilk could accurately be titled “You’re Not Helping.”

  61. says

    It doesn’t mean assuming a straw vulcan stance towards life, but instead figuring out how to reduce how much bad stuff one is exposed to, both by working on changing the system so that less abuse is dished out overall (like Ophelia does by blogging about the abuse she receives)

    Thank you for getting that that’s why I do it. A lot of people think (and a lot pretend to think) that I do it for “drama,” I do it to play “victim,” I do it by way of throwing a “pity party,” I do it without realizing that the abusers are overjoyed by every bit of evidence that they draw blood. Those are all wrong. I do it to document how shitty it is, in hopes of changing the system so that less abuse is dished out overall.

    Another thing people think or pretend to think is in its own category because it’s so stupid. There are people who claim I do it to make money by increasing blog hits. Yeah no. That’s not why I do it.

  62. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    It seems like these people have sociopathy as an ideal.

    but only for others, not for them.

    Ever watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer? There’s an episode called “Superstar”, in which an extremely minor background character, suddenly becomes front and center, best at everything, rich, successful, a “chick-magnet”, invented the internet, directed “The Matrix” etc. due to a spell he cast, and all the other people on the planet were merely bit players, all there to perform to his desires and having no lives or thoughts of their own.

    That’s what they want. They want to make proclamations, and have all agree with them. They want to say and do whatever they want, free from all consequences, and have women (and, really everyone else who isn’t them) exist as merely Silence Abuse Sponges.

    That’s why they are allowed to express (manly) emotions like “anger” at being accurately labeled as bigots, but their targets are wrongity wrong for expressing emotions at all. We’re not supposed to have emotions or thoughts they don’t approve of, you see, because we’re merely background players in their show.

  63. trazan says

    69. Illuminata, you have put this concept into words beautifully. “Silent Abuse Sponge”. To exist for someone to practise their loathsomeness on.

  64. says

    @Lyanna,

    Is “nigger” a word that black people should just brush off? Some white people would say so, but probably not most of those who post on atheist websites and posture as liberals.

    Ahh well you see that word has a long history of oppression and nastiness, its never used as a term of endearment like “cunt” is for a few scots… So it would be clearly wrong to apply that label to any black people that disagreed with them. Same goes for outright homophobic terms (For the most part) presumably because they accept they are also just *wrong* for similarly poorly thought through reasons…

    Having the critical thinking skills to see there is a principal at play here and all these “just werdz” only have power to hurt and damage in context is beyond them. I don’t see them pointing to Chris Rocks “nigger” routine and saying they now have carte blanche to call all black people niggers. But Rebecca Watson saying twat on SGU once is an eternal misogynist shitweasel free-pass apparently! Boy does she have power, and they say its “just words” and “they have no power” … Context and “Guys, don’t do that” cause the internet to explode.

  65. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    trazan – thanks for correcting my misspelling :) That was supposed to be Silent Abuse Sponge. We’re supposed to soak it up, quietly and not challenge them, ever. Vacula said almost exactly that.

  66. says

    @dzd:

    Goddamn, that is some borderline sociopathic beep-boop-I’m-a-robot bullshit. People do not have little homunculi living in their heads pulling emotion levers after processing all of the relevant data.

    Please, don’t be so unreasonably emotional and hysterical, you emotional person. All these people are doing is applying true, perfect skepticism, which requires a complete adherence to logic and reason and a rejection of all emotions. You act like it’s some ludicrous notion that people could completely eliminate silly feminine unskeptical emotions, but it’s possible through the well-tested, neurologically-sound psychological principle of kolinahr. You’d know about this if you were familiar with the relevant scientific research, like Roddenberry et al, 1979. Maybe you should spend more time reading journals and doing productive, worthwhile things instead of twirling your hair or doing your nails or shoe shopping.

    /sarcasm, of course

    I do love the “emotions for me but not for thee” iteration of this idiocy. Russell Blackford can nurse a grudge for years over a perceived slight, recall the outcry and pearl-clutching that Stef McGraw might feel attacked or bullied when someone responds to her from a podium, Vacula got all butthurt over “vacuous shitbag troll,” and remember poor DJ Grothe (and every other “witch of the week”), all piled upon by those nasty FTBullies? But if they were responsible for their emotions and perceptions and all that, then whence comes the “FTBullies” meme? Why the hue and cry?

    I guess two standards are better than one.

  67. funknjunk says

    It hasn’t been mentioned yet, but this sounds all too familiar to me, having read a few buddhism books in the past couple of years. Then having read a bit of Eckhart Tolle’s …. um … take on buddhism, and then even a bit of Byron Katie. Ugh, that last one really leaves a bad taste, even though I typed the name. All about living in the world the way it is. You are in charge of your reactions to the things that happen, etc. etc. Well, the more straight up buddhism has its value as a toolkit for post-industrial existential angst, I think. But, just a toolkit. I think that’s what the author in question is really getting at … of course, he doesn’t seem to get the difference between, say, over-reacting to a bad commute and then not being able to calm down for hours, and having an emotional reaction to someone who is actively trying to do you emotional harm.

  68. says

    Bill’s explanation of those communication principles makes sense – but of course, only in context of people who are actually trying to communicate. Even one-sidedly, for someone who is trying to better understand their own emotions. Understanding that X makes you angry/sad etc can be helpful in trying to decide what to do about X. Calm discussion and negotiation? Run away? Fight back?

    The slymepit abuse of this concept doesn’t make it bad, any more than their abuse of the phrase “intent isn’t magic”. Context matters.

    Also, what Mattir said.

  69. theoreticalgrrrl says

    Bill Openthalt sounds a lot like Byron Katie. Maybe he’s a fan. The first example she uses in one of her books is an abused wife who needs to let go of her “story” that her husband’s behavior is abusive.

    “..when you see him as flawed in any way, you can be sure that that’s where your own flaw is. The flaw has to be in your thinking, because you’re the one projecting it. You are always what you judge us to be in the moment. There’s no exception. You are your own suffering; you are your own happiness.

    “There’s no way to truly join your partner except by getting free of your belief that you need something from him that he’s not giving. Nothing can cost you someone you love. There’s nothing your husband can possibly do to keep you from loving him….

    “If you walk into the yard once and are bitten, the dog has bitten you. If you walk into the yard a second time and are bitten, you have bitten you. This very awareness can change everything. By questioning your mind, you begin to realize that ultimately no one can hurt you—only you can.”

    from A Thousand Names for Joy by Byron Katie

  70. ajb47 says

    Lyanna @66

    “Yes, we’re responsible for how we feel. But if someone deliberately insults us, they are responsible for that. We’re not talking accidental hurt feelings here. We’re not talking about someone failing to walk on eggshells around us. We’re talking about words invented for the purpose of hurting and humiliating, and said for expressly that purpose.”

    Thank you for putting into words what has been bothering me about the post in discussion. I have read in a few places that we probably control to some degree how we *react* to other people’s words, but the vjack’s blog post seemed to take a… simplistic is the only word I can think of, view of who is responsible. Your view of what’s happening helps me put words to my own misgivings about the post.

  71. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    @ 76–that is a deeply gross passage! She’s basically saying that the wife is responsible for her own “perception” of the abuse…like abuse is not a concrete thing, just an action that can choose or choose not to interpret as abuse. GROSS.

  72. theoreticalgrrrl says

    “Defense is the first act of war.” “Victims are violent people.” ~ Byron Katie
    @Cyranothe2nd
    you don’t want to know what Byron Katie’s advice is for sexual abuse/rape survivors. This woman isn’t a licensed therapist or psychologist, just a new age guru messing with people’s minds. Oprah’s a fan.

    http://forum.rickross.com/read.php?4,9147,page=1

  73. Ulysses says

    theoreticalgrrrl @76 @79

    Blaming the victim has become a popular spectator sport.

  74. says

    I remember some supercool artist bloke extolling the latest Benetton shock campaign (pics of guys on death row, which really upset the parents of the murder victims of the death row guys) and telling me language is “only sounds”. Callous, nihilist bastard I thought – and later heard that he had treated his (ex) wife and children in a fairly callous, nihilistic way.

    You can say broadly that western society has moved to more and more individualism to the point where houses are designed with separate bathrooms for each person. (Our ancestors shared beds as a matter of course). Part of this is a “good” individualism – dare to go against the mindless crowd, dare to be a Daniel, dare to be a conscientious objector in a climate of jingoism. But we are social animals even if we don’t live in tribal villages, and part of our training is to realise that our words and behaviour have effect on other people. I don’t “choose” to be offended if someone calls me an ugly hag. Those who said it meant to be offensive. I shall be as equally rude and offensive as I can back to them – and mean to be. Anyone who suggests we “choose” to be offended at what is intended to be offensive evidently doesn’t live any social space at all. Do they go on like that at their colleagues and friends? If they do, they won’t stay employed and won’t have much of a social life.

  75. rnilsson says

    Do they go on like that at their colleagues and friends? If they do, they won’t stay employed and won’t have much of a social life.

    So that’s how they can find the time to troll and whine incessantly?

  76. says

    Why is this post still on the “Most Active” list four days after the last comment was posted?

    There’s something seriously wrong with FtB’s “Most Active” list algorithm.

  77. says

    Whatever it is, it’s not working nearly as well as the “Most Active” list on ScienceBlogs did. Many times a post won’t even appear on the Most Active list here until several days after the last comment is posted. Many threads pretty much die before they become “most active,” which defeats the purpose and just looks silly.

    Why can’t FtB just copy SB’s algorithm?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>