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May 30 2013

An important difference

Speaking of being thrown overboard…Greta has a pair of terrific posts on Ron Lindsay and Women in Secularism 2. One is on the content of his talk, the other is on the context.

From the first one – on the “shut up and listen” part.

This section has been addressed at length by many other writers. But this is the place where I’m discussing it, so I’m going to address it again.

I do not know anyone — and I mean anyone — who is a serious and respected leader or writer advocating for feminism within the atheist movement, who is telling men that they have nothing to contribute to the conversation about feminism, simply because they are men, and that all men must shut up about feminism permanently.

Let me be very clear. There is an important difference between saying, on the one hand, “Shut up for the next ten minutes, you’re dominating the conversation, please let other people talk,” or, “Shut up for the next ten minutes, it’s impossible for you to listen while you’re still talking,” or, “Shut up for the next ten minutes, the points you’re making have already been addressed a thousand times over, if you stop talking we’ll point you to the places where it’s been addressed,” or, “Shut up for the next ten minutes, the things you’re saying are coming from a place of privilege that you’re obviously not aware of, if you’ll listen for a minute we’ll try to explain how,” or, “Shut up for the next ten minutes, you’re doubling down on an indefensible position and are increasingly walking out on a limb that will be very difficult to walk back,” or even, “Please stop saying the particular things you’re saying, they’re harmful and demeaning and flat-out wrong, if you shut up for the next ten minutes we’ll explain why”… and saying, on the other hand, “Shut up permanently, you have nothing to contribute, we don’t want to hear anything you have to say about feminism, ever.”

Sarah Moglia and I tried really hard to tell him that when we talked to him that Sunday morning, but though he listened politely, he didn’t respond. I still don’t understand how he could think anyone meant “shut up permanently.” That’s such a caricature.

I gotta go; more later.

15 comments

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  1. 1
    sheila

    Maybe he already knows, but prefers fighting strawmen.

  2. 2
    LeftSidePositive

    Maybe he still doesn’t understand what that “listen” part is all about!

  3. 3
    Pteryxx

    I guess listening just isn’t a guy thing.

  4. 4
    oolon

    Maybe it was a bit like this…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtObrnaovrI

    But rather than the monkey he was thinking on how he’d pissed his credibility away.

  5. 5
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Ophelia:
    Ron is also curiously quiet about WHO has been silenced. The Pitters and their assorted allies continue their tactics and whinging about Freeze Peach while half a world away atheists actually ARE getting silenced (or under threat of such).

  6. 6
    Parse

    My own thinking as to why people like this think it’s “Shut up permanently,” is that they never actually shut up and listen. They either just keep talking over the repeated calls to “Shut up and listen,” or they actually stop talking (but don’t listen) and then when they start talking again, it’s the same ignorant views. From their perspective, they see ‘poor persecuted me’ being told ‘shut up’ endlessly, and never realize that if they listened and learned, they’d be able to actually contribute (rather than saying the same old shtick again).

  7. 7
    Great American Satan

    pteryX@3 – Nice. XD

  8. 8
    Sili

    “Shut up permanently, you have nothing to contribute, we don’t want to hear anything you have to say about feminism, ever.”

    To be fair (snark) it would make sense if this is what Dr Dr has been hearing. Given the evidence, I really don’t want to hear him open his mouth ever again.

  9. 9
    mildlymagnificent

    Parse.

    I think you may be right. They only ever hear the shut up because they never listen.

    (It’s very hard to listen when your brain is furiously concentrating on phrasing the wisdom you intend to impart next.)

  10. 10
    Kevin

    Well, let’s be clear. There are some people who I wish would shut up permanently. Because they’re toxic anti-rational, anti-human rights assholes.

    Those people I have no interest in hearing ever again. Or hearing about ever again.

    But unless you’re one of those benighted warriors, um — isn’t that what “dialogue” is supposed to be about? Shutting up and listening,before defending your position.

    How can one possibly learn something if all they do is talk and never listen? That’s not a very skeptical attitude.

  11. 11
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @10. kevin :

    How can one possibly learn something if all they do is talk and never listen? That’s not a very skeptical attitude.

    Agreed completely. We need to look at a wide range of views and people to gain a fuller understanding and perspective on almost everything in life and the universe.

    Those people I have no interest in hearing ever again. Or hearing about ever again.

    This though I disagree with. People can and do change over time and “ever again” is too intolerantly long a spell in my view.

  12. 12
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Give people, whoever they are, time and another chance *if* they’ve changed I say.

    But there are also definitely times to ignore them and for them to shut up as well, granted.

  13. 13
    latsot

    Parse, I was about to say the same thing. Perhaps these people are not doing the listening part. Presumably they either think they already know the answers or that the people they’re talking to/about have nothing to teach them..

    It’s often the ones who nod and smile and *look* like they’re listening while actually thinking about what they’re going to say next that we need to keep an eye on. They can seem to inattentive bystanders as though they’ve carefully and politely listened before successfully refuting the argument. Their goal is usually to have the last word. It doesn’t matter how many non sequiturs they pull.

    Lindsay certainly doesn’t seem to have listened either before his talk or since.

  14. 14
    savagemutt

    I will admit that the first time I heard “shut up and listen” I was offended. Yes, I didn’t like the *tone* of it. But once I understood the explanation for the phrase it made sense; just as terms like “patriarchy” and “:check your privilege” did once I got over my initial knee-jerk reaction.

    Which is just my clumsy way of saying that in order to grok “shut up and listen” you first have to shut up and listen. So that’s a problem.

  15. 15
    Margaret

    I still don’t understand how he could think anyone meant “shut up permanently.”

    Projection?

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