Now to look at some of the claims as claims. For instance in A Few Examples of “Shut Up and Listen”:
By the way, I am well aware that our communications director in his personal capacity quoted Myers approvingly. Obviously, I disagree with him on this point. The fact of that disagreement does not affect our working relationship. Paul is a great communications director. Are there limits to what CFI employees can say? Sure, but the restrictions are fairly loose. At CFI, we do not follow the rule “shut up and listen.” Generally, employees can express their opinions. There is one requirement, however. They need to supply reasons and evidence. Invoking their racial/sexual/ethnic/class identity, whatever it might be, is not considered a substitute for argument.
See, that was the problem in the talk, too. Very few people consider invoking racial/sexual/ethnic/class identity a substitute for argument, and it is insulting to imply that the people you’re addressing do. Insulting, patronizing, belittling…like a daddy talking to a chaotic hormonal teenager. Nobody invited to speak – to donate their time, as Susan Jacoby reminded us – is stupid enough to think that “I’m a woman” is a substitute for argument. That is not the point.
This is the point. Suppose employees are gathered together to express their opinions and one employee keeps getting interrupted and ignored. Suppose that employee says something and is ignored and then a few minutes later someone else says the same thing and everyone cheers and says how brilliant. Suppose things like that. Maybe it’s just One Of Those Things – or maybe the employee has a despised identity. Either way – it is possible to have a meta-discussion about the talking and interacting themselves, and about how the respective identities of the employees might be making a difference. That is not the same thing as invoking identity as a substitute for argument. That’s what “meta” means here – as Ron, a philosopher, knows perfectly well.
And – as I tried to tell Ron yesterday – “shut up and listen” is not a “rule” in any normal sense. Ok, he cites a post where PZ generalizes it into a rule – but even there it is surely clear that what is meant is “shut up for long enough to listen and take in what is being said” – not shut up and never speak again. Basically it’s just a sharper way of saying “stop interrupting” – and please don’t make me drag out all the studies of patterns of interruption between women and men.
Is saying “stop interrupting” generally seen as a Giant Law Ordering Everyone to Wait Forever While I Talk? Of course it isn’t. Is saying “dammit you keep cutting me off, it’s more of a guy thing, will you please just shut up for two minutes so that I can finish a sentence?!” generally seen as the opposite of an argument? No. It’s trying to create the necessary conditions to make an argument. Being interrupted doesn’t help, and being patronized and insulted doesn’t help.