Not getting it


Not getting it.

There are of course people not getting it. Lots of them.

There’s Phil Giordana for instance, on Dan Fincke’s public FB post on the statement.

No, sadly. it will be another excuse for the mob to do as they please and cast away any semblance of rationality or honesty. Don’t accommodate the online SJWs.

Don’t accommodate the people who give a shit about social justice issues? But there’s no need to “accommodate” us. I carefully excluded any such need from the statement. So I wondered what the hell he meant.

Don’t accommodate the online SJWs? So people should keep on with death threats, rape threats, attacks on people’s appearance, age, race, sex, size, haircut; photoshopping people into demeaning images, vulgar epithets?

Why?

He explained. It’s because he’s banned from commenting on my blog.

Ophelia Benson: I never threatened anyone online, never attacked peoples’ appearance, apologized to you for using what you consider “gendered slur”, yet I’m still banned from your blog. You fuckwit! (that one’s fine, OB said so).

Yeah that’s not getting it. Just totally not getting it. He’s thinking that because I don’t let him comment on my blog, he’s entitled to punish me with death threats, rape threats, attacks on people’s appearance, age, race, sex, size, haircut; photoshopping people into demeaning images, vulgar epithets. The whole point of the statement is that he’s not. He doesn’t get it.

Comments

  1. says

    Strikes me that he’s making a category error here, probably for deliberate rhetorical effect.

    1. The joint statement mentions a number of bullying and harassing behaviours that should not be engaged in by persons with pretensions to ethical standards.

    2. Some bloggers have commenting rules that deem certain behaviours as unacceptable and thus subject to moderation and being banworthy if repeated. Many of those unacceptable behaviours are not bullying or harassing particularly, they are merely tedious/vexatious and thus potentially derailing, which is a very different thing.

    Giordana seems to be representing himself as unfairly banned because he wasn’t engaging in behaviours outlined in #1, even though my memory is that his whole schtick consists of being tediously vexatious and thus entirely banworthy under the outlines of #2. Given that I don’t think the man is unsophisticated, my opinion is that his conflation of the two is absolutely deliberate.

  2. says

    Lots of people have already been not getting it for years.
    Not getting why death threats and gendered slurs are bad, what harassment and free speech are, and so many other things…

  3. says

    Well in any case bloggers’ comment rules have nothing to do with the statement and vice versa. My reasons for banning people don’t have to match the list of items in the statement, and banning people from one’s blog was not one of the items in the statement. Giordana is delusional and missing the point in thinking that my not letting him comment on my blog is a good reason for him to say no, ignore the statement, keep doing all the things it says we shouldn’t be doing.

  4. qwints says

    The claim is that you should never endorse behavioral standards (even if you agree with them) that are proposed by people you disagree with. It’s fundamentally similar to other political ideologues who refuse to acknowledge any common ground with opponents for fear it will legitimize them.

    In other words, it’d be like me saying that I can’t agree with a anti-choicer saying that physically assaulting non-violent protesters is wrong .

  5. says

    Ophelia #3,
    of course bloggers’ comment rules have nothing to do with the statement and vice versa. Giordana is not being delusional in conflating the two, he’s being deceptive.

  6. Pulkit Kriplani says

    That’s not what he said at all. He said that despite doing none of those things, he’s banned. You deliberately twist that to mean that he’s justifying (or feels entitled to) doing those things because he’s been banned. That’s really dishonest. I expected better of you, Ophelia.

  7. Blanche Quizno says

    Is he suggesting that the mere fact of having been banned thus amounts to an invitation from the person doing the banning for all those other things – and more? That the act of banning is a known mechanism for opening the floodgates to whatever the banned person can come up with to serve as retaliation, and the banning makes it all fair game?? Is THAT how it’s supposed to work now??

  8. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Giordana found refuge the slimepit after bannination from Pharyngula, and has remained a loyal slymie ever since.

    He knows that, Ophelia knows that, those of us who have been around know that.

    (He’s not a good-faith author, but a confessed antagonist)

  9. says

    Pulkit Kriplani @ 6 – He said it in reply to my question asking why people should keep on with death threats, rape threats, attacks on people’s appearance, age, race, sex, size, haircut; photoshopping people into demeaning images, vulgar epithets.

    Saying he doesn’t do any of those things but he’s banned from commenting here doesn’t answer that question. It answers a completely different question, which I didn’t ask. Therefore, I interpreted him as thinking that because I don’t let him comment on my blog, he’s entitled to punish me with death threats, rape threats, attacks on people’s appearance, age, race, sex, size, haircut; photoshopping people into demeaning images, vulgar epithets.

    I don’t see how his reply makes any sense otherwise.

    And saying you expected better of me is kind of odd. I’ve never encountered you before; how could I know what you expected of me when I wasn’t aware of your existence? It’s a familiar guilt-trippy phrase but it doesn’t work very well coming from a stranger.

  10. says

    Blanche @ 7 – yeah I don’t know. It’s a very random reply to my question, so it’s not easy to figure out exactly what he meant. I take it it’s something like that, but Pulkit Kriplani thinks I’m wrong (and dishonest as well).

  11. says

    And [meta] yes – he’s a slime pit loyalist. I don’t let those people comment here (when I know that’s who they are). It’s that simple.

  12. says

    Giordana was banned from Pharyngula years ago, and he was very bitter about it. For about a month, he kept trying to sneak back on under different pseudonyms — and I simply don’t get that. When you’ve been banned, it’s pretty clear your company is unwanted. Just leave. Why do you even want to hang out with people who are disgusted with you?

    And yeah, getting banned on Pharyngula is what drove the poor sad sap to the Slymepit, like several other people there. Apparently the fact that I don’t want to talk to them is a source of great rage.

  13. says

    I think the reason you want to hang out with people who are disgusted with you is so that you can continue your efforts to charm them to the point that they will realize their mistake in being disgusted with you. “You” in this sentence of course stands for Phil Giordana.

  14. Pliny the in Between says

    Call me madcap, but doesn’t behaving badly after being banned for bad behavior, make it a wee hard to cry unfair?

  15. Menyambal says

    I knew somebody whose standard response to any expectation of better behavior was, “I could be a lot worse.” Said in a threatening way. Which would prevent me from saying, “Well, you could be a lot better,” or “You know, I also could be a lot worse.” My point was that said person wss a very messed up young teen, not an alleged adult.

  16. Tessa says

    apologized to you for using what you consider “gendered slur”

    The use of scare quotes makes me question the sincerity of the apology.

  17. says

    Just curious… can you be banned from commenting on RDF site(s) for things other than what’s in the joint statement?

    If so, where’s the outrage?

  18. gmcard says

    So I was originally giving Phil a very charitable reading: that his “No” was not to the joint statement but rather in reply to Bruce’s ” I simply hope this gesture represents the turning of a new page…we will all support fair and generous hearing of opposing views…” comment. But Phil’s follow-up comments certainly seem to shoot down that charitable interpretation. Seems pretty clear that he’s saying that since you ban people for reasons beyond what’s covered in the joint statement, then there’s no point to follow the joint statement.

    In other words, if he isn’t entitled to your attention in your space, then he refuses to acknowledge an absolute minimum of basic human decency. It’s rather stunning that anyone would publicly post something so embarrassingly petty. But it’s the SJWs with a culture of victimhood!

  19. alqpr says

    I’m inclined to agree with Pulkit Kriplani @ 6 that “He’s thinking that because I don’t let him comment on my blog, he’s entitled to…” is an unjustified speculation which does not follow from the evidence you have presented here.

    And PK didn’t say you should have known (or cared about) what he expected. You may not know him, but *he* may know enough of *your* writing to have established an expectation that you were closer to agreement with him on what is appropriate than turned out to be the case. I may not expect that you will agree with me about the inappropriateness of claiming knowledge that people believe things they haven’t actually said, but if I did have that expectation then it would be quite reasonable for me to let you know that I thought you were not living up to your usual standards with a view to letting you correct what may have been a lapse or oversight.

  20. John Morales says

    alqpr @19, if that’s what you think, you should show how #9 is flawed for your contention to have weight.

  21. says

    As someone who received a permanent ban from a community that he was later asked to rejoin I can say something about responses to such bans.

    If you brake the rules or refuse the requests or orders of authority figures with outlined powers there is a way to fix things. You apologize. You specifically say what you did wrong, you apologize directly to the people you wronged, and you tell them what future you looks like in specific terms. Then you make changing you behavior in those specific ways a priority with some sort of reminder system.

    Choosing to instead collect with a bunch of others and spin stories, (anytime quotes surround something like “gendered slur” there’s a story there), insults, attacks, threats and more is to choose the way of the toddler. It’s just evidence that you do not belong in that community. Not to mention the fact that learning to have different behavior rules for different places and situations is a good general skill anyway. But people I find disgusting can feel free to keep themselves more limited in a human skill arena all they want if they plan on keeping the disgusting traits.

  22. says

    Apologizing is easy to do. I have no idea why people find it so difficult. I apologized to PZ here on B&W myself once, and received an immediate group hug for it. If anything, it made me feel a bit embarassed for receiving so much positive attention for doing the right thing. But in the context (not too different from the present one) it made sense.

    Perhaps it was easy for me because I did not intend to insult him. It was just a light-hearted jab gone wrong. When someone doesn’t apologize, though they should, perhaps it is because the insult was intended? Or maybe they feel insulted in turn, because they feel misunderstood. But misunderstanding is part of the human condition, and apologies are part of the repair mechanism. Much inderappreciated, it seems.

  23. says

    I always find it amazing that the anti-FTB crowd can use terms like “professional victim” and not die of some sort of irony-hypocrisy overdose. Even the Slymers used to laugh at John Gregs butthurt about being banned from Pharyngula, it was that overstated. Phil is one of those who is much more understated and holds his pain close, but it clearly motivates his conclusions. Or why else mention it at all in this context? Banning on blogs is a totally different thing to not harassing or demeaning people.

    In fact a good ban will result in that person being excised before the regulars get so pissed off with them they start being abusive out of frustration. I’ve seen that happen, an unpleasant pitter on the sinfest forum got a load of abuse where the regulars cannot ban him. Ironically vastly worse than anything ever on FTB including “joke” memes about suicide aimed his way, laughing at his personal pictures and his relationship with his mother. Whenever he put his head over the parapet and tried posting on there they piled on with a torrent of abuse to try and get rid of him and keep him gone. I think a ban is a lot better all round, some people just don’t fit in, I think that particular person fits in at the pit. They can have their safe space and community, FTB’ers can have theirs. The two don’t need to meet at all, despite what I may have once espoused!

  24. thetalkingstove says

    I fully admit this is just speculation, but I suspect that the whining about being banned from forums shines a light on a lot of the motivation certain people have for being in the skeptical movement (such as it is). For them, it’s not about changing the world for the better; they’ve simply found something that enables them to feel superior to other people – easy targets like creationists and alternative medicine – and that makes them feel good, that their opinion and intellectual prowess are special.

    Then when they encounter people who aren’t impressed by their amazing logic skillz, it hurts. It shakes that image of themselves as being stupendously rational and intellectually superior, and they can’t let that go.

    Shorter version: a lot of people are in the skeptical movement because they’re arrogant arseholes.

  25. chrislawson says

    Regardless of the specific behavioural shortcomings of Mr Giordana, I am astonished that he would choose to wield the term Social Justice Warrior as an out-group insult. At least with terms like “feminazi”, dishonest as it is, there’s an underlying logic of comparing people you don’t like to something awful. Using “SJW” as an insult reminds of that senatorial aide who used “reality-based community” as a disparagement.

  26. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    alqpr @ 19

    I’m inclined to agree with Pulkit Kriplani @ 6 that “He’s thinking that because I don’t let him comment on my blog, he’s entitled to…” is an unjustified speculation which does not follow from the evidence you have presented here.

    He objected to an agreement to not harass, threaten and demean. When asked why he apparently wanted people to continue this behavior, he responded by saying he was banned from here for behaviors not listed in the statement. So bans he considers unfair are grounds to harass, threaten and demean. It’s really pretty damn straightforward.

  27. kevinkirkpatrick says

    Perusing that FB comment thread, I think Phil Giordana gives one of the more succinct litmus tests for bigotry / ignorant-privilege I’ve yet encountered:

    “You know. I’d rather be called a dick or cunt than a racist or sexist.”

    Pro-tip: If you think there’s a meaningful comparison to be made between:

    1) labels that imply someone treats poorly people poorly due to their minority status (e.g. “That person is [homophobic, racist, sexist, ableist, classist, etc.] because xe did X”)
    and
    2) slurs which denigrate people of specific minority statuses (e.g. That [woman] is a cunt, That [gay man] is a fag, That [dark-skinned person] is a nigger, That [Jewish man] is a kike)

    … you might just be a bigot.

    Of course, if you actually think engaging in the former (labeling someone as “racist”) can, in any sense, be *worse* than the latter (using slurs that denigrate people of minority status), then, yeah, go look in a mirror and say “hi” to the bigot looking back at you.

    For the record, I openly consider Richard Dawkins to be sexist. I base this primarily on the manner in which he sarcastically and publicly rebuked Rebacca Watson for
    (1) describing how an [unnamed] man’s behavior had both made her feel unsafe/uncomfortable and was callously dismissive of her clearly stated preferences; and
    (2) calling for other men not to approach/treat women in that way.

    Dawkins’s response (shaming Watson for drawing attention to circumstances which diminished her enjoyment of a social outing) was both disrespectful toward her and generally harmful toward women (who’d understandably feel less inclined to complain of similar treatment from men as a result of Watson’s treatment). In short, Dawkins acted in a truly sexist manner; and his on-going refusal to renounce that action earns him my label of “sexist”.

    More pointedly, I would not be offended IN THE LEAST if somebody called me “sexist.” I’d be concerned; deeply so assuming that label was used sincerely and/or by somebody of a minority gender status. I would inquire about the behavior I’d engaged in which resulted in that labeling. I would seek out any person who’d been hurt by or made uncomfortable by my behavior and would work to make amends for any harm done. As a key part of making those amends, I would work to identify and correct whatever component of my psyche caused me to engage in the behavior to start with.

    My response would be nowhere near, “She called me ‘sexist’? How dare she bully me like that! That’s worse than calling me a ‘cunt’!”; I find myself flabbergasted by the Phil Giordanas of the world who, apparently, see anything cogent in such a response.

  28. says

    @kevinkirkpatrick, the anti-FTB lot think that “MRA”, “misogynist” etc are the worst insults you can “label” someone with. When Cathy Brennan put me on her “nametheproblem” site and called me an “MRA” they were ecstatic, apparently I was now to be shunned by the feminist hivemind. Not sure they totally got why this never occurred, but I still see them leap with joy when a TERF/radfem blogger goes on about how misogynist/MRA’y I am. Fortunately like you I actually examined the claim and it wasn’t that hard to ignore the MRA part given it is based on seeing trans women as men. I was just more embarrassed by the unwarranted implication that I qualify as a trans activist, I don’t.

    I’ve been told some of my behaviours and actions are misogynist, I’ve examined those claims like a good skeptic, and some dismissed (from TERFs) others acted upon. At no point have I clutched my pearls and wailed, how *very* dare you “label” me that! Then proceed to ignore whatever prompted the accusation … I would suggest this is a more rational approach than the PhilG school of avoiding criticism.

  29. says

    It’s a very bizarre little circle of argument. It’s much worse to call someone sexist than to call someone a cunt, because being sexist is really bad so calling someone that is reputation-damaging, while being called a cunt just doesn’t matter and isn’t reputation-damaging at all. Therefore, don’t you dare call me sexist for calling women I dislike “cunts”; you are damaging my reputation! For nothing! I did nothing sexist at all! All I did was call women I dlslike “cunts” which is not sexist at all! It can’t be, because it doesn’t damage anyone, but calling me sexist for doing it damages me horribly.

    Etc.

  30. A Hermit says

    Pro-tip: If you think there’s a meaningful comparison to be made between:

    1) labels that imply someone treats poorly people poorly due to their minority status (e.g. “That person is [homophobic, racist, sexist, ableist, classist, etc.] because xe did X”)
    and
    2) slurs which denigrate people of specific minority statuses (e.g. That [woman] is a cunt, That [gay man] is a fag, That [dark-skinned person] is a nigger, That [Jewish man] is a kike)

    … you might just be a bigot.

    I actually had an exchange with Phil in which he said his girlfriend didn’t mind him calling her a “cunt.” He also mentioned she was Jewish. I asked him if she or her family minded him calling them “kikes.’ He pretended not to know what the word the meant and stopped replying to me…

    Clueless..

  31. johnthedrunkard says

    Umm. the other 7 billion plus people on earth are trying to figure out what ‘SJW’ stands for.

    Jesuit Women? Society of Janus Watchers? Serenity Junction Wannabes?

  32. doubtthat says

    @26 chrislawson

    The “warrior” in SJW is meant sarcastically. They’re essentially trying to reproduce the 101st Fighting Keyboard Commando joke:

    http://patriotboy.blogspot.com/2006/05/stench-of-defeatism-hangs-heavy-over.html

    They have somehow convinced themselves that folks at FTB and elsewhere are doing nothing more than submitting blog posts.

    But, of course, as you point out, the joke is completely incomprehensible from their attempted slur. The “keyboard” for the afore-mentioned chickenhawks clued folks into the joke. I guess they think the concept of someone fighting aggressively for social justice is funny enough to sell the joke…

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