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  1. leskimopie says

    Oh, youtube commenters…do you ever fail to disappoint?

    Also, Zinnia is apparently a cgi paid actor working for the CIA…maybe someone should let her know that so she can pick up some missing paychecks.

  2. Michael Heath says

    Zinnia Jones makes a flawless argument here in terms of the merits for what she proposes. Bravo, I always love considering meritorious arguments.

    However, Ms. Jones goes overboard in her referencing Manning as, “she”. I think it is rhetorically important to emphasize that Manning is a, “she”, but Ms. Jones does so far too stridently. Especially towards those who are open to such advocacy where they simply haven’t had much prior exposure to the topic. Mine is a trivial criticism and as articulate and intelligent as Ms. Jones demonstrates herself to be, I’m confident she’ll tone down her over-reliance on one talking point in order to make even better arguments in the future.

  3. Abdul Alhazred says

    Referring to a trans woman as “she” not “he” is simply common courtesy if nothing else.

    It’s not about setting up universal categories, and shouldn’t have to be a big deal political statement (which unfortunate;y is does have to be right now).

  4. postman says

    Referring to a woman with the appropriate pronoun isn’t rhetorically important or a talking point, it’s common decency. How is it possible for that to be strident?

  5. felix says

    Michael,

    I was surprised by your comment and watched the video a second time to see if I could see what you referring to. Having done so I really can’t agree that Zinnia made an ‘issue’ of the pronoun at all.

    Since it is now understood that gender is not a binary and fixed issue surely the only thing to do is to use the pronoun that the individual requests? I am sure you agree with this uncontroversial point.

    By talking extremely calmly and intelligently about the issues and responding directly to the specific questions put to her, all the while making use of the correct pronoun Zinnia has given the audience a wonderful gentle lesson in etiquette.

  6. dingojack says

    PBS covered this story well also. Interestingly they put up a graphic stating that about 700,000 Americans are estimated to be transgender (that’s around one in 450 or approximately 222 per hundred thousand)..
    Dingo

  7. A. Noyd says

    @Michal Heath
    Emphasizing female pronouns wasn’t even a tenth part of the schooling CNN deserved for their shitty handling of Chelsea Manning and the topic of transgenderism. But Zinnia making a point to call her “she” was strident? Check your damn privilege, please.

  8. dingojack says

    I don’t think Ms. Jones was strident at any stage. Assertive perhaps, strident no.
    I also noted that the host emphasised* that the taxpayer was going to have to pay for any treatment Ms Manning gets in jail to overcome her body dysphoria, and if the prisoner had an appendicitis would you be complaining about the expense then, Mr. CNN empty suit?
    Dingo
    ——-
    * Or, to be more fair, the script on the autocue had that emphasis

  9. madgastronomer says

    Wow, “strident,” huh? Yeah, there’s nothing loaded about that usage. And there’s nothing at all like a tone argument there. FFS.

  10. piegasm says

    @2 Michael

    If Zinnia did particularly emphasize “she” as she spoke, it was no less than CNN deserved in light of their dogged refusal to use “she” at all.

    Your apparent inclination to preference tiptoeing around the feelings of cis people over not misgendering trans* people is noted.

  11. Michael Heath says

    piegasm writes:

    Your apparent inclination to preference tiptoeing around the feelings of cis people over not misgendering trans* people is noted.

    Well you’re noting a lie.

  12. Onamission5 says

    Strident, going overboard, tone it down, where have I head this all before?

    Oh yeah, in every comment thread about a marginalized woman asserting themselves, ever. Fucking keerist.

  13. sumdum says

    It wasn’t Zinnia who was being strident, it was CNN, for their refusal to refer to Chelsea Manning as ‘her’. That is just plain rude.

  14. piegasm says

    @14 Michael

    Well you’re noting a lie.

    You think so? I don’t. Words? They mean things. Implication? Is a thing. You explicitly said your concern with calling Zinnia “strident” was for people who would otherwise be open to trans* advocacy. The implication, therefor, is that Zinnia should have not reacted at all to deliberate misgendering in order to spare the feelings of people who would otherwise be advocates. Because those people’s feelings are apparently so delicate that the slightest criticism will drive them away. Nope. Not how it works. People don’t get to parade their rudeness and ignorance to the world and then expect the people they hurt to spare their feelings.

  15. A. Noyd says

    @Michael Heath
    Accusing someone of stridency necessarily implies an offended listener. And when you criticize someone for stridency, you’re acting on behalf of that listener. Probably you think that you’re helpfully pointing out how offending certain listeners turns them away from the entire message, but what you’re really doing is telling the listeners that their offense is justified and can be used to control what people say to them.

  16. =8)-DX says

    @Michael Heath
    Fuck you. being brazenly confronted with, having my nose rubbed in or downright told off about (or told to fuck off about) – these issues is *exactly* what made me as one of “those who are open to such advocacy” have “exposure to the topic”.

    If trans* or LGBT or other gender issues were a case of “oh just some nonsense these people worry about”, rather than “let me challenge your entire worldview and show you how much of a shit you are if you stick to these predjudices once I explain how reality actually is, asshole!”, I wouldn’t have even started to be interested.

    I guess you get all in a huff if you hear someone *dare* to say “women are people too!” or “nobody owns my body!” or “I’m not defined by my skin-colour!” or “I’m gonna sit wherever I want in the fuckin’ bus!” Let’s just make sure no one shakes the status quo – all those assholes who are fine with it will be scared away!

    So once more: fuck you.

  17. colnago80 says

    Re #19

    Hey, how about a little civility here.I didn’t listen to Jones’ interview but making a big tzimmes over such a triviality as whether he/she might have been a little strident in responding to some of the questions seems to me to be making a mountain out of a molehill. Who cares, maybe that’s his/her shtick.?

  18. Nepenthe says

    @colnago80

    Civility would include refraining from referring to a trans woman with obvious and stated pronoun preferences as “he/she”, you jerk.

  19. colnago80 says

    Re Nepenthe @ #21

    According to his/her blog, Jones has been taking hormone treatments but has not yet undergone gender reassignment surgery. Therefore, technically, he/she is still inter-gendered. Manning has, to my knowledge, not even begun hormone treatments and it is unlikely that he/she will receive the requested medical treatments while in the slammer.

  20. Onamission5 says

    @22 colnago80:

    The fuck? NO. Transgendered individuals are exactly the gender they say they are. You do not get to decide what gender someone is because of the state of their genitals or what kind of medical care they have had. Gender is decided by the person who claims it and no one else. He/she is a slur used to harm and marginalize transgendered folk. Stop using it.

  21. colnago80 says

    Re Onamission5 @ #24

    He/she is a slur used to harm and marginalize transgendered folk. Stop using it.

    No.

  22. Onamission5 says

    So you’re fine with adding to the hurt of people who are already misunderstood and marginalized. That’s pretty fucking despicable.

  23. A. Noyd says

    I suppose that, even though I’m a cis woman, all the people who mistake me for a man should be able to demand a hormone panel and panty check before I’m allowed to demand they use my preferred pronouns?

    I hope not, because that’s fucking stupid. And it’s just as stupid to pull that shit on a transwoman. If a woman says she’s a woman, just call her by female pronouns. The state of her body is none of your fucking business.

  24. says

    @Michael Heath and others: I might see your point if Lauren repeatedly corrected the host and lectured him, though you’d still be wrong. All she did was refer to Manning as “she.” Is she supposed to misgender her so as not to hurt the hosts feelings or something?

  25. Michael Heath says

    Onamission5 writes:

    Strident, going overboard, tone it down, where have I head this all before?

    Oh yeah, in every comment thread about a marginalized woman asserting themselves, ever. Fucking keerist.

    If you going to misconstrue somebody’s argument as you do here, all that reveals is that you have difficulty when someone from your tribe is criticized, i.e., you demonstrate one of the worst attributes of tribalism. In this case mine was a very mild criticism given the fact I noted how meritorious Ms. Jone’s argument is, where my criticism was that one of her rhetorical devices ultimately became detracting from the very solid points that makes her core argument extremely compelling.

    From what I observe in the linked video, I continue to have high confidence Ms. Jones will become an extremely effective advocate on behalf of others whose equal rights are denied; that she’s far better than this demonstration. Which again was stellar and shows even greater potential. Yours Onamission5 is a cowardly and dishonest response to my post.

  26. says

    @29: Please clarify what she did wrong. You seem to be under the impression that referring to Manning as “she” is some sort of strategy. She didn’t do it to score points. She did it because it’s correct. What are you saying she should have done?

  27. Michael Heath says

    sumdum writes:

    It wasn’t Zinnia who was being strident, it was CNN, for their refusal to refer to Chelsea Manning as ‘her’. That is just plain rude.

    CNN wasn’t strident, but what they did was also wrong. If we give CNN the benefit of the doubt, let’s hope their error here was due to not having adequately considered how to handle these situations where they learn from this and adapt to better policy. If I had to consider who in CNN would most muck this up it would be Jake Tapper, so here’s hoping the executive above Tapper and his production team develop a better policy.

    In terms of stridency, I dare anyone to drink a shot every time Ms. Jones says, “her”. Not only was it distracting from the very fine core argument Ms. Jones was presenting, I also found it a tad dehumanizing. It would have been far better if Ms. Jones referred more to “Chelsea” and “Ms. Manning” rather than machine gunning “her” at us. Chelsea Manning is after all a human being who is currently suffering, needs our help, and is asking for it. I hope the military gives her what she needs to become healthier.

  28. Michael Heath says

    A. Noyd writes to me:

    . . . what you’re really doing is telling the listeners that their offense is justified and can be used to control what people say to them.

    Uh no, not even close. My point was solely directed at the quality of Zinnia Jone’s argument. An argument, as I noted earlier, I found to be both articulately presented and very compelling. My criticism was that her use of a particular rhetorical device (“her”), which I also found necessary as I originally noted, was overdone to the point of distraction.

  29. Michael Heath says

    =8)-DX @ 19 writes to me:

    Fuck you. being brazenly confronted with, having my nose rubbed in or downright told off about (or told to fuck off about) – these issues is *exactly* what made me as one of “those who are open to such advocacy” have “exposure to the topic”.

    If trans* or LGBT or other gender issues were a case of “oh just some nonsense these people worry about”, rather than “let me challenge your entire worldview and show you how much of a shit you are if you stick to these predjudices once I explain how reality actually is, asshole!”, I wouldn’t have even started to be interested.

    I guess you get all in a huff if you hear someone *dare* to say “women are people too!” or “nobody owns my body!” or “I’m not defined by my skin-colour!” or “I’m gonna sit wherever I want in the fuckin’ bus!” Let’s just make sure no one shakes the status quo – all those assholes who are fine with it will be scared away!

    So once more: fuck you.

    This is certainly a record. I’ve never read a post in response to mine which is so far away from what I actually wrote. If you disagree with what I wrote, please quote what I actually wrote and then respond directly to the meaning of what I wrote, rather than use me as a foil for an imagined strawman that exists only in your imagination.

    Yours is a perfect illustration that the left, unfortunately for all us, also has people who think at the level of a Bryan Fischer or Glenn Beck. I.e., they make arguments based on what they imagine rather than what’s real.

  30. Michael Heath says

    Ace of Sevens writes:

    @Michael Heath and others: I might see your point if Lauren repeatedly corrected the host and lectured him, though you’d still be wrong. All she did was refer to Manning as “she.” Is she supposed to misgender her so as not to hurt the hosts feelings or something?

    I agree with Zannia Jones referring to Chelsea Manning as a she. I also noted that in my first post. Please don’t misconstrue what I actually write. The easiest method to not misconstrue about what others write and then respond to that is to blockquote what they wrote and respond to it, as I do here to you.

  31. says

    So your complaint is that she was using more pronouns than seemed natural to make a point? Doesn’t that strike you as subjective to the point of absurdity? She even slipped up once and said “he,” which is hard to explain if she was trying to pack as many “she”s as possible into the conversation.

  32. Michael Heath says

    Ace of Sevens @ 30:

    Please clarify what she did wrong. You seem to be under the impression that referring to Manning as “she” is some sort of strategy. She didn’t do it to score points. She did it because it’s correct. What are you saying she should have done?

    Zannia Jones used the term “she” far more than we observe in normal discourse. Her first use of the term had her emphasizing the word, which as I noted in my first post, was a smart rhetorical tactic. I also think more references to Manning now being a female was needed, as I noted in my first post. What wasn’t smart was her incredible overuse of the term, to the point it was distracting from her core argument and compelling evidence it was a rhetorical strategy.

    Referring to Chelsea Manning as either Chelsea or Ms. Manning would have made the same point as all the “she’s” without the distraction of what is an overly strident argument when none was needed. Zannia Jone’s key premises that Chelsea Manning should get the treatment she’s requesting is a compelling one, it doesn’t need rhetorical tricks, which only distract from Jone’s very fine core argument.

    Conservatives rely on rhetorical tricks because their core arguments don’t have any merit. Jones doesn’t need such tricks, her argument is a killer. So far better to leave people with the meat of her argument rather than walking away wondering how many times she said “she”.

  33. Michael Heath says

    lynxreign:

    Michael Heath shows yet again he’s an ignorant, bigoted, right-wing fool.

    As always, lynxreign demonstrates a completely inability to respond to what I actually wrote.

    Also, I didn’t realize that right wingers are on-board with full equality rights for transgendered individuals and their families along with supporting public financing of their unique health care needs – including those who are incarcerated. Imagine that. Or perhaps I’m not a “right-winger” and lynxreign simply can’t handle even constructive criticism of people in her tribe.

  34. mikeymeitbual says

    CNN states this is one of the biggest national security leaks in US history. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed. I think that one was a little bigger.

  35. Rip Steakface says

    @36

    So you’re quibbling over a single instance of word choice – that instead of repeatedly using “Ms. Manning” or “Chelsea,” Jones decided to use “she,” which is a helluva lot easier to use repeatedly. Guess she should apologize to you for breaking your rules on gender pronoun usage or something.

  36. A. Noyd says

    Michael Heath (#32)

    Uh no, not even close.

    Uh yes. You’re too hung up on what you meant to do, when what you did do is a lot like telling a victim of bullying that, while you feel very strongly that bullying is wrong, they mustn’t go on about how Janey or Markey hit them because no one likes a crybaby. Your stated stance means nothing when your actions contradict it and enable the bad guys.

    And who the hell made you the arbiter of effective advocacy, anyway? Not only are you insufferably patronizing, but pretty much any activist from any marginalized group will tell you that “win them over without upsetting them” is an ineffective strategy that only serves to maintain the status quo by prioritizing the feelings of the privileged above the feelings of the oppressed. There’s always going to be a line at which the privileged will balk. And the more those ostensibly sympathetic to the oppressed forgive the privileged for balking and chastise the oppressed for trying to shove the privileged over the line, the closer that line stays to where the privileged never have to change.

    Like I said before, Zinnia’s emphasis on pronouns (such as it was) was a fraction of what CNN needed to be schooled on given the extent of their transphobic bullshit. You don’t even understand that, proportionally, Zinnia was extremely reserved. Respecting transpeople’s pronouns doesn’t even rise to the level of Transgender 101, it’s so basic. If you think what she did was strident, I can’t even imagine what you’d make of the advanced courses. We’ll have to keep the smelling salts around.

  37. dingojack says

    For the record –
    Ms Jones uses the pronouns ‘her’ or ‘she’ about 30 times, the host uses variations of Ms. Manning’s (former) name 16 or so times, and ‘he’ 11 times.*
    Dingo
    ——–
    * By my count – I may have missed some

  38. Quantum Mechanic says

    lynxreign

    Michael Heath shows yet again he’s an ignorant, bigoted, right-wing fool.

    …How did I end up in Bizarro World? Was it that left-turn in Albuquerque?

  39. dingojack says

    Quantum Mechanic – perhaps the ‘wrong turn’ was when MH considered Ms Jones to be ‘strident’ because she used the pronoun ‘she’ approximately as often as the host used ‘he’ or a variant of Ms. Manning’s former given name/ surname. .
    Dingo

  40. mofa says

    Zinnia is very switched on, a good speaker and would make an excellent politician (if she was to chose politics as a career path).

  41. Quantum Mechanic says

    Indeed, and having one’s nose rubbed in the fact that you’re wrong is a valuable tool for being set straight. However, declaring Michael Heath to be a Brian Fisher groupie over shortcomings in trans-etiquette might be described as a slight exercise in hyperbole. You know: a mite, a tad, a scosh, a weeeeeeeeeee leetle bit?

  42. piegasm says

    @46 Quantum Mechanic

    And use of the term “yet again” in the sentence you quoted might be an indication that there’s history there which goes beyond this particular topic. Y/y?

    Words! How do they work!?

  43. dingojack says

    I also agree with that. However you asked where the wrong turn began….
    Dingo
    ——-
    ‘A scosh’? Haven’t heard that before. Is it dialectical?

  44. Quantum Mechanic says

    piegasm:

    And use of the term “yet again” in the sentence you quoted might be an indication that there’s history there which goes beyond this particular topic.

    Or it might be (and probably is) a case of someone failing to shave with Hanlon’s razor. I’ve been following this blog and the comments for years, and Heath has been consistently better than the median with respect to “ignorance”, and using “bigoted” and “right-wing” to describe him is literally laughable. Do you have specific citations to the contrary?

    dingo:
    As far as I can tell, it might be. I never heard it used during my (admittedly short) time on the US east coast, so it may be limited to the American southwest. I’ve only heard it spoken, and had little-to-no luck in determining its proper spelling. Proper pronunciation is “sco-” as in “scope” and “-sh” as in “shilling”, all in a single syllable.

  45. francesc says

    I think “colnago80″ comments are being far more transphobic than Michael’s here, so much that I won’t even bother to answer him.
    Michael, you said “Ms. Jones does so far too stridently”. This sentence on itself is wrong. I’m assuming here that you are an atheist and not trans. Were Zinnia speaking about atheism, you could say she was too strident -uhm, I guess you would have some critics anyway- because you both would be at the same side of the fence. But, speaking about transgenderism, she is the one being oppressed and the one that decides how to handle it. As an ally, you should encourage her (as you do in the first sentence) and you may critize the transphobic CNN policies, but you can’t ask her to tone down her voice. This point is valid also when we are speaking about sexism, racism, homophobia or any other group being opressed by our society. What would you think if friendly priests were telling you that you were a too strident atheist for their taste?
    Well, of course you can say whatever you think, but an ally who doesn’t act like an ally will eventually lose his benefits

  46. Quantum Mechanic says

    dingo:
    Not at all. I grew up and now live in Arizona, and went to college in New Mexico.

  47. A. Noyd says

    On the “scosh” derail: It’s more conventionally spelled “skosh” and comes from the Japanese word “sukoshi.” (Which, when said in a Tokyo accent, drops the “u” and under-emphasizes the “i,” resulting in something like “skosh.”)

  48. Michael Heath says

    francesc writes:

    Michael, you said “Ms. Jones does so far too stridently”. This sentence on itself is wrong. I’m assuming here that you are an atheist and not trans. Were Zinnia speaking about atheism, you could say she was too strident -uhm, I guess you would have some critics anyway- because you both would be at the same side of the fence. But, speaking about transgenderism, she is the one being oppressed and the one that decides how to handle it. As an ally, you should encourage her (as you do in the first sentence) and you may critize the transphobic CNN policies, but you can’t ask her to tone down her voice. This point is valid also when we are speaking about sexism, racism, homophobia or any other group being opressed by our society. What would you think if friendly priests were telling you that you were a too strident atheist for their taste?
    Well, of course you can say whatever you think, but an ally who doesn’t act like an ally will eventually lose his benefits

    As previously and repeatedly noted, I think Zannia Jones’ argument was wonderfully crafted and for me, convincing. I think and hope great things are in store for Ms. Jones in regards to her influencing public policy.

    Instead what I found strident was the vast overuse of the term, “she”; way beyond normal discourse. I do and have already noted some female references beyond the norm is prudent in this context, and I loved how Ms. Jones’ emphasized her first, ‘she’, right off the bat.

    But let’s not forget that Chelsea Manning is also a person, where I thought a lot of those “she’s” could have been replaced by, “Chelsea” and “Ms. Manning”, or were just too liberally sprinkled throughout her discourse to the point it was distracting from the merits of Jones’ argument and somewhat forgetful that our point of reference is an individual, not a mere “Roe” or “Doe” to be leveraged. Such impersonal rhetoric sometimes does have utility, but I don’t think so here because the story at hand was predominately about an individual, Chelsea Manning, and not predominately about a movement.

  49. A. Noyd says

    Michael Heath (#54)

    But let’s not forget that Chelsea Manning is also a person

    Jesus Fucking Patronizing Christ. Do you really think that Zinnia’s the one who lost sight of that? Or can you stretch your mind a hair and see that perhaps Zinnia, as a transwoman, a trans activist and a friend to Chelsea Manning, knows better than you do how to respect Manning’s humanity and individuality?

  50. dingojack says

    Why Japanese?? Were a lot incarcerated in NM/AZ during WWII or something?
    (Pardon for the OT meandering – please feel free to carry on & ignore this).
    :) Dingo

  51. A. Noyd says

    @dingojack (#56)
    The etymology dictionary said it was used by military folk during the Korean War, which was going on around the time of the post-WWII occupation of Japan. I think most of the US bases for that war were in Japan, too. And “skosh” is exactly the sort of word that you’d expect to show up in a trade pidgin. I suspect it emerged in interactions between American servicepeople and Japanese citizens and stuck around as slang.

  52. dingojack says

    Yes, I got around to reading link. (Silly Dingo).
    Very interesting.
    Never mind ny nonsense, carry on. [/threadjack]
    Dingo

  53. paulg says

    What a fantastic interview. I think the post-interview outrage at CNN is a little uncalled for, though. The only reason this is an issue is that Manning was reported on as a man for so long. If Manning’s crimes had been committed post-transition, the only places we’d ever have heard masculine pronouns or the name “Bradley” are conservative sites whose purpose it would be to delegitimize trans-identiy. You notice that Trapper, on CNN, had no problem introducing and referring to Zinnia as her proper gender.

    Manning simply declared with a metaphorical snap of the fingers, without any formal legal changes whatsoever, that she was now a woman and wanted to be referred to by a different name. Good for her, and Zinnia did a great job calmly using the correct pronouns. But the “how dare you refer to her as anything else” reaction from the community, even though Manning herself identified to the media as a man in the past, is melodramatic and counter productive. It’s a dicey, rare situation. A good learning moment, these are allies whose hearts really are in the right places.

  54. says

    Michael Heath:

    I agree with your point that over emphasis of a point can dull it rather than sharpen it. “Strident” is simply the wrong word to use, imo, in describing that sort of behavior.

    Everyone else:

    Michael Heath is, on some subjects, pretty much at the other end of the spectrum from where I am. That I disagree with him does not mean that he is necessarily wrong. Calling him an “ignorant, bigoted, right-wing fool.” is silly. He’s probably bigoted (we all are–on some issue–bigotry is hard wired, ACTING against others BECAUSE of that bigotry is NOT) he’s certainly not ignorant and he flies in slightly left turn circles.

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