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Apr 23 2014

So I watched an Avril Lavigne music video…

This one:

It’s called “Hello Kitty” by one Avril Lavigne. I believe she’s famous for having trouble with skateboarding children, who she would see at a later point?

So, the music video starts off with this young woman speaking with a thousand voices in Japanese and pointing at me.

Why is she pointing?

Why is she pointing?

I don’t know what I did, but she’s quite excited.

Then she’s morphed into a room accompanied by disapproving, silent Japanese ladies. This will be their face and general demeanour throughout the entire parade of American teen-pop diabetes-inducing shitstorm the video is.

Come play with us.

The colours made my eyes crawl inside my skull to die in pleasant darkness.

Then the music skips tragically on her saying “Ka”, so she says, “ka-ka-ka-kawaii“. And that’s when my brain shook its head, put on its hat and left via my nostrils. It knew the actual music would start.

SPIN FOR NO REASON, AVRIL! SPIINNNNN!

SPIN FOR NO REASON, AVRIL! SPIINNNNN!

She plays a guitar which apparently contains the trapped soul of Skrillex.

DO SOMETHING WITH THIS FLUTE OR WHATEVER MUSIC PEOPLE CALL IT!

Help! I’m trapped in the body of a shittily programmed guitar!

Then she does this weird… “dance” thing?

I can move my kneeeeeeeeeeees

What is she holding? Why is she now wearing candy spectacles? Why is she dancing with that… thing? It looks like the Staypuff Marshmellow Man’s aborted child.

KEEP YOUR EYES ON IT, AVRIL!

Screen shot 2014-04-23 at 12.47.15 AM

And on it goes.

This blistering, glittery-nailpolished middle finger to music; this blackboard scraping called vocals; the music sounds like the someone throwing a small angry police car around. It’s not so much music as it is glorified white noise, allowing this pop-star to use the colour palette of Candy Crush as a weapon against common decency.

And where the fuck is she? It’s like a racist’s fever-dream of Japan, after taking too much LSD. Everything looks like it takes place in Willy Wonka’s sweatshop.

This would, of course, be nothing without the lyrics. WITNESS THESE GRAND POETICS TO MAKE EVEN DANTE ALIGHIERI WEEP.

Mom’s not home tonight [1] [2]
So we can roll around, have a pillow fight
Like a major rager OMFG [3]

Let’s all slumber party [4]
Like a fat kid on a pack of Smarties [5]
Someone chuck a cupcake at me [6]

It’s time for spin the bottle [7]
Not gonna talk about it tomorrow
Keep it just between you and me [8]

Let’s play truth or dare now [9]
We can roll around in our underwear how [10]

Every silly kitty should be

My thoughts correspond with the notes above:

1. Where is your mother?

2. It’s not night-time at all in this music video.

3.  What is… nevermind.

4. You can “party” and “slumber”; and you can have a “slumber party” – but you can’t “slumber party”. You are not using those words correctly.

5. OK, now I don’t know what you mean by slumber party. Is this only something “fat kids” can do? Do thin kids not enjoy Smarties?

6. Dear god, who else is at this daytime event where you slumber party that “someone” must throw dessert at you? Won’t your poor mother on her night duty have to clean up?

7. OK, now I’m convinced there’s more than one other person at your day-time event.

8. But now this reads as though no one other than the person you’re singing to is there. Who else would the bottle spin toward? I’ve never played, but I did see attractive people play it in high school.

9. Wait, is spin the bottle finished?

10. Is that before or after truth or dare??

And so on.

This bizarre explosion of “culture” has some racism going for it, too, with its portrayal of everyone who isn’t the white American woman as mindless Japanese drones. So yay for integration. Or whatever.

Conclusion

Whoever decides whether humanity should continue or die will surely be yearning to push the red button after hearing this – because afterward they won’t be able to hear anything else like “Please, no!” Imagine we sent this off as part of a collection that constitutes who we are as a species; imagine intelligent aliens found it. I think it would be immoral for them not to destroy us, as the sound of a cat getting its tail stepped on screeches lyrics about bottle-spinning and day-time slumbering partying. If you’re not diabetic after this, I admire you: the twee and candy-coloured hatred for all things humanity has built in its long march away from oppression makes avoiding sickness difficult.

But whatever. Don’t watch it. Just know it exists. And I watched it for you because I’m apparently a masochist.

Apr 21 2014

Stop sending rape threats to women, please

Bigotry flourishes in a landscape of apathy. It doesn’t need support to continue, only the illusion of support which comes from silence and a lack of repercussions for the harassment. This is what struck me when otherwise moral, smart people see another story about a woman being harassed online and being the target of rape threats.

I noted this in response to a recent case of Janelle Asselin (that Ophelia highlghtedover at The Daily Beast.

People are terrible, aren’t they? Sorry “not all people“… etc. (That delightful link comes from and is written by my friend, Ewa)

Apr 15 2014

UPDATE #2 Men cry foul cos evil feminism makes hitting on women more difficult

Would probably helped if I linked to the piece: Here.

That’s a piece I wrote, as a response to a Guardian post which – to say the least – I didn’t like. The piece claims campaigns like Everyday Sexism make hitting on women harder, because it makes all them “females” think confident flirtation is same as harassment.

Er, yeah. No.

I also commented directly on the piece itself, in the comment section, which got one… strange response.

Some readers can’t locate my comment Guardian site. I’ll reprint it here:

Since I’ve been following Everyday Sexism for a while, I find the author’s characterisation of the project different to mine. I’d be interested to see where exactly the claims come from that indicate all men do this – considering the campaign has been encouraging and welcoming men’s voices, too, who speak out and discourage this behaviour.

I’d also be interested where exactly the claim is made that mild flirtation is equated with street harassment. It seems to me if you can’t distinguish between the two then maybe that’s a serious problem and you should rethink what you mean by flirting – not what the woman you’re flirting with is “doing wrong”.

Of course, your intention could very well be one that truly is harmless and is non-threatening – but misinterpreted. And this I understand, to a small degree.

But considering, as you know, the environment in which women live and what some face everyday, that’s just… well… TOO BAD. Yes, it sucks that it’s harder to intitiate conversation and flirtation without being perceived as “yet another creep”. Yes, it sucks that women have been so constantly bombarded with such idiocy they change their behaviour, time of day for jogging or walking or doing basically anything (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/02/apps-and-online-programs-offer-new-ways-to-report-street-harassment.html), – because victim-blaming also is this pernicious, see?

It’s easy for us men to claim “but we’re nice guys and never do that” – but again, I assume most people can distinguish between the two behaviours.

There will exist genuine mistakes and misinterpretation – as there is in everything we do. Except here it’s compounded by the environment that so many women live in, everyday. The name of the project says it all.

In a world screaming for their attention, namecalling them when women refuse to give it, we shouldn’t be wagging our fingers when our kinder voices go unnoticed. We should be empathetic, target the environment and other men doing this – and also respect women enough to, you know, be able to tell the difference between harassment and harmless flirtation. I don’t see Everyday Sexism as ushering in the downfall of sexual freedom – I see it as protecting it, particularly women’s, so that we can all live in a better world.

(Weirdly, Dawkins linked to this comment – even though his quotation indicates his support of the very article I was criticising in that comment.)

PS: Ophelia also has some important insight, as always.

Apr 10 2014

So you want to photograph that woman eating on the train…

…maybe don’t.

In the Daily Beast, I wrote about my problems with this and other creepy groups and the mindset behind it – as well as the larger problems of our unethical use of the powerful tools we use everyday.

Apr 07 2014

Sex with robots: Should we?

I wrote about sex robots, some ethical dimensions, highlighted my own concerns and managed to talk about male sex toys in the Guardian.

Heh, I said “dildos” on their website.

Apr 01 2014

You too can be a creep with this handy device

A new campaign on crowd-funding site, IndieGogo, seems to be doing well. From March 19 until today (March 31), it has managed to raise $8,171 (US), which is eight times the original goal. What is this important project people are furiously throwing money at? It’s none other than a creepy little camera device to take pictures of non-consenting adults (i.e. without their knowledge), who are more than likely in vulnerable positions!

Please welcome the Spy Cam Peek-I!

You know how you’ve always wanted to take pictures of people, but were afraid they’d get angry because you didn’t ask their permission? What weirdos, amirite? Sheesh! All you want to do is take advantage of their current state, record it and do gods-know-what with your image of this stranger. Why are they being so paranoid? Do they think they’re Edward Snowden or something?

Yes: apparently “discreet” is cool, not creepy or potentially harmful.

Let’s examine what this item is doing exactly.

no one will ever know you were the ONE who took THAT picture or film THAT video!!! So do you feel like James Bond yet?

Sweet. It’s not like people – particularly women – suffer massively from having pictures circulating the web, without their consent, potentially damaging their reputations, their loved ones and their lives because of aggressive ex’s, stalkers, etc. Luckily, every person who takes a picture of a non-consenting person is a good-hearted, perfectly good individual – who knows exactly what will happen when he uploads those pics!

Good thing it can’t be used to look at people entering passwords, pins, etc., too. Haha! No, it’s good fun! Calm down.

Do I feel like James Bond? You mean like a creepy person who is aggressive toward women? YEAH, I DO! THANKS!

Make awesome shots of your friends, completely unaware that they were on camera!!!

I already hate it when they do that. Why would I be ok with them doing it with your invisible device? Why would they be ok with it? If you’re saying I shouldn’t care about my friends’ feelings regarding photographs, then the problem is your device – not my respect for others’ autonomy.

Don’t scare your astonishing award winning picture away! Peek-I is there for you!

I assume you mean the target of your picture, not the picture itself. And that you might scare someone away is probably a reason to reconsider whether it’s a good thing to take that picture. Oh, those pesky morals!

Surely, every one of you was in a situation where it would be nice to take a picture, but…
Not comfortable to do it!
Therefore, you pretend to do something on your device, and at the same time trying to capture the desired scene with device’s camera.

And of course just because we want to do something, we should have all the tools available to do so. I really want every first edition of Dostoevsky: will someone start an Indiegogo campaign to give me the tools to break in to various museums and literary archives to obtain them? But… but why? I really want them! And apparently it’s sufficient justification for people to make tools to see any desires met. Like taking picture of non-consenting others, for example!

Again: that people feel uncomfortable both taking pictures and, importantly, not wanting their picture taken is a sign maybe… maaaaaybe something is not right with the situation. Maybe the problem is your creepy desire, not the negation of it.

Only a few of us have the courage to openly take pictures of other people or objects, at times it’s merely impossible.

Er, people seem very willing to ask others. There might be hesitation because of personalities and so on, but presumably you could just ask. If you can’t ask, then that doesn’t give you free licence to just take the picture.

You can also get great shots of weirdoes walking down the street right next to you, without them realizing what you are doing.

Yeah. Those damned “weirdoes” and their weirdness. Let’s photograph and laugh at how stupid they look. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with laughing at strangers, mocking them, sticking their face all over the Internet: it’s not like they have feelings, loved ones, or careers. Nope: they’re just there for us to laugh at. If they didn’t want to be photographed, they should stop being weirdos!

And here comes the obvious one.

Want a picture of your secret crush? You can make that happen and your crush won’t even think you are stalking him or her, because you will be looking in a different direction

Did you know creepy behaviour is negated by looking in another direction! Wow! That’s amazing! Tell me more, Gandalf.

Just because you don’t get caught doing a crime, doesn’t mean you didn’t still do a crime. Similarly, just because someone doesn’t catch you being stalkerish and creepy doesn’t mean you aren’t. Indeed, a problem we have is that people refuse to believe they’re capable of creepy, stalkerish, harassing behaviour. This seems particularly the case with men.

Also that’s a helluva way to become “closer” to your crush (Indeed: I’m not sure such a person should be with a partner, if they treat people without regard to consent.)

Throughout the campaign page, they demonstrate exactly what you should and can use it for. I don’t know about the legality of pictures, so have a look at my two screencaps on my Twitter page: here and here. The first shows the device being used to photograph down a woman’s top; the second shows the device being used to capture a picture under the table, aimed at a woman’s legs, while she’s wearing a skirt.

OK. Let that sink in: on the page proudly promoting this device are two images showing exactly what you can do with it. I imagine that the majority of women would not be OK with having such pictures taken of them, without their consent. Or maybe I’m just a “weirdo” that should be photographed too?

But here comes the best part. After all this – all of this – comes this sentence:

If you want to take sneaky pictures of people without them knowing, this is the way to do it. Just don’t be creepy about it.

Excuse me?

Just don’t be creepy about it.

What?

Just don’t be creepy about it.

How…?

Just don’t be creepy about it.

But…

Just don’t be creepy about it.

You…

Just don’t be creepy about it.

No…

Just don’t be creepy about it.

WHAT?

This… Ok. Wait. You’re basically saying the following:

HEY GUYS: HERE’S A DOLL WITH ONE TORN EYE, COVERED IN BLOOD, AND EVERY FIVE MINUTES, IT WHISPERS “I AM BECOME DEATH, DESTROYER OF WORLDS” – YOU SHOULD TOTALLY GET IT. BUT DON’T CREEP PEOPLE OUT WITH IT!

You’ve designed a device that is the epitome of creepiness but telling people not to be creepy or invasive? How? What?

Throughout this, I’m not asking for this device to be banned – I don’t know what the ramifications will be. There is certainly an argument to be made if people/most likely women will be violated in their personal space. I can’t see what good reason there is to own such a device beyond mere “fun”. And yet such a minor benefit doesn’t measure up against potential harms that could occur, considering that anyone can own these.

I don’t know what the solution is. What I do know is that I want this device to have never existed; for such actions to not gain such support; for creepshots of women not to be part of advertising a device, without raising any concerns (for IndieGogo, commenters, etc.). I don’t pretend to speak for anyone, least of all women. And I’m not against adults wanting sexy pictures to be taken, to have it distributed – but that can be done with full consent and acknowledgment of such people as persons and them willingly doing so. But we should not be so casual or dismissive of people’s autonomy – especially when it comes to creating environment and scenarios where an invasion of privacy is treated as a joke and unimportant.

I apologise for frequent posts on sexism, but I they just seem to be in my radar. And I won’t have only supporters of creepy devices having their voices heard when it comes to such actions, behaviours, attitudes and items.

Mar 27 2014

“I do not condone rape” but…

This comment appeared on a local site about rape culture and what it is.

Comment
I’d rather not link to the comment directly nor name the individual, since I’m unlikely to change his mind. But it does set up a good basis to respond to yet more nonsense about women and sexuality and how men should consider both.

Let’s look at what this bro thinks about silly sluts and rape, then.

>> “I will start off by saying that I DO NOT condone rape. Boys and men should adhere to a girls [sic] or woman’s right to say NO.”

Good start. But don’t be surprised that people (like me) now read this as “I’m not racist but…”

>> “That being said, I too don’t feel much sympathy for a girl or woman dressing and acting like a “slag” and then being raped.”

Read that again. “I… don’t feel much sympathy for a girl or woman [acting like a slut] and being raped”.

So, sympathy for a rape victim is eroded due to learning that a woman was “acting” in a way you, personally, deem sexually provocative.

Of course!

There’s no way that people confuse friendliness for sexual advances; men have never mistaken amicability and Platonic interest for flirtation. And there’s no way women dress in a way that is revealing, enhancing of their features, etc. because it makes them feel great in their bodies (but almost always for a short period of time, because they live in a society that constantly pressures women into hating their bodies because they’re not photoshopped).

No: You are the Royal King Mister Master who can perfectly identify what “asking for sex” behaviour looks like.

Slutty, as Madison Moore highlights, is “when someone else’s sexual behavior makes you uncomfortable.” But probably also means you find them attractive (since people find tentacle hentai porn and consensual adult incest uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean they’ll call such things slutty).

So how that mitigates rape is mystery and only highlights women are people – but only up to an arbitrary point you have defined, premised on their sexuality. Which can’t be their own, of course, but must be defined by the loudest bigots.

And, here is a shocker: There is nothing wrong with women wanting sex and doing what they can or want to get sex. And, further, even if a woman is naked in bed with you, it may come as a surprise to learn that forcing yourself on her, ignoring her rejections, is still wrong. It’s weird, but women surprisingly are not objects making sounds to play hard to get. They aren’t setting up a challenge that manly men must overcome.

>> “The guy raping a girl/woman like that should suffer as much as their victim did, but the victim should also take responsibility for her actions that lead to this wrongdoing.”

What does “take responsibility” mean? And used so casually alongside someone who is, you know, raping seems to equate the two.

And since we’re asking women to “take responsibility”, I hope we’ll be consistent and demand the rapist’s parents also “take responsibility”; and I hope his teachers and lecturers “take responsibility”; his friends too, for not stopping him or teaching him, should “take responsibility”. I hope society “takes responsibility”. And books – whatever books he happened to read – that we find the authors and demand they “take responsibility”. Who else? Obama? Yeah, him too.

We’ll eventually find everyone and be able to account 100% for all the responsibility because obviously the person most responsible is irrelevant until we account for 100% of everyone involved toward the rapist raping – or the “rape occurring” like some malevolent Sauron-like disembodied force.

We do this for all other crimes, too: we demand the victim who is shot in his home take responsibility. We blame the victims for their murder and their physical assault, we worry that the perpetrators lives will be ruined (not their victim who is probably deceiving us right?); we distrust murder victims, we think they’re probably lying (dead but also in terms of deception)

Look, murder victims, just take responsibility for what happened, ok? At the funeral, let’s raise this and point this out to their families – because we do it for rape victims, so it means we do it elsewhere too. We’re totally not hypocrites!

>> “If you’re going to act in a certain way, you will attract the wrong people who WILL take advantage of the situation, no matter if it’s right or wrong.

Yes. But also note wrong people are still wrong. You’re not casting some magic spells that summons evil people.

>> “Girls should be taught from a young age that their actions and manners have consequences and if they don’t want these horrible things to happen to them, they should act responsibly and do what they can to prevent it from happening.

That’s right: The best way to avoid rape is not to be a slut. If you’re raped, it means you were being slutty/are a slut. That’s some perfect logic. QED. It’s totally not about how stats indicate rape victims are targets of someone they know, sometimes someone they themselves are attracted to, often someone they’re already in a relationship with.

Nope: rapists are like vampires and your slut behaviour is the open window (magic spells remember?). So just shut it. So obvious. And it’s so obvious and no woman has ever considered this because their brains are probably too small. That rape happens so often is obviously perfectly proportional to all the sluttish behaviour – or what I’ve called slutty – that occurs.

>> “No prevention method is 100% full [sic] proof and you may [be] the unlucky 1 to fall victim to rape or any other violent crime. The best you can do is everything in your power to prevent it from happening to you.

“Fall victim to rape”, like how you fall victim to disease, you know? Same thing.

Also, it’s not about luck so much as it is the way much of society – people like yourself and media portrayal – undermine rape s an actual serious crime, due to viewing women as not being allowed sexual identity. And it’s not an “unlucky” few.

>> “Girls, you know these things happen & there are men who don’t take NO seriously. Don’t give them the slightest idea that they can have their way with you unless you choose it. You are 99% in charge of your own fate, your life, your experiences and your body. Be responsible for your own fate, your life, your experiences and your body.

Yeah, “girls”. Don’t give “the slightest” indication you’re interested because, as we know, we all perfectly interpret flirtation, interest and so forth. And also once you show even a little bit of an interest, it means sex must happen. That’s the law, right? I think it is.

It’s so great to know that we’re 99% in charge of our fates: it’s not up to politics, economics, technology, other people’s whims, our bodies failing, strength, support. No: it’s just us. If you have a chronic disease, just think that crap away! You’re in charge cos it’s your body. QED.

So be responsible. If anything bad happens to you, you clearly wanted it cos you’re 99% in charge of what happens to you.

If you can find a more solipsistic perspective of life, I’d be surprised.

>> “Most men I know would never rape anyone, but there are many rotten apples, both male and female, out there. Protect yourself as much as you can.

Most? Most?!

Who are these minority of men? And are you doing what you can to prevent them raping? If you aren’t doing what you can to prevent them raping, then you’re not “taking responsibility” for these men. In all seriousness, I don’t know how you can say this without being concerned and fearful of such people and you know, potential victims (who are just sluts, so who cares?).

This is basically what you said: “There are a few men I know who would rape, but there are also some pretty crappy women, too.”

This attitude and dismissal and equivocation is part of what creates a prevalence of victim-blaming, slut-shaming, dismissal and derision of women as persons who are victims – not instigators – of one of the most horrible acts imaginable.

There is nothing wrong with wanting sex, desiring sex, flirting and having multiple partners. And further there’s nothing wrong later not desiring sex. People who feel “led on” have no right to “take” sex (i.e. rape) just because they (thought they) were promised it. Women aren’t Amazon.com – they’re people who are allowed to change their minds. If you feel hurt, too bad. You’re not that special and people can and are allowed to change their minds and do what they wish with their bodies, without it being about you.

Yes: Care should be taken that no one is hurt – through using protection, treating others as adults and persons, and so on. But until someone offers a definition of slut that isn’t merely the sounds people with conservative views of women’s sexuality (genitals are for pregnancy or for sluttiness and that is all!), I’ll continue to hear such claims as screams from the Dark Ages. Particularly when they promote dismissal of rape victims and think being slutty is (a) automatically a bad thing and (b) is a reason to think maybe this rape wasn’t so bad.

Mar 13 2014

The ethics of animals in captivity

At Big Think, I examine what surrounds the morality of keeping animals in captivity: of course, that’s already a somewhat loaded phrase, but for the sake of brevity I just equated that with anything involving animals being in an enclosed “smaller” area (than the normal habitat), by humans.

I’m not convinced all captivity is always wrong – but that doesn’t mean all are or most. Primarily, I want to untangle automatic assumptions that become definitions: that is, by definition x is wrong, when that is not clearly defined; or where there are instances of “black swans” in terms of these topics.

Feb 28 2014

Supporting Scientology marriage – opposing marriage

This happened:

A couple have made history by becoming the first to marry in a Church of Scientology chapel, five years after they brought a legal case to have their religious rights recognised.

Newlyweds Alessandro Calcioli and Louisa Hodkin, both 25, described their marriage as a “momentous” victory against “inequality and unfairness” as they posed for photographs outside a Scientology church in London, surrounded by confetti and bridesmaids.

“It has been a long, five-year battle to achieve a simple freedom – the right to marry in our own church with a service in accordance with the rites and customs of our religion and surrounded by our friends and family,” the couple said. “All weddings should be magical and momentous for the couple concerned, but we are conscious that ours, as the first for our religion in England, has its own place in history.”

I’m not really a fan of marriage or most forms of romance things. Yet, that doesn’t mean I don’t think we should stand against opposition to gay marriage.

As Notung points out, you can defend the principle of equality while still being opposed to the overarching institution. His analogy regarded women bishops: It’s nonsense that women can’t hold the same offices as men, but I also think all things anchored or premised entirely on faith are nonsense too.

Does this mean I should support the Scientology couple and their victory? I think so. I may think that Scientology, along with all religions really, is wrong (morally and empircally). But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t suppor their right to marry, since it’s all – I guess – equally non-sensical. Don’t exclude a group from being able to engage in an adult institution, even if I disagree with that institution, if the only criteria is “your faith-based philosophies are newer than mine”.

I mean we know the Internet has a hard-on hatred for Scientology, but still.

Is there any reason to oppose Scientology marriage as a recognised form of marriage, if other faiths get recognised as proper marriages?

Feb 23 2014

On mocking people’s physical appearance & the ethics of humour

I wrote a post, for Big Think, about why we should be hesitant about mocking other people’s physical appearance. I’m uncertain whether we should never do it: I think that, maybe, we do it too much or don’t reflect before doing it enough. I certainly know I’m hesitant about laughing at or making jokes about someone’s physical appearance.

Humour isn’t equal in its target, in its approach, in its ethical basis. Humour isn’t something that gets moral immunity just because it makes us or an audience feel good. Perhaps that’s why people sometimes can’t understand why some take jokes as statements of hate or mockery or derision: “Hey, it’s just a joke!”. Describing something as a joke doesn’t dismiss it from its moral impact.

I’m sensitive to claims of offence: I don’t think offence is a sufficient argument for not doing something, nor, indeed, is it even an argument. It’s, at its base, an expression of disgust or dislike. But adults know that disgust isn’t enough to make rulings on: just because we dislike something is no reason to legislate or command others to cease it. I hate celebrity culture and obsession over the minute details of strange people’s lives, but I’d never want a law that says no one ever is allowed to write about it.

However, as I tried to stress in the piece, just because people sound the same when they react to their god being mocked and their face being mocked doesn’t mean that each response is justified the same. I argued it’s myopic and, indeed, bullying to dismiss everyone’s concerns under the banner of “(merely) offended parties” – as if everyone who responds to all forms of mockery is equally wrong just because they seem the same.

And the corollary is the same: Those (like myself) saying be mindful of what you say because it effects people are not on the same moral ground as those demanding we censor all books that offend a few hypersensitive Muslims.

I want to grudgingly highlight two comments which are emblematic of many comments I’ve seen for some time, from Big Think’s Facebook page.

This argument is the same as censorship

Of course, the Internet, as always is intent on proving that people hate reading and are determined to be as nasty, as unreflective about their impact on others, as possible. You know, until the law steps in or something.

For example, this fellow said in response to my article:

Look at that again and allow me to emphasise the hyperbole: “ANYTIME ANYONE is told “You really shouldn’t say that” it STIFLES ANY free expression”.

What does “free expression” mean to this individual? The ability to mock who he wants? Well no one is stopping him, essentially. It’s his choice to do so. My article argues you should choose – you know, utilise your freedom – to pick the moral path (or what I’ve argued is the moral path). You can choose to ignore me, you can choose to make grand declarations about concepts you haven’t defined on Facebook without argument. You can choose all these things.

This individual – as with many – remarkably manage to equate/confuse “please consider your actions, because we’re fallible and we could be wrong and here’s an argument why…” with “I am the Hand of Justice and Thou Art Wrong. If thou Transgress these here Laws, Thou will be Punish’d Most Harsh’dly!”

I don’t know how people manage to read bloggers and opinion writers as being dictatorships. No one forced you to read, no one forced you to choose to ignore. But for goodness’ sake, realise you have merely articulated your free choice – your CHOICE – to ignore the argument I provided.

If anything, it is those who say “arguments equal censorship” who are damaging to free speech; one of the most effective ways to bring about censorship is to declare opinions you don’t like as being antithetical to “freedom” – instead of acknowledging arguments are part of the very thing free expression is meant to defend.

Stop whining and be strong like me

In my piece, I stressed that we are not all equally strong or capable of dealing with criticism. Again: this doesn’t mean we give in just because someone is offended or hurt. But there’s a difference between mocking ideas and god and a harmless person’s face. There are also good reasons to be able to mock god – but I can’t think of any arguing it’s good or moral or a duty to mock harmless people’s physical appearance. Even if they were such arguments, they wouldn’t be the same and I doubt as potent as the one’s arguing for humour as a tool to undermine sanctity.

But, regardless, a Strong Man just can’t understand why others aren’t like him. We’re just a bunch of wussies, you see. As I quote after, please note [sic] for everything.

1. “you make fun of something that is different, its [sic] normal.”

And we all know we just give into what’s normal, hey bubbah? What’s all this reflecting on whether what’s “normal” is also what’s right or what could be “better”? So silly.

2. stop being little baby’s [sic] about it and get over it.

I’m glad I didn’t point out why this statement might sometimes be worse than the initial insult. That would’ve been embarrassing.

3. “oh no some random guy i don’t know who probably smokes and has 2 bastard kids he doesn’t care for just said my nose is big”.. BIG DEAL!! and yet people get offended by the dumbest smallest comment..

Oh no, some random guy on Facebook I don’t know said I should get over “it”!

4. GROW SOME SKIN!! ARE YOU GOING TO CRY YOUR WHILE [sic] LIFE BECAUSE SOMEONE THINKS YOUR NOSE IS BIG?

How do I “grow some skin”? In a jar? Do you have the recipe? I should’ve just made my post a recipe for skin-growth so all those weak fools who spend the whole life feeling and “looking” different can just ignore them because, luckily, we are all equally strong and “manly”, eh?

5. being different you should be proud of your uniqueness and despite having a large nose or a fat ass you should be proud of what you have that others dont. like a good job, or being a good person..

Yes, all people who have deep-seated issues about their appearance have good jobs because psychological problems means it’s easy for them get great jobs… oh wait. No. It’s not. And do good people tell other people to get over themselves? Or do they say, hey, maybe sometimes people have a good reason to not feel insulted? Maybe the world shouldn’t be a shit place with shit people making others feel shit? I don’t know. I haven’t grown that skin yet so I could be seeing things weirdly with my weak eyes and big feet that I’m so proud of.

6. we are creating a pansy world where kids and adults will be offended and cry over being called a stupid head or ugly face.. i mean really.. we’re f*ing adults here.. grow up..

“Pansy”? Well, if I told you that’s not a nice word, would you say I should get over it? Or would you care about combating a world that stigmatises gay people and realise that words have an impact; that showing you don’t care about the words you use means you don’t actually care about making a tiny, small change in your life that means more to others than you? Gods forbid you make a tiny reflective free choice to not use words – a virtual non-effort on your part – because it benefits people who probably are not you, but who face stigma and hatred everyday for just being who they are.

But what do I know, eh? We should be able to say and do whatever we want and people need to get over it, because we live in an equal world  and no one is oppressed and society treats everyone like a heterosexual, married, man who wants kids and is in a successful job. (Hopefully ones that also can spell.)

SO GET OVER IT PANSIES, STOP TRYING TO TAKE AWAY MY FREE SPEECH AND LEARN TO TAKE AN INSULT. WE’RE ADULTS HERE AND, THEREFORE, ALL EQUAL.

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