TWO LINES a poem by Edwin Kagin »« ON A NATIONAL IDENTITY CARD

Blogging for Sport, or Politically Correct Electronic Speech.

 

A new thing has come to pass in our brief lives. It is called “blogging,” and this is accomplished by writing or posting something electronically for others to read or view, or whatever, on a computer, a device unknown to Moses, Noah, Julius Caesar, and lots of others. Just imagine, if you even can, someone like Moses with access to a working laptop computer and GPS. Why, he could have saved some 39 and a half years or so of wandering around lost in the desert.  And maybe not have wound up in a country with no oil.  A computer would have been so out of the realm of anything anyone had known then, that the operation of such a device would have seemed like magic, and the work of either some god or some demon.

If any readers should wish to undertake this recreation of blogging, they should become familiar with a related phenomenon.  Readers and viewers are able to post “comments” on one’s blog. And they do. The owner of the blog has the ability to decide if a given reader’s comment should be posted on his/her blog or trashed into electronic nonexistence.

Belief in the right of free speech has usually overcome common sense and I

have let anyone big enough to use a computer say anything they want on my blog.  Only completely irrelevant messages, and spam, get deleted from the smorgasbord of electronic verbiage that pours forth on this miracle of communication and learning.

One major speed bump on the electronic highway of knowledge has been the problem of “political correctness.” This is a terror that makes certain words and expressions off limits for proper persons to use in acceptable conversation, electronic or otherwise. “Nigger” and “faggot” are examples of such words that are banned from use by agreement, authority, and good manners. Such speech is not usually unlawful. It is only censored from being used, and condemned when it is used.  Never mind the context or the purpose of such use. There is apparently no way certain words, or even thoughts, can be expressed without drawing fire from someone for some reason.

This creates an opportunity for small-souled individuals who, lacking something worthwhile to say on their own, undertake to attack blogs and to attempt to insult and marginalize those who write them.

You know the type.  Frequently wrong but never uncertain.  Many of their comments are obscene and anonymous.  And they are immune from being subject to criticism and correction by the simple fact that they are wrong.  One critic could use a number of different names.  They could be of Fundangelical persuasion and have created multiple personalities for themselves so they can criticize anything one says on a blog that they don’t like.  Their general line of taste is that whatever has been written by anyone is something they do not like.

And they will criticize, it seems, anything anyone writes.

If blog writers must forever bow to the ever-changing nuances of so called “politically correct” speech, then language will lose its meaning.  Sigmund Freud spoke of “the narcissism of small differences.”  Our struggle is against the might of the Religious Right, not against each other.  We are the natural allies of each other.  We are in a different line than they. A very different line.

Criticism of written works is certainly valid and appropriate.  But certain criticism is neither valid nor appropriate.  Written language that is consistently vulgar, mean-spirited, maliciously motivated, and done to deliberately harm others is not only cloddish but also perhaps unlawful and actionable.

There is an old country saying that says, “Never get into a pissing contest with a skunk.”  Good advice. In the woods or on the blog.

 

Edwin Kagin.

Comments

    • Emrysmyrddin says

      QFT. I’m going to get this printed on a t-shirt, for the sheer amount of idiots that bandy around the ‘ooh, I’m just being politically incorrect’ imagined get-out-of-jail-free card in the UK.

  1. James C. says

    It appears that this blog post is, indeed, blasphemous.

    It is also wrong. For one, it is ludicrous to suppose that “language will lose all meaning”

    • says

      my dear Ms. Feral Fembeast,

      Thank you for helping me see the light. Okay, I will readily agree from hence forth to use no politically incorrect speech.

      In would be most helpful to me, in attempting this transposition to a higher level of politically correct consciousness, if you would please supply me with a list of all politically incorrect words that you, or your grandmother, or anyone else finds offensive.

      Then I can know for sure what not to say.

      • Happiestsadist says

        Do you actually find it so very hard to not abuse marginalized groups? Or is it that you just don’t give a damn, but will whine like a stuck pig when those uppity minorities tell you you’re being a jackass?

        You’re a sad, pathetic relic of outmoded thinking, surrounded by those who have come after, and done better, querulously kvetching about not getting adulation for your backwardness.

  2. Rebecca says

    It looks like a lot of people are out to demonstrate the sort of mindset you’re talking about, Edwin. Good of them, I suppose.

    • says

      I’m sure it makes you feel so much more “reasonable” and “moderate” to say that. Edwin is so put-upon being an “ally,” isn’t he? Especially when those wretched ungrateful oppressed folks don’t kiss his ass for telling them, “I’m on your side.” I mean, just because he tells homophobic anecdotes and uses terms that have been considered loaded, at best, for a few decades now. And they’re so insistent on repressing his free speech that they insist on disagreeing with him on his blog.

      What nerve. /flutters fan, clutches pearls

  3. Happiestsadist says

    Yes, yes the damn kids need to get off you lawn and stop talking about how you’re a slow-witted old bigot.

    Guess what, dude? Free speech means we can criticize your bullshit! I thought you liked free speech?

    Know what “politically correct” means? It means that you actually respect marginalized groups.

    I will say it loud and crystal clear: YOU ARE NOT MY ALLY. AT ALL. I would take the fundies that tried to fucking stone me over your pompous ass trying to talk over me.

    • says

      Someone may be maliciously hacking into your blog and sending out absurdities in your name. That someone said:

      “I will say it loud and crystal clear: YOU ARE NOT MY ALLY. AT ALL. I would take the fundies that tried to fucking stone me over your pompous ass trying to talk over me.”

      In that this is the statement of a fool, in could not be yours.

      It might comfort you to understand that you are my ally.

      Except perhaps in the art of manners.

      • Happiestsadist says

        No, I am dead fucking serious. I don’t need pathetic, ignorant fools who clutch their pearls at “political correctness” and “ill manners”, while using the nastiest abusive terms against me to somehow show their enlightenment. I would rather have the enemies that have the good grace to not presume to be on my side.

        Kiss my fucking shapely queer ass. (Mannerly enough for you, asshole?)

        • Rebecca says

          I don’t need pathetic, ignorant fools who clutch their pearls at “political correctness” and “ill manners”, while using the nastiest abusive terms against me to somehow show their enlightenment.

          Just out of interest, what are these “nastiest abusive terms” that Edwin has used against you?

          • Happiestsadist says

            Those would be the homophobic ones he keeps defending. Also, the N word, that he seems to think is his to use.

            Try to keep up, you’re embarrassing yourself.

      • Brownian says

        Right. An ally with a list of demands. “Lemme say ‘faggot’ when I want, but I insist on what I consider good manners at all times.”

        Sounds like you’ve got a lot of gripes that require placating before you’ll reveal what secret weapon you’re holding in reserve that makes you such an effective ally, Edwin.

        The world is full of people like you. You’re no gift to the marginalised.

      • says

        It might comfort you to understand that you are my ally.

        you don’t get to appropriate people as your allies when they do not wish to be your allies.

        And “ally” for what, anyway? That term means being supportive of a struggle against a form of oppression one is not subject to oneself. I find it highly unlikely that you’re being oppressed in ways Happiestsadist isn’t, so you’re making a false equivalence of sorts when you use the term as you are doing.

      • SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

        No, seriously, I prefer people who are straight up enemies to supposed allies who, every once in a while, just turn around and kick me in the face because “political correctness”.

        • Happiestsadist says

          For fucking real. I’d rather have the blows coming at my face than from the back by some whiny-ass doofus who keeps insisting I placate him or else he’ll…what?

  4. Brownian says

    One major speed bump on the electronic highway of knowledge has been the problem of “political correctness.” This is a terror that makes certain words and expressions off limits for proper persons to use in acceptable conversation, electronic or otherwise. “Nigger” and “faggot” are examples of such words that are banned from use by agreement, authority, and good manners. Such speech is not usually unlawful. It is only censored from being used, and condemned when it is used. Never mind the context or the purpose of such use. There is apparently no way certain words, or even thoughts, can be expressed without drawing fire from someone for some reason.

    And…

    But certain criticism is neither valid nor appropriate. Written language that is consistently vulgar, mean-spirited, maliciously motivated, and done to deliberately harm others is not only cloddish but also perhaps unlawful and actionable.

    Gotcha. It’s an assault on freedom that you can’t use ‘nigger’ and ‘faggot’ with impunity, but vulgarity is perhaps unlawful and actionable.

    Everyone, be sure to jot that drop of wisdom down for handy reference.

  5. oldebabe says

    Speaking of politically incorrect words, have you heard about the current attempt to re-write Twains’s `Huckleberry Finn’ so as to remove the word `nigger’ (which Huck uses in the normal conversation of the time) from his novel?

    You seem to be getting a lot of angry criticisms for something you have previously written (which I haven’t read) which enraged some of your blog readers, and now you seem to be inviting more of the same. What’s your point?

    • Happiestsadist says

      He likes the attention. As getting hits for being the village bigot here at FTB is the only way anyone would bother with him, he sporadically takes a few thwacks at a dead horse now and then.

  6. says

    One critic could use a number of different names. They could be of Fundangelical persuasion and have created multiple personalities for themselves so they can criticize anything one says on a blog that they don’t like.

    Please name names, Edwin.

    Who are you accusing of sockpuppetry?

  7. Mattir says

    Endless harping on how “political correctness” is ruining stuff for Good Guys™ is tiresome, even in a blog. One of the things I most enjoy about many of the freethoughtblogs spaces is that there are people who are not white, middle-aged, upper-middle-class men with chips on their shoulder about whether anyone else should be allowed to have an opinion. This is way too common in meatspace atheism – I don’t need it here.

    Also, I get it that you’re the smartest guy in the room and can use big words. Congratulations.

    Killfile (metaphorically) engaged.

  8. says

    Oh for fucks sake, you aren’t going to let this die are you?

    For the record, you don’t NEED a list of all possibly offensive terms.

    All you have to do is when someone says “Hey, that word you used is a slur”, say “Oh, sorry, I didn’t know, I’ll remember that in the future” and maybe edit the word out. Maybe. You don’t have to unleash all out warfare on people who dared to call you out on “political correctness.”

    What is this, post #5 on this issue? It’s almost tempting to never scroll this far down on the list of blogs, so that I never have to glance over your post titles and see one that rings of “bitching about stupid shit again.”

  9. says

    I wonder if it ever crosses Edwin’s mind that there might be other explanations.

    Like, does he consider it might be:

    1) “People are upset with me because I said something hurtful and then mocked them for being hurt”, or

    2) “Thought police!!!”

    and he notices no evidence for 1 so concludes it must be 2?

    In that case, perhaps it is Edwin who needs a reminder on How To Read Stuff.

  10. Goblinman says

    Yikes! You went off the deep end fast, Eddie.

    You know, I genuinely tried to engage in a discussion with you to maybe at least help you understand why you were pissing people off. You’ve made it pretty clear I’m wasting my time.

    To put it bluntly, you’re not oppressed or “edgy”–you’re being a blockhead. You’re a straight, white, middle-aged man whining about being marginalized. It’s childish and it’s beneath you.

    If you truly want to be an “ally”, you have a lot of work to do.

  11. Midnight Rambler says

    I guess now we know who DJ Grothe was referring to about “controversialist blogs” who put up posts solely to get pageviews.

  12. rapiddominance says

    Folks, go back and read the last full paragraph of “On Homosexuality”. Please.

    The narrator mentions in closing that HETEROsexuality has caused him enough problems. He then goes on to say, “Sometimes I think the Almighty erred by inventing it.”

    Kagin used an un-Edwin like narrator to accomplish an effect. You’re not supposed to gather around this speaker; rather, you’re supposed to find him clumbsy and ridiculous. In fact, you SHOULD find him repulsive (though not as repulsive as some of his more oppressive, real life, religious “brethren”).

    You’ve got Edwin in a position where you want him to express some sort of remorse for how he treated the homosexual community when, in fact, he provided a solid effort to write on behalf of their well being. IF HE APOLOGIZES to you it will be a personal sell-out against what he knows is true.

    Amazingly, he STILL fights for you.

    • carlie says

      Here’s the thing – we don’t NEED someone to play a bigot in service to a point. We’re all quite familiar with those bigots and how they think. All this literary device does is 1) make people sigh in resignation that they can’t escape bigots, real or literary, for one goddamned minute even on a “rational” blog, and 2) make actual bigots read it superficially and say “Right on! Rational dude agrees with me!”

      I’m really not seeing the value in that.

      • rapiddominance says

        I’m definitely not saying that the article was positively effective. It obviously was not. And I can’t speak for the value of the post, either.

        But the guy’s character is taking the primary beating, not his literary skills.

    • says

      Folks, go back and read the last full paragraph of “On Homosexuality”. Please.

      Yes, let’s:

      The notion that homosexuals are seeking special rights is in the same category, and is maintained by the same people, as was the idea that blacks were seeking special rights when they wanted to vote, buy a home, or ride at the front of a bus. What is so special about wanting the same human and civil rights enjoyed by people who have a genetically ordained yearning for the opposite sex? Actually, I am glad I was not born gay. Heterosexuality has caused me quite enough problems, thank you. Sometimes I think the Almighty erred by inventing it. But I can accept that which I cannot understand without fear of being converted. I do not believe my left handed paralegal, daughter-in-law, or President are likely to cause me to write in their strange way. It seems equally unlikely that I could be persuaded to substitute my excessive fondness for warm, soft, perfumed women for attraction to hairy legged males.

      Oh, yes, I bought a snake bite kit.

      This is the point where you, the reader, are supposed to chuckle with laughter, right? Did you? He gets to have his cake (his aversion to gay men) and eat it too (tolerate those weird gay men and lesbians). OK, now what?

      The narrator mentions in closing that HETEROsexuality has caused him enough problems. He then goes on to say, “Sometimes I think the Almighty erred by inventing it.”

      What problems? And homosexuality would cause him more? (Did you really find that line funny?)

      Kagin used an un-Edwin like narrator to accomplish an effect.

      No, I’m pretty sure that was him expressing his own views on the matter while trying to be funny.

      • rapiddominance says

        “No, I’m pretty sure that was him expressing his own views on the matter while trying to be funny.”

        If that is what you think, then how do you explain this line:

        “Sometimes I think the Almighty erred by inventing it.”

        So I guess you’re also “pretty sure” that Kagin is actually implying the existence of an “Almighty”? Really?

        Or how about where he speaks of left-handedness as a choice in the second paragraph? You’re also “pretty sure” Kagin is THAT ignorant?

        “Pretty sure,” my ass!

        • says

          @rapiddominance

          It’s quite amusing that you accused me and others of lacking reading comprehension then write this:

          If that is what you think, then how do you explain this line:

          “Sometimes I think the Almighty erred by inventing it.”

          So I guess you’re also “pretty sure” that Kagin is actually implying the existence of an “Almighty”? Really?

          Atheist humor. Atheists use this kind of humor all the time: We grant God exists, then reason that God is a shitty designer. How many times has Hitchens used this to demolish the Christian belief that the Bible is the word of God? (He goes something like, “Most scientists think that humans have been around for 100,000 years give or take 50,000. Let’s be generous and say 90,000. That means God sat around doing nothing for 88,000 years while humans lived in misery, and then suddenly decided 2,000 years ago to intervene not by showing himself to a flourishing society like China, but to illiterate goatherders in the Middle East.” *pause for laughter, which always comes*)

          Or how about where he speaks of left-handedness as a choice in the second paragraph? You’re also “pretty sure” Kagin is THAT ignorant?

          “Pretty sure,” my ass!

          It’s the same as pretending the Almighty exists. Feign ignorance about left-handedness not being a choice and see where it gets you. But that paragraph is part of the problem because he declares that he finds both homosexuality in men and left-handedness “annoying”. It’s supposed to be funny, but it just gets on the nerves of some people who are gay or left handed as in, “Did he have to go there?”

          • rapiddominance says

            “It’s supposed to be funny, but it just gets on the nerves of some people who are gay or left handed as in, “Did he have to go there?”

            There might be something a slightly unethical with bringing lefties into this. The majority of THEIR suffering is that they live in a world where tools are generally designed for right handed people.

            Have you EVER heard a “lefty joke”? Ever? JUST one?

            Lets ponder, for just a moment, those school bus trips when we were kids where a lefty quitely turns his head and gazes out the window as he endures, yet again, another “lefty joke.”

            Bravo.

        • says

          There might be something a slightly unethical with bringing lefties into this. The majority of THEIR suffering is that they live in a world where tools are generally designed for right handed people. –rapiddominance

          Well, LGBT people get that kind of suffering, too. That’s a big part of the reason there are businesses that cater to LGBT people exclusively or inclusively. We often still have to settle for Brokeback Mountains, though, and we haven’t had a lesbian or transgender president yet though several of the most recent ones have been left handed.

          Have you EVER heard a “lefty joke”? Ever? JUST one? –rapiddominance

          I’m afraid I can’t remember any right now if I have. I’ve never been one to look down on left-handedness.

          Lets ponder, for just a moment, those school bus trips when we were kids where a lefty quitely turns his head and gazes out the window as he endures, yet again, another “lefty joke.”

          Bravo. –rapiddominance

          Right. That’s very much what I felt reading Kagin’s post about homosexuality. Now, imagine it was a person you considered your friend telling you that lefty joke, and you say “Shut up!” to him about it, and then he accuses you of being the thought police or that you just don’t get the humor. No, you weren’t being the thought police or being an unhumorous moron, you’re just damn well tired of this same old shit coming from everyone, even people you consider your friends!

  13. rapiddominance says

    There might be one more way to go about this:

    The casual observer to this debacle realizes that the real culprit is the reading comprehension skills of some of the population here.

    Take the issue to any high school english teacher. Give them a little background on the author (and the audience) and ask them to summarize the main idea and/or the intent of the author.

    Having read here at the FTB for a short while, I’m going to take a stab at an alternate theory: Your asses are getting trolled. The thing is, I wouldn’t have imagined such a lapse in literacy within this crowd.

    But DAMN! if you’re not loud and proud about it.

    • says

      The casual observer to this debacle realizes that the real culprit is the reading comprehension skills of some of the population here.

      Nah. We’re fine in that area.

      Take the issue to any high school english teacher.

      And what if the state disallows one to talk of homosexuality in high school? Hey, they’re actually contemplating doing this in Tennessee.

      Give them a little background on the author (and the audience) and ask them to summarize the main idea and/or the intent of the author.

      Go ahead and do it yourself then. Let’s see your summary and your belief of what the main idea and intention of the author was for this post and the ON HOMOSEXUALITY post. They are both small pieces and already highly compressed, but give it your best shot.

      I wouldn’t have imagined such a lapse in literacy within this crowd.

      Except, there isn’t one, so you are imagining it.

      • carlie says

        Yeah, it’s that last line that really messes the “bad narrator” idea up. Either he wasn’t doing that at all to begin with, or he did a crappy job of it. If you start with a narrator you are making an example of, then you wind up the piece with a metaphorical KO that completely finishes demolishing the narrator’s point. “Oh yes, I bought a snakebite kit” is a statement in agreement with the sentiments of the beginning narrator. There is no other way to parse “I bought a snakebite kit” except for “har har, so now I’m prepared so that I never, ever EVER have to touch an icky guy part if he gets bit”. And that is the sentiment he chooses to leave the reader with.

        • says

          Yeah, it’s that last line that really messes the “bad narrator” idea up.

          That and how his own daughter who is mentioned in the story showed up in the comments and seemed to be under the impression herself that this was not a piece of fiction and that she did tell him it was homophobic (him telling her the “joke” seems to have actually happened).

      • rapiddominance says

        I explained the article on comment #4 of: A Reader’s Guide to “On Homosexuality”.

        As far as questioning your literacy, I should have had a lot more sense than to openly imply ANY intellectual shortcomings among this readership.

        No, I should have just kept my thoughts to myself.

        • says

          Your very first sentence from A Readers Guide to “On Homosexuality”:

          It was fiction.

          How do you know? I’m sorry, but it doesn’t point to being fiction at all. Yes, he is leveling with believers by granting that God exists and then trying to reason with them, but he is speaking from what appears to be a real personal point of view. And if it was fiction, then why the numerous reaction posts to the shocked reactions of some readers? And why did he not respond to your comment saying that you were right? If this was all an elaborate poe, then it would behoove of Kagin to say so and to explain why his daughter seemed to recall the first paragraph of ON HOMOSEXUALITY actually happening (see comment #57 and her second response).

    • carlie says

      No, the issue is not that people didn’t understand, it’s that they don’t agree with using that method to make a point. I can dress like a stereotypical redneck, walk into a Starbucks, and start yelling about fags and niggers as some kind of ironic performance piece, but at the end of the day what i’ve done is add to the societal weight of people hearing shit talk about themselves when all they wanted to do was get a coffee, while I loftily opine about how they just don’t get it.

      • rapiddominance says

        “No, the issue is not that people didn’t understand, it’s that they don’t agree with using that method to make a point.”

        So its a “methodology” issue? Right.

        THAT explains why readers are in disagreement over the fundamental issue of whether or not the narrator was expressing Kagin’s personal views.

        All your argument does is add to the clusterfuck.

        The very fact that people are all over the map in explaining where Kagin went wrong is a possible sign that maybe NONE of you really knows.

        Here’s a suggestion for the dumbfounded masses: Look back on Edwin’s activist history. Maybe that will help you folks get to where you need to and put to rest an unnecessary character assasination job.

        • carlie says

          Someone who is an activist should be receptive to being informed when they are inadvertently acting in a way opposite to their stated goals. If the person making the comments was a proud bigot, there would be no reason to even bother.

          • rapiddominance says

            Fair enough on the criticism issue. He should be able (and desire) to accept criticism and respond positively.

            Some readers WERE very polite in their objections to Kagin’s article. On the other hand, some began their character attack immediately.

            And you’re also right about the fruitless venture of making such communications with bigots. Some people think of that as “giving pearls to swine.”

            So you’re two for two.

            But I don’t think its the criticism that bothers him; its the aggressive and nonconstructive responses that he’s received.

  14. F says

    This is interesting. The idea political correctness has as much or more baggage than the idea Islamophobia.

    Dialing up the popcorn meme.

  15. Rebecca says

    @happiestsadist #10.1.1.whatever

    Those would be the homophobic ones he keeps defending. Also, the N word, that he seems to think is his to use.

    Try to keep up, you’re embarrassing yourself.

    I asked you for any instance of Edwin addressing “nastiest abusive terms” to you – all you can come up with is a vague reference to “the homophobic ones he keeps defending.” So tell me – where are these nastiest, abusive, homophobic terms? Where has he addressed them to you? Where, for that matter, has he defended them?

    • says

      Oh, I see, things aren’t spelled out clearly enough and you’re failing simultaneously at empathy AND reading between the lines!

      where are these nastiest, abusive, homophobic terms?

      For starters, there’s the fact that in this post here he seems to be defending his right to use to word faggot.

      But most of his nastiness, abusiveness, and homophobia isn’t spelled out that simply.

      It manifests when he gives us his cute little opinion on homosexuality (That is, worse than death) and then gets mad when we won’t just take it. Oh, and as an aside, hold your “he was just making a character!” statements, because in his original post he goes pretty damn far to make it seem like a personal anecdote. Using the word “I”, talking about “My liberated stepdaughter”, makes it pretty damn obvious he’s talking about himself. Nobody with any ounce of reading comprehension will automatically assume he isn’t, especially when he ENDS the post in the same way, using pronouns that refer to himself. He can claim that he wasn’t talking about himself, but that holds up about as well as yelling “nigger!” and then claiming to have sneezed.

      Digression aside, it also manifests in his inability to understand the meaning of homophobia. Not too serious, but worth mentioning.

      Also, in his insistence that we don’t have a right to be upset,

      In his calling us thought police,

      In treating the term “LGBTQA” like some weird bug, calling us “GLBTs”, and then displaying his doubt that “LGBTQA” is a real term,

      In equating homophobia and slurs to someone mistaking his name for Edward,

      And finally, in this post, where he calls those of us with the nerve to be offended “small-souled”, and calls our requests a terror. I’m sure he’ll backpedal here too, to claim that he wasn’t talking about us.

      As for where these terms (or phrases, really) have been adressed to the people offended here- that should be pretty simple considering my use of the word “us” and “we” in the examples above, unless you read like Kagin and assume that personal pronouns are somehow not personal.

      Oh, and as for defending this bigotry and stupidity, how about in all 6 of the posts in this saga and the comment sections of each, where he actively denies doing any wrong? That seems an awful lot like defense to me.

      Of course, I doubt that any of the things listed offend you, and so you’ll claim that they’re not offensive at all, and go on claiming higher ground because you’re standing on a pile of your own shit, but that’s fine because I’ve bought more microwave popcorn to watch you, Kagin, and the rest of his defenders do so with.

  16. says

    There is an old country saying that says, “Never get into a pissing contest with a skunk.” Good advice. In the woods or on the blog.

    It is good advice… obviously you’re not heeding it, but I suppose that’s your prerogative. And… y’know… it’s the skunk’s prerogative to spray right back.

  17. Rebecca says

    Oh, I see, things aren’t spelled out clearly enough and you’re failing simultaneously at empathy AND reading between the lines!

    I’m reading what’s actually there, in context and quite thoroughly. What you call “reading between the lines” is what I’d call “imposing your own meaning”. (Parenthetically to F@#24 – Thanks, I know where it started, and have been closely following this train wreck from the beginning.)

    For starters, there’s the fact that in this post here he seems to be defending his right to use to word faggot.

    (a) No. Read it again. (b) Point to any other place where he uses the word “faggot”, or any place at all where he calls anyone a faggot, or any similar epithet.

    But most of his nastiness, abusiveness, and homophobia isn’t spelled out that simply.

    Because it isn’t there.

    It manifests when he gives us his cute little opinion on homosexuality (That is, worse than death) and then gets mad when we won’t just take it.

    Crux of the matter. That was not his opinion, cute or otherwise, on homosexuality. His own words: “The snake bite joke (for joke it was and is), that forms the frame for the essay was, consciously at least, nothing more than a mocking of people who actually felt that way.” And the whole point of the essay was exactly the reverse of homophobic. But now that he has been well and truly demonized, anything and everything he says is going to have the worst possible spin put on it.

    Also, in his insistence that we don’t have a right to be upset,

    Sure, you’d have a right to be upset – if he were actually expressing or promoting homophobia.

    In his calling us thought police,

    Well, gee, if the shoe fits…

    In treating the term “LGBTQA” like some weird bug, calling us “GLBTs”, and then displaying his doubt that “LGBTQA” is a real term,

    Read through the comments for that post, and note how many people were confused about the alphabet soup of acronyms.

    In equating homophobia and slurs to someone mistaking his name for Edward,

    Epic fail. Read it again.

    And finally, in this post, where he calls those of us with the nerve to be offended “small-souled”, and calls our requests a terror. I’m sure he’ll backpedal here too, to claim that he wasn’t talking about us.

    Not at all. Of course he was talking about you.

    As for where these terms (or phrases, really) have been adressed to the people offended here- that should be pretty simple considering my use of the word “us” and “we” in the examples above, unless you read like Kagin and assume that personal pronouns are somehow not personal.

    Oh, I quite agree that personal pronouns are personal. Which is why, when happiestsadist used the first person singular – “using the nastiest abusive terms against me” – I was interested to know when and where this claimed personal name-calling took place. Seems it didn’t.

    Oh, and as for defending this bigotry and stupidity, how about in all 6 of the posts in this saga and the comment sections of each, where he actively denies doing any wrong? That seems an awful lot like defense to me.

    And have you stopped beating your wife? Why shouldn’t he defend himself when he hasn’t done anything wrong?

    Of course, I doubt that any of the things listed offend you, and so you’ll claim that they’re not offensive at all, and go on claiming higher ground because you’re standing on a pile of your own shit, but that’s fine because I’ve bought more microwave popcorn to watch you, Kagin, and the rest of his defenders do so with.

    Fine, if that’s how you like to be entertained. I prefer reading, myself.

    Now, since outrage seems to be the fashion on FtB at the moment, allow me to take my turn at venting. Edwin Kagin has been an activist on social issues for upwards of forty years. He has been threatened and reviled by bigots and racists of all stripes. He has initiated educational and addiction recovery programs, and campaigned tirelessly on issues of secularism and atheism. For all your whining and sulking, he has been and is your ally, in the sense of continuing to use his expertise to preserve and promote your constitutional rights. And you, you fearless upholders of tolerance and reason, hold all that to be worthless because you stupidly misapprehend the intent of a single article.

    • carlie says

      His own words: “The snake bite joke (for joke it was and is), that forms the frame for the essay was, consciously at least, nothing more than a mocking of people who actually felt that way.” And the whole point of the essay was exactly the reverse of homophobic.

      Then why did he end with the line “Oh yes, and I bought a snakebite kit”?

    • C says

      Rebecca,
      well said.

      Yes.. as I put forth in Edwin’s defense that he has worked tirelessly for civil rights of ALL.. seems to just be conveniently lost on SOME. Because they choose to take something out of context.

      I went to a school that was Known for POLITICALLY CORRECT SPEECH (give you a hint, it begins with an A).

      While at that school we enacted something called the SEXUAL OFFENSE POLICY. I, being a woman at this school, apparently was not “feminist” enough. Although I did adopt the cute “WOMYN” spelling I did not go so far as shaving my head (as a lot of the women did). I got called on the carpet by my fellow WOMYN for using the term GIRLS when referring to MY friends.

      There was a culture of male bashing . All males were “rapists”.. regardless. I learned a lot about POLITICAL CORRECT SPEECH.

      I have a more mature understanding of all that now. I feel that while it is important to be conscious and aware of our language and be respectful… it is also important to NOT go off the deep end and allow language to dictate or define who we are!

      I consider myself LIBERAL but strive to be more rational and calm and not attack those who are on my side.. merely because they don’t conform EXACTLY to MY comfort level. I listen before I judge or attack and thoughtfully argue using critical thinking.

      Peace

      • says

        The current audience at Freethought Blogs is just not the right audience for that type of mindset. Since you obviously haven’t been paying attention, I implore you to look up “Elevatorgate” on an Internet search engine and follow the links to Freethought Blogs talking about it and read the comment sections briefly, which should clue you in.

        And there are numerous liberal atheists out there who would agree with you against the general approach taken by many bloggers and readers at Freethought Blogs; I’m not sure why they haven’t shown up yet.

        But anyway, don’t think this is all happening in a vacuum where nobody has thought about these things before.

      • Carlie says

        Statements don’t actually increase in correctness with concomitant increase in use of capital letters.

        as I put forth in Edwin’s defense that he has worked tirelessly for civil rights of ALL.. seems to just be conveniently lost on SOME.

        And as has been mentioned several times, the presence of homophobia in a given statement neither increases nor decreases based on what else the person does in their life. In fact, someone who is such a tireless advocate should welcome when inadvertent bits of bias are pointed out so that they can be more careful in the future not to do something harmful to those they are advocating for.

    • SallyStrange (Bigger on the Inside), Spawn of Cthulhu says

      Sorry, but the snakebite story was most definitely homophobic. If he were trying to present it in an ironic “haha, I’m mocking homophobia” way, then he failed completely. This would be a non-story if he could just admit that, but instead he’s all like “NUH UH I AM NEVER EVER HOMOPHOBIC!!” Dude. Who cares what you are or aren’t. The point is, the story was homophobic and so was the presentation. Sadly, decades of progressive activism is not a magical prophylactic against accidentally saying stupid, bigoted things.

    • says

      Because it isn’t there.

      Oh sure, dozens of commenters and a few FtB bloggers decided to simultaneously complain about homophobia that just wasn’t there.

      Point to any other place where he uses the word “faggot”, or any place at all where he calls anyone a faggot, or any similar epithet.

      I never said he used faggot, but in this post:

      Nigger and faggot are examples of such words that are banned from use by agreement, authority, and good manners. Such speech is not usually unlawful

      He seems to be of the opinion that he should be allowed to use these words.

      And the whole point of the essay was exactly the reverse of homophobic.

      Again, either he completely failed at making this point (and when an entire group of educated people, a few being writers, don’t see the point, you failed), or his original intent was not to make this point, and his saying that is was a joke is nothing more than backpedaling. Either he needs to own up to the fact that he failed to make his point, or stop trying to claim he made the point at all.

      Sure, you’d have a right to be upset- if he were actually expressing or promoting homophobia.

      And he is. Multiple people, LGBT and allied, have mentioned that he is coming off as increasingly homophobic. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

      Read through the comments for that post, and note how many people were confused about the alphabet soup of acronyms.

      Hmmm, perhaps you need to read through the comments again. Anyone who expressed confusion over the “alphabet soup of acronyms” as you call it was expressing confusion over the O included, which was likely a typo. Nobody expressed confusion over the terms GLBT and LGBTQA (as Kagin did) unless they were in the same “what’s with these queers wanting proper terms?” camp that Kagin is.

      Epic fail. Read it again.

      Care to elaborate, or are you just spewing baseless “Nope, you’re wrong”s? The clear point of that post is to equate “edwinophobia” to homophobia, and his thin veil of “Edwinian wit” does not change that.

      I was interested to know when and where this claimed personal name-calling took place. Seems it didn’t.

      and

      And have you stopped beating your wife? Why shouldn’t he defend himself when he hasn’t done anything wrong?

      Again, you’re just closing your eyes and claiming there’s nothing to see. It doesn’t mean that nothing took place just because you fail at the empathy needed to see it.

      And in response to your last paragraph,

      I don’t care if he tries to be an ally. I don’t care how much hatred he gets from bigots- we get it too. I don’t care about any of that, just like I wouldn’t care if someone had a history of being a feminist if they had been found sexually abusing women. Right now, I don’t care if he has a history of fighting for gay rights, because right now he’s playing the part of the bigot. If bigotry was a war, he would be standing on the same side as us, but he’d also be shooting most of us in the back. Don’t act shocked when we call him a traitor just because he hasn’t shot YOU in the back yet.

  18. C says

    Wow…

    Nothing much has changed.. has it?

    Ther eare so many real “enemies out there, don’t confuse who they are.

    We have free choice as to who we associate with, who we choose to read, etc…

    some of you like to twig on a word ,a phrase, and attack and twist the meaning. Yes, words can be used as weapons but don’t take words out of context and use them as weapons.

    If you don’t like Edwin’s blog.. STOP READING IT and go on to more productive things.. apparently most of you enjoy the SPORT and like to get all triggered by the repartee.. fine.. No one is FORCING You to read it…

    Start your OWN BLOG and state your OWN opinions.

    Just a few things for everyone to keep in mind..

    I would suggest reviewing LOGICAL FALLACIES.

    and do some research into the TRIVIUM.

    Peace

    • SallyStrange (Bigger on the Inside), Spawn of Cthulhu says

      Yeah, “logical fallacies,” such as “I have been an anti-racist activist for decades. Therefore I am magically immune to ever saying or doing something that could be seen by reasonable people as homophobic!”

      • Carlie says

        some of you like to twig on a word ,a phrase, and attack and twist the meaning. Yes, words can be used as weapons but don’t take words out of context and use them as weapons

        Ok then, what was the statement “Yes, I went out and bought a snakebite kit” supposed to convey?

    • says

      First; Why do you type like a text parser?

      Second; Nobody forces us to read Kagin’s blog, of course. Thing is though, he’s a part of Freethought blogs. So are we. We have the ability to say when we don’t expect to see shit like this on this network.

      Also, as a part of Freethought blogs, he affects the way that the entire network is perceived. If we allow one blogger to post homophobic bullshit without calling him out on it, the entire network looks worse.

  19. Ruth says

    How many more posts are you going to write justifying your right to be a selfish asshole? We get it, yes, you have that right. And we have the right to call you one.

  20. Goblinman says

    At this point, it’s as much about Kagin’s response as it is about the joke itself.

    To summarize:

    1. Kagin made a joke that is at best tone deaf.

    2. People pointed out that the joke is tone deaf.

    At this point, Kagin had a few options. If he was, in fact, being misunderstood, he could have clarified what he meant. Alternately, he could have acknowledged that the joke was tone deaf (as it is apparently a 17-years-old article) and had a good laugh about that. Did he do either of these things?

    3. NOPE. Instead, Kagin got defensive and started accusing people of being “thought police.”

    Now, that was not the best response, but it’s an understandable reaction to criticism. He could salvage this by mulling it over a bit. Of course, now he needs to apologize, too. Guess what?

    4. Kagin apologized.

    Great! It wasn’t crystal clear whether or not he fully understood why people took issue with the joke, but that was ok. We could now drop the debate and move on to other things.

    5. Kagin wrote another post complaining about people thinking he’s a homophobe.

    Wait, what? He’s going back on the apology and bringing this up again? *Sigh.*

    6. Kagin won’t let it die.

    So, at this point, he either genuinely believes we’re trying to persecute him, which means he doesn’t get what people are upset about and apparently doesn’t care (which makes him a blockhead). Or he’s being a troll. In that case, it would mean he’s an asshole and a bigot.

    For emphasis: KAGIN IS THE ONE BLOWING THIS OUT OF PROPORTION. Not us critics. He’s had PLENTY of chance to clarify what he meant. Instead, he’s been accusing us of being thought police.

    Eddie, you can stop digging any time.

      • Goblinman says

        I could say the same thing about Eddie.

        I criticize him because he’s actually really close to being a genuine ally, and it’s goddamn disappointing to see him pulling this juvenile bullshit.

  21. Rebecca says

    Aratina Cage @26.2.1 says: The current audience at Freethought Blogs is just not the right audience for that type of mindset. Since you obviously haven’t been paying attention, I implore you to look up “Elevatorgate” on an Internet search engine and follow the links to Freethought Blogs talking about it and read the comment sections briefly, which should clue you in.
    And there are numerous liberal atheists out there who would agree with you against the general approach taken by many bloggers and readers at Freethought Blogs; I’m not sure why they haven’t shown up yet.
    But anyway, don’t think this is all happening in a vacuum where nobody has thought about these things before.

    This is a pretty revealing post. So there is a “right audience” and an acceptable “mindset” on FtB – that is, those of us who “strive to be more rational and calm and not attack those who are on [our] side” do not fit in. Those of us who do not work up the requisite level of indignation do not fit in. Those of us who do not join the pack and start howling do not fit in.

    In fact, I watched as Elevatorgate spun out of control into an extended game of Uproar. I read through the entire Bunnygate saga. I tracked the roasting of Ryan Long and DJ Grothe. Etc. And if there’s one issue where I’d agree with Aratina, it’s that none of this is happening in a vacuum. Rather, it’s happening in an atmosphere of witch-hunting and high dudgeon, zero tolerance for even imagined slights, and lots of mutual back-patting about how you’re making the world a better and safer place. Congratulations on your new orthodoxy.

    BTW, the “liberal atheists” who would agree with C do show up. They promptly get piled on, labeled as “tone trolls”, and frozen out. Or they leave in frustration and disgust, which is where I’m headed.

    I see Grimalkin made a point-by-point answer @26.4 to my comment from yesterday, but I’m not going to fall into the ridiculous I-said-you-said trap, which could cycle on forever. This whole farrago boils down to one question: is it reasonable to interpret the essay as homophobic, and therefore to label Edwin Kagin as a homophobe (not to mention all the other charming epithets that have been thrown at him).

    He says he’s not. His distinguished record as an activist and educator says he’s not. The respect of his peers and fellow activists says he’s not. Pesky tone trolls like me say he’s not. You say he is. Here’s a quote from Grimalkin:

    Again, either he completely failed at making this [anti-homophobic] point (and when an entire group of educated people, a few being writers, don’t see the point, you failed), or his original intent was not to make this point, and his saying that is was a joke is nothing more than backpedaling.

    It would not be the first time “an entire group of educated people, a few being writers” has picked up the wrong end of the stick. Hell, for that matter, I’m a writer and have a Ph.D. – and that doesn’t make me right either. But consider the history of the essay, as laid out in Edwin Kagin’s January 15th blog entry:

    The work is a reprinting of my essay “On Homosexuality,” written in 1995 or before, and published in my book, “Baubles of Blasphemy,” originally edited by Ed Buckner and published by the Atlanta Freethought Press, in 1995. The work has gone into a second printing, edited by Frank Zindler and published by American Atheist Press, in 2009. You can order a copy, if interested, at atheists.org or amazon.com.
    There has been a pleasing amount of praise for this book by some and much criticism of its contents by others. Indeed, there have been specific criticisms of the essay “On Homosexuality,” but the comments have most commonly expressed outrage that I was supporting “gay rights” in any way at all. I was deemed to be a secret homosexual who was in the pockets, if not the pants, of those promoting the imaginary “Homosexual Agenda.”

    So the essay has been around for seventeen years, read by any number of educated people, many of them writers. And, oddly enough, nobody ever noticed it was a piece of bullshit homophobic trash until he republished it here. Indeed, it is likely that the very people who invited him to blog on FtB had read this essay sometime in the last seventeen years, and had not recoiled from him in righteous horror.

    So, are you guys just smarter, more sensitive, and more – er – empathetic than everybody else, or what? Or is it something to do with the developing Culture of High Dudgeon to which you belong? I strongly suspect the latter.

    • says

      if there’s one issue where I’d agree with Aratina, it’s that none of this is happening in a vacuum. Rather, it’s happening in an atmosphere of witch-hunting and high dudgeon, zero tolerance for even imagined slights, and lots of mutual back-patting about how you’re making the world a better and safer place. Congratulations on your new orthodoxy. –Rebecca

      I was telling that to C above because she didn’t seem to know about it. I wouldn’t doubt it if she ends up feeling the same way about it as you do, but at least she’ll have some perspective after looking into the reason so many at Freethought Blogs are not backing down.

      So there is a “right audience” and an acceptable “mindset” on FtB –Rebecca

      Not for all time, of course, but currently there does appear to be an audience composed mostly of people (and bloggers I might add) who are not OK with the so-called anti-PC behavior. It is not everyone, but it is a sizeable amount with a very vocal core who have been waging a battle on this crap for years if not decades.

      those of us who “strive to be more rational and calm and not attack those who are on [our] side” do not fit in.

      Firstly, if any such people are here (and they are), you are not one of them, Rebecca. Secondly, I wasn’t talking about people like that not fitting in, I was talking about people like you who castigate those at FTB who do call people out on bigotry no matter how well intentioned it is.

      Those of us who do not work up the requisite level of indignation do not fit in. Those of us who do not join the pack and start howling do not fit in. –Rebecca

      Those of you who build fake people out of straw to burn down and let and even encourage bigotry to walk around freely are going to get called on it for the most part. And just stop with your dog pack analogy before you get carried away and say something stupid; we are people, not dogs (despite the avatar images showing otherwise).

      BTW, the “liberal atheists” who would agree with C do show up. They promptly get piled on, labeled as “tone trolls”, and frozen out. Or they leave in frustration and disgust, which is where I’m headed. –Rebecca

      I don’t doubt that C is a liberal if she says so, so no need for scare quotes. But let me tell you, there aren’t many of you here yet (unless they’re all being held up by the spam filter or something).

  22. Ruth says

    Rebecca – “So the essay has been around for seventeen years, read by any number of educated people, many of them writers. And, oddly enough, nobody ever noticed it was a piece of bullshit homophobic trash until he republished it here.”

    1. Has it occurred to you that perhaps the bar was a little lower 17 years ago? That 17 years ago, LGBT people were grateful for someone even acknowledging their right to exist, albeit in a grudging “but you still disgust me” way?

    That’s no longer good enough. These days, we expect equal treatment for everyone.

    2. Maybe plenty of people did notice that part of it (only part of it, as plenty of people have been pointing out here, and you have been ignoring, most of the essay is positive, but it’s let down by the jokey “you still disgust me” swipe) was homophobic. What were they supposed to do? Write a letter?

    As Kagin has said in this post, the difference between Ivory Tower book-writing and blog-writing is that, when you put it on a blog, people get to tell you they disagree. Most people appear to consider that a feature. Kagin thinks it’s a bug.

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