There are no dragons in space »« How easy it must be to be Be

Bill Maher is a fucking idiot.

I’ve said it a few times before. The guy got a scant few questions right — the question of whether or not there’s a God, and whether or not global warming is real. Otherwise, he’s a misogynist scumbag lackwit who thinks the germ theory of disease is a sham and vaccines are some kind of elitist liberal plot or something.

And now he goes and says this on Twitter.

Hate to defend #RushLimbaugh but he apologized, liberals looking bad not accepting. Also hate intimidation by sponsor pullout


Like Rush’s “sorry” means anything considering he called a woman a slut on national radio, and even after apologizing keeps saying the same damned bullshit about her only using nicer words. It’s not about the words. It’s about the misogyny.

Same goes for all the winged and howler monkeys that crawl out of the woodwork whenever someone uses a slur and is told they shouldn’t do that. It’s never about the word, it’s about the sentiment behind that word. That word has power because of all the venom that’s flowed through it. The butthurt you receive for being called a bully when you use a slur is nothing compared to the actual pain you’re, well, at least ATTEMPTING to inflict on someone.

So Bill Maher defending Rush Limbaugh is honestly no big surprise. They may not align politically, but they definitely align on the question of whether bitches ain’t shit. Some proof:

Since he’s very probably just afraid we’ll go after his sponsors for saying the same kind of ridiculous nonsense as Rush, perhaps it’s good that we press the advantage, hmm? Frankly, we need BETTER atheist spokespeople every bit as much as we need MORE of them. We can do a hell of a lot better than Bill Maher.

Comments

  1. says

    Crossposting my response from the X blog. More the order in which things happened.

    I open twitter.

    I am like “Fuck, what did Bill Maher do now?”

    I scroll down.

    “Fucking idiot.”

    Face hits keyboard in frustration.

  2. Mike de Fleuriot says

    Maher is yet another talking head, who has grabbed the atheist/liberal banner to make some coin to feed his habits.

  3. Cor (formerly evil) says

    I can see where he’s coming from here. After 9/11, this same shit was pulled on him and from some of the things he’s said over the years I don’t think he just laughed it off. Probably he’s a bit sour on advertiser boycotts in general.
    That having been said, when Sean Hannity is agreeing with you on Twitter it might be worth rethinking your position.

    Also Rush Limbaugh is a much bigger asshole by several orders of magnitude. I won’t bash a (sometimes) fellow traveller while such true menace is abroad in the land.

  4. says

    I can see where he’s coming from here. After 9/11, this same shit was pulled on him

    Not remotely the “same shit.” Bill Maher was punished post 9/11 for simply being honest about the motivations of the terrorists and refusing to misrepresent them as “cowardly” considering that they were willing to give their lives for their (fucked up, misguided, hateful, unjustifiable in any way) cause. Maher might be a misogynistic asshole who sides with Rush on that team, but it’s not because both of them have been under threat of being taken off the air for misogynistic assholery.

  5. says

    Silly whine IMO– 1) He’s a comedian. 2) They routinely say uncomfortable things to make people laugh 3) Notice how none of the women on the panel disagreed?

    As an example – Ever seen Sarah Silverman? Funny as hell but I don’t think she means half the things she says. I don’t think David Cross was raped by the Virgin Mary either.

    He says some dumb things but I think the chip is on your shoulder for something else. All I saw was a comedy bit. Limbaugh wasn’t joking, wasn’t funny and was directing an attack personally at one woman (and on a daily basis at women in general)

  6. Andrew says

    We can’t have spokes people for what is supposed to be a rational and fair group when he is clearly in it for the money. Not only is he anti-vaccinations, he’s a leading member of PETA. It doesn’t get much stupider than vegetarians who murder thousands of animals every year.

  7. B-Lar says

    Sure he’s an idiot. A great many people are! Sure he’s in it for the money. A great many people are!

    Using a public platform to say what you think despite the response you might get? Thats fairly rare. I even respect far right spokesmen for that. It shows conviction. You dont have to like it, but you dont have to sling shit around at it.

    Limbaughs apology was a waste of time because everybody knows he didnt mean it. his apology was in fact a “sorry I got caught” type of apology.

    Mahers comment was a waste of time, because everybody knows Limbaugh didnt mean his apology.

    This is a non event.

  8. says

    1) He’s a comedian.

    Yeah, it’s just a joke, you know

    2) They routinely say uncomfortable things to make people laugh

    Ever noticed how those people who are made uncomfortable are usually not the ones laughing? Yeah, totally OK to say racist, homophobic, misogynist, ableist stuff to make privileged people laugh. Who cares about those fucking minorities anyway?

    3) Notice how none of the women on the panel disagreed?

    Yeah, ever noticed how people don’t dare to disagree with somebody publicly because that person is a mean bully and they don’t want to run the risk of being subjected to the most vile and denigrating treatment themselves?

    It shouldn’t come as a surprise. There’s no limit to what the Menz won’t defend.

  9. says

    Kevin:

    1) He’s a comedian. 2) They routinely say uncomfortable things to make people laugh

    There’s a difference between “punching up” and “punching down.”

    3) Notice how none of the women on the panel disagreed?

    Yeah, Kevin, it’s not like we live in a misogynist society where women are under pressure to go along with woman-hating jokes or anything. Or, as Giliell said, risk getting a volley of misogynist abuse when they stand up for themselves against such “humor.”

    Ever seen Sarah Silverman? Funny as hell but I don’t think she means half the things she says.

    How funny she is is a matter of opinion. I find her obnoxious.

    He says some dumb things but I think the chip is on your shoulder for something else.

    So, Kevin, is Jason being overemotional, being oversensitive, or enjoying being offended?
    B-Lar, no, actually, I don’t have to respect people who “say what they think.” Maybe this is a new concept for you, but the substance of what they think is important. Unless you’d also admire someone who used their public platform to JAQ off about how black people just might be dumber than white people? Which is, you know, a completely new and daring opinion in human history?

  10. Salmo says

    I hate the “he’s a comedian” defense at the best of times, but it’s not even true here. Maher’s not a comedian anymore, he’s a political commentator who uses humor. He’s a pundit. If Senator Franken made some really bad piece of legislation, you wouldn’t say “Oh, he’s a comedian, so it’s okay,” would you?

  11. jamessweet says

    As I’ve written elsewhere, “I’m sorry I called her a slut, but she should send me an amateur porn tape of herself” is not an apology by even the most generous definition of “apology”. That’s not even a so-called “not-pology”. It’s called “doubling down.”

    Anyway, even if Rush did offer a sincere apology, there’s absolutely no reason to accept it. First of all, there is no blanket obligation to accept all sincere apologies. More importantly, this is not some abberation in Rush’s otherwise sterling level of discourse; this is his standard M.O., and for some reason this one just happened to be a bridge too far for some of his erstwhile allies and sponsors. (I hate to say it, but the fact that he was picking on an attractive middle-class white woman may have had a lot to do with it… his previous comments on race have been way worse than this)

    A lot of eyes have been opened to Rush’s vileness that used to be closed to it (how they managed to do that, I can’t begin to guess, but whatever…) Even if Rush sincerely apologized for this one incident — which he hasn’t, at all — it does not change the nature of his career and the poisonous public presence he projects.

    If Rush sincerely apologizes for everything he’s ever done or said, then we’ll talk about forgiveness. Even then, as I say, there is no blanket obligation to accept even the most sincere apology. But if he apologizes for everything, then I’ll consider it.

  12. jamessweet says

    B-Lar says:

    Using a public platform to say what you think despite the response you might get? Thats fairly rare. I even respect far right spokesmen for that. It shows conviction. You dont have to like it, but you dont have to sling shit around at it.

    Okay, not I understand the first part of what you’re saying — although I don’t agree with it; I don’t proffer respect for having the conviction to say something vile and wrong and mean… but I at least understand your reasoning.

    The last sentence of the quoted paragraph is where you completely go off the rails. Are we not “showing conviction” by expressing our dislike in the strongest possible terms? How is that any fucking different?

    In fact, your comment might even have been paraphrased as:

    Using a public platform to sling shit around despite the response you might get? Thats fairly rare…It shows conviction. You dont have to like it, but you don’t have to sling shit around at it.

    Duh-HERP!

    If you admire Rush’s willingness to be a complete fucking inexcusable asshole because of his supposed convictions, then logically you must also admire my willingness to call Rush a complete fucking inexcusable asshole, because of my convictions. Explain to me what I’m missing here?

  13. B-Lar says

    Daisy, Pretty sure (checking… yup) that I said I respect that trait, not that you have to do so. My comment is that while you might not like it, theres not need to be abusive over it (aimed at the OP)

    Maybe this is a new concept for you, (oooo… burn…) but the substance of what someone thinks is important for deciding whether or not you agree with substance of what they think, not for upholding their right to say it, or for being impressed that they are willing to say it.

    Your choice of the word admire might suggest that you are trying to conflate me with a person who takes delight in denigrating messages. If it could be shown to be the truth that black people are “dumber” (jesus fuck…) even when taking all the myriad sociological factors into account then I would pay attention and learn something. if it was some guy making an oversimplified and biased observation (as it sounds like in your example) then I would disregard the content as weak reasoned.

    In this case, Maher has apparently decided that Limbaugh’s “apology” should be enough and that we should move on. He has missed the point that it wasnt an actual apology but hey.

    Giliel, classy. Naturally because I have an opinion contrary to yours, I only have it because I’m not a woman, not denigrated, not called a slut, and dont care about those who are. The event here is Limbaugh being a venomous cheesy toolend, and the other is that here we have people being less venomous (but venomous none-the-less) at the non-event of a guy who gave his take on the first event.

  14. B-Lar says

    James, perhaps I was not clear. I was under the impression that the disccussion here was about Maher.

    Limbaughs original statements are clearly venomous and designed to attack his opponent who was making valid points about how/when contraception should be available. he used no reason. only venom. I am not impressed by his courage because no courage is involved.

    When it comes to Maher, the OP uses venom to attack his expression of opinion. As far as I could see from that twitter post, Maher was not slinging shit around (although the use of the words “liberal elites” carries implication…) I judge him to be on the line of decency, but not over it, and not worthy of being labelled a “misogynist scumbag lackwit” as a result.

  15. says

    Right, B-Lar, because that one tweet exists in isolation from everything else Maher has ever done and must–must, I tell you!–be evaluated that way. And of course, the fact that Maher himself finds it just fine to degrade people in the name of “political humor” wouldn’t have anything to do with why Maher doesn’t understand that Limbaugh didn’t actually apologize for his actual misbehavior. Why would anything in this world ever be connected to any other thing? That’s just crazy talk.

  16. says

    B-Lar @17:

    When it comes to Maher, the OP uses venom to attack his expression of opinion.

    But surely you admire me for the conviction to speak my mind despite the response it might get?

    itchbay@1: you’re right, he doesn’t have sponsors any more. That doesn’t mean that he isn’t afraid that people might “vote with their dollars” and thereby punish people with extraordinarily unpopular opinions, thus silencing him. That makes it a chilly climate for people who use their platforms to silence others — as Maher has done with women. ZOMG CENSORSHIP IF I CAN’T MAKE BITCHES SHUT UP!!!

  17. Chiroptera says

    Jason Thibeault, #19: But surely you admire me for the conviction to speak my mind despite the response it might get?

    I disagree with you, therefore that means that you are just a cowardly hack who gives the sheeple what they want to hear. That doesn’t require courage.

    It takes real conviction to say things I agree with in ways that I find funny!

    Glad to have cleared that up for you.

  18. says

    B-Lar

    Giliel, classy. Naturally because I have an opinion contrary to yours, I only have it because I’m not a woman, not denigrated, not called a slut, and dont care about those who are. The event here is Limbaugh being a venomous cheesy toolend, and the other is that here we have people being less venomous (but venomous none-the-less) at the non-event of a guy who gave his take on the first event.

    1) Giliell
    2) Go over to Stephanie’s blog and read up on the “classy”
    3) I have no idea about your gender. It think that your opinion is due to you being an idiot and that’s not a genetic disorder carried on the Y-chromosome.
    But you declared this whole thing to be a non-event, thereby implicitely stating that the bitches should just suck it up because you don’t think it’s an issue
    Classical silencing tactic whenever minorities complain about something: It’s a non-event, what are you complaining about, aren’t there more important things in this world, you must have it rather good if that is your top priority…

  19. Andrew Ryan says

    “Bill Maher was punished post 9/11 for simply being honest about the motivations of the terrorists and refusing to misrepresent them as “cowardly”’

    Maher may have offered his ‘honest opinion’ but that doesn’t mean his opinion correlates with reality. If someone believes that on death they go straight to paradise, that affects how ‘brave’ I see their willingness to give their own lives. And in my book, arming yourself to attack a bunch of defenceless, blameless men, women and children is not a brave act.

    Whether Maher deserved to lose his job for his remarks is a different matter.

  20. B-Lar says

    Stephanie,

    That is an excellent point. No man or comment is an island. I can only make judgements on what Maher says here based on what I have seen of Maher, as can Jason. I am willing to accept that Jason may know Maher better than I do, and as Jason has strong opinions about Maher and has provided me with videos that I had not previously seen then I will assume that this is the case.

    Perhaps Maher is in fact a scumbag, a misogynist, and a lackwit but I am reluctant to draw those conclusions from what I have seen.

    Jason, as I said before, I am impressed when people stand up and say something they believe even when it is unpopular (and so yes in principle you do get my admiration to a point), but if that person uses venom, a lack of reason, or bias then the message gets disregarded. In this case I think that you allowed bias and venom into your OP which I object to.

  21. B-Lar says

    “At least as long as you’re none of those who got denigrated and called sluts. Why care about them?”

    Is this not classy? It certainly felt like you were implying that I dont care because I am not denigrated and not called a slut, but maybe I misinterpreted. You didnt mention woman though so I leapt to that one unneccesarily, but then this whole debate from the moment Limbaugh got involved has been womens contraception so you can see how I might leap to it.

    In short, I DO care, and being represented otherwise is quite abhorrent to me.

    I think you misinterpreted too. perhaps there was nothing to read between the lines when the line itself said “this is a non event”? Sure its a silencing tactic used to subjugate, but it is also a short sentence used to describe something that is a non event.

    I reiterate. The event is Limbaugh being what he is, and making a worthless apology that was not an apology.

    The non-event is Maher not getting the fact that it was not an apology and telling everyone that “everyone should just be happy that he has apologised”. You can speculate and chalk that up to any number of things (including misogyny, ingorance, too much crack, and aliens) but never know the truth of the matter.

    Except maybe that it wasn’t aliens.

  22. B-Lar says

    Andrew,

    a case can be made for venom to to used against the venomous, but usually I find that its a sign that there is a lot of hate in the room, or that it is being used as a rhetorical tool to distract.

  23. says

    B-Lar:

    My comment is that while you might not like it, theres not need to be abusive over it

    How dare we speak “abusively” of people who abuse others.

    Nobody is questioning Limbaugh’s Constitutional right to say offensive shit. Putting pressure on his advertisers is perfectly legal and perfectly ethical. He has no inherent right to a well-paid public platform.

    Giliel [sic], classy.

    ABLOO BLOO BLOO, B-Lar doesn’t admire people who stand up for what they believe in if they hurt his ickle feewers!

    In short, I DO care, and being represented otherwise is quite abhorrent to me.

    Talk is cheap. Your concern-trolling and tone-trolling on behalf of Maher show where your actual values lie.

    a case can be made for venom to to used against the venomous, but usually I find that its a sign that there is a lot of hate in the room, or that it is being used as a rhetorical tool to distract.

    Fuck you and your “must be better than they are” bullshit.

  24. says

    B-Lar, so far, your reasons for saying what you said, as presented by you, are “I don’t know much about the situation” and “I’m only tone trolling”. You might want to think about why you have such a stake in the situation that you’re entrenching behind those.

  25. B-Lar says

    “I am willing to accept that Jason may know Maher better than I do” is a bloody far cry from “I don’t know much about the situation”

    Ive been following the Limbaugh and the entire female contraception debacle, and am of the opinion that it has all gotten unneccesarily focused on what a bunch of disassociated politicians think rather on what is actually best for the masses and that he (Limbaugh) is a toad. Daisy, you may abuse him as much as you want. Please note though that I never had a problem with that… Its abusing Maher that I had a problem with… I dont think you were reading my posts, but then if you think I’m a butthurt troll then why would you?

    As for tone-trolling, sure. I can accept that. being concerned about tone is important, and I think that in this case the tone used was unneccesary. However, as that is the main basis of my point, I will shut up and go away.

  26. says

    Maher does have a long history of making dumbass comments and jokes* with regards to women. Calling him a “fucking idiot” is probably putting it lightly at this point.

    * The sort of ‘joke’ which is really only funny when you have a superiority complex over the people you’re mocking and denigrating. In this case, women.

  27. robertcroke says

    Maher mocks everyone….enjoying himself…sooo above us all (he thinks)…doing it to self preen (pleasurably please oneself). Do you see that, love that smirk? Wouldn’t you want to get in his face, if you met him on the street? Fess up!!

  28. Doug says

    Hmm. This feels like a purity test. To me, purity tests are for Republicans. We’ve all got faults. Plus, the Right is currently trying to equate comedian Bill Maher with republican thought leader and purity judge Rush. Do you really feel the need to add to that bullshit?

  29. LeftSidePositive says

    Doug, “purity tests” are so-called because they revolve around bullshit issues (or the completely wrong side of an issue). I’m pretty sure you’d demand “purity” from your political leaders (and pundits) on the no-child-slavery issue, on the let’s-not-massacre-the-disabled-issue, and on the let’s-not-drop-nuclear-bombs-on-Europe issue. Is refusing to compromise on those issues a narrow-minded obsession with “purity” or just the basic necessity of having standards? When you say that insisting women be treated with the most basic acknowledgement of their human dignity and equal rights (a count on which both Maher and Limbaugh have failed, to different degrees) is a “purity test,” you are implying that women’s equality is a trivial issue, and I assure you it is not.

    And thank you, commenter-with-an-overtly-male-identified-handle, for casting aside misogynistic attitudes toward women as “We’ve all got faults.” Seriously? How noble of you to dismiss the concerns of a group of people with whom you do not apparently identify in order to maintain the privilege of those you already like. How magnanimous of you!

    Saying Bill Maher is just a comedian is willfully obtuse. The entire content of his show is based on political commentary and social observation, with a few jokes to keep it interesting. Are you seriously trying to argue that he is not attempting to advocate a political viewpoint on his show? Or that he is not influential in liberal circles? Or that his “comedy” is devoid of significant political implications? Seriously?!

    And the undeniable fact that the Right is dishonest, opportunistic, and ignorant does not in ANY way mean that we need to tolerate poor behavior from those who claim to be our allies, or that we should ignore such manifest poor behavior to focus exclusively on the issues that are most salient to you. That is a very cheap distraction tactic and no one is going to fall for it.

  30. StevoR says

    Bill Maher :

    Hate to defend #RushLimbaugh ..

    So, umm, Don’t!

    .. but he apologized,

    No. Rushed Windbag *notpologised* which is NOT the same thing. He regretted using a rude word to express his far uglier, more misogynistic sentiments. Rush didn’t get it & showed he still doesn’t. Not that there was much doubt of that anyhow.

    ..liberals looking bad not accepting.

    No, anyone accpeting Rush Windbags Not-pology looks stopid for thinking it was an actual apology. That would apparently be you, Mr Maher. Pity but more fool you.

    ..Also hate intimidation by sponsor pullout.

    Not intimidation, Maher, accountability and a disgusted public reaction which is both entirely understandable and entirely justified.

    Yeesh Bill Maher. For pity’s sake. So few words but so awfully much wrong.

  31. says

    I’m frequently willing to point out where sexism against men is rampant and unfair (and I get in trouble for doing it a lot), but Maher is just missing the point time after time in that video. He’s mistaking being civilized and polite as being “pussy-whipped”.

    Also: I just love his constant thing about sensitivity versus facts. They’re not mutually exclusive, but he sees it that way because they are to him, because he wouldn’t know sensitivity if it came and politely asked to bite him in the ass.

    I watched his show ages and ages ago but he started pissing me off so I stopped, and then he got worse and worse. He’s turning into a cranky old coot. “Damn wimmin’n’liberals, git off my lawn!”

  32. julian says

    Bah! I hated Bill Maher before it was cool.

    I’m ambivalent of most comedians, to much of comedy is wrapped up in exploiting stereotypes (don’t tell me they don’t believe what they’re saying. What makes it funny is that it’s true, right?) and demeaning others but Bill Maher’s routines don’t even cleverly combine his politics with humor. It’s an hour of condescending lecturing punctuated by the occasional poor joke entirely unrelated to what he’s talking about.

    He’s what I call a ‘label’ liberal. (I think most people are. I was a ‘label’ liberal too and arguably still am.) It isn’t about the reasons or the actual work that needs to be done. It’s about the brand name. He’s a liberal ™. He supports women’s rights. He opposes wars in the Middle East. He’s all for a better science education.

    But what makes a liberal? What policies (social and government) would aid in women’s rights? When is intervention in foreign countries legitimate and how much deference do we show to their traditions? What is a good science education?

    I’m not going to pretend I could answer any of those questions in great detail but (I hope) I could at least keep my personal day to day actions consistent to my stated goals, objections and political ideology even if I couldn’t write a best seller about any of them. Maher won’t even do that much.

  33. TJL says

    Ok, there’s lots of reasons to dislike Maher. His stance on vaccinations. His mockumentary which was completely unfactual (I’m an atheist and it just made me shake my head). The smug little smirk he always has. But calling him a women hater is complete bs. Not once in that video did bill ever say that women don’t deserve the same rights as a man. Not once did he say that a women’s place was at home with the children and in the kitchen. Nothing he said was even remotely bad as what female comedians say about men. Why is it sexist for maher to say that men have become pussies but its completely ok for women on talk shows to praise another women for cutting off her husbands penis for asking for a divorce. Double standards are a bitch

  34. says

    But calling him a women hater is complete bs.

    Who said that? Rather, we called him a misogynist. It’s really quite different, as I’m sure you’ll no doubt come to understand when you read and internalize this link!

    Not once in that video did bill ever say that women don’t deserve the same rights as a man. Not once did he say that a women’s place was at home with the children and in the kitchen. Nothing he said was even remotely bad as what female comedians say about men.

    How overt must the misogyny be to count, then, TJL?

    Why is it sexist for maher to say that men have become pussies

    a) it presumes gender roles require men to be toxicly self-destructively stoic when doing so undermines everything about us men that makes us human
    b) it equates not being toxicly self-destructive with being a woman
    c) it equates being a woman with being a woman’s genitals
    d) it does all of the above in a way to tell women that being like them is a bad thing

    but its completely ok for women on talk shows to praise another women for cutting off her husbands penis for asking for a divorce.

    Nobody said that was “completely okay”. Nobody even said “acceptable”. In fact, nobody even mentioned those odious incidents. You’re bringing them up to score rhetorical points over some rather immoral snickering by the unprivileged over someone who is privileged having the piece of anatomy through which his privilege was granted him, as though these people snickering over it represent anyone but themselves. Mutilating someone over a disagreement is fucking unconscionable, and I seriously doubt you’ll find any dissent from that assertion on this board. So, you have exactly one comment to explain why you think anyone here thinks otherwise, and failing that, get the boot.

    Double standards are a bitch

    Can anti-feminists ever go a single comment without a sexist slur? I didn’t think so. At least you didn’t go for the slightly-coded “hysterical”!

  35. eurosid says

    If you actually read Rush’s statement, it is clearly NOT an apology. It’s not even close. But facts haven’t stopped Maher before, why should they now?

  36. says

    [Why 'men have become pussies' is sexist]

    a) it presumes gender roles require men to be toxicly self-destructively stoic when doing so undermines everything about us men that makes us human
    b) it equates not being toxicly self-destructive with being a woman
    c) it equates being a woman with being a woman’s genitals
    d) it does all of the above in a way to tell women that being like them is a bad thing

    I don’t ever use that sort of language, so I’m not an apologist in the sense that I’d like to defend my own use of it. However I don’t fully agree (‘Yes, but’) with your assessment and would like to say why.

    I think a) is right. It does assume a ‘right way’ to ‘be a man’ and that really does seem to me to be sexist, just as if we were to say that the ‘right way’ to be a woman is to ‘follow your emotions’ or something.

    As for b), I really don’t see how it equates not being like that with ‘being a woman’, at least not explicitly. I suppose that b) relies on c). If a pussy is a woman, then you’re right about b). Either way, ‘toxicly self-destructive’ seems like a bad thing (to say the least) and wouldn’t it be to the credit of women to say that they aren’t like that?

    c) is the one I disagree with the most. I don’t see how saying ‘men have become pussies’ in any way suggests that a woman is the same as a woman’s genitals. I can’t discover that anywhere in the sentence ‘men have become pussies’. I don’t even think that it makes sense. After all, if a woman is identical to a woman’s genitals, then those genitals belong to a woman’s genitals, or ‘the genitals of the genitals of the genitals of…’ ad infinitum! This may seem like a small matter, but I don’t see how something could mean something that doesn’t make logical sense, since you could have no clear conception of what that thing could be.

    d) is true if b) and c) is true (and if we believe that ‘pussy’ is used as a derogatory term, which I do), so given that I disagree with c), I also disagree with d).

    Anyway, regarding the main issue at hand, I don’t see why this latest thing from Rush Limbaugh should surprise anyone anyway. It seems to me to fit completely with his character and he’s said so many dumb things I don’t see why anybody is especially outraged about this latest one. That isn’t to criticise those who want to criticise him – I just personally wasn’t surprised.

    Even though I quite like Maher (although I obviously wouldn’t see him as any kind of intellectual role-model), I think that tweet was wrong, since I don’t think refusing to accept an ‘apology’ like that makes liberals look bad at all!

  37. Andrew Ryan says

    Notung, I’ll respond to that as succinctly as I can.

    Calling someone a pussy generally means you think he’s lost his ‘manliness’, or become more like a woman. This denotes three things.

    1) Being more like a woman’s genitals is shorthand for being more like the woman – i.e “equates being a woman with being a woman’s genitals”; and
    2) It stereotypes women with certain negative attributes (that men were taking on) and
    3) It suggest being more like a woman is a bad thing.

    Nothing more complicated than that.

    Come up with your own equivalent of it and imagine how offensive it would be. eg, “Gentiles have become all hook-nosed”, to denote that non-Jewish people have become mean with money. It would be multiply offensive as it would a) reduce Jews to a physical stereotype; b) repeat a stereotype about Jewish behaviour; and c) assert that being Jewish was intrinsically a bad thing.

  38. says

    That’s all very well, and I accept that it can be an implicit reference to ‘women’, and that is probably where the word ‘pussy’ came from.

    What I don’t agree with is that someone who utters ‘men have become pussies’ necessarily agrees with b), c) or d). They could simply be using the word as a coarse way of saying ‘coward’ or ‘wimp’, which wouldn’t imply that the person using the word had any such beliefs about women. The word may have gained that meaning from the association with sexist stereotypes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone using the word agrees with those sexist stereotypes.

    The difference with ‘hook-nosed’ is that the term is unlikely to be used in a non-anti-semitic way, but it is possible that the meaning of the word could evolve in such a way as to allow somebody to use it in such a way. You could still point out that the word’s meaning came from anti-semitism, but I don’t think that it would mean that this hypothetical person in the future would necessarily be an anti-semite.

    What about saying “Oh, God!”? One could argue that “God” means the big man in the sky, and surely one could only appeal to God if they believed in God’s existence. We therefore conclude that anyone who utters “Oh, God!” is a theist. Is that not the same reasoning? The word has such-and-such an original meaning. If someone uses the word, we may analyse the meaning of their whole utterance in terms of that word’s meaning, and discover what that person believes based on our analysis.

  39. Andrew Ryan says

    “They could simply be using the word as a coarse way of saying ‘coward’ or ‘wimp’”

    Then they should be more careful and aware about the language they use. I’m sure some white fools go around using the n-word in a pejorative fashion with no actual racist intent.just because they’ve heard it a lot, but those people are idiots.

  40. says

    I think those white fools are foolish to say such things because the racist connotations are well-documented and there is no sense, yet, in which the word can be used without those connotations (a bit like my response to the Jewish example).

    I think in the case of ‘pussy’ it (at least in the UK) is often used to mean the sex-neutral ‘coward’ or ‘wimp’, and has evolved such a sense (albeit from the original SexisSpeak). I don’t use the word, but I never really think it to be sexist when other people use it. Even if they are careless with language, it still undermines the idea that they are themselves racist/sexist, or are ‘being racist/sexist’. They are just being careless with language.

  41. LeftSidePositive says

    So, Notung, who exactly are you to unilaterally declare that “pussy” has been officially divorced from all sexual connotation? Seems a lot more like wishful thinking on your part.

    Let’s make this clear: the REASON “pussy” means “coward” or “wimp” is that our culture perceives women to be less brave and less strong than men.

    And, just because someone isn’t CONSCIOUSLY being racist or sexist, does NOT mean that they’ve not internalized a lot of racist and sexist cultural attitudes.

    Moreover, I think it is more important that we actually address systemic issues of racism and sexism, than it is that we protect any privileged white males from even being *confronted* with the possibility that they might be racist and/or sexist.

  42. Andrew Ryan says

    “I think in the case of ‘pussy’ it (at least in the UK) is often used to mean the sex-neutral ‘coward’”

    Mate, I’m a Brit too. It’s very rare to hear anyone in the UK use the word ‘pussy’ in any context outside of Mrs Slocombe’s cat. It’s seen as an Americanism, like saying ‘pissed’ to mean ‘angry’. People don’t even use it to refer to a woman’s private parts, in my experience, unless they’re deliberately aiming for a double entendre.

    “They are just being careless with language”

    That still makes Bill Maher a fucking idiot! Just as much as if he ‘carelessly’ used the n-word.

  43. LeftSidePositive says

    @Andrew Ryan: YAY “Are You Being Served?” reference!!!

    I’m American, but I grew up watching that show!

    Happy times.

  44. says

    So, Notung, who exactly are you to unilaterally declare that “pussy” has been officially divorced from all sexual connotation? Seems a lot more like wishful thinking on your part.

    I’m not arguing from authority here (and I’m not an authority anyway). I’m saying that some uses of the word are not sexist and therefore not all uses of the word are sexist. That’s not a ‘unilateral divorce’ and doesn’t seem like wishful thinking to me, since I’ve experienced many people use the word in such a way. Why would I be wishfully thinking that anyway, given that I (as I mentioned) never use the word myself?

    Let’s make this clear: the REASON “pussy” means “coward” or “wimp” is that our culture perceives women to be less brave and less strong than men.

    Which I not only agree with, but I also stated it myself in my previous comment. It comes from sexism. It just isn’t (necessarily) sexist now.

    And, just because someone isn’t CONSCIOUSLY being racist or sexist, does NOT mean that they’ve not internalized a lot of racist and sexist cultural attitudes.

    Quite right. I’m not claiming they’re not sexist, I’m claiming that we cannot tell merely from their use of the word that they are.

    Moreover, I think it is more important that we actually address systemic issues of racism and sexism, than it is that we protect any privileged white males from even being *confronted* with the possibility that they might be racist and/or sexist.

    I think that’s a false framing of my comments. Of course racism and sexism should be addressed. I’m not claiming for a second that ‘privileged white males’ (heaven knows why you would think that I’m only talking about them) shouldn’t be confronted if they are sexist or racist. I’m saying that anybody of whatever economic background, race or gender can use a word like ‘pussy’ and not be sexist.

  45. julian says

    I’m saying that anybody of whatever economic background, race or gender can use a word like ‘pussy’ and not be sexist.

    Yeah and I’m sure people who frequently demean men who act girly by telling them to ‘stop acting so gay’ are totally acting without any influence of sexism, homophobia or harmful gender stereotypes.

  46. says

    Yeah and I’m sure people who frequently demean men who act girly by telling them to ‘stop acting so gay’ are totally acting without any influence of sexism, homophobia or harmful gender stereotypes.

    I don’t think that and I don’t think it follows from what I’ve said. The reason I think ‘pussy’ isn’t necessarily sexist is precisely because it is sometimes used as a synonym for ‘coward’. I can’t think of a similar reason for ‘gay’ (in that context) to not be homophobic.

  47. julian says

    I can’t think of a similar reason for ‘gay’ (in that context) to not be homophobic.

    But your arguments still apply to it.

    Here gay could be taken to mean feminine or girly with about the same confidence you could take pussy to mean cowardly or weak in ‘liberals have become such pussies.’ Gay often is used a synonym for bad, girlish or homosexual-like much like pussy is often a synonym for coward.

    If the use of gay I gave carries some homophobic undertones, why wouldn’t ‘liberals need to stop being pussies.’

  48. says

    Oh I see what you mean – good point. Well I’d bite the bullet and say that that if ‘gay’ was used purely as a synonym for ‘girly’ or ‘feminine’ then it would be sexist and not homophobic.

    However, I think in almost all cases (but I could be wrong about this) when someone says ‘gay’ to mean ‘girly’ they do so because they think gay people are ‘girly’ which is ‘bad’.

    I don’t think it is inconsistent to say that it happens practically every time with ‘gay’ and not every time with ‘pussy’ (although I don’t know exactly how much; twentysomething-UK-perspective-anecdotally I’d say hardly ever). The apparent inconsistency only reflects how differently we treat different words.

  49. says

    The larger issue I think julian is trying to point to, though, is the fact that these “weak” characteristics are somehow associated with femininity. That “gay” is a way of saying “girly” and that saying “girly” is a way of saying “weak and unmasculine” pretty much proves the thesis. The gender roles underlying man-ness and woman-ness proscribe these traits to all members of the set, and people are shamed for stepping out of those traits.

    A woman who acts assertive, bossy, aggressive, is a “bitch”.

    A man who acts sensitive, passive, indecisive, is a “pussy”.

    Note the genders on both insults, remembering that “pussy” comes from the slang for vagina in North America, and the use of “pussy” to mean “coward” in the UK is an import from the States, for a little bit of an idea how we got to where we are.

  50. julian says

    However, I think in almost all cases (but I could be wrong about this) when someone says ‘gay’ to mean ‘girly’ they do so because they think gay people are ‘girly’ which is ‘bad’.

    And, as has been pointed out to you, the same is essentially true of pussy. Those who frequently use pussy do so because they view that which is womanly and feminine as being unconfrontational, meek and weak. This is all ‘bad’ for the same reasons assuming gays are somehow girly.

    This is especially true when the conversation is about being aggressive or when the participants wish to be seen as tough. One reason why they are quick to point out we not only need to ‘stop being pussies’ but also need to ‘grow a pair and man up.’

  51. says

    Jason – I don’t think there’s anything you said there that I’d disagree with.

    julian – That is what I’m denying. I’m not denying that it’s sometimes the case, I’m just saying that it isn’t always the case (or in my experience not usually the case.

    The reason I’m pursuing this issue is that there’s a danger of hearing someone utter a particular insult and thinking they’re sexist/racist/homophobic/ableist when they might not be. It seems like every year I find out that some familiar insult ‘really means’ something terribly offensive that makes anyone who uses it a terrible person, whether they had this ‘real meaning’ in mind at the time or not. It is one of the reasons I try not to ever call people names – just in case I later discover that this ‘means I’m a racist’ or something like that (the other, more important reason I don’t insult people or call them names is that doing so is destructive to rational discourse).

    I remember at school seeing someone scolded for saying “Cor, blimey!” because apparently that ‘really means’ “God, blind me!” and we don’t want that! I remember thinking “wouldn’t God know that they don’t actually want to be blinded and therefore not blind them?”

  52. LeftSidePositive says

    I’m saying that some uses of the word are not sexist.

    AND YOU DO NOT GET TO UNILATERALLY DECLARE THIS. You are utterly wrong in your belief that this word can be stated in a way without sexist underpinnings, and what you have tried to claim is “non-sexist” usage is actually usage where the sexist undertones are still very much present, as many have tried to explain to you, but in a more pervasive, culturally-saturated, subconscious-assumption-driven way. The fact that you do not comprehend the sexist nature of these uses of gendered insults does not mean that they are not sexist; it means that your understanding of sexism is woefully simplistic.

    doesn’t seem like wishful thinking to me, since I’ve experienced many people use the word in such a way.

    No you haven’t. You’ve experienced people use the word in a way where gender was not the *foremost* issue in their conscious thought, but the sexist baggage associated with the word and why it is insulting is embedded in its usage and the stereotypes it is meant to connote. There is literally no other meaning for “pussy” as cowardly that does not depend on a pejorative attitude toward women, and using this language fundamentally reinforces this attitude for the speaker, the listener, and our culture in general, even if they are not consciously thinking of women when they say it. The vast majority of sexism in modern society is the result of unquestioned subconscious assumptions and a worldview that is irrationally divided up into restrictive gender roles, and a word like “pussy” reinforces that.

    Why would I be wishfully thinking that anyway, given that I (as I mentioned) never use the word myself?

    Because you have a massive case of unexamined privilege and a whopping just-world fallacy, which leads you to be more likely to cling to your assumptions than to critically examine them and realize that the world is not as comfortable for those who do not have the social advantages you do and who are actually affected by this language and the set of attitudes it implies.

    It just isn’t (necessarily) sexist now.

    Again, someone with your level of ignorance on this subject is not in any way qualified to make this assessment, ESPECIALLY because this does not demean your demographic or lived experience. For you to presume to speak for others who ARE maligned by this language, and declare that it doesn’t mean what they know it means–BECAUSE THEY ACTUALLY LIVE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES–is self-entitled and callous in the extreme.

    I’m not claiming they’re not sexist, I’m claiming that we cannot tell merely from their use of the word that they are.

    And you need to stop right now with the essentialist bullshit. It is utterly irrelevant what someone *IS* as the essence of their personhood or whatever, and anyway we can’t possibly know this because we can’t see into someone’s head. Sexism is a system of CULTURAL attitudes and behaviors that privileges maleness over femaleness and restricts persons to certain styles of gender performance. Any ACTION that reinforces these attitudes is sexist and needs to be called out, regardless of whether the label “sexist” applies to the whole person doing the action. Even if someone were otherwise perfectly egalitarian and well-meaning, if he (and it is usually, but not exclusively, “he”) does something that espouses problematic sexual politics, he needs to be called out on his sexist behavior/speech, regardless of whether he or we think at his “essence” or somesuch that he *IS* sexist. Now, there are some people in this world who are so flagrant and repetitious in their sexist actions that it is fair to label them as sexist people, but this is by far the minority. The vast, vast majority of sexist behavior is the result of subtle discrimination or othering by those who likely have some unquestioned assumptions about the world but have no idea that they are perpetuating disadvantages or harmful stereotypes.

    I’m not claiming for a second that ‘privileged white males’ (heaven knows why you would think that I’m only talking about them)

    Um, maybe because everything you’ve written is dripping with unexamined privilege and a generally unthinking attitude toward the experiences of those who are different from you?

    shouldn’t be confronted if they are sexist or racist.

    Again–essentialism! They should be confronted if they engage in sexist or racist ACTIONS, regardless of what you think they “are.”

    I’m saying that anybody of whatever economic background, race or gender can use a word like ‘pussy’ and not be sexist.

    AND YOU ARE WRONG. We are telling you, right now, that this term is loaded with overt gender-based marginalization which are intrinsic to its meaning and usage, and that its use perpetuates both harmful stereotypes and sexist social norms, and as such it is irresponsible to use it, both because of the attitudes it reinforces in oneself and others when you use it, and because its use sets the example for one’s peer group that these attitudes are acceptable and mainstream. Again, it is irrelevant whether or not you believe the PERSON is “sexist”–it’s the USE OF THE WORD that is sexist, and needs to stop.

  53. says

    LeftSidePositive – I disagree with pretty much everything you said. I see we have different theories of meaning and different approaches to solving philosophical problems. I’ll try not to let my ‘unexamined privileged’ drip onto anything else that might offend you. Perhaps it is best if I leave it at that…

  54. LeftSidePositive says

    And if your “theories of meaning” and “approaches to solving philosophical problems” actually had any validity, you could competently defend them instead of sulking off in a snit.

    A responsible skeptic, when challenged on one’s views, does not “leave it at that,” but rather critically examines what one believes in order to incorporate new knowledge and arrive at a more accurate view of the world.

  55. says

    Sorry, it wasn’t a sulk, I was trying to stop you from getting too angry. I’m perfectly happy to defend anything I say – though it would probably be better if you didn’t add in the attacks on my character – a character you have absolutely no idea about and never will. That would help the discussion to stay rational without trying to score some cheap points by engaging in ad hominem-style argumentation (I don’t mean the related logical fallacy).

    Have I made myself clear? Good.

    So – firstly you claim that the sexism is subconscious and ‘many people have explained this to me’. Yes they have, but they haven’t convinced me. It is one thing to make an assertion, and another to back it up with evidence strong enough to convince the person you are speaking to. It might be subconscious, but the burden of proof is on you to show that it always is. That is the issue at hand!

    You then say I have ‘privilege’. I’d say an argument is sound regardless of whether the person making it has the mystical property of ‘privilege’. There are some other personal attacks in that paragraph that really don’t have a place in rational discourse.

    You say that I’m trying to ‘speak for’ people who ‘maligned by’ ‘pussy’ and tell them what ‘pussy’ means. Firstly I don’t think it is the case that the recipients of certain words have some special intuition (unavailable to everyone else) as to the meaning of those words. Secondly I am not saying it is always non-sexist, just sometimes! That is very very important and I keep having to state it because I think people think that I’m claiming that ‘pussy’ is never sexist. I’m not.

    You attack my ‘essentialism’. That’s a rather unusual use of the term – I’d say that a sexist person is one whose beliefs include propositions sufficient for sexism. ‘Sexist’ is not an entity in itself but a partial description of the beliefs of a particular kind of entity – a person. I think that is plausible.

    You seem to espouse a behaviourist position. If I am an employer and I hire 10 women for 10 positions, my actions suggest that I only hire women. You would have to claim that I was sexist, regardless of whether I hired 10 women because they were women or not. On my view, it does matter. If my beliefs did not include some proposition that it is better to hire women for the role, my view allows for the fact that my hiring 10 women was not actually sexist.

    Another strength of my view over yours is that if only actions matter, then someone who believes that ‘women belong in the kitchen’ is only a sexist if they act on it – for example by saying it. If they keep quiet, you would have to conclude they weren’t sexist! That seems rather problematic. On my view, their beliefs are significant and the person in question would really be sexist; that seems more intuitive, at least to me. But then apparently I’m ‘privileged’ so what would I know? (sorry, just once – I couldn’t resist!)

    Ok, next bit. ‘Privilege’ again, and apparently I can’t think about anything if it involves people different to me. Christians tell me the same thing – if only I wasn’t so closed off to the truth… Perhaps you and your Christian comrades-in-logic have a point.

    ‘Essentialism’ again. See above.

    You conclude with a glorious assertion lasting a whole paragraph, starting with “YOU ARE WRONG!” and ending with the wonderfully question-begging “it’s the USE OF THE WORD that is sexist, and needs to stop.” I don’t know what to say other than that is what I am denying. I have offered reasons, some logical and some empirical for why I believe that a denial of the idea that ‘pussy’ is always sexist in every single use of the word is justified. I don’t know what else I can do.

  56. julian says

    It might be subconscious, but the burden of proof is on you to show that it always is.

    I doubt anyone made the argument sexism is always subconscious though I don’t see how you can deny that it often can be. Most forms of bigotry are not overt and most people that hold (or have been influenced by bigoted views) don’t announce it.

    (I’m reminded of a certain blogger arguing that ‘we know we aren’t x’ and immediately thinking about all those people I’ve met who deny being homophobic in the same sentence they insist gays are by their nature evil.)

    Most people consider themselves free of bigotry or at least mostly untouched by it. And yet we have the Republican War on women, modesty enforcers in Pakistan and India, sustained efforts to keep marriage unequal, gay bashing ectectect.

    And then there are the people who will insist there is nothing wrong with interracial marriage but freak if their Korean daughter brings home a black kid from the Bronx. Or that their white son just brought home a Pakistani boy his age.

    All of this is somehow all caused wholly by conscious thoughts and decisions?

    I’d say an argument is sound regardless of whether the person making it has the mystical property of ‘privilege’.

    Read Sexing the Body. It doesn’t directly deal with the concept of privilege but it will give you several very clear instances where privilege blinds us from realizing our hidden assumptions and shoddy thinking.

    That is very very important and I keep having to state it because I think people think that I’m claiming that ‘pussy’ is never sexist.

    We know what you are saying. We’re saying the situations you believe to be free of any sexist connotations or implications aren’t.

    Situations like when pussy is used to mean coward.

  57. LeftSidePositive says

    I was trying to stop you from getting too angry.

    Are you aware that accusing outspoken women of “getting too angry” is a classic derailing technique?

    Your usage of this term is unbelievably sexist, especially when my tone has been clear, direct, and well-backed up with descriptions of my position and explanations of why your interpretations are mistaken.

    (This, of course, is totally irrelevant to whether or not YOU are sexist–frankly, I don’t care what you “are.” I just want your gender-based marginalization to stop.)

    though it would probably be better if you didn’t add in the attacks on my character – a character you have absolutely no idea about and never will.

    I’m not “attacking your character.” I’m showing you that your BEHAVIOR is deeply problematic, and that your opinions are misinformed. Don’t try to wrap up your opinion of your “character” as an excuse for your poor behavior and lackluster debating skills in this instance.

    That would help the discussion to stay rational

    Considering I have provided vastly more support for why my position on sexist usage of words is the case, rather than your haplessly repeating “but it’s not necessarily sexist!” “but this word is different!” and little else, I think you’re way out of line to try to claim you’re the anchor of rationality in this discussion. Furthermore, claiming “rationality” to shut down the opinion of a less-privileged group who is trying to communicate why your behavior is hurtful is unbelievably patronizing, and reinforces the privileged person’s sense of entitlement that how ze views the world is “normal” and “rational” and then any deviation from this is implied to be “less-than.” Seriously–not okay.

    without trying to score some cheap points

    Again, demeaning the point of view of those who criticize your privileged behavior–especially with a very thorough description of why what you are doing is problematic!–is very callous and unacceptable.

    So – firstly you claim that the sexism is subconscious and ‘many people have explained this to me’. Yes they have, but they haven’t convinced me.

    I think this has a hell of a lot more to do with your resistance to considering others’ points of view, especially as I and others have tried to enlighten you with analogies, examples, social consequences, etc., etc., whereas you have just repeated your asinine assertions.

    You do realize this is the same retort common among creationists, don’t you?!

    It is one thing to make an assertion, and another to back it up with evidence strong enough to convince the person you are speaking to.

    If I had any idea that I was dealing with someone so unbelievably privilege-denying as to be completely unaware of the concept of subconscious sexism, I would have been happy to link farm for you. Since you have now made your ignorance so shockingly apparent, here you go:

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/v6204116h3k45494/

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-6402.2004.00140.x/abstract

    http://indignantfeministrants.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/theres-nothing-benign-about-benevolent-sexism/

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/01/31/if-it-looks-like-a-compliment-and-sounds-like-a-compliment-is-it-really-a-compliment/

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2044-8295.2011.02086.x/abstract

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/lrvq6056447695p2/

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-leadership/for-women-in-business-the-squeaky-wheel-doesnt-get-the-grease/2012/01/09/gIQAGRuqlP_story.html?tid=sm_twitter_washingtonpost

    http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1997-04-28/news/9704250139_1_vienna-philharmonic-orchestra-auditions-harpist

    http://www.catalyst.org/publication/292/cascading-gender-biases-compounding-effects-an-assessment-of-talent-management-systems

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1559-1816.1992.tb00985.x/abstract

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/m43524751tj81606/

    http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/apl/79/6/909/

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103198913737

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/m7225317781257j7/

    It might be subconscious, but the burden of proof is on you to show that it always is. That is the issue at hand!

    No. We have provided quite a bit of supporting evidence for our assertions, meanwhile you have provided none. Moreover, can you at least recognize that you seem pretty damn ridiculous when we say “Here is a common phenomenon of subconscious attitudes…” and you say “but I know these attitudes don’t exist for my friends because I don’t see it!”? How exactly have you countered the well-established phenomenon that subconscious attitudes exist? How have you differentiated your refusal to see sexist undertones from the very common tendency of these attitudes to be subconscious?

    You then say I have ‘privilege’. I’d say an argument is sound regardless of whether the person making it has the mystical property of ‘privilege’.

    No–I have also clarified for you in other parts of my comment why your inability to see pretty obvious sexist undertones is not in any way compelling evidence that they’re not there. I have further expanded on this to explain to you that your privilege is what is leading you to this fallacious thinking. Your argument is not invalid because you have privilege–your argument is invalid because it is laughably simplistic, ignores abundant historical influences and mountains of social science research. It just happens to be your privilege that justifies you in engaging in such poor reasoning.

    There are some other personal attacks in that paragraph that really don’t have a place in rational discourse.

    Again, totally unacceptable demeaning of those who have presented you with valid and necessary criticism of your attitudes.

    Firstly I don’t think it is the case that the recipients of certain words have some special intuition (unavailable to everyone else) as to the meaning of those words.

    Really? REALLY??? You have got to be kidding me. The fact that people experience blatant and pervasive discrimination as a result of these words, the fact that these words are used to exclude them, demean them, and justify harassment against them, does not provide them with a deeper insight?

    Secondly I am not saying it is always non-sexist, just sometimes! That is very very important and I keep having to state it because I think people think that I’m claiming that ‘pussy’ is never sexist. I’m not.

    You are pulling what PZ calls the Brine Shrimp Gambit.

    WE KNOW you are saying “pussy” is only “sometimes” “non-sexist.” We have been very clear to say that even your assertion of “sometimes” IS STILL WRONG. We have shown you that the situations you think deserve an exemption are actually indicative of the same problematic attitudes, just sublimated. These subtly-sexist attitudes that you want to make okay “sometimes” ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.

    You attack my ‘essentialism’. That’s a rather unusual use of the term

    I don’t think you understand what essentialism means. I did not say YOU were essentialist–I said you were engaging in “essentialist bullshit.” This means you are conflating what someone does with who someone is. Here, a primer:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WSbcd4zYak

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0Ti-gkJiXc

    – I’d say that a sexist person is one whose beliefs include propositions sufficient for sexism.

    We’re not talking about sexist people–we’re talking about sexist actions. And, when you say “sufficient,” you are basically admitting that you are willing to sweep a certain amount of problematic behavior under the rug if it doesn’t meet your arbitrary threshold. And, who are you to say someone’s beliefs are “sufficiently” sexist? If someone promotes a man over an equally- or more-qualified woman, but is otherwise very respectful to women, he is doing harm and he needs to be held accountable for that. It doesn’t matter to the woman who was discriminated against whether that was “sufficient” to reflect on his character–it matters that she was discriminated against.

    ‘Sexist’ is not an entity in itself but a partial description of the beliefs of a particular kind of entity – a person.

    Says who? This is in blatant opposition to the vast majority of social science on how systemic sexism operates, and who are you to just make this totally unsubstantiated assertion? What evidence have you provided that sexism cannot apply to discrete behaviors but must be a description of a person’s beliefs?

    Are you not aware that people are complicated? That someone can do something that is ego-dystonic or that people can hold multiple contradictory beliefs? That beliefs may drive actions in multiple directions? That it doesn’t matter whether actions are a huge part of someone’s being or a minor part–to the person who is affected by those actions?

    You seem to espouse a behaviourist position. If I am an employer and I hire 10 women for 10 positions, my actions suggest that I only hire women.

    First off, how is this in any way relevant to anything we’re discussing? Also–problem of induction. Also–problem of small sample size.

    You would have to claim that I was sexist,

    NO NO NO NO FUCKING HELL NO!!! I DON’T GIVE A SHIT whether this person “is sexist.” THAT DOES NOT FUCKING MATTER. Why the fuck can’t you see that?! I’ve already explained why your essentialist bullshit is tripping you up–why didn’t you get it the first time??

    I care if THIS PARTICULAR ACTION was sexist. I care if there were qualified men that were passed over. I care if any of the hiring or interviewing practices disproportionately favored one gender. Did ze only advertise the positions in certain magazines? Did ze use nepotism-based hiring practices? Did ze use gendered language when I placed the ad? (I also care if there are cultural biases leading vastly more women to obtain an education in the discipline for which he’s hired these employees, but that is a fact of systemic sexism for which I would critique our culture, not the employer).

    regardless of whether I hired 10 women because they were women or not.

    How do I know? How do YOU know? Am I supposed to take your word for it that you have a justification? Well, guess what? EVERYONE who does something harmful to others has a justification.

    I care if there is compelling evidence that your hiring practices disproportionately favor one group over another, and I care what you are doing to fix it.

    If my beliefs did not include some proposition that it is better to hire women for the role, my view allows for the fact that my hiring 10 women was not actually sexist.

    So I just have to take your word for it that you have good intentions? Fuck that, man! Also, there is TONS of cognitive neuroscience evidence that people may have subconscious beliefs and cultural biases. Are you not aware that someone need not espouse a belief explicitly for it to affect one’s behavior?!

    And, seriously, “my view allows for…”?!?! What the fuck is up with that? Your opinions allow you to justify things to yourself and ignore the implications and its effects on others? Big whoop. That neither strikes me as intellectually honest nor accountable.

    Another strength of my view over yours is that if only actions matter,

    I do not accept that premise. First of all, beliefs drive actions. Second, actions may be subtle and for that premise to work, you are highly likely to try to ignore a wide variety of actions that do not conform to your worldview. Third, choices are probabilistic–it matters to me (and to society) whether you are more likely to choose A over B in one situation or another, and this has huge macro effects in terms of systemic discrimination, regardless of whether you think any particular choice is justified.

    then someone who believes that ‘women belong in the kitchen’ is only a sexist if they act on it – for example by saying it.

    You mean, like when someone says “pussy” to mean “coward”?!

    If they keep quiet, you would have to conclude they weren’t sexist!

    This is a ridiculous false dichotomy. You seriously just tried to conflate a “for example” with “this is a necessary condition.” Weak argumentation, man! Very weak. There are tons of other ways BESIDES saying “women belong in the kitchen” to act on it, and to have it negatively affect women–a person could only ask his female colleagues to get him coffee, he could be passive-aggressive to his wife or girlfriend if dinner isn’t ready, he could refuse to help with housework, he could ignore the professional contributions of his female colleagues, he could be hostile to women appearing in the political scene, and on and on and on.

    Moreover, you are failing to allow for him acting in these ways without realizing it because he does not want to admit to himself that he holds this belief, or that his belief was so ingrained by his culture that he does not notice it.

    And, for the millionth time, I DON’T CARE whether he is or isn’t sexist. I care about what he DOES.

    On my view, their beliefs are significant and the person in question would really be sexist;

    Oh, yay! More essentialist thinking!! And another thing–you’re strawmanning. You’re changing “people may hold beliefs of which they are not aware so we must judge actions” to “only actions matter so we can’t evaluate conscious beliefs.” Not even CLOSE to the same position. Moreover, everyone here has already agreed that conscious embrace of sexism DOES reflect on the person, but we’re trying to tell you that it is ALSO true that someone can have unconscious beliefs or act unintentionally and one still needs to be held accountable for their actions.

    But then apparently I’m ‘privileged’ so what would I know? (sorry, just once – I couldn’t resist!)

    You know, it might really help you to actually learn a little bit about what “privileged” actually means, so you don’t come off like a totally ignorant asshat whenever you try to talk about it?

    Christians tell me the same thing – if only I wasn’t so closed off to the truth… Perhaps you and your Christian comrades-in-logic have a point.

    Wow–this would be a totally compelling argument, if only it accounted for the massive differences in behavioral science research documenting subconscious biases and self-reinforcing beliefs versus taking something on faith, plus a thorough socio-economic model for how and why people like you close themselves off to the truth, not to mention abundant economic, historical, linguistic, psychological, and political science evidence about what the truth is rather than “it was written in a book 2000+ years ago.” In other words, your analogy is bullshit.

    You conclude with a glorious assertion lasting a whole paragraph, starting with “YOU ARE WRONG!”

    You are trying to imply that a point of emphasis is an argument, when instead it is rather obviously intended to emphasize (you know, what with being a point of emphasis and all!) an argument that had already been made multiple times in my comment and others.

    Also, it would be great if you would actually address the argument about reinforcing social stereotypes and setting social norms. Do you agree with this? Do you disagree? Do you have any questions about the premise? Do you have any other plausible explanation for how stereotypes come to be or how social norms are established? Do you need us to rehash the basics of these concepts?

    and ending with the wonderfully question-begging “it’s the USE OF THE WORD that is sexist, and needs to stop.”

    I think you’re confusing the stating of a conclusion–which has been well-supported previously with descriptions of the effects of using a word, its implications, and its history–with begging a question.

    I don’t know what to say other than that is what I am denying.

    And you say WE’RE question-begging?! For fuck’s sake, get some perspective.

    I have offered reasons, some logical and some empirical for why I believe that a denial of the idea that ‘pussy’ is always sexist in every single use of the word is justified.

    WHERE? Seriously, I have re-read through everything you have posted on this entire thread, and I have not seen anything approaching a reason, other than a ridiculous argument-from-ignorance that “I don’t see how saying ‘men have become pussies’ in any way suggests that a woman is the same as a woman’s genitals”–seriously? Have you never heard of synechdoche?! And you’ve claimed that “pussy” only means “coward” in such a way that you have UTTERLY FAILED to address is a reinforcement of traditional gender marginalization that is still very much in effect today. And another thing: “I’ve seen this!” is in no way an empirical argument–it is anecdotal, at best, and totally fails to address the mechanism of subconscious influences that the rest of us are discussing. So, if you have made any other arguments–please paste them so we can discuss them, because I seriously have no idea to what “arguments” you’re even referring.

  58. says

    Well that was long. Trouble is, I’ve got to reply or else it’ll look like I’ve lost! Here goes…

    Your usage of this term ['angry'] is unbelievably sexist

    Four points. One – I didn’t know you were a woman. How could I tell from ‘LeftSidePositive’? Two – I believe one can accuse a woman (just as they can accuse anyone) of being angry without being sexist. It just seems obvious. Three – You really did (and do) seem angry. Four – I was explaining why I backed away slowly… so as not to provoke an even angrier response. I see it worked wonders. You accused me of sulking after all, so it demanded explanation, and that was the truth.

    Furthermore, claiming “rationality” to shut down the opinion of a less-privileged group

    No, I said that the discussion ought to be rational. I fail to see how making such a normative claim shuts down the opinion of anyone at all, let alone a ‘less-privileged group’!

    If I had any idea that I was dealing with someone so unbelievably privilege-denying as to be completely unaware of the concept of subconscious sexism…

    I admit I’m no expert in subconscious anything, let alone subconscious sexism. No matter, since I don’t deny its existence. My position is quite compatible with instances of subconscious sexism – as you should know since your next quote of mine is me saying exactly that!

    Moreover, can you at least recognize that you seem pretty damn ridiculous when we say “Here is a common phenomenon of subconscious attitudes…” and you say “but I know these attitudes don’t exist for my friends because I don’t see it!”? How exactly have you countered the well-established phenomenon that subconscious attitudes exist?

    I don’t say that. I say that I don’t think it is sexist when certain people say it but I might be wrong. I am claiming that you cannot tell simply because they utter ‘pussy’ meaning ‘coward’ that they have such a subconscious attitude. They might, granted. But we do not know in every case. That is my position in a nutshell.

    I have further expanded on this to explain to you that your privilege is what is leading you to this fallacious thinking. Your argument is not invalid because you have privilege–your argument is invalid because it is laughably simplistic, ignores abundant historical influences and mountains of social science research. It just happens to be your privilege that justifies you in engaging in such poor reasoning.

    So if your ‘privilege’ point is just to discuss why I might be arguing so badly, why bother with it at all? It seems irrelevant to question at hand, namely “Is someone who utters ‘pussy’ necessarily uttering something sexist?”. My privilege or no privilege doesn’t seem to bear on that question. Talking about my ‘privilege’ is changing the subject or derailing or whatever you’d like to call it. Let us stick to the matter at hand.

    The fact that people experience blatant and pervasive discrimination as a result of these words, the fact that these words are used to exclude them, demean them, and justify harassment against them, does not provide them with a deeper insight?

    I don’t think it makes anyone an authority, no. At least not on this question. They may be familiar with the word as it is used exactly in the sense used to attack them, but I don’t see how that means that they are in a position to rule out other possible uses.

    WE KNOW you are saying “pussy” is only “sometimes” “non-sexist.”

    Oh good, you know what my position is at least!

    These subtly-sexist attitudes that you want to make okay “sometimes” ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.

    …or maybe you don’t.

    I don’t think you understand what essentialism means. I did not say YOU were essentialist–I said you were engaging in “essentialist bullshit.” This means you are conflating what someone does with who someone is.

    I’m sorry, I study philosophy and I have never come across this definition. ‘Essentialism’ essentially(!) means the view that objects have essential properties. Your definition seems to be “you’re equating action and identity”. Yes I agree one shouldn’t think that action is the same identity. When I kick a ball, I am not the kicking of a ball!
    I’ll meet your YouTube commenters and raise you one SEP article. I’m not defending essentialism by the way, and I don’t think I’m committed to it.

    ["– I’d say that a sexist person is one whose beliefs include propositions sufficient for sexism."]

    We’re not talking about sexist people–we’re talking about sexist actions. And, when you say “sufficient,” you are basically admitting that you are willing to sweep a certain amount of problematic behavior under the rug if it doesn’t meet your arbitrary threshold. And, who are you to say someone’s beliefs are “sufficiently” sexist? [...] It doesn’t matter to the woman who was discriminated against whether that was “sufficient” to reflect on his character–it matters that she was discriminated against.

    So, here’s the thing. I’m trying to say that saying ‘pussy’ is not necessarily a sexist action. I’m happy to frame it either way – it doesn’t actually make a difference to my argument. You can’t tell a person is sexist or you can’t tell that they did something sexist, simply because they strung a certain five letters together.

    When I say “sufficient” I am not sweeping anything under a rug or setting an ‘arbitrary threshold’. What makes you think I am? If someone does anything at all that discriminates against men or women, they are being sexist. That is sufficient for their action to be sexist. Surely you’d agree with that? (I say ‘sufficient’ to contrast it with ‘necessary’ – these are terms used quite a lot in philosophy!)

    -["‘Sexist’ is not an entity in itself but a partial description of the beliefs of a particular kind of entity – a person."]

    Says who? This is in blatant opposition to the vast majority of social science on how systemic sexism operates, and who are you to just make this totally unsubstantiated assertion? What evidence have you provided that sexism cannot apply to discrete behaviors but must be a description of a person’s beliefs?

    Actually I’m giving a working definition…

    Are you not aware that people are complicated?

    That would support my position, yes.

    NO NO NO NO FUCKING HELL NO!!! I DON’T GIVE A SHIT whether this person “is sexist.” THAT DOES NOT FUCKING MATTER. Why the fuck can’t you see that?! I’ve already explained why your essentialist bullshit is tripping you up–why didn’t you get it the first time??

    *Starts to back away slowly…*

    So anyway, this section concerns my thought-experiment. I was trying to show that your position was implausible, given that if only actions count towards somebody being sexist (rather than propositional attitudes), then you end up with some rather problematic outcomes. I don’t really think you understood what my argument was really about.

    And, seriously, “my view allows for…”?!?! What the fuck is up with that? Your opinions allow you to justify things to yourself and ignore the implications and its effects on others? Big whoop. That neither strikes me as intellectually honest nor accountable.

    Sorry, that’s a common phrase in philosophy. “We both accept X. My view allows for X while yours doesn’t. We should therefore prefer my view to your view.”

    This is a ridiculous false dichotomy. You seriously just tried to conflate a “for example” with “this is a necessary condition.” Weak argumentation, man! Very weak. There are tons of other ways BESIDES saying “women belong in the kitchen” to act on it

    No conflation at all, I really don’t know where you got that from. “Saying it” is one way to act on it but there are others, of course. Hence why I said “for example”. If they do not perform any action that is sexist, it follows from your view that they are not sexist, even if they hold such nasty beliefs. I am saying that if we accept that propositional attitudes do not count, we are left with an absurdity. Just an ordinary reductio ad absurdum.

    You know, it might really help you to actually learn a little bit about what “privileged” actually means, so you don’t come off like a totally ignorant asshat whenever you try to talk about it?

    Well, I can look at a dictionary – I just did and turns out I was right about what it meant. It also turns out that I don’t have any of it, which is a shame. I’d quite like special rights and immunities.

    it would be great if you would actually address the argument about reinforcing social stereotypes and setting social norms. Do you agree with this? Do you disagree? Do you have any questions about the premise? Do you have any other plausible explanation for how stereotypes come to be or how social norms are established? Do you need us to rehash the basics of these concepts?

    Sorry I can’t actually find the argument. Could you set it out formally for me? That’s how I reason best. If you set it out, premises and conclusion (following logically from those premises) then it’ll really help me understand. Thanks in advance.

    I think you’re confusing the stating of a conclusion–which has been well-supported previously with descriptions of the effects of using a word, its implications, and its history–with begging a question.

    Begging the question, i.e. the answer we give to the question at hand is necessary for us to know this is true.

    ["I don’t know what to say other than that is what I am denying."]

    And you say WE’RE question-begging?! For fuck’s sake, get some perspective.

    I’m sorry, how is that question-begging? Obviously I’m just describing what I am doing.

    “I’ve seen this!” is in no way an empirical argument–it is anecdotal, at best, and totally fails to address the mechanism of subconscious influences that the rest of us are discussing. So, if you have made any other arguments–please paste them so we can discuss them, because I seriously have no idea to what “arguments” you’re even referring.

    Anecdotes are not empirical?! You mean we don’t experience our own anecdotes? Do we derive them from pure reason? Pure intuition?

    Anyway, post 42 especially my comments for b) and c), post 44 and elsewhere. I don’t argue against the existence of subconscious sexism because a) I don’t need to, b) I believe in it, and c) the burden of proof would be on you anyway.

    Sorry to everyone reading the thread for making the page load slightly slower, and making your scrollbar slightly smaller.

  59. says

    Notung, I just want to let you know that getting advice from John Greg et al might skew my opinion of you, but I really hope it doesn’t skew your opinion of me, considering John Greg and his posse were offered a chance to try to win me over and slapped it away.

    I want to like you because you seem to be genuinely trying to understand our respective positions, with the exception that you’ve been particularly obtuse on a number of similar topics. But if you keep talking to people who tell you that I’m just going to ban you for hanging out with them, I’m going to think that the well was long poisoned before I even got to it with my own vial of strychnine. Which is sad in a way.

    Here’s my argument, which I expect you should take into consideration since you agreed with everything I said in my last comment on this thread: if the words you use comprise part of an undercurrent of sexist thought that women in general have to contend with, unfairly, then perhaps you should rethink using those particular words. In the same way that the words “my nigger” effectively means “my compatriot and ally” in some contexts, you should probably not use it if you’re not black and talking to a fellow black person because otherwise, you’re contributing to the racist undercurrent that forms the substrata of most black folks’ lives. You likewise also shouldn’t call someone who exhibits signs of shirking the proscribed male gender roles a “pussy” because this usage reinforces the ideas that a) men should be “strong”, and b) being “weak” is a feminine trait, and c) anyone showing a trait not belonging to their physical gender should be shamed by being told they’re part of the wrong gender. Which d) has the side-effect of telling women that they’re weak.

    D) is the sexist part of using sexist slurs without any conscious sexism. It does not mean the person using those slurs is de facto sexist, but it does mean they’re contributing to the perpetuation of the memes that reinforce those slurs and the negative connotations against those underprivileged — e.g. the women in question.

    Get it?

  60. says

    and e) the whole “gender variance is de facto pejorative” thing, also.

    So… yeah, misogyny (traditional sexism, enforced by female anatomy implying weakness, and the implication that a man to “stray” towards femaleness suggests inferiority) as well as binarism (oppositional sexism, the insistence that everyone stay in their little corrals).

  61. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Notung #65

    You lost my respect with your second sentence:

    Trouble is, I’ve got to reply or else it’ll look like I’ve lost!

    That’s pure passive-aggressiveness. You’re effectively saying, “Oh no, if I don’t respond to this shrieking harpy, then I forfeit my he-man cred. What will The Guys™ think?”

    I was explaining why I backed away slowly… so as not to provoke an even angrier response. I see it worked wonders.

    Is the passive-aggressive stance your default? Because it continues in your next exchange:

    Furthermore, claiming “rationality” to shut down the opinion of a less-privileged group

    No, I said that the discussion ought to be rational. I fail to see how making such a normative claim shuts down the opinion of anyone at all, let alone a ‘less-privileged group’!

    You’ve just accused LeftSidePositive of being irrational. There is a difference between being angry, which she obviously is, and being irrational, which she obviously isn’t.

    You might want to seriously reconsider your debating style because you come across as a passive-aggressive whiner. But that’s just my opinion. Perhaps you’re most comfortable being a passive-aggressive whiner.

  62. Severo says

    LeftSidePositive: “Are you aware that accusing outspoken women of “getting too angry” is a classic derailing technique?

    Your usage of this term is unbelievably sexist, especially when my tone has been clear, direct, and well-backed up with descriptions of my position and explanations of why your interpretations are mistaken.

    (This, of course, is totally irrelevant to whether or not YOU are sexist–frankly, I don’t care what you “are.” I just want your gender-based marginalization to stop.)”

    This and then later this by Tis Himself: “You’re effectively saying, “Oh no, if I don’t respond to this shrieking harpy, then I forfeit my he-man cred. What will The Guys™ think?”

    Both these examples are tilting at windmills, inventing incidents of sexism and should be instructive and deeply troubling to you all, especially considering the rabid manner of LSP’s responses to Notung who has argued very civilly to my mind.

  63. says

    Jason –

    I try to form my own opinions about these things – for what its worth I posted here because I noticed that you handle disagreement pretty well (to my mind). There are some other blogs I wouldn’t even have bothered with at all. My advice-seeking was fairly light-hearted; just having a laugh at my own stupid vanity (replying to a very long post just so it doesn’t appear that I’ve chickened-out) rather than soliciting opinions about your blog. I suspect our positions on most issues hardly differ at all, and I try to be respectful about those which do.

    Anyway, you reiterate your argument and put it very well. I agree that the word has its meaning historically for those reasons, and that it is sometimes used in the present with those reasons in mind. In those cases, I am happy saying that those doing so are being sexist. It follows from my belief that sexism is wrong that we ought not do that.

    I still don’t really see how, if I hear a friend say the word we can know that they have some (conscious or subconscious) sexist motivation for choosing that word. I can imagine someone might say to them “that sounds sexist to some people so if you don’t want to appear sexist then say ‘coward’ instead”, but that is a different thing.

    Mutatis mutandis this could apply to any word, but to what degree of likelihood of which those words are used without some subconscious objectionable discrimination will be an empirical question, taking into account things like the prevalence of that interpretation and the local culture.

    —–

    ‘Tis Himself, OM –

    I’m afraid I don’t really know what ‘passive-aggressive’ is, but I looked it up on Wikipedia and the only symptom on there I recognised in myself is procrastination. I definitely do that a lot, so if that is sufficient for passive-aggressiveness then I stand diagnosed!

  64. LeftSidePositive says

    I still don’t really see how, if I hear a friend say the word we can know that they have some (conscious or subconscious) sexist motivation for choosing that word.

    Because “motivation” is irrelevant. Cognitive biases just plain don’t work that way. It’s not that someone is (necessarily) thinking sexist things, its that they are saturated with a sexist culture and this greatly influences certain assumptions they make about the world and certain value they assign to behaviors or persons. Consider moving away from sexist language as cognitive behavioral therapy for your cultural biases–you might not realize what you’re reinforcing when you say certain things, you might not be aware of how using “pussy” for coward makes you more likely to associate bravery with men and fear with women, you might not be aware of how marginalizing someone by impugning their gender role creates restrictive social norms–including leading to unconscious biases about who should be trusted or admired in certain situations, that using one gender as an insult reinforces the inferiority of that gender and thus makes one vastly more likely to posture oneself in opposition to that gender as a means of supporting self-esteem, that othering and demeaning one gender is more likely to make their interests seem “niche” whereas the dominant gender’s interests are “universal,” etc., etc., etc. Again–these things do not require a “motivation” to be sexist, nor does it follow from these behaviors that the person is (necessarily) sexist, but the EFFECT of perpetuating these behaviors and social norms is to reinforce these harmful assumptions about the world, which are insidious, *extremely* difficult to recognize in oneself, and all too easy to self-justify.

    And another thing–by your own admission, you are not an expert in cognitive biases or the effects of subconscious thought–SO WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU ARGUING?!?!??!?! If you do not know the first thing about the subject at hand, why are you trying to one-up people who actually know what they’re talking about?! Why when we say “things that do not appear to you as sexist are most likely the result of subconscious, pervasive sexism” do you think you’re qualified to say “but I don’t think they are!” when you don’t know the first damn thing about cognitive science?! This would be an excellent time for you to shut up and EDUCATE YOURSELF rather than just trying to score internet points. If the thesis of someone’s argument is entirely based on the principle of subconscious sexism, and you by your own admission know nothing about it–the responsible thing to do is to ASK QUESTIONS so you LEARN about what they mean, rather than denying and denying with your half-assed conjectures.

    On that note–just because YOU don’t know a particular definition of essentialism doesn’t mean it’s wrong: the issue could be a lack of depth in YOUR understanding of the term and its different applications. Did you ever think of that?? It’s not my fault if you are unfamiliar with certain concepts, and it’s CERTAINLY not my fault if you insist on limiting your understanding only to what is comfortable to you. I suggest you go look up “psychological essentialism” and learn a thing or two–again STOP ARGUING AND START LEARNING when you don’t understand what others are referring to. Anyway, regardless of what you want to call it, the cognitive error of insisting on labeling *the person* instead of the behavior still stands (and you made it YET AGAIN with your discussion of “motivation” above).

    Furthermore, did you SERIOUSLY just try to pull a “dictionary defense” about privilege?!?! Are you fucking kidding me? Are you not at least dimly aware that complex social concepts require more nuance, explanation, and analysis than is readily available in the space of a dictionary entry? Would you honestly claim that the dictionary definition of “capitalism,” “prejudice,” “transcendentalism,” “free speech,” “academic integrity” or any number of involved concepts gives you all you need to know?! Do you have any idea how insulting to the level of this discussion it is when you simply look up a DICTIONARY DEFINITION in all its reduced, simplistic glory, and then presume to contradict those who have actually investigated these concepts in detail?!

    Another point on your laughably simplistic understanding of the concepts at hand: you can be displaying sexist attitudes toward me whether or not you know I’m female. One of the classic privilege-reinforcing mechanisms is to denigrate those who are allied with social justice causes by associating them with the stereotypes against the group(s) to which they ally themselves, and if you were better versed in these dynamics you would know that! Since you aren’t, I strongly suggest you ASK rather than ASSERT your opinion of these situations.

    And–did you actually not know what “passive-aggressive” means?! Wow. That, I’ve just got to say, is a shocking level of ignorance. I mean… I can’t even… Wow. And do you seriously think “procrastination” was in any way relevant to what we’re talking about?! Seriously–these are clues that you need to start learning to make up some of your rather major knowledge deficits, and recognize that with knowledge deficits like that, premising an argument on “I don’t see why…” isn’t exactly compelling. Arguing from ignorance doesn’t become more valid the larger the ignorance is!

    And are you really bad-mouthing this discussion on other blogs without notice so the commenters here can’t defend ourselves?! That is just poor form, man! Really, REALLY passive-aggressive, to boot! And, by the way, those “talking heads on youtube” that you were so pleased to denigrate are 1) a very well-respected contributor to the skeptic movement with an extensive background in philosophy, ethics, economics, and social science, and 2) an influential voice in the feminist and social justice spheres. Now, it’s one thing if you have substantive reasons to disagree with them, or if you’re not familiar with them you could ASK ME who they are and where they’re coming from, rather than just spout off to your peer group behind my back. This behavior strongly indicates that you are hostile to viewpoints contrary to your a priori assumptions, and you shut out or oversimplify the contributions of those who could provide some much-needed context to your world.

  65. julian says

    Severo, you aren’t saying anything and you aren’t adding to the conversation. You’ve been as thought provoking as Ann Coulter is on race issues. You’re fetishization of being polite is equally disgusting.

    and that it is sometimes used in the present with those reasons in mind.

    If by sometimes you mean almost always, then sure.

    I still don’t really see how, if I hear a friend say the word we can know that they have some (conscious or subconscious) sexist motivation for choosing that word.

    You can’t ever be a 100% sure but the same would be true of even the most clear cut cases of sexism or racism. Take for example Edward Thorndike, psychologist at Columbia University back in the early 1900′s, who advised against squandering precious resources on women who would never be able to obtain the brilliance of a man.

    How can you accuse him of sexism?

  66. julian says

    Hey, LeftSidePositive, not hating on your style or anything but, um, could you use something besides caps to denote emphasis. Makes reading kinda uneasy on the eyes.

    One of the classic privilege-reinforcing mechanisms is to denigrate those who are allied with social justice causes by associating them with the stereotypes against the group(s) to which they ally themselves, and if you were better versed in these dynamics you would know that!

    If he’s been a vocal and outspoken atheist or skeptic he should. It’s something you see in almost any argument with a religious group or altMed provider. They try to paint you as a nihilist or a shill for big government or an angry teenager trying to get back at God for something that happened. It’s one way they not only try to discredit you but galvanize their allies and sympathizers by further othering and strawmanning you.

  67. LeftSidePositive says

    julian, well, I try to limit it to only a few words at a time for that reason. To be honest, it’s just plain faster than typing in tags! But, I guess I’ll give tagging a try…can’t say I’ll always remember, but I’ll make an effort.

    On that note, from a blog about a guy who teaches his cat to instant-message:

    LouisTheCat: THIS IS AMAZING

    LouisTheCat: WHY DIDNT YOU TELL ME THIS BEFORE

    Rick: Well, it’s not really.. I mean, you can use it for certain things, but usually people don’t use it because it looks like yelling.

    LouisTheCat: I KNOW ITS PERFECT

    LouisTheCat: CAPS LOCK IS HOW I FEEL INSIDE RICK

    LouisTheCat: ALL THE TIME

    Re: Severo’s “fetishization of being polite” (great phrase, btw!), here is just a little something I wrote a while back to a tone troll who claimed “The filthy language you use indicates someone who can’t relate to anyone intellectually.” As you can imagine, I had some fun with that!

  68. Severo says

    Julian:”Severo, you aren’t saying anything and you aren’t adding to the conversation. ”

    Ah, sorry. All I hoped to do was point out two instances of bad reasoning. The posters in question reacted to events that did not *actually happen in reality*. That is problematic, no? There’s a worrying disconnect there, and I thought it worthwhile to point it out rather than just ignore it.
    As for your disgust at polite people (!) the exchange between Notung and LeftSidePositive could be enjoyable and instructive, a real examination of where their two views differ between civilised people, enlightening and interesting for all. Yet that is disgusting to you Julian! Reading the exchange above is light and day. One respondent is polite and gently humorous, the other is rabidly effing and blinding and capslock!!!11ty and Special Pleading. My word!

  69. Andrew R says

    Notung: “just having a laugh at my own stupid vanity (replying to a very long post just so it doesn’t appear that I’ve chickened-out”

    Yeah, if you scroll back 50 comments you’ll see I was disagreeing with you along with most others, but I got what you meant on your “Oh no, now I’ll have to post again to avoid looking a coward!” comment. I took it as a self-mocking admission, like you say, and think it’s reaching a fair bit for people to take that as passive aggression. I also believe you that you didn’t even realise Left Positive is a woman, and so wasn’t being sexist in your attitude to her.

    In fact, though I didn’t agree with your position, I think everyone’s piling on you now, and trying to read the worst possible motives to your every comment while you appear to be sincerely trying to learn something.

    If I were you I’d just stop posting. If you’re able to take ‘closure’ from any of my above words, then you should hold onto that and move on. A few days from now the compulsion to keep posting on this thread and take more punishment will have faded, trust me’.

  70. LeftSidePositive says

    Severo, polite =/= rational.

    Moreover, I would argue that repeating ill-formed conjectures, flat denialism, argument from ignorance, and maintaining logical fallacies after they have been called out multiple times is not in any way polite, even if the offender uses conventionally “polite”-sounding turns of phrase.

    We are not disgusted at actual politeness, we are disgusted at disingenuous politeness which is showing a shocking lack of depth, curiosity, or intellectual honesty.

    It is utterly unfair to be an aggravating, insufferable fool and then expect others not to be frustrated by such behavior or to call it out.

    I further invite you to go to my link above for more on what I think of those who cannot decipher an argument if there are 4-letter words in it (on the internet, no less!!).

    And, I might further remind you that of my last two substantive replies to Notung, which consisted of 3,288 words, exactly 79 were capitalized. That’s only 2.4%. Seriously, if you’re going to make a huge deal out of that I humbly posit that you are tone-trolling and looking for ways to ignore an argument that you’ve dismissed a priori.

  71. Andrew R says

    By the way, by ‘take more punishment’ I don’t mean ‘lose the argument’; I just mean ‘get misunderstood and shouted at’.

    And Maher is still a fucking idiot.

  72. Severo says

    “an argument that you’ve dismissed a priori.”

    On the contrary, I found it interesting and would liked to have kept reading; yet now we have kindly advice almost whispered to Notung “If I were you I’d just stop posting.” to avoid taking further “punishment”. Do you take pride in this? You over-reacted.
    You immediately laid into him with an accusation of sexism based on your own prejudices, and continued battling a nemesis of your own invention. It’s projection, or whatever they call it, and I should examine it if I were you.
    You can dismiss this as tone-trolling or whatever rationalisation you need to make, but it’s not rational behaviour.

  73. Andrew R says

    Oi Severo! That was me with the ‘punishment’ line, and I clarified what I meant by that (not what you think) in the post above yours.

    I think almost everyone here now is just looking for reasons to get angry with each other. I’m generally against tone trolls too, but I’m finding myself getting sympathetic for posters who I completely disagree with!

  74. LeftSidePositive says

    Yes, I take pride in assertively debunking Notung’s nonsense.

    Furthermore, exactly what justification do you have to say I “over-reacted”? Julian and I have made it clear that these dismissals based on being “over-emotional,” “too angry,” etc. are extremely common for anyone arguing against privilege, especially gender-based privilege, and no one has actually countered that with anything other than “nuh-uh!!” How can you be so sure that I “over-reacted,” rather than that you are less-well-tuned to instances of pervasive sexism?

    Moreover, I did not just “accuse him of sexism.” I showed and explained why each instance of his behavior was problematic, and linked to good descriptions of those phenomena. Julian and I have at least *discussed* the underpinnings of our assessments, while you and yours have just declared “no, you over-reacted. Shut up!”

    What’s more, you’re doing exactly the same “you’re not being rational!” that is used to shut down opposing (esp. less-privileged points of view), which is just plain absurd considering we have discussed our reasoning behind our claims, while you have not.

    Not to mention the fact that this is entirely tangential to the rest of my argument–my focus is (or have you failed to notice?) on the implications of using “pussy” for coward even when the speaker is not aware of those implications. I addressed Notung’s sexist and/or privilege-based behavior when he tried to belittle the discussion with “you’re too angry!” “I want this to be rational,” etc. because it is a disingenuous arguing tactic that deserves to get called out.

  75. LeftSidePositive says

    Andrew, could you please cite some examples exactly where you think Notung is being “misunderstood”? Because I think there’s a very big difference between “misunderstanding” versus “pointing out the subtle biases displayed in one’s behavior, even if that was not the person’s conscious intent.”

    Also, this is a guy who is cheerfully arguing against concepts of which he then admits he knows nothing, goes to a dictionary definition to brush away the nuanced implications of the concepts we’re trying to express, and then whines to his buddies on another board instead and gloats to them when he thinks we’ve gotten something wrong instead of engaging in the common courtesy to ask us and find out exactly what we mean–this is not someone who is trying to learn; this is someone trying to shore up his ill-formed assertions.

  76. Andrew R says

    Sure Left, the example I already gave – him getting called passive aggressive for saying “I’d better post again or people will think I’m a coward”. To me that was just him admitting although he figured he should slink away, his pride wouldn’t let him. Trust me, I agree with virtually all your points, but… Oh forget it, I can see myself getting dragged into something long and drawn out!

  77. says

    Like Andrew, I’d be more than inclined to give Notung the benefit of the doubt on the matter of passive-aggressive behaviour. To be clear, it is not a clinical diagnosis, but a description of behaviour where, while pretending to attempt a peaceful end to an argument, the person takes a gratuitous and wholly unnecessary parting shot. In this case, the shot in question was calling into question LeftSidePositive’s anger as irrationality.

    That said, all the other lines of argumentation are… questionable at best. Severo is, significantly, “not helping” as well.

  78. LeftSidePositive says

    Andrew:

    Well, I want it on record that *I* didn’t call him out for that…I wouldn’t think that’s necessarily passive-agressive just in and of itself, but I do think that taken in conjunction with his other passive-aggressive statements (that ‘Tis Himself noted), it certainly gives off that vibe. I think that with ‘Tis Himself’s interpretation that he’s engaging in some toxic masculinity posturing by not backing down is certainly consistent with the rest of his behavior, but I’d rather focus on the rest of his behavior and disingenuous debating technique rather than that one line (which I don’t think is diagnostic anyway, and is frankly irrelevant).

  79. Severo says

    @ Andrew “I clarified what I meant by that (not what you think) ”

    No, that is what I thought, and I agreed with you.

    @ LSP “what justification do you have to say I “over-reacted”?

    This: “Your usage of this term is unbelievably sexist”.
    I had no idea of your gender, and neither did Notung, yet you assumed some sexist slight. Why did you do that?

    Tis Himself does it later.

    Notung posts: “Trouble is, I’ve got to reply or else it’ll look like I’ve lost!”
    Meaning of course lost the argument, yet Tis Himself comes up with:

    “You’re effectively saying, “Oh no, if I don’t respond to this shrieking harpy, then I forfeit my he-man cred. What will The Guys™ think?””

    As if he “effectively” said that or otherwise!
    You both shoe-horned sexism into matters to better dismiss his arguments.

    @Justin “Severo is, significantly, “not helping” as well.”

    Well, sorry but I fail to see why some posters are automatically guilty of accusations levelled by other posters.

  80. LeftSidePositive says

    Severo, we’ve already addressed the well-established phenomenon of dismissing allies by tarring them with the stereotypes of the marginalized group in question. So, dismissing someone who is arguing on behalf of women as being too angry regardless of whether or not ze is a woman is still sexist. This ties into the very common tendency of men to ostracize another man who identifies with feminist values as “too girly,” “pussywhipped,” or that he should “grow a pair,” etc., etc. We’ve already been over this. Don’t keep repeating the same assertions without addressing the counterargument. Fucking read what we say and respond to it or fuck off.

    (I would also suggest that since my comments on this thread have positioned terms like “male-identified” and “male privilege” in contradistinction to myself, I considered it reasonable that Notung had likely inferred my gender, but that is by no means a necessary condition of his using sexist stereotypes to shut down advocacy for women, regardless of the gender of the speaker.)

  81. Philip Legge says

    So – firstly you claim that the sexism is subconscious and ‘many people have explained this to me’. Yes they have, but they haven’t convinced me. It is one thing to make an assertion, and another to back it up with evidence strong enough to convince the person you are speaking to. It might be subconscious, but the burden of proof is on you to show that it always is. That is the issue at hand!

    Well, actually, you’re wrong about defining the issue at hand. Firstly, some people will never be convinced, no matter how strong the evidence is – let us merely cite a person such as Ken Ham who will never accept the truth of evolution; despite having once obtained a bachelor’s degree in science he has too much capital sunk in the denial of science to turn his position about. So asserting that an argument must meet your standards of judgement is improperly centering the issue on you, and for all we know you’re the Ken Ham of sexism denialists. Judging by how determinedly you’ve dug in your heels, as well as your recurring presence over on a long-running thread of sexist oiks, it is quite permissible to point out a certain lack of objectivity on your part.

    Secondly, plenty of evidence has been introduced into the thread, but you’ve denied it as not meeting your evidentiary standards – which again, is neither here nor there. As Jason has pointed out elsewhere, extreme levels of scepticism are quite unreasonable for uncontroversial claims, so one classic maneuver in the denialist’s arsenal is to invent a false controversy in order to make holding scepticism a more justifiable position: continuing with the Ken Ham analogy, we should really ‘teach the controversy’ in biology classes.

    Thirdly, your initial derailing of the thread uses an argument that’s nothing more than a chain of assertions which you use a dictionary attack on, as if you were Humpty Dumpty to permit a word to dance to whatever tune you wish to play. (Here the name of the tune is “deny particular usages of a word when it’s most convenient to you”, which is a tedious but depressingly familiar game of logomachy.) This is a bait and switch to avoid answering the larger question about sexism, since attacking the particular link of the chain of assertions wastes time on a minor facet of the problem and forces your opponent to deal with your unfair framing of the issue.

  82. Severo says

    @LSP

    Oh for goodness’ sake, that is the height of absurdity! You’ve just managed to ensure that anyone of any gender, anywhere, who notes the anger of anyone else, is sexist against women!

    What utter drivel.

  83. LeftSidePositive says

    No, Severo, only when they use accusations of anger to shut down someone’s thoroughly-argued points on a discussion about women’s issues!!

    This is not hard. Seriously.

  84. Philip Legge says

    Severo, it’s your misreading of LSP’s comment that is quite absurd, because that’s not what she argued. Try again.

    If you want to read a passionate argument in favour of anger, and why anger cannot be suppressed, try this.

  85. LeftSidePositive says

    If you want to read a passionate argument in favour of anger, and why anger cannot be suppressed, try this.

    Plus, you know, I think Greta Christina has a book coming out that might have a tiny little something to do with anger! Put on your analogy cap and you might even figure out that exactly the same philosophy that makes anger justified and necessary for the atheist movement also applies to the women’s movement! Who’uda thunk, right?!

  86. says

    I should add some context before people get too concerned with the ‘angry’ thing.

    I decided to stop after I noted LSP and I have “different theories of meaning and different approaches to solving philosophical problems.” (#60)

    It was best then and is best now. I was accused of “sulking off in a snit” (#61) because my arguments supposedly did not have any validity.

    Being the vain procrastinator that I am, the baiting was successful and I re-entered, explaining that I was not sulking and was merely trying to prevent LSP “from getting too angry” (#62). So #62 was in response to accusations in #61, while #60 was an (attempted) diplomatic parting-of-ways.

    That is not the same as “using accusations of anger to shut down someone’s points” (#91). If you are saying something and people are getting terribly offended and angry at you for saying it, sometimes it is best to stop, even if you are confident that you are right. For what is to be gained by continuing if you are only going to start a yelling match or a trading of insults?

    I don’t see that as an unreasonable principle to act on, let alone sexist.

    Anyway, I appreciate both Andrew Ryan and Severo defending me against some of the more puzzling accusations – especially as (at least for Andrew Ryan) they wholly disagree with my position. Rational disagreement is one of my favourite things to engage in, and you can learn so much about both your position and the positions of others by doing so.

    So, thanks for letting an “aggravating, insufferable fool” (#77) like me post in this thread, and thanks to those who took the time to reply. It has given me a lot to think about, and since I love doing philosophy, I love questioning and re-examining my own views again and again. This issue will not be an exception to that.

  87. LeftSidePositive says

    Yeah, because “I guess we have different theories of meaning” is not an argument, and it is every bit as intellectually vapid as “let’s agree to disagree.” Damn straight I will call you out on that! It’s basically “I don’t want to think too hard and you might be challenging my beliefs.” Moreover, scare-quoting “unexamined privilege” and offering a remarkably passive-aggressive “anything else that might offend you” without putting forth the barest effort to understand why the person is offended is pretty damn indicative of a snit, in my humble opinion.

    And thinking that you are entitled to stop an argument (especially as inanely as you did) because the other person is “getting too angry” is pompous asshattery in the extreme. You do not get to appoint yourself as Regulator General of someone else’s emotional state. How patronizing!! This is nothing more than the derailing tactic known as “You’ve lost your temper so I don’t have to listen to you anymore.” When done retroactively (as you did) it essentially blames the other person for your flounce and for your intellectual laziness. FSM forbid that someone should be engaged in an argument! FSM forbid that someone should be passionate about issues that affect zir life! FSM forbid that someone should want their points to be seriously considered, rather than brushed off with a condescending and intellectually lazy “we have different theories of meaning,” especially when your particular “theory of meaning” excuses the perpetuation of sexist behavior!

    And just stopping arguing when you’re still confident you’re right just because you’re offending someone IS in fact sexist, insofar as the argument pertains to women’s issues. Because it shows you don’t care enough to educate yourself about what is offending them, and it’s just taking the easy way out, which pretty much guarantees you will perpetuate the offensive behavior in the future. It also shows that you don’t care enough about the other person’s point of view and that you can safely ignore it, which is easy for you when you have social privilege–again: dismissive, condescending, and (insofar as the topic is women’s issues) sexist. It also acts as if the other person’s motivations and worldview are so completely alien that you couldn’t possibly understand them and therefore it is not worth your time to continue an argument.

    If the “accusations” against you are “puzzling” to you, did it ever occur to you to ASK about them?!? You might actually learn something, you know! Rather than just make blanket assertions about your goodness and reflexively defending yourself, if you’re still “puzzled” you should try to learn!

  88. says

    Bill is a comedian? When did that happen? I never found anything funny in his rantings about anyone who did not share his utter hatred and contempt for republicans. The blatant hypocrisy in the media attacking Limbaugh for calling this “person” a sl*t while turning a blind eye to Bill is breathtaking! All this time I thought there was free speech, but I guess that only applies to some of us now days.

  89. Stacy says

    The blatant hypocrisy in the media attacking Limbaugh for calling this “person” a sl*t while turning a blind eye to Bill is breathtaking!

    Wow. You put scare quotes around the word person. You couldn’t bring yourself to refer to a young woman as a person without equivocation.

  90. Severo says

    LSP
    “If the “accusations” against you are “puzzling” to you, did it ever occur to you to ASK about them?!? You might actually learn something, you know! ”

    Yes, because you’ve created an atmosphere so congenial and presented yourself as a nice person that would like to pleasantly, rationally exchange views.

    Of course, the above is sarcasm, which no doubt is sexist in some terrible way when applied to anyone or anything by anyone. I think I’ll bid you a very good day.

  91. Andrew Ryan says

    “All this time I thought there was free speech”

    What’s happened to change your mind? Who’s stopping the free speech of Rush, Bill, you, me or anyone in this situation?

  92. Chiroptera says

    Andrew Ryan, #100:

    I have no idea whether Jack Bosch is a conservative, but his comment certainly follows the conservative definition of free speech:

    People I like should be able to say whatever they want in whatever way they want without consequences. But you should shut the fuck up.

  93. Wayne says

    Bill is a complete ass. He does not even look like he is from this planet.
    Perhaps he is an Alien?
    Perhaps he is part of the Obama team?
    When I see him on TV, I switch to the Discovery Channel.
    What an ass who thinks he has all the answers.
    Why doesn’t he run?
    He is not even a Comedian but, simply, an ass, revered by the uneducated.

  94. MingTian says

    “Like Rush’s “sorry” means anything considering he called a woman a slut on national radio”

    So a woman cuts her husbands penis off and people laugh at it, but that’s ok. A retard calls ONE woman a slut and there’s an uproar?

    You’re an imbecile, pure and simple.

    As for Billy boy being a ‘misogynist’, I can’t really see how he is. Women these days think everything is misogyny even when it isn’t. Stop whining. There’s way more misandry today but it’s funny! Hypocrites.

  95. says

    Right. Where did I say laughing about genital mutilation was okay? Where did ANYONE say that was okay?

    Actually, let’s turn that around. Where does it say that all the myriad systemic disadvantages that women face over all of Western civilization are made equal by a few women laughing about the Bobbitt case several years ago? Because you have to have gotten that dogmatically from someplace. Spearhead? A Voice for Men?

  96. Andrew Ryan says

    “A retard calls ONE woman a slut and there’s an uproar?”

    I’d say by extension he was calling tens of millions of women sluts, if not more. Plus if Joe Shmoe on the street was just standing around calling random passers by sluts, then that probably wouldn’t make the news. The uproar here was that Rush Limbaugh did it, and the reason that’s big news is that the man has a lot of power in the Republican party. It’s similar to when a big deal was made about inflammatory statements from John McCain and Obama’s Ministers. People say “So here’s a figure who is influential over our leaders or potential leaders. Does that mean Romney and Santorum see all birth-control-using women as sluts?”.

    But none of this should really need to be explained to you.

    And yeah, I didn’t say anyone laughing about John Wayne Bobbit, apart from the man himself when he cashed in on his infamy with porn videos and a brief stand-up career, both based around his re-attached weiner.

  97. sub says

    wait, you’re on maher because he’s too conservative?? because he (you allege) defended rush limbaugh? you’re on maher because he’s not liberal enough??

    who’s the f’ing idiot here?…..

  98. ildi says

    Jason: Please, please, please, do not link to the “Periodic Table of Swearing” without warning! For one, I don’t want to support that wretched hive of scum and misogyny with even one accidental hit, and for two, it’s getting big enough to lock up my browser for a noticeable length of time before I can escape.

  99. Omar says

    wow….. a male feminist…..
    lol! what a tool

    George Carlin talked about the pussification of the American male and men like you personify that idea.

    and where are all the female masculinists?…

    oh riiiight,
    there aren’t any
    that would just be stupid…..

  100. Kiaran M. says

    Well, I understand you might have a strong viewpoint for various reasons. However, being someone who thinks of himself as intelligent (with no egotistical connection), and someone who likes Mr Maher, I have to protest this slanderous article. 1. It’s hateful, which automatically gives an unrealistic view of someone. 2. It’s not factually true.

    Bill isn’t misogynist. Nor does he refute germ theory. Look at an interview of him with George Stroumboulopoulos dating back to a few months ago. Very clearly refutes many points. I liked him at first because Neil DT, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris seemed to be into him and being on his show, and then he said some genuinely interesting and intelligent things. He isn’t a hypocrite, and there’s no indication in his personality at all to say he is, in fact the opposite, because he says to abhor them, but that isn’t a cornerstone of my argument.

    Anyway, I like him, and I am actively for equality and scientific literacy and the abolition of the power behind organized religion, and am also Canadian, so I’m defending him. Your post made no decent points. 4/10. But you seem like a smart dude so whatever.

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>