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“Make him fly, Mother!”

I got a little surprise at the supermarket checkout stand. Time has a provocative cover this week (slightly reworked).

Breast feeding? A good thing. Extended breast feeding? No problem. Sexualizing breast feeding with an attractive woman and an aggressive gaze, in an unusual pose? Weird. The title of the article, “Are you Mom enough?” is also a bit contemptuous. Apparently, it’s not enough to be a nursing mother — you’d better be sexy while you’re at it, and you’re also in competition with all those other mommies to be as aggressively maternal as you can be.

Also, this:

Also, is anyone else having flashbacks to Game of Thrones?

Comments

  1. says

    Gee, why not put the “baby picture” you’re bound to cringe at in a few years on the cover of a magazine?

    At least we’re less and less likely to actually miss the traditional media as they slowly disappear…

    Glen Davidson

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    Ummmmmm… errrrrrrrrrr…. aaaaaaaaah…

    OK, have absolutely no problem with breast feeding infants. After all, that’s what we mammals do. However, the breast-feed-them-until-they-leave-for-college crowd is kind of creepy. Not immoral or illegal, of course, but it’s definitely unsettling to me. To be fair, does anyone have anything nice and peer reviewed about the effects (pro and con) of prolonged breast feeding? I wouldn’t trust TIME to accurately report on the color of the sky.

    And yes, I saw Game of Thrones.

  3. Amphiox says

    However, the breast-feed-them-until-they-leave-for-college crowd is kind of creepy.

    It shouldn’t be, though. It is, after all, humanity’s ancestral condition.

    Breast-feeding up to the age of six or so is not uncommon in hunter-gatherer societies. (ie breast feeding up to the age of capability of eating fully adult food without any modern processing)

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    You do realize that upon reaching puberty the boy in the picture will either be picked-on by his cruel classmates or dubbed “THE LUCKIEST DUDE IN EAST CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL!”

  5. Amphiox says

    It was also an early form of birth control. Regular suckling stimulates continued lactation, and the hormonal milieu that produces this suppresses ovulation. This was traditionally one method (the second being straight out infanticide) of keeping the frequency of dependent children to manageable levels.

  6. Akira MacKenzie says

    (Me reads the magazine’s photo caption)

    Oh wait… That IS his mom! I thought there were unrelated models. I take back my previous post.

  7. says

    Breast-feeding up to the age of six or so is not uncommon in hunter-gatherer societies. (ie breast feeding up to the age of capability of eating fully adult food without any modern processing)

    Are you sure? I know almost nothing about it, but I haven’t heard about it being common past the age of about three. (And certainly many foods can be mashed.) I’m not arguing with your claim – that’s just older than anything I recall reading about.

  8. carlie says

    I hate Time for making me feel squicky about seeing a picture of breastfeeding. Thanks, Time. You suck.

  9. says

    Do they actually think supermarkets will display this right by the checkout? This is just a baffling editorial decision here. Of course, breastfeeding itself is neither a shameful nor embarrassing act, but the way this cover portrays it, it comes across as one very thin hair away from kiddie porn. Seriously, this has topped off my WTF tanks for the month.

  10. Mr. Mattir, MRA Chick says

    That’s a ridiculous magazine cover. It’s tough enough to get people to nurse their kids for a few months – maybe it would be nice to focus on that as a goal instead of creating such an impossible strawmom ideal.

    That being said, I know plenty of kids (including both Daughter and Son Spawns) who nursed until somewhere in the 2 to 3 year old range, remember nursing just fine, and don’t seem scarred by the memory. If anything, it contributes to a usefully sarcastic and cynical attitude towards the ZOMG IT’S A NIPPLE!!!! culture in which breasts are simultaneously taboo and used to sell everything under the sun.

    .

  11. says

    There are some pretty fanatical pro-breastfeeding groups out there that have some eerie similarities to the homeopathy/anti-vaxer types. My sister ran into some of them when she had her baby and did a bit of research after she found them more than a little creepy.

    Don’t get me wrong I’m all for breastfeeding but when breastmilk is held up as some kind of magic elixir and when mothers who don’t breastfeed or who don’t do it for long enough are considered on par with child abusers it gets a bit much.

    This included a few cases of some breastfeeding groups harassing new mothers who were medically unable to breastfeed (which is quite common) with the end result of making them feel like they’d failed as mothers somehow.

  12. Amphiox says

    Are you sure? I know almost nothing about it, but I haven’t heard about it being common past the age of about three.

    Three seems to be the average, but that means a significant proportion go past three.

    Here’s a few links, which also consider the birth control aspect of it.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12278620

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16323185

    http://thebabybond.com/NaturalWeaningAgeFORWEBSITE.pdf

    From the third one:

    Ethnographic studies of hunter/gatherer and other preindustrial societies show that while the duration of lactation
    varies considerably between cultures and between
    individual children within a culture, the average duration is
    between 3 and 5 years of age. Here are some examples
    from Wickes’ 1953 survey of various tribes: Australian
    aborigines, 2 to 3 years; Greenlanders, 3 to 4 years;
    Hawaiians, 5 years; Inuit, around 7 years

  13. spamamander, hellmart survivor says

    My best friend growing up ended up adopting her sister’s baby as when she was an adult. Sitting in Golden Gate Park with her newborn she got harassed by a militant lactivist because she was giving her baby a bottle. Upon being told the infant was adopted, the “mommier-than-thou” asshat berated her for not engaging in forced lactation. what. The. Fuck.

    Personally, they can screech at me all they want, I tried nursing. When they try to breastfeed an infant with Down syndrome (flat facial shape and laziness in nursing make it very difficult to get a good latch) through massive PPD, then they can tell me I was a failure.

    In the meantime, kidlet number one who was only nursed for six weeks including supplemental formula is holding down a 3.9 GPA at the University of Washington. Guess it destroyed her IQ…

  14. mrcrowley says

    Am I the only one who doesn’t find this that weird? I don’t get why PZ is annoyed that she’s hot…it’s one of those things where if they used an ugly person, no one would point out “thank you Time for not sexualising this issue’s cover”. She doesn’t have huge tits or anything, attractive women like her are common at gyms or running the street and with the help of photoshop Time can make even an averagely attractive woman look a lot better.

    “Sexualizing breast feeding with an attractive woman and an aggressive gaze, in an unusual pose?” Isn’t breastfeeding quite sexual anyway just because it involves the breast? Ask any teenage boy who’s seen a good looking woman breastfeeding in public. If you replace the woman with a more unattractive one, I doubt PZ would mention her gaze and pose if it were still the same.

    I think this issue is quite provocative; who are they going to say is the God of Cricekt? Has to be Tendulkar, right?

  15. Cipher, OM says

    Isn’t breastfeeding quite sexual anyway just because it involves the breast?

    *rolls eyes*

  16. Aquaria says

    #17:

    I hate the rabid pro-breastfeeding groups.

    I was one of those who had to go on a long TDY assignment, starting only two months after my son’s birth, and I couldn’t bring him with me. I tried to keep up by pumping, but, honestly, it was more trouble than it was worth, and I hated it, anyway. I really did. It only frustrated me, and him.

    I stopped, and I don’t regret stopping. What made me a mom wasn’t having a kid latched onto me, but the love I gave him, and the attention I gave him. He managed to walk and talk, somehow, and he managed to become an intelligent, sensitive and independent adult. He’s 6’2, strong as an ox, musically gifted, so handsome that I can’t take him into a crowd without women grabbing his ass, and he rarely gets ill. Even colds are rare for him.

    It didn’t hurt him at all not to be breastfed, and any dumbass who wants to say anything to me about it can have their teeth talk to my fist. I’ll gladly oblige them.

  17. says

    This doesn’t bother me at all actually. Of course they could put a buck ass naked Marilyn Monroe with her legs spread akimbo and I wouldn’t care so mabye I’m outside social norms.

  18. logic says

    I though the picture was pure parody until I Googled it and saw the actual Time cover. The sad part is this isn’t even a new story. There’s a YouTube clip posted 5 years ago (so the story must be even older) describing breastfeeding at 8:

    (and the preview doesn’t show the link so just search “breastfeeding at 8″ on YouTube)

  19. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    Of course they could put a buck ass naked Marilyn Monroe with her legs spread akimbo and I wouldn’t care so mabye I’m outside social norms.

    You do understand that this isn’t about people being uncomfortable with nudity or sexualized nudity, it’s about people being uncomfortable with sexualizing a parent-child interaction that is already too commonly sexualized, mostly by people who equate women’s bodies with sinful shameful sexual objects at all times.

  20. mrcrowley says

    I mean is this even that weird compared to something like bringing up a transgender kid; born boy but raised girl, for example? He’s only 3, it’s not like they have an 8 year old on the cover.

    To me it just seems like another one of those choices by parents that are frequently becoming more common. I think parents who raise transgender kids are weird but I appreciate that it’s their right to do so and the kid probably wants it. I don’t see why it would be different for this.

  21. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    I think parents who raise transgender kids are weird but I appreciate that it’s their right to do so and the kid probably wants it.

    I think that you’re a huge asshole who probably doesn’t even realize it and needs to educate himself on the subject of trans people.

  22. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    I mean is this even that weird compared to something like bringing up a transgender kid; born boy but raised girl, for example?

    You think transgender is a choice on the part of the parents?

    Really? How smugly pignorant can a person BE?

  23. mrcrowley says

    I think you took what I said the wrong way. I have no problem with transgender people or parents who raise their kids that way because of the preference of the child but I don’t understand how people here think breastfeeding a 3 year old is weird to them when it doesn’t seem all that drastic compared to transgender children. Personally, I would think a child born as a boy and then raised as a girl is more socially weird than a three year old being breastfed. It’s not like the breastfeeding changes the life and identity of the child whereas the transgender thing is more drastic, and hence, weird. I think it’s weird when people get sex changes but that doesn’t mean I wont vote for the rights of those people, it merely says that my life is different to theirs and I don’t have the same frame of mind as them (obviously, otherwise I’d be transgender too). I think people who get nose jobs are also weird, but that doesn’t mean I’m anti-plastic surgery it just means I don’t have the frame of mind where I would want a nose job.

    I have no problem with either the breastfeeding or transgender kids, what’s your and Ing’s problem with me saying that?

    This is so typical of Pharyngula: you take a stance and even though the stance is completely pro-personal rights (breastfeeding 3 year olds and parents raising their transgender children), I still get berated for god-knows-what.

    This place is like a closed circle of friends who bully everyone else. I don’t know why PZ post topics so everyone can bicker over them; oblivious that their bickering doesn’t change anything. I think this is why I read mainly science blogs now; at least the discussion is useful and educational, where opinions count for nothing and having your post misinterpreted doesn’t end up with you becoming a social pariah.

  24. says

    @29 Cipher

    Yup, I just don’t find it particularly sexual. I’ve always been an ass man and I’m not very fond of slender blonds so maybe that has something to do with it.

  25. says

    To me it just seems like another one of those choices by parents that are frequently becoming more common. I think parents who raise transgender kids are weird but I appreciate that it’s their right to do so and the kid probably wants it. I don’t see why it would be different for this.

    You think transgender is a choice? You think it’s just something parents do by whim? Just what manner of a fuckwitted asspimple are you?

    Jesus fucking Christ, do everyone a favour and take a rusty spoon to your testicles.

  26. Ichthyic says

    I still get berated for god-knows-what.

    you’re getting berated because your conflation of the two issues, transgenderism and breastfeeding, is not only ignorant… it’s fucking bizarre.

  27. mrcrowley says

    Hey Askyroth:

    READ:
    “and the kid probably wants it”

    Jesus, no wonder everyone is jumping on my back if they think I implied parents were forcing kids in to being transgender. What I was trying to get across is that SOME PARENTS DON’T ACCEPT THEIR TRANSGENDER KIDS. Have you not heard of parents who refuse to allow their children to be raised as the opposite sex even though the child wants it? Well yeah, that’s what I was getting at.

  28. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    What I was trying to get across is that SOME PARENTS DON’T ACCEPT THEIR TRANSGENDER KIDS.

    And the way you chose to get that across is by calling the parents who aren’t bigoted assholes toward their own children “weird.”

  29. mrcrowley says

    “you’re getting berated because your conflation of the two issues, transgenderism and breastfeeding, is not only ignorant… it’s fucking bizarre”

    It’s bizzare for me to say that I think it’s weird more people here have a problem with this kind of breastfeeding their families with transgender raised kids?

    I’m not implying that transgender kids are freaks or anything. I have nothing against them. My point was that it’s fucking bizzare to think breastfeeding a three year old is weird and not a born- boy-raised-girl child is weird. I’m not saying you, or anyone else, should think transgender kids are weird just that based on people thinking this breastfeeding is weird that they should also think transgender kids are weird.

    Please read my entire post everyone and don’t quote out of context. You’ll need to quote my whole post for I intend my ideas to flow through multiple sentences.

  30. d over dx (thunk) = SQRRAWK! says

    This place is like a closed circle of friends who bully everyone else. I don’t know why PZ post topics so everyone can bicker over them; oblivious that their bickering doesn’t change anything. I think this is why I read mainly science blogs now; at least the discussion is useful and educational, where opinions count for nothing and having your post misinterpreted doesn’t end up with you becoming a social pariah.

    And now we begin with the tone trolling. Assclam. Go educate yourself on a number of these issues; come back when you stop whining and make a decent argument.

  31. says

    Hey, fuckwit crowley, this is what you said:

    I think parents who raise transgender kids are weird but I appreciate that it’s their right to do so and the kid probably wants it.

    Nothing about how parents who refuse to acknowledge their child being transgender. Just that those parents are weird and the kid probably wants it.

    You are a fuckwitted moron.

  32. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    based on people thinking this breastfeeding is weird that they should also think transgender kids are weird.

    WHY THE FUCK? They are completely different issues that have fuckall to do with each other!

  33. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    oblivious that their bickering doesn’t change anything

    Yeah, except for the minds of the numerous people who have come forward to thank us for helping them learn things.

    Dumbass.

  34. mrcrowley says

    “nd the way you chose to get that across is by calling the parents who aren’t bigoted assholes toward their own children “weird.”

    No, not the parents but the idea of transgenderism. Like I said, a person with a nose job seems weird to me just as the idea of raising transgender seems weird. If everyone had nose jobs, obviously it wouldn’t be so weird. In the same way that some people find homosexuality ‘weird’, because they can’t imagine themselves being gay or having that frame of mind (not that its a choice, I mean having the frame of mind where you find the same sex attractive).

    Weird: strange – odd – peculiar – quaint – uncanny – bizarre
    noun. fate – destiny – lot – fortune – doom – luck – kismet

    Odd: Different from what is usual or expected; strange: “the neighbors thought him very odd”.

    Transgender kids are different from what is usual or expected, hence it seems weird. You can replace “transgender” with “nose job person” or what ever you like that is not usual.

    “If that’s what you were getting at, fuckwit, you did one piss poor fucking job of it. Figure out how words work.”
    Ah Caine, we meet again.

    You’re an idiot. Sorry, let me translate:
    Fuck you’re a fucking fucked idiot for fucking fucks sake.

  35. d over dx (thunk) = SQRRAWK! says

    I’m not implying that transgender kids are freaks or anything. I have nothing against them. My point was that it’s fucking bizzare to think breastfeeding a three year old is weird and not a born- boy-raised-girl child is weird. I’m not saying you, or anyone else, should think transgender kids are weird just that based on people thinking this breastfeeding is weird that they should also think transgender kids are weird.

    Agreed with cipher; exactly what does breastfeeding and raising trans kids have in common? Go directly to the porcupine bin, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

  36. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    No, not the parents but the idea of transgenderism.

    It is so incredibly sad that you think this is the better alternative.

  37. mrcrowley says

    “Yeah, except for the minds of the numerous people who have come forward to thank us for helping them learn things.”

    I’ve had this convo with Caine previously; the hostile attitude of many people here does little to change minds. Most people in the Atheist movement should be aware of this as calling a Christian a dumbass in an argument does little to persuade or change their minds.

    I’m not looking for a fight; just recognition that my posts were misinterpreted (partly due to my brief responses) and that what you guys think I am, I’m not.

    I have nothing against transgender people. How many more times do I have to say that?

  38. mrcrowley says

    “No, not the parents but the idea of transgenderism.

    It is so incredibly sad that you think this is the better alternative.”

    Dictionary. Get one.

    Weird: strange – odd – peculiar – quaint – uncanny – bizarre
    noun. fate – destiny – lot – fortune – doom – luck – kismet

    Odd: Different from what is usual or expected; strange: “the neighbors thought him very odd”.

  39. Amphiox says

    @Mrcrowley

    Are you even human?M./blockquote>

    Based on its rather pitiful performance in word-lawyering in #47, I’d have to say no.

  40. d over dx (thunk) = SQRRAWK! says

    I’ve had this convo with Caine previously; the hostile attitude of many people here does little to change minds. Most people in the Atheist movement should be aware of this as calling a Christian a dumbass in an argument does little to persuade or change their minds.

    Speaking as one of the people whose mind was changed as a result of the invective, you are full of shit. It does change minds; you obviously don’t like being called out on your dumbfuckery.

  41. mrcrowley says

    Ok lets get it out:

    Why am I not human and what is wrong with what I have said?

    Why am I getting jumped on for saying transgenderism is weird but you guys can say breastfeeding three olds is weird and get away with it?

  42. says

    Ah Caine, we meet again.

    We do? Pardon me for not remembering you, fuckwit. I don’t want anything to do with you, you’re a disgusting example of a human being. Have a decaying porcupine and be on your way. Ta.

  43. mrcrowley says

    “Speaking as one of the people whose mind was changed as a result of the invective, you are full of shit. It does change minds; you obviously don’t like being called out on your dumbfuckery.”
    There’s a reason people don’t argue via swearing in court rooms.

  44. d over dx (thunk) = SQRRAWK! says

    Crowley:

    Why am I getting jumped on for saying transgenderism is weird but you guys can say breastfeeding three olds is weird and get away with it?

    Okay, why do you keep making false equivalences between two different things? Rub a few brain cells together.

  45. d over dx (thunk) = SQRRAWK! says

    Crowley:

    There’s a reason people don’t argue via swearing in court rooms.

    Maybe if you stopped being a tone troll, you’d see that I was arguing by argument.

    I don’t have high hopes for you though.

  46. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    Why am I getting jumped on for saying transgenderism is weird but you guys can say breastfeeding three olds is weird and get away with it?

    Gee, I don’t know, because you were clearly talking out of your ignorant ass in your first post on the topic, you don’t seem to understand how words work, you make stupid analogies between things that aren’t related, and you continue to flail about ignorantly?

    There’s a reason people don’t argue via swearing in court rooms.

    You understand that what you said didn’t actually do anything to refute the evidence that thunk just provided you that this method actually does convince some people.

  47. RahXephon, An Assorted Motley Queer says

    Crowley, here’s my advice.

    Stop digging.

    Simple as that.

  48. crayzz says

    I think mrcrowley is referring to parents who expose their children to everything, regardless of gender. Boys get dolls and dresses as well as sports and actions figures while girls get sports and action figures as well as dolls and dresses etc. The goal is to eliminate pressure placed and either gender to act and think a certain way.

    Calling it transgender seems wrong though. Transgender is when ones gender expression doesn’t match ones chromosomes. These parents are more or less eliminating gender expression, so the term doesn’t seem to apply.

    As for the cover, it’s absolutely sexualized. The fact the she’s attractive on it’s own isn’t surprising. The problem is with the model facial expression, her pose, and her top barely covers the breast it’s supposed to cover. I know, any one of these isn’t a problem on it’s own. But within the context of all of it combined, it’s blatant sexualisation.

  49. Akira MacKenzie says

    Ok, mrcrowley, let me try to explain it to you: “Transgender kids” don’t chose to be transgender, nor do their parents make them so.

  50. mrcrowley says

    “Connotations. Learn what they are.”

    I think transgenderism is weird, therefore odd, therefore unusual or not the expected.

    If transgenderism was the norm, I wouldn’t think it is weird but anything that is not the expected is generally weird. It’s weird that 500 years ago they used to think people were witches, because nowadays someone thinking someone else is a witch is unusual or not expected.

    For fucks sake, I’m getting harassed because I say transgenderism isn’t the usual or expected in a child. Notice I’m not saying “normal”, I read on someone’s blog (Biology Files, perhaps?) that it’s better to say unusual than not normal (IIRC she has autistic children).

  51. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    I think mrcrowley is referring to parents who expose their children to everything, regardless of gender.

    I’m going to charitably assume you forgot to refresh before you typed this out, and didn’t blithely ignore all of the things he posted thereafter that made it clear exactly what he meant in favor of giving his words this incredibly, naively charitable interpretation.

  52. Akira MacKenzie says

    There’s a reason people don’t argue via swearing in court rooms.

    Well, it’s a good thing we aren’t in court, isn’t it?

  53. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    For fucks sake, I’m getting harassed because I say transgenderism isn’t the usual or expected in a child.

    I repeat, since you seem to have completely ignored what you were supposedly responding to:
    Connotations. Learn what they are.

  54. d over dx (thunk) = SQRRAWK! says

    Crowley: You still obviously don’t understand connotations. Congratulations, Captain Oblivious.

  55. mrcrowley says

    “Ok, mrcrowley, let me try to explain it to you: “Transgender kids” don’t chose to be transgender, nor do their parents make them so.”

    I do appreciate this but I’m sure I already made it clear that this is not what I was implying (not being rude here, just confused). I made the point that my post was referring to parents who don’t allow their transgender kids to be raised as transgender; not that parents force their kids to be transgender.

    To say it another way: I know transgenderism isn’t a choice in the same way being gay isn’t a choice, but my original post was highlighting the fact that some parents don’t allow their obviously transgender children to be raised as the opposite sex if that is what the child believes they most identify with even if it is opposite to their born gender.

    @crayzz,

    Yeah that’s sort of what I’m on about but I’m including the children who are born a boy/girl but feel that they should actually be a girl/boy. Their ‘mind’ doesn’t match their body, in a way.

  56. mrcrowley says

    “Crowley: You still obviously don’t understand connotations. Congratulations, Captain Oblivious.”
    “I repeat, since you seem to have completely ignored what you were supposedly responding to:
    Connotations. Learn what they are.”

    I understand but why then does everyone jump on my back without thinking to clear it up first?

    Why some “fuck you fuckwit” instead of “do you mean weird as in XXXX or XXXX?”. Hence my examples with plastic surgery, which in retrospect also has bad connotations.

    Like I said earlier, I’m just trying to clear my name and since it is obvious to everyone what I’m really getting at, why does the insulting continue?

  57. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    my original post was highlighting the fact that some parents don’t allow their obviously transgender children to be raised as the opposite sex if that is what the child believes they most identify with even if it is opposite to their born gender.

    For fuck’s sake. We can all go back and read it. Caine quoted it for you. If you thought that was what you were writing, you are fucking mistaken.

  58. mrcrowley says

    “Well, it’s a good thing we aren’t in court, isn’t it?”
    The comparison is valid. Swearing at someone isn’t as effective as other means when it comes to persuading them of your point of view.

    I take it everyone was thinking I thought of transgender kids are freaks by calling them weird; even though I cleared that up in #42.

  59. mrcrowley says

    “For fuck’s sake. We can all go back and read it. Caine quoted it for you. If you thought that was what you were writing, you are fucking mistaken.”

    For fucks sake right back at you; I’ve stated at least twice that my original posts can be misinterpreted and I’ve again stated twice that I have explained what I was really getting at with those original posts and that it should be clear what I really meant.

    Everyone had a go at my original posts, fine. I admitted they could be taken the wrong way. I then cleared up the issue with me saying weird, again fine and again I admitted it had other connotations. Now we all know what I was really getting at with those original posts knowing the context of my later posts.

    We’re going around in circles. Who is still unclear with what I was trying to say?

  60. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    I’m just trying to clear my name and since it is obvious to everyone what I’m really getting at,

    What you’re getting at, as far as I can tell, is that it isn’t so bad for you to call transgender people weird because after all, it just means not common. Which is pretty ridiculous considering all the other things you said. If you only mean “not common,” whence this?

    I’m not saying you, or anyone else, should think transgender kids are weird

    In light of the fact that you’re well fucking aware that “weird” doesn’t just mean “statistically uncommon,” all I see is an ignorant asshole continuing to backpedal and pretend he didn’t say something shitty.

  61. criticaldragon1177 says

    PZ Myers

    I find that unsettling. Isn’t that boy a bit old to breast fed? They may well be desperate to sell more magazines. Seriously? what on Earth were they thinking?

  62. says

    Cipher:

    For fuck’s sake. We can all go back and read it. Caine quoted it for you.

    Why yes I did and I’m not going to do it again. There’s zero point in addressing someone so fapwitted that they are blatantly lying about what they wrote mere moments before.

  63. RahXephon, An Assorted Motley Queer says

    Crowley, assuming you aren’t trolling, try making an unqualified clarification and/or apology, instead of getting so defensive.

    Also, have you ever heard the phrase “intent isn’t magic”? Just because you meant to say something to mean one thing and we took it a different way than you intended doesn’t mean that it’s our fault we’re offended; it’s yours because your wording sucked. The proper response to that is to apologize and to clarify, and if you still can’t do it, maybe keep those thoughts incubating in your head for a little while longer.

  64. mrcrowley says

    “What you’re getting at, as far as I can tell, is that it isn’t so bad for you to call transgender people weird because after all, it just means not common. Which is pretty ridiculous considering all the other things you said. If you only mean “not common,” whence this?”

    I don’t mean that weird strictly means not common, I just meant that was the meaning I was implying by using weird. I stated several times that the definition of weird I was using was odd in the sense that it was unusual or not expected. I don’t mean weird as in freak.

    “In light of the fact that you’re well fucking aware that “weird” doesn’t just mean “statistically uncommon,” all I see is an ignorant asshole continuing to backpedal and pretend he didn’t say something shitty”

    Jesus, I dealt with this. Check #70 and then #73. I fully admitted that I was aware there were other connotations and I have said multiple times what I implied by weird.

  65. mrcrowley says

    “Crowley, assuming you aren’t trolling, try making an unqualified clarification and/or apology, instead of getting so defensive.

    Also, have you ever heard the phrase “intent isn’t magic”? Just because you meant to say something to mean one thing and we took it a different way than you intended doesn’t mean that it’s our fault we’re offended; it’s yours because your wording sucked. The proper response to that is to apologize and to clarify, and if you still can’t do it, maybe keep those thoughts incubating in your head for a little while longer.”

    Exactly, read #73. I fully admit that my original posts could be misinterpreted at not fault of the reader and so could my use of the word weird. I have admitted this and have no problem in doing so. I have also clarified what I meant by weird (unusual/not expected) and what I didn’t mean by it.

    My intentions are to clear my name as I feel everyone now understands my original meaning. I’m not apologising to anyone who insulted me as they chose to jump to conclusions before seeking clarification. Anyone who was civil in their reply to me, like you I might add, I do apologise for not earlier clarifying my position and using words that have other connotations. It is people like you who get me to understand the problem (misinterpretation/use of ‘weird’) and not those like Caine who merely insult.

  66. says

    mrcrowley: SHUT THE FUCK UP.

    You’re trying desperately to defend the indefensible, and it’s making your case worse. This is a situation where you have blatantly violated the norms here, and the appropriate response is NOT to insist that you’re right: it’s to apologize and back off. There are several transgender people among the regulars here: do you really believe they’ve been waiting for a cis man to come along and explain to them what this transgender business is really like?

    You’re getting schooled by people who have direct experience and know a heck of a lot more about the subject than you do.

    Your initial foray was completely inappropriate.

    I mean is this even that weird compared to something like bringing up a transgender kid

    It has nothing to do with the topic under discussion. Extended nursing is a personal choice; being transgender is not. There’s nothing weird (or odd or unusual, or whatever other word you want to use) about raising kids who are transgender. It’s just who they are.

    Now stop. Digging and digging and digging in on this when you’re clearly out of your depth and ignorant of the subject is not going to get people to agree with you. You’re simply WRONG.

  67. says

    My intentions are to clear my name

    CRAP. NO.

    What you are doing by refusing to concede on a point you’re clueless about is to foul your name further. Intransigence is not a virtue.

  68. mrcrowley says

    PZ, what was wrong with my apology in #79?

    I’m sure you’re aware that I didn’t mean weird in the sense that everyone thought I meant it.

    Wait, just to clear things up further: is it wrong to say transgender people are not the expected/unusual in the same sense that a person who is 7’9″ is not the expected/unusual when the mean height is ~5’10” for example?

  69. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    PZ, what was wrong with my apology in #79?

    You can start with the fact that you made it contingent on not hurting your poor, poor fee-fees and used it as a way to further complain about other posters for not telling you nicely enough that you were being an ignorant, harmful, privileged ass.

  70. says

    You know what this is called?

    I fully admit that my original posts could be misinterpreted at not fault of the reader and so could my use of the word weird.

    It’s a notpology. You are not saying you were wrong and backing down; you’re still insisting you were right.

    You’re now making it worse.

    Stop.

    Last warning. When I see someone suddenly making comment after comment in a thread, I see someone sucking all the air out of the conversation and derailing the whole thread.

    You’re way out of line.

  71. mrcrowley says

    @PZ, I did apologise in #79:

    “I do apologise for not earlier clarifying my position and using words that have other connotations”

  72. mrcrowley says

    Though I should have said “I do apologise for not earlier clarifying my position and using words that have other connotations without realising the consequences of this”

    Or something like that as the original quote makes it seem like I’m putting the readers at fault for not knowing the multiple meanings of ‘weird’. I meant in the apology that I was sorry for not earlier realising the errors in using words like “weird” and the way in which my original posts were worded.

  73. says

    Dear bog, you just don’t get it.

    FUCKING STOP.

    No one is interested in your excuses. You’ve burned a whole lot of bridges here with your insistence that you aren’t carrying along a whole lot of offensive assumptions and baggage.

    If you can’t stop, I’ll stop you. No more of this crap. Grow up.

  74. Desert Son, OM says

    mrcrowley,

    As d over dx (thunk) = SQRRAWK! noted:

    Speaking as one of the people whose mind was changed as a result of the invective, you are full of shit. It does change minds; you obviously don’t like being called out on your dumbfuckery.

    I’d like to speak in support of that and add to the data points by saying that Pharyngula and its comments – in all their loud, direct, challenging, unequivocal, and uncensored expressions – have helped change my mind a number of times, too.

    Further, many of the comments are also witty, incisive, deliberate, empathetic, and encouraging, and the qualities in that second catalog are not mutually exclusive of the qualities in the first catalog, nor vice versa.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  75. mrcrowley says

    “with your insistence that you aren’t carrying along a whole lot of offensive assumptions and baggage”
    I have, and do, admit this.

    The whole idea of science writing is getting your ideas across in a way that makes people understand and clearly, I have much to learn in this respect but I’m not sure how else to say that I admit my original wording and use of the word “weird” was wrong, my fault and I didn’t realise the consequences of this (hence the long discussion).

  76. says

    josephsimko, you can shut. the. fuck. up. too. One more time, this is not about you, and no one here cares about what does or does not turn you on.

    Take your weak ass trolling and shove it, Cupcake.

  77. Forbidden Snowflake says

    It’s bizzare for me to say that I think it’s weird more people here have a problem with this kind of breastfeeding their families with transgender raised kids?

    “More people”? Exactly one person as far as I can see said he found it “creepy” (#5), and was then anthropologied by Amphiox.

    Since there is also exactly one person (you, mrcrowley) expressing dismay over transgendered children living as their target gender (on a thread that had fuck-all to do with them, I might add), your statement is technically false. Also, bizarre and somewhat bigoted.

  78. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    Damn! I missed an explosive ball of stupid!

    I know you are banned from commenting here, mrdumbfuck, but a person does not become transgendered because the parents raised their child as the “wrong gender”. Shit, mrdumbfuck, but just about all transgendered women were raised as boys and transgendered men were raised as girls.

    You were just shitting all over this thread, showing off just how little you know about people.

    Pound sand up you ass and heat yourself so that your intestines are filled with glass. You might as well make yourself an art project.

  79. says

    @92 Caine

    Sorry to provoke such a reaction from you. I tend to joke around quite a bit. The bottom line is that I don’t find this sexual. I find it perfectly natural.

    I googled around to find some other reactions and plenty of other people seem to feel the same way.

    Even if you do find the picture in poor taste this seems to be a subjective thing. I think we can both be right.

  80. Amphiox says

    I just realized (and I was as guilty as anyone else), even before mr-runningintothebanhammerlikealemmingnomatterhowmanywarningsigetnoiinsistimrunningunderit, everyone started focusing entirely on the late breast feeding aspect, and no one even mentioned the original point that PZ was hi lighting in the OP – the sexualization of the breast feeding and the blatantly transparent attempt to use that to sell copy.

    Given pharyngula’s track record on this topic, if ANYTHING about this thread could count as weird, it’s this….

  81. RahXephon, An Assorted Motley Queer says

    Pound sand up you ass and heat yourself so that your intestines are filled with glass. You might as well make yourself an art project.

    LOL! I love you, Janine.

  82. says

    So, I was walking along Pharyngula Street this evening, just minding my own business, looking around at the very cool and intellectually stimulating environment, all art-deco with an attitude, if you know what I mean, like it’s going to punch you in the eye and say, “Now, that’s art.”

    I may have been distracted by one of the denizens shouting out a courteous, “Good evening, fapwit!” I may have simply been daydreaming about free quantum energy. It might’ve been Russell’s Teapot that distracted me. I can’t say for sure, because I fell into this big fuck-off hole.

    Yeah, I know. I should’ve noticed all the dirt spraying out from within, a veritable Old Faithful of refuse. I should’ve noticed the occupant at the bottom shoveling madly, like a crack-addled obsessive-compulsive and somewhat self-absorbed gopher.

    Yes. I should’ve noticed all that. But I wasn’t paying attention.

    I stumbled over the dirt and fell headlong into the hole.

    I lay at the bottom stunned a moment. Gathering what little wits I carry about with me at night on the somewhat dangerous Pharyngula Street, I stood and addressed whom I assumed to be the creator of this rather impressive monument to obliviousness.

    mrcrowley, the occupant I so narrowly missed crushing in my fall, seemed oblivious.

    “Whatcha doin’?” I asked.

    He grunted as he furiously shoveled. “Apologizing,” he said.

    I pointed at the shovel. “That,” I said, “doesn’t resemble an apology in any way.”

    “Yes,” he said, and continued digging. “This is an excellent apology. This represents the various ways in which my clear and stunning insights have been misinterpreted or misconstrued.”

    “It looks like you’re at the bottom of a hole,” I observed. “And you are still digging.”

    I thought perhaps mrcrowley might stop digging, but he did not. “Poppycock!”

    This was, in fact, the first time in my life someone had used the word poppycock in earnest.

    “Pish-tosh!” he continued. “I’m merely apologizing for the fact my brilliance has pricked their thin-skinned egos. If pressed, I shall even apologize for the effects my uncanny understanding of things of which I have never personally experienced have had on their underdeveloped intellects.”

    All the while, the hole grew deeper. mrcrowley’s stamina amazed me in ways previously reserved for Shark Week.

    “I don’t think that’s what they’re upset about,” I said.

    While the shovel drove deep into the dirt, mrcrowley nodded. “True,” he said. “I might perhaps need to apologize for their inability to recognize that if they were offended by my comments, they simply didn’t understand me. Perhaps they are unable to recognize that if my words offend them, then I obviously didn’t intend my words they way they interpreted them.” He stopped briefly to wipe the sweat from his forehead with the back of his sleeve.

    “I would not intentionally offend anyone,” he assured me. “And while I am not responsible for their misunderstanding my words, I deeply regret they are unable to grasp my vast understanding of transgender issues, though I myself an not transgendered. They are blinded by their own experiences, biased to interpreting transgender issues from the standpoint of a transgendered person.”

    After that, the dirt started flying.

    I called, “Can someone throw me down a cable?”

    The only sounds were the shick-thew of flying dirt, and the chirrups of crickets.

    “Hello?”

  83. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    Amphiox, that’s not true. Here’s the first unambiguous one, but there were others prior that I’m pretty sure were directed toward the sexualization aspect.

  84. Amphiox says

    Amphiox, that’s not true. Here’s the first unambiguous one

    I stand corrected. It would appear that this is what I get for trying to scan a thread using an I-phone.

  85. Amphiox says

    I should also have known better than using absolutist language like “no one”.

    That’s what I get for trying to type in a post using an I-phone….

  86. says

    I know the dumbass got banned rightly for being superdense, but it’s kind of sad they got banned before anyone got around to explain to them that no one here (I hope!) finds breastfeeding a 3-year-old “weird” (or odd, or unusual, or even rare), but rather that people find the sexualized presentation thereof problematic and disconcerting.

    Also, I’m another person who’s learned more on pharyngula than probably anywhere else I’ve spent a lot of time.

  87. chigau (違う) says

    Holy fuck, was that ever weird.
    I missed the whole thing :(
    but I would like to reiterate:

    Ah Caine, we meet again.

    (no real reason but you must picture me twirling my mustache and saying, “mwahahah”)

  88. Amphiox says

    Ah Caine, we meet again

    Got to say, deliberately alluding to stereotypical supervillain behavior, with oneself in the role of the villain….

    …. isn’t exactly the most conducive of arguments….

  89. says

    Amphiox:

    Got to say, deliberately alluding to stereotypical supervillain behavior, with oneself in the role of the villain….

    …. isn’t exactly the most conducive of arguments….

    Twirling mustaches aside, it’s damn arrogant of that pissant to act as though I considered him some sort of nemesis. I don’t have the slightest idea of who the fapwit happens to be.

  90. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    Caine, look at it this way; within a week, you will not remember the fuckwit.

    It is as it should be.

  91. Khantron, the alien that only loves says

    Swearing at someone isn’t as effective as other means when it comes to persuading them of your point of view.

    Citation needed motherfucker!

  92. Amphiox says

    I don’t have the slightest idea of who the fapwit happens to be.

    Look on the bright side, you must have posted something so amazing some time ago that it burned a permanent Caine-shaped hole in the poor fool’s fragile psyche.

    And you even get to do the M. Bison “but for me it was Tuesday” speech, if you want to.

  93. amblebury says

    Well, wouldn’t that piss you off to tears.

    A discussion of extended breastfeeding, and the various misrepresentations thereof pretty much immediately derailed by some idiot making vile, idiotic statements about transgender people and their parents. Also an idiot by the name of josephsimko making it all about his sexual desires, then pulling the “but it was just a joke!” BS when it gets pointed out to him.

    That, my friends is the patriarchal society for you.

    Seethe.

  94. says

    Janine:

    Caine, look at it this way; within a week, you will not remember the fuckwit.

    Very true. So many fuckwits…

    Amphiox:

    Look on the bright side, you must have posted something so amazing some time ago that it burned a permanent Caine-shaped hole in the poor fool’s fragile psyche.

    Hahahahahahaha. Oh goodness, I’m sure that won’t sit well with the fapwit. (We all know he’s reading.)

  95. odal53 says

    well if Caine could remember half the shit he/she writes on this site, she would be able to make the simple connection to someone else she’s had a conversation with in the past under a different username. I alluded to it earlier, surprised Caine didn’t pick it up but then again; Caine’s language is indicative of his/her intelligence.

    “I know you are banned from commenting here, mrdumbfuck, but a person does not become transgendered because the parents raised their child as the “wrong gender”. Shit, mrdumbfuck, but just about all transgendered women were raised as boys and transgendered men were raised as girls”

    You didn’t read any of MrCrowley’s posts did you? He made it clear that’s not what he was implying. Either that or you only read the parts quoted by other people.

  96. FossilFishy (Lobed-finned Killer of Threads) says

    Allow me to demonstrate a proper apology:

    Nigel the Bold: “I may have simply been daydreaming about free quantum energy.”

    FF: “No, no Nigel. What I’m offering is free Brane energy. Totally different thing. “Quantum” implies wootastic asshatery that has nothing to do with serious Brane theory.”

    NtB: “Very sorry. Poor choice of words on my part. May I write you a cheque?”

    See, easy peasy.

  97. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    odal53, fuck off. It’s not Caine’s job to remember every fucking useless fuckwit she has the displeasure of engaging with. You realize there are a lot of you assholes, right? You’re not fucking special just because you took a dislike to a regular. Guess what? Nobody fucking cares about you either.

  98. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    You didn’t read any of MrCrowley’s posts did you? He made it clear that’s not what he was implying. Either that or you only read the parts quoted by other people.

    Mrsockpuppet, mrdumbfuck clearly said that raising transgendered children comes from raising children as the wrong gender.

    Also, if you knew what Caine has to say so well, you would know what gender Caine is.

    Fuck it all, you have to love it when the dense defend the incoherent. But this shitstain could be mrdumbfuck’s sockpuppet.

  99. says

    well if Caine could remember half the shit he/she writes on this site, she would be able to make the simple connection to someone else she’s had a conversation with in the past under a different username. I alluded to it earlier,

    Goodness me, look who’s back, a banned fapwit. PZ is not going to be impressed, Sugar.

    Cupcake, I remember a great deal of what I write here and what I have written over the years. I remember a great many people, too, oftentime, lurkers who rarely post. They are always pleasantly surprised I remember them.

    You, however? Why in the fuckety fuck would anyone remember a shit stain? Sorry, Cupcake, you just don’t cut the mustard.

  100. Amphiox says

    I alluded to it earlier,

    Not on this thread, unless you’re a sockpuppet.

    Caine’s language is indicative of his/her intelligence.

    Substantially higher than yours, if YOUR use of language, or should I say attempted facsimile thereof, is any indication.

    He made it clear that’s not what he was implying

    Mrdivingunderthebanhammerlikealemmingdespitemorefrequent
    warningsthananyothertrollinrecentpharyngularecordedhistory made absolutely nothing clear to anyone but himself.

    Obvious sockpuppet is obvious.

    Pitiful.

  101. says

    odal53:

    …Caine’s language is indicative of his/her intelligence.

    In my experience, Caine’s use of language is appropriate to the intended target, which is indicative of a high level of intelligence. While I see you are at least equal in intelligence to the chimp who hides his rocks to throw at tourists, Caine’s intelligence is quite a bit higher.

    Also, too, it’s interesting your entire post is nothing more than tone trolling coupled with a hint of ad hominem, with no real substance. The mark of intelligence is the substance behind the words. Caine’s often caustic vocabulary is employed efficiently to present complex ideas.

    Your fairly limited vocabulary is employed in verbose attempts at sniping.

    Go figure.

  102. Amphiox says

    Interesting how the sockpuppet posted almost IMMEDIATELY after Caine said on another thread that she was going to bed.

    Probably trying to sneak in an attack without her being around to defend herself.

    Pathetic coward is pathetic.

    Incidentally there is no odal53 anywhere on the Ugh thread, the Estes thread, the Ken Hamm thread, the last TET, the Donahue thread, the toddler terrorist thread, the pancake thread, or the big Obama thread. That “I alluded to it earlier” is one really, really, really BRILLIANTLY subtle use of language, there.

    Obvious sockpuppet is obvious.

  103. Amphiox says

    While I see you are at least equal in intelligence to the chimp who hides his rocks to throw at tourists

    Um, that chimp planned attacks days in advance, cached weapons at strategic points, fashioned fresh ammo from its enclosure wall, and hid its activities from the zookeepers for months.

    MrOdi here blew its cover on its first post.

    It hasn’t demonstrated equivalence yet to that chimp’s turds.

  104. says

    Amphiox:

    Interesting how the sockpuppet posted almost IMMEDIATELY after Caine said on another thread that she was going to bed.

    I didn’t say I was going to bed, just leaving that thread. Actually, Amphiox, I think it was you who drove Odious back here, with your remark about the ‘Caine shaped hole’ and my response that we all knew he was still reading.

    Just couldn’t stand it anymore and had to try to get one last defense of his “good name” squeezed in, after, um, putting me in my place. :D

  105. crayzz says

    @Cipher, yeah, I totally did. I was assuming good faith, and I take my time writing things out. By the time I had posted, shit blew up. I hereby withdraw what support I gave mrcrowley.

    Sorry for being slow.

  106. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    Nigel, chimps have more integrity than the apologist/sockpuppet.

    I demand an apology.

  107. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    @Cipher, yeah, I totally did. I was assuming good faith, and I take my time writing things out. By the time I had posted, shit blew up.

    Hey, don’t worry about it. It happens to me all the time. All the time. Usually not with trolls because usually I refresh a lot with them, but elsewhere.

  108. amblebury says

    There is a crowd for this kind of thing, including females, just google lactation fetish. If you dare.

    No, nor want.

    A discussion of screwed-up attitudes to lactating mammals would have been nice. A troll and a kinky, immature fool put paid to that.

    Haven’t block quoted before.

  109. says

    Crayzz:

    Sorry for being slow.

    You don’t have anything to apologize for, Crayzz. Things move fast here. We regulars are used to it, but even we get caught by a particularly swift current on a regular basis.

    It’s not the worst thing in the world to give someone the benefit or to try and see things from their viewpoint. Most of the time, that’s a worthwhile effort.

  110. Amphiox says

    Actually, Amphiox, I think it was you who drove Odious back here, with your remark about the ‘Caine shaped hole’ and my response that we all knew he was still reading.

    Well if it was me then I sincerely apologize to everyone and any of their potentially traumatized irony meters for luring the insipid one back.

    Just couldn’t stand it anymore and had to try to get one last defense of his “good name” squeezed in, after, um, putting me in my place. :D

    And in so doing making nigel’s @100 that much more amazing.

  111. says

    amblebury, this isn’t the first time Rorschach has brought up the lactation fetish crowd. He seems to be rather over-awed by it. Personally, in the world of fetishes human beings indulge in, lactation is pretty mild.

  112. says

    Amphiox:

    It hasn’t demonstrated equivalence yet to that chimp’s turds.

    Janine:

    Nigel, chimps have more integrity than the apologist/sockpuppet.

    I demand an apology.

    Okay. I was wrong to compare the intelligence of mrcrowleyssockpuppet to a chimp who possessed the intelligence to create tactics (and even a modicum of strategy) to play dominance games with a crowd of slack-jawed gawkers.

    I apologize not just to Santino, but to chimps everywhere. I was wrong to drag your obvious intelligence into a discussion involving mrcrowleyssockpuppet.

  113. Ichthyic says

    well, that was .. fun.

    nigel’s summary was spot on.

    I’m still puzzling over how in the fuck Crow-eater managed to decide that comparing transgender family issues and breastfeeding was a useful thing to do.

    my only conclusion was, and still is, that he is an ignorant fuck.

    Am I wrong?

  114. amblebury says

    Yeah, you’re right, Caine.

    I’m just pissed that a subject that I think deserves some attention got silenced by McCrawly and the, “giggle giggle it’s a boob!” crowd.

    Breastfeeding matters for any number of reasons, on any number of levels. I’ve had both the “Eww, that’s weird” reaction to breastfeeding my kids, and also the “if you don’t breastfeed immediately after giving birth, solely and with no exception for 28 years you’re not a REAL WOMAN” to deal with.

    It all boils down to the same old thing: a woman’s right to choose.

    For the record, I breastfeed my children to about 8-9 months, and I supplemented with formula when I felt like it.

  115. Amphiox says

    I apologize not just to Santino, but to chimps everywhere. I was wrong to drag your obvious intelligence into a discussion involving mrcrowleyssockpuppet.

    The creobots always go “I ain’t related no ape”.

    When I consider apes like Santino, I can’t help but think that some of them, on contemplating humans like MrOdi here, would probably be going “Hey, don’t go suggesting that I am related to that stinking human”.

  116. chrisdelozier says

    Most people in the Atheist movement should be aware of this as calling a Christian a dumbass in an argument does little to persuade or change their minds.

    Not to further derail, just wanted to comment on this and say that yes, it does have an effect. Back in 2000 before I re-deconverted I would “troll” atheist chat rooms (before trolling was cool, I’m hipster like that) in earnest. Part of what lead to my re-deconversion was calling me out for what I was behaving like: a dumbass. Granted, it was more an argumentative and refined form of insulting. But what I realized was that it wasn’t these atheists insulting me personally, it was my beliefs that were insulting my intelligence, which lead to an accurate perception by others of myself.

    So, yeah. Calling someone a dumbass for believing in dumbass shit and spouting dumbass shit and supporting dumbass inhumane treatment of “others” is effective. It’s then on the person being the dumbass to stop being a dumbass, something the pitiful dumbass mrcrowley should have realized before it was too late.

  117. says

    chrisdelozier:

    (before trolling was cool, I’m hipster like that)

    Damn you! That’s the second time tonight I’ve spouted beer out my nose like a sperm whale coming up for oxygen.

    Also, too: thanks. It’s good to know all my 45 years of insulting expertise has not gone to waste.

  118. Louis says

    I remember when my wife gave birth and we were descended upon by the National Federation of Breast Nazis (or whatever they are called). They cooed illiterately at us at every given opportunity, every post natal meeting, every home visit. It put my wife under immense pressure as she was having a hard time with breast feeding (eventually she had to stop because of medical reasons, well before 2 years!).

    Don’t misunderstand me, breast feeding, I’m a fan. Prior to the birth I’d read a huge amount of primary literature on the matter, as well as other things. Hey, I’m a geek, with journal access, I over-prepare! I just saw the external pressure to be some sort of Uberearthmother that my wife was being put under and I, fairly naturally, wanted to kick back a bit. I didn’t, I’m not that clueless, no use adding to the mess…well I didn’t unless I got the nod from my wife! I know my place! ;-)

    I see the sexualisation of this Time cover. Sure that’s more than a little squicky, but based on my/my wife’s experience what really grinds at me is this relentless pressure on women to be this “have it all perfect mother”. As if somehow they are sub human if they have an off day, or post natal depression, or mastitis, or don’t want to breast feed even.

    Men get similar pressures (what? you’re not a chiselled, rock jawed, CEO and international father of the year? Pfff, wimp!), but one of the real lightbulb moments on my route to feminism was becoming a father and seeing first hand just what level of pressure women put up with over one simple issue. It was genuinely like nothing I’d ever experienced. So whilst, yes, we blokes experience similar pressures, we do not experience similar degrees of those pressures. Not to any extent I’ve experienced.

    The Breast Nazis were rude, patronising, unpleasant and remarkably uninformed by and large. One or two were excellent, I admit, but the majority of contacts left my wife with the distinct impression she was a wet nurse to the messiah and her thoughts and feelings were to be disregarded to the extent of damaging her physical health. It was pretty embarrassing to see my wife, my biochemistry PhD, senior in the pharma industry, knowledgeable as all hell and diligent well beyond normal bounds wife, treated as if she were some dribbling scumbag.

    /Rant

    I see this photo as yet another example of that toxic brand of motherhood. The Ultra Mother. It irritates the living piss out of me, not because my wonderful wife doesn’t live up to some stereotype, she exceeds it, I’m in awe of her, but because it is unnecessary and delivered almost universally sanctimoniously. It’s another example of ideologues, however well intentioned and well supported, preying on people in a weakened/vulnerable state. Don’t even get me started on the chaplains of various religions coming around and offering to bless/pray for mother and baby/patient during an operation etc. That might cause screaming…

    Louis

  119. nms says

    well if Caine could remember half the shit he/she writes on this site, she would be able to make the simple connection to someone else she’s had a conversation with in the past under a different username. I alluded to it earlier, surprised Caine didn’t pick it up but then again; Caine’s language is indicative of his/her intelligence.

    Why did you use both masculine and feminine pronouns some of the time, but not all of the time? I find this very confusing.

  120. hillaryrettig says

    PZ – your comments about the models’ stances helped me understand why I find the cover creepy. The “unusual pose,” with the boy on the chair, makes him the height of a small man, or at least a much older child. I think that’s where the strong sexual vibe is coming from, along with, of course, her come-f-me outfit and gaze. And his gaze at the camera is also weird, in part because (along with hers) it drags the viewer (in many cases, unwillingly) into what many of us would consider a highly intimate bonding moment.

    I think there’s a good chance that that boy, once he grows up, will be humiliated at having been photographed like that in so prominent a publication – assuming he isn’t already. And so I think the mom’s choice to involve him in that kind of cover shoot is a kind of abuse.

  121. says

    Louis:

    I see this photo as yet another example of that toxic brand of motherhood. The Ultra Mother.

    This is *exactly* what it’s about. The actual cover has the wonderfully aggressive cover line of “Are you mom enough?” FFS, it’s absurd, the monumental expectations that sets up, along with a sneering over ‘inferior’ mums.

    Yeah, parenting isn’t hard enough, right? And you certainly can’t have women retaining their own identity and lives, not when Messiah Jr. is waiting to hang off the nipple. Yeesh.

  122. Amphiox says

    re @155;

    I very strongly suspect it was an attempt at a bigoted reference to Caine’s orientation.

  123. Amphiox says

    Yeah, they castrated poor Santino. It was apparently an attempt to make him stop his rock throwing (he was getting close to seriously injuring zoo visitors despite attempts at protections like netting or confiscating his ammo caches) by reducing his aggression (which of course was originally caused by him being kept alone in a confined enclosure. I think some of the zoo staff were even quoted as rationalizing it as for Santino’s “own good”.

    It is pretty sad. And will likely be an exhibit when the Planet of the Apes finally comes to pass and the simians put us on trial.

  124. Louis says

    Caine,

    Yup.

    Motherhood as a competitive sport. Do we have to make every fucking single thing in the world into a profit motive emulating capitalist competitive enterprise?

    Don’t answer. I already know it’s a “Yes”.

    Louis

  125. Amphiox says

    re 152;

    Twice on Pharyngula I have had my view of a particular subject completely turned around, with the trigger for that turnaround being a short phrase posted in response to a comment I made. The phrase itself was not insulting in any way, but it was preceded by expressions of anger and insulting words. Those angry and insulting words caught my attention, and without them I may never have noticed the phrases that did end up having such a profound impact on my thinking, at all.

    (If you’re interested, those two phrases were “Except for the Iraqi people”, and “state’s rights”.)

  126. Louis says

    Setár, #161,

    Yup. She lifts cars off babies, and can flay a wild beast with her tongue at thirty paces if said beast looks askance at her Infant Messiah.

    All whilst she is managing a Fortune 500 company (under a male CEO and CFO obviously), looking like a super model, running a marathon, submitting properly to her husband, not being “a bit ethnic”, and breast feeding identical MALE twins in a self designed titty harness which frees the hands to macramé a puppy, basket weave a new house, decorate Martha Stewart, prepare a 17 course banquet for 12 from organic, home grown, macrobiotic, free range, ethically sourced, superfoods, and perform acts of sexual intimacy on her husband whilst having multiple orgasms herself if he lets her.

    Oh and her hair? Her hair is amazing. She uses a self made proprietary blend of herbs, spices and home made soaps to cleanse and style her hair. This blend will go on the market retailing at $73543 a pound and allowing her and her husband to retire to a beach house on a private island in the Bahamas. She gets to the island by flying her own private organically sourced green jet powered by smugness and a very superficial understanding of vaccination.

    All hail the Ultra Mother.

    Louis

  127. hillaryrettig says

    Interesting, also, that the son isn’t named. Given that his mother is named, it’s pretty dehumanizing.

  128. Amphiox says

    Interesting, also, that the son isn’t named. Given that his mother is named, it’s pretty dehumanizing.

    That fact that he’s a minor may have something to do with this.

    Though the identification of his mother pretty much makes his identification not that hard for anyone interested enough to make the effort to find out.

  129. Louis says

    Caine,

    I’m glad I do someone some good! I’m in a strange and dangerous mood today. My poor friends are in for a shock tonight. I fear I may Ruinate* them.

    Louis

    * Many years ago, in the before time, during the Never Never, I achieved the nickname The Ruinator. This was because when people went drinking with me, they tended to get Ruinated. It’s like being drunk, just worse. It usually has legal ramifications. I am become Drunk, The Destroyer of Livers.

  130. amblebury says

    Louis – I hear you – a clarion, crystal tone with regards to the pressure to übermothering.

    FFS, the most pressure I ever endured was with child no. 3. It mattered not that children nos 1 & 2 had been successfully, (by my standards, and they were my boobs, so my standards rule, mmkay?) breastfed.

    All manner of nonsense rained down from well-meaning, indoctrinated and fearful “health professionals.”

    This is what needs to be said, heard and respected: women are pretty much as smart as y’know, other humans. They have options available to them. (Me, I chose all of them, as and when it suited.)It is their right to choose whatever suits them and their children, if you’re not prepared to help, get out of the damn way because you’re hindering.

    This whole phenomenon of various groups insisting that we SHOULD and we MUST and we’re NOT DOING IT RIGHT if we don’t follow any specific doctrine? It’s sexism 101, innit? Whether anyone thinks breastfeeding in a cafe is the end of civilisation as we know it, or if they insist that if a newborn infant suckles from a rubber teat it will never, ever successfully breastfeed, (that’s not hyperbole, that’s what I was told with child no.3) they need to STFU and mind their own damned business.

    It’s so basic. It’s still happening.

  131. says

    Three seems to be the average, but that means a significant proportion go past three.

    Well, the average doesn’t tell us anything about the range.

    Here’s a few links, which also consider the birth control aspect of it.

    For the record, I’ve long known about that, and am not questioning that aspect, which is very interesting.

    From the third one:

    Ethnographic studies of hunter/gatherer and other preindustrial societies show that while the duration of lactation
    varies considerably between cultures and between
    individual children within a culture, the average duration is
    between 3 and 5 years of age. Here are some examples
    from Wickes’ 1953 survey of various tribes: Australian
    aborigines, 2 to 3 years; Greenlanders, 3 to 4 years;
    Hawaiians, 5 years; Inuit, around 7 years

    The links don’t work for some reason, but I pasted that one. It seems to be an advocacy group, and that’s a quote from “La Leche League leader Priscilla Colletto,” allegedly summarized from a single 1953 article about some survey. Pretty dubious, and doesn’t really say much about how common it would be.

  132. carlie says

    I find it particularly galling that the little boy is dressed in camo (and that it was a boy to start with). It’s not about mothering, it’s not about super-mothering, it’s about super-mothering the next generation of good male soldiers for our country. If you don’t breastfeed for life, THE TERRORISTS WILL WIN.

  133. Louis says

    Amblebury, #169,

    This is what needs to be said, heard and respected: women are pretty much as smart as y’know, other humans.

    WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!

    Outrageous! Women aren’t human. They’re brood mares for males and sammich preparation units.

    Women: Don’t get Ideas Above Your Station. Also: make me a fucking sammich. NOW. No pickles.

    Louis

  134. Louis says

    Amblebury, #169, part II, the more serious part,

    Ah yes, the old “If rubber touches his lips he will never suckle your tits” crowd. They amused me. And by “amused” I think we all know what I mean.

    As mentioned above, I am a geek, I read books and I’m not ashamed to admit it. That’s right, I’m claiming some intellectual high ground! ;-)

    I bought and read a selection of pregnancy/parenting books to get the lay of the land. Wow! Just….Wow! Everything from “beat your child daily” to “plant your child in the garden and let them be free like a bird”.

    Louis

  135. ChasCPeterson says

    oops, I accidentally logged in. sorry.
    Well, while I’m here:

    Why do people still think sex sells

    on account of people do shitloads of market research and focus-grouping and the like. Do not doubt that this particular cover design was one of several prototypes, chosen for its empirically verified optimal blend of a) catching the eye, b) titillating the titillatable, c) offending the prudes, d) causing a disconcerting blend of b and c (thereby extending the attention paid to the image), e) twinging the conscience of those so equipped (but breastfeeding is motherhood all natural and hunter-gathery!), f) causing a disconcerting blend of b through e, possibly even provoking thought, and g) providing plausible deniability of sexualization to the publisher et al. (it illustated a story about extended breastfeeding! that’s an actual mom-&-kid!!). Goals a through f provide the cake ($) and g means eating it too.

    the original point that PZ was hi lighting in the OP – the sexualization of the breast feeding and the blatantly transparent attempt to use that to sell copy.

    I too am shocked–SHOCKED!–that an American corporation would stoop to trying to sell shit with use of sexual innuendo.

    But, look, the effectiveness of the image in accomplishing goals a through g above also explains PZ’s decision to feature it above the fold of his blog here. Only the metaphorical cake is (arguably) different. With the addition of another layer of deniability (i.e. the ironic reflexive photoshop parody), it’s perfect ‘red meat for the horde’. While sincerely decrying the troglodytic patriarchical sexualization, PZ simultaneously reaps the same benefits that the sexualization was designed to elicit: a pretty neat trick.
    But perhaps in this case intent is fucking magic?

    ok, fucking off.

  136. Louis says

    SC,

    I’ve often found that The Ultra Mothers and the Anti Vaxxers are the same people.

    Anecdote =/= data, but experience has taught me to be cautious with Ultra Mothers.

    Louis

  137. Louis says

    Chas,

    So if someone discusses something controversial or abhorrent with other people they accrue benefit by simply acknowledging its existence?

    Louis

  138. cogito says

    I’m looking at the photo right now and I can’t for the life of me see the blatant sexualization that others here are seeing. Yes, she is attractive and yes it’s an unusual position to be breastfeeding in, but so what? If the child wasn’t there and her breast wasn’t slightly exposed (kind of a necessity when breastfeeding), would it still be sexualization? She is looking confidently straight at the camera, but that can’t be it either. What am I missing?
    The way I see it, the reaction that many are having has more to do with american taboos around breastfeeding.

  139. joed says

    Seems the mom has the look of proud defiance.
    Maybe she is setting the precedence, blazing the trail for the for women to safely breast feed in public.
    If the photo is real then the mom may regret posing. The child in a few years may wonder why his mother would use him like this.
    This is a really goddamned Bizarre photo.
    Is it possible the photo can help the culture to grow up.

  140. says

    Well, didn’t you know, women only ever do anything of worth if they’re looking sexy while at it. If they’re looking sexy, whatever they’re doing is actually only an excuse for looking sexy and therefore not important anyway.
    What I’m wondering is that nobody has yet commented a lot on the boy himself. He doesn’t look very happy (and he doesn’t look like 3 years old). His mother pushes him against her, his arms are just hanging, not making any kind of contact with her and the look on his face is what I’d call “old-biddy aunt is giving me a bit wet kiss and I hate it.

    Oh, and I wished the whole breastfeeding debate would be downscaled like 1000times.
    Yes, breastfeeding is beneficial, but much less than most “lactivists” would like to make you believe. We’re talking here more about eating whole-wheat bread as opposed to white bread, not about eating penne a la arrabiata with mineral water and a pound of strawberries vs. a McDonals supersize menu plus milk-shake.
    I breastfed both kids, and for me it was the right thing. I had them with me anyway so I didn’t need to worry about packing water/bottles/formula/stuff when I left the house.But starting was a catastrophe both times. Only with #1 I’d been so convinced by the breast-feeding-fanatists that I seriously believed that there was something wrong with me, that I was a bad mother, that I was a failure. With #2 I knew that shit happens, that formula isn’t child abuse and that problems can be workd with. So when she was born I had bottles, a pump and formula at home. Most importantly I had a different attitude. So when we ran into a whole new set of difficulties I kept calm and we solved them and I was happy.
    I like the way Amy Tuteur puts it: it’s important that you choose mothering, not what your mothering choices are.

    Oh, and nigel, thanx for that

  141. John Morales says

    I endorse what ChasCPeterson wrote.

    (And he chose the right word, too: titillation)

  142. says

    Good lord. I stopped reading the comments here at about #46. It seems that a lot of people here have a lot to learn about rational discussion and debate. I can see treating a fundie Christian with this much disdain, but somebody who may have worded something slightly different to come across in a way he may not have intended? Can anybody here refute a claim or argument without resorting to name-calling? I’m just curious. It seems that anybody with a contrary opinion gets insulted, called names, and essentially shamed right off the comments section.

    I’m sure there are people here who can argue without resorting to childish actions such as name-calling, and aren’t using insults every other paragraph, but right now it sure doesn’t seem that way.

  143. philboidstudge says

    Did you mean “contemptuous” or “contemptible”?

    Could go either way, I guess …

  144. Louis says

    Terranrich, #184,

    Oh dear. Tone trolling. Enjoy your incoming barrage of anally insertable porcupines in varying states of health and/or accompaniment.

    I’ll be over here in the rarefied air, where I can rise above both insulters (even though I am one) and tone trolls (even though I too value pleasant discourse) by sitting on a puffy cloud of my own self important sense of superiority.

    Drift away on a puffy cloud.

    Louis

  145. alektorophile says

    Louis, Breast Nazis indeed. I call them the Breastapo.
    My wife, an MD, had looked into it, primary literature and all, and had decided to breastfeed our first. As is often the case, she had some trouble at the beginning, it hurt like hell, and got very conflicting advice, ranging from nurses telling her she wasn’t good at it and that she should just give up, to the local Leche League group (aka the Breastapo), where she was made to feel a criminal for even contemplating using formula. In the end she persevered, stopped listening to other people’s advice, and breastfed our kid until he was 12 months old. What matters is she choose what to do, it was her decision, and it was also her decision when to stop, nobody (not even me) has the right to question her motivations. I just really disliked the whole extreme “breast is best” crowd. Sure, breastfeeding has benefits, and should, when feasible, be encouraged, but I for one only had formula as an infant and turned out ok.

    As for the cover photo, thank you, Time Magazine, for reminding me why I stopped reading you years ago.

  146. joed says

    The photo isn’t really about breast feeding.
    It is about other things but I sure don’t know what.
    The child is being used. Seems like child abuse to me.

  147. Louis says

    alektorophile, #187,

    With a nym like that you have to be a fellow chemist! ;-)

    Breastpo…brilliant, simply brilliant. I can pay it no higher compliment than: I wish I’d thought of that first!

    Louis

  148. alektorophile says

    @184
    As for name-calling, I am one of those people who rarely even swears, but in this case, reading through the comments, I definitely think mrcrowley only got a fraction of the abuse he deserved.

  149. Pteryxx says

    What I’m wondering is that nobody has yet commented a lot on the boy himself. He doesn’t look very happy (and he doesn’t look like 3 years old). His mother pushes him against her, his arms are just hanging, not making any kind of contact with her and the look on his face is what I’d call “old-biddy aunt is giving me a bit wet kiss and I hate it.

    This. My guess is, it’s part of the sexualization by having an identifiably male recipient be detached and not paying attention to the actual woman involved. (With caveat that I’ve no idea how a breastfeeding kid past the pink-blob stage actually behaves. The pose creeped me right out.)

  150. FossilFishy (Lobed-finned Killer of Threads) says

    After my wife became pregnant I took to reading various “mommy” blogs. I know, I know, I was in a panic having never even held an infant at that point.* It became clear very quickly that there was no parenting choice that was so innocuous as to be above reproach. And those criticisms were more often than not delivered in a hardline, black and white rhetoric that was quite fearsome to behold. Good prep for Pharyngula comment trolls as it happens, including the fact that no one on those commenters ever offered a shred of credible evidence for their claims.

    My wife breastfed, did so until the sprout turned three and gave it up with a mixture of relief and regret that seems to be the basso continuo of all parenting. We gave a wide birth to any of our friends who wouldn’t take polite hints about our indifference to their opinions on breastfeeding, both for and against. It’s not quite the bodily autonomy issue that pregnancy is but we decided to treat it as such and that decision stood us in good stead.

    *Don’t judge. I’m clumsy and suffer from an over-deveolped sense of guilt. I still berate myself for the glass of wine I spilled on my first girlfriend’s carpet over twenty years ago for fuck’s sake. Can you imagine how I would have handled dropping someone’s baby!? :)

  151. pumpkinpie24 says

    PS wrote “Apparently, it’s not enough to be a nursing mother —you’d better be sexy while you’re at it….”

    Rang right we’d better be! There is no better time to be sexy. Our boobs have never looked this good and never will again. The lucky moms lose more weight while nursing than we gained while pregnant. What are we supposed to do, wear frumpy mumus the whole time?

    If this point has already been brought up, I apologize. I don’t have time to go through all the comments. I’m breastfeeding as I type.

  152. pumpkinpie24 says

    That’s “PZ wrote” and “Dang right.” Nursing + posting from a smartphone leads to many typos….

  153. Epinephrine says

    Breast feeding? A good thing. Extended breast feeding? No problem. Sexualizing breast feeding with an attractive woman and an aggressive gaze, in an unusual pose? Weird.

    I don’t see sexualising, in the least. Merely using a fit person isn’t sexualizing. The weird pose is probably to try to get the child looking at the camera, and to have the woman looking suitably confident and daring you to complain. Because seriously, I dare you to complain to my wife about her nursing a child.

    There is nothing sexy about that photo. Any sexiness is in your head. That is a photo of a woman feeding her child. It is frowned upon, and she’s looking a little defiant for that reason. My wife isn’t part of the “breastapo”, but she is passionate about ensuring that breast feeding isn’t stigmatised – that women don’t have to cover up, that they can breast feed in public, and that they can choose how long to do so (and I am with her). There are many breast feeding advocates who are not out to make anyone feel bad about their choices, merely to make sure that people can be comfortable with their choices, and that those who wish to breastfeed can do so without harassment or being treated like sex objects.

  154. FossilFishy (Lobed-finned Killer of Threads) says

    I’m breastfeeding as I type.

    Heh. Intelligent design my ass. Any halfway intelligent designer would install a latching system secure enough to allow freedom of motion for both arms.

  155. Louis says

    That’s a good point. Breastfeeding in public/unashamed breastfeeding does not equate to Breast Nazism/Breastapo membership.

    Breastfeeding is all good, all natural and women should be able to go to it with abandon. I’ve got no problems with that. The Breast Nazis I was referring to are those people who put inordinate pressure on women to breast feed at almost any cost, not women who (rightly) feel free to sensibly advocate breast feeding or practise it.

    Louis

  156. says

    Breastapo.

    Great. I just spewed coffee all over my phone. XD

    Seriously though, the more horror stories I hear about the pressures put on moms by other moms, the more worried I get. Not about Darkfetus when it finally pops out, but I’m worried that I’ll run out of inventive ways to tell these people to fuck off.

  157. FossilFishy (Lobed-finned Killer of Threads) says

    Audley: Don’t worry, necessity is the mother of invention after all….
    I’ll get my coat.

  158. d over dx (thunk) = SQRRAWK! says

    Bah! Completely missed the troll action. *grumble* internet gets shut off here.

    Desert Son/ Robert: Call me thunk.

    Everyone else: No experience in spawning here, but I didn’t have very much weight gain while on breast milk, so I was switched to formula early on.

  159. susan says

    @FossilFishy

    I’m sorry to hear about your wife’s experience with LaLeche. They wonderful to me, really helped a lot with latching on (much more patient than the nurses in the hospital), helped me rent a great pump for when I needed one, and I ended up going to the meetings for years, just to hang with others who were non-judgmental about nursing in public. I did have a group with working women near me, who met at night and on weekends, so was lucky. (This was 20+ years ago and most groups met during the day on weekdays.)

    I used baby-led weaning and ended up nursing my first 3.5 years and my second 4 years. It was wonderful (mmmm oxytocin) and the last year or so, nursing was all about comfort and relaxation, not nutrition. My kids wanted to nurse at night before sleep and when they were hurt or upset. Toward the end, it just gradually slowed down, and then ended. I was so glad my son was still nursing at 3 1/2 when he was attacked by a dog and badly bitten–he was scared and hurt and it was calming to both me and him to nurse when he was in the hospital. No one there gave me any grief about it and the plastic surgeon commented on how my kid was so relaxed and easy to work on once he’d nursed.

    I very fondly remember falling asleep with a baby attached and my husband still tells the kids about their “milk comas”. Good times.

    As for the cover photo, way to squeeg a lot of people out, TIME–you’ve done nursing moms no favor.

  160. DLC says

    Louis. they were out of wheat bread. it’ll have to be white or rye. Oh, and someone drank the rum again.
    What’s that damn smell in here ?
    Caine have you been burning trolls again ? Well at least this one dug his own fire pit. We’ll never get that smell out of the curtains. And Nigel, coil that damn cable before someone trips over it! you want us to get sued ?

  161. says

    Full disclosure: I am a cis male, straight, middle-aged, British, single, childless, trained in graphic design, amateur photographer, who hasn’t seen GoT (it’s on the Murdoch channel over here).

    I’m having trouble seeing much squicky about this cover. It’s provocative, I’ll grant you that; you don’t often see three-year-olds being suckled in public. But I’m not feeling much revulsion, if any. The mother is an attractive young woman wearing form-fitting clothing with a bit of décolletage showing. She’s looking straight at the camera with the slightly bored look of a professional fashion model (there’s a reason they all have that look).

    The kid is a kid who looks like he doesn’t understand the concept of posing, and looks as awkward as a kid that age looks when he’s not sure what he’s supposed to be doing for the camera.

    The whole effect is anti-naturalistic; I’m sure that when this mother and child settle down for a normal feed, she’s not standing, he’s not standing on a chair, and nor do they do it in a stark white photo studio. I’m sure they’re probably not so well-lit, either.

    I’d like to see the contact proofs for this session (or the digital thumbnails, more likely (you can tell I’m middle-aged, can’t you)). I’m wondering if they tried it with different outfits for the mother and the child, and whether the photographer was doing full-body shots the whole time, or went in with head-shoulders-chest for some or most of them. This could be an anomolous try-out shot that just leaped out for the art director from all the others in composition and other numinous factors.

    It’s interesting that with an anti-naturalistic set-up, they don’t seem to have gone for much, if any, photoshopping of the reality-distortion kind. The mother’s clothes are wrinkled, her waist and bust unenhanced. Her skin might have been smoothed and de-blemished, but then again that could be the lighting and having a 26-year-old skin. And on the other tentacle, as an ostensible news magazine, maybe they just don’t have a habit of enhancing their photos that way.

    So, maybe it’s my job, but I’m not squicked out by the photography, composition, or poses. It all seems (to me) to be within the acceptable range of ways to fulfill the brief of photographing a mother and late-nursing child.

    That’s the photography. There’s the art direction, but after the shots are taken, that’s as much a matter of picking the shapes that fit the needs of putting a certain amount of text on the cover, as well as being just provocative enough without being scandalising.

    Editorially, there’s some interesting choices to be made. Since they’ve named the model, I’d assume that she’s mentioned in the piece somewhere. I’ve not read Time since the pre-digital age, but I’d guess that the journalists were accompanied by a photographer whose pictures are all over the inside of the magazine. So why was a studio shot chosen rather than one of the reportage shots, and why this model rather than one of the more, say, matronly mothers?

    That might depend on the mothers and their children. Perhaps there were no reportage shots with the right composition for a magazine cover, and the minimum of nipplage, and a photogenic mother and child. Perhaps it was deemed a little too provocative to put an actual nursing on the cover, and the editors felt that the sterile atmosphere of a studio shoot would help distance the subjects from the casual newstand browser. By putting them in the studio, they become symbolic rather than actual. “This isn’t an actual nursing mother and child, it’s just a couple of models.” (Then in small print, as though to prove that they aren’t making it all up: “Actually, they are real.”)

    And then there’s the subject of the article. When you’ve already decided that the slant is mothers who try to do it all (I haven’t read the piece) then a model who looks like superwoman is almost required. Or maybe the editors felt that a woman close to a mass-market ideal (blonde, lithe, white) helped make the issue, such as it is, more personal to the majority of readers.

  162. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    It was also an early form of birth control. Regular suckling stimulates continued lactation, and the hormonal milieu that produces this suppresses ovulation.

    Triple meh on that.

    My sister got pregnant twice in a row while breastfeeding. The third one is due this july.

    Now she having serious jealousy problems with the first one vs the second one because she had to ween her to start feeding the second.

    To summarize the situation, her first daughter hates her little sister’s guts because she gets the breast milk.

    My sister has learned her lesson and has weened her younger one a bit earlier so that she won’t get that problem with the one to come.

  163. Amphiox says

    Oh TerranRich, TerranRich, TerranRich…..

    *sigh*

    How long have you been lurking? Have you learned nothing?

    The problem with MrTroll wasn’t his initial “miswording”, it was, as it always is, the way he responded to criticism. That is the best feature of Pharyngula’s free commenting. When someone is insulted they usually are prompted to drop their masks, and we get to see what they’re really like. And this troll proved QUITE revealing.

    How many warnings did PZ give him? How many chances? Five? Six? I haven’t seen any other denizen of the dungeon get more than three. Most get ONE. How did this troll respond to PZ’s patience. He figuratively spat in PZ’s face.

    And then there was the creepy cyber-stalking of Caine, the veiled homophobia, the sockpuppetry.

    Ugh. And you want to defend THAT? THAT is your idea of good TONE?

    Oh wait, I see, you stopped reading at post #46. You MISSED all that. #46 was less than HALFWAY through MrOdiTroll’s demented ranting. But that raises another question – What the hell made you think you should presume to comment on a subject on which you had examined LESS THAN HALF THE EVIDENCE? You know what kind of thinker renders opinions on half the information? HALFWITS, that’s who.

    Here’s your complimentary porcupine. Instructions for use are in the attached envelope. Just make sure you READ THE WHOLE THING, lest you end up with spines stuck on the wrong hole.

  164. Amphiox says

    re 205;

    Hey, no one said it was a reliable method of birth control! One would certainly hope the modern methods have advanced sufficiently that a 50 000 or so year old method would not come up deficient in the comparison!

    But it was (and is) used as such. Works a fair bit better than abstinence-only sex-ed, probably.

  165. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    Okay.
    I’m going to say what I said on PET here.

    The pose was very sexual. A woman breastfeeding does not turn out like that (the child’s face is mashed up against her chest, usually). Between that, the hand on the hip, and the stylishly sexy/tight clothing, the woman’s appearance otherwise (makeup, hair, etc), the overall effect is very sexualized. She is turning out to “make a better photo” because a “better photo” is the more sexual one. She is posed to be “attractive.”

    Fuck, I’m going to bet you ANYTHING that when she actually feeds her kid, it isn’t in that pose. She probably does it sitting, with the kid lying across her lap. If the magazine was interested in depicting her as she actually nurses, they would have done so!

    The entire fucking pose is sexualized. For the message that “This woman is NOT a sex object, fuck you very much” to come across loud and clear, then the pose, the clothing, EVERYTHING would have to be very different. A woman happily and defiantly posing in a sexualized pose like this one is not sending a message that she’s not a sex object.

  166. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    Terranrich, for some reason, I don’t feel the need to be patient with people who say shitty, harmful, shaming things about oppressed groups and then when called on it become even more obviously oblivious. Take your shock and horror at the mean, mean commentariat and shove it up your ass next to the porcupine.

    Rang right we’d better be! There is no better time to be sexy. Our boobs have never looked this good and never will again. The lucky moms lose more weight while nursing than we gained while pregnant. What are we supposed to do, wear frumpy mumus the whole time?

    Missing the point to a hilarious and mildly nauseating degree.

    that says more about you than the photo.

    True but not useful. PZ pointed out the reasons he considered it sexualized. Frankly, I think the people who are claiming it’s not are simply inured to the constant sexualization of women on magazine covers in general. If the kid weren’t there, this cover would fit right in with everything else, but because it’s a breastfeeding cover, and breastfeeding is already inappropriately sexualized by those who like to shame women for feeding their kids in public, we have particular reason to want Time to be sensitive and responsible toward the people it’s attempting to represent. They had a lot of choices here; they weren’t stuck with that picture format at all, or that shaming headline.

  167. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    Oh, and “I’m not turned on by it, so it’s not sexy” is moronic.

  168. Epinephrine says

    Oh, and “I’m not turned on by it, so it’s not sexy” is moronic.

    The definition of sexy is that it arousing, or sexually exciting. It is perfectly fine to say that something isn’t sexy (to you) if you don’t find it arousing.

    If a poll were to show that the majority of those whose sexual orientation includes women fail to find this a turn on, it would certainly be fair to label it not sexy.

  169. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    If a poll were to show that the majority of those whose sexual orientation includes women fail to find this a turn on, it would certainly be fair to label it not sexy.

    At least some of us are busy finding it too squicky to be a turn-on because of the attempt to be sexy.

  170. Amphiox says

    But “sexy” is only one segment of the sexualization spectrum.

    Many people, if polled, would not identify something titillating as sexy, but it is still on the spectrum.

    And a large part of that spectrum is actually subconscious. The final arbiter of whether or not something is sexually exploitative is ultimately whether or not the people responsible for producing it intended it that way. As that cannot be known without an outright confession, we have to gather other sources of evidence and asymptote towards the truth.

  171. says

    If a poll were to show that the majority of those whose sexual orientation includes women fail to find this a turn on, it would certainly be fair to label it not sexy.

    that’s very nice, but of course not what’s happened. what happened is “I don’t think this is sexy, thus it isn’t/can’t be sexy at all”

  172. says

    The final arbiter of whether or not something is sexually exploitative is ultimately whether or not the people responsible for producing it intended it that way.

    eh, no. plenty of them, at this point, might not even be aware that they can’t tell “aesthetically appealing” from “sexualized” when it comes to portrayals of women

  173. Amphiox says

    And for goodness sake, this is TIME, not Cosmopolitan.

    TIME at least is supposed to pretend to have higher journalistic standards than that!

  174. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    Amphiox, you haven’t been reading Time much lately, have you?

  175. says

    TIME at least is supposed to pretend to have higher journalistic standards than that!

    lol

    I cancelled my subscription 6 years ago because of the fluff and sensationalist bullshit they were writing up. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were at about the same level of seriousness as Maxim

  176. says

    Triple meh on that.

    My sister got pregnant twice in a row while breastfeeding.

    No one claimed it was a perfect form of birth control. The discussion was about hunter-gatherer societies, not those in which other forms of birth control are also available. But I’m having a hard time finding information about its effectiveness – some claim it’s very high – under various conditions. The Planned Parenthood site seems to be acting up.

  177. Amphiox says

    Amphiox, you haven’t been reading Time much lately, have you?

    Well, I’m not saying they’ve been pretending well, but I thought the pretense was still supposed to be there….

  178. Amphiox says

    eh, no. plenty of them, at this point, might not even be aware that they can’t tell “aesthetically appealing” from “sexualized” when it comes to portrayals of women

    Well, I stepped into that one, what with my own preceding sentence being that much of it was subconscious.

  179. nooneinparticular says

    “breastapo”.

    *spurt* *gasp* Ah. Now I know what coffee feels like coursing through my nasal passages.

    When my eldest was born he had some trouble coming through and our OB/Gyn (a wonderful trans-woman who was transitioning during my son’s in utero -she was my first intimate connection with a trans person) said that he might be “orally adverse” because of the complications. He was and breast feeding was tough. Wife had to pump then we put it in a syringe with a small tube which ran down her breast, taped to her nipple and into the little nipper’s mouth. It was sort of complicated and a two person job (I held the syringe and prevented the tube from going splooey). On three separate occasions we were accosted by the breastapo. Explaining that it was not formula and that it was necessary because my son could not get enough milk otherwise made no difference to them. One actually screamed at us.

    The little guy learned quickly and within two weeks was doing it right.

  180. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    say what I said on PET here.

    I find this whole phenomenon baffling and unsettling.

    Eh?

  181. says

    Eh?

    I get confused by acronyms at times. I thought you were referring to the FB group. If not, never mind. If so, it was about that phenomenon generally and not cross-posting between here and there specifically that I was expressing an opinion.

  182. says

    now I’m curious, too. why is the FB group a “baffling and unsettling” phenomenon? not that I’m a member (I’ve unhooked myself from the social aspects of Pharyngula almost entirely), but I’m not sure what’s weirder or more unsettling about it than about TET and TZT?

  183. says

    I was referring to the FB group.

    Right.

    I assume you don’t need prodding from me to think of some of the reasons in the development of a social movement that a structured private, parallel (let aside real-time) group discussion to a public blog might be viewed as a problem.

  184. says

    in the development of a social movement

    ah.

    I guess it didn’t occur to me to view socializing on Pharyngula as part of a social movement. I thought that’s what the content-containing threads were for.

  185. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    structured private, parallel (let aside real-time) group discussion to a public blog might be viewed as a problem.

    LOLWUT

  186. says

    I guess it didn’t occur to me to view socializing on Pharyngula as part of a social movement. I thought that’s what the content-containing threads were for.

    I’m talking about Pharyngula as a whole, including all threads. This, incidentally, is a content-containing thread.

    But think about this: I just left this comment. Because I know about the FB group, I assume that my comment might well be discussed. (If I didn’t, I’d have no idea.) I don’t know by whom. Probably a group consensus, or at least alliances, will form, and various people will comment here based on the discussion there, to which no one else is a party.

    This corrodes democratic public debate, in my view.

  187. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    SC, I am not part of the FB group. That is because I do not want to be on FB and give out my personal information. But there has been a social aspect to the Horde for a long time; meet up at conferences, groups of people realizing that they live relatively close to each other and meeting up as well as collections for some people in need.

    I guess what I am saying is while I am not really part of the RL meet and greets, I do not see the socializing aspect strange at all. For many, it seems to be a much needed outlet.

  188. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    You’re laughing at what, exactly?

    You, mostly.

    The FB group is more secure than here, but that’s because there, unlike here, our real identities are tied to what we say.

    But otherwise, there’s no real difference.

    I’m laughing at your insistence that a group of us talking on the side in a forum that anyone that is a regular here, about the same stuff that we talk about here, is “undemocratic.”

  189. says

    DLC:

    Caine have you been burning trolls again ? Well at least this one dug his own fire pit. We’ll never get that smell out of the curtains.

    :Looks down, scuffs toes: Sorry.

  190. says

    SC, I am not part of the FB group. That is because I do not want to be on FB and give out my personal information. But there has been a social aspect to the Horde for a long time; meet up at conferences, groups of people realizing that they live relatively close to each other and meeting up as well as collections for some people in need.

    And I’ve been part of that and have zero problem with it. I see a qualitative difference between those personal and local connections and a parallel FB group, and I’m surprised that others don’t. People tend to say less about individual friendships than they do about The Family.

  191. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    Estelethh, I am not sure how much more “secure” the FB group is because of the fact the FB demands “real identities” and changes it rules by fiat and uses that information to make you part of a commercial enterprise.

    Also, I have my doubts about how democratic anything on FB can truly be.

    One last thing, some of us like to try to remain anonymous.

  192. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    Indeed, Janine.

    Much of PET seems to be “look at [thing] my [kid/spouse/friend] did! Isn’t it [cute/awesome/rage-inducing]!”

    It’s like here, only more explicitly social, due to the real-names-attached thing.

    I’m also rather befuddled by the idea that the Horde is a “movement” as such. Are we activists? Many of us, yes. Is atheism a movement that we’re a part of? Yes.

    But, quite frankly, I don’t hang out in TET or PET because it’s part of a movement. I hang out here because it is enjoyable.

    BTW, we are drifting far from the OP. If you want to continue this, I suggest taking it to TET.

  193. says

    You, mostly.

    Of course. And others might join you.

    I’m laughing at your insistence that a group of us talking on the side in a forum that anyone that is a regular here[?], about the same stuff that we talk about here, is “undemocratic.”

    That’s very ignorant and sad.

    (Feel free to quote me on FB. I won’t know.)

  194. says

    I’m also rather befuddled by the idea that the Horde is a “movement” as such.

    I’m talking about the atheist movement, and Pharyngula is a major public forum in that movement.

    ***

    Look, people have talked for millenia about the structures that make for real democracy, and the internet is not beyond those debates. My problems with PET are just another part of that discussion.

  195. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    Atheism is a movement. Pharyngula and the Horde are part of that. I am not disagreeing with this.

    But.

    TET is where the Horde socializes. Y’know, chats about whatever the fuck we feel like.

  196. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    Esteleth, after a couple of hundred statements, drift happens. Also, I did not want to stay on this tangent. The fact that I decline to take part in the FB group should say enough.

  197. says

    TET is where the Horde socializes. Y’know, chats about whatever the fuck we feel like.

    That’s The Thread? If so, that’s public – right here on the public blog. Not what I thought we were talking about.

  198. says

    Esteleth:

    TET is where the Horde socializes.

    Yes, it is, to an extent. However, TET was not always a part of Pharyngula and PET is very different from TET. I’m not terribly comfortable with it myself, but it is my choice to not be a part of it.

  199. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    Fair enough. I’m not terribly interested in this tangent either.

    I don’t really have a problem with PET (I don’t really see an important difference between it and TET) – I think that’s clear – and I also see value in their being a place, both TET and PET, that are of Pharyngula and the larger atheist movement but also open as a place to metaphorically put our feet up and recharge for the battles we fight. *shrug*

  200. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    I see MAJeff commenting at Joe.My.God. sometimes. Would be nice if he popped in here every so often.

  201. says

    Didn’t come across as sexualizing to me, more as defiant (“I’m breast feeding my five year old, so what?”), but I’m open to other takes on it, especially those of people with more X-chromosomes than I have. I think the unnatural pose is to blame for the perceived sexuality, but whether that unnatural pose was chosen for its sexualization, I don’t know.

    We have lactivists and breastapo over here as well, but we weren’t bothered by them much while we bottle fed our sons. My wife tried breastfeeding both times, it didn’t work out for several reasons and she didn’t like it. The upside of bottle feeding was that I could do so as well. Which was of course the downside of it as well, depending on the time of day or night.

  202. says

    I know context is for the weak, but I have no idea what TET or PET is, nor what their relevance is.

    Returning to the sexiness vs attractiveness thing, I don’t want to tell anyone what they should or should not find sexy, least of all what should lie in their personal no-go area where the sexy and the forbidden rub shoulders. But for me, an attractive women isn’t necessarily sexy or vice versa. And even if she is both sexy and aesthetically appealing, it doesn’t necessarily follow that what she’s doing (or depicted as doing) is imbued with sexiness, or that her sexiness overpowers other aspects of what she’s doing.

    Is it that the art director, photographers and editors are blind to the sexualisation of images (or lost the bearings on their moral compass such that they can’t tell when sexualisation is appropriate or not), or is it that some viewers are seeing sexualisation where there is only aesthetics? Sometimes a curve is just a curve, and a tit is just a feeding machine.

  203. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    TET is The Endless Thread on this blog.

    PET is Pharyngula Endless Thread on FB.

  204. joed says

    There is no nipple showing so the photo is acceptable to time editors! No nipple showing.
    An odd, weird photo ostensibly about breast feeding but really about other things? Which other things, Je ne sais quoi.

  205. says

    Thanks for that, Janine, that makes that us thread a little more comprehensible.

    Caine, can I ask you to unpack that a little for me?

  206. says

    I don’t like the photo because it really doesn’t depict what I look like nursing my 3 year old or anyone else I know. And I know A LOT of “extended” nursers.
    I feel so sorry for people who have had bad experiences with breastfeeding helpers. I have only had good interactions with those types of groups. In fact, they were the only ones who actually helped me with accurate information when I had problems with my first. All the doctors (including two specialists) told me I must wean and breastfeeding didn’t matter in the long run any way. I was devastated because I really wanted to breastfeed. I was also ridiculed by the medical staff at our hospital for wanting (and having) an unmedicated birth. It’s hard for me as an atheist because I have felt that the people I should have been able to trust to be evidence based information have let me down. And now I either have to hang out with some pretty airy fairy hippy dippy doos to not feel like a freak for my parenting and birthing choices or be ridiculed by many medical professionals.

  207. cybercmdr says

    The thing that bothers me the most about this cover is that it will probably make it even harder for mothers to breastfeed in public locations. It is possible to breastfeed while being discrete (throw a small cover over the child while nursing), but many people react very negatively to even this level of display. Having people associate breastfeeding with the emotions this picture probably evoked won’t help.

    It seems that in America, what is natural has become un-natural in the eyes of the general public. Meat comes from grocery store shelves (not real animals), and baby food comes out of a bottle.

  208. says

    NelC, in this case, it’s taking a private, interpersonal relationship and putting a blatantly sexual spin on it. Many people have already pointed out the specifics of the sexualization, which also includes turning people into objects. All of that is going on in the photo.

    By the way, I’m an artist and photographer, so I’m not stranger to the graphics/artistic angles of this cover. That said, it’s a monstrosity of sexualized objectification which, while it screams to some of us, is subtle enough to slide right by a majority of people.

    As has been noted, supra, most people are so immersed in sexualized product/media, and have been most of their lives, so unless you take the red pill (so to speak), you simply don’t see it.

    This isn’t about a crescent of breast (although, when it comes to Americans, there is an incredibly juvenile mindset over such things). It is about the aggressive portrayal of what a “mom who is of the right stuff” happens to be, which is to be slim, with a nice figure, dressed well, hair done and cosmetics tastefully applied. The child is made to look considerably older than three years old, there’s the subtle message of camo clothing, the standing on a chair to be more on mom’s level (that’s more important than you think) and there’s a distinctly detached air between to the two of them, despite what is obviously an intimate action.

    The sexualization, along with the aggressive cover line (on the actual cover) is meant to titillate, and to a degree, to shock. Now, if this wasn’t sexualized, it wouldn’t have garnered so much as a meh from people.

  209. NuMad says

    SC,

    Look, people have talked for millenia about the structures that make for real democracy, and the internet is not beyond those debates. My problems with PET are just another part of that discussion.

    The problem that you’ve expressed having about PET would never be applied to meatspace not because the kind of dynamic that you take issue with doesn’t occur off the internet, but instead because it occurs all the time, and is therefore unremarkable.

    When Esteleth says “I’m going to say what I said on PET here.” it’s no different than when someone you know says “as I was saying to X earlier,” or “like I said in the car on the way over here…”

    Hell, it’s not like it doesn’t happen on the internet in the absence of an “space” that you’re formally aware of like PET.

    I don’t see it. Especially not where it became a Big Principle Issue having to do with democracy.

    And does FB really have any kind of pseudonymous account policing at all?

  210. says

    The problem that you’ve expressed having about PET would never be applied to meatspace not because the kind of dynamic that you take issue with doesn’t occur off the internet, but instead because it occurs all the time, and is therefore unremarkable.

    When Esteleth says “I’m going to say what I said on PET here.” it’s no different than when someone you know says “as I was saying to X earlier,” or “like I said in the car on the way over here…”

    “As I was saying to Mitt over G&Ts after an outstanding 18 holes at the club…”

  211. Muse says

    SC – it’s not as if PET is particularly exclusive. Self-selecting sure, but not exclusive the way that you’re implying.

  212. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    “As I was saying to Mitt over G&Ts after an outstanding 18 holes at the club…”

    I don’t understand this analogy. Surely the problem with country clubs is that they are necessarily comprised of people with greater power and privilege than the norm who then use their exclusivity to maintain that. Isn’t that how that works?

    Disclaimer: No experience whatsoever with country clubs.

  213. Amphiox says

    So, Pharyngula has invaded and is merging with Facebook.

    Surely this is a sign of the End Times. Surely?

  214. says

    SC – it’s not as if PET is particularly exclusive. Self-selecting sure, but not exclusive the way that you’re implying.

    It excludes anyone who isn’t on FB or who doesn’t want to link their personal profile to the group. More significantly, many people don’t know about it, and even those who do don’t know the content of the discussions there. The private discussions there relate to and affect the public discussions here in obscure ways – it’s a parallel, real-time, hidden layer of conversation behind that here, which becomes clear in the “As I was saying on PET…” comments.

  215. says

    Oh I think there is a great deal packed into this cover – and even more to unpack about motherhood, sources of female power in society and in the family, self-image and (imo) the prolonged infantilizing of children.

    I do think the pose was deliberately sexualized. I think the editors felt safe in doing so for the reasons mentioned upthread and also because of the catch-22 that anyone who points it out will be accused of either a) having a mind which sexualizes innocence/natural things or b) trying to capitalize on the very thing pointed out by pointing it out. Both of these are wickedly disingenuous, I think, and intentional.

    This cover will probably sell plenty of magazines. :-/

  216. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    The private discussions there relate to and affect the public discussions here in obscure ways – it’s a parallel, real-time, hidden layer of conversation behind that here, which becomes clear in the “As I was saying on PET…” comments.

    But that’s also the case with private friendships. I talk to my friend about conversations on Pharyngula all the time, and sometimes ideas from those conversations flow back into my posts here in ways I don’t always mention, and I’m one of the less social people around here, so I imagine it’s a lot more like that for other people here. You already explained that you weren’t objecting to private friendships. So that doesn’t clarify very much for me in terms of the objection.

  217. NitricAcid says

    When my wife was nursing our twins, the doctor prescribed something to help her lactate more. She offered to prescribe it to me as well, so that I could help out, but I declined for two reasons. First, I wasn’t sure if she was serious, and secondly, I had job interviews coming up, and didn’t want to dribble in the middle of one.

  218. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    WRT the real-identity thing, there are many people on FB in general – and more than one in PET, if I am guessing right – who do not use their real names.

    One of my good meatspace friends is on FB under a pseudonym. There’s nothing preventing people from doing this. The only thing that is required is a pseudonym that looks like it could presumably be a “real” name.

    Cipher’s point is also a good one.

  219. Therrin says

    Parallel in that they both exist at the same time, but there is not a 1:1 ratio of threads posted by PZ (in fact, I’ve yet to see a post by PZ there). Crossover only shows up during especially intense/interesting topics. If Esteleth had left off the top lines of her post, would it merely be a comment that she was interested in sharing here? She didn’t have to think it up separately at each website, it just happened to be on-topic for both (unlike this comment wrt nursing).

  220. says

    Surely the problem with country clubs is that they are necessarily comprised of people with greater power and privilege than the norm who then use their exclusivity to maintain that. Isn’t that how that works?

    So: Anyone who can and wants to get a corporate FB account – either anonymous or their personal – and link to this group. Everyone on the planet is aware of and open to this possibility, and will be welcomed. If they don’t go through the steps, their exclusion from the full range of this blog’s conversation is on them.

    Amazingly enough, I remember when the arguments on this blog occurred on this blog.

  221. says

    NitricAcid, I’d just like to say that I think that would have been awesome! When I was breastfeeding my twins, while caring for a toddler a preschooler and a 2nd grader, let me tell you, I would have loved to snuggle up with my partner, each of us with a baby and finish the feedings in half the time -with companionship, too! :D

  222. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    Everyone on the planet is aware of and open to this possibility, and will be welcomed.

    This is further confusing me. Not everyone on the planet is aware of and open to the possibility of visiting Pharyngula in the first place. Of the relatively small subset of people on the planet who are, not everyone is welcome here either.

  223. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    SC, if I posted something that had the header, “I met [nym] and [nym] for lunch today, and we were talking, and I said…” would you have a problem with it?

    If the header was “the people of the Horde that live in the greater NYC area” would you have a problem with it?

    I do not like everything about FB. There are many things about their platform and business model that seriously rankle. But I do think that PET is not a bad thing. It is not necessarily a good thing either. It just sort of is.

  224. says

    But that’s also the case with private friendships.

    I’m going to assume that, upon reflection, there’s no way people don’t recognize the difference between purely private friendships and institutionalized, exclusive groups. Think of what you’d have a problem with in democracy generally. (And if it were open to everyone, what would be the point of commenting there? It would simply duplicate the discussion here.)

    ***

    If Esteleth had left off the top lines of her post, would it merely be a comment that she was interested in sharing here?

    Do you not see that this is the problem?

  225. says

    SC:

    The private discussions there relate to and affect the public discussions here in obscure ways – it’s a parallel, real-time, hidden layer of conversation behind that here, which becomes clear in the “As I was saying on PET…” comments.

    I know you email with other Pharyngulites. So do I. So do a lot of others. How is that any different?

    Mister often reads Pharyngula, he does not comment, except to me. We often have involved discussions of post content and comments, which often work their way into further commentary, here, on my part.

    I get that you want Pharyngula to be all public all the time, however, that’s not how people work, including you.

  226. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    I’m going to assume that, upon reflection, there’s no way people don’t recognize the difference between purely private friendships and institutionalized, exclusive groups.

    But the differences between those things are not differences in the things you complained about in your posts. So I’m still confused about what precisely your objection is, because the features you’ve explicitly objected to are as far as I can tell quite present in both things.

  227. says

    SC:

    If they don’t go through the steps, their exclusion from the full range of this blog’s conversation is on them.

    You know, I grok this completely. I don’t altogether disagree, either. However, I am uncomfortably reminded of a ferocious argument I got into some years ago (on the ‘net), with a woman who was resentful of and furious at transgender women, because they got all the ‘fun stuff’ without having to pay the price (periods, etc.) of being a real woman.

    I think perhaps you could benefit from mulling over your stance a bit more.

    Amazingly enough, I remember when the arguments on this blog occurred on this blog.

    Sure, so do I. I remember before TET, too. I remember a lot of stuff. People and the social movements they create aren’t static. This is sounding perilously close to “the good old days.”

    I do know that one of the reasons PET is a refuge for at least some is that they had a difficult time handling the roughness unique to Pharyngula, however, they liked the people they ‘met’ and wanted to keep a link with them intact. Pharyngula is not the same thing to all people.

  228. says

    If the header was “the people of the Horde that live in the greater NYC area” would you have a problem with it?

    Under certain hypothetical circumstances which don’t apply, yes.

    ***

    Not everyone on the planet is aware of and open to the possibility of visiting Pharyngula in the first place. Of the relatively small subset of people on the planet who are, not everyone is welcome here either.

    But they still can and do participate in the conversation.

    ***

    There’s an atheist movement and this blog is a very public and fantastically democratic forum in that movement. A separate, private, parallel forum is undemocratic. People might enjoy it, sure, but that doesn’t erase this fact.

  229. Mr. Mattir, MRA Chick says

    PET arose during one of PZ’s strikes at SciBlogs and grew fairly organically from there among TET afficionados who also used FB regularly. The name was perhaps a mistake, but it was intended as a stopgap measure to avoid PZ withdrawal. Only a small portion of discussions there actually relate to discussions here. Most of the discussion is about kids, friends, partners, idiots encountered in real life, rants about politics or news stories, and pictures of squee-inducing baby animals. It’s a different format, obviously, so that discussions are more threaded, but not inconsistent necessarily with Pharyngula. Sometimes (as in the present case) issues discussed on FB are also discussed on Pharyngula, but it tends to be more of a current events thing than purely an “I read this in Pharyngula” link.

    On the other hand, I agree with SC that the existence of PET can easily give rise to an in-group/out-group climate, and would strongly suggest that people not include tags like “cross-posted from PET” in their posts. PET is its own group, with some members who are or have been active Pharyngula commenters and others who have mostly lurked or arrived as friends or partners of existing members. It’s not just a subset of TET, and perhaps the name should change to reflect that.

  230. Therrin says

    If Esteleth had left off the top lines of her post, would it merely be a comment that she was interested in sharing here?

    Do you not see that this is the problem?

    I don’t. I am trying to, but I keep thinking as written in #272 (Esteleth), #274 (Caine) and #275 (Cipher), much more eloquently than I expressed.

  231. amblebury says

    SC, there’s an assumption there that discussions on the PET run in some sort of parallel to those on the TET. That isn’t the case. occasionally there’s an overlap – the breast-feeding image is a case in point – but most often it’s entirely unrelated, and more suited to the shorter span of time and attention that FB serves.

    It suits me, because of the time zone I live in, and because of the time I have available. I enjoy reading/lurking on the TET, but don’t feel, often, that I can engage in a valuable way.

    The PET just gives me a chance to, well, care.

  232. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    Semi-private offshoots of a public group are not inherently undemocratic. I’d argue that they are important, in fact, because of the possibility of hashing out plans and having discussions that – due to trolls, etc – cannot be discussed publicly.

    I am not saying that is what PET’s role is. I am arguing with your contention that a separate (semi-)private parallel forum is undemocratic. Many times, the larger pubic group is undemocratic because it is dominated by loudmouths. A private or semi-private group with restricted membership allows people who don’t speak up much – or who are prevented from speaking up – to have a voice.

  233. says

    and now I’m confused again. no idea how private friendship clusters in meatspace are supposedly any different and more democratic than a private facebook group. not like everyone in a social movement would be able/permitted to join a private weekly lunch-date among a few of those activists, either.

  234. Mr. Mattir, MRA Chick says

    Many times, the larger pubic group is undemocratic because it is dominated by loudmouths. A private or semi-private group with restricted membership allows people who don’t speak up much – or who are prevented from speaking up – to have a voice.

    This. A thousand times this. There are dyslexic people on PET who would never, in ten thousand years, have the courage to post on Pharyngula because they would be mocked for their bad spelling, and others who get intimidated by the roughness of Pharyngula.

  235. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    But they still can and do participate in the conversation.

    I continue to really not understand what you mean. How are people who are not aware of or open to the possibility of visiting Pharyngula still participating in the conversation on Pharyngula, in any way that people who are not aware of or open to talking in PET aren’t?

  236. says

    However, I am uncomfortably reminded of a ferocious argument I got into some years ago (on the ‘net), with a woman who was resentful of and furious at transgender women, because they got all the ‘fun stuff’ without having to pay the price (periods, etc.) of being a real woman.

    I think perhaps you could benefit from mulling over your stance a bit more.

    I want you to spell out this comparison. I think it’s ridiculous.

    ***

    This is sounding perilously close to “the good old days.”

    Then let me say it: those days were better. The fights were public, or personal in an obviously private way.

    I do know that one of the reasons PET is a refuge for at least some is that they had a difficult time handling the roughness unique to Pharyngula, however, they liked the people they ‘met’ and wanted to keep a link with them intact. Pharyngula is not the same thing to all people.

    Anyone who can’t handle the roughness of (and by no means unique to) Pharyngula isn’t regularly posting here. You seem to be talking about people who don’t want to engage in democratic public debate but want to snipe behind the scenes or occasionally here from behind bushes with the knowledge that others in the pack have their back. And many have no idea this is going on. Again, this is contrary to what a public discussion is supposed to be about. And I think you know it.

  237. says

    and how would PET be different than local chapters of a larger organization? those also have limitations, even if not on purpose (geographic mostly).

    I really don’t understand the undemocratic-ness of this

  238. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    Anyone who can’t handle the roughness of (and by no means unique to) Pharyngula isn’t regularly posting here. You seem to be talking about people who don’t want to engage in democratic public debate but want to snipe behind the scenes or occasionally here from behind bushes with the knowledge that others in the pack have their back.

    I have absolutely no idea where you get this. There are regular lurkers and former posters from here on PET who don’t want to engage in debate on Pharyngula for various reasons – including the one Mattir posted about above – that have absolutely nothing to do with “sniping behind the scenes.”

  239. says

    On the other hand, I agree with SC that the existence of PET can easily give rise to an in-group/out-group climate, and would strongly suggest that people not include tags like “cross-posted from PET” in their posts.

    Oh, of course. Don’t tag it. FFS.

  240. NuMad says

    “As I was saying to Mitt over G&Ts after an outstanding 18 holes at the club…”

    Fuck no.

    That’s a crazy bad analogy, and the fact that you can crudely make it doesn’t negate the valid comparison I was making between the myriad other meatspace situations in which this kind of dynamic occurs and PET.

    And how crazy bad is it? The very sense in which country clubs are exclusive isn’t comparable (hint: it’s not a question of people staying out of country clubs because they don’t like the owners,) and the reasons why it’s bad that country clubs are exclusive aren’t equivalent (hint: in country club it might actually have something to do with democracy.)

  241. Pteryxx says

    Wait, how did “private offshoot group” become “secretly sniping behind the scenes”? Much less “undemocratic”? Do we have a Commie infestation? *sniffs pits*

  242. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    SC, would you care to address my argument @281 and Mattir’s @283?

    Like, actually adress it, other than handwaving and saying, “Well, people like that wouldn’t be here anyway.”

  243. amblebury says

    SC, what evidence do you have for “sniping behind the scenes”?

    Look at Mattir’s post. Consider her consideration of people with dyslexia. The PET is a different environment – you have a problem with difference?

    Here’s a thought: how about you join the PET, observe and engage, and then present your conclusion.

  244. Amphiox says

    I just had a thought regarding the sexualization aspect here.

    The only functional aspect of the child in the picture is to cover the nipple and make it PG-13, so it could be sold on magazine stands without requiring a brown paper cover.

  245. says

    On the other hand, I agree with SC that the existence of PET can easily give rise to an in-group/out-group climate

    so does posting/not posting in TET, regular e-mail interaction with a sub-group of people, being member of this as opposed to some other atheist blog, being a member of a different meatspace atheist meetup, etc.

    *still confused*

  246. Mr. Mattir, MRA Chick says

    I actually write my posts on FB and my posts on Pharyngula (and elsewhere on FtB) SEPARATELY, so not tagging my posts with “cross-posted” would not change my posts at all.

    They are separate groups. The FB group creates about the same amount of exclusivity as (and overlaps hugely with) the various meatspace gatherings that occur between people who meet each other via Pharyngula.

  247. says

    (hint: in country club it might actually have something to do with democracy.)

    no, that doesn’t work as an argument, at all. democracy is not just electing politicians and then letting them do stuff. if this is part of an atheist movement, then this is part of democracy.

  248. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    I only put that header on my @208 because the conversations, at that point, were very similar, and paraphrasing made sense.

  249. says

    SC:

    Then let me say it: those days were better. The fights were public, or personal in an obviously private way.

    They still are. Seriously, I don’t know how you’re missing this. The last few days have seen some spectacular fighting on both those levels.

    Anyone who can’t handle the roughness of (and by no means unique to) Pharyngula isn’t regularly posting here. You seem to be talking about people who don’t want to engage in democratic public debate but and many have no idea this is going on. Again, this is contrary to what a public discussion is supposed to be about. And I think you know it.

    Now wait a minute. First of all, there are those people who do post to Pharyngula and PET regularly. Secondly, yes, some of the people I mentioned don’t want to engage in debate for various reasons. As for this steaming load of shit:

    want to snipe behind the scenes or occasionally here from behind bushes with the knowledge that others in the pack have their back.

    What on earth gives you this idea? Is that what you do behind the scenes, snipe? FFS, SC, you’re running right for the cliff edge again. What, exactly, don’t you understand about some people simply like and want the social aspects of the ‘net with people they met here?

    I have never been on PET and won’t, however, people have said, many times, it has little to do with any of the discussions on Pharyngula. I have no idea why you’re going on about this or why it’s such a thorn to you, however, you really need to think more. This is ridiculous, especially coming from someone who doesn’t spend much time here anymore.

  250. says

    There are regular lurkers and former posters from here on PET who don’t want to engage in debate on Pharyngula for various reasons – including the one Mattir posted about above – that have absolutely nothing to do with “sniping behind the scenes.”

    There is such a thing as the (gnu) atheist movement. It’s political.

    Within this movement, Pharyngula is a wonderful space for public debate.

    A private, parallel discussion which affects this public one – whatever its alleged positve functions – is contrary to democracy within the movement.

  251. says

    A private, parallel discussion which affects this public one – whatever its alleged positve functions – is contrary to democracy within the movement

    but how is such a group different from talking to your friends within a movement? how is it different than regular e-mail correspondence?

    or are private friendships within a movement also undemocratic?

  252. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    The discussions on PET often are not even things that should be subject to public debate, are not part of the atheist movement, and are only relevant in the sense that everything is political. Things I’ve made a post on PET about recently: The fact that I seem to be having some PTSD setbacks and my musings on what’s going on. Why I preferred to post it there? I go on lots of long rambles about my mental health here, and at that time I was feeling irrationally guilty about burdening people, but I really wanted to talk about it, and I was in a place where I preferred to not put that particular set of problems in quite as public a space, especially because it involved some detail. A smaller, self-selected group of people was my compromise.

    There is such a thing as the (gnu) atheist movement. It’s political.

    Within this movement, Pharyngula is a wonderful space for public debate.

    A private, parallel discussion which affects this public one – whatever its alleged positve functions – is contrary to democracy within the movement.

    You are repeating yourself in a way that is not helping me understand better.

  253. Mr. Mattir, MRA Chick says

    Ah, so I’m betraying the Movement. Well, astonishingly enough, I think I can participate in the Movement just fine without having to have my online atheism discussions 100% in public. I do other things as an atheist, including sharing pictures of cute baby animals, dealing with health scares and providing support for friends with difficulties, discussing Jane Austen, and wondering whether the thunderstorm is going to bring a tree down on my house without having to do it in public.

    I even get the sense sometimes that such personal and fairly trivial concerns are not totally welcomed on TET, especially during some of the more, um, heated political discussions.

  254. John Morales says

    [OT + meta]

    SC: I’m in PET, and I think your concern is based on possibility, not actuality. Yes, it could’ve been what you fear it may be, but it ain’t.

    What it seems to me to be is an online social forum restricted to known Pharynguloids and those they endorse — there’s a fair bit of trust and (AFAIK) only one member has ever been expelled.

  255. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    Rather than expanding on my last line, I’ll point at Jadehawk’s 302.

  256. says

    but how is such a group different from talking to your friends within a movement? how is it different than regular e-mail correspondence?

    or are private friendships within a movement also undemocratic?

    Really? Can you not think of a single difference?

  257. Pteryxx says

    A private, parallel discussion which affects this public one – whatever its alleged positve functions – is contrary to democracy within the movement.

    …Uh, how is this not an argument against privacy, completely, ever, as in ‘you shouldn’t mind being searched if you have nothing to hide’ ? Privacy has very important uses and isn’t inherently undemocratic; quite the contrary, since privacy’s essential for some voices to be heard at all.

  258. says

    A private, parallel discussion which affects this public one

    It is NOT a private, parallel discussion which affects this public one, and you have been told that repeatedly. Get a damn clue.

  259. Mr. Mattir, MRA Chick says

    Case in point: we are having a public argument or discussion right now about the role of private groups in democratic society. Several people who participate in the FB group are arguing with SC about this, so it’s patently untrue that participation in the FB group has removed us from public debate. It has, however, spared the FtB servers discussion of knitted uteruses and various individuals’ family issues or health concerns,

  260. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    Really? Can you not think of a single difference?

    SC, you keep saying things like this. Clearly we can’t see what the relevant difference is. I understand that it seems obvious to you, but it is not obvious to us. It is very unhelpful to repeatedly tell us that it should be obvious to us.

  261. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    The only substantive difference between an e-mail correspondance (especially between a group) and something like PET is the medium.

    So, unless your problem is with FB qua FB, I don’t see what your issue is.

    If your problem is with FB as such, please say so.

  262. amblebury says

    SC, I repeat, the discussions on PET are only infrequently parallel to the discussions here. If you disagree, then it’s up to you to prove otherwise.

    Additionally, and most importantly, I think anyone who starts thinking they can dictate who, where and what people can or can’t discuss – is out to lunch.

    (I was trying to think of something more clever, but I think that pretty much sums it up for me.)

  263. Mr. Mattir, MRA Chick says

    Caine, I love you. Seriously, you’re one of the reasons I want to stay remain a Pharyngula regular and not live in some weird FB cave. I am so ridiculously grateful for the people I’ve met through Pharyngula – I’ve learned so much, laughed a ton, and been challenged in useful ways, up to and including this here conversation,

  264. says

    Esteleth:

    The only substantive difference between an e-mail correspondance (especially between a group) and something like PET is the medium.

    Exactly, which I brought up early in this discussion. My mini-horde email group was also started during the sciblogs strike and I’ve kept it small on purpose.

    I know for a fact that SC emails with other Pharyngulites, so as far as I’m concerned, that makes this whole conversation one about nothing.

    If I was all paranoid about what people were saying on PET, I’d get a FB account again and join. I’m not paranoid about it, and what I do on the net keeps me busy enough and I don’t like FB.

  265. says

    The discussions on PET often are not even things that should be subject to public debate, are not part of the atheist movement, and are only relevant in the sense that everything is political.

    Contentwise, these are not a problem. My point was more about those discussions that span both forums. In terms of public debate, though, the fact that there’s an exclusive parallel discussion in which relationships are formed, whatever its content, is an issue.

    I’m surprised this is so surprising. I can’t imagine having this conversation in a labor union: “The leaders of the union like to get together to talk about our personal issues and occasionally union business, which we sometimes share with you. What’s the problem?”

  266. Ichthyic says

    but how is such a group different from talking to your friends within a movement?

    are you including face-face interactions, or just online?

    if face-face, there are emotional interactions that occur in face-face communications that I find do not occur online.

    if not, then no, I really can’t see much difference between what I, for one example, say on a facebook page vs what I say here.

    I suppose there might be issues with degree of anonymity, but other than that, I can’t think of anything.

  267. says

    It is NOT a private, parallel discussion which affects this public one, and you have been told that repeatedly. Get a damn clue.

    eh. all social interactions change social dynamics in connected spaces. I’m trying to figure out what precisely makes social interactions via PET somehow substantially different from other forms of sub-grouping, such as friendships and local chapters

  268. says

    Mr. Mattir:

    Caine, I love you. Seriously, you’re one of the reasons I want to stay remain a Pharyngula regular and not live in some weird FB cave. I am so ridiculously grateful for the people I’ve met through Pharyngula – I’ve learned so much, laughed a ton, and been challenged in useful ways, up to and including this here conversation,

    I love you too, Mr. I fully get why a fair amount of people stick to PET, it’s fine with me. Some people really don’t have the personality to deal with Pharyngula, it’s not for everyone.

    Chalk me up as another person who is immensely grateful for all the people I’ve met at Pharyngula. I’ve never met a better group of peoples anywhere, my consciousness is raised daily and I’m getting the best free education of my life!

  269. says

    if face-face, there are emotional interactions that occur in face-face communications that I find do not occur online.

    unless we’re talking physical intimacy, i don’t find that to be true. but even so, I don’t understand how that would make PET more undemocratic than those meatspace interactions.

  270. Just_A_Lurker says

    From the way SC tells it, PET is a place where people go “did you see that stupid comment by so-and-so? HAHA They will never know what we will think of them!” with comments here saying how much they looove so-and-so’s comments.

    Stuck in high school much? Reeks of hating not being a part of every club and everything. Oh no, they are discussing things without me! It’s undemocratic! Everyone must have a voice!!

    That’s the impression since you haven’t actually made a damn point. Stop asking “Really? You don’t understand what I see” and tell us what it is you see. Otherwise, this is just straight up frustrating and pointless.

    There is no deep rifts over the existence of PET but you seem dead set on creating one. Attack people too shy to post here, that will really make them come here instead of PET. Not to mention the fact you seem to advocating for everyone wants to share everything with everyone and make it public. Sheeesh.

    *eyeroll*

  271. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    I can’t imagine having this conversation in a labor union: “The leaders of the union like to get together to talk about our personal issues and occasionally union business, which we sometimes share with you. What’s the problem?”

    That phrase I highlighted is a pretty crucial one and is not parallel here.
    “Some of my coworkers and I go get dinner after work, and we chat about our personal lives, and sometimes about work and union stuff. Sometimes someone has a good idea that we bring up in union meetings.”

  272. says

    The only substantive difference between an e-mail correspondance (especially between a group)

    What’s the group? I think the largest group I’ve corresponded with about these issues (and having nothing to do with this blog) has been 4 people.

    A large group is a problem.

  273. says

    Jadehawk:

    eh. all social interactions change social dynamics in connected spaces.

    To a degree. SC is going on in a manner which suggests that every post and the threads they engender is discussed in real time at PET. This is simply not the case, and I’m getting a bit tired of seeing it reiterated.

  274. says

    In terms of public debate, though, the fact that there’s an exclusive parallel discussion in which relationships are formed, whatever its content, is an issue.

    but how is that different from any other friendship?

    “The leaders of the union like to get together to talk about our personal issues and occasionally union business, which we sometimes share with you. What’s the problem?”

    but that’s a hierarchical issue. members of unions meet privately outside of official union meetings, discussing personal issues and union business all the time. is that undemocratic, too?

    if this was a complaint about the backchannel at FTB or something, this would almost make sense… but as it is, it simply doesn’t.

  275. carlie says

    SC, as has been mentioned, you’ve been in email contact with other people on TET, and I know that because you’ve specifically mentioned emailing them right on TET. God, how many results would come up by searching “check your email” in TET comments, by you or by anyone else? I could say that in doing so, you were not only having, but flaunting private parallel in-time conversations that most of us weren’t privy to and that may well have been sniping about some of us behind the scenes. PET is the same thing, but with a few more people cc’d, as it were.

    Yeah, sometimes I get annoyed when people do that in TET, and I realize that they have close relationships with each other that I don’t have with people here. Sometimes I get really sad thinking of what I left behind when I quit facebook, especially including PET, because I don’t hear things about anyone’s lives any more. But life is like that all over the place. I hear at work about how two co-workers went out to dinner together with their families and I wasn’t invited. I watch my friends talk to my other friends and I don’t know what they’re talking about and they don’t tell me and I don’t ask. It’s basic social interactions! And honestly, I wouldn’t want to be in the middle of all relationships I know of – it would be emotionally exhausting.

    Not everything about Pharyngula is movement-based. I doubt PZ had any inkling of it when he started, but it’s become a really strong hub of personal interactions and relationships. People find each other, and the ones who are geographically close might meet up in person, and the ones who sense a connection of some sort between them might start emailing privately. And when that kind of connection happens, it’s none of anyone else’s business. I certainly don’t want to know details about Ichthyic and Buffybot’s interactions, even though they started out on Pharynula. PET is the same thing.

  276. Pteryxx says

    “The leaders of the union like to get together to talk about our personal issues and occasionally union business, which we sometimes share with you. What’s the problem?”

    …You do realize that FTB has a backchannel for discussion among the blog owners, which none of us commenters are privy to?

    But PET is not an official anything, nor do its participants have any kind of power except privacy and association. Some have said the discussions there are trivial and not usually parallel to Pharyngula discussions; I think it doesn’t matter even if they WERE completely parallel discussions. People can associate in groups and they’re not obligated to disclose anything unless and until the group actually acts upon external discourse.

    I sometimes discuss Pharyngula topics with my non-FTB friends, and occasionally even link to comment exchanges here. If they advise me or influence my viewpoint, anything I post here is still MY fuckin’ responsibility. And, anything I post from them has to be with their specific permission, because I’m not going to spill their personal details onto the Internet. The same goes for PET, or any other social group that isn’t searchable and indexable by absolutely anyone. If there’s stabbiness going on HERE, then people are responsible for it HERE, regardless of where it came from.

  277. Just_A_Lurker says

    To a degree. SC is going on in a manner which suggests that every post and the threads they engender is discussed in real time at PET. This is simply not the case, and I’m getting a bit tired of seeing it reiterated.

    Oh no! There’s a duplicate Pharyngula on FB! Copy cats! It’s private and wrong and I’m not a part of it! How am I suppose to argue with everyone about everything now?!?

    *waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah*

    /snort

    I’m done here since this is all I’m hearing and it’s beyond frustrating. I have no part in PET and have no problem with. Hell, if I ever lose internet I might just be grateful for it since FB is on every phone and can be accessed a lot easier than FTB.

  278. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    SC
    Firstly: who are the leaders here?
    Secondly: with regards to your group e-mail thing, last week I and 14 other people (friends of mine from undergrad, for the record) planned a get-together. This included renting a house. I reject your contention that email is unsuitable for this. In fact, email was the best medium for this, as not all of us are on FB, and phone calls require (1) a party line and (2) all of us to be free simultaneously.

  279. says

    ok, so it’s numbers. and possibly frequency.

    so how is talking to more people more frequently undemocratic, but talking to, say, 5 people for an hour evey day wouldn’t be?

    The FB group doesn’t involve any leaders here.

    I’m intensely curious who you think those people who are leaders of the atheist movement and also members of PET are; cuz I can’t think of any (granted, I’m not a member anymore, so maybe someone like that joined in the meantime)

  280. NuMad says

    I’m getting on PET right now to talk behind SC’s back! [/areyoufuckingkiddingme]

    Jadehawk,

    I guess I misspoke by just carelessly dropping the word “democracy” there, but I really can’t understand scrutinizing the spaces here and on PET for “undemocratic” characteristics.

    To me it’s just a notion that lives next door to the people who cry out about being censored when they get banned from commenting on a blog.

    I don’t know how to re-articulate it right here and now other than that.

  281. says

    but how is that different from any other friendship?

    How many people are in PET? What is the nature of the “friendship”?

    but that’s a hierarchical issue. members of unions meet privately outside of official union meetings, discussing personal issues and union business all the time. is that undemocratic, too?

    It depends. In many cases, yes. You have to be on another planet to think that undemocratic shit isn’t a possibility.

    My point is that people should think about it. But no one here seems to want to.

  282. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    Oh, sure. The FB group doesn’t involve any leaders here.

    Do particularly vocal members of unions who have no official role have the understood responsibility to not associate with other union members outside of meetings, if union matters might come up?
    I don’t know, I’m not part of any unions, but I really doubt it.

  283. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    SC, part of the problem is that you are doing a shit job of explaining why PET (etc) is undemocratic.

  284. carlie says

    The FB group doesn’t involve any leaders here.

    What? Leaders? I can’t think of who any would be, either. One of the things that’s neat about here is that people can jump in at any time and be paid attention to just as much as someone who’s been commenting for years. The only currency is how well you make your points and what evidence you can provide to back it up. The only thing that I can think of that longevity gets anybody is a longer fuse when they say something stupid, that people don’t jump on them quite as quickly because they’re all trying to figure out how the hell X said Y when they’ve never said anything like Y before. Nobody controls the conversation or how it will go, nobody organizes and manipulates the way the conversation unfolds.

  285. says

    ok, so it’s numbers. and possibly frequency.

    And institutionalization.

    ***

    I’m getting on PET right now to talk behind SC’s back!

    See, that’s not funny.

    It’s exactly the issue.

    So thank you.

  286. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    What is the nature of the “friendship”?

    Same as the nature of my friendships with other regular posters on Pharyngula, except the people on PET know me a little better due to their access to my real name and photograph, and my willingness to share somewhat more details of my personal life.

    My point is that people should think about it. But no one here seems to want to.

    Yes, that’s exactly why we’ve spent hours trying to understand your objections and how they relate to the other relationships in our lives.

  287. says

    In many cases, yes.

    uh… okay…? so friendships and socializing with subgroups within social movements is undemocratic? all social interactions have to always be either completely public or one-on-one?

    I don’t get it. at all.

  288. carlie says

    See, that’s not funny.

    It’s exactly the issue.

    I still don’t see how that’s any different than doing it via email, or phone call, or over dinner, or during a meetup.

  289. amblebury says

    Leaders? Wha?

    What do these supposed leaders supposedly lead?

    SC, the whole, “people are conspiring behind my back” thing is getting a bit worrisome.

  290. carlie says

    What I got from PET: pictures of a lot of posters, so now I have a visual to put with the name. More knowledge of the ebbs and flows of their lives such as they chose to share, so feeling like I was in a closer relationship with them. Knowing the general part of the country some of them lived in, so if I was traveling I could suggest meeting up along the way. That’s pretty much it. I felt like we were better friends than without it. It had nothing to do with politics or the atheist movement.

  291. Ichthyic says

    I certainly don’t want to know details about Ichthyic and Buffybot’s interactions, even though they started out on Pharynula.

    noted for future reference.

  292. Mr. Mattir, MRA Chick says

    SC, this conversation has prompted consideration of how I respond to or create in-group/out-group dynamics. You have absolutely no way of knowing whether other people are taking your points seriously enough or not, and people can take your points seriously without necessarily reaching the same conclusions you do.

  293. says

    I still don’t see how that’s any different than doing it via email, or phone call, or over dinner, or during a meetup.

    We’re not talking about individual friendships or local meetups. We’re talking about an exclusive online Pharyngula-parallel group, with which I had problems long before it involved me.

    I think it’s played a role in the dynamics I’ve seen here in the past several months. Maybe not, and the dynamic has just changed.

    Either way.

  294. carlie says

    Ichthyic – of course I want to know how you’re both doing, just not anything of a, um, nature that involves things like squishy sounds.

  295. carlie says

    Pharyngula-parallel group

    Maybe that’s the crux of the miscommunication. It’s not parallel; there are people there who have never posted here, and people there who used to post here but don’t any more (or not much), and the people who post most there are often the ones who post least here, and the discussions when I was there were almost never parallel in topic. The only times I can remember them overlapping was when there was something that was obviously played out here but someone still wanted to hash it over longer.

  296. says

    Oh, we have leaders now? Who are our Dear Leaders, SC?
     
    You’ve had a pattern that’s been going on a while – you get paranoid about something, there’s something only SC has the magickal powers to see, you get upset when your failure to explain yourself doesn’t communicate your concerns, you end up angry and stomp off, wondering why people are so mean to you.

    You have an issue here, obviously. Whatever it is, we don’t know what it is and can’t figure it out. Why don’t you just come out with whatever and whoever is bothering you?

    By the way, I’ll take your point on board when you publish every single email you have ever written to another Pharyngulite on your blog, okay?

  297. says

    SC, this conversation has prompted consideration of how I respond to or create in-group/out-group dynamics.

    Excellent.

    You have absolutely no way of knowing whether other people are taking your points seriously enough or not, and people can take your points seriously without necessarily reaching the same conclusions you do.

    Of course.

    But there they are.

    Thanks, and bye.

  298. says

    We’re not talking about individual friendships or local meetups. We’re talking about an exclusive online Pharyngula-parallel group

    but you still haven’t explained the difference between PET and these other things! PET is no more exclusive than those other things, and while it involves a slightly larger number of people, even that is a question of quantity not quality, and thus the somewhat smaller social interactions would have to have similar if weaker effects, unless there was also a qualitative difference, no?

    I think it’s played a role in the dynamics I’ve seen here in the past several months. Maybe not, and the dynamic has just changed.

    I’m sure it has; so have the meatspace meetups, the e-mail groups and interactions, the existence of TET, and simple commenter turnover/shift of interests. and most of these are of varying degrees of exclusiveness and size, so why is only PET a bad thing?

  299. says

    SC:

    See, that’s not funny.

    It’s exactly the issue.

    So thank you.

    For fuck’s sake. Since that was an obvious joke (unless you missed the “[/areyoufuckingkiddingme]” bit), this is incredibly paranoid.

    I’m sorry to break this to you, SC, but the world (including PET!) doesn’t revolve around you. So, a) we’re not fucking talking about you (or even the threads you post on!) and b) I really doubt any of us really care that you’re offended by our little “undemocratic” group.

    So, yeah. Talking about creeptastic breastfeeding was way more entailing than this derailment into paranoia.

  300. Ichthyic says

    Ichthyic – of course I want to know how you’re both doing, just not anything of a, um, nature that involves things like squishy sounds.

    lol

    well, that’s what I thought you meant, so we’re all good.

    ;)

    oh, and btw…

    *squish*

    sorry, sorry.

  301. says

    Jadehawk:

    “I’m going to e-mail all my Pharyngupaypals”?

    This gave me a fun moment. Waitaminute, peoples are sending each other money? No one is sending me money

    ;P

  302. John Morales says

    [OT]

    carlie @353, things haven’t changed.

    SC, I inform you that you have created an instance of that which you fear is the norm (this issue has been raised in parallel in PET).

    (Congratulations, you have achieved a rarity)

  303. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    I think it’s played a role in the dynamics I’ve seen here in the past several months. Maybe not, and the dynamic has just changed.

    I sincerely doubt it’s played much of a role, considering that the group of people who post regularly on PET overlaps very little with the group of people who post frequently on Pharyngula, and considering that the times when the conversations are actually parallel are quite rare, due to the inclination of PET toward personal-life posts.

  304. Mr. Mattir, MRA Chick says

    SC, the only reason the FB group involves you In any way is because you responded to a tag. It has not involved you previously and presumably won’t again.

  305. says

    I think it’s played a role in the dynamics I’ve seen here in the past several months. Maybe not, and the dynamic has just changed.

    Does this have something to do with the dramatic stomping of feet you had over TLC in TET a while back? With you being terribly upset we didn’t have a problem with him, like we did with Benjamin?

  306. says

    or, differently still: is it already undemocratic that my FB friends are almost all Pharyngulites?

    and if so, how is that undemocratic, but meatspace interactions or e-mails with members of an activist group, outside of the official activities of that group aren’t?

    and if there is no qualitative difference, and it’s just a matter of size and frequency (because i’ve no idea in which way PET is “institutionalized” any more than “Skeptics in the Pub” or lunch meetups are), then wouldn’t that mean that all friendships and private social interactions are?

  307. carlie says

    I think what’s made a big difference in dynamics is how many people are meeting up in person. Part of it is critical mass: we now have enough “regulars” that there’s bound to be someone within decent driving distance. Part of it is demographics: we have a lot of people who move around for business and vacation and the like, so they can meet up with other people. Part of it is momentum: once an event gets planned, it’s easier to do it again on a regular basis, and once people meet and like each other, they’re more likely to do it again. Part of it is the needs of people on the group: there have now been several chances to rally around a given person, and the coordination and execution of that brings people closer together. PET is probably a minor contributor to that.

  308. NuMad says

    John Morales,

    (this issue has been raised in parallel in PET)

    The bloodless coup advances apace!

  309. Pteryxx says

    …I was writing a big long piece but y’all are too quick, so.

    From my experience with guild/ally/leader channels in gaming chat, I agree it’s POSSIBLE for subgroups to cause problems, but I don’t see any evidence of that happening on Pharyngula or TET.

    – There’s no lack of traffic or brain drain. Discussions don’t stall from the participants heading elsewhere.
    – Folks don’t seem to be abandoning TET to go to PET; nor is there heavy recruitment that I’ve seen. It’s just there as an option.
    – The social network on TET seems to be healthy; there are RL meetups, email exchanges, and links to other items and communities of interest.
    – There doesn’t seem to be any subgroup that appears only in certain discussion or only to espouse a certain opinion.
    – Open criticism happens and generally gets resolved more or less amicably.
    – Very few participants get banned.
    – New voices join at a steady, regular rate.
    – Most importantly, I don’t see groups attacking anyone for no apparent reason. It’s almost always backed up with specific argument or reference to the target’s past behavior.

    If there WERE a cult of personality behind the scenes, but with no apparent influence here where the action is, then who cares what they do in private? Folks participate in this community voluntarily, not because they’re forced by contract or paycheck to be here. And I’ve BEEN a guild leader when a faction turned on me publicly. I just don’t see the signs.

  310. says

    Carlie:

    Part of it is critical mass: we now have enough “regulars” that there’s bound to be someone within decent driving distance.

    True, even I’ve met two regulars, and I’m seriously in the sticks, in an out of way state. I dearly wish I could meet many more of you.

  311. Just_A_Lurker says

    And I’ve BEEN a guild leader when a faction turned on me publicly. I just don’t see the signs.

    That situation just sucks ass. Been there as just a guild member. There has not been issues with it here so bringing this up is just likely to cause issues and seems paranoid.

  312. Pteryxx says

    J_A_L: Well, my intent was to list what I *would* consider evidence, since SC didn’t present any. That way at least I’m not saying everything’s fine by default, I’m saying I think everything’s fine because *list*.

    If that was a bad move, well, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been *too* open and blunt on a topic.

  313. Just_A_Lurker says

    Oh no, the list is a good idea. Clarifies it a bit. I meant that SC’s “undemocratic unfairness of PET’s existence” seems paranoid and likely to cause issues when there were none before since SC hasn’t been able to explain how PET has made this blog worse.

  314. says

    Pteryxx:

    That way at least I’m not saying everything’s fine by default, I’m saying I think everything’s fine because *list*.

    For what it’s worth, I think your list was a good move. You hit all the relevant points and you’re right, there’s simply no sign (or symptom) that something nefarious be happenin’.

  315. FossilFishy (Lobed-finned Killer of Threads) says

    carlie at 339

    …neat about here is that people can jump in at any time and be paid attention to just as much as someone who’s been commenting for years.

    That’s not entirely true. Yes, it is possible to get that attention as an unknown but there have been plenty of instances where an infrequent or new commenter makes a point that doesn’t get addressed until a regular makes that same point. I’m not complaining here, it’s normal for folks to pay more attention to those they have a familiar relationship with, but it can be a bit off putting to some.

    I took a look for PET and couldn’t find it. Perhaps I’m doing it wrong. I searched FB for the term Pharyngula and the closest I came was this which doesn’t seem like it because there is no discussion there on the topic at hand. Is this thing a closed group for which one needs an invite to see it, in which case the assertion that it’s an option for all is false.

    Anyway, these are just nitpicks. I can’t for the life of me see what SC’s concern was in anyway valid.

  316. says

    Caine @257: I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m still not getting it. I think I’ll put it on the back-burner for a bit while I think about it, maybe do some reading. Thanks for trying to explain it, though.

  317. says

    NelC, no worries. Sexualization is a complex subject. This thread has gone haywire, but if I can clarify anything, let me know and I’ll try to do that. I’m not the most articulate person when it comes to explaining sexualization.

    Perhaps it would help more to think in terms of objectification. Or perhaps not.

  318. says

    NelC, there’s nothing wrong with not getting it; I mean, to me it *looks* totally obvious that the image is totally contrived and sexualised, but I can’t criticise anyone for having different reactions.

    What *would* be a problem is if you had decided to double down about denying that to other people, the image most certainly *does* appear problematic, and then had ramped up the offensiveness by going on a transphobic derail, like the unapologetic fuckwit who got hit with the Squidly Overlord’s banhammer upthread. So despite remaining in disagreement, thanks for not going there.

    On another note: why is it always the case that this sort of thread is seen as an outlet for other privileged male douchebagges to feel maximally entitled to tell us all about how their own sexual preferences are relevant to the topic? We don’t need public service announcements from your boners, guys. o_O

  319. AshPlant says

    SC, it would be undemocratic and yes, fairly worrying if certain people couldn’t access PET, or weren’t privy to its existence, or deliberately excluded by the ‘in-crowd’. It’s not anything of the sort if they just choose not to attend. Facebook is entirely publicly open and so is the facebook thread. There’s no veil of secrecy between here and there.

    Okay, I’ll admit I personally don’t actually know where it is, but that’s not the point. Maybe the problem could be ameliorated by having an official link on Pharyngula proper? More official crossover could encourage interaction by those who for whatever reason hang out mostly on one or the other.

  320. says

    AshPlant:

    Maybe the problem could be ameliorated by having an official link on Pharyngula proper?

    No. That would negate all the privacy controls which are in place. It’s not easy to find for a reason. If you want to know where it is and how to access it, ask on TET.

    More official crossover could encourage interaction by those who for whatever reason hang out mostly on one or the other.

    “Official crossover” is not necessary. As has been explained, supra, countless times, there are specific reasons some people hang out mostly on PET.

  321. John Morales says

    [OT]

    FossilFishy,

    I took a look for PET and couldn’t find it. Perhaps I’m doing it wrong.

    Is this thing a closed group for which one needs an invite to see it, in which case the assertion that it’s an option for all is false.

    Yes, it’s a closed group.

    No, it’s not an option for all. It is a trust-based group, and it works both ways.

    (And yes, it’s an option for anyone who asks a mod or asks on TET and is either a known regular or vouched-for by such)

    AshPlant,

    [1] Okay, I’ll admit I personally don’t actually know where it is, but that’s not the point. [2] Maybe the problem could be ameliorated by having an official link on Pharyngula proper?

    1. Just ask at TET or let it be known that you wish to join.

    2. There’s nothing official about it; some regulars got twitchy when PZ put TET to pasture for its sins (I for one do not blame him) and created a FB group, and the rest followed organically.

    (The seedling grew)

  322. AshPlant says

    Oop, sorry, didn’t realise there were privacy controls in place. So maybe I’m slightly speaking out my ears there. I got the impression SC was objecting to the existence of a totally free and open FB group just cause s/he didn’t want to join FB. Gotcha.

    So you need to be vetted and accepted? That’s still not undemocratic. People want to keep to one or the other depending on what sort of discourse they’re comfortable with? That’s perfectly acceptable. No change to my opinion that SC is overreacting.

    As has been explained, supra, countless times, there are specific reasons some people hang out mostly on PET.

    I did see that, I just thought that encouraging crossover would be…eh, helpful in some way? Since that some way, on reflection, would mostly be ‘to ameliorate the paranoia I’ve only actually seen one person display’, it’s a dead end there.

  323. says

    Rang right we’d better be! There is no better time to be sexy. Our boobs have never looked this good and never will again. The lucky moms lose more weight while nursing than we gained while pregnant. What are we supposed to do, wear frumpy mumus the whole time?

    You know what?
    Shut the fuck up for heaping more pressure on women, for making those of us who didn’t look or feel sexy being marked as failures, for those of us who ended up with the same weight we had 5 min after the baby was out.
    You obviously have no fucking clue about the damage idiots like you cause to women like me. If you think you’re getting hate it’s because you deserve all of it. Fuck you very much for making it all about being sexy! losing weight! having the perfect boobs! again instead of something like actually feeding your child.

    NelC

    The whole effect is anti-naturalistic; I’m sure that when this mother and child settle down for a normal feed, she’s not standing, he’s not standing on a chair, and nor do they do it in a stark white photo studio. I’m sure they’re probably not so well-lit, either.

    By putting them in the studio, they become symbolic rather than actual. “This isn’t an actual nursing mother and child, it’s just a couple of models.”

    So, if the whole pose, look, setting and light indicate that it’s not about a mother and child breastfeeding, what do you think it is about?

    Is it that the art director, photographers and editors are blind to the sexualisation of images (or lost the bearings on their moral compass such that they can’t tell when sexualisation is appropriate or not), or is it that some viewers are seeing sexualisation where there is only aesthetics? Sometimes a curve is just a curve, and a tit is just a feeding machine.

    So, what’s the particular aesthetic of this foto?

    kemist

    My sister got pregnant twice in a row while breastfeeding. The third one is due this july.

    She doesn’t expect any pity for this, does she? I mean, I can see how she could make the mistake once (hint: that something works for a population doesn’t mean it works for you), but if she didn’t take care the second time it’s basic stupidity.

    esteleth

    The pose was very sexual. A woman breastfeeding does not turn out like that (the child’s face is mashed up against her chest, usually). Between that, the hand on the hip, and the stylishly sexy/tight clothing, the woman’s appearance otherwise (makeup, hair, etc), the overall effect is very sexualized. She is turning out to “make a better photo” because a “better photo” is the more sexual one. She is posed to be “attractive.”

    This.
    I’ve seen 3 yo nurse and it looked nothing like that. Mother and child looked comfortable, in a moment of intimate bonding.
    This picture looks nothing like a close mother-child interaction. The kid is a prop, not a person.

    Epinephrine

    If a poll were to show that the majority of those whose sexual orientation includes women fail to find this a turn on, it would certainly be fair to label it not sexy.

    Oh, thank you that from now on every person on planet earth has to submit to a majority vote for sexy. Oh, and a considerable amount of people have already stated that they find it sexualized, including those whoe “target demographic” it is.

    SC

    But I’m having a hard time finding information about its effectiveness – some claim it’s very high – under various conditions.

    Pearl Index says something like 6 months if you’re nursing at least every 4-6 hours
    Trap: your first fertile cycle is, of course 4 weeks before your period resumes.
    Mine resumed about 9 months after pregnancy, both times, other women’s resumes 4-6 weeks after pregnancy already, which means that yes, it’s possible to have two sprogs in 12 months.
    An evolutionary prediction would be that those women might be at a disadvantage while those like me would produce more offspring that survives (well, I didn’t manage breastfeeding without aid, of course, but it’s also pretty reasonable to assume that my boobs wouldn’t have grown to XXXXL in a hunter-gatherer society). But we’ve solved the problem of feeding both sproglets some time ago, so the evolutionary pressure’s gone.
    But, btw, could you please stop derailing threads?
    It’s not the first time I noticed it with you. Probably won’t be the last time. In case you don’t notice, you’ve just made a thread about women, pressure, sexualisation and breastfeeding about you and your problems with PET.

    cybercmdr

    . It is possible to breastfeed while being discrete (throw a small cover over the child while nursing), but many people react very negatively to even this level of display.

    Yeah, just stuff the kid under a rug. Never mind how they might possibly feel about it, but make sure nobody’s fee-fees are hurt.
    Oh, wait, they’re hurt anyway!
    That’s why I usually just pulled up my tee and let my kids have a bit of air.

    erinpease

    I was also ridiculed by the medical staff at our hospital for wanting (and having) an unmedicated birth. It’s hard for me as an atheist because I have felt that the people I should have been able to trust to be evidence based information have let me down.

    I’m not sure how they ridiculed you, or whether they ridiculed you or your position (that’s a difference). If they ridiculed you they shouldn’t have done, but if they ridiculed your position it’s probably because they know that there’s no evidence as to why you shouldn’t have any medication.

    Amphiox

    The only functional aspect of the child in the picture is to cover the nipple and make it PG-13, so it could be sold on magazine stands without requiring a brown paper cover.

    As I said, he’s a prop, not a person.
    Oh, and the American nipple-obsession is ridiculous.

  324. jefrir says

    If parallel discussions on PET are a problem, then how about parallel discussions on entirely unrelated sites that happen to have a fair number of pharyngulites on them, like Ravelry? Because in my experience, things that do tend to get talked about on both are big news stories, that are talked about everywhere.
    And just because we are part of a movement, doesn’t mean that everything we do has to be totally and entirely focused on that movement. We are still humans, with other interests and needs.

  325. says

    Giliell:

    Oh, and the American nipple-obsession is ridiculous.

    Sweet Universe, you aren’t kidding. It’s one of the best illustrations of just how sexist and stupid the thinking tends to be here. Going by the sheer amount of bare-chested males seen on television, in movies and in other media, you’d think those protuberances weren’t nipples at all. Just let one female nipple be seen though, and it’s all “oooooooooh, aaaaaaaaah, Oh No!”, a complete variety of fucked up reactions.

  326. says

    Caine

    Sweet Universe, you aren’t kidding. It’s one of the best illustrations of just how sexist and stupid the thinking tends to be here

    We used to joke over the curious American L-shaped bedsheets. When they’re lying in bed and he’s covered until just above his crotch and she’s covered right over her tits.

  327. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    When they’re lying in bed and he’s covered until just above his crotch and she’s covered right over her tits.

    And in cases where a woman is shown getting in/out of the bed she is always wearing a bra. Because sleeping with the bra still on is common and perfectly comfortable.

  328. says

    Beatrice:

    Because sleeping with the bra still on is common and perfectly comfortable.

    Oh, not just sleeping. I’ve lost count of the moronic sex scenes I’ve seen in television shows where the woman keeps her bra on. Yeah, we’re just so darn attached to the things, why they are super-glued on!

  329. John Morales says

    OK, so I’ve deliberately avoided looking at the image since yesterday, and I just looked again.

    To me, that child seems to be thinking “Am I doing this right?”.

    (He looks really uncomfortable)

  330. John Morales says

    [correction]

    I phrased that badly.

    Try again: The child seems rather discommoded yet accommodating.

    (Good kid!)

  331. says

    John,

    I feel really sorry for the boy – as people have said way upthread, later in his life he’s going to receive all sorts of crap for being pictured on the cover of Time. And he isn’t named, while his mother is; is that a kindness perhaps, or just a sort of flip editorialism of ‘well, no-one’s really interested in the kid, it’s all about the mom’?

    The image is really exploitative in a number of ways, and co-opting a child to sell magazines is certainly part and parcel of that.

  332. says

    Oh, not just sleeping. I’ve lost count of the moronic sex scenes I’ve seen in television shows where the woman keeps her bra on. Yeah, we’re just so darn attached to the things, why they are super-glued on!

    Yeah, it’s not like our partners might like to touch us there, or that we would like to be touched at our breasts or something like that. I mean, that would be like having fun or something…
    Damn, that was part of the nuissances with breastfeeding: I either had to sleep with a bra on and absorbant pads in it or with a bunch of protective stuff underneath that’s made for incontinent people or I would soak everything in milk…

  333. carlie says

    Time has an image gallery with all the shots that didn’t make the cover here. All of the ones that they didn’t use are more natural poses for breastfeeding, although all show the mom staring defiantly at the camera rather than paying attention to her child/children. (there are a few different sets of moms/kids)

  334. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    So you need to be vetted and accepted? That’s still not undemocratic.

    Hm. Here I think I just realized that SC is correct about it being undemocratic.

    Although I’m not sure I care, since I am a totalitarian and something of a vanguardist these days. :)

    But on the facts of the question, I’m reminded of paywalls. I run into a lot of problems getting journal articles I’d like to read. Now, I have some friends who have access to the good, expensive libraries, who I can email for an article or two as long as I don’t burden them, but that’s a trickle and many people just don’t have such helpful contacts. I have personally observed discussions where several people are saying “I wish I could read that paper” and none of us have access and so we’re all stuck; and even in these cases we know the paper exists because we can see the abstract.

    And in some of those papers which I’ve never got to read, but could have if they were open access, I’m sure there are some really awesome, killer arguments. Which I’ll never know about. And I haz a sad.

    I’m not much concerned about the interpersonal stuff but some part of me wonders maybe it would be best for humanity if all substantive content, now and forever, was available to everyone on Earth for free by searching Google a permanent, distributed storage.

    The gatekeeping aspect of PET is not exactly a paywall, but from the naive searcher’s point of view it functions much the same. It is in some sense unfortunate if smart people are taking the effort to write useful things but not displaying them to whole world. It would be most unfortunate if a really great God-killing treatise was composed on PET, and languished there.

    I realize this is not the whole of SC’s argument, but this is what it made me think about.

  335. says

    Carlie, thanks for that link. I found the last montage of images the most interesting – there would have been some great cover choices in there, had there been an actual interest in showing actual, natural breastfeeding of children past the infant stage.

    With the exception of one woman in that montage, all the women are looking at their child/children and they all look comfortable and content.

  336. carlie says

    It is in some sense unfortunate if smart people are taking the effort to write useful things but not displaying them to whole world. It would be most unfortunate if a really great God-killing treatise was composed on PET, and languished there.

    But most people aren’t trying to be political all the time. They’re not making Statements with a capital S, or pronouncements on how the world should work. They’re not composing treatises at all. They’re talking about that funny thing their kid did or how frustrating their boss is or how much they liked the tv show they watched last night. “The personal is political” argument has some validity, but most people can’t live in a way that keeps that foremost in their minds all the time because it’s exhausting and not the way our brains naturally work. If that god-killing treatise somehow sprung up from the personal muck, someone would notice it and then share it elsewhere. Like the way the first comment that touched this all off in the first place did. And that’s no different than saying “I was talking with my friend yesterday and said that… ” or even “I had a dream last night and this came to me”

  337. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    “The personal is political” argument has some validity, but most people can’t live in a way that keeps that foremost in their minds all the time because it’s exhausting and not the way our brains naturally work.

    Of course you’re right about that, but the cool thing about TET is that it’s Google-indexed, so when people are just being personal their insights can be uncovered later by a total stranger who’s studying that sort of thing politically.

    (There might also be gems poetic.)

    If that god-killing treatise somehow sprung up from the personal muck, someone would notice it and then share it elsewhere.

    Maybe. Only if its value is recognized at the time by a participant who’s inclined to share it. And of course there are already great insights which were once indexed but are now languishing in the Wayback Machine, but that’s lamentable too. Worse still when they are lost. Eventually there will be things which sink into a virtual abyss because they aren’t publicly indexed and everyone who knew they existed has forgotten. Such is life, I know that effectively most of human history has disappeared, but still I haz a sad, especially now when to some degree it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.

    Like the way the first comment that touched this all off in the first place did. And that’s no different than saying “I was talking with my friend yesterday and said that… ” or even “I had a dream last night and this came to me”

    It’s a little bit different because non-public record-keeping, like PET, is avoidable; we have an alternative to it; in a way that aural speech transmission is currently not.

    +++++
    Again I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it. SC and I had an argument some months ago in which I said that most people will never be able to learn much critical thinking, and we’ll just have to indoctrinate their children by rote that there is no God, humans evolved from other apes, et cetera.

    As long as I’m part of the vanguard and I can get a comfortable job feeding priests to lions, I’ll be happy. But I can see why semi-private clubs with sometimes politically relevant topics would bother a democrat like her.

  338. Mr. Mattir, MRA Chick says

    Oops. Meant to say that this explains a whole lot. And not in a good way.

  339. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Giliell, 384

    I was also ridiculed by the medical staff at our hospital for wanting (and having) an unmedicated birth. It’s hard for me as an atheist because I have felt that the people I should have been able to trust to be evidence based information have let me down.

    I’m not sure how they ridiculed you, or whether they ridiculed you or your position (that’s a difference). If they ridiculed you they shouldn’t have done, but if they ridiculed your position it’s probably because they know that there’s no evidence as to why you shouldn’t have any medication.

    I’m having trouble understanding your argument here. What erinpease says happened to her also happened to me – it was very traumatic, it was very destructive and it was not okay at all.

    Are you saying that it’s okay for medical staff to ridicule patients’s “positions” to the patient’s face, in no uncertain terms, regarding the medical treatment enacted on the patients’ very own bodies? Especially in cases where, as you say, there’s no evidence?

    I mean, really?

    And just to make it clear, I’m not talking about vaccinations here, I’m talking about the decisions an adult woman makes about her very own body (which may or may not have a potential human being in there).

    I’m having trouble to see why medical staff treating women that way (ridiculing their choices about their own body, especially when it comes to pregnancy and birth when the god damned baby isn’t even BORN yet!) and would like to better understand that argument.

    When the doctor I went to put me through hell about my position on abortion (which was: I wanted one) that she didn’t agree with, was that okay?

    If not, why is a doctor putting a labouring woman through hell about their position on their labour (medication or no medication, routine episiotomy or not, whatever the position may actually be – and make no mistake, being ridiculed and treated like shit during this most vulnerable time IS ‘being put through hell’) if they don’t agree with that position?

  340. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Mattir, I know. I don’t expect anyone to consider it good. I do prefer to be well understood, which is why I remind people of this from time to time. I didn’t think this way until sometime in 2011, if I remember right, so don’t use it to explain too much; I was still a liberal when you first encountered me. Perhaps it is some consolation that I hope y’all are right and I’m wrong. It is this or nihilism; I have lost my way, and this is the option by which I can hang on to meaning.

  341. Mr. Mattir, MRA Chick says

    I hope y’all are right and I’m wrong. It is this or nihilism; I have lost my way, and this is the option by which I can hang on to meaning.

    I can’t quite believe that I’m offering this, given how much we’ve clashed over the years, but ((((hugs)))) to you, SG. I’ve spent years and years in a similar spot and it massively sucks, Now I’m a firm believer in no-perfect-solutions-because humans-are-fallible-so-do-the-best-you-can-ism. Which is not all that much more comforting as ideologies go, but it helps keep my expectations low, my focus on things I can help to change, and the despairing suicide thing at bay,

    Seriously, I’ve learned a lot from you and wish you peace.

  342. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Okay now my vision is back after I got all teary-eyed. Thank you, Mattir.

  343. Mr. Mattir, MQ MRA Chick says

    SG, can you email me at Mattir dot om at Verizon dot net? Thanks.

  344. ChasCPeterson says

    epic derail!

    Context: SC sees the world through Movement-colored glasses. She has a doctorate and a professional research emphasis in the history of democratic social movements. Her concern about the effects of exclusive side-cliques is likely based on empirical precedent, not paranoia.

    The dynamic that gets enhanced through the semi-exclusive, semi-secret, self-vetted-membership model of the faceb**k group called ‘Pharyngula Endless Thread’ is that of tribalism. I say ‘enhanced’, not ’caused’, and I do not claim it’s the only factor.

    Denials of nefarious intent miss the point. SC’s (justified) concern is about inherent potentialities.

    The in-group/out-group vibe really does get pretty redolent around here. If you don’t smell it, it’s probably because you consider yourself part of the in-group. I agree with SC that people ought to think about this. Kudos to Mattir.

  345. Mr. Mattir, MQ MRA Chick says

    Chas – that’s why I treat the two groups as overlapping but not identical and think people should draft original posts instead or cross-posting, whether tagged or not. I hate the in group dynamic here sometimes, and despite the highly prized OM, don’t feel much like a part of it – too besmirched by meatspace accomodationism, homeschooling, BSA membership, having had acupuncture, hunting, suspicion that evo-psych may have useful insights despite the fact that David Buss is an odious troll, and a myriad of other flaws.

  346. carlie says

    I’m sorry, sg. I can’t pretend I understand all that well, because my constitution is pathetically pollyannaish to the point of always being pulled towards idealistic notions, but I can offer a hug and an ear if and when desired.

  347. carlie says

    Denials of nefarious intent miss the point. SC’s (justified) concern is about inherent potentialities.

    And what people are saying back is that advocating dissolution of actual friendships just on the slight chance of inherent possibilities is a bad thing.

    The in-group/out-group vibe really does get pretty redolent around here. If you don’t smell it, it’s probably because you consider yourself part of the in-group.

    Many of us arguing for the existence of said group are not in said group, and have expressed that several times now.

  348. says

    Gen, Uppity Ingrate
    First, where did I say “go through hell” is OK?
    But especially when talking about pregnancy and birth, somehow there’s a new movement, usually of middle-class “educated” women who think that they know better than the medical professionals. Sorry, but being pregnant doesn’t make you any more an expert on pregnancy and childbirth than being sick makes you a doctor in virology.
    I fully and absolutely support your right to choose. Your right to have an abortion, your right to have a c-section, your right not to have a c-section. Yes, even at the expense that the fetus might die or be seriously damaged during labour because you make crappy decissions.
    But there’s no evidence that “medication” or “interventions” during birth lead to bad outcomes. To the contrary, they prevent them. So, yes, if a woman comes to the labour ward and spouts nonsense about natural childbirth and the “cascade of interventions”, I think that medical profesionals are entitled to tell you it’s bullshit.
    For what I care you can have an unmedicatedroot-canal treatment. Yet most people would understand if the dentist said that they can’t work like that. Midwives and OB/Gyns do work under those conditions. And if women are making their work harder for fluffy ideas, I don’t think they have to keep their mouth.
    And just for the record, I had two births without pain-medication, but not without medication. My daughter’s life was much more precious to me than a stamp in the imaginary “real true mum” passport.

  349. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Giliell

    But especially when talking about pregnancy and birth, somehow there’s a new movement, usually of middle-class “educated” women who think that they know better than the medical professionals. Sorry, but being pregnant doesn’t make you any more an expert on pregnancy and childbirth than being sick makes you a doctor in virology.

    I take your point here, and I completely agree.

    However, I’d like to note that just because there are certain things someone want/don’t want to allow to happen during labour to their body just for the sake of getting the baby out that doesn’t mean that they’re trying to “know better” than the medical staff.

    The medical staff’s priorities are different (VASTLY different) from mine, and since it’s my body and I’m the one who has to live life in it for the rest of my days, my opinion about what happens to it takes preference. Full. Stop.

    So I don’t understand your argument. In one breath you say this:

    I fully and absolutely support your right to choose. Your right to have an abortion, your right to have a c-section, your right not to have a c-section. Yes, even at the expense that the fetus might die or be seriously damaged during labour because you make crappy decissions.

    Then you say:

    But there’s no evidence that “medication” or “interventions” during birth lead to bad outcomes. To the contrary, they prevent them. So, yes, if a woman comes to the labour ward and spouts nonsense about natural childbirth and the “cascade of interventions”, I think that medical profesionals are entitled to tell you it’s bullshit.

    For what I care you can have an unmedicatedroot-canal treatment. Yet most people would understand if the dentist said that they can’t work like that. Midwives and OB/Gyns do work under those conditions. And if women are making their work harder for fluffy ideas, I don’t think they have to keep their mouth.

    To finish up with:

    My daughter’s life was much more precious to me than a stamp in the imaginary “real true mum” passport.

    Do you mean that, in the conditions of pregnancy and labour, despite knowing that there are certain things that you are not willing to undergo you should just let the God-Doctor tell you what to do and obey like a good girl because they know shit, man and you don’t?

    Did anyone ever force you to risk your life and/or wellbeing against your will during labour and force a procedure on you that didn’t agree with or did not consent to?

    Because they did to me.

    And you think it’s fine and dandy because according to SCIENCE (what science, btw? If you can give citations to back up your claims, that would be swell, though not on topic of the thread) their position is “right” and mine “wrong”?

    Even in the same breath as what you say that I have the right to make that decision regardless?

    My wanting an abortion also made that fundamentalist Christian doctor’s life harder.

    My wanting the morning after pill made the pharmacist who didn’t believe in that’s life harder.

    My refusing certain treatment, regardless of what the treatment or reasons for refusal are, should be respected by medical staff regardless of their delicate fee fees about it and is not open to their verbally abusing me because of it in order to get me to toe the line and make their lives easier.

    It’s not my duty to make their jobs easier. It is, in fact, THEIR duty to make MY life easier.

    I must admit to feeling quite defensive, especially about your last paragraph.

    Your argument in general is that medical staff may say to you whatever they like and treat you however badly they want (as in attitude wise, not medically) as long as they’re “right” according to SCIENCE and that’s okay because you’re not a doctor and therefore you can’t know anything including what you’re willing to consent to and what not with regards to your own body.

    Because that really sounds like you are saying that stupid, selfish moms-to-be make bad decisions on purpose that endanger their children’s life out of the sheer selfishness of wanting to belong to some “real true mom” club, which is not the case (for me, at least, nor anyone I know) at all and is part of propagating this “uber mom”, “mothering is a competitive” “my choices are better than yours and therefore you don’t deserve your kids” kind of crap.

    Which in turn is part of the “you’re just an incubator/milk cow in service of the Great Messiah JR. crap” and part of the whole “women aren’t people” motif in general.

    And I know you don’t believe that.

  350. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    *”motherhood is a competitive sport”. Sport should be in there.

    Also, I’ve pinpointed the reason for my feeling defensive and hurt.

    Yes, even at the expense that the fetus might die or be seriously damaged during labour because you make crappy decissions

    (Own emphasis).

    Really? You’ve decided I or someone you don’t even know made decisions that are “crappy” when you don’t even know a.) what decisions were made and b.) why they were made?

    That’s not okay. Seriously, that’s competitive motherhood out of the textbook. Please don’t do that.

  351. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    You’ve decided I or someone you don’t even know made decisions that are “crappy” when you don’t even know a.) what decisions were made and b.) why they were made?

    ? Some decisions are crappy. Giliell is saying that she respects people’s right to make them even if they are.

    I think I’m confused.

  352. RahXephon, An Assorted Motley Queer says

    Although I’m not sure I care, since I am a totalitarian

    You know how sometimes you see someone trying to shuffle cards and they end up spraying them into the air? That’s what my brain just did.

    And then when I saw people sympathize with how you were “forced” to be a totalitarian and you hope you’re wrong abloo bloo bloo, my brain did it again but in IMAX 3D.

    Seriously, is there LSD in the Pharyngula water supply today? What the fuck?

  353. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    And then when I saw people sympathize with how you were “forced” to be a totalitarian and you hope you’re wrong abloo bloo bloo, my brain did it again but in IMAX 3D.

    Eventually being subjected to enough shit from other people makes you start having trouble with the idea that they have a greater right to rule themselves than you have right to not constantly fear for your life and safety. I think a lot of us can relate to that, and while we may think that sgbm is wrong politically/ethically, we can sympathize with what we perceive of the thought process and experience that led him to that conclusion.

    That’s where I am right now with someone (else) I care about deeply – I believe xe’s wrong about some of hir conclusions (which, incidentally, seem to fluctuate based on how much shit xe’s been subjected to recently and how exhausted/depressed xe is), and I’d make my best effort to stop hir from carrying them out if I thought there were danger of that, but it’s also very clear to me that xe’s been through a personal hell that makes hir feel that the only way to be safe is to have power. And I get that, and I both have and express sympathy for it, because I often feel that way too. (My conclusion is usually that I won’t ever be safe.)

  354. says

    Well, if anyone cares, here’s my herd of teal deer on the PET subject:

    I still don’t know in which way SC thinks PET is undemocratic (and I absolutely have no idea how it’s “institutionalized”), because she keeps saying this isn’t like friendships, and yet the only way in which I can interpret it as undemocratic is in the same banal sense in which my sex-life is undemocratic simply because not everyone gets to fuck me. And in the sense that the personal is the political, I guess that also means that my sex-life, as well as PET, is politically undemocratic (the former is why you get things like Political Lesbianism; some people do think their sex-lives are absolutely part of their political movement).

    The real question is probably rather whether its undemocratic-ness is important enough and has sufficiently negative consequences vis-a-vis the alternatives** to be actually bad***. SC obviously thinks that it likely is sufficiently negative to warrant serious criticism and re-consideration of such things as PET; other people, who are not consummate activists, and for whom places like PET are (almost) the only place where they can socialize with people whom they experience as actual friends who actually are willing to support them in tough times and accept their being different from how (almost) all other people think they should be… well, those people probably see a lot more value in the existence of such a social space than they do in the undemocratic-ness of their friendships****.

    Denying that such friendships alter the larger social space in which they happen makes no fucking sense though. I wish SC had bothered to explain why she thinks something like PET has a stronger negative, tribalist, undemocratic effect than TET did when it stopped being a tangent-overflow/delugionist-fighting thread and became a social thread, though. Because AFAICT, what actually had the largest impact on the “flavor” of the comment-space on Pharyngula was the shift from “handles attached to arguments and argument-clusters” (plus the occasional, low-impact personal friendship) in which a “personality” was almost entirely made up of the arguments (and wit) they presented in the various threads (and thus could only be “liked” or “disliked” based on their arguments), to “arguments attached to people about whom we know a lot, personally”, in which a “personality” was made up of assorted human character-traits which one could like or dislike regardless of the value or soundness of the argument put forth. As far as I can tell, this is where this annoying split into “regulars” and everyone else happened, when social policing started in which people started being criticized for making arguments that might upset someone else on a personal level, and when Pharyngula became a social space with its own social mores, which absolutely are very strictly enforced. For the most part, this is seen as positive, since it got rid of acceptance of slurs, and insufficiently-progressive-for-this-space elements are kept to a minimum despite the openness of the format; it can work in the other direction, too, though, where people with stances that are too removed from the pharyngulan mainstream will be criticized even if their positions are more progressive rather than less.

    Anyway, without SC explaining what precisely she thinks PET did that TET, meet-ups, and the increased network of Pharyngupenpals didn’t already do/start, I’m left with the highly uncharitable impression that she’s only complaining about it now that this dynamic affects her, while before she not only denied its existence, but in at least once instance participated in it.

    So anyway: sure, PET is “undemocratic”; but it’s really just a natural outgrowth of what happened when TET became a social space for forging friendships (which, as I already noted, are exactly the same kind of undemocratic). If Pharyngula was supposed to stay a predominantly public, activist, non-excluding, argument-based space, we should have killed TET the very moment it stopped being about Alan/Roger’s idiotic arguments, and started being about David M’s sexeh brain.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    *in scarequotes because SC neither has the power nor the desire to ban the existence of PET and other such groups; ultimately though, a social shunning of such practices equal in strength to the shunning of slurs would amount to a sort of “ban” on such groups, and would also be the only thing I can think of that would actually keep people from forming such groups.

    **in the case of PET-like groups, “permitting”* only public social interaction, or else one-on-one private interaction, resulting in strict “policing” of how people interact with each other, as well as the exclusion of those who prefer an atmosphere that’s more personal, private, and non-vicious (basically, the subordination of social impulses of friendship-making to the political cause). In the case of my sex-life, the subordination of my romantic and sexual desires to a political cause.

    ***well, I suppose one could axiomatically/deontologically just declare everything that’s undemocratic to be automatically bad, but in that case one would be suffering from goal displacement and/or stupidity, and I don’t feel like dealing with that right now.

    ****and it should be noted here that all “safe-spaces” are also undemocratic in exactly this way: they are the same kind of hybrid between public-private, and they too exclude and vet who is allowed in; and they are also very valuable.

  355. says

    oh hey, i didn’t edit my footnotes right, so now * and ** are reversed :-p

    anyway

    I didn’t think this way until sometime in 2011, if I remember right, so don’t use it to explain too much; I was still a liberal when you first encountered me. Perhaps it is some consolation that I hope y’all are right and I’m wrong.

    know what you mean; the more I learn about people, the more it seems like humankind is made primarily of idiots, with some extraordinarily stupid people at one end of the bell-curve, and a few slightly more rational thinkers at the other. And I’ve yet to encounter a person who wasn’t to a large degree still being irrational, even when they do above averagely well in that department (including myself, except that for one or two minor issues that I’m trying to work on, I of course don’t know where I’m being irrational).

    Except I think I’m starting to come out of this on the more nihilistic end of the equation, and most of my ethics now amount to looking for the best forms of damage-control, so that the world only goes to hell after I’m dead.

  356. says

    Many of us arguing for the existence of said group are not in said group, and have expressed that several times now.

    he wasn’t talking about PET, he was talking about the ingroup/outgroup mentality of the Horde as a whole. And he’s right.

  357. RahXephon, An Assorted Motley Queer says

    Eventually being subjected to enough shit from other people makes you start having trouble with the idea that they have a greater right to rule themselves than you have right to not constantly fear for your life and safety. I think a lot of us can relate to that, and while we may think that sgbm is wrong politically/ethically, we can sympathize with what we perceive of the thought process and experience that led him to that conclusion.

    I didn’t say I didn’t understand it. I do. I’m gay and I’ve had to watch people, supposedly really smart people, having Very Serious Debates over whether I should even be allowed to exist in society, let alone be allowed to exercise all of my constitutional rights. At times I’ve thought “jeeze, I wish I could short-circuit all this crap and just make gay marriage legal so all these fucks would have to live with it.”

    Which is something I only think for two seconds before I get over it, because I know that “being a dictator will be fine this time if I’m the dictator” is something every would-be dictator thinks, and it’s never, ever true.

    So, if all sgbm had said was “I’m frustrated with the democratic process”, fine, I think all of us are, but that’s not what was said. Claiming to be a totalitarian goes way the fuck farther than that.

  358. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    So, if all sgbm had said was “I’m frustrated with the democratic process”, fine, I think all of us are, but that’s not what was said. Claiming to be a totalitarian goes way the fuck farther than that.

    Really? Especially when it’s qualified with “I don’t expect anyone to think it’s good” and “I hope I’m wrong,” I think it goes farther only to the extent of no longer correcting yourself after two seconds because you’re just going to think it again a few seconds later and what’s the fucking point anymore.

  359. Pteryxx says

    he wasn’t talking about PET, he was talking about the ingroup/outgroup mentality of the Horde as a whole. And he’s right.

    ^this. I’ll even, tentatively, concur with the ingroup/outgroup Horde dynamic, though what I personally perceive is aggressive intolerance for ideas and phrasings rather than individuals or groups (except for individuals/groups with proven bad-faith track records).

    But SC didn’t make a claim about Pharyngula’s pack dynamic that I could tell. She solely objected to PET as an offshoot; and as I said above, I just don’t see significant ingroup/outgroup dynamics between Pharyngula and PET.

  360. RahXephon, An Assorted Motley Queer says

    Really? Especially when it’s qualified with “I don’t expect anyone to think it’s good” and “I hope I’m wrong,” I think it goes farther only to the extent of no longer correcting yourself after two seconds because you’re just going to think it again a few seconds later and what’s the fucking point anymore.

    I seriously can’t believe I’m hearing this.

  361. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    I don’t understand what your complaint is about what I said, RahXephon. It’s still not right, most of us still don’t think totalitarianism is a good outcome, but (and I am admittedly projecting from my own experience here) I don’t see how saying “I’m a totalitarian lately but I don’t expect anyone to think that’s a good thing and I hope I’m wrong” is markedly different from expressing ongoing frustration with and despair in the democratic process.

  362. RahXephon, An Assorted Motley Queer says

    @Cipher

    Okay, is having an ongoing issue with the taste and texture of your food a good reason to drink poison?

    Totalitarian rule would fix nothing and would make everything massively worse. Look at, I dunno, pretty much any fucking totalitarian state now or in history to see that. “Good, but not great” is not a reason to switch to “the worst”.

  363. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    I would best describe myself as a totalitarian under the circumstances that I took my darkest personal moments of fear, despair, anger, and frustration and stretched them out over long periods of time. Under those circumstances, I would feel dishonest presenting myself otherwise. This is why I feel the need to express sympathy for people whom I, with my limited powers of interpersonal perception, seem to see going through that.

  364. RahXephon, An Assorted Motley Queer says

    @Cipher

    “Stretching one’s personal moments of fear, despair, anger, and frustration out over long periods of time” is a pretty good definition of totalitarianism and it should be self-evident why such a system of governance would be total shit.

  365. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    “Stretching one’s personal moments of fear, despair, anger, and frustration out over long periods of time” is a pretty good definition of totalitarianism and it should be self-evident why such a system of governance would be total shit.

    I see what your objection to totalitarianism is, and I have repeatedly told you that I am not a totalitarian, but I do not see why you continue to argue with me when I explain that expressing sympathy for a person who is a totalitarian based on the perception that they are suffering can be justified.

  366. RahXephon, An Assorted Motley Queer says

    I do not see why you continue to argue with me when I explain that expressing sympathy for a person who is a totalitarian based on the perception that they are suffering can be justified.

    I can sympathize with the pain they’re going through, and I can understand the base urge for revenge against the system that oppresses them, but I don’t sympathize with their feelings for wanting to take over the fucking world. If the former is all you’re referring to doing then I don’t have anything to argue with you about.

  367. says

    <blockquote<But SC didn’t make a claim about Pharyngula’s pack dynamic that I could tell. She solely objected to PET as an offshoot; and as I said above, I just don’t see significant ingroup/outgroup dynamics between Pharyngula and PET.well, this is why I tried to get SC to explain the difference between the dynamics created by PET and TET, without any success. So without that information, I’m left with the conclusion that PET is simply a gradual outgrowth of TET, not some sort of categorically different thing that makes PET bad but TET good.

  368. says

    oops

    But SC didn’t make a claim about Pharyngula’s pack dynamic that I could tell. She solely objected to PET as an offshoot; and as I said above, I just don’t see significant ingroup/outgroup dynamics between Pharyngula and PET.

    well, this is why I tried to get SC to explain the difference between the dynamics created by PET and TET, without any success. So without that information, I’m left with the conclusion that PET is simply a gradual outgrowth of TET, not some sort of categorically different thing that makes PET bad but TET good.

  369. says

    Gen, Uppity Ingrate.
    I suggest that you read over the hell lot of strawmen you’re fighting against and then come back to what I actually said.

    Yes, you have the full right over your own body. FULL STOP
    You have the full right to make your own medical decissions. FULL STOP.
    I will always stand up for your right to make those decissions for yourself regardless of the outcome.
    I regard people who force any kind of treatment on anybody as criminals.

    Now that we got this out of the way:
    Not all decissions are good decissions. Some are crappy.
    If your OB/gyn tells you that you have a footling breech and that you should have a C-section, you are still entitled to refuse and go for a vaginal birth. That’s your right and your decission. But it’s a shitty one because it puts the fetus at a great and unnecessary risk.
    And yes, that happens. It often ends with a dead baby.
    Let’s talk about unmedicated. Yes, my daughter’s life was much more precious to me than having an unmedicated birth. I was strep positive, which is why I got *tune in scary music* antibiotics during birth. Because neonatal sepsis is pretty lethal.

    Because that really sounds like you are saying that stupid, selfish moms-to-be make bad decisions on purpose that endanger their children’s life out of the sheer selfishness of wanting to belong to some “real true mom” club, which is not the case (for me, at least, nor anyone I know) at all and is part of propagating this “uber mom”, “mothering is a competitive” “my choices are better than yours and therefore you don’t deserve your kids” kind of crap.

    You have obviously never heard of the “natural birth movement”, who is all about not letting a medical professional near them and knowing all best because pregnancy is natural. People who shame women with c-sections, epidurals, picotin, who *scary music again* feed formula.

    It’s not my duty to make their jobs easier. It is, in fact, THEIR duty to make MY life easier.

    Medical profesionals are people, too. If you’re doing everything you can to make their life harder and are as confrontational as you can be, most of them will still treat you. A mechanic would have kicked you out of their garage already, bit those people are still doing their best to have the best outcome for you.

    Do you mean that, in the conditions of pregnancy and labour, despite knowing that there are certain things that you are not willing to undergo you should just let the God-Doctor tell you what to do and obey like a good girl because they know shit, man and you don’t?

    Nope, but I think that in all questions of health my doctor spent years of education and training on this subject which I didn’t. Sure, there are idiot doctors out there and it’s good if you have a choice.
    Yet, still, if my Ob/Gyn told me that it would be better to have a C-section, or to augment labour via picotin because the baby really should be getting out now, I’d better listen to them. Because “maternal instincts” are crap. I should still be able to refuse, and not have it questioned, but I don’t think the doc has to cheer my decission to go ahead against their recomendation.
    To put it blunt, if they tell you they have to get the baby out NOW or they will die and therefore put you under and make a c-section, you should be fully able to say no. You should not be prosecuted if the inevitable happens and the fetus dies. But to expect that anybody pats you on the back and says “well done” is asked too much, don’t you think? That would be a crappy decission, don’t you think?

  370. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    I don’t sympathize with their feelings for wanting to take over the fucking world.

    And no one actually expressed that they agreed with that desire. You asked if LSD was in the Pharyngula water supply because of two people, one of whom explicitly said that it was a bad thing for SG to be a totalitarian, offered sympathy.

  371. Stacy says

    I seriously can’t believe I’m hearing this

    I’m with you, RahXephon.

    I have no sympathy for sg, or pitbull, or whatever he’s calling himself. He’s not an adolescent thrilled to find he’s able to think outside the box to the point of entertaining taboo thoughts. He’s a grown-up and the fact that his brand of totalitarianism embraces “our” ideas makes it no less disgusting.

    A shitstain is a shitstain is a shitstain.

  372. says

    Giliell, if Gen is American, it’s extremely likely you two are talking past each other, in terms of experience with hospitals/births/treatment of/by doctors.

    Think of it this way: Ron Paul is an Ob-Gyn.

  373. RahXephon, An Assorted Motley Queer says

    And no one actually expressed that they agreed with that desire. You asked if LSD was in the Pharyngula water supply because of two people, one of whom explicitly said that it was a bad thing for SG to be a totalitarian, offered sympathy.

    So then what, exactly, is the kind of totalitarianism that sg is espousing? A kinder, gentler totalitarianism that stays in its borders? As I said earlier, this has never happened in the history of human life on earth. Totalitarian dictatorships lately haven’t tried it because most of them are in technologically backwards parts of the world and they don’t have the wealth or infrastructure to challenge the democracies.

    Or is totalitarianism for sg not even an actual policy position? If that’s the case, it makes this argument kinda pointless, because if a revenge fantasy about taking power is what keeps sg going…okay. Whatevs. As long as sg doesn’t actually do anything I don’t have any problems with it.

  374. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    I don’t understand how what you said is relevant to what you’re replying to, RahXephon. Nobody posted in agreement with SGBM’s policy position. People posted in sympathy, which in 3 of the 3 cases (I’m counting my own posts here although I only began expressing sympathy after you complained about it) was expressed alongside explicit disagreement. Why are you asking me to defend a policy position I don’t agree with? Because I expressed that I relate to the despair that appears, to me, to underlie it?

  375. Stacy says

    A kinder, gentler totalitarianism that stays in its borders? As I said earlier, this has never happened in the history of human life on earth.

    And so what if it fucking did? It would still be evil. It would still be a system that enforces conformity on the people under its aegis. It would still be inherently conservative; forced to fight and suppress any ideas that threatened it.

    As long as sg doesn’t actually do anything I don’t have any problems with it.

    Right. Because ideas don’t have consequences. That’s why we don’t have any problem at all with liberal religion. Oh, wait.

    You know, there’s a reason so many former 60’s Marxists and Maoists became neocons a decade or two later. They exchanged one set of ideals for another–but their underlying attitude, toward governance and society and intellectual freedom and toward their fellow human-fucking-beings, did not change.

  376. RahXephon, An Assorted Motley Queer says

    @Cipher

    I didn’t ask you to defend a policy position you don’t agree with. I asked what sg’s actual position is, since the original comment was vague, and that the answer would determine how I feel about what sg said.

  377. Cipher, OM, MQ says

    I understand your question and where it’s coming from now, RahXephon, but I don’t see how the quoted bit is relevant in that case. That’s okay though. I think we’re turning out to be in violent agreement here?

  378. RahXephon, An Assorted Motley Queer says

    And so what if it fucking did? It would still be evil.

    I know this, that’s why I pointed out that earlier that every dictator thinks their dictatorship is gonna be a good one. The leader’s motives don’t matter, the system itself is inherently bad.

    Right. Because ideas don’t have consequences. That’s why we don’t have any problem at all with liberal religion.

    “Converting people to his side” would count as “doing something about it”. My point was that I can’t stop sg from privately thinking something. However, if he steps over that line where one takes their thoughts and turns them into actions, people can stop him.

  379. Stacy says

    My point was that I can’t stop sg from privately thinking something. However, if he steps over that line where one takes their thoughts and turns them into actions, people can stop him

    OK, fair enough. I just wanted to underline the shittiness of his thinking and make sure it didn’t fly under the radar. We’re in agreement.

  380. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Gilliel

    I think I understand your position better now. I’ve not encountered the natural birth brigade directly in my life – I’m from South Africa and here I’ve experienced the opposite: an almost fetish regarding obstetrics (and medicine in general) and an expectation that if you see an Ob Gyn, you should be guaranteed a live, healthy baby at the end with no mess, no fuss.

    To the point that, for example, I’ve been told that not having an elective c-section was selfish to the extreme, for making the baby have to go through the trauma of having to pass through the birth canal.

    I’m sure that the fact that a huge section of the population don’t have access to proper medical care and the care they do get is atrocious plays its part, but that doesn’t mean I’m spitting in the faces of those who don’t have access if I refuse some or other intervention.

    To answer your questions: no, I wouldn’t expect praise. I’d expect people who aren’t direct family to keep their judgements to themselves and mind their own business unless asked, but then, I’m naive and idealistic that way.

    This entire thing with judging other mothers, be it from the natural at all costs or the all medical all the time squad (or the lactivists vs the breasts are for sex squads, the breeders vs the no-kids-evers, or whatever sides you can think of) is something that’s deeply troubling to me. I believe that as parents, most of us are doing the best we can in the hardest job on earth. The original cover of this Time highlights this completely unecessary tension in horrible clarity.

    Are you mom enough?

    I mean, seriously? I don’t even know what the hell to say to that shit. And we all know that it’s the mother who’ll take the brunt of all criticism, whether it be that she breastfed too long or not enough. There’s just never a “win”.

    If that makes sense. It’s 3am here, so it’s possible that sense it no makes. ;p

    Anycase, thanks for indulging me and clarifying your position. Although I do not agree, i think I at least understand where you are coming from.

  381. says

    stacy:

    And so what if it fucking did? It would still be evil. It would still be a system that enforces conformity on the people under its aegis. It would still be inherently conservative; forced to fight and suppress any ideas that threatened it.

    Yep. This isn’t a new thing for him though, as he said he’s been feeling totalitarian for at least six months now. In fact, strange god’s ridiculous ideas of totalitarianism have landed him his very own entry on fstdt:

    Let it again be entered into the record that I defend Maoist suppression of religion, and am ultimately in favor of a communist state which mandates atheism by force, although I believe successful implementation of such a program will take several generations, the first of which should focus on suppressing clergy rather than all believers.

    Originally posted on Episode CCLXXXVI.

    Sorry, but I have zero sympathy for this kind of rhetoric. There hasn’t been a totalitarian state that hasn’t persecuted its out-groups, although apparently strange gods is totes fine with that, as long it’s the “correct” out group.

  382. David Marjanović says

    Fuck, I’m going to bet you ANYTHING that when she actually feeds her kid, it isn’t in that pose. She probably does it sitting, with the kid lying across her lap. If the magazine was interested in depicting her as she actually nurses, they would have done so!

    The entire fucking pose is sexualized. For the message that “This woman is NOT a sex object, fuck you very much” to come across loud and clear, then the pose, the clothing, EVERYTHING would have to be very different. A woman happily and defiantly posing in a sexualized pose like this one is not sending a message that she’s not a sex object.

    All seconded.

    Sure, the photo doesn’t turn me on, but it’s blatantly obviously meant to.

    FB demands “real identities”

    Does it? I know Google+ does, but FB? …If it does, it doesn’t try very hard to enforce it. Like, all FB knows about me is my name (and that only because I was too lazy to think up a pseudonym), my e-mail address (not even the normal one, because the normal one was “blocked”, probably because spammers have occasionally spoofed it), my date of birth (with no way to check it), and presumably my IP address.

    When PZ first introduced the login requirement, I got a Vox identity, and Vox required for all kinds of personal information, even a snail-mail address. FB isn’t like that.

    You seem to be talking about people who don’t want to engage in democratic public debate but want to snipe behind the scenes or occasionally here from behind bushes with the knowledge that others in the pack have their back. And many have no idea this is going on.

    *blink*

    It’s not going on, at least not since I joined.

    My point was more about those discussions that span both forums.

    Those seem to last very shortly on FB, due to the way that group thread pages are structured.

    I’m surprised this is so surprising. I can’t imagine having this conversation in a labor union: “The leaders of the union like to get together to talk about our personal issues and occasionally union business, which we sometimes share with you. What’s the problem?”

    …We’re not your leaders. Maybe I should feel flattered or something, but… we’re just not. There are no strategy discussions of any movement or anything going on there. o_o

    Oh, sure. The FB group doesn’t involve any leaders here.

    Any what?

    We used to joke over the curious American L-shaped bedsheets. When they’re lying in bed and he’s covered until just above his crotch and she’s covered right over her tits.

    And he, importantly, is topless even if she’s wearing not (just?) a bra but a nightshirt. Whenever we (family) see a topless man lying in a bed on TV, we joke “he’s sleeping like an American hero”. (“Hero” because, among men, only bodybuilders seem to sleep in Hollywood.)

    Although I’m not sure I care, since I am a totalitarian and something of a vanguardist these days. :)

    Having a vague inkling of what drove you to this kind of position, I must still say it’s nothing to smile about. It’s good that you’re talking to Mattir.

    But on the facts of the question, I’m reminded of paywalls. I run into a lot of problems getting journal articles I’d like to read. Now, I have some friends who have access to the good, expensive libraries

    Do what scientists themselves do: e-mail the authors and ask for a pdf. Thou shalt receive.

    Remember: authors have no financial or other interest in the paywall. They have an interest – that goes all the way to financial – in having their work known as widely as possible, so they’re cited more often. How extreme it is varies between countries, but in general scientists are paid for their impact factor.

    The worst that can happen is that you find the kind of person who just never reads their e-mails or never responds to them. In all other cases, people will gladly send you pdfs of their papers – some will send you pdfs of everything else they’ve ever published, too, unasked.

    …Yes, paywalls are even more absurd than you already thought.

  383. Mr. Mattir, MQ MRA Chick says

    RahXephon –

    I hope y’all are right and I’m wrong. It is this or nihilism; I have lost my way, and this is the option by which I can hang on to meaning.

    This is despair and an attempt to stay alive. SG has pissed me off, announced that he will never respect me, and generally been a painful goad for the whole time I’ve been on Pharyngula. I have no doubt that we’ll have further interactions like these. But I have nevertheless learned a huge amount from him – even when I disagree, I have to think carefully about why I disagree and whether my reasoning is satisfactory.

    I would not respond positively to some random, previously unknown commenter who announced that he was a totalitarian. I will respond compassionately to someone who’s participated usefully here for years and is expressing more personal pain than I’ve ever heard from him. I will also fight against the emergence of a totalitarian state as best I can. These are not mutually exclusive choices.

  384. David Marjanović says

    Vox required for all kinds of personal information

    I tried to replace “asked for” by “required” and partly failed.

    In fact, strange god’s ridiculous ideas of totalitarianism have landed him his very own entry on fstdt:

    Bwuh –

    I must have missed that entire episode.

    …Let me just say that it’s outright funny to mention Maoism in this context. If that wasn’t a religion, I don’t know what is. For starters, go to the Wikipedia article on The East Is Red – the 2nd stanza contains too much vocabulary I don’t know, but I vouch for the accuracy of the translation of the other two.

  385. Mr. Mattir, MQ MRA Chick says

    Just to clarify, in this most recent discussion, I have gone to the pffft of all knowledge to read up on totalitarianism and vanguardism, think a bit about Lenin, and clarify why I am very very very opposed to totalitarian states. I wouldn’t have done this without SG, just like I would not have thought, were it not for SC’s derail, about how the FB group (which I actually started during the first of PZ’s strikes) increased the tribalism ethos at Pharyngula and how this could be ameliorated or resisted.

  386. anat says

    To kemist (#205)

    Breastfeeding is only considered a highly effective form of contraception during the first 6 months after birth, and only if there is no supplementation whatsoever and if menstruation has not resumed. While it might still work for some individual women despite some supplementation the effectiveness starts dropping so it’s better to use additional methods. Also, some claim even using pacifiers may reduce effectiveness of breastfeeding as a method of hormonal contraception, though I haven’t seen the research.

    As for having a younger infant when an older child is still nursing – while mothers often choose to wean the older one it isn’t absolutely necessary to do so. Some choose to tandem-nurse. The key is to let the younger one nurse first. Having a nursing toddler can help with some of the common problems of early breastfeeding such as engorgement or diminished supply because an infant isn’t latching on properly. But of course, every family is different and the members of each make the choices that suits them best. People just need to be aware of the options that are available.

  387. John Morales says

    anat,

    People just need to be aware of the options that are available.

    I’m obviously ignorant about this; are there still such people as ‘wet nurses’?

  388. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I’m sorry, sg. I can’t pretend I understand all that well, because my constitution is pathetically pollyannaish to the point of always being pulled towards idealistic notions, but I can offer a hug and an ear if and when desired.

    Thanks, Carlie. I’ve already been talking about it a bit more than I’m comfortable with. I’ll take that hug though.

    +++++
    RahXephon,

    And then when I saw people sympathize

    What you’re seeing is people who remember when I was a convincing advocate for their own social liberal views, who have known me for quite a while, who have cared about me as a person for much of that time, and have noticed me change.

    It is hard to imagine that they would not sympathize.

    You don’t know me; Stacy doesn’t know me. It is therefore understandable why you would not sympathize, and simply consider me a random shitstain who should be verbally abused. And you might be right about that.

    But I have a hard time believing that if you really think about it, you can’t understand why people who do know me personally would sympathize.

    with how you were “forced” to be a totalitarian and you hope you’re wrong

    I have become persuaded, by arguments I can not convincingly challenge, that at this time in history, democracies cannot function without a permanent underclass to exploit. Now, that is a bleak view, and so it should be evident why a person would hope it is wrong.

    They are hard arguments to deal with. There are a handful of other people around here — really smart folks, smarter than me — who agree with all the above but are unable to convince themselves that equality could be achieved at all in the imaginable future. These individuals really don’t have clearly visible avenues for hope. That is a bleaker view still, and I feel lucky that I don’t share it, but it’s just an accident of neurology and circumstance that keeps me from sharing it.

    I think it’s safe to say that all of us wish we had the accidents of neurology and circumstance that have made you believe as you believe. I even remember when I still did. And I can understand why you would not want to think like me. But I have a hard time believing that you don’t understand why I would hope I’m wrong.

    (People don’t simply choose their beliefs, you know. I can no more choose to believe in liberalism than Mattir can choose to believe in Leninism, nor than any of us can choose to believe in God. A person is either persuaded or they are not.)

    and you hope you’re wrong abloo bloo bloo

    I admit some surprise that you’re making fun of me for crying earlier.

    I never got the impression that you were that sort of person.

    +++++
    Jadehawk,

    Except I think I’m starting to come out of this on the more nihilistic end of the equation, and most of my ethics now amount to looking for the best forms of damage-control, so that the world only goes to hell after I’m dead.

    That’s not nihilism! That’s just voting Democrat. ;)

    +++++
    RahXephon,

    Which is something I only think for two seconds before I get over it, because I know that “being a dictator will be fine this time if I’m the dictator” is something every would-be dictator thinks, and it’s never, ever true.

    Oh. You think I want to be the dictator. No, no. I’m a totalitarian in that I believe totalitarianism is the only viable option for widespread human happiness. But me, I’d waste all the money and power on drugs and private jets. I just want a cushy bureaucrat job, feeding priests to lions. I nominate Walton for dictator.

    +++++
    Stacy,

    It would still be inherently conservative; forced to fight and suppress any ideas that threatened it.

    Do you consider the legal suppression of Nazism, as still occurs in Germany and Austria today, to be inherently conservative?

    You know, there’s a reason so many former 60′s Marxists and Maoists became neocons a decade or two later.

    Some, but the now-neocons, while significant in absolute numbers, were really only a handful in relative numbers. By far most of those on the New Left are still democrats and always were; that includes the vast majority of Marxists in the West. Barbara Ehrenreich is typical of the modern Marxist, as are the editors of Monthly Review.

    Of course they’re practically liberals as far as I’m concerned; I just thought your comment was somewhat misleading.

    +++++
    Audley,

    In fact, strange god’s ridiculous ideas of totalitarianism have landed him his very own entry on fstdt:

    Neat. Lots of “this offends my liberal sensibilities” stuff, but a few good comments. I wish I had known before the thread went stale.

    There hasn’t been a totalitarian any kind of state, liberal democracy or otherwise that hasn’t persecuted isn’t currently persecuting its out-groups,

    Fixed.

    although apparently strange gods is totes fine with that, as long it’s the “correct” out group.

    Some feudalist and fascist sympathizers probably cannot be rehabilitated. It would not do for them to be allowed jobs in or near government.

  389. RahXephon, An Assorted Motley Queer says

    But I have a hard time believing that if you really think about it, you can’t understand why people who do know me personally would sympathize.

    As Cipher and I already discussed, I can understand why people would sympathize with you personally while thinking that your ideas are complete garbage.

    I have become persuaded, by arguments I can not convincingly challenge, that at this time in history, democracies cannot function without a permanent underclass to exploit.

    The answer to “democracies include underclasses that they exploit” is not “let’s replace it with a totalitarian government that makes pretty much everyone an underclass to exploit, oh, and it makes their lives exponentially more shitty to boot”. If you’re going through a difficult period in your life and it’s compromising your ability to reason and see that what you’re advocating is “life’s not perfect, so let’s make it worse”, then I do sympathize with you having difficulties, but I’m still going to point out that your logic is busted.

    I admit some surprise that you’re making fun of me for crying earlier.

    I never got the impression that you were that sort of person.

    I didn’t know you were actually crying, I was mocking what I saw as faux-guilt for the position you were espousing. A lot of totalitarians base themselves in egotism, but there are some who like to play the “this is the way it has to be and it hurts me more than it hurts you” game. My response is that nobody made you be totalitarian, you just listened to some people and, unable to see the inherent shittiness and evil of their arguments, you’ve taken them onboard. If you’ve done so out of despair, then I’m sorry you’re experiencing despair; it’s still not an excuse to espouse something that would make everyone’s lives miserable.

    I’m a totalitarian in that I believe totalitarianism is the only viable option for widespread human happiness.

    In what universe does this even approach making sense? If you haven’t noticed, totalitarian dictatorships happen to encompass a lot of the more fucked-up periods and events in history. The totalitarian regimes that exist now? Not exactly sunshine and unicorn farts, either.

    This is the fundamental logical break that I cannot reconcile with you. Totalitarianism’s track record is ZERO when it comes to improving the lives of its citizens, and as Stacy said, even if it were, it violates their inherent right to self-determination and self-governance. So, even if Mussolini could’ve “made the trains run on time” (and he couldn’t even do that), he stilled deserved to get kicked the fuck out for being a fuckbrained moosebucket of a leader.

    I nominate Walton for dictator.

    I have to laugh at the irony of you “nominating” someone for dictator. Did you do that on purpose?

    Some feudalist and fascist sympathizers probably cannot be rehabilitated.

    ‘Scuse me while I interrupt your secret-police fantasies, but when did totalitarianism and fascism become not only not related, but mutually exclusive in your head?

  390. RahXephon, An Assorted Motley Queer says

    I think it’s safe to say that all of us wish we had the accidents of neurology and circumstance that have made you believe as you believe. I even remember when I still did.

    As much as you’re trying to make it sound like you’re denigrating yourself, this “I wish I was still as naive as you but alas, I’m stuck seeing DA TROOF!” baloney is actually incredibly condescending to me.

  391. says

    Gen, Uppity Ingrate.
    Ah, I think we meet here.
    No, telling you that you must. have. a c-section. when there’s no other indication is shitty and absolutely not evidence-based.

    I think there’s a bazillion of choices in parenting that are all good and valid. There’s no one true way to bring up your child and I have pretty much a laisez-fair attitude when it comes to most things. I think that my choices are good for me and my kids, but I also listen to experts when it comes to things that are simply outside of my expertise, like with health.
    And there are things that clearly overstep my tolerance. People who don’t secure their children in cars in Germany are not making a valid choice. And I think it’s bad to feed your child McDonalds 24/7 if you have the possibility to give them better meals.

    And I find women who insist on having an Unmedicated Birth™ worrysome. If I worked in L&D and a woman came and told me upfront that she wants an Unmedicated Birth™, I’d be worried, because she has ruled out not only a bunch of things that just make things easier all around like epidurals, but also necessary treatments that would ensure a safe delivery for herself and her baby. And I’d also be worried about myself because the way things are, the fact that she told me to fuck off when I suggested that we go for a C-section because the heartbeat is getting weaker doesn’t mean that she won’t try to sue me and make me responsible for her disaster later.
    I think it’s good to inform yourself on the problems and possibilities (I wished that more people actually understood how probability works), so that you know what you want in a situation X. But I also think that I’m lacking the knowledge to tell when situation X has come.

  392. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    The answer to “democracies include underclasses that they exploit” is not “let’s replace it with a totalitarian government that makes pretty much everyone an underclass to exploit, oh, and it makes their lives exponentially more shitty to boot”.

    I agree; I just don’t think that’s the only possible outcome. A whole world at peace would have substantially more resources to devote to human welfare.

    but I’m still going to point out that your logic is busted.

    That’s fine. If you could do it with a minimum of personal attacks I’d appreciate that.

    I didn’t know you were actually crying,

    Okay but I said so. Did you overlook that? If so then that’s cool; it just seemed so on-point that I thought it was a direct response.

    I was mocking what I saw as faux-guilt for the position you were espousing.

    Ah. No, I don’t feel any guilt at all about it. I just hope that I’m incorrect, that I have misunderstood things. If I am correct then I feel no guilt about that.

    Likewise you should hope red anarchists are correct, since their vision of a possible future is much better than that of liberals’, but I’m sure you figure that if they’re wrong then you ought to feel no guilt about that.

    A lot of totalitarians base themselves in egotism, but there are some who like to play the “this is the way it has to be and it hurts me more than it hurts you” game.

    I’m sure that’s probably true. But I’m a pretty conventional animal; if there’s a necessary choice between hurting myself and hurting someone else, I’ll usually hurt someone else, unless the harm to me would be much, much smaller. I expect the same from everyone who lacks a martyr complex.

    I am about as altruistic as a laboratory rat, about half as likely to let you out of your cage as to eat all the chocolate myself.

    (You’re doing the Fundamental Attribution Error right now, I think, in assuming that because I endorse some highly authoritarian ideas, that must predict pretty much everything about my personality. That kind of thinking is wrong in probably 9999 cases out of 10000. I am just as idiosyncratic and unpredictable as you.)

    My response is that nobody made you be totalitarian, you just listened to some people

    That’s not quite it. I spent many years trying to create a set of empirical arguments for why some kind of liberalism or social democracy would be the best thing for humanity — you can find them; they’re mostly well documented on Pharyngula, and I’m still quite proud of my work — and then I ran into some hard problems that I couldn’t answer.

    In what universe does this even approach making sense? If you haven’t noticed, totalitarian dictatorships happen to encompass a lot of the more fucked-up periods and events in history.

    Yes, they typically arise from hardships, desperate people with few options in desperate times. And I have absolutely no desire to speed up the arrival of such times, let me assure you. But I think that if capitalism collapses, it will require an armed worker’s revolution to prevent the reemergence of feudalism.

    Totalitarianism’s track record is ZERO when it comes to improving the lives of its citizens

    That’s not true. Maoism put an end to foot-binding, and by requiring that women work instead of be tied to their households, hastened women’s economic independence. China is a much better place to live today than it was prior to the revolution.

    and as Stacy said, even if it were, it violates their inherent right to self-determination and self-governance.

    Yeah, I also tried for years to formulate sound arguments for why people must have inherent rights to self-determination, self-governance, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and all that jazz.

    It turns out to be a lot harder than you might think, which is why the USA’s founders tried to hang these rights from a skyhook, endowed by our Creator.

    If you succeed, you’ll become famous. You’ll probably get shit-tons of money in grants, if there is any money in philosophy grants.

    I have to laugh at the irony of you “nominating” someone for dictator. Did you do that on purpose?

    :) Why, does it look like an accident?

    ‘Scuse me while I interrupt your secret-police fantasies, but when did totalitarianism and fascism become not only not related, but mutually exclusive in your head?

    Fascism is one of several kinds of government which can be called totalitarian. There are other types. Communism is ideologically anti-racist.

    Paraphrasing Eco, fascism usually fetishizes tradition and nationalism, defines nation by race, rejects modernism, disdains critical thinking, hates and torments weakness. I don’t like that.

    I think it’s safe to say that all of us wish we had the accidents of neurology and circumstance that have made you believe as you believe. I even remember when I still did.

    As much as you’re trying to make it sound like you’re denigrating yourself, this “I wish I was still as naive as you but alas, I’m stuck seeing DA TROOF!” baloney is actually incredibly condescending to me.

    I don’t recognize your nym all that well, RahXephon, but it’s (perhaps erroneously) associated in my mind with someone who’s generally dismissive to me. Am I terribly wrong about that? Or am I right that you didn’t like me before this discussion?

    You’ve read me wrong here, though; your reading assumes I’m saying I’ve understood everything and I’ve found that this is correct.

    Try this: “I think it’s safe to say that all of us wish we had the accidents of neurology and circumstance that have made you as generally satisfied with your life as you are. I even remember when I still was.” (Just for argument’s sake. I don’t know if you’re satisfied with your life.)

    All I am saying is that there are circumstances which have made me think differently than you, and I wish it wasn’t so. Look back at what else I said:

    “There are a handful of other people around here — really smart folks, smarter than me — who agree with all the above but are unable to convince themselves that equality could be achieved at all in the imaginable future. These individuals really don’t have clearly visible avenues for hope. That is a bleaker view still, and I feel lucky that I don’t share it,”

    I definitely do not believe that those people, with the bleaker view than mine, are correct, see?

    “but it’s just an accident of neurology and circumstance that keeps me from sharing it.”

    But it’s not because I’ve looked at everything ever. It’s just an accident of circumstance, exposure, and ruminating on one thing rather than another.

  393. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Oh, typo:

    about half as likely to let you out of your cage as to eat all the chocolate myself.

    IIRC, rats go about 50/50 on this issue, not 33/67.

  394. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    And,

    As much as you’re trying to make it sound like you’re denigrating yourself

    I’m simply not denigrating myself. A lot of liberals say things like “communism is very utopian, and I’d like to believe it’s possible, but with the shit I’ve seen from humanity, I just can’t believe in it.” They aren’t denigrating themselves.

    Nor, I think, do you intend to sound condescending when you lecture me on middle-school objections to totalitarianism like “If you haven’t noticed, totalitarian dictatorships happen to encompass a lot of the more fucked-up periods and events in history.” I mean, you probably don’t think I’m stupid, and yet it’s hard to imagine a person making that very simplistic kind of statement unless they thought the other was stupid. Isn’t it?

    Well there’s one way to imagine it. I think this is what’s happening. It is just genuinely difficult for individuals with very different worldviews to even know where to start with the other, at least prior to their having some extensive conversations on the topic which they can pick up later and get into the more interesting and less insulting details.

  395. carlie says

    Am I being too simplistic? I read it as “people are pretty much shit at ruling themselves, which we see over and over and over again, and so maybe it would be better just to pick the best one of the bunch and let them have control over everything”. I can easily see where that conclusion could come from, especially after events like those last week in North Carolina. Somehow thinking about one cruel leader taking someone’s rights away hurts less than thinking about the majority of everyone you live and work and interact with all making that same decision.

  396. joey says

    ING:

    Totalitarianism’s track record is ZERO when it comes to improving the lives of its citizens

    That’s not true. Maoism put an end to foot-binding, and by requiring that women work instead of be tied to their households, hastened women’s economic independence. China is a much better place to live today than it was prior to the revolution.

    Seriously? I haven’t been following the entire thread; I just stumbled upon this response. So I’m not completely sure if you’re simply being facetious or if you’re actually attempting to defend the effects of Maoism.

  397. joey says

    ING:

    Yeah, I also tried for years to formulate sound arguments for why people must have inherent rights to self-determination, self-governance, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and all that jazz.

    It turns out to be a lot harder than you might think, which is why the USA’s founders tried to hang these rights from a skyhook, endowed by our Creator.

    Good point.

  398. joey says

    Whoops, I just noticed that for some reason I’ve got into the habit of automatically forming my responses to ING…lol. The above replies were meant for life is like a pitbull.

  399. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Carlie,

    Am I being too simplistic? I read it as “people are pretty much shit at ruling themselves, which we see over and over and over again, and so maybe it would be better just to pick the best one of the bunch and let them have control over everything”.

    Not too simplistic, that’s basically the gist of it (although it doesn’t have to be one person, a cabal is fine too), plus people generally can’t be influenced to use critical thinking against their own ideas, so if you teach them methods of critical thinking, pretty much all you do is make them better at defending their prior beliefs, thus the whole skeptical project as it is currently planned is doomed to stall out, probably around European levels, unless a vanguard takes power and simply outlaws AGW denial before the civilization collapses and ten thousand little wars break out around the world’s rising coastlines.

    Somehow thinking about one cruel leader taking someone’s rights away

    Well, I’d prefer that it be done with as little cruelty as possible. I certainly don’t want any gratuitous suffering.

    +++++
    joey,

    Seriously? I haven’t been following the entire thread; I just stumbled upon this response. So I’m not completely sure if you’re simply being facetious or if you’re actually attempting to defend the effects of Maoism.

    Some of the effects. What you quoted there is a fact. Maoists today disagree about a lot of things, and I’m certainly not saying that it couldn’t have been done better.

    Good point.

    So far as it goes. Their mistake was in assuming that a God would be definitionally capable of anything and everything. More modern philosophy has shown in tedious detail how that is incoherent. The concept of inherent rights is a useful dogma, but no one has ever shown how it could be possible. “A human has an inherent right to live.” “How?” “It’s a property of being human.” “How?” “Because God made humans that way.” “How?” “Shut up.”

    What we know now are that rights are a social construct; they are an accumulation of expectations which some people fought for and their descendants grew accustomed to. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. They just aren’t “inherent.”

  400. Mr. Mattir, MQ MRA Chick says

    This thread has the most epic derails/ development I can recall – from extended nursing to trans parenting to democracy and side/sub groups, to totalitarianism and how to minimize suffering, with brief forays into ob/gyn, the Hippocratic oath, and empathy for people we often fight with.

    I seriously love you all.

  401. says

    That’s not nihilism! That’s just voting Democrat. ;)

    that would be voter fraud ;-)

    thus the whole skeptical project as it is currently planned is doomed to stall out, probably around European levels, unless a vanguard takes power and simply outlaws AGW denial before the civilization collapses and ten thousand little wars break out around the world’s rising coastlines.

    eh. even if it didn’t stall out, secularism/skepticism is a long-term project, and we won’t really have a “long-term” unless we fix AGW and peak-everything NOW.

    so basically, given enough time, secularism/skepticism might be successful, but we don’t have enough time for it to become successful enough to prevent/ameliorate that which is causing us to not have enough time.

  402. says

    oh, and while I’m at it: given that civilization depends on energy, this is probably humanity’s one and only chance at a high-tech civilization, since we’re using up all the easily available high-quality energy that won’t be available for the next round after the next coming “dark ages”*. Though, who knows; maybe the next round of high-tech civilization will simply take a LOT longer to happen, and will make do with the renewables; or they blow themselves to bits by becoming a nuclear-fueled society (though… can you even make a nuclear-fueled society happen without already having a high-energy-consuming, high-tech society…?)

    – – – – – –
    *bah; now I’ve started using it incorrectly, too

  403. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Mattir, I want to address something from earlier:

    SG has [...] announced that he will never respect me

    I remember this, it was a knee-jerk expression of anger. But it simply wasn’t true. I regret not sticking to content-free cussedness.

    +++++
    Jadehawk,

    that would be voter fraud ;-)

    FOX News told me voting Democrat is definitionally voter fraud. So I don’t think it would matter further that you’re not a citizen.

    (though… can you even make a nuclear-fueled society happen without already having a high-energy-consuming, high-tech society…?)

    I have no idea, but I wish llewelly were here to speculate.

  404. RahXephon, An Assorted Motley Queer says

    I agree; I just don’t think that’s the only possible outcome. A whole world at peace would have substantially more resources to devote to human welfare.

    You mean like in liberal democracies that aren’t the United States? It’s not that the liberal democratic model doesn’t work, the US is just an aberration of that model.

    That’s fine. If you could do it with a minimum of personal attacks I’d appreciate that.

    Expressing that your ideas are garbage isn’t a personal attack.

    Okay but I said so. Did you overlook that? If so then that’s cool; it just seemed so on-point that I thought it was a direct response.

    In a thread with nearly 500 comments, it’s easy to miss something.

    I just hope that I’m incorrect, that I have misunderstood things.

    You are, and you have.

    That’s not true. Maoism put an end to foot-binding, and by requiring that women work instead of be tied to their households, hastened women’s economic independence. China is a much better place to live today than it was prior to the revolution.

    And millions of people died after his attempts to collectivize agriculture failed, and his paranoia led to the Cultural Revolution which terrorized China for years and left an entire generation uneducated, unable to even write or read their own language. China was in the middle of transitioning to a Meiji-style constitutional monarchy. Things were actually improving before the first revolution, and then that revolution got rid of monarchy entirely. We didn’t get to see what democracy in China would become because the Republic of China didn’t have time to get off the ground before Mao and the communists fucked it up. He wasn’t a savior, he was a destroyer.

    Tell me, if a person does one good thing and many, many, many, many bad things, are they good, on balance? I would say no. Mao was an asshole (so was Chiang Kaishek, so I’m not defending him either).

    Yeah, I also tried for years to formulate sound arguments for why people must have inherent rights to self-determination, self-governance, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and all that jazz.

    Do you want to determine your own destiny? Do you want life, liberty, and the ability to pursue happiness? If so, nothing other than reciprocity is required to explain it. That is, unless you want a totalitarian boot on your neck. If you do, well…everyone has their kinks.

    I don’t recognize your nym all that well, RahXephon, but it’s (perhaps erroneously) associated in my mind with someone who’s generally dismissive to me. Am I terribly wrong about that? Or am I right that you didn’t like me before this discussion?

    I’m dismissive of crappy ideas, because I feel like debating them wastes time and energy. That being said, I rarely leave debates, I guess because I’m a fuckin’ masochist, but just because I stay doesn’t mean I give each idea as much consideration and respect as the other. If you’ve transferred that from being about your ideas to being about you, well…you should know that’s not how I intend to come off.

    Try this: “I think it’s safe to say that all of us wish we had the accidents of neurology and circumstance that have made you as generally satisfied with your life as you are. I even remember when I still was.”

    Actually, I’m pretty damned unhappy with my life. The difference between you and me is that I understand that totalitarianism would not do a damn thing to fix my problems, they would just make them worse and would probably create new ones. Even if by some miracle we did get some “benevolent dictator” who made everything better, dictators die, and when they do the next asshole that takes their place tends to fuck everything up.

    A lot of liberals say things like “communism is very utopian, and I’d like to believe it’s possible, but with the shit I’ve seen from humanity, I just can’t believe in it.”

    I don’t hear a lot of liberals specifically say that, I hear it from people. I don’t say it. I think there are concrete reasons communism didn’t work when it was implemented, and funnily enough, one of those reasons is totalitarianism. Each movement of communism was either started by or usurped by a totalitarian asshole who decided that he could use the language of communism as just another means to give himself power. Stalin did it, Mao did it, Kim Il Sung did it.

    Nor, I think, do you intend to sound condescending when you lecture me on middle-school objections to totalitarianism like “If you haven’t noticed, totalitarian dictatorships happen to encompass a lot of the more fucked-up periods and events in history.” I mean, you probably don’t think I’m stupid, and yet it’s hard to imagine a person making that very simplistic kind of statement unless they thought the other was stupid. Isn’t it?

    History’s my field, and a lot of people are ignorant of history. Even I am, which is why I’m constantly trying to learn. I figured that if there are people telling you totalitarianism is hunky-dory, then they must be giving you examples of when it has worked. I know of no such examples. As I said earlier in this post, your Mao example is, on balance, not a good thing. Ending foot binding doesn’t excuse pigheadedly pushing through reforms that killed millions and devastated the economy. In fact, China is a less shitty (but still not good) place to live because of reforms that happened AFTER Mao that lead toward greater freedom, i.e. less totalitarianism. China is an example against your position, not for it.

    Well there’s one way to imagine it. I think this is what’s happening. It is just genuinely difficult for individuals with very different worldviews to even know where to start with the other, at least prior to their having some extensive conversations on the topic which they can pick up later and get into the more interesting and less insulting details.

    Probably. That’s true of any topic that two people have vastly different ideas on.

    Also, I’ve had to bust out the text-editing software to draft these comments. It’s been awhile since I’ve had to do that, so thanks. :P

  405. Mr. Mattir, MQ MRA Chick says

    (though… can you even make a nuclear-fueled society happen without already having a high-energy-consuming, high-tech society…?)

    I have no idea, but I wish llewelly were here to speculate.

    Now see, we can light the Llewelly signal using teh nefarious mechanism by which zoobaby images and goggies get squeed over.

    SG, I did not take your never-respect statement with much else but amusement and a suspicion that you would be a lot happier if you didn’t spend so much energy trying to be intellectually consistent and rational and if you were less optimistic about the possibilities for human happiness. Also you should learn to knit and/or spin. Llewelly would probably advocate wheel thrown pottery, but I think the consensus is that rotary dynamics are soothing,

  406. says

    Mattir the Mr:

    I think the consensus is that rotary dynamics are soothing,

    Not if you have zero talent or skill in that regard. (Which I do. The zero, that is, despite much practice at one point. I utterly sux at it.)

    Right now, I’m settling my obsession onto Mahjongg Artifact’s endless game, where I have settled all my hostility in life onto another player who has managed to get a million+ points, thus garnering the top score. I’m currently in 2nd place, having conquered the Artifact game some time ago, having top score in that column.

  407. David Marjanović says

    Oh, I overlooked stuff.

    So anyway: sure, PET is “undemocratic”; but it’s really just a natural outgrowth of what happened when TET became a social space for forging friendships (which, as I already noted, are exactly the same kind of undemocratic). If Pharyngula was supposed to stay a predominantly public, activist, non-excluding, argument-based space, we should have killed TET the very moment it stopped being about Alan/Roger’s idiotic arguments, and started being about David M’s sexeh brain.

    That, for the record, was in September 2009, and it helped that brain to develop a bit farther, so I’m quite happy TET didn’t end there.

    Further observations:

    – Owlmirror is all over TET and TZT, but still treats it mostly as an argument-based space and doesn’t leak personal information at all. (…I think he’s male. That’s all I can say about him after at least 6 years.)
    – While it seems like the TET regulars are an exclusive clique of people who’ve known each other for years now, so nobody can enter, that’s not true; it’s just a culture shock. A few weeks ago, thunk came, introduced himself, immediately doled out hugs like most of the regulars, and now you’d have real trouble finding out he’s not been here for years (unless you read the first 2 subthreads where he participated).

    I didn’t say I didn’t understand it. I do. I’m gay and I’ve had to watch people, supposedly really smart people, having Very Serious Debates over whether I should even be allowed to exist in society, let alone be allowed to exercise all of my constitutional rights. At times I’ve thought “jeeze, I wish I could short-circuit all this crap and just make gay marriage legal so all these fucks would have to live with it.

    I have a strong tendency to see such arguments not as arguments from stupidity, but as arguments from ignorance. That may be where I’m irrational; but I can say that I’m a scientist, I know scientists, and I’ve seen very smart scientists make astounding arguments from ignorance about issues outside their field. Hey, for some value of “scientist”, my dad is one of those – he is, or was, against adoption by gay couples simply because he didn’t know it’s impossible* to become gay!

    Lots of claims follow fully logically from premises that happen to be based on nothing but ignorance.

    For the record, I myself made an argument from ignorance just a few days ago; fortunately it wasn’t about anything with consequences for people.

    Take-home message: intelligence alone can’t save people from saying horrible things; knowledge, education, is necessary.

    (This is like philosophy and science: Philosophy can tell you when an argument is illogical, but it can’t tell you when a logical argument about reality doesn’t agree with reality. For that you need science. …But I digress.)

    …That education is necessary and possibly sufficient is what gives me hope. But then, I don’t live in a Bible Belt or something.

    *…By outside influences, that is. #stuffilearnedonpharyngula

    I nominate Walton for dictator.

    Not a bad idea – for the short while it would take till he’d collapse on the floor and tear himself to pieces. :-/ I fear we need another suggestion. Not me, I’m too… busy, I just want tenure.

    A lot of totalitarians base themselves in egotism, but there are some who like to play the “this is the way it has to be and it hurts me more than it hurts you” game.

    Timesink warning.

    I have to laugh at the irony of you “nominating” someone for dictator. Did you do that on purpose?

    Absolutely. That’s how his brain works. (Neutral statement of fact.)

    That’s not true. Maoism put an end to foot-binding, and by requiring that women work instead of be tied to their households, hastened women’s economic independence. China is a much better place to live today than it was prior to the revolution.

    That much is true. But don’t sweep under the carpet what happened in between. How about the Great Leap Forward Off Every Available Cliff? Mao fancied himself an agronomist (among other things), likely with the best of intentions (China had had famines all the time, and I suppose he wanted to put a stop on that, if only to his personal glory) – and 55 or however many million people died. I think I’d accept a lot instead of paying that kind of price.

    BTW, foot-binding has ended in Taiwan, too.

    It turns out to be a lot harder than you might think, which is why the USA’s founders tried to hang these rights from a skyhook, endowed by our Creator.

    Heh. That’s what Piltdown Man is good for. No, seriously, I’ve long been aware they aren’t exactly laws of physics.

    I hang these rights from my own glasses, on my own interests* and my own warm fuzzies. “When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad; that’s my religion.” (ascribed to Abraham Lincoln – I’d greatly appreciate a citation)

    *Why does everyone have, say, the right to life? Because I want to have that right, and because the easiest way to convince people of that is to convince them that they have it, too.

    A lot of liberals say things like “communism is very utopian, and I’d like to believe it’s possible, but with the shit I’ve seen from humanity, I just can’t believe in it.”

    I think they’re all making arguments from ignorance that are actually beside the point. Communist countries tried to abolish the bourgeoisie; Sweden and Norway have abolished the proletariat; compare.

    people generally can’t be influenced to use critical thinking against their own ideas, so if you teach them methods of critical thinking, pretty much all you do is make them better at defending their prior beliefs

    See? Told you intelligence/philosophy/thinking isn’t enough. You need to teach them science. :-)

    thus the whole skeptical project as it is currently planned is doomed to stall out, probably around European levels, unless a vanguard takes power and simply outlaws AGW denial before the civilization collapses and ten thousand little wars break out around the world’s rising coastlines.

    You do know that AGW denial is mostly an American phenomenon? It’s not at all mainstream in Europe.

    This isn’t to say that European governments are doing anywhere near enough to so much as slow down AGW. But they don’t ever deny it, and they don’t ever refer to the American manufactroversy. It’s not denial that’s the problem on the worldwide scale, it’s sheer laziness (intellectual and otherwise).

    What we know now are that rights are a social construct; they are an accumulation of expectations which some people fought for and their descendants grew accustomed to. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. They just aren’t “inherent.”

    Seconded.

    This thread has the most epic derails/ development I can recall – from extended nursing to trans parenting to democracy and side/sub groups, to totalitarianism and how to minimize suffering, with brief forays into ob/gyn, the Hippocratic oath, and empathy for people we often fight with.

    I seriously love you all.

    Also seconded.

    can you even make a nuclear-fueled society happen without already having a high-energy-consuming, high-tech society…?

    No. Now, that energy might come from the sun or whatever, but you need loads of energy to, say, enrich uranium. FFS, you need fluorine for that, and that’s something you can only make by electrolysis.

    Have there been any news lately about that German/European project to build loads and loads of solar power plants in the Sahara?

    Has the German parliament cut the subsidies for solar electricity, or will that be voted on tomorrow?

    …Yeah. To make solar panels, you need to melt sand and stuff. That needs lots of energy. But there are other ways of harvesting solar energy. A photosynthesis-like process discovered not long ago needs little more than rust and water, IIRC.

    FOX News told me voting Democrat is definitionally voter fraud. So I don’t think it would matter further that you’re not a citizen.

    Day saved. World too, perhaps.

    Each movement of communism was either started by or usurped by a totalitarian asshole who decided that he could use the language of communism as just another means to give himself power. Stalin did it, Mao did it, Kim Il Sung did it.

    Lenin did it. Wrote a famous letter before he arrived in Russia: “seize power now and worry about what to do with it later”.

    In fact, China is a less shitty (but still not good) place to live because of reforms that happened AFTER Mao that lead toward greater freedom, i.e. less totalitarianism.

    There’s a poem that describes Deng Xiaoping by the traditional attributes of the ideal emperor, because he ended totalitarianism on the economy.

    Also, I’ve had to bust out the text-editing software to draft these comments.

    Looooooser!!! :-)

  408. David Marjanović says

    Mao fancied himself an agronomist (among other things)

    Worshipped the number of tonnes of steel that were produced per year and did horrible damage in trying to increase it. And so on and so forth.

    <sing>Ta wei renmi-in mou xingfu, hu’erheiyou, ta shi renmin da-a jiu-u xing!!!</sing>

  409. SteveV says

    Worshipped the number of tonnes of steel that were produced per year and did horrible damage in trying to increase it.

    And planned to build a zinc/lead smelter with no pollution control measures at all.
    (anecdote)

  410. says

    I hang these rights from my own glasses, on my own interests* and my own warm fuzzies.

    that only works for people who are already liberals/progressives. conservatives see themselves as in a good-enough position and see any changes as being to their detriment (and in many cases, they’re even right; dismantling privileges would take something away from them that they currently have, after all). authoritarians see the way to achieve what they want is to maintain/create the hierarchies that put them on top(-ish).

    that’s the problem with ethics: there’s no such thing as objective ethics (because even the most evidence-based utilitarian ethics system is based on at least one arbitrary, subjectively valuable axiom), and once you recognize that, you can no longer argue that one system is more correct or better than another. which means that, ultimately, all activism on my part amounts to making the world appeal to my sensibilities more. that makes me very much the same as the fundies and the authoritarians, who are also trying to shape their world to their liking.

  411. says

    that’s the problem with ethics: there’s no such thing as objective ethics (because even the most evidence-based utilitarian ethics system is based on at least one arbitrary, subjectively valuable axiom), and once you recognize that, you can no longer argue that one system is more correct or better than another. which means that, ultimately, all activism on my part amounts to making the world appeal to my sensibilities more. that makes me very much the same as the fundies and the authoritarians, who are also trying to shape their world to their liking.

    Well you convinced me to stop giving a shit. Sigh

  412. says

    You mean like in liberal democracies that aren’t the United States

    liberal democracies that aren’t the US are less bad, but not good. they too rely on exploitation for maintenance of their standard of living, and if they had to start wars to defend their wealth and comfort, they likely would. They certainly aren’t above plunder (see: the current abuse of Greece by the rest of the EU).

  413. says

    Ing:

    Well you convinced me to stop giving a shit. Sigh

    Not me. I find all this pointless philosophising to be useless. I’m pragmatic. I’ve also fought too long and too to give up now. I find it annoying that people go about preaching either dictatorship or apathy. Yeah, that’ll work. :eyeroll:

  414. Ichthyic says

    that’s the problem with ethics: there’s no such thing as objective ethics (because even the most evidence-based utilitarian ethics system is based on at least one arbitrary, subjectively valuable axiom), and once you recognize that, you can no longer argue that one system is more correct or better than another.

    in fact, your argument is self defeating.

    since you INCLUDE subjectivity, and “better” is subjective, thus there MUST be systems that are “better” than other systems.

  415. Ichthyic says

    and if they had to start wars to defend their wealth and comfort, they likely would.

    *looks around*

    you must be talking about places OTHER than Hobbitton.

  416. Ichthyic says

    yeah, that tends to happen once you reach that point. it kind of works similarly to the moment you realize there’s no free will.

    I hope she’s kidding, because your argument was pretty flawed, actually.

  417. says

    since you INCLUDE subjectivity, and “better” is subjective, thus there MUST be systems that are “better” than other systems.

    lol. of course some systems are subjectively better than others; not objectively so though, since it’s socialization and personal preference all the way down.

  418. Ichthyic says

    not objectively so though

    pick one or the other.

    if systems are subjective, than one is better than another, so we can choose which we choose to fight for and why.

    if systems are objective, THEN there is no reason to fight.

  419. Ichthyic says

    but you haven’t shown any such flaws in it yet.

    funny, I started off by pointing out the very flaw in your reasoning.

    …and just repeated it in the post above this one.

  420. says

    I find it annoying that people go about preaching either dictatorship or apathy. I’m not preaching anything

    Yeah, that’ll work. :eyeroll:

    “work” to do what? to get you closer to achieving a society more closely aligned with your preferences. that’s what I just said.

    I didn’t say that I’ve abandoned my liberal/progressive axioms; I said I recognize them as the subjective preferences that they are.

  421. RahXephon, An Assorted Motley Queer says

    @Jadehawk

    liberal democracies that aren’t the US are less bad, but not good. they too rely on exploitation for maintenance of their standard of living, and if they had to start wars to defend their wealth and comfort, they likely would. They certainly aren’t above plunder (see: the current abuse of Greece by the rest of the EU).

    And my point was that compared to a totalitarian dictatorship, living in a liberal democracy is far, far better. I didn’t say they were perfect, and in fact I don’t think liberal democracies are the best form of government.

    I’d also argue that the oppression in liberal democracies is primarily economic in nature, coming from private capitalists, not from the government itself. That’s one reason I don’t want to get rid of representative and/or democratic government; it’s one of the few tools we have collectively that can challenge capitalists. That’s not happening in the US at the moment because we’ve allowed capitalists to take over the government.

    @Caine

    Not me. I find all this pointless philosophising to be useless. I’m pragmatic. I’ve also fought too long and too to give up now. I find it annoying that people go about preaching either dictatorship or apathy. Yeah, that’ll work.

    Me too.

  422. says

    if systems are subjective, than one is better than another, so we can choose which we choose to fight for and why.

    oh ffs.

    “better” how? better because they get us closer to our goal. but the goals, the basic axioms, are entirely arbitrary.

    of course you can pick systems that are better or worse at achieving a goal, but, once again, ultimately they are based on your personal preference. the fundies also have personal preferences and goals. now show me, without being tautologous, how your goal is better than theirs.

  423. Mr. Mattir, MQ MRA Chick says

    Several years ago, long after I’d abandoned Christianity in favor of a humanist mix of Buddhism and Judaism, all sans gods, I concluded that one of the most useful things in the gospels is Jesus saying “the poor you will always have with you.”. I had always taken this as a dismissal of human suffering, but I don’t think it is – I think it’s a useful word of advice for activists who desperately want to alleviate and then end suffering and are vulnerable to despair as a result. I am a whole lot more effective at Doing Actual Practical Stuff™ if I accept that I can (and should) do all I can to end suffering and yet this will not bring about utopia.

    Shorter: I’m with Caine, in the pragmatist corner. I’m gonna go do some exotic invasives removal, even though all I will accomplish is improving habitat for native plants and insects in my tiny part of the world, which is pretty damn small-scale.

  424. says

    Out of curiosity what is the point of this debate? Cause at risk of sounding whiny it does feel like a “you’re a tool for caring about stuff’. Which seems…odd. I mean if it’s arbitrary rather than objective why would you want to challenge the arbitrary preferences that make people happy (or at least not miserable)? Since they’re not hurting you and int his case working towards similar goals why be a dick about it?

  425. says

    Jadehawk:

    I said I recognize them as the subjective preferences that they are.

    That’s hardly some great revelation, that’s how things work, that’s how humans work.

    I suppose if people want to wallow in this sort of mental wankery, that’s just dandy. It’s not my cuppa. And with that, I’ll excuse myself from any more of it.

  426. says

    And my point was that compared to a totalitarian dictatorship, living in a liberal democracy is far, far better.

    sure; point being that, because liberal democracies do rely on exploitation (of outsiders, primarily; so yeah, it’s better to be in one, because it’s always better to be at the top of a hierarchy than not) a global liberal democracy either can’t happen, or it would be more like the US than like everywhere else, exploiting internally.

    or, if we go into sci-fi territory, we could exploit extraterrestial colonies.

    anyway, before you get too confused: I’m not a totalitarian, I’m just pointing out that a nonexploitative liberal democracy is fiction. as strange gods said, if the anarchocommunists are right, there is a way to make nonexploitative societies. But mixed economy representative democracies ain’t it.

  427. Sili says

    Not a bad idea – for the short while it would take till he’d collapse on the floor and tear himself to pieces. :-/ I fear we need another suggestion. Not me, I’m too… busy, I just want tenure.

    Amusing. Getting to be dictator is far easier than getting tenure.

  428. says

    Mattir the Mr:

    Shorter: I’m with Caine, in the pragmatist corner. I’m gonna go do some exotic invasives removal, even though all I will accomplish is improving habitat for native plants and insects in my tiny part of the world, which is pretty damn small-scale.

    If you have any idea of how the fuckety fuck to get rid of effing four o’clocks that some dipshit planted in my yard, please let me know. Years of digging the damn things up – not helping, and they have the root systems from hell.