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Oct 06 2013

Good news! Old coots don’t have to be bigots!

As my cohort gradually ages into that part of the population called “the old farts”, it’s good to know that that doesn’t require turning into an old bigot. Chad may have been disowned by his mother for being gay, but at least his grandfather stood up for him.

Dear Christine: I’m disappointed in you as a daughter. You’re correct that we have a "shame in the family," but mistaken about what it is.Kicking Chad out of your home simply because he told you he was gay is the real "abomination" here. A parent disowning her child is what goes "against nature." The only intelligent thing I heard you saying in all this was that “you didn’t raise your son to be gay”. Of course you didn’t. He was born this way and didn’t chase it any more than he being left-handed. You however, have made a choice of being hurtful, narrow-minded and backward. So, while we are in the business of disowning our children, I think I’ll take this moment to say goodbye to you. I now have a fabulous (as the gays put it) grandson to raise, and I don’t have time for heart-less B-word of a daughter. If you find your heart, give us a call

Dear Christine: I’m disappointed in you as a daughter. You’re correct that we have a “shame in the family,” but mistaken about what it is.

Kicking Chad out of your home simply because he told you he was gay is the real “abomination” here. A parent disowning her child is what goes “against nature.”

The only intelligent thing I heard you saying in all this was that “you didn’t raise your son to be gay”. Of course you didn’t. He was born this way and didn’t chase it any more than he being left-handed. You however, have made a choice of being hurtful, narrow-minded and backward. So, while we are in the business of disowning our children, I think I’ll take this moment to say goodbye to you. I now have a fabulous (as the gays put it) grandson to raise, and I don’t have time for heart-less B-word of a daughter.

If you find your heart, give us a call

Now I’m just waiting on word that I don’t have to become a WalMart greeter when I turn 65, and I’ll be free to age gracefully.

168 comments

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  1. 1
    chimera

    I read somewhere that older people really do produce more gas. May be why they are called “old farts”.

  2. 2
    Jenna Stewart

    This is just too awesome.

  3. 3
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    A cask of grog headed Dad’s way for a true lesson on many levels.

  4. 4
    marcoli

    Beautiful. Every word is to the point, and it is a good old fashioned hand-written letter.

  5. 5
    paulrinzler

    Kitty, it is too awesome, which made me think, waitaminnit, how did the son, Chad, come to get the letter if it was addressed to his mom? Follow the link and the report is that Chad made the letter available. Perhaps this is too good to be true.

  6. 6
    Trebuchet

    As an old coot myself, I’m glad to see this.

  7. 7
    sadunlap

    @paulrinzler #5

    waitaminnit, how did the son, Chad, come to get the letter if it was addressed to his mom? Follow the link and the report is that Chad made the letter available.

    First, I also regard that which looks too good to be true as such until I see more evidence. I followed the link but did not see any reference to Chad making the letter available. What did I miss?

    Second, the circumstantial evidence indicates to me it’s most likely genuine. I did not see a date. If the letter were written years ago a lot could have happened which could lead to the letter finding its way to the son. Also, basic handwriting analysis (which a forger could know too) tells you to look at words written darker than others. These indicate parts of the letter the writer felt strongly about, or experienced strong emotions, while writing. What observations do you make looking at the letter now?

    I hope it’s real, but I’ll wait until we see more information about its provenance before I believe it’s real.

  8. 8
    kayden

    Would love to hear that this mother has a complete change of heart and sincerely apologizes to her son for putting her religious beliefs above her parent-child relationship. And good on her father for calling her out.

  9. 9
    rncbsn

    I do kind of wish it were genuine, although I chafe at the hypocrisy (declaring disownment “unnatural” in one breath and then disowning the offending daughter in the next), but I have to assume it’s a fake until it’s explained how Chad came to possess the letter.

    The grandfather calling his daughter the “b-word” suggests that this is not their first disagreement, and that while the grandfather is impatient with homophobic abuse, misogynistic insults are OK with him. I’m not altogether impressed with this grandfather/father if, in fact, he is the author.

  10. 10
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    sadunlap, 7:

    I followed the link but did not see any reference to Chad making the letter available. What did I miss?

    The first sentence:

    FCKH8.com, a website that sells t-shirts advocating for gay rights, received this letter from a gay teenager named Chad.

  11. 11
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I suspect grandad wrote two copies of the missive, and sent one to his daughter, and one to his grandson. What better way to let his grandson know he was supported.

  12. 12
    Rey Fox

    I’m not altogether impressed with this grandfather/father if, in fact, he is the author.

    Yes, taking in a gay teenager who’s been kicked out of his house means little in the face of ideological non-purity. Sheesh.

  13. 13
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Good on ‘im, I say.

    I see no reason to call the sender a probable liar, based on nothing but my lack of knowledge of the exact circumstances.

  14. 14
    Andrés Diplotti

    how did the son, Chad, come to get the letter if it was addressed to his mom?

    The letter implies that Chad was already living with his grandfather (“I now have a fabulous … grandson to raise”). He might have scanned it before it was sent.

  15. 15
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Other than not suspecting it was fake, I had the same reaction as rncbsn @ #9 when I saw this the other day.

  16. 16
    Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts

    How can anyone’s first reaction not be compassion for Chad? No words to say at all for the abandoned youth, rncbsn or SC?

  17. 17
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Anecdotal.

    In my own family, “b-word” is likely to mean “bastard.”

  18. 18
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    How can anyone’s first reaction not be compassion for Chad? No words to say at all for the abandoned youth, rncbsn or SC?

    It might surprise you to learn that someone can have compassion for the grandson and share the father/grandfather’s anger at his daughter, while being not particularly impressed that he would so readily and hypocritically disown his daughter and dismiss her with a misogynistic slur. People are perfectly capable of opposing both homophobia and misogyny (which are, in fact, deeply connected), and it bothers me that people seem so willing to turn a blind eye to misogyny as long as it’s in the context of opposing homophobia.

  19. 19
    jalyth

    He did not disown his daughter. He said call when you grow a heart. That is perfectly legitimate and even essential to her potential growth.

    What’s with the hyper-skepticalism of immediately disbelieving this story? I bet you’re a hoot at parties, non-believer-person.

    Also, spelling out ‘b-word’ is like the opposite of misogyny. It’s specifically choosing not to say the word.

  20. 20
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    jalyth:

    He did not disown his daughter.

    From the letter:

    So, while we are in the business of disowning our children, I think I’ll take this moment to say goodbye to you.

    *

    Also, spelling out ‘b-word’ is like the opposite of misogyny. It’s specifically choosing not to say the word.

    That’s…ridiculous.

  21. 21
    Rawnaeris, Lulu Cthulhu

    PZ, most Wal-Marts don’t hire Greeters anymore. The last time I saw one was a physically disabled gentleman in Cleveland, OH. I haven’t seen any in any southern wallyworlds.

    I actually kind of miss seeing the usually cheerful grandparent-types there.

  22. 22
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Kudos to grandpa.
    Yeah, I wish he didn’t use the b-word, either in its bitch or b-word form, but other than that he rocks. Honestly, the misogynistic slur is not enough to make me any less impressed with his support for his grandson.

    ———-
    jalyth,
    It’s really the same shit if someone calls a woman bitch or b-word, the slur is there either way, person using it is just covering it with a bit of fake-politeness varnish when they don’t spell it out or use *** or other nonsense like that.

  23. 23
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Jaylith

    Also, spelling out ‘b-word’ is like the opposite of misogyny. It’s specifically choosing not to say the word.

    Sorry, no. Adding a dash doesn’t change the meaning of the word. That said, I see no evidence that “bitch” is the word implied.

    I see a good few people on this thread bemoaning a lack of evidence that the letter is real. Slightly ironically, I see much overlap with the group who are willing to assume they know which particular swear-word is meant by a b and a dash.

    #irony

  24. 24
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Although, it just shows the sad state of affairs that I’m impressed by a person for simply being accepting of his grandson.

  25. 25
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    If this were a grandfather disowning his gay son for misogynistic treatment of his granddaughter and the letter ended “…and I don’t have time for heart-less f****t of a son,” would that be ignored? Not factor into people’s evaluations? OK for feminist organizations to promote and celebrate without comment on the homophobic slur? Or is it only to be misogyny that gets minimized in this way?

  26. 26
    Rey Fox

    Sure, it’s a tad hypocritical given what he said about “unnatural” in the first paragraph, but I think it’s absurd to equate the two “disownings” here. On the one hand, you have a mother who has withdrawn material support from a teenager who is most likely not of legal age for his sexual orientation, and on the other, you have a man who’s withdrawn communication from an independent adult for demonstrated cruelty and bigotry to a family member.

  27. 27
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    That said, I see no evidence that “bitch” is the word implied.

    Oh, for pity’s sake.

  28. 28
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    A big fuck off to Chad’s mom and a big yay to Chad and his grandfather. It fucking sucks this happened and that Chad had to have someone in his corner to defend and help him, instead of just being loved and accepted. But I’m so glad at least someone was there.

    And sure the b-word thing is a turn off but meh. I’ve been against gendered slurs for years and working to cleanse them from my vocabulary and I still fuck up. Especially someone fucking with my child? Yeah, unfortunately, I’ve said somethings I’ve regretted in that case.

    The “disowning is unnatural” just came off as a simple turnaround comeback line to me.That’s all. As in anger saying “Well, you think that’s unnatural and wrong? Well, what you do was unnatural and wrong. Now, how to you feel when it happens to you?” What, you never said something to get a dig in when your arguing in anger over some fucked up shit?

    *shrug*

    I’ve disowned every member of my family for shit like this and abuse, except my mother, so that seems natural to me for the grandfather to disown the his asshole homophobic daughter. Afterall, if he doesn’t what kind of message does that send to Chad? Of course, I think you can choose your own family (permitted you have the circumstances and will to do so) so I’m an outlier. I may have been born with them, but that doesn’t mean I’m stuck with them. (I also think my struggles with homelessness and abuse on my own is better than staying with my family, so I’m really out there. )

    I also find arguing over it or the validity of the letter without reason is just stupid instead of heaping love and support for Chad and his support system.

    ===============
    ===============
    #9 rncbsn

    I do kind of wish it were genuine, although I chafe at the hypocrisy (declaring disownment “unnatural” in one breath and then disowning the offending daughter in the next),

    Because accepting it was just a come back line to snip at her is too hard? Good lord, their family was just torn apart by this asshole.

    Besides, disowning someone for kicking a child onto the streets for being born is different than disowning someone for doing nothing wrong.

    but I have to assume it’s a fake until it’s explained how Chad came to possess the letter.

    Why not accepting the several simple ways Chad could have “gotten” the letter, like oh, maybe his grandad said “Don’t worry kid, I got you. I’m disowning her and here’s the proof.” Hell, if something like that happened I’d definitely want a copy to keep and remember and share.

    What’s the worst case scenario if it’s a fraud? Oh, well you gave support to a fictional person and showed how caring and compassionate you are. Big fucking whoop.

    Worst case scenario if it’s true and you’re being a cynical asshole? Well, you look like a cynical asshole, miss out on a good bit of news and if Chad or his grandfather read it, I imagine that’ll hurt.

    I’m quite alright being in the first category. And so the grandfather isn’t perfect or the best person ever. Boo fucking whoo. I’ve got no problems saying that, but making this issue the focus instead of Chad and his situation, really, really fucking sucks.

    The grandfather calling his daughter the “b-word” suggests that this is not their first disagreement, and that while the grandfather is impatient with homophobic abuse, misogynistic insults are OK with him. I’m not altogether impressed with this grandfather/father if, in fact, he is the author.

    Well, of course it’s not their first disagreement. She’s a grown women with a older child, you don’t think they disagreed during all those years? That doesn’t mean he thought she was a “b-word” until now. Disowning your son for being gay is quite enough for me to call her an absolute asshole so it’s quite possible this was the event that made him think of her as a “b-word”.

    Yeah, calling someone a bitch (as it is presumed to be) is wrong and bad, but I’m not about to make that the focus instead of how great it is that he didn’t turn on Chad too. It’s an all too common experience for gay teens to be turned out and face awful consequences. So yes, YAY that this wasn’t another fucking horror story of the every day variety. And if they don’t want to share specifics, then that’s their choice. I’m not about to pry just to satisfy intrusive curiosity.

  29. 29
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Daz,

    To be fair, “heartless bitch” is a much more probable wording than “heartless bastard”, and much more commonly used for women so I don’t think those of us who immediately came to the conclusion that bitch was the meant word made all that much of a leap.


    SC,

    I don’t think it’s inappropriate to comment on his word use, I just find it weighs much much less than his good deeds towards his grandson.

    Or is it only to be misogyny that gets minimized in this way?

    Honestly, I’m not sure. It’s possible that this unconsciously factors in my evaluation.

  30. 30
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I used the word much much too much in my last comment.

  31. 31
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    on the other, you have a man who’s withdrawn communication from an independent adult for demonstrated cruelty and bigotry to a family member.

    Which, though it might turn out OK, and I hope it does, is not an especially productive or compassionate approach. Just because his daughter is an adult doesn’t mean that he no longer has any responsibility to help her learn and become a better person, and cutting her off entirely blocks off those avenues. I understand the anger behind this sort of extreme response and the desire to support it, but I think in general this isn’t an approach that people should be cheering off the bat.

  32. 32
    Rey Fox

    SC #30: True.

  33. 33
    yubal

    23 Daz

    It probably slipped through everybody’s attention filters, the B in B-word is bolder than any other letter in this section of the handwriting, which suggests it was changed by the writer.

  34. 34
    Rey Fox

    Or #31.

  35. 35
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Which, though it might turn out OK, and I hope it does, is not an especially productive or compassionate approach.

    I’m speaking only about that part of it, of course. Taking in his grandson and showing him support and understanding is obviously a wonderful approach.

  36. 36
    jalyth

    I don’t think that calling someone a b-word in a private fight is Misogyny. I certainly don’t use it in public, such as on the internet anywhere. I wouldn’t call a politician that, etc. But in a private letter, if they were acting like one, perhaps I wouldn’t use the non-gendered “jerk”. I really don’t want to derail into this old discussion at all. Private usage is different than public, is my opinion.

    I had to play a version of this ‘I might never talk to you again if you don’t act like an adult and accept my sexuality’ game with my parents, and saying “you call me” is NOT disowning. It’s setting decent standards for grownup communication.

  37. 37
    consciousness razor

    jalyth:

    I don’t think that calling someone a b-word in a private fight is Misogyny.

    Sure, because Misogyny doesn’t happen in private. Only small-m misogyny happens in private. Real, true Misogyny happens in public.

    I certainly don’t use it in public, such as on the internet anywhere. I wouldn’t call a politician that, etc. But in a private letter, if they were acting like one, perhaps I wouldn’t use the non-gendered “jerk”. I really don’t want to derail into this old discussion at all. Private usage is different than public, is my opinion.

    Ah, it’s different. I see. How is it different in any relevant way?

    The fact that you personally would or wouldn’t do it says a lot more about you than it does about misogyny. Is it possible that you say misogynistic things? Yes, it is. So that does not help us one bit.

  38. 38
    Al Dente

    SC @31

    Which, though it might turn out OK, and I hope it does, is not an especially productive or compassionate approach. Just because his daughter is an adult doesn’t mean that he no longer has any responsibility to help her learn and become a better person, and cutting her off entirely blocks off those avenues.

    He is helping her to learn and become a better person. He’s made it clear that her actions are cruel and “unnatural” but if she’s willing to admit her error then he’s willing to let her back into the family.

  39. 39
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    31
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Which, though it might turn out OK, and I hope it does, is not an especially productive or compassionate approach. Just because his daughter is an adult doesn’t mean that he no longer has any responsibility to help her learn and become a better person, and cutting her off entirely blocks off those avenues. I understand the anger behind this sort of extreme response and the desire to support it, but I think in general this isn’t an approach that people should be cheering off the bat.

    Unless she’s toxic for him and his grandson then he has every right to protect his family that. And that’s assuming people have the ability or the spoons to deal with and try to change her.

    Besides, it wasn’t even a real disowning. At the end, it clearly says if she changes, she can contact him.

  40. 40
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    SC

    Which, though it might turn out OK, and I hope it does, is not an especially productive or compassionate approach. Just because his daughter is an adult doesn’t mean that he no longer has any responsibility to help her learn and become a better person, and cutting her off entirely blocks off those avenues.

    Yeah, but he has also taken on the responsibility to care for and support his grandson after the boy’s mother has denied it to him. I see this as showing unwavering support for his grandson, who is likely very hurt by his mother’s rejection and might not care to see her in the house he now lives in after she threw him out and all.

    In other words, I think caring for this hurt boy takes precedence over educating his bigoted mother.

  41. 41
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    I don’t think that calling someone a b-word an n-word in a private fight is Misogyny Racism. Private usage is different than public, is my opinion.

    Does that make any fucking sense, jalyth?

  42. 42
    davidgibson

    old farts arn’t bigots like the old days because they,like this old guy, they came out of the 60′s and not the 30′s and 40′s where being a bigot was accepted practice.
    the letter and it’s contents i did not bother reading but i get the drift,my comment is about PZ’s “good news”

  43. 43
    Inaji

    Good for Granddad and good for Chad. It’s a terrible thing when a parent kicks a child out of their house and their life and their heart because they are gay. Back in my LJ days, I had a near constant running argument with a woman who hadn’t even had children yet, but stated that any child who had the “nerve” to be gay would not be welcome to stay with her. It’s frightening how many parents think and feel that way.

  44. 44
    AJ Milne

    … it just shows the sad state of affairs that I’m impressed by a person for simply being accepting of his grandson.

    I think I get what you’re saying…

    And me, I’m more just grateful, anyway.

    Impressed… I don’t know. I’d have to know more. Like what he’ll pay for this, in his family, like the climate he was raised in, what he might have had to rise against and stand against, what he might have had to learn and unlearn, to do this thing. It all goes to context, and I think it’s obvious we assume a few things about his context from his age, but this we don’t really know. Regardless, as a parallel, it’s a lot easier to denounce a dictator if you’re not living in his land, sure; someone speaking against him from beyond his reach is just doing the right thing; those risking their life to do so within his borders is a hero, though they do the same things.

    I somehow figure this guy might even agree with your sentiment, too, almost regardless of his circumstances–say something like–because people who simply do the right thing often do–something like: listen, I just did what any not-a-disaster-of-a-human-being would do; my acting with simple humanity as opposed to inhumanity or callous indifference, you can’t call that being a hero… And that sentiment, it’s true, makes a certain sense. And perhaps it would be nice to get this through people’s heads: these are the minima. It is not that doing this makes you a hero. It’s that doing less makes you the problem.

    But I’m still grateful to him, all the same, that he’s done better than those many disasters of human beings out there. And than those perhaps less than continual disasters, who may simply have failed to find their courage, on this occasion, and rise to that occasion.

    He did the right thing. This gets real respect, at the very least. And this world, being what it is, making it as difficult as it sometimes does, I suspect he may well deserve more.

    I’d say also: we need to say to people, when they do the right thing, that they have, and at least thank them, in things like this, at least, and maybe even in generally easier things. True, in a better world, it might be less impressive. But people being so impressive are what make that better world, too.

  45. 45
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    JAL:

    Unless she’s toxic for him and his grandson then he has every right to protect his family that.

    There are all sorts of specific factors that might come into play, making different courses of action more or less preferable, but we don’t know about them. The evidence from the letter, which is all we have, suggests the standard probably-religious homophobia. There are many examples of parents who’ve rejected their gay children and over time come around and renewed their relationships with them.

    And that’s assuming people have the ability or the spoons to deal with and try to change her.

    My point is that I don’t think we should necessarily be cheering *off the bat* (as I said) approaches that contribute to the breakup of families and should be suggesting some that might have a better chance of healing relationships. It might be that in this case the latter isn’t possible. We simply don’t know in this specific case what the chances are for growth and mended relationships, but that’s more reason, not less, to try to avoid angry, reflexive responses. It could be that maintaining contact isn’t best in this particular case, or that cutting it off will have a positive result, but I don’t think there’s a reasonable basis for the argument that in general – so, this includes situations for which we don’t know the details – breaking off communication and relations with family members in this situation is the best approach.

    Think about if you were writing a manual for grandparents in this situation. Would this be your general advice? I doubt it. In general, it seems callous and unlikely to be productive.

    Beatrice:

    In other words, I think caring for this hurt boy takes precedence over educating his bigoted mother.

    They’re not mutually exclusive. And if there’s the possibility that she could learn and grow and get past her bigotry and have a good relationship with her son, that would be the best outcome for all involved. I think keeping lines of communication open is generally more likely to lead to that, and that cutting them should be far from the first line of action outside of very specific circumstances.

  46. 46
    Kiwi Sauce

    SC @25:

    If this were a grandfather disowning his gay son for misogynistic treatment of his granddaughter and the letter ended “…and I don’t have time for heart-less f****t of a son,” would that be ignored?

    It took me a while to figure out what you meant, as I read that as fuckwit and wondered how that was a slur.

    Yes he shouldn’t have used a gendered insult, however the fact(?) that he wrote it after taking in his gay grandson and he expressed extreme annoyance at his daughter means that (if the letter is genuine) there was some fairly strong emotion at the time he wrote it. Maybe he just slipped up. Maybe he can’t express himself as well as people who have been through university, have a wide group of friends, read widely etc, and took the only epithet he knew that would sting his daughter. How do we know from one letter that the grandfather is a misogynist vs. he accidentally used a misogynistic term when he was upset/ frustrated? Had he tried to reason with his daughter before writing the letter, so there was a history of “failure” on his part in trying to convince his daughter to change her mind – we don’t know.

    Answer: we don’t. All of us accidentally say/do insulting stuff like this to people, we all slip up. We’re human.

    Show me evidence of the grandfather’s trend of misogynistic behaviour and I’ll change my mind. But there’s only one data point here.

  47. 47
    voidhawk

    The gendered slur is unfortunate but don’t think that it overshadows the good he has done by taking in Chad and telling his mother that “This is not OK.”

  48. 48
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    It took me a while to figure out what you meant, as I read that as fuckwit and wondered how that was a slur.

    And now that you’ve figured it out (I used the asterisks to try to keep it as close to “B-word” as possible), you’ve ignored the question.

    Yes he shouldn’t have used a gendered insult, however the fact(?) that he wrote it after taking in his gay grandson and he expressed extreme annoyance at his daughter means that (if the letter is genuine) there was some fairly strong emotion at the time he wrote it.

    Yes, as I said.

    How do we know from one letter that the grandfather is a misogynist vs. he accidentally used a misogynistic term when he was upset/ frustrated?

    Show me evidence of the grandfather’s trend of misogynistic behaviour and I’ll change my mind. But there’s only one data point here.

    You’re confused. My point isn’t that this man is “a misogynist.” It’s that he used a misogynistic slur towards his daughter in this letter, which does factor negatively into my overall evaluation of his actions, and that people often seem to ignore or minimize misogynistic behavior if it’s in the context of fighting some other oppression. We see this all the time. It’s not just misogyny, but it happens quite frequently with misogyny. Pointing it out in this case doesn’t detract from the very good thing he’s doing for his grandson, but I would prefer that examples of people helping others and fighting oppression not be marred by misogyny, or at least that when they are it’s recognized and seen as negative.

    Had he tried to reason with his daughter before writing the letter, so there was a history of “failure” on his part in trying to convince his daughter to change her mind – we don’t know.

    No, we don’t – see my previous post.

    But this has nothing to do with his calling his daughter a misogynistic slur. It’s no more acceptable to call a stubbornly bigoted woman a misogynistic slur than any other woman.

  49. 49
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    The gendered slur is unfortunate but don’t think that it overshadows the good he has done by taking in Chad and telling his mother that “This is not OK.”

    No one has said anything about overshadowing.

  50. 50
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    AJ Milne,

    All you say is true.

    If we lived in a world where this grandfather’s actions weren’t impressive, we’d be living in a world where they wouldn’t be necessary or would at least be rarely needed and daughter’s bigotry would be an aberration.

    ————
    SC,
    Well, I think it would be best for everyone if mother and son had a little heart-to-heart, he forgave her everything and they all lived together happily ever after… as long as he doesn’t try to bring a boyfriend home.

    Seriously. She disowned her son. She threw him out of their home. That is a pretty radical move, and grandfather’s response isn’t an overreaction. Is it the best they could do? Dunno. The way she has behaved towards her son, it’s quite possible it is the best for him if she stayed out of his life. I don’t know their precise circumstances, or the relationships between all the family members.
    It could be that keeping lines of communication open would in fact not be good for the boy or young man’s mental state.
    Besides, the lines are not closed. Note the ending of the letter. Yeah, it was harsh. Kicking your kid out of his home is harsh too.

  51. 51
    Kiwi Sauce

    SC @48

    You’re confused. My point isn’t that this man is “a misogynist.” It’s that he used a misogynistic slur towards his daughter in this letter, which does factor negatively into my overall evaluation of his actions, and that people often seem to ignore or minimize misogynistic behavior if it’s in the context of fighting some other oppression.

    I’m not confused at all. I just am wondering why your attention is focussed on the one misogynistic word in the letter. You’ve ignored the part where I said that:

    Yes he shouldn’t have used a gendered insult, however the fact(?) that he wrote it after taking in his gay grandson and he expressed extreme annoyance at his daughter means that (if the letter is genuine) there was some fairly strong emotion at the time he wrote it. Maybe he just slipped up. Maybe he can’t express himself as well as people who have been through university, have a wide group of friends, read widely etc, and took the only epithet he knew that would sting his daughter. How do we know from one letter that the grandfather is a misogynist vs. he accidentally used a misogynistic term when he was upset/ frustrated?

    so I am clearly *not* disagreeing with you about whether the slur should have been used or not.

    What is your rationale for being so focussed on that slur, on post after post, so that you are – by what you write – giving more attention to that slur than to the reasons for writing the note? You are, in effect, detracting from “the very good thing he’s doing for his grandson” because your focus on that word means that the word is getting more attention than what the grandfather did.

    Re me saying this:

    Had he tried to reason with his daughter before writing the letter, so there was a history of “failure” on his part in trying to convince his daughter to change her mind – we don’t know.

    and the bits that gave it context (he might have been very frustrated/upset at the time he was writing the letter, is not equivalent to your reading into the situation here:

    It could be that maintaining contact isn’t best in this particular case, or that cutting it off will have a positive result, but I don’t think there’s a reasonable basis for the argument that in general – so, this includes situations for which we don’t know the details – breaking off communication and relations with family members in this situation is the best approach.

    and here:

    And if there’s the possibility that she could learn and grow and get past her bigotry and have a good relationship with her son, that would be the best outcome for all involved. I think keeping lines of communication open is generally more likely to lead to that, and that cutting them should be far from the first line of action outside of very specific circumstances.

    where you have assumed the actions of the grandfather are wrong, and that it is his action in taking in his grandson/writing the letter that have broken up the family. It is the actions of the *mother* that started this, the grandfather’s was reaction.

    You are not giving out the neutral advice you think you are. And as someone who eventually cut out half of my immediate family due to ongoing psychological abuse, who took until 40 years old to do this, your advice sucks if this is a similar situation.

    Also, as JAL pointed out @39:

    Besides, it wasn’t even a real disowning. At the end, it clearly says if she changes, she can contact him.

    Also note what paulrinzler said @5:

    how did the son, Chad, come to get the letter if it was addressed to his mom? Follow the link and the report is that Chad made the letter available.

    As at least one person has pointed out, Chad may have had access to the letter before it was sent. If that is the case, the slur got through peer review.

  52. 52
    Inaji

    Beatrice:

    It could be that keeping lines of communication open would in fact not be good for the boy or young man’s mental state.

    I once had a friend who was quite shocked when she found out I had no relationship with my mother and hadn’t seen or communicated with her in a very long time. My friend was very close to her mother, and kept insisting I was wrong. Wrong about this, wrong about that, wrong about the other, after all, this was my mother! She wouldn’t let up about me getting in touch again, yada, yada, yada.

    We aren’t friends anymore. It’s a dicey thing, making assumptions that the ‘norms’ in any given situation must be the absolute best route. For a lot of us, that’s not so.

  53. 53
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Caine,

    It’s actually your past that made me much more sensitive to some assumptions about families a lot of us default to without carefully thinking it through.

  54. 54
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Beatrice:

    SC,
    Well, I think it would be best for everyone if mother and son had a little heart-to-heart, he forgave her everything and they all lived together happily ever after… as long as he doesn’t try to bring a boyfriend home.

    Right, that’s exactly what I’m arguing.

    Seriously. She disowned her son. She threw him out of their home. That is a pretty radical move, and grandfather’s response isn’t an overreaction. Is it the best they could do? Dunno. The way she has behaved towards her son, it’s quite possible it is the best for him if she stayed out of his life. I don’t know their precise circumstances, or the relationships between all the family members.
    It could be that keeping lines of communication open would in fact not be good for the boy or young man’s mental state.

    Did you not read my #45?

    Besides, the lines are not closed. Note the ending of the letter.

    They’re closed until she changes, meaning that any contribution to that change that he (or, probably, the grandson) could potentially make is closed off. Further, her father has called her a heartless bitch, which I don’t think is going to make it more likely that she’s going to try to understand where he’s coming from.

    I understand and share the anger, and my issue isn’t with anyone’s expressing that anger. But I can’t believe people genuinely think this is the best approach to take if the goal is the best outcome for the people involved rather than the satisfaction of expressing contempt. I definitely think the grandfather is to be admired for taking in his grandson, for supporting him, and for standing up for him with his daughter and telling her how terrible disowning him was. Cutting her off in this way? Not so much. It might be necessary in some cases, and this could be one (though we have no knowledge), but that’s different from celebrating it as a positive response. Calling her a bitch in the process? Certainly not.

  55. 55
    Inaji

    Beatrice:

    It’s actually your past that made me much more sensitive to some assumptions about families a lot of us default to without carefully thinking it through.

    Wow. Thank you. That will make a huge difference to people you run across in the future, and that’s a gift beyond price, too.

  56. 56
    Pteryxx

    adding to Beatrice @50:

    Is it the best they could do? Dunno. The way she has behaved towards her son, it’s quite possible it is the best for him if she stayed out of his life. I don’t know their precise circumstances, or the relationships between all the family members.

    Know who’s in a much better position to determine the precise circumstances than any of us here?

    The grandfather.

    Seconding Caine:

    It’s a dicey thing, making assumptions that the ‘norms’ in any given situation must be the absolute best route. For a lot of us, that’s not so.

  57. 57
    carlie

    My first thought after reading the first comment about the use of “the b-word” was come on, that’s such a minor thing with respect to this situation and what it’s about, and there’s no way this should become the focus of it.

    But then I read SC’s comment at 25, and I honestly can’t imagine that if it had been that situation, that nobody would bat an eye at the use of a homophobic slur.

    kiwisauce at 51:

    What is your rationale for being so focussed on that slur, on post after post, so that you are – by what you write – giving more attention to that slur than to the reasons for writing the note?

    SC isn’t being focused on the slur, but focused on the people who are handwaving it away as entirely unimportant, like you were doing. If it had been a girl who was kicked out of her house, and the note called the parent a fa***t, would you have defended it as being from someone who “can’t express himself”, the way you did in this case? It’s not the main point, no, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a point. And, as usually happens in cases like this, the signal is getting louder because rather than saying “yeah, that is a point to think about” or the like, a few people are saying that it’s meaningless, which is the reason SC keeps explaining why it isn’t. If you don’t want it to be a focus, stop arguing that it doesn’t mean anything at all.

  58. 58
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    SC:

    Cutting her off in this way? Not so much. It might be necessary in some cases, and this could be one (though we have no knowledge), but that’s different from celebrating it as a positive response. Calling her a bitch in the process? Certainly not.

    Actually, I fully understand why the grandfather is doing what he said. First of all, cutting daughter off is an object lesson in the Golden Rule. She is being treated as she treated. The use of the B-word, which he probably doesn’t normally use, shows his full contempt for her action, and its reflection on her lack of character. It further emphasizes she is way out of line, and needs to make amends.

  59. 59
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Ok, SC, it’s much better to scold the grandfather for not showing enough sensitivity in handling his bigoted daughter, despite us not being aware of their circumstances besides the pretty damning fact that this is a woman capable of casting her own son out of his home for being gay.

  60. 60
    jalyth

    I know I’m a lurker so nobody here knows me and all that, but if anyone cares, how I imagine it is: two relatives, having a disagreement, with raised voices, and one of them decides to escalate by literally saying “you’re a B-word”. I simply cannot see that as being the same as actually using the word “bitch”. But I’m really not trying to die on a b-word hill, because I consider that embarrassing.

    But hey, go ahead and nitpick everything about what was intended to be a private correspondence. I mean, hey, that’s why the Internet was invented. So others can judge everything you say or do online. I can’t handle the meanness of it, myself.

  61. 61
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    SC:

    It might be necessary in some cases, and this could be one (though we have no knowledge), but that’s different from celebrating it as a positive response.

    I can’t get past this.

    It is a positive response. It may not be the absolutely most perfect response one could think of, but it’s positive. That doesn’t mean I encourage people to go around indiscriminately disowning their bigoted relatives. It means I can appreciate someone taking a firm stand in protecting their loved one, even if it means going against family, which can be really hard.

    Could we just find something to be happy and proud about for once, without adding seven trillion caveats?
    Yeah, he could have done without calling her a bitch. And I stop there.

  62. 62
    Kiwi Sauce

    carlie @57:

    SC isn’t being focused on the slur, but focused on the people who are handwaving it away as entirely unimportant, like you were doing. If it had been a girl who was kicked out of her house, and the note called the parent a fa***t, would you have defended it as being from someone who “can’t express himself”, the way you did in this case?

    Back in #46 I said:

    Yes he shouldn’t have used a gendered insult

    I did put a however after that. I don’t like those types of insults, I don’t think they should be used – I keep making that point. The other point I have made is that people often do/say things in anger/frustration that they wouldn’t ordinarily do/say. I don’t think that your counterexample above is equivalent – the one used in the letter is sex-specific and nothing to do with sexual orientation, so the equivalent would be probably a male-genitalia term.

    I’m not “defending” the use of the word in the way that you seem to think I am. I do think that in a (probably) heated situation as per the letter that people say and do hurtful things. People tend to lash out when they’re hurt, and do things they otherwise wouldn’t. No, they shouldn’t do that, but they do. And you if think that the average person can, as a general rule, behave completely conscientiously in emotionally charged situations, please provide citations.

    I’m not arguing it doesn’t mean anything, however I do think the meaning is somewhat different to if the grandfather went around and called his daughter gendered slurs (for example) in other situations. Nowhere have I said that “it’s meaningless”. I haven’t even said it’s excusable. All I have pointed out is that the use was understandable in the circumstances.

  63. 63
    carlie

    Beatrice at 61:

    Could we just find something to be happy and proud about for once, without adding seven trillion caveats?
    Yeah, he could have done without calling her a bitch. And I stop there.

    I agree with you, except it’s depressing that it’s here’s something to be happy and proud about, except that even that seemingly can’t be done without a sideswipe at women. It sucks.

  64. 64
    Inaji

    jalyth @ 60:

    I know I’m a lurker so nobody here knows me and all that, but if anyone cares, how I imagine it is: two relatives, having a disagreement, with raised voices, and one of them decides to escalate by literally saying “you’re a B-word”. I simply cannot see that as being the same as actually using the word “bitch”. But I’m really not trying to die on a b-word hill, because I consider that embarrassing.

    I won’t jump on you, and please, lurker or not, your voice is as valuable as anyone else’s. Personally, I’ve had quite a difficult time excising bitch from my own vocabulary. There are people who I feel, deeply, have earned that descriptor in full (AFK, not anyone here). All that said, it is a bit on the cringe-y side for me, that people have played dismissive over the letter and action on the granddad’s part, and there’s been a great deal of focus on language. In the heat of the moment, under pressure from deep emotions, language can, well, slip out. Sometimes, it’s the only safety valve we have, to prevent us from doing worse things.

    So, now that I’ve earned about a billion recriminatory posts from people, I’ll just end with a please, don’t let any of this stop you from speaking up in the future. Different perspectives are important, as is the ability to stop and consider ones which aren’t our own.

  65. 65
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Kiwi Sauce:

    I’m not confused at all.

    You are. You responded to my comment as though I was trying to make a case that the man is “a misogynist,” when that isn’t what this is about. And you’re still ignoring the question to which you were responding in the first place.

    I just am wondering why your attention is focussed on the one misogynistic word in the letter.

    My attention is only partially focused on that, but I explained why above: “I would prefer that examples of people helping others and fighting oppression not be marred by misogyny, or at least that when they are it’s recognized and seen as negative.”

    What is your rationale for being so focussed on that slur, on post after post, so that you are – by what you write – giving more attention to that slur than to the reasons for writing the note?

    I think we all agree that taking in his grandson and explaining to the daughter that her actions were awful are great and positive actions, as I’ve said several times in this thread.

    You are, in effect, detracting from “the very good thing he’s doing for his grandson” because your focus on that word means that the word is getting more attention than what the grandfather did.

    The misogynistic slur detracted from the overall goodness of his actions (not from his helping his grandson). Women should not have to mute their criticism of misogyny in the context of opposing other oppressions or supporting their victims, and I’m not about to. The slur wouldn’t be getting so much attention if several people who should know better weren’t trying to ignore, minimize, or justify it.

    If I were of a cynical bent, I’d almost think that the reason this particular example of supportive family is getting so much attention and applause is precisely because of this aspect of telling off that “heartless bitch” and making her suffer. But I’m not of a cynical bent.

    where you have assumed the actions of the grandfather are wrong, and that it is his action in taking in his grandson/writing the letter that have broken up the family. It is the actions of the *mother* that started this, the grandfather’s was reaction.

    None of this is an accurate representation of what I’m saying.

    You are not giving out the neutral advice you think you are. And as someone who eventually cut out half of my immediate family due to ongoing psychological abuse, who took until 40 years old to do this, your advice sucks if this is a similar situation.

    I’m not giving out any advice, other than to people cheering this approach in a general way (which they necessarily are, given that they don’t know of any specific details that make it preferable) to step back and think about it. You/They’re the ones giving advice: if you cheer this approach without knowing any details that would make it preferable to one that would make growth and reconciliation more likely, then you’re implicitly endorsing this on a general basis.

    Again, if you were writing a general manual for grandparents in this situation, I doubt your advice would be to immediately cut off communication with your child (much less to refer to them with slurs). Because you’d recognize that in most cases that wouldn’t be best for anyone. Then you would talk about specific situations in which this is or becomes necessary, as in your case.

    Anyway, I feel like I’ve spent too much time repeating myself and clarifying arguments that shouldn’t have to be clarified, so I’ll let my comments stand and take my leave.

  66. 66
    Inaji

    Carlie:

    except that even that seemingly can’t be done without a sideswipe at women. It sucks.

    I understand where you’re coming from, however I just don’t see it that way. It was a sideswipe at a particular woman, for behaving in a particular way. I feel the same way towards my mother. That feeling isn’t towards any other woman. Doesn’t make it right, I know.

  67. 67
    ekwhite

    I’m with Caine on this one. Yes, the grandfather used a gendered slur, but the important thing is that he took in his gay grandson when his daughter threw him out.

  68. 68
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    65
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I’m not giving out any advice, other than to people cheering this approach in a general way (which they necessarily are, given that they don’t know of any specific details that make it preferable) to step back and think about it. You/They’re the ones giving advice: if you cheer this approach without knowing any details that would make it preferable to one that would make growth and reconciliation more likely, then you’re implicitly endorsing this on a general basis.

    Actually, I’m cheering and my general advice is “Do what is right for your situation, you and your family”. Clearly, the grandfather who knows the situation better than me thinks this is right, so rock the fuck on Granddad, I say.

  69. 69
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Thanks, carlie.

    Caine:

    I understand where you’re coming from, however I just don’t see it that way. It was a sideswipe at a particular woman, for behaving in a particular way.

    Wow.

    Wow.

    OK, now I’m definitely out.

    Wow.

  70. 70
    consciousness razor

    I did put a however after that. I don’t like those types of insults, I don’t think they should be used – I keep making that point.

    And what good does it do to claim that, when it contradicts other things you’re saying?

    The other point I have made is that people often do/say things in anger/frustration that they wouldn’t ordinarily do/say. I don’t think that your counterexample above is equivalent – the one used in the letter is sex-specific and nothing to do with sexual orientation, so the equivalent would be probably a male-genitalia term.

    I’m not “defending” the use of the word in the way that you seem to think I am. I do think that in a (probably) heated situation as per the letter that people say and do hurtful things. People tend to lash out when they’re hurt, and do things they otherwise wouldn’t. No, they shouldn’t do that, but they do. And you if think that the average person can, as a general rule, behave completely conscientiously in emotionally charged situations, please provide citations.

    Do you think that needs to be fucking explained to anyone here? Or do you think this needs to be justified/excused/ignored, so that we are “focusing” on some of the remaining sentiments in the letter which we agree with?

    I’m pretty sure we’re all familiar with how lashing out in emotionally-charged situations works, or at least most of us probably haven’t been living under rocks. It is “understandable” he acted this way, and that has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not it should be criticized. Notice that you’ve taken issue with that kind of criticism, not with people failing to understand the nature of emotional situations. If you feel like giving a 100-level psychology lesson, when people don’t actually understand how people behave, that would be the time to do it. But that isn’t the case now.

  71. 71
    carlie

    I can be simultaneously thrilled that this is such a great example of a guy supporting his grandson but also sad that this note, which will justifiably be spread far and wide, also contains an instance of a woman being called a bitch. It doesn’t minimize the goodness to criticize the negative part, does it? It’s a version of being a fan of problematic things, or feminist criticism of a thing, only it’s a communication between people rather than a piece of pop culture. And I *think* where Caine and others are coming from is that you can’t quite apply the rules of something meant for public consumption with something that wasn’t, except it gets blurry when that thing then does become an example held up for public consumption. That’s really all I had to say about it, so I’ll stop now.

  72. 72
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    The gravity of the situation is leading me to do something I never thought I’d do: link approvingly to Dr. Isis.

    …and I’ll try once again to ignore the siren calls of SIWOTI syndrome and stop posting.

  73. 73
    Inaji

    CR:

    Do you think that needs to be fucking explained to anyone here?

    Perhaps it does. No one here is perfect, and it does no harm to try for a more considerate and charitable reading all the way around, especially with new peoples.

    Carlie:

    And I *think* where Caine and others are coming from is that you can’t quite apply the rules of something meant for public consumption with something that wasn’t, except it gets blurry when that thing then does become an example held up for public consumption.

    Yeah, all this. I imagine the motive behind publicizing the letter was to provide hope for those who are in dire need of it, and gendered slurs do indeed become problematic in a very large way when something is public, and I have no doubt as to how harmful it can and will be. When it comes to private matters, I’m in no position to toss stones about, so I keep my mouth shut there.

  74. 74
    Al Dente

    After years of discussion about the c-word, the b-word and other suchlike misogynist slurs, the Horde is sensitized to such slurs. I venture to guess the grandfather hasn’t had much if any exposure to Sexism 101. The following is my opinion based on what I’ve pulled out of my rectum:

    For the grandfather, calling his daughter a b-word is not misogyny. He was angry and upset that the daughter he raised would show her homophobia by throwing her son out of her house for being gay. He probably raised his daughter in a loving manner and expects her to raise her son in a similar manner. She withdrew her love from her son because of something the son has no control over. So the grandfather is withdrawing his love from his daughter until she “find[s] your heart.” The grandfather’s love withdrawal is conditional. When his daughter shows she’s worthy of his love then he’ll grant it.

    Use of the b-word in this case is not a slur against women in general but with one particular woman. Notice he didn’t spell out the word but couched it as “b-word”. That suggests he normally doesn’t use that sort of language but thinks it’s called for in this specific instance.

  75. 75
    carlie

    Al Dente – the issue isn’t that the guy said it in the heat of anger, but that some people are holding the letter up as an untarnished example of awesomeness without acknowledging that that particular part of it is problematic. I have no problem with “Here’s a guy being awesome (asterisk don’t call women bitches)”.

  76. 76
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Chad, Christine and Grandpa are not here. The chances that any of them ever read this thread? Slim to none.

    You are free to analyze this like a fictional work, or a letter from distant history. The chance of hurting Grandpa’s feelings is nearly the chance of hurting Thomas Jefferson’s feelings.

    If another person in this thread is more interested in the misogynistic slur than you are, that person, the person in this thread, is the one who you actually have a real chance of harming by being uncharitable and/or unkind to.

  77. 77
    Al Dente

    Carlie, I agree. It just seems there are people here who ignore what the grandfather did and narrowly focus on one word, or rather a euphemism for one word.

    There’s also someone who thinks the grandfather should not have sent the letter at all because he’s cutting off communication with his daughter. The grandfather is the good guy and the daughter is the villain. But that point seems missed by some second-guessers.

  78. 78
    strange gods before me ॐ

    It just seems there are people here who ignore what the grandfather did

    Name names.

  79. 79
    consciousness razor

    Caine:

    Do you think that needs to be fucking explained to anyone here?

    Perhaps it does. No one here is perfect, and it does no harm to try for a more considerate and charitable reading all the way around, especially with new peoples.

    Oh, sure, perhaps. If so, then I hope that has already been made sufficiently clear, for all of the rock-dwellers who might drop by. Who knows what might happen if they don’t grok this inane excuse posing an “explanation”?

    I guess it ought to also be clear that it has fuck-all do with any considerate or charitable reading of what SC (or anyone else) was saying.

    ———
    Al Dente:

    The grandfather is the good guy and the daughter is the villain.

    You can tell by looking at the color of their hats.

    But that point seems missed by some second-guessers.

    “Second-guessers”? Pbffft. What was the first guess?

  80. 80
    Inaji

    strange gods before me @ 78:

    Name names.

    Let’s not, please. It’s great to discuss the issues at hand, but let’s not get personal in this thread.

    Please remember to stick to the topic of the OP. If you have a bone to pick with somebody, please take it to Thunderdome

    Stay on topic, unless it’s an obvious “fun” thread. If you have something off topic that you must share, the Thunderdome thread is always appropriate.

    The Rules Thanks.

  81. 81
    ck

    Al Dente wrote:

    There’s also someone who thinks the grandfather should not have sent the letter at all because he’s cutting off communication with his daughter.

    It is incredibly rude and dismissive to refer to someone in that manner. While I deeply disagree with SC on this, the least you could do is mention SC’s name when complaining.

  82. 82
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Monitor Note

    Let’s not, please. It’s great to discuss the issues at hand, but let’s not get personal in this thread.

    Wrong.

    Al Dente is making that accusation here in this thread, against people in this thread, regarding the content in this thread.

    Al Dente should back up that accusation here in this thread, or retract it, here in this thread.

  83. 83
    Inaji

    CR:

    I guess it ought to also be clear that it has fuck-all do with any considerate or charitable reading of what SC (or anyone else) was saying.

    Please, don’t read me wrong. I said considerate and charitable all the way around, and yes, that includes reading of SC’s posts as well. I think most people have a fair grasp on the problems with the use of ‘b-word’ in the letter, and there are a number of different perspectives operating here, from privileged viewpoints to not so privileged viewpoints, and that’s led to some conflict.

    I do think bitch is problematic, even though I fully understand the usage. All that said, I think everyone can step back a little here, without too much bruising to egos all the way around.

  84. 84
    Inaji

    strange gods before me:

    Al Dente is making that accusation here in this thread, against people in this thread, regarding the content in this thread.

    No. Al Dente expressed an opinion, which everyone is free to do. Again, if you insist on picking this bone, please take it to thunderdome. Thanks.

  85. 85
    strange gods before me ॐ

    ck,

    There’s also someone who thinks the grandfather should not have sent the letter at all because he’s cutting off communication with his daughter.

    It is incredibly rude and dismissive to refer to someone in that manner. While I deeply disagree with SC on this, the least you could do is mention SC’s name when complaining.

    There’s also the problem that the claim is objectively false. SC does not think Grandpa shouldn’t have sent a letter.

    From #54:

    I definitely think the grandfather is to be admired for taking in his grandson, for supporting him, and for standing up for him with his daughter and telling her how terrible disowning him was. Cutting her off in this way? Not so much. It might be necessary in some cases, and this could be one (though we have no knowledge), but that’s different from celebrating it as a positive response. Calling her a bitch in the process? Certainly not.

  86. 86
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I have no problem with “Here’s a guy being awesome (asterisk don’t call women bitches)”.

    Fact some folks forget: this was a letter to a family member who did a bad deed and needed to be shocked into waking up from their pseudo-righteousness. In context, it is something that could do that job. It was later made public. I can’t condemn the use of the B-word in that context in the letter. I don’t use such a word in public. In private, if needed for a similar reason….

  87. 87
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    SG

    Point of clarification please. Are you on the list of monitors at the bottom of this page, under a different name?

  88. 88
    strange gods before me ॐ

    No. Al Dente expressed an opinion, which everyone is free to do. Again, if you insist on picking this bone, please take it to thunderdome. Thanks.

    No. Al Dente expressed an opinion and made an accusation against people in this thread. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

    Al Dente is free to express an opinion and make that accusation against people in this thread.

    I am free to express my opinion that such accusations should be backed up or retracted. And I am going to do that.

    I am also going to remind you that heavy-handed attempts to control the fine details of comment threads is one of the things that attracted the most criticism recently. If you want to discuss that further in Thunderdome, you’re welcome to reply there on that topic. But you won’t be shunting me off there — not when an accusation is made in this thread, about content in this thread, which therefore ought to be substantiated or retracted in this thread.

  89. 89
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Daz, the Monitor Note thing was snark.

    [Don't do it again, or you will be banned. --pzm]

  90. 90
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    SG

    It failed. Furthermore, those who are not regular commenters would assume that you were indeed a monitor.

    Think next time.

  91. 91
    strange gods before me ॐ

    It failed.

    Daz, thanks for your opinion. I think it served my purposes. You’re welcome to take this discussion, which is not at all about Grandpa’s letter, to Thunderdome.

  92. 92
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    The Rules Thanks.

    The Rules also state that “Your post will be edited if you use bigoted slurs.” And yet calling out the use of a bigoted slur in the letter presented approvingly in the OP has been referred to by a monitor thusly: “[I]t is a bit on the cringe-y side for me, that…there’s been a great deal of focus on language. In the heat of the moment, under pressure from deep emotions, language can, well, slip out.”

    Rules are only as good as the quality and fairness of their enforcement. Thanks.

  93. 93
    carlie

    Nerd – that’s why I tried to mention the difference between public/private in 71.

  94. 94
    consciousness razor

    Caine:

    Please, don’t read me wrong. I said considerate and charitable all the way around, and yes, that includes reading of SC’s posts as well.

    I noticed that, but I don’t know what you’re suggesting with this “both sides” stuff.

    When people (like Kiwi Sauce) flatly contradict their own claims about it being worth criticism, the principle of charity isn’t going to change that. I assume Kiwi Sauce (et al) really does think it’s a bad thing. And I think the reasons given for backing off criticism are not sufficient, because I don’t know of a more reasonable or charitable reading which would change the meaning of the comment(s) in any significant way. So, charitably, what I do is interpret it as confused or misguided or simply fallacious, not intentionally deceptive or misogynistic. When the whole thing relies on assuming our problem is being naive as fuck, it frankly doesn’t make much sense to me for you to bring up charity as some kind nebulous defense of … I don’t know what.

  95. 95
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I think it served my purposes. You’re welcome to take this discussion, which is not at all about Grandpa’s letter, to Thunderdome.

    And if you are going to impersonate a monitor, you need to stay at the thunderdome. Your misbehavior is not excused on this thread.

  96. 96
    strange gods before me ॐ

    And if you are going to impersonate a monitor,

    I lol’d.

    Attention, anyone who is confused: I am not a monitor.

    Glad that’s cleared up.

  97. 97
    kittehserf

    JAL @28 – hear, hear! ::applause::

  98. 98
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Carlie:

    Nerd – that’s why I tried to mention the difference between public/private in 71.

    Sorry if I stepped on your toes and didn’t cite you. This has been a busy day at Casa la Pelirroja, getting the sauerbraten starting its long marinade for Oktoberfest. My sit-down time at the computer has be a few minutes here and there. Now to check on laundry…

  99. 99
    strange gods before me ॐ

    #25

    If this were a grandfather disowning his gay son for misogynistic treatment of his granddaughter and the letter ended “…and I don’t have time for heart-less f****t of a son,” would that be ignored? Not factor into people’s evaluations? OK for feminist organizations to promote and celebrate without comment on the homophobic slur? Or is it only to be misogyny that gets minimized in this way?

    And would that be okay in private?

    +++++
    Nerd at 58,

    The use of the B-word, which he probably doesn’t normally use, shows his full contempt for her action, and its reflection on her lack of character. It further emphasizes she is way out of line, and needs to make amends.

    I can tell you what it would be if my father called me a faggot in order to show contempt for my actions:

    it would be homophobia.

  100. 100
  101. 101
    Jadehawk

    I understand where you’re coming from, however I just don’t see it that way. It was a sideswipe at a particular woman, for behaving in a particular way.

    I’m pretty sure the very concept of splash damage contradicts this.

    I don’t understand why this thread is going the way it is. I’m just going to say I agree with everything carlie said.

    Also:

    It just seems there are people here who ignore what the grandfather did

    and that’s just pure bullshit. what’s the point of making up shit like that?

    No. Al Dente expressed an opinion

    bullshitting about what someone else said is not “an opinion”. wtf?

  102. 102
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Jadehawk,

    I don’t understand why this thread is going the way it is.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2322781

  103. 103
    The Mellow Monkey

    My thoughts on this letter:

    What the grandfather is doing for his grandson is awesome. I wish I had someone in my genetic family that supportive even now and I’m well past adolescence.

    What the grandfather wrote to his daughter was shitty. He alluded to a misogynistic slur in reference to her. That sucks. That takes away from awesomeness. On the other hand, I tend to put the use of that word in the same mental category as, say, folks talking about cis men and cis women and thinking that encomposses all of humanity. Most people don’t recognize what they’re doing is shitty and hurting people. That does not make it okay, but it’s also so absurdly omnipresent–at least in my life, perhaps not in any of yours–that it’s easy to get fatigued over it and just want to ignore it to limp through the day. Some of us tell ourselves it’s not a big deal just so we have the excuse to save our spoons, even when we know deep down inside that it’s hurtful and degrading and perpetuating a nasty worldview.

    The grandfather is not here and so cannot be corrected and told why what he wrote was wrong. This is a private letter that was then made public, so all we can really do is remind one another and anyone reading that what he wrote was wrong.

    Everything else just feels exhausting and sad to me.

  104. 104
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    96
    strange gods before me ॐ

    I lol’d.

    Attention, anyone who is confused: I am not a monitor.

    Glad that’s cleared up.

    Not funny. It wasn’t marked as snark and to anyone who doesn’t have the monitor’s list memorized, it looked just like a real monitor, hence calling it an impersonation. The whole rules changes was to help newbies and if your “snarky” monitor’s note doesn’t violate a clear rule (it should), then it certainly violates the spirit of it.

    ========
    ========

    As far as the “b-word” addition in the letter is concerned, I added my asterisk that it’s bad but not the focus and that’s that. I stopped there for a reason.

    I still disagree that I’m wrong for cheering the letter that disowns the bigot mother.

    =====

    As far as naming names, it’s pretty clear who is being referred to and I think that it should be addressed here. (Yes, what Al Dente said was bullshit but I’m not going to argue about the “ignoring” part of the sentence. I think it’s unfair the thread is about scolding us with only a few sentences (or what feels like) about the awesomeness part of the response.)

    But I think I can see where Caine was coming from, considering SC had announced their leaving the thread. Though instead of stopping the downward spiral of the thread, it turned onto Caine and spiraled anyways.

    The lesson? If I ever get nominated to be a monitor (lol fat chance), I’m punting that option right back.

  105. 105
    Jadehawk
    I don’t understand why this thread is going the way it is.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2322781

    I *heart* the shit out of this response.

  106. 106
    niconico

    Hi! First time registered lurker here. I am from across the ocean so please excuse my typos.
    I do not understand the fuzz about the b-word. Sure it is not nice nor is it supposed to be. Is the b-word not just a sex specific form of name calling? I think hounding down that grandfather for his choice of words is really missing the point in judging what is important about his message, regardless of the alledged misogeny. On that topic, why is being sex specific supposedly equal to misogeny? I thought fighting sexism was about equality not uniformity. Is someone that calls me a dickhead being misandrist? I would think not but please let me know if I am missing some point instead.

  107. 107
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I can tell you what it would be if my father called me a faggot in order to show contempt for my actions:

    it would be homophobia.

    Yes, but this isn’t a public statement. It was a private communication to a relative who needed to be shocked out of their righteousness fugue. I don’t and won’t condemn the use of the word in that context, where the shock is needed. You don’t like the word, don’t use it, or condemn those who use it privately for effect. You aren’t the thought policeman…or are you?

  108. 108
    strange gods before me ॐ

    JAL,

    Not funny.

    I disagree, but thank you for your opinion.

    and to anyone who doesn’t have the monitor’s list memorized, it looked just like a real monitor

    And Daz asked for that clarification. And it was provided. If there was any uncertainty, there is now no uncertainty. Why are you continuing this derail? If you want to discuss the Monitor Note thing, you can take it to Thunderdome.

    Though instead of stopping the downward spiral of the thread, it turned onto Caine and spiraled anyways.

    No one was mean to Caine about it. What I said was that I wouldn’t take something on-topic to Thunderdome. You’re spiraling. Other people have moved on.

  109. 109
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    108
    strange gods before me ॐ

    It would have helped if I had refreshed sooner before posting, but whatever. I didn’t mean that anyone was mean to Caine, but now it’s about criticizing Caine’s monitor note. As far as moving on, that’s correct on your snarky monitor note but everything else still looks up in the air to me. Unless you think you and Jadehawk are the last word on the subject? In any event I’m done.

  110. 110
    strange gods before me ॐ

    niconico,

    I think hounding down that grandfather for his choice of words

    If Grandpa was here in this thread with us, then I’d like to see the gendered slur addressed, but differently. He’s not here, though, and it’s okay for people to speak more bluntly than they might if there was a real chance of hurting his feelings.

    +++++
    Nerd,

    Yes, but this isn’t a public statement.

    Criminy, that’s my point.

    I can tell you what it would be if my father called me a faggot in private in order to show contempt for my actions:

    it would be homophobia.

    You don’t like the word, don’t use it, or condemn those who use it privately for effect.

    What does this mean?

    Don’t use it, and don’t condemn those who use it privately for effect?

    Don’t use it, but if you want then go ahead and condemn those who use it privately for effect?

  111. 111
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I can tell you what it would be if my father called me a faggot in private in order to show contempt for my actions:

    it would be homophobia.

    And this has what to do with the b-word used for shock value after a son is thrown out? I don’t see where you are coming from. Context matters. You forget that in your word policemanship, which like your monitor announcement, is without authority.

  112. 112
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Nerd,

    And this has what to do with the b-word used for shock value after a son is thrown out?

    See, I think I already made the connection clear, in #99, where I quoted #25:

    If this were a grandfather disowning his gay son for misogynistic treatment of his granddaughter and the letter ended “…and I don’t have time for heart-less f****t of a son,” would that be ignored? Not factor into people’s evaluations? OK for feminist organizations to promote and celebrate without comment on the homophobic slur? Or is it only to be misogyny that gets minimized in this way?

    We’re using analogy and juxtaposition here, in case that’s not clear.

    You forget that in your word policemanship, which like your monitor announcement, is without authority.

    Fun fact: monitors’ own Monitor Notes are without authority. They are a recommendation. I had a bit of fun while disagreeing with one recommendation.

  113. 113
    carlie

    Nerd – I wasn’t trying to chastise on reading, just pointing to that I agreed with you on that point.

  114. 114
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    *sigh*

    Goddamnit. See, since my first comment went up the public vs. private thing came up but then when I got to the end it was about the monitor note. I forgot to add the former in my last comment so now it looks like I’m just ignoring that part of the thread like I agree. /facepalm

    For the record, I disagree with not calling out the “b-word”. If someone says it privately, it’s still the same sexist shit. Just on a personal scale that re-enforces the larger societies suckiness. If the society wasn’t sexist, I doubt people would be using it privately for effect. There’s context obviously, for a gentler calling out if it was just in anger and the person goes “I know I’m sorry” but that’s case by case. Nothing wrong with calling it out harshly either. I’m fine with calling it out privately and publicly, I was just hoping for a thread about the LGBT issues but clearly the thread (or really, everyone (including me apparently)) had something different in mind.
    ======================
    =======================
    106
    niconico

    Hi! First time registered lurker here. I am from across the ocean so please excuse my typos.
    I do not understand the fuzz about the b-word. Sure it is not nice nor is it supposed to be. Is the b-word not just a sex specific form of name calling? I think hounding down that grandfather for his choice of words is really missing the point in judging what is important about his message, regardless of the alledged misogeny. On that topic, why is being sex specific supposedly equal to misogeny? I thought fighting sexism was about equality not uniformity. Is someone that calls me a dickhead being misandrist? I would think not but please let me know if I am missing some point instead.

    Read the Rules, linked up thread by Caine, a monitor, or in the sidebar. Gendered slurs are bad and wrong and enforce sexism, including “bitch” and “dickhead”. There’s also handy links in the wiki (also in the sidebar) to educate yourself. I suggest you do so. I know I don’t have the energy to re-hash it all.

  115. 115
    carlie

    <blockquote It wasn’t marked as snark and to anyone who doesn’t have the monitor’s list memorized, it looked just like a real monitor, hence calling it an impersonation.

    But there isn’t any extra value in the comment coming from a monitor, is what I thought had been agreed on. The only onus is on the side of the monitors to try to remember to remind people of the rules, not that they get any special powers in saying it.

  116. 116
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    115
    carlie

    But there isn’t any extra value in the comment coming from a monitor, is what I thought had been agreed on. The only onus is on the side of the monitors to try to remember to remind people of the rules, not that they get any special powers in saying it.

    Right, but it looked like a suggestion from another monitor so now monitors are fighting in the thread publicly about what’s appropriate. It was a counter suggestion to a suggestion and ultimately confusing to a newbie. And if you’re worried about commenting here, that renders it pointless since now they don’t even know where to comment. It’s been cleared up now, but again, I didn’t see that. I still don’t think it’s right, especially not marked right off the bat but whatever. I don’t want to de-rail into this.

    /headdesk

  117. 117
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    Oh, dammnit. For clarity that headdesk was my own frustration at myself for failing to re-fresh enough and getting this sub-thread continued.

  118. 118
    strange gods before me ॐ

    I think niconico is also wondering how calling a woman a bitch is specifically misogynistic. I’ve been looking unsuccessfully for a link, so I’ll try to explain.

    When using an insult to indicate that someone has done something disapproved of, the choice of insult implies something about the offense. Using the word “bitch” identifies that the problem is a female-gendered problem. It communicates that the problem is that the offender is a woman and is not behaving appropriately “for a woman” (as opposed to behaving appropriately “for a person”), or that the offender is (if not a woman, then) being like a woman and that this merits insult. Additionally, it communicates to women that if they behave badly as people they will be judged not as bad people but as bad women, i.e. that they are not going to be allowed to simply screw up as people, but they are also always in danger of being judged as failing to meet societal expectations of women, and that that in itself is bad and contemptible.

  119. 119
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    118
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Ah. Thanks for that explanation.

    And now, I really am done. I’ve fucked up enough and am exhausted. Sorry, all.

  120. 120
    Jacob Schmidt

    SC

    It might surprise you to learn that someone can have compassion for the grandson and share the father/grandfather’s anger at his daughter, while being not particularly impressed that he would so readily and hypocritically disown his daughter and dismiss her with a misogynistic slur.

    While I won’t defend his use of slurs, there’s no hypocrisy. The anger seems to be at disowning a dependent child for their sexual orientation, not disownment in general.

  121. 121
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    A parent disowning her child is what goes “against nature.”

    [Of course, this ("her child") could be read - and not unreasonably in this context - as only referring to mothers, with fathers excused....]

  122. 122
    Jacob Schmidt

    Assuming that’s a response to me… so are cars, plains, and the ink he wrote that letter with. It reads to me like he’s pointing out the hypocrisy of his daughter, not saying that anything unnatural is bad, or that disownment is bad because it’s unnatural (since that’s not why it’s bad).

    I assumed “her” was used because he was addressing his daughter.

  123. 123
    Jacob Schmidt

    Sorry, planes are unnatural. Plains are very much natural.

  124. 124
    chigau (違う)

    take my leave
    stop posting
    OK, now I’m definitely out

    You could try for some self-control and stop posting this shit.
    You plan on staying, stop saying you’re not.

  125. 125
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Assuming that’s a response to me… so are cars, plains, and the ink he wrote that letter with. It reads to me like he’s pointing out the hypocrisy of his daughter, not saying that anything unnatural is bad, or that disownment is bad because it’s unnatural (since that’s not why it’s bad).

    It’s pretty obviously a response to a claim by her that being gay is “unnatural” and therefore bad. He’s suggesting that her disowning her child is what’s really unnatural and bad.

    I assumed “her” was used because he was addressing his daughter.

    Of course you did.

  126. 126
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Oh for fuck’s fucking sake.

  127. 127
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    SC and SG —> hushfile, for terminal PC policemanship.

  128. 128
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    FFS.

    (1) Grandfather taking grandson in: awesome! Go Grandpa! Hooray for Chad having someone in his life who is there for him.
    (2) Grandfather being sexist to his daughter: not okay.

    And no, sexism does not magically become okay-if-you’re-doing-it-for-emphasis if it is in “private.”

    Sexism is sexism.

  129. 129
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    And no, sexism does not magically become okay-if-you’re-doing-it-for-emphasis if it is in “

    Sorry it does. Otherwise, it is PC policemanship carried too far. Context appears to be lost with the PC Police….

  130. 130
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Nerd

    Given that such language is always used for emphasis, I think maybe you ought to rethink what you’re saying.

  131. 131
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Of course you did.

    I’ll elaborate, in case anyone’s confused:

    There are a few factors that would lead me to suspect that there might be sexism behind this remark (and there might not – I just wouldn’t assume that there isn’t). First, he later calls her a bitch. Second, he cuts her off as she cut off her son without viewing his own act as at all problematic in a parallel way. Third, there’s an established patriarchal cultural trope that mothers are naturally, and have a duty to be, unconditionally loving, whereas fathers have the complementary duty to offer conditional, judgmental love to improve a child’s character. According to Erich Fromm (who held this view), it’s the reason that in some cultures (like some Muslim cultures) fathers legally “take over” when a child reaches the age of 7 or 8. It’s not a bizarre belief in sexist cultures by any means. Again, his phrasing there might have nothing to do with sexism, but it’s not entirely reasonable to assume it doesn’t.

  132. 132
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Nerd @129

    And no, sexism does not magically become okay-if-you’re-doing-it-for-emphasis if it is in “

    Sorry it does. Otherwise, it is PC policemanship carried too far. Context appears to be lost with the PC Police….

    Are you high?

    How is “I said it for emphasis” an appropriate excuse for sexist slurs?

    Does that likewise extend to homophobic slurs? Racist?

  133. 133
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Sorry it does. Otherwise, it is PC policemanship carried too far. Context appears to be lost with the PC Police….

    this is really fucking dumb

  134. 134
    Rossignol

    Nerd @129

    And no, sexism does not magically become okay-if-you’re-doing-it-for-emphasis if it is in “

    Sorry it does. Otherwise, it is PC policemanship carried too far. Context appears to be lost with the PC Police….

    What is it about being used for effect in private makes a sexist slur magically not a sexist slur?

  135. 135
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    So for effect I can call a black person a N*gger if I’m trying to shock them and it wouldn’t be racist?

  136. 136
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Nerd, I have a great deal of respect for you. In this case, I think you are wrong. You may want to take a step away for a little while and think over your statement and why this statement is problematical.

  137. 137
    Rossignol

    Rev. BigDumbChimp @ 135

    So for effect I can call a black person a N*gger if I’m trying to shock them and it wouldn’t be racist?

    As long as you’re in private and they’re being a real big jerk, you can, apparently.

  138. 138
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    I’m so glad to hear that those times when someone privately called me a dyke and said that what I needed was a “proper dicking” that this was totes okay and not bigoted!

    That makes me feel so safe when I’m obliged to be in that person’s company…

  139. 139
    Jacob Schmidt

    Sorry it does. Otherwise, it is PC policemanship carried too far.

    This is actually just an argument from consequences.

    I’ll elaborate, in case anyone’s confused:

    No need here. I understand why, and I don’t disagree. I also know that using pronouns when addressing people is the point of pronouns, so that looked like the more valid interpretation.

    He’s suggesting that her disowning her child is what’s really unnatural and bad.

    But why is it bad? The mothers reasons are why; it’s not a contradiction to be against the disownment of gay teens while disowning toxic family members.

  140. 140
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    SC

    So far you’ve managed to impugn the grandfather for breaking up the family, when it’s quite obvious that the mother did that quite handily when she threw her child out into the street. You’ve implied that he might well be acting misogynistically by referring to his daughter as “her” and you’ve spent gawd knows how many words pointing out that he (probably?) used a gendered slur.

    The third, I’ll admit, may not be much of a stretch. The other two would seem to give the impression that you’re actively looking for ways to dislike this man.

    At this point, might it not be a good idea to take a step back and re-assess your priorities?

  141. 141
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Gee, sounds like some people should just avoid grandad. I haven’t use the word under discussion, as those of you who have been around for ages can attest to. But I won’t condemn grandad for using it in the letter. Why you want to is beyond me, unless every conversation, even private ones where you aren’t attending, must meet your PC correct language. Why should that be? Think about that folks.

  142. 142
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Oh, and why don’t you show how he can shock his daughter out of her righteousness fugue with what you consider polite language…Don’t criticize, show how to do better and that it is just or more effective.

  143. 143
    Rossignol

    Oh, and why don’t you show how he can shock his daughter out of her righteousness fugue with what you consider polite language…Don’t criticize, show how to do better and that it is just or more effective.

    Who said anything about polite?

  144. 144
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I also know that using pronouns when addressing people is the point of pronouns, so that looked like the more valid interpretation.

    If you ignore context, sure, it’s the obvious interpretation that this was the sole meaning.

    But why is it bad?

    You’re still ignoring that it’s a parallel construction.

  145. 145
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Monitor note:
    Please remember to use Nyms and/or comment numbers:

    If you are replying to a specific comment, use the comment number and poster's name.

    The Rules

  146. 146
    Jadehawk

    Why should that be? Think about that folks.

    because it still causes splash damage? we have thought about this. we’ve hashed this point out on this very blog over the years. wtf?

  147. 147
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Daz, you’re mischaracterizing my statements.

  148. 148
    The Mellow Monkey

    Nerd @ 141

    Why you want to is beyond me, unless every conversation, even private ones where you aren’t attending, must meet your PC correct language. Why should that be? Think about that folks.

    If there is a private conversation in which the people involved have agreed to use the word bitch–reclaiming it or using it as part of some BDSM roleplay or whatever–then I think it would be rather strange for uninvolved people to care. If there is a private conversation in which one person is using a misogynistic slur as an attack against another person for the sake of “shocking” them, that’s something quite a bit different.

    I also take issue with private conversations that involve non-consensual slaps across the face in order to “shock” a participant. This has nothing to do with trying to be politically correct. Certain words with a heavy history behind them aren’t the same as physical abuse, but there’s still damage done. Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can make me think I deserved it.

    I’d take Ogvorbis’ advice about walking away and thinking for a while.

  149. 149
    The Mellow Monkey

    Nerd @ 141

    Why you want to is beyond me, unless every conversation, even private ones where you aren’t attending, must meet your PC correct language. Why should that be? Think about that folks.

    If there is a private conversation in which the people involved have agreed to use the word b****–reclaiming it or using it as part of some BDSM roleplay or whatever–then I think it would be rather strange for uninvolved people to care. If there is a private conversation in which one person is using a misogynistic slur as an attack against another person for the sake of “shocking” them, that’s something quite a bit different.

    I also take issue with private conversations that involve non-consensual slaps across the face in order to “shock” a participant. This has nothing to do with trying to be politically correct. Certain words with a heavy history behind them aren’t the same as physical abuse, but there’s still damage done. Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can make me think I deserved it.

    I’d take Ogvorbis’ advice about walking away and thinking for a while.

  150. 150
    The Mellow Monkey

    Nerd @ 141

    Why you want to is beyond me, unless every conversation, even private ones where you aren’t attending, must meet your PC correct language. Why should that be? Think about that folks.

    If there is a private conversation in which the people involved have agreed to use the B-word–reclaiming it or using it as part of some BDSM roleplay or whatever–then I think it would be rather strange for uninvolved people to care. If there is a private conversation in which one person is using a misogynistic slur as an attack against another person for the sake of “shocking” them, that’s something quite a bit different.

    I also take issue with private conversations that involve non-consensual slaps across the face in order to “shock” a participant. This has nothing to do with trying to be politically correct. Certain words with a heavy history behind them aren’t the same as physical abuse, but there’s still damage done. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can make me think I deserved it.

    I second Ogvorbis’ advice about walking away and thinking for a while.

  151. 151
    The Mellow Monkey

    Sigh. I’ve tried to post the same comment here three times now and it won’t go through. I edited out all bad words, all links. No idea what’s catching it.

  152. 152
    The Mellow Monkey

    Trying this one last time:

    Nerd @ 141

    Why you want to is beyond me, unless every conversation, even private ones where you aren’t attending, must meet your PC correct language. Why should that be? Think about that folks.

    If there is a private conversation in which the people involved have agreed to use a slur against one another–reclaiming it or using it as part of some roleplay or whatever–then I think it would be rather strange for uninvolved people to care. If there is a private conversation in which one person is using a slur as an attack against another person for the sake of “shocking” them, that’s something quite a bit different.

    I also take issue with private conversations that involve non-consensual slaps across the face in order to “shock” a participant. This has nothing to do with trying to be PC. Certain words with a heavy history behind them aren’t the same as physical abuse, but there’s still damage done. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can make me think I deserved it.

    I second Ogvorbis’ advice about walking away and thinking for a while.

  153. 153
    ck

    SC (Salty Current), OM wrote:

    If you ignore context, sure, it’s the obvious interpretation that this was the sole meaning.

    You’ve got to be kidding me. Look at what he actually wrote:

    A parent disowning her child is what goes “against nature.”

    If he had intended to use a gender stereotypes, he wouldn’t have said “A parent”, but “A mother” instead. Extrapolating that “her” into him making a sexist statement is a rather large leap. Indeed this entire sentence was probably improvised just to throw the “against nature” thing back in the face of the woman who kicked her son out with that very same rationale, rather than something that was deeply deliberated upon.

    Now, if you’re that desperate to find some subversive patriarchal message under the text, you could assume this is a way of “fixing” the family by taking control of the situation and delivering an ultimatum: either she needs to take back her son, or she will have to deal with her father cutting himself out of her life, as well. Men often absorb messages about how it’s the father’s role in the family to fix problems within the family structure, and that certainly could be at play here. However, without knowing more about the man, I wouldn’t be comfortable assuming this myself.

    The entire letter is only 161 words long, so I don’t like extrapolating “hidden” messages from such a thing. Yeah, “B-word” is potentially sexist (assuming he was using the word most of us assume he was), but outside of the solidarity with the grandson, I don’t think it’s fair to the parties involved to read much else into this.

  154. 154
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    A parent disowning her child is what goes “against nature.”

    Hah, funny that this is seen as a subversive patriarchal message because, if I were to overanalyze it, I’d go with good for him that he didn’t default to a male pronoun but used the proper one since he was talking about his daughter.

    But generally, this:

    I also know that using pronouns when addressing people is the point of pronouns, so that looked like the more valid interpretation.

  155. 155
    niconico

    strange gods before me

    Ah thank you, that actually makes a lot of sense. I would like to add though that this particular subset of people that comes to this site and posts comments is probably far ahead of the average person in terms of appropriate language use. I honostly believe the grandfather had no sexist intent even if it may be interpreted as such. I am most likely a lot younger than the grandfather and I would have no sexist intent calling a bad person a B, although I would think differently about that now. All things considered I still disagree with the people blowing the grandfather’s choice of words out of proportion. Changing the b-word does not change the message.

  156. 156
    carlie

    All things considered I still disagree with the people blowing the grandfather’s choice of words out of proportion.

    What level constitutes “blowing it out of proportion”? A couple of comments on a blog? Nobody has said he’s a bad guy, nobody has said this isn’t a great thing that he’s done. People have just expressed here, on this blog, that they wish he hadn’t used that term, so that this thing being spread all over didn’t have that attached to it.

  157. 157
    niconico

    What constitutes that on this blog is in my opinion the fact that so much negative attention went to the b-word part. The b-word proportion of the letter is quite small and here in the comments it is relatively big, regardless of the absense for a general consensus if gender specific name-calling even is misogenistic/misandristic. There might be a consensus on this blog but that definitely does not go for the rest of the world.

  158. 158
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I don’t understand what all this silliness is about. I added the comment about there perhaps being sexist assumptions behind his statement about a parent disowning her child parenthetically (or bracketthetically, to be precise) in the context of discussing the hypocrisy. If the statement was meant to refer only to mothers, then he wasn’t being hypocritical. (And this wouldn’t be some subversive [?] patriarchal message, but simply the sort of sexist assumption about what “goes against nature” for mothers vs. fathers that’s standard in this sexist culture.) If it was meant to refer to all parents, then he was being hypocritical. I honestly don’t know which it is, but both readings are reasonable in my view. This really isn’t all that complicated, and it appears as though some people are more interested in attributing motives to me than in having any sort of reasoned discussion.

    This has been a very distressing thread. On a blog where we’ve fought for years to educate people about the harm language can do and to make this a place where bigoted slurs aren’t welcome, we’ve now had an OP celebrating the letter that contains no reference to the slur, several regulars including some of those who are supposed to have a special responsibility to make the rules visible express their displeasure that someone would comment negatively about a man calling a woman a bitch, people seek to rationalize its use with arguments straight out of Misogynist Bingo, Nerd assert that he himself would use it in private for “shock value,” and at least one person (chigau) suggest at Tdome that even this doesn’t warrant comment.

    This is harmful. It sends a message to people who want to use and defend bigoted language that threads here are a welcoming place to do that (that’s certainly the message I’d get from Caine’s #64, for example). It hasn’t been everyone, fortunately, but enough people that it’s a problem. I really want to urge the people doing this to try to put aside their personal animosities and recognize that they’re undoing a lot of the good work that we’ve done here. This puts us in danger of returning to 2009, and arguing endlessly against “It wasn’t misogynistic language because he wasn’t referring to all women, he was calling Sarah Palin a bitch because she is a bitch, it was meant to hurt her because that’s what insults are for, I use it sometimes too so I can’t say anything, he was just angry, you’re calling him a misogynist but he probably didn’t have that intent, it’s no big deal, people are too fixated on language, stop being language police,” and on and on and on. And on and on.

    Others have misrepresented my arguments consistently, while generally not quoting my statements, even out of context. Not only have several others let this slide without public comment, they’ve even suggested that discussion of these false characterizations be taken elsewhere. This is very bad.

  159. 159
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    What constitutes that on this blog is in my opinion the fact that so much negative attention went to the b-word part. The b-word proportion of the letter is quite small and here in the comments it is relatively big, regardless of the absense for a general consensus if gender specific name-calling even is misogenistic/misandristic. There might be a consensus on this blog but that definitely does not go for the rest of the world.

    Enjoy!

  160. 160
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I did find this resource for families and friends of people coming out:

    http://community.pflag.org/page.aspx?pid=539

    I haven’t come across any specifically for grandparents or for dealing with bigoted family members.

    While searching, I noticed that HRC had also posted the letter. The discussion that follows looks somewhat like the one here. I’ll note a couple of comments, which received no response:

    “SUCK ON THAT! haha gotta love people that tell you how it is”

    “Lolol! He called her a bitch… big ups to grandpa!”

    So there’s that.

  161. 161
    PZ Myers

    The point has been made that “bitch” is a sexist word that should not be used, and it is a shame that the otherwise nice letter used it. The point has been made a great many times. Everyone here is in agreement that it was deplorable. The problem seems to be that we differ on how loudly we ought to scream about it.

    That point has been argued pointlessly at great length here. You are now done with this derail. Take further complaints to the Thunderdome. Further moaning about the “b-word” in this thread will get you banned.

    Also, do not pretend to be a monitor. I’m relying on them to allow me some freedom from having to constantly watch every thread, and undermining that will sorely piss me off. You are making more work for me. You will also get banned for that.

  162. 162
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    How sad the turn this blog has taken.

    Bye.

  163. 163
    David Marjanović

    As at least one person has pointed out, Chad may have had access to the letter before it was sent. If that is the case, the slur got through peer review.

    *giggle*

    Indeed, I wonder if the grandfather intended for his letter to go public. That’s the only explanation I can find for why he wrote “B-word”.

    Daz, the Monitor Note thing was snark.

    It was not recognizable as such. I’d have needed to distrust you and go check if you’re on the list.

    Yes, but this isn’t a public statement. It was a private communication to a relative who needed to be shocked out of their righteousness fugue. I don’t and won’t condemn the use of the word in that context, where the shock is needed.

    …And calling her an asshole couldn’t have done that?

    I know it’s not Hungarian, but the English language isn’t that poor that you couldn’t call someone out in an insulting way without spraying splash damage all over their lives and those of everyone they come into contact with.

    What the Hell, Hero?

    I’m with comment 148.

  164. 164
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    65
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I’m not giving out any advice, other than to people cheering this approach in a general way (which they necessarily are, given that they don’t know of any specific details that make it preferable) to step back and think about it. You/They’re the ones giving advice: if you cheer this approach without knowing any details that would make it preferable to one that would make growth and reconciliation more likely, then you’re implicitly endorsing this on a general basis.

    So, by that logic, we shouldn’t cheer for them staying in contact with a bigoted family member without the details either since that’s implicitly endorsing that on a general basis. After all, there’s so many ways and reason that it wouldn’t be a good thing to stay in contact and there’s already enough pressure to let the bigots be bigots. On the article linked in the OP, there’s already comments saying it’s wrong what the father did because it’s the mother’s Christian beliefs and the mom just “disagrees”.

    Therefore, we have to stay silent without all the details or we can just cheer and let the general advice be “do what’s right for your situation, you and your family” like I said up thread.

    Which means, unless you think we shouldn’t way in at all on these situations without details, you are giving advice that staying together is better than not, unless there’s some reason not to do so.

    Is not wanting to deal with a bigot enough for you? Or do we have to accomadate the bigots in our family unless there is abuse or toxicity involved? Isn’t just being a bigot toxic enough?

    Again, if you were writing a general manual for grandparents in this situation, I doubt your advice would be to immediately cut off communication with your child (much less to refer to them with slurs). Because you’d recognize that in most cases that wouldn’t be best for anyone. Then you would talk about specific situations in which this is or becomes necessary, as in your case.

    Fuck your “most cases”. You’re assuming it’s most cases, why? Because magical happy family makes everything better? Most cases of abuse and shitty situations like bigoted family members looks fine on the outside, so the general advice of stick with family is fucking hurtful. Why should I, or anyone else, have to deal with the first assumption that staying a “family” is the best solution? Why should we have to go into personal details to justify fucking anything to you?

  165. 165
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Since this isn’t about that word:

    JAL,

    You’re assuming it’s most cases, why? Because magical happy family makes everything better?

    No, and that’s not what was said. What was said was that in most cases, it would not be best for grandparents in this situation to immediately cut off communication with their child. Because “cutting her off entirely blocks off those avenues” by which she might reconcile with her son and make amends to him for her actions — which, when it is a possible outcome, generally is better than being permanently estranged from family.

    Most cases of abuse and shitty situations like bigoted family members looks fine on the outside, so the general advice of stick with family is fucking hurtful.

    Okay but that wasn’t the general advice.

    Why should we have to go into personal details to justify fucking anything to you?

    Absolutely no one suggested that you should. This is a false accusation, which is unwarranted. The hostility is likewise unwarranted. People here do not need to be so hurtful toward one another (part of my point back at 76).

    [You're skating on very thin ice if you don't think this violates the spirit of my prohibition. Don't push any further. --pzm]

  166. 166
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    I don’t understand how FCKH8 got the letter. Did Christine send it? If so, why? If not, did her father either 1) steal it back from her, or 2) post it before giving it to her? What was the purpose?
     
    IDK. This seems like a hoax.

  167. 167
    jodyp

    Insofar as it being a hoax, pretty much this exact thing happened to me when I came out. Only my grandmother wasn’t this polite.

    So although I cannot testify as to the veracity of this particular claim, I can say with authority that it’s happened before. :)

  168. 168
    PZ Myers

    Since you all seem determined to cling to the edges of this derail…thread closed.

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