This is surprising news, but it’s good, I guess.
It seems to me that there is a significant difference between maintaining internet anonymity to prevent being harassed, vs. anonymity used to enable harassment. But this distinction is routinely ignored, especially by the harassers, who just lump violating either into the category of the most sacrilegious of all internet violations, the total desecration of the holiest principle of all communication, doxxing. I suspect the only reason that “doxxing” has been elevated to such a sacred level of knee-jerk abhorrence is not out of some virtuous desire to protect the innocent, but entirely to protect the guilty.
So we now have a situation where there is a hierarchy of crimes, with “revealing the identity of a troll” at the very top of the list, followed by “giving a damn about social justice” just below that, and somewhere near the bottom, “threatening to rape and murder a woman and her family”. It’s upside down. It needs a polarity reversal.
Jamie Bernstein had to deal with a hypothetical, one that’s even better than the ticking time bomb scenario. This gentleman was wondering when it would be OK to rape someone, in response to this article on Skepchick, and he was straining hard to plop out a possible situation, and he came up with this one:
Both Alex and Heina have excellent articles on the association of religion with LGBTQ people. It’s an absurdity that Christianity accommodates both Fred Phelps and Marcella Althaus-Reid, telling us definitively what Jesus’ opinions on homosexuality were, and both of them giving completely contradictory answers. The problem is that Jesus and Mohammed and Moses are completely malleable imaginary authority figures who can be invoked to justify anything — Jesus simultaneously blesses the peacemakers and comes with a sword in that muddled book of myths, the Bible, so pacifists and warmongers are both happy to adopt his ‘philosophy’. It’s not at all surprising, then, that both queer folk and gay-haters happily quote their holy books to justify whatever the hell they believe.
But it’s dishonest. And it invalidates the holy books — they’re obviously just Rorschach blots for any gullible brain looking for an authoritarian fallacy to back up their bullshit.
Most Minnesota high schools have settled something well: there will be no further discrimination against transgender students in athletics.
Capping months of emotional debate that brought tens of thousands of e-mails, the board overseeing high school athletics in Minnesota overwhelmingly said yes Thursday to opening up girls’ sports to transgender student-athletes.
The decision by the Minnesota State High School League will take effect in the 2015-16 school year, making the state the 33rd to adopt a formal transgender student policy.
The board set out criteria for determining whether transgender students who were born male but identify as female can be eligible for girls’ teams at the nearly 500 schools in the league’s membership. State law already permits girls to compete in boys’ sports.
Except (there’s always an “except”)…
Alanah Pierce has been responding to trolls who harass her with threats, abuse, and sexual slurs in what I would have thought was an effective way: she retweets their comments to their mothers. Does your mother know what you’re saying with that mouth?
I thought it was brilliant. But I’ve never understood the mind of a troll, and now some of these boys, with their mothers’ approval, are suing her for defamation. That’s nuts — the only defamation is exposing their own public words to another member of the public. But look how they rationalize it:
Abdo Publishing has a line of children’s science books, including one titled “Bugs”, which a seven year old girl, Parker Dains, read with enthusiasm. And then she discovered that the series was called “the Biggest, Baddest Books for Boys“. So she wrote to the publisher, as uppity young ladies are wont to do.
So she wrote to Abdo, telling the publisher that “I really enjoyed the section on Glow in the Dark bugs and the quizzes at the end”, but that “when I saw the back cover title, it said ‘Biggest Baddest Books for Boys’ and it made me very unhappy. It made me very sad because there’s no such thing as a boy book. You should change from ‘Biggest, Baddest Books for Boys’ into ‘Biggest, Baddest Books for Boys and Girls’ because some girls would like to be entomologists too.”
It’s unbelievable what the publisher did next.