Anybody else hear this weird, whiney droning noise?
Anybody else hear this weird, whiney droning noise?
Imagine a world where the virulently misogynist words of Phyllis Schlafly were held up by feminists as representative of the opinions of all women. Imagine a world where the discrimination-denialist positions of Christina Hoff Sommers were held up as the pinnacle of women’s advocacy by feminists. Imagine a world where hundreds of feminists surfaced from the crevices of the internet to hail me as some kind of valiant free speech defender after campaigning for women to be banned from public life because one time, this woman threw hot coffee at me and no, I don’t have an independent link for you to verify that but I promise I’m trustworthy *pinky swear* smiley-face emoji :)
I don’t live in this world because it is, sadly, limited to cis feminists. A feminist publication called Athena Talks, whose mission is “to help young women mature, [to help] budding professionals become leaders and [to help] leaders become advocates for equality,” decided that all of the above absurdities were suddenly worthy of their editorial attention, strictly because it was re-purposed for animus against trans women.
To be clear, I don’t consider it a bad thing that my feminist works are usually held up to a higher standard. If I were to deploy the venom-spitting baffelgab passing for “reasonable dialogue” in the start of this post, I would be rightly shredded as a derivative thinker and deemed an asshole with an axe to grind. Instead I want to draw attention to cis feminism’s problem with shoddy double standards: If the topic is trans women, y’all start giving the “deer in headlights” look as if you’ve never encountered a logical fallacy before. (#NotAllCisFeminists, of course, but enough of you).
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the latest candy-glossed hate piece to make waves in feminist discourse: “I am not a ‘cis’ Woman, I am a Woman and that Matters.”
Content Notice for trans-antagonism, in case it wasn’t already obvious from the title.
The author opens thusly:
Quick! The conservative persecution media circuit has gone like, an entire month without mentioning Jordan Peterson! WE NEED TO FIX THIS!
Jordan Peterson–who, by the way, is making close to $250,000 per year on his Patreon–immediately went to the news to whinge about his latest grant funding application, which was recently denied.
TORONTO — University of Toronto psychology professor Dr. Jordan Peterson has had a federal research grant application denied for the first time in his long and distinguished academic career.
And he’s certain that the rejection from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the government agency that supports post-secondary research, is linked to the controversy surrounding his stand on gender-neutral pronouns such as “zie” and “zher,” and the modern notion of gender as being fluid.
That his application was also rated so poorly is telling, he said, meaning that if the proposal had just missed the mark, it might have been a credible critique, but the proposal failed abysmally.
Julia Gualtieri, spokeswoman for the council, said in an email Monday that grants are awarded through a merit review process, and that “past funding is not a guarantee of further funding.” Names of the peer review committee members will be publicly posted once all applicants have been fully notified, she said.
Were this any other academic, they would likely be disappointed, take a few moments to rant to their peers before rallying, and move the fuck on.
But Poor Persecuted Peterson isn’t just any academic.
“I think that it’s (the controversy) provided someone with a convenient opportunity to make their displeasure with what I’m doing known,” he told Postmedia in a recent phone interview. “I can’t shake the suspicion.”
Just to remind you–this man is a personality psychologist, not exactly a field renown for its watertight methodology. I mean, a reasonable person might just assume that they’ve swung and missed–it’s fine, we’re all human, it happens to all of us. But NO! It’s all part of the ebul freeze peach hatin librultard conspiracy!!! because the only reason anyone could object to his argument is that they’re ess jay double yoo beta cucks and not because he’s literally pulling it from his nether quarters.
Maybe I should consider a career in nailing myself to the cross for profit.
As a transgender Canadian, I’ve been hawkishly poring over the many debates on Bill C-16, a human rights bill that would add “public incitements of violence,” “willful promotion of hatred,” and “advocacy for genocide” as activities outside of “acceptable speech” concerning gender identity and expression. It would also add bias against a victim’s gender identity or expression as an aggravating circumstance for criminal sentencing. Any business under federal jurisdiction — including the postal service, telecommunications, banks, and airlines — that discriminates against an employee or hiree on the basis of their gender identity and expression would be penalized.
In short, Bill C-16 a good step for trans equality in Canada, strengthening our legal protections. And the data shows they’re much needed.
In 2011, the National Task Force for Transgender Equality published one of the most comprehensive reviews of discrimination against trans folk that finally paints our picture in detail. A brief snapshot: 90% of us experienced workplace harassment or discrimination. 26% of us lost our jobs and careers when we came out. 19% of us have been homeless, and another 29% have been turned away at homeless shelters specifically because of our identity. 19% of us had been refused service in health care, and 57% of us experienced some kind of significant family rejection. Those statistics were based on the responses from trans people of every race; it should be noted that every single outcome is worse if you’re also black and trans.
These are the facts, and though they are nothing new for trans people, they demonstrate that Bill C-16 is necessary to explicitly protect Canadian trans people who have largely been relegated to patchwork federal case law and legal gray areas until very recently.
When the results from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) were released, I naively hoped these statistics would offer a chance for those who didn’t know them to get a big-picture view of some of our crises, amd that the NTDS would enter the conversation on public policy.
After all, legislators are passing policy for everyone, so they’d want the full picture, right?
Apparently not. The necessity of a human rights bill like C-16 ought to be self-evident given the outcomes of the trans community, simply because of the appalling frequency and degree of discrimination that trans Canadians continue to face — but you do need to be aware of that fact first for it to be obvious. The law has been passed in Parliament but awaits further voting in the Senate, and during these debates, the data is seldom, if ever, mentioned.
Read more on The Establishment.
I don’t know if Jordan Peterson is a Christian or not, but by George has he ever mastered their breathless cries of “perseeecuuuutiiiooooon.”
The Varsity noted that Dr. Peterson’s Patreon is now pulling in a few pennies shy of $8,200/month, at least as of December 5th. Shortly after they asked him to elaborate on his Patreon goals, he shot back a rather nasty response:
An hour after the initial statement was sent to The Varsity, Peterson expressed frustration at this newspaper’s pursuit of this article. “Here’s an idea, why don’t you do a story on the fact that my YouTube channel, prior to this political firestorm, had already attracted a million viewers? That means I brought advanced psychology knowledge to a million people – free,” he said in the email.
He continued: “But you can’t do that, because you are so blinded by your damnable ideology that you muckrake instead. Why do good, when you can advance your ideological presumptions, and find someone to hate?”
Dr. Peterson’s irony has presumably been surgically removed.
He references, of course, the fact that The Varsity has been a breath of No, Both Sides Don’t Do It fresh air. Perhaps he doesn’t appreciate that the editor has correctly identified that Peterson’s free speech vs. ess jay double yoos is a false equivalency.
Those who came to the rally advocating for social justice engaged in a range of protest activities, which included blasting white noise over the sound of rally speakers. While the tactics this group employed are not beyond scrutiny — in a free society, almost nothing is — it is essential to recognize that the cause of this group is legitimate in a way that the cause of those propagating hate speech will never be. Those who would have The Varsity present the former’s cause on equal footing with the latter’s will be disappointed.
How to be PERSECUUUUTIIOOOOOOON’d like Jordan Peterson in six easy steps, according to Glad Hand:
Fuck, Peterson, if this is your idea of persecution, then hand me a nail and a cross. I’ll crucify myself for eight grand a month.
(Silver lining: As long as Dr. Peterson is still a professor, his combined yearly income puts him in the new tax brackets that were recently increased.)
Hands up: Who thought atheism needed another arrogant atheist douchebro who cloaks himself in rationality and then proceeds in a spit-flecked rant rife with fallacious reasoning to tell us we are irrational about stuff?
Peter Boghossian raves about “Gender studies professors” who “are pumping out complete bullshit” in Areo Magazine, producing something resembling less of an argument and more of a rancid onion. And for some fucking reason, I’m feeling masochistic enough to peel back the layers of entitled manbaby whinging. Tears to ensue.
One would think that an example of critical thinking would explicitly identify the premises of a presented argument, compare peer-reviewed literature to see whether the premises are accurate, and use formal logic to determine if the conclusion is sound. But Boghossian’s rant is devoid of any particular specifics–aside from quoting one of Jordan Peterson’s critics–and on top of that he has the gall to represent himself as some kind of model freethinker. The problem is that the sort of freethought that lacks any resemblance to reality is the sort of “freethought” we’d expect to see from mushroom-tripping hippies reacting to psychedelic phantoms rather than what’s in front of them.
Compare, for instance, how Boghossian opens up his interview with some pontificating on critical thinking:
Malhar Mali: What in your opinion is the best way of fostering critical thinking when it comes to religious and supernatural beliefs?
Peter Boghossian: I think the whole way we’ve taught critical thinking is wrong from day one. We’ve taught, “Formulate your beliefs on the basis of evidence.” But the problem with that is people already believe they’ve formulated their beliefs on evidence — that’s why they believe what they believe. Instead, what we should focus on is teaching people to seek out and identify defeaters.
What is a defeater? A defeater is:
IF A, THEN B, UNLESS C.
All of which is sound epistemology…
Then, minutes later, Boghossian expels this adorable piece of absolute claptrap:
All throughout Dr. Peterson’s extended temper tantrum his defenders characterized his critics as “The Intolerant Left.” Not only does this reduce his critics to a monolithic, unified entity, but it misapprehends the implications of what tolerance is to begin with.
The first snare here is to address the “argument by definition” problem. It’s a weak strategy because if a word has many meanings (as tolerance does), then it leaves a theoretical opponent an opening to dismiss it out of hand by pointing out the alternate uses of said word. I have done this myself. If an argument is easy to make, it’s typically easy to refute. Despite the temptation to set a definition from which to argue, I am reluctant to engage in the tactic at all. So I figure that my solution is actually to go on the offence: Rather than dispute that The Left™ is intolerant, I am going to accept that premise and argue how intolerance is an entirely ordinary consequence of being alive. After all, if The Right were perfectly tolerant, there would be no disagreement between them and The Left.
We’re all intolerant of something, the question is merely what those “somethings” are.
Ever walk past a homeless man despite having disposable income that month? You tolerated homelessness.
Ever watch a guy meticulously plan his entire stay at the bar getting a woman loaded on alcohol, and did nothing about it? You tolerated sexual predation.
Ever watch yet another video of a black person being assaulted by police, then carried on to do nothing about it? You tolerated anti-black police brutality.
Now pointing this out doesn’t really net someone a lot of friends. I do not mean to guilt trip anyone into feeling bad because they have finite spoons. We all have finite spoons. It’s in our nature to tolerate stuff because we cannot possibly fix everything. We tolerate broken shower heads or smelly apartments or limping cars or noisy roommates. Simply because there is more to fix than can possibly be fixed in 24 hours, we must out of necessity pick and choose things to tolerate. That’s why we might let things slide even when they’re arguably important.
Now I have a lot of complex thoughts about the nature of human apathy but I think it’s safe to say that it is universal regardless of our origin or beliefs. To accuse someone of therefore being occasionally intolerant of something is a bit like accusing someone of having skin. The probability that someone well and truly cares about nothing is so staggeringly low that surely a vast majority of humanity is intolerant at least some of the time about some of the things.
Maybe we can recognize that this is yet another rhetorical pool noodle designed to detract from, rather than contribute to, a discussion. Maybe we can instead concern ourselves with what someone doesn’t tolerate instead of filling the air with vacuous bullshit.
Don Plett is the genius behind the previous Canadian government’s attempt to legislate on trans rights–he proposed the amendment to Bill C-279, which specifically excluded public accommodations and housing protections. An otherwise perfectly good bill was gutted thanks to him, leaving trans women stranded in a veritable minefield yet again.
So, of course, we ought not to be surprised when Plett steps up to the plate to antagonize the 4th? attempt at codifying trans human rights. Check out his stunningly familiar rhetoric below:
Colleagues, last week Bill C-16, gender identity and gender expression, passed third reading in the other place without a recorded vote. This came on the heels of the Justice Committee refusing to hear from witnesses on this legislation. That’s right, colleagues, no public hearings.
Well golly gee, public opposition to trans rights is pretty fuckin’ high when you mention public accommodations, so yeah, no public debate. Probably because we’ve all heard the trans rapist trope a few too many times at this point? What new information could possibly be presented against us that we haven’t already heard?
We should be so confident in the legislation that we bring forward, and certainly in the legislation we pass, that we are willing to have it withstand a thorough and rigorous vetting process.
That’s a strange euphemism for your “fix” last time, Plett. Rigorous vetting process, you mean like the part where trans women are many times more likely to be a victim of violent crime than cis women are? Yet you trotted out tired arguments about women’s safety when you torpedoed the last bill. Is that the kind of thoroughness we can expect?
Political correctness authoritarians
Oh for fuck sake. This was in my government? We have a fucking sheep bleating about “political correctness” in government?!
have narrowed the scope of acceptable thought and discourse in academia and, by extension, the general public.
YES, YOU ASSHOLE. TRANSPHOBIA IS NOT A RATIONAL RESPONSE.
However, we as legislators and public policy-makers should not be afraid of the difficult conversations.
Aww, Plett’s scared. Poor widdle muffin. Good thing you aren’t living in the constant fear of literal assault every time you pee, you might just melt like the snowflake you are.
Legislation that has serious implications on freedom of speech — and, for the first time in Canadian law, compelled speech — cannot be passed so flippantly without thorough public discourse, debate and consideration.
What? Where the fuck is this even coming from? The boundaries on Bill C-16 are clear! They state which sections of the Criminal Code are being amended: 1) Advocacy for genocide; 2) Public incitement of hatred. YOU’RE A GOD DAMN SENATOR YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS.
As University of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson said recently on this issue
Once we decide that we will not engage in manipulation of facts, regardless of the results, if it is based on telling the truth, that is always the best possible outcome.
Manipulation of facts, like this complete fucking fiction that Bill C-16 dictates pronoun use?
Are you terminally incapable of self-awareness??
I challenge my colleagues not to be silenced by the baseless character assassination, not to be silenced by those who want to throw out labels of bigotry and new phobias dreamt up every other week in social science departments in order to silence dissent.
OH MY GOD YOUR DISSENT IS NOT SILENT JESUS CHRIST MY BLOOD PRESSURE WOULD BE GREAT IF IT WERE
Those who find this legislation to have some merit but are afraid to speak in its favour because they find the topic “difficult,” and those who behind closed doors are vehemently opposed to this legislation but are not willing to speak to it publicly, please, by all means, let your voices be heard.
Yes, let those gullible idiots undemocratically appointed to torpedo democratic legislation make their ignorance clear at the expense of trans folk who will be condemned to live in between the lines until you fucking keel over and die already.
We are the chamber of sober second thought. We are legislators and policy-makers. It is our duty to look at fact, at science and at truth. A difficult and controversial topic with profound consequences should not generate less debate; it should generate more debate.
Great! Then I’ll see you when you sign the law! Unless this call for science is what you mean when you refer to Peterson as your “expert.” Is god damn Paul McHugh going to make an appearance? What is this “science” that makes you hesitate? Alice Dreger’s? Please spare me the fucking quackery. I’ll pop a god damn artery.
I want to ensure all of the outraged individuals who have emailed and called our office that the Senate will do a better job. When the House of Commons puts its electoral viability ahead of difficult conversations about policy, it has failed. Colleagues, let’s not fall into the same trap. Let’s have the difficult conversations. Let’s do our jobs. We owe it to Canadians.
Oh yes, I look forward to being publicly defamed as a rapist, again, during the “difficult conversation” you intend to start.
In my readings on feminism in Islam and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), there has been a consistent thread across all views within this specific area: Establish what work already exists before entering the discourse, lest you look like an utter nincompoop. It’s good advice generally for anyone considering entering discourse in any area in which they have no expertise. That’s why you kinda need a bachelor’s in your area before you can become a researcher.
The problem, of course, is that when it comes to discourse on gender variance or civil/human rights for trans people, is that so few people follow this advice. Whether it’s so-called “gender critical” bloggers or a professional whinger like Dr. Jordan Peterson, the existing body of literature is often ignored as these imbecilic martyrs cloak themselves in “legitimate academic inquiry” to open a “debate” on a question that’s comparable to, say, “is the Earth round?” Fucking Pythagoras figured this out ~2,600 years ago and there are people acting like they’ll win a PhD by reopening this question.
You won’t. The maths are settled. Keeping an open mind doesn’t mean revisiting the fucking obvious. At least, not without reason.
My hope is that one day many of the questions seriously asked by ignorant amateurs about gender variance today are regarded with the same relevance we give to Flat Earthers. I’m sure I could get the point across to Dr. Peterson if I were to sign up for his class and then spend Every. Single. Day. for Eight. Fucking. Weeks. interrupting his lectures with “but Sigmund Freud said something else!” and then running off to the media for daily interviews whining about how oppressed I am because Dr. Peterson has better shit to do than represent the findings of a long-discredited quack with any seriousness.
Yeah, something like that. I think that’s the part that pisses me off the most: This notion that trans people haven’t thought it through, that our questioning process doesn’t count, and that it’s only real or legit questioning if a cis person does it (abstractly, mind you). As if being a living embodiment of these questions doesn’t count.
Cis people feel entirely justified in entering the discourse without stopping to fact-check some of their basic assumptions, which is why a lot of us trans feminists tend to sound like we’re repeating ourselves. And when those folks (who already disrespect the topic and feel qualified to enter it) find a posterboy to represent their explosive cocktail of ignorance and arrogance, we have a recipe for misconceptions seemingly coated in Teflon, immune to all doubt and inspection.
It can all depress a girl, and quite badly at that. “That’s not what the evidence says” is my language. I’m not sure I know how to step outside of it. I think it’s one of the reasons I am reluctant to publish on other platforms. Here on FtB we are, ostensibly, concerned about what the evidence says. Y’all speak my language. We can have an actually intelligent conversation on what something means. But moving to MSM means having to throw myself at the feet of False Equivalency in service to Both Sideism. It punches holes in any potential aspirations to bonafide journalism, although I still try to do primary reporting within my means.
I feel like academia has no place for me either. You’d be a bit naive to think Dr. Peterson was the only professor who harbours prejudice against trans folk. I wear it on my sleeve–quite literally, if I get that tattoo I’ve been mulling over. Closeting myself for the duration of a post-secondary education seems entirely unconscionable… and yet, I wonder if actually getting any credentials would require such an act, knowing what tenured professors can get away with.
I think the only avenue to satisfy my ambitions is to write a book. It’s a format that allows the citations this ridiculous “debate” so desperately needs. It’s long form, meaning we can unpack and dissect what those citations say and how they relate to the topic. I may lack the degree for now and for the forseeable future, but there’s no reason my work can’t stand on its own merit. I’ve already navigated the publishing industry before and have a pretty decent grip on its ebbs and flows. I feel reasonably confident in this goal.
Nonetheless, the information will be useless without consumers willing to, you know, consume it. And I think that’s one of the biggest barriers: Not simply the ignorance by itself, but this notion that one’s ignorance is somehow adequate when governing the lives of other people.
It’s not. It shouldn’t be. We ought not to let that shit slide. End of story.
Remember the Good Old Days when disagreements were settled with a duel? When disparagement of character could be challenged by the superior marksman, or swordsman, whichever the case may be? It coasted on a perverse sense of honour, predicated in the belief that the only reason one would put their life on the line to defend an idea is if they thought that idea was true enough to risk it.
The actual matter of accuracy or lack thereof, however, was not investigated by these duels. They may have proven that the idea–whatever the idea actually was–was important to the dueling participants. That’s it.
Debates are no different.
I can’t help but roll my eyes to near fatal degree when I hear debate proposals being positioned as acts of truth and discovery. They’re not. Just like the duels of yore, they simply illustrate that two people care enough about a topic to make a public spectacle of their disagreement, and in the absence of a corpse the “winner” is simply whoever the audience liked more–an attitude influenced no doubt by whether or not either speaker pandered to their pre-conceived ideas and prejudices.
After all, if debates were about discovery, the questions would focus on actual research findings, and not reductive buzz words inevitably miring us in the swamplands of linguistic nihilism. It’s not a demonstration of acuity or accuracy of belief. It’s a pissing contest to see whose stream reaches farther. It’s a format that rewards theatrics and melodrama, not logical structure or thoroughness of fact-checking.
So here’s a prediction: Jordan Peterson will win his debate. He will win his debate because suspicion of trans people is the activity du jour of hand-wringing reactionaries. His premises will not be accurate and his conclusions will not be valid, but it won’t matter. His detractors already know he’s full of shit and all the debate is likely to do is contribute to his weeks long gish gallop, his supporters will accept his flawed reasoning because transphobia is the Soup of the Day (but only as long as you call it free speech rather than transphobia). No one will learn much except for whether or not their disdain for one idea or another is represented by one of the parties present. His supporters, confirmed in their prejudice by a fancy academic (hey I guess those fuckin’ nerds are good for something, as long as they agree with me), will carry on with their lives heads firmly planted up their asses. The addresses and phone numbers of his detractors will remain on the internet forever. Fact and reason will fall by the wayside, buried ironically by a man who claims to wear the very concepts as his banner.
Nothing will change. Not from this debate. Not from any debate. Educators will carry on educating despite the ditches Peterson tries to dig for us.