The Writers for a Progressive North Carolina do not, to the best of my knowledge, comment on my blag–but if they did, they’d immediately win the October Snark of the Month:
Content Notice: Victim blaming and trans antagonism.
It wasn’t even half a year ago when we were watching reactionaries come out of the woodwork to defend McCrory’s odious HB2. People who often admitted they had no knowledge or experience with gender variance suddenly felt justified in passing legislation that they deemed was for the “protection of women and girls.” The sentiment has been repeated many times by Republicans since, with no shortage of spewage coming out characterizing trans women as men, as rapists, as privacy violations, as monsters, so on and so forth.
I’m sure you’ll be devastated to learn that the reactionaries have a very odd idea of what constitutes “protection.” Zack Ford compares a number of prominent Conservative responses to Trump’s self-confessed behaviour in serially harassing and sexually assaulting women to their stance on transgender protections. (all emphasis added)
Gov. Mike Pence
On transgender protections: “Policies regarding the security and privacy of students in our schools should be in the hands of Hoosier parents and local schools, not bureaucrats in Washington, DC. The federal government has no business getting involved in issues of this nature. I am confident that parents, teachers and administrators will continue to resolve these matters without federal mandates and in a manner that reflects the common sense and compassion of our state.”
On Trump’s 2005 remarks: “It’s absolutely false to suggest that at any point in time we considered dropping off this ticket… He said last night very clearly that that was talk, not actions. And I believe him and I think the contrast between that and what the Clintons were involved in 20 years ago — the four women that were present last night — was pretty dramatic.”
On transgender protections: “If you are a married man with any gumption, surely you will defend your wife’s privacy and security in restroom facilities. Would you remain passive after knowing that a strange-looking man, dressed like a woman, has been peering over toilet cubicles to watch your wife in a private moment? What should be done to the pervert who was using mirrors to watch women and girls in their stalls?”
On Trump’s 2005 remarks: “The comments Mr. Trump made 11 years ago were deplorable and I condemn them entirely. I also find Hillary Clinton’s support of partial birth abortion criminal and her opinion of evangelicals to be bigoted. There really is only one difference between the two. Mr. Trump promises to support religious liberty and the dignity of the unborn. Mrs. Clinton promises she will not.”
Gary Bauer, American Values
On transgender protections: “This is yet another example of the Obama administration’s bizarre obsession to force women to be unwilling participants in a radical social experiment… Now Obama’s HUD bureaucrats are putting those women at risk for abuse and worse by men claiming to be women.”
On Trump’s 2005 remarks: “ The comments are obviously disgusting and unfortunate. But Donald Trump did not run as a evangelical or as somebody who ran the kind of campaign that a Pat Robertson would run. We’ll still support him, still work hard for him. His policies are 100% better than Hillary clinton’s for the country. I don’t see how any values voter that is sensible would take a tape from 11 years ago with totally inappropriate language and says somehow that leads me as a voter to stay home or vote for Hillary Clinton or throw your vote away on a third party candidate.”
In other words, Republicans are just fine with endangering women, as long as it’s Republicans who get to do the endangering.
We could check the criminology stats to see how often trans women commit crimes and what kinds of crimes they are… but that would be the rational thing to do, and Republicans are a little too busy moralizing to do any kind of introspection. They don’t see the contradiction between “all women lie about rape” and “all men talk like that.” Obviously, we can trust their judgement.
I do not like this howling man
I do not like his fake orange tan
I do not think his facts are straight
I do not think his speech is great
Angry, shouting, screeching too
I think I’m tired of his flinging poo
I think he’s empty in his head
I think he’s creepy in his bed
I don’t get it, how he stands
Roaring, waving, with tiny hands
I think he’s spoken, far too long
About the content of his schlong
Pretty much anyone would feel a bit touchy if it were suggested they were the scum of human society. Nobody likes being called that. When we’re talking about the alt right, a cluster of beliefs exhibiting anything from White Supremacy to anti-suffragist sentiments, it’s hard not to point out that they advocate for a lot of harm. Except a detailed description of the harm in question is a feature, and not a bug. They want to hurt you.
However, the alt right is uniquely predictable in that calling out alt right beliefs as being dangerous will inevitably result in you being doxxed and swarmed by rape and death threats, as if this proves how reasonable advocacy for the alt right cluster of beliefs is.
Ijeoma Oluo nails it when it comes to the problems of Trump’s presidency campaign. People have been giving Trump supporters wiggle room for them to say, “well, I’m not the bad guy, so I can continue supporting Trump!”
Oluo points out that no, supporting a White Supremacist means that you are, at best, indifferent to White Supremacy, which means you fail at ethics: (emphasis mine)
Now some of you may be asking, as you have on Facebook and Twitter: “Ijeoma, are you really willing to call half of the U.S. population White Supremacists?” And to that my answer is hell yes. This may seem like a bold statement to some, but honestly, I can’t see why.
Human beings can quite easily fall in line with violent hatred and oppression; any quick glance through world history will show that to be true. Do you think that the Nazis came to power against the will of the German electorate, or with the support of the German people? Do you think that slavery was upheld purely by the few rich enough to own slaves, or by an entire society that even erected armies to defend it? And no, none of this can be excused away as “a product of the times”—humans are not like wine grapes; we do not have a few “bad years” that we can blame on the soil. If you recognize that these horrific systems of abuse, oppression, and even genocide were upheld by everyday people, then you have to acknowledge that everyday people are capable of some pretty heinous shit. You can be in the PTA and you can pay your taxes and you can volunteer at your local homeless shelter and at the same time you can be actively upholding the oppression of others. It has been done before and it is being done now.
I’d like to draw your attention to the last bit I quoted there. You can look at someone like Hitler and point out that he kissed his wife on the cheek and painted nice things and drank his tea with his pinky finger sticking out and probably cuddled with his dog. We need to dispel this notion of “Bad Guys” altogether, because it allows us to put distance between accountability and our ideas. If we support Trump, we support White Supremacy. That isn’t cancelled out by running a cat rescue or housing an estranged member of the family. You can be concerned with the welfare of certain people whilst being a White Supremacist.
History has shown us that those principled enough to accept the consequences of defiance in the face of a violent authoritarian regime are in the minority. Most of us will kowtow to violence. Most of us can be convinced to uphold a war machine. After all, every great crime against humanity was carried out and supported by the average Joe. If we understand there is a tremendous capacity for violence in all of us, we are better equipped to see the world not as Good vs. Evil–which is exactly the simplistic narrative authoritarians want you to believe–but instead to see the world as a collection of largely mutually exclusive ideas, with different goals and different degrees of effectiveness.
That’s why I’m not interested in the biography of any given White Supremacist. I don’t care about the individual. I care about the idea, and what it represents.
The media will dance
give credence to both sides
But one of them’s got nothing
just air and empty minds
He’ll send the tanks, bomb the bad guys,
use a stick to beat a bush
She’ll catch pneumonia, miss an email,
add some weight on her tush
Trump cares, you see,
about the issues of import
Just sign here, dotted line,
to pledge away support
Don’t read the fine print,
that text will send you reeling
Don’t name him deplorable,
or you’ll hurt his fucking feelings
It was 1932,
When we hoped the Reich was wise,
Let’s hope the world don’t burn
because of witless white guys
I’m no expert poet like Cuttlefish, nonetheless I feel compelled to make light of Literal Hitler because comprehending the possibility of being his neighbour sends me into the cusp of a catatonic state.
Trevor Noah has some wisdom on the ruffled feathers of Trump supporters being characterized as “deplorable:”
I wouldn’t call what I experience during interviews/debates with Trump’s surrogates pleasurable, but… yeah. No. That’s about it. It’s gross.
Behold, a crystal clear demonstration of the conservative deflector shield (video at link):
After Trump received a letter of endorsement from 88 retired military figures, Hall pointed out to Delgado that it was impossible to verify that Trump had donated to veterans charities because he refused to release his tax returns.
Delgado asserted that Trump “can’t release” his taxes because he is under IRS audit.
“Yes, you can,” Tall said. “There’s nothing that prevents you.”
Hall noted that Trump promised in 2014 that he would release his tax returns if he ran for president even though he was being audited at the time.
“Why is it you want them released?” Delgado quipped. “I think the bigger issue is Hillary Clinton’s medical records.”
“We don’t know where he’s invested his money,” Hall remarked, getting the interview back on track. “There was a New York Times report about ties to Chinese banks, potential investments in Russia. We need to know more about this presidential candidate. Why not release that information?”
Hall moved on to questions about Trump’s illegal donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi after she dropped a lawsuit against Trump University.
“It sounds like a situation of pay-for-play,” Hall observed.
“Pam Bondi asked for that donation before she even knew that some complaints had come into her office, hundreds of complaints,” Delgado insisted.
“He would say that there’s no way Hillary Clinton had this conversation and that this lawsuit did not come up,” Hall countered. “Remember all the suspicions regarding [Attorney General Loretta Lynch] and Bill Clinton on the plane? Donald Trump would not accept that as answer.”
Delgado insisted that the donations to Bondi were “not suspicious” because Trump was a “friend.”
The Trump surrogate then attempted to pivot to “pay-for-play” at the Clinton Foundation, but Hall wasn’t having it.
Did you hear that? That sound was the sound of the deflectors being raised.
Or Delgado’s brain short circuiting. Either/or.
Sometimes it’s like watching someone try to crush a fruit fly with a sledge hammer.
‘Merica, you scary.
QUICK, THE FACTS ARE COMING, DEPLOY THE DEFLECTOR SHIELD.
Siggy touches on his post about Atheism 101 the simultaneous utility and flaw of definition use. The problem of definition is one of those epistemological headaches that wakes me in the middle of the night with a cold sweat. “If you replaced all the parts of a boat, is it still the same boat?!?!” I scream into the stars. My partner, roused from her slumber, cocks her eyebrow from the pillow, mumbling into the fabric “Who cares?”
Credible dictionaries choose to be descriptivist–which is to say, they simply describe the way words are used. Contrast prescriptivist, which claims “this is the way a word is supposed to be used.” Ultimately a language puritan will lose in their argument but for the simple fact that once a phrase catches on, people will continue to use it, and your dictionary will rapidly be out of touch if you don’t keep up. The utility in providing a definition is to aide communication, ensuring everyone knows what we’re supposedly talking about if I suggest we debate garbledina. Misunderstanding of what definition of garbledina we’re using in a debate is typically how an argument goes south.
Following descriptivist logic, I don’t actually mean to argue the way most people use the word “authoritarian” is wrong. Rather I have found another way the word is used in a book that technically wasn’t recommended to me by Marcus Ranum, but I ended up devouring it from start to finish anyway. It’s called The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer. That link is a free PDF hosted by the author himself. I at least recommend reading the first few pages–you might get sucked in, in part because the book was written in the noughties but practically describes Trump’s rise to popularity even though it didn’t happen for another 10 years.
Caitlyn Jenner has said and done no shortage of odious things in defence of the Republican party, but now is an excellent time to remind everyone that her transition is not one of them. In this latest spat, Jenner asserts that Trump would be “good for women and the LGBT community:”
“I’m on the conservative Republican side. I’m not excited with what Obama has done to the economy, to our Constitution, all that kind of stuff. But as far as the transgender community, they’ve actually been very good,” Caitlyn told Stat. “Everybody looks at the Democrats as being better with these issues. But Trump seems to be very much for women. He seems very much behind the LGBT community because of what happened in North Carolina with the bathroom issue. He backed the LGBT community. But in Trump’s case, there’s a lot more unknowns. With Hillary, you pretty much know what you’re gonna get with the LGBT community.”
I’ll make my point short and simple:
I’m not excited with what Obama has done to the economy, to our Constitution, all that kind of stuff.
You’re not excited that Title IX was extended to trans folk? Okay then…