Ok so what about Paula’s Google doc?
Sigh. Do I really care?
Oh well. Maybe a point or two.
First, since I gather this has touched a nerve in some quarters, I shall deal with the terms “feminazi” and “femistasi”. As a general principle, I oppose the use of any kind of name-calling.
Well don’t we all, provided we get to resort to it when we really want to.
For the record, I am categorically NOT suggesting that the people I have applied these terms to are, in fact, Nazis or Stasi members, or would ever have sympathized with either of them. There are many of us who are proud to be called Grammarnazis and who know perfectly well that no aspersions are being cast on our intentions towards either Jews or Poland. It might be considered distasteful that the suffix -nazi has come to be used simply to mean “extremist” or “obsessive”, but nevertheless, it has come to be so used, and The Sisterhood of the Oppressed cannot legitimately chalk it up as yet another example of their alleged victimization.
She says, carefully avoiding name-calling as a general principle. But notice that the suffix -stasi has not come to be used simply to mean “extremist” or “obsessive.” Notice that an epithet one can be proud to be called, like Grammarnazi, is not the same thing as an epithet applied out of hostility, like Femistasi. Remember that Paula included the fact that she had spent two years in East Germany to back up her claim that FTB shows “strains of totalitarian thought.” In short, what she said was not similar to saying someone is a grammarnazi. It was an accusation that a few feminists and Freethought blogs are like Nazis and the Stasi.
In the case of the -stasi suffix, it draws attentions to behaviours associated with the thought police, for whom anyone who dares to hold non-approved attitudes is automatically persona non grata and to be treated as an enemy of the people. I am referring, of course, to the unfailing response on certain blogs whenever someone has had the temerity to challenge the claims that have been made there.
Yes, but that’s just it. The comparison is over the top. (That’s an example of understatement, pupils. Make a note of it.) The thought police don’t stop with comments on blogs. The Stasi – as Paula knows far better than I do – didn’t stop with comments on blogs. (Blogs didn’t even exist then! Can you imagine it?)
Sure, comments on blogs can be annoying, or even worse than annoying. When they get very personal and very malicious and go on for months or even a year, they can be a lot worse than annoying. But they’re still not the Stasi! They’re still different from the Stasi in many salient ways. I get a lot more shit in blog comments than Paula does (and who knows, maybe I deserve every bit of it, for being so evil), but I still notice the advantages I get from not being a victim of the Stasi. They are many and various, and I enjoy them a lot. I think Paula should be more alert to this difference – alert enough not to try to defend the idea that comments on blogs are in any way like the Stasi.
Now Paula gets personal.
Good heavens, we have even seen Ophelia Benson describe DJ Grothe’s call for more balance in the discussions as “sticking a metaphorical target” on her!
No, we have not seen that. Bad work, Paula. Be fair. This is what I said:
A few people think I’ve been unfair to DJ Grothe. I don’t. I think it’s the other way around.
I’ll explain why, as succinctly as I explained it to DJ (and Carrie) the day after threat-day.
I think he stuck a metaphorical target on me. He didn’t do anything to take it off. He didn’t do anything to assure me that he still welcomed me to TAM. He triggered a shit-storm, and then let it get worse and worse and worse.
He stuck a metaphorical target on me (in my view) when he blamed the fall in women’s attendance at TAM on
irresponsible messaging coming from a small number of prominent and well-meaning women skeptics who, in trying to help correct real problems of sexism in skepticism, actually and rather clumsily themselves help create a climate where women — who otherwise wouldn’t — end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe.
You see where she went wrong? I quoted exactly the part I meant when I said DJ stuck a metaphorical target on me, and in that passage he doesn’t “call for more balance in the discussions”; he blames a small number of women skeptics who probably include me. There’s not a word about balance in that passage.
Really, Paula. Is that “skepticism”? Not in my book.
That’s the first item. (Yes that was all one item. Don’t be such an itemnazi.) Second item later.