Don’t ever do anything, in case your motives are Impure

A silly thought.

Jeremy Stangroom @PhilosophyExp

Blimey, online warriors don’t half love the frisson of collective outrage. My advice is be deeply suspicious of it (and them).

I figure that’s about Ofek and DN Lee and Scientific American, if only because Stangroom monitors Freethought blogs and especially mine so closely. But then why would it be necessary to be deeply suspicious of outrage about it? Why is it wrong to be outraged about it?

Because of the putative love of the putative frisson, I suppose. But then he doesn’t know that, he’s just claiming it. And even if he’s right about it, or right in some cases, so what? What difference does it make? What difference does it make, especially, about the facts of the case? What’s his point? 

You know, there was probably a good deal of joy involved in the Civil Rights movement, along with a lot of terror and grief and despair. Is that a bad thing? Do we look back on that movement and shake our heads solemnly and think that everyone should have been more suspicious of it, because some people perhaps got some joy out of the Beloved Community? Should we think it was all irrational and out of control and undercut by terrible motivations because solidarity offers some rewards?

No. There’s every reason to look at particulars, and to create a solid, complicated, detailed history that shows the mistakes and self-interest and power-grabbing and whatever else was part of the movement, but there’s no reason to just scowl suspiciously at the whole thing in case there were some frissons of collective outrage along the way.

A year ago there was a lot of collective outrage when Malala was shot. And? Did that merit suspicion? Also a year ago there was a lot of collective outrage when Praveen Halappanavar went to the press with what had happened to his wife Savita at University Hospital, Galway. Did that merit suspicion? Should all those people who went to Kildare Street to protest outside the Dáil have stayed home and watched the telly instead? Was it all deeply suspect and horrible because they were outraged? Were they secretly ecstatic about the whole thing because it gave them an excuse to go out?

What bullshit. We get to evaluate outrage on the merits of the case, not whether or not anybody or everybody might have Unclean motives. And then what about Stangroom’s own frisson of personal outrage at Hated Bloggers? Eh? What about the frisson he gets from monitoring my blog and confirming again how evil I am?



  1. Al Dente says

    Yeah, Stangroom, some of us enjoy conflict. When Henry V cries: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more” we’re holding on to his coattails. You got a problem with that?

  2. Happiestsadist, opener of the Crack of Doom says

    I know nothing’s more fun to me than constantly being reminded that most of the world doesn’t see me or my loved ones as real humans worthy of basic dignity. I mean, waaaay more fun than like cake and beer and dancing or something. And then! we have the gleeful experience of trying to push back against the dehumanization, while hoping nothing too bad happens to us because of it! Laugh a minute, I’ll tell you that.

  3. smhll says

    The terror that he feels that we might someday infringe on his god-given right to be outrageous is a factor here? IDK.

  4. Bjarte Foshaug says

    Blimey, misogynist men from that most male-dominated of all accademic fields, philosophy, don’t half love the frisson of collective outrage towards any pushback against sexism and misogyny. My advice is be deeply suspicious of it (and them). #TheGeniusProject

  5. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    Did he actually write “blimey”? I’m suspicious of this. It implicitly comes with a “cor” (“gor”).

  6. Al Dente says

    F @5

    Blimeys (blimies?) can be cor-less. While the practice of the standalone blimey is generally frowned upon, there’s nothing in any grammatical handbook that requires a cor with a blimey.

  7. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    Yeah, it’s one thing when people are fighting for a cause he, personally, sees as significant. But when it’s something that doesn’t affect him personally, the folk involved must be wrong and ‘uppity’.

    What a whiny pissant he continues to be.

  8. atheist says

    “We would often be ashamed of our best actions if the world only knew the motives behind them.” –La Rochefoucauld

  9. atheist says

    @Ophelia Benson – October 13, 2013 at 10:49 am (UTC -7)

    Interesting. I think his point was actually dovetailing/rhyming with yours. In other words, he’s asking why do people complain about others’ impure motives when actually very few motives are really “pure”. I suspect he’d find Stangroom’s tweet to be just as inane as you do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *