The Treacherous Center

Not talking about centrism today, not strictly speaking about what’s wrong with it or anything. I’m thinking about this situation with the Atheist Community of Austin, and in the larger sense the youtubers and organized atheists around that situation, and in a larger sense any situation where degrees of progressivism start sorting themselves out. (And disclaimer upfront – this is pretty stream-of-consciousness. I wrote the title at the beginning and not sure how relevant it’ll be by the end.)

At the beginning of the gnu atheist movement the big heads were all about equality and lgbt rights and so on. Any time the subjects were up, they were very quick to proclaim them as their own. As if simply not having codified rules of repression like the abrahamic faiths would guarantee you a less repressive society.

But then the rubber met the road. Some mild feminist sentiment was issued from a perspective other than that of an old white man, and our whole shit exploded. Oops. As of now, do people like Harris and DickDawk even consider themselves feminist, even in a vile CH Sommers version of the term? Are they done with that? What about other progressive issues? When the old man tweeted that he’d heard the term SJW for the first time, he was boosting a very nasty bunch indeed.

Slice, slice, those who posture that they have some degree of progressive beliefs define themselves and their positions in a way that backs genuine progressives into a smaller and smaller corner. Now we have Austin – the most politically progressive city in Texas. The Atheist Community of Austin. Equality for women, people of color, them LGBTs. All seemed in order, right?

But this debate about intersex and transgender athletes (that first started being covered on FtB at Reprobate Spreadsheet). The old boy network of Youtubers that included important figures in the ACA closed ranks in favor of the more trans-exclusive side. Given the complexity of the issue, I don’t want to claim any authority to speak to it. But smart people who’ve taken a closer look say the instigating youtube boy was being unreasonable and transphobic, and their arguments are airtight. So is youtube boy a transphobe? Should he be rejected as such?

No, there should be no reproach for the special rational boys of rationalism. SJWs gone too far rabble rabble. Initially the ACA had enough progressives on board to denounce youtube boy, but the oldboy network hedged them out. Slice, slice.

Once again the political center has expanded in a way that shoved an oppressed minority into a smaller slice. Once you’ve defined yourselves that way as an organization, once you’ve excluded those voices, how long before any other lip service you’ve paid to progressivism disappears? How long before you’re all thunderf00ting about the joint, licking lady legs and moaning about feminazis?

Maybe you do keep most of your equal rights cred in place. It was just one marginal little issue right? You can be a feminist and anti-racist and pro-trans (in most instances) while still thinking the bodies of athletes must be crammed into narrow little genderholes.

But in a way that’s worse for the people you’ve sliced away. Because if you’re eating up progressive bandwidth and you’ve shown yourself to be an unsafe group for trans people to be around, they’re stuck on an even smaller fringe than they were already. Progressive atheism is small enough to fit in a schoolbus. Fully trans-inclusive progressive atheism is gonna be stuck in a Prius.

The right wing in the USA is a fucking nightmare show of hardcore nazi-assed hate goblins. Any degree to which you inch toward them, any inch you step toward the center, is necessarily coming at the expense of some of your friends, families, lovers. It’s a treacherous move.

Spoilery Thoughts on Next Black Panther

This contains spoilers for Avengers: Whatever Whatever and Spider Man: Far From Shabby.

So I found out while watching the new Spiderman movie on my b’day yesterday that the people who had been snapped out of existence by T. Hanos were de-snapped 5 years later having not aged a day. For the purposes of spidermanning, it meant some kids were younger than their little siblings, which is kinda funny. But I started to think about the ramifications for other parts of that world.

Wakanda lost a king and got a replacement that was immediately rocked by some turmoil. Then that king got snapped, along with half of Wakanda, after battling and losing against an alien Grimace. I can’t imagine the average Wakandan thinks highly of T’Challa given those events, and do think they’d be quick to blame it on T’challa opening the borders.

I know some of the Black Panther comics involved dealing with movements for Wakandan democracy, but haven’t read them and don’t know how they went. But it’s a really safe bet the next Black Panther movie is going to include some amount of that.

T’Challa is going to come back to a kingdom in some level of turmoil. Maybe his mom will be acting as a regent, maybe his sister be queening. Maybe they will have capitulated to some form of democracy or republic. And you know there will be an agitator who is xenophobic, maybe racist, pushing to become a strongman “reformer” …

What I’m saying is I’d like to see if they make a bad guy of an African Trump. I don’t know how I’d feel about that kind of character being held up as symbolic of democracy itself, opposed only by an ostensibly righteous monarchy. That’s a mess. But it might be funny to see that orange scrote lampooned in the film. What do you think?