I Need SJW Opinions, Help Me

Anybody remember the Ableism Challenge?  I’ve made it a matter of principle to never use crazy, stupid, and their synonyms on all my blog posts, the entire time I’ve been doing this.  I’ve also made it a comment policy.  The most recent violations of said policy are currently unaddressed, because I’m wondering what I should do at this point.

There was a minute when the prevailing feeling in the progressive internet parts was that we need to take ableism seriously in our language.  In culture at large we are quick to refer to anything we disagree with as stupid or insane.  People with psychological and cognitive disabilities exist and unquestionably do suffer from ableism.  Implicit in calling a conservative antivaxxer a “covidiot” is the idea that having such disabilities makes one a fair target of mockery.

FtB has never, on the whole, taken this type of ableism at all seriously, or had any staying power with efforts to reduce it.  How many of us are even trying?  I feel like I’m not 100% alone in this, but I’m not even sure who the others are.  This makes sense – the atheist and skeptic movements are founded on the hobby of making ourselves feel clever by mocking those who are not.

And I get it.  This isn’t a callout post for Mano, PZ, or 95% of the commentariat across the whole network.  We live in a world on the fast track to extinction and the cultists of a cheap and obvious con artist are spreading doubt about germ theory.  I wanna call Q shit stupid and crazy the same as you.  Who am I to tie your hands, to tell you not to call a spade a spade?

Furthermore, the SJWsphere seems to have moved on.  I never see people addressing ableist language anymore, and have seen a few prominent progressives actively rebuke these restraints.  The people who initially advocated for taking stupid and crazy off the table?  They’ve been quiet about this for years.  Some aren’t even blogging anymore.

I will continue to avoid stupid, crazy, and their synonyms in my posts.  It costs me nothing and I like to think this commitment offers some people a way to feel like they have some safe content on the internet, somewhere.  But how important is it?  Where’s the SJW pulse at, right now?  Should I hold my commenters to the same standard as myself?

When I say I want SJW opinions, I mean it.  If you’re just commenting to grouse from a centrist or liberal or crass point of view, fuck off.  The people whose opinions informed my original stance were the sensitive, the thoughtful, and those who are seriously committed to making the world a better place.  Social engineers.  Idealists.  Real social justice warriors.

I’m going to delete any comments that don’t meet that standard, even if I don’t ban anyone over it.  The comments on this post, assuming I get any, are for comrades only.


  1. Kirk M. says

    My opinion is that the last two elections seriously drained a lot of goodwill – at least it did for myself – toward the notion that since most crazy and stupid people are harmless we should never use it as an insult, since that’s ableism toward the intellectually disabled. It also drained a lot of energy – coming up with alternative insults takes work.

    Even if only a small portion of the population is voting in such terrible ways because of stupidity or ‘craziness’ (what really counts as crazy and stupid? thinking demons sex women up at night and give them covid? killing your kids because of lizardmen?), rather than just because it’s what everyone else around them believes (can a common social belief be crazy?), it’s still way too much. At this point, it may simply be better a tactic for those who care about ableism to say there’s a difference between being ‘stupid’ and being r**censored by GAS**, and a difference between being crazy and being mentally unwell like a schizophrenia sufferer. To make a demarcation instead of reclamation. I just don’t know. But I really don’t see those words getting reclaimed any time soon.
    Not after the damage that has been done by fools with the wool over their eyes who will deny things even when you try to lead them right to evidence. You can try to say ‘I do not think believing what everyone else around you believes is stupid’, but all it takes is most people disagreeing and going, ‘no man, still dumb as bricks to take horse dewormer, to trust your doctor arbitrarily on some situations but not others, to sew up your wounds and set your bones but not to help you with a worse version of the flu for free with a vaccine made by the same people who make the dick meds you take for fun sexy times’. That’s the situation we’re in right now. Perhaps we just need to invent a better insult?

  2. invivoMark says

    This is something I think about from time to time, since I’ve made the slight adjustments in my vocabulary to avoid calling people stupid or insane (although I still reserve those words as valid descriptors for ideas or inanimate objects – things which won’t object to being insulted). I have a couple hypotheses about why this issue is rarely discussed these days, and I have no idea which one(s) are accurate.

    (1) There are bigger fish to fry at the moment. There’s a deadly pandemic raging and half the world seems to be on the side of the virus, doing everything they can to keep people from wearing masks, getting vaccinated, and taking other basic steps to save lives. In the shadow of such enormity, the issue of ableist language either seems too small to fight for, or too difficult to make any gains on.

    (2) The arguments were made, the SJW-sphere has considered the arguments, and the arguments for removing those words from vocabularies were not found sufficiently compelling to win support on the whole. I still see “SJW-type” people use these words (“covidiot,” as you point out, is popular), which may be considered evidence for this. I think the argumentation had a rocky start, as some commentators neglected to differentiate between calling a person insane and saying that a torrential downpour meant the weather was insane. That could have turned people away from engaging with the arguments.

    (3) It isn’t seen as an issue because those who care chose to stick with others who also care, and they don’t use that language, while those who don’t care continue to use that language around others who don’t care. In other words, there is a silent rift in the SJW community, and neither side has cause to talk about the issue because they perceive that their side has “won.”

    I make these hypotheses with as little judgment or preference as possible. These are just my observations and ponderings.

  3. atomjz says

    As an SJW in about the middle of the millennial age group, I get the feeling that coming down too hard on this issue at the current time would be a strategic/pragmatic nightmare for our goals. Sometimes we can’t be too idealistic or we lose the long-war: most of society (generally a bit older, mildly conservative on some social issues) tend to lash back strongly against SJW-ish issues when we push beyond the current “social issues frontier,” which currently consists primarily of rights for women, racial minorities, and members of the LGBT+ community.

    In short, I think there’s a theoretical limit on how quickly we can further socially progressive causes, beyond which the rest of society violently shifts back towards conservatism as a reaction, and perhaps strong ableism is currently beyond that limit. I don’t think it has anything to do with speed, it’s actually about which ideas the mainstream just considers “too far.” I’d like to be an idealist, but “victory” (whatever that means) requires us to be a bit pragmatic in the speed at which we fight the good fight. Perhaps what makes me saddest in our cause is how often our own kind are willing to forsake any progress (in some specific areas) in the name is sticking to our guns ideologically. Ideological purity is a privilege not all have.

    I admire and respect those willing to make changes on ableist language, but I think the concensus is that if we try and force the issue into the current Overton window of SJW-acceptability, we’ll lose, and we’ll lose HARD. Hard enough that it erases much of the progress we’ve made among social-centrists (for lack of a better term).

  4. StevoR says

    I try to avoid using those words too. It certainly isn’t always easy and I admit I’ve slipped up a bit at times but I agree its worth remembering and working to change. I try to use things like counter-productive, willfully ignorant, toxic and others depending on context.

  5. says

    I still avoid insults targeted at cognitive ability, at least in writing. But, I feel like the ableism challenge is so intractable that it’s not worth it to try to persuade other people. I stuck with the idea because it personally resonates with me (and perhaps, because I’m not inclined towards insults in the first place). My school years were dominated by notions of intelligence and stupidity, and I find it important to distance myself from that.

  6. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Sometimes I think it’s not a big deal to use those words and/or I think that I’m just grossly ignorant about the impact of those words. However, I still try regardless to avoid using them. Sometimes it is difficult to find alternatives, and sometimes I slip up. I remember a long time ago when I made a conscious effect to avoid “r**censored by GAS**” and “r**censored by GAS**ed”. Later, because of FTB, I expanded the list to include all insults of low-intelligence. That does really limit my insult vocabulary, but I generally do it anyways. It just means that I use “fool” and “foolish” a lot.

  7. lochaber says

    I don’t quite get the objection to some of these terms (the most common one I’ve read is that someone with some learning disabilities has been called dumb, stupid, etc., and therefore we shouldn’t use those terms because they were used on someone who didn’t fit them? (I may not be getting this…))

    I’ve been using “willfully obtuse”, “willfully ignorant”, and just plain “irrational” more often, but I feel like those are just overly wordy ways of saying “dumb”, “stupid”, “insane”, and “crazy”. I feel like we do need some words available to describe (and maybe even insult…) those people who show a staggering lack of thought, often combined with a whole lot of ego – you know, Dunning-Kruger type stuff.

    Anyone else remember that old internet argument from a weightlifting/bodybuilding forum about how many days are in a week? Maybe it’s mean-spirited of me, but I feel like we need a well-deserving insult for that type of behavior.

    I’m trying to be better about my use of insults and similar, but i’ve got some long-standing habits, and I don’t understand some of the arguments against some of them. I’m trying not to be dismissive of those arguments I don’t quite understand, but I think I’m more likely to put some effort into changing my language if I can understand the reasoning and such…

  8. blf says

    What about deliberate misspellings of certain words, e.g., “stooopid”, “moran” (based on a famous image), or “eejit” (loosely based on the Irish pronunciation)? (All three examples are also pronounced slightly differently.)

    I avoid “insane” and “crazy”, albeit do use “delusional” (suggested alternatives welcome). On the later, several dictionaries provide a non-medical definition similar to “having false or unrealistic beliefs or opinions” (in addition to the medical term).

    There are several reasons for this tactic, including (but perhaps not limited to, and certainly in no particular order):

    (1) The silly spelling perhaps emphasizes the silliness of whatever is being discussed or described.
    (2) Indicate (signal) that no medical “diagnoses” is being made.
    (3) Try to avoid harming or stigmatizing groups of people, as per this post and the local posting policy.

    On the 3rd reason listed the success is perhaps not obvious. At least in my mind, the intent to avoid harming or stigmatizing is there, but does the use of misspelled variants actually work?

  9. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Weird. I would think that the purposeful misspellings are even more offensive and harmful because they highlight and exaggerate the shortcomings of these disprivileged groups. However, now I really wonder what members of these affected groups think, and I wonder about the actual relative effects of these words.

  10. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    No, I didn’t say that right. I mean, by purposefully misspelling the words, it implies that all members of the disprivileged groups are all equally incapable of truly basic tasks like spelling. It paints everyone with any learning disability as completely useless. It also seems to be that injecting that sort of humor would increase the audience’s propensity to explicitly make fun of members of the disprivileged groups.

    For example, my wife just started assisting in a special ed class class with students with moderate to severe autism. She didn’t know what she was in for, and I was trying to explain. Because English isn’t her first language, it was hard to explain without resorting to words like “idiot” and “r**censored by GAS**”, and asking google to auto-translate them. I would never in a million years use comical misspellings and mispronunciations of these words in this context because it seems to me to be really attacking and demeaning the students that she’s about to teach. Words like “idiot” and “r**censored by GAS**” still retain some amount of their historical definitions which were clinical, but these new purposeful misspellings seem to me to be straight-up slurs. It’s the difference between an “innocent” use of a racial slur by an old person that used to be an acceptable way to describe a certain ethnicity vs a willful use of a racial slur word.

    In other words, calling someone “a r**censored by GAS**” doesn’t seem to promote as much ill-will towards less-abled people compared to saying “eejit” or “moran”. Specifically, I would have never done that with the conversation with my wife who is about to teach some people with severe learning disabilities because I would never want to say anything that might predispose her, however little, to viewing them with less respect or thinking that they can be made fun of, and words like “eeijit” and “moran” seem perfectly suited for making fun of people because they are less-abled.

  11. says

    AS A DISABLED PERSON MYSELF, I think we need to focus less on the euphemism (and insult) treadmill, and more on actual, you know, ACCOMMODATIONS. Not saying “stupid” is fine, if that’s how you wanna roll, but it does absolutely nothing to remove the actual, physical barriers to participation that disabled people are facing.

  12. says

    I do try (and fail) to not use ableist language and not to insult people, but it seems to me that the way you define what is ableist means that any and all insults conveying contempt of bad judgment/ideas/behavior are essentially off-limits, which I do not think is possible. I do agree we should communicate without insults, but that is how the world should be, not how it is. I feel like you are trying to make perfectly spherical people argue in a perfect vacuum.

    Further, English is not my first language, and trying to wrap my head around these discussions is sometimes simply not possible. I commented on this a few years ago at Nathans and I did not get a reply that addresses what I have said. It seems even native English speakers do not have a clear idea of how to deal with it. People still want to express frustration, contempt, and a plethora of other negative emotions towards things they perceive as harmful.

    Raising awareness about the harms of ableist language is good. Reminding people when they forget about is good too. But it is not the language that is the problem, it is the attitude behind it. IMO if you try to replace an ableist word with some new term but not change the overall attitude and perception behind that first word in the overall culture, then you merely manage to create a new ableist term in addition to the first one.

    And changing the attitude will take generations, if it ever happens.

  13. Big Z says

    As an Gen-X SJW, my attitude kinda parallels WMDKitty–the few folks I know who do have mental disabilities seem to be less concerned with the language at the moment and more concerned with real world accommodations.

    I’ve also personally tried harder to remove words more specifically associated with ableism — I have almost completely replaced “insane”, “crazy”, “dumb”, but still use “stupid”.

  14. brucegee1962 says

    I think that one of the things that damages the SJW agenda as a whole is our tendency to take offence on behalf of others. If I read an article on the internet about a covid denier, and I want to comment that said person is an idiot, am I really supposed to believe that there is someone out there who would say “Well, I’m not a covid denier, but I am an idiot, so I take offense at the term”? Surely the number of people who self-identify as idiots and are reading internet comments is pretty close to zero. If we take offense on behalf of imaginary people, it just makes us look ridiculous.
    I wouldn’t call someone I’m having an argument with an idiot, though. When people are simply hashing out a disagreement, especially people who are generally on the same side on other issues, just resorting to insults rather than presenting arguments seems a whole lot worse than some imaginary splash damage.
    @12WMD Kitty

    Also, fuck off, Gerrard, nobody wants to listen to you ramble on topics you’re not educated on.

    Case in point.

  15. Allison says

    But it is not the language that is the problem, it is the attitude behind it. IMO if you try to replace an ableist word with some new term but not change the overall attitude and perception behind that first word in the overall culture, then you merely manage to create a new ableist term in addition to the first one.


    I have watched as, for example, people come up with new words to refer to the “mentally handicapped,” only to have them become slurs within a decade or two. When I was young, words like “moron” were technical terms, Then they became common slurs, and they came up with “mentally retarded,” and we know what happened to that term. Not that the treatment of the people the term refers to has improved in the slightest in my lifetime.

    One of my own peeves is the way so many SJW people (and even mental health professionals, who ought to know better!) are willing to diagnose mental illnesses in people they only know through the news. It goes beyond simple insults and slurs — these are people who will go to great lengths to argue that this or that public person really is suffering from disorder X. This got particularly bad during the Trump years. As someone with more than one DSM-V diagnosis, this really hits me where I live. Fortunately, some blogs have a strict policy about removing comments that do so, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at FtB.

    P.S.: I personally prefer terms like “ass” — I’ve never heard anyone say that someone with Down syndrom is “an ass.” There’s also “fool” for the willfully unwise, though one risks associating them with King Lear’s advisor.

  16. says

    This thread is reminding me of another problem with the ableism challenge, which is that there seem to be multiple interpretations. One interpretation is that there’s a certain set of words which are known slurs (e.g. r**censored by GAS**, stupid, crazy, insane, lunatic), and we should substitute for different words. Another interpretation is that it’s more the spirit of the words that’s the problem, and that substitutions won’t cut it if you’re still essentially getting at the same thing. And then there are different interpretations about which substitutions cut it or not.

    I feels like this substitution game is just sweeping dirt back and forth rather than really addressing any problem. The euphemism treadmill, as WMDKitty put it. Does that mean we need an even more radical rethinking of our language? It’s an interesting line of thought but it feels like such a big ask for relatively little payoff.

  17. says

    I have an ablism post planned but I’m not in a good place for blogging yet. I can try to outline some stuff here through the day as it comes to me.

    At it’s core there are 2 problems with ablism, (1) the use of mental health/illness language for social dominance, and (2) the incompetence of using insults instead of the logic or reasoning problem.

    I pointed out that even if “thugs” did not have a racist component “ruffians” would be inappropriate because it is not an objective example or descriptor for people using violence, similarly using ablist labels on people OR arguments and ideas instead of accurate language is incompetent with respect to identifying the problem being engaged with.

    Bigger fish to fry? This is part of the problem. You have to competently label the problem in front of you.

  18. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To WMDKitty
    I’m sorry for anything that I’ve said here which is wrong or harmful. I was genuinely trying to help the OP and the conversation, and I was also here out of a genuine desire to learn and better myself. I hope you have a good day.

  19. Marja Erwin says

    I’ve been banned from some sites for objecting to the more clearly eugenicist terms, harassed off another for it, etc.

    I’ve also had people who find out about my neuro issues tell me I should kill myself, tell me I shouldn’t be allowed out of my house, tell me I shouldn’t use the computer, etc. and a number of people find out about a phobia and send me pics, videos, etc. to trigger it.

    I don’t have the energy fopr any of these fights, but then, I don’t have the choice to give up. I figure it makes as much sense to try to address the broader climate that says we’re lebenunswertes Leben, as to try to address the specifics. And it may be safer.

  20. Marja Erwin says

    And the harassment was after I’d asked for some basic accommodations. They knew what I needed, so they decided to hurt me by doing the opposite.

    Most of the trouble is the opposite, though. They don’t know, and inadvertently harm me, endanger me, etc. by following standard practices.

    Occasionally I’d get into arguments where I’d explain how something hurts or endangers me, and be told that if I want people to stop doing that, I must want other people to die, because … something … somehow.

  21. says

    I set up a 3 part challenge to more overt abuses of mental health/illness language. If someone claims they see something they attach a diagnosis to I demand,
    1) the name of the condition
    2) the abstract diagnostic criteria
    3) the concrete examples of the criteria on the situation at hand
    I’ve literally not gotten past step 1.

    Words like “stupid” etc, st best replace something genuinely irrational, illogical, ignorant or incompetent with something that has no informational value. Just feelings.

  22. says

    There’s other tension between being willing to use language that is just a content-less insult, and getting upset at criticism from splash damage. If someone else doesn’t care about the quality of their projected negative feelings, why should I with respect to them?

    And they are insults. They aren’t synonyms for specific irrational or illogical behavior that can be engaged with.

  23. says

    I find you really hard to follow, Brony. It’s interesting, in a way, how hard I find it to understand you. Reminds me of Oliver Sacks talking about people with different neurological impairments changing the way they comprehend different forms of communication – emotional, gestural, etc. What am I missing here with you? I don’t think this is a particular fault of either of us, just a quirk of the way my brain interacts with your verbal constructions. But it does make it harder to engage in a drive-by style, like I do with most things in my bloggery.

    I’ll come back to reread these additions if I get a chance.

  24. says

    @Great American Satan 27
    I also feel like I’m trying to vomit a library at times and can’t figure out how to, I’m not sure. It’s hard to express myself now and I’m processing a lot. If there is something I can do let me know. I’m trying to find areas to improve.

  25. Jazzlet says

    Brony I wonder if you could break things down a bit more? I often feel as if there are a whole load of words missing when I read your comments, as if you assume that I/we know what you are talking about, but I don’t, if that makes sense? No worries if it doesn’t, I don’t always make sense.

  26. says

    @Jazzlet 29
    I’ll try breaking it down more, I was already planning on it. If there are specific parts that will help because I’m unsure what needs unpacked or what isn’t shared knowledge. There is a perspective issue I’m still figuring out.

    As an added complication I’m, maybe growing into my personality is a good way to put it. I’ve tied tourette syndrome to the (and of course this is involved) Midieval “natural fools” (as opposed to “licenced fools”).

    Over the last decade I have become very sensitive to the instrumental use of mental health/illness language in social conflict. A court jester is someone who works negative feelings, I’ve got some choices in how I can do this (and I’m trying to expand my “tool set”), but I am going to be challenging ableist language.

  27. says

    I’m trying to break things involving ableism up into pieces. It might help if I describe my perspective here and do more after I mentally organize it more.

    I’ve spent decades in a range of conflicts online by choice. I choose to argue (or discuss) politics the way other people might choose to learn martial arts. The aggression is part of it, not just working towards a political goal, but controlling and understanding political aggression, starting with mine. I don’t believe that we deal with social aggression honestly as a society.

    My tourette syndrome contributes to this. While the negative examples informing medicine and stereotypes neglect positive feeling impulses, I’ve had to spend my life focusing on and controlling the brain systems related to mirrioring and repetition. That has benefits in spotting patterns in intense feeling language and controlling my use of that language.
    My recent interest in “gender null” is connected to this because it’s another set of words (and other kinds of communication) that other people react to and I don’t feel strongly about personally. Otherwise that and “non-binary” are things I will think about carefully before apolying to myself.

    One feature is insults directed at me tend to feel like amusing challenges, and insults have features that can be manipulated. While I believe that the tourette’s syndrome (TS) is related to this I can’t say this is a part of TS because I’m very priviliged when it comes to group insults. In fact the TS comes with privilige here. It’s a genuine advantage and privilige to be more resistent to socially aggressive behavior.
    My last burst of blogging was in part about getting instrumental control of my socially aggressive impulses. But not to stop using perfectly natural human social tools.

    Next (I’m not sure when) I’m going to address the issue of ableism more specifically.
    *Because of the way experience and memory works the experiences of people abused by irrational social dominance language can not be ignored. Those experiences are immeadiately recalled from memory and connected to a use of “stupid” or “idiot”.
    *Past language patterns and irrational language.
    *[Signal] to [noise] problem and political momentum.
    *the set of “carrots” and “sticks” I’m working on.

  28. says

    I have figured out one of the things giving me trouble. This next part is in part becoming an exposition on the structure of social shaming. That is a good or bad thing in concrete examples at this level (aggression is in both criticism and ableism), but I feel the need to ask about what might be triggering to anyone.

    I feel social conflict differently for more than one reason. There is a tension in using social aggression around people who have been hurt by it that I am trying to make more objectively rooted. It’s been a regular feature since I realized I had a feel for aggression, and so many here have also been hurt by it.

  29. says

    I’m going to start by pointing out some features of the use of 2 words and the surrounding social context. This is not exhaustive but these are important to the situation.

    “stupid” and “idiot”.
    *Examples of labels applied to things one feels negative about
    *Examples of shaming
    *Historical terms that carry a vague implication of or “mentally bad” or “bad with respect to the working of the mind”, or worse with respect to the shamer.
    *Aggressive approach behavior
    *Applied to whole people, actions (communication is an action), manner of thought, and animate/inanimate objects.

    The action.
    Someone [feels negative about something] and applies a [label] to it in an act of social shaming. This implicitly involves the feelings of the shamer, the shamed, and the audience, and at this point isn’t about shaming being good or bad in a specific example.

    A subgroup of the audience (and perhaps the shamed) have experienced the [label] abusively. Perhaps the label was used with more objective descriptions of problems, while itself having no ability to point to a useful problem. Perhaps there were no problems, perhaps the word was used on their whole person without any other information leaving nothing but a sense of personal worthlessness that some children can’t contextualize. What matters is that this group is an unavoidable part of the social context. You will eventually cause pain.

    This pain is not avoided by referring to animate or inanimate objects as stupid or idiot when feeling negative as you are still doing a social dominance display with the words. Carrying out an action with implicitly social elements that can draw experience from memory in an observer.

    Next I feel like doing the political effects of this language and the reciprocal elements that I use to justify criticism and other things that have been seen as aggressive. But my thoughts may change because I’m still organizing my thoughts.

  30. says

    I still haven’t made the time to come back and read your comments for comprehension, but I might yet. I have no problem letting you organize your thoughts here as you consider them, in the meantime.

  31. says

    I know it’s hard to remove habit like this. Something tied to intense feelings that someone is used to doing for so long.

    But as a party with relevant interest in our collective political efficiency and a sensitivity to insulting language I get to involve myself in what I see as political behavior. This isn’t about being nice, this is about using relevant language that feels bad if someone is going to make that choice, and a social atmosphere that focuses on problems. I consider myself a specialist in negative feeling political behavior and I work around people that use positive approaches.

    Stupid and idiot are functionally [noise] with respect to best case uses against legitimately harmful beliefs and behaviors. They overlap with legitimate labeling and shaming, the [signal] in an already intense social environment. Instead of proper identification of bad behavior they depend on public stereotypes and sometimes the shamer brings in diagnoses irrationally.

    In my experience stupid and idiot can be functionally replaced by irrational, illogical, ignorant, and/or incompetent. These branch into specific kinds of each. I’m always interested in new rational general categories of problem to replace stupid and idiot with. I know that those words have also been used to abuse but they have the benefit of features that can be used to defend oneself from. Idiot and stupid are vague and undefined with respect to problem solving.

    Reciprocity: people willing to use irrational negative feeling language can’t justify sensitivity to criticism, a reasonable negative feeling behavior. In fact it’s justifiable to reflect the same level of behavior at them and I’m willing to give them more. I let individual people and groups show me how they will react and adapt to that.

    If someone isn’t willing to change language like this they aren’t displaying a flexability that is important in political behavior. And to people with an interest in related political language, people using stupid and idiot are legitimate political targets. If we are serious about things like global warming being willing improve the [signal]\[noise] ratio should something we are willing to do.

    There is more but I’m working on political challenges to my parents at the same time. Lots of tension to manage.

  32. says

    Incidentally I believe the tourette syndrome provides benefits in that intense social environment I mentioned above. 1/200 people spending a lifetime having to develop a measure of control over intense urges… seems useful to a species (some of it can be seen in the cognitive enhancement research using effects on saccades). It’s a pity we’re largely pathologizing it and a bunch of other things. I don’t want to dismiss the negative feeling parts of the reality for people but I believe we are doing what we did with left-handed people but with personality. I’ve only been acting like this is a potential thing for about a decade (after the diagnosis and studying the related literature).

  33. says

    I still intend to say more here, my mental resources are too tied up in family issues.

    For now I have thought about the ableism in “natural fool”. I don’t feel any need to use “fool”, “jester”, or “clown” via the “clown society” category. They do have enough negative associations for them to have ableist uses.

    But I have thought of responses to people trying to use those as insults. “Clown” is “the best insult I ever got”, and will be responded to with “that’s ‘natural fool’ in a medieval context”.

  34. says

    @Great American Satan 41
    It’s been useful to channel the tourettic intrusive thoughts into social conflict analysis. Also I can’t unsee a social problem once it’s been shown to me. That part of my mind will go back again and again over years.

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