Do I have to do everything around here?

Fortunately, no. No I do not. On every issue that I address, there’s someone else right here on FtB who also discusses (or has discussed) the same thing. But there are issues where I feel I have that little extra bit of expertise, or where I flatter myself that I have had a particularly good insight and start to feel, “Gosh, I really should write something on that.” My feeling of moral obligation has been expressed in many ways. A couple of my favorites are the Hebrew, “Tikkun olam,” and the West Wing quote from a fictional New Hampshire Catholic,

If fidelity to freedom and democracy is the code of our civic religion, then surely the code of our humanity is faithful service to that unwritten commandment that says we shall give our children better than we ourselves received.

I just can’t seem to leave poor enough alone. But there are times when issues come up,  as has happened in the last few days, that I feel I’ve already expressed myself well on a topic, but in a comment on some thread where it is more than likely to be lost to time. Writing on trans issues can be exhausting for me. Frankly, it’s not necessarily good for my mental health. But leaving the  world in a poor state is not only bad for the world, it’s also bad for me: as a relentlessly self-critical ethicist, shirking my ethical duties only results in self loathing, which ain’t any better for my mental health than writing on difficult topics. As a result, I’m going to start doing something I previously felt ws too vain to do more than once a year or so. I’m going to be resurrecting some of those comments that I consider worth time and attention even outside of their original contexts and recreate them as posts here on Pervert Justice. Note that I won’t be merely linking them, since we know that it’s easier to lose blog comments in a technology transition than blog posts. When I do this, I’ll be copying them whole, sometimes with bits of additional context surrounding them so that there are no gaps in understanding.

Bonus points to those who understand why I chose today to embark on this new policy (no peeking at this post’s URL), and on the off chance someone who reads me elsewhere has a suggestion for a topic on which I’ve expressed myself (or even a specific comment), you can put it below.


  1. flex says

    Thank you. I look forward to reading your posts.

    While I try to read all the posts I find interesting, I know there are often some great discussions in the comments and I just don’t have the time to read them all.

    I don’t comment on the topics you generally cover, although I find them fascinating, because my only exposure to those topics is vicariously. These are subjects where I’m more interested in listening and learning than trying to interject my opinions. Not because I think my opinions are necessarily bad, but I know they are poorly formed. So I am greatly appreciative of your insight and willingness to share.

    I should probably say that more often.

    I look forward to reading your posts on topics which were previously discussed in the comments on other posts.

  2. Jazzlet says

    It doesn’t seem to me to be at all vain to preserve well thought out and clearly expressed arguments and ideas, and if it helps protect your mental health I’d say you pretty much have an obligtion to preserve what were comments in this way.

    Again thank you for your clarity, I often find myself thinking “Oh, of course!” when reading your writing, you really are good at cutting through the distractions to get to the core of an issue, but I don’t want my “Oh, of course!”‘s to be at the cost of your mental health.

  3. beholder says

    [from Pharyngula]:

    [PZ]: That’s their goal — to make you tired.

    Well, they’ve succeeded. I’m honestly considering never writing about trans issues again (on FtB), which would probably mean never reading any FtB posts about trans issues again… or at least never reading the comments.

    I’m sorry that you’re in a bad headspace because of the efforts of a troll. Take the time you need to recover, and don’t feel like blogging is an obligation, even if the rest of us do miss your sharp insight and expertise.

    That said, if you ever do feel like dissecting transphobic arguments again, I would greatly appreciate if they were compiled in an archive that was easy to browse by subject matter. Something like the old Talk Origins archive, except focused on cissexist bigotry. Or if you happen to know where such a place already exists, let us know.

  4. seachange says

    Your thoughts are important to me.
    I want more of them.
    In order for me to get more of your thoughts, you must be in the best headspace you can be in for any given set of circumstances. It’s just quite selfish on my part.
    Re-post away!

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