PZ, as is his wont, has a post up about higher ed jobs and the outsourcing to adjuncts and guest lecturers of work that used to be done by the professoriate. It’s a good problem to highlight, but the article he quotes leaves me cold:
Although what led me to that first conclusion wasn’t Hitler’s Pineapple Pizza rant.
HJ over at Reprobate Spreadsheet has been discussing – in quite helpful details – a number of aspects of the recent Boghossian, Linday & Pluckrose*1 hoax.
But I’ve read a bit about this hoax at quite a number of outlets – not just here at FtB – and one of the things I’ve found to be glaringly omitted amongst the accounts of this hoax is the possibility that the hoax does more to disprove the claims of BLP than it does to support them.
The central claim of B, L & P is that feminists will accept any assertion that claims to be feminist and pays a certain lip service to feminist dogmas (real or imagined). To prove this, BLP borrowed some words, phrases & structures from a certain segment of Mein Kampf and used them to dress up some vague bullshit about how solidarity and single-mindedness win political victories generally, so solidarity and single-mindedness would probably have defeated sexism by now had feminists embraced those two qualities earlier and more universally.
But here’s the thing: I fucking am a feminist, and as a trans* woman who tries very hard to balance harm reduction with eradication, I’m constantly finding feminist opposition to my identity, my views, or both. Seriously, at the extreme margins feminists have disagreed whether it is even possible to do more to dismantle sexism during a lifetime than participating in heterosexual marriages promotes it, and thus whether or not it’s possible for any woman to have a net-positive effect on the feminist cause if ever once that woman gets married to a man. There is “dogma” in feminism, but really only by definition: if you love sexism and want to support it, by definition you can’t be a feminist. Also by definition, to be actually feminist one must believe that sexism deserves opposition. This inevitably leads to certain broad sharing of opinions, but this is a consequence of defining a group of people in ways that they must oppose sexism to be included in the group.
So what about this conclusion: feminists are willing to entertain a wide variety of ideas, even vague, daffy or ill-conceived ones, for long enough to be sure that they’re being rejected for their vagueness, daffiness, or poor conception*2.
Let’s consider for a moment what it would mean if the BLP paper had actually been published but feminists reading the paper wrote new papers opposing the ideas presented, showing (or attempting to show) that reflexive solidarity and true single-mindedness do not lead toward the feminist society most feminists want. In that case, the BLP paper would have played a role in the debate by sparking thought and making a new articulation against a rigid feminist movement once again relevant. It would not have made english-speaking feminist movements more fascist (or fascist at all).
It is not shocking that such bad thinkers as BLP wrote a paper advocating that feminism embrace movement-totalitarianism, a concept that has been rejected in feminism over and over again. It is also not shocking that BLP thought that feminists being willing to publish an idea that has been rejected time and again by movement feminism signals a feminism that is dogmatic.
What is shocking, however, is that no one seems to be pointing out that publishing ideas with which the majority of feminists disagree actually constitutes evidence consistent with the opposite of BLP’s hypothesis.
I strongly suspect, not being a reviewer of this journal article, that the reviewers may very well have thought something like “the benefits of single-mindedness haven’t ever convinced a majority of feminists, and since the general topic has been well covered it might seem appropriate to reject this, but if current feminists are deriving an argument for single-mindedness from important feminist writings, then those current feminists should have their ideas distributed and critiqued so that either they learn better or the current feminist movement has a chance to consider rejected strategies in light of new scholarship.”
Thinking like that, which is entirely consistent with acceptance of the Mein Kampf rework, is antithetical to the BLP hypothesis.
So what did BLP do to enable them to consider and reject that interpretation? Well… nothing.
So the antithesis position can’t yet be said to be proven by BLP’s own study, but the failure of BLP to even consider this explanation of their hoax’s success in getting a few papers published further demonstrates that BLP cannot collectively think themselves out of a paper bag.
I wish that more of the persons writing about BLP’s hoax in the immediate aftermath of their original article (especially but not only the higher-profile articles included in well-funded media outlets) had challenged BLP on this specific point.
*1: Lest anyone think otherwise, I put these in alphabetical order, not knowing whether any of them are more responsible for the approach and/or content of the hoax then others. Partitioning of credit and blame is neither implied nor should it be inferred from this order.
*2: As the right often fails to appreciate, feminists fully support good conception.
There have been many articles and classes and books and lectures that have attempted to productively address toxic masculinity. And, though this may surprise many of you, there have been blog posts as well. PZ has his own up right now, which is itself responding to another (and thoroughly incompetent) attempt to address toxic masculinity in a blog post.
Nothing PZ says is wrong, but it reminds me that I am ever surprised at how often 2 of the most important points to remember about TM are left unstated. It’s not that people aren’t aware of them, at some level, but I think we get much farther much faster if we make them explicit.
Goodness me. Areomagazine has an “article” up by Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay that takes itself far more seriously than it deserves. The intro and premises can be found in the opening paragraph:
The rights and social inclusion of trans people is a heated topic right now and, as usual in our present atmosphere, the most extreme views take center stage and completely polarize the issue. On the one hand, we have extreme social conservatives and gender critical radical feminists who claim that trans identity is a delusion and that the good of society depends on opposing it at every turn. On the other, we have extreme trans activists who claim not only that trans people straightforwardly are the gender they experience themselves to be but that everyone else must be compelled to accept this, use corresponding language, and be fully inclusive of trans people in their choice of sexual partners.
What the hell?
I swear, I find it amazing that they even half know what they’re saying, but they do. They know exactly what they’re saying, and for some bizarre reason they think it speaks well of them and their religion.
Who am I babbling about, you wonder? After all, that statement might be true of any number of persons, maybe even all of us at different points in time. So who, given the human ability to spout nonsense with confidence, might have done so to such a degree that Crip Dyke would be moved to post? Shocker: it isn’t anyone from the Trump administration.
David Futrelle has been listing tweets he finds interesting, amusing or, in a few cases, actually important. I won’t repeat all of them here, but I have posted one or two before, and this one seems particularly relevant for the FtB crowds (can’t find the original tweet, posting the text). It is from author/artist Scott Westerfeld, the creator of a few graphic novels that I’ve not yet read:
Common Excuses for Fascism
Germany: Bread costs wheelbarrows of cash
Japan: Obeying emperor god-king
USA: A feminist critiqued my video game
1:37 PM – Aug 18, 2017
yeah, gonna have to try out some of his novels now.
I’ve struggled over the last four weeks with a post bashing around inside my skull. It seems unable to escape but also unable to calm down. I’ve wanted to write a rather lengthy post about language and the problems that I see with certain tendencies in trans* advocacy these days around language. But every time I go long-form, there’s so much that I can’t find a place to stop. So then I tried to go short-form, but that didn’t convey the real difficulty of the topic I wanted to engage. So now I’m going in a completely different direction, with a seemingly unrelated introduction and then, probably, a short-form take on the topic itself, allowing you all to take from it what you will, given the context provided by the introduction/preface.
So a good, long time ago, the internationally celebrated center of learning that is UMM ran into a spot of difficulty: apparently some right wing jerks were being right wing jerks. Whodathunkit. Usernames are Smart, a longtime commenter whose work and thoughts I remember as generally respectable and valuable*1, disagreed with PZ Myers suggestion that Morris residents treat as trash any scattered copies of the Young Republican rag “The North Star”. (Yes, they deliberately stole the name from the abolitionist newspaper of Frederick Douglas, which famously included one of the only ads promoting the Seneca Falls “convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman” to run outside of the State of New York).
I disagreed with Usernames’ disagreement, and said so. The crux was that while I agree that white people should be accountable to people of color when attempting to address racism in the US, I disagreed that suggesting actions (like trashing any “scattered” copies of The North Star that weren’t in their designated paper-piles) was the same as telling people from other groups what experiences define their groups. I also disagreed that waiting for people of color to plan a response is the right course of action when a white person is confronted with racism in that person’s presence. This doesn’t mean that white folk should be praise for anything they do, just for taking action. No, this is merely the natural consequence of refusing to put people of color on the spot, to make people of color responsible for ending racism.
Siggy, over at A Trivial Knot, has a new post up with some interesting things to say about Privilege Theory and its successes and limitations as a lens through which to examine certain social dynamics.
One line in particular resonated with me, not for how I view Privilege Theory, but for how I view Intersectionality. It starts when Siggy asks how to evaluate a theoretical framework like privilege or intersectionality:
No, you will not see my pseudonymous face or hear my pseudonymous voice on Pervert Justice today. However, my knowledge of biology, greatly enhanced by reading PZ Myers and articles linked by PZ Myers over the last 8ish years, led me to geek-rage on a paragraph in a story that would not have caused any negative reaction in the Crip Dyke of 10 years ago.
The paragraph in question comes from an article on the pop-sci site New Atlas which describes recent evolutionary changes in insular populations of geckos:
Do not attempt to adjust your audio, there is nothing wrong. We have taken control as to bring you this special show. We will return it to you as soon as you are grooving
While Nadéah’s Too Drunk To Fuck cover is certainly amazing, and while it comes fairly close – far closer than most musical acts – to what I would play if I could create my own music, that doesn’t mean it’s the only musical style worth knowing or playing. If I had technical skill, but no musical creativity, I would sure as heck play Bootsy Collins when my friends came over. While Trump is inviting a Bruce Springsteen cover band to play his inaugural, my (imaginary) cover band will be tuning up and tuning in to an entirely different art form: not soulful rock, not even soul, not even simply funk. As amazing as James Brown was without the (original) JBs, as amazing as George Clinton was in his solo work, Bootsy Collins gave the work of those men – and so many others – a kick like no other. Michael Hutchence couldn’t come close to a kick like that. No, as long as you’re going to give me the funk,