How to Critique Infantilism, Special Snowflakes, Manospherians, and the larger Alt-Right in 140 Characters or Less

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:

Scott Westerfeld

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.


Every Other Trans Person Is Wrong

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.

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On The Corner: Intersectionality and Existence of Privilege

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:

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Not For Your Enjoyment: I perform a PZ Myers imitation

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:

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For Your Enjoyment: Do not attempt to adjust your browser

Good morning:
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,

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On the Corner: Postscript to a Beginning

Taking nothing away from the importance of the post on the birth of intersectionality, it was both a bit long, and it was focussed more on what Kimberlé Crenshaw thought than my thinking about her thoughts. There are some nuggets that I think are important, things that we will need to remember as we continue to explore Intersectionality. But I think they are best placed in this separate PostScript:

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Modeling Gender & Sex Without a False Middle

There have been many attempts to create a model that simplifies gender, sex, and sexuality enough to easily communicate important concepts without either simplifying it so much that the concepts are lost altogether. Now that we know something about social models, let’s look at a model I shared some time back on Pharyngula’s (now obsolete) Thunderdome.

The model came up in response to the suggestion of the Genderbread Person as a teaching model. As I noted then in other words, the metaphor is not the concept, so all models will fail to communicate some aspects important to a concept. The question is whether there is a better metaphor available. As a teacher or someone attempting to articulate a concept, the responsibility is still on you to know the limits of the metaphor and be able to address questions, ambiguities, and extensions. If you aren’t aware of a metaphor’s limits and able to address them longhand, using any model is risky. If you are, any model is adequate, but the models that minimize those longhand conversations are better than ones that only somewhat reduce them.

It’s with this in mind that (many years ago) I abandoned the Genderbread Person and adopted a different model, one that permits a shorthand visual model to combat multiple myths at the same time.

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