Somebody explain this to me


I just got back from a late evening fussing over spiders, when I noticed a new sign in the hallway…or maybe it’s an old sign that’s just recently been uncovered.

OK, walking through this…on the left, an icon of a man and a woman, labeled “Your body, your choice”. Below that, some strange ontology of choices: adoption, abstinence, motherhood, and conception are “options” and also choices, while abortion is an option but not a choice. In the context of the graphic designers’ head, what is the difference between an option and a choice? They all seem like options and choices to me.

On the right, there’s a cartoon of a pregnant woman and a fetus, with a big arrow (to be honest, when I saw the sign from a distance, it looked like a fat man with a gigantic erection which first roused my curiosity) labeled “Not your body, your responsibility”, which weirded me out. So getting pregnant means it’s not your body anymore? Where’s the man from the left picture? It’s not his responsibility?

It seems to me that Option #5, which is not a choice, is the only way to get your body back. It’s a confusing poster with a whole mass of implicit assumptions somewhere in it, that I’m sure make sense to our Students for Life, but not to me. I guess that makes me a Professor for Death, as long as we’re dichotomizing everything. Fortunately, I am not responsible, because it was an option not a choice, and because I’m a man, I think..

I have to stop thinking about this, I’m just getting more tangled up in whatever they’re trying to communicate.

No, I’m not going to their Tuesday meeting. I think that would be even worse.

Comments

  1. says

    It’s always made me curious: why is contraception never an option with these extremists? Surely it’s a win-win if your goal is to prevent unplanned pregnancy and thus abortions. Of course there are reams of anti-contraception apologetics, but if abortion is the ultimate evil for these Gilead wannabes, surely prevention is a far lesser evil.

    And to echo PZ’s point, where’s the giant arrow pointing to a pair of testicles? Women don’t fall pregnant spontaneously, yet responsibility is applied to them exclusively.

    Even if the goal of the foetus cultists isn’t to control women and punish them for breaking some arbitrary rule about pre-marital sex, that’s the end result of this absolutism about conception. I wonder if they ever compare result to intention.

  2. antigone10 says

    Why are motherhood and conception different options? And why is the fact that “abstience” is not always a choice?

    These are some weirdo people.

  3. MHiggo says

    sayke @3,

    Given how vigorously those against abortion are also against the use of contraception and real sex ed, I’d say it’s unlikely. They probably meant to differentiate between giving birth (conception) and raising the child (motherhood, as opposed to adoption).

  4. dianne says

    The bit with the giant baby rampaging over Minnesota right above the statement “snacks served” gives the unfortunate impression that the snacks in question are babies. Maybe that’s why they oppose abortion: cuts into the snack production.

  5. dianne says

    Sorry. “Snacks provided”. My bad for misquoting.

    Also what’s that above giant baby’s head? The spit up that drowned Minneapolis?

  6. John Morales says

    If it ain’t a possible choice, it ain’t an option, so it fails right there, at the first level of interpretation.

    (Yeah, I know… quibbling about semantics, some would say)

  7. says

    I know several people who are here because their parents didn’t practice abstinence before marriage. Being quite fond of a couple I don’t see why abstinence would have been a better choice than abortion.

  8. inflection says

    The arrow is pointing to the fetus, so I believe the concept for that portion of the picture, meant to be in contrast with the portion to the left, is that the fetus’ body is not the mother’s body.

    The part where it’s listing conception as a choice is, I think, “it was your body and you chose to have sex with it, so you deserve the consequences.” Charming.

  9. Sean Boyd says

    Guess that gigantic erection turned out to be a detachable penis. Is that a sixth option they’re not listing?

  10. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I never understood the incoherence between sanctifying the life of the fetus, and using it as a form of punishment like a uh, ball and chain.
    There is also the obvious inconsistency in only holding the woman responsible for becoming pregnant, never the man. I think the occurrence of human parthenogenesis is pretty rare (to say the least).

  11. says

    And, of course, the top left corner of the poster assumes that all sex that leads to pregnancy is a matter of choice. Oh, wait, the woman chose to be raped? The woman had had good enough sex education to know that babies are a consequence of sex? (One also wonders if these clowns also against the death penalty in all circumstances.)

    The less said about inherited genetic disorders, the better (let’s see, Tay-Sachs… but that only affects an ethnic subgroup unworthy of fundamentalist xtian attention, so we can safely neglect it, right?).

    @12 If human parthenogenesis is so rare, please explain the Drumpf and Daley families to me. Or, better yet, don’t.

  12. jo1storm says

    Students for Life? That sounds so wrong. Maybe because it has different meaning where I am from. It means students who never graduated and will be studying for the rest of their lives, never finishing college /faculty.

  13. unperson says

    It might be amusing to propose the following policy: Abortion is banned. BUT: if the mother doesn’t want the child, then the mother is free to abandon it at birth and the father must take full responsibility for it. No ifs, ands, or buts.

    I’m not saying that this would be a good policy: it would be terrible. But the reaction from the lets-oppress-women crowd might be interesting.

  14. cartomancer says

    One wonders what sort of right-wing hate funding organizations might be giving money to set this group up. Though from the quality of the design on the poster, they clearly haven’t given very much…

  15. alixmo says

    @Hank_Says #1, @sayke #3,

    There is no mistake, there is no “flaw” in their thinking – this is the result that the religious right wants to achieve: no contraceptives + no abortions = many unplanned children = uneducated stay-at-home mothers, dependent on their husband’s goodwill and his wages.

    This is the much celebrated “natural”, traditional family”. This is the real meaning of “family values”: the return of the old patriarchal family. Including its “sacred” hierarchy: God reigns above all, the man above woman and children.

    Leaving out contraceptives is not an error, it is the plan. After bringing down legal abortions, contraceptives are the next big battle for the religious right. The fight is already going on for some time, unnoticed by most people.

    The Catholic Church is avant-guard concerning the fight against contraceptives. Since the advent of modern, reliable contraceptives, they are banned by the Church. This is a clear demonstration of the Vatican’s stance on women as third class persons (ranking even behind a fertilized egg in rights).

    It was reliable contraceptives that allowed women to be free of the dictate of their biology, free to participate in life in the public sphere. Contraceptives freed women to get higher education, better jobs. The whole idea of emancipation, of equal rights for men and women, rests on contraceptives and the woman’s ability to decide if and when and how often she wants to get pregnant. Taking that away means to undo emancipation.

    According to Catholic teaching, any sex act has to leave the possibility of conception open (“God” has to decide…); sex for non-procreative reasons is in a strict sense not allowed. They of course hide behind misleading language, saying that only procreative sex is dignified, especially for the woman who otherwise would only be used by the man, not respected. (It still amazes me, that they get away with so much nonsense…)

    We will see more about the fight against contraceptives, especially after the fall of legal abortion in the US. The fight is going on for some time anyway, e.g. with attempts to get contraceptives out of health care plans or by smearing Planned Parenthood. Lately, Clarence Thomas spread the conspiracy theory of black genocide whilst talking about contraceptives. https://www.salon.com/2019/05/29/clarence-thomas-makes-it-clear-the-right-is-coming-for-birth-control-next/

    So, even if the number of illegal abortions (they will be criminalised if the religious right has the say) will go up, contraceptives are the next target. Because their agenda is only superficially about fetuses – it is about women’s role in society. They want to turn back time and bring back the “Godgiven” patriarchal family structure that existed (thanks to the lack of reliable contraceptives) before female emancipation.

  16. alixmo says

    @PZ, please go to the meeting!

    It is important to know what is said on such occasions! This is an opportunity. There are still many people out there who have no clue about the religious right’s stance on contraceptives. They see a contradiction to the fight against abortions (it is not a mistake, the real fight is against female emancipation and against equality). More information is therefore much needed to alert them to the broad anti-women agenda of the religious right.

    So, if you can, please go to the meeting and write about it!

  17. John Morales says

    alixmo:

    @PZ, please go to the meeting!

    Nah, he has minions for that sorta thing.

    (Are you a minion? Why not volunteer?)

  18. wzrd1 says

    Would that I was in the neighborhood, I’d happily attend.
    And ask, while I was away defending your parents diaper wearing butts, what was my wife’s choice, entering her second trimester, not certain if she was pregnant, as she always tested low to absent for HCG, even when nearing term with each of our current children, who were toddlers?
    Abortion or die?
    If die, who cares for the children while I’m deployed and how do I find them? How am I to raise them? Violate a contract with the US government and ask nicely to hold off on all military operations I was to be part of for 18 – 25 years or so?

    And yes, that actually did happen to us and worse, DoD policy at the time was, closest hospital is the hospital of choice and that was a Roman Catholic hospital, who required my permission to abort – even in a medical emergency and they didn’t care that I was deployed. Worse, the Red Cross dropped the ball on notification of a family emergency, as the worker taking the call not only didn’t believe the physician’s report, she failed to forward it for verification and action. She was forced to find another job, once I did find out what was going on, my CO violating a half dozen regulations in exfiltrating me home and I provided documentation to the manager at that Red Cross office.
    Doctor went ahead with the procedure and was terminated by the hospital for violating their policy, patient welfare and obedience with federal law be damned and learned the hard way, never piss off someone long with the federal government. All federal payments were on hold, pending hospital adjusting their policies to be in accordance with their federal contract and the administrator thinking the government would back down held things up for an entire quarter.
    And was not very nicely requested to find other employment by the board and the physician rehired.
    Didn’t help my wife, due to the initial delay, one Fallopian tube was scarred closed. The other, scarred from a nosocomial infection, post operative, from that very facility.

    So, appeal to emotion? I can outdo them there, both of us can. All, while being rational, beyond angry still, 30 years later.
    Anything in between and extreme, I’ve got it covered as well.
    I’m very good at playing a room, nudging the adversary into a spoken thought, rather than what was intended.

  19. alixmo says

    @John Morales,

    I sure would go, if I would know about a group like that in my area. Anyone who sees a similar poster, knows about a similar group should go and ask them tough questions. Like @wzrd1 points out, there are lives at risk.

    Women’s lives are always under potential threat whilst pregnant; abortions are often the only possible option to save a women’s live. This has to be talked about, frankly and openly.

    There is too much anti-abortion and anti-contraceptives propaganda around, always coming from the religious right. And by far not enough informed people pointing out the agenda of those propagandists and the dire consequences of their ideology. Hence, PZ making a stance would be important.

    PZ should go and grill them. He should ask the anti-abortion/anti-contraceptives group about situations like the horrific, dangerous situation @wzrd1 wife was trapped in. PZ should talk about El Salvador, where women who miscarry are put in prison, sometimes for decades, because of the criminalization of abortion. PZ should ask about rape and incest cases (there are children in some Latin American countries who were forced to carry to term because of strict anti-abortion laws, backed by and sometimes forced onto society by the Catholic Church. PZ should ask about girls/women in crisis regions who, after a mass-rape, got denied emergency contraceptives by Catholic aid workers.

    And, of course, PZ should ask them the obvious: no contraceptives + no abortions = many unplanned children = stay at home mothers and dependent wives. PZ should make them come out, spell out their agenda, make them “explain” their “reasoning”.

    That is at least what I would do. I would love to be that “minion”, but I do not have the opportunity. If you have the chance, please be that “minion”! (The same goes for anybody else here.)

  20. lanir says

    The wording is weird because they’re trying to own the words in pro-choice slogans, it just isn’t really working.

    The top right quarter has different meanings depending on whether you view it as a message to hetero males (your female partner’s body isn’t your property but you’re definitely sharing some responsibility if you impregnate her) or badly recycled trashy medeival mysogyny (chattel have no rights to their bodies, (possibly presumed-male?) fetus rights override all other considerations).

    The bottom left… I actually misread their “conception” at first and thought it was contraception. I was crediting them with a more realistic viewpoint than they seem to possess, I suppose. And why “motherhood”? Jackasses like these don’t support single mothers. Single mothers become targets for whatever abuse the holier-than-thou crowd can dream up.

    Applying what I know and ignoring the bottom right quarter because it’s just details of how to meet and random-looking weirdness, the rest of it looks to have a really ugly message. It says the only thing women get choices on is whether to have sex or not. After that it’s all sermonizing, endless guilt trips and slut shaming for the women. The male role isn’t mentioned so I’m assuming it’s the conservative default: all the power but none of the responsibility.

    Also, they blithely ignored the problems with abstinence. As an individual choice it’s fine. As a societal choice it’s got a long tail of unfortunate knock-on effects and unacknowledged consequences. Didn’t take me long to think of a handful. Unhealthy and unrealistic views about bodies and sex, guilt trips over normal hormonal functions, and priestly pedophilia. Looked at realistically I think abstinance is one of the most complicated and troublesome of the options presented.

  21. alixmo says

    @unperson, #15,

    That would be a horror scenario – and play in the hands of the extreme religious right. They do want men in charge, men as “bread-winners”, earning the money for their dependent wives and children. That is the old model of patriarchal family that they would love to reinstall, undoing female emancipation and the equality of men and women.

    Even “just” carrying to term in order to “dump” the child on the man, making the child his responsibility (or giving the baby up for adoption), would be a bad solution. For obvious reasons: pregnancy entails many risks for the health and even the life of the woman, it also “drains” her body in order to grow a child. Many complications can arise in a pregnancy. Pregnancy is not a “pick nick”.

    Even if there are a lot of women who can give birth often, without any or too much problems for their health – many women do get problems as a result. Many even die. (Read @wrzd1 post about the dangers resulting from restrictions on abortion).

    Why should we even think about forcing them to carry to term, even if they do not have to raise the child? This would be an absolute anti-women legislation.

  22. rietpluim says

    “Discuss with us!” reminds me of some comics I’ve seen lately.

    Of course it’s not a serious invitation. Discussion requires the willingness to listen to other people’s point of view and reevaluate their own presumptions. If they were able to do that, they wouldn’t be anti-choice in the first place.

  23. stroppy says

    They’re messing with your head, and:

    a) It’s a trap to make you attend–on the off chance that they will make sense of their stupid poster.
    b) It’s a piece of DaDa art.
    c) They let somebody’s kid sibling design the poster.
    d) They’re on drugs.

  24. says

    unperson@14, why make the father raise the kid? Crank rightwinger Murray Rothbard believed parents didn’t owe anything to kids, even keeping them alive. But don’t worry, in his version of the world infanticide would be rare, because someone would be able to buy the kids if the parents didn’t want them.

  25. says

    Wait, it’s not my body, but I’m still responsible for it?
    Like, in what I put into that body and do with that body (I like piña colada and sky diving!)? I mean, If I put, for example Mifepristone into my body, that has nothing to do with the fetus’ body, right?

  26. blf says

    Wait, it’s not my body, but I’m still responsible for it?

    Of course (if yer a wimmin)! Yer also supposed to be barefoot, cooking, and spend much of the rest of the time cleaning and other stuff “real people” don’t know — or need to know — anything about. This was all set down in clay tablets recording oral legends many thousands of years ago, where have you been hiding…? (Oh, and how are yer writing? Yer supposed to be illiterate and innumerate and also property!?)

  27. thirdmill301 says

    I am as pro choice as anyone else here. I even think we should have single payer health care that pays for abortions. From a public relations standpoint, however, most of the comments here are unhelpful because they caricature the views of the pro life side when they attempt to respond to them at all. So here are the actual pro-life arguments that need to be responded to if we have any hope of keeping reproductive rights. Please note, I did not say I agreed with any of them; just that there are lots of voters who at least find them plausible and, from what I can tell, we’re not doing a very good job of responding:

    Yes, it’s your body, but you invited another life into it by having unprotected sex. You don’t now get to kill that other life because you were too irresponsible to use birth control. Birth control is cheap, readily available, easy to use, and mostly effective. You made your choice when you had unprotected sex.
    The overwhelming majority of abortions are not for rape, incest or fetal abnormality. The majority are for failure to use birth control. See No. 1 above.
    The bright line that personhood begins at birth is entirely arbitrary. Five minutes ago, when it was in the womb, it was still a fetus, but now that it’s passed through the birth canal it’s a person? Seriously? Personhood may not begin at conception, but it doesn’t wait until birth either. Once a fetus has consciousness, a central nervous system, and a heartbeat, it’s tough to make the case that it’s not a person.

    Now, I think there are answers to all of those contentions, but from what I can see, our side is not making them. And a lot of people in the middle find them plausible. So rather than cartoonish snarks about keeping women barefoot and pregnant, I think we would do far better to focus on the claims they’re actually winning on.

  28. says

    thirdmill301@30 I get into occasional discussions with forced-birthers, and those are indeed the arguments they lean on the most. I would be very interested to read the replies you have worked up, even in outline form.

  29. says

    I am as pro choice as anyone else here.

    Assertion very much not in evidence. You may claim that you don’t believe that shit, but there’s no evidence you don’t, because if you’d thought about it, you’d be ashamed to type that shit. You are causing harm to women and others here and now and given the previous shit you posted here I have zero inclination to treat you as somebody arguing in good faith. You want to get your own superiority complex polished up at the expense of people who are literally fighting for their lives. Tldr, the devil doesn’t need an advocate. He seems a pretty nice chap anyway, at least compared to people like you.

    Yes, it’s your body, but you invited another life into it by having unprotected sex.

    Fucking bullshit. I cannot invite anything that doesn’t exist. Apart from that, many people who have abortions did use birth control. So did many people who later had babies.
    Also, sorry, yes, it’s your body, but you invited that tapeworm in when you ate a medium steak.

    You don’t now get to kill that other life because you were too irresponsible to use birth control.

    See, this is one argument I never understood. If you think the woman or AFAB person was irresponsible when they slipped on their birth control, why would you then think them responsible enough to take care of a pregnancy and a baby?

    Birth control is cheap, readily available, easy to use, and mostly effective.

    Why are dudes pontificating on how women (and others) who have abortions being irresponsible sl’ts always so fucking clueless?

    You made your choice when you had unprotected sex.

    Is it just me or does the whole argument sound like women and enbys and trans men get pregnant all by themselves?

    The bright line that personhood begins at birth is entirely arbitrary.

    Yeah, at one point it is inside of somebody’s body, using their heart and lungs and at another point it’s outside using their own heart and lungs. Totally arbitrary. besides, I don’t care about “personhood”. No person has the right to use my body without my consent, though somebody who makes it sound like cis men aren’t involved in creating pregnancies and thinks that inside or outside of a woman’s body are totally arbitrary ideas may have some problems with the whole concept of women having bodily autiomy and their consent being necessary for being inside of their bodies.

    Once a fetus has consciousness, a central nervous system, and a heartbeat, it’s tough to make the case that it’s not a person.

    Puppies are people. I knew it.

  30. says

    I would be very interested to read the replies you have worked up, even in outline form.

    He hasn’t. He just wants to put down others and will surely get all huffy and puffy about my tone, even though I did reply to his “arguments”.

  31. twarren1111 says

    I vote with you going. It’s important that ‘mature’ white men who could easily pass the stereotype of the typical Fox News viewer be there to ask those embarrassing questions that reveal the irrationality of such views. And bc ridicule is the best way to deal with low empathy people (just look at how easy it is to trigger Trump) you and your sense of humor would be influential.

  32. chigau (違う) says

    Why does only the incubator need to pay the price of having UnprotectedSex?
    The sperm-donor should put down a $250,000 deposit to have UnprotectedSex. Just in case.

  33. thirdmill301 says

    Giliell, I am not your enemy because I point out what I see as major tactical flaws in the arguments our side makes – and yes, it is “our” side; I support abortion rights and don’t really care that you don’t believe me. Pointing out tactical flaws is actually a compliment because it means I think our side can do better; if I didn’t think our side could do better I wouldn’t have bothered. And someone who actually opposes abortion rights would read your response, see that it’s almost entirely non-responsive to the points that were raised, and say, “See, I told you so.”

    Contrary to your assertion, I do in fact have arguments in response to those points, as requested by Martin. I’m at work now so I’m not going to be able to make them in detail until later tonight. But I will.

  34. Rowan vet-tech says

    Giliell’s responses were straight to the points you were making.
    -You don’t ‘invite’ a fetus into your body when you have sex, unless you are actively trying to become pregnant.
    -Someone who is invited into a home can be disinvited and if they won’t leave you can call the police and have them forcibly removed. If there is an embryo or fetus in your body you don’t want to be there, you get it removed. It dying as a result shows that fetal personhood is bullshit and the idea of the fetus having bodily autonomy is bullshit because it’s not autonomous.
    etc, etc, etc.
    You just don’t like how quickly Giliell was able to respond, and how succinctly your arguments, and those of forced-birthers, were shown to be utterly asinine.

  35. Pierce R. Butler says

    Rowan vet-tech @ # 37: … if they won’t leave you can call the police and have them forcibly removed.

    Or, in Florida, you can shoot them.

  36. says

    and yes, it is “our” side;

    The fuck it is. You have no dog in this fight, there’s nothing at stake for you. You can sit comfortably on your cis male ass and chastise the rest of us for not performing our fight to your liking.
    You have done nothing that would convince me you are an “ally” in the loosest of sense

  37. alixmo says

    @thirdmill301, @Martin Veneroso,

    Additionally to Giliell’s comment (which I support) I would like to point out that those arguments coming from the so called “pro-life” movement are most of the time made in bad faith. Why am I so sure about that? Well, most of these “activists” are against sex education and against contraceptives. That alone is proof enough.

    You support contraceptives, good. Many “pro lifers” do not. The Catholic Church and many fundamentalist Evangelicals are making efforts that women – mostly poor women, often of color – cannot access reliable contraceptives.

    We also have to make a distinction between contraceptives used by men and those used by women. Of course, both are good (even if they fail sometimes) and condoms do have additional health benefits. However, the contraceptives used by a woman give her more security, she is not dependent on “the whim” or brutality of the men involved. Those contraceptives used by women tend to be more expensive – and poor women need financial help to get them.

    And there our dishonest actors, the “pro lifers”, come into action, trying to make sure that poor women do not get those contraceptives, e.g by defunding Planned Parenthood, by taking contraceptives out of health care plans, or, like in the Hobby Lobby case, by saying that their religious feelings as an employer are paramount to the health care needs of their female employees. Christian universities tried to deny their student access to contraceptives in their health care plans, too.

    Other ways of trying to get rid of reliable contraceptives is of course the spread of false “information” or even conspiracy theories (like “black genocide”, supposedly committed by Planned Parenthood). Rumors are spread, sermons held, leaflets circulated that suggest that contraceptives are unhealthy, or “abortifacients” and therefore “immoral”.

    Missionaries spread these lies even abroad, in developing countries, where women have even less access and means to get contraceptives. Even (sometimes very young) victims of (mass) rape or incest are denied emergency contraceptives or an abortion by “pro lifers”.

    Those zealots also try to influence the UN, trying to get rid of all legal abortions (look up the “global gag rule”/”Mexico City Policy”).

    All this lead me to the conclusion, that arguments do not matter to many “pro life” people. They are ideologues, not interested in facts, trying to push their anti-women agenda. That is why I am against arguing or debating with those zealots.

    Instead, their clear anti-women agenda and lies have to be exposed, to sway public opinion against them. We have to spread information about their goals and their tactics.

    That is why PZ should go to that meeting.

  38. alixmo says

    I clarify that my comments, of course, also include trans men etc. Everyone who can get pregnant is targeted by the dishonest agenda of the religious right.

  39. AstrySol says

    #36 @ thirdmill

    Birth control is cheap, readily available, easy to use, and mostly effective.

    Have you ever read the manual coming with any birth control method? Here is some NHS source for reference (emphasis added).

    Combined contraceptive pill

    Perfect use: more than 99% effective . Fewer than 1 in 100 women will get pregnant in a year when using the combined pill correctly.
    Typical use: around 91% effective .Around 9 in 100 women using the combined pill will get pregnant in a year.

    Male condoms

    Perfect use: 98% effective. This means that 2 in 100 women whose partners use a condom will get pregnant in a year.
    Typical use: around 82% effective. This means around 18 in 100 women will get pregnant in a year.

    Female condoms

    Perfect use: 95% effective. About 5 in 100 women who use a female condom will get pregnant in a year.
    Typical use: around 79% effective. Around 21 in 100 women will get pregnant in a year.

    See the numbers? 79%, 82% and 91%, which means 9% ~ 21% failure rate. Now multiply this by the number of couples in the world, and take your “The majority are for failure to use birth control” excuse elsewhere. Thanks.

  40. thirdmill301 says

    Still at work, still don’t have time for an extended response until later tonight, one comment requires an immediate response:

    Giliell, No. 40, the hell it’s not my fight. While I’m never going to be pregnant, I am a gay man who is just as much endangered by the Christian right as women are. If the Christian right wins this battle by getting Roe overturned (or worse, a national right to life law then passed by a Republican Congress) it empowers and emboldens them. It puts them on steroids to then take on gay rights as their next target. It is very much in my interest for that not to happen. In fact, it is so very much in my interest for that not to happen that even if i were privately opposed to abortion, I would still be pro choice just because we can’t afford for the Christian right to achieve that kind of a victory. As with D-Day in World War II, this is a fight we simply cannot afford to lose.

    You want to spit in the face of someone who’s trying to have a conversation about tactically why we’re losing, be my guest. But tactically, you’re why we’re losing. Politically, the argument that “who cares if it’s a person, I’ll just kill it anyway because I couldn’t be bothered to use birth control” is simply not a winning argument, even if you think it should be. And killing the messenger won’t change that.

  41. specialffrog says

    @thirdmill: A large majority of Americans are in favor of access to abortion. Do you think the issue here is that the minority determined to force their will on the majority haven’t been exposed to better arguments?

  42. says

    @thirdmill301:

    tactically, you’re why we’re losing.

    Huh? If Giliell is why we’re losing, then she’s an extremely important person. I wouldn’t piss her off if I were you.

    So here are the actual pro-life arguments that need to be responded to if we have any hope of keeping reproductive rights. Please note, I did not say I agreed with any of them; just that there are lots of voters who at least find them plausible and, from what I can tell, we’re not doing a very good job of responding:
    blah
    blah
    blah
    Now, I think there are answers to all of those contentions, but from what I can see, our side is not making them.

    Then why aren’t you making them? If the failure to adequately respond to those arguments is killing the reproductive rights movement, then [checks thread] thirdmill301 is just as guilty of failing to rebut those arguments as anyone else. If the rebuttals are sound, then we only need one (1) rebuttal each, so dropping your rebuttal into the thread means that the thread adequately addresses that argument and no further discussion or action is needed.

    Were you going to ever bother to adequately type up your preferred rebuttal, or were you just going to complain that other people aren’t typing up your preferred rebuttals?

    I mean, I hear you when you say that you’re sure definitely gonna, but it says something about your priorities that when you have limited time the first thing you prioritize isn’t the rebuttals, it’s the complaints other people aren’t making your case for you.

    If you only have time for one short comment, why not a single rebuttal to a single right-wing argument? Since I’m entirely unaware of any existing mind control technology, the only reasonable conclusion is that you wanted to spend that time saying a bunch of stuff that didn’t include any rebuttals. While I’m sure there are people who don’t give a flying fuck, the rest of us are wondering why you prioritize talking about how much you care about articulating rebuttals when the exact same energy used to say “I care about rebuttals to right wing arguments” can be used to say, “The right wing is wrong because…”

    most of the comments here are unhelpful because they caricature the views of the pro life side when they attempt to respond to them at all

    Hmm, yes. I see your point. Anyone caricaturing another’s argument is surely acting terribly and definitely deserves a rhetorical lashing.

    Politically, the argument that “who cares if it’s a person, I’ll just kill it anyway because I couldn’t be bothered to use birth control” is simply not a winning argument, even if you think it should be.

    Then you better find the person who’s making that argument – stat! Oh, wait, no one said that?

    Hmm. If no one said that, and it’s a ridiculous, exaggerated misportrayal of what people actually are saying, what should we do about that? It’s almost like the rules regarding people who caricature others’ arguments might come into play here.

    killing the messenger won’t change that.

    No, but putting condoms over your hands has a 79% chance of preventing some serious and otherwise foreseeable consequences.

  43. starfleetdude says

    Politically, the argument that “who cares if it’s a person, I’ll just kill it anyway because I couldn’t be bothered to use birth control” is simply not a winning argument, even if you think it should be. And killing the messenger won’t change that.

    It’s not a person though. All those cute babies on billboards to the contrary claiming there’s a heartbeat at eight weeks, the fact is that a fetus is not a baby and at eight weeks there isn’t a heart. All you have is the usual B.S. that it’s the woman’s fault.

  44. stroppy says

    What the hell is ‘personhood’ anyway? Isn’t that the thing that the Supreme Court gave to corporations?

    What a load.

  45. blf says

    What the hell is ‘personhood’ anyway?

    Think Robin Hood… a myth.
    Or read it per son hood, which sounds like a mafiarepublican initiation rite.

  46. chris61 says

    @47 starfleetdude

    at eight weeks there isn’t a heart.

    It’s not, by definition, a fetal heart sing,e by definition, it isn’t a fetus yet but it certainly has a heart.

  47. ardipithecus says

    The arguments presented by thirdmill301 presuppose that the political battle is about women’s reproductive rights and are therefore spurious.

    The battle is about returning to a state where women are the obedient chattel of men. Reproductive rights is the arena du jour, and it is important to win in this arena. Arguing about fetal heartbeats or who is responsible for the zygote distracts from the core battle which is the equal autonomy of men and women, including body autonomy.

  48. kebil says

    OMG, you people attacking Thirdmill for not adequately responding to your post are rude! You realize they posted at 12:40, likely their lunch break. They mentioned several times that they were still at work, while briefly addressing some of your points. And you guys then attacked them again for not adequately responding to you. Yikes. Likely you were not thinking about their inability to take twenty minutes to think and reply while WORKING. Or maybe you boss lets you use work time for interneting. Regardless, I do believe the original post was a good faith post. None of these arguments were being advocated for, the OP was asking for a discussion on how best to respond to these arguments when REAL anti-choice (prolife is antichoice) advocates use them. I realize males (like me) are not the most able to talk about these issues – nobody is trying to control my body – I don’t think every guy who advocates for choice is doing so disingenuously. Sure, attack people with bad opinions, but don’t assume people hold these opinions just because they mention the other sides arguments and asks for help coming up with the most effective answer. You know, so we can at least give them a strong reason their thinking is wrong

  49. blf says

    You realize they posted at 12:40[pm]

    No, that is time of blog server; the poster’s own local time need not be the same. For instance, my post, immediately preceding that post, is marked as 12:09pm. So, was I about to have lunch then? No. Dinner. I’m in France, and my local time then was in the evening. The server is multiple hours to the West of me, across the ocean. This post will be marked as near 8pm on Tuesday, but the actual time here is about 2am on Wednesday. And I’m about to go to bed.

    The other assumptions made are equally bad.

  50. chigau (違う) says

    kebil #54
    Everyone on this thread except you understands that the discussion will play out as each of the participants returns to their keyboards.
    Chill.

  51. thirdmill says

    OK, as promised, home from work, so substantive responses. Crip Dyke, you did see that I said I would provide substantive responses when I got home from work, didn’t you? I’m first going to respond to my critics. I’m then going to articulate the arguments I think we should be making that we aren’t.

    Astrysol, No. 43, I said “mostly” effective, and the numbers you quote are “mostly” effective. Plus, I said I didn’t even agree with that argument anyway, so why are you imputing to me an argument I already said i disagreed with? But if you want to talk about that argument, I’m a gay man who lived through the 80s when AIDS was sweeping through the gay community and practicing safe sex was literally a matter of life and death. Oh, and there were people back then who argued that if you were too lazy to practice safe sex you deserved to get AIDS for being stupid, so it’s an argument I’ve heard before. And while it’s not an argument I would make myself, in point of fact most unwanted pregnancies, and most HIV transmissions, could have been prevented had the participants exercised a bit more care, and it will certainly occur to some to wonder why there have to be 1.5 million abortions a year when birth control is cheap, readily available, and mostly effective. Sure, accidents happen, but not at that rate.

    Giliell, your puppy analogy is the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent. In plain English, all puppies have four legs but not everything with four legs is a puppy. Likewise, persons have consciousness, a central nervous system, and a beating heart, but that does not mean that everything with consciousness, etc. is a person.

    As far as “personhood” goes, whatever may be the biology of it, that’s an important legal concept because it determines whether something has legal rights. If you’re a person, you’ve got the full panoply of constitutional rights, including the right to life; if you’re not a person, you don’t. And the public relations problem isn’t the cute babies on billboards; it’s the sonograms that show fetuses acting an awful lot like full persons. In fact, the better the sonogram technology gets, the more fetuses begin to look like persons, and the harder it becomes to convince those in the middle that it’s just a blob of tissue. Improved sonogram technology has been a public relations disaster for the pro-choice movement.

    I was using “invite” as a term of art, and it comes from the legal concept of “special duty”. If I see a homeless person, I am under no obligation to invite that person home for dinner. But if I do invite that person home for dinner, and that person gets food poisoning as a result, that person can sue me, even though I was under no obligation to offer food in the first place. The reason is that my conduct in offering hospitality and then serving bad food created a situation that placed that person in peril, so I am responsible for the results.

    So, the argument isn’t that the woman volitionally found a fetus and invited it into her body. Rather the argument is that by practicing unprotected sex she created a situation that placed the fetus in danger, and so has a duty to the fetus she would not have otherwise. (This of course is based on the assumption that the fetus has personhood.)

    And finally, the argument that the risk of unprotected sex falls disproportionately on the woman has obviously never heard from an unwilling father paying 18 years of child support. It may be a different type of risk — she risks pregnancy, he risks 18 years of child support — but it’s not a risk free proposition for either of them.

    Now, those are the answers we’re going to hear from the pro-life movement. Please don’t scream at me for articulating what the arguments are; I haven’t said I agree with any of them.

  52. Rowan vet-tech says

    Even using that definition of invite, it is an argument that doesn’t make sense because there is no fetus, no embryo, no zygote at that moment.
    And if said man doesn’t want to pay 18 years of child support, maybe he shouldn’t be against abortion.

  53. thirdmill says

    Now, here are the arguments I think we should be making in response:

    First, a “person” is a life form that has traits and characteristics that distinguish humans from other life forms. In other words, the fetus becomes a person when it acquires traits that make it uniquely human. So what are those traits? Self awareness. Basic cognitive ability. Perception. Things that a fetus doesn’t have until late in the process. If a right to lifer wants to claim that personhood begins at conception, he’s going to have to show that from conception, the fetus has the things that make a human being a human being. What does it have that humans, and only humans, have. Good luck showing that for a fetus in early development.

    Even if personhood is granted, it then becomes a case of rights in conflict. Living in civil society, we often have situations in which there are competing rights, and which rights take priority has to then be resolved. It’s the reason I can’t shout through a bullhorn under someone’s bedroom window at midnight. Sure, I have the right to free speech, and my neighbors have the right to peace and quiet in their own home. So only one of us can have our rights vindicated.

    In the case of a pregnancy, there are several reasons why the woman’s rights would supersede the rights of a fetus. First is her own right to bodily autonomy. Bodily autonomy is pretty fundamental in a free society. Second, the woman suffers the greater hardship; she is already here and suffering the effects of pregnancy and facing a life changing event. The fetus, on the other hand, will never know or care about any of that. The fetus is being deprived of something it never really had in the first place.

    And on the issue of irresponsibility in practicing unprotected sex, once it has been established that someone has the right to do something, it is legally irrelevant (at least most of the time) why they are doing it or if they should have made a better choice earlier.

  54. John Morales says

    thirdmill:

    Now, here are the arguments I think we should be making in response:

    First, a “person” is a life form that has traits and characteristics that distinguish humans from other life forms.

    This exemplifies why you fail at being convincing; you can attempt to rebut contentions by declaring your own definition of terms and proceeding from there, as you have just done, but your definition boils down to [‘person’=’human’], and you haven’t defined ‘human’.

    Worse, it cannot be other than that human fetuses have traits and characteristics that distinguish humans from other life forms, so by your definition, all fetuses are persons.

    (Shallow thinking is shallow, and what you think should be done reflects your thinking)

  55. says

    @thirdmill:

    Crip Dyke, you did see that I said I would provide substantive responses when I got home from work, didn’t you?

    I’m not sure, let’s check. What did I say?

    Were you going to ever bother to adequately type up your preferred rebuttal, or were you just going to complain that other people aren’t typing up your preferred rebuttals?

    I mean, I hear you when you say that you’re sure definitely gonna, but it says something about your priorities that when you have limited time the first thing you prioritize isn’t the rebuttals, it’s the complaints other people aren’t making your case for you.

    I didn’t have a problem with you not responding instantly. I was merely articulating that you did, indeed, write follow up comments after being asked what your arguments were and those follow up comments were

    1) long enough to contain at least one rebuttal
    2) contained no rebuttals.

    For evidence, see your #36 and #44, both of which came after the request for your rebuttals @#31 and your own insistence that we need to articulate rebuttals in your #30.

  56. Saad says

    thirdmill301, #30

    Yes, it’s your body, but you invited another life into it by having unprotected sex. You don’t now get to kill that other life because you were too irresponsible to use birth control. Birth control is cheap, readily available, easy to use, and mostly effective. You made your choice when you had unprotected sex.

    This one is easily dealt with by pointing out that “killing that other life” is also just as bad if the pregnancy is the result of incest/rape. How is that other life any more responsible for the rape as it is for unprotected sex. In other words, if this cool pro-life person truly has the other life’s interest in mind, then they should be for a complete and total ban on all abortions of pregnancies resulting from rape. Argument dismissed as dishonest / poorly thought out.

    The bright line that personhood begins at birth is entirely arbitrary. Five minutes ago, when it was in the womb, it was still a fetus, but now that it’s passed through the birth canal it’s a person? Seriously? Personhood may not begin at conception, but it doesn’t wait until birth either. Once a fetus has consciousness, a central nervous system, and a heartbeat, it’s tough to make the case that it’s not a person.

    This is an even easier one. No person has the right to occupy or use another person’s body against that person’s ongoing consent.

  57. dianne says

    thirdmill @58: persons have consciousness, a central nervous system, and a beating heart,

    Ah, but does a fetus have all these characteristics? An embryo certainly does not. Stationary neurons are not even in place until about day 56 after conception, so clearly an embryo does not have a CNS or consciousness. Does a fetus have consciousness? The short answer is “probably not”. The fetus is in a severely hypoxic environment. It probably is simply not getting enough oxygen to have consciousness. A baby, on the other hand, has access to relatively high oxygen room air and may well be conscious.

    Conversely, are all these characteristics required to be a (living) person? CPR and ACLS are performed on people without heartbeats on the theory that they are still alive (if very, very sick and likely to die.) There are also continuous flow cardiac support systems which allow people to live for extended periods of time, with consciousness, without a heartbeat. And then there’s the whole donor heart problem…the heartbeat a person has may not be from their own (genetic) heart, and yet they are alive.

    In the end, neither the “beating heart” nor even the “brain birth” arguments hold up. But it doesn’t really matter anyway. There is a legal precedent on the question of whether a person has the right to force another to provide life support from their own body. McFall versus Shimp. The legal precedent says no. Even if the person had previously stated that they would help. Even if the person at risk will die without the other’s aid. Even if no one else can provide the necessary help. Bodily autonomy comes first–in every other situation. Why should pregnancy be different?

  58. says

    I’m sorry, I said “I was merely articulating…” but actually posted the comment without finishing the thought.

    I did indeed say more than that in my comment #46, and I didn’t intend to deny that. Sorry.

    In particular, the relevant other assertion of mine in relation to what I was saying in #62 is that we can reasonably infer something about your priorities from the fact of your #36 and #44 that were posted with content long enough to produce a rebuttal, but no rebuttal was present.

    And, to be perfectly clear, I don’t think it’s bad to write about things other than reproductive rights. I think this is only noteworthy in light of your #30 in which you certainly appeared to be chastising people for not (adequately) writing rebuttals to right-wingers’ attacks on reproductive rights.

    Next, I’ll take note that your “adequate rebuttal” or your rebuttal without “major tactical flaws” (if you prefer) still won’t convince right wingers.

    Meanwhile, we have plenty of results like this one that show that even when we aren’t able to convince the US hard right (as your rebuttals will also certainly not do), we are managing and have managed to convince a clear majority that abortion rights and other reproductive rights need protection.

    So… are you even correct in your idea that we’re not doing a good enough job? that’s not at all clear to me, and I’d like to see the evidence on which you base that claim. What would be “good enough”, for instance?

    Finally, I’ll further note that Giliell isn’t from the US and doesn’t live in the US. While I can (and should) be held accountable for voting and taking part in the politics of the US given that I have citizenship and can vote and (via the internet) contribute to politics even while living outside the country, it seems really weird and arrogant to say that Giliell, of all people, isn’t doing enough to change US politics. What responsibility does Giliell have?

  59. dianne says

    On the issue of being insufficiently nice to allies, I’ll just say that I’ve never seen someone who was genuinely interested in being an ally with oppressed people on any axis of oppression who changed their mind because the oppressed people in question weren’t sufficiently polite. Decided not to work with a specific group, yes. Decided that person X was a jerk, yes. But simply changed their mind about, say, whether marriage equality or combating racism were important because someone was not sufficiently polite? Nope. Don’t see it.

  60. dianne says

    the better the sonogram technology gets, the more fetuses begin to look like persons, and the harder it becomes to convince those in the middle that it’s just a blob of tissue.

    Have you ever seen an actual eight week embryo? They don’t look human. They don’t even look earthling. Or do a google image search on anencephaly, but only if you have a strong stomach. Actual embryos/early fetuses at the time when the vast majority of abortions take place do not look even remotely human. Fetuses that end up being aborted later on often look like something Bosch would have considered too nasty to put in a painting. (Seriously DO NOT do that google image search I suggested unless you’re ready to see horror.) Cute bouncy, healthy, baby-like late fetus ultrasounds that people put on their baby announcements are not even close to the same thing as fetuses and embryos that are about to be aborted. Ultrasound images may make some people more anti-choice, but they are being swayed by deceptive images and their own ignorance.

  61. alixmo says

    @thirdmill, #60, @dianne,

    Thirdmill asked: what special quality makes a human unique in a “pro-lifers” opinion (I rephrased)? Of course, it is the ominous “SOUL”.

    And no, we cannot find it, because it is religious bogus. Nevertheless, that “mythical” concept is behind the “logic” of the “sanctity of life from conception”. They may not use the word “soul” publicly, in order to seem “scientific” and less like loons, but they mean it when they use more highbrow terms like “consciousness”. As scientific and modern as they try to appear in public, what they really refer to is religious, is the “special sauce” that “God” only gave to humans and no other species on earth, the “soul”.

    And this “soul” starts to exist, they claim, from conception. Which means: no abortion is ever allowed, no abortion can ever be performed early enough – even the fertilized egg has already a “soul”. It also means that emergency contraceptives (morning after pill) have to be banned, because of the “soul”.

    We should also not forget that in a religious person’s mind, it is “God” who decides if a woman gets pregnant or not; many think, contraceptives are not allowed to use because they “interfere/act against” “God’s will”.

    You cannot argue against any of this! As long as religion looms large in society, absurd claims and unsubstantiated pseudo-arguments count as much as the best scientific proof.

    The crux with abortion rights is that the religious right will never relent. In this issue, their misogyny (or better, patriarchy and “male supremacy”) and their believe in a “creator/God” meet in a very problematic way.

    In my opinion, if we want to convince people of the pro-woman-pro-choice stance, we should not waste time and effort on the religious crowd at all.

    There is NO WAY convincing them, because of the “soul”, because of “God”, because of their patriarchal ideology.

    We have to concentrate on the non-looney part of the population, the unaffiliated, the undecided, the only mildly religious. And we have to EXPOSE the religious right to those people, their anti-women agenda, the unsubstantiated religious nature of their pseudo-arguments, their unfair, propagandistic tactics.

    Therefore, we humanist secularists cannot tiptoe around religious feelings any more. The women’s and LGBTQ+ rights battle will otherwise never be settled. As long as religion is strong in public opinion, in politics, in education, it will fight against those groups. And no reasonable, factual argument will get through to religious people. Many people tried and are trying – in vain. It is a waste of time and resources.

    Religion has to retreat into the private sphere, real secularism is the answer. Than, it will be easy to say: “Your argument is based on a myth. It is not fact based. It does not count here, in court, in politics. It cannot become law. Sorry!”

  62. says

    Thirdmill

    In other words, the fetus becomes a person when it acquires traits that make it uniquely human. So what are those traits? Self awareness. Basic cognitive ability. Perception.

    So, you do realize, by your standards, the severely disabled, the comatose, those in persistent vegetative states, aren’t actually people.

    Fuck you.

  63. jo1storm says

    “So, you do realize, by your standards, the severely disabled, the comatose, those in persistent vegetative states, aren’t actually people.”

    They don’t get all the rights / full rights that people get. Such as the right to sign contracts. In fact, we can say that the number of rights (and obligations!) people get is directly proportional to their self awareness, basic cognitive ability and perception.

    Besides, that is behind the point. All those people have “hardware” to do those things or at least they had it. I have a rule of thumb here: If it can survive outside the womb with our best medical equipment, it’s a person. If it can’t, it is not.

  64. jefrir says

    thirdmill

    it will certainly occur to some to wonder why there have to be 1.5 million abortions a year when birth control is cheap, readily available, and mostly effective. Sure, accidents happen, but not at that rate.

    So, you don’t provide a source for your statistics, or even state what are it’s for. Assuming you mean in the US, it got close to that in 1990, and has fallen steadily since then. Nowadays, it’s about 600,000 per year.
    America has around 65 million women between the ages of 25 and 55. So around 1% per year are getting abortions. That’s actually below the expected failure rate of all forms of contraception, so seems a pretty reasonable rate. Even if it were 1.5 million, that’s still only about a 2.5% failure rate.
    Be cautious of large-sounding numbers when it comes to national-level statistics: they often turn out to be not as big as they seem.

  65. thirdmill says

    WMD Kitty, I said that by acquiring those traits someone becomes human. I did not say that having once acquired them, one ceases to be human if they lose them. Instead of responding in kind and telling you to fuck yourself, I’ll just ask you to try to keep up.

    Crip dyke, what it says about my priorities is that I wrote my first, substantive post over my lunch hour and only had time for relatively quick comments for the remainder of the afternoon. But even if you were right about my priorities, what would that have to do with my substantive arguments?

  66. rietpluim says

    We humans are a blob of tissue. We’re bones covered in flesh. There is no magical moment where tissue turns into a person. Personhood, like gender, is a social construct that we assign to something (someone) based on a set of criteria that is only partly objective or consistent.

    Consciousness is a function of the nerve system. Consciousness evolves as the nerve system evolves. We don’t become conscious from one moment to the other. Thoughts, feelings, desires, the free will (if it exists – I’ll leave that one for another moment) do not pop into existence after twenty weeks of pregnancy.

    Every attempt to define a moment from when someone is a person and deserves protection by human rights is arbitrary. It might at conception as well as at birth. In some cultures, it was weeks to years after birth.

    Personhood is just not enough to be anti choice.

  67. says

    Your priorities would not be relevant, except your entrance into this thread in #30 questions the priorities of other people. From that comment:

    From a public relations standpoint, however, most of the comments here are unhelpful because they caricature the views of the pro life side when they attempt to respond to them at all.

    Now, I think there are answers to all of those contentions, but from what I can see, our side is not making them. [emphasis added]

    There are two initially plausible interpretations here. The first interpretation is that you’ve never seen “our side” make substantive responses to right-wing attacks on reproductive rights. That is so daft that i dismiss it as a reasonable interpretation of your work. So what is initially plausible based upon the meaning of the words alone is clearly deemed entirely implausible when considered for even a brief moment.

    The second interpretation is that you’ve never seen “our side” make such arguments here, possibly meaning this thread or more probably meaning Pharyngula (and/or FtB) in general. In the context of the portion of your statement which I bolded, the strength of this interpretation is enhanced almost to the point where it’s non-rebuttable, though it certainly would be clarify-able (for instance to specify that you mean “our side is not making [those arguments]” on the greater FtB or the specific blog Pharyngula or even something like “on Pharyngula in recent months”, all of which are somewhat different from each other, but none of which are out of bounds of possible meanings here).

    But of course, you’re fully aware that we don’t live the entirety of our lives here. Just because someone doesn’t make such arguments here doesn’t mean that they don’t make such arguments ever. What, then, is the criticism? The criticism of a lack of specific pro-choice critiques without “major tactical flaws”, especially when juxtaposed with the criticism of mocking anti-abortion positions and arguments, thus cannot be, “You never do this,” which would be unreasonable with “our side” writ large and unevidenced with “our side” constrained to Pharyngula/FtB readers and commenters (as our pseudonyms and geographic dispersal don’t allow you to know what we’re doing or not in our off-line lives). Instead, the criticism can only be, “While you’re commenting here you need to spend more time and/or words articulating “productive” critiques than producing mockery.”

    When I read your comment, I thought it was clear that you were asserting that we were wasting too much time, space, and verbiage on things other than your preferred rebuttals to the arguments you consider most pressing.

    When you make a prioritization argument, then it is reasonable to ask about your own priorities. If you think we need to focus more on making specific critiques of specific arguments, then why aren’t you focussed on just those things? If you tell us we need to focus on specific things (like rebutting certain, specific arguments) but allow your own comments to wander away from those specific things, we have reason to ask if you are holding others to a different standard than you hold yourself.

    Your “substantive arguments” were initially that we were wasting too much time. Your subsequent arguments also wasted time, at least by your own originally asserted standard. My questioning your priorities doesn’t have anything to do with what you presented in #60, but it sure as heck is relevant to your argument in #30.

    ==============================================================================
    Having clarified that, perhaps you can clarify,
    1. Why you think that pharyngula readers generally have an obligation to combat the US political right when so many readers live outside the US, and most of those living outside the US are also without US citizenship. Shouldn’t your criticism of how people spend their commenting time at the very least be limited to those who live in the US and/or hold US citizenship?

    Why do you protest the caricaturing of others’ arguments and then assert,

    Politically, the argument that “who cares if it’s a person, I’ll just kill it anyway because I couldn’t be bothered to use birth control” is simply not a winning argument, even if you think it should be.

    Is it possible you’ve actually heard someone on Pharyngula makes this argument in earnest? If so, please link it. If not, this is more l likely to make persons believe that, as with your argument about how we should spend our time on earnest rebuttals when you do not limit yourself to earnest rebuttals, you’re asserting that others should be held (or hold themselves to) a standard you yourself are not willing to meet.

    Personally, I saw this after your denigration of the use of caricature and had a hard time believing you could be commenting in good faith. If you were new here, I would have slammed you (rhetorically) quite hard. As it is, I’m left wondering if this is somehow a product of compartmentalization or another psychological heuristic that allows humans to obliviously assert the inconsistent and the irrational.

    ==============================================================================
    As for the rebuttals you provided to the right wing arguments you believe are most persuasive, I have a couple points to raise.

    Do you have any evidence that these will convince those who currently take a consistent right wing anti-abortion position?
    If not, then when you say our arguments aren’t “good enough”, what do you mean? Because as I posted above, the pro-choice position is the clear majority. My link to work done in 2017 showed a supermajority in favor not merely of leaving abortion law as it stands, but a supermajority in favor of pro-actively passing new law that would add federal statutory protections for abortion rights.

    If, say, 20% of people take a consistent, strong anti-abortion position, and 20% take a consistent, strong pro-choice position, then the surveys showing 60% support for passing such legislation means that we’re convincing 2/3rds of those who didn’t start out with their minds made up. If you think that more than 20% of people start out with their minds made up for each position, then the percentage of potentially persuadable people we are reaching is actually even higher.

    You’ve asserted that we’re not doing “good enough”. What is “good enough”? Do we have to convince the rabid right wing? Will your arguments actually do that? And if not, why isn’t it “good enough” when we are reaching 67% of the people whose support we have any chance of gaining?

    Based on the vague “good enough” when poll after poll shows pro-choice positions are the clear majority, and typically a super-majority of at least 3/5ths, I suspect (but do not claim to know) that your “not good enough” assessment is based on the behavior of elected republicans of the type that confirmed Kavanaugh or passed Alabama’s anti-abortion statute.

    If this is true, I call bullshit. Because if that was true, then your rebuttals would have to be rebuttals that change the minds of elected republicans. Otherwise, your rebuttals would be equally “not good enough”, and again you’d be holding the actions of others to a standard you yourself cannot meet.

    It’s absolutely true that mockery will not change the minds of Alabama’s Republican state legislators, but your arguments won’t either. Why, then, criticize other commenters for failing to change minds and votes? Only when you develop strategies that actually do result in different voting outcomes will you have any basis for preferring them to the strategies that others were using in this thread.

    I think you’re ignoring audience. If a politician is speaking to that politician’s base, the goal is to get them energized to go out and campaign or turn out to vote. The rhetoric used and the topics of discussion will be very different between such an event and a speech to undecided voters. If, in this analogy, Pharyngula is used to connect with like-minded people and get folks energized to go out and do the work of fighting for reproductive rights on other platforms at a later time, then mockery and caricature may very well be two of the most effective possible strategies. In that case, people who make threads too serious, people who discourage fun and demand a focus on discussing the things on which we all already agree and which we already spend a great deal of time discussing with actual rhetorical opponents, those too-serious people will be the people who are undermining the fight for reproductive rights, including the right to abortion.

    So this raises the question, do you know how many people here do work for reproductive rights in other contexts? Do you know why and how they use Pharyngula threads such as this one? How can you be sure that we don’t need and use threads such as this one for internal movement building and activist energizing?

    In short, even if you had a fantastic critique that was sure to change the minds and votes of at least some republican legislators, are you sure that this thread is the most advantageous place to put it?

    And even if it was, wouldn’t the appropriate thing to do be to introduce it in a both/and way, e.g.:

    I’m glad to see everyone having fun here. Three cheers to commenter X for comment #Y. That was funny. You win all the internets. While I’m here, though, I’ve been seeing data showing real-world success of some specific rebuttals to right-wing arguments. If you haven’t seen these awesome rebuttals yet, here they are:
    Rebuttal 1
    Rebuttal 2
    Rebuttal 3

    Use them in good health!

    When you come in and say, “You’re wrong,” you make this conversation less useful for certain very legitimate (and necessary) purposes. It strikes many others (or at least it struck me) as saying that your priorities are the right priorities. It comes across arrogant, and it shows no interest in what’s good for the other denizens of the thread.

    I don’t think you have bad goals in mind, but I didn’t like your earlier comment, and I think you’re still failing to understand exactly what is wrong with telling other people they need to stick to priorities that aren’t theirs, and that apparently aren’t even yours.

  68. rietpluim says

    Actually, before I’ve learned to know Pharyngula, I was pro choice until the fetus becomes conscious, and now I am pro choice plainly.

    Apparently, most of the comments here were very helpful to persuade at least one person.

  69. jo1storm says

    @WMDKitty — Survivor

    Jo, Thirdmill — you’re both ableist as fuck and need to sit right the fuck down.

    Ableist? Fuck that. Shit. And fuck your name calling. This is personal and this is fresh, ok? So I apologize for coarse language.

    There is being ableist and there is having practical concerns.

    I told you they (the severely disabled, the comatose, those in persistent vegetative states.) lose some human rights. Society strips them away from them or just doesn’t give rights to them in the first place. I never told that those people you mentioned are not human. Or that they are not people. I just told you they don’t have the same rights and obligations in society as those with, shall we say, more privileged existence? As in being fully abled, awake and in non-vegetative state? And to that list you can add people with Alzheimer’s and MS here. “From each according to their ability, to everyone according to their needs.” kind of works here on societal level.

    And now we come to why this is personal.

    My (retired) grandpa had Alzheimer’s. He died two weeks ago. It wasn’t detected until six months before his death and it was very advanced. Because his wife hid that from us and he hid it himself and he didn’t go to doctors. We had to strip the power of attorney from him. He couldn’t take money from his own bank account, he couldn’t make contracts, he couldn’t even live alone. And that’s horrible but it was for his own good. Because vultures would come to him, neighbors and “friends” he couldn’t remember any more and “lend” money from him. Try to make him sign loans and contracts, to sell him ‘lemon’ cars and make him go in debt.
    He also couldn’t go to jail for unpaid traffic ticket from 5 years ago, that was one good thing about his condition. So you come here and tell me he has the same rights as somebody healthy and I can freely laugh at you, without feeling any guilt.
    Yes, some basic rights remained to him. Rights to healthcare, right to life and dignity. But some more advanced ones, like right to sign contracts, right to get driver’s license or even right to have passport? He lost those and he lost them for his own good.
    And passport is odd one out here. Because two years before his death he tried to get to France, where he lived at 40 years prior, and get a driver’s license because he is 80% deaf and half blind and can’t legally get one here. They had to send Interpol warrant for him, because he got lost. In retrospect, that should have been signal to us that he has Altzheimer’s, but hindsight is 20/20,

    One of my uncles got measles as a child. Nothing could be done to prevent it, there was no vaccine then. Left him with neurological damage, partial blindness in both eyes, ticks, twitches and muscle spasms. Muscle weakness too. Luckily, his parents were farmers. They found some simple jobs for him to do around the farm. But he could never get driver’s license and he could never join the workforce, because of his disability. Over 60 years of age now, still alive, still moving. Lives with his sister now.
    But he never got full rights and obligations from society. He got as many as he was able to handle. If he was born today, he would have been much better off. But he was born over 60 years ago. No customized cars, no new medications and, most importantly, no vaccine.

    Now you may call that attitude ableist, but sometimes you can’t give certain rights to somebody for their own protection. And for protection of everyone around them. But they still remain people, just doing their best. And sometimes you have to do what is best for them and “the best for them” is sometimes painful.

  70. thirdmill301 says

    Crip Dyke, I responded to what I had time to respond to at the time, and this is my last word on your attempted hijack. You’ve engaged in two logical fallacies — tu quoque and ad hominem. Tu quoque because even if I questioned other people’s priorities (which i did not) that would still not make questioning mine a legitimate argument. Ad hominem because the reason you raised my priorities is to at least infer that because I’m a person with screwed up priorities the merits of my argument can be discounted.

    Now, having clarified that, I am again at work so responding to the remainder of your reply will have to wait until later today.

    WMD Kitty, what did I say that you consider abelist? I specifically said that a person doesn’t lose humanity by virtue of losing consciousness or being in a vegetative state.

  71. thirdmill301 says

    Rietplum, yes we are just blobs of tissue, but some blobs of tissue have rights. I can legally abort a fetus (or could if I had a medical license) but I can’t kill a child who has already been born. The child has rights; the fetus does not. The legal reason for that is that the child has legal personhood and the fetus does not. Personhood has legal significance even if the biology of it isn’t always clear.

  72. rietpluim says

    thirdmill
    Well, that was more or less my point. People who are stating “life begins at conception” or “life begins at heartbeat” are pretending to make an objective argument while in reality they do not.

  73. stroppy says

    Again with the personhood. Here’s some useful personhood:

    “Corporate powers—who have perverted law, logic and nature to have their lifeless profiteering entities declared “persons”—are aghast that Mother Nature not only has rights but those rights can be legally and morally superior to the claim that a corporation’s right to profit is absolute.”
    Jim Hightower

    So, there’s a time and a place for ‘personhood’. With respect to the abortion argument, it’s just an attractive nuisance. No case has been made for it.

  74. says

    thirdmill

    Giliell, No. 40, the hell it’s not my fight. While I’m never going to be pregnant, I am a gay man who is just as much endangered by the Christian right as women are.

    Wow, that’s a lot.
    You said one true thing: you will never be pregnant. Therefore anti-abortion laws affect you zilch, zero, nada. It is NOT your fight since you won’t bleed out from a botched clandestine abortion or be jailed for a miscarriage.

    If the Christian right wins this battle by getting Roe overturned (or worse, a national right to life law then passed by a Republican Congress) it empowers and emboldens them. It puts them on steroids to then take on gay rights as their next target.

    So, well thank you for considering women’s rights a nice shield between you and Rethuglicans. You just stated that the reason you care isn’t because women are people, but because you’d be next. As I said, you’re not an ally.

    Giliell, your puppy analogy is the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent. In plain English, all puppies have four legs but not everything with four legs is a puppy. Likewise, persons have consciousness, a central nervous system, and a beating heart, but that does not mean that everything with consciousness, etc. is a person.

    Funny enough, that was yourstupid argument. You, in “playing devil’s advocate” or whatever you’re playing claimed that, and I quote:

    Once a fetus has consciousness, a central nervous system, and a heartbeat, it’s tough to make the case that it’s not a person.

    You’re the one who proclaimed that consciousness (not that fetuses are actually canscious to the best of our knowledge), heartbeat and central nervous system were the things that made the fetus a person. Sorry, you can’t have your cake and eat it.

    If you’re a person, you’ve got the full panoply of constitutional rights, including the right to life;

    Terms and conditions apply.
    I don’t have to jump into the water to save you.
    If I’d been bleeding out during labour, my husband wouldn’t have had to donate a pint of blood to save me and our baby, because funny enough, pricking a cis dude with a needle is totally out of the question while forcing a cis woman or other afab person to push an object the size of a lemon through their vagina is ok…

    it’s the sonograms that show fetuses acting an awful lot like full persons.

    Lol
    Really, you got to be damn ignorant to think that this is anyway true. Fetuses in utero react, they move. They don’t act.

    But if I do invite that person home for dinner,…

    What’s it with cis dudes confusing women’s bodies with property? Oh, right…

    Rather the argument is that by practicing unprotected sex she created a situation that placed the fetus in danger, and so has a duty to the fetus she would not have otherwise.

    Well, but since my parents had me, they created a situation that placed me in the position that allowed me to have sex, therefore it’s their fault.
    Sounds silly? It is. I cannot have a special duty towards something that doesn’t exist. me having sex does nothing to a fetus because it does not exist at the point of me having sex. Also, what about the other one who was there? Again, you keep acting like women get pregnant all by themselves. What’s their duty? They don’t even have to pay the pregnant person’s medical expenses…

    And finally, the argument that the risk of unprotected sex falls disproportionately on the woman has obviously never heard from an unwilling father paying 18 years of child support.

    Yeah, dying in childbirth or paying money. Poor men. You keep showing that you don’t actually consider cis women and others with uteri to be people, because you keep comparing us to objects. Our bodies are not houses, our bodies are not money.

    Now, those are the answers we’re going to hear from the pro-life movement. Please don’t scream at me for articulating what the arguments are; I haven’t said I agree with any of them.

    Nobody is forcing you to argue that bullshit, you’ve been told it’s harmful, yet you keep doing it, so I’m simply assuming that your interest isn’t actually to protect women’s and other’s reproductive rights, but to use us as props. None of us need your prompting, we have thought out our positions years ago, as you can see from the replies, yet you keep acting like those replies don’t exist and haven’t existed for a long time, in many threads on this very blog.

    First, a “person” is a life form that has traits and characteristics that distinguish humans from other life forms. In other words, the fetus becomes a person when it acquires traits that make it uniquely human. So what are those traits? Self awareness. Basic cognitive ability. Perception. Things that a fetus doesn’t have until late in the process.

    Again you’re bullshitting. Fetuses don’t have any of these “distinguishing” characteristics. Actually, children don’t have them for quite some time. I saw a baby today. the crow perching in the tree above had way more awareness, perception and cognitive ability. Fact is, you are simply not educated enough for this debate. you keep making claims that are complete nonsense.

    First is her own right to bodily autonomy.

    Nice that you kind of agree that we have that.

    I did not say that having once acquired them, one ceases to be human if they lose them.

    So, somebody born into a permanent vegetative state is not a person?
    Again, you’re showing your own ignorance and ableism to go with it.

    Dianne
    waves

    On the issue of being insufficiently nice to allies, I’ll just say that I’ve never seen someone who was genuinely interested in being an ally with oppressed people on any axis of oppression who changed their mind because the oppressed people in question weren’t sufficiently polite.

    Also, I consider “ally” a verb. It’s something you do. It’s something you may hope to be. It’s not something you can declare yourself to be. An ally would be out there supporting us in our fight, not playing devil’s advocate on a blog like we haven’t been through that conversation a million times and then complaining about not being nice and not appreciating a cis men telling us what we’re doing wrong and how to do it right.

    Have you ever seen an actual eight week embryo? They don’t look human. They don’t even look earthling

    Personally I like to post an image of an elephant embryo and ask them if they think that’s a human person….
    rietplum

    Actually, before I’ve learned to know Pharyngula, I was pro choice until the fetus becomes conscious, and now I am pro choice plainly.

    Yep, me too. I thought something along the lines of “well, in the first trimester it’s ok but then you’ve had your time and now you’re in for the full ride”.
    I was whacked over the head. Especially by my later friend Caine. Can you imagine her being very polite? She wasn’t. She was furious and passionate. the word “cupcake” may have been used.

  75. Rowan vet-tech says

    As a small adendum… yeah, not all puppies have 4 legs. We have a litter at my shelter where 3 of the puppies have 2 legs. They’re still puppies. They’d be puppies with no legs. They’d be puppies with no legs and no tail and no ears and no eyes.

  76. stroppy says

    Welp, I guess this thread is just about dead, but one more thought.

    The assumption seems to be that since there’s a fertilized egg in one time frame that turns out to be a baby in a later time frame, then what happens in-between must be somehow irrelevant because “complicated.”

    But it’s like my old paleontology professor used to say before he turned gray and went emeritus, “Class” he said, “Class, there are two kinds of people in the world; lumpers and splitters.”

    The point here is that you don’t get a pass as a lumper if you’re just too lazy to do the analysis.

  77. says

    @thirdmill:

    You’ve engaged in two logical fallacies — tu quoque and ad hominem.

    AND THAT WOULD BE RELEVANT IF YOU MADE A LOGICAL ARGUMENT.

    Where do you state your premises? Where do you show the logical operations you apply to those premises to reach your conclusions?

    You assert that comments here suck because they don’t make the arguments you think are important. This is a premise. It’s not one with any evidence behind it, but you can start with any premise you like.

    But then what? Do the “important” anti-abortion arguments flow logically from “you people suck because you’re not talking about the things I want you to talk about”. Of course not.

    My purpose in raising these issues isn’t to logically disprove a logical argument: you haven’t made one. My purpose is to poke and prod you into questioning your own premise. If other people and/or their comments suck because they aren’t talking about the things you think are most important to talk about, then don’t your comments and/or you suck because you spent time talking about less-important things?

    If not, WHY?

    I’m encouraging you to interrogate your own position, your own premises. Therefore focussing on you is an entirely reasonable rhetorical strategy even if it isn’t a logical disproof of some formal argument or other (which does not yet exist).

    My problem isn’t that your step 97 is contradicted by the rules of logic. My problem is that you’re taking a superior tone with no justification for it. There is no logical argument presented by you, and no ostensibly logical counter-argument presented by me. Therefore I cannot have engaged in a logical fallacy in the formal sense. “Even you don’t believe your own bullshit,” is not a fallacy when it is not asserted as part of a logical argument. But let’s pretend for a moment that this is a logical argument and that this is all simply about logically proving each other wrong. In that case:

    [Premise:] I am as pro choice as anyone else here.

    [Premise:] I even think we should have single payer health care that pays for abortions.

    [Premise:] From a public relations standpoint, however, most of the comments here are unhelpful because they caricature the views of the pro life side when they attempt to respond to them at all.

    [Conclusion:]So here are the actual pro-life arguments that need to be responded to if we have any hope of keeping reproductive rights.

    My reply? Non sequitur.

    Boom. We’re done.

    Or do you want to admit that you weren’t making a logical argument, that you’re engaged in rhetorical persuasion, and that your citing of fallacies was thus a misuse of them as well as a bullshit tactic to deflect critique of your attempt to convince others to adopt the priorities you advocate?

  78. rietpluim says

    Giliell

    If I’d been bleeding out during labour, my husband wouldn’t have had to donate a pint of blood to save me and our baby, because funny enough, pricking a cis dude with a needle is totally out of the question while forcing a cis woman or other afab person to push an object the size of a lemon through their vagina is ok

    It was this argument (in different words) that made me change my mind. Funny enough, I still think fetuses have rights, I just don’t think that is up te me or anybody else to weigh them against the pregnant person’s rights. And anyone who thinks it is, should at least be so consistent to do the same for forced organ donations.

  79. says

    Jo

    I AM DISABLED YOU FUCKING MUPPET!

    This: “And sometimes you have to do what is best for them and “the best for them” is sometimes painful.” is bullshit.

    A disabled person may not be able to exercise all their rights, but they still HAVE them. We DO NOT REMOVE OR RESTRICT RIGHTS BASED ON DISABILITY. To do so is not only unethical, but illegal.

    I don’t give a fuck if your gran had Alzheimer’s or whatever, you still haven’t got a fucking clue.

  80. jo1storm says

    Jo

    I AM DISABLED YOU FUCKING MUPPET!

    So what? Do you think that gives you right to call people ableist always, the moment they slightly disagree with you?

    This: “And sometimes you have to do what is best for them and “the best for them” is sometimes painful.” is bullshit.

    No, it is not bullshit. I never said it is painful for THEM, have I? Grandpa was feeling fine. It was painful for family around him.

    A disabled person may not be able to exercise all their rights, but they still HAVE them. We DO NOT REMOVE OR RESTRICT RIGHTS BASED ON DISABILITY. To do so is not only unethical, but illegal.

    Actually, if it is ethical is what can be debated and we are free to do just that.

    If it is legal, well… that depends on the location. Where I am from, it is not only legal but expected. Once he wasn’t able to drive, he couldn’t get drivers license. In fact, that’s what the law says. He literally lost the right to have driver’s license. He couldn’t pass 3 exams needed to get it. He couldn’t see, he couldn’t hear and he couldn’t think straight. So yeah, what is the difference between not being able to exercise right and losing that right, in the example of driver’s license? He has the right to drive, but he doesn’t have the right to drive without driver’s license but he can’t get a license… Would you say he, IN PRACTICE, just lost the right to drive?! And that the moment his vision went bad, a few years back, his right to drive got severely restricted IN PRACTICE, because he had to wear glasses when driving and couldn’t legally drive without them? The same as he gained the right to receive his pension the moment he got old enough.
    For another example, completely blind person can’t get driver’s license at all in my country. And can’t work as anything with driver in the name.
    He is not able to exercise right… Well, then it is not a right, it is a fucking privilege then, isn’t it? If it can be taken away?

    https://youtu.be/gaa9iw85tW8?t=260

    So, tell me again, what are we arguing about here? What is the point you are trying to make? Tell me, IN PRACTICE, what’s the difference of not being able to exercise right and not gaining and having that right in the first place?

    Now, try to calm down. Have in mind that I try to be compassionate person, that I am not disabled, that I try my best not to be a bigot. Educate me. Or at least point me in the right direction so I can educate myself about the issues so close to your heart.

  81. John Morales says

    jo1storm:

    So, tell me again, what are we arguing about here?

    You seem to conflate human rights (inalienable) with civil and social rights (conditional).
    Different things. Specifically, the “right” to a driver’s license is always conditional, and always unavailable to people under a certain age.

  82. says

    thirdmill said, “Yes, it’s your body, but you invited another life into it by having unprotected sex. You don’t now get to kill that other life because you were too irresponsible to use birth control. Birth control is cheap, readily available, easy to use, and mostly effective. You made your choice when you had unprotected sex.”

    What if someone used contraception and became pregnant anyway? Are they entitled to an abortion if they want one? Is it just people who have unprotected sex who don’t get the right to an abortion in your paradigm?

  83. John Morales says

    This may seem like a pointless comment, but I note that the world is hardly lacking successful (and, hopefully, wanted) pregnancies and conceptions and parturitions.

    (A lack of people is not the problem!)

  84. says

    Jo, I appreciate you trying, but your example is simply wrong. Legally speaking, a driver’s license is not and has never been a right, it has always been a PRIVILEGE, one that must be earned by demonstrating one’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. It’s a privilege that is often revoked in cases of those who can’t responsibly exercise it, for example, by driving drunk.

    Nice try, though.

  85. John Morales says

    PS
    Maximising the number of people, howerver, clearly is. Malthusian constraints and all that.

    If there is X resource, then each person p in a population of n people fairly gets X ÷ n of the resource, so that the amount of resource per person is inversely proportional to the population, absent some magical science-fictional resource post-scarcity economy.

    Clearly, neither extreme is desirable, and therefore forced-birtherism is not desirable as it strives to maximise population.

    Ain’t complicated, just emotive.

  86. John Morales says

    WMDKitty, heh, we crossed.

    But I like your comment.

    Back in the day (decades ago) I opined that, given that bad parenting was underirable, it is desirable that parents should be licenced to procreate on the basis of competence. Still do.

    (Of course, the necessary enabling and enforcing of that would not be desirable at higher levels of abstraction, but still. For sure, I still think that the aspiration should be that all children are wanted children)

  87. rietpluim says

    jo1storm
    Sure, tell a person with disabilities to calm down when you’re advocating taking people with disabilities’ rights away.
    If you’re sincere about being educated, change your attitude first.

  88. alixmo says

    @John Morales,

    I agree. Climate change and many, many other grave ecological problems (that are rarely talked about) are a reality – and a big and growing population exacerbates the situation. A situation that may lead to bloody military conflicts, if things get worse. That is not often mentioned, for fear of fascists/eugenicists or other bad faith actors misusing this fact.

    Sadly, in the meantime it is the “forced birthers” (the anti-women, anti-choice) religious right that actually misuses the silence about this topic. In the U.S. and internationally, they deprive women of their right of bodily autonomy, their right of using contraceptives. In many places, they are very successful with their nefarious efforts (look in the Guardian archives). And still, this is unknown to many well meaning people.

    Those (poor) women are also often deprived of education, of opportunities, because of their unplanned and numerous pregnancies. Teaching (unrealistic) abstinence instead of sex education is also part and parcel of the “pro life” bullshit. The result is keeping poor people in perpetual poverty and women perpetually in a subordinate position. (I wonder why religous people are still seen as “good” and “charitable” with such dire outcome from their ideology!) This makes me sick.

    And yes, the ideal is that every child is planned and therefore wanted.

  89. jo1storm says

    @rietpluim

    Sure, tell a person with disabilities to calm down when you’re advocating taking people with disabilities’ rights away.

    Advocating? Nope. Describing reality of the situation. I am not advocating for it, I am not the sort of guy who is “Yeah, let’s take the rights from the disabled! Hell yeah, it is the best thing since sliced bread!”.

    I am telling what happens, irl. In short, my comment was descriptive not prescriptive.

    And yes, they should calm the fuck down. Quote:

    Jo, Thirdmill — you’re both ableist as fuck and need to sit right the fuck down.
    I AM DISABLED YOU FUCKING MUPPET!
    I don’t give a fuck if your gran had Alzheimer’s or whatever, you still haven’t got a fucking clue.

    Does that sound calm to you? It sure doesn’t sound calm to me.

    If you’re sincere about being educated, change your attitude first.

    Yeah, to change my attitude first, I need to know where exactly is my attitude wrong, right? Especially when my attitude is describing situation as I see it and not advising course of action.

    Is it so hard to believe that on the internet, sometimes, occasionally, people meet with certain issues for the first time and that they sometimes, occasionally, are accidentally insensitive? And that you really shouldn’t assume that they are out to get you, yes YOU PERSONALLY and go ballistic on them before asking questions and trying to clarify their actual opinion?

    Yes, I know there are concern trolls and tone trolls and “Just asking questions devil’s advocates” assholes on the internet. But maybe you should use Hanlon’s razor more often: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity or incompetence or ignorance.

    Well, I am more ignorant about these issues than I thought.

    @John Morales

    You seem to conflate human rights (inalienable) with civil and social rights (conditional).

    What’s the difference and who is in charge of enforcing human rights? What are the inalienable human rights?

    @WMDKitty — Survivor
    I apologize for accidentally triggering you. And I am not using that word sarcastically, despite all sorts of jerks abusing the word. I am not sarcastic or trolling, I am really sorry. I know you meet with all sorts of assholes, both online and offline. We all do. Anonymity online brings out the worst in people. I meant no harm or offense but it seems that I caused it. Again, I apologize.

    So, if you can tell me what’s exactly the issue here and where I did wrong and where I can improve, so I can become ally to disabled people everywhere, I would much appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

  90. says

    So, if you can tell me what’s exactly the issue here and where I did wrong and where I can improve, so I can become ally to disabled people everywhere, I would much appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

    Holy shit, jo1storm, don’t do that.
    First of all, WMDKitty and other already gave you a ton of clues.
    Second, never ever ask marginalised people to perform the service to kindly, nicely, and preferrbly without using swearwords educate you for free. Especially not after you have actually hurt the person. Do you see how fucked up that is? If you want to be an ally to disabled people, go educate yourself. You are on the internet. seriously, putting “disability rights” or “how to fight ableism” into google gives you tons of free resources. Ask others whom you not quite recently insulted if they have resources.

  91. says

    @jo1storm
    It doesn’t matter if they aren’t calm. Tone and content aren’t the same. You don’t spare any words showing that the tone relates to wrongness about an issue, you just act like it’s an obvious problem when it’s not.

    Keep you opinions about tone to yourself. If it’s not affecting anything important it’s just information.

  92. says

    Well, tone is a kind of content, but hopefully my point is clear. The tone doesn’t imply anything about rightness or wrongness, it’s how a person feels about what they are communicating about and is not a problem on its own.

  93. jo1storm says

    @Brony

    “It doesn’t matter if they aren’t calm. Tone and content aren’t the same. You don’t spare any words showing that the tone relates to wrongness about an issue, you just act like it’s an obvious problem when it’s not.
    Keep you opinions about tone to yourself. If it’s not affecting anything important it’s just information.

    Well, tone is a kind of content, but hopefully my point is clear. The tone doesn’t imply anything about rightness or wrongness, it’s how a person feels about what they are communicating about and is not a problem on its own.

    Well, in the first reply to me, the actual start of our conversation, the tone WAS the content.
    “Jo, Thirdmill — you’re both ableist as fuck and need to sit right the fuck down.”

    Nothing else, no more details, just snark and anger and personal attack. It sounded like “Shut the fuck up, that’s why” argument to me. It didn’t sound like “You’re ableist and here’s why” argument. Now, maybe the assumption was that I knew the term “ableist” before entering this conversation and didn’t have to google it. They might as well called me dingleberry. I had to google that one too, a year ago. Maybe the assumption was that I came here to troll or something.

    Well, that was the wrong assumption. After that reply (Keep in mind, WMD Kitty doesn’t know me and I don’t know him/her) my first reaction was: “What to fuck just happened? And what to hell is ableist?” not “In my ignorance I did something wrong, I should apologize.” and once I came to that level, the next one is “Ok, what did I do wrong and how do I apologize?”

    As I said, I am not here to tone troll or argue about the tone at all. But when tone IS the message, what else is left for me to do or talk about? When literally the first sentence you start conversation with me is almost literally: “You need to shut the fuck up and sit down, you asshole.” how am I supposed to answer that, especially if I actually care about the issue? If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t even try to start the conversation in the first place. I would have been silent.

    Here, read this. I try to live by that article. But this was personal so my reply was more heated than I wanted it to be.
    https://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=21365

  94. says

    @jo1storm
    None of that has to do with your asserting that someone should calm down. If the content is tone that’s still valid information. Criticism of tone and content being tone only are different and if you’re not going to address what I typed about your implication about tone being bad I’ve doubts about your ability to act in a political capacity here. If you need more information you ask for the information. You also tried to put pressure on tone.

    People use strong emotion in politics. It’s a tool, and one you shouldn’t be surprised to encounter if you’re taking a contrary position. If you can’t engage with it without trying to pressure people into acting in a way inconsistent with their feelings you probably shouldn’t post here.

    The rest is between you and the others. I dislike irrational manipulation of tone in politics.

  95. jo1storm says

    @Giliell

    Holy shit, jo1storm, don’t do that.
    First of all, WMDKitty and other already gave you a ton of clues.

    Dunno. I wanted to have a conversation about abortion, human rights and anti-women fetal personhood bills and laws. And pro-forced_birthing groups. What I got instead was being shouted at. Then given some vague clues about why I was shouted at, tomorrow. While people still shouted those vague clues at me. That’s my personal experience of it at the time it happened.

    Second, never ever ask marginalized people to perform the service to kindly, nicely, and preferably without using swearwords educate you for free. Especially not after you have actually hurt the person.Do you see how fucked up that is?

    Actually, no I don’t see how fucked up that is. I see we are not on the same track yet and you’re still assuming that I am an asshole and that I want to hurt people. So let me try to bring a little more clarity. First of all, I don’t see that as a service.

    I accidentally hurt a person. I don’t know the full details of how and why. The only thing I see is that I said something hurtful. I have vague clues what, but I don’t know exactly what I said that was wrong. In order for me to not accidentally say something hurtful to that person again, I need to know more details. And the best person that can give me those details, so I can be mindful in the future, is the person I hurt. Which is WMD Kitty. And I certainly am not going to ask Jesus or God for forgiveness, I am going to ask the person I hurt for forgiveness. Which is WMD Kitty. So I did just that.
    I hope I was clearer about my intentions now.

    If you want to be an ally to disabled people, go educate yourself. You are on the internet. seriously, putting “disability rights” or “how to fight ableism” into google gives you tons of free resources. Ask others whom you not quite recently insulted if they have resources.

    Thank you. That’s a good starting point to educate myself. I only wish you started with those terms that I could google instead of, you know, shouting and outrage. Consider that up until yesterday I have never met with the word ableist before or knew much about the marginalization issues of disabled people.
    So, yeah. Thank you. I’ll try to learn more about those.

  96. jo1storm says

    @Brony

    “None of that has to do with your asserting that someone should calm down. If the content is tone that’s still valid information.”

    Maybe. But it is not enough information for proper action, possibly.

    Criticism of tone and content being tone only are different

    Sounds nice in theory. What if content is tone and a nasty tone at that? How do you respond to that, especially if you don’t know that you should criticize content being tone?

    and if you’re not going to address what I typed about your implication about tone being bad I’ve doubts about your ability to act in a political capacity here.

    But it seems obvious to me the tone was bad! Can’t you even argue about that? And what does “ability to act in a political capacity” even mean here? I am trying to have a conversation. I am trying to educate myself. I am trying to learn. I am not trying to win votes or win televised public debate with my political opponent. If I spewed a bad argument, I need to know why it is bad, so I won’t used it in abortion discussions again. “Shut up, sit down and fuck you” will not help me in that endeavor.

    If you need more information you ask for the information.

    Which I did! I did just that!

    You also tried to put pressure on tone.

    Which was not my intention! I tried to match tone WMD Kitty used on me and apologized for coarse language in the first reply itself.

    People use strong emotion in politics. It’s a tool, and one you shouldn’t be surprised to encounter if you’re taking a contrary position. If you can’t engage with it without trying to pressure people into acting in a way inconsistent with their feelings you probably shouldn’t post here.

    Ok, several points here.
    1) I wasn’t aware I was trying to pressure people into acting in a way inconsistent with their feelings. Maybe I should have phrased my assertion differently? Would “I see we are both in high spirits here, maybe we should lower the heat a little and try to calmly discuss this/ try to have productive conversation.” have served the purpose better? Been “more political”? Dunno.
    2) I wasn’t aware we are engaging in politics here.
    3) Before “shut up and fuck you” comment, I wasn’t even aware I was taking contrary position in the first place.

    The rest is between you and the others. I dislike irrational manipulation of tone in politics.

  97. jo1storm says

    Edit:

    The rest is between you and the others. I dislike irrational manipulation of tone in politics.

    Well, so do I. Especially passionate = hysterical which media and pundits like to do.

  98. says

    Jo1storm

    Actually, no I don’t see how fucked up that is.Kitty.

    That’s a problem we have right here.

    <

    blockquote>
    I see we are not on the same track yet and you’re still assuming that I am an asshole and that I want to hurt people.

    <

    blockquote>
    I didn’t say that, I didn’t imply that.
    I stated that you had hurt WMDKitty, which is pretty obvious, so maybe get off your cross, will you?

    So let me try to bring a little more clarity. First of all, I don’t see that as a service.

    That’s cute. Who is putting in the labour and who is getting the benefit? People spending their time and spoons to educate you is work.

    I accidentally hurt a person. I don’t know the full details of how and why. The only thing I see is that I said something hurtful. I have vague clues what, but I don’t know exactly what I said that was wrong. In order for me to not accidentally say something hurtful to that person again, I need to know more details. And the best person that can give me those details, so I can be mindful in the future, is the person I hurt. Which is WMD Kitty.

    Wow, now you are putting the responsibility for your future behaviour towards disabled people on the shoulders of a disabled person whom you just hurt. WMDKitty is under no obligation to accept your apology, forgive you or explain to you what you did wrong. You are not a child, they are not your parent or your teacher.
    You are a grown ass person who is responsible for their actions, so start behaving like one.
    You come off pretty clueless. And equally entitled. A good thing for you to do would be to listen and learn. We all fuck up. The important part is how you react to it and right now you need to put down that shovel.

  99. says

    @jo1storm
    I’m not interested telling you what you should do. I’m interested in hammering in the point that tone is just information. The fact that it indicates how someone feels about something isn’t an issue of good or bad, it just is.

    Your desire to get someone to change their tone to be inconsistent with how they feel is bad. It’s a creation of a deception. Not only that, it’s got elements of gaslighting. Like it or not you’re acting politically, and manipulative.
    http://everydayfeminism.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/tone-policing3.png

    If a tone is nasty that’s information about how the person feels. Useful information. How you respond is up to you and your needs, but again establishing a deception is a bad thing and only needed by people incapable of dealing with the reality in front of them.

    Content being tone is not inherently bad so one shouldn’t necessarily criticize it.

    With respect to not realizing you are applying social pressure on expressed feelings, what do think it means when imply or state something is bad? You don’t need them to lower anything. You need to step away from the blog until you can process your reactions.

    This blog and the comments are a very political environment, and frankly politics is a human instinct that’s involved in more interactions than most people are willing to admit. Sometimes shouting a message away is a reasonable solution. I’m not going to argue if this situation is that occasion, I’m just pointing out that sometimes “shut up and go away” has value.

  100. jefrir says

    jo1storm, if you’re ignorant enough of a topic to not know basic vocab, maybe apologise for sticking your oar in and go learn? You still seem to be acting as if calling you ableist was an unreasonable personal attack, rather than a description of your behaviour.

  101. jo1storm says

    @jefrir

    You still seem to be acting as if calling you ableist was an unreasonable personal attack, rather than a description of your behaviour.

    Which at that point that exact reply was made it was, because there was no explanation for which part of my statements was ableist. At that point, it was name calling.

    And I still didn’t get the explanation why my statement is ableist. Maybe because you thought I was being prescriptive instead of descriptive.

    Maybe because nobody actually gave me an answer what is the difference between human rights and civil and social rights given by society. I was just told I conflate those rights. But nobody here thought it was important enough to explain the difference between those and how would you enforce / “give them” in society. Dunno.

  102. jo1storm says

    Giliell

    I didn’t say that, I didn’t imply that.
    I stated that you had hurt WMDKitty, which is pretty obvious, so maybe get off your cross, will you?

    What cross? I admitted I had hurt WMDKitty and I apologized. What exactly do you want from me?

    So let me try to bring a little more clarity. First of all, I don’t see that as a service.

    That’s cute. Who is putting in the labour and who is getting the benefit? People spending their time and spoons to educate you is work.

    Both of us get the benefit? Because it would be one less person to hurt her? Potentially many less persons, because these comments will stay here for a long time and I am not the only ignorant one?

    Wow, now you are putting the responsibility for your future behaviour towards disabled people on the shoulders of a disabled person whom you just hurt.

    Now you’re completely twisting my words and meaning behind them. I am not doing that! I am putting responsibility for my future behavior on me and me alone. But to actually do it properly, I need more info. If you refuse to provide that info to me, I cannot guarantee there won’t be future mistakes.
    Do you have any idea how frustrating this is?
    Conversation:
    You: You fucked up yesterday. Don’t ever fuck up again or else!
    Me: What did I do?
    You: You know very well what you have done!
    Me: No, actually I don’t. What did I do?
    You: You fucked up. If you fuck up again, there will be consequences.
    Me: Ok, I admit I fucked up yesterday. I apologize for fucking up. Now tell me how I fucked up, so I can correct my behavior in the future.
    You: You know what you did. So correct your behavior.
    Me: Actually, I don’t know what I did. And if you don’t tell me, I can’t correct my behavior. My correction will be hit and miss.
    You: Don’t ask me what you did! You’re trying to shift blame and responsibility here.

    WMDKitty is under no obligation to accept your apology, forgive you or explain to you what you did wrong. You are not a child, they are not your parent or your teacher.
    You are a grown ass person who is responsible for their actions, so start behaving like one.

    Congrats. I am acting like one. Apologizing and asking for more information about the mistake I made, so I wouldn’t do it again. It seems that is the adult thing to do. And instead of fighting ignorance and actually fixing the issue, you would rather be angry and annoyed.

    You come off pretty clueless. And equally entitled. A good thing for you to do would be to listen and learn. We all fuck up. The important part is how you react to it and right now you need to put down that shovel.

    True. I am pretty clueless about the issue. That’s why I asked for information. That’s why I AM willing to listen and learn. And grow. The problem with that is that I openly apologized, asked for more information and in response I get scolding and anger. And no information. And I can’t change for the better without it. So I feel frustrated. Fuck me, right?

  103. jo1storm says

    @Brony

    Your desire to get someone to change their tone to be inconsistent with how they feel is bad. It’s a creation of a deception. Not only that, it’s got elements of gaslighting. Like it or not you’re acting politically, and manipulative.

    By accident? I didn’t try to tell “Your feelings are invalid” or anything like that. I was plain and simple offended and hurt by that sentence. So I reacted emotionally. And was saltier than I should have been. I think that’s no way to discuss things, btw.

    So, please teach me, so I’ll know in the future. How to calm down discussion so it is again back in polite discussion area without the words like fuck you and shut the fuck up in it? Because I think it is better way to mutual understanding if people are politely exchanging opinions. Or is that wrong goal entirely?

  104. says

    @jo1storm
    Stop trying to tie other people’s issues with you to me. If those people decide to be nice enough to answer your questions that’s up to them, and in all honesty they’ve already started but your behavior gives them good reason to distrust you.

    You responded to WDMKitty by telling them to alter their feelings, and you described a technical term for a kind of bigotry as an insult. Being angry at bigotry is reasonable so as you proceed you can look for information despite the anger. Like it or not there was information there you could have pursued it, but you didn’t.

    That matters.

  105. says

    Congrats. I am acting like one.

    No, you’re not. You’re throwing a tantrum, demanding that everybody centres your wishes, and since I ain’t your momma I’m done spending my time on you. Because right niw I’m three posts into explaining to you why demanding WMDKitty explain your mistake to you is hurtful, yet you aren’t listening but keep demanding that others do the work for you.

  106. jo1storm says

    @Giliell

    No, you’re not. You’re throwing a tantrum, demanding that everybody centres your wishes, and since I ain’t your momma I’m done spending my time on you.

    I asked you before, you didn’t reply so I ask you again.
    What’s the adult thing to do in this situation? What is, according to you, non-tantrumy way to deal with all this?

    Because right niw I’m three posts into explaining to you why demanding WMDKitty explain your mistake to you is hurtful, yet you aren’t listening but keep demanding that others do the work for you.

    Well, here’s interesting thing about people. They are not telepathic. If you don’t tell people how they hurt you when they accidentally hurt you, they will keep accidentally hurting you. And it is not enough to say: “Oh, that was hurtful.” without saying what was hurtful and why it was hurtful to you. And you actually didn’t give me an explanation why demanding WMDKitty explain my mistake is hurtful. You just said:
    Oh, that is hurtful and that is extra work for WMDKitty.

    Actually, I don’t see that as extra work, I see that as minimum of work needed to solve the issue.
    Maybe analogy is in order?

    I organize a barbecue. Or hell, I join a barbecue PZ is organizing.
    Everybody is having fun. There is all sorts of meat, lamb chops, pork, fried chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs…
    For dessert, there are oranges, watermelons, cake and fruit salad.
    It’s a mixed company. There are Atheists, Christians, Muslims, people of all creeds and colors and genders and sexual orientations.
    Everybody had a good time except, tomorrow, out of 20 people that were on that barbecue, 3 people send me this message.
    “You were racist. You remarks hurt WMDKItty, who happens to be Afro-American. Shut up, sit down and think hard about what you have done and don’t do it again!”
    So, I ask have I done. I get vague answers that have something to do with food.
    The exact answer is: “Not all food is created equal.”
    So I rewind the whole event, trying to find out what I have done.

    Did I offer WMDKitty a banana as a dessert? That would be construed as racism and racism writ large at that. Except, I thought that WMDKitty is Indian (from India) the whole evening! Did I offer what I thought was an Indian a banana from the fruit bowl? I didn’t.
    So, what did I do?
    I think hard what I have done. Can’t find it. For the life of me, I can’t find it.
    In desperation and in desire to solve this quickly, I apologize deeply to everyone and ask WMDKitty what exactly did I do with was hurtful. I even throw the anecdote of how I was personally hurt at the barbecue previously due to insensitive remark by a coworker and how we solved that one.

    Instead of WMDKitty replying, I get the other 3 people telling me that I will figure it out, that it is very hurtful asking WMDKitty for more information, that it is not fair, that I keep demanding people to do work for me and to stop lying, act like an adult, I know what I have done, WMDKitty doesn’t owe me forgiveness and information, this is tone trolling… etc etc.

    Well, I agree with all that, in theory. In practice, I don’t want to be insensitive person and I don’t have unlimited time.
    I would like to be invited to another barbecue and I would like to be in good social standing with everyone. More importantly, I don’t want to be racist and hurtful person.

    So I google racism. I know some basic things already but it is a large topic. I could spend lifetime researching it. So I ask again.
    Finally, you, Gilliel, tell me:
    “Look up Afroamerican stereotypes on google”.

    I do just that. There are over a hundred of those stereotypes.

    Uncle Tom, Mammy, Watermelon, Mandingo, Sapphire… I didn’t know that! The only one I knew was Uncle Tom and that it was a caricature of the real deal from minstrel shows, but I had no idea there were that many.

    But I am dumb and ignorant and I thought WMDKitty is Indian! This hint is helpful, but not as helpful as Gilliel thinks. I look into stereotypes, what stereotypes African Americans and Indians share. Did I imply that WMDKitty is dirty? Did I imply that WMDKitty is lazy? Recalling the barbecue, I realize I didn’t do that.

    Another day passes. I still try to find out what I have done, people are still angry at me, I am starting to get frustrated and they are all getting frustrated and angrier at me in turn. I could spend ages

    To cut long story short, turns out I made off the cuff remark to somebody else while WMDKitty was in hearing range.
    When asked about what is good food, I said “Fried chicken is very good. You should try it. In fact, everybody should try it. It’s that good.” .
    Later in the evening, when it came time for dessert, again, in hearing range of WMDKitty, I said “Of all the desserts here, I love chilled watermelon the most! It’s icy cold and refreshing. I especially like it after the long day of farm work.” .

    Unless I look up fried chicken and watermelon stereotype, there is no way to find that out without days of searching.
    I think that it is easier to tell me to look up “fried chicken and watermelon stereotype” on google. But you consider that too much work.

  107. says

    @ Giliell

    I disagree with your attitude. Neurotypical people have a tendency to do all sorts of weird things during communication—vague hints, clues, riddles, indirect language, etc. Some people are good at understanding these things, but the problem is that some part of human population simply do not get all this stuff. Most of the time, I don’t notice hints at all, I don’t even realize that there was a hint, never mind figuring out what exactly was meant with this hint. Occasionally, I do notice that another person gave me a hint. In such situations, I just get annoyed.

    I totally agree with you that you don’t owe anybody else an explanation. If you don’t want to spend your time explaining something, you don’t have an obligation to do so.

    Simultaneously, the other person doesn’t owe you to attempt to figure out your hint. If you gave me a riddle, I wouldn’t even bother trying to figure it out. I perceive hints as frustrating, normally I simply ignore them. Mostly I do so predicting that even if I tried to figure out some hint, I probably still wouldn’t figure it out anyway. So why even bother trying. Moreover, I value my free time; I’m not going to waste it on inefficient and vague communication.

    If you wanted me to understand your position, you would at least try to explain it to me clearly and comprehensibly. If instead you gave me a vague hint, I would respond by ignoring you and dropping the conversation. Somebody else insisting upon inefficient communication is their problem, not mine.

  108. says

    Jo

    1: My pronouns are they/them. Drop the gendered shit.
    2: You insinuated that a certain minority class — disabled people — don’t deserve to have the same rights as everybody else simply because we don’t function the exact same way abled people do.
    3: You conflated rights with privileges.
    4: You’re ignoring several people giving you very clear reasons why and how you fucked up.
    5: You are not the victim. Quit whining.
    6 I remind you again that an inability to exercise a right is not the same as not having that right. An inability to exercise a right must be met with reasonable accommodations that allow one to exercise the right in question.

    Was that calm enough for you?

  109. says

    Andreas

    That’s fine, but everybody has been very clear about the what and the how and the why, and Jo is simply not listening.

    Jo

    What’s the adult thing to do in this situation? What is, according to you, non-tantrumy way to deal with all this?

    The adult thing to do? Sit your ass down, shut the fuck up, and listen to what people are saying. So far, you’ve done nothing but complain that we’re not catering to your feels.

  110. says

    WMDKitty – Survivor @# 120

    That’s fine, but everybody has been very clear about the what and the how and the why, and Jo is simply not listening.

    Just because something seems very clear for you doesn’t guarantee that it will be clear also for somebody else. Sometimes people don’t understand things unless they are stated very bluntly.

    When another person says, “I don’t understand why you are upset about what I just said,” I try to be generous in my assumptions. I try not to interpret their words in the worst possible way. Who knows, maybe they really don’t understand.

    Of course, I’m aware that there’s an obvious problem with my attitude—trolls love telling “I don’t even understand why you are upset at all.” Still, I think that when interacting with a stranger, it is better not to jump to conclusions and assume the worst, namely that they must be a jerk trying to purposefully annoy me.

    I’m not trying to side with jo1storm right now—after all, there is an obvious problem with what they wrote.

    It’s just that this discussion reminded me of many conversations I have had with my mother back when I was a child. It usually went like this:

    My mother displays signs of being angry (aka shouting at me).
    Me: “Why are you angry at me? What did I do wrong?”
    My mother: “You know very well what you did wrong.”
    Me: “No, I don’t know. You never told me why you are angry at me.”
    My mother: “Stop lying! Don’t you dare pretending not to understand. You know very well why I am angry. I already told you.”
    Me: “No, you didn’t tell me why you are angry. You just shout at me.”
    My mother: “Then figure it out yourself.”

    These kinds of arguments repeated again and again. As a child, I ended up concluding that there probably isn’t a good reason for my mother’s anger most of the time. I started simply ignoring her. I resented her for getting angry at me for no reason. As I got older, whenever she displayed negative emotions, I started telling her “fuck you” and slamming the doors in her face. Her anger wasn’t my problem. Her inability to clearly articulate her own desires wasn’t my problem. Somebody telling me “I already gave you a clue, now go and figure out on your own why I’m upset” wasn’t my problem either. In such situations the only possible reaction was: “Fuck you, I’m out of here. You can play guessing games with somebody else, I’m not participating in this crap.”

    These kinds of arguments got rarer by the time I was about 12 or so, but my relationship with my mother never fully recovered even though she finally learned to articulate her concerns more clearly in a way that I could actually understand.

  111. says

    Andreas

    Ask around the blog — we’ve been around this block several times before.

    Your lack of comprehension, especially when people have been explicitly clear (see my post @119) about what Jo did wrong, is NOT OUR RESPONSIBILITY.

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