May 17, 2009

On Rules, Part the 47th

It's not a secret that Comrade PhysioProf and I have some rather fundamental disagreements on the subject of rules. On the occasion of his contributing a guest post for Dr. Isis that is chock full of the things, I thought it was a good opportunity to go into some depth on why I think rules are problematic.

Law Versus Culture
It is a weakness of our species that we tend to look at what is and accept it as what should be, particularly the things that change very little. In fact, the way our brains work, we stop noticing anything that is static enough. We do it for very good reasons: physical danger equals change; thought is physically expensive, requiring large amounts of energy. However, it makes us somewhat conservative.

This means that we tend to "problematize" deviations from the norm. They draw our attention in the same way danger does. This is an issue we see in medical circles and schools, where the debate is ongoing on where to draw the line between a very energetic child and a hyperactive one. The debate is present in psychiatry, where the lines are still shifting on what kinds of sexual expression should be considered disordered. And it's definitely present in law, where much of the last century has been a fight to dismantle laws that do nothing more than decide who wins when two cultures clash.

To see how this tendency shapes laws, look no further than U.S. laws on clothing. Transport a woman from a Brazilian public beach to one in the U.S. and she will be arrested for indecency. The same is true for all but the most conservatively dressed of the men. Even they, in their Speedo-like suits, will raise cries of, "There oughta be a law." Yet the clothing, or lack thereof, is nothing more than a cultural difference.

Similarly, CPP's rules enshrine the norms of a single culture, one which specifically privileges the voices of particular people, stories of particular experiences and attributions to particular causes. There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with the existence of that culture. However, CPP's assertion that those rules are minimum requirements to "be a tolerable person" ignores that other cultures abound, even and especially within feminism.

In fact, by laying these local norms out as general rules, CPP suggests that other cultures of feminism aren't valid. He suggests that if my rules for operating my blog are different, this isn't a feminist blog. Skepchick wouldn't be a feminist blog by those standards, no matter how much ass they kick. In fact, most blogs that operate from an assumption of equality and attempt to model equality as the norm rather than deconstructing the ways in which inequalities are conditioned wouldn't count as feminist.

Taking the local norms with which he is most comfortable and turning them into (fucking!!!eleventy11!!11) rules puts CPP in a position to argue that his is the One Valid Culture. In the end, it allows him to decide which is the "true" feminism, which is absurd on its face but has happened in more than one argument. Obviously, I won't have any of that, either personally or on principle.

Attribution and Consequence
Don't we need rules, though, to protect us and stuff? Well, yes, but we should be very careful about making any rules that aren't necessary and extra careful to avoid rules that are unrealistic. Why? Partly because of how we treat rule-breakers.

There's this nifty little cognitive bias called the fundamental attribution error. In short, we tend to ignore the context of another person's actions when deciding why they took that action. Instead, we believe that the person's actions directly reveal their character. That's not good thinking in any situation, but it's particularly problematic when we don't differentiate between local cultural norms and laws. With the fundamental attribution error, people of different cultures don't just break rules (behavior); they reveal themselves to be criminals, and criminals may be stripped of their rights at will.

Yes, we have laws expressly designed to protect the rights of criminals. It's a good thing we do, too, because we're so damned bad at doing it ourselves, even with laws in place. Consider the Japanese internment camps of WWII. Consider the Bush administration's position on torture. Consider the blissed-out dude who got beat up by the cops for a failure to follow directions. Consider the teenage girl who was sneered at by the U.S. Supreme Court for objecting to being strip-searched over ibuprofen.

This is hardly limited to people who break written laws, either. How many people have "gotten what they had coming" for holding the wrong person's hand, being in the wrong part of town or saying, "No," to the wrong person? Even just for having the wrong hair or skin, clothing or jewelry?

Nor does it matter much whether those who are accused are guilty of anything. The interred Japanese weren't, and too many heterosexuals have ended up gay martyrs. This is another right that is formalized in our U.S. justice system specifically because it is not natural to us. Unless we know or admire the accused, we rarely hold judgment until a verdict is rendered.

Acquittals, even exonerations in which a different party is found guilty, do not restore reputations. There is a lasting taint to even being associated with broken rules. And when that taint results in a loss of rights, we must be as cautious as possible in assigning rules. Personal annoyance and discomfort do not outweigh such a curtailment.

Application and Enforcement
There are also problems involved in enforcing rules. I don't think "power corrupts" is quite accurate in this regard. It may be true for some, but they make up a very small minority who were probably corrupt to begin with. Rather, unrewarded responsibility corrupts.

There are two general types of statements that come out of law enforcement or national security types when they are caught breaking their own rules. "I did what I had to do to get the bad guy," and, "I am not a bad person. I uphold the law." I think both are sincerely believed.

I have yet to meet someone who wants to go into law enforcement who doesn't convincingly say they want to make the world a better, safer place. I don't know how many of them, however, are prepared to have safety constantly demanded of them--and by a populace that mocks and fears them at least as much as it appreciates them. Nor do I know of any other rule-enforcement jobs that have a more easily satisfied clientele.

What we end up seeing in this situation is rules stretched to cover those whom the rule-makers and enforcers "know" to be bad, in an attempt to meet impossible demands. We also see a sense of entitlement among the enforcers that is somewhat natural, given the thankless nature of their jobs. The one reward the enforcers have under their own control is exemption from the rules.

In the end, this means that the punishment for rule-breaking is meted out, not based on who has actually broken the rules, but based on who wears the white hats and who wears the black ones. Protesters believed to be potentially violent are treated as though they're rioting. Tickets and warnings (or nothing at all) are handed out based on skin color or accent or the age and condition of a car. Evidence is planted by officers who are frustrated over not finding what they're sure should be there. And the occasional police officer or other public official makes it into the paper for failing to be arrested when they should have been.

In the online world, people are banned for being annoying or for questioning or mocking moderators. Failures to be polite or deferential are recharacterized as some rule violation or another, as are substantive differences of opinion. And friends and others "in good standing" at a site are not held by the enforcers to the same requirements for accuracy and impartiality as are those who might disagree with the enforcers.

When it comes down to it, human enforcement of rules is applied with all the accuracy and delicacy of a dull battle axe wielded by a Weta orc in full-body latex. Considering the harm that even an accusation of rule-breaking can do, we need a rapier, but we're not getting one. Do we want to pile on more rules and add to the wild swinging?

Cost to Society
Golden Rule: Thems as has the gold makes the rules.

Laws and rules don't get made without constituencies, and they don't get made without that constituency believing the new rule or law will make them more secure. However, one is not merely secure. One is secure from something or someone, and one of the ironies of our system of government is that political influence frequently flows so that the constituencies protected by a new rule are the constituencies from which others may need to be protected. All too often, the bullies set the rules.

I mentioned earlier that much of our recent legal history involves dismantling laws that privilege one culture over another. Unfortunately, we haven't lost the tendency during that time to enact laws that privilege a single culture. The most visible example in the last 30 years has been the trend toward enshrining religious values (the "sanctity" of various types of human tissues, the erosion of certain church-state barriers in regard to funding). We have allowed the size and influence of the evangelical movement to buy it more influence.

In allowing this to happen, we've stigmatized certain types of dissent, and that's not something our society can afford. Dissent is what protects us from our own worst authoritarian tendencies--and those of others. Dissent is what keeps us secure from other constituencies. In creating new rules, we had better be damned sure we're not enacting barriers to dissent.

Then there is the general cost to enforce rules. Enforcement takes resources. Public safety budgets expand with the number of rules they must cover. They also expand with the severity of the punishment prescribed. Harsh drug laws (along with the tendency to assign hat color based on skin color and wallet size) have bloated our prison systems and our tax bills.

Believe it or not, a very similar thing happens online. "Don't feed the trolls," is not just said because attention encourages the creatures. Policing comment threads takes a remarkable amount of time and energy that could be much better spent on the original topic that had everyone so interested, and there is just something about codifying a complicated set of cultural norms into rules that tends to make participants focus on broken rules to the exclusion of content. It hurts me to watch, since the two effective strategies I've found for dealing with trolls both involve getting the thread back on topic as soon as possible.

So, after all that, why don't I like rules? Our society tends to treat habit as law, stigmatizing and punishing those even suspected of having different habits. The pressures placed on our rule-enforcers to make us secure with rules about which we carry some ambivalence ensure that rules will be enforced as unequally as they are created. And the more rules we have, the more resources we spend on enforcement that could be better spent on something else.

In the end, what Comrade PhysioProf has written is a fairly standard summary of the expectations for males participating in a particular culture of feminism. It is nothing like--and should not be confused for--the received word on how to "be a tolerable person." Not for a single minute. We don't need any more of those.


Silver Fox said...

Personally, I can't even get past Rule #1 - but I'm not good at rules.

Jason Thibeault said...

Bravo! Bra-fucking-VO! I read that guest post and was left somewhat underwhelmed. The whole feud is misplaced and ridiculous, since I'd suspect you and Greg Laden would be fantastic allies in any debate on feminism, gender roles, etc. That your views are not "pure" enough (or whatever the underlying motivation for the sniping between your two "factions") is definitely not reason enough to make enemies of allies.

That last section explains a good deal about why you go toe to toe with trolls, too. "Feeding the trolls" is only doing so if they're actually trolling -- if they're just dissenting, but being civil, the least you can do is try to be civil back until things get out of hand. I'm guilty as the next guy of derailing threads though, for all my attempted civility. Guiltier, probably.

Speaking of which, while cordial agreement is nice and all in discussions like this, no matter how much you might respect me, if you see something you disagree with, smack me the hell down. With a little evidence I'll change my tune on just about anything. I'm not pledging some kind of loyalty oath or something by saying I prefer your side of the feud, nor will I "fall into line" without a good reason for being smacked down, but I post on these blogs to explore topics that in a lot of cases I haven't explored on my own before.

Stephanie Zvan said...

I hear you, Silver Fox. I'm lousy at them myself.

Jason, I can tell you where the "feud" started and how it's traveled (at least publicly, since there's a private area of some sort for the bloggers, and hints pop out from time to time that there's more discussion there), but I can't say that I understand it in any way myself.

Actually, I'll happily deal with even uncivil "trolls" if they have something of substance to say and don't try to insist that I be civil while they're not. I'm weird that way, though.

Oh, and if you want to be a language prescriptivist, it's technically "brava" in this case. :)

Philip H. said...

A very thought provoking piece - further proof that the conventional wisdom about blogs not containing original thoughts is . . . wait for it . . . unconventional at best. Ok, that was bad, but I am just starting cup-o-joe number two so I'm a little ways off from lucid.

My question to you, to keep the debate alive is this - given what you've laid down here as a meme, how do we, as a collective society, really arrive at knowing which rules to keep and which to jettison?

Happy thinking . . . .

Fem Prof from Arkansas said...

I sometimes find that a particular word or term can be an excellent guide through the murky meaning lurking below the surface in this kind of discussion. Here, I pick the word "tolerate" as a touchstone to the hidden meanings of the post by CP, which in turn I'm only aware of because of this post "On Rules."

Made explicit in the CP posting: The best any male can achieve in a particular culture of feminism is to be viewed as a "tolerated visitor."

Thus, allies are, at best, tolerated in what Zvan alleges to be a particular (hopefully not widespread) subculture of feminism.

Rule 15 states that women (on a given class of feminist blog, or perhaps some other context) will "tolerate you" if you are entertaining and funny. So to the extent that men are "tolerated" they are clowns.

The way a man can learn to be a "tolerable person" is to pay close attention to and follow the guidelines of CP, who it would seem is tolerated in the blogs in question.

Putting this all together: CP is a tolerated clown and he is here to give clown lessons to other men so they can be tolerated in a land where only men who are clowns are tolerated.

This hangs together, is in a certain way poetic.

Jason Thibeault said...

Oh, and if you want to be a language prescriptivist, it's technically "brava" in this case. :)But I don't WANNA be, it just keeps happening! I didn't even realize there was a gender assignment to that word, though I vaguely remember hearing "brava" before.

The way a man can learn to be a "tolerable person" is to pay close attention to and follow the guidelines of CP, who it would seem is tolerated in the blogs in question.It's funny, because every post of CPP's I've seen, like, anywhere, is horribly abrasive and holier-than-thou. Even when he's right about a particular point, he turns what should be a retort into a full-frontal-assault.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the original rules were meant to be guidelines, and anyone who does not get that is probably just not interested in following them.

Comrade Physioprof said...

Sheesh, what a load of hot air! What I posted are not "rules". Rather, they are statements of fact concerning how particular common forms of male behavior on feminist blogs are perceived by women who frequent those blogs.

You and Gweggy are so obsessed with this "rules" thingie, because you seem to think it gives cover to assholish behavior, but really it has nothing to with "rules". It has to do with accepting the reality of how certain forms of behavior are perceived by, and affect, others. Pointing out the effects of someone's actions is not promulgating "rules"; it is describing reality.

Stephanie Zvan said...

Phil, the only answer to your question that I'm prepared to give is, "Very carefully and with broad representation." If I had a better answer, I might have to go into politics.

Prof, there's probably some allowance to be given here for the fact that CPP's language is always hyperbolic, but, well, ouch.

Anonymous, as I am female, those rules weren't meant to apply to me. Care to fit my objections (i.e., the post to which you're responding) into your theory?

CPP, I didn't really expect you to read this whole post for comprehension, since you display no interest in what my point of view actually is. However, I did expect you to get far enough to understand that your characterization of what is a feminist blog is lacking a little something, like enough flexibility to cover more than the part of the blogosphere where you prefer to hang out.

If you didn't intend for your guide to be taken as rules, you might want to look to your language. No, not the swearing. The everything else. You seem to be expecting people to walk in cold and be able to discern your intention through the swagger. It's obviously not working.

Becca said...

Isn't this really just a disagreement about whether there is a rule against making rules?

Personally, my problem has to do with the specific content of the rules not leading to the types of dialogue I find useful. The tone CPP sets interferes with my ability to participate constructively in the dialogue.
I think such a tone could be interpreted as a 'guideline' even if he weren't dogmatic in the slightest (and I know, what are the odds of CPP not being dogmatic in the slightest???). So, while the cock-sure nature the rules/guidelines are presented in is annoying, it's not my biggest problem.

"It has to do with accepting the reality of how certain forms of behavior are perceived by, and affect, others."You do not have a corner on the reality market. You are certainly not in touch with the reality of how I perceive, and am affected by, various actions (including your own hurtful ones).
"No one feels another's grief, no one understands another's joy. People imagine that they can reach one another. In reality they only pass each other by."... but then, I'm probably not the kind of feminist who counts.

Stephanie Zvan said...

Becca, you are absolutely the kind of feminist who counts. Who you agree with or disagree with, whose face you want to be in, and whether you choose to be "respectful" or flippant change that not in the least. Nor, for that matter, do the number of issues you are willing to deal with at one time or your occasional requests that we look at data in addition to anecdotes.

Just for the record.

DuWayne Brayton said...

Oy, I wrote my own response to CPP's post back home...

My basic issue with this, is that it makes it pretty implicit that men somehow don't have a place or a stake in the discussion of gender disparity or how to deal with it. The last I noticed, men do have a stake in gender disparity (I'm dealing with one of those problems personally) and given that we are also a part of gender disparity, we should also be active participants in the discussion.

gregladen said...

I recommend reading DuWayne's post.

Also, I've made a few remarks about this maneno here:

... for what it's worth.

I hope the conversation remains on Almost Diamonds rather than shifting elsewhere.

the real meme said...

Steph: "I'm weird that way, though"

When dick-dog-douchodactyls like Physio weigh in on anything, you can be certain that it is a call for cliquish behavior enforcement, rather than an attempt at actual dialogue. "The truth? They can't HANDLE THE F$CKING TRUTH!"

FemProf: great points about CP's form of 'tolerance,' which is in stark oposition to Stephanie's goal of allowing, encouraging, and even 'tolerating' dissenting opinions.

and CPP, YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS: "Pointing out the effects of someone's actions is not promulgating "rules"; it is describing reality."
Whose reality other than your own?

Stephanie Zvan said...

I'm also sarcastic that way, you know.

Barn Owl said...

I think the analogy to law enforcement is very apt, and in particular, the point about enforcing laws and rules unequally has relevance to the blogosphere. The online situation is all the more unfortunate because much of the rule enforcement appears to be achieved at the level of middle school arbitrary vengeance, cruelty, and cliquedom. (At least the way *I* remember middle school-I realize that this comparison might be insulting to current middle schoolers). And it can be worse: some of the blogosphere rule enforcement, regarding what others should and should not write in posts or comments, is basically equivalent to driving around to random and obscure unlocked houses, strutting in, and leaving a turd floating in one of the toilets.

I guess it could be argued that if one doesn't want to come home from work and find a random turd floating in the toilet, one shouldn't leave one's house unlocked. OTOH, I don't think one should have to be totally vigilant, censorious, and paranoid in the blogosphere. Seems to me that it serves better as a place where free expression and ideas exchange could occur without fear of retribution or arbitrary rule enforcement ... but that's probably far too optimistic.

I can relate to what Greg wrote on his blog, about the threat of being silenced or having his voice taken away. After experiencing the blogosphere equivalent of a random floating turd left in the toilet of my house, I'm feeling decidedly squicked about blogging, and, often, commenting. I can deal with few or no visitors to my bloggy "house", and I'm fine with differences of opinion. Call me squeamish and cowardly, but a virtual turd leaves me reluctant and intimidated about writing any more blog posts. As a method of rule enforcement, it has almost certainly worked with me. Yuk.

Stephanie Zvan said...

Oh, Barn Owl, I'm so sorry to hear that. I wish I had a solution to offer you. I think you're right, though, that the enforcement can be part of the problem. After all, if the people in charge act that way....

DuWayne Brayton said...

Barn Owl, I too am sorry to hear that. If you have the urge to actually post about something freely, I would be more than happy to post it at my blog. Whether I happen to agree with you or not, I will happily defend your right to say your piece...

I think that it helps to have an "I don't give a shit" attitude. While I would find it rather sad to lose friends or readers over things I say, I refuse to let that keep me from saying what I feel.

gregladen said...

Barn Owl: Two things help with this sort of thing for me.

It helps to have a certain amount of comment traffic. As soon as my blog started to get more than a few comments a day, I declared (unofficially and silently) that there were too many comments to really deal with all of them. I did not get into blogging to become a moderator. So, I am selective about which comments I read, and about which threads I follow. And, I really don't have rules though I delete spam.

The other thing is having people like CMF, Stephanie and most recently DuWayne (for instance) but also many others (Lorax, Monica, etc) commenting.

Example: DuWayne (and others) may be annoyed at CMF, but you also need to know that a) this is someone I know in real life, and that matters, and b) back during the home schooling debates, DuWayne and CMF would have been tight allies, I'm sure. None of us is made of one opinion.

Anyway, I know that when potentially questionable opinions (from one perspective or another) pop up on my blog, someone will likely address them because there is a community interested in that conversation. I also know that over time, the more important (or at least the more interesting) issues will also spring into blog posts on other people's sites, like this one here on AD, and DuWayne's responses to myandry and other issues.

There is very little I can think of that is more disgusting than a turd in your water glass. A turd floating around in the vast ocean is ecology. It is a good thing in its own way.

Barn Owl, you are part of this community, and if you ever feel like you need the community to notice something, just send an email. Sure, we look at each other's blogs, but I knew about DuWayne's latest post because he told me about it, and I was aware of this post on A.D. because I knew Stephanie was writing it. That's how communities work: Shout over the back fence to your neighbor that the scary guys in suits are coming down the street knocking on the front doors. Or whatever.

Stephanie Zvan said...

Barn Owl, DuWayne reminds me that I do have one solution I can offer. Quiche Moraine was set up as a place for people to blog occasionally without the hassles of maintaining their own blog. It hadn't occurred to me that dealing with comments would be among those hassles, but it certainly could.

You're more than welcome at our place, too, if Greg's suggestion of calling in the cavalry still sounds like too much of a pain right now. You can participate as much or as little as you want beyond writing things that people should be reading.

Barn Owl said...

@ Stephanie, DuWayne, and Greg -

Thanks for your advice and support; they are very much appreciated. I'd like to read DuWayne's post, and leave a longer and more reasoned response to your comments, but that will have to wait until later today.

Right now, I've got to enter final grades for 200+ medical students, using a totally annoying data management system, and so I'll have residual crabbiness and brain freeze for an hour or so afterwards. I'll wait until that clears. ;-)

the real meme said...

Greg: "Example: DuWayne (and others) may be annoyed at CMF, but you also need to know that a) this is someone I know in real life, and that matters, and b) back during the home schooling debates, DuWayne and CMF would have been tight allies, I'm sure. None of us is made of one opinion."

Thanks for that Greg.

Maybe these short attention span motherfcukers here that despise me (and you all know who you are--)
can take a clue about 'dimensionality' and pull their collective heads out of their-- Jason: living in moms basement ass; DuWayne: pull your head out of that psychotropic medical coma induced ass--and move on from their NAME CALLING AND LAME OBJECTIFYING BIASES LONG ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT ALLIES, instead of using their inflammatory rhetoric to promote their pathetic blogs, and even more pathetic opinions.

And, yeah: how about that preschooler mom in MN 'saving her kid from chemo'? If that isn't an example of the maternal-child bond gone wrong, what is? There oughta be a law...oops: we can't have any laws regulating the sort of maternal invasiveness and enmeshment , can we...?

DuWayne: "it makes it pretty implicit that men somehow don't have a place or a stake in the discussion of gender disparity or how to deal with it."

It also makes it clear that misandry is not solely defined by actions of strictly physical violence directed against male children by females, but also implicit emotional violence and objectifying dialogues about men in general-these last often leading to actual violence against men.

Stephanie: Yes, you ARE sarcastic that way--and ::we:: love you for it.<3

Becca: "The tone CPP sets interferes with my ability to participate constructively in the dialogue. "

Well said. That 'tone' is the 'tome' over there at sciblogs. If they stuck to science, it might make them read-worthy, but when they mince and mash opinionated and inflammatory rhetoric into the bowl, it is merely a soapbox for outdated rhetorical p-loys and insider fauxleft humor--unreadable to the common folks that many of those white/white collar clique rats want to reach.

Stephanie Zvan said...

real, you've got to make this hard, don't you? Jason lives with a perfectly charming young woman. DuWayne is all too aware of the ways moms can mess with their kids, even if he hasn't seen some of the extremes from as close as you have. (I don't know for sure about that last part; he's seen a lot.) And you are jumping all over guys who've recently added me to their blogrolls. Is there something we need to chat about?

Look, I think the one thing (of any substance) you and DuWayne are still spatting about is males adopting some components of traditionally female gender roles. I understand that the societal pressure on young males is so strong that forcing boys to do this when they don't want to can be a particularly ugly component of child abuse, but that doesn't mean that the problem is in anything but the social pressure and the abusive parents. If you two can reach some agreement on this, I can go back to having more interesting conversations with the both of you instead of watching you spend your energy arguing with each other.

D. C. said...

Ms. Zvan:
I'm also sarcastic that way, you know.<mode="appreciative">Yes.</mode>

DuWayne Brayton said...

Greg -

I rather assumed you actually know him in person and even if you didn't, I accept that you have some appreciation for him. I am not the least bothered by friends who are friends with people I don't like. For example, I would consider both you and CPP my friends - knowing that you are, neither of you, fond of each other.

And I am well aware that we are not only made of one opinion. I have a lot of allies on particular issues, with whom I am in bitter disagreement on others. I have even gotten in pretty heated arguments and traded nasty comments with people who I am, outside the context of that particular point of contention, friends with. One of my best friends thinks I'm a narrow minded fucking fool, because I don't buy into magic water that has memory - while I have gotten really fucking pissed about his idiotic notion that my neurological issues are based on nutrition problems. Believe me, I have seriously nasty things to say about neurochemistry denialism and have said them to him. Mostly we just avoid those topics, because our friendship is important to us.

I really did believe you when you said that he and I would probably get along famously. I have little doubt that even given our rather strong distaste for each other, that is not an impossibility. Though I also tend to think that were we to meet in person, at least right now, it would not be pretty. While I am not a particularly violent person these days, especially when it comes to words, I do have a very firm attitude when it comes to violent bigotry, even verbal violent bigotry.

Real -

You should realize that the whole reason I have a blog, is to avoid dropping huge comments in the threads of other people's blogs and so that I can talk about things that are on my mind, with people who I have befriended online. I could honestly care less about how popular my blog might be. I average about twenty hits a day, when I don't post - most of which get there via google searches. When I do post, I get about forty to fifty.

I am perfectly happy with that. I am also perfectly fine with people choosing not to read my blog because they decide they don't like me. I am willing to lose friends because they disagree with me and decide that their disagreement makes friendship impossible.

I didn't like you initially, because I don't like games - I didn't like you but you didn't manage more than mildly pissing me off. Then you started with your bashing of people who don't strictly follow gender norms and you actually made me pretty raging fucking pissed. I have a lot of transgendered friends and know well enough that they have way too much shit to deal with as a baseline, without the bigoted social stigmas that go with being a transperson.

In particular, the inference that people outside the gender norms are practically begging for a beating, was beyond the pale for me. Several of my trans friends have been beaten and believe me, they weren't fucking well asking for it. To the contrary, they are just trying to live their lives to the best of their ability. They pose no threat to anyone else and certainly don't deserve to be beaten. Nor do they deserve to be accused of fucking asking for it, simply because they wear women's clothing.

Nor am I begging for a beating, when I wear a skirt - something I do because they are rather comfortable and because I think it's healthy for men to step outside of social gender constructs. I will admit that when I was younger and occasionally rather scrappy, I would purposefully go certain places wearing a skirt, because I was aware that it would likely lead to a fight. But that wasn't because I was trying to get my ass kicked, it was because I wanted to get into a fight. And when I did that, I went to the sorts of places that are frequented by guys who are looking towards the next brawl as well.

I haven't done that in years, because I no longer find fisticuffs cathartic.

the real meme said...

Steph: sorry to hear about all of that beating going on in your friends lives. and "you've got to make this hard, don't you?"
Yup. Its my nature--because I am stubborn on the issues, but also, I am not looking for anyone to be on any blogroll. But I will respect your inference in that regard.

DuWayne: It isn't logical or even necessary to dump all of that rage on me here. Find whatever example of me being a bigot in regards to transgender people ( other than my friend and former colleague Ricky who is currently friends with my ex...) and I will be glad to correct the record.
But don't be spewing lying hyperbole as truth in the matter.I merely recounted the hours--no the days- I spent as a bouncer at a locally famous gay/mixed bar, where wackoes with issues like mingled with the normal gay clientele (there is a pun there, my own ironic sense of humor)-- and in that recounting, I merely talked the same mean spirited rage infused crap that you were spewing. Oh, and one more thing: on certain occasions, I wore a kilt as part of my job. Get it yet?

So why don't you take your own second hand rage and can it. Or at very least, recognize that ppl like you easily gravitate towards drama, after the fact of causing mayhem elsewhere because of your baggage( again: this isn't limited to only one topic or discussion)

It was you who first laid the 'bigot' card on the table, in a flaming little rant ( as so many of yours are, as I was making the point that you are a victim of misandry, but due to your need to sit curbside and weep drama queen tears, you get lost in, well, yourself, and that endless cycle of self pity, so deeply ingrained that you are unaware of 1) humor and irony 2)the reality that you are not the only suffering soul on the curb.

But I NEVER bashed you for being trans, and spoke in the same generalized/izing terms that you were using; or should I say 'that were emanating from you'--and you will note that you are the one who inserted that bit of bullshit into the record over at Gregs blog.

One more thing: for a guy who claims to have so many trans friends--you actually expect me or anyone to believe that you don't like 'games'? That is rich, dude, considering that specific community, and the games within it.

the real meme said...

oh yeah-Steph: "Is there something we need to chat about?"
Well should I be s-c-cc-cared? know where I live, right?

Stephanie Zvan said...

real, the blogrolls and the chat were all about implying jealousy for a little gender-based manipulation. You've enjoyed calling me on it before when I wasn't doing it. I thought you might appreciate the opportunity to scream about it a bit now. Ah, well. I tried.

On a more serious note, you do seem to be doing the old trick of being harder on someone who agrees with you on an awful lot of things than you would be on someone with whom you have little common ground. Some of that can be productive, but I'm pretty sure not all of it is. That was more of my point.

DuWayne Brayton said...

I don't like the stupid sorts of games that you play. I don't like people pretending to be something they're not, say something they don't mean, because they want to make some pointless point. I have a profound distaste for people who engage dishonestly, because they believe that said dishonesty is the way to really get their point across.

And honestly, I never got into the games a few of my trans friends were into. Not my style, something my friends recognize and accept about me.

Did I overreact to it? Probably - almost certainly. I have a tendency to do that sometimes, mainly later in the day when the meds are wearing off. I would apologize, but my sin was a matter of degree, not substance. And insulting me because I wear skirts and you think I'm out to get my ass kicked, wasn't hard to translate into the bigotry I was accusing you of. And several comments out, this is the first time you have opted to correct my apparent misconception.

Now if you were just playing yet another game to show how fucking crazy DuWayne happens to be and make me look bad - you needn't have bothered. There are people who don't like me because I'm occasionally a raging fucking asshole and there are people who accept me in spite of that. It's not something I have a great deal of control over and short of just not engaging in any conversations - at all, I am not likely to stop.

As for the whole "DuWayne's a victim of misandry" schtick - you don't know the fucking half of it. And you won't, because the person who has made me a victim of misandry still has the fucking cards in her motherfucking, scumsucking little maw.

Playing your stupid little Miss Ginny game, was not misandry - it was just plain stupid. Real misandry, sorry - I can't afford to play that card. The stakes are way too fucking high.

gregladen said...

Actually, CPP loves me. It's like an infatuation almost.

the real meme said...

Steph: I am not sure what you were saying about blogrolls, etc, unless it is a sciblog-like inside joke or s/th, but "you do seem to be doing the old trick of being harder on someone who agrees with you on an awful lot of things than you would be on someone with whom you have little common ground."

You could be right here, but I chose the tact that I did because this character is constantly playing up my tact rather than the issue of misandry, and using extremely blaming language,missing cues for pro-active conversation, and routinely devolving back into a victim-centered thing--which is not ironic considering the topic, and my initial intent . For instance, "I'm occasionally a raging fucking asshole" and "you don't know the fucking half of it. And you won't, because the person who has made me a victim of misandry still has the fucking cards in her motherfucking, scumsucking little maw."

Duwayne, I don't think you are crazy, and you are not even close on my top 100 list of raging assholes. What I think you are is very very angry, and hurt. And my point has been to point out the effect of your internalized misandry--rage begets rage, and they win, because as you said yourself , you are a rager. There are other solutions, bro, but your apparent inability to get beyond rage precludes insight into the actual situation; hindsight as to what is it about yourself that attracted that mess, and as what it is 'she' did to you so that another 'she' doesn't do it again, and foresight to change your behaviors and thinking patterns so that 'they' can no longer victimize you. Then, much later comes healing, a whole 'nother topic--but 'they' win when that rage--that rage you were taught to harbor by women and society who resent men, or believe that anger and violence is a manly trait that should be encouraged in men.

Then, when some schmuck of a manipulative, or violent, or game playing woman comes along and ignites you, you lose, because then society at large points the finger at "your rage" rather than at womens violence, or the minimizing of it in codified legal language.

So rant on about my "lying game playing ass" all you want, but you would be in a strict minority of loonies that would say that about "the real me": and it isn't solving your problem, is it?

About over reacting, a friend once said to me "you have to learn to be proactive, rather than reactive.." and it stuck. I proactively recognized you DuWayne, and in my own "stupid" way, sought to engage you into a dialogue that could be larger than your coveted rage.

But don't flatter yourself that I am "Playing [my] stupid little Miss Ginny game," just for you. The whole country is full of men who have been wounded by the horrible double standards of gender identity and its contradictory and discrimination.

DuWayne, it is always the good guys who finish last, because the laws, and the constantly crying wolf,fauxminist argument is set up that way--to nail guys like you, and fuck you twice without calling it rape.

Jason Thibeault said...

If you'd have stopped one paragraph short, you would have had me nearly convinced that I had you all wrong.

DuWayne Brayton said...

I am seriously not interested in your games, whether they be for my benefit or anyone else's. You continue to make a lot of really stupid assumptions, such as knowing where my rage comes from.

You don't. Seriously, you don't.

Misandry my pasty white ass. I've been raging for years and it had nothing to do with women. My experience with women? Until I met the mother of my children, I had sex with them. Many of them were my friends. Rarely got close enough to women for them to abuse me and when I did, it was with women who weren't fucking abusive.

I have dealt with abusive women, but until recently, it was never close enough to actually hurt me. Women certainly have directed ire at me, but it was always women who had no power over me and who were pissed because I didn't put up with their bullshit. Because I called them out for being obnoxious, abusive and flat wrong.

If you had recognized me, you would have recognized that I absolutely and completely despise dishonesty. You would have noted that the way to engage me in dialogue is to come at me head on - not through manipulative, dishonest and incredibly stupid games. You would have recognized that I consistently and regularly get rather pissed when people play the sort of stupid games with me that you were.

The thing is, I don't think you do have an interest in dialogue. You regularly wander the webs, throwing out cryptic, half illiterate and to some degree or another, offensive comments. You play manipulation games and that is never conducive to dialogue.

And in all honesty, as sorry as I am about whatever women did whatever she did to break you, you do not have anything approaching an objective perspective. I am not the enemy and neither are most women. I am interested in helping people get beyond gender, not in fomenting gender warfare. I am interested in helping foster a real end to gender disparity - in all it's very ugly facets.

I am aware of the problems men face. I am aware of where the roots of that come from and have a pretty good grasp of what might just fix it. The problems men face are just another aspect of the ones that women face. Instead of pretending that it's all the feminists fault, I am interested in fostering actual change.

Your armchair psychology is quite frankly, one of your more offensive qualities. Look in the fucking mirror and stop projecting your damage onto others. I have my issues, no question. But you haven't the foggiest fucking clue what they're about. Although if you wanted to, you could get some idea by reading what I've written thus far, about who I am and why...

the real meme said...

"I am interested in fostering actual change."
Really? How?

"if you wanted to, you could get some idea by reading what I've written thus far, about who I am and why..."
I have read some of your stuff, and frankly, I see exactly that "damage" that you project onto me, which is misplaced and sidestepping the original issue. As much as you need someone to read what you have written ( a noble goal indeed) you also have pandered to the exact people that enforce the system that has caused you damage ( Prozac?) And Duwayne, really-have you read your own cryptic shit lately? Sure, in some places I see you trying on some level to actually engage with readers, but on every other level, you are like CPP on Prozac.

And for that matter, you being nutty doesn't excuse your playground insult based rhetoric, or your constant need to be seen as a victim of "game playing". In fact, you are full of shit, because, dontcha'know, this whole thing has been a game on many levels--me, Steph, you, and anyone else who has been part of the dialogue; dialogue has a set of unwritten ru;es, and politically correct dialogue yet another. You have been trying to enforce a dialectic rule that I don't follow; I have NOT been trying to enforce any rule at all. Get it? Just making the point. And look at that point: you yourself have now chosen to believe that misandry is not an important topic to talk about. Is that because you are swallowing your ego, and being manly and silent? The strong and silent type, after all, doen't feel his own pain.

Or is it because the sway of politicaly correct modes of expressing thoughts about violence against men have you under their armpit?

Jason: Yeah,somehow I am not surprised that one paragraph was too much for you. How about you become my personal editor/censor? That way, every blunt or direct, factual or comparative statement that points the finger at the double standards of the fauxminist argument can be properly sanitized so that I don't offend the wolf/ves out there who screech their bows across the little fiddle of "wiminz getz da mostest violins" at the expense of men who actually do.

Jason, I am not sold on the idea that women suffer more rape, more violence, or more of anything else than men, but I am convinced that they have you convinced. Part of the culling process of cuckoldry, don'tcha know.Real men are highly offended when the security of G-d, country, or MOTHER is "threatened"; but remarkably silent about being beaten or raped in foxholes, bathrooms, or prisons.

Jason Thibeault said...

I have half a mind to ignore you, given that this is Stephanie's house and I don't want to break the china. But I also know she relishes a fight probably even more than I do, so I want to do her proud.

First off, DuWayne is anything but cryptic. He's one of the most lucid and honest writers I've seen on the net, no joke. If you'd like to call him cryptic, perhaps you could point out a passage that had you stumped?

His vitriol leveled at you indicates to me that he can't bring himself to fight on an intellectual level with you, probably because every time anyone does, you twist their words and cast aspersions without a shred of evidence to back them up. Those are the games to which he refers, and those are the games you're playing right now, yet again.

Case in point: you say that you're convinced that I believe women get abused and mistreated by men more often than men do by women. The closest I have said to this is on my own blog, where I suggest that women's abuse is reported far more regularly than men's abuse, and even then both are drastically underreported. They could be exactly equal, for all I know, but that doesn't make abuse of women any less relevant or worth discussing. In fact, I went and put up a post on my blog discussing one major instance of abuse against me that has helped shape my views of gender politics and misandry specifically. It even involves cuckoldry. That's not to say I want you to go post there, because I'm sure you'll just post more crap about finding corn on a shitpile or something, and this one's just to personal for me to let you louse up with your usual nonsense.

Speaking of which, you're free to spout that nonsense wherever you want. Just don't expect to win my friendship, respect, or even attention with it. You don't have an untempered right to be allowed to speak your mind in every forum on the internet, without being countered with dissenting opinions. This is my dissenting opinion. It is not censorship, but it does hopefully sway more people to recognize the problems I and others point out with your style of "discourse" and thus "silence" you by shaming you into acting more appropriately. It's Stephanie's call whether to silence you outright by, say, banning you. If that's even possible on Blogger, I don't know.

"Real men are highly offended when the security of G-d, country, or MOTHER is "threatened"; but remarkably silent about being beaten or raped in foxholes, bathrooms, or prisons."

Wrong, right, wrong (that's another deep emotional cut, thank you!); and my silence comes from not knowing anyone who's admitted to this kind of abuse. Unless you are one, and you're admitting to it now, I can't by rights take up this particular fight without having a victim to point to.

Now how's about you stop with the ad hominems? You're really good at them, I get it, but I don't like being called nutty or full of shit, so I doubt DuWayne likes it either. This isn't censorship, nor is it a "rule" (getting back to the original post!), just a protip on how not to come off as a troll. Because you do. Come off as a troll, I mean.

Jason Thibeault said...

Lost in this post, intended to go into the larger blank, is this:

I honestly thought maybe you were trying to be civil for the first time since I've seen you trolling Greg's, when you posted that long-winded psychoanalysis of DuWayne, until you got to the last paragraph, at which point your normal demeanor re-emerged. Though, you don't really seem the type to be able to successfully psychoanalyze anyone, regardless of your civility, so like DuWayne, I'd highly recommend you play psychologist for your paying customers (and make sure you display your degrees on the wall when you do). Just don't be surprised if they walk away offended that you accuse every single one of them of ignoring misandry when they came to discuss how the passing of their favored pet made them feel.

DuWayne Brayton said...

Ok Ginny, you win. I'm just a self loathing tool of the rising matriarchy...

Feel better now?