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Look for that mash-up of all the right words used to support all the demonstrably crazy or evil behaviors There's a brilliant scene in C.S. Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet, where the villain (a college professor, as is the hero) is asked to explain why he's doing what he's doing. He explains it to the hero in flowery, poetic, jargon-rich language. But they're on another planet and the hero has to translate into the natives' language, which he doesn't know very well, and he has to use small basic words. The villain's argument falls apart, because at its core it's incoherent and inexpressible in normal language. The scene does a great job of showing how empty a lot of rhetoric is if you take away the big words and the fancy language. Any good argument should be expressible in small simple words, even if it takes a while to do.
Toggle Commented Jul 19, 2013 on Two Balls Bad, No Balls Good at davidthompson
It occurs to me that it's a true shame to waste so much of these folks' time and energy on this nonsense. It's likely that a good number of these whinging fools are really trying to do the right thing as best they understand it. What a waste of their potential, to send them into this endless, pointless labyrinth. Many of these people are conscious of guilt and desire absolution. If they were to learn from the great moral teachers of human history, they could use these feelings to cultivate virtue and become good citizens, exerting a positive influence on our society. How sad that they have been cut off by historically ignorant sophists from that well of knowledge, while they are dying of thirst. Who can blame them for drinking so deeply from a dirty, stagnant pond? They don't know where the clean water can be found, or even that it exists.
Toggle Commented Jul 19, 2013 on Headdesk, She Replied at davidthompson
He's striking the lintel and posts of his door with lamb's blood. That's a great idea! We should start celebrating Racism Passover, when the great Demon of Racism went out door to door smiting the households of the white men -- but the households that nailed their minority/women's studies degree to their doorframe and smeared authentic vegan ethnic food on the door were spared.
Toggle Commented Jul 18, 2013 on Headdesk, She Replied at davidthompson
-The times when I have tokenised people of colour by thinking “shit, my project is really white, I should ask some people of colour to be a part of it”, rather than building the vision and collaborating with people of colour from the beginning and/or building genuine mutually supportive relationships. -When I have given more support, time and resources to white projects and individuals. It doesn’t matter if this was by default (like who happened to ask me) – it is my responsibility to seek out and support people of colour and Indigenous people (if and when my support is welcome). I was thinking about the article, and I was thinking "what a weird sort of reverse-white-man's-burden kind of thing he has going on." But then I thought: is it reversed? In the author's formulation, he's being racist if he doesn't share all his great white-man projects with the poor minority folk. Isn't he in many ways taking the same view as Kipling, that he (representing white people) has all this great stuff and has a duty to share it with his lessers? The funny part is how these two fit together. If I understand correctly, he has a duty to seek out and force minority coworkers to join his projects, whether they want to or not, because if he doesn't have any minorities involved from the beginning then he's a racist. I think he may not be picking up on why they didn't "happen[] to ask" him about his projects.
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2013 on Headdesk, She Replied at davidthompson
So let me get this straight. If you pick out an identifiable group and blame them for all your problems, you're a hateful person of some sort: "All our society's problems are because of the jews." "All our society's problems are because of the blacks." But if you pick out an identifiable group that you belong to and blame them for all of someone else's problems, it becomes morally virtuous: "All of black people's problems are because of white people and their racism." I'm glad that's clear. Also, the bizarre article Ms. Penny is so inspired by says the "shame is when we are inactive through fear of doing the wrong thing." It then lists wrong things the author has done at the end. Was he right to do those wrong things? Would it have been more wrong to not do the wrong things? I love the logic here: he shames people for not acting due to fear of being shamed for their actions, then he shames himself and others for their actions anyway. Brilliant. I also enjoy the typical "if you disagree with or deny what I'm saying, it means that you don't want to hear it because it's true" trope. It makes me want to write a response talking about how everything isn't white people's fault, Asians succeed fine in these supposedly impossibly racist conditions, etc. Then at the end I can just quote him: if you're feeling the desire to disagree with me, it can only be because it's so true. It's hilarious that he has to put a big "WARNING" in all caps before a list of supposedly racist things he's done. Is this in case minorities read the article? Does he think they're so unable to control themselves and their emotional reactions that they can't handle a list? Or is that for his typical readers? He talks in such a bizarre way about minorities -- like they're abused spouses covered with bruises and broken bones, or like some sort of fragile and easily startled animals or something. We can't expect them to help, we must do all the work for them, believe everything they say, presumably never disagree with anything or use any logic on their claims of racism, etc. He doesn't seem to view them as normal humans like himself. No wonder he's so weird and racist.
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2013 on Headdesk, She Replied at davidthompson
So let's accept the premise that we are collectively responsible for the acts of people who look like us for a minute. I'll even accept the whole "people not in power can't be racist" idiocy for a little bit. Are black people collectively responsible for tribal warfare in Africa by their ancestors? Are they responsible for black slavers, or slavery practiced by African tribes against other Africans? Globally speaking the black American is in power over the African, so the African's collective sins don't count, but how does that excuse the black American? Are all sins excused for everyone who isn't at the very top, globally? But then why get on whites' case in Europe, when America is globally more dominant? How about Detroit? Black people are in practically every level of power in Detroit. Are black people collectively responsible for all the deaths of black people and ruination of the economy there? What's fascinating is the idea that things that can't be done (like erasing the past negative actions of ancestors and other people of one's race) we must try to do, while things that are completely doable (like changing city policy and leadership in Detroit and Chicago) which would actually make things better for minorities should not even be considered. It's sort of like going to a trash-ridden empty lot and beating one's breast over the moral decay, the awful injustice of this poor beautiful natural spot being despoiled, making a sign and marching around it protesting what's happened to it. No amount of caterwauling will ever be as useful as picking up a single bottle.
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2013 on Headdesk, She Replied at davidthompson
I'm intrigued by Penny's objection to "twee patriotism". Does she mean that she would be in favor of more serious, earnest, full-throated patriotism? I assume she would be violently opposed to that, rather than just whining about it. So why imply that the patriotism is too weak, when she's actually upset that any of it is there?
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Aug 18, 2011