Thursday, 29 November 2018

A brief word on some recent online controversies

I don't use social media, so I get to live most of my life in blissful ignorance of what people are currently yelling at each other about. Years back Dave McGrogan suggested to me that I should start uploading my posts to G+, but I very seldom use it for any other purpose, so all the debates that take place on it are invisible to me. It's only when controversies filter down to the level of actual blogs that I usually become aware of them.

I have become aware of this one.

I'm generally pretty sceptical of internet politics. Social media is very good for grandstanding and blacklisting and rumour-mongering and getting people to hate each other, but it's much less effective for actually getting anyone to change their minds about anything. That said, I have come to care about this weird monster-baby of a creative community that we call the OSR, and it saddens me to hear that a growing number of people are apparently coming to associate it with intolerance, far-right politics, and other forms of ideological awfulness.

If you endorse or encourage racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic views, then you are an awful person and you should stop doing that.

If you think that you're just tragically misunderstood and all these people are being so unreasonable and complaining about nothing, then please consider the possibility that actually being [black / female / gay / trans] may have given them a better insight into what constitutes [racism / sexism / homophobia / transphobia] than is easily accessible to others.

If you believe that a shadow army of evil totalitarian SJW snowflakes are trying to destroy gaming, and that it is your right, nay, your duty to be as offensive as possible in order to defend our freedom, then get a fucking grip. Your actual ideological opponents don't give a fuck about your fantasy game. All you're doing is harming random bystanders and alienating people who might otherwise have been your friends and/or customers.

If you are Venger Satanis, then you appear to be in the middle of a highly public meltdown. (You 'took issue with both sides of the Charlottesville political protest'? Seriously?) Get help, dude. Get help.

The OSR movement has benefitted enormously from the contributions of trans gamers and creators such as Scrap Princess, Evlyn M, Gennifer Bone, Bardaree Bryant, and FM Geist. Anything which makes them feel less welcome among us can only leave us all much poorer as a result.

Be kind to one another. For fuck's sake. It's not that hard. Just be kind.

I'll try to post about the WFRP 3 adventures soon.

73 comments:

  1. "That said, I have come to care about this weird monster-baby of a creative community that we call the OSR, and it saddens me to hear that a growing number of people are apparently coming to associate it with intolerance, far-right politics, and other forms of ideological awfulness."
    Sorry, but the OSR has been associated with that crap from the start, or at least since before I started to read OSR-Blogs some seven years ago. Everyone who claims any of this is new, either has an filter bubble I am jealous of, or wasn't listening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hm.

      I knew about the weird little cultural ghetto that Pundit had built for himself at the RPGsite.

      I knew about Alexander Macris and his links with the alt-right.

      I knew about the endless circular 'no, YOU'RE the real fascist!' arguments around James Raggi and Zak Smith.

      And, as mentioned above, I'm aware of Venger's current meltdown.

      But I've learned about them all from blogs. Anything that unfolds on other forms of social media is usually invisible to me.

      Are there other important ones that I've missed?

      Delete
    2. Kiel Chenner (Blood in the Chocolate) just left Lamentations for greener pastures because Raggi took a picture with Alt Right stooge Jordan Peterson in order to promote LotFP.

      Delete
    3. Ah, yes, I saw that. Raggi has since recanted, apologised, and removed the post, but he really should have known better. Hopefully he's learned his lesson from the whole affair...

      Delete
    4. Sometimes I wish all creators in the OSR scene were as low maintenence as Kevin Crawford. He basically just hangs out on reddit and answers questions. He's not a "personality" like Raggi or Zak S, but I've also bought about half his catalog vs almost nothing of Lamentations because we don't get these flare ups of controversy every six months that stops me from picking it up.

      Delete
    5. 'Personalities' are, indeed, an extremely mixed blessing, and the OSR has been burdened with more than its fair share of them. Kevin Crawford is an example to us all.

      I hesitated for a while about even making this post, precisely because I know how quickly any kind of controversy can come to overshadow everything else. (That's the reason why this blog is usually so strictly focussed on art and gaming. I have boring left-liberal politics of my own, but I don't think this is a very useful place to discuss them.) Given recent events, however, I was concerned that silence might look like indifference...

      Delete
    6. Well like I said, the notion that anyone who plays the older editions of D&D or their clones (i.e. the kind of people from which "the OSR" developed) is cultural and political regressiv, is a lot older than most of the controversies you mentioned.

      I guess I just don't understand people who stood up in the last weeks and said "NOW I see it, those people are intolerant, far-right nutjobs." When this claim where laid against the same people mostly for the same reasons since before freaking 2011!

      And then make the error to claim this would poison the OSR somehow, which rather is (should be) a mode of play in the first place, but what ever.

      Delete
    7. OK. I first became aware of the OSR in 2015, mostly via reading False Machine and Goblin Punch and a bunch of LOTFP adventures. I associate it primarily with people like Patrick Stuart, Scrap Princess, Arnold K, James Raggi, Dave McGrogan, and Bryce Lynch, and thus with politics that range from 'grumpily apolitical' to 'left liberal' to 'libertarian'.

      From what you're saying, though, it sounds as though there was a whole earlier phase to the movement, whose politics were (are?) very different.

      Could you clarify who you're thinking of when you say 'those people', here?

      Delete
    8. I can't really name names, except for maybe Pundit. But have always been complaints about racist and *-ophobic elements in the scene. I remember the OSR forum like drangonsfoot and odd74 having a bad rep back in the day.
      I always ignored that, because the OSR people I read and were interested in weren't like that, and because like I said, for me OSR is more a mode of play than an group of people.

      And outside of OSR circles there had been a lot of exaggeration about the importance of those people. I have left online spaces, because I just couldn't stand the claim anymore that sandboxes are all about killing the racial different, torturing players and hating women.

      Delete
    9. The people that Zak has sparred with have often accused him of misogyny, transphobia, etc., always without evidence and despite his words and actions. It's from them I've heard the OSR=reactionary.

      Delete
    10. @Unkown That always looked like an egg-hen-style problem to me.
      Were they convinced that Zak is a misogynist and projected that to the whole OSR, or were they convinced that everyone associated with the OSR was an reactionary an projected that on his admittedly exhausting behavior?

      Delete
    11. See, this is why I normally stay away from internet gamer politics. It's a swamp of tribalism and guilt by association.

      The only OSR I know is the artpunk blogosphere. I've heard of Dragonsfoot and odd74 as bastions of ultra-trad play, but that's not a playstyle I'm especially interested in, so I've never visited either of them. As such, I'm not in a position to know whether their reputed conservatism is a reflection of their genuine ideological leanings, or simply a misinterpretation of their preferred playstyles, as Klaus describes.

      (It's funny, because I was drawn to sandboxes and away from D&D 3/4-style scripted-combat games precisely because of my growing distaste for narratives of heroic violence. From my perspective, it's new-school D&D which is really wedded to the idea that the One True Way is to kill everyone different from you!)

      Delete
    12. Just to be clear, I do beliefe that a lot of people on those forums worked hard to give them the reputation they have. I don't beliefe that this is just an misrepresantation of theire playstyle.
      But I do also beliefe that this is not an argument against the OSR as a whole.

      And I'm also puzzeled that people act like they only noticed that right now.

      Delete
    13. I'm on the modteam over on ODD74 now, and to be clear it is no space for hate speech. We have banned at least one member for such. The site is "ultra-trad" if you mean in the style of the earliest D&D, dungeons & hexcrawls & sandboxes, rulings-over-rules, every DMing interpreting the rules differently etc

      Delete
    14. The thing is, they won't learn to be better, because they're not being bad on accident. They're committed to an ideological worldview that requires some people to suffer so that they can live what they imagine to be a more fulfilled life. I appreciate you taking a stand on this issue, and enjoy your content, but the truth of the matter is - you can't be neutral on a moving train. The scene will get worse before it gets better, because one side is committed to excluding people, and the other just wants the status quo. We aren't actively looking to limit the influence of reactionaries, or make spaces more inclusive (at least, outside of our own tables). Often, people just want to stop talking about politics, because politics demands something of them (to behave better, to examine the things that make them happy, to occasionally sacrifice their enjoyment for the betterment of others and the world).

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Rob. Always good to know you're still reading this stuff out there somewhere!

      Are you and Sarah still in London? I'll be there between Christmas and New Year, but you probably have other plans. Email me if not, though - it'd be great to see you!

      Delete
  4. The mob can condemn minor action too harshly, but when you court controversy for hits & euros you've got to know you're going to step over the line at some point.

    "I'm sorry, I was wrong." can and should go a long way. We're all Homo Sapiens like you, which is just about the only generalization ever worth making.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. And Venger's childish flame-out over your review wasn't just embarrassing, it was actively counter-productive. This is a guy who is constantly wandering around the internet, begging people to review his work. The least he could do would be to accept their feedback - which he actively requested! - in good grace...

      Delete
  5. Saw this post and expected more amazing WH writeups or even some new Wicked City stuff.

    Instead got a digest of how some god-awful nobodies are apparently having a laughably banal pseudopolitical shitfling in some discarded bowel of the Internet. Ew.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The title wasn't a hint?

      Don't worry. I don't intend to make a habit of it. More Warhammer writeups are coming, probably next week.

      Delete
    2. I have the blog in my reader and always read everything you publish.

      Actually, pardon for implying you owe me content, or are somehow not allowed to take a public stance or something. It just struck me that this "in some obscure corner of the Internet a number of people, too, partake in a run-of-the-mill 'no, YOU are the fascist' squabble" is profoundly unnewsworthy. You know, like when you open a a top-quality, very trustworthy online publication, see a stray "most viral memes of this year"-type article and think: "Oy!"

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the kind words - and I didn't read your post as implying a sense of entitlement. I do try to keep clear of this stuff as much as possible, not least because it's bloody exhausting. But the volume recently has been such that I felt it was probably necessary to make some kind of statement.

      More Warhammer is coming!

      Delete
  6. Hadn’t heard of Bardaree Bryant or Gennifer Bone before but looks like they’ve got awesome stuff, thanks for mentioning them

    ReplyDelete
  7. Am I just following the ‘not asshole’ people?

    I feel oblivious, but I’m really only on blogs. I mainly just see the people on your blogroll, and they’re not into politics like, at all.

    You, Patrick, Arnold, Dave, Jeff Reints, the Bryce’s, James Young...

    But now everyone is getting mad and taking breaks and fighting, and I just don’t see why that is. I think people’s GAME IDEAS are valuable and wonderful and creative, I’m not seeing their ‘horrid values’ bleed over into actual content?

    I guess I don’t see why someone’s political stance has to do with their creative content... but also, not saying everyone has to be buddy-buddy either. Oh goodness. I wonder if Magic the Gathering has political camps. Ha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might be. I initially was turned off of the OSR because my first contact with it was with people whose (IMO) objectionable social opinions coloured their gaming content. It took a while to find blogs that had both useful content and an absence of vitriol.

      Delete
    2. Magic does, I'm afraid. Everything does. I remember the controversy when WotC included a trans character in the 2015 expansion set 'Fates Reforged'.

      I think it's perfectly possible to distinguish between authors and their work. Just because someone has horrible politics doesn't mean that they can't write a good retroclone - Alexander Macris is proof enough of that. But when people start loudly broadcasting hostile and polarising opinions, then other people - like Beoric here - get driven away, and that's bad for the community as a whole. It lessens us.

      Delete
    3. ... And there's always the possibility that Kent will come along and drop a hate-bomb, often using some alias he just cooked up, and generally poison the whole discussion. And despite the fact that his posts are usually absent all reason, commenters will feel a need to reason with him, and find themselves embroiled in a pointless argument.

      I feel a need to remind people that, as M-and-D points out below, constitutional guarantees of free speech are a guarantee of freedom from government curtailment of the right, not private curtailment of the right. You also have a property right, which you are not obligated to give up to allow any individual to exercise free expression. If someone spraypaints crap on your fence you are allowed to paint over it, and if someone is rude to the guests at your party you are allowed to ask them to leave.

      Insults and vitriol are not an aid to intelligent discourse and do not need to be entertained in order to foster free and frank discussion. If anything they prevent free and frank discussion. In short, please don't feed the trolls.

      Delete
  8. Good post, thanks for sharing. I think it's important that everyone shares their honest opinions, especially when it's supportive for people who might be feeling unwelcome.

    As for the question of "Why now? Why didn't this happen in 2011?" A lot has changed since 2011. What was considered by many to be legitimate bad taste humour is now recognised to be harmful abuse and intolerance. It's another bump on the road to a healthier, more inclusive society. This time it's the OSR community cleaning house.

    ReplyDelete
  9. ==That's the reason why this blog is usually so strictly focussed on art and gaming. I have boring left-liberal politics of my own.

    If you have an issue with Jordan Peterson you are not 'left-liberal' but a typical virtue-signalling left-nutbag of today's universities. Liberalism has divorced itself from the insane feminist-black victimhood & resentment olympics.

    The trans issue is an arbitrary point of conflict. Personally, with most honest people I find trans/gender-confused types mildly creepy but there are so few of them they are irrelevant. The conflict is over the idiot-left's right to tell normal people how they should think, speak and feel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Raggi can like Peterson if he wants to. Liking someone's work doesn't imply that you agree with of all their ideas, and it certainly doesn't imply that you agree with their most awful fans.

      The problem is that Peterson has become an iconic figure for opponents of trans rights, to the point where most trans people will, quite reasonably, interpret invocations of him as gestures of hostility towards themselves unless they're given clear reasons not to do so. So when someone like Raggi, who knows that he has a significant trans audience, posts a photo of himself with Peterson, the onus is on him to make clear that this does not imply his support for the anti-trans politics with which Peterson is so frequently associated. This isn't about 'virtue signalling', at least as I understand the term. It's just about awareness of context.

      A couple of years ago, I had a student who I knew was a survivor of sexual abuse. When the time came for me to teach her class on a text that dealt with rape as a key part of the plot, I made sure that I taught and spoke very, very carefully. Was that 'virtue signalling'? I'd view it as basic sensitivity to other people's experiences.

      And, hey, trans people probably find you mildly creepy, too!

      Delete
    2. Peterson is only really notable for his far right politics. His work in academics has no really impact or following. His "self-help" books are just more of the same. The only reason either are paid any attention to are because of the transphobia and the rest.

      Delete
    3. "This isn't about 'virtue signalling', at least as I understand the term."
      How do you understand the term then?
      As far as I understand it the term comes from an economic theory about why people buy expensiv stuff they don't need. Wich states that people do it, because it signals adherence to the virtue of their group. (e.g. putting up Christmas Decoration, wearing an suite to an interview, the iconic punk mohawk etc.)
      It is a useful concept. Around 90% of all the usual dogwhistels work that way.

      So if the problem was that posting an photo with Peterson, is seen as an signal for alining with the virtues of trasphobes. How is this NOT literally an virtue signaling issue?

      Delete
    4. Because "virtue signalling" itself is a dogwhistle phrase for "I don't have a better argument then saying people shouldn't care about other people"

      Delete
    5. Klaus - Edmund was accusing *me* of 'virtue signalling' for suggesting that Raggi should have known better than to post a picture of himself with Peterson without context. I don't think he was accusing *Raggi* of using that photo to signal the 'virtue' of transphobia.

      Whatever its origins, 'virtue signalling' now seems to be usually used as a right-wing critique of left-wing politics, especially in relation to identity politics, and especially online. It's used to imply that positions are held simply to declare ideological allegiance rather than out of a genuine desire to effect change. So person A says 'this film is racist!', and person B says 'no it isn't, and you probably don't even care about real racism, you're just making a fuss about nothing in order to signal your virtue to other members of your ideological clique'.

      I don't *think* what I'm doing here counts as that. But maybe I'm biased.

      Delete
    6. > The trans issue is an arbitrary point of conflict. Personally, with most honest people I find trans/gender-confused types mildly creepy but there are so few of them they are irrelevant. The conflict is over the idiot-left's right to tell normal people how they should think, speak and feel.

      Edmund's just mad that Father Christmas didn't give him a present because he was busy helping the White Witch.

      Delete
    7. I am aware that the term is mostly used to virtue signal alliance with right wing ideas. I still thing it is a useful term, and exactly describes what happened.

      Just as Edmunds comment is pure virtue signalling. No content no argument, just a "I'm opposed to your message."

      One could ask why, if he is opposed to virtue-signaling he engages in this behavior, but I don't think that he would have an useful answer.

      Delete
    8. Surely, Edmund's comment is more of "vice signalling"? "I'm mildly transphobic, like most honest people..."

      Joseph, FWIW, I appreciate you sticking up for common decency.

      Delete
    9. I can see why a trans person might interpret invocations of Jordan Peterson as gestures of hostility towards themselves, but I think they're mistaken to interpret them that way.

      Peterson himself has said he's not transphobic and that if a trans student asked him to address them as she or he, he would do. His stake in the controversy was that he didn't want gender pronouns (especially not the confusing ones) mandated by law.

      There are a lot of things beyond that one controversy that you might invoke Peterson for- his bestselling self-help book, his lecture series', his inspirational videos.

      It's unfortunate that a lot of the people who comment on the videos made about him (you know the ones, the clickbaity "Peterson destroys dumb Channel 4 feminist" type things) are fairly repulsive, but that's youtube for you, it's kind of a cesspool.

      The alt-right transphobes that do that make the mistake of assuming that because JP disagrees with Canadian trans activists he's somehow "one of them". Despite his opponents constantly trying to prove them right, I don't think he has said anything alt-right-y.

      I find "virtue signalling" as a criticism of the left similar to "dog whistle" as a criticism of the right. Much of the time it's a way for you to ignore what the person is saying, because they don't really mean that, /this/ is what they probably really think.

      Anyway, I hope you don't think badly of me because I enjoy some of JPs stuff (I'm pretty ambivalent on a lot of the Jungian philosophy and biblical narrative stuff though). I just felt I had to weigh in because I don't think he's the devil people paint him as. Love your blog, and I'm sad to see creative people dropping out of the OSR blogosphere because of these social media (is that where this is all taking place? Never seen any of it leak into blog posts until now) arguments.

      Delete
  10. Edmund can you please not bring politics into this?

    ReplyDelete
  11. "The trans issue is an arbitrary point of conflict"

    For you, maybe. I would greatly appreciate it if you would not tell me how to feel. It goes against my first amendment rights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

      Your first amendment rights protect you from the government, not from learning empathy. You have to do that on your own, and it seems you've put real effort into it.

      Delete
  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey. I agree with your broad thrust, though I think it's fair to note that David McG's sabbatical note did pox both houses - I don't think those who say (as above) they are simply "cleaning house" are wholly upright heroes here. The mob mentality is quite real, and universal.

    (There's something here to say about the fact that a blogosphere is not a community, and courts danger when it acts like one - as with Pundit or some of his opponents trying to gatekeep on idealogies and playstyles.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure I agree, actually. I think the OSR blogosphere and its attendant G+ apparatus *does* effectively function as a community - a weird, spread-out, and cliquey one, perhaps, but a community none-the-less. We have shared tastes and values, we know who one another are, we comment on one another's posts, we link to each other on our blogrolls, and we collaborate on one another's projects. We *could* all atomise and go our separate ways - and if we can't manage to agree some very basic standards on how to treat one another then I guess we'll probably have to - but I think that we'd be the poorer for it.

      Delete
    2. I take that point. To rephrase my original point, in a way I've put it elsewhere: IF the OSR blogosphere is a community, it is a community that lacks any mediating institutions of an ordinary type (there are a number of informal, fragmentary ones - specific private G+ groups, BBs, etc), and shares one specific interest rather than a cluster of interests. Geographical neighbours share many practical interests, and historically shared many mediating institutions.

      You see this elsewhere with nerd hobby subcultures - people love micronations or conlangs or cardboard wargames or whatever because they love those things. They engage with a subculture to share ideas, to share their passion, and so forth. But there's no easy way to bridge the fact that one is a come-lately punk who's into anarchist capitalism and another is a transperson fascinated by eastern religions and the upsides of neoliberalism and another is a conservative evangelical obsessed with food self-reliance.

      Now, I actually think most of us, most of the time - including those three very different people - are able to recognize what was once considered common courtesy. On that basis we should be able to coexist. But the extent of our community is necessarily limited by the raw facts, and fringe lunatics (like some of the people we've explicitly or implicitly mentioned) are going to be able to come and camp with us because we have no easily definable "objective set of values".

      Is that a little clearer? Or have I muddied my own point further?

      Delete
    3. No, I get what you're saying - and I agree that it's the figures on the fringes who are the problem. Paradox of tolerance and all that. Common courtesy allows me to work happily alongside my Conservative-voting colleagues, and vice versa, without any of us needing to call upon the 'mediating institutions' that supposedly regulate our interactions - but if someone came into the department and started yelling BNP slogans at Muslim students, we'd invoke the university authorities, and quite right too. Online, however, such provocateurs are much harder to get rid of. I'm not sure that anyone's quite figured out a real solution yet.

      But we do have some tools. Disapproval can be expressed. People can be blocked. Collaborations can be refused. Links can be taken down. Anyone who's spent any length of time on the internet knows that all online communities have a few loons clinging onto their edges. The important thing is to make clear that they are not representative of the community as a whole.

      Thus this post, I guess.

      Delete
    4. How confident are you of the "vice versa"? From what I see from the outside, a lot of universities, especially arts-side departments, look as though they are becoming environments increasingly and deliberately hostile to and hence probably uncomfortable for even relatively mainstream conservatives, but a) I haven't worked in one myself, and b) even if that is happening on a larger scale, perhaps your department isn't
      typical?

      Delete
    5. I mean, the vast majority of my colleagues are leftists of one strain or another, as you'd expect in a humanities department. But the fact that two of my colleagues vote Conservative, and supported Brexit, is pretty well known, and it doesn't stop us being friends with them and working with them. We don't *agree* with them, but it doesn't mean we have to *hate* them.

      I agree that there are forms of conservative politics which would go down much less well, though. We're a very heavily unionised department, so opposition to trade unionism would probably make you a pariah. And the kind of cultural conservatism which leads people to complain about the increasing number of women and black people on university syllabi would not go down well in a departmental meeting.

      Delete
    6. I am probably what you would call a mainstream conservative working at a British university in a humanities/social science department. I would say it is very uncomfortable at times, not because of direct "in your face" criticism or abuse or anything like that, but because we conservatives have now become so few and far between that there is often a feeling of being squashed by a kind of liberal-normative monolith. People just talk to each other *as if* everybody agrees with the prevailing Right Opinions, and things become awkward when it emerges that you don't. Brexit has brought this to a head. I can't tell you the number of conversations I've been a party to in which for five minutes everybody has been slagging off "low information" voters, old people, etc., for voting leave, at which point I've made everybody have to stare at their shoes by piping up and saying, "Well, I voted leave."

      Things can be even sharper than that at conferences and such like. For most academics in the social sciences "conservative" is simply an insult - a four letter word you throw at somebody to defeat their argument. "I think you are making a deeply conservative point here." Heaven forfend! Again, you end up with fairly difficult scenarios sometimes when you put back to that person that, yes, I am making a conservative point and can draw on hundreds of years of perfectly respectable intellectual history to support it.

      Delete
    7. Yeah, I don't envy you that. I have a lot of respect for the classical conservative tradition - Dr Johnson is a bit of a hero of mine - and as I get older I find myself increasingly irritated by some strands of leftist politics, especially the assumption that every social problem can and should be resolved by throwing unlimited quantities of public money at it. And I do recognise that there are plenty of legitimate reasons for people to dislike the EU, even though I, personally, believe that Britain would be better off remaining within it.

      Anyway. Stick with it. Progressives need opposition from principled conservatives in order to keep them intellectually honest!

      Delete
  14. Replies
    1. Thanks, Corey. Though I hope we haven't quite reached the point where just asking people to be kind to one another qualifies as 'brave'...

      Delete
  15. I missed Venger's latest tantrum, but I agree with the underlying sentiment of this post. I like Autarch's stuff mechanically (and was interested enough in the system that I have a credit in one of the books). Once Ted Beale started having influence on the content, I bailed. When one is the only person ever kicked out of SFWA for abusing their position to spam racist screeds, I can't support letting their toxicity into this hobby.

    ReplyDelete
  16. i'm very very new to this community, but glad to see there's some decent folks in it. right on

    ReplyDelete
  17. I don't usually respond but this deserves a comment. I am thankful that you posted this. Any vocal criticism of racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic views deserves to be supported. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  18. == call upon the 'mediating institutions' that supposedly regulate our interactions - but if someone came into the department and started yelling BNP slogans at Muslim students, we'd invoke the university authorities, and quite right too. Online, however, such provocateurs are much harder to get rid of. I'm not sure that anyone's quite figured out a real solution yet.

    Don't you realize that many more young people have to endure cretinous obloquy from feminists and black rights activists from worthless departments while trying to learn at university.

    What kind of morons in the west want to protect a swiftly growing intolerant religious fanatacism - Islam. Christians? Atheists? Virtue Signaling Cunts? It seems to be a mission of honour among the idiot-left to revive 16th religious wars in the west by encouraging mass immigration of religious neanderthals (Muslims) at the same time as excoriating Christian values which have already sunk to a background hum. The hypocrisy is shameful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The arguments in this post seem to be rather confused. I'll try to disaggregate them as best I can.

      First, not every Muslim is part of an 'intolerant religious fanaticism'. I know from personal experience that the vast majority are ordinary, decent people, very much like everyone else, and deserving of the same courtesy that should be extended to members of any other community.

      Secondly, the idea that random abuse of Muslims should be tolerated (or encouraged?) just because you, personally, happen to be hostile to Islam as an ideology is essentially the same as the idea that I complained about in my original post, namely that random homophobia or transphobia should be tolerated or encouraged just because you, personally, happen to be hostile to modern identity politics. No matter how committed you may be to these particular ideological battles, this is the worst possible way to fight them. Yelling abuse at a random girl in a headscarf does nothing to weaken ISIS, any more than posting homophobic comments on a game blog does anything to weaken modern left-wing politics. All it does is ensure that some completely innocent people are going to have a really shitty day.

      Thirdly, two wrongs don't make a right. Yelling abuse at Muslim students can't suddenly become OK just because a local feminist activist happens to have been saying some very silly things about, say, trans people.

      Fourthly, the idea that 'feminists and black rights activists' are roaming around university campuses abusing people seems to have no correlation with reality. I've spent the last seventeen years working and studying in British universities and I've never seen anything of the sort. (And I'm a straight white guy, so presumably the kind of person they'd be targeting if this sort of thing was actually happening...)

      Fifthly, liberalism - the ability to resolve our differences via rigorous but mutually-respectful debate, rather than mass violence - was precisely how we escaped from the religious wars of the 16th century in the first place. Name-calling ('religious neanderthals') hardly places you on the side of 'Christian values', here.

      I don't mind you expressing opinions I disagree with. But please try to do so with courtesy rather than via childish insult-slinging. You're lowering the tone.

      Delete
    2. That is a dishonest and stupid response. All the yelling is coming from the idiot-left. And the media and the law are entirely on the side of criminalising 'Hate-speech' with is a foolish undefinable construct, so any of those who are anti-idiot-left are fighting authority and the right to speak freely about mass insane religious imports into europe, and the mental disorder of gender confusion which doctors are afraid to oppose for fear of being sacked. (because of virtue signalling cunts - morons who are wealthy and have been educated in the politically infected humanities)

      ==Fifthly, liberalism - the ability to resolve our differences via rigorous but mutually-respectful debate, rather than mass violence

      It is the idiot-left who is opposed to debate and free-speech. Not even the idiot-left denies this. They simply oppose free speech and avoid debate. If you deny this anyone reading your denial will know you are either lying or ignorant.

      Haven't you read Jonathan Haidt on the extreme bias in universities, it is about 19-1 idiot-left vs normal.

      The PC mob is not being abused on campus, the PC mob is the entire body of humanities lecturers and their bullshit is now established course content. This won't last, and idiots like you will destroy universities as parents decide they are being asked to pay a fortune for worthless education, and universities become STEM colleges exclusively.

      You come across like a typical virtue signalling cunt, so you are in for plenty of "surprises" over the coming years as snowflakes, the useful idiots for the elite, melt away.

      Delete
    3. And you bang on about 'kindness', well only those who observe your actions in real life can decide if you are 'kind'. Certainly not you.

      It's not for you to proclaim such virtue about yourself on the internet where no-one has any credibility.

      Delete
    4. Joseph, please don't feed the troll. If you don't recognize him, "Edmund" is most likely "Kent" under one of his several aliases. He will continue to respond to your courtesy and reason with insults and vitriol as long as anyone in your comment section gives him an excuse to, and possibly for a while after as he tries to start things up again. The readers in your kinder, gentler corner of the internet are fresh meat to him. Don't give him the satisfaction.

      Delete
    5. Yeah, I know who Edmund is. But I feel, rightly or wrongly, that I have to make at least a token effort. Blame all those years of teaching.

      Edmund / Kent, I must regretfully agree with Beoric. You show no signs of actually wanting to engage with anything that anyone else is saying: you just continue to sling insults and assert that you're right because you're right. As such, I feel that further conversation would not be fruitful. Also, your comments on Muslims and trans people are awful.

      Your actions on the internet *are* actions in real life. They really affect real people. In your case, they really affect real people for the worse. You should be ashamed of yourself. But I'm sure you have built yourself some unassailably self-supporting narrative about how everything you do is brave and right and virtuous, so by all means go and congratulate yourself for a righteous victory over the heathen, or whatever.

      If and when you wish to discuss this further, *in a spirit of genuine tolerance and mutual respect*, then I would be willing to do so. But I'm not going to have a debate with someone who's just doing the online equivalent of spitting at people.

      Delete
    6. The internet is not somewhere to discuss matters deeply important, and I don't consider this a discussion but an intervention.

      It remains necessary online to firefight childlike displays of moral vanity.

      Delete
  19. And the award for gratuitous misogyny goes to Edmund. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's my sixth favourite illogical award. Thanks.

      Delete
  20. It all sounds so simple. Women and minorities are always right, and any criticism of them is always wrong, and thus deserves to be silenced.

    Trouble is, if you shut down discussion and criticism, you don't get agreement and you don't change any minds. Instead you give power to two equally undesirable groups. The first group are petty tyrants who happily dub anything they dislike "racist" or "sexist" or "homophobic" and use your good intentions to gain and hold power over others. The second group are genuine bigots, who also benefit because they are the only voice of dissent, since legitimate criticism is shut down. Congratulations, your attempt to create unity and civility only promotes anger and division.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a somewhat bizarre misreading of my actual point.

      People are allowed to disagree with one another. I very much take the old-style Enlightenment view on this: progress comes from the clash of opposing ideas. But that clash has to happen within a context of mutual respect, or people stop listening to each other and just start trying to hurt each other, instead.

      It is perfectly possible to articulate a critique of contemporary identity politics without being hateful. It's not even that difficult. And it has the added benefit that people who disagree with you might actually *listen* to you, rather than writing you off as yet another frothing bigot.

      You can disagree with people and still be kind to them. In fact, kindness towards people that you disagree with is probably one of the most important forms to cultivate.

      (See also: the history of the Early Modern period.)

      Delete