Monday, April 29, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

recommended reads of the day

Intersectionality and identity politics | Slave of the Passions:
Taken to its ultimate conclusion, in this vision of politics there could be no room for movements like feminism at all. For feminism assumes some degree of commonality among women, which the logic of this identity politics must deny. As soon as you call yourself a feminist, you are identifying yourself as part of a movement that speaks for and represents others. And yet these others are all radically and irreducibly different, from you and from each other.
The objectivity of oppression | Slave of the Passions:
The problem with some versions of intersectional identity politics is that, in elevating subjective experience above objective knowledge, they dissolve the possibility of making coherent, meaningful claims of injustice or oppression at all. On this logic all complaints are reduced to an expression of one’s personal preference or feelings, with no way to distinguish genuine injustice from mere dislike. If we want to hold on to the concepts of injustice and oppression, and if we want them to have real political weight and to signify actions and practices that need to be altered, then we have to understand them as having objective criteria that are defined independently of how any individual experiences them. The intersectionalist demand to attend to people’s narratives and to learn from people’s experiences can, at its best, shed a great deal of light on difficult concepts like oppression and injustice, and help us to understand the forms they take and the remedies they require. But at its worst, it descends into solipsism and narcissism, where we mollify oppressed people with the consolation that they are being listened to, but where we and they ultimately lack any resources with which to end their oppression.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

about people who think death threats are less important than jokes

SJWs say anything that doesn't support their ideology is derailing. In the comments at Locus Online Perspectives » An Apology, death threats are dismissed by several SJWs as being less important than an April Fool's joke. I suspect those people have never gotten death threats. I have, three times:

1. When my family was part of the civil rights struggle, we got anonymous phone calls from people who claimed to belong to the Ku Klux Klan. Dad taught me how to carry the shotgun to him if they came. They never did, maybe because he spread the word about the shotgun. But we still couldn't get fire insurance because the word was out that the Klan would burn us down.

2. When I wrote Captain Confederacy, I got a letter from someone denouncing it as an offense to the Confederacy and the white race. It was written with a William F. Buckley over-the-top conservative literary style that I rather admired, which suggested to me that the writer's satisfaction came from the writing, so I didn't worry. But I did wonder a few times if there might've been something more serious behind it.

3. During Racefail '09, I got a furious threat in email that I deleted because I suspected it was only an extreme form of slacktivism. If I hadn't had the two earlier experiences, I would've taken it more seriously. But it was still troubling, and it made me watch for more craziness from that community. People committed to a faith sometimes do horrible things to prove their commitment. When Emma and I went to a Wisconsin convention after that, the staff, entirely unbidden, assured us they would keep an eye out, and we were grateful.

So really, if your cult rationalizes death threats in the service of your cause, discussing your tactics is not derailing.

Monday, April 1, 2013

WisConners get Locus to censor an April Fool’s joke

WisCon’s Feminist Failfandom Brigade Gets My Locus April Fool’s Piece Taken Down « Lawrence Person's BattleSwarm Blog. Some of the outraged people don't seem to know the history behind the joke. It's not about Islam. It's about WisCon's censorship of Elizabeth Moon.

In the comments at Locus Online Perspectives » An Apology, the admin says, "Blame me, not Liza or Locus HQ, for whatever sins we may have committed, and for whatever targets of death threats. I always thought that SF/F readers were more tolerant, less apt to take offense, than other folks; but apparently not. (Death threats!). So, no more April 1st spoofs ever."

Rose Fox on Twitter said, "Can't imagine anyone is actually threatening!" Which is odd, since every time people associated with Wiscon get outraged, there are death threats. That's been true since Zathlazip was mobbed.

ETA: And K. Tempest "cut a bitch" Bradford is also tweeting her mockery of the idea that there were death threats.