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Proliferating the stupid

with 26 comments

Maybe someone can help me understand the logic in this: P.Z. Myers disagrees with the message conveyed by a stupid meme on Reddit, and instead of ignoring or down-voting the post — or whatever it is people do on Reddit — he brings attention to it and even publishes the offending picture.

If you are offended by something posted on the Internet, why not just move on? Rather, Myers has effectively ensured that this piece of Internet trash will be further proliferated and cached online for years to come from his own site. That’s what I call a good feminist hard at work.

***

Postscript

To save people who may come here from Myers’ site or elsewhere the trouble of wading through the comments below, let me clarify a few points. This particular post was a clusterfuck of unintended inconsistencies. I’ve already admitted that, and hell, if I had a do-over, I would have approached it differently. When you blog five years with no filter but your own mind, you might whiff a time or two, and I think it’s important when people call me out if something I write is beyond the pale in some way.

First, let me say that I appreciated Myers’ tone and the way he handled his response to this. Obviously, I routinely publish content with which I disagree for the expressed purpose of outlining what I feel is wrong with it. The intention of the post was, from my perspective as someone who does not adopt the feminist label, to highlight the fact that here was a feminist, Myers, dredging up an image that is probably best left in the bowels of Reddit. He could have just linked to it as I did or simply described it without the link.

The only thing that I question about what he said in response was the distinction he made between something that he views as merely “wrong” versus an offensive image. This, it seems to me, is splitting hairs. If he didn’t find that viewing the image caused a certain amount of displeasure, which is the definition of “offensive,” presumably he wouldn’t have written about it and used it as an example of how Reddit’s reputation is falling “deeper in the slime.” Folks often like to avoid the word “offensive,” claiming that they have thick skin and that little truly offends them, and while that may sound good on paper, that’s not always the case, even if we don’t like to admit it. I’m willing to concede that perhaps all this was erroneous thinking on my part in hindsight — and many of you have made your case — but this is why I bothered to mention Myers’ post in the first place. The delivery, as I’ve said before, left something to be desired.

As for my views on equal rights and feminism in general, I’ve written about this at length, and it most closely resembles John Stuart Mill (Read “The Subjection of Women“), and more recently, Noel Plum 99, although if Mill was alive today, I have my doubts that he would adopt the modern manifestation of feminism because it seems to embrace women’s rights, which is all well and good, but it often does so at the expense of the other half of the population, whereas Mill called for “perfect equality” with no favoritism one way or the other. Noel Plum described a view that I think is perfectly reasonable, that we should be working toward, not necessarily “equality of outcome,” but “equality of opportunity” between the sexes, wherein everyone has the same chance at success in life and everyone is treated as individuals.

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Written by Jeremy

April 1st, 2013 at 1:50 pm

26 Responses to 'Proliferating the stupid'

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  1. Wow. The fact that you're a massive hypocrite for posting this doesn't even enter your head, does it?

    The Vicar

    1 Apr 13 at 2:09 pm

  2. Hypocrite and idiot. Why not just move on? Because that tacitly condones and does nothing to challenge, which is obvious to any rationally functioning brain.

    Elle

    1 Apr 13 at 2:39 pm

  3. Firstly, PZ posting it on his own site does nothing to 'proliferate' this. That's like saying that quoting something that's been said 1000 times already is proliferating it.

    Secondly, the point isn't 'offence'. It's saying 'this isn't cool' in the hope that people will think about this time of meme/'joke' and push back against it. What good does ignoring something do?

    Shank Hankerton

    1 Apr 13 at 2:55 pm

  4. Before calling someone a "massive hypocrite" you should at least make your case first. I imagine it's because I brought attention to the very meme that I called "trash?" First, I'm not the one arguing for feminism and don't have a dog in the fight, so whether the thing is circulated ad infinitum on the Internet is neither here nor there to me. Second, I didn't post the image, Myers did.

    jeremystyron

    1 Apr 13 at 2:57 pm

  5. " I imagine it's because I brought attention to the very meme that I called "trash?"

    well that,, secondarily, and only because you're doing the exact thing you accuse PZ of. If you think He posted because he was "offended", what's your excuse for calling attention to HIS post, other than that YOU were offended.

    irony is indeed lost on you.

    Ichthyic

    1 Apr 13 at 3:23 pm

  6. Clearly, it was too much to expect you to pick up on the hypocrisy of telling others to just ignore it and move on, eh? That, of course, is made even worse by having to point it out to you so you actually get it.

    Thinking isn't the strong suit of this blog's author, clearly.

    Guest

    1 Apr 13 at 3:54 pm

  7. Your argument boils down to: if you are offended by something on the Internet, you should not write about it on your own blog, and P.Z. Myers is writing about something which offends him and is therefore Wrong. But here you are, writing here in your blog about something which offends you on the Internet. Not only is your premise really, really foolish — let's kill all dissent! — but you are a hypocrite for failing to abide by the principles you wish to impose on others. Make yourself a good example of your principles, and maybe we'll follow you, although I doubt it.

    The Vicar (via Wordpress)

    1 Apr 13 at 3:57 pm

  8. lol. I shall keep this advice in mind next time a skeptic gets upset at woo on the internet. After all, you could just ignore it and move on instead of talking about how wrong it is, amirite?

    Jadehawk

    1 Apr 13 at 3:58 pm

  9. "First, I'm not the one arguing for feminism and don't have a dog in the fight"

    Really? There are no women in the world that you care enough about that you'd want them to have equal rights and opportunities? Then you are a very sad person.

    Moarscienceplz

    1 Apr 13 at 4:01 pm

  10. "First, I'm not the one arguing for feminism and don't have a dog in the fight, so whether the thing is circulated ad infinitum on the Internet is neither here nor there to me. Second, I didn't post the image, Myers did. "

    Way to miss the point. Here, let's make it more obvious:

    Maybe someone can help me understand the logic in this: Jeremy disagrees with the message conveyed by a stupid post on FTB, and instead of ignoring or down-voting the post — or whatever it is people do on FTB— he brings attention to it and even links to the offending post.
    If you are offended by something posted on the Internet, why not just move on? Rather, Jeremy has effectively ensured that this piece of Internet trash will be further proliferated and linked to for years to come from his own site.

    EDITED to remove pre-coffee name-fuckup

    Jadehawk

    1 Apr 13 at 4:02 pm

  11. If you're indifferent to feminism, you do have a dog in the fight. Apathy about social injustice is statement of preference for the status quo, thereby siding with the oppressor.

    Koopa Troopa

    1 Apr 13 at 4:09 pm

  12. Since I do what you describe all the time, this was not the message I wished to convey. Surely you know this, Vicar, since as I recall, you've been around here for awhile. I'm glaringly aware that's how it came across. My apologies on that. As the sole arbiter of my own writing, it's helpful when someone points out when you make a misstep. So, thanks. The only reason I bothered to point out PZ's post was because I found it in poor taste and not helpful to rehash the image given his readership. The delivery, I confess, had something to be desired.

    jeremystyron

    1 Apr 13 at 4:28 pm

  13. "in poor taste and not helpful given his readership"? what does that even mean?

    Jadehawk

    1 Apr 13 at 4:31 pm

  14. I love how folks throw out the "you are a very sad person" trope with such frivolity. Of course, I favor equal rights. I just don't describe myself as a feminist. I think that's pretty clear from what I've written in the last week.

    jeremystyron

    1 Apr 13 at 4:34 pm

  15. no such thing is clear from your recent writing. "Feminization of America"? "I happen to think that Black History Month is an outdated and somewhat insulting relic that should be dispensed with"?
    That's not being for equality, that's being for keeping the status quo.

    Jadehawk

    1 Apr 13 at 4:55 pm

  16. Saying "I just don't describe myself as a feminist" means you don't favor equal rights, by definition.

    Mike Francis

    1 Apr 13 at 5:34 pm

  17. Whether or not you describe yourself as a feminist is not what was under discussion. IF you do favor equal rights for women (although you seem less than committed on this point), then ipso facto you are for feminism. it's a pretty clear-cut distinction, and, in fact, everyone on the planet "has a dog in this fight". Either you believe the women you interact with on a daily basis deserve the kind of respect you expect to receive yourself, or you don't.

    Moarscienceplz

    1 Apr 13 at 6:26 pm

  18. Newspaper columnist Cynthia Tucker (AJC), Morgan Freeman and other prominent black people have spoken out against the silliness of Black History Month. Black history and the achievements of black people in American life should be celebrated and taught in schools all year.

    jeremystyron

    1 Apr 13 at 8:36 pm

  19. Failing to identify as a feminist and eschewing the label says nothing at all about what I believe about equal rights. I just don't like the term; it's too unwieldy and monolithic and has all sorts of political baggage, unintended or not, with which I would rather not associate myself. Further, and as you guys are continually proving, many of its supporters seem to be rather pedantic hawks that snap at anyone who dares say anything remotely critical about another feminist. I see this unhinged approach carried out in both feminist and MRA circles. I want nothing to do with either. Thanks.

    My view most closely resembles that of John Stuart Mill, who I referenced a few days ago: "That the principle which regulates the existing social relations between the two sexes—the legal subordination of one sex to the other—is wrong in itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a principle of perfect equality, admitting no power or privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other."

    jeremystyron

    1 Apr 13 at 9:00 pm

  20. no shit they should.
    are they?
    no?
    well then, until we do, we need Black History Month.

    And I'm going to take teachers' professors' and activists word over that of people not involved in trying to bring African American history to American audiences over a bunch of people not involved in that work, thanks.

    Jadehawk

    1 Apr 13 at 9:13 pm

  21. you think saying women's rights activism shouldn't be "favored" means you're against giving excessive power and privileges to anyone?

    lol

    it's almost as if you thought we already live in an equal world.

    Jadehawk

    1 Apr 13 at 9:16 pm

  22. You're being vague. Can you name any? I named two prominent and forward thinking African Americans who disagree with the idea of BHM and can provide an array of links and quotes if you like. So go run to Google and look that shit up. … Or would just rather rail against me? So, you guys who scurried over here and are down voting everything that I say at this point, do you have any original, independent thoughts of your own or are you just going with the whole group think thing? I'm guessing the latter.

    jeremystyron

    2 Apr 13 at 12:05 am

  23. Because he reposted a misogynist image to a readership that consists of a lot of feminists and feminism supporters who might be offended by the said picture that he posted. Are you seriously that disconnected?

    jeremystyron

    2 Apr 13 at 12:22 am

  24. Are you shitting me? Honeycakes, I am one of those feminists you are claiming would be "offended" by PZ's reposting of this. You wanna tell me you know better what I think about PZ's critique?

    Criticizing something openly does not perform the same cultural work as positive promotion of that very same thing. Also, again with the "offended". Way to fucking miss the point. "Offense" is not the issue, promotion of misogyny is.

    Jadehawk

    2 Apr 13 at 11:17 am

  25. "So go run to Google and look that shit up"? HAHAHA. Says the guy who couldn't produce a single actual activist to support his view.

    Also, honeycakes, just because it's visible to everyone how you're wrong doesn't mean you're the victim of groupthink. As it happens, there are many original ways in which to be wrong, but people who are right tend to hold the same opinion. but nice use of a played-out trope. Very original, that.

    Jadehawk

    2 Apr 13 at 11:21 am

  26. I care little for what you deem as appropriate sources. Cynthia Tucker is a visiting professor at the University of Georgia and a longtime member of the AJC editorial board (http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/column/guest/cynthia-tucker-black-history-month-outdated/article_ef039fcc-7a24-11e2-af0e-0019bb2963f4.html). Tyrone Williams is a professor of English and African American studies at Xavier (http://nieveroja.colostate.edu/issue1/blkhist.htm). Shukree Tilghman is an activist who made a film about his frustrations regarding Black History Month (http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/blog/shukree-tilghman-wants-to-end-the-way-we-think-about-black-history-month). Comedian and old school activist Dick Gregory, as quoted in "Black History Month: Education or Tokenism," said, "Wouldn’t you know that when they got around to giving us a month, it would be the month of February with all of them days missing."

    jeremystyron

    2 Apr 13 at 6:06 pm

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