MANY PEOPLE WOULD RATHER DIE THAN THINK; IN FACT, MOST DO. — BERTRAND RUSSELL

Proliferating the stupid

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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About the Author

Jeremy Styron
I am a newspaper editor, op-ed columnist and reporter working in the greater Knoxville area. This is a personal blog. Views expressed here are mine and mine alone.

10 Comments on "Proliferating the stupid"

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

  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.

  3. Shank Hankerton | April 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Reply

    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?

  4. jeremystyron | April 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Reply

    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.

  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.

  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.

  7. 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?

  8. Moarscienceplz | April 1, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Reply

    "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.

  9. "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

  10. Koopa Troopa | April 1, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Reply

    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.

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Alexis Monroe