Friday, September 01, 2006

This is what intellectual honesty looks like.

Listen up and pay attention, you smug obdurate fuckstains. (Hey, we all like this kind of self-righteous ordering about, am I right or am I right? It's good for ye!) Antiprincess has something to say:

For about six and a half years, between 1996 and 2002, I was a coffee-cup feminist. And a good one. Everything I did, said, typed, read, cooked, ate, shit, flushed, purchased, sold, wore, stripped, sucked, fucked, choked on, accepted, rejected, inspected or selected was controlled utterly and totally by my husband at the time.

I've spoken about him before, Mr. AbEx. He's the reason why I know it sucks to have to clean up your own bloody vomit after oral sex. He's the reason why I know that it's sometimes just as dangerous to be a housewife as a prostitute. He's the reason why I lived, and why I almost died.

But that was my life. I was okay with it, for a while. Over time I became less okay with it. Over time I had to do ever more exotic mental gymnastics to bend around and through and over and under the crazy situation I put myself in.

The important thing to know here is that immediately prior to meeting him, I was one out-n-proud queer-ass radical-feminist womyn-with-a-y. Seriously - one day I was pasting up flyers for the Pope Protest (yes, I threw condoms at Pope John Paul II - gives you an idea of just how ancient I really am), the next day I was packing my heels and pearls and teetering off to go be Mrs. America.

But he's the reason I know, deep in my fractured bones and in my damaged brain and in what remains of my shattered heart, that your philosophy will not protect you.

What - you think you can hide under a book? a pamphlet? a manifesto? an idea? You think raising some magic umbrella of consciousness will protect you from a rain of humiliation or a hailstorm of fists?

Feminism did not shield me, because The Patriarchy wasn't beating me. A human being was beating me. He was, his fists were, both true and real. He was not a figment of the collective imagination. He was not a concept, a generalized sort of shorthand to symbolize centuries of suffering. He was a fellow human being.

Do you blame Communism for some mindboggling number of Ukrainians slaughtered in the thirties? No - you blame Stalin, the man himself.

Do you blame Agrarian Utopianism for the slaughter of millions of Cambodians? No - you blame Pol Pot, the man himself.

Nobody blames Nazism-the-ideology, Nazism-the-philosophy, Nazism-the-shorthand for inexpressible evil, Nazism-the-word for the horrors of the Third Reich. We blame Hitler, his lieutenants, his adherents, those willing to take his philosophy and make it real in human terms.

As for me, what's left of me, I blame the Patrick-archy. I hold him personally accountable for everything he's ever done to me. I don't care where he learned it or who he learned it from - other men live perfectly well without learning to be monsters, and women learn to be monsters equally adeptly. I don't care about his illusory privilege or his brother's privilege or his assumed life of plush entitlement that amounted to ring-around-the-collar wage slavery.

...The strange thing is, I felt the same way about my female partner. That's important in this discussion too.

Let me ask you something, all-a-y'all - did you feel it when he hit me? Did somehow his fist hit your face? wrap around your swanlike neck? break your fragile bones? Did his words assault your ears with the force of all the sticks and stones of all the schoolyards of your life? Did my behavior, my striving, my working to please him, PUT A SINGLE BRUISE ANYWHERE ON YOUR BODY?

I can't claim the title Radical Feminist anymore, if even I ever could. Ultimately feminism in all its flavors asks more questions than it answers, at least for me.

But now I'm a woman with a "why". I'm okay with that.

And that brings me to my personal vendetta.

As my husband, Antiprince The Gentle*, often says - "blog comments are often edited to give the appearance of hegemony." (or words to that effect - correct me if I'm wrong, darlin'.)

Often, editing is not even needed, if enough people (six or eight, that few) whomp up enough affirmations in the comments section, it looks like the whole world agrees with the blogger, and only a drooling halfwit or truly reckless vandal would disagree.

I got news.

I disagree. Strongly.

And I know there are others out there who disagree too. So what looks like a personal vendetta is not only a personal vendetta (brought about by allowing myself to get insulted about stupid shit - meh, I am as god made me) but an attempt to make sure all parties are represented. ALL parties.

Feminism, radical or otherwise, is not hegemonic. It just ain't. Too many different people have had too many different experiences to make it so.


What an utterly wacky notion, I know.

And what an utterly strange notion for the woman to talk about her very own shit instead of putting it onto someone else and pretending it was for the other person's own good.

Which, y'know, gosh, I personally wouldn't have blamed her if she were gun-shy of doing it at this point for any number of reason; as we have seen, people who do talk about their very own shit instead of hiding behind a bullshit smokescreen of "you" and "she" and "we" and "Class Woman" and "blahblahTHEORYquackquackEDIFICE" tend to get yet more shit thrown at them.

For, you know, their own good.

Maybe they just shouldn't be so SENSITIVE. After all, it's only a debate, right? Important theological uh I mean ideological shit is being forged here in the fire of rational fucking discouse, right? The fate of the fucking nation depends on your wankery I mean critique going on uninterrupted, right? Even if it's at the expense of someone who didn't ask for your help, right?

Did I mention the part about "fuck you all?"

On edit: Oh, yes, and. The person you've been having the circle-jerk over? If you'd bothered to go back for an update? Says, among other things:

I’ve had 17 sexual partners, only one of which has treated me, what I would call “disrespectfully,” and I hear that’s not because of anything I did specifically; he’s a first-rate fuckjob to everyone.

...It’s funny: Until Rachel and I started discussing the sports corset issue on Saturday night, I never questioned that I was a “feminist.” Until January of this year, I was a card-carrying NOW member and dutifully went to various feminist rallies around the DC area. I’ve always been staunchly pro-choice and I’ve never once worn makeup. I’m not a high-heel wearing woman, either and their sole purpose in my life has been to prevent my pants from dragging on the ground since I’m 5′2″ and pants are, indeed, made for a woman much taller than me.

...I should make it clear: I don’t seen feminism as the enemy of anything except, of course, the patriarchy, the existence of which I note duly. “Feminism” is also too much of a blanket term, encompassing a wide spectrum of ideologies; it would thus be difficult and counterproductive to call “Feminism” an enemy of sexuality.

...’m two days away from the one-year anniversary of the day I decided to leave my husband, move to Key West, and become a writer at a point at which few people even realized I was unhappy with my life. I think it can be extended to the conundrum in which I find myself today, with respect to being Not a Feminist in the minds of so many when I’ve proudly called myself a feminist for so long: That it’s okay to think things and to do things that aren’t popular. This seems like an obvious point. It is an obvious point, but it’s easier intellectualize than it is to assimilate into practice. It feel like the basketball player who wants to sing show tunes.

Okay? Are we quite finished here? I mean, I know it's really exciting to go running to the rescue and/or enlightenment and/or slapping sense into this poor sad deluded consciousness-lowered young bimbo I mean sexbot I mean -we're just trying to help, you're making us all look bad,- but from where I sit she looks healthier and better-adjusted than all y'all (and you know who you are) other-peoples'-navel-gazing wet sacks of neuroses put together.

So maybe, you know, you could consider backing the fuck off and considering whether you might want to turn that harsh white spotlight back on your own sweet selves a bit longer, if you're SO determined to EXAMINE and scrutinize and pickpickpick apart till it's sore and bleeding.

I mean to say:

Speak for your damn selves.

I mean, I'm only suggesting this because I CARE.

Actually, that part is true.

Just not so much about you.

Because all I know about you is that you are acting like GIANT ASSHOLES.


Alon Levy said...

The radical notion that we have to examine social structures, and that often looking at groups makes sense more than looking at individual, is sound. But for most radicals it's just degenerated into ignoring the fact that individuals exist. Thus there are only whites and nonwhites, men and women, gays and straights, Americans and non-Americans.

Sometimes, generalizations are sensible, of course. It's useful to point out that men beat women up more than the other way around. But saying, "Oh, all your troubles are due to the patriarchy" is insane, and, I think, possibly just an extension of people's desires not to think about the specific people who hurt them. I don't like thinking about the horrible teachers I had, so I talk about them in collective terms. Only I don't rant about "Teachers, teachers, teachers."

belledame222 said...

Well, it's not even "all your troubles are due to the patriarchy" that's the problem in this case, it's "Why! You're just like me! Hell, you ARE me! And boy am I mad at me for being such a dupe of the patriarchy! Hey, come back here, me! You! Us! They! Oh, clearly you're just confused, aren't you. Why must you be so sensitive? We're having a rational discussion here! Oh, look, the Queen. Here, paint these rosebushes, will you? I'm late! I'm late! WOO HOO HOO PULL MY FINGER"

Alon Levy said...

Oh, that's definitely dumb. As usual, there's a time and place for everything, but my vision of that is more like "I think most prostitutes are abused and want to get out because XYZ" than like "You're a tool of the patriarchy for liking prostitution" or even "Our primary focus should be on making men look bad."

A few years ago, I formulated all these rules for arguing, and then bashed people who violated them... like, don't make unfalsifiable arguments, don't be a crank, and don't call people brainwashed. Of course then I didn't call myself a feminist on account of the anti-porn movement (but then I stumbled upon Avedon Carol and realized that there was more to feminism than censorship). But I still do my best to bash people who decide that everyone who doesn't agree with them is obviously brainwashed by the media/the gays/the patriarchy/Satan/capitalism.

belledame222 said...

whereas I'm just bashing people for the sheer pleasure of it. no, seriously, it gets me wet.

Amber said...

Well at least we know about your sadistic streak, after all.

Bitch | Lab said...

kind of not your point, but I finally figured out _why_ amanda sees rachel as engaged in making excuses for rape. it's because, while she's not entirely wrong that derrida says that language creates reality, that is far too simplistic. but worse, it's really a bad interpretation b/c derrida doesn't say reality doesn't exist or anything.

but worse, the clues in Rb's text to thise are the words "violence" and the word "writing".

This means she's focused on something quite different than what amanda thinks.

where amanda reads void and hole as negative, RB doesn't mean them negatively.

hence, amanda's entire claim resides on a total misreading. all that, because she didn't bother to give the woman the benefit of the doubt.

I know everyone thinks this shit is boring. I'll try to make it entertaining when i finally respond to the hole brouhaha, but I'm kind of astounded that the crux of this rests on a misapprehension. the venom and bitterness -- for a msireading.

it's sad, really.

Bitch | Lab said...

i'm sorry, it's not 'rachel' but 'bec'.

and my god, seriously, people should read that woman's blog. there's an entry in there a few days earlier that seriously made me wet my pants from laughter.

Alon Levy said...

whereas I'm just bashing people for the sheer pleasure of it.

I was contrasting myself with the Twisty crowd, not with you...

belledame222 said...

I know. I was being slap-happy.

and yeah, BL, it's not that I think this shit is boring, it's that it still doesn't excuse the whole hilariously awful would-be group intervention for the straw-deludanoid. "We're just asking you to examine your life." No; you're just "asking" her to contain all your shit for you. Why should she? Why should anyone? Else?

KH said...

Ideas do matter. Esp. to us. We’re natural born yammerers ideologues intellectuals or intellectuals manqué. The kind of people who think we’re smarter than we are, you have a ‘theory’, who, with our fancy so-called ideas, have caused more grief in human history than any other group of comparable size. We may get sick of ourselves & each other, but we won’t shut up for good until something better, like death, comes along. Abstract objects do exist, in my book anyway: numbers, concepts, properties, ideologies. So we can talk about both beliefs (Nazism) & abstract descriptions of the real (capitalism, patriarchy). They have real effects, & in a certain way we do blame them, hate them. But like the woman says, no abstract object ever hit her in the face. An abstract object may describe one attribute of the asshole doing the hitting, but the person isn’t The Patriarchy, The Enemy, he’s an asshole, someone with many different traits, some good, someone we might once have loved, but when the chips are down he just doesn’t add up. It goes both ways. There were Nazis who took real personal risks on behalf of the victims of Nazism. And plenty of people who didn’t give 2 fucks for Hitler, or any other abstract idea, who had a grand old time of it under his rule. I’m old enough to have seen Southern racists fight Southern racism & to see people who held it in contempt do what it took to make it live another day. (My grandmother was burned out of her house in the 1920s by the Klan because her father’s newspaper campaigned against it; I’m pretty sure he was less than my ideal egalitarian, but he had a preternaturally stiff neck about some things, & fought for racial equality more doggedly than most contemporary racial liberals would.) I’ve seen the most retrogade men refuse to tolerate women’s oppression, & the most ardent professed feminists turn their backs on abused & despised women. So we reject fascism, racism, sexism, but we also live in the world, where concrete individuals, like us, have many sometimes conflicting or ambiguous traits. And ultimately what we embrace or reject are concrete individuals, with their contradictions & ambiguities.

What we’re talking about isn’t theory, it’s actual concrete people who act like assholes.

belledame222 said...

>What we’re talking about isn’t theory, it’s actual concrete people who act like assholes.

I've been sayin'.

KH said...

Yes, have have been sayin.

It's a very simple moral question: whether a certain young woman should be treated a certain way. Got nothing in particular to do with feminism. In this case it happens that X = feminism, but could just as well be arithmetic, as in she doesn’t get arithmetic & we’d better teach it to her for her own good. By any means necessary. There are pretty widely held moral ideas about what we’re morally permitted to do to her to that end, & the Glory of Arithmetic doesn’t change them. The simple version is: don’t treat her like shit. They actually teach this stuff, introductory moral philosophy, in 50 minute blocks in schools & colleges all over the county, as well as in churches & synagogues. Not complicated. Some people say we’re even born with it, but I begin to wonder.

belledame222 said...

and yeah, you know, people tend to act as though everything and every-one- is fixed and unchanging, protestations of "longing for revolution" (do some people just mean "I'm bored, entertain me, revolting masses" when they say this?) notwithstanding. And that everyone fits into these neat little boxes. And we're no better than anyone else about this, here on the loosely-defined left. hell, maybe somewhat worse in some ways, at that. all the pretty little boxes. you're either fer us or agin' us. lines in the sand. well, that's pretty much everyone, certainly at least as much if not more so THEM, you know, the right. but then again: the Peoples' Front of Judea phenomenon. so OVER it.

and -of course- we're all united against the Romans, if we ever actually get our shit together. Bad Romans! No biscuit! And we always know exactly who the Romans are at all times.

but consider, for instance: Senator Robert Byrd.

all the neocon converts who were good adamant lefties/socialists before they crapped their pants over Terrorists or something and Saw The Light.

and vice-versa.

and oh, people understand that these shifts happen, sure, hell, maybe even to them, but it's like there's no comprehension of how or why such shifts might actually happen. At best, well, let's nag and scream and flaunt our slogans in the general direction people until they see the light! That'll learn 'em!

yes, because this has been working out -so well.-

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

belledame222 said...

>There are pretty widely held moral ideas about what we’re morally permitted to do to her to that end, & the Glory of Arithmetic doesn’t change them. The simple version is: don’t treat her like shit.>

Oh, I'm totally stealing that, may I?

and yeah.

one of these days soon I need to dig out my Human Development textbook again; had some pretty interesting stuff to say about various peoples' theories of moral development. Social/empathic (too), if you will.

KH said...

Blaming the patriarchy isn’t so much blaming a generalization as it’s blaming an abstract object that’s instantiated in particular individuals & relations. The generalization is to say it's instantiated in all members of a class (men). There are 2 distinct operations here, both +/- dubious.

KH said...

'Oh, I'm totally stealing that, may I?'

Well, I stole it from you, so, grudgingly, yes. Human development, yes, but I find my tattered DSM is the only book I need lately.

KH said...

I’m sure I’ve got a fanatic streak a mile wide, but at least I have the wit to make myself a dubious character in the eyes of all those other, lesser fanatics. (And it's true, I AM a dubious character.)

I keep using this term, Theory of the Enemy, it’s not Schmitt, from some awful anti-wog rant by VS Naipaul. But it’s descriptive: ‘Tell me who to kill. Tell me who ruin my life.’ (The last lines of a beautiful story in his In a Free State.) Especially pernicious when you’re dealing with people whose lives really have been damaged.

I think certain people had soiled themselves long before terrorists got to ‘em.

belledame222 said...

heh, yeah, I went through my DSM-as-Bible period. I eventually stopped when I realized that oh say for instance narcissistic and borderline people (among others), once having cottoned onto the terms, have this uncanny habit of grabbing them and throwing them at -their- enemies! All part of the "projection" business, of course; but after a while you get dizzy and have to lie down.

and while the symptoms are an excellent checklist for "danger danger Will Robinson," I have found, in terms of labels, "asshole" works nicely.

after all, one doesn't need to practice proctology, amateur or professional, to observe, "this shit stinks."

"frootbat" is good, too.

KH said...

OK, I know, like any other party trick, it begins to wear thin. And like you say, it’s not as if you didn’t already know something was awry, or want to give ‘em some new honorific to brag about, is it? And I pay somebody else good money to know that stuff (w/ no evident benefit). Also, the fruitbat is a noble creature & I abhor your spelling.

Bitch | Lab said...

one of the reasons I won't engage in arm chair psych, though i'm plenty capable of it and have been doing it since I was a kid is from my involvement in the disability community. they find it insulting.

belledame222 said...

>I think certain people had soiled themselves long before terrorists got to ‘em.

heh. well, yeah. I did notice that 9/11 seemed to be the proverbial straw for some people; the only question was just how fragile they'd really been to begin with. it is interesting. I observe that a lot of good-natured and well-meant people, people who may well have been friends of such a person, will claim to have never seen it coming, and treat the whole thing as some sort of inexplicable bolt from the blue; whereas others will now start coming out of the woodwork to observe, "never really thought he was such a mensch -or- such a fount of stability to begin with, you know?"

I am thinking in particular of one guy who not only did an apparent 180 in his politics but cranked up his asshole level from "fairly-cruel-but-clever" to "lashing out all over the goddam place, no further redeeming characteristics in sight, needlessly and viciously awful to all sorts of former friends." he's actually a fairly prominent neocon blogger now; writes love letters to Michelle Malkin and so forth. he's well-heeled, capable of being brilliantly cutting, coolly cynical (well, after Everything Changed he flipped over to disgustingly, wallowingly maudlin, all sorts of homages to God and Country and so forth, which is an interesting phenomenon as well). Formerly he was a libertarian, an ex-hippie, a (get this) an editor for a major porn magazine. People loved him, or enough of them did, because he was, well, just so -funny,- so clever, so witty. A trickster, if you will. Getting other people to see their own failings in an amusingly penetrative way. Like it or not; but gee, after all, it was just online (as he frequently said when people protested about hurt feelings and so forth, "it's just online; there is no "community;" it's not real.")

Then, as I said, Everything Changed; super-bizarre. He, like many of us, was living in NYC at the time; he did not, as I understand it, actually lose anyone personal or his home (I know other people in that community who did), but, okay, lots of people were not the most hinged during those awful weeks and months afterward. Slack was cut; hey, if he wants to go sit in on every fireman's funeral and write about it in strange desperate tones, well, he's upset. We guess. Accusing everyone who didn't agree we had to immediately stand strong, rebuild the towers, and go nuke the shit out of the bastards who did this of -just not getting it-, among rather more vicious things, began to get, well, kind of old. It was a morbidly fascinating transformation, both of his persona and delayed community reaction to it; evolved over a few months. Eventually he left.

Oh yeah, and through it all, I observe, quite the little nihilist and misanthrope. That bit never did change, I observed. Sentimental appeals to the betterment and later saving of All Of Us, yes; and supposedly a heckuva swell guy in real life (again, it's true that many of his real life friends dropped him or were dropped, but, you probably know the drill: -he's nothing like his online persona, he's really sweet, really.- Well, sometimes it's quite true, I'm sure). But not, as I observed it (and others) a lot of concern for the actual people in (virtual) front of him.

So now he has a forum of his very own in which to hold forth, and a fawningly sycophantic base, which (last I checked) was primarily made up of a few other cool-hot well-educated cynics like himself; the rest, the sort of people he once would have scorned as mouth-breathing rubes, dim, earnest, so glad so have found someone so -smart-, who wrote -so bee-yootifully, who Spoke For Them.

I wonder whatever is making me think of this story now...

belledame222 said...

yeah, I hear you, BL. thing is, as a technical member of the mental-illness-challenged (hey, mood disorders count), I think there is a way to talk of this shit more knowledgably than just "oh, person with diagnostic label, stigmatize."

you know.

i do think it's important to find -some- way of looking at behavior and beginning to at least have an eye for certain flags, for one's own sake if nothing else; I consider it self-protection.

belledame222 said...

...heh. "frootbat" is also a term from the BBS/VC in question. silly spelling to distinguish it from the actual noble creature, I do b'leeve.

Alex said...

and -of course- we're all united against the Romans, if we ever actually get our shit together. Bad Romans! No biscuit! And we always know exactly who the Romans are at all times.

And even then, if you listen to The Man himself: there was a whole story about, you know, that centurion with the sick servant and so much faith that he said: "No, listen, I won't ask you to soil yourself by coming to me; I trust that you can cure from there."

I'm not sure where the analogy goes from there, actually, because there are multiple instances of that happening. Romans, non-Jews, prostitutes, tax collectors; you know, all the really unsavory types.

But who cares, all Romans are evil.

belledame222 said...

that, and blessed are the cheesemakers. oh, wait, wrong Man.

but yeah. well, well. I suppose in this instance at least most people in the arena have the excuse that the Man, or the Son of Man, is no interest of theirs, thanks. that particular critique is better suited to the self-monikered Christians who pull this kind of mean-spirited, sanctimonious bullshit.

still, you know. We Care About Women. Witness Our Caring. Caring Is Expressed Through Being Endlessly Picky-Apart And Scapegoating And Steamrolling Right The Fuck Over You. oh, yes, and Slut-Baiting.

seriously, with allies like this, who needs enemas?

Bitch | Lab said...

well, to be quite honest, BD, when you come after me with the analysis, I don't care for it because it really does feel like a violation. like you're deciding that you know me better than I do and that you're looking for some sickness or illness or personal scar that helps explain what you find confusing or unusual behavior or just behavior or ideas that you would do or buy.

i find that a problem, to be honest.

what happens is: i'm not actually listened to and respected for my _own_ understandings of what motivates me.

Bitch | Lab said...

and also, what comes out of this is an intense hostility for the way _I_ connect the personal and political. it's as if i'm not good enough unless i'm bearing my soul, pouring out to you whatever relationship with my mother or father or sisters. it's as if i'm not authentic enough unless i put it in someone else's language. as if i'm covering up who i am, hiding from you my truth, by engaging in the anslyses and modes of thinking and writing that i find pleasurable, illuminating.

i know you don't mean it, but it can feel like you're being panted after with a probe and without my permission.

sometimes, because i see how things have gone with the analysis of others, i no longer write what i want because i don't want that cruelty applied to my life.

Bitch | Lab said...

well, fuck. of all the times I dont' use the default blogger profile.

look, I realize i just said some thing that took too much mutual understanding and love and care between us for granted.

i should have made really clear that i love you BD and enjoy our correspondence. i'm not angry, was just trying to say how it can feel to me.

and i took for granted that you know that i enjoy the pyschoanalysis, psych interpreation too. i've been doing it, shit, since i read my mom's psych books as a kid. it was all the rage to do this then. my mom talked in those terms, even teachers in my high school spoke this way and my friends parents thought in terms of repression, projection, etc.

i understand its uses, but the use of the analysis in a context where the analysand hasn't willing participated in and invited the analysis can feel threatening.

delete my other two posts if you want to just go into this more offline.

belledame222 said...

No, it's fair, I'll let it stand. And I hear what you're saying.

I get what you're saying about one of the ways I interact. Yeah, armchair psychoanalysis is really intrusive, and I like to indulge. And it's something I'm going to have to be more mindful of if I want to participate in this kind of let's say critique seriously.

And if you'll look at the top post, now, you'll see that I've added some stuff that really tries to explain how i see it: the problem being with the blaming, maybe not even the blamer. And more important, trying to maybe get at -what else- might be a productive way(s) of talking all this volatile shit besides blaming (in the larger blogosphere); and first of all, trying to really break down what the goal is here, in any given -discussion.- (i.e. is it a dissection of policy? a place to just unwind and vent? fun "tastes great less filling" what-do-you-like? sharing and deep exploration of painful personal experiences?

Know what I'm saying?

But right now, I have to say, I am a little taken aback at how personally you seem to be taking what I've been saying--well, where exactly? About you? I understand that you've been saying that you feel it in your own guts when I go after someone else this way; but do you honestly see me as having gone after -your- personal stuff? Because, my God, that's not been my intention.

Or is part of this coming out of the snarky shit I've said about academic-speak?

Because I understand your feeling hurt by that, but I really do think that calling it "intense hostility" is a bit of a mind-read itself; anyway I've certainly never experienced it that way.

It's just, you know, sometimes it goes over my head, the stuff about Derrida and post-structuralism and so on; and I feel like I've kind of lost the plot. I understand -you- don't. But I feel like I've, you know, lost the connection.

And I get a little impatient with what i see as let's say "over-intellectualization" because I think I'm prone to doing it myself. So: my shit.

And yeah: I could and do go do my damn homework to try to figure out what this is all about: but you know, there's a -lot- of previous context, I've got my own squirrelly little obsessions, and sometimes, to be blunt, I skim over that stuff.

Not because I think it's boring. Not because I think YOU'RE boring.

It's just not, you know, my thing, always.

But I shouldn't mock, i know. I thought I was being lightly playful with the "pudding" business, but maybe you've been feeling it as an undercut? I'm asking. I can see you're really feeling strongly, is all I know, and I'd like to get a little more about why.

And if you want, now we can take that to email.

belledame222 said...

anyway, I think I said this more elaborately in the above post, but what I've been trying to get at as what I see is the problem, capsule version, is this:

It's not that I necessarily think people need to be baring their souls all the time. It's that, in a lot of these intrablog discussions--not at yours, not in a lot of places, and that's totally fine--it's -already happening.- People sharing really intensely painful shit about sexual abuse and trauma and deep desire (well, not that so much, actually, but that's another tangent and more personal shit) and so forth.

And it's like, from where I sit, if you -are- gonna do that, then please, kids: play safe! At least can we start with the understanding that there is such a thing as safe(r) soul-baring, just as there is safe(r) sex? And can we maybe maaayyyybe make a distinction between this kind of discussion and political "debate?"

That's kind of all I'm really getting at, here.

Or, well, I'm upset, as you know. Because I see inrtusiveness going on, too, HUGE hurty intrusiveness;

and maybe I've been just as guilty of doing it as the people I'm, well, blaming; and well, that doesn't feel great to realize; but sure, I'm willing to accept that possibility.

Because I -really do want to move forward here.-

Somehow. More light. Yeah?

Bitch | Lab said...

I think the only time it happened was when I talked about having a problem with "slippages" -- I do word substitutions.

The imposition of 'mania' on me really bothered me. Most notably because, heh, that just isn't me as I think I posted back, after turning around to R and asking for a reality check. Other people have read my writing that way.

I think word choices might have been bad, but look at it this way. you've been online in other VCs. Have you ever watched when someone posts an article to the list about, say, SUV drivers.

Someone engages in an analysis of the psychological characteristics of SUV drivers. This is for the purposes of cultural critique. SUV drivers are psychologically fucked up, an example of how the whole nation is fucked up.

Oh! Do the problems begin. Because the SUV drivers in the group are insulted. The critic says, "I was talking about them. I understand you have an SUV that's great on gas comparatively and you really do use it for camping, blah."

Doesn't matter. The SUV drivers are offended.

When I read even Twisty, someone who's ideas I largely reject because her theory is a theory that erases MY life and experiences and her analyses I read as racist, something that is foundational to my feminism, even when she is criticized as ________ whatever psych. disordered person, it bothers me.

It bothers my in the sense that, even if she is someone who I don't typically appreciate, it offends my sense of the basics of human dignity. It kicks on my empathy ticker? How to explain....

does that make sense? I empathize.

it could be anyone really.

I have been on the receiving end of really violent criticism from all my stalking admirers that I don't see as a whole lot different.

They find me dangerous, just as dangerous as you find TF. They have theoretical reasons, just as you do. They can use books to justify what they're saying too.

And here I am, not particuarly dangerous to a lot of you and certainly not in my eyes.

When that happens to you, you become intensely aware of when it happens, even to people who espouse theories you don't admire.

I might agree with the criticisms, but I can't go along with them when they start attacking the person and not their ideas.

Even if that attack is backed by theories and books about the personality disorder, I just don't see the point.

The theory thing was more about the fact that I do have a way of looking at the world that works from the micro level of individual interactions. It's just different.

E.g., the purpose of any psychanalytic theory would be to look at the way, for instance,the family unit is organized to create personality types that are dominate in society. Nancy Chodorow is most famous for articulating this view. Larry Hirschhorn has done this work. It's just that the framework connects personal with small groups with organizations with institutions and back again. It doesn't stay at the level of individuals and groups. I'm not saying what you do is wrong. I see it as a division of labor where people focus on their intellectual passions.

All in all, as I've repeatedly said, I don't think working at the level of introspection in a type of group political therapy is very useful for _politics_. I think it's a mistake to raise such therapy to the level of feminist principle

This is what Amanda et al are doing. They are raising this kind of introspection to the level of PRIME political action, a principle. What makes one feminist, they say, is this kind of criticism.

As Maia said, there's another view and that's that the goal isn't criticism of individuals but, rather, social change.

Others can have there view, but ther rest of us should be accorded the dignity of having those views respected for the respectable feminist political tradition that it is.

I'm not saying you don't. That last bit was just directed more generally at the debate as a whole.

belledame222 said...

I hear you--just, wait, -I- didn't call you "manic," did I? and I don't remember the "slippages," I guess.

Anyway, what occured to me, now, is this:

Part of the confusion? or maybe you still disagree, but, anyway-- perhaps, is that there are two (at least) different ways of using "psych-y" speak (to use the technical term. One is, as KH put it, the kind of parlor-trick that people who've read the DSM can use: armchair diagnosing. "Ah, that looks like Narcissistic Personality Disorder. *nod* *nod* *nod*."

The -other-, though, and is actually more what I was trying to get at, is the kind of talk we use in my own group therapy--iow, we don't sit around "diagnosing" each other; there are rules. It doesn't even have to be all that psych-y, really--most uh consciousness raising or--well, you've been in these kinds of groups, I can't think of the word, you know what I mean--processing, say?--use this kind of "speak" as well. You know: "speak from the 'I,'" "share from personal experience," "don't advise, even well-meant; that's going into 'you' statements" "listen while the other person has the talking stick" "don't contradict someone else's experience, above all else." In fact, there's really no need to contradict, mostly; this isn't a debate. Let people reach their own insights. You "help" by just plain listening, and, you know, "sharing" (your own stuff, how you "relate," maybe "amplifying" with "that's making me think of...) Or you ask questions "So, what I'm hearing that what you're saying?" or "I'm wondering if this is what you're feeling; this is what I'm hearing" (and then, for that last, if the person says "no, not at all," then you just nod and accept it and go on).

You know the drill. Hell, we've been doing it right here, pretty much (look! meta!) Just maybe doing it consciously when it comes to certain types of discussions, is what I'm trying to say, assuming one is going to try to have them at all.

Now, I understand why you've been saying what you've been saying, I -think- (correct me if I'm wrong), because, as you've observed, I myself have also been engaging in something else entirely: remote diagnosis. And you're right; you're right. It's invasive. It's not fair. I have, in short, been using it as a weapon. Or at least, as I've seen it, as self-defense.

And I'm being honest enough with myself to say, I don't think I'm probably ready at this point to say, "and henceforth I shall be wiser," because, you know. Not really ready to put down my weapons.

But at minimum, I think, I need to take my own advice here and really try to sort out which I'm trying to do at any given point.

Because I think you're right (I don't think you said this in so many words, but this is what I'm getting from you): I can't be trying to reach out and stabby-stab at the same time.

And, you know. I hold out absolutely no expectations that That Person or Those People will ever agree to "come, let us reason together" no matter what I do or say.

hell, maybe nobody else will.

But I do know that, yes, people that I like and respect and -do- hold out hope of productive talk, one way or the other, still like and respect That Person/Those People, and yah: I don't want to alienate them. And also: who knows. They may even be right.

I just really really don't want to go there anymore. Stop me if I start doing that again, okay?

anyway, besides all that, you may well be right in that this could all be as clear as daylight and it still would never ever work in a place like Pandagon.

-maybe- not online at all.

but, you know, i do see more productive (at least for a while) talk along these lines in the smaller radical (and other) blogs, some of them. They're not, I think, so interested in "debate," at least at certain times; they -are-. well, pretty much doing group therapy. Some people do it better than others; a lot of this is really instinctive, to some degree, I think, you know. Obviously, what happened at Pandagon just now was like the worst possible example of how -not- to try and do this, ever. But it's not always that bad.

And I've seen some of the other bigger bloggers be able to "hold space," sometimes; I know people have been saying recently, for instance, I forget in exactly which context, but that they did indeed feel "safe" at Feministe; that dialogue about whatever it was was productive. Which is also generally my experience, especially with piny and zuzu (I just don't see Jill that much).

and Bitch PhD., like I said, had those sex threads. Which were not deep spill your guts on the floor talks, true; but neither were they the usual degenerating into stupid arguments thread, either. She laid out very specific guidelines for what kind of discussion she wanted it to be, and enforced them. And (at least that I saw; I didn't follow right up to the end), it worked out quite well.

So, that's the kind of thing I mean.

It's -possible.-

I don't know how -likely- it is.

And some people may not actually want to do this at all, which is totally fine. I just think, you know, everyone should have a better idea of what they're getting into when someone pries open the can of worms.

So, yeah, I think, what this is in part is a call for more responsible hosting. From, um, some people.

But if they don't, they don't. I don't want to argue about it anymore; if people see this and just start getting defensive and here's why we don't do this and blah blah--you know what: that's fine.

Let it go.

But I'm staying the hell away.

And keep them off and away from my friends, and my chosen community, and the things I care about.

That's all she wrote.

belledame222 said...

>This is what Amanda et al are doing. They are raising this kind of introspection to the level of PRIME political action, a principle. What makes one feminist, they say, is this kind of criticism.

Well, okay, they are entitled to call it whatever they want. That's fine. And yes, I get that it's part of a tradition. And I am also entitled to say that IN my observation, while it may or may not "work" as a vehicle for social change, it's a) not any sort of change I think I really want to go in b) seems -to me- to be partly responsible for the endless merry-go-round quality of the Eternal Subject which has been going on for how long now? thirty-plus years?
I mean, I'm sure even if i'm right about this, that's not the -only- reason--hell, it's a fucking fraught and complicated subject--but, you know. My perspective, by me: Not. Helping. Not for -this.- I don't say never. And I absolutely am not -at all- trying to say anything about the way you run discussions at your place, BL; like I said, I find them really productive and intellectually stimulating. Wouldn't change it. The fact that certain particular theorists that sometimes get discussed leave me kind of cross-eyed does not change this fact. I am -not- trying to say, "okay, everybody turn feminism into all group therapy all the time!"

-All- I am saying is: -in- my experience, there are less harmful tools for doing what was being attempted there.

Or, well, that's the other problem, really.

Because honestly: I really don't think anyone did know exactly what they were trying to accomplish.

Fish or fowl. One or the other. What are you trying to do?

And I also get that yes, even the sort of "for her own good, surgery" stuff is coming out of a school of thought as well.

For me -in that instance,- though, that's not frigging good enough. Because I saw that as profoundly harmful. Not the people, okay. That, um, technique, whatever you want to call it.

I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but even in the old CR groups, wasn't it sort of part of the "rules" that you raise your -own- consciousness? I mean, that's what they keep swearing they're doing, right? They're not -directing,- they're just -suggesting.-

Well, as I'm seeing it, that may be what they say they'er doing, but...especially when it comes to the "surgery" business, that's actually not what they're doing.

Disinegnuous. Yeah. Sorry. I guess that's my own line in the sand: I don't care what kind of theory rationalizes stuff like that. To me, it's never justified.

Because, as you rightly called me out on my own shit in this regard, it's: invasive.

See more what I'm saying? I hope? Maybe you still disagree, but i keep getting this impression that part of this is that you think I'm ragging on any sort of theoretical approach. Because I know people do this to you all the time, and I know how protective you are about the need for theory, and -I agree with you.- Honest and for true, pinky swear, cross my heart and hope to die.

I just think: different tools. Different uses. You gotcher hammer. You gotcher screwdriver. You gotcher..I don't know, blender. You gotcher iron. If you're trying to pound in a nail, you use the hammer. If you're trying to unscrew something, you -could- use the ass-end of the hammer, but you might be better off with the screwdriver. If you're trying to make a milkshake, the hammer's probably not gonna work very well at all. And if you're using all three at once and don't even know what you're trying to make, well, chances are pretty good you're gonna make an ungodly mess at best, and probably injuries will occur as well.

And then again, of course, there are the instances when someone is -saying- all they want to do is unscrew this screw so that they can deconstruct the edifice; but actually they've been drilling it into your temple.

Which is, needless to say, where one Just Says No.


belledame222 said...

The other part of all this is, of course, is I have the suspicion that actually you are a far more generous and tolerant person than I am.

Which, if so, makes it even more sucky than it already is that you've been so seemingly willfully misunderstood (I mean, how dare Amanda suggest you were a troll? How dare...well, yeah, that Incident recently.). Goddam. So frigging unfair. They really don't "get" you. They don't see what you're trying to do. It totally sucks. And it's really hard for me not to hate them for it and want to go running after them with the hammer. Hell, chainsaw.

Because if there's one thing we could all use more of right now, at least as much as your knowledge of theory , which is substantial, and your intellectual curiousity, which is just...a gift, and your smarts, is, well, that. Everyone come to the party. Don't leave no one out. Always ready to forgive.

I really admire that, you know, about you. Even if I'm afraid I can't quite share it, even at the price of my own internal sense of consistency.

belledame222 said...

--oh! it just hit me; some distinction.

I think some people, especially some of the smaller radical feminist bloggers, are -not- in fact trying to hold debate or even necessarily consciousness-raise at any given point (wait, did I already say this?) Maybe that's not what Amanda was trying to initiate, no.

but I could certainly see why for some people they might interpret it as an invitation as such.

well, not THAT bit.

but, you know.

it's what the original problem is with the BJ thing was. there were any number of ways that could have been totally fine, or at least -more- fine; if only the rules had been consistent from the outset.

because -some- people are really trying for some kind of activist whatever at any given point; and others, while they -also- care about feminist issues, are here as well (some say this more or less consciously) for the sense of community, of sisterhood, of solidarity, of sharing.

It's the confusion that's the problem, I think, in those instances. Which tools. Which rules. Are we all on the same page here about what we're actually trying to do with this discussion.

belledame222 said...

"feminist activist/social issues," I meant to say.

yeah, personal is political; but there's still a difference between planning the pro-choice rally and sitting over tea and talking about one's rape experience.

belledame222 said...

one final final clarification:

The thing about the Derrida business, is: I think, had I just read that post at random bird's first? and then, say, instead of the way it got picked up, her post, what became of it, you had started talking about it, simply talking about it the way you've been talking at your site now, the part about Derrida? I probably would have been a lot more likely to be interested.

As it -was-, I was kind of distracted, during the whole mess, by what seemed to me the more glaring problem of "everyone gangbang the random chick and say it's for her own good!"

THAT'S why I said over there, I think (it's kind of a red blur now, to be honest), something like, "I don't give a fuck about Derrida." Not because I might not ever give a fuck about Derrida? in fact, when I've maybe reached a less altered state and gotten the hell out of the apartment and had a break, I may well come back to that thread and really try to grasp what's being said, because I had a -very- fleeting impression that it -could- be interesting if I weren't, like, you know, seeing little red and purple spots flash before my eyes by that point from sheer increasing incredulous rage.

but, what I meant by that was, if it's not clear by now, as I said more clearly later,

"Fuck you, you fucking bunch of fucks; first and foremost, can we stop ripping on this woman NOW? not even NOW??? what the FUCK."

Please tell me if all this helps. Because it's really important to me that we're communicating, you and I, even if we still don't agree (on what I think is at least a potential place for group-therapy-ish speak in discussions of personal sexual abuse, even online, even maybe extrapolating to a greater feminist context, i.e. "this happens to so many women I know, what can be done?--which hopefully segues into a separate discussion.") There's way too many people totally not getting either one of us, I think, as it is.

belledame222 said...

Bottom line, maybe, I think: I think maybe we're both really frustrated because we each think we've been offering our respective tools/gifts as best we can--you with your understanding of theory, me with my therapy background and a few other things--and it's just been like, "blah blah blah GINGER blah blah blah--hey! over there!! heretic!! selfish anti-feminist traitor! go AWAY already, you're not wanted here! (--and, I think in your case even more than mine, God only knows why): STONE HER!!! (and p.s. why are you PICKING ON POOR US when all WE want to do is HELP WOMEN"

and no matter how many times you try to explain why in fact the historical/theoretical context matters, no matter how many times I try to process or analyze or even offer what I -think- is compassion but which unfortunately (I can't think why) interpreted as patronizing bullshit from suspicious radical feminists who remember all the nasty shit i've been venting elsewhere (at which point I promptly shift back into "well then RIM ME BABY" mode. yes! me! calling for more consistency! hahahahaha)

--ANYWAY, though, at the end of the day, truly? maybe what it really does boil down to is:

You can't please everybody. Hell, maybe not even most people.

So fuck 'em.

And treasure the people who -do- get your deal; because that is community-building; and that is -maybe- one way of how change might happen, after all.

belledame222 said...

...sort of the leitmotif of my life, I think personal and political, is this:

"One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. And, difficult as it seems sometimes, I REALLY want to be sane. Because crazy people are making me, well, crazy, and I -really- don't like it. So, if something seems like it's not working, well...maybe time to try something else.

Hard as it genuinely is for me to give up old habits which no longer serve me."

belledame222 said...

and I just went back and read your post about ten posts ago and uh, duh: I think maybe I just took about six reams to say pretty much the same thing you did?

and I honestly could not think what you meant by "slippage," even though I know that oh yeah that's -my- "borrowed" term.

did i mention that i am in a somewhat altered state?

fuckin' hormones, man: better than crank, sometimes.

please someone tell me to shut this fucking thing off and go to bed now.

Bitch | Lab said...

BD ==

Actually, what Amanda et al are advocating has NO tradition whatsoever. If it does, it's news to me.

Consciousness Raising has never been about therapy in the sense you mean. it has never been about enlightenment in the sense Amanda et al. mean.

CR is what the radical women of color bloggers to with blogthropology day. Consiousness raising is what they do with their carnival, which is way more structured than the fem carnival. CR is what they are doing when they are consciosly trying to create change in the blogosophere, by acting collectively.

What you're advocating is fine. Ther eis room for both.

But what is being advanced right now, elsewhere? That wasn't CR. That's simply an attempt to define what feminism is and do so by refusing to but a label in front of it to make clear it's their particular brand. Twisty at least puts a label in front of it. She might go around deriding other kinds of feminism, but at least she doesn't pretend they don't exist.

They are raising the "enligtenment-poking- other-people's-belly- buttons-with sticks" to the level of principle. They are advancing it as THE way to be a feinist. They are advancing as a form of political-- THE politics -- in and of itself.

As alon correctly pointed out, other bloggers are not doing this and see politics as something other than enlightenment.

CR was also voluntary. People joined the group. people consented. What they are doing is not with the consent of the people they are trying to enlighten, as KH so eloquently explained.

I'd go into specific examples of what I mean, but trust me, what they are advancing is not conscousness raising. Iv'e been involved with entire institutes involved in rehabilitating more productive notions of citizenship. Iv'e been involved in Saul Alinksy type community consciousness raising groups. I've been involved in feminsit consciousness raising.

Sitting around poking sticks in belly buttons or examining why you have psychological issues surrounding, for example, fear of unemployment isn't what goes on. I'm not saying that people shouldn't do that. Just that the tradition of CR is not psychological in that partcular sense.

I'd say that's because CR is about social change -- even on really small levels.

I mean, criminy, Solidarity used a form of consciousness raising! it did not involve attacking people for having to do what they had to do to get by in the world.

Bitch | Lab said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bitch | Lab said...

:THAT'S why I said over there, I think (it's kind of a red blur now, to be honest), something like, "I don't give a fuck about Derrida."::

heh. I didn't see that you'd written anythig to that effect.

It isn't about Derrida. From what I read from Amanda, her interpretation is too simplistic.

But it doesn't matter. Amanda believes in what she is doing no matter what.

Bec does not see what happened as rape. Her latest DERRIDA-FREE post makes that clear. Thus, bec has advocated an analysis that, acc to amanda, perpetuates the idea that rape is acceptable.

bec of course disagrees with amanda as to what constitutes rape.

as amanda said, on her view, she is the enemy. and the rest of us are as well because we give her aid and comfort.

belledame222 said...

>But it doesn't matter. Amanda believes in what she is doing no matter what.>

Well, yeah, and exactly, bottom line, and by the way, okay, not to dissect personalities I know okay, but um. I don't know her at all really but goddam, you know, if you've not only radically changed your positions (fine) but your general interaction style with the world (has she? or has it always been like this and people just never paid as much mind because they agreed with her more?) then, um.

Well, I don't know, you know,

just only: ew, v. weird.

I mean, yes, people change their beliefs all the time, perhaps even get angrier in the process, but, I seriously really am asking: where is all this "EXAMINE your shit" coming from? Was there a time when the Big Blogs were around that people -weren't- doing this, or is it just ("just") a particularly creepy but perhaps (?) inevitable to some degree hangover from generations' worth of really boneheaded ways of supposedly doing politics, or..?

belledame222 said...

and, you know the truth? --well, okay, one truth is that I'm taking y'all's word for it wrt what happened after I did SCREW YOU GUYS I'M GOING HOME (thunderous doorslam), 'cause, you know...can't;

but seriously seriously. I mean there were at least places in there where it SEEMED like she was, you know, acting sort of sane and reasonable, more or less, Amanda that is, albeit, you know, really REALLY having problems with her set-up already;

but then, so, like, this is what I don't get; maybe it's just me. So she cops freely that she sees herself in this woman (I asked); and, yes okay, probably not gonna be real likely to take the insanely angry woman screaming at her on the level, but the question was actually serious:


"Okay, so, you identify with what you're seeing, and that's great, I mean, for -your- self-insight and consciousness-raising project; but, you do understand that you and she are, like, -two totally completely different people?- I mean, the fact that you see yourself in her does not in fact mean that she IS you. We are at least -sort- of clear on this, right? Um, right???? ...oh. Uhm."

Because personally this is the sort of thing that just sends me shrieking down the hall in fear and frustration. "Run away!! RUNNNNN AWAAAAYYYYY"

...and so, I also can't bear to look, but um. is anyone ELSE noticing that there maybe just MAYBE something a teeny tiny miniscule drop of a dot WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE??

i mean, like, at ALL?

because, correct me if I'm totally off, but that WAS supposed to be one of the SANE PEOPLE blogs, WASN'T IT??

if you're going to totally shatter what remains of my faith in humanity, or at least, you know, certain parts of it, do let me down gently, please. I are a sensitive little flower.

belledame222 said...

oh, and if you do go back in there? just tell me if I really am remembering this or if it's a hallucination: Amanda (? someone?) claiming that the reason that "she and Twisty" ("they're cousins...identical coussssinnns"?!), their concerns, how'd it go now? weren't being given their Serious Feminist Thinkers' Due because they are "not acting ladylike"?

DID that really happen? was it all some terrible awful dream?

and uh, if it did happen, am I correct in remembering that shortly before by grand aria finale solo stomp, I actually said something like,

"YES. YES. that is EXACTLY the fucking problem that people are having here, too ladylike!! now: suck my tampon"?

oh, uh, if I did say that but as it turns out the blood running out my exploded eyeballs actually caused me to misread what I THOUGHT i read there, and so not only was totally rude but making an utter non-sequiter?

well, cringe, but sure, tell me anyway, I could use the laugh.

and sadly enough I am, amazingly enough, pretty sure "this is not a dream! This is really happening!!"

please say yes.

Bitch | Lab said...

BD: "And treasure the people who -do- get your deal; because that is community-building; and that is -maybe- one way of how change might happen, after all. "

Yepper. Maybe I'm old and have been to these rodeos many times before but I wrote something to jt at amber's place along those lines.

I finally figured it out one day, about 10 years ago, when I realized that my nemesis, a woman names Yoshie who just grated on my nerves stylistically, politically, theoretically, was well-liked by people who liked me. Not just "like" but respected her and me.


Well, it really only took a moment's reflection to realize: duh.

And as different as the two of us are in everything about how we go about making our arguments, advancing our agendas, whatever == turns out that both of us have people who write us to say, "You changed my life."

I freakin' wrote to some blog I stumbled over, an administrative issue. The guy was stumbling all over himself to think that I had actually written. "OH, I read you all the time at blah blah. I've been reading you for years. Blah."

It's feels weird, then I remember I do the same to others -- write them to tell me that something they said changed my views or life or that I just read them every day like I have to have my coffee in the a.m.

I want to say I agree with KH -- that how you treat people matters. But I've also learned that people who are punishing will have their converts and following too. Sometimes, people like that sort of thing. They like to see the norm violator punished really harshly.

there's a big liberal blogger who wrote me for some advice awhile back. We were talking about why a certain political thinker appeals to people on such a deep level, why they get protective of said thinker and can't stand to see any criticism of said thinker.

I told him that I'd seen same phenom blah blah and here's how I saw it. The thinker in question often radically changes people's way of thinking: poof! snap! 180 degrees..

Because there are no mechanisms for processingthat change, the people so affected tend to become very harsh when they see other people thinking like they used to. (This actually comes from research on teachign sociology where we can have the same problem: it supposed to make you do a 180 in your thinking, but we've learned we have to manage it otherwise such "enlightenment" can actually be depressing and/or it can make people really angry at the world)

Anyway, people are very harsh and want to jump on anyone who hasn't seen the light.

They are so because, as Eli Sagan has argued, as we become moral beings, our moral consciousness develops from our capacity to identify with the the nurturer or the victim and resist identifying with the aggressor.

Everyone has their proclivities in this regard -- we struggle not to identify with the aggressor. sagan say sour ability to identify with the nurturer or victim is what makes us moral being.

Where was I going with this? Oh. Yeah. So with this political thinker who really changes the way people look at the world.. They experience this huge shift and then are very sensitive to seeing themselves in everyone else who hasn't seen the light. They're extremely hostile to those who aren't on the klew train, in my experience.

I'd said to my liberal blogger friend that they tend to blame themselves for not having seen the light in the first place. One they learn of said political thinkers views, they think, "How could I have been so stupid to have not seen this?" They punish themselves and then punish others for being "like them."

This happens a lot with said thinker, the way his followers can't stand to see the guy criticized and quickly rush to his defense -- and also pounce on anyone who doesn't get on the klew train.

This article about teaching sociology and how to avoid those kinds of reactions was quite good. Mostly, it focused on teaching it in a way that showed people how they could actually _do_ something about what was going on in the world. It was also important to teach about successes movements for social change have had. I'll have to look for it in the scary gray (un)filing cabinet.

Bitch | Lab said...

:::Blaming the patriarchy isn’t so much blaming a generalization as it’s blaming an abstract object that’s instantiated in particular individuals & relations. The generalization is to say it's instantiated in all members of a class (men). There are 2 distinct operations here, both +/- dubious.:: (KH)

Exactly. Sorry I missed this earlier.

This is exactly the problem. it's kind of a hedge. It was where I was going with Lorenzo when I wanted him to show me how something was a patriarchal institution.

For it to not be about men in particular, then you have to show how the institutional imperative would produce similar effects regardless of the particular personalities involved.

E.g., my own experience up close and personal with capitalism via a small business I worked for. Individuals involved, all good and decent people. But the imperatives of business comeptition required that, to maintain success, even a modicum of profit, they had to act in ways that seemed assholish.

My favorite example is grading and schools. Wouldn't it be great if there were no grades. All students agree. OK, so let's make this classroom one in which everyone get an A for fulfilling basic requirements.

YAY, is their response.

Then I say, how about if the whole department does this. The majors and minors say, "Yay!"

The non-majors grumble.

Ok, how about if the whole school does this.


And they're all excited about the great time to be had by all. The whole room is abuzz at the possibilities.

Then, I say, "After ten years where everyone gets As, would ____ college be considered an elite insitution?"

Oh. Glum faces.


That's an example of something where's there's a structural imperative operating that doesn't change because of the very nature of the system: where you must limit the valuable goods -- grades -- and limit which are the more valuable universities.

This meant a lot more to these studens -- who were very aware and socialized to be very aware -- that part of what they purchased with their tuition was the status of the university they attended to begin with.

when i taught night school at state colleges, the lesson didn't quite translate.

A radical feminsit would call the system of schooling -- with its hierarchy and fetishization of dominance and submission, Patriarchy.

Marxists call it class society.

For all the problems of the latter, though, they at least have fleshed out an advanced theory of how it All Works and you can even set up experiements and research that tests the theory.

Radical feminist? Well, the only people I'm aware of who tried -- Heidi Hartman and a few others -- abandoned the project. Theycouldn't quite come up with a theory that identified this separate system called patriarchy.

The rest just didn't care. As long as you had a name for it, didn't matter. As long as you could make it work when engaged in Enlightement, didn't matter.

As long as you gave someone a name -- even if you don't ever bother to explain it -- sometimes that's all they want. An empty signifier to be filled with whatever you want to blame for the day.

Unsane said...

all the pretty little boxes. you're either fer us or agin' us. lines in the sand.

Right--I'm talking about that here: