Monday, July 09, 2007

Off my back and out my ass.

So, there's this new anti-porn activism blog, apparently. I am only mentioning it here because, well, in case you were ever looking for places where some feminists are apparently okey-fine with the Religious Right: le voila. Plugs and blogroll listings for Diana Russell and Robert Jensen and "off our backs" nestle cozily alongside gems like this, also in the blogroll: National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families.

"Moving the People of God to embrace, live out, preserve, and advance the truth of biblical sexuality.


Gee, I wonder what -that- means. Oh, wait, here's the sidebar, "Hot topics:"

According to a recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), some comprehensive sex-education curricula taught in the nation's schools has essentially no impact on behavior. The HHS study found abstinence education programs to be nearly 100 percent accurate.


and--why, yes! It's a hotlink to a Focus on the Family Action!

Two Democratic and two Republican lawmakers in Massachusetts – whose election platforms included preserving traditional marriage – voted against a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

...

Mineau said lawmakers are supposed to do just that: represent the interests of the people who elected them. But these four did not.

"They're going to have to answer to their constituents for that – plain and simple," he said.


Uh huh. Oh, wait, look, there's a disclaimer on the anti-porn activist blog, she doesn't necessarily support everything everyone says on the roll. Decide for yourself, okay. Be -open minded-, right?

Yeah. About people--organizations, rather-- who support motherfucking James Dobson and Beverly LaHaye. I mean, they're -nice- about it; there's nothing right on the front page about how they'd like to feed HOmosexshuls to the wolverines. They just, what, support traditional marriage. Well, sure, we can agree to disagree on that. As long as we agree on the IMPORTANT shit: to wit, porn is like heroin and is bad for women-children and other living things.

Later, we can sort out the little differences like o i don't know between the agendas of radical feminists like the editors of "off our backs," you know, against patriarchy, and people who support THE MOST PATRIARCHAL AND CLOUT WIELDING FUCKING INSTITUTIONS AND INDIVIDUALS IN THE DAMN COUNTRY.

Believe in the "traditional family" as a one-size-fits all, and whomp up laws and campiangs to make it so, go to prayer breakfasts with the President and the Congress to talk about getting rid of abortion and available birth control, let's all party like it's 1955 or maybe 1655, okay, that might be a bit problematic for a feminist but we can gloss over that because, hey, look, at least in 1655 THEY DIDN'T HAVE SO MUCH POOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRN.

o, whatever. No, I don't know this person, and so will refrain from trying to engage further (like, ask, "are you high?"), but: are there even as I type bloggers who are joyfully heralding this newcomer to the feminist Team? Does the Pope shit in the woods?

well, hey, just as long as no one -films- it.

Yeah, I know, I shouldn't even bother. goddam, though. Yeah, I'll be sure to pledge not to -wank- to nekkid pictures, that'll totally bring about the Feminist Revolution.

113 comments:

KH said...

Is it even clear that this is intended to be a feminist site? I'm not being snarky: on casual perusal, I'd guess that, of the links that could be classified one way or the other, as many or more are religious-right oriented as are in some sense feminist. It may be that it's operated by a religious conservative who's open to anti-porn feminists, rather than the reverse. Or it may be that the distinction between the two is disappearing. (How would you classify the recommendation not to let your kid use a computer except in your presence?) I'm a little amazed.

belledame222 said...

Yeah, I had been looking at the profile, which I'm 90% sure said something like "pro-woman" but sympathetic to respectful organizations of faith, or something; but then i clicked off, and the site's as crowded as a Victorian drawing room, can't seem to find the damn thing again.

but anyway, whether that site owner intends it as a feminist site or not: three guesses how i found it in the first place.

KH said...

Yep, I saw the same thing, about half way down: "This blog is pro-woman, non -partisan, non-religious, (but supportive of positive anti-pornography efforts of people of faith), and has no affiliation with any group, organization, or movement." I suppose that's the language of a feminist, but I don't really know.

Whoever runs it, it looks to be promoting a pretty thoroughgoing convergence between the two groups, projecting a whole worldview that reaches well beyond the narrow issue of dirty pictures. Remind me again, aside from the supernatural aspect, what do they disagree about?

Did I say I'm amazed?

belledame222 said...

thanks, i couldn't wade through that again. yeah, i guess "pro-woman" could be a delicate balance: after all, "Concerned Women for America" is presumably "pro-woman," too.

hey, btw, kh, i'd been meaning to ask, do you have an email address you can be reached at? aol, yahoo, something?

Renegade Evolution said...

wooooo, anti porners? I see they suggest going to "pro porn" blogs to engage and you know, teach things?

BRING IT ON...(Vince McMahon Voice)

My pornified godless jew ass snickers at thee...

(gah, too much caffiene)

belledame222 said...

...you know, now i'm wondering if maybe that's NoPoSchloMo's better half. but, no: they ARE of faith, they're just not religious. o well anyway.

belledame222 said...

uh duh, i meant to say, "just not fundamentalists." or something.

belledame222 said...

yeah, how does one reconcile proselytizing the gospel of anti-prawn with the gospel of "separate rooms," anyway?

Renegade Evolution said...

Belle, I suppose it's all subjective when it comes to defeating the evol prawn...I mean, the UK and US allied with the USSR in WWII, right? Granted, after than everyone got to go back to their own messed up countries and corners and deal with their own shit....I wonder if it will be so easy in this case, you know? What, once the prawn has been clensed from the earth and one faction turns their mighty ire fully on those godless homosexuals, the other side can just walk away and say "we don't support THAT!"

Call me intrigued.

belledame222 said...

o i know, but what i'm asking is: assuming Certain Usual Suspects who have maken very specific and recent allusions to a Truce take an admiring look at that site and pledge to see how many things on that list they can do (and yep, already saw one doing just that), well, i'm wondering about that particular little piece of advice, "go to pro porn blogs," all things considered.

queen emily said...

>>>The HHS study found abstinence education programs to be nearly 100 percent accurate.

hahahahaha

ha!

Renegade Evolution said...

BD: You KNOW I laughed at that suggestion, right? I mean, out loud and everything? Now, that's not to say that I would be UNWILLING to let an anti porn person post on my blog...lord knows I moderate very little out, even when it is damn uncivil, but sheesh, we're scary and mean and shit.

libidojournal said...

The phrase "pro-woman" doesn't say much - doesn't everyone on every side of this issue say that?

That profile sounds like someone's trying to use both feminism and religious conservatism to justify a personal squick.

KH said...

Granted, not all coalitions lead to ideological convergence, but notwithstanding the disavowals of affiliation, I think this one does. The relationship with the religious right is – what? – a quarter-century old? A long time. As it’s matured, I suppose there was always the possibility of a measure of convergence, even if only by osmosis, even if there hadn't been latent similarities at the outset.

The main question is how much appeal this syncretism of feminism & conservative sexual morality (w/ or w/o divine command basis) has beyond the few zealous sectaries who’ve been promulgating it. The religious right, which is large, has long shown itself willing to adopt feminist rhetoric in its anti-porn/anti-prostitution campaigns, not least when it exercises state power. I’m thinking about it from the other end, the willingness of normal people with feminist inclinations to buy into the convergence. How likely? (Not that beliefs have to be widely held to dominate: small groups of monomaniacs have been known to prevail, even in democracies, even recently, even when most people think they’re odd.)

There's also a slightly idle question of biography, whether some of these people actually were formed in some kind of authoritarian or religiously strict or repressive environment (I think of Raymond, Daly, or maybe MacKinnon).

Email: boxhead66@earthlink.net, but – don't judge – I've had persistent trouble getting it to work properly on this devil-damned machine. Which I’ve left unfixed for like a year. (This may tell you something about my personality.) Lemme know if you try to email me & fail.

antiprincess said...

but supportive of positive anti-pornography efforts of people of faith

so, what would be NEGATIVE anti-porn efforts of people of faith?

Daisy said...

I've been involved in coalition politics all my life. It's can be a problem, for sure, but I've been in this position, too: I've done political work with many African-American Baptist preachers here in the south. If you are a progressive in the south, you can't avoid this, and I have never regretted it. I could see many of them on board with this, too. Is a cause automatically suspect if preachers like it? Or is it WHICH preachers that's the issue?

As the the antiporn Christians, I prefer to take them on, using their own arguments: can they prove porn "hurts the family"? I think it actually MAINTAINS the family. It's doing it, isn't it? A radical perspective is that mainstream porn is like drugs and keeps people satisfied with what they have, rather than seeking out new and challenging sexual relationships IRL.

We should look at porn as upholding the status quo, as many other institutions do, like colleges or shopping malls. Stop the demonization, then we can talk.

Of course, that's just me, and I have lots of gonzo minority opinions! :P

antiprincess said...

A radical perspective is that mainstream porn is like drugs and keeps people satisfied with what they have, rather than seeking out new and challenging sexual relationships IRL.

holy shit daisy - that is a pretty innovative way to look at things.

many antiporn feminists believe that porn is addictive. but I don't believe that any of them claim it leads to the sort of complacency that reinforces "the family". I believe that they claim it reinforces Patriarchy, which reinforces "the family" and Class Woman's subordinate position within it.

fascinating!

Daisy said...

And so, here are my questions, which I forgot to add:

Do feminists believe porn upholds the status quo? (yes) What is that status quo (male supremacy) and how is porn upholding it? (variety of answers)

Do Christians believe porn is upholding the status quo? (no, they think it is attacking the status quo, which they call "war on the family") What is the status quo (nuclear family) and how is porn challenging it? (showing varieties of behavior and sexual alternatives outside of the family)

So, feminists and fundies are coming from opposite positions in this argument.

Unlike the coalition politics I mentioned above, in which we were all on the same page (supporting candidates, Amnesty International, anti-racism, etc)--how can this coalition make any sense?

Just thinking out loud.

belledame222 said...

yeah, i think the "addiction model" tends to reinforce the reactionary message. also I don't think it's accurate. or, at best, it's at that level of, you know, some Platonic/quasi-Marxist ideal of ridding oneself of all the illusions that are chaining you down and THEN you will be free...

except for that's remarkably selective as applied here, in most specific targets, really; that's almost a -spiritual- journey there we're talking about, and no, it cannot be one size fits all. some people might find porn to be limiting that way. others might find it yep, liberating. or at least, expansive. but again, then we come jolting back to earth with, well what do people MEAN by porn? --and of course, it gets into, look at all the tawdry icky heteronormative, lookie look look look LOOK. which is 1) totally representative of everyone's idea of "porn," and not at all problematic 2) will totally help to get everyone's mind AWAY from the porn, by CONSTANTLY FIXATING ON IT AND TALKING ABOUT IT AND...

belledame222 said...

and yeah, my point exactly: you're right, we are coming from OPPOSITE positions here, in almost EVERY way. and, it's not even like--yeah, there are instances where people who are mortal enemies in most respects can come together--for example I think the Christian Coalition signed onto some free speech juggernauts (I forget the exact context, some sort of media regulation thing) because of course oops they might be affected too. but that's -specific- and -limited.- defeat this bill. sign this one. -sometimes- (and i am not necessarily saying i'd agree with any one such case) it's legit.

but something like the Battle To Defeat Porn, that's...well, that's a lifelong crusade, innit? how do you reconcile the huge honking (phrase of the week) cognitive dissonance?

Daisy said...

Hey anti princess, thank you. I have to admit that I stole some of that argument from some southern paleocon, whose name I forget, who made a BRAVE NEW WORLD/Ian MacKaye-ish argument against porn sometime in the early 90s, I think it was. I forget the name of the book, but I am probably one of the 5 people who read it!

His argument was sort of Freudian, that porn PACIFIES men and turns them into putty-in-the-hands of the fascists. Yes, I admit, he convinced me. It looks that way to me, just a random observation.

He also believed it "normalized" certain acts, served as a "primer" of sorts, for sexual behavior. Dick and Jane for adults, he said. Damn, wish I could remember his name, but it's just as well I don't--he was a true wingnut, but
of the anti-government/church variety, of course.

I believe that they claim it reinforces Patriarchy, which reinforces "the family" and Class Woman's subordinate position within it.

Extra step there, that I can't quite get behind.

I do understand about Mary Winkler and others, whose husbands became obsessed with certain types of porn and then dictated they act it out, and I know that happens. (Note the late Reverend Winkler's job description, too.) I also worry about the women IN porn, most of all, and their rights as workers. As with fashion modeling, many are immigrants. Unregulated industries like drug-dealing and sex-work are dangerous for women. But I see these as labor issues too.

I think many women are secretly relieved their husbands have porn, as a safety valve. Again, like drugs.

More babbling. :P Sorry, but this is a big subject for me. I was a big anti-porn feminist in the 70s.

belledame222 said...

...but it's like, too, i guess:

the one thing fundamentalists of -all- stripes have in common is an inability to live and let live.

besides the porn. they're united on the general disdain for liberals, for what they think is lukewarm, namby pamby, selling out. It's worse, I think, in this worldview to be openly ambivalent about something--I mean, something that's apparently VITALLY IMPORTANT, like porn in this case-- than to be on the "wrong" team.

yer with us or agin' us.

at least if you accept that basic formula, there is a certain reassurance there. even if you're agin'.

belledame222 said...

well, and yeah, it's a labor issue. exactly. but, you can't really go at it in that way if you keep drowning out the voices of the actual workers when what they want doesn't necessarily fit your agenda.

and, too, for me at least, the question of "well what about gay porn? what about porn that isn't classically heteronormative in that way? hell, what about people who are trying to make sexually explicit material that -isn't- yer basic mainstream misogynist tripe, -isn't- exploitive of the workers, is independent, own your own means of production (yeah, there's some people taking advantage of the idea of that, too, viz Suicide Girls, but), and is, you know...not that?

and i do get tired, personally, especially, of the formula of women enraged at their husbands and boyfriends who "use" porn. I just...yeah, maybe it's a failing, but I don't have tons of sympathy for that as an argument for BAD PORN. for a -number- of reasons.

belledame222 said...

oh, what i started to say was, those questions, you know, wrt "alt" porn, which may well not be the kind of gentleloving "erotica" that some people think is acceptable, maybe (some; some people from both the religious and the feminist angles won't make -any- exceptions: somewhere, even if it's cheesecake illustrations or boy on boy sex, a woman is being hurt by this, away with it--the religious angle is more obvious);

but, it's their own. Lesbian porn, femdom, playful fetishy radical faerie-esque group gropes, hell, even stuff where men and women are equally, consensually, beating the crap out of each other, then laugh and go have a beer afterward...this is all somehow more oppressive to women, more -patriarchal-, than "women, mistrust your sexual instincts; men are dangerous; and Just Say No to dirty pictures and movies. Even if you have to involve the State and the Church to do it."

*head aspode*

Daisy said...

the one thing fundamentalists of -all- stripes have in common is an inability to live and let live.

The paleocons are different. They lost the battle for conservatism, which was won by the Big Republicans.

Paleocons would (and do) say: you go your way and we will go ours. (Old southern joke about religious diversity: You worship God in your way, and we will worship God in His way.) They tout a segregationalist line, basically, as applied to morality too. GLBT, abortion, porn, etc. is fine for New York and Los Angeles, they'd say, but not for _____ (fill in locality, probably in the south or midwest). The bad thing, of course, is that it oppresses those of us who LIVE in those places. The good thing is, they acknowledge their way of life is NOT necessarily for everyone, and don't argue that it is. They would tell you, if you don't like "traditional values" to move to the coast, where they go for that sort of thing.

The conservatives that have taken over the GOP are the Religious Right-meets-the-Neocons. They WILL tell you, in New York too, what to do, think, view, believe. They believe in Central Government Uber Alles, and they intend to use it.

Just wanted to make the distinction. I think it's important. :)

Daisy said...

I know there's non-normative porn, etc but I think being able to freely view it means you are less likely to actually seek out alternatives on your own. The choice of "alternative" has been defined and delineated already, by the pornographer. Just like "alternative rock" is already a market-category. Who decides what is alternative?

I know I am far less likely to go after any so-called bizarre sexual thing I might want, when I know I can turn on my computer, any time, day or night, and just SEE it, safely, without effort or emotional expenditure.

Of course, that could be a by-product of AGE, too! ;)

Trinity said...

"and i do get tired, personally, especially, of the formula of women enraged at their husbands and boyfriends who "use" porn."

A freaking men. I don't see *why* this is so insulting.

And honestly, all the "it makes me feel bad about my body"

just annoys me, these days.

I mean, sure, yeah, the beauty myth an' all. I get that. I agree.

But honeychild, NO ONE PROMISED YOU GET TO FEEL GREAT OH SUPER ABOUT YOURSELF EVERY MINUTE.

really. no one did.

and y'know? I'd really, actually, as much of a traitor to th' wimminz as this makes me,

like to see women getting together and telling one another that getting hung up on whether you look like someone else is crap.

really. i'd like to see some women say to these kids: grow up. get a new boyfriend.

because y'know i'm no longer at all sure that just allowing space for the rageyrageyhateyhate is positive.

Sometimes feminism is about *dumping* boys, not analyzing their behavior or correcting them and getting into a tizzwozz when they go "no, I don't buy that."

antiprincess said...

His argument was sort of Freudian, that porn PACIFIES men and turns them into putty-in-the-hands of the fascists. Yes, I admit, he convinced me. It looks that way to me, just a random observation.

I think that all the best/worst porn is generated in an underground bunker in Nevada by some very motivated Radical Feminist martyrs taking one for the team in order to turn men's brains into easily-conquerable jelly.

no rly! srsly! ;)

He also believed it "normalized" certain acts, served as a "primer" of sorts, for sexual behavior. Dick and Jane for adults, he said.

huh. life imitating art imitating life imitating art imitating...I mean, the first person to take a picture of anal sex had to first know that anal sex was happening, yeah? to get the idea that a picture of it was even possible? it's a weird little chicken/egg issue for me.

I was a big anti-porn feminist in the 70s.

so did something change for you, that you no longer identify as such? (if that's not too personal a question.)

belledame222 said...

yeah, daisy, i agree wrt distinctions between conservatives. i was actually using the term "fundamentalists" advisedly. doesn't have to be any particular political or religious affiliation at all, that. what i mean is: ideologue, True Believer, people who don't believe in this "shade of grey" concept.

KH said...

Is a cause automatically suspect if preachers like it? Or is it WHICH preachers that's the issue?

No & no. It’s the issue that’s the issue. If I agree w/ a preacher’s views on civil rights & disagree w/ his views on, say, the social control of my sexuality, then I’ll view your coalition w/ him in defense of the former as less problematic than your coalition w/ him w/ respect to the latter.

Unlike the coalition politics I mentioned above, in which we were all on the same page (supporting candidates, Amnesty International, anti-racism, etc)--how can this coalition make any sense?

We don’t get very far by elaborating reasons why a coalition between two groups couldn’t make sense when the plain fact is that the are in a coherent, lasting coalition. It’s just true that anti-porn feminists & religious conservatives agree on some basic issues. They agree that certain things are destructive & wrong & that they should be legally controlled. They sometimes (not always) use the same rhetoric. It’s an increasingly politically potent relationship, & I don’t think the ultimate differences they do have threaten it.

A radical perspective is that mainstream porn is like drugs and keeps people satisfied with what they have, rather than seeking out new and challenging sexual relationships IRL.

The analogy to drugs is also part of religious conservative rhetoric. I’ve not seen many feminists argue that porn keeps men satisfied in the unchallenging relationships in a way that’s inimical to their own real interests in sexual variety & challenge. (Or that it has that effect on women, through either their partners’ consumption of porn or their own.) The emphasis, as far as relationships go, is rather that it changes men in their relation to their partners in ways that harm the latter.

Do feminists believe porn upholds the status quo? (yes) What is that status quo (male supremacy) and how is porn upholding it? (variety of answers).

Do Christians believe porn is upholding the status quo? (no, they think it is attacking the status quo, which they call "war on the family").

Your notion that feminists & “Christians” have opposing views on porn’s effects relies on an ambiguous use of the term “status quo.” In fact, religious conservatives agree that porn is implicated in abuse within the family. Notwithstanding their defense of patriarchy, there are some forms of male domination of women that they oppose. They certainly don’t approve of the things feminists say porn causes. And notwithstanding their disagreement with religious conservatives about ideal relationships w/in the family, antiporn feminists agree that porn damages familial relationships. In trying to understand how a coalition between them could make sense, it’s best to focus on why they say it makes sense, & they say it makes sense largely because they agree on an important range of issues.

We’d do well to accept that this convergence between antiporn feminists & religious conservatives exists & is politically potent, & to decide whether we seriously intend to resist it.

Daisy said...

I think that all the best/worst porn is generated in an underground bunker in Nevada by some very motivated Radical Feminist martyrs taking one for the team in order to turn men's brains into easily-conquerable jelly.

As that one fella used to say on the old TV series Friday the 13th:
It makes a horrible sense.

:p

so did something change for you, that you no longer identify as such? (if that's not too personal a question.)

Oh, everything! Just everything!

Do you know who Priscilla Alexander is? She wrote for PLEXUS, which I worked on in back in the day, and she had much to do with it.

Daisy said...

PS: I also decided crap like the new movie CAPTIVITY and the SAW movies, for instance, are far more misogynist than simple old butt-fuck porn, you know? And seen by millions more people.

In fact, so is Paris Hilton, but I digress!

belledame222 said...

and you know, i'm not going to try to second guess why women get het up about their BF/husband using porn. i just--don't *care*, particularly, at least; i mean, i might in the sense of, "sympathetic listener to someone else talking about her relationship/personal stuff," but not in the sense of, "this is a pressing sociopolitical issue that clearly affects us all." uh...no; and, whaddya mean "we," straight woman? tell you what, let's talk about the universal relevance of i don't know, women who don't want to use dental dams, or...

belledame222 said...

oh hell yeah wrt shit like SAW or, "Hostel," posters for which, unlike hardcore porn, are staring at me from every subway wall. dude, at least in the -overwhelming majority- of porn, people aren't getting off on -dead- and -dismembered.-

KH said...

Sorry, Daisy, but I know something about paleocons, & they’re assuredly not of the live & let live variety. They are for the untrammeled autonomy of local & regional majorities – states’ rights –, but that’s an utterly different thing from liberal toleration. You use the word “segregationist.” Does anyone imagine that that’s a matter of live & let live? These people are dedicated racists, the most reactionary element in American politics. Their view isn’t so much that porn is okay for those New York boys as that there should be no federal constitutional protections to prevent local majorities in Georgia or New York from doing whatever the fuck they want, minority rights be damned. I don’t count that as a great advance. New York is a foreign country to them, & what happens there is of no more interest than what happens in Uzbekistan, so long as they get to enforce their beloved Southern traditions, racial & otherwise, at home. What you call ‘Central Government Uber Alles’ is in this instance another term for the 14th Amendment.

Trinity said...

"tell you what, let's talk about the universal relevance of i don't know, women who don't want to use dental dams"

yes, let's.

i had an easier time convincing men to wrap it if I was gonna suck it than I did convincing dykes that not being able to directly taste the "pussy" (guh I hate that word, personally) didn't make sex "pointless".

belledame222 said...

If I agree w/ a preacher’s views on civil rights & disagree w/ his views on, say, the social control of my sexuality, then I’ll view your coalition w/ him in defense of the former as less problematic than your coalition w/ him w/ respect to the latter.

Yes, that's well put. That, too.

Of course I was trying to beg the question of, well the anti-porn feminists aren't seeing it as "social control of your sexuality." It's, what, well, -liberation.- And you know, they point at the more misogynistic representations in porn; and/or cite apples-and-snowplows stuff about the horrific conditions endured by underage street prostitutes when we were talking about, like, Playboy, or Nina Hartley; because it all gets telescoped together like that.

but so then, "and this, how is THIS liberating? How is THIS 'empowering?' Huh?"

and of course the answer is well clearly what you're talking about there ISN'T. but, one, you probably just shifted the goalposts there, and two: look, this shit is -complicated-...oh, right, does not compute, someone brought out the rape imagery and someone else got terribly upset, we're in straight-to-the-amygdala territory; oh and just to top everything off here comes someone else with a fistful of random statistics about something -else-, and some misogynistic crap they read by "pimps" on some board somewhere and QED.

oh and that's right: "empowering" isn't a valid concept anyway, the whole point is, we're POWERLESS, as a monolith, dammit, and don't you ever forget it.

...yeah, it really is about a lot more than the porn. it's something else. some basic way of looking at the world, I think. and it's confusing, because a lot of people who are anti-porn -don't- share that worldview; and no doubt some enthusiastically pro-porn people -do-, in some other way; it's just...yeah. Cloudy.

but I guess what I'm trying to get at is in a weird way I'd rather deal with authoritarians who're more upfront about their approval of authority, as opposed to people who claim they're against -power-, period, but somehow...

belledame222 said...

well, there are paleocons and paleocons. if you mean, like, Pat Buchanan, then yeah. if you mean, like, old-school conservatives who say "small government" and "let's, you know, -conserve- some things" and actually -mean- it, that's something else.

belledame222 said...

but yeah, there's a strain of resurgent neo-nativism lately that i -really- don't like. and yes it is different from the neocons in some ways, but that doesn't mean they'd be any better. worse, if anything.

Daisy said...

It’s an increasingly politically potent relationship, & I don’t think the ultimate differences they do have threaten it.

True, but that's so upsetting to me. :(

I was thinking this when Michelle Malkin started hyperventilating over the sexist hip-hop video... I was thinking HUH??? Since when does Michelle care about sexism?

Ohhhh, I see. Hip-hop. Right.

I’ve not seen many feminists argue that porn keeps men satisfied in the unchallenging relationships in a way that’s inimical to their own real interests in sexual variety & challenge.

Now you have. :) I pride myself on being an original thinker! Well, kind of.

If men ever believed that a successful feminist movement might lead to women becoming sexually more open to diversity (which we all DID believe for half-a-second), maybe they would have seen feminism differently, too, including the argument that porn is a placebo. Andrea Dworkin's infamous "I'm a radical feminist, not the fun kind" remark, DID pre-suppose some "fun" feminists, such as the early Germaine Greer, who some of us thought was pretty right-on for partying with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Warren Beatty, Norman Mailer, etc. She did as she pleased! It was all over the tabloids! She debated William F Buckley on PBS and then went out with fabulously interesting men afterwards. All you could say was: WOW. You go, girl! Is THIS feminism? FAR OUT! At that point, some of us were all ready to sign up.

Instead, the feminists considered "too sexual" (and I'd even put Kate Millett in this category) got marginalized and "overthrown."

The emphasis, as far as relationships go, is rather that it changes men in their relation to their partners in ways that harm the latter.

And the original critique was that het pairing-off into His/Hers beach towels was part of the problem. What happened to that critique? (see above, Millett, Greer, etc)

Maybe we don't need "relationships" as they are defined in heteropatriarchy. (Actually, I think Trin already said this, but better than I have.) The negative influences of porn on any given male would therefore be his own problem, not some female's problem.

Daisy said...

KH, I agree there is are contradictions and tensions in paleocon theory, and I know what they are. I'm not trying to make them look good. But apart from Patrick Buchanan, I speak of Paul Gottfried, Thomas Fleming, some of those guys. All (including Buchanan) oppose the invasion of Iraq, for instance.

Yes, they are racist, no question. They don't even apologize for it.

New York is a foreign country to them, & what happens there is of no more interest than what happens in Uzbekistan, so long as they get to enforce their beloved Southern traditions, racial & otherwise, at home. What you call ‘Central Government Uber Alles’ is in this instance another term for the 14th Amendment.

In fairness, all of the above paleocons I mentioned are yankees. (Fleming claims he isn't, but prefers to live in Illinois, big phony.)

My point is that if something (like NYC) is a "foreign country", then you simply leave it alone, as they feel you should leave Iraq alone. That is different from invading everywhere you think you should, because you can, and because you think everyone can benefit from your superior wisdom.

Anyway, speaking of the paleocons, I am in now the uncomfortable position of forming coalitions with THESE people, concerning Iraq.

So--they have been on my mind lately.

Daisy said...

but I guess what I'm trying to get at is in a weird way I'd rather deal with authoritarians who're more upfront about their approval of authority, as opposed to people who claim they're against -power-, period, but somehow...

Very well said!

Trinity said...

"mean, i might in the sense of, "sympathetic listener to someone else talking about her relationship/personal stuff," but not in the sense of, "this is a pressing sociopolitical issue that clearly affects us all." uh...no"

Yeah, I mean. One of my few remaining radfem buddies is someone who's told me "I can't date someone who uses porn. It bothers me too much."

And, y'know, personally I think that's um weird, actually, but okay. Because that's her boundary. And she's upfront about it.

It's the "I found his porn but I didn't dump him and we never have sex and I'm worried all the time!
"

that just

well, get over it or DTMFA honey.

antiprincess said...

Daisy, you kind of rock, you know that?

Trinity said...

"such as the early Germaine Greer, who some of us thought was pretty right-on for partying with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Warren Beatty, Norman Mailer, etc. She did as she pleased! It was all over the tabloids!"

which was cool. but she universalized shit too: every woman should wanna get fucked.

which, well, for me personally, yeah, the "most women need clitoral stim to get off" really DID make me feel better about myself, tyvm.

so I can see people getting really vesxed about feminism if it's presented as the horns of a dilemma:

who ya with, GREER OR DWORKIN?

rather than "I'm with women. I'm for listening to them and honoring them."

Trinity said...

and yeah: I totally agree with antip: daisy is much with the spiffy.

Daisy said...

Daisy, you kind of rock, you know that?

You're all so nice! I so much needed to hear this!

I have been depressed lately, since it's been a year (on the 15th) since my mother died and I've been smoking too much weed. I've gained weight, partner is yammering non-stop over my cholesterol (it's REALLY my weight he's upset about, but he's just trying to be all PC about it) and my beloved daughter and granddaughter are 1000 miles away. Kvetch, kvetch.

I gave blood yesterday, too, because if you did they gave out free ice cream. Now, I can AFFORD the damn ice cream, but see, I felt more entitled to eat it because I gave blood. They called it "a pint for a pint" and yeah, I ate the whole pint. They took a whole pint of my blood, didn't they? GIVE IT HERE.

:p YUM! I chose peanut butter!

And yeah, I could see that cholesterol dial shoot up, but fuck it.

/blood donation drift

antiprincess said...

who ya with, GREER OR DWORKIN?

yeah - like those are your only choices.

Daisy said...

who ya with, GREER OR DWORKIN?

:D

You know, Andrea Dworkin was pretty interesting at the time. Her book RIGHT WING WOMEN is still bang-on accurate, and I recommend this to all of you here. Unfortunately, I think it's out of print (?) and my copy is loooong gone.

The whole phenomenon of using morality to "rise above" conventional feminine roles and obtain patriarchal permission to "act like a man" is as true now as it was then. Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Mary Matalin are great contemporary examples. They present as very feminine (think of Coulter's little black dress), and then "in the name of femininity" --go ballistic, in a very "masculine" verbal fashion.

They obviously enjoy the "masculine" verbal duels, but wouldn't feel appropriate behaving that way in the service of anything but the right wing. So they don't feel gender-transgressive, although they actually are.

I hate that some of these lesser-known (but far superior) books/ideas of Dworkin's got subsumed in the all-hallowed porn wars. She had SO MUCH MORE to say!

Heart said...

Daisy, although I love llamas and would never think to kick one, I have to say you just -- as we used to say elsewhere -- kicked the llama's ass. :)

Hey, BD. It'll be an nice day if it doesn't rain, ya think?

:p

Heart

Daisy said...

Heart, not too sure what you mean. (???)

Fascinatingly, I am currently in an intense listserv flame war about home-schooling. Synchronicity, and all that. ;)

Heart said...

Daisy, I just meant, your comments here have been GREAT, really insightful and thought-provoking.

Yeah, re homeschooling. It's always hard having feet, hands, limbs, mouths ;) in all of these many different worlds and word worlds.

I have to admit, I've severely moved on so far as homeschooling goes, even though I am still homeschooling and have been since 1983. :/ I just can't get with what the movement "looks" like now, it's way too mainstream and conservative for for me, which is the way it tends to go, I know, once movements achieve a certain level of credibility in the general public. But I am an old school unschooler and even unschooling seems about as radical to me these days as, oh, the Democrats.

Heh.

Anyway, sorry to be less than clear and sorry to everybody else here for the diversion.

Heart

belledame222 said...

Hello, Heart. Not really sure what you mean, but personally I'd love some rain: it's hot as all hell here.

belledame222 said...

sorry to hear about the depression, Daisy. be easy on yourself. actually some ice cream sounds great right about now.

and yeah, "a pint for a pint" is smart marketing. I remember reading someone writing from/about France, they give you, like, bread and cheese and sausage and wine and...

okay, NOW I'm hungry. finally.

antiprincess said...

Daisy, I just meant, your comments here have been GREAT, really insightful and thought-provoking.

huh.

you sound surprised.

belledame222 said...

and yeah, Dworkin was definitely more complicated than the cartoon she's made out to be, whatever else about her. I'd meant to read Right Wing Women, actually. someday after I read the 8,000,000,000 other half-finished books on my pile.

from the second wave feminist stack I got, let's see, Angela Davis, "Women, Race and Class," Judy Grahn, "Another Mother Tongue," and that Marilyn French book i bought when we went to that mega-used bookstore with Kristin, AP.

oh, and "Beyond God the Father," although I kind of feel like I've gleaned as much as I'm gonna from that one, Daly's style sort of grates on my nerves and I'm pretty familiar with the basic idea by now, you know. (I've always been a lot more interested/persuaded by the school that puts more emphasis on theology, esp. Judeo-Christian/monotheism than the people who emphasize the sex deal, wrt radical feminist ideas about "patriarchy," that is).

AND at some point I want to reread "What Are We Fighting For?" i've forgotten most of it, i think. Joanna Russ' always been one of my favorite authors, although it's mostly her essays on writing and science fiction I keep going back to.

oh well. eventually.

belledame222 said...

I was thinking this when Michelle Malkin started hyperventilating over the sexist hip-hop video... I was thinking HUH??? Since when does Michelle care about sexism?

Ohhhh, I see. Hip-hop. Right.


Yah. well, and the right wing has been using the language of the left (very loosely speaking) for quite a while now. mostly in the whole HELP HELP WE'RE BEING OPPRESSED thing, and i must say it's REALLY attractive, i mean there's just nothing that says "the grownups are back in charge, all a-brim with soberness and fiscal responsibility" like some pasty dude aggressively whinging about how OPPRESSIVE it is that someone wishes them "Happy Holidays" instead of, you know, "Fuck you, asshole, I was only being polite anyway you incredible loser," whoops, I mean Merry Christmas, of course.

Octogalore said...

Daisy -- I find the "I'm a feminist, not the fun kind" frustrating as well. While I think much of her particular slant derives from personal experience that can't necessarily be universalized, I don't think she meant by this phrase what it's been used to convey. Dworkin did have her playful side, and she had a number of friends who portrayed a different kind of physical/sexual image -- MacKinnon is a good example. Ultimately, the usage of "not the fun kind" as an implied ranking of feminists with the feminine/sexpos variety at a lower level isn't what I think Dworkin meant. Her focus seemed instead to be that her area of primary interest, sexual violence, needed to be met seriously and attacked head on. I think she'd have some problems with the larger grimness and more-feminist-than-thou-ism that her words have come to convey in some circles.

KH said...

And the original critique was that het pairing-off into His/Hers beach towels was part of the problem. What happened to that critique? (see above, Millett, Greer, etc) 

Maybe we don't need "relationships" as they are defined in heteropatriarchy. (Actually, I think Trin already said this, but better than I have.) The negative influences of porn on any given male would therefore be his own problem, not some female's problem.

Recall the context. We were talking about antiporn feminism in its confluence w/ religious conservatism, & the basis of the coalition in their shared views about the effects of porn on actually existing heterosexual relationships. You don’t see how that coalition can make any sense, & suggest that the two groups’ goals & views of the effects of porn are at odds. I’m not so sure, & wonder whether an alliance between sexually antiliberal feminists & sexually antiliberal religious conservatives against an expression of sexual liberalism makes so much less sense than an alliance between sexually liberal feminists & sexually antiliberal preachers in defense of something unrelated to sexual liberalism or antiliberalism (e.g., civil rights).

But what about the goal of a radical transformation of personal relationships, to which you refer? I haven’t forgotten it, but the fact that religious conservatives hold a different ultimate vision isn’t really the whole point, at least not here. It’s certainly true that antiporn feminists mostly have been exposed to various fundamental critiques of actually existing male-female (& other) relationships, monogamy, marriage, etc., one or another version of which some of them have themselves articulated. So the answer to the question, “what happened to that critique?,” is that it’s still there. And at that level – I resist the word ‘utopian’, but it projects a not-yet-realized alternative to existing social relations, rather than incremental changes in them – feminists, including antiporn feminists, do disagree with religious conservatives.

But most antiporn feminists don’t consider that there are only two possibilities, either men in La-Z-Boys watching porn or the radiant dawn of a new world of fundamentally transformed human relationships. Even while they wait for the revolution, there are things within the framework of actually existing social relations that they deem obnoxious & seek to ameliorate. They don’t, just because of their commitment to revolutionary critique, forebear from evaluating differences among existing relationships. They feel able to say that a contemporary heterosexual relationship (w/ or w/o legal sanction) in which the man ‘uses’ porn is worse than one in which he doesn’t. They don't think they can afford to wait for a world in which it's not a woman's problem, as they see it, what a man does.

On that point, antiporn feminists are in fundamental agreement with religious conservatives. And so a coalition has emerged. The dynamic is familiar even to feminists who don’t share their view of porn. We also have ultimate hopes, & also seek incremental changes along the way, & enter into alliances to pursue those incremental ends, including alliances with people who don’t share our ultimate values. And in the perspective of day-to-day politics, the immediate alliances sometimes come to count for more than the ultimate differences. To the extent that someone makes antiporn activism the center of her political practice, she by definition is focusing on reform within the framework of actually existing relationships rather than their revolutionary transformation – unless, that is, you think the elimination of porn by itself will effect a revolutionary transformation (which I don’t). So their ultimate differences w/ their religious conservative allies may begin to recede in importance.

So we return to my original point, which was that the alliance between the two camps isn’t senseless, & that their views about the effects of porn aren’t entirely at odds. I share your view of personal relationships, but it doesn’t make the alliance between antiporn feminists & religious conservatives any less real or effective. Eh?

belledame222 said...

Ultimately, the usage of "not the fun kind" as an implied ranking of feminists with the feminine/sexpos variety at a lower level isn't what I think Dworkin meant. Her focus seemed instead to be that her area of primary interest, sexual violence, needed to be met seriously and attacked head on.

Yeah, I think that's right.

Not that she was above petty rivalries, I don't think.

I didn't realize Germaine Greer was the original "fun feminist." yeah, Germaine. that's a whole nother kettle o'poisson, innit. well, she's a Personality...

whatever happened to Shulamith Firestone, anyway?

belledame222 said...

that said, MacKinnon's not exactly my idea of a barrel of laughs either. but yes, she's quite different from Dworkin, stylistically speaking. truthfully given a choice i probably prefer Dworkin.

belledame222 said...

(you know who's fun? writing-wise, at least? Valerie Solanas. yeah, Troubled, deeply, but some theatre troupe from SF put on her play "Up Your Ass." It was high-larious. the whey-faced self-appointed representative of Dyke Drama Collective with whom I attended the show was Not Amused, however, and declared it Unsuitable for Our Purposes, once the kindly dyke producer who wanted to talk to us about maybe hosting a run was out of earshot)

KH said...

Wasn't it the manuscript of that play what got Andy Warhol shot?

Heart said...

belledame, I was being a smartass re, "nice day if it doesn't rain." But I'm with you, I'll take rain, it's HOT here.

Actually, Dworkin was in all likelihood referring to Susie Bright & Co as the "fun kind" of feminist. There's a long story there, but consider that the title of Bright's publication On Our Backs was meant to be a slam on Off Our Backs, a response to the anti-pornography movement and all the hairy-legged, manhating, asexual prudes who wrote for it. Bright's targeting of Dworkin lasted for decades and she got a few more digs in after Dworkin died.

It wasn't Germaine Greer Dworkin was talking about, it wasn't any of the anti-pornography side.

Heart

belledame222 said...

Ah.

Personally, I thought Bright's memorial was rather thoughtful, all things considered.

And yes, I'm quite familiar with On Our Backs.

belledame222 said...

kh: well, i think more generally that he wouldn't let her into the Cool Kids' Club, you know.

belledame222 said...

btw, welcome, libidojournal.

Octogalore said...

Belle, I thought Bright's memorial was impressive as well. She was very complimentary towards Dworkin in a number of respects and indicated that she felt young feminists could learn a lot for her. The only negative spin was that she felt Dworkin's personal experiences had altered her original perspective in some ways that weren't in keeping with it. But that wasn't really a dig, just a bit of honesty that made the rest of it, which was very admiring, hit home harder.

belledame222 said...

Hell, Dworkin was an idol of hers; she credits her with the whole, hey, women, go into porn stores and -look-, don't be intimidated by it being Mens' Space. it's just she and some other people came to different conclusions about what to do about it than Dworkin & co. So it goes.

belledame222 said...

--and, I should add, that wasn't the only reason Dworkin was an idol of hers; she was on fire for the Womens' Revolution, just like so many other people. then came the internecine divisions, when people realized "oh, actually, we have some irreconciliable differences here." So it goes.

Iamcuriousblue said...

"whatever happened to Shulamith Firestone, anyway?"

In and out of mental institutions for many years, now I think living a marginal existance somewhere in New York City. Semiotext(e) published a collection of her short stories about ten years ago.

Kate Millet ended up in a similar marginal existence – she operates a small Christmas tree farm in Poughkipsie, NY, and scrapes by that way.

Same story with Valerie Solanas – she died of emphysema in 1988 in a fleabag hotel in San Francisco's Tenderloin. The time and place couldn't be more ironic, considering she was such a hero to a group of anarcha-feminists (one of them my girlfriend at the time) at Bound Together Books (the San Francisco anarchist bookstore) at exactly that time. Unfortunately, being Valerie Solanas the feminist legend wasn't able to do much for Valerie Solanas the person.

Iamcuriousblue said...

Heart said:

"Bright's targeting of Dworkin lasted for decades and she got a few more digs in after Dworkin died."

Bright's targeting of Susie Bright? That's a rather large inversion of reality, considering that Dworkin at one point stated that Bright and other sex-positive feminists should be killed and in the early 90s, some of the loopier college-campus Dworkinistas actually threatened to carry out said fatwa. In spite of that, Bright was always rather generous in her criticisms of Dworkin, including the piece she wrote after Dworkin's death. (Far more generous than she was with MacKinnon, who Bright rightly saw as a powerful woman riding on the coattails of the earlier woman's movement.)

But I suppose if you're coming from a worldview where Dworkin is seen as beyond criticism, then Bright's remarks would be seen as targeting.

belledame222 said...

well, yeah, there is that. one of my very first contretemps with the online...contingent was when i dared to doubt the word of Catherine MacKinnon about something or other.

iacb, i've heard the "fatwa" thing before but never the source; do you have a link or a cite?

and yeah, i knew that about Kate Millett. actually she was/possibly still is living in the same building that houses Dyke Drama Collective. i never dealt with her directly, but some of my friends did. she was apparently not the easiest of neighbors, to put it mildly. and yea: not well, god bless.

Iamcuriousblue said...

Daisy said:

"A radical perspective is that mainstream porn is like drugs and keeps people satisfied with what they have, rather than seeking out new and challenging sexual relationships IRL."

Well, I find it pretty debatable how "radical" any kind of "straight edge" ideology is, and from what I've seen, straight-edge usually amounts to something pretty damn reactionary in practice. At best, defining yourself by what you don't do, at worst, violent gang attacks on real or imagined "stoners".

And I can't see by a long shot how banning porn, or even socially stigmitizing it, is going to lead men or women to pursue their sexual self-interest better.

I think quite the opposite, in fact – I really do think its a very short slippery slope indeed from "you can't show that" to "you can't do that". That's one of the reasons I'm so vehemently anti-anti-porn.

belledame222 said...

--oh, wait, speaking of doubt, i know why the irate about Susie Bright v Dworkin, i mean besides the whole she's one of THEM thing: she wrote a piece back when that strange story Dworkin wrote about something that happened to her in France, she was sure she'd been drugged and raped by the hotel waiters although she didn't know how it could've happened. Bright wrote a piece that i thought was actually quite compassionate, but no, like many others, she didn't simply accept the story's details at face value, because, well, it was a -really- strange story. I think she said something like, but the bottom line is, clearly the woman is hurting. i think the piece was called "Andrea Dworkin in Agony," actually. and yeah, i read the original piece; it read to me like maybe she was already breaking down in some awful holistic way, physical, spiritual, everything (she died not long after, right?) and that she got strongly triggered and had some sort of flashback or something, maybe. I mean, no one doubts that the woman's been abused; but, that particular story was just so...dreamlike and strange, and not just in the way of someone who'd been drugged at the time would not remember details; more like, she was -still- not making sense, in a number of ways, not just about the event itself.

belledame222 said...

well, reactionary can be "radical" i suppose; after all they do call it the Radical Religious Right.

belledame222 said...

to clarify: when I said "I know why the irate," (besides the really casual grammar there), i meant, in general, and i've seen other people get irate for exactly that reason in a discussion about Dworkin. i do not propose to read any individual's mind here. for a number of reasons.

Iamcuriousblue said...

"iacb, i've heard the "fatwa" thing before but never the source; do you have a link or a cite?"

I'll have to dig for that one. Its from a late-80s interview with Dworkin – somebody asked her about the feminists who were opposed to her, and Dworkin said something about wanting them to be killed. (I forget now whether Susie Bright was mentioned specifically.)

I don't even know how serious she was, but it had become a habit with her by then – stating that X needed to be killed because they were anti-woman. That was one thing that I really disrespected about Dworkin in a big way, the fact that she could see disagreement with her as meriting a death sentence. This was stated without irony and without disclaimers, and you couldn't really chalk it up to mere rhetorical excess, like you could with SCUM Manifesto (which I think even Solanas herself said wasn't meant to be taken literally).

To my mind, that has always made Dworkin basically a fascist in my book – somebody who would have been quite capable of killing a lot of people if she ever had the political power to do so.

"and yeah, i knew that about Kate Millett. actually she was/possibly still is living in the same building that houses Dyke Drama Collective."

Now that's interesting! So did I get the part about Millet being in Poughkipsie wrong?

Iamcuriousblue said...

I remember the "Andrea Dworkin's breakdown" article that Bright wrote, in fact, I read Dworkin's letter/article (I forget where), even before I'd read Susie Bright's take on it.

I had the same reaction – it was so bizarre and dreamlike and strange, that I'm pretty sure Dworkin was basically having a dream or hallucination or flashback of some kind. What was telling was that even John Stoltenberg had doubts about it, and considering his role of apostle to her messiah, that's saying a lot.

But considering Dworkin had such a huge investment in the position that everything a woman thinks or perceives as abuse is something that's literally true, even if other people think you're nuts – of course that set her up to see that as just one more example.

And I suppose Susie Bright's publicizing it was just one more example to the radfems of Bright being a big meanie to the radfems. At some point, it might be good for radfems to analyze just what they might have done to basically lose the 1980s "Sex Wars" (the same way some Marxists are owning up the fact that, yes, there were real problems with the Soviet Union which led to its collapse) rather than just cling to the idea that it was all a nefarious plot by outside enemies.

belledame222 said...

you know, i'm not really sure, wrt the Poughkipsie thing. it might've been true before or after (I left DDC in 2002/3 or so); or, now that you mention it, I have this -very, very- vague notion of a recollection of people talking about her somehow maintaining some farm/wimminspace upstate or something. but, i wouldn't rely on that; it could just be my brain trying to conjure up scenarios.

belledame222 said...

I don't even know how serious she was, but it had become a habit with her by then – stating that X needed to be killed

How Coulteresque.

belledame222 said...

you know, what it also reminds me of is the whole, "believe the children" thing, and the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic. specifically: there was this guy on some board, i remember, who was quite quite convinced of its reality, and--i can't remember what he said exactly, but what it boiled down to was, for me at least:

"My subjective reality has been fucked with, and it is important that you believe me; my subjective reality is IMPORTANT, it shouldn't matter whether you can prove the case in a court of law."

--I am -totally- using my own words there, i don't think he was very cogent at all, in retrospect.

but...yeah. It's grey. I mean: look, there's a reason why psychologists study dreams and fantasies, there's a reason why Jung actually sat down and listened to the content of what people in the throes of psychosis were saying instead of just dismissing it all as raving nonsense. Shakespeare called it ages ago: there's method in madness. Dreamstate, what you will. It is frustrating, because neither fundamentalists (of any stripe) nor hardcore materialists/skeptics tweak this at all: that -real- is not a black and white thing.

So, yeah, -something- happened to Andrea Dworkin. A lot of somethings, we know that; but, -something- happened to her in France. Did it involve the other people, the consensus reality, exactly as she said? Or at all? shrug. but, as long as it's not going to court (or we're naming names and thus casting reputations into doubt), why does it matter as a starting point for healing? Oh, wait: because the court of public opinion is hardly about "healing," either.

Unfortunately.

KH said...

As of 2 or 3 yrs ago Millet was still living on the Bowery above Houston. I remember because she was involved in fighting the redevelopment of the area. We know how that went, so I assume she's probably gone by now.

KH said...

Dworkin did tell Allen Ginsberg, in the course of interviewing him, that (apropos boys) she'd kill him. She never did, of course, but her teaching about how language can be a form of violence may be relevant to the episode.

Hadn't her father just died, or something, shortly before the Paris thing? (It must say something, & not entirely negative, about her that people are still so interested in this stuff.)

belledame222 said...

on the Bowery above Houston

Yep, that's the spot.

as far as I know DDC is still in the same place though. there was an epic battle with the city for the right to buy the building (for a dollar), of course related to the overall development hooha but i think it did/does go building by building in that way.

KH said...

And I suppose Susie Bright's publicizing it was just one more example to the radfems of Bright being a big meanie to the radfems.

Hadn't Dworkin herself brought it up, & other people commented in the press? I don't have any reason to think it, but I'd actually be slightly surprised if she turned out to be the sort of person who desperately denied ever having mental health issues. Her acolytes, yes, but not her. Not that she wasn't convinced something really happened in Paris, but if her social milieu is anything like mine, it'd almost be assumed that, like everybosy else, she had a screw loose here or there. None of which calls into question the quality of her work. Just means she's human.

bint alshamsa said...

KH

Sorry, Daisy, but I know something about paleocons, & they’re assuredly not of the live & let live variety. They are for the untrammeled autonomy of local & regional majorities – states’ rights –, but that’s an utterly different thing from liberal toleration. You use the word “segregationist.” Does anyone imagine that that’s a matter of live & let live? These people are dedicated racists, the most reactionary element in American politics

I'm going to have to side with Daisy. I come from what you guys seem to be calling "paleocons". Most of my life I was a conservative and I live in the heart of the deep south. Down here, we pride ourselves on minding our own business. You can be whatever you want to be, as long as you didn't bother other people with it or try to force them to do it too. I mean, we have DecadenceFest, Mardi Gras, Voodoo, Santeria, and inter-racial marriage galore down here. I've found it to be much more racially tolerant here than in other parts of the country, especially the north.

New York is a foreign country to them, & what happens there is of no more interest than what happens in Uzbekistan, so long as they get to enforce their beloved Southern traditions, racial & otherwise, at home.

Oh good grief! Is this a Pace Picante Sauce commercial? Look, I'm not saying that none of them are like that but that doesn't mean it's the general attitude of the south. The redneck stereotypes can be funny but they are no more true about southerners than are the stereotypes about other groups.

You know, that's one of the reasons why so many people down here are not very receptive to liberals. Can you blame them when they see folks saying stuff like this? People in the south love their traditions just like people in the North love theirs. The idea that one group is a lot more racist than the other is just wishful thinking. Having lived in the North, among folks who consider themselves die-hard liberals, I found the south decidedly more comfortable as a woman of color. At least here, people aren't in such denial about their racism.

I'd rather live next door to a guy with a Confederate flag in his front yard (and can admit that he doesn't want his kids to be gay or marry black people), than be stuck living next door to some oh-I'm-not-racist-some-of-my-best-friends-are-black person who isn't even willing to consider that, you know, maybe their actions aren't as benevolent and tolerant as they'd like to believe.

There's no gay marriage in Louisiana yet but I'm willing to bet good money that it will be legalized here before it happens in some of the northern states.

Can we get past these cariacatures and stop acting as if conservatives are some monolithic group that hates the federal government and would rather attempt to break off from the Union again? Plenty of us really did just want smaller government and the right to be left alone or at least have northerners quit acting as if they are so much more enlightened with regards to the treatment of minorities.

belledame222 said...

I seem to remember that Dworkin had always been suspicious of psychotherapy, but toward the end she started to go to a therapist for the first time. emphasis on "seem to."

KH said...

Bint

I can assure you that I wasn’t making unfounded generalizations about your native region. You seem to have been confused by the term “paleocon,” which in the present context doesn’t refer to Southern mores or cultural attitudes generally, or somebody’s imaginary redneck neighbor, but to the specific, compact semi-sectarian group within contemporary movement conservatism to which Daisy & I were referring. From antiracist work in the ‘80s & ‘90s I’m personally well acquainted with some of the leaders of this group (including 2 of the 3 people Daisy named), & know their work, & I can assure you they’re exactly as I describe them. (I’d be happy to share my experiences with you if you're interested in this corner of Southern conservatism.) Your offense at what you take to be my regional chauvinism is also misdirected; for what little it’s worth, I also have roots in the South, & although sentimentalist Southern semi-nationalist resentment leaves me cold (& a bit mystified), I’m sure I find puerile anti-Southern chauvinism just as tiresome as you.

I’d have preferred not to go into this any further, but since you raise it, I’ll mention a distinction & a category error. The distinction is between (1) views on the optimal number & degree of centralization of political entities, & (2) preferences for the governance of the resulting polities, as for liberalism or authoritarianism. The people Daisy & I were discussing uniformly advocate a high degree of decentralization within the federal system, & some of them (including ones born outside the South) seriously call for Southern secession.

The category error arises when we imagine that advocacy of a high degree of decentralization, or of secession, is tantamount to advocacy of liberal toleration (or minding your own business, live & let live, whatever you call it). It’s not. If the USA, with its Bill of Rights, were broken up into 500 microstates, each of which was illiberally governed, it would be no victory for human freedom. Likewise if the paleocon secessionists had their way, even if in their indifference they were content to let the Yankees keep their existing constitutional freedoms. I can't imagine you'd have been any less repulsed than I am by these people's ideas, if you'd encountered them during your Southern conservative phase.

I hope this clarifies things.

antiprincess said...

None of which calls into question the quality of her work. Just means she's human.

the last time I talked about that people called me names.

bint alshamsa said...

KH,

Perhaps I am just being too sentimental. I suppose that's a possibility and if I've gone off half-cocked, then that's me behaving like an arse and in that case I'm quite sorry. I really am.

However, here's where I'm coming from: What you call paleoconservatism, is what we considered real conservatism. The category error that you mention is a matter we disagree about, I think. It seems that you are attempting to make a prediction about what would happen but in the end, it is simply a prediction. As it stands, even the centralized government we have now has not and does not represent a victory for human freedom. Recognizing that, there are plenty of folks--people of color--who, at the very least, are not afraid of giving another model a try and in many cases support decentralization as much as the hard core secessionists. In my experiences, I have found it quite common for those outside the south to find it hard to comprehend that there are plenty of people of color who are just as dedicated to seeing many of those "beloved Southern traditions" espoused by paleocons continued. It would be extremely convenient if one could just categorize them as racists, but is that really any more true of them than it is of many of those pointing the finger at them?

These people you call "dedicated racists" are, in my experience, no more dedicated to racism than many folks who would consider the idea of racism appalling but are, in reality, just as dedicated to the preservation of racism. It may feel good to think of them as the most reactionary element in American politics but from where I've sat, there isn't as much of a differentiating them from many (if not most) of the other political camps when it comes to what will benefit people of color.

belledame222 said...

I’m personally well acquainted with some of the leaders of this group (including 2 of the 3 people Daisy named), & know their work, & I can assure you they’re exactly as I describe them. (I’d be happy to share my experiences with you if you're interested in this corner of Southern conservatism.)

wow. well, I'd be interested in hearing more from both you and Daisy on that subject at some point.

belledame222 said...

I'm also thinking: you know, racism and nativism/xenophobia, while obviously well related, aren't exactly synonymous. Or rather: while having absolutely no repeat NO clue if this has anything to do with the people being talked about here, I am thinking: it is I expect possible to be a lot more rabid about immigrants, a la Minutemen, than about one's longstanding fellow American citizens living next door, even if they -are- of a different color. in fact, i'd even go so far as to speculate that given the current environment, that particular attitude might be becoming more popular.

KH said...

Yes, ethnocentrism, nativism, xenophobia, racism are distinct concepts, although biological racism almost always finds expression partly in terms of the cultural inferiority of the despised group: few people care about alleged biological inferiorities that don’t result in bad performance of one kind or another. But all these things are abundantly present in the people we’re talking about.

The contemporary anti-immigrant movement has its roots in individuals & groups that came together in the 1970s (long before most people were thinking about the issue), many of whom had deep ties to what were later called paleocons, as well as to the wider racist demimonde. They got money from the same sources that funded the campaign to overturn Brown in the decade after ‘54, as well as the whole network of so-called scientific racists during the period of their eclipse after WW2. (Part of the scandal of Herrnstein & Murray’s The Bell Curve was its dependence of the work of these people.) See Bill Tucker’s The Funding of Scientific Racism (Univ Illinois 2002).

People w/ roots in these profoundly racist circles currently are spending money trying to recruit local black leaders into the anti-immigrant movement, but I very much doubt they’ve suddenly fallen in love with longstanding fellow American citizens living next door. (Next door not meaning next door from El Paso in Juarez, or from San Diego in Tijuana.) What do you think their resentment of the Reconstruction Amendments is about except equal citizenship? They assiduously seek to cultivate black-Hispanic tensions, which they then use as evidence against both groups.

(It’s another thing that the anti-immigrant movement, not least because of the influence of these people, is often more anti-Hispanic than anti-immigrant. My other half’s ethnically Mexican ancestors were continuously settled in the territory of the current USA well before it was US territory; they never immigrated, but the movement’s rhetoric pisses on them as much as anyone else.)

If you don’t find it all utterly repugnant, if you defend it, there’s really nothing to say.

Daisy said...

KH, cut to the chase: Do you believe that ethnic/regional pride and/or devout religion is always a bad thing, as manifested in the USA currently? I think Bint and I would say it is not always bad, and can be positive.

By contrast, I think you would say they are always/probably bad. Is that a correct assessment?

This is in fact an ethnic/regional difference, that we are in disagreement in the first place.

The problem is that the paleos have exploited this difference for their own ends. Example: See, the yankees put you down for believing in God!

It's been a fabulous organizing tool for them.

Daisy said...

KH, I don't defend the anti-immigration movement, so not sure how that got grafted onto this discussion, except that I mentioned Pat Buchanan.

Interestingly, back when PB won the New Hampshire primary, he was preaching the paleo/protectionist line and didn't say much about immigration. It was a couple of years later, when his career waned and he was no longer on CNN, that he decided to make immigration his new #1 issue.

KH said...

Bint,

I think we just got our wires crossed. I just wasn’t talking about the people you thought I was talking about.

What you call paleoconservatism, is what we considered real conservatism.

What you think I was calling paleoconservatism may be what you considered real conservatism, but the group of contemporary ideologues who travel under the name most certainly do not exhaust the field of authentic conservatism.

As it stands, even the centralized government we have now has not and does not represent a victory for human freedom.

Of course not. My point wasn’t that any particular degree of centralization or decentralization inherently represents a victory for human freedom. It’s precisely the opposite, that how free we are is more a matter of the organization of governance within political units than of how many or centralized they are. In the American South, it’s just a historical fact that federal power & the guarantees of the federal Constitution were, to the extent they were enforced, a constraint on the will of local & regional white majorities to oppress black people. Local democracy in the South was profoundly illiberal. That’s why the slogan of “states’ rights” still is suspect to liberal-minded people. And the paleoconservatives most certainly have no interest in preserving the liberal rights of minorities in the seceded or decentralized polities they propose. Still, I don’t exclude the possibility than in other places or times the situation could be reversed, as if the federal government becomes increasingly illiberal (not an impossibility at this point) & state & local governments develop a greater commitment to liberal rights. The point is that you can’t tell how fully people enjoy liberal rights just by looking at how large or decentralized political units are.

In my experiences, I have found it quite common for those outside the south to find it hard to comprehend that there are plenty of people of color who are just as dedicated to seeing many of those "beloved Southern traditions" espoused by paleocons continued. It would be extremely convenient if one could just categorize them as racists, but is that really any more true of them than it is of many of those pointing the finger at them?

I think I didn’t mean by “their beloved Southern traditions” what you think I meant. The key word is “their.” What distinguishes the paleoconservatives isn’t just their enthusiasm for benign regional culinary traditions, accents, & the like. What they have in mind is something I suspect you wouldn’t much care for. The “they” is the specific group of people I was talking about, who really can correctly be categorized as racists. Just take a look at their writings.

These people you call "dedicated racists" are, in my experience, no more dedicated to racism than many folks who would consider the idea of racism appalling but are, in reality, just as dedicated to the preservation of racism. It may feel good to think of them as the most reactionary element in American politics but from where I've sat, there isn't as much of a differentiating them from many (if not most) of the other political camps when it comes to what will benefit people of color.

Again, who do you mean by “these people”? Who do you think I’m talking about? We certainly agree that people both in & outside the South who claim to be free of racial feeling often aren’t. And that tacit, unconscious or piously disguised racism can be especially obnoxoius. (Cf. certain feminists who claim not to despise sex workers, but do.) But how can your experience tell you that such people are as dedicated to racism as the people I called dedicated racists when you’re unclear who I was talking about?

In fact I do think the latter are worse in this regard than garden variety racists, including disguised ones, who at least don’t turn pro. Whereas many paleoconservatives have made a profession of arguing that nonwhite people (excluding some Asians) are genetically intellectually & morally inferior, & that their inferiority should be inscribed in law, that all the advances made by the civil rights movement should be rolled back, etc., etc. I want these people marginalized, denied the ability to exercise political power, & so should you, notwithstanding the defects of other people’s racial attitudes.

Daisy,

The point here isn’t whether I think “ethnic/regional pride” always is a bad thing. We’re discussing the paleoconservatives, & whether they promulgate, among other things, a destructive form of white Southern “pride.” Do you deny that?

Likewise, what we’re talking about here has nothing to do with whether I think devout religion always is bad. I’ve said nothing about religion, & in fact am content to leave people in peace with their supernatural beliefs. Criticism of the paleoconservatives isn’t tantamount to atheism. It’s true that they sometimes try to paint any criticism of themselves as the handiwork of cosmopolitan Yankee atheists (sometimes they get even more specific), but that’s just cheap demagogy. Innit?

Our differences couldn’t be rooted in our differing regional origins, because, as I said before, we come from the same region. It’s long been a common trick of the most reactionary elements in Southern politics to imply that any criticism of them is criticism not only of God, but of the region. This is a slander against the South & esp. against the generations of Southerners who’ve stood against such people, often at cost to themselves. The South isn’t just the League of the South or Southern Partisan magazine (to name two entities Tom Fleming – who you count as a non-Southerner – has been prominently associated with), it’s also people like my forbearers who fought them tooth & nail.

No one’s meant to attribute any opinion about immigration to you. It came up between BD & me. I do think, however, that your recollection of Buchanan’s ’92 campaign is mistaken. Immigration was a major theme in it from the outset. He’d always had his own views on the subject, but by time of the NH primary he was also under the influence of, among others, Sam Francis (who was not, by the way, a model of Southern chivalry), who was an important influence on the anti-immigration movement. (Not coincidentally, his protectionism also had a demagogically anti-Mexican tone.)

Daisy said...

The point here isn’t whether I think “ethnic/regional pride” always is a bad thing. We’re discussing the paleoconservatives, & whether they promulgate, among other things, a destructive form of white Southern “pride.” Do you deny that?

Of course not. But what Bint and I were saying is, we don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. At least, that was my understanding of her remarks.

I think having pride in myself as a southerner of working class/poor Appalachian descent is better than denigrating myself as "white trash." And this is the thing I would like to preserve. This does not make me a racist, any more than people's pride in being Italian, Chinese, Jewish, African-American, whatever, is racist. It CAN be racist, but does not have to be.

Likewise, what we’re talking about here has nothing to do with whether I think devout religion always is bad. I’ve said nothing about religion, & in fact am content to leave people in peace with their supernatural beliefs.

Actually, you did. This thread is about fundamentalist religion as it impacts feminist politics (or vice versa) and therefore discussion of religion is implicit.

My point (and I think Bint's, too), is that I believe some southern manifestations of religious belief are positive and good. In this instance, the paleocons agree with me. They claim to be a religious lot, and most people in the south ARE Christian. There will be a degree of overlap.

And that was ALL I meant. You seem to be implying I am a racist secessionist, or something. I am not. Being skeptical of central government is an American LEFTIST tradition, also. My concern of late is that I am now dealing directly with the paleos, in my organizing efforts. Lots of them are against the war, and always have been, as isolationists. They sound just like us. If you didn't know they were paleos, you could talk to them for several minutes and not see any immediate difference. (yes, yes, okay, I'm sure YOU could, but not someone as dim-witted as I certainly am. How's that? Better?)

Bottom line: I prefer anti-war conservatives to pro-war conservatives.

KH, how did you become familiar with Fleming? Did you read about his row with the Buckleyites? And Sam Francis died, didn't he? Likewise, pretty good story about his public row with Jon Podhoretz.

KH said...

…what Bint & I were saying is, we don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

I’d distinguish between the two of you. I read Bint to have thought I was referring to the baby of Southern cultural conservatism in general, including her & her former co-religionists. (Entirely understandable given the shorthand, but I wasn’t.) You, on the other hand, seem to have had a special interest in paleoconservative ideology, so if you still think my criticism of it entails some sort of wider criticism of all devout religion or all Southern white mores or all ethnic/regional consciousness, it’s not for lack of understanding the extension of “paleocon.”

Even if “ethnic/regional pride” doesn’t necessarily have to be racist, the fact remains that paleocon forms of it are. I think we may be agreed on that point, & I haven’t made any other claim on the subject.

On religion:

This thread is about fundamentalist religion as it impacts feminist politics (or vice versa) and therefore discussion of religion is implicit.

I see. I thought you were suggesting my criticism of paleoconservatism – which I took to be a digression from the thread’s original subject – somehow revealed me as an atheist. Still, it’s not much clearer how my criticism of the religious right’s sexual politics reveals me to be that. (I’d hoped what I said might persuade, independently of whatever my personal religious beliefs I might hold.)

… I believe some southern manifestations of religious belief are positive & good. In this instance, the paleocons agree with me. They claim to be a religious lot, & most people in the south ARE Christian. There will be a degree of overlap.

We return to the relevance of religion to my comments on paleoconservatism. It’s true that paleocons, whether or not they themselves are believing Christians, privilege Christianity, but that in no way distinguishes them from a lot other people. Martin Luther King, for example, presumably thought some southern manifestations of religious belief are positive & good, & paleocons mock & slander him. What I criticized about paleocons wasn’t any number of arguably more or less benign beliefs they share with other people, including people they despise, but what’s distinctive & salient about them. And again, looking over my comments, I don’t see why you to think criticism of a smallish coterie of radical rightwing intellectuals is tantamount to some encompassing criticism of all religion. So let’s not shift the argument.

You seem to be implying I am a racist secessionist, or something. I am not.

No. I said the paleocons are racists (& some are secessionists), not you. I said their advocacy of devolution or secession isn’t evidence of a live & let live outlook. Your description of their defense of local autonomy as ‘a segregationist line’ may be a slightly unfortunate choice of words, but there’s a large measure of truth in it. On substantive matters of governance, they’re profoundly illiberal, the opposite of any live-&-let-live, you go your way & we’ll go ours outlook. But I repeat, I don’t mean to imply anything about your views, which still largely are unclear to me. I have a sense you disagree with my criticism of paleoconservatism, but I’m still not sure what or why.

Being skeptical of central government is an American LEFTIST tradition, also.

Yes; see above. Neither centralist nor decentralist ideas are intrinsically of either the left & or the right. The line between left & right ultimately is drawn largely on the basis of the kind of governance they propose within whatever (centralized or decentralized) political units exist. Leftists & rightists both adopt centralist or decentralist ideas partly for instrumental reasons, most often in US history as a stalking horse for opposition to or support for the extension of liberal rights. In the context of the American South, “states’ rights” has long been tainted as the slogan mostly of white supremacists, from whom contemporary paleocons differ too little. I’m aware there’ve been leftists who think they can make decentralization work for them; needless to say, their faith does nothing to prettify the ends paleocons seek through the same or similar arrangements.

I prefer anti-war conservatives to pro-war conservatives.

Sure, ceteris paribus. But all other things aren’t equal; their conservatism isn’t the same except for their views on (the Iraq) war. The sense of “conservative” isn’t the same in the two cases. Before anyone concludes that the war exculpates paleoconservatism, even vis-à-vis other conservatives, we should ask whether they’re preferable on other grounds. Take an extreme hypothetical (the extremity being to clarify the point, not make invidious comparisons w/ anyone): if, say, Rev. Fred Phelps or David Duke could be called conservative & were against the war, would we prefer them to, say, David Brooks? Without love for Brooks, I say no. However important the war currently is, it’s not helpful to base our evaluation of conservatives solely on the basis of their attitude to it.

(There also are different ways of being antiwar, & I suspect that the differences between paleocon views on the subject & other antiwar views likely will become more salient with time, & that as antiwar sentiment gains strength, whatever pragmatic reasons there may have been to collaborate with them will become less compelling. There are also wider foreign policy differences. Sometimes their isolationism isn’t an unambiguous virtue, e.g. Darfur & arguably former Yugoslavia, & sometimes they aren’t consistently isolationist, e.g., their militant support for Rhodesia after the UDI & South Africa straight through to ’94.)

Second, saying that there’s some outlook that’s even less “preferable” than paleoconservatism doesn’t get us very far. (We may also prefer paleoconservatism to, say, Maoism, but given that nothing forces us to choose between just those two options, the preference is no guide to action.) Even if true, it tells us little about either the truth of what paleocons say or the advisability of entering into a practical relationship with them. These two questions are distinct. We don’t enter into active coalitions with everyone we agree with, & we sometimes, for exigent reasons, cooperate in limited ways with people whose views we generally abhor. This last requires practical judgment – we should ask, e.g., do I really need to hang with Fred Phelps to end this war? Entering into a coalition w/ such people doesn’t require us to pretend that their views are more perspicuous than they really are. We needn’t converge with them ideologically in order to achieve our goal, & we may have an obligation not to converge w/ them ideologically.

During the ‘90s it was hard for people involved in antiracist work to avoid Fleming, the organizations in which he was prominent, & the people he published, in both Southern Partisan & Chronicles. He’s a bright guy & civil, but a true extremist. Francis, an altogether nastier piece of work, did die a couple of years ago, I suspect of blind hatred.

I was around when the paleocons were essentially read out of the mainstream conservative movement. I didn’t have a vote in the matter, but I thought then & still believe it was a good thing. Thinking so doesn’t mean I don’t cast a cold eye on other conservatives. I do, but it would have been far worse if the paleocons had prospered.

I made two basic points in this thread:

1. There is a convergence between some feminists & the religious right, & it’s errant.
2. Paleoconservatism is a pernicious ideology.

I’m puzzled why either statement should seem to strike a nerve.

Daisy said...

No, I am largely in agreement with you.

I think I distilled our disagreement to the following:

But all other things aren’t equal; their conservatism isn’t the same except for their views on (the Iraq) war. The sense of “conservative” isn’t the same in the two cases. Before anyone concludes that the war exculpates paleoconservatism, even vis-à-vis other conservatives, we should ask whether they’re preferable on other grounds.

In addition to Iraq, Some of the paleos even opposed the fairly-popular gulf war, as well as the "police actions" (doncha love that term?) in Grenada and Panama. Some even trace their ideological lineage back to the isolationists of Korea and both World Wars.

I have to say, this is politically very consistent and very different from Monroe Doctrinesque let's-take-over-the-world conservative hawkish ideology, and I think that's a good thing.

My point was that I think this isolationist position derives from their segregationalist impulse: "that's not our neighborhood, stay out of it" type of thinking. It's somewhat ironic a negative, reactionary philosophy, can give birth to (what I think of as) a progressive, even nonviolent position closer to my own... or is it? That's why I was wondering if such a position/consciousness might be a uniquely southern thing? I confess, I dunno! But I think it may well be.

belledame222 said...

The general impression I'd been getting is that Daisy is not so much defending their views as trying to find some way in which to work with these people to stop the war, which is here, as i am understanding it, the bottom line for Daisy. as such, it becomes necessary to find some sort of silver lining or at least a place to drop the quarter somewhere. it sounds like kh is casting a rather more pessimistic view on how possible it is for a progressive to work with these people at all, based on past experience. and that Daisy is at least somewhat more optimistic or at least hopeful about the prospect of finding enough common ground to get somewhere useful. /my interpretation

belledame222 said...

This post is probably going to get pushed off the front page pretty soon; if you like, I can start a new topic, maybe on the more general subject of...I don't know, working with the enemy of my enemy for a common goal, peoples' various experience with this, what everyone's line in the sand is, what is and isn't possible, where do you draw the line between "compromise" in a realpolitik sense and "compromising your core values."

belledame222 said...

Me, I worry a lot about the nativists. Yeah, maybe they share being against the war in common; but the general anti-immigrant stance, not to mention the theocratic vibe (i am not speaking of these individuals in particular, not familiar, just my general sense) has been so rabid lately that i just can't see this as any sort of improvement.

on the other hand, i'm probably biased because i see trying to stop the war as a more worthy cause than crusading against porn. does that mean it matters less that people would be coming at that goal from very different worldviews? I guess for me it would depend on exactly what "working together" really entails, and what, if anything, else is on the table.

belledame222 said...

but i mean, like, consider: Pat Buchanan and Lenora Fulani. that was a weird one.

me, i guess in general i'd rather go to Joe and Jane Schmo for support before extremists from some other faction: you trade off experience and organization, but on the other hand, you're less likely to be stuck with, you know, crazy people whose core values differ rather fundamentally from yours.

belledame222 said...

and by that i mean: yes, even garden variety conservative Joe and Jane Schmo.

but when you're talking about working with leaders of other movements...

shrug.

i am also thinking of, say, the way Mel White beat his head against the wall that was Jerry Falwell for all those years. I don't think it made a dime's worth of impact on Falwell himself; speaking "truth to power" there was, I think, pretty pointless.

does that mean though that i think Soulforce is valueless? not at all. I think that just by their visibility, their tours, their organization, they do tremendous good at bridging the gap between traditional Christians and lgbt folk--but, i think that sort of thing -always- works better when you appeal directly to the rank and file. or, if you prefer, your neighbors, family, city council, etc. etc.

but I think...even the online dwama we've been seeing, a lot of it, i mean the upper echelon Democratic/mainstream brouhahas, it's partly predicated on a similar ...dynamic? mentality? well, it's that "truth to power" thing. representational whatever. take me to your leader. okay, and if we can convince the leadership that we're cool...that's major progress, the rest goeth where __ goeth.

and maybe sometimes that's true.

i just don't know if it's always applicable wrt grassroots movements; and particularly, well, the more diametrically opposed you are to the group in question (as opposed to just, you've been having minor internecine spats because of petty differences and personal animosities), the dodgier it is.

sometimes, it's tricky because you don't really tweak until much later -how- different you really are. kh , you actually said some really keen things about that wrt one of the nastier online eruptions, as i recall. you may be saying some of the same words, but that doesn't mean you're singing the same tune, at all, necessarily.

Daisy said...

but i mean, like, consider: Pat Buchanan and Lenora Fulani. that was a weird one.

I've been thinking about that lately! Weird is the word!

I've also come to the conclusion I don't want the military to go ANYWHERE EVER. I am thinking a military all over the world is a bad thing, colonialist, imperialist, yada yada. I've turned into an isolationist myself, I'm afraid. Although in fairness, I think I've been convinced by what I see!

Belledame, you are very friendly, and that's why people feel safe arguing here. :) (or I do anyway)

Daisy said...

but the general anti-immigrant stance, not to mention the theocratic vibe

Lots of the immigrants are Catholic, Muslim or one of the Asian philosophies, so the fundie churches won't be getting any new members. This totally influences the theocratic vibe.

I often wonder if they'd be anti-immigrant if they thought they'd directly benefit? The Catholic Church, for instance, is pro-immigration.

belledame222 said...

shrug. they might be, but is it worth the tradeoff? even without that you're still getting rabid homophobia and anti-abortion and a general hostility to so-called "secular humanism" and...

and i do think the racism and xenophobia runs deeper than any such sort of realpolitik appeal could go, in some cases. it's not a reasoned thing. it's a fear of...pollution. "purity and danger." maybe not for everybody, but i do think that's the bottom line, otherwise it wouldn't have so much staying power.

and, thanks.

i mean, i can understand where you're coming from; it just sounds to me like it really is very very different from where these guys are coming from. you're coming from "war is bad/imperialism is bad" (i assume); they're coming from "foreigners are bad."

and it's like...well, i don't know exactly what's on the table, like i said. i'd be interested to hear. I think, you know, if -you- make the agenda you want and somehow get them to sign on...well, shit, no one ever got cooties from anyone's signature being under theirs on a petition. If it's your stop-the-war petition, if they're willing to sign on, hell, if it takes going for coffee with people who you otherwise find inimical and going, hey, I like liver and hate lawn flamingos, too!...then, well, sure, mazel tov.

but if it's more like, you're getting their support for this cause (good though the cause is) and thus numbers in exchange for more visibility and power for their reactionary agenda, or even candidates...

well, yeah, off the cuff i'd have to say i don't like it.

Daisy said...

I guess I am hoping to influence them, too. Particularly the young ones who aren't yet so set in their ways. I think there is hope for everyone!

belledame222 said...

well, good, i think optimism is good...

like i say, i don't really have a clear idea of who-all you're talking to or what you're hashing out, or how, so it's hard for me to opine further, really.

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