Thursday, May 01, 2008

Passive-aggressive comment of the day

over to Dear White Feminists. this was cute, I liked this, I really did:

I’ll be honest: perhaps it’s because I’m a “white feminist,” or perhaps it’s because I’m a professor of English, but I found the “open letter” largely incomprehensible. I’m sure it’s just me, but it read as dismissive and divisive. My apologies.
ladyj79 - April 29, 2008 at 9:01 pm


I can't remember if the "how to derail discussions of racism (or whatever else)" included "Quoi? Vas? I do not understand these words which you are speaking, how terribly amusing, you think you're making -sense.- Pat, pat," but it's always been a particular favorite of mine, I must say. Not at all -dismissive,- hevvings no.

Hey, professor ladywhosis, speaking as a white chick and an English speaker as well as a "multidegreed asswipe," tm uhm, uhhh, oh that's right, Amanda Marcotte, I had no trouble understanding it at all. Perhaps the problem is, indeed, with you. Did you want the Cliff Notes, or are you just miffed because a book with pictures in it is being taken off the market?

xoxox

48 comments:

Daisy said...

I have recently become fascinated with the whole phenomenon (which I think comes from Calvinism, not sure)--of "I don't know/understand XYZ, aren't I wonderful and pristine and closer to God for being so ignorant?"

Like what ladyj79 said: I'm clueless, aren't I great?

Of course it's aggressive, as well as dangerous.

Who was it, Flannery O'Connor? Said something like: Ignorance is excusable if borne like a cross, but when wielded like an ax, becomes something else indeed.

Good example you have provided for our edification.

Emily said...

Dear ladyj79,

As a future English professor and multi-degreed asswipe to a current one: FUCK OFF.

If you can't think of anything more intelligent to say than picking at grammar, syntax, or whatever, just shut up, OK? Because if an ENGLISH professor can't understand it, then it certainly must be stupid and wrong, right? Don't be an asshole, and don't comment if you have nothing better than butthurt knee-jerk reactions.

Sincerely,
Emily

Brown Shoes said...

Some people just go around looking for places they can insert some kind of achievement they think makes them awesome - "I have nothing constructive to offer, I just wanted to let you Internet people know that I am, in fact, an English professor! Isn't that amazing?"

Celia said...

Academics = More Clever Than You, by default. It's probably one of those laws of the internet - keep up a discussion long enough and someone's bound to come up with some kind of qualification to wallop you with. Fun for all the family.

Ico said...

Hahaha, I actually found her comment kinda funny. I was tempted to reply "Oh yeah? Funny, I teach English, too" (I've taught a few sections of first year comp). But whatev.

LUV your analysis, Belledame. Hee.

belledame222 said...

hey, welcome, ico!

belledame222 said...

Daisy: except she's actually not even saying that, what she's saying is

"I'm the master of this college
What I don't know isn't knowledge..."

that, and as a Professor White Lady, I have determined that -you people- (hey, if she can't understand it then she probably hasn't bothered to distinguish between ally and actual WoC, hm?) are NOT, sadly, "so articulate;" therefore I can't understand what you're saying, therefore it's not WORTH understanding, lalalalala...

but, I'm gonna couch it in vaguely defensive terms so that when I'm called on my assholery I can whine that I'm being piled on because I'm not -politically correct- enough, or some goddam thing.

Alon Levy said...

Richard Feynman said that if the scientific community can't distill the explanation of a subject into a language every freshman will understand, it means it still doesn't understand it very well.

I think this principle should apply everywhere. There is such a thing as a bad reader, but it's exceedingly rare compared to a bad writer problem. People don't have a moral duty to agree with you or to make a special effort to agree with you.

The easiest thing in the world to do is to make excuses for failure. The bad dancer's first defense is that the floor was bent; the bad teacher's is that the students are lazy; the bad writer's is that the readers didn't understand.

(I wish AM and JV realized that. Chris Mooney and Michelle Goldberg aren't any more credentialed than JV in what they wrote books about. They just took themselves more seriously, so their publishers took them more seriously. That's why their books were widely sold and discussed and featured prominently in anti-religious right table talk, while JV's is a rent payer rather than a movement starter.)

ideologicallyimpure said...

What's even more spectacular than the academic-wank is the inference that WoC bloggers are being deliberately obtuse and creating a Secrety-Secret Code Language to Keep Out The Whites, THOSE DIVISIVE BASTARDS. With a side order of, "See, those hysterical WoC are the problem, not me!!!"

belledame222 said...

welcome, ii

Alon Levy said...

I guess I should add that one corollary of my above comment is that the bad movement's first defense is that it had infighting. Bad movements spawn infighting, not the other way around. We all know that if these feminist bloggers had been more appealing to nonwhites, and written their books accordingly, this flamewar wouldn't have happened.

Anonymous said...

Belledame
Is the book being taken off the market? Please confirm.
Kali

belledame222 said...

I was referring broadly (and snarkily) to them saying they'd be re-printing it without the pictures. I don't know that anything more's come of the boycotts yet.

welcome, kali, p.s.

belledame222 said...

Alon:

oh, never mind.

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FoolishOwl said...

On another rereading, what struck me was the second to last sentence, "I’m sure it’s just me, but it read as dismissive and divisive."

In the first place, that means she did comprehend the meaning of the "open letter." I'm guessing what she's saying is incomprehensible is the intent.

That's where the use of "divisive" leaps out at me. We've been seeing that word a lot lately, with the whole Wright/Obama thing, in which Wright is called "divisive" for pointing out painfully obvious facts such as that the US was founded on racism.

"Divisive," as far as I can make out, is a term used by the orthodox to describe the criticisms of the unorthodox. Obviously, someone attacking the orthodoxy isn't concerned with hiding its flaws.

EthylBenzene said...

Foolish owl -- I think I like that analysis. That jumped out at me too, but I just assumed it was because it's easier to criticize someone's grammar than their ideas...

belledame222 said...

hey, FO! how you been?

AndyJ said...

Ok let me get this straight. You run around accusing people being racist for two months. But your own blog doesn't even come close to doing any real politics on racism.

What's up with that? Are you an anarchist? Shoot first ask question later?

Daisy said...

Richard Feynman said that if the scientific community can't distill the explanation of a subject into a language every freshman will understand, it means it still doesn't understand it very well.

I think this principle should apply everywhere.


How can it apply *everywhere*? Are you assuming *everyone* is a freshmen? Some people didn't go to college at all, you know. Do you simply NOT TALK to those people?

Oh, wait, that IS how you roll, isn't it Alon? I guess that IS how you handle it: intellectual snobbery and arrogance.

Not a very logical statement.

There is such a thing as a bad reader, but it's exceedingly rare compared to a bad writer problem.

Is that why I never understand much of what you say? Well, fuck me.

People don't have a moral duty to agree with you or to make a special effort to agree with you.

Good point. This goes for you and Richard Feynman, too.

The easiest thing in the world to do is to make excuses for failure.

No, the easiest thing in the world is never to acknowledge failure in the first place. For instance, your failure to be a decent person on blogs... you do not acknowledge how offensive you are to most people. You blame other people for not understanding your brilliance. Your failures of empathy, communication and socialization, are not even something you admit, although everyone talks about them.

The bad dancer's first defense is that the floor was bent; the bad teacher's is that the students are lazy; the bad writer's is that the readers didn't understand.

And your excuse for being an asshole is what? Your parents didn't care enough to teach you manners? You grew up in a commune? You were spoiled? Which is it?

(I wish AM and JV realized that. Chris Mooney and Michelle Goldberg aren't any more credentialed than JV in what they wrote books about. They just took themselves more seriously, so their publishers took them more seriously. That's why their books were widely sold and discussed and featured prominently in anti-religious right table talk, while JV's is a rent payer rather than a movement starter.)

As you are, Alon, as you are.

Daisy said...

I guess I should add that one corollary of my above comment is that the bad movement's first defense is that it had infighting. Bad movements spawn infighting, not the other way around.

Which movements do you refer to? What is your personal experience in political movements? How many faction fights have you witnessed personally?

The Civil Rights movement had in-fighting galore, they just managed to keep it all on the back burner and focus on ONE TASK AT A TIME. However, later, after certain goals were reached, the movement broke into pieces over some of these issues, particularly violence (BPs) vs. civil disobedience.

As usual, you don't know what you're talking about, but you SOUND so authoritative. I wish I had some of that white male arrogance, so I could pull off some of that shit. :)

We all know that if these feminist bloggers had been more appealing to nonwhites, and written their books accordingly, this flamewar wouldn't have happened.

What is "appealing to nonwhites"?
Are you saying they should write it differently?

How should they write it so that it is "appealing to nonwhites"?

(can't wait for this one)

Daisy said...

But your own blog doesn't even come close to doing any real politics on racism.

What do you consider "real politics" on racism? Just curious.

CrackerLilo said...

I found both the open letter and your post, particularly that awesome final sentence, wonderfully easy to understand. And I have a bachelor's in marketing (widely dismissed as a refuge for the stupid by people who hum commercial jingles and don't know why) and almost an interior decorating certification, which I'm sure would not impress that commenter at all. Gods help her non-white and/or non-native English speaking and/or learning disabled students, anyway.

Daisy, I love your statement on willful ignorance.

Andyj...well, I don't know if it's willful or not.

belledame222 said...


What do you consider "real politics" on racism? Just curious.


I'm mildly interested in the answer to this too, possibly, but first, I have a more important question:

Can you play "Melancholy Baby?"

(two months? Who's counting?)

belledame222 said...

--oh, look, apparently i'm not an anarchist: i asked two questions and i didn't shoot yet!

maybe i should be one though. "anarchist," with connotations of "wild-eyed," here: always did like the sound of it, so glamorous, in a 19th century sort of way. so much better than "Red" or "terrorist." fTANG fTANG--ech, hell on my carpal tunnel o well, so much for that.

belledame222 said...

There is such a thing as a bad reader, but it's exceedingly rare compared to a bad writer problem.>

Is that why I never understand much of what you say? Well, fuck me.>>

"She's got a point there, kids."

belledame222 said...

...among others, I have to say. -tucks tongue into cheek-

Kristin said...

andyj: What the fuck counts as Real Politics on Racism? And who gets to decide what counts?

I'm assuming you do, since you've decided that what belle does is Fake Politics on Racism.

Hey, what else can you help us with? You know, being so wise and clear-headed in ascertaining what's real and what isn't.

Say, I've been meaning to get this diamond ring I found appraised. Say, maybe I could just bypass all the hassle get you to take a look at it!

Er, and... I've been seeing this woman. Maybe I could let you assess the situation and let you tell me how Sincere (that is, how Real) she's being, you know? Just so I don't have to go through all that early relationship insecurity and shit.

Man, you could really be a lot of help here... What else can you do...?

Obama or Hillary? Which one is the more Real Candidate?

Any thoughts on Global Warming? Is it a Real Problem for you? Or just a Fake One?

belledame222 said...

What's the average rainfall in the Amazon Basin?

How many roads must a man walk down?

Why are good trolls so hard to find these days?

belledame222 said...

...huh, looks like someone disagrees with you, andyj:

http://community.livejournal.com/sex_and_race/466214.html

I mean, I'm sure not every blog or lj on there is to everyone's taste, but I recommend checking it out for the others anyway; surely -one- of them might be suitably "real" for such a discerning...random person.

andyj said...

belledame222 said...
I'm mildly interested in the answer to this too,


It better be facetious, considering the urgency of current political climate. But then again, why bother when one can make endless semi witty and self indulgence pointless remark to amuse oneself. Reactionary is a dime a dozen.


Can you play "Melancholy Baby?"
(two months? Who's counting?)


amazing how time flies when one is wasting time right?

belledame222 said...

o my. i take it you're typing one-handed, then? whilst brandishing the Musket of Freedom in the other, of course.

am i further to take it that you -cannot-, in fact, play Melancholy Baby?

EthylBenzene said...

"How many roads must a man walk down?"

Duh, belle -- the mice decided it was 42.

Ico said...

Well, you do have some amusing trolls here, don't you? Glad to see you have fun with them. :D

See, this is why I could never be a regular blogger. I'm totally allergic to trolls. I have to just delete their comments and run, which offends my sensibilities about "free speech" and all that, but there you go.

ROFL @ your comments, Belledame.

belledame222 said...

ico: well, when I get bored with whatsis, I can always still delete 'em. the tipping point is when they become less entertaining than blogwarbot:

http://www.faultline.org/index.php/site/blogwarbot/

this one's already mostly there, p.s.

Nick Kiddle said...

With my writer hat on, I have to agree that if the readers, en masse, are Not Getting It, that's likely a problem with the writing. But if most of the readers are getting it, and it's just a few (with, dare I say, a certain level of privilege?), then maybe the problem is with the readers after all.

Daisy said...

It better be facetious, considering the urgency of current political climate. But then again, why bother when one can make endless semi witty and self indulgence pointless remark to amuse oneself. Reactionary is a dime a dozen.

Does this mean you don't have an answer to my question about what "real politics on racism" means? Just blowing mindless verbiage out your ass, huh?

See, for a minute, thought we might have a real conversation. Sometimes, trolls fake me out that way. :(

Ico said...

XD ROFL. OK. Blogwarbot had me endlessly cracking up. Awesome!

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Typical ad hominem usage by those who wish to derail something they don't like.

Gaaak.

belledame222 said...

hey, AG!

FUNKYBROWNCHICK said...

I've been following along with all the Seal Press stuff online. Crazy stuff.

By the way ... totally random, I know, I but I really like your post labels on this one. Especially: "fuck YOU motherfucker," "it's pronounced PAHtronizing" and "you're tacky and I hate you."

You're funny!!! :)

Lady S said...

No, you have to APOLOGISE for not being clear enough and explain it again and again and again.

Because if she can't understand it, no-one can!

belledame222 said...

heh, thanks FBC...

金太郎 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Very Interesting!
Thank You!

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