Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Роберт » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:47 pm UTC

Iranon wrote: The problem is that the common usage of "African-American" is ill-defined doublespeak, I already outlined my problems with that earlier.
If you allow for discrimination by race, you allow for discrimination by race; additional qualifications to be elegible don't change that.

It should have been perfectly clear, what I was talking about, given that my post starting the subject contained this quote.
For example, if there's an African-American competition, and a real African-American from South Africa who happens appear "white" wins, they should be allowed to win.

Basically, I'm saying what sourmilk said. There is no reason to be willfully offensive. If someone wants to be referred to as ze, there is absolutely no reason not to zir as such, other than to be a jerk. Rape jokes are terrible and should not be made.

But getting language muddled and confused is bad and I don't support that. If you use the term "African-American" than that needs to be including all African-Americans and nothing else. Using it to refer a black citizen of the UK would just be incorrect use of language and anyone who does so is bad in should feel bad.

My non-sequitor was no worse than yours except there was no muddled language to confuse the issue.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:13 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:If you use the term "African-American" than that needs to be including all African-Americans and nothing else. Using it to refer a black citizen of the UK would just be incorrect use of language and anyone who does so is bad in should feel bad.


That actually came up a little while in a conversation I had with an American friend of mine, I believe it started when out of habit, they described Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as an African American, knowing full well that he is British, but using the phrase as a synonym for black without thinking, out of some misguided instinct for Basic Human Decency.

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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:33 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:If someone wants to be referred to as ze, there is absolutely no reason not to zir as such, other than to be a jerk.

Also forgetfulness. If somebody demanded to be called by a different pronoun, there's a 95% chance I'd refer to him as the pronoun I'd usually call him just out of forgetfulness. Seriously, how many of you refer to Yivo as "Shklee" rather than "he"?
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Роберт » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:32 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Роберт wrote:If someone wants to be referred to as ze, there is absolutely no reason not to zir as such, other than to be a jerk.

Also forgetfulness. If somebody demanded to be called by a different pronoun, there's a 95% chance I'd refer to him as the pronoun I'd usually call him just out of forgetfulness. Seriously, how many of you refer to Yivo as "Shklee" rather than "he"?

Well, sure, forgetfulness is an issue. What I said was in the context of
There is no reason to be willfully offensive.


Of course, if it matters a lot to the person it's only polite to make a an extra effort to remember whatever it is you need to watch about your language, but mistakes do happen. If you regularly swear and are around someone offended by it, there's normally not a good enough reason to swear around them, but you probably will slip up once or twice.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:27 pm UTC

Oh, yeah, I mentally separated the statements.

Роберт wrote:but you probably will slip up once or twice.

Of five times. I accidentally swore around a guy's five-year-old. I don't think he noticed or cared very much though. Which is good, because he's tougher than he looks.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Iranon » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:55 pm UTC

I personally think there's too much pussyfooting about to avoid offending anyone who may have a lobby behind them, and unthinking discrimination against people who don't.

Pronoun issues: I'd generally use whatever is appropriate for apparent sex, without regard for gender identity. If that offends, I probably won't care.
Personal identity is important and variations should be respected, but attaching neat little labels to every aspect people care about and creating new social conventions around them is counter-productive.
What I consider important is not making rash assumptions about people from superficial qualities; too many attempts at Basic Human Decency have the opposite effect.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Роберт » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:09 pm UTC

Iranon wrote:Pronoun issues: I'd generally use whatever is appropriate for apparent sex, without regard for gender identity.

How does that work for intersex people that don't fit neatly onto a gender binary?

It's easier and much more efficient to just go with whatever they appear to be attempting to present as until told otherwise. IOW, if they go into the men's restroom and not the women's, I'll likely refer to them with the pronoun "he".

If they wear typically female attire like a dress and make-up, I'll likely refer to them with the pronoun "she". Much simpler than doing genital checks or chromosomal testing or any nonsense like that.

If it's not clear which they'd prefer (like a drag queen) you can ask.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby troyp » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:16 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:Basically, I'm saying what sourmilk said. There is no reason to be willfully offensive. If someone wants to be referred to as ze, there is absolutely no reason not to zir as such, other than to be a jerk.

And this is what we've come to. There is absolutely no reason - other than to be a jerk - to not incorporate custom pronouns into our common language immediately at the behest of anyone who asks. This is a comical illustration of Basic Human Decency in action.*

Rape jokes are terrible and should not be made.

No, rape jokes are *not* terrible, any more than jokes about any other terrible subject. *Censorship* is terrible, and should not be endorsed. As for rape jokes, what *they* are is uncommon. Seriously, why are we even talking about them? Rape is hardly a staple of humour. We don't have people walking down the street being traumatized by gallavanting rape jokers. People who are into being offended by rape jokes have to go to considerable effort to seek them out.

But getting language muddled and confused is bad and I don't support that. If you use the term "African-American" than that needs to be including all African-Americans and nothing else. Using it to refer a black citizen of the UK would just be incorrect use of language and anyone who does so is bad in should feel bad.

I don't like the term "African American". It's ambiguous, and its most common usage is inconsistent with homologous terms. I'd approve of not using it, but you seem to insist on using it in what you think (and I agree) is the correct way, without regard to the fact that it's usually used with a different meaning. That's only going to lead to more confusion. It's better to not use the term at all. It's a bit late to "fix it".

* Since some kind of PC strawman attack seems likely, I should probably say I'm not actually opposed to introducing an additional personal pronoun gender into English (although I would be opposed to, say, 7 billion).

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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Роберт » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:29 pm UTC

troyp wrote:
Роберт wrote:Basically, I'm saying what sourmilk said. There is no reason to be willfully offensive. If someone wants to be referred to as ze, there is absolutely no reason not to zir as such, other than to be a jerk.

And this is what we've come to. There is absolutely no reason - other than to be a jerk - to not incorporate custom pronouns into our common language immediately at the behest of anyone who asks. This is a comical illustration of Basic Human Decency in action.*
Because it takes SO much effort to do so and they're ignoring the existing pronoun in English that is useful for a person who doesn't fit into the gender binary.

Or not.

* Since some kind of PC strawman attack seems likely, I should probably say I'm not actually opposed to introducing an additional personal pronoun gender into English (although I would be opposed to, say, 7 billion).

You seem to be confused. 'Ze' is not some custom pronoun made up for one person.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ze_(pronoun)

troyp wrote:I don't like the term "African American". It's ambiguous, and its most common usage is inconsistent with homologous terms.

I might agree with you on this point if you can give me a way of saying African-american (as opposed to European-american etc) that isn't awkward.

troyp wrote:No, rape jokes are *not* terrible, any more than jokes about any other terrible subject. *Censorship* is terrible, and should not be endorsed. As for rape jokes, what *they* are is uncommon.

We're talking about them because of Tosh. http://breakfastcookie.tumblr.com/post/ ... omedy-club
Rape jokes used as a way to silence and control women? No thanks.

Rape jokes in a culture where a quarter of the women you know have likely been raped? No thanks.

I mean, maybe you can find a context where it's not that bad, but really, in general, they are contributing to real problems in our culture, and so I'd like to play it safe.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:47 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
troyp wrote:I don't like the term "African American". It's ambiguous, and its most common usage is inconsistent with homologous terms.

I might agree with you on this point if you can give me a way of saying African-american (as opposed to European-american etc) that isn't awkward.

If you actually mean people with dark skin by "African" instead of anyone from there, why not Black-American?
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby troyp » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:02 am UTC

Роберт wrote:
troyp wrote:
Роберт wrote:Basically, I'm saying what sourmilk said. There is no reason to be willfully offensive. If someone wants to be referred to as ze, there is absolutely no reason not to zir as such, other than to be a jerk.
And this is what we've come to. There is absolutely no reason - other than to be a jerk - to not incorporate custom pronouns into our common language immediately at the behest of anyone who asks. This is a comical illustration of Basic Human Decency in action.*
Because it takes SO much effort to do so and they're ignoring the existing pronoun in English that is useful for a person who doesn't fit into the gender binary.

Or not.


* Since some kind of PC strawman attack seems likely, I should probably say I'm not actually opposed to introducing an additional personal pronoun gender into English (although I would be opposed to, say, 7 billion).

You seem to be confused. 'Ze' is not some custom pronoun made up for one person.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ze_(pronoun)

Er...you realize you just pointed me to a Wikipedia page that doesn't even exist ? ;-) (and also ignored the existence of singular "they"?)

Anyway, I know "ze" is trendy with the young people, but the point is that you're now arguing in terms of how much support and justification "ze" has, which is precisely what you *didn't* do in your previous statement. Perhaps it was just an omission on your part, but it seemed to read pretty clearly to me as saying that it was *not* necessary to justify the new pronoun, beyond the fact that someone asked for it be used and that there was supposedly no reason not to use it except to deliberately upset them. I can tell you that fucking with my native language is a big deal to *me*, and I know, to many others too. That would be the case even if were talking about a little-used corner of the language. Proposing to introduce clumsy new pronouns is an imposition of monstrous proportions. I would never even consider such a thing without strong reasons.

That said, I actually do think there is a strong argument for a new pronoun. As I said before, I'm sympathetic to the idea, but it's certainly not because "there's no reason not to". (Actually, there are stronger reasons than accomodating genderqueer (etc) people, namely as a stepping stone to abolition of (compulsory) gendered pronouns from our language altogether.)

Also, I still insist the correct third gender is "ve/vim/ver" and am shocked and appalled at the use of alternative forms.

troyp wrote:I don't like the term "African American". It's ambiguous, and its most common usage is inconsistent with homologous terms.

I might agree with you on this point if you can give me a way of saying African-american (as opposed to European-american etc) that isn't awkward.

"Americanized African" maybe? Although, that might be a bit different. Not sure if it necessarily implies naturalization. Also, it probably depends on whether you use the term to indicate someone who was born in Africa or whose family came from there in the last few generations. Anyway, even if it's awkward, sometimes you have to distort your language a bit for clarity because other people have damaged words beyond repair. In this case, it's not that common a word, really. In specific instances, you'd use a nationality if it was known, so "African American" would only come up in generic speech and where you're not sure of someone's country of origin.

troyp wrote:No, rape jokes are *not* terrible, any more than jokes about any other terrible subject. *Censorship* is terrible, and should not be endorsed. As for rape jokes, what *they* are is uncommon.

We're talking about them because of Tosh. http://breakfastcookie.tumblr.com/post/ ... omedy-club
Rape jokes used as a way to silence and control women? No thanks.

From reading this article, it seems the guy wasn't even *telling* rape jokes. He was telling *jokes about rape jokes*. According to the "victim"'s own account, he only told a rape joke after she heckled him, presumably as an easy rejoinder. Hell, she could have predicted the response. She yells out like a lunatic, interpreting jokes as literal statements, the audience would have been thinking "what an idiot". Meanwhile the comedian has to come up with a response. So: something mean about her, to work with the audience's antipathy (which she herself created), something which relates - perhaps poetically - to what she's just said... His response was pretty obvious really, almost mechanical. A bit mean and not exactly the height of comedy, but an obvious and effective comeback. A suspicious mind could suspect she planned it like that to blog about. (More likely, though she's been brainwashed by others to the extent that she really was threatened by his response - in which case she really is a victim (although not his and not an unwilling one).)

Really, this is typical of the rape joke complaints I hear: trumped up bullshit created by people (apparently) intent on creating strife for their own purposes.

Rape jokes in a culture where a quarter of the women you know have likely been raped? No thanks.

Well, maybe, but most of us aren't living in the middle of a war zone.

Besides, you seem to be assuming that anyone who's been raped is somehow likely to be traumatized or upset by a joke about rape. That's unconvincing on the face on it, and empirically false in my experience.

I mean, maybe you can find a context where it's not that bad, but really, in general, they are contributing to real problems in our culture, and so I'd like to play it safe.

There are plenty of problems with our culture, but I don't believe jokes are making them worse. Anyhow, if "playing it safe" consists of not telling rape jokes, that's fine. The problem is when people decide that they have the right to tell *other people* what jokes they can tell: at that point, they become one of the problems.

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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby AvatarIII » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:45 am UTC

troyp wrote:
Роберт wrote:
troyp wrote:
Роберт wrote:Basically, I'm saying what sourmilk said. There is no reason to be willfully offensive. If someone wants to be referred to as ze, there is absolutely no reason not to zir as such, other than to be a jerk.
And this is what we've come to. There is absolutely no reason - other than to be a jerk - to not incorporate custom pronouns into our common language immediately at the behest of anyone who asks. This is a comical illustration of Basic Human Decency in action.*
Because it takes SO much effort to do so and they're ignoring the existing pronoun in English that is useful for a person who doesn't fit into the gender binary.

Or not.


* Since some kind of PC strawman attack seems likely, I should probably say I'm not actually opposed to introducing an additional personal pronoun gender into English (although I would be opposed to, say, 7 billion).

You seem to be confused. 'Ze' is not some custom pronoun made up for one person.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ze_(pronoun)

Er...you realize you just pointed me to a Wikipedia page that doesn't even exist ? ;-) (and also ignored the existence of singular "they"?)


it does exist, but the board didn't parse the close bracket.
try this
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ze_%28pron ... d_pronouns

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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby sourmìlk » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:57 pm UTC

I have to somewhat disagree with troyp. While making rape jokes is not necessarily immoral, encouraging people, jokingly or otherwise, to rape a person is. The makes the subject of the joke feel (reasonably) afraid and uncomfortable, and is an incredibly dickish and passive aggressive way to respond to something that's barely heckling, even for a comedian.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Роберт » Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:10 pm UTC

troyp wrote:

Er...you realize you just pointed me to a Wikipedia page that doesn't even exist ? ;-) (and also ignored the existence of singular "they"?)

It exists. I've added URL tags since you apparently don't know how manually enter URLs into a browser.
troyp wrote:now arguing in terms of how much support and justification "ze" has, which is precisely what you *didn't* do in your previous statement. Perhaps it was just an omission on your part, but it seemed to read pretty clearly to me as saying that it was *not* necessary to justify the new pronoun, beyond the fact that someone asked for it be used and that there was supposedly no reason not to use it except to deliberately upset them.
:roll:

Try to pay attention please. I said if someone asks that you use the pronoun 'ze' to refer the zir, there's no good reason to refuse.

You freaked out about how people shouldn't be able to make up arbitrary pronouns for themselves.

I responded that I wasn't talking about people making up arbitrary pronouns. There's a reason that my example was "ze", not "figglestuffs éné".

Can explain how you thought your response makes any sense?

troyp wrote:His response was pretty obvious really, almost mechanical.
I find that deeply disturbing, and I hope, when you reflect on what your quote here actually means, you find that disturbing as well. If you don't Tosh's response appalling, I have no words. I only hope that if you think about it at all, you'll realize "oh, yeah, that was an inappropriate thing to say, worthy of a real apology from Tosh".
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby troyp » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:20 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
troyp wrote:

Er...you realize you just pointed me to a Wikipedia page that doesn't even exist ? ;-) (and also ignored the existence of singular "they"?)

It exists. I've added URL tags since you apparently don't know how manually enter URLs into a browser.

Oh for fucks sake, I was joking. If you want to make an issue of it: no, it does not exist. A page with that name does not exist. The page you just linked to is a page on gender neutral pronouns in general: almost entirely real ones in current usage. There is a section on proposals for gender neutral pronouns in English in which "ze" is mentioned. That's it. The fact that "ze" is mentioned somewhere in Wikipedia does not in any way equate to the page on "Ze", which you linked, existing. There is a redirection from "ze" and similar forms, probably because they are common search terms, but since Wikipedia redirections don't affect links, a link to those from outside goes nowhere. So not only does the page not exist, the link doesn't either. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-neutral_pronoun#Invented_pronouns is a link which actually exists, to a real page.

More importantly, why are insulting me and resorting to desperate attempts to refute a statement that was only a joke and had *no bearing* on any point of disagreement between us?

troyp wrote:now arguing in terms of how much support and justification "ze" has, which is precisely what you *didn't* do in your previous statement. Perhaps it was just an omission on your part, but it seemed to read pretty clearly to me as saying that it was *not* necessary to justify the new pronoun, beyond the fact that someone asked for it be used and that there was supposedly no reason not to use it except to deliberately upset them.
:roll:

Try to pay attention please. I said if someone asks that you use the pronoun 'ze' to refer the zir, there's no good reason to refuse.

You freaked out about how people shouldn't be able to make up arbitrary pronouns for themselves.

I responded that I wasn't talking about people making up arbitrary pronouns. There's a reason that my example was "ze", not "figglestuffs éné".

Can explain how you thought your response makes any sense?

I thought I just did?

I didn't "freak out about how people shouldn't be able to make up arbitrary pronouns for themselves". I "freaked out" over the statement
There is no reason to be willfully offensive. If someone wants to be referred to as ze, there is absolutely no reason not to zir as such, other than to be a jerk.

As I said, I could be misinterpreting you (I'm still not sure whether you're claiming that's the case), but to me that statement would apply equally to *any* pronoun. Indeed, it would apply equally to just about anything. If someone wants to be referred you to respond to their questions with "Yes, Great Darkseid", what reason do you have not to, other than to be a jerk?

Obviously, there actually *are* reasons to refuse such a request. I've given some of mine, there are probably many others. Your answer is that there are actually good reasons to adopt the pronoun "ze". Okay, fine. I don't even disagree, really. But I find that hard to reconcile with your original statement. If that's your reason, then how do you get "no reason not to, other than to be a jerk"? I mean, we've moved far away from "no reason not to" to "there are reasons not to, but I think the reasons to do so outweight it". That's a pretty important difference, in context. Is it impossible to conceive that someone could disagree with your assessment? Does such disagreement constitute "being a jerk"?

Maybe it's no big deal - you misspoke or I've misunderstood, I don't know. But your attempts to pass this off as "You're not even paying attention, I didn't say that, I just said we should call people ze if they want" are unconvincing. You *didn't* just say that. You completely dismissed any possibility of another opinion and blatantly accused anyoneone who disagreed with you as deliberately being an arsehole (just one of the charming characteristics of the PC crowd). And even if I'm somehow misunderstanding you, I find it hard to believe - on top of that - that you don't even understand what I'm talking about (that is if you're - y'know - trying).

troyp wrote:His response was pretty obvious really, almost mechanical.
I find that deeply disturbing, and I hope, when you reflect on what your quote here actually means, you find that disturbing as well. If you don't Tosh's response appalling, I have no words. I only hope that if you think about it at all, you'll realize "oh, yeah, that was an inappropriate thing to say, worthy of a real apology from Tosh".

I don't find it appalling. Neither did the audience. Did it occur to you that if you put down the Kool-Aid for a minute and tried to look at things objectively, you might not either? Probably not, but since you seem to be challenging me to "think about it at all", I'll go ahead and do the same.

I *have* thought about it. Moreover, I had no negative preconceptions going into it. Perhaps you think I'd just automatically argue against anything you say because I disagree with your main point, but I can assure you that's not the case. In my eyes, it would just destroy my credibility and make me look like an idiot. Truthfully, when you pointed me to that post, I was expecting (perhaps naively) something substantial, that he'd really done something wrong to justify your comments about "Rape jokes used as a way to silence and control women" (and no, I don't consider a comedian humorously defending himself against a disruptive and hostile audience member "silencing and controlling women", even if the audience member is female). I was somewhat taken aback by what I read, given that it was at the blogger's own admission. I did try to think about it from both parties' points of view, and the more I did, the more sympathetic sympathetic I was to Tosh.

As for the blogger, well, I'm not entirely unsympathetic to her. She doesn't seem like a bad person, just someone who's been indoctrinated to the point where they've behaved antisocially in (apparent) good conscience and gotten into an embarrassing public altercation. As much as her post is expressed through the warped lens of ideology, I get the impression she's recounted the actual *facts* as truthfully as she could (certainly they're not favourable to her from an unbiased perspective, and she could have easily "fudged" them to make them more convincing). People who do this stuff regularly are bullies, but I suspect she's just misguided and hasn't knowingly done anything wrong (well, apart from surrendering her rationality in the first place).

Still the fact remains, she's behaved very badly. She's watching a comedian, thinks he looks uncomfortable with the audience and decides "I know, I'll yell out some divisive political ideology - that'll help him feel more at ease...and I'm sure the rest of the audience will enjoy it as well!" I mean, wtf?? (and yes, I know she probably didn't think that. I'm being sarcastic - the problem is she *didn't* think about what she was doing). His jokes (about jokes about rape) weren't any kind of excuse at all. If everyone acted like that when a comedian made an indirect reference to violence, or used a word associated with violence, or said something someone considers inappropriate...well, we couldn't even have comedians. Comedians are allowed to say things that would be inappropriate in other circumstances. She acted badly, he defended himself by embarrassing her and recovered his act and she stormed out in humiliation demanding her money back. She's lucky she got free tickets instead of being banned. And that stuff about his response being threatening is just bullshit. He was joking. Have you ever heard a mother threaten to wring a child's neck? or tan their hide? Or any number of other horrifically brutal threats of execution? Did you run and call child services or the police about these disturbing threats of violence? Of course you fucking didn't, because the mother was *obviously not serious*.

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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Роберт » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:03 pm UTC

troyp wrote:
Роберт wrote:
troyp wrote:

Er...you realize you just pointed me to a Wikipedia page that doesn't even exist ? ;-) (and also ignored the existence of singular "they"?)

It exists. I've added URL tags since you apparently don't know how manually enter URLs into a browser.

Oh for fucks sake, I was joking. If you want to make an issue of it: no, it does not exist. A page with that name does not exist.
...
More importantly, why are insulting me and resorting to desperate attempts to refute a statement that was only a joke and had *no bearing* on any point of disagreement between us?

Yes it does exist. It's a redirect page.

Your response here is baffling. My comment was no more hostile or serious than your (that page doesn't exist) comment was.

troyp wrote:
troyp wrote:now arguing in terms of how much support and justification "ze" has, which is precisely what you *didn't* do in your previous statement. Perhaps it was just an omission on your part, but it seemed to read pretty clearly to me as saying that it was *not* necessary to justify the new pronoun, beyond the fact that someone asked for it be used and that there was supposedly no reason not to use it except to deliberately upset them.
:roll:

Try to pay attention please. I said if someone asks that you use the pronoun 'ze' to refer the zir, there's no good reason to refuse.

You freaked out about how people shouldn't be able to make up arbitrary pronouns for themselves.

I responded that I wasn't talking about people making up arbitrary pronouns. There's a reason that my example was "ze", not "figglestuffs éné".

Can explain how you thought your response makes any sense?

I thought I just did?

I didn't "freak out about how people shouldn't be able to make up arbitrary pronouns for themselves". I "freaked out" over the statement
There is no reason to be willfully offensive. If someone wants to be referred to as ze, there is absolutely no reason not to zir as such, other than to be a jerk.

As I said, I could be misinterpreting you (I'm still not sure whether you're claiming that's the case), but to me that statement would apply equally to *any* pronoun.

I'm not sure how to make it any clearer than I already have, so I've bolded the relevant bit. Try reading carefully and you'll likely figure out what happened.

troyp wrote:I don't find it appalling. Neither did the audience. Did it occur to you that if you put down the Kool-Aid for a minute and tried to look at things objectively, you might not either? Probably not, but since you seem to be challenging me to "think about it at all", I'll go ahead and do the same.

I have thought about it without holding Kool-aid.
troyp wrote: Have you ever heard a mother threaten to wring a child's neck? or tan their hide? Or any number of other horrifically brutal threats of execution? Did you run and call child services or the police about these disturbing threats of violence? Of course you fucking didn't, because the mother was *obviously not serious*.

If I was in an area where 25% of kids were murdered by their mothers?
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:00 am UTC

Oh come on troyp, kool-aid? That's basically invoking Godwin's Law there.

Also, the 25% statistic isn't quite universally accepted. Generally, depending on definitions of rape, it's between 9% and 20%. Either way though, that's absurdly and shockingly high.

One other thing troyp: the reason that accepting the use of "ze" doesn't apply to any pronoun is that "ze" is already somewhat accepted, useful, and popular as a proposed gender-neutral pronoun. By that standard, we don't enter a slippery slope where anybody can demand to be called anything he wants.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby troyp » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:05 am UTC

Роберт wrote:Yes it does exist. It's a redirect page.

Your response here is baffling. My comment was no more hostile or serious than your (that page doesn't exist) comment was.

(okay, I'm not going to argue about what constitutes a Wikipedia page. It's silly and irrelevant :-) )
edit: However, re the link itself: I missed AvatarIII's post earlier about the close bracket (and I didn't understand your comment about adding url tags because it was already in url tags). It's true, your link was valid except for that. I retract what I said about it. Sorry, it was an honest mistake. When your link didn't work I searched and found the redirection and took that as evidence that the page didn't exist (since otherwise it couldn't be redirected). I didn't consider the possibility your link was a functional link to that page that lost a paren, because I had it in my head that you *couldn't* reach a redirection directly, but only though Wikipedia's search box. So I thought maybe there was previously such a page, but it had been deleted and redirected, or whatever. And I didn't really pay that much attention, because my comment was only a joke, anyway.

I apologize if I mistook your intent. I admit I jumped the gun: I should have considered other interpretations before accusing you. Sorry.

I'm not sure how to make it any clearer than I already have, so I've bolded the relevant bit. Try reading carefully and you'll likely figure out what happened.

Well, you clarified that you weren't talking about arbitrary pronouns, but that wasn't what *needed* clarifying. Actually, I think I *do* have a better idea of what's happened. I think you've misunderstood the point of what I originally said. Maybe I should have addressed the issue more directly, instead of using sarcasm, but I certainly wasn't trying to be oblique. I thought you'd understand my point. I had the impression you misinterpreted my response and I tried to clarify, but I didn't really understand where you were coming from, so I didn't do a very good job. So let's give it one more try.

First, let me state clearly how I interpreted your statement. First and most importantly, I interpreted it as a general statement, applying to any potential adopter of the pronoun. Not just to yourself, in the sense of "Personally, saying ze is no big deal to me....". Second, I interpreted "there's absolutely no reason not to...other than to be a jerk" pretty much literally. That adoption of "ze" had no cost for the adopter, or no significant cost: that it would not have a significant negative impact on them. And that therefore, the only motivation for refusal was out of some kind of desire to reduce the happiness of the requester, or to make them suffer. If this isn't what you meant, then I've misunderstood.

Now, I know you weren't talking about arbitrary pronouns. I was claiming you *could be* - that your *argument* applied to arbitrary pronouns . I didn't *really* think you were willing to use a different pronoun for everyone you met, or that there'd be 7 billion pronouns. I was being sarcastic. It was a reductio ad absurdum: "your line of reasoning leads to this, which you surely don't accept". If you really think that there's no justification for refusal other than spite, then you actually would accept those implications. Contrapositively, It means that if you're *not* willing to adopt an unlimited number of pronouns, then there *must* be "reasons not to" (potential costs of adopting a new pronoun). The fact that your response was specifically in terms of the costs and benefits of "ze" confirmed my point. If your original statement held, you should have been able to defend it without reference to specifics (unless adopting "ze" was somehow free of costs whereas some other invented pronoun would not be).

My view is that your position is untenable. There *are* reasons not to use "ze". Strong reasons. The question is whether they are outweighed by the reasons in favour. My particular issue with the statement is that it completely negates any opinion that disagrees with it. Not just ignores them, or dismisses them as irrelevant. It denies the existence of any dissenting view and attributes unpleasant motives to anyone who holds one.


If I was in an area where 25% of kids were murdered by their mothers?

1) Again with the 25%? Where is this figure coming from (and what country does it apply to, for that matter)? It's almost an order of magnitude higher than estimates I've heard (and a couple of orders of magnitude higher than survey results). I'm highly skeptical of such extreme figures from a partisan source. Not that it's really important to this discussion, but I'd still like to know. 25% would be a shocking figure, even for America.

2) The 25% figure shouldn't necessarily influence whether you'd call the police over the threat. The only consideration is how the threat changes the prior probabilities. Of course, in the hypothetical situation, you might call the police *regardless* of the threat, simply because a child was in the presence of its mother.

3) You've completely mixed up your analogy. Your analogy would actually correspond to a situation where 25% of women have been raped by Daniel Tosh.*

* now see, that's kinda funny, and you didn't even *mean* it as a joke.

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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:48 am UTC

troyp wrote: Again with the 25%? Where is this figure coming from (and what country does it apply to, for that matter)?

Here you go.

Joking rape threats tend not to be funny when it's quite likely the person will actually be raped. If comedy is tragedy plus time, then we're lacking the time component here.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:39 pm UTC

Determining the actual number of unreported rapes is difficult, but in this case we can be lazy and say it's impossible and just use what people believe is the occurrence of rape. I'd say most everyone believes somewhere between the 3% DoJ figure and the 25% figures sourmilk quoted, with outliers believing things like women are at fault or that heterosexual sex is inherently non-consensual.

So if Tosh was a three percenter and believed most other people were as well, he would have seen his joke as ridiculous. The heckler was (presumably) a 25 percenter and believed everyone else should be as well; so from her perspective the response was a credible threat.

So in the absence of agreed upon statistics, a person could be encouraged to at least know what other people believe.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby troyp » Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:43 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
troyp wrote: Again with the 25%? Where is this figure coming from (and what country does it apply to, for that matter)?

Here you go.

None of those sources actually give a figure close to 25% for rape prevalence. They gave some very high figures - higher than others I've heard - but still not close to that.

The only figure for lifelong prevalence I saw was for attempted + completed at 1/6 women for the US, so let's say 1/12 completed (reported attempted/completed ratios I've seen are highly variable, ranging from under 0.1 to maybe 0.6 or 0.7). There was a claim of 1/4 women for Colorado (attempted+repeated), but it was completely unsubstantiated. The two studies you linked to only dealt with college women.Their results were very high, but it's not clear how they relate to lifetime incidence in the general population. One of them speculated that attempted+completed might climb to as high as 1/5 or 1/4 in a 5 year college career (by multiplying their 6-month figure (taken during semester) by 10 - which is absurd). Based on that you could argue 1/4 lifetime incidence, but that's obviously nothing more than wild speculation. The other study found that about 1/4 college women had experienced "sexual aggression or victimization" and about 1/7 rape. Again, that at least makes 1/4 sound plausible, and in this case the 1/7 figure is as solid as the survey itself (not very, but at least there's nothing at a cursory glance suggesting a systematic overstimation). But It's hard to take speculation seriously on top of survey results that are already notoriously unreliable.

So, even based on these high results, this 1/4 figure is a stretch. Some of them suggest it might be plausible, but that's quite a long way from supporting it. If it's based on nothing more than results like these, claiming "a quarter of women will be raped" is incredibly irresponsible. I can't really describe it as anything except a lie.

Btw, to give the benefit of the doubt, I'm assuming we're talking about the US here. According to the web page you linked, "The United States has the world's highest rape rate of the countries that publish such statistics - 4 times higher than Germany, 13 times higher than England, and 20 times higher than Japan". I'm not sure how accurate that is (the citation dates to 1992!), but I'm listing it to give some kind of perspective.

Joking rape threats tend not to be funny when it's quite likely the person will actually be raped. If comedy is tragedy plus time, then we're lacking the time component here.

I honestly have *no idea* what your second sentence means :-). As for your first sentence, I'm really not sure where you're getting it from. For one thing, I don't remember joking rape threats even being discussed (if you're talking about the Tosh blog rant, there was no claim of any threat, joking or otherwise. Maybe it's my fault - I know I drew a comparison with joking threats, but I was exaggerating the analogy in a couple of ways to show that even then, it was *still* absurd.) Also, you seem to have more than doubled Роберт's 1/4 figure, now (even assuming "the person" is a woman). Those things aside, though, my point is that your claim just doesn't stand up. Jokes (even joke threats) are still considered funny - and entirely acceptable - even if they're about something tragic which is likely (or even certain!) to happen to one or all of the audience. Are jokes about nonsexual violence not funny? Having your heart broken? terrorism? murder? growing old and sick and feeble? going insane? going senile? death? even torture??

edit: Sorry, Sourmilk, I missed your earlier post.
Oh come on troyp, kool-aid? That's basically invoking Godwin's Law there.

Also, the 25% statistic isn't quite universally accepted. Generally, depending on definitions of rape, it's between 9% and 20%. Either way though, that's absurdly and shockingly high.

One other thing troyp: the reason that accepting the use of "ze" doesn't apply to any pronoun is that "ze" is already somewhat accepted, useful, and popular as a proposed gender-neutral pronoun. By that standard, we don't enter a slippery slope where anybody can demand to be called anything he wants.

  • Well, I'm not afraid of violating Godwin's Law either (although it would be more like "fulfilling" it, but anyway).
  • To be honest, I'm not sure if there *is* a 25% statistic. I'm getting the impression it's just some kind of myth: the upper bound on speculations that people are just throwing around because it sounds high. Or else some other sexual violence statistic which is being mislabelled as rape prevalence. Anyway, the figures *are* shockingly high, particularly in the US (not just rape, but all violent crimes). The thing people need to remember is that no matter how high such a statistic may be, it doesn't turn into some kind of logical wildcard that can just be slotted into any argument in place of actually *relevant* facts.
  • I somewhat agree with you on "ze". I wasn't arguing against the adoption of "ze" per se, just against the argument (or lack of argument really), Роберт used to support it (because by *that* standard, we *would* enter such a slippery slope)

Quizatzhaderac wrote:So if Tosh was a three percenter and believed most other people were as well, he would have seen his joke as ridiculous. The heckler was (presumably) a 25 percenter and believed everyone else should be as well; so from her perspective the response was a credible threat.

There was no threat. There was a joke, which people seem to be treating as some kind of implicit threat. Anyway, the prevalence figures aren't relevant themselves. The only relevant figures would be ones that show how such a joke predicts a rape fulfilling it. Besides, I really doubt the heckler actually felt threatened. She described herself - believably - as humiliated during her actual account. There was a paragraph tacked on at the end (before asking her readers to tell everyone) saying that she "should add" add that it was all "viscerally terrifying" even though she knew she was safe, but it *really* didn't come off as convincing. I mean apart from "why would she be?", why is this not related during the narrative? Was she "humiliated" and "vicerally terrified" at the same time? That really doesn't sound right to me. People don't normally experience humiliation or other such emotional niceties when they're viscerally terrified.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:19 pm UTC

troyp wrote:
Joking rape threats tend not to be funny when it's quite likely the person will actually be raped. If comedy is tragedy plus time, then we're lacking the time component here.

I honestly have *no idea* what your second sentence means :-).


Comedy is tragedy plus time is a quote originally said by Carol Burnett and quoted in Portal 2
Rape is tragic,
a joke is comedic
to turn rape into a joke you require time, however rape can happen to anybody at any time, therefore it cannot be funny.

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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:36 pm UTC

I said between 9% and 20%, specifically. The studies fall well within that range. Also, I don't think "quite likely" implies >50%.

Also, when are joke threats funny when the threat has a decent possibility of being carried out? If somebody was joking about murdering me, and there was a 10% chance I was going to be murdered, I wouldn't find that joke funny. Also, you can't actually threaten to make somebody grow old or go insane or whatever. Threats imply action on the part of the threatener.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby troyp » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:53 pm UTC

Sorry, I missed the post where you said that. I just edited my last post to answer it.

There *was no threat*! But if there was, I still don't see it. If there was a 10% chance you were going to be murdered, you wouldn't find such a joke funny? Why not? I'm sure there are dangerous places where someone would have a 10% chance of being murdered (certainly if we're counting state-perpetrated murder). Do you think people in any such place have such a joke taboo on murder? Why don't we have them for awful things that are likely or certain to happen to us? Are you certain you're actually thinking about what you're saying (because you can't trust your instincts, they're the product of indoctrination)?

edit:

AvatarIII wrote:
troyp wrote:
Joking rape threats tend not to be funny when it's quite likely the person will actually be raped. If comedy is tragedy plus time, then we're lacking the time component here.

I honestly have *no idea* what your second sentence means :-).


Comedy is tragedy plus time is a quote originally said by Carol Burnett and quoted in Portal 2
Rape is tragic,
a joke is comedic
to turn rape into a joke you require time, however rape can happen to anybody at any time, therefore it cannot be funny.

ah. Thanks for the explanation (I don't play video games). That's cute, although as I've argued, it's bullshit. I mean, it sounds like it might be true. It actually *is* true if you're talking about a tragedy that's actually happened. It's when you switch from a tragedy that's happened to a potential tragedy that it becomes completely false.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:04 pm UTC

"Wouldn't it be funny if you all raped her?" implies "You should rape her" which implies the threat "You will be raped."

Also, if there were a 10% chance you were going to be murdered I should think that there would be a taboo on murder jokes. My guess is that people in the middle of a warzone don't muse upon how hilarious it would be if somebody were to be killed in an airstrike. Certainly not if the joker were in a position to carry out that airstrike.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Роберт » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:08 pm UTC

(Note: rape discussion my be triggering for some)

troyp wrote:Now, I know you weren't talking about arbitrary pronouns. I was claiming you *could be* - that your *argument* applied to arbitrary pronouns . I didn't *really* think you were willing to use a different pronoun for everyone you met, or that there'd be 7 billion pronouns. I was being sarcastic. It was a reductio ad absurdum: "your line of reasoning leads to this, which you surely don't accept". If you really think that there's no justification for refusal other than spite, then you actually would accept those implications. Contrapositively, It means that if you're *not* willing to adopt an unlimited number of pronouns, then there *must* be "reasons not to" (potential costs of adopting a new pronoun). The fact that your response was specifically in terms of the costs and benefits of "ze" confirmed my point. If your original statement held, you should have been able to defend it without reference to specifics (unless adopting "ze" was somehow free of costs whereas some other invented pronoun would not be).

Let's say my name is Nathan. I tell you my name is Nathan and I don't like nicknames. You refuse to call me Nathan and instead call me Nat. Granted, there might be some edge cases that aren't really worth mentioning where you aren't being insensitive (IOW, a jerk). But for the most part, I feel comfortable saying that in that situation, there's no reason for you to refuse to call me Nathan other than being a jerk.

Follow so far?

Now, if I said my name was "Antonious Maxmillian O'Donnell-McFelstaff the Third, Esquire" and I wanted to be addressed by that full phrase, and you can see how that's possibly a different situation if someone still calls me Mr. McFelstaff. Although this is mostly a ridiculous, non-real world situation that would never come up, so deciding whether or not you should call Antonious by his full title or not is pretty pointless. If it really mattered to him, I could see actually doing it if I cared about him, or just not addressing him at all if I didn't care about him.

So, my point being, if someone requests that you use a simple, single syllable pronoun that already has a fairly broad use, and you refuse to use it, that makes you a jerk. I can think of no other reason. You claim there are, so rather than going off one some ridiculous hypothetical that will never come up in the real world, perhaps you can explain what you think the reasons are.
troyp wrote:My view is that your position is untenable. There *are* reasons not to use "ze". Strong reasons.

Apparently you think the reasons are strong. I'd love to hear them.
troyp wrote:
If I was in an area where 25% of kids were murdered by their mothers?

1) Again with the 25%? Where is this figure coming from (and what country does it apply to, for that matter)? It's almost an order of magnitude higher than estimates I've heard (and a couple of orders of magnitude higher than survey results). I'm highly skeptical of such extreme figures from a partisan source. Not that it's really important to this discussion, but I'd still like to know. 25% would be a shocking figure, even for America.

The exact number may be smaller, but a quarter is easy to remember and gets you within an order of magnitude.
I forgot to put in "or attempted", my bad. Also, keep in mind that (trigger)
Spoiler:
a single person can get raped multiple times, as gang rape or repeatedly over the course of an abusive relationship or by different people at different times, etc.
. Also, if the figure is, say 10% of women have been victims of rape or attempted rape, that's a smaller number than the percent of women who will experience that in their lifetime.
troyp wrote:3) You've completely mixed up your analogy. Your analogy would actually correspond to a situation where 25% of women have been raped by Daniel Tosh.
Not at all. If that's the Tosh scenario, than the mother scenario would be where she threatens/jokes about someone killing a kid when she's already murdered 25% of all children.

As far as your opinion on terrorism jokes. Do you think hijacking jokes like "wouldn't it be funny if someone hijacked this plane and smashed it into the new World Trade Center buildings" would be appropriate while on a plane over New York? Now imagine that hijackings are much more common.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby troyp » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:28 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:"Wouldn't it be funny if you all raped her?" implies "You should rape her" which implies the threat "You will be raped."

That's...you're claiming he was threatening to *make the crowd rape her*??
(sigh) well, he simply didn't say that, in any case. The joke was 3rd person, hypothetical. Do you want to try to turn that into a threat? The contortions are horrible to watch, but strangely fascinating...

sorry, I don't mean to be a sarcastic prick. I just can't help myself. It's not you, personally. I've been in this thread too long. It's too much. There's a reason why I don't visit (or even lurk in) General. I swear I'll never know how Richard Dawkins can do this over and over. I'm starting to feel like laughing hysterically.

Also, if there were a 10% chance you were going to be murdered I should think that there would be a taboo on murder jokes. My guess is that people in the middle of a warzone don't muse upon how hilarious it would be if somebody were to be killed in an airstrike. Certainly not if the joker were in a position to carry out that airstrike.

Well, I guess it's hard to say, isn't it? You've picked an example that's (conveniently?) removed from your experience.

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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:49 pm UTC

troyp wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:"Wouldn't it be funny if you all raped her?" implies "You should rape her" which implies the threat "You will be raped."

That's...you're claiming he was threatening to *make the crowd rape her*??

No. I am not saying that. I'm saying there is an implicit threat that the crowd would, not that he'd make them.

Also, if there were a 10% chance you were going to be murdered I should think that there would be a taboo on murder jokes. My guess is that people in the middle of a warzone don't muse upon how hilarious it would be if somebody were to be killed in an airstrike. Certainly not if the joker were in a position to carry out that airstrike.

Well, I guess it's hard to say, isn't it? You've picked an example that's (conveniently?) removed from your experience.

Do you have one within our experience to say otherwise? You asked about an example outside of my experience.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Iranon » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:31 pm UTC

I don't have any hard data on whether people living under extreme risk/adversity joke more or less, but gallows humour certainly exists. This may also vary a fair bit across the world, but "people wouldn't joke about it if they were at risk themselves" strikes me as a ridiculous claim.

Regarding murderous mothers: Even if 25% of kids were murdered by their mothers, we'd still have to know how common death threats are to rate their seriosity. Assuming the mothers in this hypothetical troubled area average one death threat per kid per day for 15 years, we'd have 21900 death threats per murdered kid.
Enough to be alarmed by seemingly heartfelt threats... but I wouldn't see a reason to (socially) ban dead baby comedy.

*

More general musings:

If we excise all possibly traumatic subjects, we won't have much culture left.

Expecting others to follow non-standard language conventions to fit with one's ideology seems a bold request, to put it mildly. I'd tend towards prickly remarks even if I sympathised with their leanings, if this makes me a prick so be it.

Any natural language will have some idiosyncrasies and limitations. Futzing with the language itself in the hope to get something that's sufficiently correct and politically opportune is a losing battle unless we want to take this to outright newspeak.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby troyp » Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:53 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:No. I am not saying that. I'm saying there is an implicit threat that the crowd would, not that he'd make them.

I don't get. How could he make a threat that the crowd would rape her if he had no control of the crowd? Ah, it doesn't matter anyway.

Do you have one within our experience to say otherwise? You asked about an example outside of my experience.

Sure, I just listed about 8 starting with nonsexual violence and ending in torture, I think (um...I hope the likelihood of torture isn't in your experience, but the likelihood of many of those things would be). I'm sure you can think of others.

Роберт wrote:So, my point being, if someone requests that you use a simple, single syllable pronoun that already has a fairly broad use, and you refuse to use it, that makes you a jerk. I can think of no other reason.

Okay, that clarifies matters, although not as I'd hoped. Forget my hypothetical argument. I'm not sure why you find it confusing, but it's irrelevant now, since you apparently do actually think that "ze" is a special case (at least a little), with no reason to avoid it on account of it being short. First off, "ze" is not in fairly broad use, by any objective standard. I don't even know anyone IRL who calls themselves "ze" (admittedly I don't get out much and I'm not in the age group where the word is common, but still). If I didn't occasionally visit lgbt sites, I probably wouldn't have encountered anyone online who calls themselves "ze". If I go outside now and stop someone in the street, I strongly suspect they would never have even *heard* the word "ze". This is important not just because it reduces the incentive to adopt the word, but because it increases the disincentive, as I'll come to.

Apparently you think the reasons are strong. I'd love to hear them.

Did you miss my rant about adding made up words to English? That's just one reason. One of my personal reasons. There are more. Adopting a new pronoun would involve some effort and concentration at first, and a lot more effort explaining the term to people who didn't know it when you used it in the 3rd person. People would find it unfamiliar and strange, perhaps humorous, which is worse than just people laughing at you - it would impair your communication. Distract from the substance of what you say. It would sound odd in literature, lacking the gravitas of more well-established words. There are any number of other reasons. Probably people have reasons I would never even think of.

However you or I might weigh this issue up*, it's just not true to say that there is no reason to refuse except to be a jerk. This is one of the hallmarks of Basic Human Decency: ignoring any opinions, arguments or even evidence contrary to the "policy" and completely disregarding the thoughts and feelings of others (except of course, the specifically approved thoughts and feelings of the specific others who have been granted its "protection").

* on the issue of weighing it up, another thing that should occur to you, if it hasn't, is that while I can understand why someone might want a new gender-neutral pronoun applied to them, many people just wouldn't get it.

To be fair, I should add that it's possible I've overreacted or taken your statement too seriously because it pushed my "PC" buttons (of course, I never expected this long exchange about it - that's the result of unexpected communication difficulties). Admittedly, it's very common for people to omit the possibility of dissenting views. Even people who are willing to acknowledge them may make statements that portray there own views as facts, just as a way of presenting *their views*. So maybe what you said is no different. It *seems* worse to me, but I could be reading too much into it.

Also, if the figure is, say 10% of women have been victims of rape or attempted rape, that's a smaller number than the percent of women who will experience that in their lifetime.

Sure. Probably not as much as you'd think, though. If the distribution was uniform over age, you'd expect twice the number, but since the distribution is skewed towards youth (quite strongly, I think, from memory), the figures are probably not all that far apart.

Not at all. If that's the Tosh scenario, than the mother scenario would be where she threatens/jokes about someone killing a kid when she's already murdered 25% of all children.

Yes, at all. In the scenario you proposed, 25% of children were murdered by their mothers. The probability of the mother killing the child is therefore 25%. The mother jokes about killing the child, who she has a 25% probability of killing. For Tosh's joke (pretending he actually joked about raping the heckler) to be equivalent, he would have to have a 25% probability of raping that woman. The only way (with the information available) to express that in an analogy is if 25% of women were raped by Daniel Tosh.

Now, the new mother-child analogy you just proposed is correct, you're just wrong in claiming my analogy doesn't corresponded to the first one. It corresponds to both. They're equivalent in the relevant details. Whether the particular mother in question kills a random 25% of children, or a random 25% of mothers kill their own children, either way, there is a 25% chance of that mother killing that child.

Iranon wrote:Expecting others to follow non-standard language conventions to fit with one's ideology seems a bold request, to put it mildly. I'd tend towards prickly remarks even if I sympathised with their leanings, if this makes me a prick so be it.

Any natural language will have some idiosyncrasies and limitations. Futzing with the language itself in the hope to get something that's sufficiently correct and politically opportune is a losing battle unless we want to take this to outright newspeak

I agree with pretty much everything you say (mostly including this). But I think there actually is a real case for a gender-neutral pronoun (I'm no expert on the matter, but as someone who shares your general views and who's nonpartisan on the issue, I'm hoping you'll consider my claims as credible).

It's not just ideology. I mean I'm sure some of it's ideology and that some of it's also just silly androgynous kids seeking attention, but that's not what's important. There are people (probably many more than apparent) whose gender identity is irreconcilable with a single gender category (although it occurs to me that the problem might be greatly diminished if our concept of male and female weren't still so constraining). They can have a hard time of it, partly because of active discrimination, but also because society just doesn't have any place for them. It would be useful to have a gender-neutral pronoun because (a) we don't really have an existing pronoun which applies, which makes communication awkward; (b) it would be good to have a pronoun that doesn't feel *wrong* to the person it refers to, as though they're constantly being labelled as something they're not; and (c) it would be great if it eventually came into more general usage as a pronoun for everyone, since gendered pronouns are more trouble than they're worth, imo. (there are other political advantages advantages as well, like increased visibility which can accelerate social change, etc)

Of course, unlike Роберт, I do see the introduction of a new pronoun as a big deal. Personally, I look forward to the day when we have a gender-neutral pronoun, but I'm not looking forward to the transition period where our language has to be awkward.
Last edited by troyp on Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:57 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Thesh » Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:55 am UTC

My politics are correct, but I have a history of offending people, often intentionally.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:09 am UTC

There's a difference between gallows humour and 'joking' rape threats. Gallows humour isn't usually made by the executioner.

troyp wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:No. I am not saying that. I'm saying there is an implicit threat that the crowd would, not that he'd make them.

I don't get. How could he make a threat that the crowd would rape her if he had no control of the crowd? Ah, it doesn't matter anyway.

Who said no control? He encouraged them.

Do you have one within our experience to say otherwise? You asked about an example outside of my experience.

Sure, I just listed about 8 starting with nonsexual violence and ending in torture, I think (um...I hope the likelihood of torture isn't in your experience, but the likelihood of many of those things would be). I'm sure you can think of others.

The things that are in my experience aren't analogous to this situation.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Iranon » Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:09 pm UTC

troyp wrote:I agree with pretty much everything you say (mostly including this). But I think there actually is a real case for a gender-neutral pronoun (I'm no expert on the matter, but as someone who shares your general views and who's nonpartisan on the issue, I'm hoping you'll consider my claims as credible).

It's not just ideology. I mean I'm sure some of it's ideology and that some of it's also just silly androgynous kids seeking attention, but that's not what's important. There are people (probably many more than apparent) whose gender identity is irreconcilable with a single gender category (although it occurs to me that the problem might be greatly diminished if our concept of male and female weren't still so constraining). They can have a hard time of it, partly because of active discrimination, but also because society just doesn't have any place for them. It would be useful to have a gender-neutral pronoun because (a) we don't really have an existing pronoun which applies, which makes communication awkward; (b) it would be good to have a pronoun that doesn't feel *wrong* to the person it refers to, as though they're constantly being labelled as something they're not; and (c) it would be great if it eventually came into more general usage as a pronoun for everyone, since gendered pronouns are more trouble than they're worth, imo. (there are other political advantages advantages as well, like increased visibility which can accelerate social change, etc)

Of course, unlike Роберт, I do see the introduction of a new pronoun as a big deal. Personally, I look forward to the day when we have a gender-neutral pronoun, but I'm not looking forward to the transition period where our language has to be awkward.


Kind words will get you many things, but won't fend off opinionated counterarguments!

Simplifying (logicians: please don't eat me), An argument in the form of "x is a problem, y solves it, therefore we should do y" is problematic as it doesn't consider costs, drawbacks and alternatives. Murder is a solution to a great many problems, but usually there are enough drawbacks that it's a suboptimal solution.

There is definitely a case for gender-neutral pronouns. Stronger than the case against them backed by "reasonable inertia" to avoid perpetual flip-flopping?
I'm not convinced for general speech. Some people convention tells me to hold in contempt (economics background...) may have need for more precision.

As far as I can tell, the tendency to make rash inferences from a person's sex isn't mainly a language issue.
Fixing a non-language issue via a language change seems an ugly hack. It remains popular because it's easy, saves having to think about the finer issues, shows something is being done even if nothing gets done.
There are associated risks and costs: ridicule at linguistic contortions may spill over to ridicule at the people they are supposed to benefit. Any artificial new term for something touchy becomes an officially sanctioned slur, all you need is a little emphasis.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Роберт » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:55 pm UTC

The pronoun has already been introduced. It's already in the language.

So is the pronoun "y'all".
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:10 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:So is the pronoun "y'all".

Normally I'm very strict about grammar, but I actually quite like that pronoun, because it acts as a useful word that English otherwise does not have: there isn't another second person plural pronoun.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby AvatarIII » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:22 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Роберт wrote:So is the pronoun "y'all".

Normally I'm very strict about grammar, but I actually quite like that pronoun, because it acts as a useful word that English otherwise does not have: there isn't another second person plural pronoun.


sure it does, it's just "you", or to prevent confusion with singular "you", a simple modifier removes ambiguity, "you all" or "you lot" or something like that.

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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:59 pm UTC

English doesn't have a word for it if by "it" you mean a word that only acts as a plural second person pronoun. And I suppose you could count "you all", but that's essentially what "ya'll" is, it's just an abbreviation.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby AvatarIII » Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:25 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:English doesn't have a word for it if by "it" you mean a word that only acts as a plural second person pronoun. And I suppose you could count "you all", but that's essentially what "ya'll" is, it's just an abbreviation.


Well yeah, it's not really a word in its own right, although there's nothing grammatically wrong with it, however informal it may be.

however if you are going to say "you should all" changing it you "y'all should all" is as bad as saying "a whole 'nother" as far as i'm concerned.

but this is off topic.

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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:28 pm UTC

You could just say "y'all should".
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby AvatarIII » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:27 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:You could just say "y'all should".

sounds clunky to me.


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