The Most Consequential Debate In Human History

... at least you'd think so for all the heated discussion it has spawned.

Sigh. Once there was a dream of a site where a community of smart, kind and decent people gathered to organize and make change.

I've been reading through the various threads from Sunday this morning debating whether the word "bitch" should be verboten on this site. One side of the debate is adamant that its use is hurtful and sexist. The other side of the debate is adamant that it is their "right" to use it, regardless of whether it offends people.

Both sides expect the site moderation to side with them and enforce their rights.

This was my bright idea in a previous set of threads:

i don't like censorship, you don't like censorship - but we all appreciate it when people are kind and respect the feelings of others.

there are a significant number of people on this site that are disturbed by the usage of certain terms that, while common, are not generally considered fit for polite company. they have made plain their discomfort with the use of these terms, even when applied to someone that is broadly disliked or worse.

these terms single out characteristics that identify groups of people, so when they are used to deride an individual, there is collateral damage.

this is my personal observation, so others mileage may vary, but i have found these terms to be without utility that cannot be had by other expressions. the sole utility that comes to mind that cannot be replicated is the ability to offend people and create an atmosphere of discomfort.

so, if these terms could be eschewed, not out of fear of reprisal, but rather out of kindness and care for a large part of the community, that would be the optimal situation.

Sadly, it doesn't seem to have caught on.

From a site moderation standpoint, this is a no-win situation. There are slippery slopes on all sides. If indulged, those who demand to exercise their right to blurt out the inarticulate speech of their hearts despite the discomfort of others in the community will likely find some new limit to push at some later time. If the site recognizes the request to penalize the use of some words, it sets a precedent that will no doubt be raised by other aggrieved groups of people later.

A solution that is imposed by administration, rather than a common agreement from the community can have far-reaching negative consequences.

Here's some music to listen to with this essay:

My first thought on reading Sunday's threads was that this is why the left will never get anything done. We will be arguing about words and policing arguments while the ocean rises and we all drown.

Some people insist that it is their right to call Hillary Clinton a bitch and they must exercise that right come hell or high water. Because free speech, man!

If the intention of these statements is to foster solidarity against the candidacy of Clinton, this choice of language is just stupid from a pragmatic standpoint. When these sorts of statements are made all discussion inevitably winds up stuck in the mud pit that the word choice creates, revolves around the wording and the discussions do not promote solidarity.

Posting these sorts of statements helps Hillary Clinton. If someone is coming to the site looking for serious information about how left/progressive people view Clinton's candidacy, they find a bunch of people arguing in a mud pit over whether she's a bitch rather than making cogent and incisive commentary about things like Hillary's war crimes, the "super predator" racism, the support for globalization and the many other awful things that Clinton has done and stood for.

Further, it makes it easy to marginalize the site as a place for sophomoric content. Congratulations folks, you can be famous, because when Hillbots cherry pick quotes to characterize the site, they will be choosing your deep thoughts.

Beyond the pragmatic, there is also a moral dimension to this discussion.

Language is a powerful thing. If you were to chat with a fully-licensed philosopher, she would probably tell you that our language symbols to some degree create the parameters of our thought processes, that we construct concepts with word symbols. Language is also sneaky. If you were to chat with a fully-licensed poet, he would probably tell you that the associations that words have can subtly deliver sense and meaning that a given set of symbols' dictionary definitions would not convey.

Hold those thoughts for a second while I digress.

For at least the last fifty years or so (give or take) there has been a general social consensus that slavery was wrong. But surely, people knew during the times that slavery was practiced that it was morally suspect to enslave another human being.

The way that many people dealt with the cognitive dissonance of the peculiar institution was to build a conceptual framework of words with the assistance of the intellectual class (see the work of George Fitzhugh, for example) and the clergy.

They created a plethora of words to differentiate those who would be enslaved and to justify the treatment of fellow human beings as domestic animals.

One must wonder at the need some people seem to have to enforce their right to use dehumanizing language to describe others. When one describes Hillary as a "bitch" it is, among other things, a not-too-subtle act of dehumanization.

Many of us on this site are appalled at the way that Clinton dehumanizes others - like the way she cackled with glee, "We came, we saw, he died," at the brutal murder of another human being - a murder she helped create the conditions for.

Please, let us not become what we loathe.

Now to the other pole of this argument.

There are quite a number of incendiary personalities on this site, many of whom are, they say, committed to working to make change.

Some of those folks with incendiary personalities have made it clear that they would like a little authoritarian censorship here - or damnit they are going to pack up their bags and go elsewhere.

Seriously, if that is your idea of how to make change, you are better off in a smaller pond where you are the sole source of authority.

Yes, you can use authoritarian means to change behavior sometimes, but it doesn't work out so well in changing attitudes.

Changing attitudes is what is needed for real, authentic social change.

Changing attitudes takes a commitment to struggle with people for mutual understanding, educating yourself and others and being willing to put up with a certain amount of bullshit in the longer process of building a working relationship between yourself and others. Just as in any community, there are going to be people that you just don't really get along with. That's what happens when you put a couple of thousand people in a room together.

Is it a realistic assumption that in a town of 2000 people you will find nobody that pisses you off sometimes?

By demanding official censorship as the solution to over-indulged expression, it takes the community down the road to becoming that which it loathes. It seems that many people came here because they were deeply dissatisfied with a site that practiced official censorship.

Ok, so that's what I have to say about the issue. I don't care for censorship or coercion, but I'm all for persuasion. Thank you for your attention and consideration.

The moderators and admins are discussing the situation and will be watching the various community posts on the issue.

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katchen's picture

the sensitivity and evenhandedness with which you've thought through this issue. This site is obviously in caring hands.

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joe shikspack's picture

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

[Edited: . in place of !]

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Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

Pricknick's picture

that freedom of speech in the written text that offends others is alive and well here. Good.
All have to remember that they have the freedom to not read what offends them.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

without reading it first?

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Only connect. - E.M. Forster

Centaurea's picture

One of the big inherent dilemmas of the Internet. As an Internet user, and former moderator and admin at various sites, I'm not sure there is an answer, at least not on the level at which the dilemma arises.

Edited to add: There's an "ignore" or "block user" function that some sites have, and FB of course, so you can automatically filter out specific users you don't want to read. But I'd prefer not to use something like that on a site like c99. When I read a discussion thread, I would prefer to see the entire development of the subject, without bits and pieces auto-edited out.

Plus, even with the "block" function, people quote and respond to the blocked user, so you end up reading what they write anyway.

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

elenacarlena's picture

the subject. It was technically difficult, I forget why. And it cuts down on discussions we want to have, so admin felt it was the opposite of what this site should be about.

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I do not read anything with more than one offensive word. I do not complain but I don't hear what you have to say.

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It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves that we've been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back. Carl Sagan

tourniquet's picture

i guess i'll just refrain from posting my totally awesome harvest soup recipe.

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katchen's picture

I think you meant to say your totally bitchin' harvest soup recipe.

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joe shikspack's picture

to engage, to attempt to educate and to complain to and about those that write offensive things.

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mimi's picture

heated disagreements and then finally "hurt" feelings on all sides. There lies the problem, I think.

It's a sad day when we need to think about that, because we can't act like we hoped we would and should.

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mimi

dance you monster's picture

All have to remember that they have the freedom to not read what offends them.

Unless you genuinely want to open the floodgates. There are epithets for groups of people -- and bitch is one such epithet -- that are wisely considered out of bounds in any discourse. I sincerely hope you don't want to open those floodgates of hatred.

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tourniquet's picture

being open, while still remaining a place for respectful conversation is one of the reasons this site is so effective. once you start passing laws governing language, you open the floodgates to any number of complaints of offense taken and demands for safe spaces. then your website is dailykos.

this discussion is about a problem that by any metric is not a problem here, and people immediately want to moderate.

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dance you monster's picture

Bitch refers to more than just Hillary. The word has a very long and ugly history. So do the N word, or kyke, or faggot, epithets that could be leveled at particular politicians or whole groups, and the reason they are used to characterize individuals is because of the sting the words hold for whole groups.

Pricknick's bid that readers "remember that they have the freedom to not read what offends them" is a classic blaming-the-victim tactic. It alleges it's the offended's fault that she is offended, and the person intentionally picking an offensive word to use is freed of all agency. This blaming of the victim instead of the aggressor is not a step on the path to a better world. It is an embrace of all the ugliness of this one.

Hate speech is hate speech. We do not need it to be an effective site.

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tourniquet's picture

up to the community to tell a person using such epithets that they are an idiot. that's how this should work. by asking the moderation to deal with such a thing (although i think if someone went off about niggers or kykes, moderation would probably have something to say about it) you're basically a) taking offense, then b) running to authority instead of using your own voice to tell the person why they're fucking up.

are we adults here or not?

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Older and Wiser Now's picture

http://caucus99percent.com/comment/172737#comment-172737

Is it censorship to frown on the use of the word nigger? Why or why not?

Is it censorship to frown on the use of the word faggot? Why or why not?

Why is it censorship when a member of this community wishes for this community to similarly frown on the use of the word bitch?

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~OaWN

joe shikspack's picture

you have just used the words nigger, bitch and faggot.

no alarms were triggered, the sprinkler system did not switch on.

context and intent matter.

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Older and Wiser Now's picture

and how the words were actually used in the situations that Shiz wrote her diary about, right?

I was using the words in almost a clinical way, in a way that would have been difficult to do any other way.

Talking about the word bitch is very different than using that word as a means to describe/insult HRC. You get that, right?

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~OaWN

Fleur de Lisa's picture

"context and intent matter."

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Older and Wiser Now's picture

The topic in question has to do with the use of the word bitch as a slur, as an insult against any woman in particular.

As far as I can see, nobody objects to the legitimate use of the word when discussing a female canine.

Was there/is there seriously confusion about this?

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~OaWN

joe shikspack's picture

then i think what your interlocutor was trying to point out is that the requested banning of a word removes the discretion to consider the context and intent and makes the mere fact of its use an offense, much like in grade school.

it is my feeling that in the one occurrence of the use of the phrase "hillary is a bitch" on this site that i am aware of that the person who used it had no intent to denigrate or hurt women broadly. on the other hand, i find the callousness of some people who find it preposterous that some women feel hurt by that usage to be unpleasant and somewhat disturbing.

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Older and Wiser Now's picture

I would like to see something like the "standard of the community" is that we do not approve of slur words being used against any minority, including women.

If we do not approve of calling a black person a "nigger", can't we also not approve of calling a woman a "bitch"? In my mind, it is essentially the same principle, a slur word that can be used as a derogatory term against a minority.

Not even having seen the situation, I agree with you: I strongly suspect that the person who said that "Hillary is a bitch" did not intend to denigrate or hurt women broadly. To me, though, that is beside the point. Once upon a time, many persons didn't see anything wrong with using the word "nigger" either. Today, there are still many persons who don't see anything wrong with calling a football team "the redskins". People by their nature seem to be insensitive to certain situations until they are educated otherwise. I am not trying to label or judge any person who in the past has thought that the use of the word is not that big of a deal. I am trying to raise consciousness, as they say. People can be "good people" and still cause harm because they didn't know any better. That doesn't make them bad, nobody on earth know everything. IMHO, though, those who think of themselves as "good people" should reconsider their prior positions as new information becomes available to them. If they learn that a certain minority considers a word to be a slur against them ... shouldn't they take that information into account?

The word bitch is objectionable for the same reasons why nigger, faggot, redskin, and retard are objectionable words. To be opposed to some of them, but not all of them, is to rather miss the point about why the latter words have fallen out of favor. I share some of Shiz's frustration at even having to explain this to progressives. The idea behind the word is simply not nice, and the fact that it is still viewed as being in the "still okay to use" category makes all women vulnerable to it. People are creatures of habit - as it has become inappropriate to use the word nigger, that word (and the threat of that word) is disappearing. Many women want the similar fate to the word bitch.

Imagine if all of this time and energy had been spent debating on c99 whether or not it was okay to use the word "nigger" here. It's rather difficult, isn't it? There is a pretty clear understanding that the word itself is objectionable. But imagine that we did not have that understanding. Imagine how black persons would feel about that discussion. Others might not understand why the word was horrible, but they understood the truth of that word and how it was used to demean, insult, and hurt them. That is how Shiz and I both feel now, and also many other women. Would people be talking about censorship if they lost the "right" to use the word nigger on c99? I think not. And yet, the request to make the word bitch unacceptable on c99 when it is used to demean, insult, and hurt any woman has inspired a very different discussion. Why is that?

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~OaWN

tourniquet's picture

going to get a lot of hate for this.

but in what world are women a minority? at best, you're talking about portions of percentages per person. (woo, alliteration)

ed: there are .02% more men than women on the planet in countries with a population greater than 200k.

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Fleur de Lisa's picture

"minority" refers not only to numerical minorities, but also to those with relatively less power.

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elenacarlena's picture

But a historically oppressed group, nevertheless, therefore to be treated with the same respect that we treat minorities around here.

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tourniquet's picture

i'm being seriously pedantic here, i guess. perhaps the effects of the booze going on in the house tonight.

i guess i'm thinking over the ability of women to literally form an army and fuck up men. it could happen,

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elenacarlena's picture

unlikely. For one thing, many men and women get along fine. For another, we haven't even organized sufficiently to keep control of our own bodies yet. https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/overview-abortion-laws

When we said abortion should be safe, legal and rare, we meant rare because women are respected when they say no and birth control is widely available. We didn't mean rare because there isn't a doctor willing to perform an abortion for hundreds of miles around.

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Older and Wiser Now's picture

Women in America have only had the vote for about 100 years.

Women today make 70 cents on the dollar compared to what men make.

The equal rights amendment has not been successfully passed.

HRC will be the first woman ever to "sit in the oval office", as they say.

Yes, there are less men than women on the planet. But the men hold vast amounts of power, while women hold relatively little.

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~OaWN

tourniquet's picture

-no, because it's me frowning on the word, and it's me that is going to take action against said use. i'd expect others to raise their voices as well.

-no, see above.

-it's not censorship unless the moderation gets involved. the word "bitch", as has been made very clear over the last few days, can have many uses, not all of them directed at anyone in particular. once a member of this community starts demanding that the community "frown on the use of the word", hands down, then you're stepping into the realm of thought- and language-policing that is unhealthy to discourse.

i, personally, frown on the word "bitch", but i'm not going to winge to the admins if someone calls a politician a bitch, or their high-school teacher a bitch, or their mother a bitch. my problem is going to arise when someone calls someone else on this site a bitch. not when someone accuses someone of bitching, not when they say "life's a bitch" but when they say "how dare you, you bitch" to someone involved in this discourse, because this website is our discourse here.

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Older and Wiser Now's picture

I was trying to show solidarity with you with my comment ... your latest one here is very different than what I expected. And you responded to just a snippet of my complete comment elsewhere (because that is what I gave you, so I "enabled" this siutation) so now it makes it difficult to decide how best to reply.

But first let's be clear: we all know how the word bitch is being used when someone calls Hillary a bitch, don't we?

We know that such a person is not confused and sincerely believes that HRC is any kind of a dog, don't we? Has anybody suggested that the sentence "and after giving birth, the bitch then grooms her new pups" is objectionable? No. As adults, we can all recognize the different contexts in which the problematic word can be used, and the one particular context that many women besides Shiz finds to be objectionable? I find the claim that the word has other meanings to be more than a bit of a red herring.

Let me try a different tack by asking you about your comment:

although i think if someone went off about niggers or kykes, moderation would probably have something to say about it)

Can you elaborate on that a bit more? Why exactly would moderation say something when the words "niggers or kykes" are used?

Would you feel that if someone did indeed use the words niggers or kykes, would it be appropriate to report that to the moderators? Or would that be whinging too?

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~OaWN

tourniquet's picture

we do know how the word "bitch" is being used when referring to hillary clinton as a "bitch". i'd say that's a bit less harsh than "warmonger", "baby killer", "genocidal", maybe even "neoliberal". i have no problem with someone expressing themselves thusly about a person who is not directly involved in the conversation. i don't think it raises the level of discourse, but hey, if someone thinks clinton is a "bitch" and feels the need to express such a sentiment, my personal response is going to be fairly minimal either way.

well, if someone decides to freak out about "the niggers" in a comment then that can be directly attributed to a belligerently racist worldview, which i think anyone would agree is not conducive to discourse here. likewise, someone bitching about "the jews" ("kykes" being fairly under-used as far as i've seen) is pretty obviously declaring themselves antisemitic. would you disagree that either of these types is less than desirable on a non-right-wing site such as c99?

furthermore, would you argue that anyone that would call clinton a "bitch" is obviously misogynist? or are they just pissed? is it only woman-hating men that use this term?

ed: given your experience on dailykos, can you see why the banning of such a term would lead to people saying "life's a bitch" being gang-flagged with rulemongers who are tremedously happy to take such use out of context in the hope of painting another banhammer on their trophy wall?

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Older and Wiser Now's picture

I'm not sure if that was intentional or not. By avoiding answering, you avoid the issue that I am trying to raise.

well, if someone decides to freak out about "the niggers" in a comment then that can be directly attributed to a belligerently racist worldview, which i think anyone would agree

is not conducive to discourse here

. likewise, someone bitching about "the jews" ("kykes" being fairly under-used as far as i've seen) is pretty obviously declaring themselves antisemitic. would you disagree that either of these types is less than desirable on a non-right-wing site such as c99?

I'm paraphrasing here, but you seem to be saying that many people would be uncomfortable (i.e. "would frown on") someone who was using words like ""the niggers", or speaking negatively about "the jews". You seem to also take it one step further, and suggest [I think], that persons who would use such language are "bad" [my word, not yours), that is, the use of such language reveals that they are racists or antisemitic. I think it is that last bit that might be getting in the way.

I'm trying to say that Shiz was being brave, in that she was voicing her objection to using the word "bitch" as an insult against a women. It makes her uncomfortable, and she is not alone. It makes other women uncomfortable too, including me, as a result of the conversation today. We view this word as a slur, it makes us uncomfortable. But we would not go so far as to think that anyone who has been previously, and "innocently" using this word in this way are "bad people" - simply unaware people who did not comprehend that their use of the word is both hurtful, and perpetuating a status quo in which it is okay to use slurs against women.

Once upon a time, it was essentially okay to use slurs like nigger and faggot and redskin and retard. Today progressives as a whole do not approve of such language, we condemn it. Why? Because people finally came to realize that such language was cruel, and that those who continue to use it reveal themselves to be ignorant, unfeeling, and/or tacky.

I submit to you that those who feel that slurs like nigger and faggot and redskin and retard are unacceptable, and who also feel that there is nothing wrong with using the word bitch as a derogatory term for a woman, are holding a double-standard.

To condemn some of the slur words, but not all of them, is rather missing the point about why slur words are unacceptable. If you cry censorship over the word bitch, you should also be crying censorship and advocating for the right to use nigger, faggot, redskin, and retard whenever you want to as well. But I haven't seen anyone advocating for that. Why not? Why is the only slur word that folks seem to be advocating for is the right to use the word bitch?

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~OaWN

I won't speculate as to why I think this may be so - as I wouldn't want to offend anyones' feelings : )

But the only reason I can think of ain't so pretty.

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tourniquet's picture

got something to say, katie, you'd do well to go ahead and say it. i've got pretty thick skin, and i promise i'll answer in kind.

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nicely.

Others, not so much.

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tourniquet's picture

trying to "cry censorship" over the the word "bitch". i think such censorship is contextual, and i think it's fairly clear that the argument is between a) moderators should be involved over the use of certain words, and b) no moderation should be involved over the use of certain words, in an attempt to promote discourse.

let me be clear: if a person is confronted about such language and becomes deliberately insulting or aggressive, that's when moderation needs to step in. if a person calls clinton a bitch, is confronted by another member and it leads to a discussion of the term rather than a heated, belligerent argument, then the net result is likely to be at least positive. most people here, again in my experience, are not looking to offend.

if this is a community, and not a dictatorship, we should all be willing to police people who are obviously belligerent, outside of administration. that's all i'm trying to say. if people need rules to make them feel better about not having to voice their opinion, which in this case has apparently caused a member to leave the site, then one of the parties has failed at "community".

whether or not this, being a discussion board online, is a "community" has been questioned in recent comments. i'm interested in what people think about "community", most of us being generally left-leaning, i don't understand this need to absolve ourselves from conversation (or outright dissent) about offensive topics. it seems to me that this is a much broader topic than just offensive language.

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Older and Wiser Now's picture

I was not trying to accuse YOU, trouniquet- I'm sorry that it came across that way. I was speaking to you, but trying to use the word "you" in the plural sense. My understanding is that some in the community have voiced objections about the use of the word, and others in the community have voiced objections about being restricted FROM using the word. It was that latter group I was referring to with my word "you" (which I'm sure is confusing as hell, but there it is); they are the ones who are crying censorship, IMHO. Yet they do not cry censorship about not be allowed to say nigger, faggot, redskin, retard.

I feel like I'm repeating myself but my desire is that the community refrains from using slurs against any minority, including women, because "we do not do that here". I would hope it would be a community standard, something that most of us actually agree about rather than argue about. And moderation would not be called in on every single instance, but available if necessary to educate some newbie in that very special voice that moderators have.

At this point, my focus is less on the line between community and moderation and more on simply obtaining consensus that we as a community have a shared value of refraining from using slurs against any minority, including women. Other than that I agree with most of your second and third paragraphs. I would not phrase the situation as one of "people need rules to make them feel better"; perhaps I am mistaken, but I thought that Shiz was primarily trying to advocate for a "no slurs here" position.

Whether or not c99 is a community is an open question, I think many people, including me believe that it is. But I also see what I think is your point, that people might have different ideas about what that word actually means. I don't think that our conclusion is that we need to avoid offensive topics. Sometimes I think that many persons in the world would benefit from taking an active listening class, though, to learn certain techniques that can make difficult conversations a bit easier. One such technique is learning how to paraphrase as a means of checking for understanding, and being willing to ask questions to clarify, rather than "putting words into someone else's mouth".

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~OaWN

tourniquet's picture

that using slurs is effective in a conversation. however, it's a bigtime tell, one that makes things easy for whatever parties are involved in the discussion. if you're wondering whether or not to take someone seriously they are invaluable.

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Pricknick's picture

is not what I intend.
I was trying to say, that if you are offended by what I write, not what I say to you personally, there are better options than stifling what I write.
Tell me you're offended. If I direct my offensive behavior at you, now there is truly an issue.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Older and Wiser Now's picture

one intends.

I once wrote a diary on TOP entitled something like "Bernie-Bro is a slur, just like the N-word and the F-word".

Many people read the title much differently than I intended. My intention was to say, "these three words are all slurs. If you don't like the last two, you should refrain from using the first one, because it is a slur too".

What many people heard was "the word Bernie-Bro is Just-As-Bad as the N-word and the F-word".

I tried to explain that I did not mean to offend, and they basically ignored my attempts to reason with them. One poster especially chewed me out, saying that as a black, homosexual, he was completely seething at what I had written, and he did not mince his words one little bit. After a few minutes I realized that even though I had been misunderstood, I had in fact caused this man a great deal of pain. And so I apologized to him. And he accepted my apology. Shortly afterwards, I deleted the diary, and then cried on the shoulders of the Women for Bernie group, because I felt that I had failed all of them because I happened by chance to not realize that my words could be interpreted differently than I intended.

If someone is offended by my language, it does not help to tell them that they are wrong for being offended. I have learned that when people are emotionally triggered, they are not capable of rational thought. Such is to be human, we basically ALL react in that way. I have learned that when my DD and I are yelling at each other ... that is not a teachable moment. I need to wait until the emotion subsides, because only then is the rational part of our brains accessible to each of us.

If someone is offended by my language, I take it very seriously because my goal is to influence others. I don't think of it as being "right" or "wrong" of them, I just note that "it is". And then I ask myself if there are other words that I can use that would get the job done that would not cause offense, because IMHO, those are BETTER words that make ME more effective as a speaker.

Maybe there is a bit more than two cents in what i've written here. I am kind of upset right now about this, just like everyone else I guess. I like peace and happy families, it stresses me out when folks I love are not getting along. I hope I have not offended you with these words, that was not MY intent.

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~OaWN

tourniquet's picture

i remember this diary, and the comments were typically ugly and deliberately stupid.

i see whiffs of such stupidity every time someone disagrees with someone else and are immediately called a trump supporter, asked why they hate X, asked why they support something as evil as X, asked why they love hitler, etc. (ok, i haven't seen hitler yet, but it's out there somewhere.)

"bernie bro" could have easily been co-opted by sanders supporters as a badge of pride, but the "racist, misogynist, white-male-basement-dweller etc." drum beat was so strong from the clinton camp that it couldn't be ignored. storybook down-punching, textbook hippie-punching.

i've never seen you use offensive language, and i completely agree that the use of such language rests on the shoulders of the user. dissent should be directed at the user, not the environment or the administration. that's how you self-police a forum for discussion, as opposed to the use of ban-hammers or anonymous flag brigades.

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GIANT ALL-CAPS SIG

Older and Wiser Now's picture

I did feel more than little bit piled on in that diary. In hindsight, I think that certain persons who enjoy politics live for such moments, taking advantages of small errors made by an opponent and blowing that error completely out of proportion in order to score as many political points as they can.

I actually have been using quite a lot of offensive language lately, especially the other F-word, but I try my best not to insult others and also to "take the high road" and shake off the insults directed my way. I do so for multiple reasons, but the one I'll mention here is that I know that lurkers are watching. I think the person who acts most like an adult in a heated discussion is viewed more positively, all other things considered. Another reason is that if my goal is to persuade my opponent, I know that insulting them is the wrong way to go about it. But I do lose it on occasion.

And something in your words makes me want to clarify: I would hope and like to see that avoidance of slurs would be a community standard, a shared goal that we share as a community. It is my understanding that "avoidance of slurs" is a progressive value, and that we want to be mindful of words to be respectful of, and also minimize the pain of, various groups. The list of objectionable words, etc., grows long: we don't call Native Americans "redskins", "coons", "injuns", etc., and object to having "Indians" used as mascots for sports teams. Why? Because Native Americans find it disrespectful. We don't call special needs children "retards" or even "retarded". Why? Because it is disrespectful. In general, progressives avoid slurs and instead try to use language that is more affirming of, and respectful of, various minorities. If other minorities can object to the slurs that are used against them, why can't women object to the word bitch ? If Hillary were a Native American, would it be acceptable to insult her by calling her a dirty redskin? I would hope the answer is No.

I am not trying to say that "it should be the moderator's job" to ensure or enforce that nobody utters slurs on this site. I wish it be a shared community value. And I find it kind of strange that all of this hoopla is happening around the right to use the word bitch. Are there other slurs that people want the right to be able to use? Or is bitch the only one?

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~OaWN

tourniquet's picture

you've said here. i, personally, get that any sort of derogatory language, used to denigrate, isn't helpful. in a perfect community, yeah, certainly that would be a well-understood value.

bitch, in my experience, is kind of like "fuck". it's "a problem" or "a weak-minded person" or "a person who is whiny" or "a female who complains a lot" or "a male who complains a lot" or "complaints" or, god i could go on. it's broad, broad language. when someone calls clinton a "bitch", is it different than calling clinton a "dick" or an "asshole"? is it different than calling her a "cunt"? all of these are denigrating terms. the only one i find offensive is "cunt", and that's only because our american culture has decided it should be. my offense is driven by that fact; at the same time tempered by the fact that "cunt" is practically a term of endearment in most of the english speaking world, much like "dick" is here in the US.

again, personally, i think we need to allow people to use any of these terms. that's step one to allowing the community to respond to such things. that's what gives us a bearing on what our community believes, because it allows our community to respond to such. it's pretty obvious when someone is using such language to be an ass, and i have no doubt they'd be responded to in kind.

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Pricknick's picture

Now, if we can only develop a rule for what language this is you speak about:

it's pretty obvious when someone is using such language to be an ass, and i have no doubt they'd be responded to in kind.

It's an impossibility.
Many refer to George Carlin and his rule of the seven dirty words.
What many refuse to see is how he was making fun of the stupidity of making them dirty. It's not the words. It's the context. Yet it's still a word.
It's all in how you were learnt. And yes, learnt makes sense.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Older and Wiser Now's picture

this?, not exactly offensive, but more like incredibly immature.

I've been watching something on ancient Rome, and of course they were preoccupied with sex and having these sexual images portrayed on the walls. Sex is an interesting topic because on the one hand there were issues of strength via fertility, and on a different had there was the use of sex to show dominance of one person over another (for example, higher-ranked slaves in a household had the right to essentially rape the ones lower-down on the scale). In Pompeii there is a certain image of a scale with a phallus on one side and a large pile of gold on the other, the meaning was "it's worth it's weight in gold!".

The words have a history behind them, and meaning can slowly evolve over time. In the end, words tends to have the meaning that those in their community assign to it. Using a female slur to insult a male, to essentially refer to a man as a woman, is often one of the greatest insults. The concept of a cuckold is also horrific, a man who could not satisfy his woman is offered as evidence that he is not much of a man. Such words have a certain primal power over them.

I hear you saying that we need to "allow people" to be able to use this language. I don't know what you mean be that. I am not calling for anyone to have their heads chopped off, or for immediate banishment. I propose that persons who use this language be treated by the community that same way that they would be treated when uttering the words nigger, faggot, redskin, retard, or any other derogatory slur against a minority.

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~OaWN

tourniquet's picture

guess that anyone calling someone nigger, faggot, redskin (really, redskin? when was the last time you heard that?) etc etc here on c99 is going to get some pushback. last week someone called hillary fucking clinton a bitch in one post, and since then we've had how many hours of discussion about it?

i'm pretty sure, at this point, that people here are sensitive to derogatory language.

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Alligator Ed's picture

in my opinion as a protest against use of terms which in this era are decided to be out of acceptable parlance. So this is an argument about principle, not about a single word "bitch".

My opinion is that this site (or really any other forum of discussion) should be respectful. Now the problem is, and always has been what is considered respectful and what is not. The general rule MIGHT be that one should not purposefully inflict offense on another. But some people can be thin-skinned when it comes to certain words or idioms. How wide-spread is that particular umbrage? Discussion such as in this comment thread is an excellent place to begin defining generally acceptable terminology. But always this will result in an insecurity of what is allowable and what is not. When words such as "nigger" (there, I said it--but note the context) are used then the GENERAL consensus is that word is offensive. Clear enough example.

But many words or phrases are insulting to some and not to others. For instance, engaging in ad hominem attacks on an essayist or commentator should never be allowed. But what about public figures?

It is both impractical and unwise to take an acceptability poll before using each word that SOMEONE might find objectionable. Insulting members of this community (c99) is NEVER acceptable, regardless of verbiage. But there will always be instances in which wording is in a nebulous zone between acceptable and intolerable. It is there proper for the site administrator and appointed moderators to step in and make that judgment.

There are rare fixed rules about the myriad of ways words may be employed that no one can make a dogmatic choice of propriety or impropriety.

So here are my rules (JtC, of course has the final say in this)
1. No personal attacks on c99 members
2. Use of a moderator when questions arise.

There is no such thing as absolute freedom because then there is only chaos. We must define our boundaries--sometimes someone has to do it for us. Fortunately, on this site that type of intervention has been rare.

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those have always been the rules, they are the essence of our DBAA rule.

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Pricknick's picture

with such artfully written or verbal prose?
Fuck yea!

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Older and Wiser Now's picture

The folks on TOP got into the habit of calling me a seal, and showing a certain cartoon of a seal who butted into conversations and was annoying because they would not go away and were unfailingly polite.

And someone said something along the lines of how I used conversation in a passive-aggressive way. I was impressed by their ability to demonize me precisely for not "doing anything wrong," so to speak.

So that "fuck yea!' at the end sounds like you were offended? But maybe not?

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~OaWN

Pricknick's picture

The issue of this entire diary, was to how better understand how people are offended by words.
My "Fuck yea!" was to agree with what you wrote. There was no other intention, yet it confused you.
Guilty as charged.
Peace

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Older and Wiser Now's picture

So thank you. Peace to you as well.

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~OaWN

Raggedy Ann's picture

That's the way I understand it, as well. Pleasantry

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"The “jumpers” reminded us that one day we will all face only one choice and that is how we will die, not how we will live." Chris Hedges on 9/11

lunachickie's picture

While I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this essay, I do not understand this portion:

Some people insist that it is their right to call Hillary Clinton a bitch and they must exercise that right come hell or high water. Because free speech, man!

It was never put that way and thus, unfair to portray it as such. I was all over that discussion. My opinion is much like yours, tourniquet, and that's essentially how I saw it overall. Now, there were a lot of comments after awhile, but I truly did not read any that were essentially saying anything remotely like "I'll say it if I want and to hell with the rest of you". That's not how it was at all. It was pointed out over and over that it wouldn't stop because it is an unrealistic expectation. Someone's going to do it inadvertently, because they don't see it the way you do. Period. It will be ever thus.

once you start passing laws governing language, you open the floodgates to any number of complaints of offense taken and demands for safe spaces. then your website is dailykos.


One person
posted a piece airing out their feelings, and it was met with a mixed response from the rest of the community. And? This is a problem how? Were we all to immediately agree with the post, simply because ONE or TWO or FIVE or TEN people have a problem with a particular word? Are we to be an echo chamber, too, because one for all and all for one? Because someone's particular idea of "respect"?

I'm sorry, but that does seem to be an unreasonable expectation for a blog which is accessible in the way this one is. Most of us only "know" each other HERE, and using the word "know" is kind of stretching it, to boot. That may or may not change. And after all that's been accomplished, so much hard work by so many, there are folks here who really believe that our biggest problem here is "you wish that people would not use those words because they offend you"? Where do these people do activism, that it is all so neat and polite and thoughtful? Particularly when one is talking about a word with multiple meanings?

Why is it too much to ask that if you're offended by something, that you avoid that person or their posts? Yes, you might need to be offended first, in order to determine this. Your choices are limited no matter what, just like anyone else's. You can ignore it. Or you can IM the person directly; or you can try and call it out in front of the readers of that post, and hope you can reach the other individual and try to dissuade them that way; you can post yet another post begging the rest of us to be offended and please stop offending you so much--and round and round we go, again--or...you can move along to a different post, and take responsibility for your own feelings and your own reactions. Shut the browser. Click away. Leave it alone. Let it go. Yes, you can get over the MOMENT and move on. Don't engage with the poster anymore and give them as wide a berth as possible.

Would we rather, seriously, prefer that admins start keeping a list? Are we asking an entire blog of anonymous posters (okay some anonymous, some not) to protect the feelings of few vocal folks, who we may or may not ever cross paths much to begin with? Look, your eyes won't melt and slide out of your head. Read the name of the offending poster, or make your own list or note or whatever it takes. Simply try and avoid them as much as you can. If it bothers you that much, if they're really being assholish, that's what Admins are for. Beyond that? I truly don't know, and I don't speak for anyone, just myself, but it is at this point, I start to wonder, maybe politicking isn't for you? Because in Real Life, politics is butt ugly and cutthroat, and those who usurp power do not give a shit about your feelings. Or mine. They don't even care if you keep breathing.

Look, we cannot have this both ways. We can't. We're either adults or we are not, and some adults use foul or offensive language. If you want to actually ban that here, you are making admins job HARDER, because once you accommodate even one person with this, it will never end.

And then, pretty soon, yes, exactly. This place will become another DK. And one of those places is enough.

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Pricknick's picture

sometime in April I believe, I've only seen less than a handful of posters who truly stepped out of bounds. They were handled rather eloquently by others and if it was needed, those who run this site did an outstanding job of correcting their ways.
What is written carries much less weight than what is said in public to me.
To each his own.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

He's leaving out the bit where we voluntarily adopt limits to keep the community alive. Because, you know, we care about the community as well as about our own rights.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

SnappleBC's picture

The real truth is that other people offend us... all of them.

There was a really funny sketch from a British comedian discussing "being offended". He said something like, "You know offends me? Boy bands. Little talentless products of the music machine strutting around like they were artists. That offends the hell out of me but you don't see me starting a campaign about it."

Granted, it was comedy but there is real truth there. Other people are offensive. Each of us gets to decide how offended we want to be. If there is no middle ground then there is no community. It's just that simple. I struggle daily with writers here and elsewhere that I know to have good thoughts but use language that really bothers me. My temptation is to just ignore them under the theory that if you cannot express yourself without resorting to kindergarten insults you probably aren't worth my time. I try not to be offended and understand what they are trying to communicate because I believe in my heart that we actually do have [more or less] shared values.... close enough to be workable anyway.

Of course, it goes the other way too. If you want a community then poking your neighbors with a sharp stick probably isn't the best way to go about it... particularly when there is zero added value and arguably substantial negative value.

I think the site owners are screwed here. What are they going to do? The FTC tried the 7 dirty words thing and that didn't really work all that well. In the end analysis, if we as a community cannot pull together as a community then we don't get one.

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A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages. Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.
-- lotlizard

gulfgal98's picture

Censorship can be a very bad slippery slope which is why I am adamantly against the censoring of words or ideas even when they are bad ones. However, my personal rule of thumb when posting an essay or comment is "do I want my words to be credible or any reader?" For that reason, I try to use good judgment in my choice of language.

I would hope that folks here will look at the bigger picture of the very steep mountains we have to climb to save ourselves from the oligarchy and choose their words wisely to prevent us from wastefully arguing over language.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

tapu dali's picture

"Credibility" is the operative word.

Remember, all you who wish to spout whatever nastiness drips off your pen computer keyboard, it's not just YOUR credibility that's at stake, it's the site's as well.

Should you bring c99p into disrepute, I believe the Mods would have every right in the world to impose an appropriate sanction at their sole discretion.

It's not about you.

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There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know.

I'll just make my home elsewhere, since I clearly over-indulged and authoritarian.

I was asking for limits. I did not wish to coerce you and make this website so very loathsome. Obviously, I did not realize the seriousness of my offense, so thanks, but no thanks.

I'm out. There. Problem solved.

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I miss Colorado.

WaterLily's picture

I don't think you need to, or should, leave.

Please see my comment below. I think there should be an agreeable middle ground, where site moderation should not exclude certain words or otherwise censor free speech -- but where all of us here in the community agree to reframe our speech in light of legitimate objections.

I didn't participate in your essay beyond reading it, and the first few comments. But I believe your objections come from an authentic place. While I defend the right of anyone to call HRC a "bitch," I would hope that -- since you raised said objections -- those using the term would reconsider.

I don't think there's any easy answer, but neither do I think you should leave, or that JS & JtC should be thought police.

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elenacarlena's picture

And no, your leaving will not solve the problem. Specifically, as Joe mentions, that using such language damages credibility, will drive some away from the site and give some the wrong impression, and helps Hill if that's all that is said about her.

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Please check out Pet Vet Help, consider joining us to help pets, and follow me @ElenaCarlena on Twitter! Thank you.

joe shikspack's picture

your leaving does not "solve" the problem. it is a much larger problem than one person taking offense at one other person's language.

the problem requires a community to solve it. i can understand if you don't have the patience for such a process.

i wish you the best of luck in creating your own place if that's what you want to do.

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and I think you knew exactly what you were doing with this essay.

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I miss Colorado.

joe shikspack's picture

exactly what i wanted was for people to agree to work out these issues among themselves. for the people who are offended to engage the people who give offense in a productive dialogue that leads to a community agreement.

the issues that you have brought up are important, and if it makes any damned difference, i think that you are right that calling hillary a bitch is rude, offensive, sexist and disruptive. but then you read the essay, i thought i made that pretty plain.

moderation in banning speech can change people's behavior or make them disappear, but it cannot change social attitudes, which is what is ultimately needed and if it can happen here, that would be great.

i am not convinced that the people who have used those epithets intended to be sexist or disruptive. i think that they do need the attention of a community to educate them about the fallout of their actions and to encourage them to find another way to express themselves.

i really would be sad to see you go.

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SnappleBC's picture

Generally this is handled by shunning.

Here, I would assume that those who don't meet community standards would not get up-votes and comments and would eventually either conform more to the community's standards or leave to find a more suitable community.

That, as you say, only happens if the community actually has standards and that's what threads like this are trying to sort out.

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A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages. Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.
-- lotlizard

janis b's picture

It sounds bitter, but I am not looking for an explanation. I find it a shame that you might feel that way, and that you would sacrifice all that you have to contribute here and enjoy.

That’s all I want to say, and that I wish you would stay. I wish I could channel jbou for you at the moment ; ).

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that prohibits the use of sexist language.

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who is traveling the world, doing videos, writing books, etc... trying to get folks to think about injecting a little civility into our civic life.

He's a philosophy prof from Harvard who is combining his interests in virtue ethics, politics and economics in easily accessible and entertaining ways.

You might like him, here's his 20 minute talk entitled "The Lost Art of Democratic Debate" - where he gives his talk while performing respectful interactions with his audience.... Link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPsUXhXgWmI

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janis b's picture

It was a fascinating talk about a great concept for furthering democratic debate through a perspective of moral principal. It is a universal measurement, and makes no difference where we come from.

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jwa13's picture

your insights are worthwhile, and valued. I (personally) don't believe that you overstepped any bounds, just that (in the context of this particular election cycle, and considering all of the fraud, cheating, and mud-wrestling that already has occurred -- with MORE TO COME, as promised in the nightly news-cycle), people get a little ... cranky.

I myself am going to make more of an effort to 'just get along', and to offer civil insights (such as they are) as they occur to me.

Besides, Colorado needs you - you are welcome to come back anytime --

jwa1313

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When Cicero had finished speaking, the people said “How well he spoke”.
When Demosthenes had finished speaking, the people said “Let us march”.

tapu dali's picture

You're pretty level-headed, and we need you here!!

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There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know.

Older and Wiser Now's picture

I think that Joe's words came off as harsh. I don't think that your request was that out of line, and that calling it censorship is overly extreme. I myself have a bad habit of reaching for overly potent words without realizing it, I'm giving Joe the benefit of the doubt here, that he may not have realized the strength of the censorship word on this occasion.

Now I'm imagining that some member of the community had the habit of calling Obama a nigger, and those who support him nigger-lovers. I can also imagine a different member calling Barney Frank a faggot. Would the community be so tolerant of that kind of language used around here? Would the community be so willing to hold their tongues on that issue?

Is it censorship to frown on the use of the word nigger? Why or why not?

Is it censorship to frown on the use of the word faggot? Why or why not?

Why is it censorship when a member of this community wishes for this community to similarly frown on the use of the word bitch?

The only difference that I can see between the N-word and the F-word and the word "bitch" is that the first two now have a strong stigma around them, to the degree that most persons understand that if they use those words, others will look upon them as dinosaurish bigots. "Bitch" has a certain notion of "not a nice word, but it does not yet have such a strong stigma. Why is that? Hmmm, I seriously wonder. Is is possible that, once again, women are viewed as less important than men and so we yet again as a class obtain certain rights later than men do ... and so slurs against women are still more or less tolerable, even fashionable?

Finally, I'm thinking of a certain part of an essay I wrote, What do the Hatfields, McCoys, Jesus, Gandhi, and Progressives Have in Common?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiafEeJETQg

I've included this last clip, which is an interview of Kingsley, because he gives some of his own personal testimony, and I personally find it very powerful. He was asked essentially "Can you capsulize what you have learned from this experience?" he gave a lovely answer that includes:

... What really impressed me about Gandhi, and is possibly a simple lesson that I can apply to myself is, uh ... a very simple phrase that he coined, although it's not in our film, I got it from my research, and it's "Politics begins with the person next to you", which is for me a marvellous exercise in life so that, in a sense, the pressure of perhaps subscribing to a political doctrine or an ideal, and I always find those a bit too rigid, goes straight out of the window and you are on your own to make up your own politics of life, entirely dependent on how you treat ... [laughter] ... well, the person next to you, or the people in the same room. And that for me is a marvellous, simple exercise in life and I find it much more enjoyable ...

If a member of this community has made a sincere and heart-felt request for the community at large to stop using a word that they consider to be a slur, why would we not honor that request? And now I'm going one step farther and thinking about the Golden Rule - would we tolerate one member using such language against another member here? I would think not. Why is it okay to use it against those outside the community then, especially if our goal is to influence others and grow our numbers?

I also submit that the use of ad homonym attacks is the mark of a failed debater. Don't we have better arguments to make against Clinton, using words that do not bring dishonor to our community? And finally, I'm now thinking of another very vile word, perhaps even more vile to me than all of the other ones mentioned previously: the word hypocrite. I myself have been deeply offended when the word "Bernie-Bros" was slung about casually by the HRC crowd ... to me, if our community tolerates the use of offensive words to describe HRC and/or her supporters, we demonstrate that we really are not that different from them after all.

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~OaWN

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Older and Wiser Now's picture

I've been skimming, and read some of your comments, which I think are 100% dead on. Thank YOU for taking the time to write them.

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~OaWN

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

for a woman--the one that is as insulting to women as "nigger" is to Black people and "faggot" to homosexuals--is "cunt."

For many of us, "bitch" is the female version of "dick." Worse than "asshole," but a lot less than "nigger" or "faggot."

Also, it's complicated by the fact that "bitch" has strong overtones of cruelty, and Clinton is very, very cruel. It's not just that she's assertive or successful or angry, which would be traditional sexist uses of the term "bitch." She's *mean*.

That said, not everybody feels the same way, and as I said in my own diary, I'm willing to forego using the words in order to preserve the community.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Older and Wiser Now's picture

and you have some reluctance to give it up, because it seems useful ("She's *mean*"). But nevertheless, you are willing to give it up in order to preserve the community.

I don't know what else to say but that I applaud you. Thank you for being generous and kindhearted on this and other matters.

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~OaWN

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

and thank you for taking the time to accurately hear what I was saying!

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

than asked you to leave, I'd think you would consider them. They're showing you quite a lot of friendship--to beg somebody to stay is a hell of a thing. I don't do it often, online or IRL.

But it's your choice.

A tidbit before you go: Back in the Dark Ages, when I was recruiting people for a Google Group to prepare for a later DailyKosEXIT--because it was obvious that Markos was going to continue to favor a roving band of bullies and let them do whatever they wanted to dissenters--I was the one who brought up your name as someone I definitely wanted on whatever site we eventually had.

I, and a lot of others, worked our asses off to bring about the potentiality of that site, and make it real.

I'm starting now to have that "highway litter" feeling I often had as a child--the feeling that I, and my loyalty, and my work, are being tossed out the window like an empty McDonald's bag.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

I'm sorry that you feel I'm not respecting your "work" here, but I (as a person) feel completely disrespected by this diary and by the things Joe said in the second half of this essay.

I have let Joe, Johnny, and DK know privately how I really feel. And it's simply incompatible with staying on this website. I can't fucking do it.

I most certainly did not ask anyone to beg me to stay and, to be honest, it has had almost zero affect on me. Not because I don't cherish these folks' friendships, but because I feel that strongly about leaving. I hope they will join me in other online ventures, but maybe they won't.

My email is coistheshiz2014@gmail.com, if anyone wants to keep in touch.

In all my time at Dkos, one of the things I fought most about with people was being respectful. If you can't be respectful of other people, then common decency goes right out the window. I have *never* been a First Amendment absolutist, and I fought with people on Dkos about it often. When does your right to call Hillary Clinton a "bitch" interfere with my right not to want to hear that word? That's the crux of the problem.

Until the last part of this essay, Joe showed that respect. But, in the bottom half, what really bled through was how he really feels about people who bring up this shit: we are authoritarian, coercive, over-indulged, and we will make this website loathsome. He used all of those words.

I reserve the right to leave a website for pulling that shit. This is my c99p Ides of March.

So the bottom half of the essay does not square with the top half. I'm done. Stick a fork in me.

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I miss Colorado.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

maybe haven't noticed?

Joe is calling for a voluntary avoidance of those words, and many people on this site, including me, voluntarily adopted that restriction BECAUSE THOSE WORDS MAKE YOU, AND OTHERS, FEEL AWFUL.

We don't agree with your "side," but we've decided to compromise ANYWAY, for the sake of the community and its members.

Did you not realize that had happened? Did you not notice?

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

WaterLily's picture

I avoided these discussions yesterday. Partly (mostly) because I was consumed by HRC's event.

Here's my take:

Yes, people should be free to use the word "bitch" in reference to Hillary Clinton or anyone else. That said, if someone objects -- no matter the reason -- the kind, human thing to do would be to back off. Not because HRC isn't a bitch -- but because you care about the feelings and lived experience of someone who is actually on your side.

This is a lesson I've been actively trying to learn in many different situations, for a few years now. It's not easy; we all want to say/think what we want. Try to hear and honor what others are communicating and take them at their word.

YMMV.

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Yet sometimes, nothing else satisfies as well!

The good news about this is there is plenty of actual history to draw upon to demonstrate that Hillary -AND Trump- should not be elected. If one were to merely list these items, the numerous pejoratives for both imply themselves and don't need to be written or uttered.

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Vowing To Oppose Everything Trump Attempts.

Lookout's picture

and vocabulary (you oughta hear me taaaallllkk). Tolerance goes a long way. I don't understand why some people delight in delving into essays they find offensive.

I have played country dances for over 4 decades now. Many of them are line dances where couples progress up and down the lines dancing with a different couple each time. Some couples create harmony as they move up and down the lines. Others are the opposite - a disaster coming and going. Sometimes the disaster dancers become better over the years - sometimes not.

I've thought a few times how these (contra) dances are like comment threads. Some users you look forward to seeing - insightful, polite, nice. Others not so much. We are who we are. I can chose to read a comment or essay or not. Just like you can ask the person to dance who brings harmony or help a disaster dance become better.

I think it is important to make good choices - what is good for you might not be good for me. It is difficult to walk in another's shoes. Follow your path. Speak with your voice. Be tolerant of others.

choices.jpg

I'm tempted to say life is a bitch, but I won't, I didn't, pretend I didn't..
(I'm getting good at Hillspeak!)

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

gulfgal98's picture

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

tapu dali's picture

Der Kontratanz oder Kontertanz (frz. Contredanse, Contredance, „Gegeneinander-Tanz“, engl. volksetymologisch umgedeutet zu Country Dance)

Gegeneinander-Tanz (lit. "against-one-another-dance" is exactly what you said : "line dances where couples progress up and down the lines dancing with a different couple each time".

Actually, quite the opposite of a "country"-dance, but a highly sophisticated dance in royal or upper-class circles, especially popularized in the Baroque, Rococo and early Classical periods.

Here's an amateur ensemble:

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There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know.

Lookout's picture

happens in the barn and includes square and circle dances - not just contras or line dances.

Country dances have callers that teach or prompt the dance. Dancing masters taught the elite dances by name that matched tunes (usually of the same name).

That's the quick take from my view.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

tapu dali's picture

I retract (but won't delete) my comment above.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_dance

has it the other way round!

The country dance was introduced to the court of Louis XIV of France, where it became known as contredanse, and later to Germany and Italy. André Lorin, who visited the English court in the late 17th century, presented a manuscript of dances in the English manner to Louis XIV on his return to France. In 1706 Raoul Auger Feuillet published his Recüeil de Contredances, a collection of "contredanses anglaises" presented in a simplified form of Beauchamp-Feuillet notation and including some dances invented by the author as well as authentic English dances. This was subsequently translated into English by John Essex and published in England as For the Further Improvement of Dancing.[8]

By the 1720s the term contradanse had come to refer to longways sets for three and two couples, which would remain normative until English country dance's eclipse.[9] The earliest French works refer only to the longways form as contradanse,[10] which allowed the false etymology of "a dance in which lines dance opposite one another".[4] The square-set type also had its vogue in France during the later 18th century as the quadrille[11] and the cotillion. These usually require a group of eight people, a couple along each side. "Les Lanciers", a descendant of the quadrille, and the "Eightsome Reel" are examples of this kind of dance. Dancing in square sets still survives in Ireland, under the name "set dancing" or "figure dancing".

"A dance in which lines dance opposite one another" is the exact translation of Gegeneinandertanz.

I'm going to have to look up the Harvard (or the Scholes, if you want a giggle).

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There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know.

Lookout's picture

so there are many ways of thinking.

I'll restate my view - the key is having a caller or someone who prompts the dance versus having been taught and memorized the dance.

There is also a big kerfuffle on English Country Dance vs Country/ Contra dance. A rose is a rose.

Here's a small square dance although people are in lines, and a larger dance in DC (looks like a circle mixer).
045.jpg

Glen Echo dance.jpg

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

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