Ismism

There is a post up at Feminist Mormon Housewives that discusses the Kathy Sierra saga and draws lines between “benevolent sexism” and “violent misogyny.” To some degree, whenever I encounter posts like that, my response is always “and…?”

Humans are ethical animals and, as a result, we make value judgments all the time. We all do it. We argue that there are superior and inferior modes of address, dress, behavior, thought, emotion, and so forth. That there are particularly virulent versions (violent misogyny, racism, etc.) doesn’t stop all of us from using milder forms of discrimination. We all judge; it is what we do.

These tendencies don’t strike me as problematic until we reach a point wherein we cease to believe in the reality of those who disagree with us. As an example, I was talking with someone recently who is very opposed to abortion. To her, abortion is an uglier word than murder, which is what she considers abortion to be, and therefore she will only call it murder. To call this murder, “abortion,” is to her offensive and wrong-headed. Further, this is for her a self-evident truth. When I explained that pro-choice advocates routinely encountered this sort of language and that it didn’t phase them at all, it almost shocked her. It was as if she believed they were embracing the truth she espoused (that they were murderers and proud of it), instead of rejecting it as completely irrational as they would. I should note that this woman is a perfectly nice person, a wonderful and loving mother, and so forth.

The point here is not to debate abortion, but rather to point out that we all operate using stereotypes and other means of shorthand in order to establish our values in any given situation. It is a generalization to say this, but I have yet to encounter anyone who doesn’t do it. To use the terms of the FMH site, we all use some form of “benevolent sexism” or “benevolent racism” or something else in order to get through the decisions that confront us each day. To state that these forms of everyday discrimination are one end of a continuum with violence is to state a truism that is accurate but unhelpful. Using a similar scale of activity, I could argue that Mother Teresa and Hitler represent a continuum of human behavior, too.

The check to overreliance on stereotypes should be human interaction. We should go out of our way to care for each other. My mission president used to say that once you truly get to know someone, you cannot hate them. I don’t know if that can really be universally applied, but it sounds good. Perhaps there are some irredeemable people out there who should not be loved or treated with basic human respect, but I, luckily, haven’t met them yet.

In any case, I am always struck in this by the best described Zion society of which we have a historical record. In 4th Nephi, the Nephites are somehow able to overcome their differences and their value judgments and just love each other. There are no rich or poor, no contention, no -ites. What brings about this happy state? “They were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.” (4th Nephi 1:17) If we were one in Christ, I believe that we would be encouraged to treat everyone as a whole person, not simply as an amalgam of desirable and undesirable characteristics. Christ loves each of us for who we are and for what we may be. If we have that love, I don’t believe our goal would be to create and reinforce the divisions among us. Instead, we would be bound in one great whole.

Comments

  1. Steve Evans says:

    Interesting post, RT HP/JDC. I like the way that you approach the issue — the use of generalisms is a matter of practical existence.

    That said, here’s another handy tip I’ve found in combating overuse of stereotypes: be specific. If, for example, you want to talk about how the bloggernacle is misogynistic, or hurtful towards liberals, or persecuting of conservatives, or –and this is the one that drives me nuts — disrespecting the Lord’s anointed, then provide specifics. Providing a link to what offended you will help the rest of us see and discuss why you’re offended. Carping generalisms are about as helpful as generic platitudes about building bridges, IMHO — if we want to build Zion, if we want to come together, then it’s brick-by-brick, not via mere wishing that a bridge existed.

  2. “Carping generalisms are about as helpful as generic platitudes about building bridges, IMHO — if we want to build Zion, if we want to come together, then it’s brick-by-brick, not via mere wishing that a bridge existed.”

    Ouch. Fair enough. I do think RT’s pledge of civility is helpful, but it kind of misses the point. We need to do more than maintain the niceties of civilized discourse; we need to try and get to know each other.

    I think that this is particularly tricky in online communication, not just because we get no body language information, but because the knowledge that we will never know many of these people in a real-life setting allows us to behave in ways that we otherwise wouldn’t. We can misrepresent ourselves with little worry of reprisal. We can adopt a harsher or a more conciliatory tone than we do in real-life. We can be provacative just for the sake of being provacative. It is as if the internet is consequenceless zone in which we can experiment with other sides of ourselves, darker or lighter.

    As a positive example, annegb frequently assures us that she is annoying and crazy. Online, where all my interaction with her has taken place, she is gracious, humble, insightful, and fun. I assume that she is all those things in real life, too, but there is the possibility that she is striving to be better than normal here, too.

    The problem is that I often find myself looking at people online only as the caricatures that they develop around themselves. As a result, I know not to read a comment by, say, Matt Evans or Hellmut unless I am looking to be irritated (as I do sometimes). I think that the polarizing effect of online communication makes it easier to dismiss them entirely, which is sad. If I loved them, as I believe the Savior loves me, then what they said would always have meaning, even if it was terribly misguided. I would care for them in a way I don’t right now and I think they would understand that (which isn’t to say that I hate them or anything; they are just two examples of people with whom I frequently disagree and who come off as “one-note” to me (as I am sure I do to them))

  3. StillConfused says:

    It is easier for people to have strong one-sided opinions in a one-sided forum such as the internet. It would be much more difficult to speak that way face to face with someone of a different belief structure. For this reason, I “filter” what I read online to take into account the potential for one-sidedness and dilute accordingly.

  4. HP: Can I say you are awesome? No? How About I just type it.

    I do have one bone to pick though, while working to eliminate stereotypes, we are often trapped in an upper level of stereotyping where we all get “mean people suck” bumper stickers and call Jettboy an idiot because you makes a value judgment based on a stereotype. This is not zion-like.

    Anyway, this is a good post and well worthy of multiple considerations.

  5. Matt,
    The irony of that comment (which I wrote) does not escape me (or is it the hypocrisy?). My anger at Jettboy the other day partially inspired the thoughts behind this post.

    I believe that the only way for me to love Jettboy and such is for me to get to know them. To what degree is that possible in an online forum, where he and I presumably are already very wary of one another? It is difficult to say. Probably Zion won’t be founded in a chatroom.

  6. HP, your generalization here is actually on very solid ground. Psychologists have done a lot of work on the question of stereotypes — using them as an instance of a broader class of mental-effort-saving tricks called heuristics — and the evidence suggests that their use is pretty ubiquitous. I actually have a draft post on Mormon mental heuristics, which I intend to finish when I can. After the post on poverty…

    I agree with you that the civility pledge is insufficient. Real connection with people who are different from one’s self is the key. But civility makes connection far more likely. In the same way, arguing against particularly hateful stereotypes can clear obstacles to Zion-like unity.

  7. StillConfused says:

    Not to be stereotypical but JNS uses a lot of really big words

  8. It seems to me that while part of the problem online is that we don’t get to know each other well enough, the other part of the problem is that we get to know each other too well! That is, if jettboy were in my ward, he would know that I read Sunstone and occasionally make unorthodox comments in Sunday School. But he would also, because of social convention, probably NOT voice to me his belief that the Church would be better off without people like me in it. So part of the trouble is that we get to know each other’s thoughts *better* than we might in regular day-to-day interactions. It means we get to the irreducible intellectual and ideological differences more quickly than we would in interactions mediated by social convention, common goals (in church work, childrearing, etc.), and distracting small talk.

  9. JDC,

    I’m not really sure what you’re getting at.

    Which, I guess, is OK since I had no idea what that post on FMH was getting at either.

  10. Kristine,
    I’m with Eugene England in believing that one of the purposes of church is to get us to love people who we find unappealing and would avoid if at all possible. Also, I am having fun imagining the Sunday School discussions between you and Jettboy. Like in a family, sometimes proximity is the greatest catalyst for Christian love.

    Seth,
    I am trying to say that we all engage in some form of “benevolent” ism. So saying that a certain “benevolent” ism is on a continuum with the violent version of the ism isn’t helpful, because all isms have violent versions. Or, at least, I think they do (what would someone who is violently pacifist behave like?). The problem is with the violence and the tendency to take our isms as universally true. Finally, I speculated that with Christ we shouldn’t use isms at all, as I don’t think he does. Instead, we should treat each other as ends (in a Kantian sense). Is that any better?

  11. Don’t some people use ‘benevolent isms’ in an effort to develop what can be called tolerance? I might say, I don’t understand why that person behaves in a certain manner, but what I think I know about her gender or race generally helps me come to an understanding that allows me to tolerate it.

    Example: I have a Japanese student in my class. When I make eye contact with him, he giggles and looks away. I might read that as rudeness and insubordination, or diagnose him with a mental disability, but because I apply a general idea I have about Japanese people, I can accept his giggling and avoidance of eye contact. On one hand, I may never get to the bottom of another issue, if one exists. It seems to me to be a two-edged sword.

  12. HP, I don’t know how pragmatically helpful the suggestion to lay aside stereotypes is for people with limited brain capacity. The psych research I briefly referred to suggests that we use these mental tricks to deal with the fact that we’re all constantly inundated with much more information than we can actually handle. So we focus on tricks to save effort and reach decisions. Jesus can probably avoid this, but only because He’s not got a mortal brain with serious limitations on attention and memory. When we shed those limitations, I guess we’ll have the option of not stereotyping, as well. But for now we probably have to choose among stereotypes and other heuristics, rather than between using them or setting them aside.

  13. I think there can be good stereotyping. I try very hard to label everyone as a real person with real thoughts and feelings, and further, as a child of God. Failing that, I imagine atleast that they may have some form of long range high powered rifle and know where I live.

    I actually was so frustrated by the “Jetboy” hate the other day, I began writing this huge long post where I named names and told everyone where they could stick it, and where I thought there head was already stuck. Unlike Kieth Merril, I didn’t post it though. I rarely do. In fact, I try not even to be sarcastic. (like the temptation to tell Norbert he needs to check his fly if people giggle and look away.) Because those kind of things are hard to interpret via the internet. I think we could all make a little more effort to be a bit more magnanimous in our blogging.

    Once in an eithics class I took in my undergrad days, we talked about how it was important to qualify our beliefs, values, and ideas. (Instead of “Cheese is good” say “I believe cheese is good.”) I liken that idea to Christ saying “Thy will be done.” It is humility.

    Crap, I’m rambling. will shut up now.

  14. Of course there is good stereotyping. I think that stereotyping is necessary (as JNS says). I imagine that the only way to truly set it aside in under the influence of the Spirit. The goodness and badness of different standards is determined by society. The strength by which we cling to a given standard is determined by the individual. But stereotyping in general is ethically neutral.

    In other words, I don’t think stereotyping is the problem so much as it is the rigidity with which we stick to our stereotypes.

  15. Trueheart says:

    #10 HP/JDC: “What would a violent pacifist behave like?” How about like a liberal.

    No, really, a violent pacifist is one who will fight for peace. It’s hard to do. Many soldiers and “freedom fighters” around the globe would claim that that is what they are doing. I like to think our US troups in the Middle East are fighting for peace, but they lack of success may be an indication of how hard it is to win that fight.

  16. Trueheart says:

    Their lack of success. . . . Sorry.

  17. Brad Kramer says:

    I remember the debacle between RT and the Ironrodder about a year ago over Louis Midgley’s skewering of Grant Palmer. I remember reading Redelfs’ description of the “Signaturi” and Mike-Quinn-types as “Tares” that make him want to vomit. At some point, as I was composing an angry response to Redelfs on the DMI thread on the topic, I realized that I pretty much felt the same way about Redelfian saints as he does about liberal intellectuals.
    This is the biggest problem I have with the vitriol coming over the AM airways (including–nay, especially–Church owned stations) on any given weekday afternoon. I used to think that it was just because I’m a liberal. But it isn’t. It is because right-wing radio is about caricaturing, demeaning, othering, and even dehumanizing its opponents with labels designed to elicit revulsion. I actually really enjoy reading/listening to intelligent conservatives that don’t call names–George Will, David Brooks, even Pat Buchanan. I’d much rather read Michael McConnell discuss abortion than Lawrence Tribe (even though my policy preferences might be closer to Tribe’s). I also doubt that this problem is the exclusive property of conservative activists (we just don’t get liberal talk radio on the Wasatch Front). At some point, I just decided to never again listen to right-wing talk radio. I hated the feelings and moods it brought out in me. I hated feeling viscerally angry. I hated the hate (my own and the hosts’).
    As my wife can now attest, I am a better man for having discarded my guilty-pleasure, daily afternoon dose of hate and my angry visits to the more hard-core conservative corners of the ‘nacle. I’m not actively trying to cultivate a Christ-like love for the Hannitys, Coulters, and O’Reillys of the world, but I think if I met any one of them on the street I would be more capable of engaging them in something like a friendly, civil, respectful conversation.

  18. But he would also, because of social convention, probably NOT voice to me his belief that the Church would be better off without people like me in it.

    Do you think it would only be a matter of social convention for him to avoid such a comment, or is it possible to consider that he might really not express such a sentiment to someone he knows and cares about?

  19. p.s. HP, thank you for an insightful post and comments that reflect a lot of what I have been thinking about. A lot.

  20. Eric Russell says:

    I’ve nothing to add, but this is a great post, HP/JDC. Indicting to us all.

  21. m&m, anything’s possible, right? I think that personal knowledge and caring for people can also work to open topics of communication that otherwise remain shut — thus those who care for you may actually be more likely to voice criticisms.

    (I know that’s why I do it :)

  22. I’m not entirely sure it doesn’t happen in real life. I know people that don’t like me in my ward because of my comments, talks, actions whatever. Mostly they avoid me. There are people that drive me insane at church too, I judge them, and mostly I avoid them. Sometimes I gossip. Sometimes people gossip about me. I’m bad I know. Anyway, sometimes we are brutal in the bloggernacle but I think mostly we act like we do in real life.

    Do you think Christ wants us to love everyone during this life? I have no idea what the answer is to that, but the thought of it wears me out. I look for good in people, but still knowing then loving everyone makes me want to go to sleep. For a long time.

  23. Here’s an interesting, pertinent story from Morning Edition this v. morning.

  24. An excellent post…

    What would you describe as the signs that one considers another person to be the eponymous ‘other’? At what point do our value judgments become suspect?

    I’m thinking here, advocating murder of the despised group. Believing that they have no redeeming virtues. The ideology that Hitler supported, the stuff that was broadcast on the radio in Rawanda. Basically advocating that their lives end.

    A corollary, is rudeness necessarily a sign of the above? Where does rude turn into… something worse? I’m losing the words here.

    Thoughts incomplete here, but very interesting. Thanks

  25. I think it is an obvious point that we use judgements as vehicles for logical and actual progression in everyday life. I even think that this is divinely inspired as we place such a high value on agency in the church which is another synonym for ‘will’. Judgement, choice, will, agency; they are all on the same boat.

    Further, to disavow the existence of any stereotype or alternately to acknowledge them too greatly as facts and socio-cultural truths are both dangerous positions to find oneself in. I think, or at least hope that you misunderstood the point of the post on FMH. I believe that the point was to call attention to a very real line of ethical behavior that has been crossed and a fantastic display of poor judgement (and yes! I’m making a moral supposition in this statement) that has been displayed by those who would violently harrass Kathy Sierra for doing nothing but her job or people/blogs who continually make mean spirited jabs at other people’s genuine efforts at reflection, thought sharing, and intellectual discourse.

    To reduce these dégoûter displays that clearly cross many well accepted ethical (not to mention sometime legal) lines to mere “and…?” and stereotypical occurance is grosse negligence in my opinion.

    And while no sane person would applaud rape, the statement

    That there are particularly virulent versions (violent misogyny, racism, etc.) doesn’t stop all of us from using milder forms of discrimination. We all judge; it is what we do.

    sounds like an excuse for less obviously moral offensive behavior and judgement calls. The movie Crash is a very good portayal of how subtle sterotypes and judgements can infest a society to a catastrophic conclusion.

    While I agree to some point with your mission president’s advice that to know someone [something] makes it impossible to hate it, I don’t think this discludes that gaping need for us to individually, constantly mind our thoughts, be personally aware of our choices, stereotypes, and judgements and how they will affect others.

  26. Blech, I can’t seem to make the italics work for me. You get the idea, the quoted stuff is in quotes. :)

  27. PK, I agree with your general statements, but I disagree with lumping snarkernackle or what have you in the same basket as those who physically threatened and sexually harassed Kathy Sierra. Those are such apples and oranges that the only commonality I can really draw are that they are both offensive (speaking of the snarking persons acting at their worst). And that’s not a very helpful commonality to draw.

    But do we constantly need to mind our thoughts and be more conscious of how we affect others? ABSOLUTELY.

    p.s. Crash was a pretty terrible movie, and totally did not deserve the Oscar, compared with Brokeback Mountain, Capote, and even with Munich.

  28. -Ism’s in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself.

    I quote John Lennon: “I don’t believe in Beatles; I just believe in me.” Good point there.

  29. PK,
    I agree that what happened to Kathy Sierra was/is abominable. I have also tried to be clear that our prejudices should be carefully examined. I just thought that the comparisons being drawn by AML are ultimately unhelpful. To some degree everyone can or does benefit from someone’s discrimination. That doesn’t make this right or fair, but I think that if we think we can get rid of all of it (without involving Christ in the process), we are kidding ourselves. I think the only real solution to treating people via some form of ism is Christian belief (and that probably only in the millennium). Again, no reason not to try today (and probably we should try harder(sorry, amri)), but we shouldn’t expect quick results in ourselves or others.

  30. 29: I agree that AML’s comments are generalizations of topics… i.e. I think it would be “grosse negligence” to also assume that the entire male church congregation is sexist and trying to put “us women” back where we belong, etc.

    My only concerns with the original Ismisms post is you seem to start with “Everybody judges, some people benefit, others get hurt, and it’s not right or fair, but that’s life.” to “but we really need to Christian and get to know each other so that we don’t judge everybody so much.”

    My question is where is the logical bridge between these two points? If everybody judges and that’s life, why should we suddenly make a solid effort into getting to know people and being more “Christian”?

    I think the valuable root in AML’s post is that he points out, albeit rather loudly, examples of behavior where there is a need for action because the judgements/choices of the offending parties deserve along well accepted ethical and social boundaries to be loudly objected, which is what I think AML, in his own special way, lol, was trying to do. I don’t necessarily support the way AML presented his thoughts, but the root of the post, that there are some judgements and actions of people worth calling into question and rebuking, rings true for me.

    27: Certainly, those on the Snarky blogs and the Kathy Sierra offenders are not on the same level, but I disagree with your conclusion that the offensive commonality is not worth drawing. I don’t think the Kathy Sierra offenders need an explanation, but the Snarky blogs are offensive, and even more than that, their entire purpose of existence, “to make fun of everything that appears on the Mormon blogsphere” is absurd in itself. Why someone(s) would want to take that much time and effort to engage in nothing more intellectually vibrant than elementary playground taunting is simply beyond me. So at the end of the day, yes it is offensive too, and does deserve its own set of repudiation by those who find the message in bad taste. Yes, to lump both of these things in the same offensive basket would be a generalization, but to not stand up against any offensive behavior, no matter how offensive, is even more of a problem because it allows passive acceptance or even worse indifference of the conduct in question.

    P.S. I was using Crash for its socio-cultural message and not for its cinematic merits but I would have given Capote the Oscar myself. :)

  31. PK,
    To some degree, I think that the tendency to discriminate among people is inherent in our “natural man”ness. If we want to be saints, we should try to move beyond (in saying this, I am not assuming we will be successful, but we should be aware of our duties in this regard, I think).

  32. Steve Evans says:

    Sorry PK, I completely disagree with you about the snarking blogs, and I think your and AML’s comparison was not just wrong, but harmful.

    First, the nature of the offense involved is completely different. It’s not just a matter of scale. You’re trying to damn by association with a heinous activity, and it just doesn’t take. Why not just compare them to Hitler and get it over with?

    Second, the snarking blogs aren’t, in fact, offensive for I’d say at least 2/3 of their content — I’d give the same odds to about any blog out there, for that matter.

    Third, you say that they exist “to make fun of everything that appears on the Mormon blogsphere” (quotations yours). Who, exactly, are you quoting here?

    Fourth, not all offense requires some sort of reaction. Those who take offense at a word need to also consider themselves and ask whether perhaps they are seeking offense. There is a nobility in not getting incensed at minor things.

    Finally, the socio-cultural message of Crash was a mixed bag at best — so far as I could tell, the message was “everyone’s a little bit racist.” It was pretty terrible, except for the fact that it was the first time I didn’t puke at Thandie Newton’s acting.

  33. PK,

    As the sole publicly out participant of SnarkerNacle, allow me to repond to your comments:

    Certainly, those on the Snarky blogs and the Kathy Sierra offenders are not on the same level, but I disagree with your conclusion that the offensive commonality is not worth drawing. I don’t think the Kathy Sierra offenders need an explanation, but the Snarky blogs are offensive, and even more than that, their entire purpose of existence, “to make fun of everything that appears on the Mormon blogsphere” is absurd in itself.

    If that were our entire purpose, then, yes, it would be absurd. However, it is not. Your conclusion that it is such a thing indicates to me that you are only glancingly familiar with SnarkerNacle, as is the case with AML.

    The purpose of SnarkerNacle is to provide the Bloggernacle in general, and some bad actors in specific, with negative feedback in a public forum. It should be no surprise to anyone that various blogs and bloggers in the Bloggernacle act in a manner that could uncharitably be labeld as self-promoting, to the point they edit, deleted and ban comments and people who question or expose their folly (e.g., obnoxious tactics, plagiarism, dubious logic, specious interpretations, etc.). In other words, there are people who act deliberately to silence those who would question or oppose them. Additionaly, there are bad behaviors in blogging that are relatively commonplace, but are difficult to discourage when the owner(s) of the blog dont want to be discouraged (e.g., jumping on the bandwagon, beating dead horses, gross hypocrisy, narcissism, sheer lunacy, etc.). SnarkerNacle provides a public Bloggernacle forum for addressing these things in the context of satire and humor.

    Now, granted, sometimes the humor doesnt always do well and the satire falls flat, and sometimes people are offended. That is not our intent. The intent is to be humorous and satirical and address real issues. However, as I have stated publicly, repeatedly, here on BCC and elsewhere, SnarkerNacle has a 100% take down rate when offended individuals who are the target of a post approach us privately and explain why they are offended and request a takedown or edit. Some say this is not good enough. Well, too bad. What is and what isnt offensive is subjective and who gets to decide what is over the line and what isnt is us and the target, not the community. If someone other than the target is offended when the target doesnt take action, then that someone other has no say in the matter.

    Why someone(s) would want to take that much time and effort to engage in nothing more intellectually vibrant than elementary playground taunting is simply beyond me.

    Again, this indicates to me you have not taken the time to bother to familiarize yourself with SnarkerNacle content. Some of the content is, dare I even suggest it, intellectually stimulating and challenging. Some of it isnt. Sorry it cannot be Shakespeare 24/7/365, but we do our best.

    So at the end of the day, yes it is offensive too, and does deserve its own set of repudiation by those who find the message in bad taste.

    You are entitled to feel about SnarkerNacle however you like. However, rejecting SnarkerNacle as a cultural eyesore suitable for demolition because you and AML dont like that we posted an April Fools spoof on the Niblets Big Blog thing is a weak position. In that very voting, SnarkerNacle offered up reasonably flattering, relatively non-offensive terms for “big” (assuming it is even possible to have flattering and innofensive terms dealing with “big”). Did you read through the offerings? Did you look at the results of the voting? “Rubenesque” and “Voluptuous” tied with “Beached Whale”. The simple fact that “Voluptuous” and “Rubenesque” were offered up shows the voting was not deliberately rigged to be as offensive as possible.

    Honestly, PK, besides that one post, how many SnarkerNacle posts have you and AML read? And are you familiar with the Nibley “Big Blog” battle that precipitated it? If not, you are jumping to conclusions that are unwarranted.

    Yes, to lump both of these things in the same offensive basket would be a generalization, but to not stand up against any offensive behavior, no matter how offensive, is even more of a problem because it allows passive acceptance or even worse indifference of the conduct in question.

    And what exactly is this “conduct in question” and “any offensive behavior” that has to be stood up against? Making fun of fat women? Sorry, but we didnt do that. We were making light of the Niblets “We are a Big Blog” thing and then let the Bloggernacle vote on what kind of Big they thought FMH was, a flattering big or an unflattering big. The voting landed them 2/3 flattering.

    PK, I would like to point out to you there are probably a lot of people in the Bloggernacle who find what you and AML post on your blogs and in the Bloggernacle offensive. I know I was not exactly impressed with AML’s recent FMH post.

    Kurt
    a.k.a. Extreme Dorito, on BCC

  34. Extreme Dorito: I’ve been a lurker of Snarknacle in the past but have refused to visit the site as of late because I didn’t find the content of the blog to my taste. If you feel the same way about my blog, that’s fine too. I guess in this case we’ll agree to disagree, eh? As a final point, I’d like to point out that although I am married to AML, I don’t share a brain with the man. My opinions are my own, as is his post on FMH. I had no hand in constructing it and his words and thoughts are his own, as are mine. If you have a problem with his original post, you’ll have to take it up with him.

  35. PK, so in other words, my allegation that you are not familiar with the general content of SnarkerNacle is correct, which casts doubt onto the accuracy of your characterization of it. That would lead the dispassionate observer to conclude your accusations are probably unwarranted.

  36. In any case, I am always struck in this by the best described Zion society of which we have a historical record. In 4th Nephi, the Nephites are somehow able to overcome their differences and their value judgments and just love each other. There are no rich or poor, no contention, no -ites. What brings about this happy state? “They were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.” (4th Nephi 1:17) If we were one in Christ, I believe that we would be encouraged to treat everyone as a whole person, not simply as an amalgam of desirable and undesirable characteristics. Christ loves each of us for who we are and for what we may be. If we have that love, I don’t believe our goal would be to create and reinforce the divisions among us. Instead, we would be bound in one great whole.

    So . . . how does this concept interact with the descriptive link currently at the top of the BCC sidebar?

  37. make that now the second link

  38. Guy, it’s an example of how challenging it can be to show love for others when they do stupid things. Consider it a personal opportunity to grow!

  39. Except that stupidity–like beauty–is in the eye of the beholder

  40. Sometimes, Guy, it isn’t.

    p.s. check your email sometime.

  41. Guy, I am not particularly proud of that link (although I am not behind it). I am the guy who called Jettboy an idiot and a jerk earlier this week, though, so I am not going to claim moral high ground.

  42. Guy, I’ll take it down. I can respect the fact that some might see the sidebar as being representative of what BCC collectively thinks. I stand by the comment — I do think that post was stupid — but that’s my claim and not someone else’s.

  43. Guy, take it as a symbolic proof that if BCC and Zion were both physical locations, they’d be pretty far from each other.

  44. Please delete my last comment, as it is now stupid, following Steve’s comment.

  45. Matt, good one. I think we’re all pretty far from Zion out here in the Bloggernacle, don’t you?

  46. Guy, take it as a symbolic proof that if BCC and Zion were both physical locations, they’d be pretty far from each other.

    Well, BCC and Zion are also places where the pure in heart gather as well right? ;-)

  47. I am the guy who called Jettboy an idiot and a jerk earlier this week, though, so I am not going to claim moral high ground.

    Well, I’m certainly in no position to take any ground myself; but, I appreciate the fact that your post helps us all re-consider ourselves on line and in our behavior within the community of our fellow saints.

  48. Steve: If Zion were the Sun, I’d be in a different Galaxy, and a lor farther away than BCC as a collective whole.

  49. tut-tut, Matt. You’re doing just fine! But I’ve heard BCC described as a collective hole before.

    Look, the link was insulting. I find little praiseworthy in either the post, or my reaction to it. But I do want to denounce the kind of divisive language and flawed argumentation at work in the post, and I used insulting shorthand to do so.

  50. Steve,

    Easy for you to say. BCC has never been subject to the vendetta that other blogs get; and you’ve never received anything close to the kinds of personal attacks made on other bloggers.

    It looks like a symbiotic relationship. BCC bloggers repeatedly validate Kurt by telling him that his blog is some form of higher criticism. (Your comments; Ronan’s earlier comments.) In return, BCC is basically exempted from Snarkernackle’s overt hostility. Posts about BCC are few, and are inoffensive softballs.

    Meanwhile, other blogs or bloggers who refuse to participate in the shakedown become targets of Kurt’s vendetta, and get all sorts of nasty sh*t said about them.

    So I’m really not surprised that you don’t find Snarker offensive, because they really never say offensive things about you or your blog. Instead, they reserve their offensive content for other people, and what could possibly be offensive about that?

  51. Steve Evans says:

    Kaimi, first, I guess it is a little easier for me to say — you’re right that I have not had the skewering that others (such as yourself or Nate) have undergone, although in my defense I have had my share of snarking.

    Symbotic relationships, though? Validation? Shakedowns? There’s no mutual back-patting going on here. I call things like I see them, nothing more — and please don’t misinterpret me. I didn’t say that I didn’t find the Snarker offensive, just that I don’t find his site offensive for the most part — and I stand by that. But definitely yes, there have been some hurtful things at that site, and those should I think be deplored.

    Saying that I don’t find snarkernacle offensive because I’ve never been personally attacked is a little simplistic, though, don’t you think? In your view, do I simply never stick up for other people? I only find things offensive when it’s personally directed? Don’t let your hatred of Kurt’s site cloud you as to how your friends think — or ought to think — of the world.

  52. Kaimi,

    I would hasten to point out that Steve was hammered quite hard by Snarkernacle during the entire Banner of Heaven meltdown. I would also hasten to point out that I am banned here at BCC, just as I am banned at T&S. Steve and I have a rather…how shall I put this…interesting relationship. I would remind you, since you seem to have a rather short memory, that I was one of the original team members who exposed BofH and Steve went to great lengths to besmirch my character. Not unlike you are doing now. So, to sit there and suggest BCC and SN have some unholy alliance is nothing short of absurd.

    Perhaps you should look a little closer to home for the reason why you and your fellow T&S permabores get targeted and hit more often. Could it be your own behavior? Oh, no, of course not. Never.

    As for what is and what is not offensive, if snarking is offensive in and of itself, then why have you submitted snarks yourself? Oh, and if my memory serves me, it was a snark on…wait for it…Steve at BCC.

    Have a nice day, Kaimi.

  53. Didn’t see Capote, but Crash I liked more than Munich or Brokeback.

    Aaron B

  54. Brad Kramer (at 17) said:
    “I remember reading Redelfs’ description of the “Signaturi” … At some point, as I was composing an angry response to Redelfs on the DMI thread …”

    Brad, there was no need to respond, as the definitive response can be found here:

    http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2006/03/who-are-the-ignoranti/

    Aaron B

  55. Kaimi,

    Thanks for guaranteeing that BCC gets snarked more in the future!

    Seriously, I think it’s a bit unfair of you to imagine you know all that goes on around here. Without going into any details, I can assure you that BCC bloggers have complained about a thing or two that has been directed at their friends on other blogs. And to be fair to the Snarker, he/she/it has responded in those instances.

  56. Steve Evans says:

    AB, really? Crash over Brokeback? That explains so much…

  57. Dorito,

    So you’re saying that the Snarkernackle focus on T&S and FMH is entirely based on merit, and has nothing to do with your own vendettas? Come on.

    There’s a double standard, and it’s easy enough to demonstrate through the story of my own sole tip to snarker, which I’m happy that you brought up. You’re right, of course, that I submitted a link to Snarker, once, about a year ago. It was intended to prove something that I already suspected — the existence of the double standard.

    So, let’s ask the question. Say a major bloggernacle blog posted a link about lesbian book reviews, and then deleted that link a few hours later. Is that something that Snarker would naturally point out?

    Apparently, it depends on the blog. If T&S or FMH did anything like that, we all know that it would be up on Snarker in seconds. However, when BCC does just that — and I sent you a note about it, just to make sure it was on your radar screen — it doesn’t show up at all.

    Pretty good evidence of the double standard, no?

  58. Ronan,

    You’re right, that I don’t know all that goes on, and there are doubtless more things in Heaven and earth than are dreamt of in my philosophy. And I do appreciate the times that my friends stick up for me.

  59. I should also note, for the record, that I really appreciate the efforts of BCC bloggers (including Ronan and Steve, who I explicitly mentioned earlier, as well as others like J, JNS, HP, and Mark IV) to encourage civil debate and to limit personal and hurtful attacks. I’ve personally benefitted from their good deeds in the past and probably will in the future, and I have friends who have also benefitted from their good deeds. I’m sorry if my prior comments don’t reflect that.

  60. Eric Russell says:

    Steve, Crash way over Brokeback. But it was a weak batch overall last year. I think I’d have given it to the not even nominated Pride and Prejudice.

  61. Eric Russell says:

    That is to say, two years ago.

  62. Steve Evans says:

    E.R., ok…… but against Capote? Or Munich? Blech.

  63. Kaimi #57, good evidence of a double standard? Hardly. SnarkerNacle doesnt usually bother with sidebar links, and prior to your lame submission it hadnt ever, to my recollection, snarked a sidebar link. The only time sidebar stuff has been snarked was when arJ hijacked your sidebar for several days and then during the Niblets thing JMS admitted she was ornery after AnneGB said she was. Both of those are genuinely snarkworthy. Aside from those, I cannot ever recall sidebar-based snarks. So, what does that prove? That sidebar content isnt usually snarkworthy and you submit bad snarks in an effort to lampoon the opposition. And the notion you did it to test the fairness of SN is a silly after-the-fact attempt at false justification.

    Kaimi, face it, its about behavior and the T&S people generally act more snarkworthy in public than the BCC people do, with some notable exceptions. Seriously, think about it, Kaimi, when was the last time Wilfred was snarked? Um, never. Why? Because he doesnt go around shooting his mouth off about stuff he doesnt know anything about and calling himself Abinadi and talking trash on feminist sites. And when was the last time BCC devolved into civil war that spilled over into the public and resulted in two of the permas quitting? Um, never. Its about behavior, Kaimi, not vendettas, whether you like it or not.

  64. Steve Evans says:

    “when was the last time BCC devolved into civil war that spilled over into the public and resulted in two of the permas quitting?”

    Give it time.

  65. Darn it, Evans! THAT’S IT!!! I QUIT!

  66. Steve Evans says:

    ok, ok, “two of the IMPORTANT permas.”

  67. Dorito,

    Come on. I like BCC as much as the next guy, but they’ve had far, far more permas leave than T&S has ever had. Unless I miss my count, no fewer than 12 BCC permas have quit the blog.

    You’ve engaged in endless insinuation and speculation — and that’s all you’ve ever had, really, is speculation — about why two bloggers left T&S. Where are the posts speculating about the infighting that’s caused 12 bloggers to leave BCC? Or do you think that every departure from BCC was cake and ice cream?

    I like BCC, and I like and respect the folks around here; I’m sure that some of my own posts and comments could be better; many of the folks here (and elsewhere) do a very good job blogging. There are times when I deserve to be snarked, and times when BCC bloggers don’t.

    The night-and-day difference in treatment, though, is best explained by your own personal animus.

  68. By the way, Dorito, the double-standard test nature of my one submission isn’t an after-the-fact addition. I told Steve what I was doing, up front, the day I sent it to you. (This all took place right after you denied that there was a double standard.)

    Here’s a direct quote from my e-mail to Steve, on 5/24/06 (the day I sent you the tip):

    You’ll likely hear about it from Kurt anyway, but I’ll tell you first — I just sent in my first snarker tip, suggesting that he post about today’s disappearing sidebar link at BCC.

    Whatever the threshold is, and granting that there are legitimate differences of opinion on what should or shouldn’t be snarked, I think that disappearing-links-to-lesbian-book-reviews _has_ to meet the snarkability test.

    I told him to keep me anonymous, if he uses the tip. But that’s for public purposes – I’m not trying to hide anything from you or your co-bloggers. (Including this message to you, for that matter — none of this is any secret as far as I’m concerned).

    You can verify that with Steve. That’s been my motivation all along. I was open to the possibility that I was misreading, and that you didn’t have a double standard. However, you’ve pretty much demonstrated otherwise.

  69. Wait! Where’s my cake and ice cream? That’s it; I QUIT AGAIN!

  70. Steve Evans says:

    Kaimi and Kurt, I’d appreciate it if you two either took this offline or stopped this altogether. This is becoming all about dirty laundry and vendettas and various kinds of hatefulness. This is HP’s thread, he can close it if he wants, but I’m fairly certain that this line of discussion is not welcome.

  71. Yeah, please let it go or take it to another forum. If you want to ponder the motivations of online anonymous snarkers, I have offered you a place to ponder mine.

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