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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Brief Linking to the Manifesto of No-Consequence

I'm contemplating whether I want to say something more about this fellow's counter-boycott against those who have condemned Elizabeth Moon over her recent comments on Islam (you can read what I've had to say about consumer activism in relation to literature here).  The level of hypocrisy, intellectual vacuity (the argument of no-consequence, specifically), and repetition of fallacious arguments is alarming, particularly considering that I've agreed with the author of the post in the past on issues related to what he calls the "fail community."  The fact that he can't separate the truly awful from the misunderstood or mistaken is mind boggling to me.

So, I'm going to throw the link to all of you for now.  Read the comments if you dare.  Maybe I'll talk about it.  There's certainly plenty to be said about the rhetoric being forced there, but I don't know if I have the stomach for it right now.  Elizabeth Moon's misguided and incredibly problematic rant is enough to swallow from the SF community at the moment.

What do you think?

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  1. I still disagree with you, SMD, that Moon displayed politics worthy of a boycott (though they were faulty, I still fail to perceive the majority of stances you claimed she'd supported with that controversial post), but yeah, this guy's "If you boycott, then we'll boycott you" is the beginning of a Middle East style never-ending sense of victimization on all sides.

    If Moon has the right to express her opinions, then so does everyone else. And so, naturally, does this guy calling for a boycott of the boycotters. But then where does it end? Boycotting Moon is an action taken to not support a possible political opponent. Boycotting the boycotters, while a freedom given to anyone, is simply an act of showmanship (or "principle") void of actual quantitative purpose.

  2. I think the problem is with the intellectual basis of the second position. If your problem is with people who boycott, and your response is to then do the action you have a problem with, one which immediately contradicts your entire argument, then what you've managed to do is make yourself into the hypocrite. To make matters worse, this counter-boycott position is coupled with an argument of no-consequence: specifically, that we should not be held accountable for what we say, no matter how vulgar it might be. Whether we all agree that Moon's post is vulgar or not doesn't hide the fact that this individual is arguing for a world that resembles the comments thread on any political video on YouTube, where I can say any awful, horrible thing about anyone, and end up with nothing more than someone disagreeing with me.

    As for Moon: re-read what she wrote and pay close attention to the rhetoric. She uses language that is problematic at best, and offensive at the worst, particularly to anyone who has already experienced Islamo-phobia's rhetoric (I have, since I live in the town where they planned those book burnings).

    When you say something like "I feel that I personally (and many others) lean over backwards to put up with these things, to let Muslims believe stuff that unfits them for citizenship," then there's a big problem. The fact that her post singles out Muslims makes it fairly clear that she has shut down her intellectual faculties and allowed her prejudices to cloud her judgment. Her logic could very well apply to any religious group in this country. Yet she does not make that argument. It's about Muslims. It's about conflating Muslims with immigrants. It's about the problem of the "sand n*ggers." Whether some of what she said is true, the way she has said it doesn't leave much wiggle room in the "you're a bigot" department.

    Boycott, to me, will depend entirely on how she responds to all that has happened. I would probably accept an apology. Others would not, however.


  3. I still disagree with the "troubling" phraseology, because Moon defines these phrases before using them, especially "unfit for citizenship" is a phrase she takes time to explore the use of, in context of her post, before using it. It's not an ill-defined blanket statement covering a single group. It's a principle she's supposing all peoples in the USA should be subject to, and then pointing to an example where she feels this principle is faltering.

    She even tries (but fails) to explore how she wouldn't give the same break to other religions...except that she does. She may not internally forgive Christianity of past crimes, but she's not considering their churches to be in poor taste, either, which means she IS forgiving them. It's hypocritical, because she doesn't hold other religions to the exact same "this is inconsiderate" judgement, however her statements are, theoretically, meant to cover all citizens, not only Muslims.

    She just needs to realize that her stance isn't justifiable unless she calls out EVERYone. Beyond that, though, the points involved are 100% good points. All religious citizens should care as much about the quality of life of non-member citizens around them as they do about themselves, and not just operate on the sense of "I'm allowed to do this, so I should".

  4. You're giving her far too much credit. The fact that she doesn't hold other religions to the same standard is precisely why there is a problem with her statement. Assuming that she would apply it to all, or taking the intellectual leap to suggest that her statements should be applied to all is only relevant if she actually provides something to that effect. Since she doesn't, speculating about the intentions, or the potential intentions, or even using the words which contain little intention whatsoever to do something positive with it is extremely troublesome.

    The fact is she singled out one religion, used several phrases that are rhetorically suspect (such as her use of qualifying statements--such as "many"--which she tries to use to suggest that she is reasonably, but in fact only succeed in making her points less credibly precisely because qualification when applied to a negative is rarely anything but an attempt to soften the negative, rather than suggest moderation), and did so without consideration of the broader implications, nor the narrow-minded view that they portrayed.

    I also take huge issue with this idea that one can even be "unfit for citizenship," particularly when we're talking about a group of people who are not at all immigrants by definition. If having questionable religious views makes one unfit, then we're pretty much all unfit by some standard or another. That's not a useful distinction to make, particularly when one is attempting to argue for a right-removing viewpoint by suggesting that it is an appropriate response to another viewpoint that is, in principle, against certain rights (if, of course, one takes her statement to actually only mean radical Muslims, which is difficult to do in this case).

    Read the statement from the viewpoint of a Muslim. Whether she is saying something useful underneath isn't really relevant at this point. Whatever usefulness is there is lost in her rhetoric.

  5. Usefulness should never be lost to rhetoric. That makes rhetoric the most important thing in a discussion, which is silly. Only if a person can't think for yhemselves does rhetoric hold any status whatsoever in an exchange.

    In any conversation, or discussion, or diatribe, throwing out all concepts and thoughts raised because the direction they're aimed at is faulty, seems knee-jerk. It strikes me as the reason concepts like Communism, Socialism, and Marxism and anything that cannibalizes even small aspects of any of those are vilified to this day. A narrow-minded view does not invalidate the concerns involved in that view. The concerns are not narrow - only the view is.

    The thing that most stimulates me (intellectually, thank you) from all this is that very concept/question of "unfit for citizenship". Is there such a thing? I think maybe from a social responsibility angle there is (not legally, just socially). What are our social responsibilities to each other? What are the consequences, if any, that don't move on sheer bias alone, and respect the freedoms of all parties rather than favor one over the other?

    There's a lot to Moon's post that discusses questions rarely asked so bare-facedly, that we should all consider more frequently than we do. There was a wealth of socio-political fodder in there to discuss, and instead it all devolved into Moon-is-biased. Which is a mob effect, most notable because nobody had anything to say on any element save her tirade on Muslims. That's not a properly intelligent response on the whole. That's a picking apart of a faulty reasoning - worth doing, absolutely. To ignore the rest is similar to your complaint with current bipartisan politics, where smearing the opposition is more important than responding to all points raised.

    I'm not okay with an intellectual society that ignores everything except the misstep.

  6. I think calling what she did a "misstep" is a gross misrepresentation of what happened. That's like calling what Mark Williams did a "misstep." There might have been some really good points to be made in his speech, but ultimately it was a racist and extremely offensive one. You don't excuse poor behavior by legitimizing the logic that makes that behavior function, not if you want anything meaningful to happen for those who hold a particular view. You educate, yes (and a lot of people did; I'm not supporting anyone who simply screamed at her or left the discussion at "you're evil"), but you don't ignore the "misstep" to address the legitimate points present.

    Dismissing rhetoric is equally as problematic. Rhetoric has been an important aspect of debate, discussion, and analysis for centuries. Being able to analyze rhetoric is precisely the opposite of "not thinking for oneself."

    I also don't think you can disentangle the social from the legal in the phrase "unfit for citizenship," particularly because "citizenship" is a legal concept, and also because when we talk about social function, we inevitably are talking about things that can, and often are, governed by the law, particularly when it comes to the treatment of others. It's a question worth asking, I suppose, but I think the question shouldn't be whether there are social responsibilities tied in with citizenship, but rather whether there are social desires that we can all agree on and are willing to exhibit. Christians, for example, often talk about charity and doing unto others, which is an ideal that we could likely say people "should" subscribe to, but when it comes to actually doing it, most Christians don't.

    This, I think, is the problem with social responsibility. How do we determine what they are when there is no set ideology by which we all subscribe? Most of us, more or less, believe in the Constitution, which provides the foundations for many of our social elements, but it only deals with basic subjects, not with the more nuanced elements of social behavior.

    And what, then, do we do with someone who breaks a social "code"? There are serious consequences for violating the Constitution (which I support, regardless of your beliefs; if you live here, you have to follow the rules, even if you don't agree with them...that's just how it is). Would there be consequences for violating a social "code"? Legitimate consequences, not consequences that legitimize racism or what have you.

    I don't know. I'm troubled by the idea of legitimate consequences for violating social codes, largely because such things are likely to be formed outside of the legal sphere and are also susceptible to ideology of the darkest form (racism, religious fundamentalism, sexism, etc. (or all three, for that matter)).

    But those are my fairly random, early-morning thoughts on that whole citizenship thing.

  7. I think we may be nearly in agreement at this point: I definitely do not believe that what I consider to be Moon's relevant points somehow forgive or should even supersede her blatantly biased ones. But I do think that a focus on her entire train of logic would have better showcased where this bias reared its head and shoved the whole topic off course. It also would have opened the discussion to explore the equally troubling concept of of social consequence, which is absolutely a concept Moon was trying to suggest existed.

    With all of this, the discussion (arguably, I obviously have no proof of this) could have stayed truly critical and exploratory, rather than a full frontal attack, which will never correct racist thinking, and never has, in any situation. It may force an apology or what have you, but the thought processes remain largely misunderstood by both sides of the argument.

    On the subject of social consequence, I tend to favor natural consequence, i.e. you announce a mosque in a controversial place, you get controversy. You post your opinions about the controversy, you get more controversy. Freedoms tend to naturally correct most social measures, or, if not "correct" them, they do inevitably deliver consequences one way or another.

  8. Oh, certainly. What I would like to see in this case is Moon realizing where she went wrong, apologizing, and then honest discussion among various parties about the real problems that she hints at in her post, and which can be implicated into her language. Moon may very much hold a bigoted stance, but bigotry isn't created in a vacuum; it's an ideology that is appropriated, adopted, or manipulated into people, and understanding that is important here. It's also important to realize that people make mistakes and will say things that they may or may not believe in principle. Where I diverged from the "Fail community" as the poster I linked calls it is when it is unwilling to accept apology, or even to admit when it is wrong. We should be upset by Moon, but we should also be willing to forgive and forget, or forgive and discuss, with sincerity. The second we refuse to do that is the point at which I think our position loses its value.

    I agree with natural consequences, but I do think that those consequences need to be grounded in reality. When we get upset about the community center (inside of which is a mosque), we need to get upset about it for real reasons, and not for imagined ones. Few people on the opposing side took the Imam's hope for fostering good relations to heart, even though his history suggests that he is sincere. Why not? Isn't it in our best interests to have good relations with Muslims here and around the world? Don't we want more moderate Muslims on our side?

    That's what I ask when I see the debates about the community center near Ground Zero. I think we should all be asking them to ourselves...

    But, anyway, we're certainly in agreement to a point :)

    Thanks for the comment and the debate, though. I enjoy it, as always, even when we disagree :P.

  9. Per my original point, I run under a very simple philosophy.

    What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

    The reason I'm here is per your concern at the Teapot's blog, SMD. I suspect she linked yours to prevent a google alert or any backtracking from my blog to hers.

    Such as it is, I don't give a fuck one way or the other. I stand by what I've written on the fail community and contrary to the opinion expressed by writers there, I certainly don't need the attention.

    If anything, the writing career might go better if I simply followed the rest of the community and kept my mouth shut.

    That said, I have very little use for bullies, of any stripe, regardless of what cause they dress themselves up in.

    Nuff said.

    S. F. Murphy
    On the Outer Marches

  10. I find it problematic that you describe social activism as bullying. Would you characterize the Civil Rights Movement as bullying as well? Because, based on the logic you're presenting here, and elsewhere, you'd practically have to call them bullies for shoving their ideology (an inherently anti-racist one) into everyone's faces (though protests, boycotts, and so on).

    And this is where I have an issue with what you have said: your logic suggests an argument for no-consequence; that is, that there should be no serious consequences for behaviors that are traditionally agreed to be wrong--such as racism (and especially that, really). No changes would have happened in our society if we had followed that logic (good and bad, admittedly; this seems to suggest that we all need to do a better job of figuring out when it is a good time to enact consequence, and when it is not...something that what you call the "fail community" have sometimes failed to do, and which you and I agree on--other times they've hit the nail on the head).


  11. Well, how do you define racism, SMD?

    My definition, the traditional one, the one that still holds with the majority, is where one ethnic group views themselves to be superior to others.

    I'm aware of the broader definition but I'm afraid I do not subscribe to it.

    So, Civil Rights activists who are fighting against segregation, pushing for equal treatment and opportunity, I don't have a problem with them.

    Activists operating under the second definition, which is pretty much akin to original sin (you are racist even if you don't think you are and more to the point you will ALWAYS be racist and you can't help it) fall under a category I do have a problem with.


    It is simple.

    I don't agree with them. I don't agree with their definition. I don't agree with their tactics and I do see them as bullies.

    Now, the moment some switch flips in my brain and I concur with their definition, perhaps my attitude would change to a degree.

    But I find their tactics reprehensible. Dogpiling 300 plus comments on a blog is a far different thing than sitting at a lunch counter or taking your chances with police dogs.

    In any case, my opinion about the fail nazis and their approach is pretty well set in stone, verified by three years of observation and contact.

    They are bigots shrouded in a cause, perhaps not much different than Moon with her own opinions. They can express those opinions as much as they want.

    So long as they don't wander into my balliwick.

    There is a saying, worth repeating.

    Your rights end where the rights of others begin. Perhaps everyone in the Citizenship fail incident, along with all of the other iterations of fail, would do well to keep that in mind.

  12. By your definition, Moon is a racist, since Muslims are undoubtedly an ethnic group, and only at times not a racial group. Ethnicity and race are not the same thing and never have been (educating yourself on the history of racism might be helpful here, since you seem to be operating on inaccurate assumptions of the hows and whys).

    But that isn't necessarily the main issue here (though it is important). Your comment is really just a roundabout way of telling me that you are making an argument of no-consequence, not because you agree with Moon (your comment says otherwise), but because you disagree with those who reacted to her. The contradictions should be troublesome if you're willing to see them.


  13. Everyone has the right to express their opinions, but those opinions have real-world consequences. Moon's words hurt real people, and they hurt real people who tend to be hurt by careless words on a regular basis, who are ignored or actively shunned by fandom. They are part of a culture I despise, and am doing my best to end. So I will boycott her, because I hope that she discovers her words have consequences for her, and not just for the people she hurts.

    As for the boycott-of-the-boycott, Southern Baptists boycotted Disney for not discriminating against gays, no matter how heteronormative their movies were and Disney did just fine. Besides, I suspect that the boycott-of-the-boycott won't have the visceral impact that the boycott does; most of us don't want to read her books anymore anyway, no matter how much we used to enjoy them. At this point, buying a book by Moon would be asking to be punched in the teeth; you never know where in her world she'll have hidden this assimilationist crap.

  14. Meg: Thanks for stopping by! I absolutely agree with you, which is probably obvious from everything I've written about this topic thus far. So, 'nuff said.

  15. Anonymous3:26 PM

    Pretty sure the failpiles on Moon et al. actually are bullying. The civil rights movement we respect for occupying public spaces, not for dropping leaflet bombs on an individual's doorstep or vilifying minor authors expressing old-fashioned, distasteful, but still basically moderate positions. Choose better enemies, IMO, and if you want to win anyone new to your side, instead of preaching to the choir, treat those enemies with more respect than Moon's gotten lately. A counter-boycott is a reasonable outcome in this case, considering. I hadn't heard about it, but friends have told me for a long time I ought to try _Deeds of Paksenarrion_, so now I will. Thanks.

  16. A) If she had no desire for her blog to be a public forum, she should have kept all comments closed. Opening comments suggests a willingness to suspend "privacy" in an Internet zone. The comments aren't on her doorstep; they're on her public blog. Nobody is suggesting we should waltz into her house and start criticizing her for her comments in her private location (not that I've seen, anyway).

    B) To suggest that one shouldn't go after Moon because she's minor (she's not in the SF/F community) is also to suggest that the issue being raised isn't important enough to address at full spectrum. That's a disturbing logical track to follow.

    C) The Internet didn't exist in the 1960s (or 1865, for that matter). So making comparisons between the two moments without appropriately addressing the technological differences is ignoring a key element that makes public discourse in this country (and most of the world) work.

    D) The counter-boycott is hypocritical. If your problem with all of what is going on is that boycotting is wrong and so forth, then to initiate in a counter-boycott is to immediately discount the value of your initial opinion. If that's what you're going for, then great, but if your real concern is the way public discourse has changed, then treating the very people you find problematic with the level of disdain said counter-boycott levels at them negates anything you have said here about treating "those enemies with more respect."

    E) If you like being an accessory to something you seem to disagree with, then have at it. If more people thought that there should be no social consequences for ill-conceived, racist or ethnocentric behavior, as you seem to do, then very little would have gotten done in the last 200 years. Thank goodness that's not the country we live in...I like equal rights.

    F) If social activism is bullying, then count me among the bullies of the Civil Rights, Women's Rights, and Gay Rights Movements (among others). Nothing gets done unless we demand it, and in public. I'm not content to sit on my hands and keep quiet about the wrongs being committed.

  17. Anonymous6:05 PM

    Well, I wrote a reply long enough to make Google barf, so good on you Google for helping shorten this. :D

    S.M.D., it seems to me you've never met a false dilemma you didn't like.

    A) It's not a choice between "no comments allowed" and "failpiles welcome." Moon's comment thread really is her doorstep: you're welcome up to a point, and if you cross it discourteously, she'll throw you out. As you all did, and as she did.

    B) It's not a choice between "ignoring the issue, full spectrum" and "attack minor authors too." You want to address the full spectrum? Go for it. And just mention Moon in a list. She *is* a minor author, both in having modest sales compared to others with the same publishers and in not having much of a voice in the community.

    C) Yes, you should have thought of that before bringing up the civil rights movement.

    D) When I ordered a copy of _The Deed of Paksenarrion_ a few minutes ago, it was because the *priority* of voting against this vilification was greater to me than the *priority* of disagreeing with her, which I feel too. But I'm able to hold conflicting feelings and choose among them rationally thanks to, you know, being able to assign weights to what I value instead of seeing things entirely in black and white. That's not hypocrisy--it's not being constrained by a false dilemma.

    E) LOL, I'm a cultural anthropologist. Good luck with the ethnocentrism argument.

    F) Wrap yourself in that self-righteousness all you like, but the facts remain: social activism is fine, and you're a bully. These aren't conflicting points of view, and you're shaming my alma mater by not being able to figure it out.

  18. It didn't actually eat your comment. For some reason it will say it has, but it only does it for extraordinarily long ones. Usually if you go backwards, the comment will still have gone through (but since I have comment moderation on to avoid spammers, you wouldn't see it until I approved; so yeah).

    A) That's not the choice I'm suggesting I would offer. I would offer a more varied choice, but right now the two options on the table seem to be the "no-consequence" argument (the one you're proposing) and the two types of "fail" responses (not my term)--which are somewhat crazed "I'm anti-you" and somewhat less-crazed "I disagree with you, and here is why", both of which are coupled with the "I won't buy your works" stuff. There is a third option (and perhaps a fourth or fifth), but not one that you or others in your camp are offering (I subscribe to a third, which is to take people to task that have crossed the line, and to have more reasonable approaches to those that haven't, which is why I don't think of myself as one who is on the bandwagon of what others call the "fail community.")

    A1) I didn't comment on Moon's thread, so I didn't get thrown out. And what Moon did was throw EVERYONE out, even those who had legitimate criticisms and were not attacking her personally. That's not a rational response to a realistic problem. That's ostrich time.

    A2) Moon can make her blog private and only available to people she invites. If she does that, it becomes a private space. She hasn't. Her blog is open to anyone, and is, therefore, a public space. The line between public and private is not nearly as clear as on the Internet as it is in the real world. It never has been. (Do you have any idea how much personal information you voluntarily give up by simply being online?)

    B) I don't limit it to Moon, and many others don't limit it to Moon either. Some only limit the discussion to within the SF/F community, which isn't necessarily an issue (one has to start somewhere, and making one small change can be a good start). Many in the community who took Moon to task have been talking about the Muslim issue for years. Talking about it, unfortunately, doesn't necessarily lead to listening.

    C) I did. They remain analogous.


  19. D) Well, no, your hypocrisy is point blank. You're saying "I'm supporting what you say, even though I don't agree with it" by counter-boycotting (this is different than saying "I support your right to say what you want to say, even though I don't agree with it"). You're also saying "I don't agree with the boycott, so I'm going to counter-boycott." Those are positions that contradict themselves. One is a problem of accessory, and the other is simply an ironic position to take (unless you don't subscribe to the counter-boycott, in which case, your position is only contradictory in the first case).

    E) Right, because nobody who has studied anything can possibly be fallible. I don't need any luck with the ethnocentrism argument. That's Moon's argument. It's an inherently ethnocentric one. If you disagree, offer some counter claims.

    F) The facts do remain: you don't want there to be social consequences for anything we do, no matter how racist, ethnocentric, controversial, etc. That's what you're arguing. You say you care about social activism, but the means by which we can enact that activism are limited in your viewpoint. If you had your way, the Civil Rights Movement never would have happened precisely because all the activism you suggest is bullying today happened, in a slightly altered form, back then.

    But thanks for suggesting that because I disagree with you and have issues with your intellectual position that I must therefore be shaming your alma mater. I get the impression that you're less interested in social change than you are in having everyone you disagree with shut up. To which I say: you don't have to come here and comment; you're more than welcome to ignore me.

    P.S.: I also find it humorous that you assume that I am somehow "with the bullies" simply because I disagree on this particular topic. At which I'd say, "see my history on what Murphy calls the "fail community."" You might be surprised.

  20. Anonymous9:56 PM

    OK, your point that sticks with me most is I don't know your history with the fail community--I don't.

    I only know your pot-calls-kettle-black rhetoric of "this other guy suffers from intellectual vacuity, fallacious argument, and poor ability to judge what's mostly harmless."

    I only know your willingness to join a gigantic dogpile on a 65-year-old woman born in the Rio Grande valley whose LJ has *fewer subscribers in Google Reader than your own tiny blog* because she's merely *moderate* on issues of cultural and religious difference.

    I only know your wild straw man arguments about what *I* think, which are just hilarious to read. Seriously, look at this:

    "The facts do remain: you don't want there to be social consequences for anything we do, no matter how racist, ethnocentric, controversial, etc. That's what you're arguing ... If you had your way, the Civil Rights Movement never would have happened precisely because all the activism you suggest is bullying today happened, in a slightly altered form, back then."

    LOL. I repeat, LOL. No.

    Over, over, and over, you keep doing this in this thread. It's all or nothing every time. It's classic false dilemma ( ). It's the "if you're not with us, you're against us" argument. And it's garbage every time.

    But what the heck, I'll take your bait. Were you alive "back then"? Elizabeth Moon was. Why don't you ask her where she stood on civil rights in the 60s before you decide allowing her point of view would have made it impossible? Because I seriously doubt she opposed the civil rights leaders we still respect. Here she is in June of this year expressing how sickened she is by racism:

    The civil rights movement wasn't won by bullies like, say, Eldridge Cleaver. It was won by moderates expressing opinions more or less like Moon's in that post.

    Does that make her citizenship post right or even close to it? No. It's ignorant, condescending, disrespectful, and full of bad in-group/out-group thinking. It's also super, super moderate for someone of her age with her background (Texas, Marine Corps, etc.). It did not merit the reaction it received--not even close. The consequences it deserved were meted out in the first page or so of replies from her actual readers. What happened after that was the fail community dogpiling her like 4chan on a bad day.

    And I have a lot of sympathy for that. If you don't, I guess that's on your own bad conscience.

  21. 1) Muslims would say what she said was not "mostly harmless." But I hope you're not suggesting that what they feel is irrelevant. Many Muslims were offended and hurt by what she said. Many of them tried to talk to her about it. Many of them were turned down. Unfortunately we don't have the comments anymore.

    2) "LOL. I repeat, LOL. No."

    Your entire position says otherwise. This is empty rhetoric. You're saying one thing, when everything that preceded it said something else. And: actions speak louder than words, and your actions are saying the opposite here as much as your words are.

    3) You keep suggesting the false dilemma; not me. I've said it before: there is a middle ground. I'm the only one that seems to have an admitted history of being in that middle, since I have agreed with S.F. Murphy in the past (and even recently on his post about tone). I've even written against many of the various explosions that have occurred in the community in the past. I don't agree with them on all issues. Never have.

    4) Talk about Straw Man arguments, sir. Let's divert attention away from your intellectual position to Moon's. Fun. What does Moon's history have to do with what she has said about Muslims? Does that somehow negate what is an awful set of words? I don't think so.

    5) Have you read the speeches or essays written by Martin Luther King, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois, Frederik Douglas, et. al.? These are acknowledged heroes of the long history of the Civil Rights movement, people who made real change, and yet their works and actions would, in your assessment, define them as bullies precisely because they all spoke, to varying degrees, with harsh criticism of the intellectual position of the racists who opposed them. They weren't afraid to say as much either. Frederik Douglas especially. The fact that almost all of us agree that the people they were writing against were wrong in all possible ways might be clouding your judgement here.

    6) Moon's age doesn't make her position suddenly acceptable from a sympathy standpoint. Ethnocentrism is ethnocentrism. Racism is racism.

    7) At this point we're just wandering in circles. Your position has been, and remains a contradiction of itself, a boldfaced hypocrisy. I fail to see in your view (of how things should be) how there is any incentive on the part of anyone to correct wrong behavior (which you agree is wrong) when you're still funneling money to them (albeit for you it's because you disagree with another tactic); how would you suggest social change be created?

    The negation is there: you say you disagree, but your pocketbook says the opposite. That's the problem. We can keep swimming around it, but it doesn't change. It's there and its ugly.

    Thanks for the comments. I'm off to read Suvin and sleep. Have a good night.

  22. Anonymous12:22 AM

    Oh, what my pocketbook says is I believe in proportional responses.

    Like if a senior citizen with a history of making liberal comments about racism and poverty (overtly critical of Republicans in Texas gov't) slips up and takes a moderate point of view on an issue she doesn't know a lot about, then I believe it's all well and good for her routine readership to point out she's wrong, and that's it. It's not a big deal if she continues to disagree, because she's not really an issue--her politics are completely ordinary:
    And she's not an influential voice in the first place.

    So if I see a disproportionate response, e.g. a boycott or thousands of drive-by comments or an effort to have the woman's con invitation revoked, there's no contradiction in paying that down in my own slight way to lessen the personal consequences to someone who excites my sympathies for reasons outside of her politics.

    Incidentally, it's Frederick Douglass and bald-faced, not that I attach any significance to your spelling and diction.

  23. Alright, well last comment on this, since you're being an ass now.

    --Islamaphobia is not a moderate view.

    --Plenty of people who share political positions with me also share political positions that I disagree with. In some cases it's not a big deal. But I'm not an ethnocentrist by trade, or a racist, or anti-Muslim. In this case, I don't support her politics in the slightest and I refuse to give her my money. If she retracts the statement, then I'm perfectly willing to retract mine.

    --Bold-faced is correct. It can be spelled both ways. Google is your friend.

    --You're correct on Frederick Douglass's name. Thank you.

    --I don't agree with removing her con invite. But I also wouldn't go to WisCon in the first place. It doesn't sound like a place that would be much fun for me.

    --What your mouth says is "proportional response," but what your pocketbook is still saying is "please, keep saying harmful things about other people, because my money agrees with you."

    That is all.

  24. Islamophobia is not a moderate view.

    However, nony-mouse has a point. He is saying that a) he disagrees with her and b) that the response was more severe then he felt necessary.

    I'm not going to get into arguing that, but I will defend that you can hold that point of view without a) being a hypocrite b) supporting a manifesto of no consequence.

    So, given made up numbers for the sake of argument, lets say that her comment was a 5 on the badness scale, this is the kind of thing that is not acceptable and deserves some sort of response.

    Nony is arguing that he thinks a proportionate response is a drop in sales of 500 books, and 50 angry comments on her blog.

    He sees a boycott that looks so strong that she will lose 10,000 book sales (remember, made up numbers) and 300+ angry comments. He thinks that's disproportionate, so while still disagreeing with her he takes it on himself to buy a book.

    In his eyes she is wrong, and deserves to lose 500 book sales, his action is designed to bring about that result.

    This is not a policy of 'No-consequence' it is not hypocritical (she deserves to be punished, but not that harshly so I shall ameliorate it).
    That doesn't stop it being wrong (maybe Islamophobia is so serious that all authors known to hold any Islamophobic views should be boycotted until they change their minds, maybe the response was proportionate, etc), and involved judging things from a position of lack of knowledge (how on earth could anyone but her publisher et al know how dramatic the effect of the boycott has been?) but the way I read his words he's not advocating a Manifesto of No-Consequence nor is he being a hypocrite.

  25. Sarah: When you say "I don't support your politics," but then buy that person's books, you're actually saying "I do support your politics." In that sense, it is hypocritical. It doesn't matter if you're saying "a modest dip in sales is understandable." By saying "I'm still going to buy your books," you're effectively saying "your political views aren't important enough to me to warrant my refusal to purchase your work." But they aren't saying that. Publicly they say "we disagree with Moon and think what she said is wrong." Those two points contradict one another.

    As for the Manifesto: it sets up as its foundation a hypocritical stance by suggesting a counterboycott is a rational response to a boycott. Okay, but when you're upset by reactions you think are excessive because they resort to boycotts, then calling for a boycott is not only suggesting that using our power as consumers to refuse to support people we disagree with is wrong (and, thus, part of the "no consequence" I speak of), and that one doesn't really have a problem with boycotts to begin with (thus the hypocrisy).

    It's bound up in contradictions.