Monday, July 10, 2006

Alex through the Looking Glass

Mr Eldritch has always known just what to say.
Harsh words for harsher places, but that is, after all, his vocation.

"Alice in her party dress
She thanks you kindly
So serene
She needs you like she needs her tranqs
To tell her that the world is clean"

For Alice, read Alex. Her party dress is blood-stained and her eyes have that familiar glassy look. Serenity in a bottle, composure in a needle. Alex is innocent: it's not the world she needs to be reassured is clean (though it isn't) it's her party dress. And her works.

As I've written elsewhere (Let's talk about Alex), Alex isn't a real person. She's a stock character, but she resembles something that exists in the world: I should know, I've resembled her.

Before I get stuck in, I should probably start out with a warning: long, long, meta ahead. It's not even meta about In Flight: it's meta about BT. And yes, I will be naming names and linking to posts, because on the whole I'd rather people weren't wondering who I'm talking about. But I probably won't cite many actual quotations because I don't want to give them room here.

But I'm going to start out with a brief and pointed digression.

Catherine McKinnon has asked some really tough questions about what female consent to heterosexual sex means in places where, by and large, rape happens with impunity. The places I think of when I read her work are the places I've lived: New Zealand, the United States and more recently the United Kingdom. (I must confess, that while I'm naming names, my sources in this case are still languishing in a garage in the United States. I am writing from memory: as a result I am probably grossly simplifying her argument or simply getting parts of it wrong: the inevitable shortcomings should therefore be ascribed to me, not her.)

If I remember her rightly, she argues in societies such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, some women are generally understood to be unrapable. They cannot be raped because their consent is already presumed: any sexual act involving them is therefore automatically by definition consensual. On its face, it might seem a bit of a nonsense, but let me try and give a couple of examples.

It is well-known that women who work as prostitutes find it almost impossible to obtain rape convictions: as sex workers, they are understood to be 'unrapable:' their consent is presumed.

Until quite recently in New Zealand (1985), it was legally impossible for a husband to rape his spouse. While a married woman might be rapable by a stranger, she was unrapable by her husband. Despite the change in law, convictions for spousal rape (and its relative, date rape) remain very rare. One might conclude from this that while girlfriends and wives are legally rapable by their boyfriends and husbands (which is to say they can be raped because they can refuse consent), in practice they are still considered unrapable within the context of that relationship (they can't be raped because their consent is already given).

Part of the reason why McKinnon's taxonomy (if I'm describing it correctly) is hard to get one's head around is that one would normally think of being 'unrapable' as a good thing, as implying that one is not powerless, but powerful -- but within the context of her argument, to be 'unrapable' is to not have one's right to refuse consent recognised or acknowledged within the broader society, which actually puts one in a weaker position than the 'rapable' woman who at least has the possibility of some kind of redress.

Anyway, when a rapist rapes an 'unrapable' woman -- a woman whose consent is automatically presumed -- he often won't think that he's done anything wrong and he will vociferously claim innocence. And most of the time, a majority of people will agree with him. I don't think there's anything particular controversial in that observation: certainly it matches what I've seen in the world closely enough.

Here endeth the digression.

What does any of that have to do with meta? What does it have to do with Alex? What does it have to do with what's been happening at BT?

Resemblance is what it has to do with these things -- not identity, but resemblance. I am expressly not saying that anyone has been raped on BT. That would be a bit silly. But I am inviting you to keep in mind a more general idea that might be abstracted from McKinnon (or rather from my crude and possibly inaccurate recollection of a paraphrase of part of her argument). That is, the concept that there may be constructed -- through language, because language matters here folks -- classes of people whom it is by definition impossible to injure. Not because they are powerful, invulnerable superheroes who cannot in fact experience injury, but because an injury to them is not considered to be a real injury (raping one's spouse was 'impossible' in New Zealand until 1985, remember?) . Such 'uninjurable' people can be injured with impunity: innocence and goodness is maintained throughout. And I must admit, whenever I think of innocence I think of Alex in her bloody party dress. So serene.

What I see happening at BT (and elsewhere too, but most clearly at BT, perhaps because that's where I look most closely) is the gradual construction of a class of people whom it is, by definition, impossible to injure. A class of people about whom and to whom anything may be said, with no moral consequences -- with no loss of 'goodness' or 'innocence.' There are, as it happens, some social consequences and these are seen as sad and perhaps even inexplicable. After all, nothing is being done that is wrong.

So who is this class of people? At BT, I would suggest, they might be defined as presumed foreigners who critique the United States in ways that USun's find uncomfortable. Though generally presumed exempt by citizenship, USuns who are critical of the U.S. military and of U.S. empire, or who dissent (as several have) from the construction of this class of 'uninjurable' people' can easily enough be included in it on a case-by-case basis. How? It's easy. Describe them as having been corrupted -- led astray -- by that seductive foreign voice.

"I do not like Ductape Fatwa's diaries, I don't believe they serve useful purpose and that now they actually cause some of my fellow countrymen to lose touch with honesty and integrity."
militarytracy, (July 7th 2006)

Which brings me to Ductape Fatwa, the current Unacceptable Other du jour at BT. Widely perceived and portrayed as the bringer of dissent, disruption, disunity, divisiveness, broad brushes, sweeping generalisations, negativity and all manner of outrages.

Hmm. I suppose I should declare where I stand in this: I'm one of the evil co-conspirators, no less. Apparently, catnip and I have magical powers of appearance and the ability to bless people with our mere presence. Who knew! Seriously, I consider Ductape Fatwa a friend, an ally and yes, an honorary ancestor. He's one of the people whom I'm lucky enough to get to think in writing at and whom I'm lucky enough to get to read.

And Ductape Fatwa has said that it's 'not about him' except in a symbolic sense.

But that symbolic sense is important. Close attention to the language used to justify the ad hominem attacks tossed his way -- and language usually rewards close attention -- reveals that his detractors often justify their ad hominem attacks by gesturing towards aspects of DTF's identity. From their perspective, this presumably locates him within a class of people who are 'unattackable' or 'uninjurable,' whose words need not be read and to whom anything may be attributed. I say 'presumably' because I think that's what's going on: I see no other rhetorical purpose for such gestures.

For example, one of Sallycat's ad hominem attacks was predicated on Ductape Fatwa's 'foreignness.'

"If you don't like this country and the people trying to take it back - stay
away. If you don't like soldiers doing a job they were ordered to do - and
their generals are trying to stop - stay away. If you hate what America
stands for that much - go find a European Blog...or some other country -
just go away. This is my country and I will defend my fellow
countrymen...from those that do not understand the people and the government
are not always the same. Go elsewhere...or just stay away we are mostly
American's here and you are offensive to those of us that believe in what we
stand for as a people."

What is being claimed here, at least on my reading, is that BT is a place for Americans and those who are not 'my fellow countrymen' (presumably both naturalised citizens and permanent residents are excluded from this group, as well as those who live elsewhere in the world) are not welcome unless they 'believe in what we (Americans) stand for as a people.' DTF is quite right: it's not about him -- it's about anyone critical of 'what we stand for as a people' who is not among 'my fellow countrymen.' And if you are in that set of people, you are offensive. You are in that 'uninjurable' group.

More recently, DTF's words were discounted on the basis of his presumed origin as a refugee.

When one's words can be discounted on the basis of foreign origin, presumed or actual (and I would argue, equally on the basis of religion in DTF's case) or presumed refugee origin -- when one's words can be dismissed on the basis of the writer's religious, national, or ethnic identity, it is not surprising that they are often misread. It requires increasing amounts of charity to interpret such misreadings as innocent or unintentional, especially when the same misreadings occur repeatedly.

For example, DuctapeFatwa has repeatedly been accused of supporting FGM, where casual perusal of what he has actually said on the subject -- on my interpretation at least -- indicates a position in line with the practices being advocated by UNICEF in its efforts to end FGM.

"UNICEF is working with partners who have identified several critical elements necessary for mass abandonment of the practice. These include using a non-coercive and non-judgmental approach; raising awareness in the community about the harmfulness of the practice; encouraging public declarations of the collective commitment to abandonment; and spreading the abandonment message within communities."

For example, he is repeatedly accused of making generalisations about all Americans, when as supersoling recently pointed out, this is simply not the case.

Now, this might sound like it's all about DTF after all. But actually it's not -- except in a symbolic and exemplary way. Really, it's more about what can be done and what has been done to people, once they/we are defined as 'unattackable' and 'uninjurable:' people to whom and about whom anything can be said without moral consequence.

Let me be blunt(er) in closing. When I saw Sallycat's diary Rhetoric of Hate, my first thoughts were essentially those of catnip who wrote

"Let's see if I've got this straight:
posting a diary that reflects the
opinion of much of the world about the attitudes of most Americans = being
hateful
telling said diarist that he is a "Republican troll" who writes
things that are "pathetically fucking stupid = not being hateful
What strange parallel universe have I dropped into here?"

I had the same reaction. It seemed to me bizarre that a group of people (Sallycat, NAG, militarytracy, Egerwaen, etc.), whom, based on their previous behaviour I expect as a routine matter of course to see attacking someone whom I respect (not least because of his steady, determined refusal to respond in kind in the face of considerable provocation) with misrepresentations, misreadings and virulent ad hominem attacks, then turned around and with no apparent sense of irony, posted and/or participated in a discussion purporting to be about peace and tolerance.

It struck me as utterly shameless behaviour.

But then I realised. They feel no shame because they don't think they've done anything wrong. As Sallycat puts it in her response to catnip, "I stand by my comments in that diary." And the reason they don't think they've done anything wrong (at least so far as I can tell, from their words) is because as a foreigner, as a presumed refugee and as a Muslim who says things that make USuns feel uncomfortable, DTF is among a class of people who cannot be wronged, cannot be maligned and are not part of that 'all' who are susceptible to injury. And because of this, a certain wide-eyed innocent eye-lash fluttering 'who me?' can be maintained throughout.

And like I said before, when I think of innocence, I think of Alex in her bloody party dress.

She needs you like she needs her pills
To tell her that the world's okay


Now, I'm not claiming innocence, Alex. I'm sure I've said some things that hurt to hear. And we both know that I resemble you all too often. But no matter how many pills you take, the world will still not be okay. And if you want those bloodstains out of your party dress, then you're just going to have to wash it clean.

100 Comments:

Blogger dove said...

Well I seem to have exorcised my writer's block, if not Alex.

Just on the unlikely off-chance we get some new posters, I should give a couple of reminders.

If you use the Anonymous posting option which you are very welcome to do, please sign your post with whatever handle you routinely use elsewhere online.

In the unlikely event you don't have an online handle, please make one up so that I don't confuse you with some other 'anonymous' and accuse you of terrible things you know not wot of.

Also, you're welcome to disagree with me or other commentators, vocally and vehemently. You might think I've been unfair: tell me why and how.

But use this space to launch ad hominem attacks of the type quoted and linked here and I will feel entirely free to delete them at my pleasure. Or to incorporate them as further evidence of the phenomenon I describe as the whim takes me. After all, being an co-conspirator with magical super-villain powers has to be good for something.

7/10/2006 1:52 am  
Anonymous Arcturus said...

Finding the Center

I just dropped a snippet of this piece in Mannee's comments, but it seems apt here. You've got alot of thoughtful stuff here to chew on, I'm exhausted & depressed, but appreciate the opening.

The following was written in 1979, & is from an open-ended, epistolary novel. The setting is when the Mystic Horn Society goes down to the local record store to 'face their critics.'

24. IX. 79

Dear Angel of Dust,

Funny what a odor can do. This afternoon in the produce section of the supermarket I bent over between the oranges and the nectarines and unexpectedly caught a brief whiff of what was exactly the scent of the Nago incense David used to bring back from New York four years ago. I wouldn't exactly call what I went into a swoon, but it did carry me back to the night he and I sat up late drinking port and listening to the album of Tunisian music he'd brought over.

In any case, I'm writing not so much to play Proust as to tell you about the, press conference we held this morning. The band decided it was time we confronted our critics face to face, so we reserved some space down at Rhino Records, the hip record store in town, and sent out invitations. A pretty large crowd showed up. The people at Rhino were nice enough to provide refreshments, so it turned out to be something of an event. Things got under way with a fellow from one of the local radio stations clearing his throat to say that while he admitted being "somewhat uninformed" on recent developments in music the trouble he has with our compositions is their tendency to, as he put it, "go off on tangents." He then said that "a piece of music should gather rather than disperse its component parts" but insisted that he wasn't asking that our music be made easier exactly, "Just more centered somehow," etc.

This line of argument was a piece of cake, as they say, for Lambert, who sat fidgetting, smirking and jotting notes on the back of an album cover he'd been looking at the whole time this fellow spoke. (I have to give Lambert credit, knowing his temper, for even hearing him out.) Anyway, the guy did at last finish, at which point three people back towards the budget classical section applauded. Lambert stared at them a moment, then began by saying that all the talk of being "more centered" was just that, talk, and had long ago become too easy to throw around anymore. He then asked what, or where, was this “center" and how would anyone know it if it were there. He went on, tilting his chair back on its hind legs, folding his arms across his chest and saying that he wasn't sure anyone had anything more than the mere word "center," that it didn't simply name something one doesn’t have and thus disguises a swarm of untested assumptions about. Then he shifted his argument a bit, saying that if our music does have a center, as he could argue it indeed does, how would someone who admits being "somewhat uninformed" recognize it, that maybe the fellow from the radio station wasn't saying anything more than that our music churns out of a center other than his, one he's unfamiliar with. He pointed out that, as he put it, "you don't know any center you don't go to" and finished the matter off by rising from his chair, wagging a very preacherly right index finger and admonishing, "But if, 'somewhat uninformed,' you refuse to make the journey to that center and instead pontificate on its need to be 'more centered,' then you're asking for nothing if not an easier job, that your work be done by someone else, that our music abandon its center and shuffle over to yours." With that he sat down to cheers and stamping of feet from the folk imports section.

Next a fortyish, not bad looking lady from one of the neighborhood weeklies spoke up. She had a lazy way of talking-not a drawl exactly, but a way of almost retracting what she had to say. And not exactly lazy either, considering the care she took, the effort it must have taken to sustain (like a sigh, only longer) that blase way of speaking she took for charm.

Anyway, what she had to say was that she considered herself not a critic but a fan of our music, but that she wondered why we couldn't, to quote her, "place the music within the context of the whole culture, rather than just the African, Asian and generally 'Third World' references you like to make. " She sat down and those of us at the table, the members of the band, looked around at one another for a moment. Finally Heidi, whom I don't think I've mentioned before but who plays violin and congas and also calls herself Aunt Nancy, spoke up. "All I can say"-- she said, "is that the culture you're calling 'whole' has yet to assume itself to be so except at the expense of a whole lot of other folks, except by presuming that what they were up to could be ignored at no great loss." She went on to accuse the lady of "speaking right from the heart of that exclusionary sense of dichotomy to even ask such a question." There was a bit of rumbling at the back of the room but she went on. "What makes you think of Africa, Asia and other parts of the world," she asked, raising her voice, standing up and putting her hand on her hip, "as not a part of 'the whole culture'? What makes you feel excluded by our sources if not the exclusionistic biases of the culture you identify as 'whole' boomeranging back at you?" The lady from the neighborhood weekly blushed, and Heidi (or Aunt Nancy) went on to say that while she was standing she might as well reply to something in the first guy who spoke's remarks which'd bothered her. And what she said she said so eloquently I have to quote her again. "I don't know where you get this business of gathering vs. dispersing," she argued, turning to the fellow from the radio station, "the sense of them as an either/or proposition, one a choice against the other. We inhale as well as exhale, the heart dilates as well as contracts. Those of us in the band want music that shows similar signs of life. You may want something different, something more modest maybe, but your modesty betrays its falseness, shows itself to be the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing it is, when you saddle up your high horse to tell the rest of us we have to likewise lower our sights." She then took a drink of water and sat down. Again there was applause. This time from some people over near the used reggae bin.

Well, things went on pretty much like that, back and forth, for three hours or so. I'd go into more detail-and maybe at some other time I will-but I've begun to get hungry, so I have to bring this to a halt. But that reminds me: You may be wondering what Penguin had to say during the press conference. I forgot to tell you he wasn't there. Yesterday, as you know, was John Coltrane's birthday. Penguin, by way of homage and celebration, insisted on eating three sweet-potato pies, just as Trane did one afternoon in Georgia in the late forties when he was in the Cleanhead Vinson band. We all warned him but he wouldn't listen, so he ended up sick and had to have his stomach pumped. Won't get out of the hospital till tomorrow, perhaps even later.

I'll be in touch.

Yours truly,
N.


Nathaniel Mackey, fr. Bedouin Hornbook, pp. 10-13 (Callaloo, 1986)

7/10/2006 3:32 am  
Blogger dove said...

Hi Arcturus,
Exhausting and depressing are appropriate words I think. But it's a pleasure to see you here.

And this excerpt you have copied below is pure brilliance. If nothing else (and there's plenty else!) it's a great reminder that this ain't new.

7/10/2006 7:46 am  
Blogger catnip said...

Well, now I'm not sure what to write after that wonderfully complex bit by arcturus! That's a tough act to follow.

Yes, dove, you and I are webpsychics. We swoop in magically whenever there is dissent to be raised and hairs to be made to stand on end at the utter astonishment of our outlandishly wild opinions that seem to emanate from some dark sphere of liberally subversive mania that is sure to topple America as we know it.

Not that that would be so bad...(to us, that is)

Anyway, one of the reasons - actually the main reason - I had a little explosion over at ManE's during l'affaire d'outing du Armando was because I had projected one of my mantras in life: 'tolerance ends where abuse begins' on others around me.

You see, when someone is being raped and others join in as co-conspirators (not necessarily involving themselves in the actual act, but by condoning such atrocities by what they consider to be a 'forgive and forget in the style of Jeebus' way following said act) I expect others to end such relationships with the accused. That's what I do IRL and I am painfully blunt about it. Abuse me or one that I care for and you have bought your ticket out of my life if you refuse to show any remorse or to change that behaviour immediately.

There are serial offenders at BT, whom you've mentioned. They attack viciously, yet meet up with others later in the cafe to discuss painting or pets or whatever they had for lunch and they are accepted by some I know as having a clean slate. Why? That disturbs me deeply.

And don't get me wrong here: this is not about creating junior high like divisions. When someone like SallyCat or MilitaryTracy, whose words cut as deep as the sharpest sheath, can simply walk away and continue to receive support from friends of those they have seriously hurt (or attempted to, at least), there is a disconnect from reality that occurs in my mind. How could anyone possibly want to continue a relationship with someone who continually chooses to be so hateful? It's called enabling and, in the end, it hurts the perpetrator as well, who will never experience true consequences for her actions. Any unknown troll who would have written such things would have been turfed long, long ago. What is this distorted sense of loyalty to these screen names all about? I don't know. But I do know that I will not cosign their hate and I will point them in the proper direction to seek help. That is all they will get from me. I have no further responsibility to them than that. And, yes, I am as brutally forceful as that in my life. I stick with people who support me and mine - not those who seek to destroy us.

That is why I was so damn angry. If a friend of yours virtually rapes another friend, who do you stand by? That is the question and I have been very disappointed by the answers I've seen from some I know.

Now, as for the overall atmosphere at BT, it's become a gated community and those of us who have been locked out but still manage to climb over the fences at times are treated as we're seen: unwelcome intruders into what is their version of so-called progressive utopia. It's a closed place where dissent is dangerous and where people like you, I and Ductape threaten the calm. Sure there are debates, but they are finely tuned so as not to offend anyone too deeply. And it's not just BT. It's many scoop-like communities. The ratings are used like deafening applause and the structure invites groupthink.

So, here we sit, holding up little protest signs in the back of the room and we are quickly ushered out the door as annoyances or worse, traitors.

The answer? Well, the structure can't be changed. It seems minds can't either. So, we have formed our own, independent communities (ie. solo blogs) where those in the bubble refuse to tread even though they have been invited.

Maybe that's just the way it is. And, in the end, I need to decide for myself how much energy I want to devote to perhaps opening some minds. And since I don't have much energy to begin with, I must choose how to use it well. Sometimes, I don't choose wisely. Most of the time, I do. And sometimes, I just don't know...

7/10/2006 7:59 am  
Anonymous Arcturus said...

Just wanted to make something very clear: that writing is not mine, it is from Nate Mackey. What's funny is that I was looking at his work again to get my mind away from the crapola of exceptional idiocy, came across that passage on-line (haven't picked up the book in years) & dammit, it rhymed!
Bedouin Hornbook is the first volume (3 are published so far) of From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perume Still Emanate/

Having read yr piece over a few times now, Dove, my one criticism is that it lets BM off the hook. Remember during the pissing match I let myself get engaged in with him in DTF's diary, & he lectures me that it is a political site not appropriate for this kind of discussion? It was kind of hard to not read his own diary as a big F/U, esp. as he used words in my comments for ridicule. I'm rambling & need more coffee (actually more sleep, but that ain't gonna happen.) Some of his comments in those threads really deserve to be highlighted. I find it hard to believe he's aware of the embedded racist attitudes in some of 'em, or maybe it's that he just doesn't care.

How much gets buried under trite phrases like BM's 'Power politics just ain't pretty?' Ah, manly man -- whose reality does your reality erase?

catnip:
So, here we sit, holding up little protest signs in the back of the room and we are quickly ushered out the door as annoyances or worse, traitors

That there's standing room in the back is supposed to prove that the tent really IS big enough for all. Show up, get counted, be allowed to say a word or two, before the author-ities take over & show why your opinions & insights are beyond the pale of reasonable, "realistic" discourse. Which, hand on her hip, is what Aunt Nancy is getting at.

7/10/2006 5:07 pm  
Blogger Man Eegee said...

I am not going to say too much on this because I have what I consider friendships on all sides of this issue. catnip, you write: "How could anyone possibly want to continue a relationship with someone who continually chooses to be so hateful?" Going back to my whole point on creating a persona and attaching it to a screenname based solely on their writings, I have met SallyCat in person, and spoken to her over the phone. That allows me to see the nuances behind the writing, which I can still disagree with vehemently, but it also clues me into why she may feel a certain way about an issue. I think it's unfair to judge a person based on a few comments out of several hundred/thousand, but that's just me.

I'm sure I've written plenty of stuff that pissed people off, but I would hate for those small times of disagreement to prevent the reader from listening to my insight on something later on that perhaps could help them open their minds abit.

I think we have to be very careful about boxing a person into the identity we've created for them. They have done the same thing to Ductape and it's wrong no matter which direction it's coming from. Just my thoughts.

7/10/2006 6:28 pm  
Blogger catnip said...

ManE,

I understand your position, however, regardless of what she may be like in person or what motivates her on or offline, her comments are so beyond the pale that, imho, they must be representative of actual beliefs that she holds. If not, she's a damn fine actress online.

So, yes, I do take her online comments as being what she's about. If there had only been one or two, I could write it off (maybe - and that's a big maybe) as someone having a bad day. But repeated comments in the same tone (ie. you're not an American so STFU) are unforgivable, afaic.

I have met SallyCat in person, and spoken to her over the phone. That allows me to see the nuances behind the writing, which I can still disagree with vehemently, but it also clues me into why she may feel a certain way about an issue. I think it's unfair to judge a person based on a few comments out of several hundred/thousand, but that's just me.

What, exactly is "nuanced" in the types of comments Dove has linked to? They're pretty clear to me. And, frankly, I don't really care why she feels a certain way. I'm not her therapist. She's an adult and, like all of us, must take responsibility for what she writes. Are you going to tell me that she would disavow writing DTF off as a 'refugee' (a claim she invented out of thin air) who should just be grateful for what glorious America has done for him? Or that anything in her personal life or circumstances justifies such an ugly attitiude?

Nope. Sorry. I know you're an extremely nice and forgiving guy, but as I said before, I do not allow people like that in my life and I sure don't owe people with those types of opinions anything. If you feel you do, that's okay, but don't expect me to accept any excuses for her behaviour. It's just too bigoted.

7/10/2006 8:47 pm  
Blogger Man Eegee said...

I'm not asking you to change your perspective on anything, I am merely offering mine. Think about how many times you want to write something but choose not to, or rewrite something a few dozen times to get your message across clearly, not everyone does that. Without breaching trust, I can tell you that SallyCat has more questions about how she feels about Ductape's posts than she happens to write. I can't ask her or anybody else to communicate more clearly about what's going on in their head than they choose or are able.

7/10/2006 9:25 pm  
Blogger catnip said...

ManE,

It's her responsibility to explain herself, not yours. If she chooses not to, she can't expect a different reaction from people like me.

Think about how many times you want to write something but choose not to, or rewrite something a few dozen times to get your message across clearly, not everyone does that.

I'l tell you one thing: I don't ever have to worry that I'll slam someone's nationality, religion (besides extremists) or immigration status no matter how off the cuff one of my remarks may be because I simply do not hold those kinds of beliefs to begin with.

I have questions about DTF's writings too but I address them with him either in public or via e-mail.

You'll have noticed that not one of my detractors on that site have contacted me personally to discuss their differences because, as one put it, behind the scenes communication can be 'manipulative'. Bullshit. They just refuse to give up their distorted views of reality by actually learning the truth.

It's that kind of warped righteousness that does nothing to heal divisions.

7/10/2006 10:26 pm  
Blogger dove said...

I’m sorry I’ve been so long in responding – as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’m not a quick writer.

ManE and catnip, I’m going to try replying to you sort of together at once, I guess – mostly around those rather thorny issues of friendship and judgement. I find it to be one where my mismatched eyes come into play: I look at it through one eye and I see one thing, I look at it through the other and I see something else. So I make no promises that what follows will be consistent. It’s very much something I’m still trying to get clear in my head. But it’s going to be in a few parts, because this has got long.

So. We sit around and talk about things and we hope that sometimes a little piece of truth will come out.

First of all, none of what I have to say is said from a position of innocence. Certainly there are no shortage of silences on my part – here and in other contexts – which should rightly be called betrayals. I am keenly aware, for example, that if you look at most (in fact all, I think) of the comments to which I referred in this post – many of which I do consider to be implicated in constructing a class of people who are ‘uninjurable,’ (as subtly distinct from ‘calling DTF a doo-doo head,’ though I don’t like those comments much either) – you will not see my reply calling them out. My response is simply not there and that’s because I have been silent when I should have spoken. My reasons for that, I suspect, have to do with a kind of moral cowardice. Even that though, thank god, eventually reaches some kind of limit, albeit belatedly. But suffice it to say that when I say that I know Alex because I’ve resembled her, I’m not kidding. And when I say that if she wants those blood-stains out of her party dress, she’s just going to have to wash it clean, I’m talking to myself as much as anybody else.

More to follow.

7/10/2006 10:52 pm  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

Well, dove, in fairness, without a lot of the phenomena you mention, it is unlikely that the US mainstream could be persuaded to sit quietly writing checks to fund so many crimes against humanity.

Those crimes must, in order to be accepted, be committed against individuals who do not, in the attitude-opinion-belief set of the supporting populace, fall into the category of humanity.

This sort of indoctrination has always been necessary for warlords, tyrants, madmen, etc. to maintain a status quo of dehumanization of this group or that.

Those who are able to commit atrocities, like their supporters, do not believe that they are doing anything wrong because they do not see their victims as human, certainly not as human as they are, and most certainly not as equals.

That's how girls like Lynndie was raised..

This is actually, in my opinion, the best defense their attorneys could mount, for those selected for show trials, to show that any "alleged incidents of US personnel possibly going too far" in implementing America's policies, imposing America's will, will be duly investigated and dealt with, for should any such allegation prove true, such as the recent incidents of unauthorized photography at the Abu Ghraib facility, it is clearly indicative of a few bad apples only.

With one voice, the US mainstream echoes the views of their commander in chief on this issue, at least publicly, though privately, of course, many will point out that the personnel are under a great deal of pressure and in need of stress relief, being after all, helpless moral cripples devoid of free will who do not know right from wrong. And of course, show trials notwithstanding, the official investigation into the unauthorized photograpy incidents compared the acts depicted to a popular comedy movie.

It is to their credit that some Americans' reactions to reports of this or that atrocity slipping past the checks and balances and turning up in western corporate media are that the acts were more likely committed by the Enemy, much in the same way that Holocaust deniers are a more positive phenomenon that Holocaust enthusiasts, this is in truth more encouraging than "don't know right from wrong," for all its excellence as a legal defense, it is perhaps not a quality every nation would seek in an entity whose purpose is ostensibly to defend it from attack.

Of course in the case of the US, the purpose of its armed forces are not to defend it from attack, but to carry out the will of the corporations, whose will the mainstream population have been carefully taught to put before even the lives of their own little ones.

And if I am to be fair, I must acknowledge that if I go to participate on a US forum, especially one dedicated to the continuation and promulgation of the practice of the US political class of sending money to wealthy corporation spokespersons as an acceptable way to indicate their disagreement as well as their approval, of US policies, at a time when the US is engaged in an atrocity spree, that I will be quite correctly identified as the Enemy, a representative of the ungrateful and more barbaric than America ever could be Enemy from whom they are currently being protected by all those few bad apples in need of stress relief in the form of torturing, murdering and maiming individuals who are to me, every bit as human as the most mainstream American, even a wealthy politician, an Enemy who shamelessly asserts that the life of the most humble and nameless victim of US stress relief policies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Gitmo and beyond, is worth no more and no less than the life of the most telegenic American politician.

Because not all Americans are in complete agreement on the tender subject of the atrocities they purchase, to make such an assertion is indeed encouraging divisiveness, although it must be pointed out than in these cases some degree of divisiveness is inevitable. There were Germans who did not agree with the policies of that country during the 1930s, however their number was far too small to swarm a la Caracas the day after the attempted coup, it must be noted that the recent human rights demonstrations, largely comprised of migrants and immigrants in the US, contained a larger number of human beings assembled in a single day, even comparing the traditionally undercounted reports of law enforcement agencies, than the demonstrations against expanding the crusade theatre to Iraq.

Therefore if one is to be accurate, it is necessary to use a "broad brush" to characterize US opinions on the subject of atrocities. The number of Americans with the resources to get there who are not assembled on the Washington mall does indicate that on any given day, a rather broad swath of the populace with the ability to do so chooses not to assemble.

So broadly shared is this decision that those who would wish to assemble would be well-advised not to do so, as such assemblage would doubtless, in addition to being small enough to be easily dispersed and easily dismissed as "anti-American extremists," their attempt to sow diviseness would surely be found to be a violation of one provision or other of the Patriot Act, passed by corporate representatives in a swarmless capital.

A few pro-reform individuals, no matter how sincere, how capable, what extraordinarily courageous and splendid human beings they may be, does not a Reform Movement make, and it cannot, until and unless there is a a desire, however vague, voiceless and inchoate, on the part of the larger society, for Reform.

The wildcard is, as always, the roiling, burgeoning underclass...

7/11/2006 1:19 am  
Blogger dove said...

Well, maybe I’m going to end up replying to you both separately after all.

ManE: First off, I am not going to tell you who you should or should not be friends with. And by that I do not secretly mean, “I’m not going to tell you who you should or should not be friends with, but you should/shouldn’t be friends with so-and-so.” Nor do I secretly mean “I’m not going to tell you who to be friends with, but if you stay friends with so-and-so, then you won’t be friends with me anymore.” And yes, I bet you do feel like you’re between a rock and a hard place a lot of the time.

Now, I am obviously not friends with Sallycat, militarytracy, alohaleezy – or indeed with any of those whom I think are implicated in this through their speech. But I do think that they are doing harm: I’m quite serious when I say that I think that their words (which are a kind of action) are implicated in constructing a class of people who can be injured without apparent moral consequence.

And though I probably am not perceived as impartial in this – both because of my friendship with DuctapeFatwa and because of my own status as a foreigner with a tendency to say things that some USun’s might find uncomfortable – I have tried to be fair by citing my sources, by providing some evidence for my claims and how I came to these conclusions.

Now I can imagine a (non-exhaustive) range of ways in which you – and others – might well disagree with my analysis.
You might, for example, think that these comments are simply part of a heated debate between individuals and that they do not have the structual importance (the ‘class creation’ aspect) that I ascribe to them. (If so, we probably need to talk that out some: I very much dislike the ‘DTF is not worth reading and has no authority to write on this because he is a doo-doo head’ school of argument, but morally, I find it preferable to the ‘DTF is not worth reading and has no authority to write on this because he is a foreigner/presumed refugee/Muslim’ and the latter is what I perceive in many of the comments I’ve cited)

Or you might think something more along the lines of, ‘Yes, these comments, this style of argument does contribute to creating a class of people who are not part of that ‘all’ susceptible to injury, but dove, you are being unfair because you are assuming moral intent where none existed. The people you are talking about don’t realise that their actions are having these consequences.’

That’s far from impossible. When I lived in the States, people I knew used sometimes to make comments similar to some of these without realising the implications of their words. But if they came to realise what those implications were, sometimes they thought about it some and sometimes they changed their behaviour – so in a sense I think I understand what you mean about not wanting to ‘box people in.’ If you do think something more along those lines is what’s going on here – I would say that it might be an act of friendship to have a conversation with those among that grouping who are among your friends about what you take to be the consequences of their actions (which may be very different from what I take the consequences of their actions to be) and encourage them to think about whether or not they agree with your assessment of the likely consequences of their actions, and whether those are the consequences that they intend.

A third possibility (and I don’t doubt that there are many other possibilities, ManE – I’m not trying to set up some kind of test for you here, where you have to ‘pick envelope 1’ or something – these are offered as points on a spectrum and not even as the ends and mid-point) is that you think I’ve judged unfairly because I have not judged the totality of their words, or because I’ve taken their words out of context, or because I do not know them personally.

I cannot think of any context in which I would consider it morally appropriate to say “You are protected within these borders from whatever it was in your homeland that you fled… and yet you persist in being a guest that leaves mess and craps on the carpet?” I don’t think such a context exists. I also don’t think that there are many other words – other than a surrounding apology and retraction – that can make those words any more acceptable.

I don't doubt for a second that those words were written in anger. But I also have no reason to doubt their sincerity: Sallycat said explicitly that she stands by her comments in that diary. If both her initial words and her statement that she stands by them are things that she has subsequently changed her mind about, that's great.

But I think that if she wants other people to know that she has changed her mind vis a vis the legitimacy of foreigners and/or presumed refugees giving voice to what they see happening in the U.S. and around the world more generally, then it would be helpful for to state her current position.

No, perhaps you can't ask her to communicate more clearly, but I also don't think it's appropriate for people to assume that she doesn't mean what she writes in a public forum, especially when she says that she stands by her comments.

7/11/2006 1:26 am  
Blogger Man Eegee said...

Or you might think something more along the lines of, ‘Yes, these comments, this style of argument does contribute to creating a class of people who are not part of that ‘all’ susceptible to injury, but dove, you are being unfair because you are assuming moral intent where none existed. The people you are talking about don’t realise that their actions are having these consequences.’

That's it, I think. And I have spoken to SallyCat about this, which is where the rock/hard place come about. There is much more going on than has been presented online. I don't excuse comments like that, in fact I'm sure I had the same reaction as you, but I don't consider it to be the ending point of defining the person. Alex is only one shared facet and I'm hearing his/her description being used as a sum rather than a part.

7/11/2006 1:58 am  
Blogger catnip said...

I just finished reading BostonJoe's new (and fine)diary about exceptionalism and, having read the comments, I see one of the main problems in this entire situation. SC's paranoia - this repeated request for BJ to clarify his motives and intent for the writing of said diary before she can join in the discussion - is quite telling. She is actually waiting for an attack and refuses to participate in the actual topic at hand for that reason.

Wow.

When did it cease to be that a discussion just for discussion's sake was enough? That type of paranoia is just unhealthy.

And MT and her anger..well, if that's the mode she chooses to live in, so be it. That would destroy me personally because anger kills in so many ways, but that's her choice. She's pro-war and that's that. And, apparently, America can basically do no wrong which is an attitude Boo reflects by trying to look for the "good" (a la Rumsfeld) in the list BJ provided.

Why?

That is the question.

Because to accept that your country went off the rails is not an easy thing to do. It's a stark reality. But, if one believes they are their country, they must protect their country's image at all costs. If one believes they are a citizen of the world, self-identifying with a country needn't be an individual's be all and end all.

(Cue: We are the World)

That's all I have for now...and thanks for your comments guys. They've been helpful.

7/11/2006 2:46 am  
Blogger dove said...

Just to say time differences mean I'm signing off now until tomorrow -- sorry catnip, I'm still writing back to you. Just slowly.

ManE, just very briefly. I wondered if it might be that part that you thought unfair -- the ascription of moral intent, I mean. I'm going to think about it some and write more tomorrow.

7/11/2006 2:50 am  
Blogger Man Eegee said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/11/2006 3:50 am  
Blogger Man Eegee said...

I dunno what I'm thinking anymore, lol, but I will echo catnip's appreciation for the continued conversation. I don't think there's ill intent, but I do feel the need to speak out when I observe a slight difference in perception on a situation. Have a good night, dove, et al.

7/11/2006 3:50 am  
Blogger catnip said...

Just to be clear. I have not written my comments here from a place of anger towards anyone - and that means you especially, ManE. I understand your dilemma and I know that my view of the tolerance/abuse issue is quite black & white. That's how it's had to be in my life in order to protect me and mine. So, I don't apologize for it. I'm glad we're able to talk about it in this context.

7/11/2006 4:18 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

dove you said you would not delete any more of those posts about 100% natural hair replacement software, and I have a suspicion that you forgot all about the style needs of some of your readers!

Now we will never know if it was the software or somebody calling me a doo doo head!

7/11/2006 5:15 am  
Blogger Man Eegee said...

It was a duplicate post from me, so I zapped it. If you'd like I could post my thoughts on that spray-on hair that is the latest atrocity promulgated by late night infomercials that hold me captive into the wee hours. :)

7/11/2006 6:19 am  
Blogger catnip said...

Monsieur Ductape,

You're a doo doo head.

(Let's see if this post survives). :)

7/11/2006 7:56 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

catnip, dove is a free speech advocate and would never really delete a post calling me a doo doo head unless it was accompanied by a photograph of particularly hideous beach sandals.

Manito, tell me more of this marvelous product. Spray on hair? Does it come in different lengths or long strings that one cuts to one's taste?

7/11/2006 1:21 pm  
Anonymous Arcturus said...

catnip:

BM stated it the other day: he's invested in what's respectable to express, what's politic.

7/11/2006 4:00 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

I have been hesitant to wade in here, because I didn't want it to seem like a pile on, especially since I agree with the scope of the article, but... here I go anyway!

I don't know Sallycat, or MT or any of the people mentioned or not mentioned, except as I occasionally catch their comments at bootrib. This may be a hinderance to fully understanding their personalities and motives and all that... but looking from where I sit, I am of the opinion these sorts of comments definitely come from ill intent. Whether this was conscious or not, I can't say. Our history is filled with such things, tho (a collective, international "our").

I allow a little leeway for the consciousness of the motive because, for some, it's so ingrained from birth as a part of themselves that they simply are not aware of it. The intent, however, regardless of motive, is plain... to marginalize, demonize and ostracize - not a point of view, but a person.

And it doesn't appear to me to be an accident, or an emotional blowup or anything like that, so much as a strategy. If it were not, the default comeback to any of Ductapes comments/arguments/diaries wouldn't be about where he is from, what right he has to speak, go home go home go home, you are anti-american and blah blah blah. It would be about the issues he brings up.

A lot of it rises, I think, from the belief that he is a Muslim and a "foreigner" thus everything he writes is sent through that prism... whether it's about shoes (no one tells American women what to wear!), FGM (oh, so you approve of this practice) or anything else... no matter what his actual views are. And, as stated by one person in a reply to me, his being a Muslim is one that is discussed in emails among various persons on the blog, which is probably one thing that led to whoever that was considering an invitation to speak to someone at a mosque to be a threat.

This, what we are seeing here, is simple racism, nationalism, and bigotry, and a much used strategy to marginalize, demonize and ostracize the 'other'. I'm fully willing to believe that this is not the totality of who the persons are... very few of us are any one thing, and we have a wide range of reactions and emotions and beliefs. But that in no way negates the strategy that is being employed by some on that blog in relation to Ductape.

I think they think they are "protecting America", but isn't that how all this stuff usually starts? A noble cause and all that... but it can and does very easily lead the sort of mob reactions that we've seen in the past, with lynchings and internments and so on.

BooMan uses a different strategy, reasonable and rational sounding arguments that justify American Exceptionalism (it's not a good thing that so many people in the third world were harmed in our need for security and riches, but don't they understand that we were worth it?), which give people a venue for their 'rah, rah, rah, USAUSAUSA!' needs, but don't directly demonize anyone on the basis of their religion or country of origin or so on. This just feeds the other stuff, though, I think.

Anyway, these windows are too small for me to keep a continuous thought... but, I'm happy to hear that at least Sallycat is questioning the reasons for her reaction to Ductape... rooting out racism/bigotry and even nationalism is a long, drawn out process that has to begin somewhere.

Oh, I fault no one for keeping friendships, even in the face of something like this. I've had friends for years that sometimes others can't see the value in, but over time and exposure to different views, and to the knowledge that they won't just be left, they tend to take steps to bring about changes in themselves. Of course, something has to be there in the first place, and it usually is.

7/11/2006 6:18 pm  
Blogger catnip said...

Good summary, Nanette. I'm not quite as forgiving as you. While I may hope that someone will eventually step away from their hateful words and actions, I choose not to be exposed to them in the meantime.

You mentioned the reaction to DTF's shoe diary. That was a clear example of hatred of the person - a vitriolic reaction with no basis in facts.

Here's how it happens with that particular person (and others):

"I choose my shoes, so you are insane."
"I think America is exceptional, so you hate America."
"I think everything I say is right, so don't throw actual facts in my face."
"I represent everyone, so learn it and know it."

I, I, I...

That type of ego requires more of an adjustment than I, as a blogger/commenter can provide.

It's quite pathetically sad, really.

7/11/2006 7:12 pm  
Blogger catnip said...

A picture is worth a thousand words.

7/11/2006 9:06 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Catnip -- apologies for my delay in responding.

What with one thing and another, it is true that offline I have also burned my share of bridges with quite a few people over the years. In an odd sort of way, I still have the vestige of affection for some of them (and nothing of the sort for others of them), despite having been in each case quite determined about getting the match out. And in general, I would maintain that I didn’t get the match out until I thought things had reached a point where not to do so was to consent (or too often, to continue to consent) to my degradation and that of others as well. Self-interest, but not purely self-interest in other words. One sometimes thinks of that kind of burning of bridges as something done in heated anger and regretted at leisure. In my experience it can be quite the opposite: one feels very little of anything at all at that moment, or for some time afterwards. Numb is the word I’m looking for, I think.

Anyway, returning from that tangent, there have certainly been occasions – always political and always personal because they are so thoroughly implicated in each other that there is no separating them – when I’ve been in that place of thinking “You know what happened. How can you can act as though it didn’t?” that you describe. It feels like a kind of betrayal, and depending on the motive (I think I like that distinction between motive and intent, Nanette), that can be exactly what it is. I’m thinking of the kind of situation where people go along because that’s the path of least resistance or even just the more enjoyable, fun thing to do. That’s not what ManE’s doing in my opinion: in a way, I think he’s trying to do the opposite of that inasmuch as there’s certainly nothing in his response that’s going to make his life any easier. It’s a difficult course to try and steer.

None of which is in disagreement, I think, with what you’ve said in these comments – just something I wanted to say, I guess.

And yes, I’ll let the ‘DTF is a ‘doo-doo’ head post survive untrashed this time. Arbitrary whim and all that :). (Though actually, DTF, as I’ve said before, I’m suspect I’m not as much of a free speech extremist as you.)

7/11/2006 10:42 pm  
Blogger catnip said...

Thanks for your response, dove. I also believe it's important to make the decision to burn those bridges not based on anger -but founded on an affirmation of one's principles. And, in such cases, it is not only numbing, it's quite sad - as all losses are.

7/11/2006 11:02 pm  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

I have never denied being a "foreigner," in the sense of a non-American, nor have I ever denied being a Muslim, nor have I ever considered either to be relevant to expression of my views on current events, or any other subject, with the possible exception of theology, which I make it a point never to discuss without a large quantity of excellent Burgundy, at least three drunken Jesuits, a gaggle of diametrically opposed Rabbis, several pairs of duelling Mullahs, at least a dozen Hindu saddhus, none of whom anyone can understand, a calming contingent of Buddhist monks, and a sparkling handful of smirking Zoroasterians who steal all the wine and tiptoe out to file copyright infringement actions against the entire Abrahamic delegation.

7/11/2006 11:30 pm  
Blogger dove said...

DTF, as you have said before (and as I agree) it's not about you.

It is, however (at least IMO), is about xenophobia, Islamophobia and as Nanette correctly observed, racism, nationalism and bigotry.

And yes, in addition to the same view of current affairs, I would venture to suggest that, whatever your passport or faith, you would also possess the same indefatiguable stubbornness and the same passion for china shops. Which is simply a roundabout way of saying, the same inconvenient insistence on principle.

7/12/2006 1:30 am  
Blogger dove said...

Hi ManE,

Well, I’ve been thinking, and writing slowly. First off, looking back over it, a lot of what I wrote in my last post was specifically about Sallycat. And so I would start by emphasising that I don’t want to single her out as solely responsible for the phenomenon I describe: she is of course responsible for her words and for what she does or does not eventually choose to do about them, but her words are hardly the sole examples of this practice.

So what follows, shouldn’t be interpreted as more particular or pertinent to Sallycat than any of the others (many of whom I have named and elsewhere) who have written words linked or quoted here (or other examples of the same kind which I didn’t link to, obviously this is not a compendium of each single instance of such writing) .

Nanette has said so much that I agree with here. Yes, this is simple racism, nationalism (I might have said patriotism, but the concept is the same) and bigotry. And I agree with her distinction between motive and intent (if I have understood it right), inasmuch as I think it is possible that they were acting with the intent to hurt, demonise and ostracise DTF as an individual by using this language – and on reflection I think they must have had that immediate intent, without it that behaviour makes no sense – but without necessarily having the motive of dehumanising a broader class of people. (Obviously I consider neither intent nor motive laudable.)

At this point, however, some of them are likely aware that a few widely-scattered people, anyway, think that in fact such words do have this dehumanising effect – do tend to create a class of people who can be injured with impunity. And so they are in a position where, if they choose, they can mull over whether they agree with that and – depending on the outcome of their deliberations, they might also think about whether or not it is something that they want to continue doing. And to the extent that I may have ‘boxed them in’ by identifying them with Alex or focusing on this particular set of behaviours that they have engaged in to the exclusion of others, that process of reflection is – I think – a way out. You don’t have to never change your mind and you don’t have to be innocent to get something right. After all, Sophie Scholl – a member of the White Rose – started out as an enthusiastic member of the HitlerMadchen.

Which may sound a bit patronising, but in the end I don’t think the alternative of assuming that they didn’t mean what they wrote (at least the intent part, if not the motive part) is preferable. I know I’d hate to write something, then say that I meant it and be told that I didn’t mean it, when I did.
And when push comes to shove, I do think there are occasions when behaviour in one context may reasonably be considered to, if not erase, then at least overshadow behaviour in another.

Anyway, it’s late here and this is already long-winded.
Take care of yourself.

7/12/2006 2:57 am  
Blogger Man Eegee said...

Blogger ate my post earlier, but just wanted to say that I'm seeing a lot of slippery slopes. One leads to the negative/divisive behavior you've all described and the other leads to the ideals we are trying to uphold within a nonviolent movement context. I'm mentally exhausted right now from BostonJoe's diary at BT. I can't and won't defend the behavior you linked in the diary, and certainly not the stuff I read today. I'm just trying to learn like anyone else, but I guess there are times when you reach the point where you have to say "I believe what I believe unconditionally" and for me, nonviolence/pacifism is becoming a stronger force in my life.

I tried to get that point across and was riddled with the same stuff thrown by the Bush/war-wing of my country. That's very telling that my unflinching support for nonviolence would be characterized as delusional, anti-"American" and cult-like. I see that as just a small scale battle of what we're dealing with in the U.S. right now. People like SallyCat and MilitaryTracy are asking me to join them on the other side of the slippery slope that could lead to a situation where Iraq was justified, as described in my comment here, and as I said, I refuse to go there.

I guess that's a long-winded way of saying that I would rather be on this end of the slippery slope. At least I know that the world found at the end of it is one in which I would be proud.

7/12/2006 3:46 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

LOL Manito, there is one on there now who is waxing nostalgic for the Raj!

I have to agree with you about the unconditionalness of some things, I am unconditionally a pro-human rights hardliner, which makes me also a proud anti-Imperialist extremist.

And a radical anti-torture fanatic and an uncompromising opponent of child abuse.

So it is not surprising that I would be most unwelcome in a nest of - well, I could paste some stuff from that thread but I won't. I think the candor is refreshing, and I would rather see a thousand openly pro-Imperialist bigots than a dozen politically correct smiling faces with daggers in their sleeves, waiting for me to turn my back.

7/12/2006 5:00 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

Bah!

That's all.

7/12/2006 5:11 am  
Anonymous supersoling said...

Not sure if what I write here this morning will make any sense or have some logical conclusion. I just feel like I need to get some thoughts out about the way this whole BT thing has played out.
I notice this morning that there is a "come back into the fold" diary at the top of the list. It is the standard practice there and I have been guilty numerous times of doing the same or joining in the mass healing, while the underlying cause of the problem is left unaddressed. And while I recognize that there were words in that diary that called for tolerance of opinions that may be offensive to some, i.e. we shouldn't attack DT's posts, still the whole familiar process is making my stomach turn.
I don't like naming names. I never did. But I got an email yesterday from SC informing me that she would no longer reply to my comments. Not now, not ever, because I asked a few simple questions at MLW about why she had deleted her political blogging diaries from dKos and BT. I was made out to be an antagonist, and guilty of dragging BT problems into MLW diaries. Whatever. I didn't press the issue. Nor do I plan on responding to her email. I got bigger problems to worry about, you know? ;o) But I wish i could have asked her what she thought about MSOC frontpaging DT's American women, shoes, diary. I can only imagine it must have caused the head on those shoulders to swivel a few times. Sorry for that, but I'm more than a little disturbed at what has transpired.
As for MT, I still have a great affection for her despite the things that have been said, and it would be very cold of me to discount what she deals with daily. Things that most of us, thankfully, will never deal with. But still, I recognize the danger lying there. They are forgiving and flocking back to the fold now. And I guess that is alright. But this episode took a huge piece out of my sense of belonging there. I have a hard time imagining now that i will continue there as I have in the past. I think I can say that BJ is probably dealing with the same questions.

Peace

7/12/2006 1:44 pm  
Anonymous alohaleezy said...

To Dove...

You mention me in your comments which flabberghasted me. I have hardly been posting at all at BMT since May and mostly just lurking. I have stayed out of the latest dustups and have learned to not participate in diaries that I don't find useful to me.

As one that has posted "angry" comments in the past and may understand you lumping me in on the latest DTF crap but I in no way commented on that diary.

7/12/2006 3:34 pm  
Anonymous alohaleezy said...

A quick question Dove. If you feel so strongly about this, why not post this at Booman?

7/12/2006 3:48 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

supersoling, I had the same reaction to that diary. I love Shirl and I understand the very well meaning intent behind the diary and the attempts to heal.. but there won't be any sort of real healing unless the actual issues are addressed. Witness the cartoon mess, where some people still haven't a clue to the actual cause of. We tend to stop things before they can be fully hashed out, either by someone leaving and the conversation stopping there, or by the hug and heal stuff.

Also, I am getting the feeling that there will be more and more positioning, leading up to the election and beyond, to attempt to marginalize the "left", in a 'crazy aunt in the attic' type way. That is one of the underlying issues that needs to be addressed, I think, along with war and military and American Exceptionalism and a whole host of other things, that not only relate to how people interact on the site, but how we'll interact in society and at the ballot box.

I am really sorry that people seem to be losing friends and acquaintances over this and other things, and I hope that some of these separations are temporary. The thing is, amazing as it may seem, many seem not to have really known what the person next to them was thinking, fighting for (in the long run) and are only learning it for the first time when these frissures open. I still am not sure "why now", but it seems that it must be time, and I think that is a good thing.

I have been worried for ages about coalescing around anti Iraq war (and not much else except for undefined "left" or "progressive" or "liberal" values... and as we know, each of those words seems to mean different things to different people) for just these reasons. So, I guess on the plus side, at least some of what the underlying issues and beliefs are are getting out. We can deal with things once they are in the open, and see what sort of common ground we can find, based on what is and not what we believe or prefer to be.

7/12/2006 4:21 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

Hi alohaleezy, nice to see you here, I hope you'll join in the conversations (even if you disagree with some of the observations).

As you posted your questions directly to dove, I'll just leave those be, but I didn't want to ignore your presence.

7/12/2006 4:23 pm  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

Hey, Nanette, I just used you as an example and made all kinds of wild and inflammatory speculations about you over at Manito's.

;)

7/12/2006 5:04 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from venice ca

Thank you dove for "Alex through the Looking Glass", and thanks for the thoughtful comments posted by others in response.

I rarely post at BT but faithfully read - particularly diaries by DTF who I think offers a unique and valuable perspective. I have been dismayed, and alarmed at the reaction to his writing, so much so that I haven't read the latest about women's fashions in the U.S.

Thanks again for expressing what has been bothering me since the Danish cartoons. I thought I was going crazy reading justifications of covert CIA operations during and after the Cold War on a "progressive" blog. How nice to be directed to a respectful and sane discussion of the issues.

Peace to all.

7/12/2006 5:34 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

Ductape... uh oh! I'll go see what the damage is ;)

7/12/2006 5:48 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

Hi venice (that name will work, I think?), welcome to dove's blog. (dove's across the pond so with the time difference she usually doesn't post here til later in the afternoon our time). I just surfed over to bootrib and realized where everyone is coming from! A front page link, no less lol.

And yes, I agree with you on the odd (to me) things that some progressives support. As I said though, I think it is good to get this out, figure out just what people are supporting and why and see what, if anything, we can do with that.

7/12/2006 5:54 pm  
Anonymous supersoling said...

Dove,
did you remove Alohaleezy's name from the original post? I've looked several times now and can't find it.

7/12/2006 6:18 pm  
Anonymous supersoling said...

Dove,
nevermind my last comment. Aloha was mentioned in one of your comments, not the original post.
I hope you can answer her question.

Peace

7/12/2006 6:21 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

oh thank goodness, supersoling. I've been through the post a coupla times myself this morning, and I can't find it either. I am pretty sure that dove didn't remove anything.

However, I notice she does mention leezy in one of the comments on this post, so that may be what is being referred to. And I think that comment is going back to an earlier diary on bootrib where some of the reactions were... appalling, let's just say.

But I'll let dove speak for herself, when she gets here.

7/12/2006 6:24 pm  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

Nanette you snatched the words right off my fingers.

It tickled.

7/12/2006 6:27 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

lol Ductape, sorry! But I'm sure you have many words left, so that's okay ;)

7/12/2006 6:32 pm  
Blogger Diane101 said...

Hi Dove and all, odd to find myself over here and posting as I am rarely posting these days, but you know the following the links thing.
I have been reading the comments and agreeing with lots of them and identifying with lots of them. Most particularily how to or when to step in when these situations arise when you are not in agreement with the poster who also happens to be a friend.
Yesterday I made the choice to wade in and state my disagreement with a dear friend cause I felt it was the right thing to do. I also feel that my friendship does not hang on words written on a political blog site or positions a person has taken.
However it is difficult how to balance this and I sure don't have the answer.
I guess bottom line is that this is the nature of blogging and political blogging in particular and we are learning a number of new things about communication thats for sure.
My view as a sporadic reader and rare poster on BMT, is that I don't feel the same sense of deep involvement in the site as I did previously, so it does not go to the quick of me as it might in others. Therefore I tend to think the site is doing ok, about as good as to be expected.
Well I guess that's it.

7/12/2006 6:46 pm  
Blogger catnip said...

Reagrding forgiveness, I remember reading in The Courage to Heal many years ago that it is not a requirement to forgive in order to truly heal. That set me free. Sometimes, forgiveness is next to impossible to find but the most important things, understanding and compassion, ought not be. Non-forgiveness doesn't mean hanging onto anger or resentment. It's about realizing one's capacity, living with it and moving on - growing. I can tell someone that I forgive them but I have to realize that it may be misinterpreted as cosigning or enabling their behaviour. And, if that is the result, the act of forgiveness means nothing.

7/12/2006 6:56 pm  
Blogger Shirl said...

Hi everyone. I have enjoyed reading your comments. I think I understand most views that have been offered. You all know that each of us come at anything from our own perspective. And I think you all know that my perspective is not particularly mainstream and some might reasonably call it "far out."

The thing is, that's okay with me. I really am not overly concerned about what anyone in particular thinks of me whether it is the "I love Shirl" or the "Shirl is too far out for me" or "Shirl is illogical and a circular thinker." We are all entitled to our views and opinions of each other.

Yeah, I can understand how sick these supposed "feel good" diaries make some feel. I can understand how impotent and non action oriented they seem to some, maybe even most.

I very nearly did not post the diary, because frankly as a less than active participant there, I really think my involvement in anything there is "suspicious."

I was not only surprised (as I always am) but a bit disappointed to see that diary at the top of the rec list. Really, it was hardly of that type of importance or value. Coming from my admittedly "odd" perspective, the diary was the nicest way to say the things that I felt.

If you want the no holds barred, earth based Shirl's opinion, I will give it to you. These type of dust ups or infighting diaries and comments are just silly. The name calling, is silly and unproductive. The reactionary overly emotional responses are ridiculous. If I had a big enough megaphone I would stand in the middle of it all and shout, "Just Grow The Fuck UP!" And others could very reasonably respond, "Who the Fuck are you?"

I don't care for placing blame anywhere, because none of us are blameless. Maybe in this particular sequence some behaved in a more mature and reasonable manner. But we have all or most all been just as knee jerk, over the top emotional in other threads at other times. Myself included. . .so don't go thinking I am some sort of ideal to look to, because I am not.

We each have our own inner sense of who it is we are, who we wish to be and how we wish to get there. Everyone has a right to that understanding of themselves, no matter how destructive, disruptive or off the beaten path that is.

My real over all view from a detached and different perspective is that none of this matters one bit. Blogs are not the be all and end all of everything in this world. My opinions, no matter how much in love with them I may be, are no better and no worse than anyone elses. What we say and do on blogs is so far less important than other things in our lives it is amazing how cranked up we seem to get over them.

Saying and doing hurtful irrational things does not seem very productive to me. In the long run, neither does the endless search to discover the why, how, who, what, where, when of any particular issue. Most of us are not therapists and do not have the training or expertese to be one. All we have are our feelings and opinions. . .we choose the ones we like to align with. We defend or chastize depending on the perspective we are in at that moment on that day. Perspectives change. We as humans are overly resistant to change.

Enough blather from me. I do not take comments and criticisms personally. I do look for validity in what anyone says and I am willing to consider that I am mistaken in anything I say or do. Ask, Diane. . .she can vouch for the fact that I am a hard sell case, but I am willing to admit error when I can see it.

How I care for and about all of you is not determined by your actions, thoughts, beliefs or opinions on blogs. I care for you because of who you are in your deepest being.
There is no requirement or expectation that you should be recipricol in that. My opinion is that folks either like me or really don't care for me at all. Seldom if ever do I raise ambiguous or middle of the road feelings in others. I am fine with that.

If you wish to ask more about my opinions or feelings, please feel free. Frankly, I think you all get exposed to too much of my opinions already.

Love and hugs
Shirl

7/12/2006 8:42 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Hello alohaleezy and all of the others who have dropped by.

And I'd also like to say thanks to everybody who has stopped by so far (as at 51 comments) for respecting my wish that people use their handles and so on. I do appreciate that. My ability to participate tonight will probably be limited, so I'm going to focus on responding to alohaleezy's questions tonight (albeit briefly and probably incompletely -- I may try to expand on my thoughts later) since it seems to me that it should be my first priority here. Things tend to move at a fairly slow pace here (not least because I'm a pretty slow writer), and thread discussions tend to go on for weeks rather than hours. Please do not assume that because I probably won't reply to you tonight, that I do not intend to reply at all.

In closing I should however confirm Nanette and DTF's assertion that I have not removed any text or links from the original diary: the reference to alohaleezy was, as she states, in one of the comments.

7/12/2006 9:47 pm  
Blogger catnip said...

My only opinion of you Shirl is that you're an interesting person - a seeker. I appreciate your comments here. They've helped me understand where you're at a bit more.

And, jeebus, the Middle East is breaking out in a new war right before our eyes and the WH is dragging Syria and Iran into it. That's where my attention will be for the rest of the day. I'm stressed...and frankly my dears (Tracy and SallyCat) I don't give a damn about your tantrums anymore. People are dying. Fight with your own damn demons in therapy or wherever and give everybody else a break.

7/12/2006 9:49 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Alohaleezy,

What I see on BT is a phenomenon that took some time to emerge -- the first occurrence I really sat up and took notice of was Pat Lang's comment to Londonbear back last December. Although I did not respond to it, certainly that comment and the nature of the discussion surrounding it regarding whether or not that was racism -- stayed with me.

I do think that you are implicated in this, just as I think Pat Lang is. The comments that I had in mind (and I did have them in mind, because they are not the kinds of comments that I can readily forget) are in this thread and include the following:

"You are completely off base and know not what you are saying.
"The world is very very clear that Americans are United, however I do not think that it is realistic to suppose that the people of the world will speak with that same one voice, be part of that same Unity that the Americans enjoy.'

We are not a country united right now. We are all not behind this administrations policies and you damn well know that just from reading here every day. We speak out loud and clear. We write, we rant, we protest, we call our reps. How dare you say we are all one voice. Turn up your hearing aid old man. You just lost a ton of respect from this woman. I am appalled at what you have written here today. At least we don't hide where we are from or what our nationality is. I am a PROUD AMERICAN and not you or George Bush can ever take that away from me. I am NOT proud of this administrations policies. Being an ANerican does not make me one of them. That is like saying all Muslums are terrorists."

and

"I will be more than happy to answer any of those questions when you anser the one I asked earlier. Where do you live and what nationality are you?
Again, I DO NOT condone any of this administrations policies from an illegal occupation of another country to torture to rendition to Gitmo to tax relief for the rich. You are barking uo the wrong tree here DT."

In the first post, there was something about your use of the phrase 'turn up your hearing aid, old man,' in combination with the insistence that DTF reveal his nationality. It seemed to me that the only likely reason to say that was as part of an attempt to delegitimise his speech, not on the basis of what he has to say, but on the basis of his person. There's no way to not lose that game: refuse to answer and you'll be labelled a coward (and you implied something along those lines in a later comment). But would have happened if he had answered your question? If he identified his nationality what then? How would that information have been used then and subesequently?

I suspect you were angry at the time, but I don't have reason to doubt that you meant what you said.

Anyway, that's why I named you: I don't see this as something that happened overnight or something that is solely the responsibility of recent participants.

And as I have said elsewhere, I also see myself as implicated in the emergence of that set of behaviours, albeit by my silences rather than through my speech.

But I don't think anyone has to stay the same forever.

Re. Why didn't I post this at Booman if I felt so strongly about it? That's a fair question which I'll do my best to answer, but it's going to have to wait until tomorrow.

7/12/2006 11:01 pm  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

Esteemed Honorary Great Granddaughter, I hope you will not mind if I gently disagree with your statement "there is no way not to lose that game."

Indeed there is a way not to lose it, and that is not to play it, to exercise your right to choose the standard of internet security practices that is right for you, and to stick to it, whether someone else is pleased or displeased by it, and despite clever, albeit transparent attempts to "trick" you into making a different choice.

It is no secret that I am a staunch advocate of good internet security, nor is it a secret that there are some folks I admire and for whom I hold deep affection who practice terrible internet security, who in fact do not practice even the smallest speck of anything that could be called internet security.

And yes, I have been most "candid" with them regarding my opinion of their decision not to practice even the smallest speck of anything that could be called internet security. ;)

So even as I must disagree with your phrase, dear Honorary Great Granddaughter, I also thank you for giving me an excuse to hold forth on a subject so dear to my heart!

7/13/2006 2:43 am  
Blogger catnip said...

I will sleep tonite and dream of drama queens and once I've purged them from my psyche, all will be well once again (unless that fucking war breaks out! she said calmly).

7/13/2006 5:39 am  
Blogger James said...

Too much to comment on all at once. I will say that the Sisters of Mercy lyric brought back some memories. Hard to believe that that particular song is almost a quarter century old.

7/13/2006 7:36 am  
Blogger babaloo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/13/2006 10:34 am  
Anonymous alohaleezy said...

thank you babaloo for so eloquently saying exactly what I feel.It is ironic Dove feels the need to take me to task here for a comment I made back in April because after being insulted over and over again by DTF I DO take it personally and I was tisktisked by Dove for telling DTF to turn up his hearing aid old man. Although the whole thing was taken out of context. Now lets talk about who the "untouchables are". Now I am done here as I have much more important things to do.

7/13/2006 2:31 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

Hi diane! Good to see you posting around and about.

I also feel that my friendship does not hang on words written on a political blog site or positions a person has taken.
However it is difficult how to balance this and I sure don't have the answer.


Yes, this is a difficult thing to know how to handle. And I think one of the saddest aspects of this whole recent brouhaha. Of course, friends can and do disagree, while remaining friends. The hard part, sometimes, is coming to a place of balance, especially if there is contentious, hurtful disagreement, sigh.

I don't have the answer either!

7/13/2006 2:32 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

Shirl, but I DO love Shirl! Your outlook on life, your ways of dealing with and overcoming adversity and, of course, your ability to open your arms wide enough to hug the world. That has always impressed me about both you and diane - I've referred to you guys for a long time (in my mind and elsewhere) as The Healers.

I also loved the content of your diary... the idea of allowing and accepting people as who they are has been a basis for living my life for a long time now. I think it's that, as you also mentioned in the diary, that allows hear more clearly (sometimes, at least!) what people are saying without the added layer of trying to fit them into some sort of conception of what I want them to be, or want them to be saying first. Or something like that, I think I confused myself.

My real over all view from a detached and different perspective is that none of this matters one bit.

This is where I disagree, at least in this instance, not in all of them. Sometimes when it's just harsh words or personality conflicts, dropping the discussion and moving to a place of healing is a good thing.

However, I think when the conflict involves deep structural or societal issues (even or especially if they are initially unrecognized) such as racism, nationalism, sexism, political divisions on things such as what war is and so on, that it's best to come to a place of understanding first, before you get to a place of healing and/or forgiveness.

That is what has been missing over time, beginning (I believe) with the cartoon mess and moving on from there. And people did move on, but without understanding - the result of which is that this stuff bubbles just beneath the happy surface, popping up again and again, sometimes looking different, sometimes the same, but with the same underlying issues added to other issues rearing up again and again.

Okay, well I didn't mean to write a huge thing! Anyway, it's good to see you and everyone here.

7/13/2006 2:54 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

babaloo:

And that leaves me feeling personally attacked. It seems that what I'm doing is not enough. Can never be enough. As I mentioned before, I have not been arrested. But from his writings, it would appear that is what it would take to appease DTF. Although, apparently DTF is not writing from behind bars.

I am really puzzled how people can get this impression from Ductape's writings. I am an American, have never been arrested, have never even seen the inside of a real jail cell outside of on TV or something.

I'm not a precinct walker, not a political worker, I vote and sometimes help a friend of mine who does a lot of work for the local party, but I am not really involved in the politics of things at all. I am more interested and suited to working on the infrastructure and hopefully helping to influence the underlying societal issues.

And even that I do only to the best I can at this point in time, sometimes not nearly as much as I would like to, but one has to take life as it comes.

The thing is, I have never felt personally attacked by Ductapes diaries, even though I've probably done measurably less than you and many others, probably because I know that I am doing what I can, and that overall I desire a change in this society, from the top to the bottom. And not only in US society, but in the societies we affect with our policies, which is just about all of them. As many of us do, who chat and post on political blogs. By the very nature of most people who are attracted to political blogs, I would imagine that most of those fall well outside parameters of 'not caring' or 'not doing anything' and so my puzzlement.

I suppose it's mostly because of identifying with all Americans? That's possible, as I don't identify with all Americans... I identify with me, and those around me, my family and so on. Also, I think there are deep, deep problems in the US that won't be fixed just by a political party change, but I am not alone in that. I am probably farther left politically than many others, but that's not an issue either, as far as I can see.

Oh well, I suppose it's all in the interpretation of what he is saying, and what you are hearing, and all that. And that, of course, is all personal and up to the individual. But really, if Ductape's point was that people should be in jail or whatever in order to live up to his expectations, between your levels activism and mine, I'd be the first one he'd drop by the side of the road as not doing 'enough'.

7/13/2006 3:20 pm  
Blogger James said...

What I suppose DTF has done that is apparently so "offensive" in certain BT circles is to have stated opinions that while not attacking individuals per se, do attack deeply held core beliefs - beliefs central to their identities as Americans, as liberals or progressives, etc.

Whenever attacking whatever is central to folks' egos, you run the risk of making them upset, and on an on-line forum they will do as many of the people that Dove links to do - act aggressively, by making ad hominem verbal attacks, perhaps engage in some passive-aggressive troll-rating, etc., aimed at DTF and any one who bothers to come to DTF's aid by calling b.s. on the personal attacks that are largely devoid of substantive content.

Basically, these are the sorts of behaviors that could be predicted from any of a number of social psych theories (my pet theory is Terror Management Theory, but that's another story for another time). DTF hasn't personally attacked anyone - but his attacks on a Zeitgeist held dear to many BTers has proven to be something of a Rorschach test.

7/13/2006 6:32 pm  
Blogger Diane101 said...

Nanette, thanks for your comment, I have been missing you for months now and I just checked and you are not a member of Village Blue, so how about coming over there and joining and chatting....we would love to have you and of course anyone else who has a mind to.
I am perplexed by all these issues and wish I had a great big broom to sweep them all away.
Hugs to you Nanette and to all....



http://www.villageblue.com/

7/13/2006 8:19 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Diane and shirlstars,

Just wanted to return a quick hello back, and say that I will try and respond more fully to your comments. Please don't think I'm ignoring you, in other words.

7/13/2006 8:49 pm  
Blogger James said...

Btw, Dove, before I forget, I finally remembered to add you blog to my blogroll. I know...took long enough.

7/13/2006 10:47 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Goodbye alohaleezy,
I did answer your question about why I named you, honestly and to the best of my ability, FWIW. I do think, based on your response, what you've taken from my answer is different from what I attempted to put there. I don't know how to put things any more clearly: in any case, reading is always-- as it indeed it should always be -- an attempt at interpretation.

In any event, I am still going to try to answer alohaleezy's second question on the off-chance that it's of interest to anyone else. Which it may not be, but hey.

She asked something along the lines of "If you feel so strongly about this, why didn't you post it at BT?". It's a fair enough question.

I certainly thought about doing so.
With, I must admit, the belief that any discussion of this topic
would quickly devolve into a rehearsal of the very practices to which I was trying to direct attention, and would moreover, become all about DTF, whether or not he hurt people's feelings, whether he is a doo-doo head etc.
(Which, I'd have to say, is a familiar strategy that I've seen in lots of other places as an attempt to reduce things that are primarily political and structural to things which are purely personal and individual and thus easy to dismiss.)

And then I thought -- as much as anything else, this is about foreigners, non-nationals, and yes, their U.S. allies too and the strategies used to attempt to silence them when their words prove uncomfortable.

Why then have this particular discussion in U.S. space? Why not have it on non-national space instead?

After all, it's not as though people couldn't (or didn't, in the event) come join in if they chose. And though some doubtless felt that I and perhaps those others that were discussing these issues here were 'going behind people's backs,' it evidently wasn't too hard to find.

(OT Supersoling, part of why I named names is because the alternative is a nebulous 'them,' where nobody knows quite who is being talked about, whether they're among the group being described, or what. I figure, at least this way, people aren't left wondering. Nanette said something on this topic a while at ManE's I think, and I came to the conclusion that I agreed with her)

OT James -- I'd be interested to hear about Terror Management Theory. Would you be up for elaborating?

7/13/2006 10:53 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Hi venice pa,

Thanks for the kind words and sorry for the belated welcome -- I hope you'll keep on dropping by and posting.

7/13/2006 11:11 pm  
Blogger catnip said...

I was going to post a longer rebuttal to babaloo, but he/she has left the building. I do want to point out some things though:

1) As DTF has said repeatedly, his diary about American reasonableness was based on input he received from others. That was totally lost in the hysteria.

2) His diary clearly was not about "all" Americans. Read it again.

3) This comment of yours, babaloo, is extremely offensive and encapsulates exactly what dove has written about here:

but I think it's great that you "furriners" have so much leisure time to devote to criticism of the American progressive movement.

So, while you parade your long list of activities in front if us in order to claim your superiority in all things activist, I certainly hope the above is not the message you are spreading to others who might be interested (and capable) of becoming more involved. If it is, it's simply built on guilt and shame and that is not a suitable foundation on which to build a political movement. Truth is. Justice is. Human rights are.

I'd go on...and believe me I'd like to, but I think I've made my point: take your moral superiority and shove it. When you position yourself on the moral high ground, the first step down is one hell of a shock.

7/13/2006 11:14 pm  
Anonymous supersoling said...

Dove,
I have no problem with you naming names. I was only disagreeing about Alohaleezy because I was unaware of her earlier comments. I've thought some of the same thoughts in the past myself regarding DT's diaries and comments. They hit pretty close to home. Too close sometimes. But over time I've come to recognize why it is that what he has to say often left me feeling angry and attacked as an American. In my case I've had 44 years of indoctrination of high ideals and just wars and just causes. Those illusions don't fall away easily. And this comes from someone who has had a great deal of exposure to antiwar teachings and activities. Still, the exceptionalism is deeply ingrained in me. When 911 happened I was outraged, even though there was a nagging sense that there was a reason for the attacks. If I'm willing to give myself time to process all of it, it's only fair that I do the same for others, who in every other regard I have the highest respect for.

As if any of this might make any sense to anyone but me :o)

7/14/2006 12:06 am  
Blogger Scotchtape Fuckwad said...

Maybe everybody needs their own space far away from the evildoers.

7/14/2006 12:43 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

Hi diane! Thanks and likewise... I think you should post more.

I just checked and you are not a member of Village Blue

No way, really? I thought I'd registered there ages ago... I don't comment much anyplace (except I tend to chatter on dove's blog, for some reason) so I guess I just never noticed. Although I do come read from time to time. I'll go register though!

7/14/2006 1:09 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

Heh... I guess babaloo wasn't too proud of his/her comment, since they deleted it. Odd... while I thought it was rude and over the top, I also thought maybe it could be a springboard to more discussion and a bit more understanding. Oh well!

At least it inspired James to call Ductape a sort of "Rorschach test" (if that is spelled wrong, blame James). I was thinking sort of the same thing.

And speaking of... Ductape has arrived! Tis not every blogger that gets his own parody/hate site - that's gotta be even better than the testimonials!

7/14/2006 1:14 am  
Anonymous Nag said...

Dove, I apologized for my baseless attack on Ductape. It was absolutely wrong for me to attack him and I know that. I am also acutely aware of the horror my country has become. It tears at me constantly. Ductape is well versed at pointing out how America's evil is an end result of how evil and ugly Americans and American culture are in his eyes, and the eyes of the world. He is an expert at admiring the problem, but is short on suggestions. I don't recall ever reading anything by him that left me with a feeling of hope.

"We can hope that will not be necessary, since the American voting class performed so beautifully in the pageant. They could hardly be softer.

Whichever of the millionaires they voted for had already promised them all the blood they could drink, and they stood in line to get it.

These words from Ductape don't inspire me to do anything but maybe kill myself in shame:
"It is too easy, disingenuous, even, to write them off as air-brained children of privilege whose grasp on matters not related to Scott Peterson is at best, tenuous.

It is more tempting to chalk it all up to mass delusion, a kind of modern Mega-Salem, and even inject a colorful supernatural note: perhaps they have indeed all been possessed by the spirits of adolescent girls, and are unable to process information effectively due to an acute case of hormonal aphasia, but that would hardly be fair to the billions of teenaged girls over the years, who, Salem aside, have withstood the onslaught and made it through just fine, without doing any harm to others or themselves.

One can flatter by imitation and regress along with them and call them a primitive race of brutish savages, who quite simply have no regard for human life or the capacity to process questions more complex than those posed by the server at Starbucks, but in addition to all the other reasons for not doing that, there is the small matter of the underclass who did not vote, and who breathe the same air, drink the same water, and frequently have the same ancestors, at least one or two.

They are Goebbelized, argue some, and they are right, but a fundamental element of the American Question is: Is that an excuse? 9 out of 10 Holocaust survivors, Palestinians, Afghan amputees and bereaved Iraqi mothers say no."
Link

I didn't blow at Ductape because he's Muslim... or foreign... you couldn't be more wrong. I got defensive and stupid because I took it personally. This is my country and it IS personal, damn it. I cry over what we've become. I cry a lot. Ductape seems to rail at American culture as being the root of all evil but never has suggestions as to how to improve things. That's the part that turns me off. I KNOW that the rest of the world will end America's bloody imperialism if we can't do it ourselves... I don't need Ductape's rants to inform me of that. I just don't see him doing anything else but admiring the problem from 50 different angles and never having anything positive or hopeful to offer. He just keeps poking that stick at the dead bloody thing that America has become. I don't need rants, I need solid suggestions on what the hell to do about it. THAT's why he upsets me, not because he's a Muslim, or foreigner, or anything else.

You pat yourself on the back while disparaging BT. Nice. Remember, flawed as we are, it's communities like BT that keep hope alive. You should do a little soul searching yourself about your generalizations. None of us is perfect, now are we?

I do have respect for Ductape, but you wouldn't know it from my posts in that diary, and I am ashamed of that. I am also partly to blame for what my country does in my name. Now, what would you have me do... wallow helplessly and endlessly in guilt or fight like hell to keep hope alive?

7/14/2006 1:32 am  
Blogger Shirl said...

Thanks for your comments, Catnip and Nanette.

Dove, I appreciate your mention and your wanting to respond. There is nothing much in my post that is all that important, so don't spend too much time on it. Thanks for the space to voice my opinion.

And Nanette, if it matters to you, then it matters. It matters not to me. I was not intending that my lack of finding it of value for my time spent should be anyones view other than mine.

Hugs to all
Shirl

7/14/2006 1:43 am  
Blogger catnip said...

Nag,
I make many posts about subjects for which I don't offer solutions. For example, I am a worried observer of the new war in the Middle East and I'm writing about that. I have no idea what the solution is except to offer that they all talk to each other and stop the killing.

As for DTF, what he offers is a window or a mirror, depending on how you read it, and an invitation to discover or reject truth.

Many others offer action items such as protests, marches, letter-writing etc. I think in order to be moved, discussions spurred on by DTF's more philosphical rants offer a stepping off point from which to take action. He's not an organizer or leader, as others are. His action is to make people think. I believe that's invaluable. And I think the value of community - when it works as it ought to - is to be inclusive of all approaches.

The thing that has been so glaringly obvious in all of this is the fact that no one is forced to read what he writes. I know I don't spend my time reading authors of any sort that might grate at me to then only waste my time being irritated and distracted (unless I'm doing a round up of right-wing views). I read what works for me - what I can relate to. The tone is not that important. The content is.

Here's a good example: I read Jesus' General sometimes. He doesn't offer action items much at all, but his sarcasm moves people. He's a great contributor to the lefty blogosphere. If we were all the same, we'd be pretty damn boring!

7/14/2006 1:57 am  
Blogger catnip said...

nanette,
I have a "Number One Fan" too who has dedicated her blog to slamming me since I banned her for being a vile creature on mine a while ago.

I rarely check it out because her logic is so twisted. "Catty catnip", she calls me. It could be worse (and probably is - I don't know since I haven't been there recently). :)

I told her to find another hobby.It's not like I'm that bloody interesting!

7/14/2006 2:01 am  
Blogger catnip said...

Oh...babaloo really did leave the building. Was it something I said? ;)

7/14/2006 2:04 am  
Blogger catnip said...

dove,

When I told babaloo to take her/his moral superiority and shove it, did I violate your 'no ad hominem" attack rule?

7/14/2006 2:06 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

I can understand that some are so angry, so anguished, by the situation that they may project it onto some elephant-pointer or other, and I do write about the elephant.

The suggestions I have offered are the obvious ones, for such extreme and urgent circumstances, I believe I have typed the phrase "cease aggression and disarm" so many times, if I were a nerd, I would surely have made a macro for it.

But in case those suggestions have been unseen by eyes clouded with tears, I will be happy to say them again:

Cease aggression and disarm

Release all kidnap victims immediately

Repatriate immediately all gunmen, torturers, and various "operatives" currently deployed on foreign soil.

Domestically, effect instant and sweeping Reform, first to relieve the humanitarian crises roiling in the burgeoning underclass, including but not limited to the provision of health care for all human beings in the US in need of such, and immediate implementation of a Living Wage, in order to begin the process of emerging from feudalism to an economy befitting a modern state, then remove the current gaggle of corporate representatives and replace them with representatives of the people, invite international assistance in holding free and open elections, with universal franchisement, and let the corporations operate in the private business sector, which is their place, and let the people operate in the establishment of some form of representative legislative body, in the political sector, which is their place.

Immediately detain and remand all responsible for crimes against humanity, whether direct perpetrator, accessory, or author, to C-130s that will transport them safely and humanely to the Hague, to enjoy humane treatment and benefit of counsel as they await fair and open trials, such humane treatment to persist throughout any sentence if convicted.

I would like to once again give major homage to supersoling, for his courage, his honesty, and for sharing with us the inspiration of the triumph of humanity in the heart of one man. I cannot read his words without tears, and the urge to commit upon his person one hell of a man-hug, and kiss both his cheeks in the Good Old Fashioned Secure Male Manner.

7/14/2006 2:29 am  
Anonymous Nag said...

Wow. Ask and ye shall receive. Damn! I completely and totally agree with every word, Ductape. I hope you can find it in your heart to accept my sincere apology. I think I am the doo doo head.

Catnip is right, of course. I suppose I overreact because even though I know the truth, it hurts quite badly every time I hear it. That, and I didn't fully realize how bad the truth is until it bit me in the ass.

7/14/2006 2:44 am  
Blogger James said...

Hey Dove,

Here's a quick and dirty summary of terror management theory.

I'm being kicked off the computer. I'll say more later.

7/14/2006 2:47 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

LOO nag, I will certainly accept it, and commit a robust man-hug on you also, while whispering to you that I don't think I saw what it is you are apologizing for, but whatever it was, under the circumstances, I do not blame people for visceral reactions.

Look at how sad and furious we "foreigners" are, we can only imagine the horror of it being what one hoped was one's own country!

7/14/2006 2:59 am  
Blogger spiderleaf said...


I would like to once again give major homage to supersoling, for his courage, his honesty, and for sharing with us the inspiration of the triumph of humanity in the heart of one man.


Ain't that the truth.

7/14/2006 3:13 am  
Blogger catnip said...

((((hugs))) Nag

7/14/2006 5:15 am  
Blogger dove said...

nag,
I can't respond fully right now, but in the interim wanted to least acknowledge your presence here, your words and above all, your willingness to engage and reflect, which I find impressive. FWIW I do not think you are a doo-doo head and I hope you will keep coming by and posting.

And yes, wholeheartedly second (third?) spiderleaf and DTF about supersoling.

7/14/2006 10:24 am  
Anonymous supersoling said...

I thought I would leave this here for those of you who had such kind and encouraging words to offer me.
Thank you :o)

I don't want to make more of this than it really is, but it has been a struggle. When Spiderleaf and CookTing were visiting us last week I still had my flag flying from the front of my house as recognition of Independence Day. For some reason I felt it necesarry to point out to them that it was still flying, as if they had no eyes of their own ;o) But I think it was, and this is not easy to say, a small sense of shame that made me mention it. I didn't want to be seen as a minless patriot, oblivious of the crimes of my country. That is why I've written in other places that I am currently ashamed to be an American. It doesn't mean I don't love my country. It doesn't mean that I accept what it is now as all it can be. It is precisely that hope for something better, something that acheives it's founding principles as my motivation to fight for it at the same time feeling the shame. The potential of this country to affect so much for good and for peace around the world is why it is still worth fighting for.

When I was a boy I was enthralled with the history of the American Revolution. At the same time I was in love with the history and blood roots that connected me to my eastern woodland ancestors and thier fight against the same ones who fought that revolution against the British. Talk about a contradiction in identity! I searched every book I could get my hands on in the vain pursuit of a happy ending. One in which my ancestors were not vanquished and nearly annhilated. We all know the result of that search. I revel in the defeat of Custer at the hands of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. I only wish it could have been repeated a thousand fold. Or that I could find that confounded time machine I've been looking for all my life so that I could join in their fight.
These are the ramblings of a boy's heart caught in the body of a modern American, witnessing the continuation of Manifest Destiny and feeling very helpless to halt it's march.

To those who are troubled by my shame, I say, I love my country. I'm not retreating. I'm not yet willing to abandon it to murderers. But I have children who may yet be called to do it's bidding, and if it ever comes to that, then that is where I will part company with this country...forever.

7/14/2006 2:43 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought I would leave this here for those of you who had such kind and encouraging words to offer me.
Thank you :o)

I don't want to make more of this than it really is, but it has been a struggle. When Spiderleaf and CookTing were visiting us last week I still had my flag flying from the front of my house as recognition of Independence Day. For some reason I felt it necesarry to point out to them that it was still flyinexto de mi alma en una hoja.
Pero antes de llegar a mi objetivo,
el destino me detuvo implacable
¡con un golpe que sacudió mi cabeza!.

Entre sangre me inundaban los problemas
y la vida me invitaba a un retiro
para ponerle rumbo a las ideas.
Entendiendo que si permanezco vivo
es para saber que hay almas buenas
que sin preguntar qué rumbo tienes,
cuando te pierdes, muestran el camino.

Y si ven lo duro que has caído
estiran la mano para levantarte
desde el suelo sucio, ensangrentado,
carcomido y lleno de vidrios.
Almas buenas, ¡corazones infinitos!,
son motivos para permanecer vivos.
uelo sucio, ensangrentado,
carcomido y lleno de vidrios.
Almas buenas, ¡corazones infinitos!,
son motivos para permanecer vivos.

7/14/2006 2:44 pm  
Anonymous supersoling said...

Oooooookay......
not sure how that bilingual second post of mine got there, but it looks good anyway ;o)

7/14/2006 2:58 pm  
Anonymous supersoling said...

I took the Spanish text from the anonymous post below mine and translated it at an online translation site. This is how it came out:

flyinexto of my soul in a leaf. But before arriving at my objective, the destiny stopped to me implacable with a blow that shook my head. Between blood they flooded the problems and the life invited me to a retirement to maintain course to him to the ideas. Understanding that if I remain alive it is for knowledge that are good souls that without asking what course you have, when you lose yourself, show the way. And if they see it last it that you have fallen stretch the hand for levantarte from the dirty ground, covered with blood, decayed and full of glasses. Good souls, infinite hearts, they are alive reasons to remain uelo dirty, covered with blood, decayed and full of glasses. Good souls, infinite hearts, they are reasons to remain alive.

Not very coherant ;o) Can I ask whoever wrote that to make it a little clearer please?

Thanks

7/14/2006 4:45 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Hi supersoling,

There are two possibilities I think: 1) someone is paying you a compliment (it's an excerpt of a poem called Almas Buenos ) or 2) it's spam of a variety more interesting than that circulated by vendors of spray-on hair (the poem is by Pablo Cerda whose name frequently turns up elsewhere in connection with spam)

I hope it is the former (in which case, anonymous, please sign your posts with your regular online handle and if you don't have one, make one up), but fear it may be the latter.

7/14/2006 6:18 pm  
Blogger spiderleaf said...

You know I was mad at you super when you took it down before we left... and was quite pleased to see it prominently displayed when we arrived.

There is nothing for you personally to be ashamed of, you are the very spirit of America. Wear it proudly. And help change hearts and minds. ;)

7/14/2006 7:00 pm  
Blogger catnip said...

And if they see it last it that you have fallen stretch the hand for levantarte from the dirty ground, covered with blood, decayed and full of glasses.

That was quite poetic, but what the hell is "levantarte"?

super,
Don't hide your flag. Fight for its ideals.

7/14/2006 8:21 pm  
Anonymous supersoling said...

Levant:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levant

7/14/2006 8:34 pm  
Blogger catnip said...

Okay, I found a translation of 'levantarte' ie. 'raise up'.

So yes, that really was quite poetic.

7/14/2006 8:35 pm  
Anonymous scribe said...

Wow. Got a heads up from NLSt Paul to pop in here and read, and am glad I did. Fascinating discussion amidst some of my favorite folk! My head us spinning, in a good way, and going too fast to come up with much else than these random thoughts about how things they seem to me.

Everyone is where they are, at any given moment, peering through the window of what they've experienced and absorbed up to this moment. My window now, at 65, shows me a totally different view of so many things I honestly thought I knew all about and understood so well before.

The reality is, I had only scratched the surface of what there was to see and to know, about almost everything! Especially about myself

I know for a fact I was as angry as SC and MT at one point in my life. And that I also have engaged in almost every single behavior and negative attitude I can't stand being around now! Finally gettin honest with myself about this really spoiled all the fun I used to have feeling superior amd freely judging anyone else, dammit! (Oh I still do at times, and probably always will. It seems to be one of those pesky things that goes along with being a mere human.)

BooTrib is Boo Trb. It is run and frequented by people who can only operate from what they know and believe right now. Same with all gatherings of people everywhere. Some of them lift my heart and mind, some of them nake me mad enough to spit tacks. Some ar eopen to learning and changing, some aren't. Some are just great at stripping away my compacency and making me think HARD! (Hey ya, DTF! I see your sentences aren't getting much shorter, are they?) (evil grin)

We are human, thus destined to screw things up. When don't we? How could we do anything else, and why is this always seen as so bad?

Isn't this how we learn, and grow? Isn't that how new gatherings are formed that spark even more growth? Doesn't conflict almost always precede change, and isn't change what we need in order to keep expanding? (I am not taking about stupid flame ways, but about deep differences and challenges like these)

I mean, just reading this one thread here made me excited to hear powerful minds and good heart coming together, to dig even deeper into more uncharted territory, inside each and in each other.

"Community": found, then lost, or left. Conflict. Challenges. Coming together, moving apart, gathering info and awarenenss from each other, all resulting in change that fuels more growth and expansion.

Frustrating and painful as hell sometimes,..but constantly giving birth to new layers of who we are really only hurts for a little while.. :)

Works in progress, every last one of us, and how grand it is to hang out with each other wherever we meet. Anyway,that's what I see through tonights window. :)

Thanks Dove and all, for showing me the view from your windows and giving me much to chew on!

7/16/2006 4:59 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

Hi scribe, it's good to see you posting here. I greatly admire your work and even now, in conversations, I sometimes think about talking sticks and when I might have one. And tree branches.

There is a partial line from a poem, as I remember it, that has been rattling around in my head lately ... "if you break faith with those who died..." from, I think, Flanders Fields. I've not looked it up and may not have it exact but that doesn't matter for my purposes, I don't think.

I sort of believe, though, that that is what we are seeing lately. People are beginning to get to the point in this ad hoc "anti-this war, anti-Bush" coalition where they are encountering walls, of sorts, that can't be breached without breaking faith with those who died. As they view it.

I understand SC's and MT's anger. And especially MT's pain and lashing out. I don't hate or even dislike either one of them... I don't know them well enough for that, although I really, really dislike their behaviour. Even though I understand that part of the military culture that is based on brother/sisterhood and keeping faith with the person next to you, and having their backs and all that. And, in a military culture, that is probably imperative. Families, especially those that don't support whichever current, past or future mission, must go through hell.

Then there are others who also have those who died that they cannot, or will not, break faith with. Whether they died as a victim of war, or of child or other abuse, of poverty, of seeking peace instead of war, of standing with the oppressed and so many other things.

It's difficult, especially with friends, to stand on either side of a divide, with those who died standing behind you... I am not sure how one crosses that, unless there is a point that people can get to where taking steps across the divide is seen as keeping, rather than breaking, faith.

This, of course, is easy for me to say because I believe there is only one real direction to go ;).

7/16/2006 5:28 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Hi Diane and shirlstars,
I'm sorry I've been so long in getting back to you and hope you will both check in and happen across it.

I thought I needed to give a more substantive response than I managed first time around, but looking through Nanette's responses to you, I think she said what I would have tried to say, just more eloquently.
So I have little to add, save to say 'second Nanette' and thank you for coming by and discussing this.

Take care of yourselves and hope to see you both again

7/16/2006 9:23 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Hi scribe,

Thanks for stopping by -- I'm really glad nlinstpaul pointed you over here and I hope you'll keep on taking part.

And thank you too for what you've said here - certainly not the easiest discussion ever, but hopefully more productive than not.

take care

7/16/2006 10:55 pm  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

I am glad to see you here scribe!


I have yet to see a discussion worthy of the name that does not benefit from intelligence and wisdom, qualities you have in abundance.

Not every disconnect, or divide, between every two people, or even groups, is bridgeable. In my opinion, acknowledging that, and attempting to understand the reasons why, may, ironically be the only possible path to finding any common ground, though not a guarantee that there is any to be found, by any means.

We have all seen people, particularly on FoxNews, who bemoan the lack of moral absolutes and blame this for a variety of things they do not approve of. This usually occurs in the context of a discussion of these individuals expressing their disapproval of something like peoples' sexual preference, and frequently citing their own religious beliefs as the reason why they believe this or that should be "outlawed."

While I am as guilty as anybody of being unable to suppress a smile sometimes at the beliefs expressed, such as bad weather being caused by feminists and gay people, or sexual preference being ascribed to plush cartoon characters without genitals, these are very real beliefs to those who hold them, and I will be the first to defend their right to express them, and the first to say that they do not have the right either to "weaponize' them, with props to the internet poster who invented that useful term, nor to impose them on others via legislation.

And I will also be the first to acknowledge that between that individual and myself, there exists an unbridgeable gap in that very personal area of religious beliefs and moral absolutes.

The irony comes in when some of the very people who might join me in disagreement with those folks will join those same individuals in disagreeing with me on other issues - and not just with me.

I have watched as offline and online, some Americans have recently and reluctantly and with great sadness conceded that their own moral absolutes place them at unbridgeable odds with the policies of an entity they yearn to call their own nation, and thus at unbridgeable odds with their own countrymen who support those policies, either as they are, or support calling them by more attractive names, or support a change in which rich men will make more money from them.

The popular clerics who bemoan the dearth of moral absolutes among those whose faith traditions differ from their own might or might not understand enough to be surprised to learn of this irony: that it is the very strong and unshakable presence of moral absolutes that have made some Americans effectively Enemies in their own land, though many in the Majority World might call them the only hope for that land, and lament that there are so few of them!

Sadly, most in that Majority World will not call them anything, because they do not know that they exist.

LOL scribe, I am proving you correct that my quest for brevity continues in its traditional state of utter failure, while my penchant for rambling thrives. I only intended to echo others who said "glad to see you here," and now look. I will once again, blame the meds and hit "post" before I set myself off again. :D

7/17/2006 12:25 am  

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