Did you check out the terrible interview in the bonus RSS feed? I’m really curious to hear your thoughts.
Annoying tech side-note: This isn’t the actual post for the RSS feed, as you can see. I wanted to make that one available for comment but if I do, then everyone can see it. When I tried to make it for Members Only, then the RSS did this annoying thing where the description said “You must be logged in” despite the fact that I was clearly logged into the RSS feed. So, my workaround is to keep that post hidden (so the grimy plebes can’t access it for free) and to do this post instead where we can all vent about that horrific interview.
For me it just got absolutely hilarious how no matter what Carl said, that’s cool because there’s some explanation for it, but if I said “You’re awful” that’s what warrants condemnation. I’M THE PROBLEM.
5 Replies to “Let’s Talk About That Interview….”
One thing he said was that it’s okay for somebody to have homophobic feelings so long as they don’t act on them… do I have that right? That might be fine in theory if they are truly not causing any harm. But please show me this hypothetical homophobe who treats gay people decently while secretly hating them. Or the racist who supports racial equality. I just don’t think they exist! The fact is, people’s outward behaviour ultimately reflects their inner beliefs, so when they act awfully those beliefs have to be challenged.
Just listened to it. I think the guy just really doesn’t like making judgemental comments and honestly thinks that if people refrained from make such comments then the discourse would focus on the actual issues and lead to progress/resolution.
Although I would tend to agree with him to the extent that we should be careful not to be too judgmental too easily, and that there is probably too much judgmental discourse in general (well maybe not in the era of President Trump … I would have agreed more 2 years ago), he seems to be taking this to the level of a primary absolute principle which is not justifiable.
I would classify him as something of a “useful idiot” for the alt-light based only on this interview.
I don’t know. I tend to come back to these things from the place where we can all agree. We’re atheists. We think, predominantly and in the majority, that religion is absurd and Gods probably or almost certainly aren’t real. So coming from that place of the things that bind us, he’s engaging in special pleading. “You shouldn’t call someone a horrible person, it stifles discourse”. Horseshit. Yeah, calling someone horrible isn’t exactly a doorway to empathy and the joining of hands out of mutual interest, but we as atheists do it all the time. If there exists a fundamentalist group out there that’s tweeting harassing awfulness at gay people, we call them horrible. Because they effing are. Sargon does it, this guy from this interview almost certainly does it. And I don’t know how much more polite you could possibly be, when faced with a person who literally verbally attacked a sexual assault victim with what he said, short of not saying anything, which is morally problematic.
It’s a nice idea that we can all just get along and be friends and be civil and nice to each other. It sounds really nice. It’s not realistic. Not when you consider the kind of people we’re dealing with. Thomas mentioned in the episode “The Alt Right Playbook”, and I have seen and absolutely loved the trilogy as it stands thus far. And it makes an important point. ” you cannot beat these people at their own game. If you find yourself playing, you’ve already lost. ” And that’s the real crux of the issue. Sargon and his followers are very much just another brand of fundamentalist religious nuts. They are never going to change their minds based on how nice you are to them, or what the evidence is. They are going to change their minds because of a personal experience or because the rest of us win the scorched earth game and leave them nowhere to spew their nonsense where it won’t be challenged and mocked. Also there’s attrition, but I don’t know if we can afford to wait that long.
And last, but greatest, we have to weigh the costs and balances here. Thomas said Sargon was a horrible person (to my mind, fully justifiably). Carl’s feelings maybe got hurt. His followers might have felt bad vicariously too. But what HE said and did has actual consequences that matter. Speech like that necessarily and demonstrably harms the physical safety of either the individual at which it is directed, or women in general. I’m real effing sorry sometimes people get their feelings hurt. But a woman somewhere, someday is going to be sexually assaulted or harassed because people say shit like that. Because that kind of speech is tolerated, someone will take it to mean that kind of behavior is tolerated and they will act on it. Men in the 60’s didn’t suddenly stop beating their wives (I’m referring here to a massive drop off in the stastical rates of male to female married physical abuse rates starting in about 1964) because of a law that came far too late, or because they magically developed a sense of moral judgement that wasn’t shitty. They stopped, initially, beating their wives because people in their social circles started to stop thinking “smack a bitch” jokes were funny. Because they were made to be uncomfortable by society at large for talking about hurting the women they had power over. Because doctors stopped telling men and women that a good physical fight in a marriage was therapeutic.
The Greatest social changes that have taken place in this country began by societal, unified pressure about the WORDS people used. It has always first been an attack on bad speech before substantive actions were taken to address issues. And this is no different. I don’t think anything you can possibly say should be illegal, barring legitimate libel and slander, but in order to preserve good speech over horrible speech, we must condemn, publicly, bad speech and the societal retribution for saying such things where people can hear you aught to be swift and unrelenting. I also think we should forgive people. But not blanket forgiveness after a walking back or an attempt to rationalize. Forgiveness is begot of real penitence. Real, genuine making of amends. This isn’t a moral ambiguity. Until Carl ponys up with an apology to his victim, an address to his fan base about why he was wrong, and an action to ensure actual penitence, I can sleep at night knowing his feelings got hurt a little.
Sidebar: if you don’t think social change begins words first, I challenge you to walk out of your house, go somewhere public and shout the word faggot. Likelihood is you’ll get responses that either go “you’re a monster, shut your pie hole” or “I don’t think I should be forced to make cakes for them, but shit man, maybe shut your pie hole….”. And that second fella is only a matter of time. Just watch him look around nervously.
Caveats for the annoying: of course I don’t mean no one’s feelings matter, of course I don’t think societal pressure should come as any sort of violence or bridging of rights, of course I don’t actually think you should go outside and shout the f word, I’m merely making a point, of course I don’t think that ridicule is the ONLY possible method of changing minds, though there’s an argument to be made for the kind of person you’re dealing with at any given time, of course I’m limiting this to egregious breaches of moral speech, like sexual harassment, and not to arbitrary and ambiguous ones, like saying something in a way that makes it sound like you mean something else and having it taken out of context. Whew.
An addendum to my last: there’s also an argument to be made for how we react to things like sexual harassment on Twitter, in THIS TIME. An accused rapist is president. An accused sexual assaulter is president. An obvious and blatant sexual harasser is president. And Twitter is his favorite platform too. If anything, the time in which we live is further justification for bringing out the big guns, not backing down, and calling people horrible when they act horrible. Peacetime is the time for being conciliatory and trying to win over undecideds. This is war time. It’s not the time for that. It will be someday, and that day, I will be significantly more critical and less forgiving of calling someone horrible rather than trying to grin and bear it to try to convince them. But thats not now. This isnt peacetime.
I have to challenge you on this, or maybe I just mean to ask a question. Did you get to the end of the interview where this person who shamed Thomas and tone policed him for calling Carl ho4rible, but then pulled a full 180 and excused Carl having called Thomas, multiple times in the debate, as well as on a written lpost on Facebook, a white supremacist? I mean to say, first and foremost that I would sooner myself be called horrible than be accused of being a white supremacist, so I believe we’re also dealing with two different degrees of “name calling” here. But also, doesn’t that sort of negate this man’s claim that he’s against partisanship and name calling and all those things that he’s accusing Thomas of having propagated by calling Carl horrible? It seems to me he’s being very hypocritical at the very least, and deliberately dishonest at worst. I’m not attacking, I’m genuinely interested in discussing this.