A Further Comment From James May

Those drapes really bring the room together.
Those drapes really bring the room together.

James May replied to my post about his comment and then I replied in the comments to his comment, but part of the purpose of this blog was to repost longer comments from other blogs.

On a side not the Yangs and Khoms thing is from this (odd IMHO) episode of Star Trek rather than a place in Thailand (Ban Yang Khom – look it up!).

You can find JM’s comment back on the last post.

“I made a satirical comment referring to the fact you and your social justice movement in SFF are unaware of the nature or origins of the very ideology you promote. Your fisk confirmed that. ”
The ideology I promote is democratic socialism with a Popperian twist. I am very well aware of the nature and history of that ideology.

“You are an unconscious member of a Cargo Cult.”
OK, first we need go back to basics and the foundational documents. In this case The Hunting of the Snark.

Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true.

Dodgson is of course satirizing a common fallacy in argument – simply repeating oneself does not actually make what you say anymore true.
It is notable that both you and Paulk do not respond to the substance of what I say but instead either declare that they already refuted what I said or reassert what they said without any engagement.

“And being against a lesbian supremacist ideology is no more being against lesbians than being against the KKK means one is against whites.”

Except you didn’t say ‘lesbian supremacist’ you said ‘lesbian post-structuralist’. Now if that was an auto-correct error then fair enough – your comment makes more sense – but my comment was about what you could possibly be trying to say when you talked about ‘lesbian post-structuralist’.
As for the second part – sure being against misogyny doesn’t necessarily mean one is against men.

“An extremely specific anti-male, anti-white, anti-heterosexual ideology makes inflammatory comments.
Members of targeted group push back”

Nope. There certainly exist people who take extreme positions that it would be reasonable to call ‘anti-male’ or ‘anti-white’ etc. What you do is attack all and sundry *as if* your target held a position that they don’t. It is just a strawman fallacy. Not every feminist is a radical separatist feminist and not every radical separatist feminist holds exactly the same views. And more relevantly the net actual personal risk to men from even the most extreme feminist is *TINY* in comparison to the very real risks women face everyday.

“Well… you just keep repeating quotes from two people and call them “Puppies.””
I quote people directly relevant to a situation i.e. I quoted Brad Torgersen because he led Sad Puppies 3. Whether he liked it or not he is unambiguously a spokesperson for Sad Puppies 3. I quote Kate Paulk because firstly I was responding to a piece she actually wrote and because she is one of the two people coordinating Sad Puppies 4.
Lesson number 2: RELEVANCE. You tend to quote whoever you think said something that outraged you. You don’t connect them to the argument you are trying to make except in the vaguest sense. An argument needs to have structure – even an argument that is primarily rhetorical. I hate to say this but…look at how Vox Day *structures* what he writes. Even when he uses fallacious reasoning (which is frequent) he uses it as part of a structured argument.
Currently you just load a blunderbuss with what you found in your quote mine and generic put downs and hope that something hits.

“Of course you’d have to be a non-Yang”
[sigh] even your metaphors are confused. In the Yang-Khom scheme you should be smearing me as a Khom not a Yang for goodness sake. Remember the Yangs were the ones who just turned the original principles of the USA into a cargo cult in which they just mouthed the garbled version of America’s foundational documents as if they were magical documents RATHER than considering the underlying meaning. The Khoms just got on with shit and were supposed to be some sort of degenerated communists.
In that scenario I’m Doctor Who’s robot dog K9 wandering around wondering how it go into the wrong TV show and looking for Sarah-Jane. If you are going to fail badly at a SF-TV show metaphor that is the way to do it rather than invoke imagery that makes it sound like Star Trek anticipated the modern GOP decades ago.

“Only a feral bigot and an uncivilized liar would say non-whites can’t be racists or women can’t be sexists.”
Or somebody mistaken. As it happens I am quite sure that non-whites can be racists and women can be sexist – in particular the latter as there are many examples. Actually I think most feminists would agree that women can be sexists. But what I think you mean is whether women can be sexist TOWARDS men (what some might call ‘reverse sexism’). Meh, you can get into a semantic argument about that I guess but it would be dull.

Now is the time to scroll upwards. What is my ideology again? I’m a democratic socialist. I believe in social engineering and the idea that we can fix societal wide problems. Systematic sexual inequality is the problem and by any measure it is highly assymetrical BUT men are losers to as a consequence. A world of entrenched sexual inequality is a shitty world for women but it isn’t a great one for men either. Yes men get privileges in such a world but it is rather like the way high ranking party commisars in Stalinist USSR had greater privileges (and held on tight to them in the face of social change just like the MRAs do). Those privileges are actually a shitty deal – you get to be the more privileged in a society that is messed up. No thanks. My meat robot doesn’t want to play the which-man-gets-to-be-the-alpha-male top dog bollocks and a society with greater male-female equality and REDUCED emphasis on gender roles is a society in which a *MAN* has more freedom of action than otherwise.

” We know what it would be called if I said “Homo peeeeoooople” in exasperation or used the term “homo scum.” ”
Yes, because gay and lesbian people are, sadly, in the situation where physical attacks and active social suppression are still things they have to contend with.

The danger that you will find yourself beaten up by radical feminist is TINY to non-existent. It simply isn’t a problem in anything like the scale that lesbians face, that gay men face, that people of minority non-privileged ethnicities face, that trans people face, that even women from otherwise privileged backgrounds face.

Would you like to live in a world in which people will react nonchalantly to you using the terms you use above? Then what you need to aim for is a world in which homosexuality (to use your example) is such a safe and secure choice in society that people would just look at your words in puzzlement and assume you are play-acting as a character from a historical novel.

What you are trying to do is pretend that all that matters is whether somebody uses mean words. Imagine we are in 1930’s Russia and consider this statement:

“Kulaks are liars”

There simply isn’t a counter-statement that has the same awfulness as that one. It is very much an extreme example of language behind which there is a disparity in social and political power. That isn’t because of some magical notion of language but simply from a practical understanding of how society, political power and economics work.

This is why I find your cargo-cult comments so unintentionally ironic. You focus only on the words, as if they had magic power. What you refuse to do is to look at the underlying reality – the mechanisms that enforce inequality in our society. This is what matters.

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9 thoughts on “A Further Comment From James May”

  1. If James May does return, I’d be interested in hearing what he actually wants out of all of this? What would allow us to return to our regularly scheduled programming of while-not-agreeing-not-actively-pissing-in-each-others-cornflakes-either?

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  2. It’s simple, Mark. If we could agree on one single definition of group defamation, apply it to everyone and agree it is always wrong, that would be everything. That’s it – nothing else.

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      1. Listen, I’m talking about attacking groups based on their immutable biological characteristics. The general groups are men, women, gays, non-gays, Asians, Jews, Arabs, blacks, whites. This is the defamation both GLAAD and the Jewish ADL refer to in their titles. I have never indulged in group defamation. Ditch these attacks and this problem goes away tomorrow. That will never happen since it would mean shunning about 125 editors, publishers, influential bloggers, award nominees, serial convention panelists, etc. Rape culture defames men. White privilege defames whites, transphobia defames heterosexuals and they are meant to do exactly that. If you’d read Mary Daly, Robin Morgan, Charlotte Bunch, Andrea Dworkin, Audre Lorde, Kate Millet and Shulamith Firestone instead of doing the “E Plebneesta” thing and mindlessly and unconsciously parroting them you’d stop doing it. Have you read Delilah Dawson’s latest at the Mary Sue? If that’s not a perfect example of mainstreaming hatred and insanity into the empty head of a useful idiot I don’t know what is. it is hate speech. Even more insane is Judith Butler’s laughable post-structuralist gibberish which maintains reproductive heterosexuality is a fiction we linguistically maintain the same way we say “I dub this ship the Normandy.” So what do you guys do? You signal boost this shit in an otherwise unremarkable SF novel because it is your pronoun altar. You just don’t know it’s your altar. Nevertheless you worship at it. Meanwhile, if there are any teenage Jack Vance, Lovecraft, Heinlein or Bradbury’s around, they’ve seen the “not welcome” shingle and decided on doing something else. You have ruined our hobby in the remarkable space of about 5 years. Congratulations. It was a decent 100 year run.

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      2. James May : I have never indulged in group defamation. AND So what do you guys do? You signal boost this shit in an otherwise unremarkable SF novel because it is your pronoun altar. You just don’t know it’s your altar. Nevertheless you worship at it.

        So, let’s just clarify –

        i, When you say “you guys”, I assume you mean the group who voted for, and more generally praised, the novel “Ancillary Justice” – a novel you describe as “otherwise unremarkable”, but which happened to win the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, BSFA Award, Arthur C Clarke Award and Locus Award? A debut novel that sold 30,000 copies in its first year BEFORE the awards came out and no doubt multiple hundreds of thousands by now? The huge group of people who said they liked it? That group?

        ii, And you are stating that that group of people only said they liked it because of the pronouns used? That a group of experienced sf fans and authors, the juries of at least five awards, didn’t have the self-knowledge to realize that the story wasn’t at all remarkable? That they were petty enough to “worship” PC pronouns and blind enough not to realise what they were doing? That you are, in fact, defaming their claim to be avid, intelligent sf readers?

        Would that be correct?

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    1. Surely the words “defamation” and “group” have fairly well established meanings that can be applied?
      As Camestros says, it appears to be something you indulge in yourself, so I’m not sure where you’re going with this.

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    2. Ho-hum, cross-posted there. I’d hoped the wall-o-text tactic had gone back in the box for a while, but obviously not.

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