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  • The Shoutbox

    I have a confession to make for my little female Rottie. At the tender age of 1.5 yrs old, she has taken to flirting with the male dogs in a less than ladylike manner. I apologize to any other K-9s that she may have accosted/loved without their prior consent. If there is anything I can do to make amends please let me know. I do not wish to have my naughty puppy cause a #metoo movement among the dogs of the world.
  • #MeToo

    Thank you dear friend for believing in defending my honor.
    However, I was mistaken in looking for someone to defend my honor when I am the only one that can or will.
    Once again it came down to my error of placing an "expectation" on someone other than myself.
  • The Hyper-inflation of Outrage and Victimhood.

    It's very difficult to disagree with the OP due to how it's framed. Everyone will agree that inappropriate emphasis should not be given to inappropriate outrage, and everyone will agree that appropriate emphasis should be given to appropriate outrage. As eloquently as you've defended your position VagabondSpectre, it boils down to the selective use of a tautology as a cudgel - or as an inert lamentation. Something like a political Barnum statement, people will fill up the OP with examples which are great for them; everyone can agree entirely within their own selection criterion; which ultimately reflects their personal preferences and ideological standpoint.fdrake

    It's true. I had to write the OP in a way that everyone could relate to, else it would just read like my own bias. It's not just that I think we're too outraged about things we ought not be, it's that we're too outraged in general, and that this is having complicated effects. In some cases we're too outraged, in others we're not outraged enough (due to exhaustion; outrage's inflation). The #MeToo movement has some good and some bad effects (some overreactions, some justice) and the awareness of sexual assault that it creates is a good thing, but being amplified so loudly and repeated so frequently has had adverse effects as well. Men's rights groups (which are also a mixed bag of good and bad) and conservative apologists perceive the new environment as the persecution of men and are hardening to the issue (Dr. Ford's testimony was brushed aside as single drop in an ocean of public accusations).

    So yeah, as much as social media can be little more than a vector for invective, they're a universal message amplifier by design. If we're apportioning blame to Twitter for normalising outrage about Donald Trump's sexual misconduct, I'd put a hefty chunk of the blame on the way the algorithms work. Hashtag Trump aggregates all the nuances into an already dismissible narrative (FAKE NEWS, like what our OPs brand inappropriate outrage), and longer messages (what, 250 characters is long?) are harder to hear at the same time as their echoes.fdrake

    They're a universal simplifier, but as you say, what gets more clicks gets even more clicks. A small disparity of initial clicks leads to vastly increased exposure in the long run. If we're even slightly more interested in the negative, the salacious, and the outrageous, then they will be vastly over-represented in the mainstreams; social media is a biased amplifier. The disproportionate amplification is I think is a main cause of the overall problem, and looks to persist well into the foreseeable future.
  • #MeToo

    Did Nick literally say he didn't believe you or did he say "you're overreacting" or something similar?

    In any case, I'd go for entrapment. Next time you meet with this guy you tell Nick beforehand that if he touches you inappropriately again you will loudly say something about it and knee him in the groin if he doesn't listen and that you demand he's behind you 100% if and when that happens. Possibly involving him kicking the shit out of that guy to defend your honour.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    You've been busy positioning yourself as an avid supporter of the metoo movement, whatever you're going to say about that. That's the bottom line underneath all your many arguments. Your intentions are good, and I share your support of metoo. But, your analysis of what is good for the metoo movement is less than fully sophisticated.Jake

    I don't need any movement to help me come to the conclusions I've come to. It's common sense to me.

    Anyway, please quote me from this discussion the parts where:

    1) I positioned myself as an avid supporter of the #metoo movement

    and

    2) I analyzed what is good for the #metoo movement.

    Quotes only. And then I'll tell you what I meant by those quotes and what, if any, connection there is to what you said.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    I'm not part of the #metoo movement, and I don't know much about it or its official response (if there is one) to this ongoing story. Also, it's just a recognized principle around here that we address each other's arguments rather than just say things at each other.Baden

    You've been busy positioning yourself as an avid supporter of the metoo movement, whatever you're going to say about that. That's the bottom line underneath all your many arguments. Your intentions are good, and I share your support of metoo. But, your analysis of what is good for the metoo movement is less than fully sophisticated.

    You're fighting the he said / she said fight that is consuming everyone right now. My point is that it may not be helpful to the metoo movement to fight that fight unless it can be won in a convincing manner, and that doesn't appear to be the case here.

    The enormous scale of this situation is the problem. The Supreme Court is on the line, the midterms are on the line, the House of Rep and thus the Presidency are on the line. And, the claims being made are arriving at a very precise political moment. Nobody said anything about any of this for 35 years, until the exact moment at which the claims would have maximum political impact.

    I'm not evaluating Ford's motivations, which I'm not in a position to know. I'm evaluating how all of this looks to the public at large. I'm evaluating the branding impact this event will have on the metoo movement. And whatever the reality of the situation may really be, it LOOKS very much like a political smear job.

    Rightly or wrongly, justly or not, whatever the hard facts may actually be...

    The metoo movement is now going to be heavily associated with political smear jobs and other agendas which have little to do with achieving justice for victims.

    This situation could be radically changed for the better if hard evidence to support the claims could be delivered. Maybe that will happen, and I'd welcome that. If hard evidence could be put on the table then the perception would change to this situation really being about defending injured victims.

    In case it matters, I'm a Bernie Sanders liberal geezer hippy commie pinko. :smile: I definitely don't want this guy on the court. I'm not defending the nominee, but the metoo movement.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford



    This type of thing would be less damaging for Kavanaugh if he hadn't done the Fox News Interview where he painted himself as a paragon of purity in a way that's inconsistent with a stream of evidence now being brought forward. The chances of him not being a bare-faced liar even on that score are very slim and that in itself should be disqualifying for a judge.



    I'm not part of the #metoo movement, and I don't know much about it or its official response (if there is one) to this ongoing story. Also, it's just a recognized principle around here that we address each other's arguments rather than just say things at each other.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    I'm not going to argue with you about your presumptions about #metoo as that's irrelevant to anything I've said.Baden

    Or rather, inconvenient to what you've said.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford



    I've made my position clear several times and it's that no unexamined, unanalyzed, decontextualized allegation in and of itself should be the basis for presumption of guilt about anything. What it is is the basis for suspicion. Then you put it context, investigate it and see if you can either dispel the suspicion or confirm the allegation, or at least come to a greater level of certainty as to its truthfulness. A very high level of certainty should be required for a criminal conviction, a lower burden for a civil suit, and for simply being denied a promotion (or equivalent) a lower level yet as the severity of punishment should be to some degree proportional to the level of certainty of guilt achieved (and there should be a critical cut-off point of probability where the allegation is dismissed outright and no negative consequences for the accused accrue. We're not there with this case). Now, that's my position. I'm not going to argue with you about your presumptions about #metoo as that's irrelevant to anything I've said.
  • Judging the judges: character and judicial history

    See, those [the business with e-mail you mentioned] are the kinds of reasons that I would like to see for disqualifying a candidate to a nominated federal office. And I want the disqualifying acts to have been investigated and proven. Alleging that someone stole e-mails is not sufficient to act upon. I could allege that someone is a Russian spy, operates a child pornography studio, robs banks, or anything else. Why would anyone believe me? They would believe me if they felt I was a font of truth, if they felt they were obligated to believe me, or they felt compelled by their perception of public opinion to believe me, or at least create the impression that they believed me.

    They could disbelieve me for similar reasons, and disbelief would be as valid as belief IF for the reasons just stated.

    So it is, if someone is alleged to have have behaved inappropriately (whatever that means), the accusation should be ignored unless the accuser can come up with creditable evidence (like rape kit evidence, official photographs of the injuries (bruises, cuts, bleeding, witnesses to the acts, fingerprints, etc). If there isn't any evidence, then there isn't any evidence. That may be regrettable or highly inconvenient, but the lack of evidence can not be corrected by vehement insistence that an unsupported accusation be taken as truth.

    #metoo is not the first or only instance of this sort of thing in the US, or elsewhere.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    Jake, you need to go read the details of the case before commenting.Baden

    You need to stop claiming to be the morally superior holy roller expert on the subject, because you certainly are not. As example...

    She told her therapist she was assaulted before any of the recent political events. — Baden

    She told her therapist, but nobody who could actually do anything to remove the alleged rapist as a threat to the public. This lack of action was a public statement that what maybe happened to her was not really that big of a deal.

    She allowed him to become a lawyer, a high ranking public official in the Bush administration, a judge. 35 years of opportunity to right the wrong that she perceives. 35 years of opportunity to protect the rest of us from someone she sees as being seriously flawed. A single police report would have probably ended Kavanaugh's career before it ever started, but instead, for 35 years she chose to ignore us.

    She had a right to ignore us. But we also have a right to review this record documenting a lack of concern for the rest of us, and find her credibility weak.

    Plus, she asked Feinstein that the information remain confidential. — Baden

    She contacted her congresswoman with the intention of her story having an influence upon a major political decision, a fact I see you are intent to ignore. She willfully entered the political process, and is now being evaluated by that process. It's reasonable for people in that process to evaluate her claim as not being useful, given that she brings little to the table other than a claim.

    Look Baden, I'm all for crime victims bringing their stories in to the public political realm. I spent a year of my life facilitating that very process. But this is not how you go about it.

    As the mod of philosophy forum, and a normally sensible commentator, you should be able to realize that if we accept claims without evidence, then the credibility of all claims are undermined. Such a process is not helpful to the #metoo movement.

    If we accept claims without evidence, it's only a matter of time until others begin fabricating claims in order to get money, fame etc, and then nobody will believe anything.

    Ford should be allowed to tell her story under oath, not that this will accomplish anything more than boosting TV ratings. She should be respected as a person (unless it can be proven she's lying). But after that, she sucks as a witness, and is basically wasting our time.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    You don't get to use #metoo to discredit my arguments. Period. If you want to address my points, do so.Baden

    I am addressing your points. And please recall two things, we have the same goal, and I've invested a ton of my own personal time in serving as a political advocate for crime victims, and was part of a process of changing a major public safety law here in Florida.

    You're getting carried away, as is pretty much the entire culture right now, and that getting carried away is a threat to the #metoo movement. If anybody can be declared a victim simply by making a claim, eventually none of the claims will be seen as credible.

    Let's assume Dr. Ford is a victim, that her claim is true. She is of course within her rights to talk about that, or keep it private. But if she wishes to use her personal experience to comment upon public policy, she's regrettably gone about that in an unhelpful manner. No police report, no public statements about her experience until the very last minute of a highly charged political decision 35 years after the alleged crime etc.

    Whether she is a victim or not we can wish her well, but we can't use her as a model of how crime victims should influence public policy with their personal stories.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    Yet you continue to ignore Blasey Ford, the victim's interestsBaden

    She is a victim, at this point, of an unproven accusation, an accusation that will most likely stay that way. #metoo and Blasey Ford make an accusation and you (you being a very big plural here, not the singular referring to Moderator Baden) automatically assume grave harm was done. Maybe it wasn't.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    Baden scores 10 points from #metoo.Bitter Crank

    What seems to be under appreciated is that the #metoo movement, a very just cause, is threatened by sloppy standards and a rush to jump on a politically correct bandwagon.Jake

    You don't get to use #metoo to discredit my arguments. Period. If you want to address my points, do so. If you want to criticise #metoo, do it in a discussion about #metoo. And standing up for victims of sexual abuse, especially child victims, has nothing to do with political correctness either. It's what's known as common decency.

    Crime victims need to keep in my mind that, however difficult it may be, they have a civic responsibility to report crimes to the police because failing to do so puts other people at risk. If they fail to fulfill that responsibility, their credibility is naturally going to take a hit, and maybe it should.Jake

    She was fifteen, and most likely very scared and traumatised. But let's blame her rather than criticise the abuser. Again, all your post demonstrates is a lack of empathy for the victims of these crimes. It does zero in terms of analysis.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    At this point the case is one person's version versus another persons version, delayed by 35 years time. There is no way to prove very much about this case. You believe women. Baden scores 10 points from #metoo.Bitter Crank

    Casting my vote for this.

    What seems to be under appreciated is that the #metoo movement, a very just cause, is threatened by sloppy standards and a rush to jump on a politically correct bandwagon.

    Crime victims need to keep in my mind that, however difficult it may be, they have a civic responsibility to report crimes to the police because failing to do so puts other people at risk. If they fail to fulfill that responsibility, their credibility is naturally going to take a hit, and maybe it should.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    Plus, the idea that some privileged elite who has an accusation leveled at him is being treated worse than a 15-year-old who thought she was being raped is severely wrongheaded.Baden

    Oh yes, it's a classist thing, where privileged elite folks ought have less sympathy than those who happened not to be so lucky. I have a sneaky suspicion she too didn't have too many financial struggles during her upbringing, as if that matters.
    Does the accused suddenly have the right not to be prosecuted much later? Nazi war criminals were prosecuted long after the war. The only people that objected to that were Nazis.Baden

    You reference Republican hysteria but then your next sentence actually attempts to draw an analogy between sexual assault and genocide, as if they're at all comparable. You appear far more hysterical than me or the Republicans.

    Anyhow, let's see, why might your analogy be flawed? Could it be perhaps that genocide is a far more serious crime than sexual assault at a party?

    The reason there exists statutes of limitations in criminal matters is to protect an accused from prosecution after witnesses and evidence have been lost when the government could have prosecuted the case earlier. In the case of the Nazis, one reason the government didn't prosecute the Nazis earlier is because it was the government that was committing the crime. I suppose Eichmann could have argued that he ought be freed because the Germans failed to prosecute him earlier when they had a chance, and then the Nuremberg judges could have tried to make sense of that argument, just like I'm trying to make sense of your argument.
    See above. There is no right to get away with crimes just because you weren't caught quickly enough except in cases where statutes of limitations apply.Baden

    Again, your comparison of Senate confirmations hearings with Nuremberg. Just withdraw this argument. It's nonsense.

    My reference was to the political nature of this whole affair. All we have are competing claims. She says it happened and he says it didn't. They both have plenty of motivation to lie. The consequences of his confirmation will be devastating to the left, and the consequences to him personally will be devastating on the other side of this coin.

    And let's not pretend that she came forward now only because she felt safe with the #metoo movement. She told Feinstein back in July about her claims and Feinstein revealed it just before the confirmation vote. Feinstein's motive was to block a candidate for the Supreme Court she doesn't like. She doesn't give a damn about that girl.
    It's odd that it takes a potential prosecution of an elite conservative to bring out your concerns about a justice system that is highly weighed against the poor and unprivileged.Baden

    Why because I'm part of the elite? I was pretty much a middle class kid who went to public school (and public means government funded in the US, which I understand is oddly the opposite in the UK), we took exotic trips in our station wagon to the Georgia coast every year, and I don't remember any country clubs. But, whatever. I thought the Clarence Thomas lynching was just as bad, and yet he was hardly from an elite background.

    This is an aside also. It's an ad hom. I guess I could tell you that your only motivation in holding your position is because of your disdain of those elite country club kids who you looked upon with envy from your hovel as a child.

    I think no one, from the right or the left, suggests there ought be a dissolution of the distinction between juveniles and adults. We all understand that kids lack capacity to make decisions that can effect the rest of their lives, and for that reason they are treated as protected citizens, incapable of fully engaging in society. Juvenile records are sealed usually because we don't want the sins of youth to destroy one's life. I generally think that's a good thing. My guess is that you do too. As I've said, and which no one can answer, is how do you think he could be prosecuted now as an adult for a juvenile offense? You can't wait for someone to turn of age and then prosecute them as an adult. That's not how it works. A 17 year old who commits murder and who is tried as a juvenile can only remain in custody through age 21. Children are children. Do you really not see an absurdity of prosecuting a 52 year old for his actions when he was 15, or do you really consider your Nazi analogy that persuasive?
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    Baden scores 10 points from #metoo.Bitter Crank

    I don't fully believe anyone, but in my judgment her telling the truth is the most likely scenario, and I gave reasons why. Reasons that nobody has questioned so far, incidentally. So, let's not get up on a cranky horse about the #metoo movement. That's not the issue here. If you want to ask me about my position on that, start a thread on it.

    I've never been enthusiastic about people's sexual activities being weighed up for political and professional judgment. That's a very old-fashioned attitude now.Bitter Crank

    The issue is about criminal sexual activities, not all sexual activities. Sexual assault and attempted rape are criminal offenses. That's what he's being accused of. If he likes to wank off his pet dog in his spare time, that's fine by me. Couldn't care less.

    How far back should we go to hold people accountable? There was underage drinking going on in that house. There are adults who were responsible for obtaining, making available, or not protecting the teenagers from alcohol. Are you in favor of leveling charges against them 35 years later? If not, why not?Bitter Crank

    No, because I don't care. Why would I? And you asking that question makes me wonder if you've been drinking, frankly. I mean do you think holding down a 15-year-old girl, groping her, and trying to rip her clothes off while holding your hand over her mouth is as insignificant as buying a drink for someone who is underage? What are you trying to say? And please put down your drink while you type your reply in case you spill it all over the keyboard.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    If he had come out and admitted it and apologized in an appropriate manner, I might agree that it might not be disqualifying. But what he is doing now by, if it is true, is lying about it and putting his victim through further punishment, which absolutely is disqualifying.Baden

    At this point the case is one person's version versus another persons version, delayed by 35 years time. There is no way to prove very much about this case. You believe women. Baden scores 10 points from #metoo.

    It would not surprise me if the boys behaved badly toward the girl. People (males, females) often behave badly.

    Kavanaugh could have offered a strategic apology, but he said he didn't do it and is sticking with his story.

    I've never been enthusiastic about people's sexual activities being weighed up for political and professional judgement. That's a very old-fashioned attitude now. Franken should not have resigned, should not have been excoriated by the Democratic Party. John F. Kennedy's presidency shouldn't be judged on how many women were procured for him. All this goes for a quite a few other politicians. There are better grounds to reject Kavanaugh (and probably everybody else Trump appoints) than teenage misbehavior. If we were going to hang Donald Trump, he should be convicted on grounds of endangering the nation -- not on being sexually crude and licentious.

    How far back should we go to hold people accountable? There was underage drinking going on in that house. There are adults who were responsible for obtaining, making available, or not protecting the teenagers from alcohol. Are you in favor of leveling charges against them 35 years later? If not, why not?
  • Crime and Extreme Punishment: The Death Penalty in America

    The reasons civilized, humane people object to public hangings, drawing and quartering, skinning alive, burning at the strake, chopping off hands/tongues/penises and anything liable to a clever, are four-fold:

    First, performing torture unto death is an inherently dehumanizing, degrading experience for the person elected to perform the task.

    Second, legislating torture unto death dehumanizes and degrades both the legislators and their electors

    Third, viewing a torture unto death (these sorts of things have always been popular where allowed), is dehumanizing and degrading to the observer,

    fourth, being tortured unto death is dehumanizing and degrading to the subject.

    Everyone involved in torture unto death, either directly or as indirectly as merely approving of this kind of punishment is contaminated by the retrograde act of ancient tribal justice.

    All this applies to torture short of death, as well.

    Look, we're making some progress. Many in the world disapprove of female clitorectomy, female disinfibulation (scaring the vagina shut prior to marriage), and male circumcision. Foot binding in china was ended... about a century ago. There are laws in many countries (particularly in the West) against torturing people to extract information. There are strong objections to putting prisoners in solitary confinement for periods longer than... 3 days, is it? (Some prisoners have been kept in solitary for months or years.) Most countries in the west have patient protection through informed consent. #MeToo gets people fired for unsubstantiated claims of sexual harassment. Transexuals, Transgendered people, and homosexuals have legal protection. Et cetera.

    If being hanged, electrocuted, drugged, gassed, shot, or strangled doesn't prevent people from committing capital crimes, I don't think making this even more grotesque will do the trick.

    We have to accept that a certain number of slight, moderate, and very bad criminal acts will occur in society. they will range from shoplifting to serial murder and serial rape. The best we can do is try to prevent crime (we really don't try very hard in that area), rehabilitate criminals (we flat-out fail in most cases) and separate dangerous people from society (right now we separate way, way too many ordinary criminals from society -- at huge expense with no benefit to anyone except the prison business of states and private industry).
  • The Shoutbox

    She used Shapiro's identity as a male against him by framing his invitation as typical sexually motivated male behavior. In the #MeToo era it's quite derisive and divisive.VagabondSpectre

    If it's devisive it's not advantageous, but is it?

    Trump has already started subtle sexist attacks on Warren. The multitide of Republicans will still vote for him.

    So is it just devisive for Democrats?

    Better arguments in debates means better outcomes in generalVagabondSpectre

    I disagree that debates are intended for or do educate the public about issues. I think it's just a showdown.
  • The Shoutbox

    How is it identity politics?frank

    She used Shapiro's identity as a male against him by framing his invitation as typical sexually motivated male behavior. In the #MeToo era it's quite derisive and divisive.

    Is there an advantage to being civil? Other than owning the higher moral ground?frank

    Well, yes. Civility, respect, and charity allow for better versions of arguments to be made (and debates to actually happen). Better arguments in debates means better outcomes in general. Audiences and participants get better informed, who perhaps then adjust their views to better approximate truth.

    Public debates between politicians are meant to put them and their ideas to the test. Sometimes all we test for is the ability of a pundit or politician to inspire the most hatred in the most people, but for the sake of democracy (and our own sorry keisters) they ought to be aiming for understanding and agreement.
  • Trump's organ



    It's a horribly incoherent infantile mess. It's only that when you see it spoken in context, and you understand he is referencing the crowd, it doesn't look like he is actually insane. That's a pathetically low bar. Anyone who has ever experienced an accomplished speech would recognize that this is the ramblings of a man-child. We should be standing up for quality not lauding this kind of rubbish. There was a time when oratory was appreciated. This is utterly retrograde, a descent into verbal faeces, and should be called out for that lest we lose sight of the actual potential of the spoken word to evince the higher emotions, intuitions and rational faculties. But yes, journalists are very bad, #MeToo sucks and Elizabeth Warren is Pocahontas. :vomit: :vomit: :vomit:
  • The Babysitter

    The short story as Rorschach Test. One can read all sorts of things into the story. Everybody does this; #metoo. I tend to prefer stories that clearly reflect the author's understanding of the world. Babysitter doesn't do that particularly well. But that is my preference, not the last word in Lit Crit.

    (fwiw my copy - used bookstore - has all sorts of sober, analytic notes (feminine handwriting) in the margins, but under the final paragraph it just says 'What the hell?!')csalisbury

    "What the hell?!" probably applied to the whole story. Buying used books is good ecology and economy.
  • #MeToo



    That's F-ed up. NicK needs to pull his spousal socks up.
  • #MeToo

    So when NicK and I got in the car I explained to him what had happened and he dismissed it as the guy just being a "huggy" kind of person. I called bullshit on NicK because I am a "huggy" person and I have never uttered such words to a man while embracing and NicK still, today, believes that I am over-reacting. Am I? I don't even want to be around him because knowing NicK doesn't have my back on this makes me nervous. Not because I don't know how to put an end to it but because of the ripples within our friendships it would cause if he were to do it again and still not hear me and make me call him out on it.ArguingWAristotleTiff

    disturbing update: NicK shared with me that he now in fact believes what I said about his friends brothers' actions and that it was not me that was "over-reacting". Shocked I turned to him and asked him what exactly changed his mind about what I SAID happened?

    I am having trouble with his response as he said that when the group of guys went out to the range, the brother (offender) stayed behind at the house with another brothers wife. Apparently when the other brother got home, he got a earful from his wife about what had just happened to her. HE got pissed at his brother and is still not talking to him and THAT is what made NicK believe me. Pretty fucked up if you ask me. I expressed that to NicK and he once again said that "You are quite capable of taking care of yourself" and I informed him that I was well aware of that but a spousal backup didn't seem unreasonable and expressed that to him.

    I wonder how extreme of a situation I would need to be in when he would consider backing me up. It is not a comforting wonder by any means but I do wonder... :worry:
  • Cat Person

    I did a ctrl-f on the story for “fear” to try to find a passage. The word fear comes up four times. Twice in reference to Margot’s fears, twice in reference to Robert’s. What’s most missing, in this story (in a lot of irl dating) is a way to express fear without an additional fear of being rendered pitiful for doing so.

    Anger’s usually a secondary emotion, as we all know. In a lot of ways - and here I agree with @aporiap - Robert’s misogynistic outburst is a cover for his inability to process the date, which is, unequivocally, both his and Margot’s fault. The way he handled it was undeniably shitty, but I think we’ve all been beset by ugly thoughts that come suddenly upon us - I condemn the action, but understand what let up to it. The abruptness of Margot’s friends text is equally violent, and frankly hateful. Ugly emotions are part and parcel of actual romance. Obviously there are helpful and unhelpful ways of dealing with these emotions, and robert opted for the latter. But the way cat person functions, as part of the broader conversation around #metoo etc, is to pinpoint an evil core, and then retroactively make all the ambiguity of the date symptoms of that core.

    In that sense it exacerbates the problem its trying to illustrate. As I mentioned in my response to Bitter Crank above, the natural progression is this: Same scenario, but now both participants have read Cat Story.

    I’ve never called a woman a whore, but I am prone to emotional outbursts (cf my post history) which I usually feel ashamed of after the fact. I think the only way to deal with this kind of pattern is to take responsibility for it, which means something like: I could have chosen not to do what I did, but I still did it anyway, and that’s on me. The next step is to figure out why (the real reasons why) you fall prey to those patterns and then address the problem from there. But the ability to take responsibility means shifting from shame to guilt.

    Shame means “I’’m essentially bad at my core.” Guilt means “I’m flawed, both good and bad, and that means its my responsibility to act in a way consonant with my values.” Cat Person, imo, is shame through and through - it really wants someone or something to be all bad. But when you uses this tactic, you don’t fix the problem, you just drive it underground. If bad behavior is seen as symptoms of an unalterable core badness, then those who recognize themselves in that behavior aren’t going to try to change at all. They can’t, after all, if the shame narrative is right. But they, like almost everyone, still deeply need intimacy, so even if they internalize that theyre bad, theyll wind up eventually, dating - except concealing their flaws, rather than have worked through them. So you get a sort of antibody/virus dialectic for red flags.

    I’m just just out of a three year relationship and my therapist asked me if I’m thinking of trying to date again anytime soon. I told him I want to, in a bit, but I can’t figure out how to balance appearing dateable while not simply hiding my emotional baggage, because it'll just make stuff off from the beginning. He said something like: well you know just be up front that you're sensitive. My immediate, reflexive reaction, was like whoa guy, you don’t understand what “sensitive guy” connotes these days. I feel like what I'm looking for is something between a red flag and a flawless facade. Some way to communicate: this is what I struggle with, this is how I'm working on it, what are you struggling with, how are you working on it - and will these two struggles and ways of working through them fit together? But I have no idea how you would do this, unless you trust that the other person is cool with doing that too, and it seems like people are getting less and less cool with doing that.

    I think this is the heart of my fascination with the story (how the particular way it tries to discuss a problem ends up perpetuating it.) I also find it troubling that the New Yorker published this - less for aesthetic reasons, than that it uses Kitsch (as @Baden put it) in a moral way, and in a way that kind of puts it a new yorker story on the same level as any other hot-take. It seems to exemplify a broader flattening.

    So its pretty clear this a personal topic for me. Does any of this make sense to others or sound more like rationalization? This stuff has been knocking around in my head the past month.
  • #MeToo



    I agree with the article but I haven't read the following in the #MeToo movement, which probably explains my earlier inability of understanding the situations you were referring to:

    The law, in other words, should be adapted to track the cultural shifts demanded by #MeToo. Proponents of affirmative consent argue that sexual partners should actively seek clear signs of consent throughout a sexual encounter. ‘Consent is sexy,’ we are told. When a woman alleges an assault, we should believe her. The burden should shift to the defendant to show that he took reasonable steps in the circumstances to ascertain her consent.

    Of course, if you read the above in the #MeToo movement, we should worry about the fluidity and ambiguity surrounding sexual encounters, the danger and fun accompanying it. I never interpreted the movement like that though. I understood the #MeToo movement as a wake-up call to take seriously the social assumptions on a lot of sexual encounters; the reality that 40% of Dutch women have been sexually assaulted and 80% sexually harassed with no similar figures for men. A woman's fear of speaking out due to effects on their careers, social ostracization etc.
  • #MeToo

    #MeToo explicitly relies on patriarchy as both cultural context and target. It sees women as objects of sexualised male domination. Men, we are told, have an interest in furthering, or at least maintaining, misogynistic forms of social control over women. They are assumed to want to go ‘as far’ as they can before being confronted with a woman’s expression of non-consent to sex. This picture provides, at best, an idiosyncratic and regressive picture of human sexuality. At worst, it encourages us to police sexuality in conservative ways.

    Western society has only recently gone from banning of explicit sexual constants and practices to celebrating them. The practices that put Oscar Wilde in prison, are now celebrated in marriage. Society in the process of liberating sex, and its associated practices, has created a moral (& a legal) maze for all genders.

    Van Badham in her Globe piece (2/1/2018) quotes an "eloquent truth":

    “The only sexual rule today is ‘consent’, and men have been taught that women are potentially always sexually available because that is what ‘liberation’ means.”

    Van Badham points to the generational issues surrounding various feminist claims. The freedom of agency that older feminists sought so long and hard to achieve, younger feminists now want to circumscribe. Lili Loofbourow cultural critic for The Week interestingly states:

    The Aziz Ansari case hit a nerve because, as I've long feared, we're only comfortable with movements like #MeToo so long as the men in question are absolute monsters we can easily separate from the pack. Once we move past the "few bad apples" argument and start to suspect that this is more a trend than a blip, our instinct is to normalize. To insist that this is is just how men are, and how sex is.

    Perhaps it is "our instinct is to normalize", the control that society puts over agency, that is shaping what 'consent' entails, which is worrying from a feminist position because the Male view is dominant in Western Culture.

    It will be interesting to see how it plays out. As far as I am aware very few of those #MeToo has called out are under legal indictment and I wonder how it will pan out for those "monsters" who have been charged. Cosby's trail has gone on and on and picks up again next month. Remember OJ was exonerated of murder because of the force of his legal defense and I wonder if many public prosecutors or victims will be able to withstand the legal force that those 'monsters' will employ to defend themselves.
  • #MeToo

    I just read an interesting article on Aeon that might make it clearer what I meant when I said this:

    new social restrictions surrounding sex, an impoverishment of sexual interaction and a degradation of individual autonomyjamalrob

    How do we understand sexual pleasure in this age of ‘consent’?

    Some quotes from the article:

    Sometimes what we want is not fully known to us in advance. The details of desire and satisfaction are often discovered, and produced, in the sexual moment. Rather than a question of individual will, sexual autonomy can be expressed through the interaction of two (or more) partners. Sex can be a uniquely utopian experience, in that the act of sexually relating creates novel ways of being together socially.

    Women’s sexual pleasure is often viewed as more complicated and less predictable than men’s. Historically, this assumption has contributed to the over-regulation of female sexual and reproductive capacities. Rather than the exception, ambiguity about exactly what is desired, and how that desire should be expressed, is the sexual norm. Women’s emancipatory projects should therefore focus on ways of incorporating this fact, rather than shunning it.

    This is not to say that there are no limits in sex, but rather to propose that we devise limits that align with the erotic potential of the sexual encounter. Liminal trust is a space in which partners can explore the value of sexual experiences precisely because they directly engage the line between permissibility and impermissiblity. Both affirmative and enthusiastic consent cast this kind of sexuality as deviant and criminal. That is a mistake.

    #MeToo explicitly relies on patriarchy as both cultural context and target. It sees women as objects of sexualised male domination. Men, we are told, have an interest in furthering, or at least maintaining, misogynistic forms of social control over women. They are assumed to want to go ‘as far’ as they can before being confronted with a woman’s expression of non-consent to sex. This picture provides, at best, an idiosyncratic and regressive picture of human sexuality. At worst, it encourages us to police sexuality in conservative ways.

    And if you have no idea what she's talking about, well, you're doing it wrong. :wink:

    No doubt she'll be cast as a rape apologist by the mob.

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