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in a web of glass, pinned to the edges of vision


I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

mucha mosaic


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Ignorance is not intent.
Asking to learn is not affront.
Offended is not entitled.

This vocabulary lesson brought to you courtesy of a few folks.
  • Interestingly, there's only two links on the first page there which is relevant: the one is just repeatedly crosslinked from other places.

    There are some interesting assumptions at work in the repeatedly-crosslinked one, too- among them the assumption that a request for polite behavior is a request for education. I don't think 'you're being rude' is the equivalent of 'you're less worthy than me'- it's an ad hominem argument, at worst; i.e. 'I'm not going to listen to your point because you're presenting it to me in a manner I find objectionable'. Far more often, though, it's just 'take it down a notch, would you?' Turning that request into an attempt to denigrate the addressee's worth just hands the other party the upper hand. Which... kind of seems at odds with the intention. ;)
  • I've been told that I am expressing privilege when I ask for the conversation to contain a bit less anger and cussing. If a level of behavior taught on Sesame Street is too high a standard for some people to access, that does not make it a privilege.

    And I really need to write that big long essay refuting the first link, the derailing essay, and a few other bad-mannered examples people keep using as if they are in some way more authoritarian than Miss Manners.
    • Yeah- see, you're expressing privilege by saying 'let's not throw names and swearwords- I want to hear your thoughts, not how irritated you are about this topic'. I find it painful to contemplate that efforts to have a rational, reasonably-toned discussion result in shrieking that you're nullifying the other person's displeasure- when you're actually saying 'OK, I totally get that you're angry. I want to understand why you're angry better.' I'm definitely stealing seismic's suggestion here; nobody needs to feel like they're expected to educate when they just don't feel like doing it.

      Anyways, I know that even if I get frustrated dealing with a generation behind me which seems to think 'gay' is a synonym for 'stupid', I get sent away from the grown-up's table when I shriek and kick my feet about it instead of having reasonable discourse. I don't get why one person shouldn't be held to the same standards of reasonable discussion as anyone else. Of course, the 'your pain is not like my pain, how DARE you try to draw parallels' arguments come to mind- the ones that always get used when someone attempts to say 'I'm gay/female/latino/atheist/whathaveyou so I think I may have a bit of a grasp on this'. Sure, I don't look gay all the time- I can abjure a large slab of my personality and fit into a society that assaults me with media images, left and right, of men and women getting to first base in just the advertising that's omnipresent, but thinks me giving another guy a peck on the cheek would be horrifying. I totally get that I've never been anything I am not- but I do think that society tends to react with some similar levels of prejudice towards its minorities, whatever they're constituted of, which is why I try to say 'I think it's like this'. It's not at all an expression of privilege- it's an expression of me going 'I THINK I get your point here. To demonstrate what my understanding's based on, let me ask if it is anything like this, which I've had my own interactions with'- but trying to draw that parallel gets read as a reason to be offended, usually.
    • On the subject of 'derailing', you might find this interesting. Or not.
  • Turning that request into an attempt to denigrate the addressee's worth just hands the other party the upper hand. Which... kind of seems at odds with the intention.

    I think the effective purpose of many of these practices is not to achieve successful outcomes -- people enlightened, allies created -- but to engineer a certain kind of dramatic failure that reinforces the actor's sense of righteous anger, and gives them stories to share with their community.
    • I've often thought this as well, st_rev. And it depresses me, honestly- probably because I'm one of those rare people more interested in being correct than in being right. I'd much rather say 'aah- I didn't get this right, instead ____' instead of invest time into a losing/daft proposition.
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