Posts Tagged that word does not mean what you think it means
I see from a friend that this is going around Facebook:
I got this from New Ways Ministry (see previous post).
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is not happy about the new VAWA.
This happened. These people are so incredibly horrible I don’t even want to quote them on my blog.
Suzanne Moore is a writer, and, as such, she should know how to accept criticism. She received some very politely-worded, proportionate criticism on Twitter and responded by showing just how hostile and bigoted she is.
Then her pal Julie Burchill saw Moore’s ass-showing on Twitter and said: “I can do better than that.” How anyone can put language like “you’re lucky I’m not calling you shemales or shims” in a written publication and still call herself an activist for social justice is well beyond me.
I don’t expect Julie Burchill to listen to anyone who doesn’t already agree with her. She’s full of hate and viciousness. Trans* women, especially young women of color, are some of the most likely people to be murdered, and that is precisely because of attitudes like the one she has put on display in the Observer. The bigger question is why the Observer ran her bile-spewing in the first place.
If you want to know what’s so bad about referring to a “Brazilian transsexual,” read Heather McNamara’s piece.
If you’re thinking Burchill has a good point about being called “cis,” read Natalie Reed’s piece.
Finally, if you don’t want to be “monstered” on Twitter, don’t act like a monster on Twitter or any other networking site. If you don’t want to be called out for bigoted behavior, then don’t contribute to a climate of treating trans* women like sub-humans. Having the “working class” badge pinned to your shirt doesn’t exempt you from having blood on your hands.
If you want to see the Bizarro-world rantings of someone who is both wrong about everything and incredibly pitiable, check out this fresh load of nonsense that Deacon Duncan found us at LifeSite News.
If that’s their definition of “life,” I think I’ll stay out here and wallow in depravity and nihilism.
I’m busy NaNo-ing. I’ve had a good day.
Just once, it would be nice to see a story about an author having a meltdown over a negative review that’s actually mean-spirited and personal. Not that it would be okay to have a meltdown where her fans could see her. Just that my writer brain seeks nuance and ambiguity. I want to see flawed protagonists and relatable villains. Perhaps those meltdowns just don’t get as much attention? I guess.
Anyway, now we have Emily Giffin to add to the list of authors who behave badly in the face of negative reviews. Only, Giffin didn’t act alone. This time, it started out with the author’s husband, THEN Giffin went on Facebook and subtly encouraged her fans (she has over 115,000 on Facebook) to go gang up on the Amazon reviewer. Then another reviewer edited her review from five to one star and explained how Emily Giffin and her husband had turned her off by behaving like irresponsible asshats (my words, not hers). And because the shit hadn’t yet sufficiently hit the fan, Giffin’s assistant, Kate, jumped into the fray and berated the second reviewer for changing her mind.
Meanwhile, Giffin continued to insist that she was not looking at the Amazon reviews for her book, but at the same time egged her assistant on and encouraged her fans to “defend” her against the negative reviewers.
Around this time, Giffin’s husband went back on Amazon and issued an apology to the negative reviewers for picking a fight with them.
However, by that point the second reviewer was already receiving abusive phone calls and voicemails from Giffin’s fans.
This is possibly the most damning episode:
I’m not going to copy-paste the whole saga into this post; I encourage you to go and look at all of Pocketful of Books’s screencaps. You will see how Giffin oh-so-gently encouraged her fans to go and pile on the negative reviewer, while still maintaining plausible deniability.
In addition to being a best-selling author with St. Martin’s Press, Giffin has also been a litigator in a Manhattan law firm, according to her Wikipedia entry. This woman is not stupid. She has plenty of experience with people behaving less than ethically and responsibly. I think she knew exactly what she was doing, and if she didn’t, then she just didn’t think, and there’s no excuse for that.
Throughout the whole absurd episode, Giffin steadfastly maintained that she never, ever looked at her Amazon reviews, so she didn’t see what people were posting about her. To be honest, she probably could have avoided a lot of insanity if she had checked her review section and seen the 1-star that initially set her husband off.
No, sorry, that’s not a terrible review, as negatives go. Negatives need to be allowed, otherwise the positives don’t mean anything.
There’s a word to describe the way Emily Giffin has acted towards her fans, with the participation of her husband and assistant. It’s not just “oversensitive.” It’s not merely “arrogant.”
The difference between a barely-known author who can’t handle a negative review, and Emily Giffin, is that Giffin has six figures of Facebook fans and is able to employ an assistant. This means she has a much greater capacity to do damage than some indie-pubber, self-pubber or bottom-lister who struggles to make her writing career more than an expensive hobby. Her carelessness, combined with her impressive following, have done damage, and she just throws her hands in the air and says, “Well, what else can I do?”
Katie J.M. Baker has read Elizabeth Wurtzel’s new essay in Harper’s Bazaar so that we don’t have to give them our money. She notes that Harper’s has probably chosen to publish the piece in order to troll us, and this is a valid point, but you know what?
It worked. They pushed one too many of my buttons. I’m gonna respond to this shit.
Since Wurtzel’s latest offering is all about how young women don’t pretty themselves up enough, I’m going to put a lot of pictures of myself in the response. Given the subject matter, I think it’s appropriate.
So. To begin, here is my author photo. It’s how I look with combed hair, natural light, a decent digital camera and, I will not lie, a liberal dose of Photoshop.
A certain amount of pulled-togetherness can be achieved when you have a sunny afternoon, a room of your own, and a copy of Pixelmator. Shown below is how I look right now, after a hasty dinner first thing after getting home from work, in my Mac’s lousy webcam:
Before anyone gets started, please note that I’m not fishing for compliments. If you tell me I’m ugly, I will point and laugh. If you tell me I’m beautiful, you’ll get a face-full of yawn. I’m just trying to bring a dimension of realness and immediacy to this post. With me so far?
Good. Here’s some of Wurtzel:
I long for the impossible standard of female beauty as a daily chore for all, not because i want the world to look better—-I want it to be better. I want everyone to try as hard as I do to please be gorgeous, because it’s not that hard, girls. Looking great is a matter of feminism. No liberated woman would misrepresent the cause by appearing less than hale and happy.
Where to begin? Fuck it, here goes: It is not our feminist duty to make a daily chore of looking great. To tell women they need to look no less than “hale and happy” even when they’re exhausted and miserable is the opposite of feminist. We should not have to make ourselves look like all of life is a constant stream of coke up our collective nose. We have other priorities to balance, and we should feel free to meet our responsibilities without worrying that some empty-headed fortysomething is disturbed at the sight of our imperfect faces.
From the essay:
I realize this is obnoxious to say, but it just takes discipline. I do Gyrotonic sessions three times a week for an hour at a time, and nothing more. I also don’t eat meat, and I take resveratrol. But I have a Mister Softee every day, and when I eat out, I always get the dessert du jour. But I walk everywhere, eat tons of leafy salad and green vegetables, and, above all, I try to be happy and work hard.
From Katie J.M. Baker:
Wurtzel never EVER leaves the house without remembering to “rub on some SPF 30 cream and fresh sugar rose lip balm” because she believes that it’s “common decency to be presentable.” To be clearer, she is “horrified by the onset of slovenliness.” HOR-RI-FIED.
Listen, Harper’s, if you’re trying to work some product placement into your articles, there must surely be some better writers to help you bridge the revenue gap.
Furthermore, while it may be very edifying to other privilege-blind, self-absorbed rich assholes to learn of Wurtzel’s beauty regimen, it means precisely fuck-all to, for example, a 25-year-old single mother raising a preschooler in a food desert paved in pedestrian-unfriendly streets. There is quite a lot more than just “discipline” involved here.
Demanding standards of appearance are of a piece with anything else. The current state of slovenliness is a sign of a nation in decline and of a despairing distaff population. After all, on the left there is Michelle Obama, and on the right there is Sarah Palin, who are each a few years older than I am. Both are busy working mothers, both are in amazing physical condition, and both have striking personal style and coruscating charisma…like me [they] probably had parents who imposed a work ethic that translated into discipline in all aspects of life; when we were growing up, not all girls were winners just because they participated.
I will admit, it sure would be nice if I could look like the pale Anglo equivalent of Michelle Obama, but there is a major difference between her and our average busy working mom. If I had her money and her staff, I’d probably look pretty damn awesome, too. We must all make do with what we have.
You know what’s conspicuously absent from her “demanding standards of appearance”?
It is only women who must work demanding jobs, raise awesome families, and still look fabulous all the time. It’s only girls who have to prove we did more than just participate. Men don’t have to worry about the state of their skin, hair, lips or waistlines. Men can just get on with their lives.
Even with my Harvard degree, when I ran out of money while writing my first book, I was happier to serve cocktails in high heels than to get money from my mom. And now I walk miles in Marni’s five-inch platform T-straps.
And when I was working at the Recycling department to pay for my textbooks at Salisbury State, I wore my bedroom slippers around campus like they were real shoes, and everyone thought I was adorable. Your argument is invalid.
What you’re trying to do is convince us of the parallel between looking hot and working hard, but what I’m seeing is a woman who won’t be able to walk in bare feet when she’s 50 because her legs will be malformed from all those hours in ridiculous shoes. You can have your platform T-straps; I’ll keep my range of movement.
“When I look at the meticulous style of these women and then walk around Manhattan — New York City, the international capital of fashion and beauty — and see women in their twenties who have already given up, my heart breaks. I am not a mean person, but the sloppiness angers me because it is about a wounded world.”
Those 20something women are overwhelmingly unemployed, underemployed, or overworked and undercompensated; underappreciated; under attack. They wonder when they’ll be able to move out of their parents’ homes. Those are just the ones who are lucky enough to have parents who can give them a place to live and not abuse them. Some are struggling to pay their share of the rent on the minuscule apartment they’re sharing with three other “girls.” They have no idea how many decades it’ll take to dig themselves out from under their student loan debt. They’re dealing with all that shit…and you’re upset because they don’t put enough effort into looking pretty.
I do not owe the world a pulled-together appearance. I am not obligated to look happy for anyone. I am obligated to get to work on time, pay my bills, and not punch anyone who says stupid shit just to hear themselves talk. I don’t make the world a better place by shaving my legs or tweezing my eyebrows; I only shield narrow-minded, sexist people from mental discomfort. I care much more about writing my books—which have something more substantial to say than just, “Look at me, I’m so pretty! It’s not that hard!”—than I do about staying properly moisturized and exfoliated. Anyone who tells me I should spend less time developing characters and plots and more time taking yoga classes and getting my nails done is cordially invited to bite my ass. You wanna see pretty faces? You’re on your own.
Congressman, who exactly are these “doctors” who’ve been telling you about reproductive biology? They should not be licensed.
“People always try to make that one of those things, ‘Oh, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question,” Akin said. “It seems to me, first of all, what I understand from doctors is that’s really where—if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Rep. Akin has been told by some nondescript set of “doctors” that the female body has mechanisms that prevent establishment of pregnancy in the event of a “legitimate” rape. The implication, therefore, is that if a woman is pregnant, then she couldn’t have been truly raped. She must have wanted it.
In which case, the question of abortion rights for women who were impregnated through rape is null and void, because there is no pregnancy from “real” acts of rape.
However, just in case he’s wrong, he hedges,
“Let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something,” Akin said. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
Congressman, we do not have to agree to your choice of words. The “child” in question is in fact an embryo or fetus, usually aborted sooner rather than later. No one suggests that an abortion is a way of “punishing” the embryo/fetus, either; it’s about letting the woman get on with her life.
Finally, the suggestion that the rapist should be punished is a big fat NO SHIT. No one suggests that abortion should be used as a substitute for prosecuting and penalizing rapists. There’s no reason why a woman can’t get an abortion while the court system prosecutes the man who forced his sperm into her. This isn’t an either/or. Most pro-choice advocates tend to think that if a woman reports a rape, and she turns up pregnant, the rapist should be prosecuted even if the woman decides to have the baby. The police and court’s actions on the rapists are a totally separate issue from the woman’s reproductive decisions.
And what else does Mr. Akin have to say?
Yet Akin, who was just nominated earlier this month, has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Since his nomination, he’s advocated a complete ban on the morning after pill, and called for an end to the federal school lunch program. He also infamously said student loans had given America, “stage three cancer of socialism.”
He wants us to be forced to make babies, but there should be no assistance in seeing that those children are fed. A post-secondary education is reserved only for those who can pay for it out of pocket. In all fairness, though, if we cut off school lunches, then the kids who are currently eligible for the lunch program will spend their school days feeling so miserable and unfocused that they won’t be able to learn anything, so they won’t even think about applying for college.
I enjoyed Ms. Nasrin’s speech at the Reason Rally and was all excited to see her join FreeThoughtBlogs, and then barely out of the gate, she came out with this. (Teal Deer version: “All prostitution is sexual slavery. Because I say so.”)
Since the network is called FreeThoughtBlogs, there should have been no surprise when other members of the community expressed their disagreement with Taslima’s post.
So now, Taslima is all like, “Why are all you meanies attacking me by saying I’m wrong?!” No, seriously, that’s pretty much her angle:
I hope we all Free-thought bloggers believe in freedom of expression. My opinion on prostitution is nothing new. Most feminists believe prostitution or sexual slavery must end. I do not want to be misunderstood. But it looks like a war started against me on FTB because I said something politically incorrect. I feel suffocated because I am opposed by a group I proudly belong to, a group of atheists, secularists, humanists, rationalists.
If you’re now smashing your face into your keyboard in horrified disbelief, then congratulations: you might be a good fit in a skeptical community.
There seems to be something about my comments that her blog doesn’t like, because I’ve posted twice so far and both have been snagged in “awaiting moderation” status. Since Taslima has allowed much more negative and aggressive comments to appear, I will assume it’s a technical glitch and not actually an attempt to keep my questions from appearing, but anyway, here is the comment I have attempted to leave on her post:
Yes, they do believe in freedom of expression, and that is why they are posting their disagreements with your assertions. It’s not a war against you; other bloggers respect you too much to ignore you when you write something they find objectionable. No one is trying to stop you from posting what you have to say. But when they disagree with your ideas, they will say so.
Belonging to a group doesn’t mean disagreements won’t happen. Freethinkers, pretty much by definition, expect to have arguments amongst themselves.
Shit, I hope this doesn’t turn into a case of genuinely Bitter Rifts. She just got there.
ETA: She’s thanked me for my comment. You’re welcome, Taslima. I hope you stick around, and I hope you enjoy some lively debates in the future.
“I do find it amazing and entertaining that one of our stickers has become a racist thing,” Ms. Smith told Forbes.
She even tried arguing that the dictionary does not define the “N-Word” as racist. Wisely, Friedman posted the actual definition from dictionary.com, which says the word, “is now probably the most offensive word in English. Its degree of offensiveness has increased markedly in recent years, although it has been used in a derogatory manner since at least the Revolutionary War. Definitions 1a, 1b, and 2 represent meanings that are deeply disparaging and are used when the speaker deliberately wishes to cause great offense.”
Her protestations aside, Ms. Smith appears to have removed the bumper sticker from her site. Under the ”Anti-Obama” section of the site (advertised as her No. 3 bestseller), you’ll now only find a sticker reading, “I was Anti-Obama Before It Was Cool.”
In what may be a reference to the controversy her other bumper sticker has caused, the description below reads, “Show the world how you feel! (but be careful, you may hurt someone’s feelings).”
Ms. Smith then goes on to argue that President Obama is “not even black,” but rather, “a mixture of race.” When Friedman asks Smith if she thinks the N-Word is offensive or derogatory, she says no, but then claims that she herself does not even use the word.
“I have kids here around me that are black kids. I call them my own kids. I’ve helped black families…to guide them in the right direction,” Smith told Forbes. “We like to laugh and have a good time. That’s our way of life.”
By gum, Pastor Aaron Fruh is mad as heck and he’s not going to take it anymore! He’s not bigoted at all, it’s the gays who are prejudiced and hateful by demanding their right to marry their partners. The word salad is so special that I think it warrants a crazy-looking graphic. The emphasis is mine, but this is a direct quote…