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Exodus for Apple?
March 21, 2011 10:19 AM   Subscribe

Exodus International, the so-called "ex-gay" organization, has just released an iPhone app that, according to its website, is "designed to be a useful resource for men, women, parents, students, and ministry leaders." The Exodus website further boasts that its app received a 4+ rating from Apple, meaning that it contains "no objectionable content." Many are not pleased.

Change.org has a petition asking Apple to remove the app. Change.org was successful in the past in getting Apple to remove the Manhattan Declaration app, which had received criticism from gay rights and womens' rights groups alike for its anti-gay and anti-abortion content, referring to same-sex relationship as "immoral" and abortion as a "culture of death".

Apple has been a friend to the LGBT community in the past, even donating $100,000 to defeat California's Prop 8 ban on marriage equality. It will be interesting to see if Apple lets the Exodus app stand.
posted by xedrik (279 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Tired of all that hot gay sex you're having? There's an app for that!
posted by mudpuppie at 10:24 AM on March 21, 2011 [34 favorites]


Oh, how disappointing. I was hoping it was an app that helped you track your time since last same-sex leer, furtive grope, and/or delightfully guilty encounter. I could use one of those.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:24 AM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


What exactly does the app do? I'm certainly not going to download it to find out. The screenshots on their website make it look like a pass-through for their website and Facebook page. Sort of lame as far as an app goes, no?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:25 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hate is so unobjectionable.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:26 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey, the iPhone is an open system, it's not Apple's fault what shitheads put on them.

Oh wait...
posted by kmz at 10:26 AM on March 21, 2011 [16 favorites]


Sooo you wanna know my favorite bit of ex-gay nonsense?

Touch Therapy.

The reasoning goes that the reaosn you're gay is because you didn't form a bond with your father, so you have to engage in lots of close, sustained physical contact with your "therapists" to reestablish said bond.
posted by The Whelk at 10:28 AM on March 21, 2011 [51 favorites]


The screenshots on their website make it look like a pass-through for their website and Facebook page. Sort of lame as far as an app goes, no?

I think a lot of apps are front ends for websites, aren't they? I don't have that many apps on my iPod Touch, but looking at the ones I actually have downloaded, at least 5 of them are really mobile front-ends for interacting with web content. (Wikipanion, WX Alert, Dictionary.com, NIN:access, and MLB At Bat.)
posted by hippybear at 10:29 AM on March 21, 2011


The app has a page for 'responding to bullying'? So, like, the next time some shirtless gay guy starts bullying you because you're innocently calling him an affront to God, you can whip out your iPhone, insert his hard hot insults, dripping with derision, and it shoots out some come backs?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:30 AM on March 21, 2011 [30 favorites]


I'm just waiting to see how the iFans spin this as a good thing...

For me though, this is grade A objectionable shit and Apple should know better. Their silence on the story speaks volumes.
posted by seanyboy at 10:31 AM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Their silence on the story speaks volumes.

Eh, maybe it just got in under the gaydar. I don't think it has long, in either case.
posted by Mooski at 10:33 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apple has been a friend to the LGBT community in the past, even donating $100,000 to defeat California's Prop 8 ban on marriage equality. It will be interesting to see if Apple lets the Exodus app stand.

Less editorializing please!

That said, Kurt's dad would have plenty to say about this craziness.

I'm just waiting to see how the iFans spin this as a good thing...

That's weird, these mythical creatures you speak of haven't said anything like that.

I'm pretty sure Apple will pull the plug on this and if they don't, they deserve every bit of negative publicity they're going to get.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:33 AM on March 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm just waiting to see how the iFans spin this as a good thing...

Think of it as a dating app for the really, really closeted.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:35 AM on March 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


I've seen alot of tragedy in my life but ex-gay types are, hands down, the saddest people that I've ever known. I can't believe I was almost one of them.

Imagine a group of redheads who were religiously committed to being anti-redhead, who shaved, dyed or even burned their hair off at every opportunity, who preached loudly against other redheads to cover up their shameful, vile scalps -- and who even agitated for laws to be passed against their fellow redheads to try and make everyone as self loathing as they are -- all while secretly admiring red hair and covertly drooling over Redhead Monthly magazine.

Imagine that and you'll get a small taste of the ex-gay movement. It's terrifying.
posted by Avenger at 10:35 AM on March 21, 2011 [43 favorites]


The Whelk isn't kidding, y'all:

Ex-Gay ‘Touch Therapy’ Leads to Sexual Assault Conviction

Classic molester bullshit.
posted by mediareport at 10:35 AM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Think of it as a dating app for the really, really closeted.

Every time Exodus International comes up it reminds me that two of my friends met and fell in love there. They now have two beautiful kids and had an awesome backyard wedding while the window was open here in California.

Take that, unintended consequences.
posted by ambrosia at 10:36 AM on March 21, 2011 [94 favorites]


From the description on the app in the App Store, the app sounds like being all compassionate and bullshit toward gays. I can see how a hurried reviewer green lit it because it sounds so pleasant in the description and on the landing pages.

I saw a story about this on Salon over the weekend that linked to a video at Truth Wins Out. I don't think the approval process includes searching the third tier hate groups so I can see how this slipped through.

What I don't get is how the app is still there. I know Apple will take the app off the store, just wondering what took so long.
posted by birdherder at 10:36 AM on March 21, 2011


This is the type of thing I want to make jokes* about because I find these Exodus International people so ridiculous that I forget that they are doing serious psychological damage to people. But I spent a lot of time with my extended family over the last week -- and though it was with the branch who was never that rough to spend time with, it's still brings a lot of past to the surface -- a past that seems so far away but isn't for so many people. And this just really, really, really pisses me off. In the grand scheme of anti-gay groups, there are some that are, by comparison, relatively harmless. Exodus is not one of them.

And as much as my tendency to give even the most evil of people a "free speech" pass, Apple's previous removal of gay-positive things makes that impossible.



* Okay, one joke: Why couldn't they have at least called it something clever -- like ExGrindr?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:36 AM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


I was hoping that the the App would help you locate other Exodus App users nearby to - you know - fascilitate contact, um I mean, a conversation that would be mutually releasing,... um, I mean, mutually beneficial to help fight those nasty sexy urges and with close hugging and support and kisses of righteouness,... um.... fuck, that's hot..... holy shit.... is this best Gaydar App ever or what!?!?
posted by helmutdog at 10:39 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Every time Exodus International comes up it reminds me that two of my friends met and fell in love there. They now have two beautiful kids and had an awesome backyard wedding while the window was open here in California.

I was just joking around, but that's awesome.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:40 AM on March 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


The overwhelming response in iTunes is to give it one star, 650 vs 245 who gave it 4 stars. That 245 is the scary part.

There are 66 pages of comments that read like comments section of newspaper.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:41 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm just waiting to see how the iFans spin this as a good thing...

I'm an iPhone developer - does that count as an iFan?

This is NOT a good thing.
posted by DreamerFi at 10:44 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon: Think of it as a dating app for the really, really closeted.
Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper, two of the five co- founders of Exodus, left the group to be with each other in 1979. In time, they divorced their wives and participated in a commitment ceremony in 1982, exchanging rings and vows. Bussee and Cooper lived together until Cooper's death from AIDS-related illness in 1991.
The group sounds like a failure from the beginning. A toast to Bussee and Cooper. Bussee continues to speak out against Exodus Int'l.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:45 AM on March 21, 2011 [20 favorites]


I hate that Apple has made content of apps its domain, because it puts them in a ridiculous position that they don't even bother to make internally consistent. That said, it's worth noting this quote from last November:

"We removed the Manhattan Declaration app from the App Store because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people," Apple said in a statement.

That's their metric? Good lord.
posted by mediareport at 10:46 AM on March 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


yeah, but does Apple still get 30% of all your therapy bills made through the app ?
posted by k5.user at 10:47 AM on March 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm just waiting to see how the iFans spin this as a good thing...

And when they don't will you finally shut the fuck up about it or will you continue to blather on as if Apple's customers are idiots and you're the only one who knows the REAL truth?
posted by dobbs at 10:49 AM on March 21, 2011 [14 favorites]


Being the app police seems like kind of a no-win position for Apple. It would seem easier if it was totally open, or much more closed; this in-between stuff is tricky.

But that "touch therapy"? Woah. That's the skeeviest thing I've seen in a while.
posted by Forktine at 10:49 AM on March 21, 2011


It's only a matter of time before the folks who made this app turn up on Grindr.
posted by bicyclefish at 10:52 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I'm just waiting to see how the iFans spin this as a good thing...

So far, iFans have been spreading the word via Twitter that they want it removed from the store, and have been circulating a web petition to protest it, currently at close to 100,000 signers.

Apple is in an awkward spot regarding its curatorial role in the app store. If Apple were to purely vet software w/r/t adherence to technical guidelines and best practices, it would be in a much better position to leave it in the store with the excuse that what purpose an app serves is none of its business. But since Apple uses content as criteria, beyond simple is-porn/ain't-porn terms, it's put in a tough spot regarding things like this.

Because, ultimately, the iPhone ought to serve as a vehicle for positions and principles that Apple disagrees with, and that I disagree with, as well as stuff Apple approves or I approve. Curating content means that somebody has to decide what's offensive enough and what's too offensive, if they're going to decide on terms of offense at all. And I don't like that.
posted by ardgedee at 10:54 AM on March 21, 2011 [14 favorites]


I hate that Apple has made content of apps its domain, because it puts them in a ridiculous position that they don't even bother to make internally consistent.

It's a tough one for me. On one hand, free speech. On the other hand, Exodus? Fuck those guys and ten others just like them, who break people's spirits and ruin lives for Jesus.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:57 AM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Apple's customers are idiots

Considering Apple's reps at the education trade show in March were calling the eMate "an important part of the product line" - after the Newton line was Steved in February it seems Apple has demonstrated they feel that way about their customers.

Wallets to be fleeced even - when the CEO says "we are committed to maximizing shareholder value".
posted by rough ashlar at 10:58 AM on March 21, 2011


ardgedee: " Because, ultimately, the iPhone ought to serve as a vehicle for positions and principles that Apple disagrees with, and that I disagree with, as well as stuff Apple approves or I approve. Curating content means that somebody has to decide what's offensive enough and what's too offensive, if they're going to decide on terms of offense at all. And I don't like that."

The app disseminates hate speech. The ramifications of that would seem to go a little further than something which was merely offensive.
posted by zarq at 11:00 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm hoping this encourages Apple to take a more 'common carrier' approach to the App Store (I'm also hoping for ponies.)

Less editorializing please!

It's not editorializing to point out that this approval is seemingly in conflict with Apple's previous behavior.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:00 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm really not sure what the problem is. I'm strongly opposed to them and what the stand for, but the cost of free speech is that sometimes people say things you don't like.

Here's what the ratings mean

In short, any app that doesn't have violence, horror, sexual content, drugs, or gambling can get the 4+ rating. Given that their app appears to be a limited web front end and syndicated content reader, *if* they keep that content free of sexually explicit content, they deserve to get the rating. And really, other than the 17+ rating which requires the user to be listed as a certain age, all the rating is is a generalized "this is safe for kids under X age" rating. I can't really see young children falling in love with this app.

Trying to censor them because you don't like what they say is wrong and stupid. If for no other reason that if this gets re-categorized as appropriate only for adults, that gives the other side some valid arguments to that sex positive and LGBTetc friendly content should also be adult only content. I'd rather live in a world where kids can access a "Heather Has Two Mommies" type application and this one rather than neither, where young gay teens can access information about how to safely have sex as well as how to (theoretically) not be gay.
posted by Candleman at 11:01 AM on March 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


rough ashlar: " Considering Apple's reps at the education trade show in March were calling the eMate "an important part of the product line" - after the Newton line was Steved in February it seems Apple has demonstrated they feel that way about their customers."

"Steved"?
posted by zarq at 11:02 AM on March 21, 2011


I just checked the stats. Here is a breakdown of their reviews:
246 usernames gave it 5 stars
13 usernames gave it 4 stars
9 usernames gave it 3 stars
6 usernames gave it 2 stars
650 usernames gave it 1 star

Avg star rating of 2.

When I tried to rate it, it said I must own it to rate it. No thanks; I'll just hate from the sidelines.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:02 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm hoping this encourages Apple to take a more 'common carrier' approach to the App Store

Not a chance. They see a future where they get to control a huge chunk of content on mobile devices. They're not going to give that up without first giving it a serious try.
posted by mediareport at 11:02 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fuck those guys and ten others just like them

Well that's the problem, they really really really want to but can't.
posted by The Whelk at 11:03 AM on March 21, 2011 [14 favorites]


There is quite a bit of editorializing on this fpp...any input on whether its ok or not and more importantly...why?
posted by hal_c_on at 11:03 AM on March 21, 2011


I'm just waiting to see how the iFans spin this as a good thing...

I've owned about 30 Macs, I hate windows, and this shit is deplorable. Execrable. I'll start writing emails in a few hours if it's still up. (for deplorable apps that last more than four hours...)
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:04 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The app disseminates hate speech.

To a similar extent that the Fox "News" app does. Should Apple allow them both or ban them both?
posted by rocket88 at 11:05 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, like TPS said, I want to know what the app actually consists of. For example, I find the inclusion of a "Fact Sheet" disturbing. I am quite sure that the Exodus version of the 'facts' would not jibe with mine.

Also, there are Facebook links--is that so that if you slip into Teh Ghey behavior, you Facebook friends can chastise you or something?
posted by misha at 11:06 AM on March 21, 2011


The app disseminates hate speech. The ramifications of that would seem to go a little further than something which was merely offensive.

"Hate speech" is just an epithet for offensive speech, favored by advocates of censorship.
posted by grobstein at 11:06 AM on March 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Trying to censor them because you don't like what they say is wrong and stupid.

Apple is in no position to keep Exodus off Android phones, and Exodus probably has a web site that Apple can't block via Mobile Safari.

I have mixed feelings about this policy, but it ain't even close to censorship. Not by a mile.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:07 AM on March 21, 2011


Considering Apple's reps at the education trade show in March were calling the eMate "an important part of the product line" - after the Newton line was Steved in February it seems Apple has demonstrated they feel that way about their customers.

You forgot to mention that happened in March of 1998. Can we pretty, pretty please not let this deteriorate into yet another vitriolic pro-Apple/anti-Apple thread?
posted by teraflop at 11:07 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


rocket88: " To a similar extent that the Fox "News" app does. Should Apple allow them both or ban them both?"

Perhaps. They already refuse to advertise on the show hosted by that channel's worst offender.
posted by zarq at 11:09 AM on March 21, 2011


Sorry. Perhaps they should ban 'em.
posted by zarq at 11:09 AM on March 21, 2011


This thread seems to be a race to who can get to their pet derail first. Will it be the Apple fans are idiots group? Will it be the hate speech laws are terrible group?

Somewhat more on topic, apparently iPhone apps are an example of stuff christian culture likes.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:13 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Would we be angry about this if Apple didn't censor other things?
posted by roll truck roll at 11:15 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The only time that I was canvassing and had to walk away from someone who was anti-gay marriage (and rights) was when he was trying to feed me a bunch of Exodus propoganda and started talking about his gay step-son. This kid was fifteen, had come out as gay to his mom before his mom met and married this asshole, and now he was trying to convince the kid to get "cured." If I didn't walk away, I was going to punch him in his mouth for being such a smarmy, disingenuous Ralph Reed homophobic fuck.

Weirdly, the couple of gay folks that I was working with that day seemed much more interested in trying to have a calm, rational debate with him and treating him politely. At a certain point, at least for me, when you realize that the other person just will not engage honestly with facts and is actively causing harm to a kid in his care … God, it still makes me mad just thinking about it. He stayed there for hours too, outside the Long Beach Trader Joe's off Second. I don't think I've wanted to hit someone that much since I was maybe twelve.
posted by klangklangston at 11:15 AM on March 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


grobstein: " "Hate speech" is just an epithet for offensive speech, favored by advocates of censorship."

Sure, and a little voiced antisemitism never harmed anyone.
posted by zarq at 11:15 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure, and a little voiced antisemitism never harmed anyone.

Depends what you call 'antisemitism.' "Kill all the Jews" and "Maybe the Palestinians shouldn't be treated the way they are" have both been branded with that label.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:21 AM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hey, everybody! Look! Hitler!

*absconds with deli tray*
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:23 AM on March 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


ChurchHatesTucker: " Depends what you call 'antisemitism.' "Kill all the Jews" and "Maybe the Palestinians shouldn't be treated the way they are" have both been branded with that label."

Yes.

Is anyone doing that here?
posted by zarq at 11:23 AM on March 21, 2011


> "Hate speech" is just an epithet for offensive speech, favored by advocates of censorship.

That's a too-flat assertion. zarq is right in that the Exodus app is very far at one end of the spectrum; To assess some kind of imaginary parity, the Exodus app could be balanced by Apple admitting, say, an app facilitating political activism against excessively conservative officeholders.

But I don't really want to go down that road of argument either. In all things I prefer to err on the side of free speech, but before I pull the torches and pitchforks off the wall I'd like to know if the approval of the Exodus app is an anomaly in the range of subject matter Apple allows (eg, did it slip through the cracks because it was lucky enough to be vetted by the one App Store employee sympathetic to its principles?) or is the App Store demonstrably biased towards conservative or strongly religious ends of topical spectrums?

If I had to guess, there would be a general conservative bias, because that's how corporate cultures - and U.S. culture generally - rolls, but if there are more extremes on one end of that spectrum than the other, that would be more informative regarding App Store bias.
posted by ardgedee at 11:23 AM on March 21, 2011


I don't think that Apple saying "we think this app is a piece of shit written by pieces of shit, so it can fuck off" (probably not how they would word it, granted) is in anyway censorship. Those pieces of shit are still able to express their piece of shit opinions in other ways. All that will have happened is that Apple will have expressed its own opinion. I for one hope that Apple's opinion is that people shouldn't be shitty to other people.
posted by jonnyploy at 11:25 AM on March 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Would we be angry about this if Apple didn't censor other things?

Sure, if Apple was acting as a common carrier, nobody would be mad at Apple for this. Still mad at Exodus (*spit*), but not at Apple.
posted by kmz at 11:26 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I were gay, I would totally go to the Exodus website/events. Sounds like it would be a great place to meet other gays who were dying for some hot gay action, and the whole sneaking around/subverting the group's vile agenda thing would only add exponentially to the hot action.
posted by orange swan at 11:27 AM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Doesn't "exodus" mean "coming out"?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:27 AM on March 21, 2011 [12 favorites]


The overwhelming response in iTunes is to give it one star, 650 vs 245 who gave it 4 stars. That 245 is the scary part.

So what we can learn here are that 1 in 4 people who rated this app are assholes. This is actually a good thing, as it implies an asshole rate much less than that of the US population.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:28 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is anyone doing that here?

You kinda were, yes.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:28 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, come the fuck on.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:29 AM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


ChurchHatesTucker: "You kinda were, yes."

You know, it really, REALLY wasn't my intention to Godwin this thread.

But if you're gonna accuse me of something like that, you'd damned well better explain yourself a hell of a lot better and in more detail than "you kinda were."
posted by zarq at 11:30 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Would we be angry about this if Apple didn't censor other things?

I'm always going to be angry about the existence of Exodus International. But I wouldn't be angry at Apple about the existence of their app if they hadn't already censored other things.

So, of course, when Apple blocks things I cry foul at them for this blocking but then doesn't block things I don't like, I cry foul for NOT blocking. So, sure, I'm inconsistent

In the long run, I think it's best just to not to get derailed and go after Apple and instead keep speaking loudly against bigots like this. (And I'm not an Apple customer, so they probably don't give a fuck what I care anyway.) I'd much rather Exodus International have the strongest spotlight of the world shined on them rather than be a secret organization that continues to keep getting away with the evil that it does. Stupidity doesn't stand up to careful examination well and the more people who can be told that the better; maybe the one-starred reviews could do some good.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:30 AM on March 21, 2011


Doesn't "exodus" mean "coming out"?

I was just thinking that the definition of "a journey by a large group to escape from a hostile environment" would actually be a much better description for gay folk fleeing from right wing groups like Exodus more than anything else...
posted by quin at 11:31 AM on March 21, 2011


There is quite a bit of editorializing on this fpp...any input on whether its ok or not and more importantly...why?

If you really want to have this discussion, take it to MeTa and link it here in the thread.
posted by hippybear at 11:31 AM on March 21, 2011


Meh. Let them have an app. It doesn't mean that it *works*. Let them have a website. Let them speak. Let them shout as loud as they can because it only makes it that much more obvious when they fail. That they are willing to work with a company that is an outspoken advocate of what they supposedly oppose, to me, is just a great thing to use to highlight their hypocrisy.

I have always wanted to start an ex-gay organization and use it, not to actually discredit ex-gay organizations in general, but to funnel people into actual supportive programs. If it can work for the anti-choicers, why not this? But I haven't gotten around to actually figuring out how that would work yet, and I don't think I dissemble well enough to get very far.
posted by gracedissolved at 11:32 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Apple is in no position to keep Exodus off Android phones, and Exodus probably has a web site that Apple can't block via Mobile Safari.

I have mixed feelings about this policy, but it ain't even close to censorship. Not by a mile.


Personally I don't want to get into an argument over what the word censorship means, but clearly in this case there are a set of content guidelines and Apple is enforcing those content guidelines for any material published for use on their devices. This is very similar to the situation that Nintendo was in back around the NES era, they had the dominant platform for console games and served as the gatekeepers for all content on the device. Their content guidelines were harsher and obviously there were a lot less games published than iPhone apps, but it's the same general concept. It will be interesting to see whether this kind of gatekeeping becomes the norm, especially if content like books that were previously not device-specific end up being funneled through the same kind of approval system.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:34 AM on March 21, 2011


You know, it really, REALLY wasn't my intention to Godwin this thread.

But if you're gonna accuse me of something like that, you'd damned well better explain yourself a hell of a lot better and in more detail than "you kinda were."


And I quote: "Sure, and a little voiced antisemitism never harmed anyone."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:34 AM on March 21, 2011


Exodus definitely chose it's name to describe coming out of the homosexual "darkness" into the light.

As far as using Exodus International for a pick-up spot, while suppressing one's passions could be a bonus, the negatives are a lot worse:

1) Most gay people who have had good homosexual experiences tend not to want to go back in the closet, so you'd be dealing with bad...or at least inexperienced... partners.
2) Nothing kills a mood faster than orgasms that end in tears.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:34 AM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Hate speech" is just an epithet for offensive speech, favored by advocates of censorship.

Oh how we torture useful words!

Last night, there was a report on "60 Minutes" about that version of "Huckleberry Finn" without the n-word. They asked the publisher whether or not what he was doing was censorship. He said, "Well, some people claim it is..."

ARG! There are already two pieces of stupidity going on: (1) the guy's response and (2) "60 Minute's" question. Don't ASK whether or not it's censorship. It IS censorship. The n-word was in the book. Now it's not. Clearly, people who read that edition are reading a partially-censored novel. And don't say "some people claim it's censorship." Who cares what people claim? It IS censorship, regardless of claims one way or the other.

Here's why I think people talk that in that mealy-mouthed way. The word "censorship" often means two things at once. It means "removing or altering the content of someone's speech (or writing)" and it means "doing something bad."

That second meaning is the sticking point. Thought of that way, if you censor, you're (a) a person who changes someone else's content and (b) a bad guy. And no one wants to be a bad guy.

That knee-jerk statement, "it's not censorship," really means "stop calling me a bad person!"

If the publisher had been speaking clearly (and bravely), I suspect he would have said something like this, "Well, yes, of course it's censorship. I have changed Mark Twain's book. But though 'censorship' has a bad reputation -- though it's a word we associate with repressive governments and the like -- I do think there are times when it's a good thing to censor speech. And this is one of those times."

In our culture, censorship happens all the time. There are lots of fringe cases, like whether or not an "NY Times" editor is censoring an article when he cuts two paragraphs from it. I think it's fair to say this is not censorship, because presumably the reporter knew his editor might do this from the get-go. In other words, the reporter was knowingly collaborating with the editor, and the finished article is really written by both of them. If there's censorship going on, it's self-censorship.

But it's pretty common for people to not-call-a-spade-a-spade when they're censoring for "good reasons." "It's not censorship! It's putting an end to something that makes thousands of women feel victimized" (or whatever.) No, it's both. It's (hopefully) stopping women from feeling victimized AND it's censorship. Censorship isn't only censorship with the bad guys do it. (And I'm pretty sure that when they do it, they think they're the good guys.)

By the way, censorship is an ACT. It has nothing to do with whether or not it's possible for people to obtain an uncensored copy of what you're censoring. The fact that we can buy "Huckleberry Finn" WITH the n-word doesn't mean the guy on "60 Minutes" didn't engage in censorship. He DID. He engaged in the ACT of censorship. And he did it for reasons he felt were morally justified. Okay, but it's still censorship full stop.

I HATE the Exodus app. HATE IT! And if I ran the world (or Apple), I would struggle between my disgust with the app and the premium I place on free speech. Because free speech is SO deeply important to me, in the end I'm pretty sure I would (sadly) let the app stay in the store (though I'd probably publish a personal condemnation of it -- exercising MY right to free speech).

But I HOPE that if I went the other way -- if I took down the app -- I would be honest about what I was doing. I hope I would say, "I am censoring the app. In this case, I feel it's so evil that banning it from the store is more important than upholding free speech. To be honest, I don't believe we should have free speech in all cases. Here are the exceptions..." And then I'd list them. If I couldn't list them -- if I didn't have a coherent philosophy that helped me decide what speech should be free and what shouldn't -- I hope I would turn the decision over to someone else who had thought things true better.
posted by grumblebee at 11:34 AM on March 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


ChurchHatesTucker: " And I quote: "Sure, and a little voiced antisemitism never harmed anyone.""

How is that in any way an inappropriate claim of antisemitism by me or anyone else regarding the Palestinians?
posted by zarq at 11:36 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon:
I have mixed feelings about this policy, but it ain't even close to censorship.

The modern definition of censorship (taken from wikipedia, as most of the dictionary definitions are either so vague as to be meaningless or rooted in the Latin origins, which while related are not exactly the current use): Censorship is the suppression of speech or other communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body.

Arbitrarily banning someone's communication because you don't like it certainly fits that definition. At no point does it say that it has to be total and complete to be censorship. You wouldn't suggest that a school library removing works that someone deemed objectionable to not be censorship because students could transfer schools or go to the public library, would you?
posted by Candleman at 11:39 AM on March 21, 2011


"Depends what you call 'antisemitism.' "Kill all the Jews" and "Maybe the Palestinians shouldn't be treated the way they are" have both been branded with that label."

Easy.

The first statement is antisemitic.

The second one isn't.

A given PERSON saying statement #2 might be antisemitic, but the statement itself doesn't make any bigoted claims about Jews. It's not even a statement that applies to the majority of Jews in the world. For instance, I'm Jewish and it doesn't apply to me. I live in the US and I don't know any Palestinians. I don't treat them well or poorly.

Honestly, step ONE in these debates should be at least an attempt to defined terms.
posted by grumblebee at 11:42 AM on March 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


"If the publisher had been speaking clearly (and bravely), I suspect he would have said something like this, "Well, yes, of course it's censorship. I have changed Mark Twain's book. But though 'censorship' has a bad reputation -- though it's a word we associate with repressive governments and the like -- I do think there are times when it's a good thing to censor speech. And this is one of those times.""

You're all kinds of wrong about your censorship definitions there, Grumblebee.

Censorship isn't simply editing. It's the suppression of viewpoints that you disagree with. There's even some argument over whether private organizations can censor (something that shows up in j-school debates every year over the "Top Ten Censored Stories" headline).

A better word for the Huck Finn reissue would have been Bowdlerizing, but it's not really censorship by any reasonable definition of the word, and censorship is (in a society based on liberal values) inherently bad, but it's a lot higher bar than you want to set.
posted by klangklangston at 11:43 AM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Doesn't "exodus" mean "coming out"?

I thought, given the subject matter, the app should probably be called Leviticus instead, but that would probably go over like a fart in church.
posted by Mooski at 11:44 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


How is that in any way an inappropriate claim of antisemitism by me or anyone else regarding the Palestinians?

One more time: Depends what you call 'antisemitism.' "Kill all the Jews" and "Maybe the Palestinians shouldn't be treated the way they are" have both been branded with that label.

To belabor the point, your 'antisemitism' analogy is an insufficient rejoinder to grobstein's original comment that "Hate speech" is just an epithet for offensive speech, favored by advocates of censorship." (And really, why bring antisemitism into this?)

To be clear, I think Exodus (ironic, given the context) is wrongheaded. But I don't think they're hateful.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:45 AM on March 21, 2011


Censorship isn't simply editing. It's the suppression of viewpoints that you disagree with.

I think that's what the guy did. He doesn't agree that the n-word is an appropriate choice of words, so he cut it.

Also, if I agreed with your post, then they guys should have said, "Well, technically, I didn't censor the book, I Bowdlerized it." But he didn't say anything close to that. And "60 Minutes" didn't ask, "Did you censor the book or just bowdlerize it?"

Had they done some, I'm SURE the guy would have denied both charges, because both those things are what "bad people" do. He would have said, "Well, some people claim I've bowdlerize..."
posted by grumblebee at 11:47 AM on March 21, 2011


But I don't think they're hateful.

Wait, what?!
posted by kmz at 11:48 AM on March 21, 2011


But I don't think they're hateful.

Wait, what?!


They (or at least some of them) are genuinely interested in 'saving' people. That's not an act of hate. (There's a whole sub-set of them that deserve special attention, but that's arguably a separate thing.)

It's sort of like the Jehovahs or Mormons knocking on your door. They're not trying to piss you off, although they may end up doing that more often than not.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:52 AM on March 21, 2011


But I don't think they're hateful.

Then you don't know enough about them. This is not a "hate the sin, love the sinner" group. This is a "hate the sin, do irreparable psychological damage to the sinner" group.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:53 AM on March 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


In other news: Iowa ex-gay therapist accused of having sex with his teen aged patients in order to make them pure in the eyes of God.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:53 AM on March 21, 2011


But I don't think they're hateful.

Wait, what?!

Well, I can't see how this distinction would matter much to a marginalized group, but there IS a difference (from the point of intent) between...

"Kill all the Xes!"

and

"Xes are suffering from a disease and we'd like to help cure them."

This is an important distinction if you want to have any sort of dialogue with the people making the statement (assuming they're making the "disease" version). They have heard people make "Kill all the Xes" statements and they know that's not what they're saying.

If you accuse them of hate speech, they won't listen to you. (The probably won't listen to you anyway, because few people listen to opposing views, but they'll DEFINITELY shut off if you call what they're doing "hate speech.") It is very, very possible that they're acting out of misguided love.

(By "they," I don't mean the Exodus people. I haven't looked at the app. I'm just differentiating between two types of offensive statements. If you call both "hate speech," you blunt that term.)
posted by grumblebee at 11:54 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's not an act of hate.

They are asking people to deny a biological fact about themselves based on a hateful interpretation of Scripture. The fact that they wrap it in the language of love no more absolves it from being a hateful act that when white supremacists say they don't hate black people, they just really really love white people and want to protect them from black people.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:55 AM on March 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


This is not a "hate the sin, love the sinner" group. This is a "hate the sin, do irreparable psychological damage to the sinner" group.

Yes. Those ex-gay camps sound like labyrinths of physiological and emotional damage.
posted by The Whelk at 11:56 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


and in some cases, physical.
posted by The Whelk at 11:56 AM on March 21, 2011


Wait, what?!

It's the same thing that causes people to proselytize their religions to people who have no interest.

Imagine for some reason you were ABSOLUTELY convinced that people were left handed would die and go to a place of unimaginable torment for all of eternity. Imagine also that you thought that people could simply chose to be right handed (even though there was substantial evidence against it). But STILL, you ABSOLUTELY believe with your heart of hearts that you are correct. Assume also that this bothered you a great deal, not because the notion of writing with your left hand made you feel disgusted, but because you care about people and the idea of them being burned in hell really bothered you.

With those assumptions, crazy as they are, would creating a institution to help people who were left handed become righties be hateful?

(If you're having problems with the thought exercise, try Sam Richard's empathy talk at TEDxPSU.)
posted by Candleman at 11:57 AM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


ChurchHatesTucker: " To belabor the point, your 'antisemitism' analogy is an insufficient rejoinder to grobstein's original comment that "Hate speech" is just an epithet for offensive speech, favored by advocates of censorship."

So your choice here rather than say something coherent and detailed was to make a vague accusation of me, in which you deliberately implied that I was somehow using antisemitism as an inappropriate example because others (not me) have done so in the past?

How unpleasant of you. Why not simply ask me to expand upon what I meant instead of accusing me of something that I clearly did not say?

Antisemitism -- real antisemitism -- is hate speech. Whether the claim of antisemitism has been made inappropriately or not in other circumstances is irrelevant to that.

My comment applies here because grobstein said hate speech is offensive speech, backed up by government censorship. The term offensive speech carries with it a connotation that is different and less harmful than hate speech: it may upset one person or a small group of people but generally has no deeper ramifications or harmful effect. Hate speech does. It has traditionally been used by various groups to oppress and attack minorities who were either powerless or less powerful. Historical precedent has shown us that it can give rise to great, long-lasting harm.
posted by zarq at 11:57 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fact that they wrap it in the language of love

I have met people for whom this is not an act. They're not wrapping anything. They DO love. They feel great love. They want to help.

They are misguided and they're doing incredible harm, but that's not their intent.

You can say you don't care what their intent is, and much of the time I'd be right there with you. But there is a difference between someone with hate in his heart and someone without it.
posted by grumblebee at 11:58 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


They are misguided and they're doing incredible harm, but that's not their intent.

Intent is not what defines hate. Action is. To this day, OJ Simpson claims he loved Nicole Brown, and he butchered her.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:00 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


So your choice here rather than say something coherent and detailed was to make a vague accusation of me, in which you deliberately implied that I was somehow using antisemitism as an inappropriate example because others (not me) have done so in the past?

I was just pointing out how loose that language was.

Antisemitism -- real antisemitism -- is hate speech.

As you just did.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:01 PM on March 21, 2011


But there is a difference between someone with hate in his heart and someone without it.

How would we go about distinguishing an ex-gay therapist with hate in his heart from one without it?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:02 PM on March 21, 2011


ChurchHatesTucker: " As you just did."

I defined it for you because you seemed bound and determined to deliberately mistake what I had said and tar me with some sort of brush.
posted by zarq at 12:03 PM on March 21, 2011


Intent is not what defines hate. Action is. To this day, OJ Simpson claims he loved Nicole Brown, and he butchered her.

Claims != Action != Intent
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:03 PM on March 21, 2011


I found that arsenic in vitro killed cancer cells. So I gave the guy several doses of arsenic. I wasn't trying to kill him, I was trying to cure him. I'm not a killer.
posted by Splunge at 12:04 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I defined it for you because you seemed bound and determined to deliberately mistake what I had said and tar me with some sort of brush.

You equated hate speech with antisemitism. I was responding to that.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:05 PM on March 21, 2011


Claims != Action != Intent

Well, if we can just discount what people claim about their intents, why can't I discount Exodus's claims that they are acting out of love and just assume they are vicious homophobes and self-loathing gay people?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:05 PM on March 21, 2011


You equated hate speech with antisemitism. I was responding to that.

Can we stop this derail?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:06 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


You wouldn't suggest that a school library removing works that someone deemed objectionable to not be censorship because students could transfer schools or go to the public library, would you?

No, but then a school library, as an outlet that operates at the behest of a government, is a public entity. Entirely unlike Apple.

It's a problem for a government to control what literature people can read, because it is the "last" or ultimate arbiter of your life, liberty and property. It can take these away at a whim, which is why we give the arbitrary filtering of ideas the serious name of censorship.

On the other hand, Apple pulling products from its private storefront is no more censorship than a Christian bookstore choosing not to stock the Koran on its shelves.

Apple isn't filtering the web. You can download and buy apps through Cydia, or buy a Windows or Google phone and buy apps through their stores.

There is a lot to criticize about this policy, but at least, by definition, and by the reality of what numerous other options exist, a private store choosing what products it sells is not censorship, and I think we do a disservice to the English language to misapply that word here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:06 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


OK, I seem to be every other post at this point, so I'm going to bow out for a while. Carry on, all.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:06 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Intent is not what defines hate. Action is.

You can use words however you wish. But don't you agree that there's a very common usage of "hate" in which it means a felt emotion?

If you use it in another sense, you risk confusing people.

If you tell someone who doesn't feel hate that he's engaging in hate speech, you're likely to confuse him. Maybe you don't care whether he's confused or not. I'm coming from the point-of-view that if there's ANY solution, it's going to happen through dialog. And if the dialog starts with a big confusion over the word "hate," we're sunk from the get-go.

Isn't it fair to say that regardless of intent, words can have devastating effects on people? I agree with that. I just think it creates a confusion to talk about someone as if they're feeling something they don't feel.
posted by grumblebee at 12:06 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sidebar: I really dislike the argument that homosexuality/bisexuality/any other nonheteronormative sexuality is biologically determined. It might be idealistic of me, but I really would much rather live in a world where people get to have whatever relationships they want with whatever other consenting adults they want without us shrugging our shoulders and saying "well, biology made 'em that way, they can't help it!". It shouldn't matter if we/they were "born this way" or not; everyone should have the freedom to make choices about their relationships.

Not sidebar: Sometimes Dan Savage is funny about these things:
An ex-gay, according to Chambers, still wants to sleep with men. He just refrains from having sex with men. So technically I've been ex-gay all morning. Not straight, of course, because nothing can make me straight—not even Almighty Gawd—but so long as I don't have a dick in my mouth I am, according to Chambers, totally not gay. See how that works?
posted by NoraReed at 12:07 PM on March 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


Astro Zombie: "You equated hate speech with antisemitism. I was responding to that.

Can we stop this derail?


So it's okay for you to respond until you arbitrarily decide it isn't okay for the rest of us?

Fine. I'm bowing out.
posted by zarq at 12:09 PM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


I just think it creates a confusion to talk about someone as if they're feeling something they don't feel.

No, I don't. People often don't know their own hearts. I think there is no problem with telling somebody that whatever their motivation is, their action is consistent with the actions of somebody who is hateful.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:09 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I found that arsenic in vitro killed cancer cells. So I gave the guy several doses of arsenic. I wasn't trying to kill him, I was trying to cure him. I'm not a killer.

If this is a response to my posts, and if you care at all about accurately responding to me, be careful.

To me, "homosexuals is are sick" is not necessarily something I'd call hate speech, for reasons I've explained above. But if you take that as meaning "Grumblebee condones homophobic statements," you're wrong. I don't. I think "homosexuals are sick" is a pretty loathsome thing to say -- and, worse, it's wrong. They're not sick. They're behaving in a way that is normal for humans to behave.

You can disagree with people who don't think that sort of statement should be called "hate speech," but that doesn't mean those people are in favor of bigoted statements -- even if they wouldn't call them "hate."
posted by grumblebee at 12:11 PM on March 21, 2011


So it's okay for you to respond until you arbitrarily decide it isn't okay for the rest of us?

I flagged my own responses, if it makes you feel better. And my only response was "come the fuck on."
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:12 PM on March 21, 2011


I just think it creates a confusion to talk about someone as if they're feeling something they don't feel.

Jay Smooth makes a relevant point. The question is about what they do not about what they are. And there is no non-hateful way to do ex-gay therapy.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:12 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have met people for whom this is not an act. They're not wrapping anything. They DO love. They feel great love.

Sorry, but no.

It's bigotry disguised as love.

They want to help.

Physician, heal thyself.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:12 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can we put this thread in a corner? It needs a timeout.
posted by chairface at 12:13 PM on March 21, 2011


Sooooooo, any discovered any neat, not controversial apps lately? I downloaded the official Apollo 11 game, but I keep crashing in training.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:16 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are there any substantive disagreements in this thread, or is all of this heat just coming from how people are defining their words?
posted by Jpfed at 12:18 PM on March 21, 2011


No, I don't. People often don't know their own hearts. I think there is no problem with telling somebody that whatever their motivation is, their action is consistent with the actions of somebody who is hateful.

That's fine.

Maybe we've had different life experiences.

I've known lots of people who think homosexuality is a disease but who feel no hate towards homosexuals. LOTS of people. If you've never met anyone like this, then it makes sense that you feel the way you do. And, of course, I can't read minds, so all the people who have led me to believe this is the way they feel might be lying to me. I'm just going by my best judgement.

I couldn't look them in the eyes and say, "action is consistent with the actions of somebody who is hateful," because I know SO many people like them who aren't hateful. What I COULD do is say, "your words and actions are hurting people -- hurting them really deeply. You need to stop!"
posted by grumblebee at 12:18 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It shouldn't matter if we/they were "born this way" or not; everyone should have the freedom to make choices about their relationships.

Ayup. I do understand that there is some realpolitik in trying to advance gay rights under the biological argument, but it just shouldn't matter. Choice is not be a bad word.
posted by kmz at 12:19 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've known lots of people who think homosexuality is a disease but who feel no hate towards homosexuals.

I think it is a difference of definition then. I think this is an inherently hateful viewpoint, just as, say, thinking black people are inherently subhuman would be.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:19 PM on March 21, 2011


I have met people for whom this is not an act. They're not wrapping anything. They DO love. They feel great love.

Sorry, but no.

It's bigotry disguised as love.


Okay, here's are fair questions for both of us:

Grumblebee, how can you possibly know what those people are feeling?

Sys Rq, how can you possible know what those people are not feeling?

I admit that I can't read minds. It's just that I've known so many, many people like this, and some of them are really gentle. They're just idiots. They believe all sorts of propaganda they've been taught.

I've known people who I'm sure would take a bullet for a gay person -- even while, at the same time, believing that homosexuality is a disease. Just as many of you might take a bullet for a schizophrenic. (I am not likening homosexuality to schizophrenia. I'm just saying that to some bigots, it seems like they are alike.)

Are there hateful people who hide behind masks of "love"? Sure. Are ALL bigots who claim to love full of shit? That's hard for me to swallow, just based on people I've known for years.

Does it matter to the person on the receiving end? Generally, no. Either way, he's a victim of bigotry.
posted by grumblebee at 12:24 PM on March 21, 2011


I think this is an inherently hateful viewpoint

What is a "hateful viewpoint"? Is it a viewpoint that, historically, has caused harm? If that's what you're saying, I agree.
posted by grumblebee at 12:25 PM on March 21, 2011


grumblebee: I was just making a general statement. Relax.
posted by Splunge at 12:25 PM on March 21, 2011


Wait, so Pharaoh was gay?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:27 PM on March 21, 2011


Are there any substantive disagreements in this thread, or is all of this heat just coming from how people are defining their words?

Well, how can one know if there's a substantive disagreement or not without first knowing whether definitions are convergent?

(Sorry, Splunge. By a coincidence, you voiced something that sounded, to me, like a response I've often heard: "if you're not willing to call it 'hate speech,' you must be in favor of it.")
posted by grumblebee at 12:28 PM on March 21, 2011


Wait, so Pharaoh was gay?

Let my people blow.
posted by The Whelk at 12:29 PM on March 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


Sooooooo, any discovered any neat, not controversial apps lately?

PlainText is a Dropbox add-on that does one simple thing very well.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:29 PM on March 21, 2011


Sys Rq, how can you possible know what those people are not feeling?

"I love you. Please change what you are."

That is not love. That is emotional blackmail.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:29 PM on March 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I came across this article just last week: What happened When I Went Undercover to a Christian Gay-to-Straight Conversion Camp. It really does sound sketchy.
posted by colfax at 12:30 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is it a viewpoint that, historically, has caused harm?

I suppose that's as good a definition as any. I understand your complaint though -- the word "hate" is linked, for many, with a well-defined emotion, one of revulsion and contempt. If they don't feel that emotion, they are likely to think, well, I don't hate anybody.

But, for me, hate isn't exclusively an emotion. It's a set of behavior that expresses contempt and revulsion, whether than contempt or revulsion is experienced in a visceral way or not. And when you say that homosexuality is sinful and that gay people will find no place in heaven unless they are cured of the stain of their sinful desire, you're expressing a viewpoint of contempt and revulsion, even if, in your own world, the emotion you couple with it is one of love.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:31 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sooooooo, any discovered any neat, not controversial apps lately?

OneBusAway has changed my life. Getting to the bus just-in-time, without waiting in Seattle's rain too long, is a religious experience.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:32 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq, how can you possible know what those people are not feeling?

"I love you. Please change what you are."

That is not love. That is emotional blackmail.


I'm talking about what the person FEELS. You're -- I think -- talking about the effect. I agree with you about the effect. If you're claiming that the person (e.g. someone I know and you don't) doesn't feel love, then I don't get the basis of your claim. If you don't care what he feels, fair enough. We're just not talking about the same thing.
posted by grumblebee at 12:32 PM on March 21, 2011


I don't oppose Hate Speech. I reserve the right to declare my hatred for people, even groups of people that may include some people who don't deserve it, but I only intend to do that if they, singularly or collectively, are doing things that are, to my own judgment, worth HATING. The commercial exploitation of anti-gay prejudice is, more than the prejudice itself, well worth hating, and that's what Exodus Int'l does.

What I do sincerely and deeply oppose is LYING speech. The dissemination of easily provable untruths made with the knowledge that they are untrue. Unfortunately, that is an overwhelming majority of the "free speech" on the Internet (with MetaFilter, even in its most annoying, being one of the few places where it isn't).
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:32 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was the first night of “Journey into Manhood,”

Oh hooooo herm *adjusts collar*
posted by The Whelk at 12:33 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon: "No, but then a school library, as an outlet that operates at the behest of a government, is a public entity. Entirely unlike Apple.

It's a problem for a government to control what literature people can read, because it is the "last" or ultimate arbiter of your life, liberty and property. It can take these away at a whim, which is why we give the arbitrary filtering of ideas the serious name of censorship.

On the other hand, Apple pulling products from its private storefront is no more censorship than a Christian bookstore choosing not to stock the Koran on its shelves.
"

I don't know about the definition of "censorship"; clearly it has a few different definitions in common parlance.

But I don't think that the distinction is always black-and-white between government restriction of speech and corporate restriction of speech. There are cases in which government action or inaction directly contributes to a corporation controlling an unwieldy amount of the speech in a certain medium. That's why low-power and community radio is important. It's also why internet neutrality is important.

To go back to the bookstore analogy, what if the only bookstore that gets a building permit in your city is a Christian bookstore? Then are the Christian bookstore's decisions about what books to carry censorship?

Apple doesn't exactly have a monopoly over smartphones, but it does have a huge share, and there isn't an infinite supply of cellphone carriers. It would be nice to see us as a society move away from closed gardens. Steve "freedom from porn" Jobs loves closed gardens.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:35 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was fortunate(?!) enough to attend a Love Won Out conference a couple years ago. At that conference, almost all the large-group presentations were led by "former homosexuals". I disagree with the message and find the sex/gender essentialism MADDENING, but the *way* the information is presented is...well, it comes across as generally loving and kind. It's less "I love you, now change" and much more "I was where you are, I changed, my life is so fantastic now! Let me show you how I got here from where you are."

Do I agree with the message? Not at all. I do think, though, that Exodus members are motivated by narrow, prejudiced thinking about what "men" and "women" are, not by hatred of any group. I think it's worth mentioning that an organization like Exodus is a huge step forward for churches that previously taught only condemnation and hate. Exodus tells you that God wants you to change, but Exodus says that God loves you right now anyway, and for gay people raised in conservative Christian churches, Exodus may have been the first group to say that to them.
posted by epj at 12:37 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stalkers claim they love their victims — I think an argument that they're actually acting out of hate is much less sustainable. But that love is still dangerous and harmful, and an app that enabled stalking would be a terrible idea, even if the stalkers truly loved their victims.

Sometimes it's fine to say that not all expressions of "love" are healthy and should be tolerated.
posted by klangklangston at 12:37 PM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


It was the first night of “Journey into Manhood,”

I would love to see somebody take the names of a lot of these ex-gay programs and affix them as new titles for old gay-themed pulp fiction paperbacks. They all work:

One by One
Love Won Out
Witness Freedom
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:39 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sometimes it's fine to say that not all expressions of "love" are healthy and should be tolerated.

There are many, MANY expressions of love that are unhealthy. I've engaged in some of them, myself. It's not true that feeling love necessarily leads to good outcomes to for the person with the feelings or his target.

But if you claim that, because the outcome was bad, he wasn't FEELING love in the first place, you're creating a simplistic, unhelpful model of the world in which feelings-of-love always end in happily-ever-after and all the misery in the world comes from feelings of hate.
posted by grumblebee at 12:41 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it was a big mistake for apple to ever get involved in policing content of the apps. Whether or not you want to call it 'censorship', or 'speech suppression', or (and what I think is most accurate) 'disney-fication in the name of profit', any giant corporation that gets into the business of reviewing approved/disallowed content is going to keep running into problems. While on the one hand, yes, it is no different than a bookshop declining to carry certain books (as blazecock suggests) and therefore does not fall under the legal rubric (in the US) of 'censorship', when it is effectively the largest 'bookshop' around and there are an extremely limited number of 'bookshops' people can shop in (as is the case in the mobile app arena), we ought to take a long hard look at how much power we grant particular corporations to shape our conversations, even if it is only shaping them at the margins.

I love my iphone to bits and these exodus clowns are a blight on society, but if anything will push me to jump out of the apple ecosphere, it will be this continued policing of content.
posted by modernnomad at 12:41 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eh, Apple is now 3rd in smartphone market share. I don't think they're dominating the industry to the extent that disallowing apps / content is censorship to be concerned about.

And really, a lot of people I know who are big into Apple iOS products _like_ that Apple does extensive curation / filtering / censorship / whatever. I mean, that's one of the major differentiators between it and Android, and I constantly read / hear about how the Apple app store is better because of it. To me it's a negative, but clearly not to everyone, and those that like it are free to go with Apple, and the rest have at least 3 other options -- two of which (Android and Blackberry) have more share than Apple.
posted by wildcrdj at 12:41 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


"But if you claim that, because the outcome was bad, he wasn't FEELING love in the first place, you're creating a simplistic, unhelpful model of the world in which feelings-of-love always end in happily-ever-after and all the misery in the world comes from feelings of hate."

Uh, good thing I'm not claiming that at all, then. I'm claiming that just because something is motivated by love doesn't make it good or acceptable.
posted by klangklangston at 12:42 PM on March 21, 2011


I'm with grumblebee and ChurchHatesTucker on this part of it. The people I know who are connected to Exodus International absolutely believe that they are doing something very loving for homosexuals, and they absolutely wish to be of service to them. One of my long-time friends is a counselor for Focus on the Family, and I know him very, very well. (Up until five or six years ago, anyway). We've been friends so long that we can remember a time when we agreed on most things. He couldn't hate someone if he tried. One of the sweetest, gentlest souls I know, but completely convinced that homosexuality is changeable, and that it's in the best interest of homosexuals to become straight. He's trying to help.

Now, I understand that the real life results of his attempts to help are often unspeakably horrible, and if you're just looking at the results (and fair enough if that's your only interest) his motivation doesn't matter. But in the long run it really will matter because if he actually did hate gay people, deep down inside, any new information he received would only be used in the service of hurting them more effectively. But since--ok, we can't know anyone's inner heart, but still--since he actually does love them and wants what is best for them, if we can ever help him internalize the reality of the situation, he'll start taking action that really does help, because helping was his goal all along. It's not like Mel White is the only person in the world who is able to change.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:42 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


But if you claim that, because the outcome was bad, he wasn't FEELING love in the first place, you're creating a simplistic, unhelpful model of the world in which feelings-of-love always end in happily-ever-after and all the misery in the world comes from feelings of hate.

They may think they feel love, but they don't. Delusion is a thing. There is no love without respect.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:43 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is no love without respect.

well, that's not fair. I love Vin Diesel movies.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:44 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


But if you claim...

Uh, good thing I'm not claiming that at all, then.

I apologize for my confusing, sloppy writing. I was only addressing you in the first part of my post (where I agreed with you). My later you meant "one."
posted by grumblebee at 12:45 PM on March 21, 2011


There is no love without respect.

If that were enforceable., the divorce rate would be closer to 90% than 50%.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:45 PM on March 21, 2011


They may think they feel love, but they don't.

How do you know what they feel? I don't get it.
posted by grumblebee at 12:46 PM on March 21, 2011


No, not even the worst. My (clinically diagnosed) psychopath ex-wife never said in all the years of our deeply co-dependent relationship

Well, your relationship is one anecdote. If you read about co-dependency (which I have quite a bit), "I love you, please change what you are" is definitely classic co-dependency stuff.
posted by wildcrdj at 12:46 PM on March 21, 2011


To go back to the bookstore analogy, what if the only bookstore that gets a building permit in your city is a Christian bookstore? Then are the Christian bookstore's decisions about what books to carry censorship?

Maybe, but Christian bookstores aren't the only ones getting building permits.

Apple has no monopoly over what apps people can buy and install on a variety of smartphones. It can't stop you from jailbreaking your phone (though it tries, to little avail) and installing and buying all your apps through Cydia. Apple has no control over what web sites you pull up in Safari.

Apple isn't the only one with a building permit, which is why I'm reluctant to use such a hammer of a word like "censorship" to a situation that doesn't apply.

As to why I think the policy is a problem, I come at this from a developer's perspective: What stays and goes is determined in a somewhat arbitrary fashion, which makes committing time and resources to a risky project even riskier.

Without clearer guidelines on what gets cut and what stays, I think that scares developers away, which hurts Apple, but (more importantly) ultimately hurts end users.

It's easier for developers to make a decision on the basis of, say, what cut that Apple receives on each sale. That's a logical business decision. But this stuff is more about deciding who is more offended and then cutting on that basis. Hard to decide, and often harder to justify after the fact.

On the other hand, when the guidelines are inflexible, it's harder to deal with edge cases, where hate groups play games with the rules in order to skirt around restrictions. Flexibility and vagueness allow for dealing with problem cases in short order.

On the balance, I think more good would be served for Apple's end users if Exodus is shown the door. Giving hate groups a soapbox isn't improving the platform any.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:47 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


If that were enforceable., the divorce rate would be closer to 90% than 50%.

Good. Maybe spousal abuse would drop, too.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:49 PM on March 21, 2011


Sys Rq, here's another way of approaching it: my best childhood friend has schizophrenia. I believe it's an illness. If I could, I would help him overcome it. Are you claiming I don't love him?

I both love him AND respect him. I respect him in the sense that I respect things he's done, choices he's made, the sort of person he is, etc. I just think he has an illness.

Now compare me with Fred:

Fred: my best childhood friend is gay. I believe homosexuality is an illness. I love Fred and I have a deep respect for all he's accomplished. He's a kickass musician. He's way smarter than me. He's a very good person... But I think he has an illness.

What is the difference between Fred and me (or is there one -- do I actually hate my friend?) other than the fact that I happen to be right about something (at least I think I am) and Fred is wrong? Fred is as sure of the "fact" that homosexuality is an illness as I am of the fact that schizophrenia is an illness.

Remember, I'm talking -- and you're talking (I think) -- about feelings, not the results of those feelings. I agree that the results of Fred's feelings are likely to be very harmful.
posted by grumblebee at 12:52 PM on March 21, 2011


I think it was a big mistake for apple to ever get involved in policing content of the apps.

Would there be liability issues if they did that?

I'd be interested in hearing from a lawyer about how much responsibility a shopkeeper has for harm caused by products stocked in his store -- even if he didn't make the products. What if he hangs up a "buy stuff at your own risk" sign?
posted by grumblebee at 12:57 PM on March 21, 2011


Metafilter: orgasms that end in tears
posted by jtron at 12:58 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Isn't the "love" defense largely irrevelevent, though? Hate speech is measured by its effects, not by the intent of the speaker. By disparaging homosexuals, and telling them there is something wrong with them, the speaker is engaging in hate speech, however pure they finds their own intentions. Their inability to realise this is perhaps the most frightening aspect of the situation.
posted by Sparx at 12:58 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't see Apple refusing these apps is any more censorship than me refusing to sell something based on personal morality. You can go to the dictionary as much as you want, but if it's OK for (say) grumblebee to refuse to show a play at his theatre on moral grounds, then it's OK for Apple to refuse to sell an app for the same.

That iFans jibe was 80% tongue in cheek BTW.

You can believe that each of the newspapers printing this story has asked Apple for a statement. Apple know about this and they're talking about it. I've no doubt Apple will pull the app, I'm just disappointed that it wasn't an instant decision.
posted by seanyboy at 12:59 PM on March 21, 2011


the above linked article is pure gold.

Early in the evening, staff members reenact the classic children’s tale, "Jack and the Beanstalk," with different staff members playing the different roles.

The story, a narrator explains, is loaded with coming-of-age​ symbolism. Fatherless Jack has lived in the safe, feminine world under his mother’s care; the old man in the village represents ancient tribal elders who help boys transition into manhood; the seeds given to Jack represent both his sperm and the masculine potential for creation. Like most women, Jack’s mother doesn’t understand the importance of the seeds, so she chucks them out the window. The reenactment ends with Jack sent to bed without supper. After all, he screwed up his masculine duty to provide food for his family.

posted by The Whelk at 1:00 PM on March 21, 2011


I don't know how enforceable a ToS is these days, but Apple is pretty clearly hands-off about liability for any emotional harm that an app does to you and your kids:

(b) You understand that by using any of the Services, you may encounter content that may be deemed offensive, indecent, or objectionable, which content may or may not be identified as having explicit language, and that the results of any search or entering of a particular URL may automatically and unintentionally generate links or references to objectionable material. Nevertheless, you agree to use the Services at your sole risk and that Apple shall have no liability to you for content that may be found to be offensive, indecent, or objectionable
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:01 PM on March 21, 2011


Isn't the "love" defense largely irrevelevent, though?

As the person speaking up the most about this, I'd like to make it clear -- again -- that I'm not defending ANYTHING.

If we're going to throw stalkers in jail, in my opinion, they should get just as long a sentence whether they loved the victim or hated him.

However, I believe the distinction is important when we're trying to solve the problem(s) of bigotry via dialogue. At that point, it's counter productive to imply people are feeling things they don't feel.

I am NOT saying that we should say, "Oh, you LOVE gay people. Well, that's okay, then." But a gay-hater and a stupid-person-who-thinks-homosexuality-is-a-disease are best approached in two different ways. (Unless we're talking about someone who both hates gay people AND thinks homosexuality is a disease.)
posted by grumblebee at 1:03 PM on March 21, 2011


OH GOD IT KEEPS GETTING BETTER

Now I’m facing another man in front of me; this time he appears in his late 30s. The voice booms through the lodge: “Look into his heart.”

The drums echo again, and I take another step to the left.


Sha-la-la-la-la-la - Don't be scared - You got the mood prepared
posted by The Whelk at 1:04 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


And this is definitely hate speech. The text pulled from the app and ridiculed on The Wright Stuff this afternoon (UK Daytime Show) was that (and I'm paraphrasing here) was that AIDS is not God's punishment because even innocent people get the disease. (My highlighting).

If you're gay, you're guilty. Nice!
posted by seanyboy at 1:04 PM on March 21, 2011


But there is a difference between someone with hate in his heart and someone without it.

It's a difference without a distinction if one's "loving" actions mean that people lose their rights, continue to be stigmatized, lose custody of their kids, etc.
posted by rtha at 1:06 PM on March 21, 2011


Blazecock Pileon:
No, but then a school library, as an outlet that operates at the behest of a government, is a public entity. Entirely unlike Apple.

Great. Show me an accepted definition that states that censorship has to be government based. I already gave you one that says it doesn't. Here's some more:

–noun
1.
an official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds.
2.
any person who supervises the manners or morality of others.

1. a person authorized to examine publications, theatrical presentations, films, letters, etc, in order to suppress in whole or part those considered obscene, politically unacceptable, etc

Dictionary.com

In fact, the only places that it specifically cites government is in regard to Rome.

On the other hand, Apple pulling products from its private storefront is no more censorship than a Christian bookstore choosing not to stock the Koran on its shelves.

There are several substantial differences. First, the App store is an effective monopoly (your alternative app store gets a dismissive shrug from the world at large) on a dominant platform in the preferred medium of the users. A website cannot do everything an app does.

Second, the App store in general professes to be an open market assuming that you follow established rules. The group in question broke none of those rules. A Christian bookstore makes no claims of not being a select and limited collection. Nor is the Christian bookstore a monopoly.

I think we do a disservice to the English language to misapply that word here.

Great. Provide a cite that shows that your definition is correct other than by fiat.

There is a lot to criticize about this policy

I think you're confused - Apple hasn't censored the application. The furor is over that Apple allowed an app that some people feel is distasteful and that it gave it a certain rating based on established criteria.
posted by Candleman at 1:07 PM on March 21, 2011


I think that was the first online petition I've signed in....ever? I read about this a few days ago and had to close the article because the Local Newspaper flavored comments were just too much. I am glad people are responding to this and not letting it just slip under the radar, though.

I think the debate here over the definition and appropriate usage of "hate speech" is (as it usually is) a little overthought. If someone's position is that homosexuality is a terrible disease that needs curing, that's wrong--like, factually incorrect--and if, after pointing that out, someone still presents that view, I think it's safe to assume malicious intent.

On top of and a little to the side of that, a culture that shrugs these sorts of views off as no big deal does in some way legitimize them through its silence.
posted by byanyothername at 1:09 PM on March 21, 2011


But a gay-hater and a stupid-person-who-thinks-homosexuality-is-a-disease are best approached in two different ways.

I do get where you're coming from, Grumblebee. I just think that the 'approach' is really a matter of effective sentencing, because the actual guilt of both parties of practicing hate speech is the same.
posted by Sparx at 1:10 PM on March 21, 2011


jtron: "Metafilter: orgasms that end in tears"

Stop fapping to my posts, would ya? :D
posted by zarq at 1:10 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you accuse them of hate speech, they won't listen to you. (The probably won't listen to you anyway, because few people listen to opposing views, but they'll DEFINITELY shut off if you call what they're doing "hate speech.") It is very, very possible that they're acting out of misguided love.

Ask me if I care whether they're doing it out of Misguided Love. Whether they claim they love me or not, they're still attacking and trying to eliminate part of the basic core of who I am. It doesn't matter to me whether they think they're acting with love, mercy, or compassion. The reality is that they're not acting out of any of those motives.

These people were based around Marin County when I was in college in the Bay Area. If I had listened to their message then (and as a closeted, frightened gay undergrad I was more than susceptible to this type of message) I probably would have wound up killing myself.
posted by blucevalo at 1:10 PM on March 21, 2011


If you accuse them of hate speech, they won't listen to you. (The probably won't listen to you anyway, because few people listen to opposing views, but they'll DEFINITELY shut off if you call what they're doing "hate speech.") It is very, very possible that they're acting out of misguided love.

Ask me if I care whether they're doing it out of Misguided Love

That's fine, but when you read what I wrote, do I give you the impression that I DO care -- care in the sense that I care about those people (that I value them, etc.)? Because I don't. I hate bigotry, and if I could -- without getting in trouble -- push a button and make all the bigots in the world disappear, I would push it in an instant. I would push it five times to also take care of bigots on other planets. The bigots who love and the bigots who hate would both be gone and good riddance.

I only "care" because I believe that noting -- and acting on -- your best guess as to the bigot's motives and inner state is a useful tool in solving the problem his bigotry is calling. In general, I've noticed that when dealing with people, I am more effective when I understand where those people are coming from and what they are feeling. Don't mistake that for caring.
posted by grumblebee at 1:21 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't the "love" defense largely irrevelevent, though? Hate speech is measured by its effects, not by the intent of the speaker.

That is the polar opposite of my understanding of "hate speech."
posted by Falconetti at 1:27 PM on March 21, 2011


First, the App store is an effective monopoly

With all the claims of openness that other smartphone platforms make, I'm surprised Apple now has so much power that it can shut down those other platforms.

Apple has control over its own storefront, maybe. Even that's debatable when Adobe, Real and others twist the US government into doing antitrust investigations to try to coerce Apple's business practices.

But even if Cydia is statistical noise (I don't know if it is or isn't, but it is definitely an alternative storefront), Apple can't even stop people browsing hate group web sites through Safari.

A website cannot do everything an app does.

What, specifically, does this specific Exodus app do that a JavaScript-powered web site cannot do?

I haven't downloaded it, so I don't know. But from what I hear, it's just a bunch of static informational pages about resources for people who want help staying in the closet.

Second, the App store in general professes to be an open market assuming that you follow established rules.

In other words, it's not an open market.

Those established rules are somewhat arbitrary, as I noted. Developers putting their wares on Apple's shelves already know there is little expectation of "openness", nor any expectation that they can sell their product through Apple's storefront.

When apps get pulled, some devs complain to the bloggers and then a repost campaign gets started if the app is cool enough. Sometimes Apple embarrasses itself and then does a 180' turn, as in the case of the editorial cartoon app. There is some give and take, but, by and large, I think developers are adults and know that Apple is the one with more control in the relationship.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:28 PM on March 21, 2011


That is the polar opposite of my understanding of "hate speech."

You may be misunderstanding it, then. From thew WikiPedia definition:

In law, hate speech is any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group.

In other words, effect, rather than intention.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:30 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


They may think they feel love, but they don't.

If they don't know otherwise, they don't KNOW that they don't feel love, and so if you ask THEM whether they act out of love, they will sincerely and wholeheartedly say "yes".

The affect on the target of their affection is a negative one. But they don't know that. They are not equipped to know that. And if you do not acknowledge that, whatever plea you make to them is going to fall on deaf ears.

Look at it this way. Say you meet someone who was told that planting jellybeans will yield stringbeans. In order to correct this incorrect notion, you can't just keep handing them string bean seed packets and saying "use these," because they still believe that planting jellybeans is what they need to do. Accusing them of not wanting string beans isn't going to work because they'll just say, "what do you mean I don't want string beans? I've planted a whole bag of Jelly Belly!" You first have to acknowledge the fact that even though YOU know something is incorrect, they DON'T know it's incorrect.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:31 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


They may think they feel love, but they don't.

That's why lube was invented.

What are we talking about?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:32 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


[quoting me]First, the App store is an effective monopoly[end quote of me]

With all the claims of openness that other smartphone platforms make, I'm surprised Apple now has so much power that it can shut down those other platforms.


So, when faced with multiple definitions that show that you're not using the word correctly, the best you can do is selectively quote me to twist the meaning? Nice.
posted by Candleman at 1:39 PM on March 21, 2011


Truthfully, I'd rather they not have a walled garden and instead have executables for the iPhone be distributed like software on the Mac and PC (download it from the internet from a huge variety of sources, with no oversight from the OS's publisher). The internet's not censored, and that's one of its strengths.

But so long as we have this walled garden that tries to sanitize everything (I guess for children), we might as well take out the offensive stuff that breaks the guidelines along with the porn.

But I really hope that isn't the future of computing. It makes some sense for a phone (people want some guarantee that they won't ruin their phones with poorly made software), but the fact that OSX Lion is trying to get more iOS-like makes me worry about the possibility of Apple making OSX more closed on their regular laptops and desktops (which aren't going away any time soon, you can't do everything on a tablet). I doubt Microsoft would do that (what with their priorities usually being pretty heavy on back compatibility), and it'd contradict what Linux stands for, but it'd still be a sad day for computing.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:50 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq, here's another way of approaching it: my best childhood friend has schizophrenia. I believe it's an illness. If I could, I would help him overcome it. Are you claiming I don't love him?

No.

A few things are wrong with the analogy:

1. Schizophrenia actually is an illness, and, more to the point, it's a serious illness that necessitates treatment.

2. You probably wouldn't claim that your friend chose to be schizophrenic--that it is simply a moral failing--and that he could, with a little help, choose not to be schizophrenic.

3. "If I could" -- that is a very big If. Schizophrenia is something that can often be treated effectively via methods that have a scientifically proven track record.

4. If you love him, you probably accept and support him, and wouldn't actively contribute to the social stigma that causes the mentally ill to be ostracised.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:01 PM on March 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


but it'd still be a sad day for computing

I'm not sure I agree. I don't really see the harm in having an alternative that is super-locked-down for those who want that (and clearly there is demand, as I said you can easily find articles talking about why this is a 'good thing' to some people). Apple looks like they want to make that a key selling point. I hope this will make them a niche player, in the same way their pricing / hardware lockdown used to with Macs, but we'll see.

It would be a sad day if all / most computers were this way, though. Right now only Apple is really heading down this path, and I think it's fine for them to present an alternative, even if it's one I have no interest in.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:05 PM on March 21, 2011


You first have to acknowledge the fact that even though YOU know something is incorrect, they DON'T know it's incorrect.

Is that directed at me? If so, EmpressCallipygos, please read the sentence directly following the one you quoted.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:06 PM on March 21, 2011


Sys Rq: I did read that sentence, but it was unclear if by "Delusion is a thing", you meant:

"therefore, I accept that I need to work to combat that delusion first before I get anywhere,"

or you meant:

"therefore because they don't know any better I can just browbeat them".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:16 PM on March 21, 2011


If I believe heterosexuality is a disease, how is that not hateful to all heterosexuals. If I believe that something MUST have gone "wrong" to produce heterosexuality in a person, does that not require a belief that there is something wrong heterosexuality.

Heterosexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality are equally valid sexual orientations that occur in all human populations, as well as hundreds of other animal species.
posted by hworth at 2:24 PM on March 21, 2011


A few things are wrong with the analogy:

1. Schizophrenia actually is an illness, and, more to the point, it's a serious illness that necessitates treatment.

2. You probably wouldn't claim that your friend chose to be schizophrenic--that it is simply a moral failing--and that he could, with a little help, choose not to be schizophrenic.

3. "If I could" -- that is a very big If. Schizophrenia is something that can often be treated effectively via methods that have a scientifically proven track record.

4. If you love him, you probably accept and support him, and wouldn't actively contribute to the social stigma that causes the mentally ill to be ostracised.


1. Nothing is "an illness" by cosmic or mathematical law. Something is an illness because people generally decide that it is. And it often happens that people differ over whether a specific "syndrome" is an illness or not. Currently, there are (some) deaf people who are deeply offended by parents who put cochlear implants in their children. To these people, deafness is NOT an illness or a medical condition, and trying-to-cure-it is as offensive to them as trying-to-cure-homosexuality is to you and me. Aspergers Syndrome is also an illness to some and a "difference" to others. Which syndromes "are" illnesses also tends to change over the course of history.

I don't think this is likely to happen, but it's possible that one day schizophrenia will be regarded as a "difference" rather than an illness. And people will look back on my attempts to help my friend and call me evil.

2. There are plenty of people who believe that mental illnesses are choices -- and that people who claim to suffer from them should just buck up.

However, you're right, I wouldn't not claim that my friend chose to be schizophrenic, because I am educated enough about the condition to know he didn't. But that's just a matter of me having a certain amount of factual knowledge in my brain. Let's say I didn't. Let's say I truly believe he chose to be schizo. I would still love and respect him, even if I didn't respect that particular "choice."

As-far-as I'm concerned, smoking is a choice. It's one that disgusts me, and I don't respect it at all -- even if made by a smoker who only smokes in his own house and never makes anyone else suffer via second-hand smoke. I think he has the right to make that choice, but I don't respect it at all. I think it's foolish.

However, I have plenty of friends who have made that choice. And I still love an respect them. I just don't respect that once choice they've made. You, of course, are free to say that I don't love them. If you claim that, we are at a stalemate. We simply disagree about my feelings. What I can tell you is this: I feel like I love them; I act like I love them; I know that they feel as if I love them. If it walks like a duck...

If I'm right that I can love someone even IF I don't respect some specific choice he's made, then it's possible for someone to love a homosexual, even IF he wrongly believes that homosexuality is a choice and even IF he doesn't respect that choice.

There's way more to any gay person than his sexuality. I might respect my friend's generosity, talent, sense-of-humor, etc -- without respecting his sexual "choices." Do you respect all the choices of people you love? If there's one choice you don't respect, does that, to you, mean you don't love the person? If you love someone and then he suddenly makes a choice you don't respect, do you instantly stop loving him?

3. Yes, schizophrenia can be treated and homosexuality can't (and shouldn't). So what? What does that have to do with someone's inner feelings if the BELIEVE that homosexuality can be treated?

It sounds like we're having a deep, philosophical disagreement about what feelings are: let's say I believe -- REALLY BELIEVE -- that Princess Leia is a real person. And let's say I tell you I'm in love with her.

It sounds like you're telling me that what I'm feeling isn't love because she doesn't exist. Okay, you can define things that way if you want, but what are we going to call what I'm feeling? Because I AM feeling SOMETHING.

You -- if I understand you -- are saying that if I stimulate someone's brain to make him feel hunger, and if the same brain regions light up in an MRI that would light up in a normal situation when someone was hungry, that it's wrong to call the stimulated person's feeling hunger.

That seems like an awfully round-about way to use words to me. Do you have ANY words for the sensations of feelings? Or whenever you feel like you feel sad or happy or whatever, do you think, "Well, it feels like I'm sad, but I might not really be sad. I'm only sad if something actually happened that it would make sense to me to be sad about"?

4. If I love him, I would accept and support him -- and that would include dragging him to a clinic, against his will, if he was having a psychotic episode. Just as someone else might drag a gay person to church, to save him from burning in hell for eternity.

Prentend for a minute that you are TRUELY BELIEVE that I'm going to go to hell if you don't drag me to church. If you love me, what is the right thing to do?

You're NOT going to drag me to church? Well, then, I guess you never really loved me!

Frankly, there are two reasons why I don't drag people to church like that: (1) I don't believe in hell. That's the boring reason. I just happen to not believe in it. But what if I did? What if I really and truly believed that if my friend John had sex with a man, he would suffer FOR ETERNITY? I still probably wouldn't drag him to church. Why not? Because (2) I'm cowardly and selfish. I will only go so far to help other people. There are many people I know who are leading ruinous lives and I do nothing to stop them.

In some ways, these bigots love more deeply than I do -- at least some of them do. At least by my definition of love. It's ironic (to me) that they cause terrible, terrible harm and I don't. If, like me, you do nothing most of the time, you neither harm nor help.
posted by grumblebee at 2:39 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Prentend for a minute that you are TRUELY BELIEVE that I'm going to go to hell if you don't drag me to church. If you love me, what is the right thing to do?

Think more.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:47 PM on March 21, 2011


"there is no love without respect"

Respect is, if anything, an even slipperier concept than "love". It's possible to respect people you hate, and respect ideas that you don't even understand. Some bigots might be able to respect homosexuals even though they think said homosexuals are diseased--"hate the sin, love the sinner" and all that; I'm thinking of the Catholics who protest the policies of their church toward homosexuals, without protesting the notion that homosexuality is a sin.

Anyway, much as "hate" can be used to describe either a class of action or a class of emotion, so can "love"; idealistic people tend to prefer using "love" as shorthand for "consensual mutually-beneficial emotional relationships" but it could also be used to describe the feelings of helicopter parents.

4. If you love him, you probably accept and support him, and wouldn't actively contribute to the social stigma that causes the mentally ill to be ostracised.

The sort of person who believes that homosexuality is a disease is the sort of person who gets things confused. They're not good at systems thinking. They don't really understand how diseases work, or what social stigma is; they have stereotypical notions of those things, where "disease" means something like "an undesirable property that a person can have", and perhaps "social stigma" only describes the behavior of gay-bashers, and can't refer to anything that doesn't directly incite violence.

The combination of strong, passionate love with a deranged worldview can make people do terrible things with the best of intentions. The road to hell, etc.
posted by LogicalDash at 2:47 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I believe heterosexuality is a disease, how is that not hateful to all heterosexuals.

That makes sense when said casually, but when I examine it closely, I don't really understand what it means. "Something is hateful to X" (X being a person or group of people) usually means that X doesn't hates something.

Are you just saying that it's horrible for heterosexuals (or homosexuals) when people claim they're diseased? Of course it is. No one disagrees with that. I'm guessing even members of Exodus would agree. They's say, "I'm sure they don't like it when we tell them they're sick. Injections are hateful to me, but I sometimes need them for my own good."

"Hateful to X" can also mean someone is acting badly towards X, as in "Sally was being hateful towards Timmy on the playground."

But, once again, we don't know anything about Sally's motivations. Was she being hateful to him on purpose or via some gross misunderstanding.

Timmy might REASONABLY say, "I don't care. What's important to me is that she's making me feel bad."

Sally's motivations are only important if your goal is to manipulate her. If she's hurting Timmy because she thinks he likes it (or needs it or whatever), we need to disabuse her of that idea. Yelling at her to stop hating Timmy will just confuse her. She'll (honestly) say, "I don't hate him" and keep right on hurting him.
posted by grumblebee at 2:49 PM on March 21, 2011


Think more.

I don't get it. About what?
posted by grumblebee at 2:49 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The combination of strong, passionate love with a deranged worldview can make people do terrible things with the best of intentions

YES!

Sys Req. Do you disagree with that statement? Do you think love NEVER leads a person to do terrible things? If it does, then, to you, is the "love" not love?

I'm really struggling to understand how you define feelings.
posted by grumblebee at 2:54 PM on March 21, 2011


It's delusion.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:56 PM on March 21, 2011


(A treatable symptom of mental illness!)
posted by Sys Rq at 2:57 PM on March 21, 2011


What I'd personally love to see is Apple not removing it, then everyone who is offended by it boycotting them, which prompts Apple to pull it (and lose lots of money), which prompts the anti-gay population to boycott Apple (where they'll lose more money and learn from the whole thing). "Hate" really isn't in my vocabulary. I see inseparable cultures-- one of which, yes, includes stupid, stupid people.

When I see a gay-basher, I don't see a hateful person that should be helped out of their hateful ways so much as I see a fool with nothing to offer our cultures and our converstations-- someone who should be avoided and ignored.

I totally understand a response to this that says "what? their view needs to be addressed and corrected!" I agree with this when it comes to rights and well-being (see below), and advocacy is necessary for that, but how many perspectives are there that are irreconciliable with your own? Too many. We're all on the receiving side of "hate" if you look far enough.

That said, I don't see Apple's dilemma through a moral scope, either. What a company "should" do is the other piece of this that just doesn't come from my lexicon. That always comes up in these PR-related topics (see 'Dickwolves'), and the consensus is usually 99% unanimous. I think a company should be expected to behave like a company, and that means that it will make market-based decisions. [Company makes moral decision smells like lobbying smells like kooks like Fred Helms having undue influence and there's the full circle.]

What I remind my(white straight upper midde class male)self here is,
as with women's rights and civil rights, the most important thing is that the group in question-- in this case, the gay community-- be given the floor so that we're tapped in to their perspective as our caveman species slowly closes another chapter of humiliating ignorance. I say humiliating because when I call myself a "white straight upper midde class male," the words taste bitter even to me.

On my part, for this group who is now still struggling for autonomy and rights, no well-intended advocacy is going to cut it unless I'm aware of what they're going through, what they have to say about it, and what they need. --that goes for dealing with 'hate'groups, the legislature, bullying, etc.

..and the same can be said of everyone who needs advocacy-- abuse victims, refugees, rape vicitms, and whatever the next group is whom our disgracefully stupid (substitute for "hateful" if you like) neighbors will choose to bother next.

--that's cynical. I'm trying not to be. I didn't even used to bother joining the conversation--to listen, I mean. So.. here's to the next person that turns humble enough to listen.. maybe even the true-to-heart "haters" themselves.
posted by herbplarfegan at 3:01 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, so they're delusional. Why should that imply that their feelings, which they perceive as love, are not in fact love?
posted by LogicalDash at 3:02 PM on March 21, 2011


Okay, we're done, Sys Rq. I don't mean that in a rude way (though it probably sounds rude -- sorry). I just mean that we're using words in such wildly different ways, I don't see how we can communicate with each other (about this subject, anyway).

I use the word "hunger" to describe that "I need to eat" sensation whether it occurs naturally or via intrusive stimulation of the brain -- regardless of whether or not the feeling is actually a signal that the body legitimately needs food. To me, someone who feels like he's in love with a fictional character actually IS feeling love -- because that's what the FEELING of love is: that feeling.

I think this goes deeper than just definitions. I think "free-floating" feelings are "first-class objects" that are useful for us to have words for. I think they directly impact how we can deal with bigotry. You (I guess) don't think they are useful concepts that need labels.

So I don't see how we can talk to each other. Not the end of the world, I guess. One can't talk to everyone about everything. I'm available if you have anything more to say to me. But I can't think of anything to say to you. Thanks for the window into a mindset that is alien to me.
posted by grumblebee at 3:06 PM on March 21, 2011


OK, so they're delusional. Why should that imply that their feelings, which they perceive as love, are not in fact love?

Is "because that's what that word means" a good enough answer?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:07 PM on March 21, 2011


...oh, and by "listening" I mean that I want to add,

"and speaking of boycotting, a group like Exodus can't exist if every gay person that it targets would merely tell them to go fuck themselves,"

and I'd rather hear about what they are experiencing in this before I go implying that it didn't occur to them that all they needed to do was think for themselves and stand up for themselves.

It's obviously not that simple by a longshot, and I'm starting to recognize how unfuckinghelpful that is.
posted by herbplarfegan at 3:10 PM on March 21, 2011


Iowa ex-gay therapist accused of having sex with his teen aged patients in order to make them pure in the eyes of God.

I don't know if I'm the only one that read doublewhiskeycokenoice's link, but after this therapist was accused of having sex with boys under the guise of "purifying" them, there is this:

Once Parton learned of the allegations, he confronted Girouex and told him he needed to go to the police and make a confession.

That man is my hero. Seriously, if only the Catholic Church responded to child abuse in this way instead of systematically covering it up, think of how many kids would be better off today.
posted by misha at 3:10 PM on March 21, 2011


Well, no. Just because a person is delusional--i.e., because they suffer from misconceptions about the way the world works--doesn't mean that none of their perceptions have any validity to them.

"Homosexuality is a disease" is an example of a delusion that has nothing at all to do with perception. We can't perceive diseases, we can only perceive symptoms. Some people perceive homosexuality in others, and presume for whatever reason that it's a symptom of a disease. The perception is correct, the rationalization is bogus.

So a delusional person can probably still perceive the world as well as anyone. That means their own opinions of things they can directly perceive should be valid. And that means, if they say they feel compassionate love for those filthy homosexuals they are probably right, for whatever that's worth.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:11 PM on March 21, 2011


OK, so they're delusional. Why should that imply that their feelings, which they perceive as love, are not in fact love?

Is "because that's what that word means" a good enough answer?

I don't think you guys are going to bridge that gap.

Presumably, like me, Logical Dash, you believe that delusional people have feelings -- in fact that's the worst part of being delusional!

I don't think this is QUITE what Sys Req is saying (the nuance escapes me), but it sounds like he's saying something along the lines of "delusional people don't have feelings." Or "delusional people have delusional feelings," which doesn't tell us very much. What is it like to have those feelings? How is the sensation of having them different from the sensation of having non-delusional feelings.

I keep interpreting Sys Req's view as "Maybe they do have feelings, but I don't care about them, because they're based on a delusion," but I don't think that's what he's saying. OTHER people in this thread are saying that ("Why should I care what an anti-gay person feels"), but he's really claiming that they actually -- in the moment of feeling that they are feeling something -- are not feeling that feeling!

If a delusional person claims to be terrified of "the spiders that are crawling all over him" -- if he's cowering an whimpering and shitting his pants -- to Sys Req, he's not actually terrified.

???
posted by grumblebee at 3:15 PM on March 21, 2011


nb. not all delusional people suffer from hallucinations; my last post presumes that most of them don't
posted by LogicalDash at 3:18 PM on March 21, 2011


"and speaking of boycotting, a group like Exodus can't exist if every gay person that it targets would merely tell them to go fuck themselves,"

and I'd rather hear about what they are experiencing in this before I go implying that it didn't occur to them that all they needed to do was think for themselves and stand up for themselves.


Yes, except that will never happen, or at least it won't until our society has changed a LOT.

The problem is that there are enough lines in enough religious texts which say that homosexuality is Really Really Bad that groups like Exodus will always have a market for their services. As long as religious literalism mixes with cultural othering, the atmosphere will remain in which people feel that there is something about them which is intrinsically BAD about themselves which needs to be fixed.

I don't think that you can still buy skin lightening creams anymore, but somehow in my mind Exodus holds forth the same promise to religiously conservative homosexuals that the skin lightening creams and hair straighteners held toward dark skinned people for far too many decades in this country. That someone, somewhere, has the secret which will let you, a no-good outcast who is othered, mocked, cast out, or even killed based on who you ARE, pass as being one of the accepted and privileged.
posted by hippybear at 3:42 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm really hesitant to think the Exodus people are doing this out of any sort of love or good intentions when they are obviously making bank on this horseshit.
posted by NoraReed at 3:47 PM on March 21, 2011


Let's get this app pulled because we disagree with its message?

No thanks. I choose freedom of speech.
posted by reductiondesign at 3:51 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


What I'd personally love to see is Apple not removing it, then everyone who is offended by it boycotting them, which prompts Apple to pull it (and lose lots of money), which prompts the anti-gay population to boycott Apple (where they'll lose more money and learn from the whole thing)...That said, I don't see Apple's dilemma through a moral scope, either...I think a company should be expected to behave like a company, and that means that it will make market-based decisions.

I'm confused then as to why Apple should be the bad guy that suffers financial losses here instead of Exodus International, who this whole ordeal will surely provide with a ton of free publicity and may even benefit from it. While Apple's +4 rating is unfortunate (particularly with the "no objectionable content" description), the app rating system appears to be based on age groups and uses similar criteria to the MPAA movie ratings system (violence OK, violence and swears sorta OK, violence and swears and sex only OK for mommies and daddies). This seems to be holding Apple's app store to a higher standard than pretty much any other distributor. Unfortunately this passive-aggressive quasi-religious bullying stuff is even OK for daytime TV. I'd be glad to see it gone too, FWIW
posted by Hoopo at 3:55 PM on March 21, 2011


You can still buy skin-lightening cream, at least in the us and (last I heard) india
posted by jtron at 3:59 PM on March 21, 2011


Sys Rq, do you believe a deluded person KNOWS that they are deluded?

Because that's what it is we're actually arguing about here. I know that the homophobe is deluded. You know it. Grumblebee knows it.

But we're not talking about whether the deluded person is deluded, or whether the deluded person genuinely feels love. We're talking about what the deluded person thinks s/he feels.

We all know they're deluded. But what does the deluded person think? That's the question.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:00 PM on March 21, 2011


I don't think this is QUITE what Sys Req is saying (the nuance escapes me), but it sounds like he's saying something along the lines of "delusional people don't have feelings." Or "delusional people have delusional feelings," which doesn't tell us very much. What is it like to have those feelings? How is the sensation of having them different from the sensation of having non-delusional feelings.

The second one, sort of. More like "person has emotion -- emotion inspires action -- action is objectively contrary to emotion -- ERROR."

Look, I'm not saying they don't feel love; what I'm saying is that feelings of "love" are not equivalent to actual love. Feelings of "love" that fuel actions which, to an objective observer, appear to be obviously contrary (i.e. abusive or antisocial) are delusional feelings of "love." Yes, they feel it; yes, it feels like love; no, it is not love.

If a delusional person claims to be terrified of "the spiders that are crawling all over him" -- if he's cowering an whimpering and shitting his pants -- to Sys Req, he's not actually terrified.


I am not saying anything like that at all. Yes, he feels it; yes, it feels like spiders; no, it is not spiders. If he's terrified by the idea of spiders crawling on him, he would be really (not delusionally) terrified.

Of course, the spiders would be hallucination, not delusion. Delusion is a belief despite ample evidence to the contrary. It's sort of the opposite of hallucination, in a way; delusion is a disability (or dysfunction, really) to see (which is to say, to grok) what's right in front of you, whereas hallucination is seeing things that aren't.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:07 PM on March 21, 2011


Dr. Gary Remafedi, a scientist whose work is cited in the app, has written a letter to Apple demanding the app be removed:
"When one clicks the Exodus app, it directs the viewer to a webpage that answers questions about homosexuality. One of the question sequences is, 'If people are same-sex attracted but don’t ever act on it, does that make them homosexual? What if they do engage in same-sex physical intimacy? Are they homosexual then?'
In answering these questions, Exodus twists the findings of Dr. Remafedi to make it appear as if homosexuality is just a transitory phase in youth. *
posted by ericb at 4:09 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


action is objectively contrary to emotion

Emotions aren't objective, and they aren't logical assertions to be contradicted, so I'm at a loss for how an action can be "objectively contrary" to an emotion. I guess that loving someone and attempting to help them in a way that actually hurts them is sort of thematically contrary to what love is supposed to be about, but to me that implies that the expression of love is an unhealthy one, not that the love is counterfeit.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:13 PM on March 21, 2011


Dr. Gary Remafedi letter to Steve Jobs and Tim Cook:
Dear Messrs. Jobs and Cook,

This message serves as a request to remove the Exodus International application from Apple’s iphone offerings because the website content is objectionable. It erroneously cites my research (Remafedi 1992) in support of claims that homosexuality can be changed.

Various professional organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental or physical condition. Programs which aim to change sexual orientation have been opposed because they are unwarranted, ineffective, unethical, and harmful.

Exodus’s website features an article (Buchanan 2010) which makes erroneous statements and conclusions and attributes them to Remafedi (1992). Statements were made to the effect to that many teens are confused about their sexual orientation and that sexual orientation is amenable to change. Further, associating my work with that of the ex-gay ministry and other unfounded treatments is professionally injurious and grievous.

As a savvy consumer, I understand that corporations market phones both by offering a wide array of applications and by appealing to niche audiences like Exodus’s. In turn, Exodus applies the Apple “4+” smartphone application rating to its own website as an imprimatur (see http://exodusinternational.org/).

From my perspective, the risk of offending and harming consumers by providing a platform for erroneous information about an important health and social topic far outweighs the potential financial gain. Arguably, corporations have no affirmative responsibility to vendors under the First Amendment of the Constitution, but they are accountable for the quality and consequences of their products.

For the aforementioned reasons, I ask Apple to revoke the 4+ rating and delete the Exodus application from the iphone’s menu of applications.

Respectfully,

Gary Remafedi, M.D., M.P.H.
Previously: Dr. Gary Remafedi Reprimands Sham Pediatric Group For Distorting Research.
posted by ericb at 4:13 PM on March 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Let's get this app pulled because we disagree with its message?

No thanks. I choose freedom of speech.


So do I. I would strongly oppose Congress attempting to make apps like this illegal. However, I also support Apple's right to choose to provide (or not) this application at their store and I support your right and mine to let them know how we feel about this.

We appear to be in agreement. High five!
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 4:17 PM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wow. I was totally getting you -- for the first time -- Sys Req, until the spider part.

If he's terrified of a hallucination, he's really terrified.

If he's terrified due to a delusion, he's not really terrified?

Up until that part, it sounded like you were saying this: there's a difference between inner feelings and outer actions. I agree.

Let's say I have a warm, tender feeling towards someone. I won't call it "love," because that word is getting us into so many confusions. I'll just call it A.

Because I'm feeling A and because I have some sort of delusion that produces terrible results when mixed with A, I am engaging in action B. There's the feeling -- A -- and there's the action -- B.

It sounds like we both agree that A and B exist. You agree I feel SOMETHING, right? And you agree I act in some way, right?

You're saying that A and B are not equal, right. If someone claims that I am in an "a state of A-ness," you might say, "No, he's not. He's FEELING A," but for me to agree he's in an 'a state of A-ness,' he'd have to be feeling A and ALSO acting in an A-ish way. Whereas he's feeling A and acting in a B-ish way."

IF that's what you're saying, I agree with all of it. I just find the words you use to express that idea really odd. Because in order to not use letters to describe things, we need words for them. I think love, fear, anger, etc. are really useful words for describing feelings.

What I would say is that so-and-so is FEELING love but he's ACTING in hateful way.

Is that somewhere in the ballpark of what you mean, even if I'm using words for it in a different way than you are?

IF you accept the basic form of...

Fred is feeling A but acting in way B.

... do you think A can ever be important, for instance if you're trying to get Fred to stop doing B? Do you think it's always wise to go straight for the action -- B -- and stop him (or try to stop him) from doing it? Do you ever find that it's wiser to deal with A?
posted by grumblebee at 4:22 PM on March 21, 2011


NoraReed: "I'm really hesitant to think the Exodus people are doing this out of any sort of love or good intentions when they are obviously making bank on this horseshit."

This got me curious, so I looked up their 990. Ten employees, only three of whom are paid, and they're all well under $100,000. Most of their income is from donations, not from their workshops.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:29 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's unfortunate that we're spending so much time thinking about the inner experiences and emotions of bigots rather than focusing on the queer people who are being deeply harmed by the actions of groups like Exodus. Why aren't we talking about what it's like to be a scared, confused teenager forced to go into conversion therapy? Why aren't we talking about what it's like to be a depressed, self-loathing gay man who doesn't know how to reconcile his faith with his sexuality and who is being fed poison that tells him something is deeply wrong with him, that an aspect of his being that has the capacity to bring great joy and pleasure is instead a defect?
posted by overglow at 4:34 PM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


'cos the thread's about bigots
posted by LogicalDash at 4:34 PM on March 21, 2011


I downloaded the app. It kept telling my iPhone that it could become and Android if it just prayed hard enough.
posted by LarryC at 4:35 PM on March 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


I would strongly oppose Congress attempting to make apps like this illegal. However, I also support Apple's right to choose to provide (or not) this application at their store and I support your right and mine to let them know how we feel about this.

To me, this is a deeply complex issue. I'm talking more morally than legally, but the two systems tend to meet (e.g. if I have to vote for someone on one or the other side of a moral fence).

I fall in that murky pit that lies somewhere between Socialism and (free market) Libertarianism. To me those poles are too extreme, but they have going for them a sort of clarity that I can never achieve while I'm not standing at either of them.

Okay, so I'm not into government placing all sorts of regulations on what businesses can and can't sell. But I'm aslo not for complete lack of oversight. My guess is that you, It's Never Lurgi, are with me on that. (I don't know anything about you, so forgive me if I'm wrong. You might be a free-market fundamentalist for all I know. Statistically, you're more likely to be in the pit along with me, because most people are.)

So let me twist your words a bit, just to make a point:

I also support Apple's right to choose to only hire white people at their store and I support your right and mine to let them know how we feel about this.

Most of us would agree that if Apple did this, the government SHOULD step in and stop them. But why? Because racism is EVIL. In other words, even if we generally support a free market, we think this is so beyond the pale that the freedom should be curtailed in this case.

BECAUSE racism is deeply evil.

The question is, is censorship deeply evil? As evil as racism? (Don't get too hung up on the word "censorship." I'm using it for shorthand. There's a ethic that holds freedom of expression is a great good and anything that curtails that freedom, even in a local place and time, a great evil.)

So IS it the case that this is simple for you because you ALWAYS support a free market (even if a company refuses to pay women equal wages or whatever) or is it simple to you because, though you don't ALWAYS support a free market, you do in all but the most extreme cases, and "censorship" of this kind isn't extreme to you?

Because if it's the latter, the REAL point is that this sort of censorship isn't a big deal to you.

To me it is. And that's where I run into trouble. I think freedom of expression is deeply, deeply important in nearly ALL human spheres. I think much of the trouble we have is due to a lack of this freedom. And, in a country where corporate life (and consumerism) is such a huge force, it's hard for me to say, "Well, it's not happening in the government -- it's just happening in a company -- so it's okay." That's too BIG a "just," especially in a company as powerful as Apple!

But -- yeah -- I'm also not comfortable with the government stepping in and making all sorts of "p.c." laws. So I'm caught. It's not okay with me, but I'm also not ready to see it legislated against. I guess I could "speak with my dollar," but that won't make much difference. And it won't be a clear message.
posted by grumblebee at 4:42 PM on March 21, 2011


Wow. I was totally getting you -- for the first time -- Sys Req, until the spider part.

Well, it was your example. I tried my best to shoehorn it. Disregard it if need be.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:42 PM on March 21, 2011


I think it's unfortunate that we're spending so much time thinking about the inner experiences and emotions of bigots rather than focusing on the queer people who are being deeply harmed by the actions of groups like Exodus.

I understand and sympathize.

But to me this is like being in the room with a ticking time bomb and saying, "I think we're spending too much time trying to defuse the bomb and not enough time talking about the people who are going to be hurt in the blast and about people who have been hurt in previous blasts."
posted by grumblebee at 4:45 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Except nobody is trying to diffuse the bomb. They're speculating on the emotional states of those who created and planted the bomb.
posted by hippybear at 4:46 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd like to prevent bigots from acting in bigoted ways. To do this, I must change bigots' minds. To do this, I must understand bigots' point of view and reason with it.

Make sense?
posted by LogicalDash at 4:48 PM on March 21, 2011


Wow. I was totally getting you -- for the first time -- Sys Req, until the spider part.

Well, it was your example. I tried my best to shoehorn it. Disregard it if need be.

It doesn't matter whose example it was. If I bring up 1 + 1 and you say it equals 5 ... and then if I question you as to your reasoning, it doesn't make any difference that I came up with 1 + 1. Why do you think the answer is 5?

Is the following a fair picture of your view? (I'm basing it on the spider thing.)

Fred is hallucinating that a beautiful woman is in the room with him. He feels like he's in love with her.

Bill thinks a really woman, Mary, is in love with him, when in fact she's not. He feels like he's in love with her. He keeps sending her flowers, even though she doesn't want them. She has told him to stop, but he doesn't, because he doesn't believe she means it.

We do a brain scan on Fred and Bill and the same regions (the "in love") regions light up on both.

Fred is in love.

Bill is not in love.


I would say they are both in love. I would also call Bill a stalker and an asshole. And if his behavior escalated, I would recommend Mary get a restraining order. But I would still say he's in love.
posted by grumblebee at 4:52 PM on March 21, 2011


Love is as love does.

Got it?

Sheesh. I'm bored.

Later.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:54 PM on March 21, 2011


Except nobody is trying to diffuse the bomb. They're speculating on the emotional states of those who created and planted the bomb.

I strongly believe -- based on lots of life experience -- that this is necessary (in many cases) when trying to diffuse THIS bomb.

In fact, we DON'T speculate much on the emotional states of bigots. We do in this thread. But it's not a big part of the conversation, other than some pop-psych stuff about how bigots are really scared of what they don't understand. And we (we as a country) don't USE that information.

Instead we either protect racism or shoot it in the foot.

When you're hunting a dangerous animal, it REALLY helps to understand it. If you're trying to understand a shark, that doesn't mean you like the shark or excuse it when it eats people. You're trying to understand it so that you can kill it.
posted by grumblebee at 4:56 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm confused then as to why Apple should be the bad guy that suffers financial losses here instead of Exodus International, who this whole ordeal will surely provide with a ton of free publicity and may even benefit from it.

That's a good point; I didn't mean that Apple should suffer because of anything involved-- I just meant to illustrate that Apple's motive shouldn't be catering to one side of an issue or another. I'd be 1000x happier to see Exodus Int'l go under for just that reason-- I could have made two points at once with that one-- the other one being that it would be nice if their target audience would tell them to go to hell. but:

As long as religious literalism mixes with cultural othering, the atmosphere will remain in which people feel that there is something about them which is intrinsically BAD about themselves which needs to be fixed.

hardcore nth. religious literalism is the biggest culprit. Enter bad parenting, the ignorant majority, etc., but that's the thickest root.

I think everyone in this room is as concerned with diffusing the bomb as with protecting the future of those who it is threatening. These conversations are important. Religious freedom (meaning we're no longer experiencing the inquisition), Women's rights, civil rights, etc have happened because many conversations like this one took place over time..

--and action of course-- I just mean that even the derails here aren't pointless.
posted by herbplarfegan at 4:56 PM on March 21, 2011


Sometimes if a derail goes on long enough it just becomes a new railway
posted by The Whelk at 4:56 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


In fact, we DON'T speculate much on the emotional states of bigots. We do in this thread. But it's not a big part of the conversation, other than some pop-psych stuff about how bigots are really scared of what they don't understand. And we (we as a country) don't USE that information.

Well, you should speak for yourself in this matter.

My background as a raving, abortion-clinic-picketing, creationist evangelical hardcore Jesus person has given me plenty of points of reference as to how exactly that crowd looks at the world. I know where they're coming from, I know what motivates them, I can even project myself into their mindset. Because I used to be one of them.

But what use is that? They have a worldview which is based on a specific interpretation of a specific religious text, and that worldview doesn't actually jibe with reality. They are willing participants in a self-selected delusion about the nature of the universe, and they operate within that worldview as if it were indeed TRUTH.

And anywhere that reality doesn't conform with their TRUTH, they seek to remake reality so they don't have to reshape their TRUTH.

It's not like it's a really difficult mindset to understand. It's only when you start trying to assign motivations which lie outside the idea that, for them, their TRUTH is paramount and everything else must give way before it that it all gets muddy.
posted by hippybear at 5:02 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


roll truck roll-- Color me surprised! I take back that argument then.
posted by NoraReed at 5:02 PM on March 21, 2011


Not all bigots are raving picketing evangelical Jesus people. Some of them just think the sexuality they were born with is gross, or whatever. There will always be some wholly unreasonable people in the world, but a lot of people who are deluded in some ways are reasonable in others. Might as well take advantage of that wherever possible.
posted by LogicalDash at 5:06 PM on March 21, 2011


I really wish ex-gay meant something more along the lines of, say, X-Men. I'm not sure how we could reclaim the term, and apply it to a group of mutant homosexual superheros, but if anyone has some ideas, I'd love to participate. </derail>
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:07 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


and apply it to a group of mutant homosexual superheros

Snikt!
posted by The Whelk at 5:10 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Imagine two countries at war, Eurasia and Oceania. Eurasia started it. Eurasia was CLEARLY the aggressor. However, Eurasia doesn't see itself that way. In the misguided minds of the Eurasians, they have a divine right to do what they're doing, which is pounding Oceania with missiles.

Oceania is defending itself by striking back. And with each counter attack, Eurasia gets more and more angry at the Oceanian infidels and fires yet MORE missiles, to which Oceania responds by firing back...

This war has been going on for 200 years, and it's your job -- lucky you -- to put an end to it. You're an ambassador from Idaho, a neutral country, and you have the might of your nation behind you. You just have to decide what to do.

Maybe this is an "easy" decision, since Eurasia is clearly in-the-wrong. (Clear to everyone except the Eurasians, anyway.) Oceania was a peaceful country until Eurasia attacked it, 200 years ago.

Your advisors suggest you follow one of three options:

1) Use Idaho's mighty army to augment Oceania's forces, so that Oceania will finally be able to wipe Eurasia off the face of the Earth, thus obtaining peace.

2) Stop the war with diplomacy, which means really trying to understand the Eurasians and their hateful beliefs. If you don't try to get inside their heads, they'll instantly recognize that you don't understand them, and they'll walk away from any talks. They are horrible, evil people, but the ONLY way you'll be able to get them to sit down at the table is to first understand where they are coming from.

3) Luckily, there is a slow cultural drift towards peace. In both Eurasia and Oceania, the younger generations are sick of war. It seems likely that, with time, peace will happen "on its own." This "on its own" will have to be helped out by a lot of propaganda, education, etc. It will take years, but there's a chance it will actually work.

Which will you choose and why?

So that was my tortured analogy for bigotry -- or for dealing with bigots. Those of us who are opposed to it are too scared (or morally opposed) to take the first option. We're not shooting all the racists.

It seems to me like what we're doing is taking the third option. And it seems to be working. Sort of. Slooooooowly. Things are certainly better than they were fifty or even twenty years ago. But if we go this route, we need to admit that it's got a large passive element to it and recognize that it may take decades if it works at all.

This IS the route where you spend much of your energy commiserating with the victims, because why not? They need support, and you're not putting much energy into anything else. You're not engaging with the enemy.

Route two seems loathsome to most people. What frustrates me is that people can't even see it as a means to an end (even if they disagree that it will lead to the desired end). Instead, the see it as taking sides with the bigots or excusing them.

In my experience, having done a LOT of conflict management, that route, though hard, is the most effective. Which is why I'm in favor of it. I don't excuse fucking bigotry. It's a bomb -- a horrible, devastating bomb.

But there it is. Let's at least try to diffuse it!
posted by grumblebee at 5:19 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ. I don't care if Exodus genuinely believes that homosexuality can be cured. I don't care if they know it with faith, certainty and good will or with prejudice, hate and intolerance. They are free to believe what they like and advocate for their point of view within reason. That is their right. I think they are wrong and wish they would stop hurting people with this bullshit, but I don't really care why they think it.

I do care, however, that Apple makes a choice about what apps go in the store; that they chose to allow this app; and that they can un-choose it. Since it is their store and they can allow or ban apps for any reason, bad reasons, good reasons or no reason at all, they should exercise that prerogative and ban this one. Pronto.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:19 PM on March 21, 2011


Not all bigots are raving picketing evangelical Jesus people. Some of them just think the sexuality they were born with is gross, or whatever. There will always be some wholly unreasonable people in the world, but a lot of people who are deluded in some ways are reasonable in others. Might as well take advantage of that wherever possible.

This is true.

Although the chances of a non-religious self-hating homosexual choosing Exodus as their method of trying to solve their supposed problem are probably zero.
posted by hippybear at 5:25 PM on March 21, 2011


But what use is that? They have a worldview which is based on a specific interpretation of a specific religious text, and that worldview doesn't actually jibe with reality. They are willing participants in a self-selected delusion about the nature of the universe, and they operate within that worldview as if it were indeed TRUTH.

I don't have all the answers, but what I note here is that you've done two things. You've explained a philosophy AND you've thrown up your hands in the face of it. The trick is to do the former without doing that latter.

Philosophies can SEEM impregnable, but the people who hold them are often more malleable than you'd think, even given what they believe. I don't mean it's easy to change them. It's fucking difficult and it's going to fail a lot of the time. But just because someone says, "I hate all fags and I always will," it doesn't mean that he actually always will. He's not a robot. He's a person.

The problem is that we hate engaging with these people so much, we're very quick to throw up our hands and say, "What can you do in a case like that?" To be honest, I don't KNOW what you can do in a case like that. (If we were talking about a real person or group, I might be able to come up with some ideas.) But my impetus is to say, "We'd better start brainstorming" rather than throwing up my hands. Because they alternatives are unthinkable.
posted by grumblebee at 5:27 PM on March 21, 2011


I think they are wrong and wish they would stop hurting people with this bullshit, but I don't really care why they think it.

I do care, however, that Apple makes a choice about what apps go in the store


So there are two organizations, Apple and Exodus. You care about what one does but not the other? Why?
posted by grumblebee at 5:28 PM on March 21, 2011


grumblebee: So there are two organizations, Apple and Exodus. You care about what one does but not the other? Why

What? I said I don't care why Exodus thinks what they think, not that I don't care what Exodus does. I find what Exodus does odious; thus, I would like Apple to pull their app.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:32 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


And anywhere that reality doesn't conform with their TRUTH, they seek to remake reality so they don't have to reshape their TRUTH.

Oddly enough, I used to think the same thing about transexuals.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:33 PM on March 21, 2011


I'm not sure that using Orwellian turns of phrase to illuminate your metaphor is particularly helpful to your argument....

But seriously? What are you proposing? That if all the queers could sit down with all the ex-gay ministry types (with input from the correct conflict management counselor), somehow mutual understanding and a truce could be reached?

You say that option 2 is a means to an end, but to what end? Do you think that enough conversation will convince the ex-gay types to change their mind about whether homosexuality is an abomination worthy of eternal punishment by an angry god? Do you think that if the queers just sit down with the management of Exodus, they'll suddenly realize that maybe gays can be cured after all?

If under your metaphor "peace" simply means both sides are no longer attacking one another, that would be simple to accomplish. But implicit in "no longer attacking" seems to be a surrender of all those who are taught to hate themselves into the hands of those who will further that hate to the point of psychological damage.

I really don't see a middle ground here. Either homosexuals are horrible and need to be cured, or they are not and thus do not need to be. What path toward peace between those two positions do you see your option 2 reaching?
posted by hippybear at 5:34 PM on March 21, 2011


DarlingBri, what I meant was to ask why you're targeting Apple in particular. You find what both organizations are doing loathsome (Exodus's bigotry and Apple's trucking in the fruits of that bigotry). But it seemed like you were more interested in focusing on Apple. I was just asking why. What's the difference?
posted by grumblebee at 5:36 PM on March 21, 2011


So, going with the bomb metaphor... There's a lot of ways one could respond to a ticking bomb. First, I think it's important to let as many people as possible know about the bomb. Especially since there are people who are saying, hey, that's no bomb, that's a healing fountain! Come here to be healed if you're sick!

In my mind, the most important thing to do is to prevent more people from being damaged by the ongoing explosions. So that means countering the propaganda that the bomb is actually good for people. That means focusing your communication strategy on the people who are wavering, who aren't sure about the bomb but are considering going near to it because they're profoundly uncomfortable with themselves. That means talking to parents who are thinking of sending their children to the bomb.

It also means making it public when corporations or politicians are donating time to the people who built and maintain the bomb. It means boycotts and protests and doing what you can to disrupt the chain of supplies to the bomb. Is the bomb getting subsidies from the government for doing programs for troubled teens? Are doctors advising their patients to go to the bomb for healing? Well, probably those doctors should lose their licenses. At least the public should be informed that that's what the doctor thinks.

Could it also work to try to convince the people who planted the bomb that they should dismantle it? Perhaps. I'm not very optimistic about that myself, because they are pretty convinced that they're right. I think the people who run Exodus and Focus on the Family are some of the last people who are going to be convinced that queer people have a right to exist and be happy. If they ever are. It's a lot easier for me to imagine a situation in which they're still out there, peddling their poisonous lies, but they're treated by the rest of society roughly the way that the KKK is treated now.
posted by overglow at 5:40 PM on March 21, 2011


But seriously? What are you proposing? That if all the queers could sit down with all the ex-gay ministry types (with input from the correct conflict management counselor), somehow mutual understanding and a truce could be reached?

You say that option 2 is a means to an end, but to what end?


We don't know if it would work, because we refuse to try it. We have never, ever, ever tried it. And just that image of "the queers sitting down with the gay ministry types" is one of the ways we refuse to try it.

Because, yes, that's absurd. It wouldn't take one meeting. It might take a thousand meetings. And it wouldn't JUST take a thousand meetings. That would fail, too. It would have to be an all-out commitment to understanding and education -- no matter what.

It would be part of every day at school, it would be part of every day on tv, etc. And we'd be TRAINING those "counselors" especially to deal with THIS ISSUE.

How many counselors each day go into homophobic neighborhoods and calmly try to engage people about it? Zero? Five? Why not five hundred -- five hundred who go back day after day, who go into bars and drink beers with people, who go to the churches, etc.?

But we're just not willing to put that sort of energy into it. We're not into that sort of thing in this country. We're into teams. Opposing teams. Blaming. Politics. Etc.

Here's a small example of the colossal failure -- the failure that goes on every day but that no one even sees as failure:

I grew up in a liberal, non-racist environment. We can quibble about whether there is such a thing as a truly non-racist environment. But compared to many places, where I grew up was pretty free of racial bigotry. It was also free of black people. Almost everyone was white.

WHY DIDN'T I MEET (HARDLY) ANY BLACK PEOPLE UNTIL I WAS IN COLLEGE?

Why didn't my school pack me on a bus, when I was three, four, five, six ... when I was impressionable... and take me to a place where I could play with black kids? Where black and white and asian and Christian and Jewish and etc. kids could all play together? (With adult supervision, of course.) Maybe that wouldn't have made me grow up liking black people. But I certainly wouldn't have felt as odd and other and scared when I first moved into an all-black neighborhood. In a country as diverse as America, why did liberal people allow me to grow up the sheltered way I grew up?

Because no one thought it was important enough.

Why isn't our government giving an economic incentive to people who go see openly gay doctors and dentists?

Okay, that last idea was pulled out of my ass. It's probably a terrible idea. So please don't call me out on it. The point is that I thought of it in about five seconds. Why don't we have huge think tanks coming up with ideas like that (better ones) -- ideas that will bring different kinds of people together in everyday environments?

If people are getting bigoted ideas from their fundamentalist churches, why aren't OTHER churches training priests to set up alternative churches in those same neighborhoods -- churches that are geared to appeal the same demographics -- but churches that aren't bigoted?

EVERY once in a great while, we talk about how bigots lash out at scapegoats because they (the bigots) are poor, uneducated, or have various other woes. Well, THERE are some areas to target!

All of my ideas here are probably terrible. But, again, I'm on the spot. This discussion, though, the one called How to Stop Bigotry is not on the table -- not seriously. Instead, the discussions are Let's Lash Out At Bigots and Let's Comfort Victims.
posted by grumblebee at 5:59 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's a lot easier for me to imagine a situation in which they're still out there, peddling their poisonous lies, but they're treated by the rest of society roughly the way that the KKK is treated now.

It is easier. But the KKK (or something like it) isn't going away. And that's unacceptable. The easier option is -- to me -- unacceptable.
posted by grumblebee at 6:02 PM on March 21, 2011


grumblebee BECAUSE racism is deeply evil. The question is, is censorship deeply evil?

I think censorship is evil, although not as deeply, but I disagree that this is censorship. I'm pretty happy with the right of a company to choose not to sell a certain product and I don't consider that to be censorship. There are cases where I think the company is serving an important public need and perhaps their choices need some governmental oversight (e.g. pharmacies). There are other cases where the company is a de-facto monopoly and I'm not sure how I think about that, but the government should get involved on some level. I don't think Apple qualifies either way.

Censorship, to me, is when the government (or some other sufficiently powerful organization) restricts the sale of an item by otherwise unrelated third parties.

(Your guess of my political views is pretty much correct, btw)
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 6:05 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's Never Lurgi, I hope you don't mind me pressing you. Just don't answer if you don't want to. I'm not trying to paint you into a logical corner. I'm just trying to understand your point of view.

I'm fine with not calling it censorship. But I'm curious to know how far you take your philosophy of "I'm happy to the right of a company to choose not to sell a certain product..."

What if Apple refused to sell apps made by black people?

My guess is that, if they did this, they'd be massively boycotted, so the market would punish them. But imagine it's 1950 and they refused to sell apps made by homosexuals or communists. Or imagine it's the 1930s and they refused to sell apps built by Jews. The market might not punish these actions at all.

Are you okay with them, anyway, or do you think he government should step in?
posted by grumblebee at 6:09 PM on March 21, 2011


Love is as love does. Got it?

"well, I love my cousin so much I want to save him from sin. To me, that's a loving thing to do. I'd stop my cousin if he was about to walk in front of a truck, wouldn't I? Of course. This is the same thing. So since love is as love does, and I'm saving my cousin's life, and saving his life is a loving thing to do, therefore I love him. QED."

That's sincerely what a Christian thinks. Got it?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:19 PM on March 21, 2011


That is, what a given subset of Christians think.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:19 PM on March 21, 2011


grumblebee - These sorts of things always have edges and dark corners. No, I would not be okay with a company that chose not to sell stuff made by black people. I assume we can both agree that a company has a right not to sell something that is a crappy product. A company can also choose not to sell something because it's not organic, not fair trade, not Christian (if you are a Christian bookstore for example. If you are a hardware store? Not so much), not made with child labor in Cleveland, etc. I think that these are reasonable business decisions (applied consistently) and companies should be free to make them.

When you talk about companies that won't sell things because they are made by black people, then I think you have added civil rights into the mix and also removed any sort of valid arguments on business grounds. So the government steps in and smacks them around. Fine by me.

At what point does it transition from being a valid business choice to an invalid one? Wish I knew. It seems reasonable for a company not to stock items made in Iran on the grounds that Iran doesn't acknowledge Israel. It doesn't make me happy, but I'm okay with it (I guess, like many people, I'm more tolerant of discimination against groups I don't actually like that much).

I think that every philosophy is going to run into some thorny problems when you try to apply it to the real world (which is one of the many reasons I'm suspicious of libertarianism and Objectivisim - because they don't seem to acknowledge these thorny problems).
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 6:28 PM on March 21, 2011


We're in agreement, It's Never Lurgi. I was confused at first because you made it seem so simple. I guess it is simple, for you, in this case, because Apple isn't veering close to what you consider a grey area.
posted by grumblebee at 6:32 PM on March 21, 2011


Inside Ex-Gay Reparative Therapy
Ex-gay ministries started in the early 1970's with a group called Love in Action, under the principle that through prayer gay people could be "cured" of their same-gender feelings and converted to heterosexuality. Shortly after, the co-founder of Love in Action, Rev. Kent Philpott, wrote the landmark book The Third Sex?, which described the conversion process of six gay people to heterosexuality.

Attention surrounding The Third Sex? resulting in the first ex-gay conference, of which the largest ex-gay ministry, Exodus International was created. The ex-gay movement grew with the creation of several ex-gay organizations that all believe homosexuality can be repaired.
'Ex-Gay' Love In Action Co-Founder: ‘My Ministry Shatters Lives’.

Beyond Ex-Gay -- "...an online community and resource for those of us who have survived ex-gay experiences. So often healing comes through community and through sharing our stories and experiences with each other."

“Ex-Gay” is Anti-Gay, Disguised as Compassion -- "When a young person divulges to a pastor or religious leader that she is queer, the church will immediately refer them to an ex-gay ministry and encourage them to change."

The Ex-Gay Industry Is Fostering Social Rejection of Persons with Same Sex Attractions.

True Confessions -- "Men who have been through 'ex-gay' Christian ministries share their stories."
posted by ericb at 6:35 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Chasing the Devil: Inside the Ex-Gay Movement [video documentary | 1:42:00].

Facebook page.
posted by ericb at 6:41 PM on March 21, 2011


That is, what a given subset of Christians think.

While we're on that subject, check out these dudes:
Deliverance: The True Story of a Gay Exorcism

"Some Pentecostal Christians believe the deliverance rite can exorcise the demons that cause homosexuality. the truly shocking part is that god-fearing gays keep signing up for the traumatic ritual."
posted by ericb at 6:45 PM on March 21, 2011


We don't know if it would work, because we refuse to try it. We have never, ever, ever tried it. And just that image of "the queers sitting down with the gay ministry types" is one of the ways we refuse to try it.

This conversation is like walking on shifting sands.

I agree that a concentrated outreach program could probably work wonders. But you're mistaken if you think it's never been tried. Go back and read about the Mattachine Society or the Gay Liberation Front. People actually did used to go door to door discussing GLBT issues with random strangers, trying to win hearts and minds.

But comparing what you've written here to what you wrote before, you don't seem to believe that there is a middle ground upon which Oceania and Eurasia. You believe that one side is clearly right and the other side is clearly wrong and you hope that there won't be a compromise, but that one side will ultimately be defeated. And you cheer for the possiblity of that outcome.

Or that seems to be what you're saying. It's so hard to tell anymore.

Have you ever actually sat down with one of these ex-gay ministry people as a homosexual and had a conversation with them about the issue? I have. More than once. It's not a quality conversation, not even with my background being able to help me know the lingo and the mindset.

EVERY once in a great while, we talk about how bigots lash out at scapegoats because they (the bigots) are poor, uneducated, or have various other woes. Well, THERE are some areas to target!

Well, the sad thing is, people who talk about bigots being poor or uneducated or whatever... are themselves exhibiting a bigoted mindset. "Oh, they just don't know any better. Damn their circumstances! Damn their breeding! Damn all the things which keep them from being not who they should be!" It's the same sickening mindset which equates everything that is over 200 miles from an ocean as somehow redneck hicksville where everyone marches in lock-step with each other, all following each utterance of Palin and Beck to the letter. The truth of the matter is, the country is a lot less divided than that, flyover country is full of liberals, and bigots can be highly educated and hugely successful people.
posted by hippybear at 7:15 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


grumblebee: DarlingBri, what I meant was to ask why you're targeting Apple in particular. You find what both organizations are doing loathsome (Exodus's bigotry and Apple's trucking in the fruits of that bigotry). But it seemed like you were more interested in focusing on Apple. I was just asking why. What's the difference

Because the presence of the Exodus app in the app store is the point of this post. If it had been an "Exodus is a bunch of evil fuckers, amirite?" post, I would have weighed in with "Yes, verily you are correct."
posted by DarlingBri at 7:18 PM on March 21, 2011


I guess it is simple, for you, in this case, because Apple isn't veering close to what you consider a grey area.

I think that Apple has swan dived directly into a grey area - but it's a grey area of their making. As soon as they started rejecting apps for being "offensive" they set themselves up for something like this. They declared themselves as the gatekeepers. Well, they can deal with it.

my iPod is still awesome
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 8:59 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is very similar to the situation that Nintendo was in back around the NES era, they had the dominant platform for console games and served as the gatekeepers for all content on the device. Their content guidelines were harsher and obviously there were a lot less games published than iPhone apps, but it's the same general concept.

This reminds me of developer Wisdom Tree and their unlicensed Christian-themed NES games.
posted by box at 9:02 PM on March 21, 2011


Also, Cydia? I don't know if it's fair to call it an alternative App Store when you have to jailbreak your device in order to use it (not being sarcastic--I really don't know).
posted by box at 9:13 PM on March 21, 2011


But comparing what you've written here to what you wrote before, you don't seem to believe that there is a middle ground upon which Oceania and Eurasia. You believe that one side is clearly right and the other side is clearly wrong and you hope that there won't be a compromise, but that one side will ultimately be defeated. And you cheer for the possiblity of that outcome.

Sorry, I was unclear. What I believe is absolutely wrong and evil is bigotry -- not bigots. They are not absolutely evil. They are people. They have some bend to them. It is incredibly fucking hard to bend them. And I don't give a shit about bending them for their own sakes. I give a shit about bending them because if we bend them, we bend their children, and we then have a whole generation with less racism in it. We can even write off the parents and go straight for the children -- but in order to do that, we still need to understand. We need to understand the environment the children are in, which means (in part) understanding their parents. If we turn them into cartoon-character villains or say "Why should we care what they think?" we give up a tool that could help us.

I was so adamant that one side is wrong because, ideologically, this is similar to WWII -- or at least the WWII of movies. It's a "just war." We who are against bigotry are right and the people who are bigots are wrong. I feel totally comfortable saying that.

But there seem to be a lot of people who feel that in cases like that, it's not worth listening to the other side. They think of it totally on moral grounds and not on practical grounds. "Why should we listen to bigots? They're wrong and we're right. They're the bad guys. They're the ones who cause harm. Why should we care what they think?"

My answer is "because it will help us defeat them." Know thy enemy.

I do have some "humanitarian" feelings toward bigots -- it's possible for SOME to be redeemed, to change. But, to be honest, most of my "we need to understand their feelings" stuff has nothing to do with caring about them. It comes from a deeply held belief that understanding them and ACTING on that understanding is the best way to fix the problem.

If WWII was a just war, that's good, because we fought it like one. We actually tried to kill the Nazis, and we did kill a lot of them. In my Eurasia analogy, I think an acceptable solution would be wiping out Eurasia, because they were the aggressors. And, as I said earlier, if I could push a button that would obliterate all bigots, I'd push it if I thought I could get away with it.

But there isn't a button. And if there was, I wouldn't push it, because I'm too much of a coward. (I'd get caught and have to go to jail, and I don't have the gumption to stick to my convictions under the fear of that happening.) Honestly, I think bigotry is a crime to the extent that we'd be justified killing off the people who perpetrate it. But we're not going to do that.

Instead, we generally "fix" the problem by venting about it and comforting the victims.

Which is why I am in favor of diplomacy. By which I don't mean "compromise." I don't mean "give the bigots a nice little place where they can be bigoted." Nor do I mean "stop them from being bigoted towards blacks and asians but let them be bigoted towards homosexuals." I mean really understand what makes them tick -- what they believe, what they fear, what they want, who they listen to... and then devote MASSIVE amounts of resources to the problem, using what we've learned.

Sending some gay people door to door is laughable. I don't even want to hear about it. It's pointless. Bigotry is our number one problem (or maybe number two, after Global Warming). We should be spending double on it what we spend on the War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism. I don't give a shit about gay people going door to door. That counts for nothing. That's like fighting the destruction of the Rain Forests by planting a tree in your backyard. We don't take this problem seriously. "Taking it seriously" does not mean hating racists. It does not mean giving kids a lecture in school about how racism is bad and everyone is equal. Those are nice gestures, but they are like emptying the ocean with an eyedropper.

And I also believe we need to have a ZERO-tolerance policy towards bigotry. And -- uncomfortably that means towards "reverse bigotry," too. In fact, we need to trash that phrase (and "reverse racism"). There's no reverse anything. There's just bigotry.

As harsh as it sounds, a black guy who has been mistreated by white people for years does not get a pass. Nor does a woman who has been raped. And this hits really close to home: my 80-year-old father, who was a Jewish child in London, during the Blitz, who had relatives killed in concentration camps, does not get a pass. When he says things nasty things about "The Germans," he's a bigot. Full stop. I understand why he says those things. I have a lot of sympathy. But everyone has an excuse -- a good one or a bad one. We need understand all of them and accept none of them.

(And I -- who was terrorized for much of my childhood because I was "different" -- also don't get a pass.)

That seems to be very hard for people to hear -- or it's very hard for me to explain. (I shouldn't assume that, because people aren't getting what I'm saying, it's their fault. I'm probably just communicating badly). If I don't care about bigots, why am I so into understanding their feelings? If I'm so into understanding their feelings, how can I say I'm not excusing them?

I am not excusing them. There is no excuse. None. Zero. Never. Even concentration camps aren't an excuse. There. Is. No. Excuse.

But there are REASONS.

And there ARE bigots. They are like tornados. If you want to fight a tornado, you need to understand it.
posted by grumblebee at 9:17 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Really, you need to just stop with the metaphors. You don't choose good ones. I mean, no amount of understanding ever stopped a tornado from doing its damage. I've been in a tornado. You run downstairs, find a secure place to be, and wait for them to pass, and then walk outside and hope that you don't find too much damage in their wake. There is no fighting them.

I appreciate your sentiments. Really, I do. But the way you express them is frustrating, inconsistent, confusing, and ultimately is probably doing more damage to the cause you seek to forward than if you'd just remain quiet and fight behind the scenes.
posted by hippybear at 10:36 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Looks like Apple still haven't removed this app. I'm now wondering what it will take.
posted by seanyboy at 4:19 AM on March 22, 2011


no amount of understanding ever stopped a tornado from doing its damage.

What I meant was that, in general, knowledge about natural disasters helps us fight them, avoid them or recover from them.
posted by grumblebee at 5:46 AM on March 22, 2011


On the definition of censorship issue, I think it's important to distinguish between:

1) editorial revisions to a work to make it more palatable to a specific audience. Sure, that includes the new Huck Finn but it has precedents with Mary Shelly's revision of Frankenstein and Roald Dahl's reworking of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Pretty much each new translation of The Bible or other classic literature does this as well.

2) editorial control of the contents of a site or publication. Editors have always had the privilege to make decisions about what to print and what not to print. The argument that moderation policies and terms of service constitute censorship doesn't make a great deal of sense to me.

3) economic control of what products will be carried as part of a retail brand. Again, parallel to editors, retailers have always had the privilege of determining what they will or will not stock.

4) systematic imposition of restraint over content produced by entire industries. FCC restrictions on broadcast content, the classic comics code, and the Great Firewall of China are examples.

To my mind, it doesn't make sense to call all of these activities "censorship" as if they're equivalent.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:55 AM on March 22, 2011


Looks like Apple still haven't removed this app. I'm now wondering what it will take.

Find app on app store > Report a problem > This application is offensive.

I'd imagine it works a bit like the flag queue here. It may take a lot of people making a lot of noise.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:00 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think Apple kind of has to be 'app police' as long as the model for getting 'apps' onto an iOS device is via a "store". It's unfortunate, but it would be irresponsible for them not to be.

I have had limited experience with iOS devices (always post-activation and all iPhones) prior to about 2 weeks ago, when I bought and activated an iPad for my company, for app and website testing. I knew in theory that iOS was very iTunes-centric, but what I didn't realize until I did that was that iOS is basically a system for pumping money out of your wallet. You have a great deal of latitude to regulate that flow, but without voiding the warranty you will basically have a really hard time doing much beyond web browsing if your iOS device isn't connected to some kind of money-fistula.

(This is also true of, say, my Nook. But the Nook was sold with that as an understood feature right up front. But I digress.)

Anyway, the point is that this is the normal mode of function for an iOS device. Given that's true, it would be pretty irresponsible of Apple to not be 'app police', and I'm glad they understand that. Forget about the presentation-quality-control issues, which are what people get hung up on with Apple: they need to be looking at everything that might have an effect on the integrity of my* money-fistula. I could be wrong, but my impression is that the app store doesn't get taken in by scammers often enough for it to be a serious issue.

--
*well, the company's, in the case of the iPad. Fortunately my Nook doesn't give money to anyone but B&N. Yet.
posted by lodurr at 8:10 AM on March 22, 2011


I think Apple kind of has to be 'app police' as long as the model for getting 'apps' onto an iOS device is via a "store". It's unfortunate, but it would be irresponsible for them not to be.

I was under the impression that, aside from the (possibly irrational) pr0n fear, the main reason why Apple polices their Apps is to prevent malicious code from running rampant across the iOS ecosystem.

Not that such a system is by any means foolproof. Android has had plenty of problems in the past month with bad apps making their way into the marketplace, enough so that Google reached out and remote-killed those apps on customers' phones.

It's not true that you have to spend money to use iOS. I haven't paid a dime for any of the apps on my iPod Touch, and it's quite a useful device that does things that isn't just web browsing.
posted by hippybear at 8:25 AM on March 22, 2011


you may be right that that's sufficient cause; I'm just pointing out that your iOS device has a shunt into your wallet, too. So 'malice' also has a more direct and immediate financial dimension, as well as the more esoteric hacking and "well-behavedness" dimension.

It's true that it's not true you need to spend money. That's not what I said. What I said is that you have to install a shunt/fistula into your wallet, and if you want to install apps without voiding your warranty you absolutely do need to do that. If you doubt me, try using iTunes from your iOS device without a valid credit card sometime.
posted by lodurr at 10:13 AM on March 22, 2011


I was under the impression that, aside from the (possibly irrational) pr0n fear, the main reason why Apple polices their Apps is to prevent malicious code from running rampant across the iOS ecosystem.

And there may be contractual (with the carriers) requirements to do so. There was some talk about that when the App Store started up, but I don't know if there's been confirmation of it or not.

I think the problem is that they want to (or have to) approve the code, which implicitly puts said code under Apple's brand, much like a physical store. Yet you have a HUGE number of apps that need to be approved. So you start making lists of things that are NOT OK, in Apple's book. I'm sure 'no hate speech' is in there. So some Apple flunky looks at something like this app and it doesn't say anything negative about anyone. It's about 'helping' people, in fact. OK, approved.

Then the feces meet the fan.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:41 AM on March 22, 2011


If you doubt me, try using iTunes from your iOS device without a valid credit card sometime.

Seriously? That's the only way I use iTunes or my iOS device. I don't have any problem installing any free apps I download, and I haven't ever had a CC attached to my iTunes account.
posted by hippybear at 1:01 PM on March 22, 2011


I also recently downloaded some apps from iTunes on my iOS device, and my iTunes account has an expired debit card listed.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:03 PM on March 22, 2011


So, you don't have a valid credit card installed on your iTunes account and it lets you download and install apps?

How did you manage that? Because when I tried to do that, it wouldn't let me.
posted by lodurr at 1:07 PM on March 22, 2011


I've done it before, actually. I think Apple saves on transaction fees by not (always) processing the charge at time of purchase (so that if you buy a couple more items, they can be lumped onto one bill). Anyway you'll get a bill asking for up-to-date payment details.
posted by grobstein at 1:11 PM on March 22, 2011


Um.... well, for starters, you only download and install free programs.

Beyond that, I can't tell you how I managed it, because it just plain works.

You might try this set of instructions. They're a couple of years old, but they may still work.
posted by hippybear at 1:12 PM on March 22, 2011


In related news:
Apple sues Amazon over 'Appstore'
As Amazon launches a store for Android applications, Apple is suing the retailer over its use of the name 'Appstore'.
posted by ericb at 1:25 PM on March 22, 2011


It wasn't creating the account that caused the problem, hippybear. I had an account, with no credit card attached. I was able to activate the iPad using that. But as soon as I actually tried to download a (free) app from the app store, it wouldn't let me -- I was given a dialog telling me I didn't have a valid credit card on file, which afforded no means of continuing other than to proceed to the screens for adding a valid credit card.

This was about 2 weeks ago. It's conceivable you were grandfathered-in by having an older device with a different setup. I'm just telling you this is how it worked for me on our iPad.

(I haven't paid for anything yet on the thing. May never -- as I said, it's not mine, it's the company's, and the only things we'll ever use it for are testing and client presentations.)
posted by lodurr at 2:30 PM on March 22, 2011


> This was about 2 weeks ago.

Ah, I've been using the same account for about 6 years now so who knows what weirdness is going on on the back end DB.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:34 PM on March 22, 2011


So, you don't have a valid credit card installed on your iTunes account and it lets you download and install apps?

I no longer have a credit card associated with my iTunes account — nothing is there.

I can download and install free apps, but I need to populate my account with iTunes gift certificates when I want to buy something.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:55 PM on March 22, 2011


Yeah, I can't tell you either. I've used iTunes since the day it was first released, and have had a store account since they started the store. So I'm really not sure why they'd require you to have a credit card if you're not making purchases. Apparently the ability to select "none" as a payment option has to be made through iTunes itself, and isn't always available depending on the path you take toward it.

I wish I had better information for you. Strange that it's working like that for you.
posted by hippybear at 2:57 PM on March 22, 2011


Is it my paranoid imagination, or are Apple trying to back-door redefine "App" to mean "Apple"? As in, Angry Birds is a great Apple. If so, kudos!
posted by seanyboy at 2:58 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you want to issue a problem report about the Exodus app, then one way to do it is to invoke §16.2 of Apple's App Store Review Guidelines:

16. Objectionable content
...
16.2 - Apps that are primarily designed to upset or disgust users will be rejected


The Exodus app upsets and disgusts me as a user of said app (downloading the app qualifies) and I explained why, in the context of the app being used by Exodus International organizers to legitimize, advertise and popularize its hate campaign against gay people.

I imagine that using Apple's own fairly straightforward language will help it put the issue into correct context, in that removing this app from its storefront is desirable because it clearly violates Apple's own guidelines.

That's my one piece of advice to you folks, anyway, who want to do something about this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:28 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Prediction: Apple will do nothing and leave this app available.
posted by mediareport at 7:37 PM on March 22, 2011


Apple Appears to Have Pulled Exodus International 'Ex-Gay' App.
posted by ericb at 8:51 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is great news. Thanks, ericb.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:47 PM on March 22, 2011


Still worth a read, IMO: PFLAG's letter to Steve Jobs to ask for the removal of Exodus' app.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:52 PM on March 22, 2011


Delighted to be proven wrong.
posted by mediareport at 5:23 AM on March 23, 2011


Apple Pulls 'Anti-Gay' App After Pressure
... An Apple spokesman today confirmed to ABCNews.com that the company removed it.

"We removed the app from the App Store because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people," he said.

Exodus International did not immediately provide comment on Apple's decision, but Jeff Buchanan, senior director of church equipping and student ministries for the group, earlier told ABCNews.com that the group was disappointed to see the negative reaction to its app.

"What we're asking for is fair and equal representation on the Apple platform," he said. "We see this as a religious freedom."

Buchanan said that given that the "pro-gay" Metropolitan Community Church of New York has a place in Apple's online store (with a podcast app), Exodus should be allowed to distribute its application there as well.
posted by ericb at 8:28 AM on March 23, 2011


Buchanan said that given that the "pro-gay" Metropolitan Community Church of New York has a place in Apple's online store (with a podcast app), Exodus should be allowed to distribute its application there as well.

Right, because being supportive of LGBT folks is exactly the same thing as being a homophobic bigot. *headdesk*
posted by xedrik at 2:16 PM on March 23, 2011


ericb: "Apple Pulls 'Anti-Gay' App After Pressure "What we're asking for is fair and equal representation on the Apple platform," he said. "We see this as a religious freedom."

The right to religious freedom does not, in fact, extend to the Apple platform, in the same way that the right to free speech does not extend to the Apple platform. Apparently, if you love you some Apple, it sucks to be a bigot or a pornographer.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:02 PM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Apparently, if you love you some Apple, it sucks to be a bigot or a pornographer.

This is actually a pretty interesting observation, and maybe deeper than you intended it to be. We're not supposed to think of a single product as a platform anymore (or to put it another way, we're supposed to think about platforms rather than products). So, for example, a lot of people like to say that Apple isn't primarily selling 'Macs' or 'iPhones', but rather the Apple Platform, which is meant to encompass the whole ecosystem of Apple devices. The Apple Platform uses their marketplace (I was going to say 'iTunes' and maybe that's technically accurate, but it hardly suffices anymore) to tie everything together, even to the computer desktop in Snow Leopard. (My new 13" MBP has an App Store icon right underneath the Finder icon.)

Leaving aside the question of who copied whom [ahem, before iTunes+iPod nobody had pulled this off in a long time], this is pretty much what Google is trying to do as well, albeit on a more conceptual level and somewhat broader scale.

So if you love you some Apple, and you want to leverage the platform to be a more market-effective bigot or pornographer, Apple's not going to make it easy for you -- and that's a significant truth that extends to other things that Apple or Google or Company TBD doesn't want / wants you to do / not do.
posted by lodurr at 10:01 AM on March 24, 2011


PFLAG's response is worth reading: professional, civil, gracious; fact dense and without animosity. Really, it should be included in primers on how to write business letters. "Thank you for moving equality forward!"
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 11:12 PM on March 24, 2011


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