Skip

God Hates Fox?
May 5, 2006 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Fred Phelps' daughter (direct link to wmv) appeared on Hannity and Colmes to justify her church's protests at the funerals of American soldiers. Rather than using the show to have a discussion, Hannity and Colmes only berate her and keep her from finishing her sentences. Regardless of how cruel her church's actions are to the families of dead soldiers, it's interesting to see how the anchors steer her away from the issue of homosexuality, especially considering how vocal they've been on that subject.
posted by OverlappingElvis (147 comments total)

 
By "they" you mean Phelps and his congregation?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:41 PM on May 5, 2006


OverlappingElvis wrote, "Rather than using the show to have a discussion, Hannity and Colmes only berate her and keep her from finishing her sentences." Have you never seen the show? That's par for the course for any guest, unless he's from the White House.
posted by boo_radley at 1:42 PM on May 5, 2006


Wasn't this like a month ago?
posted by dios at 1:43 PM on May 5, 2006


"The fact that you use religion to justify you hatred this way is, frankly, it’s mind numbing."

Hahahaha. Oh, silly, silly conservatives.

Oh, and Holy Rasputin Batman! Those eyes, that smile. . . where can I get a creepy culty chick?

I Googled her and she's really ugly, but that countenance is inexplicably magnetic. Osama Bin Laden has these great, mesmerizing and sympathetic expressions too. Cult leaders are my heroes.
posted by dgaicun at 1:44 PM on May 5, 2006


By "Phelps and his congregation" you mean Phelps and his kids, neices and nephews?
posted by pieisexactlythree at 1:45 PM on May 5, 2006


Yeah it's stupid, why would even validate their actions by letting them on TV?

I have a feeling they didn't let her finish her sentances because he words would probably resonate with a lot of their audience. And Colmes is such a pussy.
posted by delmoi at 1:45 PM on May 5, 2006


Does he say, "Uh. Yeah. You're obviously nuts." at about 1:41?
posted by jon_kill at 1:47 PM on May 5, 2006


By the way, why the fuck can't sane liberals - any of them - hold their own as strongly as this woman does against blow-hard talk-show bullies?
posted by dgaicun at 1:47 PM on May 5, 2006


It's a free-speech issue, really.

She's just as insane as her father and that's the real tragedy. Them connecting us to the war and soldiers is also insane--especially with don't ask, don't tell still in effect and the most homophobic administration and Republican party ever in charge (with tons of closet cases too).

Hannity as usual dominates that show on purpose--they're both uncomfortable with her religious talk, which is to their credit, actually. The Phelps should not be given airtime like this, but at least it's Fox where they'll probably have some viewers agreeing. It's interesting how it's almost entirely spun by Hannity as something disrespectful to the soliders.
posted by amberglow at 1:47 PM on May 5, 2006


I have a feeling they didn't let her finish her sentances because he words would probably resonate with a lot of their audience.
posted by delmoi at 3:45 PM CST on May 5


Who needs evidence when we can rely on our preconceived stereotypes?
posted by dios at 1:50 PM on May 5, 2006


watch for everything she's saying to become mainstream discourse within 5 years--it happens with all rightwing extremist stuff.
posted by amberglow at 1:50 PM on May 5, 2006


I pretty much hate Sean Hannity - but he did something right on this one.

That woman, her father, and their congregation are god-damned insane.

I hate them in a very, very, very serious way.
posted by rougy at 1:57 PM on May 5, 2006


Who needs evidence when we can rely on our preconceived stereotypes?

That's exactly what I was thinking. Who needs it? Evidence just gets in the way. My gut tells me that delmoi is right. And I stand by that belief.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:57 PM on May 5, 2006


Sean Hannity reminds of me of Nathan Lane.

Only Nathan Lane when he plays a transvestite. And as a the transvestite must, at some point in the film because of the whacky plot device, pretend to be a macho frat boy at a dinner party.

But, see, Nathan/Hannity is soooo nervous he gets drunk first. Which makes him oddly belligerent AND more effeminate. Thus embarrassing and bullying everybody at the dinner party. Until the scene he is caught making out with the house boy (played by Colmes).

That's Sean Hannity.
posted by tkchrist at 1:58 PM on May 5, 2006


By the way, why the fuck can't sane liberals - any of them - hold their own as strongly as this woman does against blow-hard talk-show bullies?

i think that these blowhards usually try not to book liberals who are capable of holding their own. on the rare occasions that they do, the spin machine immediately paints the guest as "shrill", "partisan" and "rude" afterwards.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:59 PM on May 5, 2006


Yeah. "A lot" of Fox's viewers would agree with her. Which is precisely why her "congregation" consists of a couple dozen family members. It being such a popular view among conservatives, and all. And Mr. Conservative Hack Hannity calls her out on it... even though "a lot" of conservatives agree with her... because partisan mouthpieces frequently insult people who represent views that "a lot" of their constituents support. Is consistency even too much to ask for in our partisan wankery? How about basic reasoning ability? Or can we all just rely on our basic prejudices even when the evidence is to the contrary?
posted by dios at 2:03 PM on May 5, 2006


tkchrist wrote, "Sean Hannity reminds of me of Nathan Lane. " I always thought I was alone in this. I got mocked by my friends for saying as much.
posted by boo_radley at 2:03 PM on May 5, 2006


Who needs evidence when we can rely on our preconceived stereotypes?

it's a view i've heard expressed by ordinary people a few times ... that god was punishing florida, for example, by sending hurricanes there ... i have no idea how many people believe that god does this, but it's quite a lot more than the 100 or so people in phelps' church

a little poem from san francisco, 1906

"If as some say, God spanked the town
For being over frisky
Why did he burn the churches down
And save Hotaling's whiskey?"

obviously, this idea's been around for a long time ... the old testament is full of references to a town, or a nation being punished for its sins ... i don't know if the majority of fundamentalists buy into this idea but a sizable portion do
posted by pyramid termite at 2:07 PM on May 5, 2006


Wasn't this like a month ago?

those of us following the bright career/education path of Ryan Holt may have seen this a while back, yes.

my quality friends at MySpace have been spreading it around like good manure as well.
posted by carsonb at 2:07 PM on May 5, 2006


I remember when the major cable news outlets started covering the Phelps anti-troop protests at funerals. IMO, the coverage was pretty much slanted in the vein of "Look at these anti-war, anti-Bush wackos and their hatred of America and American troops, even when they're dead!" No mention that the Phelps group was a fringe, right-wing, Christian one, and that by their logic, the troops were dying because gays were in the military, and, ahem, "God hates fags." The idea was that people like Phelps and Cindy Sheehan are on the same spectrum, and not qualitatively different in either their actions or motivations.

So it's hard for me to muster even a grudging approval of Hannity shutting this hatemonger up. Because he's using her (and his audience) for ratings yet again.

Of course, now that most of America has soured on the war, it'll be interesting to see what direction FOX goes in--cater harder to the backwash, or give another pusillanimous Colmes-type his own show? (Joe Klein maybe?)
posted by bardic at 2:07 PM on May 5, 2006


Huh.

That is Sean Hannity.
posted by Simon! at 2:12 PM on May 5, 2006


And Mr. Conservative Hack Hannity calls her out on it... even though "a lot" of conservatives agree with her... because partisan mouthpieces frequently insult people who represent views that "a lot" of their constituents support.

Sure. Utterly batshit-insane gay-hating religious extremists like Phelps make life difficult for Hannity's audience of regular normal salt-of-the-earth gay-hating religious extremists.

How about basic reasoning ability? Or can we all just rely on our basic prejudices even when the evidence is to the contrary.

It seems to work for opposing gay marriage, huh.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:19 PM on May 5, 2006


You forgot a tag.
posted by trondant at 2:21 PM on May 5, 2006


I will encourage my son not to get into the army. To avoid it in any way he can. But were he to have been killed in Iraq and that loathsome family turn up at the funeral, I would do the truly religious, god-ordained thing: I would smite the son of a mitch with a cemetary shovel over his friggin head.
posted by Postroad at 2:24 PM on May 5, 2006


Sure. Utterly batshit-insane gay-hating religious extremists like Phelps make life difficult for Hannity's audience of regular normal salt-of-the-earth gay-hating religious extremists.

Worth repeating and perfectly stated.
posted by amberglow at 2:25 PM on May 5, 2006


Better yet Postroad, try to convince people that unqualified hatred for any other group of humans is always wrong. I certainly have no sympathy for the Phelps gang, but let's not ignore an obvious motivation and/or cause of their hatred: homophobia, obviously driven into their pea-brains at a young age. There's plenty of it out there and it needs to be treated like a social disease. Those who won't give it up should be treated as such.
posted by bardic at 2:28 PM on May 5, 2006


Postroad writes "I would do the truly religious, god-ordained thing: I would smite the son of a mitch with a cemetary shovel over his friggin head."

That's exactly what he wants. Phelps is a lawyer, and he lives to bait people into acting impulsively and committing torts. If you were to do this, you'd be facing years of expensive legal purgatory.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:30 PM on May 5, 2006


Hey! I'm a son of a mitch, and I'll thank you not to smite me.
posted by dgaicun at 2:32 PM on May 5, 2006


The Phelpses really do make things harder for the more, uh, traditional professional homophobes. Peter LaBarbera, of the Illinois Family Institute, has tried to suggest that Fred Phelps is "a gay plant" because he gives such bad press to the anti-gay cause. (link)
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 2:33 PM on May 5, 2006


That's exactly what he wants. Phelps is a lawyer, and he lives to bait people into acting impulsively and committing torts. If you were to do this, you'd be facing years of expensive legal purgatory.

Not if they don't find the body.
posted by tkchrist at 2:38 PM on May 5, 2006


"Get off our side! You're making us look bad!"
posted by SanitarySewer at 2:50 PM on May 5, 2006


Sean Hannity reminds of me of Nathan Lane.
Armand: Al, you old son of a bitch! How ya doin'? How do you feel about that call today? I mean the Dolphins! Fourth-and-three play on their 30 yard line with only 34 seconds to go!
Albert: How do you think I feel? Betrayed, bewildered... wrong response?
And Colmes is such a pussy.

Not according to Katherine Harris, who has a campaign video with a tagline that claims she's "tested by fire" over a picture of Colmes.

Colmes reminds me of the little dog in the cartoons. "You want I should ask a question, Spike? Well do ya? Huh? Spike?"
posted by kirkaracha at 3:05 PM on May 5, 2006


This whole H&C-yell-at-Phelps-woman thing (and yes, it is something like a month old dios) has really got a lot of the usual kneejerk people confused with themselves, it's pretty funny.

Peter LaBarbera, of the Illinois Family Institute, has tried to suggest that Fred Phelps is "a gay plant" because he gives such bad press to the anti-gay cause.

I dunno, I'd believe it. Maybe not the plant part.
posted by blacklite at 3:15 PM on May 5, 2006


You know what would be unbelievably awesome, though?

If everyone could use this and other things as a way to bridge the gigantic, ridiculous, growing gap between liberals and conservatives in the States. "Hey guys, look, we can both agree that Phelps is a fucknut!"

But, no.

Other awesome things that are never going to happen: McCain running in 08 on an "I'll make Wesley Clark my VP" ticket. Or Obama. Or Gore. That's how they used to do it in the old days, right? Ah, fantasies...
posted by blacklite at 3:19 PM on May 5, 2006


*updates and revises ‘all women are beautiful’ belief*
*all ladies are beautiful*
*she ain’t no lady*

tkchrist, I know some folks with a lot of land out west brother.

“...even though "a lot" of conservatives agree with her...”
- posted by dios

Context. I’m a conservative. I watch Fox (for irony and tactical comparison, not real data). When dgaicun says “silly conservatives” I know - given the context - he doesn’t mean me. He means knee jerk, hyper-(yet pseudo)religious, neo-cons.

People cut me slack when I say ‘birkenstock wearing, tree hugging, art car driving, leaf eating, limo liberal’ - ‘cause I’m not attacking say, Galbraith, just those who affect having a political philosophy to retro-justify their lifestyle and preconceptions.
“Silly conservatives” - same thing.

Hannity’s whole act is an affectation of conviction. He’d probably say just about anything to appeal to his audiance and shill. And his fans are worse. They believe in someone who tells them they’re right instead of a reasoned - something; a principle, an ethos. And of course it’s only married to action when they get angry enough and have a 20 to 1 advantage even in things such as yelling at a young girl going to a clinic. Self-sacrifice? That’s for the troops and why we love ‘em so much, but vote to cut funding for VA benefits, right?

And that’s what pisses me off too. Hannity, if he gave a shit, could maybe cover that. Maybe he has, but I haven’t seen or heard about it. But it’s all this surface ‘rah ‘rah bullshit and look how much I care. Meanwhile people who need help just suck on it.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:20 PM on May 5, 2006


I know this: the stupidest guy in my bar think's Hannity is a genius.
posted by rougy at 3:26 PM on May 5, 2006


McCain running in 08 on an "I'll make Wesley Clark my VP" ticket.

There were no good ol' days. Candidates don't cross party lines in selecting a VP for obvious reasons. Not that things aren't particularly bad these days, but don't reference a past that has never existed in American politics.
posted by bardic at 3:27 PM on May 5, 2006


I thought linking to those fucknuggets was verboten, as with other hate sites.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:29 PM on May 5, 2006


I know this: the stupidest guy in my bar thinks Hannity is a genius.
And that guy? His dog thinks that guy's a magical demigod.

I'd break into that "circle of life" song, but I think that'd require Hannity to really look up to that guy's dog. Which might be possible.
posted by Drastic at 3:54 PM on May 5, 2006


Far-right Hannity and fake-left Colmes in a public cat-fight on flag-waving religious-line toeing Fox? Things are looking up!
posted by telstar at 3:55 PM on May 5, 2006


woops meant to mention that they were fighting together against the god-hates-fags chickie. Friday started early today.
posted by telstar at 3:56 PM on May 5, 2006


Drastic - too true.

Hannity and O'Reilly - they're charasmatic - superficially, but they do present themselves well.

Trouble is they just flat out lie, and a lot of kids in our country are growing up with a right-wing bent because they're too young and too innocent to understand that just because a guy might seem "likable" doesn't mean that he's being honest.
posted by rougy at 3:58 PM on May 5, 2006


If Hannity & Colmes are bitchslapping you like that, then you really must be a nasty human being.
posted by drstein at 4:06 PM on May 5, 2006


watch for everything she's saying to become mainstream discourse within 5 years--it happens with all rightwing extremist stuff.
posted by amberglow


this is so true . having grown up in the 80s around what is now mainstream in america i can remember the people in my family and their friends talking right wing christian horse shit (that right i said it) and yet understanding they were in the minority of opinion.

if i had one question to ask felch and his followers it would be this.

' if tragedy is god's judgement, what do you call your own tragedies?'

'are they also god's judgement ?' 'and if not when , and where does god's judgement start and stop?' 'finally , do you serve god because he is good , or because he has power?'

ok thats more than one question.
posted by nola at 4:06 PM on May 5, 2006


watch for everything she's saying to become mainstream discourse within 5 years--it happens with all rightwing extremist stuff.
posted by amberglow


You're 100% right about that. So I'm with Postroad and his shovel. We've come to that point.
posted by zaelic at 4:24 PM on May 5, 2006


I'm pretty sure she lets God do her hair.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 4:29 PM on May 5, 2006


I used to work at an affiliate... it's FOX not Fox.
posted by thilmony at 4:49 PM on May 5, 2006


I will not have corporate America impose their nonstandard capitalizations on me!
posted by mr_roboto at 4:51 PM on May 5, 2006


StrasbourgSecaucus for some reason I am envisioning Cameron Diaz.
posted by filchyboy at 4:57 PM on May 5, 2006


Who needs evidence when we can rely on our preconceived stereotypes?

You mean it's not the religious right base that 1) listens to Hannety, and B) supports anti-gay-marriage, or anti-gay-adoption measures?

Whatever.
posted by delmoi at 5:57 PM on May 5, 2006


If Colbert plays a rightwingnut , then maybe .......
posted by elpapacito at 6:37 PM on May 5, 2006


Delmoi, for the sake of arguent, lets say that dios is accusing some of us of tarring and feathering the many fiscal conservatives who watch FOX and are all 'meh' when it comes to cultural issues, with the broad brush of homophobia condemnations. He might not be innacurate, were that the case
posted by pieisexactlythree at 6:41 PM on May 5, 2006


Sometimes I just want to round up all of these "God hates fags" people, put them on a helicopter, and fly them to an anti-smoking rally in England.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:54 PM on May 5, 2006


Pie is...: Well, maybe those conservatives should speak up, lest they be tarred with the rest of the homophobes. Sorry, I don't have a lot of sympathy for the guy who just stood around and watched while his buddies beat up queers.

"Candidates don't cross party lines in selecting a VP for obvious reasons. Not that things aren't particularly bad these days, but don't reference a past that has never existed in American politics."

Well, there was Lincoln and Johnson, and that ended... Oh, yeah... Right...
posted by klangklangston at 7:01 PM on May 5, 2006


Hannity is just a straight schmuck for programming television like that. He is even more of a schmuck to think that he can have a rational conversation with such a person -- but, he has never really been in the rational conversation game. At least she is right that he is on a "bully pulpit."
posted by pwedza at 7:07 PM on May 5, 2006


Actually, a lot of the Phelps protests have been happening in my neck of the woods, and I've been pleased by the overwhelmingly negative response he engenders everywhere he goes.

Granted, much of that response is grounded less in support of gay rights and more in basic nationalism. I think basically that is where Hannity is coming from. Protesting the funeral of a heroic soldier who died in battle is something that triggers an outrage reflex no matter who is doing the protesting.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:11 PM on May 5, 2006


don't reference a past that has never existed in American politics.

bardic: "Under the original terms of the Constitution, the members of the U.S. Electoral College voted only for office of President rather than for both President and Vice President. The person receiving the greatest number of votes (provided that such a number was a majority of electors) would be President, while the individual who was in second place became Vice President." (wikipedia)

John Adams (Federalist) had Jefferson (Democratic-Republican) as his VP.
posted by blacklite at 7:20 PM on May 5, 2006


Well...ya gotta admit that's going back quite a ways, blacklite. And if memory serves, they bagged the whole idea for obvious reasons not long afterwards.
posted by rougy at 7:29 PM on May 5, 2006




Rev. Phelps -- ssssshhhhh! The talking point is "Defend marriage," not "God hates fags."
posted by digaman at 7:33 PM on May 5, 2006


There were no good ol' days. Candidates don't cross party lines in selecting a VP for obvious reasons. Not that things aren't particularly bad these days, but don't reference a past that has never existed in American politics.

Except, you know, Lincoln. He filled his cabinet with all his political rivals and critics. By the end, they all changed their mind about him.

Imagine how much political capital the current administration would have if they, say, appointed Hillary to the Dept of Education, Gore to the EPA, Clark as Sec. of Defense, and Kennedy to Sec. of State.

Political capital? Mandate for change? Yes.
posted by Balisong at 8:02 PM on May 5, 2006


When he wasn't dueling with broadswords in a pit...
posted by Balisong at 8:05 PM on May 5, 2006


you're right rougy, it was a ridiculously long time ago, I just wanted to point out that I wasn't making it up.

& what Balisong said.
posted by blacklite at 8:36 PM on May 5, 2006


Well - I see your points - Balisong brought up some good ones.

But - just to be contrary - imagine Bill & Hill bringing "true believers" like Newt or Horowitz on board. Imagine how much would have been accomplished? (zero)

I know it happened, once. A time when partisanship was a family feud.

It should happen again. And I'm sorry for being so partisan on this, but I don't see the republicons relenting one jot. It's their way, or no way. You agree with them, or you're a terrorist.

Point taken, blacklite. I too wish the partisanship ended where the concerns of our country did.
posted by rougy at 10:00 PM on May 5, 2006


I mean - I wish partisanship ended where the concerns for our country began.
posted by rougy at 10:01 PM on May 5, 2006


And I'm sorry for being so partisan on this, but I don't see the republicons relenting one jot. It's their way, or no way. You agree with them, or you're a terrorist.

That's fine, so long as you realize that many across the aisle see your side in exactly the same way. "You agree with them [on immigration], or you're a racist." "You agree with them [on gay marriage], or you're a homophobe."

Personally, I think it's telling that people see a partisan issue in this thread. I'm not fan of Hannity or Colmes; but one's liberal and the other's conservative, right, and both excoriated this woman's actions. Her fellow "protestors" are about as indicative of your average Republican as are the Earth Liberation Front arsonists indicative of your average Democrat.
posted by cribcage at 10:12 PM on May 5, 2006


cribcage, it's very open-minded of you to give FOX news programmers the benefit of the doubt. Idiotic, but open-minded nonetheless.

I've seen Hannity do his schtick--fine, he has no patience for Phelps and followers. But he lumped Sheehan (another can of worms, I realize, but she's never engaged in trying to spoil a ceremony to honor the grief felt over a lost loved one) in with them when the stories broke last year about the anti-dead-troop protests. The burden is hardly on any mefite to see the light given Hannity's track-record of saying, quite literally, oppostion to Bush and/or the Iraq occupation is treason. Hell, if he cares so much, I suggest he pulls some strings and does some live coverage from Dover AFB where the American corpses arrive back here daily. That would be, what's that word I'm looking for?, oh yeah, journalism. Real journalism. Not much of that going around these days.

(I reserve even less sympathy for Colmes--he defines the term "apparatchik.")
posted by bardic at 11:21 PM on May 5, 2006


That's fine, so long as you realize that many across the aisle see your side in exactly the same way. "You agree with them [on immigration], or you're a racist." "You agree with them [on gay marriage], or you're a homophobe."

Think for yourself.
posted by rougy at 11:59 PM on May 5, 2006


bardic - salient points.
posted by rougy at 12:01 AM on May 6, 2006


actually - bardic - I found myself going "yes!" "Yes!" as I read your 12:21.

Go slugger. Keep throwing those punches.
posted by rougy at 12:04 AM on May 6, 2006


"Well, maybe those conservatives should speak up, lest they be tarred with the rest of the homophobes."

HI THERE!

I believe I've been pretty vocal on the matter. Someone who wants to hurt on someone else just because that person is homosexual is going to have to step over my corpse.

I have strong moral conservative principles to believe in such things as civil marriage for homosexuals. The least of which is that it promotes respect for and consistiency within the law and maintains the stability and tradition within society that depends on marriage as an emotional as well as financial anchor. Domestic partnership and all the other half assing going on just doesn't do it (none of the traditional and legal responsibilities in marriage for one thing) it doesn't promote the social cohesion that marriage does.
Commitment - other considerations aside - is socially healthy (all the way down to the individual physical level - promiscuity and disease prevention for example).

I see nothing in the writings of any conservative philosopher that recognizes the persecution of an individual as a valid course of action for a society.

I do have issues with liberals for the big aforementioned social and legal messes, but I recognize some of that is a casualty of this particular social conflict and caused by "conservatives" who use that term as a tool of oppression (since they identify it with state power) not as a means of identifying which philosophy they actually adhere to.

I have no evidence as to whether people are homosexual by choice, by nature, by genetic heritage, by the hand of God or Satan or fucking aliens from Uranus, but I do recognize (strangely those others seem not to) that homosexuals are here, have been here, and will likely be here as long as there is a sexual arousal facility within humans.

We must deal with that reality and in a way that is conducive to the stability of society. Best way is through traditional relationships and values, the ties that bind.

Any group cannot call itself "conservative" and yet support the marginalization and destabilization of human relationships and traditional values - one of which is the humane and most certainly consistient treatment of human beings by the state. Any such group, if it indeed does become synonymous with state power will have my full, open, and ferocious rebellion.

klangklangston - am I black enough for ya?

As to partisanship - whole other thing. Same schtick though.
Paint stripes on a mule, doesn't make it a zebra.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:10 AM on May 6, 2006


blacklit - I read 4:19 - that was a good one.
posted by rougy at 12:38 AM on May 6, 2006


"I have strong moral conservative principles..."

No one doubts you do. But loving someone isn't a conservative precept. Anybody who wants to hurt my gay friends...will not like the consequences.

Frankly - what does conservatism mean any more?

The right to be mean?

The right to lie, just because there has to be another side to the story?

Treat people like pawns?
posted by rougy at 12:45 AM on May 6, 2006


I have this sensation there isn't a textbook definition of conservative, and if there is one it may not reflect popular understanding of the word.
posted by elpapacito at 1:58 AM on May 6, 2006


Smedley : >

and Colmes is in no way a liberal in any sense of the term--he is just a very weak counterpart to Hannity, chosen on purpose to be so--if they had wanted a real back-and-forth and mix of views they would have chosen someone outspoken instead of a wimp. Most if not all FOX Democrats are just quiet wimps set against blustering rightwing demagogues and bullies.
posted by amberglow at 2:53 AM on May 6, 2006


It was a kick - for me - to hear Sean Hannity say something that grossly resembled the truth.

He called the fat old hat "obviously insane".

What was her line "...the burning cup..."

The right wing has chosen these people to represent the base of their objectives.

The shallowness of their insincerity.

CYA.

Others see it, too.
posted by rougy at 4:19 AM on May 6, 2006


This is why I mostly avoid the blue. It's not that y'all are liberal. It's that you're so incredibly stupid. I said that both Hannity and Colmes criticized the woman, so Nitwit #1 mutters something about giving FOX news the benefit of the doubt. Nitwit #2 complains that some Republicans create an atmosphere of "agree with us or you're ___," and I reply that some Democrats do the same. His response is, "Think for yourself." What is this, a contest for the most left-field non sequitur?

Any group cannot call itself "conservative" and yet support the marginalization and destabilization of human relationships and traditional values...

I'm not sure that's accurate, but let's suppose it is. Would you say that opposing a governmental institution of gay marriage constitutes "supporing the marginalization and destabilization of human relationships," traditional values aside? 'Cause most opponents of gay marriage wouldn't.

I would add that, when you find yourself incapable of stating your opponent's position without including your own deliberate spin, you're not ready for the big kids' table. Intelligent conservatives can manage statements like, "Pro-choice advocates believe that outlawing abortion infringes on a woman's right to choose," whereas most of the MeFi Liberals are unable to articulate, "Pro-life advocates believe abortion constitutes murder," opting instead for the mind-numbingly insightful, "Pro-life advocates support the rape and slavery of women."
posted by cribcage at 5:51 AM on May 6, 2006


It's so hard to be you cribcage. White House. SCOTUS. House. Senate. Most of the media. Would you agree that when it comes to changing the tone, the ball is more often in one party's court than the other's these days?

More on Hannity, who previously likened Phelps' group to left-wing anti-war protestors. I repeat: to ignore Hannity's angle here is to ignore the fact that he doesn't give a damn about soldiers or their families, he just wants to keep the perpetual spin machine in motion re: liberals hate America, our troops, and God, and a Republican Christian nutfuck like Phelps, despite his non-representative status, is used by the right to further divide the country along political lines. But guess what? As long as Republicans continue to try and score political points by denying the rights of homosexuals, or at the very least, people who oppose the occupation Iraq, or people who voted for Kerry, or people who think real science should be taught in schools, expect blowback. I simply don't have the time to distinguish between the supposedly "intellectual" conservatives (I might be the only person alive who still takes George Will seriously, and I can assure you I'm not on his side of the political equation) and the wingnuts--you guys made your beds with these cretins, don't expect for the rest of the civilized world not to connect the dots.
posted by bardic at 6:22 AM on May 6, 2006


whereas most of the MeFi Liberals are unable to articulate, "Pro-life advocates believe abortion constitutes murder," opting instead for the mind-numbingly insightful, "Pro-life advocates support the rape and slavery of women."

Speaking of non-sequiturs! Way to raise the bar there, buddy.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:42 AM on May 6, 2006


"Except, you know, Lincoln. He filled his cabinet with all his political rivals and critics. By the end, they all changed their mind about him."

...and the Reconstruction presidency of Johnson was one of the worst our country has ever seen. Which I mentioned, at least obliquely.

"klangklangston - am I black enough for ya?"

I don't wanna go all True Scottsman on you, but perhaps those words don't mean what you think they mean.


"whereas most of the MeFi Liberals are unable to articulate, "Pro-life advocates believe abortion constitutes murder," opting instead for the mind-numbingly insightful, "Pro-life advocates support the rape and slavery of women.""

Cribcage, while I respect your point of view generally, is what you're doing an intentionally tacit admission of your inability to "sit at the big kids' table"? The framing involved in "Abortion constitutes murder" is different from the framing involved in speaking to individual rights (possibly because 'abortion is murder' is an argument from emotion, as opposed to rights). I have no problem saying that anti-choice advocates believe that life begins at conception, and that therefore abortion infringes on a fetus's right to life. I disagree with that stance, and find it rationally unsupportable, but I have no problem saying it.
And let's not start arguing "mosts" or percentages based on limited sample sizes, OK?
posted by klangklangston at 7:07 AM on May 6, 2006


The only difference between Phelps's and Hannity's views on homosexuality is that Hannity doesn't say "fags."

Seriously, that's it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:44 AM on May 6, 2006


Would you agree that when it comes to changing the tone, the ball is more often in one party's court than the other's these days?

For the second time in this thread, I have no idea what you're trying to say. Are you arguing that, because Republicans constitute a majority in our government, Democrats are absolved of responsibility to maintain an intelligent level of discourse?

'abortion is murder' is an argument from emotion...

No, it's not. It can be, certainly, but it isn't necessarily.

I have no problem saying that anti-choice advocates believe that life begins at conception, and that therefore abortion infringes on a fetus's right to life.

Folks often say that the mark of a statesman is his ability to articulate his opponent's position — to which I added, "without spin." You come back with "anti-choice," and you've lost me at the gate. And I don't follow where you're going with percentages or sample sizes.

As for Sean Hannity's views on homosexuality: I have no idea what he thinks. I watched this clip, but I don't watch his show. Based on what I've heard him say on the radio, I think he's both an intellectual lightweight and a partisan puppet who has no business in professional media. But that doesn't make him wrong when he says that Ms. Phelps should be ashamed of herself.
posted by cribcage at 11:56 AM on May 6, 2006


Are you arguing that, because Republicans constitute a majority in our government, Democrats are absolved of responsibility to maintain an intelligent level of discourse?

Not at all. I'm saying that it's kind of hard to have any effect on the tone of national discourse when you are, for starters, not invited to the meetings, or better yet, locked out of them, or when bills are changed after they've been written by a bi-partisan committee, to name just three examples of what the "uniter, not a divider's" party has insisted upon so far in the 21st century.

Absolved of responsibility? No. In a position to renew a healthy dialogue across the aisle? Be serious. (Although it's looking like they'll be able to after November, at least partially. Divided government is usually the best form.) Read some articles about Tip O'Neil's relationship, political and personal, with Reagan, and you'll see what's been lost dating back to, IMO, the Republican witchhunt against Bill Clinton.

As for Hannity, my own sense of the trend in this thread is not to excoriate him for shutting up yet another hateful conservative Christian homophobe, but that it takes a wacko like Phelps' daughter for Hannity to realize, hey, wait a minute, condemning a whole class of people based on their sexual orientation, skin color, or political views is wrong. Eureka! Most of us learned that back in first or second grade, but IOKIYAR these days I guess.
posted by bardic at 12:21 PM on May 6, 2006


You come back with "anti-choice," and you've lost me at the gate.

Oh boo-hoo. Not that this thread needs an abortion derail, but "anti-choice" isn't some kind of leftist propoganda term; it's the only honest way to put it. "Pro-life" doesn't mean anything. Everyone is pro-life. People who want abortion outlawed are anti-choice, people who don't want it outlawed are pro-choice. It's really simple. Stop hiding behind this "You're not raising the level of discourse!" whinging.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:40 PM on May 6, 2006


As for Hannity, my own sense of the trend in this thread is...that it takes a wacko like Phelps' daughter for Hannity to realize, hey, wait a minute, condemning a whole class of people based on their sexual orientation, skin color, or political views is wrong.

Where do you get any of that? He lambasted Phelps for stalking the funerals of dead soldiers — not gays, blacks, or Democrats. Just soldiers.

Stop hiding behind this "You're not raising the level of discourse!" whinging.

Well, I didn't mean you. You've done a bang-up job. Let's review: (1) Resorting to stereotype really is better than assessing facts. (2) "Fag" can also mean cigarette — and let me tell you, that one had me cracking up. I'd never heard that before! And finally, (3) "Huh, huh...you said 'sequitur.' "

If you have something intelligent to contribute, fire away. Someone said that he feels Republicans label anyone who disagrees with them "terrorists," and I replied that there's a reasonable argument for painting Democrats with that very same brush. So far, my point has been dismissed by a bunch of incoherent "whinging," but no one has actually rebutted it. I'll just conclude that you concede.
posted by cribcage at 1:59 PM on May 6, 2006


"No, it's not. It can be, certainly, but it isn't necessarily."

Bullshit. The only way that "abortion is murder" isn't necessarily an argument from emotion is to grant that in some instances it may be evidence of an alternate strain of fallacious logic.
Murder is unlawful killing. Abortion is not murder where abortion is legal. QED. By attempting to associate something that is legal with something that is not, the speaker is deliberately trying to use the framing rhetoric to set the terms of debate, and trying to appeal to the emotion "murder is wrong."
And that's leaving aside all of the other debates about what it really means to be human, and all of the arguments that should be placed against any non-tautological absolutist stance. While I realize you have your back up here, this is really one of those areas where the law is already the compromise and pretending that treating absolutists and demogogues as absolutists and demogogues is somehow unfair is bullshit. You may now commence your petty objection about how the term bullshit doesn't raise the discourse.

"Folks often say that the mark of a statesman is his ability to articulate his opponent's position — to which I added, "without spin." You come back with "anti-choice," and you've lost me at the gate. And I don't follow where you're going with percentages or sample sizes."

I'm sorry that I didn't articulate your chosen spin, but that's a bullshit metric. Sorry. "Pro-life" is more spin than "anti-choice." I suppose I could type the extra characters and call it "anti-abortion," and while I understand the point you're getting at, I'm not sure you realize how disingenous it is to call for an end to spin while simultaneously engaging in it.
posted by klangklangston at 2:24 PM on May 6, 2006


Whatever cribcage. Criticizing my posts which were obviously jokes just makes you sound desperate. I don't have a dog in this fight, but I don't need to in order to point out the holes in your BS arguments.
posted by ludwig_van at 2:28 PM on May 6, 2006


cribcage writes: and I replied that there's a reasonable argument for painting Democrats with that very same brush.

Examples please. You're playing the false equivalency game again--for every Ann Coulter, there's a Michael Moore. Guess what? One of them calls for genocide and the murder of SCOTUS judges. One of them doesn't, despite what you think of his politics.

As for intelligence, I've linked to evidence to support my arguments and you haven't. Hannity is typical, in my informed opinion, of many Republicans who see Phelps and Sheehan and Moore as being of-a-piece with one another. Please feel free to respond in kind--where are American leftists calling for genocide and murder of government officials? You could start here or here, and digging through enough comments, I'm sure you'll find some Phelps-esque diatribe, but you'll have to dig a bit longer than you would at say, here or here, to find hateful, bigotted opinions.
posted by bardic at 2:33 PM on May 6, 2006


kk: Murder is unlawful killing. Abortion is not murder where abortion is legal.

Ugh. Cheap semantics. Three equally cheap replies. First, societal law ≠ natural law. Second: A Pakistani village just called. They finished stoning to death a woman who committed the heinous crime of being raped by her in-laws, and they're glad to hear you've let them off the hook for murder. Third: Sometimes, the law is wrong — and maybe you're not black (three-fifths, wasn't it?), but I'll bet you download music.

If you want to have a technical, statutory conversation, you're right: Legally, abortion is not murder under US law. But — setting aside the fact that, that's what the bjorkin' debate is about! — I think that's disingenuous. If that's your reply to people who believe that abortion constitutes the murder of innocents, then I think you're sacrificing a real discussion for a relatively cheap semantic victory.

kk: "Pro-life" is more spin than "anti-choice."

Please. We can have the same argument about the terms "liberal," "conservative," and "suicide bomber." But I don't think we need to elucidate the difference between whatever inherent spin may exist in common parlance versus slapping your own brand-new convenient label on your opponents. You and I are both smarter than, say...

l_v: I don't have a dog in this fight, but I don't need to in order to point out the holes in your BS arguments.

No, that's true. But in order to point out the holes, you do need to, y'know, POINT OUT SOME HOLES. So far, the best anyone has managed is, "Think for yourself"; and while I suppose that's good advice, I'm still at a loss to understand how it rebuts my point. Feel free to pick up the slack or your own stick. (In the meantime, I'll see your "Whatever" and raise you a "Talk to the hand!")

b: Please feel free to respond in kind--where are American leftists calling for genocide and murder of government officials?

Aaaaaaand...that's three!! Seriously: What are you on about?
posted by cribcage at 3:03 PM on May 6, 2006


The fact that you haven't even tried to support any of your arguments with facts, links, or frankly, something recognizable as logic. And so you resort to calling people who disagree with you "nitwits." Is that what they teach in law school these days?
posted by bardic at 3:09 PM on May 6, 2006


Not that this thread needs an abortion derail, but "anti-choice" isn't some kind of leftist propoganda term; it's the only honest way to put it.

Actually, the only honest terms would be "anti-abortion" and "pro-abortion", since the vast majority of the discussions where the terms "pro-life" and "pro-choice" come into play are on that subject. Both sides argue that their position is really about so much more, neither side talks about much else under their respective banners.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 3:44 PM on May 6, 2006


Actually, the only honest terms would be "anti-abortion" and "pro-abortion", since the vast majority of the discussions where the terms "pro-life" and "pro-choice" come into play are on that subject.

You're right, I agree. I suppose I hadn't thought about it that way as I rarely hear anyone objecting to the term "pro-choice." But that does seem like a better way of putting it.
posted by ludwig_van at 3:52 PM on May 6, 2006


"Actually, the only honest terms would be "anti-abortion" and "pro-abortion", since the vast majority of the discussions where the terms "pro-life" and "pro-choice" come into play are on that subject."

Wrong. It's totally consistent to be both pro-choice and anti-abortion. Pro-choice and anti-choice are pretty much the only honest ways to put it, though I'll concede that I'm making an implied judgement within that framing.

"Ugh. Cheap semantics. Three equally cheap replies. First, societal law ≠ natural law. Second: A Pakistani village just called. They finished stoning to death a woman who committed the heinous crime of being raped by her in-laws, and they're glad to hear you've let them off the hook for murder. Third: Sometimes, the law is wrong — and maybe you're not black (three-fifths, wasn't it?), but I'll bet you download music."

Not at all a cheap semantic distinction, though I'll grant the paper-thin feel of your replies. In this case, we're discussing what should be considered murder, not what is murder. I can say that the Pakistanis should be charged with murder, and would in America, but I'm not saying that it was murder. And while the societal law != natural law argument is a decent one, I'd reply with the right-left of pointing out that natural law is fundamentally irrational and fallacious, and that if one proceeds from the Lockian understanding of natural law, you can still make a compelling case for abortion being legalized (under his toleration doctrine). As for the law being wrong, that's a fair objection, and the reply would be that I support the process of people who are anti-choice (protesting against a law they believe is morally wrong) while disagreeing with them and hoping that they fail. And if they're going to be consistent, they need to give me the same respect. (Which would, again, come down to personal conscience, which is the pro-choice argument). There are people who believe that the law is wrong in allowing interracial marriages, and can cite both Biblical (your "natural law") and pseudo-scientific arguments for their case. Just because the law can be wrong doesn't mean it is.

"Please. We can have the same argument about the terms "liberal," "conservative," and "suicide bomber." But I don't think we need to elucidate the difference between whatever inherent spin may exist in common parlance versus slapping your own brand-new convenient label on your opponents. You and I are both smarter than, say..."

Well, yes. Liberal and conservative are a lot more complicated (mostly because the roots, both lexigraphical and historical, have little to do with how the words are used). But complaining that I should accept an intentionally deceptive framing because it's what everyone else uses is fallacious too. Mine is, among the options I've seen, the most accurate. "Everyone calls it a unicorn." "Well, yeah, but it's just a goat with one horn." "Yeah, but we're calling it a unicorn, so don't you put your liberal spin on it." Shrug.
posted by klangklangston at 5:02 PM on May 6, 2006


This is why I mostly avoid the blue...

Pro-choice advocates believe that outlawing abortion infringes on a woman's right to choose," whereas most of the MeFi Liberals are unable to articulate, "Pro-life advocates believe abortion constitutes murder," opting instead for the mind-numbingly insightful, "Pro-life advocates support the rape and slavery of women."
posted by cribcage at 8:51 AM EST on May 6 [!]


I admire how you state you mosty avoid the blue and then back it up by making a statement that clearly shows that you avoid it very much mostly indeed. Skillful that.
posted by juiceCake at 8:27 PM on May 6, 2006


cribcage -

Your church. My womb. Got it?
posted by rougy at 11:07 PM on May 6, 2006


I don't believe you're going to win arguments with Cribcage by ascribing to him religious motives.
posted by klangklangston at 5:18 AM on May 7, 2006


I adopted a girl from China. Were ultrasound available to the biological parents, they would most likely have aborted, given that they abandoned the child. I'm happy, she's happy, and I'm happy she is happy.

How does this play into people's cosy little prejudices?
posted by Wolof at 6:17 AM on May 7, 2006


It confirms what I suspected-- Australians eat Chinese babies.
posted by klangklangston at 8:23 AM on May 7, 2006


How does this play into people's cosy little prejudices?

Very nicely, thanks!
posted by ludwig_van at 8:56 AM on May 7, 2006


"I don't believe you're going to win arguments with Cribcage by ascribing to him religious motives.

Cribcage has been winning my arguments for me all by his little old self.
posted by rougy at 9:45 AM on May 7, 2006


Well, no. I agree with your basic position, but Cribcage has pretty well pwned you backwards and forwards.
posted by klangklangston at 3:22 PM on May 7, 2006


“Anybody who wants to hurt my gay friends...will not like the consequences.” - posted by rougy

Err...huh? You addressing me?

“But loving someone isn't a conservative precept.” - posted by rougy

No, but consistiency in treatment of citizens by the government is.

“Frankly - what does conservatism mean any more?” - rougy

Yeah, well, I’m with you there. I’d go with Buckley, and some others. I mentioned Edmund Burke to a “die hard conservative” the other day and he had no idea what I was talking about.

I’d say it’s governance not by the perspective of one group or individual, but of the reasoned principles of history.* Perhaps change is slower, but it lends itself to greater stability and less whim.
I’d classify Bush as a radical, most particularly because BushCo is devoted to change at such a pace and such a narrowly defined perspective (their own). And I’d argue that even if I agreed wholeheartedly with the changes (I don’t) they were proceeding too quickly to get an accurate sense of their impact.
* “We are afraid to put men to live and trade each on his own private stock of reason, because we suspect that this stock in each man is small, and that the individuals would do better to avail themselves of the general bank and capital of nations and ages.” - Burke

------------
“Would you say that opposing a governmental institution of gay marriage constitutes "supporing the marginalization and destabilization of human relationships," traditional values aside? 'Cause most opponents of gay marriage wouldn't.”

My point exactly is - you cannot put traditional values aside and be a conservative. Marriage is either an anchor of societal stability or it isn’t. It is a traditional value and is in stark contrast to - say - promiscuity.
Most opponents oppose gay marriage on grounds other than how men should be governed.
That’s not an argument I’m going to engage. It is irrelevant because the norms of any given group in history is subject to change. And often radical change.

The structure of my argument is no different when applied to any other similar principle throughout the history of the United States.
If this were 50 years ago and we were talking about mixed ethnic groups marrying (say a black and a white person) my argument is unchanged as to on principle what the government should and should not do.
If it were 100 years ago or 150 years ago the argument stands because it is divorced from the prejudices - whether they are right* or wrong - of the time.

Society has an interest in - for example - not having young children (let’s say 13 years old) married to older individuals for reasons of stability, economics, and other reasons.
But there is not - and has not been - any biblical or other kind of opposition to it. I’m speaking in terms of norms here - it is fairly recent in human relations that 18 is the age of majority.
There are solid societal, but not necessarially what is considered traditional moral or normative, reasons for that.
(And those should be standardized as well)

This is all academic if we’re going to allow the terms ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ to be generalizations. Which I’ll agree to a good degree they are.

But if we’re talking conservative ideals - those ideals support individual liberty and individual choice in a civil society.
Social order demands patterns of interactions and customs capable of reproducing conditions essential for it’s own existance.
The only thing that legitimizes it’s existance in the first place is not continuity, but predictability. That is - all “X” are treated the same everywhere.

Currently it is the case that not all marriages are treated the same nor are people seeking to be married treated the same.
So - no predictability, no stability.

Society may argue that homosexuals are - whatever. This position is irrelevent to how the state should act regarding it’s taxpaying citizens.

The churches can deny them. The boy scouts. Whatever groups in society can shun homosexuals however they will - (homosexual having civil recourse, naturally) - but marriage as an institution of the state should not be denied any citizen on any basis that does not destabilize human relationships.

(And I’ve covered children - I assume I need not defend the ridiculous points on bestiality and such.)


“perhaps those words don't mean what you think they mean.”

Cultural reference. (Steel Pulse). Certainly it’s got a different common meaning literally. But I’m using it to mean - I am a fully committed member of this group - and in addition, recognizing your “No True Scotsman,” asserting that I rebel against what I percieve as the not real or fronting part of “conservativism.”
Meh. I thought it was cute. I like old school political hip hop (Chuck D, et. al.) and I empathize with the situation there and see it as somewhat analogous.
So I don’t buy the Inigo Montoya, but I’ll concede I’m probably not as witty as I think I am.


*sits at the big kids' table, eats meatloaf*
posted by Smedleyman at 3:29 PM on May 7, 2006


klangklang -

No he hasn't. Not remotely. Unless you consider drama queen hissy fits as some sort of salient rhetorical device.

“pwned?” Grow up.
posted by rougy at 8:20 PM on May 7, 2006


The only difference between Phelps's and Hannity's views on homosexuality is that Hannity doesn't say "fags."

Seriously, that's it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:44 AM PST on May 6


Quoting the last interesting post in this thread.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:51 PM on May 7, 2006


cribcage -

Basically I have two question for you:

Do you have a womb? Have you ever personally faced an unwanted pregnancy?

If the answer to either question is no, then you have nothing more to say about abortion rights.
posted by rougy at 8:56 PM on May 7, 2006


"Do you have a womb? Have you ever personally faced an unwanted pregnancy?

If the answer to either question is no, then you have nothing more to say about abortion rights."


That really is a silly and undemocratic argument, no matter how heartfelt.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:11 PM on May 7, 2006


No Bligh - it's the only argument, like it or not.
posted by rougy at 9:58 PM on May 7, 2006


It confirms what I suspected-- Australians eat Chinese babies.

It confirms what i suspected -- lamers with big semantic dicks and no life experience are incapable of understanding nuance.

Big Funny!++!!!
posted by Wolof at 3:41 AM on May 8, 2006


"It confirms what i suspected -- lamers with big semantic dicks and no life experience are incapable of understanding nuance. "

Your point was obvious, belabored and irrelevant. It's not nuance when you try to cram it down our throats, moron.
(Or was the nuance that you only eat Chinese girl babies? Help me understand!)

"No Bligh - it's the only argument, like it or not."

This is why Cribcage has outmanuevered you again and again— you're arguing from emotion and not from any rational basis. Men clearly do have a say in abortion rights, based on the fairly large influence of men on the debate (how many women sat on the Roe decision?). Further, it opens you up to all sorts of easy exceptionalism, and the way you phrased it was stupid. You put it as an either/or, so you have to answer both questions with a yes. How about women that have had hysterectomies after failed pregnancies? Do they not have a say? How about women who haven't had a pregnancy scare? How about men who have had a pregnancy scare? How about the fact that we're a representative democracy, so a lot of people have to agree on something to get it established as law? You're not only cutting out huge swaths of your allies, but also placing yourself in a ludicrious position to defend.

For Smedley— Burke's my favorite conservative too, but you have to remember that he was a conservative in context (arguably, in the original context). His opposition wasn't just general liberalism, it was the French Revolution. Perhaps it's a measure of how conservatism has gained a lot of traction in the West, but "Perhaps we should strive to not have a reign of terror" is something that nearly everyone can agree on now. Anyway, most of Burke's precepts would be called "liberal" just a few years later (he's cited in On Liberty, though Mill was much more utilitarian), because he comes out of the Lockian school of thought on a lot of things. And certainly, I think that very few people who follow the arguments that Burke laid out would be called "conservatives" by the rest of the contemporary conservatives.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that while it may provide you with a certain rhetorical caché to think of yourself as a conservative, won't you come join our liberal party? We're more fun, and you're already 3/4ths of the way there... And trust me, you won't have to stop complaining about your ideological allies— Liberals denouncing other liberals is half of what we do!
posted by klangklangston at 6:33 AM on May 8, 2006


Men clearly do have a say in abortion rights, based on the fairly large influence of men on the debate (how many women sat on the Roe decision?).

This is patently false.

It doesn’t mean that men will pass laws for women, again, without a second thought to the latter’s health, privacy, and best interests. It’s Republican controlled America, remember?

Not until the day that a man has to seek out an illegal abortion, go to a stranger's dirty house, take off his pants and put his feet in make-shift stirrups - not until then will a man have the right to make abortion decisions for women, women who are perfect strangers to him.

Come on, Klangklang - be a real man and volunteer.
posted by rougy at 4:23 PM on May 8, 2006


" You're not only cutting out huge swaths of your allies..."

I don't need, nor do I want, any allies who think it is reasonable to force any woman in the world to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, against her will.
posted by rougy at 4:24 PM on May 8, 2006


klangklangston - more to it than Burke. But I do recognize there are changes in what is termed "conservative."

I mean Buckley used to argue strongly in favor of conservation, now it's called the "environment" and it's championed by "liberals."

Meh. A rose is a rose. My positions don't change with labels. And I do agree with certain liberal precepts, but I'm fairly stiff necked on economics and the pace and conditions of change.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:41 PM on May 8, 2006


The word "conservative" has lost all meaning for the political rightwing. DeLay is a conservative. Abramoff is a conservative. Cunningham is a conservative. Every boardmember of BP is a conservative. Every person in the K Street project is a conservative. Fred Phelps and his "lovely" daughter are both conservatives.

The pejoritive "con" is about the only thing that properly relates to the modern-day political label "conservative."

That, and self-rightous hatred.
posted by rougy at 6:00 PM on May 8, 2006


"No Bligh - it's the only argument, like it or not."

Actually, what you wrote applies to you more than me. That is, it is a matter of fact that this is argued by many people and your argument is not the only argument. What you meant was that your is the only valid argument. Which, sadly, is not true either.

Stop and think about how your reasoning would apply with regard to other rights in a democracy. Or for that matter, using your rationale, a woman unable to become pregnant would have no say in the argument. It's really a pretty absurd argument.

Look, I'm a card-carrying member of NARAL. But, of course, under your reasoning my membership in a pro-choice civic organization is invalid.

I don't really care if you're alienating men, or whatever. I don't even really care that we're on the same side of this civic debate. I do care that you're asserting simpleminded and untrue things in an undiplomatic manner. This kind of unreasoning self-righteousness is obnoxious independent of partisanship.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:42 PM on May 8, 2006


Bligh - I like you – you're misreading me, and I really don't see why I have to spell it out.

If you don't have a womb, don't restrict abortion rights.

I'm kind of disappointed that I had to spell this out for you. Based on our past discussions, I was sure you would read between the lines.

It bugs me when I hear men taking such a casual, detached, cavalier approach to abortion, when they themselves will never - ever - be pregnant.

If men could get pregnant, abortion would not even be an issue.

Every man here knows that.

There would have been legal, safe, private, shame-free abortion for as long as there was the medical knowledge to perform those services.

And you're right - this has nothing to do with partisanship - it has to do with those who have wombs versus the lawmakers that don’t.
posted by rougy at 9:55 PM on May 8, 2006


"I'm kind of disappointed that I had to spell this out for you. Based on our past discussions, I was sure you would read between the lines.

It bugs me when I hear men taking such a casual, detached, cavalier approach to abortion, when they themselves will never - ever - be pregnant."


I understand how you feel and can empathize. But there is an important principle involved in this—in a democratic society under the rule of law, everyone's rights are relevant for everyone and no one class is privileged in deciding how to legislate with regard to these rights. You do not have to be black, for example, to have a civic duty to deliberate on the matter of Jim Crow laws or any other matter of racism.

Mostly I'm arguing with you because I'm irritable and I'm very tired of how awfully close-minded each side of the abortion debate is.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:57 PM on May 8, 2006


Your point was obvious, belabored and irrelevant. It's not nuance when you try to cram it down our throats, moron.
(Or was the nuance that you only eat Chinese girl babies? Help me understand!)


Let's just read that again and enjoy what a pointless little prick this boy is. An asset to the site.
posted by Wolof at 4:46 AM on May 9, 2006


"This is patently false. "

No, it's not. As it stands now, it is patently true— Men are the dominant gender in politics and the law.

"not until then will a man have the right to make abortion decisions for women, women who are perfect strangers to him."

I know what you mean, you mean that those decisions will not be legitimate to you until men face the same risks. But that's not only practically wrong, but stupid. Right now men have the right, as conferred through our legal system, to decide all sorts of things about abortion. As do women, but until more women are elected, men will have the dominant voice.

"I don't need, nor do I want, any allies who think it is reasonable to force any woman in the world to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, against her will."

And this is why you should be kept out of debates where adults are speaking. I'm pro-choice, I've volunteered at clinics as an escort, I've donated money. I've even had fairly personal experiences with the process. But by tying all men together, you've decided that I shouldn't do any of those things. You're alienating allies, and you're too vitriolic to realize it or too stupid. Either way, you're making things worse for the cause you endorse.

"And you're right - this has nothing to do with partisanship - it has to do with those who have wombs versus the lawmakers that don’t."

Except there are plenty of pro-choice men in the government. Otherwise, abortion would be totally illegal.

"Let's just read that again and enjoy what a pointless little prick this boy is. An asset to the site."

As opposed to a sanctamonious and humorless old man? Go cry on Monkeyfilter.
posted by klangklangston at 6:01 AM on May 9, 2006


Klangklang -

"And this is why you should be kept out of debates where adults are speaking."

Would you stop being so fucking ludicrous? Can't you freaking read between the lines?

You obviously can't. You're making petty-assed arguments hoping to have me "pwned!" (a real adult term if I've ever heard).

Fine.

Let's do the same to gay men, too.

Let's resurrect the harshest laws addressing sodomy.

It's for your own good - and so, so democratic.

Hey, I'm pro-gay, but we wouldn't want to be childish and keep the homophobes out of this, would we?

No, let's fucking give them an equal voice in it all, because, like you said "Men are the dominant gender in politics and the law" and most of them aren't gay.

Yeah - you're a fucking mental giant.

Don’t take it personally, okay, sweetie?
posted by rougy at 7:42 PM on May 9, 2006


"Hey, I'm pro-gay, but we wouldn't want to be childish and keep the homophobes out of this, would we?

No, let's fucking give them an equal voice in it all, because, like you said "Men are the dominant gender in politics and the law" and most of them aren't gay.

Yeah - you're a fucking mental giant.

Don’t take it personally, okay, sweetie?"

I won't, sweetie, and here's why— the homophobes already have a voice. In fact, gays have a very small minority voice at present.

So, I'm sorry that you failed civics or whatever the fuck has led you to your absolutely retarded view of democracy, but the simple fact of the matter is that if gays (or women) want equal power they either have to achieve equal representation or convince those in power of the righteousness of their position. And just spouting off some bumper-sticker level bullshit about how straight people shouldn't make laws regarding gays isn't cutting it. You can keep living in your moonbat negaverse where women and gays control the discourse in American politics and therefore don't have to worry about convincing others, or you can shut the fuck up and stop harming your cause. What is so hard to get about this? I understand your argument, the problem is that it's a moronic argument and one based on both a superficial view of the ideal and a complete disregard for, you know, this world we live in.
Further, I shouldn't have to "read between the lines" to construct a cogent argument for you. It's not my fault that you're less articulate than a housepet. Sweetie.
posted by klangklangston at 8:16 PM on May 9, 2006


What's so hard to get is how a man, such as yourself, who has so much nothing to say can keep on saying it ad nauseam.

You - a pro-choice gay man - are actually arguing that it's okay for the dominant party to suppress the minority party until the latter can "convince those in power of the righteousness of their position."

Sure. We all know how open-minded the right wing is. They just love to listen to reason, especially “reason” like yours.

I'm not harming my cause by pointing out the inherent idiocy of your platform.

You're such an idiot that you can't seem to see that you're actually arguing in favor of your adversary's cause.
posted by rougy at 9:30 PM on May 9, 2006


Your arguments are as piercing as a fog machine.
posted by rougy at 9:32 PM on May 9, 2006


And last but not least - though on the surface your argument may appear "cogent" to you - it would be a good idea for you to review it to see exactly how "sound" it is.

Honey.
posted by rougy at 9:35 PM on May 9, 2006


Klang,

A woman might physically experience an unwanted pregnancy.
A man will never physically experience an unwanted pregnancy.

True or false?
posted by rougy at 9:55 PM on May 9, 2006


"You - a pro-choice gay man - are actually arguing that it's okay for the dominant party to suppress the minority party until the latter can "convince those in power of the righteousness of their position.""

I'm not gay, and I'm arguing that the dominant part of any society does suppress the minority until the latter can convince those in power of the righteousness of their position. Can you think of a counter example, a time where a minority successfully opposed oppression without at least the tacit support of a majority? That's how the civil rights movement happened. That's how slavery ended. That's how Roe v. Wade was decided.

"Sure. We all know how open-minded the right wing is. They just love to listen to reason, especially “reason” like yours."

If you weren't such a moron, you might realize that not every man is part of the right wing.

As for your return to the unwanted pregnancy, that's both irrelevant and an attempt to play to emotion, both of which are fallacies that point to a poverty of reason in your argument.
In order to achieve your goals, you need to persuade those who hold power or change those who hold power to people you have already persuaded. Either way, your repeated bleatings will do you no good. Honey. Perhaps you've been told this before, but shutting up might be your best hope of not fucking things up should you ever be in a position to influence someone one way or another. You're certainly not bright enough to argue your case.
posted by klangklangston at 10:07 PM on May 9, 2006


"As for your return to the unwanted pregnancy, that's both irrelevant and an attempt to play to emotion...."

No, it is reality, and the subject at hand.

The subject that you have cowardly chosen to avoid.

I'm glad you're not gay - see...I like gay people.

Your argument is strict status quo, lick my boots you plebe till I feel like sending you to the baths, rich boy, cock-sucking, shit.

Since you were not man enough to answer the question, true or false, you are clearly not man enough to waste my time with anymore.

The right wing is all about control.

You are the resident douche bag in its honor.
posted by rougy at 11:35 PM on May 9, 2006


So...Klang...baby...put forth a simple premise.
posted by rougy at 11:48 PM on May 9, 2006


"I'm glad you're not gay - see...I like gay people."

Aww, that's cute. I like some gay people. Other ones are total assholes. It might be because gay people aren't some monolithic pink stuffed animal for you to hug, Rougy.

"Your argument is strict status quo, lick my boots you plebe till I feel like sending you to the baths, rich boy, cock-sucking, shit."

Right, that's exactly what I said, only not at all. Are you trying to prove that liberal women can't read?

"Since you were not man enough to answer the question, true or false, you are clearly not man enough to waste my time with anymore."

Are you a lesbian? Because, with all this womb stuff, you sure sound obsessed with the pussy. What, you're not woman enough to answer that? Maybe because it's irrelevant and retarded? Wait, might there be a direct parallel?

The simple premise is that in any society in order to get that society to recognize protections you feel are necessary, you have to convince the apparatus that enforces those protections that they are necessary, be it in Athens, Beijing or Brussels. And that by simply screeching over and over that men shouldn't be involved in the process, you alienate a large number of the people who at the current time are the process.

Was that simple enough for you, or is your hysteria taking over again?
posted by klangklangston at 5:52 AM on May 10, 2006


I like John Brown's way of fighting slavery much better than just waiting for the beneficiaries of the system to realize that it's hideous and immoral.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:21 AM on May 10, 2006


Right, because not using violence implies no action at all. Those are opposites. Rougy makes the same mistake. Further, John Brown's a nice buzzword, but how much of an effect did he have, especially when compared to the force of the federal government?
posted by klangklangston at 11:03 AM on May 10, 2006


John Brown's a nice buzzword, but how much of an effect did he have, especially when compared to the force of the federal government?

Ask Frederick Douglass.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:43 PM on May 10, 2006


Klang –

And that by simply screeching over and over that men shouldn't be involved in the process, you alienate a large number of the people who at the current time are the process.

The process of insemination is not the process of birth.

And to pass laws that the brunt of the lawmakers will never, physically, be compelled to obey is a shadow of justice.

And make no mistake – you are exactly the kind of stupid motherfucker that I want to alienate.

"The simple premise is that in any society in order to get that society to recognize protections you feel are necessary, you have to convince the apparatus that enforces those protections that they are necessary...."

Yes, I remember how George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, et al, had tea with King George II and thus America was born.

Klangklang must be the Hottentot term for "warm enema."
posted by rougy at 11:55 PM on May 10, 2006


"Ask Frederick Douglass."

Ask Martin Luther King Jr. Ask James Meredith.

"Yes, I remember how George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, et al, had tea with King George II and thus America was born."

James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry convinced the people who held power to join their cause— people who were willing to join militias and rebel against England. Further, and this is especially true of Franklin, the reason that America won the war is that they convinced France to support them, despite France being a monarchy.
But the days in America where an armed rebellion can motivate the people to change are over. See: That little civil war? So, if you want to make sure that the laws don't change, or even change them to be more open, you're going to have to convince either the people who make the laws or the general population to elect different people. Both of which require men, moron. Ergo, your argument that men should have no say is self-defeating. I'm not sure why I have to keep giving you a remedial civics lesson on democracies and republics, but that's where we live. If you can find an authoritarian matriarchy somewhere in the world, perhaps you can live there instead.

Or, to break it down a little easier (since you've proven that you're retarded). There are 100 people, 49 men and 51 women. They have to decide on something that affects only the women, but the women aren't unified on it. About 16 of them want to vote against it. You go around shrieking as a harridan that the men can't vote because it affects only women. But the rules of the game say that anyone of the 100 can vote in every election. You're going to need to have at least 16 men vote along with you, otherwise (assuming everyone votes) your side won't win.

And to take it even further, think of a deliberative body of 100 (or 435) that has even fewer women, say, 76 or so. Likely chance of all of the men recusing themselves? Well, the men who follow your arguments might. But that would make them less likely to win, because the people who disagree would be an easy majority. So again, your argument is stupid on its face.

And while it's lovely that you'd want to alienate me, I'm going to keep volunteering at clinics and donating to MARAL. Why? Well, I'm not going to let one raving moron endanger the rights of all the reasonable women. But if you have any female friends that care about their rights, they may want you to shut the fuck up for the good of all of them.
posted by klangklangston at 5:48 AM on May 11, 2006


11:35 PM: you are clearly not man enough to waste my time with anymore.

18 minutes later: So...Klang...baby...put forth a simple premise.

I'm mildly surprised this thread's still active. But snippets like the above — and her mumbled non sequitur in response to totally getting 0wn3d — amply prove rougy's capacity for adult conversation, and I suppose women like that have little else to do during the 23 hours when Oprah's off the air.

[klangklangston is] exactly the kind of stupid motherfucker...

Make no mistake, you shrill banshee of a woman: KK and I stand on opposite sides of the abortion aisle. Probably other issues, too. But he's a smart cookie with a knack for wit, and you're a putz who seems gleefully oblivious to the embarrassing fact that she's been used as a mop at various points during this thread by both sides of the partisan split.

Count your blessings that your party is led by people like KK rather than people like you. Otherwise you'd find yourselves even more politically marginalized than you are today.

The process of insemination is not the process of birth.

Christ. He was talking about the legal process, you fumbling nitwit. You asked him to state a premise, and he complied — whereupon you promptly demonstrated that it was over your head, got confused by its big words and foreign-sounding proper nouns, and fell back on irrelevant platitudes and bathroom humor. As if the thread hadn't been bad enough already, now you're going out of your way to specifically request opportunities to embarrass yourself.

Your church. My womb.

In all honesty, I love this comment because it functions like a scarlet letter: It instantly marks the speaker as a dullard whose opinions can be dismissed without further consideration. It also marks you as a bigot, rougy, because it's like responding to someone's post about enjoying grape soda by writing, "You're obviously black." I didn't say anything about church — but in your little mind, anyone who opposes abortion must be an evangelical Christian wearing a cheap suit from Men's Wearhouse, because that's consistent with what you've seen on the Lifetime network.
posted by cribcage at 2:57 PM on May 11, 2006


I swear to fucking god I am going to pistol-whip the next person who says 0wn3d or pwned or any fucking variant thereof.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:04 PM on May 11, 2006


What's wrong with the Men's Wearhouse?
posted by mr_roboto at 3:30 PM on May 11, 2006


I swear to fucking god I am going to pistol-whip...

Ha. I made you mad. 0WNZ0RD!!!!!

Seriously, though. I'd have laughed if, instead of "pistol-whip," you had threatened to command Bumblebee and Huffer to beat me about the legs and arms with energon sticks. Then I'd have retorted, "Not if I steal the Matrix of Leadership!" and we'd have all shared a good laugh until Unicron came to eat us.

Anyway. In the interest of not directing all of my attention toward rougy's shallow end of the gene pool:

KK: "Everyone calls it a unicorn." "Well, yeah, but it's just a goat with one horn." "Yeah, but we're calling it a unicorn, so don't you put your liberal spin on it." Shrug.

But...if everyone calls it a unicorn, then it is a unicorn. File a complaint with the language police if you like, but that's the way it works. Personally, I don't like referring to Napster as "piracy" and I think two guys getting hitched is as much a "marriage" as it is a "hamburger" — but that's language for you. Shrug.

Yes, language incorporates a certain degree of inherent spin. "Pro-life" and "pro-choice" are both deliberately loaded terms — but so be it. Those are the designated labels; and at this point, everyone has made up their mind about everyone else's position and moral character, anyway, so it's somewhat disingenuous to pretend that you're going to avoid giving someone a preconception by using your preferred label. It feels like a pointless minor rebellion executed solely for sake of coloring outside the lines.
posted by cribcage at 3:32 PM on May 11, 2006


congratulations ... this is now the worst discussion i've ever read on the net on the subject of abortion
posted by pyramid termite at 3:34 PM on May 11, 2006


Klang - you're delusional and proving my point.

I'm talking reason and all you can do is tell me I'm wrong and to shut the fuck up.

You don't know how to argue, but you excel at obfuscation.

The British were the people in power - the British did not listen to reason - you lose.

Your so-called arguments are flatly invalid.

You are a childish, bull-headed young person who is fond of making as much immature noise as he can.

Maybe you'll grow up someday. Maybe.
posted by rougy at 4:48 PM on May 11, 2006


cribcage - I just kicked your pathetic little asses.
posted by rougy at 4:50 PM on May 11, 2006


"congratulations ... this is now the worst discussion i've ever read on the net on the subject of abortion"

Yeah, I've been watching this rougy/klangklangston arguing for a little while, but really just scanning it and saying away from it. It's pretty ugly. I don't know the arguments in detail. Only from what I saw mostly when I was involved.

And maybe I'll just fan the flames, but I'd like to try to round some sharp edges a bit. I'm being very abstract and intellectual today, it seems to me right now the best way to deal with a certain class of problems. So please bear with me for a moment.

Ostensibly we're always trying to have a rational and productive discussion of whatever we're talking about, and even when we disagree. But when we disagree, there's inherently conflict; and how we deal with that conflict makes a very big difference in our ability to keep the discussion rational and productive. There's better and worse ways to respond to the conflict.

As an example of a bad way to try to "resolve"conflict, often people try to just shout over the disagreement.

A good way to resolve conflict is to first defuse the emotional component of it. The way to do that is to understand it, at least partly.

People are upset by conflict in general, but in discussions of controversial subjects, they're also upset by a variety of other things, some more abstract like a context (this argument is about women's rights and I feel strongly about women's rights), some more immediate and personal.

The key here is to realize that 99% of the time, placed in the context of the various reasons people are upset, it's reasonable that they're upset.

See, the wrong way to try to get past conflict is to attempt to force the other party that they're wrong to feel that they're in conflict or that they're angry. That just pisses people off more.

It's never been clear to me whether rougy is male or female, and of course that has bearing on this matter. But we can state the outlines of his/her strong emotions in a way that's true for either sex: rougy is arguing from the context where a patriarchal society, and possibly specific individuals of rougy's aquaintance, have tried to subjugate women by controlling them sexually and reproductively. This is wrong, I think we can agree, and it's real. Rougy is pissed-off about this. Rougy has one frame of reference within which this discussion exists, and it's a frame or reference that is extremely suspicious of both men and organized religion.

That's not unreasonable.

klangklangston, in contrast, is a pro-choice man who cares about this issue and is alienated by rougy's absolutist and pugnacious assertions. And his practical arguments (about strategic reasons not to alienate men) are correct, of course. But his moving into an adversarial relationship with rougy, hoping to get him/her to back off from his/her extreme and acerbic comments, is just going to polarize both parties more than they're already polarized. From rougy's point of view, the fact that klanglangston is male and a pro-choicer just makes it worse—he's assuming the rational, "male" role and telling him/her how he/she should think and act on the topic of abortion. In doing so, he's reinforcing the aspect of the matter that rougy's most annoyed about—patriarchy—and doing in the context of being pro-choice, which is sort of perverse, or making a mockery of the pro-choice position insofar as it's about women making choices about their own lifes regardless of how men would prefer. Klangklangston is being anti-choice in a real sense, even though he's pro-choice with regard to abortion.

I suppose I could probably try to explain klangklangston's position to rougy, but I'm not sure I would succeed. It's why I've stayed out of this argument except a little bit earlier. It's not that he/she's not wrong in some sense, he/she is; but it's also the case that we're wrong in some sense (and that would be to downplay the problematic aspects of being a pro-choice man). But coming from the place we're coming from, and rougy from where rougy is coming from, it might be futile.

The abortion debate is like this. As you can see, in a sense I've very empathetic—but it's being empathetic in a very intellectual way. :) What happens, then, is that I can build bridges a lot of the time, but a lot of the time I cannot because in some deep sense I'm speaking a language that other people don't speak and I'm not speaking the language that I'd need to speak for them to hear. The chasm that can't really be bridged here is how personal this matter is to a woman in a way that a man cannot understand. We can care a great deal about this, care a great deal, but it's a different sort of caring.

For this reason, I'm not very succuessful at building bridges between pro-choicers and pro-lifers by finding ways for the pro-choicers to understand the pro-lifers better; but I am quite successful at getting the pro-lifers to understand the pro-choice position better. There's a reason for this; it's what I was trying to explain in the previous paragraph. Men who are pro-life, of course, are completely involved in this from a very abstract point-of-view. But women who are pro-life have a foot in both camps, to some degree. In that the women assume the fetus is a human life and are focused on that, they are taking the more abstract position and thus are more amenable to an abstract debate. This is contrary to expectations, I admit, but it's my experience. It's probably the case that the pro-life women who are unwilling to think about this abstractly at all are women I just don't often come into contact with.

Anyway, the fact that I have no personal relationship with the issue of abortion is not so much a problem for the pro-lifers because where they place the emphasis is not with the female and her experience of being pregnant. So I am usually able to point out to such pro-life women that the pro-lifers and the pro-choicers are both making reasonable arguments that begin from different assumptions. Each side tends to assume that other is starting from the same assumptions (which makes no sense if you think about it, but I'm sure that's what's happening practically) and so keep repeating their argument to the other, showing how the argument is valid, and insisting that the other person agree with their conclusion. Of course the other person doesn't, and so then they think the other person is just very irrational.

I'm not inclined to try to work through that wall of anger rougy has about this matter. I understand it to some degree, and I think it's valid—but I'm not sure that it's really possible to "get through" to rougy at this time. Rougy right now clearly feels that rougy's deep anger about this is the correct context within which he/she should engage on this controversy. If I were to defuse rougy's anger by acknowledging it, letting him/her express it, and then asking rougy to consider the more abstract arguments and my point of view; it's quite possible that when rougy finds himself/herself to be discussing this matter without being angry, he/she will get suspicious and retrench into anger. That's just how people are. That's how we are, I'm sure that we do it, too.

This is especially true in my case, because my point of view is one that is pro-choice but that, nevertheless, takes the pro-life arguments very seriously. I think they're wrong in their assumptions and therefore their conclusion; but I can imagine that they might be right in their assumptions and, were that to be the case, their argument would be very important. Some things I'm going to be right about and some things I'm goingo to be wrong about and so it's important to me to evaluate things from the perspective of what it would mean if I am wrong and thus how much is riding on my being right. Because the pro-life argument exists, and because it can be fairly said to be representative of what it would mean for me to be wrong, then I take that argument seriously and I take it as the argument that demonstrates what is at stake if I'm wrong. Anyone in rougy's very angry, very intensely personal, state of mind about abortion is very unlikely to be able to swallow my way of analyzing these matters. It's particularly galling to them that I'd be willing to give the pro-lifer's arguments so much credence. So I typically don't engage with people like rougy, when they're in that state of mind.

And I don't need to. Like klangklangston, I'll keep donating to NARAL and acting in the interests of the pro-choice movement—it's not crucial that I get rougy to accept the validity of my point of view. And if klangklangston's right that rougy is in some ways acting against the very interests rougy's trying to promote, well, it's probably the case that I'm not the best person to try to convince him/her to see that. Neither is klangklangston, probably.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:30 PM on May 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


File a complaint with the language police if you like, but that's the way it works. Personally, I don't like referring to Napster as "piracy" and I think two guys getting hitched is as much a "marriage" as it is a "hamburger" — but that's language for you. Shrug.

That's incredibly disingenuous. This shit isn't decreed from on high. "Pro-life" is, and always has been an intentionally deceptive and inaccurate term, notwithstanding any silly appeals to relativism or the status quo. And I have no idea what you're trying to illustrate by mentioning Napster or marriage.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:54 AM on May 12, 2006


"And I have no idea what you're trying to illustrate by mentioning Napster or marriage."

I do. And I think that he's got a good argument but one that I don't find ultimately compelling. Yes, the dominant vocabulary for file sharing is one of "piracy" and "theft," when it should be "infringment" and "tresspass" for the analogies to work. And yes, using the term "anti-choice" is alienating. However, I don't use the term piracy when I can avoid it, because I realize that when I'm conscious of linguistic framing in a direction that I don't agree with, so long as I am clear with my argument, that I will be understood if I reframe it more to my liking. I actually go back and forth on "gay marriage," because I think that "marriage" is a red flag for a lot of people who would otherwise support civil unions (I don't particularly care, as I don't think that the state should have all that much say in legitimating religious rituals, but whatever). However, many gay activists argue against the use of "civil unions" because they believe it denies them full rights.
With "anti-choice," I know that it will alienate some people. But I think it's important enough when defining the argument to shift things away from an absolute, universal precept (God said fetuses are life) and toward a more individual understanding (I'll settle with my God when I'm dead), even if that means that some people are immediately turned off by the language. I'd say that they're being disingenuous if they're seriously arguing that they are not anti-choice, whereas I think I can make a pretty solid argument that I'm pro-life (with those weaselly qualifiers about what life means, etc.).

As for EB's Treatise on the Understanding of Two People Divided, soon in paperback, I think that he does raise some good points that I hadn't really thought about, though I'm not sure how much I care to let them impact me (I don't mean that to be dismissive, but rather that they're something I'll keep in mind the next time I'm faced with an antagonist like Rougy). However, I don't think she'd like it if I let EB, a man, convince me, so perhaps I should keep up the Noh.

"Count your blessings that your party is led by people like KK rather than people like you."

I do take mild exception to this. I tried working for the Democrats but found myself absolutely unable to swallow the Kool-Aid (including a daily cheer that was supposed to go "Thundercrats HO!"). The Democrats have far more people like Rougy than they have like me, at least on the lower tiers. As it goes up, I'd say that the actual commitment to anything wanes more than it waxes.
posted by klangklangston at 7:18 AM on May 12, 2006


Well, I think it's a bad argument, and one that disingenuously denies the agency of individuals to shape their language. There's no government authority telling people what things are called. It's my prerogative as an English speaker to use the language as precisely as I see fit, and I'm under no obligation to accept that X is properly referred to as Y because that's what other people (with obvious ulterior motives) say it's called (as long as my audience understands what I mean, and I think the term "anti-choice" is pretty accurate and unambiguous).

To say "using your preferred term is no better" is a false equivalency, and I'm pretty sick of letting people shape the overall discourse with those kinds of dishonest arguments.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:44 AM on May 12, 2006


I've said elsewhere that if I believe that people have selected a self-describing term in good faith, then I will use that term. I'm more comfortable with that test than one that includes whether I like them or not or whether I agree with their goals or not.

I recognize and agree that a large portion of pro-lifers are really anti-choicers and that their crusade is really all about women in the kitchen, pregnant. But I also believe a large portion is truly acting on behalf of what they think the interests of the fetus they believe to be a human life. I'd be less likely to believe this if I found their argument absurd, but I don't. It's true that I believe that only an argument relying upon the metaphysical concept of a "soul" in one for or another can justify the idea of a fertilized egg as a "human life", and I personally find that idea absurd...but a majority of the human race believes in souls and so in the larger civil discourse of which I am only a single member, I have to take into account that a majority of people find the metaphysical basis upon which pro-lifers make their argument to be perfectly acceptable and unquestionable.

Finally, in the context of my own idea about human life in the absence of metaphysics, I'm left with a pertty strong certainty (but not absolute) that a full-term, born baby is a human life...and since I don't believe something magical happens all at once, I'm inclined to see that as a human life with that status diminishing to nothing as you look further back into the gestation. In short, I agree with the pro-life position in a very limited sense and I pretty much don't agree with the legality of third-trimester abortions. But then, the majority of Americans, even pro-choicers, are unhappy about third-trimester abortions. And the battleground has never really been that third trimester, anyway—the pro-lifers committment to outlawing abortion is absolute, given that they believe a fertilized egg is a human life.

So, with my belief in the sincerity of "pro-life" somewhat qualified as above, I tend to think that "pro-life" and "pro-choice" sincerely represent the attitudes of the two positions. Each takes exception to the other, feeling like it grants too much felicity to the other position, specifically that it implies the negative to the opposition which neither side, rightly, feels is fair. But, again, I believe that both sides self-describe this way more because they sincerely believe it is accurate in describing themselves than I think the intent is to imply the negation as a term describing their opposition ("anti-life", "anti-choice").

One of the things that I think is poisoning the abortion debate is that its intensity and never-ending nature has created extreme groups on both sides who, in some sense, are professionally partisans in this. And they control the discourse. I am inclined to believe that the activist partisans have been polarized enough that they can't be fully trusted to be direct and honest and, instead, more likely always acting tactically and strategically and willing to do pretty much anything (rhetorically) to win the debate...but I think the American population, even though it, too, is divided on this matter, is composed of people speaking sincerely when they discuss this debate and thus assumptions of good faith are both warranted and helpful.

And, as I said much earlier, the two different paradigms the two sides use to self-identify indicates the two very different starting assumptions each side holds. Yet each side tends to assume that they are figthing on the same territory—thus, the pro-choicers are quite certain that what the pro-lifers are chiefly concerned with is choice; and the pro-lifers are quite certain that what the pro-choicers are chiefly concerned with is life. And they, being pretty certain that their opponents are the anti- version of themselves, are very angry because, after all, who wouldn't be angry at a group of people who are anti-choice or anti-life?

Finally, this is just an example of how civil discourse in general is difficult or poisoned. As soon as you're certain that your opposition is acting in bad-faith—that they're bad people—then there is no more opportunity for a resolution of the argument. It certainly is the case that many people individually, and many movements in general are quite likely to be truly acting in bad faith. But if I find that I easily and quickly make that assumption about someone I'm arguing against, then I will never have productive discussions. If I am resistant to making that assumption, then while occasionally I'll give someone acting in bad-faith credit they don't deserve; far more often I'll correctly assume good-faith and I'll help keep the discussion in a context where it can become productive. Or even solve the conflict!

It's very important for some people in terms of their personality and their worldview, to assume that most everyone else are villains. I think they are the problem in the deepest sense.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:01 AM on May 12, 2006


L_V: There's no government authority telling people what things are called. It's my prerogative as an English speaker to use the language as precisely as I see fit...

That's the argument made by advocates of gender-neutral pronouns. Except the purpose behind writing isn't "to use accurate words," but to communicate clearly and effectively and your audience comprises at least half that equation. You can assert whatever intellectual justification you want for deliberately using language that goes against the grain, but the bottom line is that using the term "anti-choice" immediately conveys an insulting and antagonistic tone toward roughly half the people involved in a debate that's already overloaded with anger and self-righteous offense.

KK: The Democrats have far more people like Rougy than they have like me, at least on the lower tiers.

On the lower tiers, politics is a cesspool. If you're looking for the most petty, spiteful people in the world, you won't find them in Congress or on Pennsylvania Avenue; they're elected to local school committees and planning boards. In that respect, you're absolutely right, although you'll find that the same is true of Republicans.

People say, "Good men are kept out of politics," and that's true but it has nothing to do with the shenanigans pulled by presidential candidates or the national press. It's because to get there, you have to spend a couple of years wading through the abject filth of your state's party. And that shit doesn't wash off.
posted by cribcage at 10:16 AM on May 12, 2006


I've said elsewhere that if I believe that people have selected a self-describing term in good faith, then I will use that term.

But I don't think the term was selected in good faith. I think that it was chosen specifically to frame the debate in a way that does not reflect reality, and is thus dishonest.

You can assert whatever intellectual justification you want for deliberately using language that goes against the grain, but the bottom line is that using the term "anti-choice" immediately conveys an insulting and antagonistic tone toward roughly half the people involved in a debate that's already overloaded with anger and self-righteous offense.

Goes against the grain? Against what grain? You're either appealing to the majority or to some kind of non-existant linguistic authority. I'm not trying to Godwin here, but Holocaust deniers prefer the term "Holocaust revisionists." Does that mean that's how we have to refer to them? Do you really think that my audience isn't going to understand what "pro-choice and anti-choice" means?

I don't think "anti-choice" is antagonistic or insulting. I find the term "pro-life" insulting and antagonistic because of its blatant disingenuousness. If your goal is to make abortion illegal, you are "anti-legal abortion." I think that anti-choice is a pretty neutral way to abbreviate that, and it's certainly a lot more accurate than "pro-life." I suppose one could complain that the term portrays someone as being against all choices in general, but I don't think that would be a common misunderstanding.

If you're trying to make the practical argument that using terms like "anti-choice" may alienate people who self-identify as "pro-choice," then I can understand that. But if you're telling me that I'm the one being unreasonable or dishonest, I think that's BS.
posted by ludwig_van at 2:26 PM on May 12, 2006


« Older "Suing our fans is destructive and hypocritical"   |   Audiophile links Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post