Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: #NetHui: it's all about you

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  • Jolisa, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    “Blind spot” could be construed as ableist only by Peripheral Vision Man, surely. And owls.

    Well, that's what I thought, too. But you try taking that one up with the owls. They are scary, man.

    Meanwhile, am revising my noun-phobia to let "sexism" back in, because I have gotten a lot of mileage out of that one over the years. And I think I might adopt Deborah's use of "same" as a verb.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1410 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    “Blind spot” could be construed as ableist only by Peripheral Vision Man, surely. And owls.

    I feel bound to say that the person who who tried to shut down my argument by condemning my ableist metaphor would earn a lively response. I’ve spent 20 years living with profound difference as a fact of family life, and having that real experience cheapened and turned into a point-scoring vocabulary game would quite probably cause me to lose my temper.

    Indeed, I did see someone do precisely that in a blog argument recently, and my thought was you’re bloody lucky you didn’t say that to me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18707 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    I don't think everyone's the same as me. I just think they should be.

    I'm sure there's a word for that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16478 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi, in reply to Jolisa,

    Ugh. Just realised my whole comment above is probably a classic example of tonesplaining.

    I think it was a very good example of splainingsplaining, which we need more of! I', sure we've all seen those discussions where someone uses a jargon-y term like "mansplaning" and, when questioned about what this means in the context of the discussion, they'll say "Go do some research!" as if the issue was the definition of the term, rather than the way it fits into the comments made. Without meta-analysis that becomes yet another "checkmate" move that doesn't advance the conversation one iota.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 859 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    would quite probably cause me to lose my temper

    Just as well you've avoided much of the trad disability politics scene then. Rampant hair loss.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16478 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Jolisa,

    Myopes of the world, unite

    Absolutely!
    Who said that?
    Is that you over there in the red?
    Where the hell are my glasses?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    Without meta-analysis that becomes yet another “checkmate” move that doesn’t advance the conversation one iota.

    Sure, but having said that, we get pretty bored of having to explain these concepts to people who should know better. And from my perspective as a feminist blogger, few of the sites I write for are 101 sites, and that's clearly stated - so it gets irritating when someone crashes into a conversation with no understanding of what, say, rape culture is.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Coming to this discussion rather belatedly but the mention of lobby corruption reminds me of an issue I raised at the Future of Public Television forum in Wellington a week or so back. I suggested that Sky employing Tony O'Brien as a full-time lobbyist representing their interests in Parliament was a case of "unusual influence" in NZ politics (deflecting potential regulation of Sky's monopoly position, for example). Several pollies there (including Sue Kedgely) didn't seem to think it was a problem but it is interesting that John Drinnan has also pointed to it as an issue worthy of attention.

    Off the topic: we had a very good book launch for the New Zealand Film: An Illustrated History in Auckland last evening. If Wellington folk are interested in the Wellington launch on Friday, they should contact Te Papa Press for an invite.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2285 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    I do get a bit uncomfortable when the boundaries between "inclusive speech" and "speaking for" get blurred in shared spaces on the Internet. I acknowledge that this certainly is a great example of able-bodied cis-male privilege on my part, but sometimes it seems to me that, for example, cis people can spend a lot of time lecturing other cis people about what trans* people want, with very little input from trans* people themselves. That's sometimes (not often, but it does happen) yet another rhetorical softball bat being used against people who might simply not know any better.

    It's a tricky thing, I acknowledge, because there's a direct correlation between inclusive speech and the participation of a more diverse community of commenters-sort of a "Speak it and they will come" type thing. But I do think we need to be aware of the fact that we aren't speaking for people like us and that it isn't our place to decide what they want (or to see "them" as a homogeneous group, either.)

    This is as the top of my mind at the moment because of discussions in the comic book community around the possibility that Oracle (Barbara Gordon, formerly Batgirl, now quite famously in a wheelchair and very much still a superhero) might be "cured" of her lower body paralysis. A conventional wisdom has developed in the fan community which says that this is an unequivocally abelist move on DC's part, and anyone who disagrees is likewise abelist. In almost every case, the argument (made by able-bodied individuals) is that the idea that someone in a wheelchair might want to walk again is an example of abelist privilege. As someone who has spent a fair amount of time around people in wheelchairs for a variety of reasons, I find that argument itself remarkably abelist, because it assumes to speak for all people in wheelchairs, some of whom really would like to be able to walk if given the chance, and others who are happy as they are, and others who change their minds from one day to the next. I wouldn't want to assume that any one of those positions was the right one, or the only acceptable one.

    I don't mean to question the value of inclusive language generally, but I do think it's important to make that distinction between that and merely "speaking for" as another kind of empty rhetorical device intended to win arguments on the internet, or to police communities into being less inclusive rather than moreso by excluding people who aren't aware of the specific terms used to talk inclusively.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 859 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    a case of "unusual influence" in NZ politics

    The history of Telecom's high-level schmoozing seems comparable.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16478 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    Sure, but having said that, we get pretty bored of having to explain these concepts to people who should know better. And from my perspective as a feminist blogger, few of the sites I write for are 101 sites, and that’s clearly stated – so it gets irritating when someone crashes into a conversation with no understanding of what, say, rape culture is.

    I can definitely understand that and see the value in it. I think it's about context, ultimately-one person asks what rape culture means because they genuinely don't know and haven't gotten into the habit of using Google, another because they want to troll, and another because they're aware of what it means in general but can't see how it relates to that specific conversation. Figuring out which of those situations apply is a mammoth task, and I certainly don't envy yourself and Emma and Russell and others who have to do it.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 859 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    I wouldn't want to assume that any one of those positions was the right one, or the only acceptable one.

    But you can't ignore the context where only one of those positions is supported by the weight of stereotype and established industry norms.

    It's not a level playiong field, and it's much easier to marshall public sympathy for something like the Catwalk Trust's rank begging campaign than for anything of wider and more achievable benefit.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16478 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    I suggested that Sky employing Tony O’Brien as a full-time lobbyist representing their interests in Parliament was a case of “unusual influence” in NZ politics (deflecting potential regulation of Sky’s monopoly position, for example).

    This kind of lobbying is something that Sky has done for a long time. They've never been shy about putting the frighteners on MPs.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18707 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    splainingsplaining

    OK so here's my feeling about all the terms like privilege etc. It seems to me when most folks enter a discussion they want to be heard at first and only later do they want to hear others. There is nothing wrong with that. But some folks (probably all folks some of the time) are not prepared to learn anything when they enter a discussion. So they say their piece, express their opinion, pass on their experience of the world and continue to say the same thing for ever more. They don't, can't, won't learn from the other voices in the discussion.

    It's those people (or it's all people when they stop being prepared to learn from others) that get dismissed as privileged/mansplainers etc.

    It makes sense to dismiss them because they take away from the discussion without adding to it. They take time and energy to deal with and they limit how much progress a discussion can make towards sharing knowledge and experience.

    But the the problem I have with those terms is all of them are ways of saying "I/we don't want to hear you any more so shut up and go away". Most times it seems reasonable and fair to say that because they are not saying anything that hasn't been said before. But sometimes I think it gets used way way too early. Long before people are sure that the mansplainer etc is unprepared to learn. That's kind of sad because essentially at that point the community has stopped being prepared to learn from the new voice and given up on sharing with the new voice.

    That is the huge difference with this community. We embrace new voices, even when we think (know) they are wrong, we (usually) are prepared to learn from them at the same time that we hope they will learn from us. Usually it takes a long time before people here give up completely on a new voice.

    And thankfully we are pretty tolerant of older voices when they stray and become boring and didactic like this ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    cis people can spend a lot of time lecturing other cis people

    Is it a sign of my privilege or my ignorance that this 'cis' is new to me? I suspect both, but yeah, maybe I need to spend more time in gender debates in order to jargon up a bit.

    or to police communities into being less inclusive rather than moreso by excluding people who aren't aware of the specific terms used to talk inclusively.

    Umm, I agree. I think.

    ETA:

    It makes sense to dismiss them because they take away from the discussion without adding to it. They take time and energy to deal with and they limit how much progress a discussion can make towards sharing knowledge and experience.

    Wham.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    I can definitely understand that and see the value in it. I think it’s about context, ultimately-one person asks what rape culture means because they genuinely don’t know and haven’t gotten into the habit of using Google, another because they want to troll, and another because they’re aware of what it means in general but can’t see how it relates to that specific conversation.

    They have a lovely saying in Naples: "nobody is born taught" (as opposed to learned). We all need to get schooled at some stage, and you can choose to be a dick or not while it happens, but that's about it.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7351 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    I don't mean to question the value of inclusive language generally, but I do think it's important to make that distinction between that and merely "speaking for" as another kind of empty rhetorical device intended to win arguments on the internet, or to police communities into being less inclusive rather than moreso by excluding people who aren't aware of the specific terms used to talk inclusively.

    I think you've said it for me and I can move on ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18707 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to recordari,

    Wham

    NO!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I think you've said it for me and I can move on ...

    +1

    (Except I get the distinct feeling that we'll never actually move on)

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to recordari,

    Is it a sign of my privilege or my ignorance that this 'cis' is new to me? I suspect both, but yeah, maybe I need to spend more time in gender debates in order to jargon up a bit.

    See Cisgender. The concept seems clear enough, but the recent unpleasantness at the Hand Mirror stemmed from someone genuinely not knowing the term and hence being bullied and called names by people who did know it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18707 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    I must confess that I once wrote a pissed-off post on privilege in response to something that Jackie had said along the lines of "us kids weren't given everything on a plate - we were expected to work hard for it". I didn't post it because it's obvious even to me that Jackie is the nicest person around here and I'm really not as horrible as my posts would have you think. And I realised that I was putting thoughts into Jackie's head that I had actually heard spoken by other people.

    But. If anyone other than Jackie seems to imply that poor people don't work hard, or that everyone who works hard has an equal opportunity to become rich, or that rich kids don't have extensive networks and safety nets that allow them to take risks and "try, try again"....
    There's nothing "normative = usual, typical" about that kind of privilege.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Wham

    NO!

    Oh come now, it's even apposite:

    Time can never mend the careless whispers, of a good friend
    To the heart and mind, ignorance is kind
    There's no comfort in the truth
    Pain is all you'll find

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But in my world cis and trans usually refer to regulation of gene expression. cis elements (or motifs) are on the same molecule (of DNA) trans factors are typically proteins that bind to cis elements. An interaction in trans is between two molecules and an interaction in cis is within one molecule.

    Very confusing to read the terms when they mean something very different.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Very confusing to read the terms when they mean something very different.

    Actually, the root is exactly the same. I see no reason to be confused.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7351 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    They have a lovely saying in Naples: "nobody is born taught" (as opposed to learned). We all need to get schooled at some stage, and you can choose to be a dick or not while it happens, but that's about it.

    And the thing is, being "called out" sucks, but you can choose to look at it two ways - "hey, I'm learning, here's this thing I didn't know, and I can try to be better for it", or "Bite me! You don't know me. I'm not ableist/sexist/homophobic".

    And the former is waaaaaay harder than the latter.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

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