Thursday night magentamn posted some unpopular thoughts on the Moon/WisCon/etc. brouhouha. Yesterday she made another post, with additional thoughts and attempted clarifications. Gods only know what sort of masochism drives to post something on the subject myself (breaking a years-long streak of perfectly good, inoffensive, silence), but here I go.
Disclosure: for anyone reading this who doesn't already know, I am Magenta's partner. I am not claiming to be non-partisan on any facet of this matter that pertains to her personally; indeed, I'm not claiming anything, except the right to offer my own thoughts (and quite possibly get trashed for them).
Before I go on, I want to thank salexa for daring to defend Magenta's right to state her opinions, in a very hostile venue. For this, she got called a sockpuppet, a charge I would call laughably inaccurate if I still had any ability to laugh about this mess. salexa, I'm afraid the "paragon of virtue" charge continues to stick.
Next, my thanks to haddayr, rm, and bluestalking for exemplifying the sort of "I disagree with most of what you said, but I don't think you're evil; can we keep talking?" mode that one would *HOPE* to find in debates like this, but too rarely does. If I missed anyone else, who feels they deserve to be mentioned in this category, bring it to my attention and I can edit.
"Silencing" is a complex issue. Obviously anyone who posted something on the Internet, was not prevented from posting something on the internet. (This applies to all sides in the current debate.) If someone posted a comment somewhere, and it was deleted without notice (by someone OTHER THAN the poster) before anyone saw it, was the commenter silenced? Yes. If the deletion happened AFTER many people had seen the comment and put in their own two cents, is it still silencing? Probably. Does it make any difference whether it was hours later, or days later? Maybe.... If someone is told that their opinion is so obviously wrong that they shouldn't have said it, have they been silenced? Well, the opinion was heard (or read, as may be), and other people might feel differently, whether they say so or not, but it certainly isn't civil discourse or reasoned argument from the person saying "you're just wrong". It may be bullying, or ATTEMPTED silencing. If someone is afraid to post something on the subject, because they don't want a flaming shitstorm of dozens or hundreds of mostly hostile comments on their own blog, have they been silenced? Seems so to me.... If B wants to comment on A's post, and finds that they've been blocked from posting anything in that particular venue, have they been silenced? Does it make a difference who decided to block them, and why? If someone's been silenced in one venue, does that increase their right to silence someone else, in a different venue? I'm seeing some very unnerving double or multiple standards, both from people making accusations of "silencing", and from people scornfully dismissing such accusations. And I can't resist trotting out my strongly held opinion that there is NO number of wrongs that adds up to a right.
I'm also troubled by the use of "racism" as an umbrella term for any "racial", ethnic, or religious prejudice (but NOT sexism, homophobia or other affectional preference prejudices, ableism, or ageism). Is this a useful category? Other than hard-line atheists (who can dislike all religions equally, and feel superior about it) and a few mystical or new-age-y types who sincerely believe that all religions are equally valid, EVERYBODY'S got religious biases, if not prejudices. Some of them are based at least partly on experience. Would it be better if everyone's biases were based solely on their own, first-hand, experience, reserving judgment on anything their own experience doesn't cover? Probably. Is this the current situation, or an immediately attainable goal? Nope. Will some people be treated unfairly as a result of the above? Sadly, yes. Is all unfairness equally important, or does it sometimes make sense to say "this offense is not as serious as that offense"? I don't know... if the latter, who decides?
It would probably be pointed out that I'm using a lot of generalities here, even if I weren't pointing it out myself. My opinions on SOME specifics of this mess are available to anyone who wishes to ask a specific question. I reserve the right to form those opinions without having read EVERY potentially relevant post on the internet -- the assertions (sometimes in a very nasty tone) that anyone who doesn't know ALL the priors has no right to be heard are another thing that's worrying me.
I will not respond at present to comments about Islam & Islamophobia. Another post on those subjects will follow (if I survive the comment thread on this one), but it requires further thought.
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