15 January, 2008


Posted in Alas a Blog, Privilege at 7:13 am by Daran

In the following I use italics for pheeno’s words, and bold for Ampersand’s and joe’s. My words aren’t marked up.

The conversation started here:

I should clarify. I wouldn’t want [Condoleezza Rice] to win [a hypothetical run for Presidency], but it would be way cool if the final face-off were between two women or two blacks.

Two blacks??

Two black WHAT, if you don’t mind?

Her point was well made, and I conceded it immediately:

Two black people.

The matter could have ended there, but it didn’t:

Then try describing them with the fact they’re PEOPLE in mind and not a just a freakin color.

Now I was already a bit irritated, because I didn’t think that I did have this in mind. But I nevertheless Stayed calm and took the criticism seriously. To quote Amp:

…do not dismiss it without thinking about it. Especially if the criticism comes from a person of color – people of color in our society tend by necessity to be more aware of racism than most Whites are, and pick up on things most Whites

So I check my privilege:

OK. I checked my privilege. Now what?

Now stop acting like you don’t know better.

I’m not acting. If it looks like I don’t know better, then I either don’t know better, or I just don’t agree with you.

In this case, I do agree with you that it is better to say “black people” than “blacks”, which is why I responded as I did in #26.

I don’t agree with your #28 to the extent that it implies that I think of them as colours rather than people. I do not. I do agree with #28’s criticism of my language use, but I already conceded that. It was from laziness, not from thinking of them as colours, that I wrote “blacks” instead of “black people”, and I will try not to be so lazy in future.

Is there anything else that I should have understood from this conversation?

There was a brief digression, then the conversation continued:

The point Daran is that you did objectify. It doesnt matter that you did it because you were lazy, the affect is still the same. Your reasons or excuses for that language are irrelevant. They don’t change it, they don’t soften it, they don’t excuse it.

I understand that. But … [i]f my reasons are irrelevant, then why mention them in the first place? I stated the real reason, not as justification or excuse, but to correct your misstatement of my reasons. It is important to me that my reasons for saying the things I say are not misstated. If you wish to take me to task for my language without getting into an argument with me about my reasons, then do not misstate them. Either state them correctly, or do not state them at all.

To sum up:

I acknowledge that I used objectifying language to refer to Rice and Obama. My reasons for doing so are irrelevant. I have stated that in future, I intend to use non-objectifying language when referring to black people. That intent is also irrelevant except in so far as it leads to my actually using non-objectifying language in future.

Is there anything further we need to discuss?

Telling you to keep it in mind means

dont be fucking (lazy, ignorant, forgetful, priveleged, jackassy) from now on. It doesnt matter if it was lazy, ignorance, privelege or jackassery when you wrote it. Just fucking stop it.

Get the difference yet?

Now Amp intervenes, allowing pheeno the last word:

Since Daran has already said a couple of times that he does intend to keep it in mind, I think that should be an end to it.

Well thats nice. I dont.

Once again, inent was thrown out there as if it changes anything.

It doesnt.

Here’s joe:

Daren never said that his intent changed anything. He said that its only relevance was to correct your statement about his thought process.

Which I’ve explained doesnt matter. It’s merely another show of privelege to go onto to “correct” my statement about his thought process. That’s one of the affects of one’s words. That is part and parcel of the impact his words had. POC are no longer obligated to “understand” white people’s laziness, mistakes, ignorance or hate. We’ve been well aware of the myriad excuses for some time now. Trying to “correct”us or explain it to us just continues on with the insult. We aren’t the ones in need of racism education.

Finally Amp shuts it down again, having given pheeno three free shots at me.

Yes, but this isn’t your blog (and I note that you didn’t disagree with me that the argument had become circular).

I agree with you entirely, by the way, that intent in a case like this doesn’t matter. Which makes it even odder that you refuse to drop the subject.

The subject of Daran’s intent is closed on this thread. Next person to bring it up, either to defend Daran or to attack him, is banned from the thread.

I also agree with her entirely, so what exactly is pheeno’s problem?

The answer lies in the last thing pheeno says here. This has nothing to do with my entitlement, and is all about hers. She apparently feels entitled to comment on my thought processes, without me responding. Moreover, she seems to feel entitled to do so on someone else’s blog, even after the owner has told her to stop.

Who exactly is the privileged one here?

Discussion reopened.

Update: Contrast the following remark made by me in the comments:

More interesting to me is the entitlement she asserted to appropriate my authority to represent my thoughts.

which is a statement about what she did, with this remark from the post:

She apparently feels entitled to comment on my thought processes, without me responding. Moreover, she seems to feel entitled to do so on someone else’s blog, even after the owner has told her to stop.

In which I speculate about her thoughts.

Continuing with that speculating, its possible that she doesn’t feel safe enough to respond here. If so, then this post has had the practical effect of appropriating her authority to represent her own thoughts.

31 January, 2007

How I got here

Posted in Asperger's and Autism, Creative Destruction, Crossposts, Gender Issues, Personal Ramblings at 1:03 pm by Daran

In a comment, to my recent post David Byron said:

I’m not interested in how you got to this specific web page. I would be more interested in how people became attuned to the discrimination against men that goes on since that is what is unusual about people here.In particular I wonder how many have had a Child of the Glacier style experience, vs those who didn’t see any anti-male discrimination until they got hit with it like a brick as an adult (eg divorce). How many were aware of these issues and formulated them out of their own mind vs how many had to read about them from someone else to become aware.

I’m personally curious about how people found the two blogs I started. I’m also aware that there’s been little substantive blogging on FCB recently, on my part because of all the stuff I’ve been doing setting it up. So that post was intended to be nothing more than a bit of light entertainment pending something more substantial.

He asks a good question, though, and his own reply is worth reading. My earliest recollection of consciously observing (and objecting to) a gender norm dates to about the same age, I guess, as Adams was. That would put it in the early seventies. I noticed, (and remember complaining about to my parents), that bad things almost never happened to women in the action/adventure films I watched on TV. They never got killed on the battlefield or in the wild western shoot-out. They didn’t fall into pits of boiling lava, nor did they ever get eaten by dinosaurs. They might get captured by the baddies, but the baddies never did anything actually bad to them, and they always got rescued anyway. Men, by contrast, got casually wasted in their scores.

Even younger – six or seven I guess, I remember being very apprehensive of being put into a class with a male teacher. It wasn’t that any man had done anything bad to me, but that I simply had never been in the charge of any man except my Dad, and of course, he was away at work most of the day. Up until then, all my carers other than him had been female.

Other early childhood memories which may or may not have had a gender element were that I always felt in the shadow of my older sister, who was always physically bigger, more capable, more socially successful, and seemingly favoured by my parents. How much of that was gender, and how much was age and how much was my being Aspie is hard to tell.

I have a vague memory of wanting to do something girly, and meeting with the disapproval of my father, though I don’t remember what it was I wanted to do, or how he expressed that disapproval.

I also remember feeling totally unprotected in the face of the schoolyard bullying I was suffering, that nobody would take it seriously. (Of course, nobody had taken it seriously, that I was aware of. All they had done was pass the buck explicitly back to me.) I didn’t connect it to gender, though, but to childhood. I felt that, as a child, I wasn’t important enough to protect.

Like Hugh, I could never flirt as a teen or even a young adult. It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I ever flirted, and it was a real ‘Gosh, I can do this’ moment. Even now, I daren’t initiate.

Also in my late twenties/early thirties I had my first encounter with feminist hostility toward male-survivors I describe some of these incidents in this post, and in a couple of the comments.

What I never did, as Adams appears to have done at a very early age, is join the dots. Instead I swallowed the script as it has been fed to me: Women were the disfavoured sex; it was men who are violent toward women, not the other way about (my personal experiences of violence by women notwithstanding); men received favourable treatment in court. Etc. It wan’t until I found usenet in 1999 that I first encountered rightwing antifeminists/MRAs, the kind that David calls Chauvinists. What an eye-opener that was!

My first reaction was that their behaviour was appalling, and their purported facts seemed absurd. My second reaction when I tried to defend feminism from them, was that they were well prepared for the argument, and I wasn’t. I had to wise-up and educate myself. Some of their alleged facts stood up. Other’s turned out to be garbage, but many feminist claims fared no better. After a while, feminists and antifeminists came to look more and more like mirror images of each other, and I realised that I could not in good faith defend feminism while excoriating the Chauvinist antifems for their misogyny.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

(Crossposted between Creative Destruction, DaRain Man, and Feminist Critics.)

29 January, 2007

How did you get here?

Posted in Blogosphere, Creative Destruction, Crossposts, Personal Ramblings at 4:52 pm by Daran

(Crossposted between all three blogs I write for.)

It all started for me, with a link from The Register to Seth Finkelstein’s Infothought blog. I found him to be an interesting, somewhat out-of-the-box thinker, so began reading him regularly. Sometime later Lis Riba popped up to ask his advice on getting a high Google Rating for one of her pages. And so she became my second regular read in the blogosphere. High on her blogroll was Alas a Blog. (I knew there was a reason for giving your blog a name beginning with ‘A’.) Unable always to comment as freely as I would like there, I began to comment on Creative Destruction. Shortly thereafter, a messenger arrived at my door bearing a handwritten missive enscribed upon the finest vellum, and laid upon a silken pillow, exhorting me to become a blogger here. (It was either that, or Amp sent me an email, I don’t recall which.)

At that time, WordPress automatically gave you blog if you created an account with them, and obviously I needed an account to blog at CD, and so the blog that was to become DaRain Man was born. I started substantive blogging there after being evicted from Alas during a little flamewar, and I realised that I needed an independent platform of my own. Later when Aegis/HughRistik accepted my offer to co-blog, it was clear that our joint enterprise was going to outgrow the ‘personal blog’ concept. We decided go for a dedicated URL and hosted environment right from the start, rather than go through the agony of changing addresses later, when we were established. Hence Feminist Critics was born.

That’s my story, but how did you get here?

30 December, 2006

“Privilege” and “Disadvantage” as sexist framing devices.

Posted in Alas a Blog, Ampersand, Male Disposability, Privilege, Reposts at 11:26 am by Daran

(Originally posted at Creative Destruction.)

Both here, and at Alas, Barry has been responding to criticism of his “Male Privilege Checklist“. Most of these criticisms have been directed at particular items on the checklist, which regardless of the merit of the substantive objection, opens his critics to the countercharge of not seeing the wood for the trees. The most cogent objections, in my opinion, apply to the list as a whole and seem to have been missed by these recent critics.
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Evidence of Male Dispensability Part 1 – the News Media

Posted in Male Disposability, Media, Reposts, War at 11:11 am by Daran

(Originally posted at Creative Destruction. I still haven’t got around to writing part 2.)

In preparing my response to Jeff’s comment to my recent post on Women and the Draft, I seem to have wondered rather far from the topic.
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Denying, Dismissing, Minimising, and Ignoring the Harm to Men

Posted in Alas a Blog, Feminist Issues, Male Disposability, Reposts at 10:28 am by Daran

(Originally posted at Creative Destruction.)

Me (in the context of the war in Iraq):

[F]eminists typically do view the harm solely in terms of its impact upon women, while denying, minimising, and ignoring the harm to men.

I should also have said “dismissing“. I should clarify that by “feminism”, I mean mainstream feminism, as exemplified by the bloggers and typical commenters at Alas. I also mean radical feminism, as exemplified by the bloggers and typical commenters at the Margins. I do not mean to include such individuals as Christine Hof-Sommers, Wendy McElroy, and Cathy Young. I think that’s a fair exclusion, because mainsteam feminism itself appears to reject these people, and their ilk.
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29 December, 2006

Feminism and Media Representation of Gender-Selective Atrocities

Posted in Gender Issues, Iraq, Male Disposability, Reposts, War at 11:06 pm by Daran

(Originally posted at Creative Destruction. Here slightly edited.)

Look at this headline on Boston.com

Men in Iraqi police grab kidnap scores in raid

Notice how the perpetrators are gendered, but the victims are not. In fact there’s no mention of the victims’ sex anywhere on the first page. It’s not until you get to the second that you find out what happened:

The gunmen speedily weeded out the men from the women. The women were taken to a room and locked up, witnesses said. The men were pushed into the trucks and driven away. The kidnapped included employees and visitors to the agency, janitors, and PhDs, even a deputy general director of the agency. Some were blindfolded and tossed into the backs of pickup trucks, said witnesses.

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The Women and Children of Haditha

Posted in Gender Issues, Iraq, Male Disposability, Reposts, War at 10:48 pm by Daran

(Originally posted at Creative Destruction. Here slightly edited.)

In the headline of his Sunday Herald story, Neil Mackay characterised the atrocity as follows:

Haditha: the worst US atrocity since Vietnam … Iraqi women and children massacred by American marines.

After giving a little background, including a comparison with the My Lai massacre during the Viet Nam war, (“mainly women, children, and the elderly”), he gives the following summary of the events in Haditha:

Minutes after Terrazas died, the remaining 13-strong unit of marines went on a bloody rampage, wiping out whole families, killing women, children and an elderly man in a wheelchair, and hurling grenades into homes. In all, 24 Iraqi civilians were murdered by American troops.

Let’s parse the entire story, to see how many of these women and children were actually men.
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23 December, 2006

Throwing Rocks at Boys, and Pushing Girls through Windows

Posted in Abyss2hope, Alas a Blog, Antifeminist and MRA Issues, Crossposts, Feminist Issues, Marcella Chester at 7:15 am by Daran

The latest flare up in the gender wars concerns a pair of T-shirts, which, so their respective critics complain, justify and encourage violence against males and against females. In addition, those on the Men’s Rights Activist Side have criticised feminists for failing to condemn the anti-boy shirt, while feminists in turn are questioning the motives of MRAs.
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22 December, 2006

ms_xeno’s Last Post?

Posted in Abbott and Costello, Alas a Blog, Feminist Issues, Flame Wars, ms_xeno, Survivors and Survival at 2:38 pm by Daran


This will be my final post on Alas. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Daran’s behavior is unique on this board, it is pretty sadly representative of all the things on this board that have come to completely outweigh any good it still does my soul.

I’m sorry if you feel you need to leave on my account. It is ironic that the one time I feel you are talking to me rather than at me, you’re probably not going to read my reply.
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21 December, 2006

An Ironic Derailment

Posted in Alas a Blog, Feminist Issues, Richard Jeffrey Newman, Survivors and Survival, toysoldier at 3:32 pm by Daran


One cannot escape the irony considering that it was implied no feminist would ever derail a thread about male rape. However, rather than focus on this interesting contradiction, it is important to examine what was stated.

It is indeed, however as toysoldier has already done an admirable job “examin[ing] what was stated”, it’s worth spending a little time to “focus on this interesting contradiction”, starting with the link he identified:
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20 December, 2006

Excluded Survivors’ Thread

Posted in Alas a Blog, Male Disposability, Privilege, Richard Jeffrey Newman, Survivors and Survival, toysoldier at 7:45 am by Daran

(Note that the original text and title (still visible in the URL) of this thread pertained to male survivors only. However, in the discussions both here and at toysoldiers, I have remarked that feminism’s normative construction of abuse excludes some female survivors whose experiences do not fit into that framework. These survivors are doubly-excluded, since they are both exiled from what is purportedly ‘their’ survivor movement, and not admitted to the nascent male survivor network. In addition, transgendered survivors, whose particular difficulties I do not purport to understand, may also feel excluded. Since I advocate a wholly inclusive approach, it was wrong of me to exclude these people, hence this broadening of the focus.)

This thread is for excluded survivors to discuss issues relating to their exclusion, including but not limited to issues arising from Richard Jeffrey Newman’s posts here, here, and here. A parallel discussion, more narrowly focussed on male survivors of sexual abuse is also taking place on Toy Soldiers.
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18 December, 2006

Abbott and Costello Meet the Living Dead

Posted in Abbott and Costello, Abyss2hope, Alas a Blog, Creative Destruction, Distortions and Lies, False Accusations, Marcella Chester at 4:09 pm by Daran

(They just keep coming at you.)

In response to a harshly-worded update to an earlier post, and an email saying the same, Marcella has updated her post, (also here) which I accept as a sincere attempt to set the record straight. Therefore I have stricken the harsh words. Unfortunately she still continues to apparently misunderstand my position, and consequently to present it in a misleading way.
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16 December, 2006

First Blogrolling…

Posted in Blogosphere, Blogroll, Content-lite, Milestones at 11:04 am by Daran

…not counting Creative Destruction, which I did myself.

Thanks TS, I’ve alreadly got you ‘rolled.

But my links are way cooler than yours, because I’ve got these nice pop-ups when you hover over them.

Two Comments by Marcella

Posted in Abbott and Costello, Abyss2hope, Alas a Blog, Distortions and Lies, False Accusations, Marcella Chester, Q Grrl at 9:46 am by Daran

Updated: See below.

This is in response to two of Marcella’s comments in the Rape and Probability Theory Thread on Alas. I’ve been trying to post this on Alas since yesterday, but I keep getting disconnects. (I have no problem reading pages.) I am posting it on my blog and also as a comment on hers, and I request that she copy it to the thread on Alas where it can be read by the same people who read her comments.
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15 December, 2006

On the Net, Everybody is… What?

Posted in Asperger's and Autism, Blogosphere, Personal Ramblings at 2:58 am by Daran

(This post was adapted from a comment I made over at Creative Destruction.)


…on the net, everybody has asperger’s

You could make just as good a case saying “On the net, everybody is neurotypical”, though I don’t think either statement is accurate. My view is that the net (or to be more precise, non-realtime, text-based communication), is a leveller. The advantage NT’s have over Aspies/Auties in non-verbal communication is neutralised, as are some Aspies/Auties disadvantages.
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13 December, 2006

Excellent Discussion about Patriarchy, Rape Culture, Etc.

Posted in Abbott and Costello, Abyss2hope, Aegis, Alas a Blog, Creative Destruction, False Accusations, Great Comments, Humor, Marcella Chester, NYMOM, Q Grrl, Rape Culture, Richard Jeffrey Newman, Tom Nolan, toysoldier at 5:27 pm by Daran

(I have renamed the post to reflect the discussion in the comments, which are far more interesting than the post itself. The following tags are for the post: Humor, False Accusations, Abbott and Costello, Alas a Blog, Abyss2hope, Creative Destruction, Marcella Chester. All other tags pertain to the Great Comments discusson. Follow the link for an explanation of what this means. The post slug remains the same, so that incoming links are not broken.)
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12 December, 2006

DaRain Man

Posted in Abbott and Costello, Alas a Blog, Apologies and Peace Offerings, Asperger's and Autism, Marcella Chester, Personal Ramblings, Q Grrl at 6:07 am by Daran

Lifts head above parapet, and looks wearily from side to side

Does anyone remember the film “Rain Man“, and how the titular character, a profoundly autistic “savant”, was enraptured by the Abbott and Costello Skit “Who’s on First?” To him it’s a puzzle. He tries to figure out what it means, but he can’t solve the problem, because there is no solution. It doesn’t mean anything. But Rain Man can’t see this, so he keeps on trying to figure it out.
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11 December, 2006

Not quite what I intended

Posted in Blog Status, Blogosphere, Content-lite, Flame Wars at 9:59 pm by Daran

I am now the featured blog for the wordpress tag “Flame Wars“.

Tired and Emotional

Posted in Abbott and Costello, Alas a Blog, Flame Wars, Personal Ramblings, Survivors and Survival at 6:27 am by Daran

I am exhausted.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done any serious sport, but I used to be a Karateka, and before that I used to run. A good hour or two’s workout in the dojo, or a dozen miles of road behind me could leave me physically drained for the rest of the day.

That’s how I feel now, and I haven’t done anything physical. It’s passing slowly though, and I’m gradually coming down.
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