There is a snark in the title, covered with a URL October 12, 2007 4:56 PM   Subscribe

I'm as big a fan as anyone of the LOL-christian/republican-does-something-out-of-character story, but this is in poor taste.
posted by Saucy Intruder to Etiquette/Policy at 4:56 PM (554 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

How and why is it in poor taste?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:05 PM on October 12, 2007


Making fun of a dead guy who didn't do anything to you is in poor taste.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 5:07 PM on October 12, 2007 [5 favorites]


Indeed it is. It is also funny as hell. God protect me from an amusing death.
posted by LarryC at 5:09 PM on October 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Clyde Bruckman: You know, there are worse ways to go, but I can't think of a more undignified way than autoerotic asphyxiation.
Mulder: Why are you telling me that?
Bruckman: Look, forget I mentioned it. It's none of my business.
posted by jamaro at 5:22 PM on October 12, 2007 [12 favorites]


Popular scorn is the price of hypocrisy. If you can't stand it, flag it "offensive content" and move on.
posted by nicwolff at 5:24 PM on October 12, 2007


I'm as big a fan as anyone of the LOL-christian/republican-does-something-out-of-character story...

...all evidence to the contrary.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:26 PM on October 12, 2007 [5 favorites]


Well, it's not exactly a new thing.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:27 PM on October 12, 2007


People who do this know there is a slight chance they could die in the process, be discovered wearing two wet suits, five ties and a dildo and be laughed at for it on the internets. He took his shot.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:27 PM on October 12, 2007 [5 favorites]


Q: Why did Jesus die on the cross?

A: He forgot the safeword.
posted by fandango_matt at 5:27 PM on October 12, 2007 [59 favorites]


Q: Why did Jesus die on the cross?

A: He forgot the safeword.


In the beinning was the safeWord. And the Word was "OmiGod!"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:31 PM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, eponhysterical.

because if I believed in Hell, I'd so be at its gates.
posted by jamaro at 5:31 PM on October 12, 2007


beinning?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:31 PM on October 12, 2007


Look, I'm as turned on as anyone by dead bodies in bondage with dildos in their anuses... wait-isn't this the forum for people turned who are sexually aroused by this story? Excuse me. I appear to have wandered into the wrong room.
posted by jonson at 5:32 PM on October 12, 2007


Possibly it's appropriate since his last thoughts were likely along the lines of "more inside."
posted by veggieboy at 5:38 PM on October 12, 2007 [8 favorites]


From the thread:

The poor guy wasn't exactly hurting anyone... seems somewhat mean-spirited to break out the schadenfreude. ~ Leon

From this thread:

Making fun of a dead guy who didn't do anything to you is in poor taste. ~ Saucy Intruder


I just do not get this notion.

This guy was an alumni and former dean of Liberty University. He was a Baptist preacher from Montgomery, Alabama.

Let's just assume, if we may be so bold, that he subscribed to either or both of the Liberty U. code of conduct, "The Liberty Way," (or this PDF for your downloading pleasure) and the Southern Baptist code of ethics. Let's further assume that he preached and proscribed those beliefs to his followers and his family.

Let me know which tenets of the aforementioned seem to make an allowance for the way that Aldridge died:

"As servants of God we confirm our duty to live morally clean, pure, holy lives. What we proclaim in public we are obligated to practice in private."

"Our priorities are: First, to a disciplined devotional life, insuring our personal spiritual development; second, to our families, demonstrating our commitment as companions and parents; third, to those with whom we minister giving evidence of the credibility of our message."

"Liberty University has always attempted to maintain a conservative standard in its approach to the arts and entertainment. Current policy for movie viewing allows for attendance at theaters but prohibits viewing of movies rated “R”, “NC-17” or “X”. "

"All students are asked to display mature Christian behavior in social interaction. Proper respect must be shown to all individuals at all times. Harassment of any type will not be tolerated. Handholding is the only appropriate form of personal contact. Improper personal contact or other forms of public display are considered in poor taste. "

Finally:

"Standard of Dress for MEN

Hair and clothing styles related to a counterculture (as determined by the Student Affairs Deans’ Review Committee) are not acceptable. Hair should be cut in such a way that it will not come over the ears, collar or eyebrows at any time. Ponytails for men are unacceptable. Facial hair should be neatly trimmed. Earrings and/or plugs are not permitted on or off campus, nor is body piercing. Questions concerning the standard of dress for men should be addressed to the Dean of Men’s Office."

"Swimming Pool Attire:
Speedos, spandex suits, or cut-off jeans are not acceptable."


You see? PLUGS ARE NOT PERMITTED ON OR OFF CAMPUS. SPANDEX SUITS NOT ACCEPTABLE. Clearly, Aldridge is a sinner and a rule-breaker.

Kidding aside, why should conservatives get a pass on "practice what you preach, or be mocked"? I mean, it's too bad he died and all, but right now, I feel far more for his family than for him. He seemed to go out doing who what he loved.

If this had been just another John Doe engaging in a little Tuesday afternoon hog-tied butt-plugging, this wouldn't be a story in the news. It's a story because of who the man was... and who the man was is why we have every right to have a little fun with it. I'm risking my own karma, I know, but I'm fine with that. Doesn't mean we are obligated to take the high road.
posted by pineapple at 5:43 PM on October 12, 2007 [11 favorites]


beinning?

I think that's an uppity liberal arts school in Vermont, where everyone majors in ennui and China White.
posted by pineapple at 5:46 PM on October 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


I posted the following in the thread. It seems relevant here. A bit of background for those who don't keep track of such things... like the departed reverent, I'm a kinky bdsm-flavored pervert who lives in Montgomery, Alabama.

Hey, I feel very badly for him and his family. I admit there's a little bit of bitterness towards him, because he and his type have controlled this town since the beginning of time and are one of the reasons I can't come out of the closet. But mostly the whole thing is just fucking sad.
posted by Clay201 at 5:53 PM on October 12, 2007 [4 favorites]


You know Pineapple, if you hadn't used the term China White, I wouldn't be here trying to write a version of this story that could be sung to Walter Becker's "Junkie Girl"!

Damn you!
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:53 PM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


reverent = reverend
posted by Clay201 at 5:53 PM on October 12, 2007


Doesn't mean we are obligated to take the high road.

Obligated? No. But, speaking only for myself, lately I find myself wanting to, if for no other reason than to be less of a hypocrite than this guy was.

So, while I decry the hypocrisy of the institutions he served, a part of me feels bad for someone suffering a humiliating death and for his family, who are the one's who will have to deal with the fallout.

If this had been just another John Doe engaging in a little Tuesday afternoon hog-tied butt-plugging, this wouldn't be a story in the news.

actually, among paramedics, cops and the like, trading tales of kinky deaths is a time-honored tradition. A buddy of mine who was an EMt in NYC told me about the time his squad discovered a guy dead of a heart attack with his dick out and pants around his ankles and figured he died jerking off (aka 'came and went'). They found a videotape in the VCR, which they took. My buddy showed it to some friends at a party. It was cheap and homemeade-looking and near the end a nude woman squatted over a dude's face. Knowing what was coming next (thank you, internet) I quickly turned away, but still got to hear the chorus of 'Ewwwwww!' and gagging from the rest of the room.

it's a weird world.
posted by jonmc at 5:53 PM on October 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Popular scorn is the price of hypocrisy.

Must we be the cash register for all transactions though? OMG, TOTAL HIPOCRYTE, MIR!T3? It's nice to know the other 50,000 members here all have their sexual shit in a kit and are without hang up. I'll see you all in the baths.
posted by yerfatma at 5:54 PM on October 12, 2007 [4 favorites]


it's a weird world.

Let's keep it that way.
</Planetary>
posted by yerfatma at 5:55 PM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Frankly, I considered that post far LESS inappropriate than the one with the trumpet-playing local beauty queen. Embarrassingly total lack of talent in the talent competition is what the county and state competitions are there to weed out, and one of the thousands of demonstrations of that annually does not good schadenfreude make.

On the other hand, considering that, despite this particular douche-bag died alone, someone else did obviously help 'prepare' him for his little fatal adventure, and from that rings the possibility that this could open up into a massive scandal involving much of Liberty University. Now, if that happens, it will do so in bits and pieces over a period of days and weeks, all of which somebody will think makes good FPP material. But as long as this post stands, the mods can easily justify deleting related/update posts as long as this one is open, saving the front page from further abuse.

I have no idea what I'm arguing.
posted by wendell at 6:09 PM on October 12, 2007


But, speaking only for myself, lately I find myself wanting to, if for no other reason than to be less of a hypocrite than this guy was.

That word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

Do you tell others how to be moral, how to be holy and pure, while practicing what is widely considered a BDSM activity? Do you tell college students that they mustn't watch R-rated movies, and that hand-holding is the upper limit of acceptable sexual contact?

Wanting to be a better person, okay. But I don't see where a thread that is mostly schadenfreude somehow makes hypocrites of those who participate.

It's nice to know the other 50,000 members here all have their sexual shit in a kit and are without hang up.

I for one don't claim to have my act together. But neither do I go around literally preaching to others how to live a chaste and moral life, meanwhile perfecting my Gimp routine and leaving it for my family to find. I like my glass house, so I would never be so foolish as to throw stones in it.
posted by pineapple at 6:09 PM on October 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Wanting to be a better person, okay. But I don't see where a thread that is mostly schadenfreude somehow makes hypocrites of those who participate.

Fair enough. Call it nomenclature confusion.
posted by jonmc at 6:13 PM on October 12, 2007


It's meta-hypocrisy. And I agree with yerfatma; however much scorn may be properly heaped up this man, why must those heaps be on the front page of MetaFilter?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:15 PM on October 12, 2007


Really weird, Kid Charlemagne. I've had "Girlfriend" by Walter Becker stuck in my head all day. And that album doesn't come up every day.

As to why I posted this story, I guess I'm operating from a few premises: (1) there is such a thing as a funny death; (2) these circumstances are so absurd as to merit attention no matter who it was; (3) the man is a former dean at a Jerry Falwell-founded university, which makes it hypocritical, too; and, of course, (4) I thought some people here would enjoy it and (5) have things to say about it.

I understand why some people don't like it, but I think it was an OK post, on balance. I hope that people who don't like it are OK with just letting it slide and avoiding the thread.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:18 PM on October 12, 2007


Is it not written (somewhere): "As ye freep, so shall ye sow"?
posted by rob511 at 6:22 PM on October 12, 2007


You know, I totally expected that thread to be 100% a Rehash of Schadenfreude Past (Christian conservative variety), and hence dismissable, but I have to say that the calm and informative expertise provided by Clay201 made the whole snarkfest worth it, and is an excellent example of why I continue to hang around this place. Big ups to him.
posted by Kat Allison at 6:23 PM on October 12, 2007


I don't give a fuck what anybody does in their private lives, but he and his kind make it their business to make life difficult for people who have the same kinds of kinks they themselves indulge in. I'm going to laugh like hell everytime one of those fuckers publicly humiliates themselves.

I'm sure that he's not the only person in the BDSM community that accidentally offed himself or otherwise got outed this year, but most of them don't make national news because most of those people aren't public figures and hypocrites.

You think maybe one day the sheep that follow these losers will wake up and realize that they're being led by liars and criminals?
posted by empath at 6:42 PM on October 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Eponysterical, empath.

I'm named after Navin Johnson's nemesis, so I have free reign to act like an asshole.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:50 PM on October 12, 2007


I think these threads suck, personally, and it seems like we've had one of them almost every day or so. GOTCHAfilter isn't really much of an improvement on LOLXIAN and really weak sauce for MetaFilter.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:06 PM on October 12, 2007 [7 favorites]


Doesn't mean we are obligated to take the high road.
Exactly. That's pretty much what makes it the high road.
posted by klarck at 7:13 PM on October 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


Possibly it's appropriate since his last thoughts were likely along the lines of "more inside."

And his nickname for the condom-wrapped dildo was 'Saucy Intruder.'
posted by ericb at 7:20 PM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just do not get this notion.

pineapple: "practice what you preach" cuts both ways, that's all. I'm pro-privacy, pro-sexual-freedom, all those mundane socially liberal values. I can't tack on the end "except hypocritical Xians. They suck."

(Plus, of course, without people like this to tell us how bad we're all being, kink wouldn't be half as much fun...)
posted by Leon at 7:22 PM on October 12, 2007


jonmc, many thanks for your second-hand tale of life on the streets as told by the men who live it. However, you missed the salient phrase, which I've emphasized here:

If this had been just another John Doe engaging in a little Tuesday afternoon hog-tied butt-plugging, this wouldn't be a story in the news.

Of course EMTs, cops, ED workers—anyone who deals with humans in extremis—collect, tell, trade stories about what they've seen. Did you really think no one here knew that?

Those stories have no meaning or value outside that culture—they aren't "in the news"—unless and until there's something extra. The best, the most interesting, the most relevant-to-the-public something extra is hypocrisy.

Anyway, thanks for checking in with this week's "jonmc/man of the people" cred-points.

And what do you think of the musical selections cited thus far?
posted by cat.dog at 7:31 PM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think the guy's death is fucking hilarious.

And if he's up in heaven right now, reading this thread, I am certain he is laughing with me.

Any death that happens when a self-inserted, condom-wrapped dildo is up your butt, is funny. That's just self-evident. Yes, death is terrible, but deaths that occur right after you shove a condom up your butt is funny.

For those who think that laughter about this is inappropriate: I am not anti-sexual-freedom in laughing at this dude's death. I am completely pro-sexual-freedom. I just think it is fucking hilarious that Mr. Liberty University died with the indignity of having his dildo wedged up his butt.

It's funny in the same way that a Grand Wizard of the KKK dying when having sex with a black sex doll would be funny.
posted by jayder at 7:34 PM on October 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


I think these threads suck, personally, and it seems like we've had one of them almost every day or so.

Maybe these threads are worthy -- even in their frequency -- as they highlight a trend. We've been subjected here in the U.S. over the past 7 years to a "holier-than-thou" weltanschauung in civic and political life. By shining a penetrating light on the many instances of hypocrisy (and resulting schadenfreude) such may prove to be instructive and constructive to this "community," and to others. Hans Christian Andersen's "The Emperor has No Clothes" comes to mind. Dangling genitals and all!
posted by ericb at 7:36 PM on October 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


*The Emperor's New Clothes*
posted by ericb at 7:42 PM on October 12, 2007


Of course EMTs, cops, ED workers—anyone who deals with humans in extremis—collect, tell, trade stories about what they've seen. Did you really think no one here knew that?

Uh, no. I just thought it was a good story. And for what it's worth, I agree the guy was a hypocrite.
posted by jonmc at 7:42 PM on October 12, 2007


these threads suck, personally, and it seems like we've had one of them almost every day or so. GOTCHAfilter isn't really much of an improvement on LOLXIAN and really weak sauce for MetaFilter.

I agree. It is one thing to see the really big hypocrites take a fall, but it is sort of unseemly to revel in the personal trauma of every lowlife conservative just because they are on the opposite political side of an issue.
posted by caddis at 7:59 PM on October 12, 2007


By shining a penetrating light

"penetrating".

Nice one.
posted by meehawl at 8:02 PM on October 12, 2007


Uh, no. I just thought it was a good story. And for what it's worth, I agree the guy was a hypocrite.

Uh, duh. You're still missing the point. Your story, splendid as it was, has no relevance here. Yet you felt compelled to share.

Do you need an editor? Or an interventionist?
posted by cat.dog at 8:07 PM on October 12, 2007


This is some sad tawdry-ass shit.

It's informative and interesting and, yeah, lol hypocrisy. But I'm with Saucy and the sentiments I think i detect from yerfatma and jessamyn.

Should have been deleted without lingering prejudice to poster.
posted by psmith at 8:17 PM on October 12, 2007


I think you might be somewhat overselling the case for topical rigidity in metatalk, cat.dog, and it's not really clear why you're riding jonmc's ass so hard on this.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:18 PM on October 12, 2007


It is very weird to have to do it, but I feel the need to explain that I am marking cat.dog with a "favorite" only to mark the comment for future use.

Because, sir, you are out of line and needlessly pontificating.
posted by yhbc at 8:20 PM on October 12, 2007


Do you need an editor? Or an interventionist?

No, what jonmc needs to do is take it to metatalk.

Oh, wait...
posted by found dog one eye at 8:25 PM on October 12, 2007


Your story, splendid as it was, has no relevance here.

"Eat shit and die" always has relevance.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:28 PM on October 12, 2007


My humble apologies to all involved.
posted by cat.dog at 8:28 PM on October 12, 2007


I AM IRON MAN.
posted by psmith at 8:29 PM on October 12, 2007


not like that guy was rubber man
posted by pyramid termite at 8:34 PM on October 12, 2007


Sometimes you've just gotta go off on jonmc.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:35 PM on October 12, 2007


Let us dub these posts... LOLPOCRACY.
posted by boo_radley at 8:39 PM on October 12, 2007


Watching 'Real Time with Bill Maher' right now with Joy Behar, Paul Krugman, and Tucker Carlson. They're talking about this story. Seems to have 'hit a cord/struck a nerve' in the public zeitgeist.
posted by ericb at 9:09 PM on October 12, 2007


it is sort of unseemly to revel in the personal trauma of every lowlife conservative just because they are on the opposite political side of an issue.

Like ericb, I see it differently. We're 10 weeks from a presidential election year, at which point the front page will become a deluge of "urgent" newsfilter reporting of dubious "Your Favorite Candidate Sucks" quality, and it will all fade into so much white noise.

That the standard-bearers of one particular stripe -- and the foundation of "family values" which arguably bore their ascent to the throne -- appear to be disintegrating in one tidy package of immorality right now, does seem to be newsworthy to me. Yes, conveniently, I support the other side, but it's not like we haven't discussed Obama Girl's undies, LOL HILLARYXTIAN, and "Slave Ownership is Bad, Mmmkeh." Tacky schadenfreude FPPs are equal opportunity offenders.

I actually wish the GOP foibles weren't so spectacularly tawdry; I prefer the "aide leaked dirty memo"/"corrupt cabinet members resign" type stuff, because it keeps the conversation where I believe it matters. I'm not "reveling" in Aldridge's personal trauma -- but this isn't cancer or a plane crash or a lesbian daughter or even a dead father's gold cock ring. This is the man himself revealed to be a moral and sexual hypocrite of such stunning order that it's likely to be a CSI plot before February sweeps. That death is part of that equation is tragic, but not actually crucial to the story IMO. The kink isn't the news; neither is the death. The hypocrisy is the news.

(Another interesting direction the discussion could go would be to talk about how the GOP has been hoist by their own petard, with the commingling of the Religious Right with their political machine. Ten years ago, conservatives could say, "Well, it's a shame about that Alabama minister and all, but it doesn't affect us," and step neatly to the side of it.)

I didn't post in the original thread because I had nothing to say about the actual incident. But I do find the Aldridge case to be a case of religious/political hypocrisy exposed, and I'm interested in where the line is vis-a-vis MetaFilter. If we're saying the line is, "Well, the guy is dead, therefore we shouldn't touch it, it's not respectful" that's fine.

If we're saying "Conservative sex scandals are okay... as long as they don't come in a big cluster," then I don't get it.

(I realize the thread is still alive and all, meaning it's likely going to ride even if the admins don't love it... but I honestly can't tell whether this MeTa is an indicator of future bad behavior site-wide in 2008, or whether one person's personal taste-o-meter got ruffled and we all just go forward.)
posted by pineapple at 9:21 PM on October 12, 2007 [5 favorites]


cat.dog, and it's not really clear why you're riding jonmc's ass so hard on this.
posted by cortex at 10:18 PM on October 12

Pastabagel answered this I think here.
One of the best cartoons I've ever seen was a drawing of a guy in high heels, fishnets, a garter belt and a black bra standing in front of a full length mirror holding a video camera. The caption read, "I'd shit if Jesus returned right now."
But that was in a Hustler sometime in the 80's, not on the front page of MetaFilter.
posted by Sailormom at 9:25 PM on October 12, 2007


pineapple, you may very well be able to do this, but I ask you to please connect this dead guy convincingly to the upcoming USA election in a way more than lol xian repubs are the suxor (i.e. why does he matter).

I'm not trying to be a douchetard, I'm just trying to understand why this is meaningful or important or the best of the web.
posted by psmith at 9:32 PM on October 12, 2007


shit, pineapple, i have to go for the evening and can't continue this discussion right now.
posted by psmith at 9:38 PM on October 12, 2007


As you saw in my post on the blue, I've been interested in the subject since the mid 1980's. One particular pharmacy I worked in was frequented by policemen, one of whom was a detective I became reasonably acquainted with. One day I mustered my courage and asked him if he was familiar with autoerotic asphyxia. He told me that he once investigated a case in which a substantial time had passed between the death of the subject and the discovery of the body.

In the great tradition of morbid cop humor, he described to me the state of decomposition of the body thusly; "Even the flies were bloated"...
posted by Tube at 9:39 PM on October 12, 2007


once i fucked myself
posted by psmith at 9:46 PM on October 12, 2007


In a world with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, about half of them under the effective control of one person, I find stories of people in positions of self-described ultimate moral authority acting out whatever is absolutely most forbidden in their own belief system compelling, and worth trying to understand at every opportunity, especially since the person who controls those weapons never tires of reminding us how much he has in common with those moral authorities who cannot seem to help doing what is most forbidden and eventually quite destructive to their families, their flocks, and themselves.

It's a foible of mine, I know-- but there it is.
posted by jamjam at 10:17 PM on October 12, 2007 [6 favorites]




Know who else is dead and didn't do anything to me?

I'm not saying this is Teh Best of Teh Web [Fanfare], but I don't see the post as being LOLXtian in the manner that I've learned to loathe - while the dead man's vocation is what elevates this from being just another dead pervert, it is possible to, well, enjoy the story for its sheer oddness rather than trumpet how this is yet another victory for the shining forces of honest secularism.

Sometimes a trussed-up dead reverend in a couple of rubbersuits with a doobed dildo up his ass is just a trussed-up dead reverend in a couple of rubbersuits with a doobed dildo up his ass. And that's enough for me.

Also:

MetaTalk: Knowing what was coming next (thank you, internet) I quickly turned away.

That's right, TWO incredibly tired in-jokes in one comment, TWO! Oh, and wendell, suckahs!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:38 PM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think we're reaching a point where we're beginning to understand just why it is that some people are so deeply obsessed with policing sexual behavior.

Sen. Craig considers himself to be a straight man - yet (if the rumors are true) he finds himself compelled to seek out gay mens-room sex.

Rev. Aldridge considered himself a man of god, fighting to keep America pure - yet he himself had a HUGE rubber kink.

The average celibate priest is about one hundred times as likely to be accused of sexual predation of children as is the average male.

I think we're beginning to understand that conservatives feel the need for tightly regulating sexual behavior simply BECAUSE they themselves feel they need outside help in suppressing their own desires. And this certainly bears on the larger political questions facing America. The entire conservative movement seems to be full of this sort of hypocrisy:

- if somebody is obsessed with "protecting the children", they have a higher-than-average chance of being a pedophile;

- if somebody supports laws to ban sex toys (which is the law in Aldridge's Alabama), well, you know why;

- if somebody wants to make sure that homosexuality is kept marginalized (as Sen. Craig has voted), well, it's quite likely that they themselves are deeply concerned with controlling their own impulses.

The evidence is mounting that conservatives need to control sexual freedom simply as a way to control themselves. And America needs to finally understand just how twisted these people are. Because the last seven years have shown us that we can no longer afford the luxury of allowing conservatives near the levers of power.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 11:04 PM on October 12, 2007 [13 favorites]


Nah, this post was crap.

Call me a metahypocrite, but back in the day, this is what alt.tasteless was for. It'd be great for Fark or Sensible Erection. But Metafilter? We have standards.

If we're going to have autoerotic asphyxiation by self-loathing moralists on the front page, there needs to be a redeeming feature that makes it art.

I know that sounds like a joke, but I'm quite serious. Leave the poor guy alone. He is a common or garden casualty of paraphilia and there is nothing that makes this interesting other than prurient interest and a desire to sneer.

I'm all for prurience and sneering but I want a better excuse first. Probably in an earlier age I would have been commissioning portrayals of a classical scene with nymphs rather than just directing to artist to paint me some naked chicks. But I still want to draw the distinction for Metafilter.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:32 AM on October 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


All moral and aesthetic standards are utterly arbitrary. There's nothing whatsoever that makes a post about a dead pervert better or worse than any other post.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:18 AM on October 13, 2007


There's nothing whatsoever that makes a post about a dead pervert better or worse than any other post.

Au contraire, there has to be something else, otherwise it's just kind of meh.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:28 AM on October 13, 2007


Isn't that what they call this place? Mehtafilter, yeah.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:31 AM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Let me know which tenets of the aforementioned seem to make an allowance for the way that Aldridge died"

This is really clutching at straws to prove this guy was a 'hypocrite'. None of those rules have anything to do with private sexual behavior or masturbation, but rather public presentation.

Can someone point to something this guy actually preached that condemned private use of dildoes or bondage? (He might have, but this was the best attempt at evidence yet and it sucked)
posted by dgaicun at 2:32 AM on October 13, 2007


Can someone point to something this guy actually preached that condemned private use of dildoes or bondage?

He might have quoted 1 John 2:16 to his flock:

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:02 AM on October 13, 2007


joe's spleen: "If we're going to have autoerotic asphyxiation by self-loathing moralists on the front page, there needs to be a redeeming feature that makes it art."
Clothing: The decedent was received wearing two (2) wet suits, one scuba diving mask, one pair of diving gloves, one pair of slippers, one pair of rubber underwear, two (2) ties, five (5) belts, eleven (11) straps.
I may just be uninformed, but I am under the impression that this is not an everyday occurrence. This is something that could have happened off-camera to Lloyd Bridges in an R-rated version of Airplane (or maybe Peter Graves or Robert Stack), explained deadpan to the audience by Leslie Nielsen.

My take on this whole thing is the same as Alvy's, rather than pineapple's.
posted by ibmcginty at 4:25 AM on October 13, 2007


“Rev. Aldridge considered himself a man of god, fighting to keep America pure - yet he himself had a HUGE rubber kink.”

Everyone assumes that this man was a hypocrite. That assumption is based upon the assumption that all cultural ultra-conservatives abhor any sex that's not with a partner and in missionary position. And while this may be true for most of these folks, there's no reason to suppose that it's true for each individual. Because the specifics of their faith that I'm aware of which are relevant to this guy's kinks are the one that discourage masturbation. Masturbating in a very kinky way is obviously marginal socially, but I don't see how it's connected directly to his faith. Therefore there's no way to know that he specifically was hypocritical in this regard.

A very common fallacy is to accuse individual people who are members of a group of hypocrisy with regard to what the accuser thinks of as the standard party line of the group. But often there's no evidence whatsoever that the individual himself subscribes to that belief of which he's being accused of being hypocritical about.

Pundits and other people do this all the time. If a member of the “left” does something that seems not in accordance with the right's mental image of the left, then that individual is accused of hypocrisy and all the dittoheads chuckle with glee at the lack of integrity, nay depravity, of the left as a whole.

So the chain is this: construct an image of the average member of Group X and a list of all the behaviors that Group X says one should do and should not do. This is false, as very rarely are any such groups homogenous or list in detail their collective beliefs to which all are expected to subscribe. Yes, this generalization is often useful and unavoidable. But applying generalizations to individuals is invalid and is what stereotyping is.

Then you find some individual belonging to Group X that exhibits behavior that is not in accordance with that pre-constructed idea of the Average Group X Member. Accuse him of hypocrisy and laugh at him. This is invalid because there's rarely any way to know that this individual subscribed to the entire list of behavior norms that you've assumed to exist (which doesn't).

Then you use this individual as a stand-in for all members of Group X and thus accuse all of Group X as hypocrites. This is invalid for the same reason the previous step was invalid.

So it's basically three separate steps, each of which are very questionable, to an extremely questionable conclusion. Each step, and especially the conclusion, are motivated by very questionable motives. The whole sorry mess is very dishonest and irrational.

And yet most of us of all type, from all sides of all issues, do this to some degree or the other. It's extremely corrosive because it's basically a creation of villainy from whole-cloth of imagination, not fact. The whole thing is a vicious cycle because it furthers one's conception of those one disagrees with into greater and greater abstraction and caricature, all the while as one finds it easier and easier to believe that all individuals of the caricatured class are each exactly such a caricature. It's dehumanizing. It's also anti-liberal because the liberal (though, perhaps, not the leftist) creed is to see people as individuals worthy of individual respect and not as dehumanized members of a class which one is then mentally and emotionally safe to attack and scorn and hate and pity.

There's little real evidence that this man was a hypocrite, just speculation of the form of reasoning I described. Otherwise, we at MetaFilter are broad-minded people-though not everyone-and I would expect most of us to tolerate someone's weird masturbatory kinks. It's a very sad way to die and to laugh at the man only underscores this.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:38 AM on October 13, 2007 [15 favorites]


christian/republican-does-something-out-of-character

it's not out of character. it's part and parcel of the human condition. A Christian aspiring to higher behavior in no way guarantees success. How can you think it does? to never again indulge in shameful acts, THAT would be out of character, and superhuman. how does reveling in such behavior make you superior to those who rue it and struggle unsuccessfully to overcome it?
posted by quonsar at 5:11 AM on October 13, 2007 [5 favorites]


and what Ethereal Bligh said is an excellent analysis.
posted by quonsar at 5:12 AM on October 13, 2007


If I am ever found dead, hogtied, dressed in two rubber suits with a dildo up my butt, I won't mind at all if people laugh.
posted by flabdablet at 5:24 AM on October 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Someone get a message through
To Captain Snort
That they better start assembling
The boys from the fort.
Keep Mrs. Honeyman right out of sight,
'Cause there's gonna be riot
Down in Trumpton Tonight.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:26 AM on October 13, 2007


Masturbating in a very kinky way is obviously marginal socially, but I don't see how it's connected directly to his faith. Therefore there's no way to know that he specifically was hypocritical in this regard.

• Michael Aldridge was a fundamentalist Baptist minister, preaching specific ideas about sin.

• He was a graduate of Liberty University, a fundamentalist Baptist sort-of-educational institution.

• He was a former dean of said institution. The current dean spends time preaching and doing research on creationism, if that is an indication of job requirements.

If Aldridge did not need to maintain two entirely separate understandings of morality, with respect to his daily behavior as a Baptist minister and a member of its pedagogical community, and his private behavior as someone into a rubber kink, the only other explanation I can think of is that he was on a deep, deep undercover mission of some kind.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:43 AM on October 13, 2007 [6 favorites]


...well then he didn't get the memo. We have robot spy dragonflies for that now. Wait, maybe they only are for deep undercover and not deep, deep undercover.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:04 AM on October 13, 2007


We're still working the kinks out of the technology, you see
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:04 AM on October 13, 2007


Metafilter: We Have Standards
posted by psmealey at 7:38 AM on October 13, 2007


Normally I'm all for making fun of hypocrites but this isn't one of those posts for me, either. Mostly, I was intrigued by the circumstances of the death and the marvelously dry autopsy report. Of course we've all heard of these things before, but the amount of detail here was genuinely interesting to me. And yes, amusing.
But I'm going to cop to being a heartless rubbernecking (hah) voyeur rather than pretend to be all outraged that he's a preacher.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:46 AM on October 13, 2007


Masturbating in a very kinky way is obviously marginal socially, but I don't see how it's connected directly to his faith. Therefore there's no way to know that he specifically was hypocritical in this regard.

Is't a dildo a proxy for a dick? If so, then Mr. Liberty University died with a dick up his butt. And that establishes at least a rebuttable presumption that he was specifically hypocritical.

If you can produce, say, an article the guy wrote, or a speech he gave, saying that gay sex isn't against God's law, then I would reconsider my position that he is a hypocrite. But until such evidence is presented, the fact that he lived, worked, and worshipped in the very bosom of anti-gay sentiment, yet died with a facsimile of a rock-hard cock up his ass, pretty soundly establishes that he is a hypocrite of the first magnitude.
posted by jayder at 7:49 AM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


A very common fallacy is to accuse individual people who are members of a group of hypocrisy with regard to what the accuser thinks of as the standard party line of the group. But often there's no evidence whatsoever that the individual himself subscribes to that belief of which he's being accused of being hypocritical about.

This is totally true, and I was very clear upthread in saying "let's assume that Aldridge adhered to and preached these things," because of his association with such vocally strict groups. I could be totally wrong.

My point is that I believe MeFites can handle the discussion itself. Will there be a joke or twenty? Sure, but under the tasteless is some actual conversation fodder, to my mind.
posted by pineapple at 7:51 AM on October 13, 2007


You know, I totally expected that thread to be 100% a Rehash of Schadenfreude Past (Christian conservative variety), and hence dismissable, but I have to say that the calm and informative expertise provided by Clay201 made the whole snarkfest worth it, and is an excellent example of why I continue to hang around this place. Big ups to him.

What Kat Allison said. Also, the guy was hogtied and dressed in two rubber suits with a dildo up his ass. That's funny, I don't care what you say.

And EB, come on. What do you think was the reaction of his fellow Lib U stone-age bigots to this? If his kinks weren't hypocritical but were perfectly in accord with his repellent beliefs, his co-cavemen should be celebrating them, not sweeping them under the rug. "Yes, Brother Michael was into the bondage and the dildos, but don't we all have our little kinks? At least he wasn't practicing heresy or adultery! Hallelujah!" But somehow that's not what's going on there in Church Swampy Hollow.

And what's Mister Fuck-Ann-Coulter-the-Ugly-Bitch doing standing up for autoasphyxiating Neanderthals who are equally bad for humanity?
posted by languagehat at 8:01 AM on October 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't understand the dichotomy between "moral purity" and BDSM. I've been involved in BDSM for years, and I have never once heard a Christian say anything negative about it. Conversely, I've known plenty of Christians - even conservative Christians - who enjoy kink. I really don't know what churches think about BDSM, especially this particular minister. Can anyone have any evidence that he spoke out - publicly or privately - against practicing BDSM?

I think most of the far right-wingers are too consumed by homophobia to even bother commenting on kink. Hypocrisy WRT to gays is not the same thing as hypocrisy WRT kink, because kinksters aren't systematically oppressed in the same way that gays are. We can get married (if we're hetero), and we can live our whole lives just fine without anyone knowing we're kinky. A gay person, by contrast, is denied all kinds of rights if they come out. So, someone speaking out against homosexuality condones this inequality. Someone speaking out against kink has absolutely no legal effect on someone's life.
posted by desjardins at 8:01 AM on October 13, 2007


Is't a dildo a proxy for a dick? If so, then Mr. Liberty University died with a dick up his butt. And that establishes at least a rebuttable presumption that he was specifically hypocritical.

And any gay dude that strokes himself off is obviously a closet straight, jonesing for vadge. And don't get me started about so called "lesbians" who own vibrators or dildos.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:02 AM on October 13, 2007


Yes, the guy absolutely WAS a hypocrite.

Here's a guy who choose a career that involved telling other people how they should behave: specifically, that other people should have only a tightly constrained range of sexual possibilities in their lives. He was a Dean at Liberty University: he was all about controlling other people's sexuality, and about making them feel shame about their desires.

But he did not follow those same rules in his own life.

So when he's found in these circumstances, it's only right and proper for less-hypocritical people to point out that the rules he was proposing (but only for others) don't actually work in the world of real humans.

Now, maybe it's possible that ALL moralists are hypocrites, and maybe that's only because humans can't achieve the Ideal they point us to; but more likely, it's because these so-called "moralists" are trying to gain power over other humans by instilling shame in them.

But whether or not their version of "morality" is actually something to strive for or not, there's no way to pretend that this guy was following the path he was urging upon others.

The man was a shameless hypocrite. And his death was of interest because the circumstances prove his hypocrisy.
And by extension, his demostrable personal hypocrisy adds evidence to the theory that's they're ALL hypocrites who are seeking personal power by shaming others.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 8:05 AM on October 13, 2007


I don't understand the dichotomy between "moral purity" and BDSM.

For starters, sex toys are illegal in Alabama.
posted by pineapple at 8:10 AM on October 13, 2007


the only other explanation I can think of is that he was on a deep, deep undercover mission of some kind.

Underwater mission, you mean.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:10 AM on October 13, 2007


In many ways it was the perfect MetaTalk death - an exercise in getting as far up your own arse as you possibly can.
posted by Abiezer at 8:13 AM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually, a lot of the comments in this and the FPP come off as LOLFETISH, rather than dealing with the perceived hypocrisy. If this guy had solicited sex from a man, I don't think the sexual act itself would be subject to this much scorn. I don't recall the Larry Craig thread(s) focusing on LOLSODOMITES.

And I see Ethereal Bligh and others already made my previous point.
posted by desjardins at 8:13 AM on October 13, 2007


I don't understand the dichotomy between "moral purity" and BDSM.

That too. It's odd—and it drives home what I think is the interesting thing about the post, even if it's not the same thing that everyone else sees in it: here's this, really, not clash but conflation of anti-hedonistic preachin' and hardcore kink. They're not opposites, they're orthogonal.

BDSM is a stand in here for having blatantly recreational sex of any sort, if you want to argue the moral purity angle. In which case, the kink thing is it's own thing: mixing up a little of "ha, gotcha!" with "wow, weird". That the reaction here is more focused on the wetsuits and dildo than it would be on, say, the girl's cheerleader outfit in a similar but more vanilla version kind of underscores the point. People are confusing "hypocrisy" with "fetishism", or at the very least letting the two mix without any sense of restraint or fairness to either argument.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:17 AM on October 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't recall the Larry Craig thread(s) focusing on LOLSODOMITES.

Ah, but the Larry Craig thread was full of toe-tapping and wide-stance jokes. It's not about the sexual act as much as the unusual trappings of said sexual act that amuses and interests people.
I never knew about the intricacies of the stall code before Larry Craig. Now, thanks to wetsuit boy, I know about the "smother mother" theory and how to tie myself up all by myself and what EMT scissors are. I'm getting an education here!
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:21 AM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


It is sort of unseemly to revel in the personal trauma of every lowlife conservative just because they are on the opposite political side of an issue.

This isn't exactly some guy who voted republican when he remembered to vote. What makes this noteworthy is the level at which he was opposed to things that were pretty much "the average sex life", meanwhile, when he had a weekend to himself, is up to things that make the kinkiest people I know look pretty tame.

It's the level of internal conteridiction that make this interesting. Sort of like "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" only with less brain damage and more KY Jelly.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:22 AM on October 13, 2007


we're reaching a point where we're beginning to understand just why it is that some people are so deeply obsessed with policing sexual behavior.

Beginning? It's all in The Use of Pleasure. That bald French dude worked it out a long time ago. See also the Paradox of Hedonism.
posted by meehawl at 8:32 AM on October 13, 2007


“People are confusing ‘hypocrisy’ with ‘fetishism’, or at the very least letting the two mix without any sense of restraint or fairness to either argument.”

Absolutely. BP response to my comment was basically just a variation on “hey, kinky stuff is self-evidently against the beliefs of Christian conservatives, amirite?”. Which is not true.

Languagehat's response was basically “other Christian conservatives are obviously embarrassed by this so that proves that he preached against what he was doing”, which is also not true and pretty sloppy reasoning, to boot.

And the dildo thing is just stupid. Just what you said: if this were true, then lesbians that use anything like dildos are, what, actually straight and want to have sex with men? C'mon.

There's a lot of tortured reasoning here on display in the attempt to claim this man was a hypocrite.

And even if we could find something in his faith or organizations he's belonged to that condemned this specific behavior, that still wouldn't prove he's a hypocrite. It's as if the MetaFilter community suddenly forgot there is such a thing as dissent. Lots of folks belong to organizations or causes or faiths who don't accept everything that those groups say. This is especially true for religions. Most people I've known that are religious have some things that they don't agree with their church about. For all we know, this guy was a force for acceptance of kinky sex within his community. We don't know he was not. We don't much of anything about this particular person.

Each of the people in this thread could be accused of hypocrisy on the basis of a claim that “mefites are like X” and “user X did or said something not in accordance with what mefites are like”. That's stupid. It's not hypocrisy until an actual individual says or does something not in accordance with his known beliefs and/or actual statements about correct behavior.

“What makes this noteworthy is the level at which he was opposed to things that were pretty much ‘the average sex life’”

You missed a negative in that statement. But, anyway, you don't know that he was opposed to things that weren't the average sex life. You're just assuming certain beliefs on his part on the basis of your mental model of Christian conservatives. But kinky masturbatory sex isn't something discussed or condemned in the Bible. We can guess that most Christian conservatives would tut-tut this kind of behavior. But so would most middle-class Americans.

So is he a hypocrite because you think he's not acting like a normal Christian conservative, or is he a hypocrite because he's not acting like a normal middle-class American? Why isn't it as interesting for people here to assume he's a hypocritical middle-class American and make a FPP about it on that basis?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:41 AM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you don't post these kinds of stories, then metafilter would be even more boring and pompous.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 8:51 AM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


So is he a hypocrite because you think he's not acting like a normal Christian conservative, or is he a hypocrite because he's not acting like a normal middle-class American?

He's a hypocrite because he (supposedly) didn't act like a conservative Christian preacher. His job was to lead by example. If anyone can seriously claim that this man would stand up on Sunday and preach the virtues of BDSM, then the charge of hypocrisy would be wrong.

Of course it's supposition on my part, but I'm gonna guess that kinky sex got negative publicity from his pulpit, if it got any publicity at all. The typical fundie church is very big on teaching the flock that gay sex, extramarital sex, and sex for anything but procreation are wrong and sinful. Going out on a limb, I'll posit that even his own congregation would consider autoerotic sex in multiple rubber suits an affront to God.

I'm a big supporter of different strokes for different folks, and a person's sex life is their own business as long as everything's consensual. But this is definitely an issue of glass houses and stones. I doubt it would have ever made this kind of stir if it wasn't.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:00 AM on October 13, 2007


Languagehat's response was basically “other Christian conservatives are obviously embarrassed by this so that proves that he preached against what he was doing”

No, I think he was obviously embarrassed by this. No, I don't have a signed and witnessed document that proves that he was, but come on. The fact that there's no logical connection between Christian right-wing lunacy and opposition to sex toys is irrelevant; in the world I live in there's a strong correlation. And I have no problem making assumptions about anyone associated with Liberty U.

If you disagree, I presume you think he chatted about his rubber fun with his fellow parishioners/nutjobs?
posted by languagehat at 9:09 AM on October 13, 2007


Absolutely. BP response to my comment was basically just a variation on “hey, kinky stuff is self-evidently against the beliefs of Christian conservatives, amirite?”.

I really don't mean to be glib about this, but I'll gamble anyone $100 that if you ask nine out of ten fundamentalists, this stuff is proscribed in some part of scripture or rationalized interpretation of it.

I already quoted one example further up in this thread. "Lust of the flesh" is a clear representation of sexual appetite — and can include self-gratification — Onanism.

Many Christians interprete the Bible to believe that sex between a married, heterosexual couple is the only acceptable sexual act, and masturbation detracts from this and is therefore sacrilegious.

I would consider stuffing a dildo up one's ass for sexual pleasure to be masturbation — and if one were a Christian, and in particular a fundamentalist Baptist, that individual would more often than not, therefore, find that to be sinful behavior.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:11 AM on October 13, 2007


His job was to lead by example. If anyone can seriously claim that this man would stand up on Sunday and preach the virtues of BDSM, then the charge of hypocrisy would be wrong.

This is bullshit. Believing that something is private does not make you a hypocrite for engaging in it. People who like to talk up BDSM are boring -- I mean, really: their genitals are Goth, super for them, but I don't care. Also, one can be a kinky conservative Christian -- I've met plenty. I really didn't enjoy hearing about the sex life of my Assemblies of God-member boss, but I heard enough to know that her and her husband enjoyed their God-sanctioned boning to the max. (She knew her sons masturbated, too, and didn't beat them or lock them in a closet! The hypocrite!) A lot of you guys have cartoon images of these people that leads me to think you've never spent any time with them.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:35 AM on October 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


Oh, but dying with a dildo up your butt is funny. No matter who you are.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:35 AM on October 13, 2007


I'm not trying to be a douchetard

I really, really wish that all standards of personal excellence were phrased this way, especially in the workplace.
posted by spaltavian at 9:44 AM on October 13, 2007


Also, one can be a kinky conservative Christian -- I've met plenty.

So have we, apparently.

A lot of you guys have cartoon images of these people that leads me to think you've never spent any time with them.

Spent plenty of time with them, thanks. My first wife was from a very active Southern Baptist family. I spent a lot of time not dancing - and if dancing is verboten then you can pretty much guess what the opinions on rubber play are.

If your private life is different than your public life, you're a hypocrite - and we are all hypocrites to one extent or another. But when your job is to instruct others how to live (lest they lose their mortal soul), and you live in direct opposition to the syllabus, then your shortcomings, when discovered, are fair game.

I am not saying that this guy was a bad person; I didn't know him. In fact, I think it's sad that some people have to live with huge chunks of their personalities hidden away.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:06 AM on October 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Clyde Bruckman: You know, there are worse ways to go, but I can't think of a more undignified way than autoerotic asphyxiation.
Mulder: Why are you telling me that?
Bruckman: Look, forget I mentioned it. It's none of my business.


This was the first time I had ever heard of autoerotic asphyxiation. I was a kid, I didn't know what the term meant, but I knew enough to know I couldn't exactly ask my dad. I thought it might have something to do with cars (auto). For the next, uh... 6 or 8 years I was obsessed with the phrase, and hoo boy! Was I ever surprised when I learned what it was. I still can't hear the phrase without thinking of X-Files.
posted by arcticwoman at 10:17 AM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


To be a fundamentalist southern baptist is to live in a never-ending whirl of hypocrisy, proclivities aside. That he died with a rubber dick in his asshole is just gravy, if you'll pardon the expression.
posted by trondant at 10:23 AM on October 13, 2007


But when your job is to instruct others how to live (lest they lose their mortal soul)

Perhaps the real problem is the fact of instructing others how to live, not what those instructions may have been. For such instructions are unlikely to be followed by student and teacher alike.

Look, this guy died a lonely death, and if he thought - as is likely - that his kinks were out of bounds according to his faith or his community, he probably lived a lonely life too.

(So does Larry Craig, but I take no pity on him: for he has managed to deal with the fallout of his escapades by being an even bigger dickwad than before. This particular individual has no such luxury.)
posted by Saucy Intruder at 10:26 AM on October 13, 2007


He may have actually been a hypocrite. That's not the point.

The point is that this sort of reasoning—where you assume that group X says Y, person A is a member of group X; person A does something not in accordance with Y; therefore person A is a hypocrite; and that since person A is a member of group X, therefore members of group X are hypocrites—is rationally wrong and morally wrong. I thought that my example of how this is done to us, liberals, by conservative pundits would drive the point home. Apparently not.

Yes, conservative Christians and Catholics and others tend to view the Onan story as condemning masturbation. But tend is not all and, anyway, they certainly don't have anything to say specifically about rubber fetishes and dildos. Yes, we can guess that most conservative Christians would say that there's something, somehow morally wrong and un-Christian about dressing up in a rubber suit and shoving a dildo up your ass as you masturbate. But we still don't know that this individual person ever made such an argument.

And the idea that someone would have to publicly make an argument defending their behavior in order to prove themselves not hypocrites is really, really absurd. There's lots of things I do that I don't believe are wrong that I've never spoken publicly about. So if I do them, I'm a hypocrite? And this is just as true for a preacher. A preacher isn't required to exhaustively list every possible thing that he/she thinks is acceptable.

This type of reasoning is a fallacy that I wish had a name. It's very, very common and very destructive to civil discourse. If all commentators, paid and voluntary, would refrain from doing this, the level of discourse would rise dramatically. I used to do this a lot and I've had to work at not doing it. It's only been in the last few years that I've recognized how rationally suspect it is and how much damage it causes.

If you can find specific examples of hypocrisy, then that's great. It's not hard to do with people like Larry Craig. I have no problem with showing how people like him have said things and voted on things that prove his hypocrisy when he's caught soliciting sex in a restroom. And, sure, preachers are semi-public figures and we can guess that this guy has said some thing that make him a hypocrite. But the onus is on the person making the accusation to actually find evidence of it, not making up evidence in their imagination.

Languagehat is idiosyncratic in a number of his views, including some political views. But if he were taken only as a member of a class of leftists, or editors, or linguists, then in each case someone could claim, on the basis of his behavior (which, unknown to them, conforms to his idiosyncratic views) people could call him a hypocrite. This is obviously stupid when someone actually knows languagehat. But when someone's just looking to make charges of hypocrisy against any random member of a group, and knowing that languagehat is a member of said group, then knowing that languagehat once did X is fodder for such a charge. It's dishonest and insulting because it treats LH not as an individual, but as a cookie-cutter cutout of someone's idea of leftists, or linguists, or editors...and usually that person doesn't like leftists, or linguists, or editors, making their stereotypes even more suspicious.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:36 AM on October 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


If a person is trying to be "good" in the power of his or her own strength instead of resting in the finished work of Christ to justify and sanctify oneself, then one can expect to eventually "fall" and fall hard.


None of us are good. None of us can be good. We have to know that each one of us is totally, utterly depraved, and can only escape that depravity through the power of God working in us.

I don't know anything about that man. I could even imagine a murderer going to great lengths to set up such a scenario to desecrate this man's memory in death. But since that doesn't seem to be the most likely explanation here, I'd just have to say he couldn't fight his inner urges on his own. Which makes him exactly like the rest of us.
posted by konolia at 10:43 AM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Get a grip, EB. Your arguments have merit in and of themselves, but on the face of the available facts of this case come over as some unnecessary special pleading.
The balance of probabilites is that a man seeking the status of pastor to a conservative Christian community would indeed have condemned in his public persona the kind of sexual behaviour that led to his unfortunate death. I might be wrong there and I do think the thread is in poor taste, but it's in no worse taste than plenty that never ends up debated at excruciating length here.

None of us are good. None of us can be good. We have to know that each one of us is totally, utterly depraved, and can only escape that depravity through the power of God working in us.
That's exactly the aspect of Christian theology that always struck me as patently false, konolia. We are neutral emanations of the great unfolding of the Universe, and any moral aspect to our lives is something we create while we are here.
posted by Abiezer at 10:59 AM on October 13, 2007


“The balance of probabilites is that a man seeking the status of pastor to a conservative Christian community would indeed have condemned in his public persona the kind of sexual behaviour that led to his unfortunate death.“

Maybe or probably. But that's the argument that people will make every time they do this. “Well, most leftists support free speech so this guy is a hypocrite if he wanted to censor someone.” Or whatever. I think this is a bad habit and accusations of hypocrisy should be founded upon actual, known hypocrisy and not supposed hypocrisy based upon stereotypes and probability.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:39 AM on October 13, 2007


We have to know that each one of us is totally, utterly depraved, and can only escape that depravity through the power of God working in us.

Just like that dildo which was 'doing its work' in good ol' Rev. Aldridge's butt!
posted by ericb at 11:44 AM on October 13, 2007


The typical fundie church is very big on teaching the flock that gay sex, extramarital sex, and sex for anything but procreation are wrong and sinful.

Really? I've known some fundy Protestants and their churches did not condemn masturbation or non-procreative sex. I thought the old stereotype was that Catholics aren't supposed to have non-procreative sex but do anyway, while Protestants are allowed but have no desire to.

EB has had some wise things to say. I haven't been impressed with the logic of 'hypocrysy' here.
posted by dgaicun at 11:48 AM on October 13, 2007


To rephrase myself, I'm saying I agree with your general point EB, but the bizarre nature of the poor guy's death made it the kind of thing that gets bandied around Internet forums. The original question raised here was of taste. I think it's poor, but no so awful as to merit deletion or whatever. I've cracked a few crude jokes myself.
Then we get on to the question of hypocrisy. I went back to look at the wording of the post, as I didn't recall it containing any mention of that, and now see that's in the tags. Is that the Meta-objection? Otherwise this discussion would surely have sat as well in the main thread on the Blue.
posted by Abiezer at 12:02 PM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


“Well, most leftists support free speech so this guy is a hypocrite if he wanted to censor someone.”

But it's not "most leftists" that would be the analogy here - it's "most leaders of the ACLU".
posted by mdn at 12:11 PM on October 13, 2007


The balance of probabilites is that a man seeking the status of pastor to a conservative Christian community would indeed have condemned in his public persona the kind of sexual behaviour that led to his unfortunate death.

Actually no one here has demonstrated any personal knowledge whatever of the views of masturbation on nonprocreative sex among American Christian and Fundamentalist denominations. My understanding is that it varies widely among these denominations and among individuals within these denominations.

So, no, no one has done anything to demonstrate the "balance of probabilities" go in any particular direction.
posted by dgaicun at 12:14 PM on October 13, 2007


the fact that he lived, worked, and worshipped in the very bosom of anti-gay sentiment, yet died with a facsimile of a rock-hard cock up his ass, pretty soundly establishes that he is a hypocrite of the first magnitude.

Ugh, seriously? Arguing that enjoying things in your butt means you're gay is a truly ignorant and repressive statement. Did you learn that in church?
posted by oneirodynia at 12:17 PM on October 13, 2007


OK dgaicun - you believe that, and I'll continue to believe that if I sought pastoral advice from a similar minister about my desire to engage in the behaviour at question chances are I'd be told it was wrong.
posted by Abiezer at 12:26 PM on October 13, 2007


This particular preacher did not ever, as far as I know, tell his congregation to burn anyone who uses rope and clothespins for sexual gratification. But he was thick with the people who have contempt for us.

When my local BDSM group wanted to acquire a building in which to hold meetings, demonstrations and play parties, (the group in Birmingham had one, so it seemed possible for us, in theory) the biggest argument against it was not any specific law or regulation. In fact, when BDSMers are prosecuted (or denied a permit or whatever), it's almost never under a law that deals specifically with BDSM. You can search the fifty states for a law that says "Anyone found spanking the buttocks of their sexual partner accompanied by audible moaning from either party shall be subjected to a fine of 500 dollars or a jail term of no more than six months," but you probably won't find it. Such laws basically just don't exist. Once in a while, you'll se a sadomasochist get prosecuted for assault. But usually it's something like prostitution (pro dommes get this one regularly), zoning regulations (for clubs and organizations), or obscenity (which might come into play if the perverts in question have dirty pictures or sex toys in their possession). And of course parents can lose custody of children and employees can lose their jobs. This puts us in a rather gray and poorly regulated area. Will we get nailed for this, that or the other? The law just doesn't say. It depends almost entirely on the individuals in the local government. (It's not unlike that whole "community standard" obscenity thing, actually. Is this particular piece of smut illegal? Well... why don't you put it in your store? If we decide later that it's obscene, we'll arrest you for it.)

There was a gay bar on the outskirts of town for a number of years and they had every kind of regulatory hassle known to man. They got harrassed by ABC (Alabama Bevrage Control). There were complaints about water drainage. You name it, it was thrown at em.

Some years back, someone tried to open up a strip club in a small town just outside of Montgomery. The local board or council who issues liquor licenses denied them. The would-be strip club owners asked them why. The politicos admitted they didn't have a reason other than that they just didn't want this place to open.

A local bar tried to bring in male dancers - sort of a low-rent Chippendale's type thing- for ladies night. The city council had a meeting, checked the books, and was surprised to find that the laws might not specifically forbid this sort of thing. (I don't recall the details, but my guess is that when the laws were written, they were directed at female dancers and actual nudity; probably no one wanted to even think about the possibility of housewives shoving dollar bills down mens jock straps). So the council quickly made a new law that did specifically forbid such things.

In 1979, when he first became mayor, Emory Folmar set out to ban the sale of adult books and magazines. But see, he wasn't able to make them illegal. Not immediately, anyway. So he hatched a plan. The main distributor of adult materials was a small store/newsstand type operation downtown. They had a "back room" into which only adults were admitted. Folmar set up a video camera at the post office across the street. Soon, on the evening news, you could see video of people going in and out of the place while the newscaster went on about the lurid materials available for purchase there. Never mind that some of the people were just going in there to buy Newsweek or Boy's Life or a fucking local paper. Their business threatened, the store capitulated. It wasn't too long after that that Folmar got his local ordinances banning smut.

Folmar remained mayor for the next couple of decades and, as recently as 1998, it was still illegal to sell or rent for profit anything harder than Cinemax-type softcore porn. The local non-profit theater did exhibit Showgirls, but that was about as brazen as the resistance got. At the video store where I worked, customers often asked about adult movies and I always had to tell 'em... drive to Dothan or Birmingham or Columbus.

Things improved a bit when Bobby Bright got elected in the late nineties. We even got a couple of adult stores around that time. But there were still legal battles over what kind of porn they could carry. The police raided the places pretty regularly.

I'm not sure what the current status of the dildo laws are. I keep hearing about them, but a friend of mine and I shopped for sex toys just a few months back here in town; they had damn near everything you could think of. The impression I've gotten is that there's an uneasy truce; the DAs and attorney general recognize that these things aren't going away, but they have to keep up the legal harrassment to keep their political supporters happy.

Given all this history, the prevailing feeling in my BDSM group was that if we tried to get a building (even a rental), they'd find some obscure law to use against us, enforce zoning regulations in some creative manner, or just write a new law. At the very least, we'd have to worry about our names ending up in the paper.

That's the situation where I live. The laws aren't actually our problem. Nor are the majority of the people; most of them have a live-and-let-live attitude about it. It's, to quote Trainspotting, "a few assholes" who are the problem. And Aldridge was firmly alligned with those assholes.
posted by Clay201 at 12:40 PM on October 13, 2007 [5 favorites]


[pineapple responding to EB]: This is totally true, and I was very clear upthread in saying "let's assume that Aldridge adhered to and preached these things," because of his association with such vocally strict groups. I could be totally wrong.

This is very funny, because just the other day Ethereal Bligh was telling us all how very carefully he picks his words, especially his use of qualifiers, and how dumb fucks should learn to read his messages better.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:44 PM on October 13, 2007


I'm all for giving a few benefits of the doubt to a dead, dildo-up-the-pooper type of guy like this. That said, if you don't know what Liberty University is and is about, you really should take the time to educate yourself. Are we really supposed to bend over (LOL. I mean, not LOL'ing.) backwards and assume that this dude might have been the one bible-thumping Liberty U. higher-up who actually wasn't (in his public life) anti-gay, and therefore someone who fomented anti-gay bigotry, among other sorts?

Ethereal Bligh protesth too much, as usual, at his typical mefi strawmen -- the atheist/librul member of this community who's somehow so far mired in anti-Christian ideology as to lack the true perspective (and unwarranted verbosity) of the one, the only EB himself. Which is fine -- egos are tied into this place more than most people would care to admit, but honestly, I'm really tired of the lecture.

Shorter me: Maybe many of us will go to hell for condeming and/or laughing at the one Liberty U. guy who really wasn't that bad, who was genuine in his convictions for peace and understanding among all people (vanilla, kinky, and otherwise). But ya know, that burden of proof ain't on me any longer. As long as prominent conservative/Christian/Republican figures continue to have "wide stances," IM boys for a fuck, snorth meth with male prostitutes, or die with things lodged up their butt, I will continue to be curious and even a bit uncouth in wanting to know the gory details and in joining in on the LOL HYPOCRITEZ train.
posted by bardic at 1:03 PM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


assume that this dude might have been the one bible-thumping Liberty U. higher-up who actually wasn't (in his public life) anti-gay

He didn't do anything homosexual.
posted by dgaicun at 1:17 PM on October 13, 2007


He didn't do anything homosexual.

That's not why he's a hypocrite, but it's been explained why too many times by now.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:22 PM on October 13, 2007


This whole thing really just broke my heart.  I had mixed feelings when I read about it on the blue but I'm going to throw my hat in with the others above who have pointed out (in different words) that if there is to be a healing of the divisive rift in our culture in the U.S., the Christian Right must, must, must be called to account for the harm they are causing.  And I say this because Rev. Aldridge was not simply a proponent of the principles of fundamentalism, but rather was himself a disseminater of this vile, loathsome stuff.
Metafilter has done a commendable job of calling the right to account for their hypocrisy, something that Jesus himself had very strong opinions about.

I am an associate pastor at a church in the Midwest and whenever I see this kind of stuff my heart instantly tightens up because I imagine what it must be like for the rest of the staff.  I followed the link posted above to Rev. Aldridge's church's website.  There was really no mention of it - only a few brief notes at the end of their weekly newsletter.  Each staff member offered a quote but it seems like perhaps it either hasn't sunk in or they're going to try to push through the whole thing.

It must be miserable for people who are "locked in" to a particular, rigid interpretation of scripture.  Recently my brother, who is Jewish, was trying to work through the hurt he felt at finding out that a couple of his long-time friends had converted to a particularly rabid form of fundamentalism - they now feel that Jews (including their Jewish friends and the children of their Jewish friends) are going to go to hell when they die.  I tried to explain to him that religion means something different for us, and that trying to compare our "questioning" faith with his friend's litigious faith was a mistake.  Theirs a very small, frightening world.  Perhaps our world is no less frightening, but it is vast and mysterious.

I don't know what God wanted of Rev. Aldridge, perhaps nothing, but either way I'm afraid for his congregation.  It was his responsibility, above everything else, to tell the truth.  And I can't get over the feeling that he is a liar and a false prophet and if we are going to do the right thing we must call them out.  We have been doves entertaining vipers for too long, and any little bit of light that can be shed upon the poison that fundamentalism spreads amongst otherwise good folk must be increased incrementally until it sanitizes the whole crooked mess.

From their newsletter:
"Charlie Swain—Student Minister
As I searched to find solace from the questions of this week I found the following quote from Blaise
Pascal, a seventeenth-century French philosopher and theologian:  “There once was in man a true
happiness of which now remain to him only the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill
from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain in things pre-
sent.  But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and im-
mutable object, that is to say, only by God Himself.”  As you seek to find answers to unspeakable
questions, find your joy in the giver of all good things, God Almighty.  
Judy Wilbanks—Outreach Director  
I was reading a devotional today and thought I would share it with you. “Because it is short, life is packed with chal-
lenging possibilities.  Because it is uncertain, it’s filled with challenging adjustments. I’m convinced that’s much of
what Jesus meant when he promised us an abundant life.  With each new dawn, life delivers a package to your front
door, rings your doorbell and runs.  Each package reads: “Watch out. Better worry about this!” Another: “Danger.
This will bring fear!” Another: “Impossible. You’ll never handle this one!”  When you hear that ring tomorrow morn-
ing, try something new.  Have Jesus Christ answer the door for you.” The verse is “I have come that they may have
life and that they may have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10  (Charles Swindoll, from the “Finishing Touch”)
Chris Palmer—Interim Minister of Music  
Everyone knows the story of Jesus calming the storm. To me, the most interesting part of that story is
that, in the midst of this terrible storm, Jesus was sound asleep. Some of the disciples were fishermen,
so it must have been a bad storm to make them afraid. Yet even though they feared for their lives,
Jesus was asleep. I think that is the point of the whole story. No matter how awful the storms in our
life are, no matter how terrifying circumstances might be, if we trust in the Lord then we will have
peace and rest. The peace and comfort of Christ is so great, we can actually fall asleep in the middle of
the storm. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the  
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. Norm Westervelt—Interim Minister to Children  
The Fall Festival is here! I did a call for workers several weeks ago and you have responded! I  
appreciate everyone’s help. Again, I have done very little but have watched as Samantha Kelly,
Wendy Mobley and Robin Powell have stepped up and made this happen. I thank you three ladies
especially for your great work and labor for the Lord. Join me now as we pray for a great time
glorifying our God in this. "

posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:42 PM on October 13, 2007 [5 favorites]


Yeah, and those explanations lack logic. Going by your comments, He "might have" quoted some bible verse that has nothing to do with dildos. He was a graduate and a dean of fundamentalist college, that no one has bothered to show had rules against private use of bondage or ass play. "Many Christians" view masturbation as a sin, even though no one has demonstrated these Christians had any rules against it, much less that this particular individual ever condemned it.

Am I missing something?
posted by dgaicun at 1:45 PM on October 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


Sorry, in response to "That's not why he's a hypocrite, but it's been explained why too many times by now." by Blazecock Pileon.
posted by dgaicun at 1:47 PM on October 13, 2007


That's reasonable, I guess. A fundamentalist, Baptist organization like Liberty University is totally down with masturbation, rubber, ropes and ass play until proven otherwise.

Am I missing something?

Common sense? No offense, but I'm not really throwing around wild accusations about their stance on sex outside procreation, here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:57 PM on October 13, 2007




...if you don't know what Liberty University is and is about, you really should take the time to educate yourself.

After all, Aldridge was a friend of and worked for Jerry Falwell. Enough said.
posted by ericb at 2:10 PM on October 13, 2007


And if you keep reading, konolia rings in:

James Dobson says it isn't, but many evangelical churches put it under the category of lust.

By following evangelical edicts, I presume you could include Liberty University in that scope.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:12 PM on October 13, 2007


I really didn't enjoy hearing about the sex life of my Assemblies of God-member boss, but I heard enough to know that her and her husband enjoyed their God-sanctioned boning to the max. (She knew her sons masturbated, too, and didn't beat them or lock them in a closet! The hypocrite!) A lot of you guys have cartoon images of these people that leads me to think you've never spent any time with them.

There's a big difference between marital "boning to the max" and masturbation by parishioners... and rubber bondage play with anal toys by a preacher. In execution, in conservative religious interpretation, and in the eyes of society as a whole.

Like BP just pointed out, the "well, since Liberty U. and the Southern Baptists haven't specifically damned kink in writing, including but not limited to wetsuits, gimp masks, dildos, anal use of same, and autoerotic asphyxiation, therefore we can clearly presume that they are for it" argument is really silly.

These are people who prohibited any student from engaging in any personal contact beyond hand-holding, in case you missed the school's code of conduct I linked above.

It's intellectually dishonest to claim that, because we haven't seen a black-and-white prohibition of Aldridge's particular kinks, we should assume he supported it for himself and his followers (despite all evidence to the contrary).
posted by pineapple at 2:12 PM on October 13, 2007


He was a graduate and a dean of fundamentalist college, that no one has bothered to show had rules against private use of bondage or ass play.

From the "Liberty Way" PDF, 'Reprimands and Consequences' section...

18 Reprimands + $250 Fine + 18 Hours Disciplinary Community Service:

- Obscene, profane or abusive language or behavior.
- Possession and/or viewing of sexually-explicit material or movies (“X” or NC-17”).
- Sexual misconduct and/or any state of undress.

30 Reprimands + $500.00 Fine + 30 Hours Disciplinary Community Service + Possible Administrative
Withdrawal:

- Immorality.


Which of those do you think the possession and use of a dildo or bondage equipment might fall under?
posted by CKmtl at 2:13 PM on October 13, 2007


"Here’s just one of the many rousing discussions sponsored by the late Gary Aldridge’s Thorington Road Baptist Church. They also have another so-called men’s retreat entitled, 'Called Out.'

We're just saying."*
"Men's Bible Study. Hazards of Being a Man. Overcoming 12 Challenges All Men Face"
Check out the poster for the event -- it's the back of a leatherman's jacket.
posted by ericb at 2:15 PM on October 13, 2007


Which of those do you think the possession and use of a dildo or bondage equipment might fall under?

It's not undress if they don't catch you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:16 PM on October 13, 2007


As long as prominent conservative/Christian/Republican figures continue to have "wide stances," IM boys for a fuck, snorth meth with male prostitutes, or die with things lodged up their butt, I will continue to be curious and even a bit uncouth in wanting to know the gory details and in joining in on the LOL HYPOCRITEZ train.

To repeat DreamerFi's post from the original MeFi FPP here:
"The recent run of outed Republican Sexual Hypocrites reminds me of the moment — and I remember this quite clearly — at which the phrase 'going postal' entered the lexicon. You read about one postal worker going on a gun rampage, and then another, and then yet another — and then suddenly it seemed to click for everyone, that there was a distinct pattern emerging, that these weren’t simply troubling isolated incidents but rather a symptom of some larger problem (i.e. the soulless monotony of the job).

We’re clearly at that pattern recognition moment now, the moment at which it becomes obvious to everyone that there’s more going on here, that some not insignificant percentage of sanctimonious moralizers are in fact leading personal lives significantly at odds with their public pronouncements. To put it politely.

I’m just not sure what the phrase should be in this instance. 'Going Republican?'"*
posted by ericb at 2:20 PM on October 13, 2007


By following evangelical edicts, I presume you could include Liberty University in that scope.

Wait, so I lack "common sense" and yet my comment was 100% correct, there is no clear consensus even among fundamentalist protestants on whether masturbation is a sin. James Dobson, one of the biggest fundy leaders in America says it isn't.

Therefore there is no a priori reason to believe this minister in particular preached against masturbation.

So the ball is now in your court to demonstrate hypocrisy.
posted by dgaicun at 2:24 PM on October 13, 2007


So the ball is now in your court to demonstrate hypocrisy.

No, it really isn't.

The silence of his congregation and his peers — even in support of the recently deceased — speaks louder and more damningly than any argument I could possibly make.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:31 PM on October 13, 2007


You quoted my comment in your response that you link to, dgaicun. I'd said "the kind of sexual behaviour" the late pastor engaged in. And that was more than plain old manual masturbation.
Your link to the AskMe doesn't help your case; most there say the question centres on the danger of surrendering to lust. Are you claiming that rather than merely seeking sexual relief from a swift one at the wrist,instead engaging in elaborate sexual play with props would not be seen as indulging lust?
posted by Abiezer at 2:35 PM on October 13, 2007


The silence of his congregation and his peers — even in support of the recently deceased — speaks louder and more damningly than any argument I could possibly make.

Hypocrisy has a specific meaning. It does not mean doing something despite there being a taboo against it in your particular community. If Bill Clinton died tomorrow with 10 dildos in his ass sucking a dead horse cock, I'm pretty sure Democrats would be pretty silent. That doesn't mean Clinton is a hypocrite! Or anybody, it would just be awkward, shocking, embarrassing, etc, esp. for the people that feel represented by or affiliated with this individual. Human nature and all that. Insert any leader in that scenario you wish. (except perhaps the leader of some Xtreme sex group)

Are you claiming that rather than merely seeking sexual relief from a swift one at the wrist,instead engaging in elaborate sexual play with props would not be seen as indulging lust?

Seen by who? We come back to this guy must be a hypocrite because you have a stereotype in your mind on how people 'like him' would approach this issue. (without much evidence you know what people 'like him' believe anyway)

But that is exactly what you 'OMG Hippocrassy!1' folks need to demonstrate, not me. What did this man preach, or condemn in public, that he indulged in in private?
posted by dgaicun at 3:02 PM on October 13, 2007


Aldridge was a dean at Liberty University. Let's see what the University has to say regarding sexual behavior.

Liberty University -- Sex Education (Special Teacher: God) | Discipleship for Champions
“We live in a society that is ‘preoccupied with sex.’

…While it has not become obvious to the majority yet, the sexual revolution that started in the sixties and continues today is slowly destroying us.

But it does not have to destroy us. The Creator of sex has given us a manual with clear guidelines and instructions on how to use this wonderful gift called sex. If we will learn and apply the principles from God's Word concerning sex, we can be morally excellent. Instead of having Dr. Ruth talk to us about sex, let’s get our sex education from God.

…There are many Scriptures in which God teaches and instructs us about when not to practice sex as well as who not to have sex with.

…What is taught in verse 3 concerning immorality [‘For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality’]? We are to abstain - not allow it to be apart of our lives.

What is the reason for abstaining from immorality? Will of God.

… ‘Therefore put to DEATH your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.’

…Scripture clearly teaches moral purity. But how do we obtain it? In order to stay morally pure we are going to have to learn how to control our MINDS and our BODIES….we are to present our bodies as instruments for righteousness.

…REMEMBER what God has to say about sex and trust Him that He is not keeping it from you; He is keeping it for you.

…State your own RESOLUTIONS to stay morally pure. Write out your own personal statement of moral purity.

…establish your convictions about your purity. I HAVE WRITTEN OUT 16 STEPS THAT KEEP ME PURE! Temptation must be met with Convictions.

…Girls, some guys have wrong motives in dating you. They look at you as a trophy not as treasure - trophies are gained for winning something – Bring temporary excitement. Placed in a place of prominence to show off, gets dusty, gets scared, gets tarnished, gets broken, gets discarded.

…Concerning what you do a date: here are some very helpful things NOT TO DO; Do not LIE DOWN TOGETHER; do not PULL DOWN; do not PULL UP; do not UNBUTTON; do not UNZIP; do not UNTIE; do not UNBUCKLE; do not UNSNAP; do not UNTUCK; AND DO NOT LET SOMEONE DO THIS TO YOU.

And keep your Tongue in your OWN mouth.

Remember that until you are married, the person you are dating is to be treated like your BROTHER or your SISTER.

…REFUSE to feed your mind and RESIST wrong thoughts. Replace wrong thoughts by renewing your mind with the Word of God.

… RESTRAIN your flesh in every area. You cannot indulge your flesh in any area and expect to control it. Maintain discipline…learn to say ‘no’ to your body.

…SEX IS LIKE WATER – WATER IS LIFE GIVING. GREAT. BUT MISUSE WATER AND IT WILL KILL YOU. (question – are you sexually healthy? - not just are you a virgin – are you sexually healthy)

…Are you having a daily quiet time? Is your thought life pure? Have you watched anything in the last week that would place impure thoughts in your mind?

Above all, choose a life of purity!”
Call me a cynic, but I suspect that kinky BDSM, autoerotic masturbation, etc. is not proscribed for faculty, staff and students of Liberty U.

CHOOSE A LIFE OF PURITY!
posted by ericb at 3:03 PM on October 13, 2007


RESTRAIN your flesh in every area.

So that's where he got the idea.
posted by CKmtl at 3:11 PM on October 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


morally excellent.

I want that on a t-shirt.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:12 PM on October 13, 2007


If Bill Clinton died tomorrow with 10 dildos in his ass sucking a dead horse cock, I'm pretty sure Democrats would be pretty silent.

Bill Clinton isn't a fundamentalist Baptist minister who rails against that behavior, last time I checked.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:13 PM on October 13, 2007


Seen by who?
Apparently by the vast majority of Christian theologians who pronounced on the subject to the commenters in the AskMe thread you linked to.
posted by Abiezer at 3:16 PM on October 13, 2007


Or anybody, it would just be awkward, shocking, embarrassing, etc, esp. for the people that feel represented by or affiliated with this individual. Human nature and all that.

I would believe that if only the members of his congregation and those in the Liberty University administration would not deny any and all knowledge of his existence.

Sorry, but he's a hypocrite until proven otherwise.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:26 PM on October 13, 2007


dgaicun, I simply can not understand one iota how you can figure this guy's elaborate, kinky fetish is in any way compatible with the values Liberty U and the descendent himself profess.

Also, you doth protest way the hell too much. What's really riding on this for you?
posted by five fresh fish at 3:34 PM on October 13, 2007


Would you be mocking this fellow as roundly if he'd been found dead with a glass of beer beside him? The Liberty University types certainly do not countenance drinking alcohol.

My personal thought is most all of you think that s&m is pretty kinky and naughty and not correct behavior (granted, for a few of you that is an attractant) and it delights you that a preacher was literally caught dead in his gear.

Yes, it's a shame and a disgrace for him (and what hell it must be for his family) but it is no less a shame and disgrace for anyone to be caught in their sin, period.

Even the snickering in this thread proves that deep down, we all know it.
posted by konolia at 3:35 PM on October 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


Call me a cynic, but I suspect that kinky BDSM, autoerotic masturbation, etc. is not proscribed for faculty, staff and students of Liberty U.

ericb, do you mean it's not prescribed (recommended, ordered)? Because that text makes pretty clear that it is proscribed (forbidden, outlawed).
posted by nicwolff at 3:36 PM on October 13, 2007


BP is right, right, right. It amazes me that people are so eager to give this... is "jerkoff" the mot juste?... the benefit of the doubt. We're not talking about Gunter Grass being conscripted here; this guy chose assholedom and rode it all the way (just like his rubber-coated dildo). If you can't laugh at sanctimonious bigots, who can you laugh at?
posted by languagehat at 3:38 PM on October 13, 2007


Would you be mocking this fellow as roundly if he'd been found dead with a glass of beer beside him? The Liberty University types certainly do not countenance drinking alcohol.

Baptists don't seem to constantly bully the country into passing state laws and Constitutional amendments against alcohol and those who partake, so while it would be hypocritical for a Baptist minister to die of alcohol poisoning, it wouldn't be as important for the rest of us to note and discuss.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:45 PM on October 13, 2007


The man's death is fair game for commentary and derision because it is Christian fundamentalists who have made private sexual behavior a public and political issue---railing against sexual liberty is a central element of their opposition to contemporary culture.

Aldridge's death is exactly as newsworthy as this (imaginary) headline:

Top PETA Official Dies Choking on Pork Ribs at All-You-Care-To-Eat-Barbecue Restaurant.

While we made fun of the PETA official, Ethereal Bligh would certainly pop up in that thread, and warn us not to jump to any conclusions about the man's dietary preferences just because he worked for PETA.

But such hypocrisy is eminently worthy of discussion. Anytime someone who is a warrior for a cause, dies in a way that shows they really did not really adhere to the ideals to which they professed fanatical devotion, it is newsworthy because, in our evaluation of various modes of life, the fact that a major proponent of a belief system didn't really adhere to it is an important data point.

I've noticed a tendency, in the threads on Aldridge, for people who are pro-sexual-liberty to take offense at all the derision, as if by making fun of Aldridge, we are undermining cause of sexual liberty. But that would be like a barbecue fanatic trying to discourage laughter at the PETA official's death, on the grounds that nobody eating barbecue should be subjected to ridicule for it, because barbecue tastes so damned good.
posted by jayder at 3:51 PM on October 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


morally excellent. I want that on a t-shirt.

CHOOSE LIFE -- George Michael had that t-shirt.

CHOOSE A LIFE OF PURITY! -- George Michael thought about that t-shirt, but took a pass on it.
posted by ericb at 4:04 PM on October 13, 2007


Call me a cynic, but I suspect that kinky BDSM, autoerotic masturbation, etc. is not proscribed for faculty, staff and students of Liberty U.

That is not demonstrated by your quote.

Bill Clinton isn't a fundamentalist Baptist minister who rails against that behavior, last time I checked.

Did this guy rail against that behavior?

Apparently by the vast majority of Christian theologians who pronounced on the subject to the commenters in the AskMe thread you linked to.

I don't recall any bondage discussion in that thread.

Also, you doth protest way the hell too much. What's really riding on this for you?

Why not just make something up and run with it. All the cool kids are doing it.

If you can't laugh at sanctimonious bigots, who can you laugh at?

Hold up now, this shit is funny as fuck, I certainly don't deny that. (I'm sick, I tells ya. Sick.)

What it comes down to is the persistent bastardization of the word 'hypocrite' to mean 'person I don't like'. It's irritating, and reveals a partisan, sloppy manner of groupthink.

So by all means, let's all laff at the dead wingnut, but the idea that he died doing something he himself worked to outlaw and stigmatize has yet to be demonstrated.
posted by dgaicun at 4:06 PM on October 13, 2007


The man's death is fair game for commentary and derision because it is Christian fundamentalists who have made private sexual behavior a public and political issue

Fine, but how does that make him a 'hypocrite'? If he died of a heart attack having sex with his wife would he somehow be a 'hypocrite'? What if they were doing it doggy style at the time? Anal? Pissing?

What's the logic?
posted by dgaicun at 4:12 PM on October 13, 2007


ericb, do you mean it's not prescribed (recommended, ordered)? Because that text makes pretty clear that it is proscribed (forbidden, outlawed).

You are absolutely right.

My statement should indeed read: "Call me a cynic, but I suspect that kinky BDSM, autoerotic masturbation, etc. is not proscribed for faculty, staff and students of Liberty U."
posted by ericb at 4:16 PM on October 13, 2007


Would you be mocking this fellow as roundly if he'd been found dead with a glass of beer beside him?

Yes, because that would mean he wasted beer.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:22 PM on October 13, 2007


That is not demonstrated by your quote.

I would disagree. Their rules clearly disallow sexual behavior of any stripe.

Honestly: Do you personally think you could live, work or study at Liberty University if you practice what they do consider aberrant sexual behavior?

Did this guy rail against that behavior?

Did he not? Most reasonable people would agree that if you are a fundamentalist Baptist preacher, you will deliver Baptist sermons and rail against non-Baptist behavior. There's no evidence to the contrary in this case.

I think establishing reasonable doubt is your responsibility, not anyone else's.

Why not just make something up and run with it.

You're manufacturing the benefit of the doubt out of whole cloth, and you need to justify it.

What it comes down to is the persistent bastardization of the word 'hypocrite' to mean 'person I don't like'.

I don't choose to like or dislike people on the basis of their sexual behavior. I do choose to dislike people who exhibit behavior inconsistent with the behavior they would wish to legally enforce upon others.

It's irritating, and reveals a partisan, sloppy manner of groupthink.

It's on you to demonstrate that he was a renegade Baptist, sticking it to the man through vocal opposition to Church gospel. There's no indication of that anywhere I can see, yet you insist otherwise.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:28 PM on October 13, 2007


So by all means, let's all laff at the dead wingnut, but the idea that he died doing something he himself worked to outlaw and stigmatize has yet to be demonstrated.

So the only thing that would satisfy you would be a direct, blatantly unedited audio recording of this guy saying, specifically, that obtaining sexual pleasure from a dildo while wearing two wetsuits, a scuba mask, diving gloves, rubber underwear, slippers, two ties, five belts, and eleven straps is morally wrong and should be outlawed?

The guy graduated from and worked at Liberty University. The guy was a friend of Jerry Falwell. The guy was a passive, if not active, force behind the kind of stuff Clay201 describes in his comments about the anti-kink, anti-sex atmosphere of the town in which he was a preacher. Yes, it's a deductive leap to say that he was against kink and bondage and assplay, but it's not the Grand Canyon. It's barely even skipping over a wider-than-average puddle.

How much involvement with the KKK and David Duke* should be forgiven before one can say "Y'know, that guy's probably a racist"?

*Or whoever's the Chief Racist now.
posted by CKmtl at 4:41 PM on October 13, 2007


I would disagree. Their rules clearly disallow sexual behavior of any stripe.

The quoted passage quite clearly deals with premarital sexual behavior. Your inability to be objective is quite telling.


Most reasonable people would agree that if you are a fundamentalist Baptist preacher, you will deliver Baptist sermons and rail against non-Baptist behavior. There's no evidence to the contrary in this case.


You haven't demonstrated that it is "non-Baptist behavior". In fact you were the know-nothing preaching that "Christians" think masturbation is wrong. Something the Askme thread demonstrated was wrong (e.g. Dobson). There clearly is no monolithic Christian or even fundy rule on masturbation, so any assertions that this guy condemned masturbation aren't even safe from a stereotyped suspicion standpoint.
posted by dgaicun at 4:44 PM on October 13, 2007


... nobody eating barbecue should be subjected to ridicule for it, because barbecue tastes so damned good.

This, at least, is true.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 4:46 PM on October 13, 2007


dgaicun - now you're either shifting the goalposts or getting lost rebutting too much at one go. I'd said that the theologians there condemned indulgence in lust, and had contended that engaging in such elaborate sexual practices constituted such.
posted by Abiezer at 4:47 PM on October 13, 2007


That thread is useless without Pastabagel.
posted by baphomet at 4:49 PM on October 13, 2007


You haven't demonstrated that it is "non-Baptist behavior".

You're absolutely right. When Baptists aren't walking the Folsom Street parades on leashes, they are out there, advocating sexual liberation and keeping God out of our bedrooms. They even hand out condoms to college freshmen, Jesus be praised! Jerry Falwell and his flock are just victims of a huge misinformation campaign.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:55 PM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


My personal thought is most all of you think that s&m is pretty kinky and naughty and not correct behavior (granted, for a few of you that is an attractant) and it delights you that a preacher was literally caught dead in his gear.

I'm nor particularly kinky by most standards, and I don't really have any problem with consenting adults doing S&M. It's really none of my business. And I honestly don't 'delight' in anybody's death or their family's humliation.

Butthe fact remains that this man was affiliated with an institution that endorses some pretty extreme standards of secual behavior, which is their business, too, exceptthat they wouldwant to push those standards on everybody. So, that does kind of make the man a hypocrite. And his hypocrisy was exposed. Sadly, in a tragic manner. But a point was made.
posted by jonmc at 4:55 PM on October 13, 2007


... condemned indulgence in lust, and had contended that engaging in such elaborate sexual practices constituted such.

Dude, that is NOT what the thread said. It didn't say "elaborate" masturbation was wrong, it said adulterous thoughts were wrong:

"In any case, what most fundie pastors will tell you is that the question isn't whether or not you masturbate - the question is whether you entertain lustful thoughts about a particular person in your heart while doing so"

"Yup, exactly."
posted by dgaicun at 4:59 PM on October 13, 2007


Do you personally think you could live, work or study at Liberty University if you practice what they do consider aberrant sexual behavior?

I think that what this 'incident' shows is that the answer is YES! And that is what makes this story a lot more than your average "Darwin Award Winner" or an LOLHYPOCRITE and therefore extremely newsworthy indeed. It is very unlikely that this was his 'first' adventure into kinkdom or that he truly acted alone with no assistance or accomplices. He may indeed be the first solid evidence of something I had long suspected of establishments like Liberty University: a secret culture that uses 'Christian Piety' as a cover and 'Sexual Kink' as a means of mutual blackmail. But I hold out little hope of any real investigation along those lines.
posted by wendell at 5:02 PM on October 13, 2007


Baptists [are]... advocating sexual liberation and keeping God out of our bedrooms.

Again, 'What's the logic?'

By your meaninglessly broad usage of 'hypocrisy', any Baptist minister who isn't a virgin is a hypocrite.

He died doing something elaborately sexual, that doesn't mean "he died doing something he himself worked to outlaw and stigmatize".
posted by dgaicun at 5:05 PM on October 13, 2007


Wait, so if the good minister put a dildo up his ass, but was thinking about, say, doing the laundry or what to get at the grocery store, it's not lust? I just want to keep track, here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:06 PM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hold up now, this shit is funny as fuck, I certainly don't deny that.

Well all right then, you had me worried there. So I guess it's just EB who wants us to look sober and meditate on the tragedy of this wingnut's rubberized demise.
posted by languagehat at 5:08 PM on October 13, 2007


Wait, so if the good minister put a dildo up his ass, but was thinking about, say, doing the laundry

Dont you think Im so sexy Im dressed so fresh so clean
(so fresh and so clean clean)
Aint nobody dope as me Im dressed so fresh so clean...

sorry
posted by jonmc at 5:08 PM on October 13, 2007


And "working to outlaw and stigmatize" itself doesn't mean something stupidly broad like voting Republican which incidentally results in some anti-bondage legislation.

Parties are big tent and a lot of loathsome shit results no matter who people vote for (e.g. Al Gore's anti-homosexual marriage comments in 2000).
posted by dgaicun at 5:09 PM on October 13, 2007


Also, 'Rubberized Demise' would be agreat band name. I'm just saying.
posted by jonmc at 5:09 PM on October 13, 2007


Wait, so if the good minister put a dildo up his ass, but was thinking about, say, doing the laundry or what to get at the grocery store, it's not lust?

Read the Askme thread. It's talking about adultery not horniness. Nowhere is it said that it's wrong to have a libido - that's strictly your nonsense.
posted by dgaicun at 5:13 PM on October 13, 2007


And "working to outlaw and stigmatize" itself doesn't mean something stupidly broad like voting Republican which incidentally results in some anti-bondage legislation.

In states like Texas and Alabama, the purchase of sex toys (such as dildos) is illegal because people vote Republican. You bet your ass that this is related to fundamentalists gaming the system in those states.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:14 PM on October 13, 2007


Also, 'Rubberized Demise' would be agreat band name. I'm just saying.

A great band name but probably a shitty band. Lots of guttural barking and kick drums.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:14 PM on October 13, 2007


You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by jonmc at 5:15 PM on October 13, 2007


Nowhere is it said that it's wrong to have a libido

8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.

9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.

10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.


Deriving sexual pleasure for any purpose but procreation is sinful, in their minds.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:21 PM on October 13, 2007


Blazecock Pileon: I could be wrong, but I think that what many people are driving at is that there are many people who consider themselves 'Baptists' yet who differ broadly with the church's teachings. Question of degree.

I don't know whether that has any bearing on this particular incident, just venturing the theory that there's grey areas between fundamentalism and athiesm when it comes to religion.
posted by jonmc at 5:23 PM on October 13, 2007


Hmm, I was counting up the others like konolia there who put it under the "category of lust." Perhaps I have misunderstood this.
I'm still happy with my "balance of probabilities" statement way up above that kicked this exchange off though. The reason I repeat "elaborate" isn't because I give a toss (arf) about the particular lengths he went to, but that by going to those lengths he's clearly not doing a very good job of maintaining purity. It's not a question of masturbation, it's devoting the amount of energy he did to sexual indulgence.
It must be fun being a real theologian debating this sort of stuff.
posted by Abiezer at 5:27 PM on October 13, 2007


Deriving sexual pleasure for any purpose but procreation is sinful, in their minds.

Fucking A, man. The Askme thread directly contradicts this assertion. Most Protestants do NOT believe this.

I have known a number of fundamentalists, all of them were married and talked about how recreational sex with their wives was a gift from God, etc. They were getting this shit from their church.

Bible verses, and your interpretations of them show us nothing. That's not how religion works.
posted by dgaicun at 5:39 PM on October 13, 2007


“It's intellectually dishonest to claim that, because we haven't seen a black-and-white prohibition of Aldridge's particular kinks, we should assume he supported it for himself and his followers (despite all evidence to the contrary).”

That's crazy! Look, to be hypocritical, you have to say one thing and do another. NO ONE HAS PROVEN THAT THIS MAN SAID SOMETHING OTHER THAN HE HAS DONE. It's all guilt by association.

Sure, you can say that he's probably a hypocrite. You can urge people to find evidence so that you can then ridicule him for it. But until you do, you can't honestly claim he's a hypocrite.

The reasoning here which is asserting that he must have been against what he was doing because, somehow, it's either, um, gay (which is ignorant, frankly), or masturbation (Christian views on masturbation are complicated and vary widely, even among conservatives), non-procreative sex (for the most part, protestants—which includes evangelicals—accept recreational sex within marriage). What's left is that it must be “bad” by conservative Christian terms because it's some kind of kinky behavior. That's pretty tenuous.

“Top PETA Official Dies Choking on Pork Ribs at All-You-Care-To-Eat-Barbecue Restaurant.”

No, this is not comparable because PETA quite specifically is vegetarian—and animals rights is the whole damn point of it. First, we have no proof that any of the organizations this guy belongs to is specifically against kinky masturbation with dildos. Second, even if we did, being a conservative Christian and even being a Dean at Liberty University is something people do for a whole host of things they believe in, not just one particular thing.

For all I know, this guy was rabid about anything that deviates from heterosexual missionary intercourse. But also for all I know, he was very liberal about kinky masturbation.

Again, we can guess that the former is more likely, but guessing someone's beliefs and statements and then accusing them of hypocrisy because their behavior doesn't conform to what we've guessed they believe and have said...can't you folks see that's completely intellectual dishonest? Would you say this is acceptable when it's done against you, or done against members of a group you're affiliated with?

People are asking why do I care in this (supposedly) marginal case? Hell, people are darkly asking dgaicun what his vested interest is in this. I fucking hate that—maybe his vested interested is in fairness and intellectual honesty. Well, that's my interest: intellectual fairness and honesty. And not being a hypocrite when I complain about how various pundits on the right do this exact same thing to the left.

Hasn't anyone every taught you folks that it's when doing the right thing is hard that's it most important? It's easy being fair and intellectually honest when you aren't heavily biased against someone and when there's huge and obvious doubt around the judgments you're making. When it's hard is when you have a lot emotionally at stake and when it's easy to fudge on the reasoning to get the outcome you desire.

And I've explained practically why this matters. These claims of hypocrisy which are made without any actual evidence against an individual except that he is part of a certain group are really perniciously destructive in contemporary discourse. Charges of hypocrisy are a very popular catch-all for condemning one's opponents. Ironically, people here in MetaTalk have before argued against the importance of charges of hypocrisy. I've argued that it is important and does something important. But, to me, for that reason, it's all the more important to be careful about when I make that accusation.

It's so easy to do this, and I still do it, and struggle not to do it here. All the time I find some group of mefites saying one thing in a thread and I'll think to myself that they are being hypocrites because they are contradicting what I think of as being what mefites say in general. And I want to make an accusation of hypocrisy. And I probably still sometimes do. But I'm trying to train myself to only make such an accusation when I know that a specific individual is being hypocritical with regard to things he's said in the past, not what I imagine he's said in the past because he's a member of some generic group I have stereotyped in my head.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:49 PM on October 13, 2007


EB: not to join the dogpile, but:

1) this was not Rev. Joe Blow of the First Baptist Congregation Of Interminable Ordinariness. If he was, it would a) not have been in the news, and maybe more of us would be inclined to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. The guy was a prominent member of Liberty University which is at the forefront of railing against any sexual activity beyond marital intercourse for procreation.

2) The guy had a dildo in his ass. It's not that much of a leap to figure that he was fantasizing about being fucked by either a man or a woman with a strap-on (not that there's anything wrong with that), which I'm pretty sure is on Liberty's no-no list.

This is me, dude. I don't have as much of an axe to grind against religion as some people here, I actually deeply admire sincere, honest, humble faith and as I said before I feel kind of bad for someone dying in a humiliating fashion and for the embarassment it will cause his family. But I have to say, that I agree with the assertions that the guy was a hypocrite or at the very least doing some elaborate mental gymnastics to justify himself to himself.
posted by jonmc at 5:58 PM on October 13, 2007


I'd also like to remind people that dissent is not uncommon. My great-grandmother belonged to the Church of Christ, a pretty conservative denomination and about as conservative as Southern Baptists, and I remember being actually shocked one day as a teenager when we talked about her church and beliefs and she matter-of-factly told me that there were a bunch of things she completely disagreed with her church about.

My sister, I think, still refuses to believe in Hell, even though that vast majority of her fellow conservative Christians evangelicals consider that a fundamental part of their belief system. And she's as deep in this world as you get, teaching at a quasi-Bible school, and supporting herself full-time by her ministry. Another example with her has been women as ministers (in the church she was in previously, they didn't believe this; but she advocated for it and argued a different scriptural interpretation) and homosexuality. With the latter, while she thinks gay sex is a serious sin, she doesn't see it as any different than adultery and fornication and other sins which are common and which no one is advocating passing laws against. This is a very exceptional view in her community.

Individual people have complex beliefs that usually don't conform 100% to the organization to which they belong. Sure, as you move up hierarchies in organizations, there is stronger and stronger pressures to be conform to the orthodoxy. But being a Dean at Liberty University is not the same thing as being Falwell. It's an intermediate level and because of that, I agree that this guy quite likely would have said something against what he was doing on some Biblical basis. But we don't know that and, again, the whole charge of hypocrisy is about what people say and do, not about what we imagine they've said and done.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:59 PM on October 13, 2007


Individual people have complex beliefs that usually don't conform 100% to the organization to which they belong.

This I agree with 100%. As a self-proclaimed Catholic who is pro-choice, lived in sin for 11 years, had gay experiences, etc. I'd be a hypocrite if I disagreed. But this guy wasn't just a pew-warmer, he was a leader. And the anti-sex views of this particular brach of the Baptists aren't just incidental, they seem to be at the forefront of what they're about, at least publicly.
posted by jonmc at 6:03 PM on October 13, 2007


All I can say is, somebody upstairs is intent on determining how many angels can dance on the head of a penis.
posted by rob511 at 6:09 PM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have known a number of fundamentalists, all of them were married and talked about how recreational sex with their wives was a gift from God, etc. ~ dgaicun

Seriously, you're going so far afield here that you're in another sport. This guy was not having "recreational sex" as referred to by your pals. He was engaged in a dangerous solo BDSM scene involving illegal toys, anal play, breath play, and rubber -- a scene that might or might not have involved a second party who has yet to surface, since many with reason to know have observed that it's practically impossible to get rigged up the way Aldridge was found without a partner. (Frankly, if turns out to be his wife, that helps the poor guy in the court of public opinion.)

So by all means, let's all laff at the dead wingnut, but the idea that he died doing something he himself worked to outlaw and stigmatize has yet to be demonstrated. ~ dgaicun

These claims of hypocrisy which are made without any actual evidence against an individual except that he is part of a certain group are really perniciously destructive in contemporary discourse. ~ EB

This is a logical fallacy of distraction, specifically an argument from ignorance. Repeat it all you want but it doesn't make the case valid.

I'm with Blazecock on this: "It's on you to demonstrate that [Aldridge] was a renegade Baptist, sticking it to the man through vocal opposition to Church gospel," because the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming here. Silent support of kink doesn't count, either; he agreed to live as a model for others of his faith, so any aspect of his life that he knew woud be considered taboo but intentionally hid from his followers are contrary to his commitment to the Southern Baptists and Liberty University. Aldridge doesn't have to have come out specifically in a video recording saying he disapproves of butt plugs and bondage in order to have been hypocritical in his actions.
posted by pineapple at 6:10 PM on October 13, 2007


“2) The guy had a dildo in his ass. It's not that much of a leap to figure that he was fantasizing about being fucked by either a man or a woman with a strap-on (not that there's anything wrong with that), which I'm pretty sure is on Liberty's no-no list.”

It is a bit of a leap. Lots of heterosexual men enjoy anal play. And I've never heard of any official church position on pegging. It sure seems like people with the culturally conservative temperament would find some reason to say this is wrong. But I've not actually heard any such person argue that it's wrong. And no one so far has shown that this guy in particular argued that it's wrong.

All the arguments like yours are based upon some vague idea that everyone here (including me) has about people “like him”. That's awfully thin gruel on which to make the accusation of hypocrisy, especially because almost all of us, excepting perhaps konolia and couple of other people in this thread, are not people like him.

What do you think that “people like him” think “people like us” are like? Would you trust their understanding of “people like us” such that they could guess when we're being hypocritical? My experience in being on the receiving end of such accusations have been that the people making the accusation have no fucking clue what people like me are like. Their idea of leftist atheists is made up completely of stories people like Limbaugh and Coulter tell. And these charges are almost always made with the same smug certainty like people are displaying here about what individuals do and don't believe.

Go to Free Republic or LGF and look at just how often such charges of hypocrisy are made on exactly the same basis as its being made here. The right-wing are certain that everyone on the left is a hypocrite because they conveniently have a very simplistic view of leftists and they spend a lot of their time looking for examples of individual behavior which contradicts what they think leftists claim is right. Then they gloat. And it's all bullshit.

It's bullshit when our side does it, too.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:11 PM on October 13, 2007


I get that too EB - one of the charms of Protestantism used to be that you'd got your scripture in your native language, didn't need any mediator between you and God, and set about wrestling with your conscience yourself or at a meeting of like-minded believers. Maybe you'd hire a good talker who told it like you wanted to hear it. We can thank that process for contributing to the development of critical thinking in the West.
But the other side of the coin is the analogy with the old Party members who remained loyal to subdivisions of the Stalinist International long after it was clear to everyone else what they were part of. As individuals they may well have been decent people dedicated to good things, staunch in their communities, but there comes a point when they should have woken up and stopped propping up something rotten at its core.
posted by Abiezer at 6:12 PM on October 13, 2007


konolia: None of us are good. None of us can be good. We have to know that each one of us is totally, utterly depraved, and can only escape that depravity through the power of God working in us... I'd just have to say he couldn't fight his inner urges on his own. Which makes him exactly like the rest of us.

So, then, in your worldview you accept the depraved nature of Aldridge and accept that his urges were his own -- and that such made him human. So, then, I assume that you acknowledge that my urges (i.e. as a gay man I seek the love and companionship -- yes, and sex -- of another man) are my own and such makes me human. Why then do you and your ilk have any right to pass judgment on me and my relationship(s)? Is that not left for me and (my) God to decide? If you are consistent in your belief and actions, you should be out in front advocating for stable relationships which gay marriage can insure.
posted by ericb at 6:12 PM on October 13, 2007


Oops, missed your last on non-preview.
posted by Abiezer at 6:12 PM on October 13, 2007


“This is a logical fallacy of distraction, specifically an argument from ignorance. Repeat it all you want but it doesn't make the case valid.”

Wow. It's been awhile since I've seen someone commit such an egregious logical error with such irony.

Read the link you provide again.

Now notice that I'm not arguing that he's not a hypocrite. I am arguing that you haven't proven that he's a hypocrite.

You've been arguing that he is a hypocrite. How do you know this? Well, your argument is that since we don't know that he's not, then he is.

Now who is committing the fallacy of argument from ignorance? Clue: it's you.

To prove that someone is a hypocrite, you have to prove that they did something that they have said shouldn't be done. You have not proven this. Therefore, you haven't proven that he's a hypocrite.

If you can't tell the difference between someone contesting your assertion and someone asserting its opposite, then you have no damn business flinging around fancy accusations of logical fallacies with supporting links. It's fucking embarrassing and ignorant.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:20 PM on October 13, 2007


What do you think that “people like him” think “people like us” are like?

I dunno. I actually think about that a lot. 'people like...' is aultimately too brod a category to do anybody justice, in my opinion.

It's bullshit when our side does it, too.

I wholeheartedly agree, and I've taken shit for saying so in the past. I just don't think this particualr incident is a great test case is all.
posted by jonmc at 6:21 PM on October 13, 2007


“Aldridge doesn't have to have come out specifically in a video recording saying he disapproves of butt plugs and bondage in order to have been hypocritical in his actions.”

Yes, you need to prove that he did. You're committing the fallacy of guilt by association, a very literal version.

I'm a Democrat, an Atheist, a (sometime) member of the ACLU, the NARAL, GLAAD, have contributed to the DCCC. That provides a whole bunch of “circumstantial evidence” about my beliefs and what I've said is right and wrong. And, on that basis, you could find a whole bunch of things that I've done and argued for that are not in accordance with your assumption of my beliefs on the basis of that circumstantial evidence. Because in each case, there are important matters I disagree with the larger group about. Your little profile of me would be simplistic and misleading. It certainly wouldn't be useful for making a charge of hypocrisy that would stick.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:27 PM on October 13, 2007


“I just don't think this particualr incident is a great test case is all.”

That the people in this thread are likely wrong? No, you're right: they are probably right. The guy probably is a hypocrite.

But as a “test case” for doing the right thing, this example is a great test case because it's when it's hard to do the right thing that it is most important to do so. These arguments from group affiliation for accusations of hypocrisy are an example of a bad habit, are rationally insupportable, and very destructive to civil discourse.

I think this is a good test case for a separate reason, too. It's only the whole package of circumstances that somehow makes it really compelling to jump to the conclusion that he somehow must have been doing something he believed and said was wrong. But when you look at each thing individually, they all are pretty weak. Masturbation? Not so clear that he must have thought it was wrong. Rubber fetish? Also not so clear. Male anal play with dildo? Also not so clear. In each case all we really have to work with is intuition. It's not as if even the religious leaders relevant to this have (as far as any of us know) spoken out against any of these things in particular. They just all seem pretty outre and it seems like cultural conservatives would necessarily be against them. And that intuition is probably correct, in my opinion, but it's still just entirely unsupported guesswork.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:35 PM on October 13, 2007


EB, I love you man, but I gotta agree with the crowd-the poor man was, indeed, a hypocrite as the term is commonly used. Anal sex, period, even in marriage, is condemned in the branches of Christianity I am familiar with. I know that when my husband was in Bible School, there was a meeting (all guys) where they were told in very plain language just that.
posted by konolia at 6:41 PM on October 13, 2007


“I have known a number of fundamentalists, all of them were married and talked about how recreational sex with their wives was a gift from God, etc. They were getting this shit from their church.”

Yeah, this is not uncommon. And I think it's a really good example of how the reality can be pretty radically discordant with the assumptions of a lot of people who don't know any better.

There really is a wide variety of thought on sex within the context of marriage. My guess is that this is really a generational divide within cultural Christian conservatives, where the older generation is conservative about this while the younger is quite liberal. With exceptions all around, of course.

Also, it's really pretty egregious for anyone arguing on this specific point to not be aware that this involves something that goes very deep into the schism between Catholics and Protestants. It's very long been the case that Protestants accept recreational sex (within marriage) while Catholics do not. The refusal of Protestantism to endorse the Catholic idea of the only valid sex being procreational is a big deal, has a long history, and is generally the rule as a matter of doctrine. However, I don't doubt that a lot of cultural conservatives of all varieties conform to the liberal expectation of denying the acceptability of recreational sex. My guess is that the Puritan tradition complicates matters here.

On Preview: “Anal sex, period, even in marriage, is condemned in the branches of Christianity I am familiar with. I know that when my husband was in Bible School, there was a meeting (all guys) where they were told in very plain language just that.”

Well, he wasn't having anal sex, either with a man or a woman. And you're not really right about this, anyway. This comes under the rubric of sodomy, the definition of which is Biblically in dispute, even in fundamentalist churches.

If you search Google on "anal sex" and "Christianity", you'll find a whole bunch of links which show an ambiguity on this matter as it involves heterosexual sex within marriage. Apparently, it's something that a lot of people are asking their pastors about these days.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:54 PM on October 13, 2007


Ethereal Bligh --

Religious groups are organized around beliefs. The beliefs espoused by the Liberty University crowd are widely known. It is reasonable to assume that anyone who holds a position of authority within this religious group accepts the central tenets of this faith system.

What you're asking us to believe --- that Aldridge is not a hypocrite for shoving plastic boners up his ass, despite his public association with the Liberty University crowd --- is similar to asking us to believe that a managing editor of NewsMax.com might possibly be a leftist communitarian, that we shouldn't jump to conclusions about what his beliefs are. What you're suggesting is preposterous.

When a man openly allies himself with a group whose whole reason for being is the teaching and enforcement of a set of core beliefs including the sinfulness of gay sex, for him to die with a plastic cock up his ass pretty clearly makes him a hypocrite.

Association is a form of expression --- this principle is reflected, by the way, in constitutional law, which has long recognized that association in religious groups is a form of expression, namely, expression of the ideas that those groups advocate.
posted by jayder at 6:55 PM on October 13, 2007


The guy was a prominent member of Liberty University which is at the forefront of railing against any sexual activity beyond marital intercourse for procreation.

Link? Not one person has demonstrated this is the position of the U. I provided an askme thread with evidence the "procreation-only" school is a minority strain in fundy churches.

fantasizing about being fucked by either a man or a woman with a strap-on (not that there's anything wrong with that), which I'm pretty sure is on Liberty's no-no list.

1) I object to the "gay" interpretation of ass play. 2) Please provide link to Liberty rule.

We keep seeing the same logical fallacies over and over. It's getting tiresome.
posted by dgaicun at 7:00 PM on October 13, 2007


My answer to konolia also points to something that's not being accounted for here, too.

I don't look at AskMe very much, but I have read enough religious questions, particularly ones that ask about other peoples' faiths, that I've noticed that it's very striking how little unanimity there is among people about what is doctrinal belief and what is common belief. There's almost always a diverse set of response, usually with the responders being surprised at the the responses which differ from theirs.

Konolia and others should be careful about what they claim “most” or “all” Christian churches believe, unless it involves those few things which are incontrovertible.

“What you're asking us to believe --- that Aldridge is not a hypocrite for shoving plastic boners up his ass, despite his public association with the Liberty University crowd --- is similar to asking us to believe that a managing editor of NewsMax.com might possibly be a leftist communitarian, that we shouldn't jump to conclusions about what his beliefs are. What you're suggesting is preposterous.”

For the last fucking time, I'm not asking you to believe that he's not a hypocrite. I'm asking you to not assume he's a hypocrite when you simply don't know that he is. He's probably a hypocrite. That doesn't make him a hypocrite until you can upgrade that probably to certainly.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:00 PM on October 13, 2007


“When a man openly allies himself with a group whose whole reason for being is the teaching and enforcement of a set of core beliefs including the sinfulness of gay sex, for him to die with a plastic cock up his ass pretty clearly makes him a hypocrite.”

Also for the last fucking time, using a dildo doesn't mean someone wants to be fucked with an actual penis. If it did, then every lesbian who uses a dildo is actually heterosexual. I double dog dare you to go assert that in some lesbian chat group. Go ahead, I'll wait for you with a wet towel to smother your burning flesh.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:03 PM on October 13, 2007


You know, I didn't feel sorry for the guy until just now. All this pompous, stentorian nitpicking is worse than the LOLWETSUITZ snickering. It's also more masturbatory than anything old Brother Gary could have dreamed up.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:05 PM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


You've made me search for some sort of Southern Baptist authority on sexual morality, you bastards. Here's the president of their theological seminary:
Sexual confusion arises only after the Fall, when God's good gifts are corrupted by human beings. Only then do we learn what happens when the sexual gift is removed from its intended context of faithful marriage and expressed elsewhere. This leads to all sorts of damage and distortion, and represents what the Bible straightforwardly calls sin.
The biblical pattern is that sex expressed within marriage between a husband and wife is holy, healthy, and good. Sex expressed elsewhere falls short of God's intention and violates His command.
Sex is such a powerful reality that, left to our own devices, we are likely to fall into patterns of gross misunderstanding. We may, for example, make sex an object of worship or denigrate it as inherently sinful. It is neither, of course -- but it takes a revealed instruction from God to make this known.
He's surprisingly silent on particular sex toys and fetishes, but would you say Aldridge's behaviour meets that ideal? As someone said above, he'd be in a better situation if the mystery trusser was his wife.
I very much understand EB's point about a leap to an accusation of hypocrisy being unhealthy, but again didn't this story get bigger play because of the man's theological associations? If he'd been an Episcopalian, would we have heard?
posted by Abiezer at 7:11 PM on October 13, 2007


“We keep seeing the same logical fallacies over and over. It's getting tiresome.”

Yeah, it's weird, isn't it? Not just the two you've pointed out, but also people claiming that you and I are asserting that we know he's not a hypocrite, which we aren't. Guilt by association is an actual, bona fide fallacy that being invoked again and again as a rational basis upon which to accuse this person of hypocrisy.

This is really a good example of how strongly people will rationalize things that they've already decided on the basis of emotion and gut instinct. I know, speaking for myself, that my gut tells me this guy is a hypocrite. My instinct tells me that everything people are assuming is true, for the same reasons they are arguing that they are true. But my rational mind keeps that in check. Most other people, not so much.

And it's obvious to me that the right-wing demagogues are working on the basis of their gut instinct, too, when they make these accusations. Of course it's almost certainly true that person X, a liberal, believed and espoused Y, and that therefore they are a hypocrite. You only have to subject yourself to just a few minutes of reading a conservative site or listening to a rabid conservative radio personality to see and hear examples of that certainty. They know what we all believe and what we all say are the right things to do just like the people here know what all conservative Christians believe and say.

The one thing that I have never been able to get my head around and has always gotten me in arguments with my peers is how people seem to never be able to imagine that they themselves might be prone to making the same sorts of mistakes as their enemies make. It's always he's a dishonest demagogue but I'm just speaking the truth. Always. It's both really weird and really fucking depressing.

On Preview: “The biblical pattern is that sex expressed within marriage between a husband and wife is holy, healthy, and good.

Whatever else that links does or does not prove, I think it shows that the assumption that conservative Christian Protestants are necessarily generally anti-sex and against recreational sex is very questionable.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:14 PM on October 13, 2007


dgaicun: fantasizing about being fucked by either a man or a woman with a strap-on (not that there's anything wrong with that), which I'm pretty sure is on Liberty's no-no list.

2) Please provide link to Liberty rule.


For Fuck's Sake. As much as I hate having to link to my own comments. Here. The full PDF can be had at the school's own website, I'm not going to copy/paste the whole thing here.

A student caught in possession of an NC-17 movie (that's not even porn, right? I'm not 100% familiar with US ratings) will accrue 18 Naughtiness Points, have to pay a $250 fine, and serve 18hrs community service. For a non-porn movie. Dildos and strap-ons certainly must qualify as against the rules.

If they somehow deem your possession of a dildo and its use as "Immorality", $500 fine and possible "Administrative Withdrawl" which I take to mean expulsion.
posted by CKmtl at 7:18 PM on October 13, 2007


I don't care whether we can agree on Aldridge's status as a potential or actual hypocrite; the post is still crap.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:22 PM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


So on the guilt-by-association thing, EB, care to address the Communist Party analogy I made above? To what extent is someone to be held culpable for their institutional allegiances? And the man was a cadre, not just paying his subs and drinking at the club.
posted by Abiezer at 7:23 PM on October 13, 2007


For the last fucking time, I'm not asking you to believe that he's not a hypocrite. I'm asking you to not assume he's a hypocrite when you simply don't know that he is. He's probably a hypocrite. That doesn't make him a hypocrite until you can upgrade that probably to certainly.

Could you explain why you asking us to do that? What's the fundamental reason why we should not assume yadda etcetera? What benefit is there in following your path?

And yes, I do want to know for-real. Tell it to us straight and, please, short.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:29 PM on October 13, 2007


“Could you explain why you asking us to do that? What's the fundamental reason why we should not assume yadda etcetera? What benefit is there in following your path?”

You're a hypocrite for not doing as I say because liberals believe in “innocent until proven guilty” and you're a liberal.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:32 PM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Abiezer, the quote you provide does not obviously speak to masturbation. It does obviously speak to sex outside of marriage. You are reading between the lines in a way that I find unconvincing.

CKmtl, your link appears to be more about pornography, which is consistent with the Askme thread that fantasizing about sex with nonmarital partners is a no no. Also school rules are not universal rules. For example students are not allowed to drink or smoke while in attendance, but are when they leave.

So again, it's not clear whether masturbation "aids" are considered sinful by this particular religious element.

Of course, showing this minister's personal statements is far more relevant to the current discussion anyhow.
posted by dgaicun at 7:33 PM on October 13, 2007


The biblical pattern is that sex expressed within marriage between a husband and wife is holy, healthy, and good. Sex expressed elsewhere falls short of God's intention and violates His command.

Well, I guess that pretty much clinches it. The U would not approve of butt-sexxin' rubber-suitin' asphyxiatin' fetishistic practices.

Unless, of course, it was his wife who tied him up. Then it's cool.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:34 PM on October 13, 2007


five fresh fish, your viewpoint confuses me. You think it's ok to make things up about people you don't like. I do not.
posted by dgaicun at 7:35 PM on October 13, 2007


I'm with Blazecock on this: "It's on you to demonstrate that [Aldridge] was a renegade Baptist, sticking it to the man through vocal opposition to Church gospel,"

Fantastic. That just means you're yet another potential judge for the next Star Chamber humanity dreams up. You people rail against the Bad Guys in the world all day long, but when it comes time to decide who's guilty and who's not, the rules of evidence and fair play go out the window just like Dick Cheney was running the show. The thing that amazes me about this place, the thing that keeps me watching: so many of you (and it's an increasing % because most of the folks like EB don't have the stamina to take on a whole room) don't get this: the Bush Administration isn't evil because it's Republican. It isn't evil because it's Christian. It's evil because it's populated with weak people, people who suffer from the most common flaw seen in humanity's colorful history, the unwillingness to make the extra effort to get what they want fairly and justly.

It's easier to just do the guilt by association thing. Keep arguing against racial profiling and doing personality profiling. You all don't have to work so hard to find a hypocrite.
posted by yerfatma at 7:35 PM on October 13, 2007


You think it's ok to make things up about people you don't like.

WTF? Where do I do that in this thread?

You're a hypocrite for not doing as I say because liberals believe in “innocent until proven guilty” and you're a liberal.

WTF? Where do I do that in this thread?

Sheezus.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:40 PM on October 13, 2007


The bit I actually posted that quote for was actually "We may, for example, make sex an object of worship,' and the rest I kept for context.
Now there's a good chance the Reverend there is talking in broader social terms, but to harp on again about my elaborate bit, by devoting the kind of energy the minister did to sexual gratification, he seems to have erred in respect of making sex an object of worship, which is after all what a fetish used to mean.
posted by Abiezer at 7:40 PM on October 13, 2007


The text of the title/URL is drawn verbatim from the document linked thereto. You can hardly even say that is was quoted out of context.
posted by hwestiii at 7:41 PM on October 13, 2007


Actually.
posted by Abiezer at 7:41 PM on October 13, 2007


“It's easier to just do the guilt by association thing. Keep arguing against racial profiling and doing personality profiling. You all don't have to work so hard to find a hypocrite.”

Ha! See? As much as I am pleased with yerfatma's defense, can you see that he just did it, too? How ironic. Does he know that any individual person here that I'm arguing with has stated that they are against racial profiling and personality profiling? I doubt it. He's guessing based upon his idea of the typical liberal mefite. Is he right? Maybe. Perhaps even “probably”. But not necessarily. And if he isn't—if it's the case that one of you isn't actually a hypocrite because you've not said the one thing he assumes you've said and then another here—then how do you feel about this? Do you feel he was fair to accuse you of hypocrisy this way? Was it intellectually honest of him?

It's a bad habit, it's very tempting, almost all of us do it...and we should stop doing it.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:41 PM on October 13, 2007


“WTF? Where do I do that in this thread?

Sheezus.”


:)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:42 PM on October 13, 2007


Also school rules are not universal rules. For example students are not allowed to drink or smoke while in attendance, but are when they leave.

Obviously. But he obviously didn't have much of a problem with those rules as attended the school long enough to graduate, and went on to be part of the administration. If he enjoyed drinking on the sly, yet subjected students to (albeit temporary) no-drinking-even-if-you're-of-legal-age rules he'd be a hypocrite too. Ditto smoking. Ditto porn. Etc.

So again, it's not clear whether masturbation "aids" are considered sinful by this particular religious element.

Do you honestly believe that? That the school would forbid racey non-porn movies, but allow students dildos, pocket pussies, penis pumps, and vibrators? If anyone can get a genuine email response from Liberty University that the aforementioned toys are completely acceptable, I'll eat my hat.
posted by CKmtl at 7:47 PM on October 13, 2007


You're a hypocrite for not doing as I say because liberals believe in “innocent until proven guilty” and you're a liberal.

Yes, but what's the burden of proof? The implicit assumption of your argument is that we must prove that Aldridge was a hypocrite as a matter of formal logic before we can engage in a bit of schadenfreude. The countervailing argument here is not that we know—in the strongest sense of that word—that he is a hypocrite, but rather that based on all available evidence (preponderance of the evidence? clear and convincing evidence?), it appears that Aldridge was a hypocrite. Could I prove as a matter of formal logic that he was? No. Could I get a jury verdict against him on that question? You bet.

It's still a shitty post.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:48 PM on October 13, 2007


You think it's ok to make things up about people you don't like.

WTF? Where do I do that in this thread?


Straight and short, home fries.
posted by dgaicun at 7:48 PM on October 13, 2007


I don't care whether we can agree on Aldridge's status as a potential or actual hypocrite; the post is still crap.

Not really. The discussion that resulted is important and valid.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:53 PM on October 13, 2007


“Yes, but what's the burden of proof?”

Not “yes”, but “no”. Amazing that both you and fff seem to have missed the point of that comment. The point of it was that I don't know that fff is a hypocrite. Fff is a liberal, but does that mean that he specifically supports “innocent until proven guilty” as a principle? I don't know. Does he support it as a general moral principle? I don't know. What are his specific rules about it? I don't know. It's a bogus accusation for me to make because the only thing I know is that fff is generally liberal. What does that mean for him in specific regard to this case? I don't know. Until I do, I can't accuse him of hypocrisy.

Unless, that is, I were to agree with some folks here that a mere assumption of what someone believes and has said on the basis of association, gut instinct, and some notion of "probability" is sufficient. In that case, I'd happily call him a hypocrite and you'd have a hard time refuting me. After all, right now in this thread he has a lot of incentive to pretend that he wouldn't otherwise say something different, right? Assuming I really know what's in his heart because, after all, he's a liberal.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:55 PM on October 13, 2007


Butcha know what? We aren't powerful, politically-active public figures.

We're allowed to hold our social leaders to a higher standard, because we need to know the type of person to whom we're giving our power. We need them to represent us. We need to be able to trust them.

This man whole-heartedly represented an organization that has expressed severely conservative sexual mores. He did not uphold those standards in his private life. If he was not hypocritical, then he was at the very least duplicitous and a charlatan.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:57 PM on October 13, 2007


Not “yes”, but “no”. Amazing that both you and fff seem to have missed the point of that comment.

Actually, I got your point just fine; you seem to have missed mine. I didn't ask who the burden of proof lies on; obviously it lies on the one claiming that Aldridge was a hypocrite. My question, more explicitly, is this: by what evidentiary standard must the answer to the question be proved before we can discuss the topic on MetaFilter? I think the answer to that question has to be something less than absolute knowledge, which is what you are demanding.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:00 PM on October 13, 2007


We're allowed to hold our social leaders to a higher standard

Nonsense. How can you hold someone to a higher standard than your actions? And if we held social leaders to higher standards, we'd be out of fat cats. Tumbleweeds would be the sole denizens of the corridors of power.

Does he know that any individual person here that I'm arguing with has stated that they are against racial profiling and personality profiling?

No, but they look the part. You totally know I'm right.
posted by yerfatma at 8:01 PM on October 13, 2007


EB, CK, dgaicun: I know that straight guys like teh buttplay, that's why I mentioned a 'woman with a strap-on' in my response.

Let me rephrase:I'll go out on a limb and say I doubt that the Liberty University would say 'bikini's, earrings on men, and spandex are sinful (check the dress codes) but rubber suited dildo sex is okey-dokey.'
posted by jonmc at 8:03 PM on October 13, 2007


If he enjoyed drinking on the sly, yet subjected students to (albeit temporary) no-drinking-even-if-you're-of-legal-age rules he'd be a hypocrite too. Ditto smoking. Ditto porn. Etc.

No he wouldn't because drinking and smoking are permitted for nonstudents. There would be no reason to be "on the sly".

There are two sets of rules operating here: universal "sin" rules, and University rules. I actually had no porn rules at my secular college dormitory too. They were mainly so students of different values could get along better.

So what we would need to know is if people from this religion believe private masturbation aids are sinful, not just if students at this U can have dildo parties (obviously no).

But what we need to know RE: hypocrisy, is the words and actions of this particular minister on the matter, which could easily be completely different.
posted by dgaicun at 8:03 PM on October 13, 2007


“My question, more explicitly, is this: by what evidentiary standard must the answer to the question be proved before we can discuss the topic on MetaFilter?”

I've not said we can't talk about it. I've not said we can't say that he's probably a hypocrite and look for proof of it.

But people are going further than that and it matters because not only do they walk away with the sense that they've demonstrated he's a hypocrite, they are certain of it at the time.

I think that yerfatma is probably right in his accusation of hypocrisy vis a vis the arguments about racial profiling in contrast to the justifications offered here. But my saying that he's probably right is a long way from asserting that he's right and walking away from this thread feeling sure that the folks I'm arguing against are actually hypocrites.

The difference matters.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:05 PM on October 13, 2007


To repeat my last, we have the senior theologian of the sect saying don't make sex an object of worship, and this man dead as a consequence of his fetish. God moved swifter than is his wont on thisone, perhaps.
posted by Abiezer at 8:13 PM on October 13, 2007


But people are going further than that and it matters because not only do they walk away with the sense that they've demonstrated he's a hypocrite, they are certain of it at the time.

Really? How do you know for sure, in the absence of perfect knowledge about their state of mind? This is precisely the mistake you accuse others of making with reference to Aldridge. My point, on the other hand, is that they are simply willing to accept a lower standard of proof than you are.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:15 PM on October 13, 2007


How long before some moron gloatingly posts the Vatican story to the front page? This shit is getting tired.
posted by caddis at 8:19 PM on October 13, 2007


jonmc: I know. I find the dildo = penis, male buttplay = gay thing eyeroll-worthy too. Although, the some of the non-phallic dildos for lesbians make me cringe... Some of them look like dolphins, how is that better?!

dgaicun: No he wouldn't because drinking and smoking are permitted for nonstudents. There would be no reason to be "on the sly".

Fine, cancel the 'on the sly' then. But I'd still consider that a form of hypocrisy, since he'd be holding students to a behavioural code that he couldn't adhere to himself.

There are two sets of rules operating here: universal "sin" rules, and University rules.

I know what you're getting at, but in the case of Liberty the two seem to be mashed-up together. The religion's a big part of the school, to the extent that it's half of their mission statement / motto: "Challenge your mind... Build your faith". And a lot of their rules seem to spring from what's considered sinful or religiously improper (dress code, nothing beyond hand-holding, etc).

I actually had no porn rules at my secular college dormitory too. They were mainly so students of different values could get along better.

I find that completely ridiculous too. Not on your part, but the school's.
posted by CKmtl at 8:33 PM on October 13, 2007


Most of this argument would go away if people wrote in E-Prime.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:39 PM on October 13, 2007


Cortex wrote: And any gay dude that strokes himself off is obviously a closet straight, jonesing for vadge.

Why would stroking oneself off signify jonesing for vadge? It could just as easily signify jonesing for fudge.
posted by jayder at 9:44 PM on October 13, 2007


so now liberals are going to watch the sex lives of conservatives as closely as conservatives watch the sex lives of liberals

politics as an exercise in obsessive voyeurism - and yeah, at 234 comments, we're into obsessive territory here

as people continue the good old culture squabbles, which i can't dignify with the word "wars", the average person keeps sinking lower and lower

it's going to be a real bitch in this country in a few years if some people don't take their heads out of their asses and see what's really going on in this country

do you have any idea how irrelevant, corrupt and stupid this whole argument sounds to people who are worried whether they're going to have any damned future at all?

fuck all this noise, am i and the people around me going to get anything better in life than the lifestyle of a plantation slave who has a lot of flashy junk? and who can be thrown away the instant that he is no longer economically useful?

you know what's really obscene? people getting shot to pieces because they drive down the wrong street - people slaving away at a shitty job on their probation period being told that they'd better not call in just because their father in law was inconsiderate enough to die on a work day - people being kept to under 40 hours a week so their company doesn't have to pay health insurance for them - people freezing to death on the fucking sidewalks when the weather gets cold

and here you are arguing about a guy in two wet suits with a dildo up his ass

you're just as corrupt as the evangelicals you despise
posted by pyramid termite at 9:47 PM on October 13, 2007


Pyramid Termite --

Maybe you should tell all the same-sex couples who can't get married, largely because of the demagogic political pandering of the Liberty University crowd and its ideological bedfellows, that this stuff doesn't matter.
posted by jayder at 10:00 PM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


you'll "let us eat cake" at their weddings, right?

let things go on the path they have been for 10 more years and see if i don't have a point
posted by pyramid termite at 10:20 PM on October 13, 2007


Why would stroking oneself off signify jonesing for vadge? It could just as easily signify jonesing for fudge.

Fair enough. Gay dudes who masturbate are actually closeted bisexuals.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:29 PM on October 13, 2007


I don't care whether we can agree on Aldridge's status as a potential or actual hypocrite; the post is still brilliant!

ibmcginty 's title, headline, and body text was constrained and non-judgemental. It restricted itself almost completely to repeating verbatim factual news reports and extracting some of the more salient details within the autopsy report.

Personal Effects: One yellow metal ring intact on left finger, one dildo.

Whatever about some people's determined efforts to find discord in the midst of harmony, error in the centre of truth, and doubt in place of faith, well, that's comedy gold right there.
posted by meehawl at 10:59 PM on October 13, 2007


PT - nobody is "watching" the sex lives of conservatives. We are not the ones INTRUDING on them. We aren't the ones keeping track of what books and movie we buy or rent. We aren't the ones arresting consenting adults in the privacy of their bedrooms under the pretense of sodomy. THEY are.

We are not willing witnesses. For Christ sake it's like these retards are in the middle of a parade and suddenly order the convertible to stop, mid wave, and whip out a dead dog and fuck it in broad day light right in front of the TV cameras.

They are getting caught. Or DIEING doing stupid shit. Repeat. STUPID shit. Not merely sexual shit. They are smoking meth with rentboys. Cruising restrooms in high security zones. And lastly forgetting you have to breath god damned air everyone in a while... even while masturbating.

And EB. What the hell. Are you vying for Official MeFi Pompous Scold and Buzz Kill or something? Are you seriously arguing that this guys principles were a net BOON to humanity and he is beyond reproach? Liberty University! You kidding me?

Okay. That said. I am going to come out as voting AGAINST this particular Blue post in question. Shocking I know. But it has nothing to do with if he is a bastard or a hypocrite or not.

It's not because I think that Schadenfreude is so terrible or that hypocrisy the worst sin ever. I am against this type of shit because I am terrified of suffering an ironic death my self.

And so should you all be.

Are we not mocked enough while we are alive? Must our poor suffering families bear the weight of public humiliation after our deaths?

I don't care about this guy. Not at all. I am not like some other fake god damned people pretending they thinks it's "sad" this guy is dead. A guy they don't even know.

I'm not sad he is dead. I feel nothing. I didn't know him. In fact him being dead is probably a good thing in the sense that that is one less dickhead working for a supposed "University" pumping future (and totally unqualified) Bush Justice Department Appointees that will spy on and torture more innocent people.

But I can put myself in his shoes in one sense.

Every time I jerk off I can't help but think... what if I die whacking off?

So my wife finds me, with the particular talents of Eva Angelina playing on the 200 pixel wide screen on the iMac, at 3am.

Well. She is not gong to be all freaked by that. It's not like SHE doesn't know I whack off. However if the next day everybody in the world... all our friends... knew it?

It wouldn't be the worst thing. Not for me anyway - I'd be dead. But still. I'd like at least my funeral not devolve into another uncomfortable display of my mild ironic fuck ups with everybody giggling. Shit. Call me superficial. But I want people to cry at my funeral and that be the ONE time in my life I wasn't JUST the clown. At least for the first twenty minutes or so.

Can't we allow this asshole at least that?

So imagine this guys family is gong through some sad shit. Of course his wife KNEW about his proclivities. But the public spotlight will force her to deny this knowledge. Everybody associated with them. All the people they THOUGHT were their friends are distancing them selves form the rubber dildo in the ass preacher family. How fucked up is that?

So there is that. And also. Let's say one of you dies tomorrow. And let's say your found in rather uncomfortable circumstances... let's say the monkey got his fist caught in your rectum.

You're going to be a box over the local TV news anchor's shoulder. Do you really want your face pictured, the monkey, and news anchor smiling and reporting to god and everyone that "Ironically, on an internet chat site just yesterday Mr. TKChrist was making fun of the odd sex related death of a red neck preacher."
posted by tkchrist at 12:54 AM on October 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


If I truly believed that most mefites, when nagged toward formal declaration, would assert beyond all argument that based on currently available data our necrotic self-romancer was technically and classically a hypocrite, well then I wouldn't read this place at all, and I would certainly never post anything, except perhaps out of an occasional lazy impulse to wallow in the remedial.

I say this from both within and without a matchless close-cropped full beard.
posted by Opus Dark at 1:12 AM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think Eb's right.
posted by Catfry at 2:25 AM on October 14, 2007


I can't really agree with EB on this one. I don't believe that this minister had to very specifically be quoted as saying that anal dildo sex is wrong before one can assume that there was something of a vast divide between what he represented and what he enjoyed privately.

I think it's fair to say that this man was conflicted. He, literally, did not practice what he preached1. This seems to me a fair interpretation of the word "hypocrisy" but that is a matter of semantics; he secretly indulged in behavior that he actively taught against and discouraged as sinful.

Ultimately, this personal conflict wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) matter much to us, if it weren't for the fact that he was a person who donned the mantle of moral authority as a leader and teacher and chose to align himself with political forces that seek to legislatively impose their particular brand of Christian morality and beliefs on the people of the United States2, including very specific restrictions regarding sexual expression.3 If it weren't for this last bit, I would agree that the events surrounding his death are really nobody's business outside of his family and his church.


1 Lust is unbridled desire. --"The Hazards of Being a Man", source for Thorington Baptist Church's Men's Bible Study

But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death. --James 1, as quoted in "The Hazards of Being a Man", source for Thorington Baptist Church's Men's Bible Study

Flee sexual immorality! "Every sin that a man does is outside the body," but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. --1 Corinthians 6:18, as quoted in "The Hazards of Being a Man", source for Thorington Baptist Church's Men's Bible Study

______________________

2The idea that religion and politics don't mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell, Sermon, July 4, 1976

I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!
-- Rev Jerry Falwell, America Can Be Saved, 1979 pp. 52-53, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

Now we're looking at what we really started on 30 years ago, reconstruction of a court system gone awry. -- Jerry Falwell
______________________

3AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.
-- Jerry Falwell

Any sex outside of the marriage bond between a man and a woman is violating God's law. --Jerry Falwell

posted by taz at 3:02 AM on October 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


I just got an e-mail from one "Ghost of Rev. Aldridge", saying he never preached against anal dildoing or rubber suits and accessories. He did admit, however, to devoting a whole sermon to the evils of butt plugs and spandex. So technically, the good reverend wasn't a hypocrite.

Oh, and btw, he begged you guys to cease and desist immediately, because he can't hang himself (on purpose this time) in the afterlife.
posted by Devils Slide at 5:27 AM on October 14, 2007


One unexpected benefit of this thrilling kerfuffle resulted from a bit of reading around the subject. I found Dr Mohler, the top SBC seminarian, quoting Frank Furedi approvingly. Furedi is of course the founder of the now defunct Revolutionary Communist Party of Great Britain, whose minions now continue their comedy act in various loony libertarian incarnations. Perhaps this is a portent of the Great Convergence - forward to the triumph of the SBC-RCP United Front for Trotskyist-Anabaptism!
posted by Abiezer at 6:02 AM on October 14, 2007


I don't feel that way, tkchrist. I'm with flapdablet, on utilitarian grounds.

If I have a funny death, please feel free to laugh.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:50 AM on October 14, 2007


EB, you seem to be confusing MetaTalk for a court of law. If I was on a jury judging the Rubber Reverend, I'd apply the law and the judge's instructions to the letter and apply the same sort of sanctimonious preachments you're handing out to any of my fellow jurors who showed signs of succumbing to mistaking their prejudices and assumptions for proof.

But this is not a court of law. We're having a conversation. In this context, likelihood is more important than formal proof. And you're exercising your undoubted talent for sanctimony to no good purpose.
posted by languagehat at 7:16 AM on October 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


PT - nobody is "watching" the sex lives of conservatives.

if you weren't watching, you couldn't know about this to comment on it

We are not willing witnesses.

then why comment willingly, thus bringing even more attention to it?

tk, your argument is totally disingenuous - it's obvious to me that people are looking through the news for stories like this and then these stories wind up all over the internet

how can that not be watching?

---

Ultimately, this personal conflict wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) matter much to us

it doesn't, taz - and you are not changing one law or getting a candidate one vote by pointing at a dead guy in a rubber suit

all you are doing is indulging yourselves in voyeurism for the sake of mockery and self-righteousness
posted by pyramid termite at 7:43 AM on October 14, 2007


Baptists don't seem to constantly bully the country into passing state laws and Constitutional amendments against alcohol and those who partake, so while it would be hypocritical for a Baptist minister to die of alcohol poisoning, it wouldn't be as important for the rest of us to note and discuss.

Read the latest issue of Reason? The neo-Prohibitionist assholes have it in for the rest of us, too.

Count me in the Call The Bastards To Account camp on wetsuit dildo boy, though. The more their hypocrisies are exposed, the better. The more their mindless followers have to watch these scandals unfold, the better. I feel for his family. It sucks to watch someone you love be exposed as a hypocritical jackass, but then again, they might have already known all about his hypocrisy, and in that case, they're complicit, too. These minister's wives don't mind the shopping trips and the money in exchange for keeping their mouths shut, I bet. And that makes them just as bad.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:57 AM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


What a reductionist characterisation of the thread, pyramid termite. I had the voyeurist gawk at the Blue post but didn't comment there. I joined in here when, in true meta- fashion, the debate had moved on to a larger abstract point that seemed worth engaging with. I took that to be the spirit of the discussion - EB's points about mote-in-their-eye accusations of hypocrisy and so forth.
The old canard that exploring one particular issue means you are ignoring others is obviously false too.
posted by Abiezer at 7:59 AM on October 14, 2007


What a reductionist characterisation of the thread, pyramid termite.

reductionist? - i simply turned it back into the molehill that it is

The old canard that exploring one particular issue means you are ignoring others is obviously false too.

so pres bush's obsession with iraq means that he isn't ignoring bin laden or the victims of katrina, then?

and the whole debate here just isn't significant as the subject isn't significant - we would have never mentioned the guy's name if it hadn't been for the way he died

it doesn't matter - and nothing anyone says is going to convince me it does

over and out
posted by pyramid termite at 8:18 AM on October 14, 2007


EB, go talk to someone off the internet who's in a position of authority on logic, and ask that person which of you or I was the one committing the fallacy of distraction: argument of ignorance. I think it's been too long since you've studied this stuff; your response was a lot of he-doth-protest-too-much. That fact that you think you've found a technically irrefutable position and are clinging to it like a drowning man on a buoy doesn't mean you're actually right.

Nor does it mean your position is actually that ironclad. Because, you can chuckle to yourself knowing that you've demanded a proof (Aldridge making an explicit statement about the specific deviant practices that killed him) which will never be found... but I am certain beyond doubt that at some point after becoming a Liberty dean and Southern Baptist preacher, Aldridge made a public concrete statement about upholding the law and not doing that which is illegal. And he died using illegal sex toys.

Would finding one incident where Aldridge condemned lawbreaking fit your totally ridiculous "requirements" and "prove" the man a hypocrite -- and be fairly simple? Yep. It's not in the spirit of the argument the rest of us are actually participating in here... but then again, neither is your position, so we'd be fair matched at that point.

pyramid termite, I respectfully disagree with you. 250 comments and still going here at MeTa, 120 comments and still going at the original post -- if you scan both threads and ignore the snark, are you truly not able to see the legitimate discussion underneath?

I do. I see us discussing the New Christian Right, political trends, what it means to be a liberal, what it means to be a Republican, what it means to be Catholic vs. Protestant, gay rights, kink rights, even what our obligations are to truth and evidence here on the board (albeit with a pedantic and ham-handed approach, myself included). For me, the sheer size of the discussions proves that the topic was of some value. After consideration, my position hasn't changed.

MeFi - mockery = the WELL. Is that really what we're aiming for? I like that we can be equal-opportunity offenders, catering both to the low-brow humor and the high-brow academic side. Black humor has been around for centuries; it's not like we're the first group of twats to tell off-color jokes over an untimely and disreputable death. Some even argue that black humor has sociological and psychological value.

I would say that anyone who fancies themselves to have both an academic side and a sense of humor -- only this particular topic happened to not tickle both -- then as the cool kids say, "flag it and move on." But otherwise, I'm not sure I need my sense of decorum so heavily curated by MetaFilter as a matter of policy. There are plenty of threads I skip if I know the conversation inside is likely going to bother me; it's a highly effective technique that's more about "personal responsibility" and less about "nanny state."
posted by pineapple at 8:36 AM on October 14, 2007


EB and dgaicun are technically right, but I sure wouldn't want to be the one holding the line between "most probably a hypocrite" and "certainly a hypocrite" for two hundred comments. Why can't we just say "Given what we know about him, he's most probably a hypocrite" and go have scotch and donuts? I agree with the hat: sanctimony on parade.
posted by Kwine at 8:52 AM on October 14, 2007


I've moderated a board where Christians of all stripes, including Southern Baptists, discussed sex and theology. One of the key texts often given to underpin the sort of attitudes you see in the Liberty University behaviour code, would be 1 Corinthians 6,12-14

12"Everything is permissible for me"—but not When everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13"Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh."[b] 17But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.



While the passage uses the example of prostitution, it's usually applied to all behaviours regarded as 'sexual immoral' in sexually conservative churches. If you define things like wearing bikinis or spandex or viewing pornography as sexual immorality, then your interpretation of these verses is going to put rubber fetishes, auto asphyxiation and anal play well within that category - so much so that to an audience which held this strong view, you wouldn't even need to state this. Even preaching in the kind of detail where you specifically mentioned such things would be seen as shocking by a congregation which holds that strong interpretation. Because you are united to Christ through the holy spirit, so the thinking goes, what you do to your body, you are doing to the temple of the holy spirit.

Liberty University staff use this passage not just as a proof-text for a very strong puritanical sex code, but as a proof-text for treating your body as a temple, even down to taking the right vitamins and minerals and getting enough sleep. There really cant be any doubt that their public teaching on sex and the body derived from texts like this, would rule out Aldridge's behaviour. I'd think it very unlikely that a Dean of a university espousing that sort of piety hadn't preached on or discussed that kind of popular passage and ones like it in terms of a strong sexual and physical purity code, so I don't think EB and dgaicun's arguments hold up.

Aldridge may have held a private interpretation of that passage and passages like it that allowed him to do as he did with a clear conscience - you can and do find such interpretations allowing BDSM among radical or liberal evangelicals, but he certainly would have been sacked and shunned if he had preached such an interpretation in public.

I have nothing against people who wish to practice such a strong purity code for themselves, up to the point where they try to enforce it on others and to push a very strong blanket definition of 'sexual immorality' on to others - this is what Clay201 has been talking about. Therefore I think it's wrong to push it under the carpet when it turns out that the people who advocate this strict code, don't keep to it themselves.
posted by Flitcraft at 9:05 AM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


“EB, go talk to someone off the internet who's in a position of authority on logic, and ask that person which of you or I was the one committing the fallacy of distraction: argument of ignorance. I think it's been too long since you've studied this stuff; your response was a lot of he-doth-protest-too-much. That fact that you think you've found a technically irrefutable position and are clinging to it like a drowning man on a buoy doesn't mean you're actually right.”

Whatever else has occurred in this thread, this point is incontrovertible. You're wrong. I've never argued for innocence or guilt, only that a determination of guilt is not possible. You have argued that it is and on that basis that proof of his has not been found and “will never be found”. That is so self-evidently your argument of ignorance that it's more than a little creepy that you would say it isn't.

Again, I have not argued for a conclusion in this matter, you have. If I have not argued that we can know whether he's guilty or innocent, than it is not possible that I could have made the fallacy of ignorance. The fallacy of ignorance is assuming X because there's no evidence which contradicts X. You are assuming he is guilty because there's no evidence which contradicts his guilt. It's quite simple.

Finally, of course it's simply not true that evidence that this guy was a hypocrite “will never be found” (in bold, no less!). It could be found tomorrow. There could be one of his sermons on the web. It might be trivially easy to prove his hypocrisy. Have you attempted it? Why not?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:32 AM on October 14, 2007


“And EB. What the hell. Are you vying for Official MeFi Pompous Scold and Buzz Kill or something? Are you seriously arguing that this guys principles were a net BOON to humanity and he is beyond reproach? Liberty University! You kidding me?”

Perhaps my verbosity has clouded my argument. I care not a whit about this particular person. I agree that he was likely a hypocrite. That's not the point.

What's wrong is that the difference between certainty of hypocrisy and likelihood of hypocrisy matter when people place this in the context of the larger argument against a class of people. If you want to believe this person was a hypocrite, fine. If you want to use your certainty of his hypocrisy as another piece of evidence proving this groups' tendency to hypocrisy, it's not so fine. Because each time you do this you are further building and reinforcing a biased stereotype that prejudges people on the basis of your intuitions and assumptions and not proof.

Each time you do this, you add one more piece of “evidence” for the next time you're “certain” that someone must be a certain kind of person because they belong to a certain group. Do you see? The assumptions and intuition that went into peoples' certainty that this guy is almost certainly a hypocrite were almost certainly built out examples of reasoning like that which they display here. So what is properly some amount of uncertainty—who knows how large—is whittled away over time as more and more examples are encountered which “prove” these assumptions true.

Let's say a gypsy comes to town. He's accused to theft. The evidence indicates (somehow quantified, it doesn't matter how) a 60% likelihood of guilt. You, the judge, conclude he's guilty. A month later, another gypsy comes to town. He's also accused of theft. The evidence alone indicates, again, that he's 60% likely to be guilty. But you past experience with gypsies indicates that they, as a class, are likely to be guilty. So that increases your judgment to 70%. You conclude he's guilty. A month later, again, a gypsy come to town. He's again accused of theft. The evidence, again, indicates 60% likelihood of guilt. Again, you factor in your experience judging gypsies, note that they are always guilty, and decide that his indication of guilt rises to 80% on the basis of this evidence. And, yet again, a month later, another gypsy comes to town. The same evidence. Your experience with gypsies and their guilt informs your intuition that although the evidence only marginally indicates his guilt, his guilt is actually closer to being 90% likely, based upon your past experience. So you conclude he's guilty.

Then, the next month, a gypsy comes to town. He's accused of theft. This time the evidence is very sketchy. There's only about 30% evidence of guilt, it seems on the basis of evidence that one cannot conclude guilt. However, the fact that, in your experience, gypsies have always been guilty of theft in a large number of cases leads you to greatly increase your estimate of his guilt to 75%. You happily conclude he's guilty.

And so on.

This is why I earlier phrased my objection in the form that while assuming guilt in this particular case is reasonable, the problem comes when people walk away from this case and this thread and assume that they know this man was a hypocrite and then use this as fodder for future accusations of hypocrisy.

And, no, this isn't a court of law. It's the court of public opinion. And this is how biased and unfair stereotypes are built and maintained. This is how right-wing people build up and maintain their stereotypes of the left.

At some point these stereotypes become bulletproof. One's long experience with the validity of these stereotypes trumps any particular example which contradicts it—and there's no sympathy at all for those poor individuals who are somewhat similar to the stereotype but want, and have a right, to be seen as individuals.

It doesn't matter whether or not in this particular instance this guy was a dissenting voice in his community for tolerance of fetishism and kinky masturbation and such. With the reasoning on display in this thread, whenever such an case does come along, you'll call that person a hypocrite, too. There could be a small number, or moderate number, or even a large number of dissenting, non-hypocrites, and you'll never admit to their existence. And when you won't, your justification will be that you've never seen any such person.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:33 AM on October 14, 2007


Sorry, I should proofread: “You have argued that it is and on that the basis that proof of his innocence has not been found and ‘will never be found’" should have had the corrected and bolded words.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:36 AM on October 14, 2007


I've analyzed carefully all of the preceding arguments. My conclusion is that EB wins, if the criterion is word count.
posted by found missing at 10:39 AM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


But this is not a court of law. We're having a conversation.

About how funny someone's death was. And what a complete waste of flesh they were. It's fine. It is funny. But it's a bit weird. Because people are so hung up on labeling and pigeon-not-corn-holing this guy as though they know how he was raised, as though he came out the tradesman's entrance of his mother fully-formed ready to annoy you. Let's be honest: all the happiness here isn't because of the sad end of a sad life, it's one in the score column for the Good Guys, because those awful people who have been oppressing you, preaching their hate until you can't go out and have the great life you deserve, well this proves they are awful and now there's one less of those hate-mongers we've learned to hate so well and if we can just hate them a little more, we'll have won and then we'll be in charge and we'll outlaw hate. Because we're better than those sub-human scum.

Surely the answer to the schism in this country and in the first world is less understanding and more echo chambers. I'll try to pull back the lace curtains in my palace of sanctimony and leave you to it. It's been successful so far.
posted by yerfatma at 10:43 AM on October 14, 2007


“I've analyzed carefully all of the preceding arguments. My conclusion is that EB wins, if the criterion is word count.”

That last I'll say on this subject is that I'm not arguing to “win” (except in the case of the little accusation of fallacy digression, where pineapple's up-is-downism is really best ignored, but it's annoying), I'm arguing strenuously, earnestly, and at great length because I strongly believe that the point I'm making is a very, very important one and if I can get just a few people to reconsider their decision to make accusations of hypocrisy on the basis of class affiliation in the future, then I think it will have been worth it. I very strongly believe that this almost-universal tendency is extremely destructive to civil discourse and how people think of other people.

It's only one piece of the large structure of building stereotypes, as I detail previously, but the specific case of accusations of hypocrisy are very common, very tempting, and there's something about hypocrisy which (currently, at least) seems to be a serious vice about which all sides can agree. It's like lying. It's a very serious accusation against someone's character and many of us are regularly making such charges every day against entire groups of people. In fact, my observation is that every big political contingent in the US today regularly makes charges of hypocrisy against their opponents as classes and individually. Everybody is certain that everybody else are egregious hypocrites. And the language on display here and everywhere else indicates just how much in contempt we place hypocrites. And this influences everything else we think.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:52 AM on October 14, 2007


yerfatma:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Be the martyr. You got us - it's all about hate. But you seem to have forgotten one little thing: we (who are harping on the hypocrisy) didn't start it.

The right, and the religious right in particular, have latched on to a political program of hate and intolerance for a long time now. They insist on telling us how to live, not the other way around. Being nice and excusing their behavior has done nothing but allow them to gain more power. They know that a united front is powerful, and that people who believe in tolerance are a much more fragmented group by definition.

Live and let live, and the chances of invective and ridicule towards you go way down.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:04 AM on October 14, 2007


"I can get just a few people to reconsider their decision to make accusations of hypocrisy on the basis of class affiliation in the future, then I think it will have been worth it."

WTF? Class affiliation? Are we all still in the same conversation?

"pineapple's up-is-downism is really best ignored, but it's annoying"

Like I said, show this thread to a professor of logic, and let me know how it works out for you. You think you know what you're talking about here, and you really don't. Take it offline or drop it; email is in profile.

"the problem comes when people walk away from this case and this thread and assume that they know this man was a hypocrite and then use this as fodder for future accusations of hypocrisy."

I feel absolutely secure in my right to do exactly this; sorry you see it as a problem. Try to keep a little perspective here; it's not like we've just proved the trisection of an angle. We are having a subjective debate on the internet, about a current event where no one has all the facts in question.

"But this is not a court of law. We're having a conversation." "About how funny someone's death was. And what a complete waste of flesh they were... Let's be honest: all the happiness here isn't because of the sad end of a sad life"

Not all of us. Watch that big fat brush.

I appreciate the "hating the haters makes us haters too" argument, of which there is a sizeable contingent of support here, and which is an emotional plea to which there is no real rebuttal. It gives me food for thought and is a valuable perspective added.

But your insightful assumptions about why we're "all" in the conversation aren't welcomed. I am not here because I give one whit about Aldridge; I do care, though, what it means that MeFi is allegedly not capable of sharing different perspectives on it.

Call out the prurient looky-loos all you like. But don't conflate "everyone in the thread" with "the people you disagree with," and don't knock the whole conversation for existing when you've taken great pains to use it to express your own opinions.
posted by pineapple at 11:10 AM on October 14, 2007


Why do the gpsys keep coming to town?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:19 AM on October 14, 2007


At some point these stereotypes become bulletproof.

The sooner the characterization of religious right-wing nuts become such a bulletproof stereotype that those sorts of people become as rare as Nazis in Israel, the better.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:44 AM on October 14, 2007


Because we're better than those sub-human scum.

I absolutely and unequivocally guarantee that I am better than Alridge. And Rush Limbaugh. And George Bush. And any number of other power-lusting, greedy, lying bastards who are net negative influence in our society.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:48 AM on October 14, 2007


pineapple's up-is-downism

Pineapple's upside-downism would've been a better choice.

Mmm, cake.
posted by CKmtl at 12:01 PM on October 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


“Like I said, show this thread to a professor of logic, and let me know how it works out for you. You think you know what you're talking about here, and you really don't. Take it offline or drop it; email is in profile.”

This is completely bogus and I hope you know it. Send a thread from a web forum to a “professor of logic” and ask for a judgment? C'mon. It'd go right in the trash folder and you know it. Unless you're the type of person who does pester academics with such things.

And this isn't formal logic, anyway. The correct academic field you're looking for here is “rhetoric”.

At any rate your link explains the fallacy adequately:
Arguments of this form assume that since something has not been proven false, it is therefore true. Conversely, such an argument may assume that since something has not been proven true, it is therefore false.
You are saying it is true that Aldridge is a hypocrite, and in this statement:
Aldridge doesn't have to have come out specifically in a video recording saying he disapproves of butt plugs and bondage in order to have been hypocritical in his actions.
...you say that in the absence of evidence of his innocence, you are safe to assume his guilt.

I would have to have asserted his innocence to have committed the fallacy you reference. I have never asserted his innocence. Rather, I have asserted that we have no proof of his guilt. I have clearly argued that a guess as to his guilt is a different thing than knowledge of his guilt and that the difference is important as part of the very process by which people are guessing his guilt—the guess is based upon his association with certain groups. Furthermore, not only have I not argued for his innocence, I have stated my agreement with the conclusion that he is probably guilty.

I am not committing the fallacy of ignorance in any case; but the “distraction” part of your reference to fallacies would only apply if I were attempting to distract you and others from his probable guilt. But I have not been, else I wouldn't have repeatedly asserted his probable guilt myself. Rather, my argument has been that the real context of this thread—and which is evident in a great many comments within it—is Christian conservatives as a class and the general charge of hypocrisy made against them, as a class, and which the specific charge against Aldridge is being used as additional evidence.

That this is not what you want to discuss does not make my argument a distraction. Only were it my aim to distract attention from the argument you want to make—that Aldridge is probably a hypocrite—by the use of an assertion that he is innocent (because there's no proof that he's guilty), would I be committing the fallacy you claim. Yet, again, this has been demonstrated to not be the case by my repeated agreements with the conclusion of his probable guilt.

Finally, your little challenge of submitting my judgment to the authority of a logic prof along with your bland assertion to be in the right because you know better—which we are all supposed to take, I suppose, as a matter of faith—is a particularly egregious rhetorical trick in this context being as you and I both know that you are establishing a nearly impossible test for me to pass. A quite unnecessary test, too, because this is not a technical matter unless one happens to be in eighth grade. Not to mention, again, that the relevant authority is not a logic prof, but a rhetoric prof. And it's egregious because in setting up a near-impossible test that I must pass to prove you wrong, you are implicitly asserting that unless I do so, you've been proven right. Which is, again, the same fallacy to which you are referring. As your link says, these are examples of the false dilemma.

It is rhetoricians, not logicians, who are experts on discursive fallacies...and for good reason. Such fallacies—as you have ably demonstrated—are useful for the dishonest interlocutor both directly in usage and indirectly as accusations. Should you ever choose reason over rhetoric, I shall admire you for your virtue.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:02 PM on October 14, 2007


semen retentum venenum est
posted by matteo at 12:13 PM on October 14, 2007


Finally, of course it's simply not true that evidence that this guy was a hypocrite “will never be found” (in bold, no less!).

I don't have any sermons, but I can prove that Aldridge knew that he was doing something that his circle would find morally offensive ("wrong"), which his faith helps to make illegal, but he went ahead and did it anyway.

His congregation is in Montgomery, Alabama.

In the state of Alabama, it is illegal to purchase sex toys, a law upheld by Williams v Pryor, a ruling subsequently upheld by the Bush-packed Supreme Court, since it was unwilling to review the matter.

Either Aldridge stole his sex toys, purchased them in Alabama illegally, or purchased them out-of-state.

So either he decides to steal or buy or import his rubber and dildo. At that time, Aldridge would have had to make some consideration for local and state moral and legal standards, right? At least as they relate to theft or obscenity.

At the end of the day, he decided to either violate the law or work around it, not to mention ignore and/or circumvent community standards.

I have yet to hear a rationalization of Scripture that gets him off the hook in these regards. He's a hypocrite, through and through.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:15 PM on October 14, 2007


You do realize this is a case of impedence mismatch, don't you?

EB, your criterion is that for his actions to be hypocritical, he must have explicitly stated his opposition to the exact sexual behaviours in which he was engaged.

Other's criterion is that he was the public, powerful face of a sexually conservative organisation that, while not condemning the exact sexual behaviours in which the decedent was engaged, has certainly condemned a vast number of lesser sexual behaviours; thus, as his private behaviours are contrary to those espoused by his public organization, he is a hypocrite.

Different standards are being applied: one for iron-clad proof, as suits a court of law; the other for guilt-by-association, as suits MeFi discussions about asshats who preach one set of values and live another.

Methinks you've mistaken MeFi for something it is not.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:19 PM on October 14, 2007


we (who are harping on the hypocrisy) didn't start it. The right . . . have latched on to a political program of hate and intolerance for a long time now. They insist on telling us how to live, not the other way around.

My mother hasn't let me get away with that since I was 5. They're small-minded people who were brought up in a culture afraid of the unknown. And they haven't been able to overcome it. I'm not pleased with their influence on our current administration, but like a dog shitting a peach pit, this too will pass. Or did you have some advice on how they should start living their lives?

The sooner the characterization of religious right-wing nuts become such a bulletproof stereotype that those sorts of people become as rare as Nazis in Israel, the better.

Yes, as soon as we completely lack empathy for a whole group of people, things will get better. We just need to get rid of the group of people we don't know who are scary and different and things will be better. I don't get it: we're privy to thousands of years of human history where this sort of thing has been used to justify awful deeds and you can't see it's no different here just because it's someone you hate.
posted by yerfatma at 12:20 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yes, as soon as we completely lack empathy for a whole group of people, things will get better. We just need to get rid of the group of people we don't know who are scary and different and things will be better.

I didn't mean to imply that one group should sink to the level of the other group. Calling people to account for their inconsistencies is perfectly acceptable behavior, however. Talking the talk but not walking the walk is a huge inconsistency, especially when you expect everyone else to.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:42 PM on October 14, 2007


Or did you have some advice on how they should start living their lives?

Ooh! Ooh! I do! I have some advice!

They should start living their lives like Aldridge — in rubber suits, with a dildo up their ass, and expiring!
posted by five fresh fish at 1:18 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


yerfatma, the key difference is that so long as their beliefs do not impede my freedoms, I don't want to prevent them from doing anything they desire.

The same is not true of the religious right. They desperately desire to prevent me from having personal freedom.

And that is why it is okay for me to have a mad hate-on for them: they wish to harm me.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:21 PM on October 14, 2007


It's hardly some form of evil stereotyping to think that a former dean of Liberty University, still closely associated with teaching their brand of Baptist theology, might preach according to their well-known hard-line views on sexual immorality/purity.There are indeed plenty of American evangelicals who don't fit that mould, and who don't buy into those hard-line interpretations of sexual immorality, but you wont see them being invited to preach at Liberty U or being called as pastors to congregations like this one. We're not talking about Peggy Campolo or the Sojourners here.

You'd have to be incredibly naive to think that auto asphyxiation with a dildo up your arse is an acceptable way to treat the temple of the holy spirit in these theological circles and not a massive breach of their community standards. Just because there's not a specific chapter and verse of St Paul denouncing this, doesn't mean that people from these churches wouldn't recognise this as 'sexual immorality' as denounced in their confession, 'The Baptist Faith and Message'. To pretend this wouldn't count as a severe breach of standards from a pastor preaching the party line on 'sexual immorality' just shows a lack of understanding as to how they handle and interpret scripture.
posted by Flitcraft at 2:08 PM on October 14, 2007


Even if a videotape were unearthed of Reverend Gary M Aldridge, senior pastor at the Thorington Road Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, preaching against the evils of anal play with dildos and the ungodliness of wearing wetsuits while masturbating, there would be some wiseass here who, in a desire to "take on the whole room," would argue that such video does not prove that Aldridge was actually a hypocrite: maybe he was speaking ironically; maybe it was a bit of elaborate postmodern performance art that the whole congregation was in on; maybe he had been drugged and brainwashed by the Thorington Road Baptist Church Men's Circle into getting up and speaking vociferously against his deeply-held kink-positive beliefs.
posted by jayder at 2:10 PM on October 14, 2007


Please provide additional hypothetical evidence on:

if wishes were fishes
my mother had wheels

Otherwise, take your piss-poor debate form to somewhere where "People I disagree with are stupid jerks who think this thing I made up" is appreciated.
posted by yerfatma at 2:14 PM on October 14, 2007


Believe it or not, five fresh fish, there is a good chance they DON'T want to harm you. I'm an atheist now, but I was raised in Montgomery, Alabama in a Southern Baptist church, and yes, it is a suffocating environment. But I'll tell you this, as awful and as misguided as their actions may seem, a lot of them believe they're doing it for your OWN GOOD. That doesn't make what they're doing right, and that doesn't mean that there aren't some fundamentalists out there who aren't motivated by hate. It doesn't excuse their actions. This is a very awkward position for me - defending the people who made my life so miserable - but still, I think it needs to be said.

When I was thirteen and still a very devout Christian, I started attending Pro-Life rallies. I look back now and shudder, but this is the thing - none of the people I met were motivated by their hatred of unwed mothers. They were motivated by the fact that they genuinely believed innocent babies were being murdered.

Another personal anecdote, and one that breaks my heart: my brother is gay (or at least bi). He won't admit it, even though it's common knowledge (his ex walked in on him in bed with another man). When he was a teenager, he joined an Evangelical church. When I met his church friends, I was surprised how many of them were closeted gay men (okay, I may be basing that on stereotypes, I admit, but they appeared to be so). What became clear to me is that these poor guys threw themselves into religion because they believed something was wrong with them. And I felt sorry for them - the ones filled with such self-loathing and so torn between their natural desires and their love of God.

My ex-sister-in-law told me that once she and my brother were divorced, he would go on these occasional "sprees" - visiting gay bars every weekend and just generally going wild. Afterwards he would feel such guilt that he would fast for days. The last time it happened, he went without food for so long he ended up hospitalized.

I'm not excusing Aldrige's behavior, just pointing out that he was probably going through his own personal hell.
posted by Evangeline at 2:19 PM on October 14, 2007 [6 favorites]


...you say that in the absence of evidence of his innocence, you are safe to assume his guilt.

I would have to have asserted his innocence to have committed the fallacy you reference. I have never asserted his innocence.


As fff said above, your criteria for evidence of innocence or guilt are ridiculous. If a conservative christian preacher had such radical views on sexuality that he would support the rights of all citizens to engage in spandex bondage play, including the rights of men to take dildos up the ass, then it was surely up to him to make that clear as it deviates quite significantly from the norms of the organizations with which he was associated.

The whole point of this is that he not only supported but actually led groups which consistently and relentlessly advocate for an extremely limited notion of human sexuality, to such an extent that people with alternative identities suffer discrimination and repression. It now turns out his own sexuality was not "vanilla" either. This is the hypocrisy. It isn't about which specific details of what are written into a code. Liberty U and the organizations like it do not defend a "tolerance" approach to multiple variations in human identity and sexual expression at this stage in their incarnation. It's possible they're evolving - maybe at one point they wouldn't have allowed for any recreational sex, and eventually they'll be cool with toys and butt play and furry costumes - but the current norms are pretty well understood.

And anything which you could not call "vanilla" or which you might call "alternative", you cannot assume a conservative christian preacher is going to be supportive of. That doesn't mean no conservative christian could possibly make that argument, but he would be going against his general block, and would have to actually make the argument. Otherwise he is hypocritical by representing such a group.
posted by mdn at 2:20 PM on October 14, 2007


But I'll tell you this, as awful and as misguided as their actions may seem, a lot of them believe they're doing it for your OWN GOOD.

It is not a case of how awful their actions may seem: their actions are harmful, full stop.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:36 PM on October 14, 2007


five fresh fish, what you said is that they "wish" to harm you. My point was only that this is often not the case. Yes, they do cause harm, but that doesn't mean it was their intent. I know it's hard to get into their shoes, but that doesn't mean their only motivation is hate.
posted by Evangeline at 2:39 PM on October 14, 2007


Pineapple's upside-downism would've been a better choice. Mmm, cake.

Anyone for tart tartine?
posted by ericb at 2:45 PM on October 14, 2007


their actions are harmful

And so are yours, I'm guessing -- depending on one's moral system. IF you believe that (for instance) homosexuality is a great evil, then you're doing harm by allowing it to occur. Just as people who stood by and allowed the Holocaust to occur did harm.

I don't believe homosexuality is evil, so from within my framework, allowing it to happen is not harmful. But not everyone shares my framework.
posted by grumblebee at 2:48 PM on October 14, 2007


there would be some wiseass here who, in a desire to "take on the whole room," would argue that such video does not prove that Aldridge was actually a hypocrite

Hey, maybe Aldridge was just doing some research.

Kinda like this guy:
Vatican Official Caught Soliciting Sex From Young Man On Hidden Camera, Insists He's Not Gay
"A Vatican official suspended after being caught on hidden camera making advances to a young man said in an interview published Sunday that he is not gay and was only pretending to be gay as part of his work.

In an interview with La Repubblica newspaper, Monsignor Tommaso Stenico said he frequented online gay chat rooms and met with gay men as part of his work as a psychoanalyst. He said that he pretended to be gay in order to gather information about 'those who damage the image of the Church with homosexual activity.'

...In the Repubblica interview, Stenico said he had met with the young man and pretended to talk about homosexuality 'to better understand this mysterious and faraway world which, by the fault of a few people 'among them some priests' is doing so much harm to the Church.'"
posted by ericb at 2:52 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


your little challenge of submitting my judgment to the authority of a logic prof... is a particularly egregious rhetorical trick in this context being as you and I both know that you are establishing a nearly impossible test for me to pass.

And it's egregious because in setting up a near-impossible test that I must pass to prove you wrong, you are implicitly asserting that unless I do so, you've been proven right.
~EB

As "near-impossible and egregious" as locating the smoking-gun videotape of Aldridge specifically decrying buttplugs and bondage... which you have asserted would be the only proper, correct, honest way for any of us to accuse him of hypocrisy... and without which we're all a bunch of kneejerk, reason-addled, intellectual dilettantes?

O the irony! It pains me like a nylon webbing, trussed too tightly about the ankles and wrists.

But thanks for being a good sport. ;)
posted by pineapple at 2:55 PM on October 14, 2007


semen retentum venenum est

Colonel Giacomo D. Ripper, I presume ?
posted by y2karl at 5:56 PM on October 14, 2007


“As ‘near-impossible and egregious’ as locating the smoking-gun videotape of Aldridge specifically decrying buttplugs and bondage... which you have asserted would be the only proper, correct, honest way for any of us to accuse him of hypocrisy... and without which we're all a bunch of kneejerk, reason-addled, intellectual dilettantes?”

Now you're putting a whole bunch of words in my mouth. Practically that entire paragraph.

No, evidence needn't be a videotape specifically decrying what he did. What would be nice would be anything, whatsoever, that he said on the subject of sexuality. He was a preacher and Dean at a (near pseudo) university. He probably had a fair amount of academic work, assuming he had a PhD or something in theology or similar.

It's not really asking that much of someone accusing someone of hypocrisy to have some evidence, any evidence, of hypocrisy. And this guy was a public figure.

Anyway, the two things are not comparable. In one case, an assertion has been made which depends upon evidence. In the other case, you created an arbitrary test of proof you were wrong.

A final thought: no one here has come up with any more justification for a charge of hypocrisy against Aldridge other than the circumstantial evidence of guilt by association—and that “guilt” of his associates is itself a gestalt judgment based upon what people here are certain conservative Christians in general believe. People keep saying that this isn't a court of law and relaxed standards of proof apply. Well, that may be, but that's merely because people, in practice, don't require much more than their own gut instincts to condemn one another, especially when they are functioning as a mob. That it's so doesn't make it right or any less ugly. I'll leave you to your pleasure.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:40 PM on October 14, 2007


I don't accept that the "guilt by association" of institutional membership is circumstantial, EB (as I tried to express with my Communist Party/Stalinsim analogy way up thread). Particularly not in public discourse. It's entirely reasonable to be held to account for the positions you stake out in public life, then fail to live up to in private..
posted by Abiezer at 7:54 PM on October 14, 2007


A final thought: no one here has come up with any more justification for a charge of hypocrisy against Aldridge other than the circumstantial evidence of guilt by association

How did he get his sex toys?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:00 PM on October 14, 2007


“I don't accept that the ‘guilt by association’ of institutional membership is circumstantial, EB (as I tried to express with my Communist Party/Stalinsim analogy way up thread). Particularly not in public discourse.”

Yes, and you've argued your position well and civilly. It's a pretty good argument and, for example, for me it certainly applies to the GOP party leadership. But I believe that this case involves someone at a much lower level of affiliation (with a correspondingly much lower degree of responsibility for organizational policy) and, also, I think that religious belief greatly complicates the matter. My experience and observation is that individual people have quite idiosyncratic particular beliefs relative to the faiths to which they adhere. People make a great many individual exceptions to doctrine, almost certainly to the great frustration and displeasure of the religious authorities. Nevertheless, they do.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:19 PM on October 14, 2007


People keep saying that this isn't a court of law and relaxed standards of proof apply.

Actually, what I was trying to say was that even a court of law employs, at least in civil cases, a more relaxed standard of proof than what you suggest.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:19 PM on October 14, 2007


Oh christ almighty, the road you're going down, EB, would have us releasing a number of Nazis after WWII because while they were high-ranking officers, they didn't actually state they were in favour of ethnic cleansing and expansion.

Which would be fucking ridiculous.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:37 PM on October 14, 2007


I think that religious belief greatly complicates the matter.

What The Fuck?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:44 PM on October 14, 2007


I have written a song about Gary Aldridge, and I am just arrogant and intoxicated enough to post the lyrics into this otherwise entertaining thread. So there.

The Lonesome Death of Gary Aldridge

Well I like to feel constricted
Though I've always been constrained
I think Jesus doesn't care about our pleasure,
just our pain

But sometimes the two slop over
and I can't tell them apart
I've got a dildo up my ass
and the Good Lord in my heart...

Won't you hold me,
won't you hold me oh so tight
Come enfold me
wrap me in the darkest night
You can say that I'm conflicted
Or that I'm a hypocrite
And you'd be right
So come enfold me,
Come and wrap me in the night...

I'm so sorry that I left you
To clean up this sordid mess
I was a good man and a father and I did my best
I guess

You deserved a whole lot better
I suppose my flock did too
but I was bound by faith and rubber
And to neither was I true so

Won't you hold me,
won't you hold me oh so tight
Come enfold me
wrap me in the darkest night
You can say that I'm conflicted
Or that I'm a hypocrite
And you'd be right
So come enfold me,
Come and wrap me in the night...

until I...

see...

stars...
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:28 PM on October 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


EB agrees that Aldridge was probably a hypocrite. What he's arguing against, I think, is making blanket statements based on generalizations about groups of people. It's not because we need the strictness of a court of law or formal logic (after all, it's not as if anyone really cares what Mefites think about Aldridge). It's because making those generalizations blinds us. It harms us. It makes us less able to see the world, if we refuse to look at what's in front of us, and only pay attention to the broad and inaccurate stereotypes we have. It doesn't matter that in this case the generalization is probably right, because the bad thing is the way of thinking which reinforces the habit of blindness.

At least, that's what I got from reading EB's comments, and I think it's an important point and well argued.
posted by hattifattener at 2:55 AM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Now you're putting a whole bunch of words in my mouth. Practically that entire paragraph.

Christ, now do you think MeFites can't read? Shall I go back through your comments one by one and pull out all the bits where you scorn anyone who doesn't follow your line of reason part and parcel? Hint: you won't come out looking like a kind considerate Mother Teresa, though I can see how you might have forgotten, 300 comments later.

While I don't see eye to eye, I agree with hattifattener that your point is important, in the abstract.

I disagree that it's been well-argued; your sanctimony has made your perspective difficult for well-meaning people to chew, much less swallow.
posted by pineapple at 5:51 AM on October 15, 2007


EB -- You're speaking as if you've defied us to come up with any evidence of Aldridge saying anything on the topic of sexuality. We have come up with that: his association with his church and Liberty University. (And some helpful MeFites have even produced documents describing the views of sexuality, not to mention establishing the legality of the sex toys.) What seems to have flown right over your head is that allying oneself with a Church, which is based upon ideas and nothing else, that has certain well-known views on sexuality is a form of "saying something."
posted by jayder at 6:28 AM on October 15, 2007


Because there was such a huge debate here, I removed the "hypocrisy" tag.

It was there because I was at a loss for which tags to use to describe this story.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:52 AM on October 15, 2007


It's because making those generalizations blinds us. It harms us. It makes us less able to see the world, if we refuse to look at what's in front of us, and only pay attention to the broad and inaccurate stereotypes we have. It doesn't matter that in this case the generalization is probably right, because the bad thing is the way of thinking which reinforces the habit of blindness.

Oh, that's just fucking ridiculous. I am not in the habit of making wild generalizations, I have never in my life ascribed traits to someone sight unseen because he's black or she's Jewish or whatever, and if this guy was just a random Southern Baptist I'd be right in there upholding his right to be kinky. But we're not making assumptions about someone based on membership in some large amorphous group; we're confidently ascribing publicly held attitudes to someone who has chosen and maintained a position of authority in a repellent organization that makes very clear its opposition to the kind of thing he was caught dead doing. Abiezer is spot on with his comparisons; if a close associate of Stalin was taped making fun of Communism, it would be absurd to say we couldn't accuse him of hypocrisy unless we had written evidence that he claimed to support Communism. EB has just picked the wrong dead horse to beat and is stubbornly maintaining course. I feel bad for him, because it's never a pleasure to back away from a good donnybrook, but not too bad, because after all he's the one who's chosen to tar all of us with unfounded accusations of stereotyping and mob behavior, and frankly he should knock it off.
posted by languagehat at 7:10 AM on October 15, 2007


W00t, 300!
posted by languagehat at 7:10 AM on October 15, 2007


I've missed reading the last 200 posts in this thread, but I wanted to offer a data point. I talked to a good friend who attended a conservative Christian (Baptist) university much like Liberty. He's also very kinky, including experimenting with self-bondage. He says that no one, ever, mentioned kink/fetish/bdsm in the years he was at university, and when he did confide in a staff member due to his own moral qualms, the response was that it was morally questionable only because it was outside marriage (my friend was single at the time). He was told directly that whatever he chose to do within the confines of marital vows was OK, including the practice of kink.
posted by desjardins at 7:19 AM on October 15, 2007


Oh, he also mentioned that there were no restrictions on non-procreational sex within the sanctity of marriage.
posted by desjardins at 7:21 AM on October 15, 2007


because almost all of us, excepting perhaps konolia and couple of other people in this thread, are not people like him.

that's where you're wrong, bubba.
posted by quonsar at 7:37 AM on October 15, 2007


Because there was such a huge debate here, I removed the "hypocrisy" tag.

The same methodology emloyed by those getting creationism [spit] put into the schools: make lots of heat and noise, as if there were a real debate, and hope the dummies out there mistake it for the real thing.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:39 AM on October 15, 2007


Oh, that's just fucking ridiculous. I am not in the habit of making wild generalizations, I have never in my life ascribed traits to someone sight unseen because he's black or she's Jewish or whatever,

l-hat, you're on my personal list of Top 5 MeFites I Most Admire, but that can't be true. I have yet to meet a human being who dosen't do that, at least unconciously, to some group. I say that not to excuse it or minimize it, but because I think if we can recognize it in ourselves, we can look at the mechanism behind it and maybe figure out how to minimize it's effects on the world.

Also, the 'people like him' and 'people like us' language in this thread kind of bugs me a little, too. Who's 'us?' Who's 'them?' We're all both us and them, sometimes.
posted by jonmc at 7:55 AM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


a repellent organization

those are pretty strong words languagehat.
posted by caddis at 7:56 AM on October 15, 2007


unless you were referring to Liberty University rather than the Baptist Church.
posted by caddis at 7:59 AM on October 15, 2007


Oh god, you've gotten jonmc started on his "everyone's a racist" kick. Abort, abort!
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:05 AM on October 15, 2007


monju: just once, I'd like to have somebody actually think about what I'm trying to say, rather than see my name after a comment and use it to score a cheap laugh.
posted by jonmc at 8:09 AM on October 15, 2007


jonmc - I thought about it, and I agree.

And I don't think jonmc said "everyone's a racist". I think his point was that almost everyone has a bias towards a certain group. In high school, for me that group was cheerleaders. I thought they were all stupid. The idea made me feel better about myself, because I was uncoordinated and unpopular.

In college it was frat boys.

Now... well, I'm not sure. I don't know I'm generalizing until I'm in the middle of doing it.
posted by Evangeline at 8:31 AM on October 15, 2007


johnmc, I'm inclined to agree with you, but...


I have yet to meet a human being who dosen't do that, at least unconciously, to some group.


... you can read people's unconscious minds?

I'm inclined to agree with you, because I have some understanding of the forces that lead people to generalize, and I don't see how anyone can escape form them (I suspect some of these forces are innate), but I don't have anything that even remotely looks like proof -- even inductive "proof." Because I can't read minds.
posted by grumblebee at 8:33 AM on October 15, 2007


just once, I'd like to have somebody actually think about what I'm trying to say, rather than see my name after a comment and use it to score a cheap laugh.

Yeah, because none of us have ever thought about the deep and intractable problems of racism and prejudice. Yep, that's gotta be it.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:38 AM on October 15, 2007


The idea made me feel better about myself, because I was uncoordinated and unpopular.

I often think that the basis of most prejudice is self-loathing turned outwards. Look at most white-supremacists: generally the rank and file are poor, uneducated, unattractive losers (the fact that these organizations do a lot of their recruiting in prisons would seem to bear this out). Along comes somebody who says 'You're not a dumb white-trash loser, you're an Aryan Warrior." As Jim Goad says 'You tell people they're nothing often enough, they'll ventually come back claiming to be everything.'

But like Evangeline said, race is only the most obvious of these things. We all need scapegoats for what we consider the world's ills and we'll all look for easily identifiable ones. Unfortunately this obcures the fact that we are all to blame for the state the world's in.
posted by jonmc at 8:39 AM on October 15, 2007


jonmc: Well, as far as the 'mechanism' behind it... It's just a form of cognitive stereotyping, there's a slew of stuff on the subject in social psychology books, journals, etc.

It's not a bad thing in and of itself, it's actually very useful in everyday tasks as it cuts down on the amount of time and processing required to figure things out. To use a relatively benign example, imagine if you had to spend half an hour figuring out how to use each and every individual keyboard / keypad you encounter. Or figuring out how to interact with each bus driver or waiter.
posted by CKmtl at 8:41 AM on October 15, 2007


... you can read people's unconscious minds?

Of course not, but I can see how people act, even when they claim to be prejudice-free.

Yeah, because none of us have ever thought about the deep and intractable problems of racism and prejudice. Yep, that's gotta be it.


I'm sure that most people have, but sadly most of what I see dealing with the problem is quasi-superstitious stuff that seems to think that prejudice is some free-floating evil that drops from the sky, rather than looking clinically at the social, psychological, and economic forces that drive it.
posted by jonmc at 8:42 AM on October 15, 2007


To use a relatively benign example, imagine if you had to spend half an hour figuring out how to use each and every individual keyboard / keypad you encounter. Or figuring out how to interact with each bus driver or waiter.

I'm not saying we should, but where prejudice comes in is when we base our quickly formed opinions of someone of irrelevant and superficial details like race, religion, how they dress or talk, etc.
posted by jonmc at 8:44 AM on October 15, 2007


I have disagreed with jonmc on this general issue in the past, but I agree with his wording in this thread. Human brains are wired to make generalizations.

That said, I believe languagehat, that he's never consciously attributed things to anyone based on their racial/ethnic characteristics.

One time when I was walking down a city street, a thought to myself, "this person is going to do x," subconsciously almost, then it happened. It was pretty shocking to me. So I try to recognize my instant reactions. Until then, I would have said the same thing that l-hat did-- because I never consciously made assumptions about people.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:46 AM on October 15, 2007


unless you were referring to Liberty University rather than the Baptist Church.

Yeah, I was. Sorry, I thought that was clear, but if not, I welcome the chance to make it explicit. I've got lots of kin who are Southern Baptist, and I love 'em dearly.

I agree with jonmc in general and probably overstated my case, but it's still true that whatever biases about various ethnic/religious/whatever groups might be ferreted out of my subconscious have nothing to do with my conscious and firmly held bias against Liberty U and its henchmen, minions, and gauleiters. Fuck 'em.
posted by languagehat at 9:32 AM on October 15, 2007


Oh, he also mentioned that there were no restrictions on non-procreational sex within the sanctity of marriage.

Well, that's what was I pointed out a couple hundred comments ago.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:48 AM on October 15, 2007


He was told directly that whatever he chose to do within the confines of marital vows was OK, including the practice of kink. ... Oh, he also mentioned that there were no restrictions on non-procreational sex within the sanctity of marriage.

Possibly minor nitpickery:

Would what Aldridge did be considered as kink / non-procreational sex within his sanctified marriage? It doesn't sound like his wife was involved, so it's not like it was bondage and buttplay to enrich the relationship and further unite them as holy husband and wife.
posted by CKmtl at 10:16 AM on October 15, 2007


Flitcraft writes: "You'd have to be incredibly naive to think that auto asphyxiation with a dildo up your arse is an acceptable way to treat the temple of the holy spirit in these theological circles and not a massive breach of their community standards."

Yeah. That's pretty good.
posted by bardic at 12:03 PM on October 15, 2007


I've been following this thread with great interest. To me, Ethereal Bligh's argument is strongly reasoned and compelling. I think there's a rational way to argue with him, but no one here is doing it.

EB (I'm paraphrasing) : I'm important to reserve judgment as to whether or not someone is a hypocrite. You shouldn't assume someone is without compelling "from the horse's mouth" evidence.

OPPOSITION: That's not practical. We can't get into a long conversation with every member of the Nazi party. What that party stood for is so blatantly evil, and it's reasonable to assume that most members either agreed with its principles or at least knew about them. Life is short. One can't withhold all judgments. One need to judge to make decisions. Sometimes it's practical to make decisions about an individual based on his group affiliation -- especially when his group is so cut-and-dry evil.

EB (totally putting words in his mouth): Yes, but by doing this you risk treating the eccentric group-member unfairly.

OPPOSITION: I fully realize that, but I'm willing to take that risk.

I'll personalize this a bit and compare myself to the opposition, though I really think EB's view is the most noble one here. Be that as it may, I don't always reserve judgment. I try, but I fail. And sometimes I don't even try all that hard.

Maybe Sam is a KKK member who is actually not racist. Maybe he's trying to subvert the KKK from within. It's unlikely, but it's possible. But I don't care. I've judged the KKK as evil. But an organization itself can't be evil. That's too abstract. So when my mind has classified an organization as evil, it necessarily classifies the people in it as evil. This allows me to fight that organization (which is a good thing to do) without getting all caught up in qualms about rare eccentrics.

I really can't let myself think about them. If I do, I'll have to admit that I'm being unfair, and I'll wind up thinking of myself as a bad person.

In short, I need to sometimes generalize without admitting that I'm generalizing. I suspect I'm far from alone, but I'll raise my hand and admit it. The thing is, if I'm right -- if there are many people like me -- we're never going to look kindly on the EBs of the world, because we can't let ourselves listen to what he's saying.

Here's one more dynamic that might be at play: People are really angry -- and for good reason -- about various actions of the religious right. It's natural for that anger to get vented the way it's being vented here. EB is coming into a venting thread and asking everyone to be completely rational. It ain't gonna happen. And it also doesn't work to tell people they're being irrational. For whatever reason, that's considered bad. So we need to be irrational without admitting we're being irrational.

Again, I'm speaking for myself while suspecting that others are like me.
posted by grumblebee at 12:52 PM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think, is making blanket statements based on generalizations about groups of people.

Are we not over this type of thing yet? I thought after our sophomore year history courses in college and all the "truth outrage" faded people kinda got over this need to stomp their feet about the "holy nightmare of generalizing."

Becuase there is this thing called context.

God forbid we generalize about the Hutus who participated the Rwandan Genocide, right? It would be so unfair to them. I bet a couple only machete'd people to fit in, not because they REALLY believed the propaganda.

Aldridge's stated principles, convictions, and actions as Dean of Liberty U are an anathema to a functioning modern democratic state. It's not matters of taste. It's a measurable harm. Yes. I can draw some generalizations based on that. And based on living in this country for the last 43 years. Specifically the last seven years. The ideas and policies put into action by the these Jerry Falwell clones called Liberty U grads have made our country measurably WORSE. Fuck them.

Is he a hypocrite in terms of having a dildo up his ass? Does it matter?
posted by tkchrist at 1:19 PM on October 15, 2007


God forbid we generalize about the Hutus who participated the Rwandan Genocide, right? It would be so unfair to them.

I don't think that's meaningful. You HAVE to generalize about a group of people. By creating the mental category "Hutus" you're necessarily generalizing. You can't be unfair to the group. You can only be unfair to individual people in the group.

A clearer rewrite of your sentence is "God forbid we accuse the few innocent Hutus by assuming they hold the same opinions -- and carry out the same actions -- as the guilty ones."

I think people naturally do this. We need to hate certain groups. If we're hyper-rational, we know that not everyone in those groups is worthy of our hate. But it's pretty intolerable to think of yourself as a hater of innocent people. So we're caught. Either give up the hate or admit we're unfair. Most of us deal with this by hating and refusing to think about the unfairness.
posted by grumblebee at 1:27 PM on October 15, 2007


grumblebee, your analogy comes close to my reason for following this with interest too, as it's an issue I wrestled with years ago as a street activist with Anti-Fascist Action in the UK. Many of the lads I ended up in punch-ups with were very like me (some were my near neighbours) - young, white working class lads, just running with a different crowd.
I was ultimately convinced that the street politics of the time (the right's appeal to working-class hard-man stereotypes for one) and the level of abuse and harassment that was getting heaped on immigrant families trumped my qualms about violence or "being just as big a thug as they are." I'm still happy that what we did was necessary in context.
By the same token I am happy to be held to account for the people I have associated with down the years, and have disengaged from some groups and organisations when I felt that on balance they were doing more harm than good (not AFA - the lot I was with wound itself up once the need for it had passed).
If the above seems too abstract, my point is that if we found you hanging tough on the corner with the gang who'd been daubing people's houses just up the road and abusing their gran on the way back from the shops, we'd set about you. We didn't stop to ask if you'd actually held the spray-can or spat at Mrs Patel. If that upset you, you could consider finding new friends or hobbies.
Now, my view was the noble approach a la EB would have left the streets to the abusers uncontested, and they'd have loved that and continued to make people's lives a misery.
posted by Abiezer at 1:28 PM on October 15, 2007


You're equating the american religious right with the authors of the genocidal massacre of 600,000? Can I call Godwin, or does it have to be a specifically nazi genocidal reference?
posted by timeistight at 1:41 PM on October 15, 2007


Now, [if] my view was the noble approach a la EB would have left the streets to the abusers uncontested, and they'd have loved that and continued to make people's lives a misery.

You're right, but there's a difference between:

1) What's true.

and

2) What's healthy to believe.

I'm always confused when A makes a factual claim and B says, "If we all thought that way, then..." Is B saying that A is factually wrong? Is B saying that A might be right or wrong, but it doesn't matter (the truth isn't important)? Is B saying A is right, and it's dangerous that A is right (we shouldn't think about the truth)?
posted by grumblebee at 1:47 PM on October 15, 2007


You're equating the american religious right with the authors of the genocidal massacre of 600,000?

Who? Me? No I'm not. I'm making an analogy, which is a VERY different thing from equating. In these discussions, there's usually a big confusion between equality and analogy, and I'm not sure how to overcome that.
posted by grumblebee at 1:51 PM on October 15, 2007


Oh, quite, grumblebee. I had friends at the time thought otherwise, and I thought none the worse of the sincere ones. I wasn't laying down the One True Way, more trying to illustrate where I think the other approach has validity. I wasn't being snide, I do think there's nobility in EB's view and that it is important to have in mind. But sometimes you go ahead anyway.
posted by Abiezer at 1:53 PM on October 15, 2007


A: We need to boycott that book store that's banned Stephen King book! We can't allow stores to ban books. Imagine what would happen to our culture if stores started banning Shakespeare!

B: So you're saying Stephen King is as important a writer as Shakespeare?

THIS is the sort of confusion that always comes up in these discussions.
posted by grumblebee at 1:56 PM on October 15, 2007


Ablezer, I agree with you. It's called "being practical." I would nuke the enemy starship, even knowing there were three human prisoners on board. Of course I would! If I didn't, the whole Earth would be destroyed.

What irritates me is the guy who nukes the ship and then goes into denial about the injustice of killing the prisoners. An act can -- and often is -- practical and unjust at the same time.

But maybe I'm being too harsh. And maybe I shouldn't be allowed near the trigger. I swear I'd pull it, but maybe I wouldn't pull it quite as fast as the justifier. And maybe those few seconds would be important.
posted by grumblebee at 2:02 PM on October 15, 2007


And if you'll allow me further rambles, I think part of what clinched it for me was that this was people just like me.
I wasn't making them the "other." I knew just the sort of lads they were, because I was one in many respects.
Point being, that sometimes it's not that you're writing people off with a broad brush from ignorance or a stereotype. Sometimes, you know them only to well, and you know they really have no excuse for their shit.
On preview: I agree very much that healthy and honest self-questioning is important. If you spend all your leisure time doing it, you can buff your prejudices up to a cat-spring coil for those moments where you're called to act :D
posted by Abiezer at 2:05 PM on October 15, 2007


Godwin's Law is about analogies: over-the-top, ridiculous analogies, such as yours.
posted by timeistight at 2:06 PM on October 15, 2007


Godwin's Law is about analogies: over-the-top, ridiculous analogies, such as yours

Grumblebee's analogy is well-reasoned, if the premises are incorrect. You're overreacting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:10 PM on October 15, 2007


timeissight, I'm losing your point. When I brought up Nazis, I was speaking from the point-of-view of someone who had already decided that the Religious Right is evil. And I was making the further assumption that this speaker was part of a group who agreed that they were evil.

I don't -- in fact -- personally think they are evil. But that's not my point. My point is IF you think that a group is evil, it's hard to think about members of that group as being not-evil. Even if it's true, it's very hard to think about.

THAT'S why I brought up Nazis. I assumed that everyone here things of the group called "Nazi" as evil. Given that, my claim is that it's hard for us to think of individual Nazis as not evil.

I was NOT equating Nazis with the Religious Right.
posted by grumblebee at 2:14 PM on October 15, 2007


In a way, I think what I'm saying is this simple: we've been conditioned to stop at red lights. Let's say, for some reason, there's this one red light in Bumblefuck, Alaska at which you're supposed to go instead of stop. That's very hard to think about.

When we teach kids how to drive, it's very tempting to say, "Always stop at red lights." If we say, "except..." we dilute the message.

And I'm NOT equating the Religious Right with red lights.
posted by grumblebee at 2:21 PM on October 15, 2007


grumblebee, you, like EB, seem to be overlooking the point (the absolutely vital point) that this guy was not just "a member of..." (some group, even the Nazi Party or the KKK or Your Favorite Nasty Group, which one could conceivably have joined for one's own twisted/pathetic reasons without sharing their views)—he was a dean at Liberty U. You don't get into a position like that without a strong and demonstrated commitment to the party line; it's like being a People's Commissar back in the bad old Soviet days. All arguments about giving the poor guy a break (and I am normally all about giving the poor guy a break) fail in this context.
posted by languagehat at 2:23 PM on October 15, 2007


Languagehat, I'm not arguing about whether or not he was a good guy. I'm only interested in whether or not it makes sense to label him a hypocrite. (And I agree with EB about why it's worth debating this label).

Before deciding if he's a hypocrite, you have to decide something really basic about communication: is joining an organization a form of communication? Is running a organization a form of communication? If so, maybe he deserves that label.

(I don't know if this is true, but I once heard that Bill Gates said that Windows XP was a terrible product. Assuming that's true, is he a hypocrite? I also learned that many people at Adobe use php instead of their own company's product, Cold Fusion. Are they hypocrites?)

Or do you need to make a verbal/written statement to be a hypocrite?
posted by grumblebee at 2:30 PM on October 15, 2007


One thing that I like about this thread, is that when Brother Aldridge's grandchildren get old enough to do Google searches, and they start wondering why the hell their parents get a weird look on their face whenever grandpa's name is mentioned, they get online, will come across this page, realize what a fucking perv and hypocrite grandpa was, and maybe they will bail out of the Baptist Church and its spurious rectitude (boy, the word "rectitude" takes on an edgy nuance here, doesn't it?).

(Hi, kids!)

Oh, by the way --- the Southern Baptist Church has a history of hypocrisy, having been founded by the sect of Baptists who just couldn't bear to give up their slaves. So, as hypocrisy goes, there's really nothing new to be seen here.
posted by jayder at 2:43 PM on October 15, 2007


Slavery is a great evil. But how were those Baptists hypocrites for refusing to give up their slaves? Did they tell other people to give up slaves?
posted by grumblebee at 2:45 PM on October 15, 2007


is joining an organization a form of communication? Is running a organization a form of communication?

Depending on the type of organization, yes and yes. A radical organization that seeks to restrict people's rights (even if they're doing it "for your own good")? Yes. A business that pretty much accepts that there's other options on the market and accepts competition (yes, yes, *hiss* evil M$), not so much.

Does Microsoft forbid its employees from using non-Windows OSs? Are Microsoft employees fined and fired if they wander into work with an iPod?
posted by CKmtl at 2:51 PM on October 15, 2007


I was pretty lazy with the Jesus readin' growing up, but I think the quote was "love thy brother", not "own".
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:51 PM on October 15, 2007


Yes, cortex, but you're skewing things in your favor via your definition of "brother" (granted, I defined it the same way you do).

I'm sometimes tempted to call Christians hypocrites if they eat meat. That's because sometimes I define cows as "brothers".

IF someone believes that black people and white people are brothers and IF he believes you should love your brother and IF -- given all that -- he abuses his brother, THEN he's a hypocrite. Otherwise, he's just an evil asshole.

"Hypocrite" is not just a synonym for bad person.
posted by grumblebee at 2:58 PM on October 15, 2007



is joining an organization a form of communication? Is running a organization a form of communication?

Depending on the type of organization, yes and yes. A radical organization that seeks to restrict people's rights (even if they're doing it "for your own good")? Yes.

Okay, but why? What it it about joining such an organization that makes the act a joining a form of communication?
posted by grumblebee at 2:59 PM on October 15, 2007


Slavery is a great evil. But how were those Baptists hypocrites for refusing to give up their slaves? Did they tell other people to give up slaves?

Hypocrisy is an intrinsic, not extrinsic behavioral property: You are hypocritical if you are inconsistent within your own moral code, not relative to anyone else's morality.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:03 PM on October 15, 2007


Before deciding if he's a hypocrite, you have to decide something really basic about communication: is joining an organization a form of communication? Is running a organization a form of communication?

I don't think one person can say, "I've decided that running an organization is not a form of communication, and therefore it is fact that Aldridge is not a hypocrite." I think the core here is social perceptions, social groups, social and religious belief systems. It's not as clear-cut as just "deciding something really basic."

Well, it might be, in the realm of "How will I, pineapple [grumblebee, languagehat, whomever], process and assimilate this situation? How will I as an individual feel about this?" But for me personally, that's not what's on the table here. In the context of this thread, and the other, it's about "how are we as a group allowed to process this?"

If the answer is always to be, "well, we aren't because there could be that one exception, that one situation that fights all odds, and therefore we can never speak in any generalization whatsoever without being intellectually dishonest," what does that say about MetaFilter as a place for reasonable discourse?

(I don't know if this is true, but I once heard that Bill Gates said that Windows XP was a terrible product. Assuming that's true, is he a hypocrite? I also learned that many people at Adobe use php instead of their own company's product, Cold Fusion. Are they hypocrites?)


I don't think they are, in the context of this discussion -- because a product for sale and whether the manufacturer of that product chooses to use it or not is not the same as "I am a person who is an approved teacher and leader in the organized religion that members of our faith believe to be the only acceptable way to live, and we shall cast aspersions and moral judgments against those who choose any other path, and whether or not you do as I say is the marker on whether or not you get into Heaven and are loved by God."

Or do you need to make a verbal/written statement to be a hypocrite?

I think that is a non sequitur. It's not, to me, about how the potential hypocrite professed the belief against which he transgressed... but how fervent he was in that belief to begin with, and in what way he foisted that belief on others. Bill Gates can say that Windows XP is a terrible product (in some obscure context), and still wholeheartedly encourage people to buy it, and mean what he says. And because of the relationship that a Western consumer traditionally has with a product vendor, he's going to get a chary eye no matter what, and no one has been deceived.

A consumer goes to a merchant with money in hand and is prepared to receive some snake oil, whether they actually do or not. Caveat emptor. Those are the established rules of the relationship.

A congregant goes to a minister with heart and faith in hand and is prepared to receive spiritual guidance and moral leadership. There is no caveat venditor equivalent here; that's not how faith works.
posted by pineapple at 3:31 PM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


is joining an organization a form of communication? Is running a organization a form of communication? If so, maybe he deserves that label.

I'm confused about your point here. To the extent I understand what you mean by "a form of communication," sure it is. What would it mean to not only join but become an executive in an ideological organization if you didn't subscribe to its ideology? Yes, yes, one could be a mole trying to gather information for an exposé, or an existentialist making random life decisions, but I trust no one is arguing that anything like that was the case with Brother Aldridge—this is real life, not a Hollywood script. Brother Aldridge joined up and climbed the ladder because he was a proud proclaimer of a certain approach to life that does not involve rubber and dildos, and he's clearly a hypocrite in my book. If you dispute that, you're saying you think Brother Aldridge wouldn't have minded having the congregation and/or press over to witness his fun, and I think you'd have a hard time maintaining that with a straight face.

This has turned into a really good discussion, by the way.
posted by languagehat at 3:31 PM on October 15, 2007


Coming very late to the party, but I've read the Bible a bit, and I don't remember anything about dildos, condoms, rubber suits, or bondage gear. I don't think this guy's a hypocrite. I mean, so far as I can tell from the info available so far, he probably lived entirely within the letter of his principles.

Ted Haggard-- a man who crusaded against homosexuality vehemently while secretly enjoying the lifestyle himself-- he is a hypocrite. A preacher who lived his life, didn't (so far as I can tell) take any part in the persecution of others, and privately enjoyed some things that shock the rest of us? Not a hypocrite. Sorry.

By the way, I want to say: I liked this post. When somebody throws together an FPP based on flimsy evidence about something that's not really that extraordinary anyway to make some kind of point, yeah. But this guy's death was fucking epic, people. You can't deny it. And as little as I like the smoking gun, I think Mr. Aldridge's unique life deserves some celebration.
posted by koeselitz at 3:34 PM on October 15, 2007


I guess-- maybe I'm wrong, but this is my sense-- that I feel like, the more people like this exist and are celebrated, the more all that persecution that people worry about will go away.
posted by koeselitz at 3:48 PM on October 15, 2007


Echoing koeselitz, I don't see where this guy is a hypocrite, unless there is evidence that he has preached about bondage et al, which I don't see any evidence of. I'm not aware of anything in the bible that prohibits any sexual practice that occurs between man and wife or, by definition, alone (although some disagree with this part, I know). Embarrassing to be caught out like this, sure, but that doesn't make someone a hypocrite, just human.

I certianly don't see any reason why this is not suitable material for MeFi, either, given the pretty low minimum standard required.
posted by dg at 4:01 PM on October 15, 2007


Maybe Sam is a KKK member who is actually not racist. Maybe he's trying to subvert the KKK from within.

If Sam is a member of the KKK he may be doing various things we don't know about. If Sam outwardly represents the KKK, then he endorses the views of the KKK. At this stage, even if he later turns out not to have been a believer, it will have to be a case of denying his earlier representation. This would be the same as if he had earlier said he was a racist, and then later claimed that he had just made that statement in order to "subvert from within" or whatever other outlying case you want to argue for. But those cases do not change the charge of hypocrisy. He is hypocritical in that he claimed by one action to be against sexual deviance from the norm and by another action to support it.

We have (at least) three different arguments going on here:

a) he personally never explicitly stated he was against alternative sexuality, so even if he represented an organization that was against it, that doesn't mean he individually agreed with that stance.

In response to this, I say, by representing the organization he implicitly embraces its fundamental tenets.

b) the organization never explicitly stated it was against the specific form of alternative sexuality he expressed, so even if they're against homosexuality and sex outside of marriage, that doesn't mean they're against spandex, dildos up the butt, and auto-asphyxiation.

In response to this, I say, when arguments are made to defend recreational sex within a marriage, they are geared toward some notion of the strengthening of the bonds of marriage through a spiritual act of love. How would this fit those criteria?

c) he personally and the organization were obviously opposed to deviant sex, but he is not hypocritical because he recognized that everyone sins and would only have asked for forgiveness, as he would suggest gay people and other sexual deviants ask for forgiveness themselves. In other words, the point is not to accept the activity, but recognize that it's wrong and try to stop, and if you fuck up and are caught with your pants down, well, we all make mistakes.

In response to this I say, this is probably the most cogent argument, but still has trouble. He should be out about whatever supposed sins he is dealing with in this area and make it clear he's trying to stop, if he is going to be a public figure who condemns such actions. A closet drug addict who represented some kind of anti-partying / clean-living organization would certainly be called a hypocrite if he died of an overdose, even if the claim was that he couldn't control his own use.

But that just points toward the larger significance of all these stories of closeted members of the christian right: a lot of them are dealing with major psychological issues and repressed sexuality, and that's exactly why they're so intolerant of flexible alternatives. Maybe if they started by coming out as "sinners", we would see how many of them there are, how many of the christian right are struggling with these kinds of internal divisions, and possibly a more tolerant notion of healthy sexuality could be worked towards... except one wonders how many of them get off on being "sinners" to start with.
posted by mdn at 4:02 PM on October 15, 2007


What it it about joining such an organization that makes the act a joining a form of communication?

Because there's a drastic difference in the worldviews of run-of-the-mill corporations / manufacturers / businesses and those of radical social / political / religious organizations.

By and large businesses accept that there are - or could be - other businesses out there that could potentially fill the needs of customers. While they may have wet dreams about being the One And Only widget or whatsit provider forever and ever, they pretty much know it's not going to happen.

Radical organizations, on the other hand, see themselves as the One True Way and are actually trying to have that allegorical 100% share of the market. If you disagree with them, you're Wrong and part of The Problem.

If you join or found a radical organization, how are you doing anything other than saying "This organization's ideals are the way it should be, and I want to work to further their goals"?

Suppose you want to take up a job as Co-Director of Public Relations. There's a whole bunch of organizations whose public relations you could co-direct. Would you chose to work with PETA, NAMBLA, or The Aryan Nation if you disagreed with their stances on meat-eating, boy-loving or racial division, respectively? If you did, I'd think it fair to conclude that you're sympathetic to their cause even if you haven't expressly said so.

If the dear departed frogman wasn't sympathetic to the Falwell's and Liberty University's cause, he could've taken up a Deanship elsewhere - provided that he'd be qualified elsewhere. I'd say one of the main qualifications for being a Dean at Liberty is being totally in line with Falwell's ideals.
posted by CKmtl at 4:07 PM on October 15, 2007


Sorry, that should be "If you did (choose to work with them)", to avoid confusion.
posted by CKmtl at 4:10 PM on October 15, 2007


You make many assumptions in your argument, mdn. Maybe I missed something (wouldn't be the first time), but where do we see that he, or the church he represented, is against sexual activity outside "the norm", whatever that is? People often assume that outspoken Christians only enjoy or endorse "vanilla" sex, but that's far from the truth. Sure, there are fundamentalist organisations who may do this, but is that the case with this person?
posted by dg at 4:11 PM on October 15, 2007


Another problem here isn't just generalization (where individuals are inappropriately assigned group traits), but faulty generalizations, where people have poor understandings of the categories they are extrapolating from to begin with.

I see this on a number of websites. For instance I once caught someone on MetaFilter accuse "Right Wing extremists like Pat Buchanan and David Duke" of being hawks in the Iraq War. Of course, just like people in this thread, they had never read anything about Buchanan or Duke supporting the war, they just made an assumption based on a heuristic in their minds that looked something like this:

"Right and Left is a single political spectrum. As you move to the opposite poles, everything gets more opposite. So people at the far Right are the most Capitalist, the most religious, and the most war-mongering. Buchanan and Duke are at the farthest Right, therefore they must have wanted the war more than anybody."

But, of course, the political spectrum doesn't look like that at all and the generalization was ass wrong. The "blood and soil" right in the US has been 100% against the Iraq war since the beginning.

Now if they actually "knew their enemies" they would have known that these particular individuals didn't support the war, and they could have even predicted beforehand why they wouldn't support the war. But they didn't 'know their enemy', they just had some vague understanding of the Right Wing as some monolithic scary ideology that inherently must contradict their every possible opinion on anything. Along with this the dehumanizing belief that everyone inside this monolith is a clone. (which some posters have actually justified above with disturbing analogies to war. Political enemies in fact must be dehumanized in this manner in order to "win". Whatever.)

And this is very similar to the arguments I've seen in this thread. Rather than understanding, not only religious views on sexuality, but how sexual views vary among religious groups and individuals, people here walked into this thread and their accusations of "hypocrisy" with only a vague sense that GODBOYZ HATE TEH SEX and its bullshit, so at ther very least, I've tried to get people to hesitate a little in their judgments long enough to at least try and get their facts straight.

Note, when we started this thread people were confidently asserting that fundamentalists only believed sex was appropriate when bearing children in a marriage. Therefore the good reverend in question must be a hypocrite because he was masturbating. Yet since then we've established that many fundamentalists a) approve of masturbation, b) encourage non-procreative sex within marriage. Both which have counteracted the logic of the "hypocrisy" assumption.

(for more see desjardins' comment above establishing that S&M kink within marriage is generally not discouraged by fundies, and Blazecock Pileon's admission that this has basically been long established in this thread).

Yet still we see this same logic repeated in a more dilluted form:

"It now turns out his own sexuality was not "vanilla" either. This is the hypocrisy."

"[he] has certainly condemned a vast number of lesser sexual behaviours; thus, as his private behaviours are contrary to those espoused by his public organization, he is a hypocrite."


I have already noted that this reasoning is faulty. This is your category error. Either Fundamentalists do or do not condemn these acts. You can't extrapolate lazily from rules against homosexuality and adultery to rules against rubber and ass play. Rules against the former do not apply to the latter. If I make a rule against eating Chinese food, you don't get to call me a hypocrite if I die eating some Mexican food. That's not how it works. Get your categories right.

At least demonstrate first that the kinds of behavior he was engaged in are condemned by the kinds of churches he was aligned with. (something that still may be true) And then maybe at least you won't be engaging the more egregious category error. Though still the lesser category error of condemning an individual for actions he may or may not have committed based only on the stereotype of his group.
posted by dgaicun at 4:14 PM on October 15, 2007


One more ridiculous argument is that he was 'hypocrite' because he owned a dildo, even though it is illegal to sell them in Alabama.

It is not illegal to own or even buy a dildo in Alabama. (not to mention buy one online or in another state)

At the end of the day, he decided to either violate the law or work around it, not to mention ignore and/or circumvent community standards.

Did he preach against doing otherwise nonsinful things in complete private that go against "community standards"?

Sorry, this adds exactly zero to the 'hypocrisy' argument.
posted by dgaicun at 4:28 PM on October 15, 2007


Either Fundamentalists do or do not condemn these acts. You can't extrapolate lazily from rules against homosexuality and adultery to rules against rubber and ass play.


What planet do you live on?

I'm sure that if a married Baptist Fundie preachers non-fatal rubber-ass -dildo kink was outed to his flock, and the public at large, he would have no problem keeping his job. Right? Wha? Right?

We KNOW this is not the case.
posted by tkchrist at 4:33 PM on October 15, 2007


Again, S&M kink is apparently not generally condemned as "sin" by fundies.

You are using your stereotyped impressions as a substitute for facts. Let's take it to the next level.
posted by dgaicun at 4:42 PM on October 15, 2007


Blazecock Pileon: "Hypocrisy is an intrinsic, not extrinsic behavioral property: You are hypocritical if you are inconsistent within your own moral code, not relative to anyone else's morality."

Hypocrisy is specifically proclaiming a belief to others while not actually holding the belief yourself. And the type of hypocrisy that really cheeses people off is when you tell someone else how they should live, while you don't live that way yourself. Sure, it isn't relative to someone else's morality, but it is dependent on expressing the contrary belief to others. If it was just internal moral inconsistencies that makes a person a hypocrite, I don't think any one of us would get a pass. That's why grumblebee asks the question of whether being a member of an organization is a method of communication. Without the communication portion, it's not an hypocrisy. It's just a dude with a secret that may or may not have fit into his belief system.

And just because he'd rather the congregation not know about his kink doesn't make him a hypocrite, either. In order to be a hypocrite, he would have to profess to others that kinky masturbation is wrong, while engaging in the activity himself. And there's very little evidence that he did any such thing. The fact that he wasn't treating his body as a temple is slightly compelling, but is pretty weak sauce. That's the kind of small-time guideline that no one really expects anyone to follow, and no proper lynch mob would get frothy about.

That said, I don't think there's much of a need to get hung up on whether he was a hypocrite or not. He was certainly a douchebag in a douchebag organization, and they've been hella embarrassed. We can enjoy bad things happening to bad people without it needing to be another notch in the hypocrite post.
posted by team lowkey at 4:43 PM on October 15, 2007


“At least demonstrate first that the kinds of behavior he was engaged in are condemned by the kinds of churches he was aligned with. (something that still may be true) And then maybe at least you won't be engaging the more egregious category error.”

This isn't going to work, dgaicun, because the people in this thread you're arguing with know in their gut that Aldridge is a hypocrite. Full stop. The end. No more discussion needed.

We're going over the same points, again and again. People are certain that, somehow, being a Dean at Liberty University means that when Aldridge engaged in this kinky masturbatory activity, he was being hypocritical. When pressed, they defend this argument in various ways, but in each case the defense amounts to “I don't have any specific evidence of this, but I'm certain of it”. You can't argue with that.

Anyway, the thing that really bothers me about this thread is that no matter how many times I've made it clear what my specific argument is, people keep responding to either a more general argument (“generalizations are bad”) or a more specific argument (“Aldridge isn't a hypocrite”), neither of which I'm making.

My argument is quite specifically that accusations of hypocrisy on the basis of group membership (that is, the behavior is demonstrated and the “should” is assumed from the group membership) is pernicious, ubiquitous, and very unfair. It's done in this thread against Aldridge, and against those people accusing Aldridge. I did it against five fresh fish to prove a point, and no one batted an eye.

This specific example of Aldridge is just not that important to me. In this case, I agree that he's probably a hypocrite. But that's not important, either. Because I suspect that the people I'm arguing with in this thread are hypocrites, too, with regard to yerfatma's example of racial profiling. But suspicions are different things that knowledge and different than public accusations. If you're suspicious that someone's a hypocrite, then you, for example, do a search of the MeFi archives until you find that someone in this thread has argued against guilt by association. You don't just assume that they have because they fit into some mental slot you've created for them.

It's a bad, bad mental and discursive habit. It has continuing destructive effects beyond each instance, which was what my gypsy fable was supposed to demonstrate. Each time we do this and tell ourselves that we've discovered another example of hypocrisy among “that” group, then that's additional certainty we bring to the table the next time we pigeonhole people. It's a continual process of further and further ignoring individual differences in people. The farther along you are in this process with a group of people, the more that it seems like every one of them is a hypocrite in every way.

Why am I focusing on the accusation of hypocrisy with regard to this process of stereotyping? Because, for some reason I'm not very clear on, the accusation of hypocrisy is a very popular and oddly damaging accusation to make these days. I think it's the primary way that this tendency is expressed in web discourse. It seems like everyone is always on the lookout for opportunities to accuse their opponents of hypocrisy. And for some large portion of these occasions, the reasoning involved is based upon guilt by association.

“We KNOW this is not the case.”

You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:52 PM on October 15, 2007


So you are telling me, if this was little self-love scenario played out and was not fatal... but everybody found out about it anyway... he would STILL be a BAPTIST preacher?

You telling me that?

You're all high if you think that.
posted by tkchrist at 4:58 PM on October 15, 2007


You are using your stereotyped impressions as a substitute for facts. Let's take it to the next level.

No. I'm taking my experience with the fact on planet god damned EARTH. I wish I was on your level. Because obviously the weed is good.

Look. I don't care about this guy. I don't care about hypocrisy. I wish this stupid post would have never been made (note: I never commented in it, either).

But you guys are so open minded and are bending over so far backwards for this dude that your brains are falling into your asses.
posted by tkchrist at 5:02 PM on October 15, 2007


“You telling me that?”

I think we're telling you that you, or we, don't know this. I don't know either way. I have suspicions. But I've found that past suspicions are extremely fragile when new information is learned. To know something, however, is very, very robust. There's a big gap between suspicion and knowledge.

Haven't you ever been certain that people would react a particular way and then have been shocked when they don't? If so, then you should have learned to be more cautious about making such predictions.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:06 PM on October 15, 2007


You make many assumptions in your argument, mdn. Maybe I missed something (wouldn't be the first time), but where do we see that he, or the church he represented, is against sexual activity outside "the norm", whatever that is? People often assume that outspoken Christians only enjoy or endorse "vanilla" sex, but that's far from the truth. Sure, there are fundamentalist organisations who may do this, but is that the case with this person?

which argument are you referring to? b)? What I said above was that the guidelines of sexual behavior as laid out on the liberty website show the rejection of fornication, adultery, homosexuality, sodomy and other forms of sex outside of marriage. Using a dildo is not part of standard sex between a husband and wife as described here. An auto-erotic act involving various toys and no "joining of one flesh" and "glorifying the temple of the holy spirit" and so forth cannot be defended as an act that fits within the norms of sexuality here.

And if they were going to make that claim, then it'd have to be made explicitly, as it would not even be expected within most of the congregation (I realize there are groups which promote such ideas, but outside of the internet, it isn't the standard expectation of believers, or their millions of voters). I have no doubt that it is only due to shifting cultural norms which have made this sort of behavior less shocking in the wider social sphere that anyone is suggesting that it might be acceptable within the religious right. But the standards of the church are not meant to shift like that...
posted by mdn at 5:09 PM on October 15, 2007


So you are telling me, if this was little self-love scenario played out and was not fatal... but everybody found out about it anyway... he would STILL be a BAPTIST preacher?

Probably not. But if it was discovered that the managing partner of my law firm liked to dress up in diving suits and stick dildos up his ass, he wouldn't be the partner of my law firm much longer. They wouldn't have legal grounds to dismiss him, but I'm betting they'd come to an agreement in "everyone's best interest".

Same applies to the principal of a high school, the dean of a college (no, not just Liberty), a senator or ANYONE in authority. Unless you're the president of the local BDSM chapter, it's probably a bad career move to fill everyone in on the most intimate secrets of your sex life.
posted by Evangeline at 5:09 PM on October 15, 2007


I think we're telling you that you, or we, don't know this. I don't know either way. I have suspicions. But I've found that past suspicions are extremely fragile when new information is learned.

So this whole thing could've ended 200+ comments ago, if everyone on the hypocrite side stated it as:

"As of this precise time and date, and pending further information, it is my personal suspicion that he's a hypocrite. This opinion is neither legal nor binding. Void where prohibited. Side-effects, while rare, may include greasy anal discharge."

Yes?

Fine then. As of this precise time and date (see time stamp below), and pending further information, it is my personal suspicion that he's a hypocrite. This opinion is neither legal nor binding. Void where prohibited. Side-effects, while rare, may include greasy anal discharge.
posted by CKmtl at 5:14 PM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Unless you're the president of the local BDSM chapter

Unfortunately, that doesn't pay well. Or at all.
posted by desjardins at 5:15 PM on October 15, 2007


If so, then you should have learned to be more cautious about making such predictions.

Your too much. Really. EB I like you alot. But you have gone too far in this argument.

You don't have to be Nostradamus to know exactly the type of reaction, say Jerry Falwell, would have gotten from his flock if he was found swathed in rubber straps and unconscious with a dildo up his ass. And the rest of of world found out.

I'm basing my "prediction" on how BAPTIST fundies react based upon how they have reacted a five hundred times before.

If you knew anything about psychology, sociology, history, or human nature and were half the counseled wise man you're (over) playing up in this thread you would know you can base peoples future behaviors on their past behaviors. And get it right about 70-80% of the time. Maybe more.

Like I know what you're (and dgiacun) gonna say next. But I am utterly too fatigued with this idiotic argument to continue.

Have at it boys. Defend the fundies. They need you.
posted by tkchrist at 5:15 PM on October 15, 2007


“But I am utterly too fatigued with this idiotic argument to continue.”

I knew you were going to say that.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:18 PM on October 15, 2007


What would it mean to not only join but become an executive in an ideological organization if you didn't subscribe to its ideology?

Oh, I think people join organizations -- and even rise high in them -- for all sorts of reasons. Many people don't even think much in terms of ideology.

I'll give you an example from my own life: I have some very strong eccentric views about teaching. For instance, I don't believe in lectures. I think pretty much any teacher who lectures is a bad teacher. I also don't believe in grades.

Yet I spent ten years as a very traditional teacher. I rose fairly high in my company. I knew the company's teaching methods were wrong (yes, I feel it's a moral issue), but I went along with them. I taught "their way" in my classroom. I did it for the money.

There are many bad things you could say about me -- and I've probably already said them about myself. Certainly, I wasn't being very honorable.

But was a I hypocrite? No. I wasn't going around telling OTHER teachers that they were bad for lecturing and giving grades. THAT would have made me a hypocrite.

You might define me as a hypocrite if you feel like by choosing to work for a company with a pro lecture philosophy, I was "saying" I was in favor of it. (This is what I meant by "communication.") But you'll only say that if you already believe that being part of an organization that espouses a philosophy necessarily means you agree with that philosophy. Some people here do seem to believe that. I don't.


Well, it might be, in the realm of "How will I, pineapple [grumblebee, languagehat, whomever], process and assimilate this situation? How will I as an individual feel about this?" But for me personally, that's not what's on the table here. In the context of this thread, and the other, it's about "how are we as a group allowed to process this?"


That's a very interesting point-of-view, and I think it would derail this thread if I responded to it fully. But I think you're making some very complicated claims. I'm not sure I buy that "we as a group" exists in any simple way. We're a group of people with very complex views, desired, prejudices, etc. Here at Metafilter, there are some rituals but no formal means of consensus. Often, I think "we as a group" SEEM to decide thing by a few people talking the loudest and the longest while everyone else gets tired and drops out.
posted by grumblebee at 5:19 PM on October 15, 2007


Same applies to the principal of a high school, the dean of a college (no, not just Liberty), a senator or ANYONE in authority. Unless you're the president of the local BDSM chapter, it's probably a bad career move to fill everyone in on the most intimate secrets of your sex life.

And golly gee. Why is that? Wouldn't have anything to do with the duplicitous attitude Americans have about sexuality as proscribed to us by... oh... say 200 years of puritanical Christian suppression and dogma?

Kinda like the dogma like that which is preached at the super open-minded Sex Positive Liberty U.

Nah. I'm only generalizing based on stereotypes.
posted by tkchrist at 5:21 PM on October 15, 2007


Unfortunately, that doesn't pay well. Or at all.

But they have a great dental plan.
posted by Evangeline at 5:24 PM on October 15, 2007


mdn: "Using a dildo is not part of standard sex between a husband and wife as described here. An auto-erotic act involving various toys and no "joining of one flesh" and "glorifying the temple of the holy spirit" and so forth cannot be defended as an act that fits within the norms of sexuality here."

It seem to me that you are applying your sexual norms to the situation here, although I don't really think this is true. From the link you provided, I don't really see anything that explicitly prohibits the practices that have been mentioned, although there is little doubt that they fall on the edge of what would be considered acceptable, not only by Liberty University, but by general society. There is no doubt in my mind that, had he been discovered in this act (ie, that he hadn't died) and that information became public, he would no longer be a minister of any church or a dean of any university. However, that doesn't make him a hypocrite, it makes the people who make those decisions hypocrites.

Man, why do people format serious information like that (from the link)? Anything written in all caps is just plain nasty and makes the chances of it being taken seriously approach zero.
posted by dg at 5:32 PM on October 15, 2007


Using a dildo is not part of standard sex between a husband and wife as described here.

mdn, we've already been over this for a few days. Masturbation is not considered sinful by many Fundies. Your argument then becomes it's wrong because it was "elaborate" masturbation, which is a pretty weak reasoning.

I'm basing my "prediction" on how BAPTIST fundies react based upon how they have reacted a five hundred times before.

Citation? Entries may not include things such homosexuality, adultery, and other nonmarital exposes. I was not aware kinky masturbation Baptist resignations were as common in the news as you say. Maybe we just read different newspaper, you and I.

Although this response is consistent with my viewpoint, and similar in thinking to another comment I made much earlier.
posted by dgaicun at 5:35 PM on October 15, 2007


And golly gee. Why is that? Wouldn't have anything to do with the duplicitous attitude Americans have about sexuality as proscribed to us by... oh... say 200 years of puritanical Christian suppression and dogma?

I work at a liberal New York law firm. You could count the Republicans on one hand. We have attorneys with tongue piercings. We have openly gay attorneys. I don't think we have any graduates from Liberty U on our staff. Nevertheless, if it was known firm-wide that a particular attorney enjoyed self-bondage and rubber suits, he'd have a harder time making equity.

I know of plenty of people who are not Christians, who are not sexually repressed in some way, but find some forms of fetishism distasteful. Forget fetishism - most people don't want to hear about your sex life, no matter how vanilla it is. Surprise.

Do generally advertise the details of your sex life? Do you think most people want to hear about it?
posted by Evangeline at 5:36 PM on October 15, 2007


Woah, well I wouldn't defend that attitude, but I do agree that sex exposes are pretty much universally bad for people in any leadership or social relations position. And the less standard the sex the more destructive the public knowledge.
posted by dgaicun at 5:44 PM on October 15, 2007


I'm not sure that the argument lives and dies with the precise contours of the Liberty U bylaws on leather and dildos.

One thing I've learned in the past five or so years is that a political group or idea shouldn't be judged on the basis of its most polished PR; rather, its inclinations and unstated assumptions and biases need to be accounted for.

There's a lot of problems with that approach, though-- not least, it opens the door for critics to say, "well they say x, but really they mean y."

The principle that group membership doesn't determine every opinion is unobjectionable. The question is, who's got the burden to establish what this guy probably believed and advocated? What he personally believed is probably not going to be answered on this thread. It'll come down to what people think Baptists think.

It seems to me that people on this thread with some familiarity with Baptists in general, and Liberty in particular, are not prone to be down with the activities Rev. Aldridge was engaging in. Others may have differing views. I'm cautiously on board with the hypocrisy advocates.
posted by ibmcginty at 5:48 PM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Masturbation is not considered sinful by many Fundies.

It is sinful, if it is not within the confines of sexual behavior between male husband and female wife. But we've been over this too many times.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:58 PM on October 15, 2007


Woah, well I wouldn't defend that attitude...

I'm not sure what you mean. I wasn't defending that attitude at all. I just think it's an unfortunate fact of life.
posted by Evangeline at 5:59 PM on October 15, 2007


I'm not sure I buy that "we as a group" exists in any simple way. We're a group of people with very complex views, desired, prejudices, etc. Here at Metafilter, there are some rituals but no formal means of consensus. Often, I think "we as a group" SEEM to decide thing by a few people talking the loudest and the longest while everyone else gets tired and drops out.

I don't either think that "we as a group" exists simply. Nor do I think that he who talks the loudest and longest should win, simply because there's no formal means of consensus.

But I do expect that a civil exchange should be able to take place without us all having to constantly pander to the magic bullet theory du jour (today's: "if the dildo fits, you must acquit"). For any debate you could conjure at MeFi, there can be the one rare exception -- to which "noble" people are apparently expected to genuflect. Despite a prima facie claim to raise the quality of discussion, I believe this idea will lower it.

p.s. As of this precise time and date, and pending further information, it is my personal suspicion that Aldridge is a hypocrite. This opinion is neither legal nor binding. Void where prohibited. Side-effects, while rare, may include greasy anal discharge. Happy Fun Ball may cause blindness.
posted by pineapple at 6:19 PM on October 15, 2007


EB, I am in complete agreement with you, and if everyone was that cogent the world would be a better place. By necessity, we use a lot of generalizations and mental shortcuts when dealing with issues that don't affect us directly. There are simply too many subjects and too much information to parse everything completely.

Are the opinions of the hypocrisy-claimers part blowback due to the political machinations of the religious right? Probably. Is it fair to judge one person by the company they keep? Probably not. But it's also not very wise to expect that people won't judge you by the company you keep.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:34 PM on October 15, 2007


Does this sum the thread up nicely?

hypocrite duplicitous charlatan
posted by five fresh fish at 6:35 PM on October 15, 2007


hypocrite duplicitous charlatan
How's that?
posted by dg at 6:37 PM on October 15, 2007


“It is sinful, if it is not within the confines of sexual behavior between male husband and female wife. But we've been over this too many times.”

What, are you the Author of Fundie Doctrine? You only have to do some Googling to see that there's a diversity of opinion among fundies on the subject of masturbation.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:40 PM on October 15, 2007


Proverbs 26:3

A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back[side].
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:04 PM on October 15, 2007


I wasn't defending that attitude at all. I just think it's an unfortunate fact of life.

Agreed. Sorry if I was unsure, it was the 'How would you feel if...' questions at the bottom.

It is sinful, if it is not with in the confines of sexual behavior between male husband and female wife. But we've been over this too many times.

Apparently we haven't been over it enough because this is nonsense. Nowhere was it indicated in that Askme thread or anywhere else that people can only masturbate with their spouses! There is no fundamentalist consensus but most are allowing on this issue. See the wikipedia article on Protestant views on masturbation for a sampling:
"James Dobson, chairman of the board of Focus on the Family, a nonprofit Christian organization, considers it part of normal adolescent exploration and strongly urges parents not to shame their children over the act lest they have marital difficulties later because of shame over their sexuality...

Richard Dobbins Teaching Your Children the Truth About Sex takes a similar approach. His overall approach is one of "neither condemn nor condone" the act...

Herbert J. Miles in Sexual Understanding Before Marriage also takes a similar approach...

In general, most evangelicals assert that the Bible could have but did not specifically condemn that act, and so make it a Romans 14 issue, i.e., a matter of conscience for individual believers... All condemn the act if done in lust, to pornography, or if it becomes an addiction or an escape from intimacy.[15] Most view it as at least having the potential to be a tool of sexual self-control, not only for singles but married persons when they may be separated from their spouse.
And am I mistaken, but wasn't the reverend's wife away when he died in this awkward rubbery scenario?
posted by dgaicun at 7:10 PM on October 15, 2007


Also before Blazecock repeats his misunderstanding YET AGAIN. 'In lust' doesn't mean masturbation is considered a sin only if you are doing it because you are horny (??), but if you are fantasizing in an adulterous manner.
posted by dgaicun at 7:17 PM on October 15, 2007


“James Dobson”

Ah, but you're cherry-picking for the most liberal and exceptional fundies. Right?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:18 PM on October 15, 2007


I talked to a good friend who attended a conservative Christian (Baptist) university much like Liberty. He's also very kinky, including experimenting with self-bondage. He says that no one, ever, mentioned kink/fetish/bdsm in the years he was at university, and when he did confide in a staff member due to his own moral qualms, the response was that it was morally questionable only because it was outside marriage (my friend was single at the time). He was told directly that whatever he chose to do within the confines of marital vows was OK, including the practice of kink.

This incident is a single private incident which took place off the record. When it comes to public and collective policy this is what happens

Host communities aren't always thrilled to learn that hundreds of kinky convention-goers will be dropping in. In 2002, after Baptist leaders heard that the Howard Johnson hotel in Bridgeton, Mo., had served as the site for Beat Me in St. Louis, the Southern Baptist Convention canceled reservations at the hotel.

The AP report is quoted half way down the page here

Southern Baptist Convention drops Howard Johnson in wake of planned `hotel sex bash' By JIM SUHR - Associated Press (04/05/2002) - (abridged)...ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant group, said Thursday it will urge members to boycott Howard Johnson during its annual meeting because of one hotel's plans to host a ``private sex bash.''

The Baptist group was referring to the three-day ``Beat Me in St. Louis'' seminar being held at a Howard Johnson hotel April 26-28 near Lambert Airport by St. Louis Leather & Lace. Leather & Lace's Web site said the group endorses and educates about ``free expression of alternative lifestyles and forms of loving,'' including bondage, domination and sadomasochism, regardless of sexual orientation. Leather & Lace also hosts a ``SpanksGiving'' event each fall.
...
In a letter April 4, the Baptist Convention cancelled its Howard Johnson reservations for its two-day June conference here, calling ``Beat Me in St. Louis'' a ``direct attack on the fabric of traditional family values and the Biblical heritage of our denomination and its churches.''


Here's what Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist seminary makes of religious discussion of sadomasochism

You may not believe that sexual bondage, sadomasochism, and leather fetishes have much to do with theology, but that would just go to show how little you know about what's really going on at the American Academy of Religion. Of course, it also shows how far the American Academy of Religion has distanced itself from historic Christianity, or from common sense for that matter.

The annual program of the American Academy of Religion [AAR] increasingly reads like a catalog of perversities, with the latest bells and whistles of sexual fanaticism presented as subjects for serious academic investigation. As a matter of fact, the AAR and similar academic guilds have become playgrounds for academic titillation, with papers presented as barely-disguised pornography.


He has a nice little piece of snark too, which is quite telling

There is still time to sign up for the meeting if you care to know more about Mr. Tanis's belief that individuals have a right "to erotic self determination with other consenting adults," that would include sadomasochistic practices.

The Baptist Press which is the Southern Baptist news outlet, on the Folsom Street fair

The Folsom Street Fair is one of San Francisco's premier celebrations of alternate lifestyle -- specifically "leather pride." The "leather community" is a euphemism for those that indulge in sadomasochism, also known as S&M. These are individuals that enjoy bondage, whipping, spanking and other unmentionable perversions. While the Folsom Street Fair does draw a few heterosexual sadomasochists to the event, it is clear from reports that the overwhelming number celebrating were homosexuals –- mostly male.

They've got a tendency to want to lump it in with pornography and homosexuality, but they're quite clear that the heterosexual 'sadomasochists' are included in the denunciation.

"Individuals that enjoy bondage, whipping, spanking and other unmentionable perversions." rather gives it away. EB and co are hiding behind the fact that it's 'unmentionable' in these circles, except when the chance to beat up on people who practice or tolerate it is too juicy to pass up!

However as I've mentioned before there are Christians who will publicly defend the right of people to practice alternative sexual lifestyles fetish, BDSM, breathplay - so if you think I'm being unfair, give me an example of one being invited to preach at Liberty another Southern Baptist seminary or Uni or to a Southern Baptist Congregation which adheres to 'The Baptist Faith and Message'. In fact though, the president of the Southern Baptist seminary himself has rather shot your fox - he denounces such people and sneers at the idea that individuals have a right "to erotic self determination with other consenting adults," that would include sadomasochistic practices.
posted by Flitcraft at 7:23 PM on October 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


I suppose one of the tricks is to make sure your spunk doesn't spill on the ground. Always use a sock, lads!

So what word is correct for a man who is publically pious, but privately perverted?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:23 PM on October 15, 2007


"Most view it as at least having the potential to be a tool of sexual self-control, not only for singles but married persons when they may be separated from their spouse."

And am I mistaken, but wasn't the reverend's wife away when he died in this awkward rubbery scenario?


And further upthread someone told the tale of a single college student who liked to tie himself up, and who was told that it was troublesome because he wasn't doing so within the sanctity of marriage.

Elaborate bondage while alone doesn't strike me as occurring "within the sanctity of marriage", as his better half is not involved at all. Or is my interpretation of that common phrase completely back-assward? Does a marriage certificate and a ceremony mean, generally, that each party's continued solitary sexual hobbies are suddenly theologically A-OK?
posted by CKmtl at 7:29 PM on October 15, 2007


So what word is correct for a man who is publically pious, but privately perverted?

If hypocritical isn't allowed, schizophrenic.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:36 PM on October 15, 2007


So anyone who's into "alternative' sexual practices needs to advertise the fact or be thought a hypocrite/ crazy? Interesting.
posted by yerfatma at 7:47 PM on October 15, 2007


Tied up in moral knots?
posted by Abiezer at 7:47 PM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


It is not illegal to own or even buy a dildo in Alabama. (not to mention buy one online or in another state)

Your ignorance on this matter is getting about as tiresome tortuous as your continued insistence on using Ask Metafilter to defend sex-hating Baptists:

Court Leaves Ala. Sex Toy Ban Intact

By PHILLIP RAWLS – Oct 1, 2007

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear a challenge to Alabama's ban on the sale of sex toys, ending a nine-year legal battle and sending a warning to store owners to clean off their shelves...

Alabama's anti-obscenity law, enacted in 1998, bans the distribution of "any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs for anything of pecuniary value."


That includes dildos.

Aldridge bought and used a dildo, which would have been illegal to sell in his home state of Alabama.

It's also illegal to sell sex toys in the state of Virginia, the location of Liberty University, and the only reason it's not a newsworthy obscenity charge there is because prosecutors currently choose not to bring cases against offenders.

Aldridge bought and used a dildo, which would have been illegal to sell where he was a dean of Liberty University.

Whether he bought his gear in-state or out-of-state — assuming he didn't steal his gear, since that's often verboten in Scripture — Aldridge had to knowingly circumvent laws aimed very specifically at preventing him and other Alabamans and Virginians from purchasing said items. These laws were in place because of community, faith-based standards of obscenity.

Amongst every other piece of circumstantial evidence repeated ad nauseum, makes him that much more of a hypocrite.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:59 PM on October 15, 2007


"So what word is correct for a man who is publically pious, but privately perverted?"

Senator?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:01 PM on October 15, 2007


So anyone who's into "alternative' sexual practices needs to advertise the fact or be thought a hypocrite/ crazy? Interesting.

You're a hypocrite or exhibit cognitive dissonance if you're part of a strict, fundamentalist organization that proscribes specific sexual behaviors to followers, which you yourself regularly enjoy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:02 PM on October 15, 2007


Yerfatma, surely merely assenting to the proposition that "individuals have a right to erotic self determination with other consenting adults," would do the trick? But I don't see you getting an 'Amen' to that from this specific denomination.
posted by Flitcraft at 8:07 PM on October 15, 2007


Anyone know how the general rubber/asphyx crowd has reacted to this guy's demise?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:26 PM on October 15, 2007


does it have to be a specifically nazi genocidal reference?

The modish thing these days is to reference the Ottoman Empire. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians? Pretty much everyone who counts.

Also, if you really want to argue ethics, since there has been much extraneous philosophication, one could postulate that Dead Dildo Guy or some member of a paramilitary organisation such as the KKK had joined an odiously repressive collective or joined in advocating against specific sexual behaviours in order to further some greater end. It could easily not be hypocrisy but instead be a case of double effect. The basic gist is here.
posted by meehawl at 8:28 PM on October 15, 2007


Aldridge bought and used a dildo, which would have been illegal to sell in his home state of Alabama.

I know, I know, I know this is nit-picky, but it's illegal to SELL, not to buy. Also, breaking the law is not the same has hypocrisy.

I'd even argue that a cop who breaks the law is not necessarily a hypocrite. He's may be a guy who doesn't have any strong feelings pro-or-con breaking the law but who happens to be employed as a police office. On the other hand, if -- even when he's off-duty -- he regularly lectures people about breaking the law (and then breaks it himself), he's a hypocrite.
posted by grumblebee at 8:31 PM on October 15, 2007


Your ignorance on this matter is getting about as tiresome tortuous as your continued insistence on using Ask Metafilter to defend sex-hating Baptists

Your usage of the word 'ignorant' appears to be just as inappropriate as your usage of 'hypocrite'. You didn't reveal facts that contradicted anything I said. It is illegal to sell the toys there, not to buy them. Your statements on masturbation, on the other hand, were actually wrong. Correcting your factual errors is not the same thing as "defend[ing] sex-hating Baptists". The conflation, of course, being just another partisan category error, of the kind that I've been unsuccessfully trying to work against here for several days now. I'm not surprised that you would fall prey to it again.

Community standards are the result of more than religious ideology. For instance racism wasn't/isn't mainly the result of religion, though in both cases religion can be used to defend a pre-existing prejudice. I'm not sure how much of an active role the church and church leaders had in this particular law. I don't know.

And of course disagreeing with or behaving contrary to "community standards" is not 'hypocrisy'.
posted by dgaicun at 8:43 PM on October 15, 2007


Also, breaking the law is not the same has hypocrisy.

Knowing that you yourself are circumventing a law, the same law that you'd enact (or your organization would enact, if we lived in a fundamentalist theocracy) and enforce on others, is pure hypocrisy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:46 PM on October 15, 2007


Your statements on masturbation, on the other hand, were actually wrong.

Okay, let's ask some people who minister to their congregation, or former Baptists:

Any other kind of sex is outside of God's plan...therefore masterbation, or sex with yourself...is deviant. The only exception that I could see is if the masturbation was part of a merried [sp.] couple's sexual activity together.

Gene Roddenberry, a Humanist and the creator of "Star Trek," described some of the harm caused by such teachings. In a 1991 interview with The Humanist magazine, he said that masturbation was condemned by the Baptist church in which he grew up. Regarding the pain caused by this doctrine, Roddenberry stated, "And then the God you consider in your teenage years is the guy who knows you masturbate. This has tormented so many people. . . ."

SA—Sexaholics Anonymous (Website: www.sa.org ). This 12-Step program is the strictest in its definition of sexual sobriety. Masturbation is discouraged, as is homosexual sex. Sobriety is defined as "No sexual behavior outside of a committed marital relationship between a man and a woman."

Thanks for this question. Many young people ask me this same kind of question every week. The Bible does not use the specific term of masturbation. We do have a Bible term "Fornication" from the Greek word "pornea". It is translated to mean any kind of sex outside the bonds of marriage. Whether or not you think about a woman, the orgasm is sexual in nature and is outside of marriage... Evidence points to the fact that masturbation is addictive and progressive. While you do not need to think of sexual things now, you will later, then porn, then other things. Masturbation is a sexual bondage.

Addictive sex is secretive. In effect, the addict develops a double life, practicing masturbation, going to porn shops and massage parlors, paying for prostitutes, all the while hiding what he is doing from others-and, in a sense, even from himself.

"There is not a direct reference in scripture to the sin of masturbation, but we can look at the act as one of sexual immorality," says Rev. Gerald Lamont Thomas, Ph.D., pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Plainfield, New Jersey. "It is not a proper method of sexual relationships."

During his session, he shared on his struggles with the addiction to masturbation that he had when he was an altar boy. He remembered how guilty he felt whenever he received the Eucharist by hand, “the same hand I used to do it”, he said during that session.

Continual or obsessive masturbation will lead to a feeling of distance from God. A feeling of distance from God can lead to a hindrance of Christian service. So masturbation is a direct correlation not only with our personal relationship with God, but also the ministry we serve in.

It's a sin, in their twisted heads.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:07 PM on October 15, 2007


Filtcraft has presented some fine evidence of anti-bondage sentiment from Southern Baptist organs (ew...). The two revealing quotes are:

"Individuals that enjoy bondage, whipping, spanking and other unmentionable perversions." from the Baptists Press.

And Alfred Mohler's suggestion that there is no right ""to erotic self determination with other consenting adults," that would include sadomasochistic practices."

If Mohler died in the same manner I would definitely think he was a hypocrite.

Not all fundamentalists agree on the sinfulness of S&M though. Consistent with the Wikipedia article above and desjardins' fundy school testimonial for many fundamentalists sex rules are generally based around prohibitions of sex with nonmarital (and same sex) partners. Things that don't breech these rules, like masturbation, are considered private matters of conscience.

For example this Google prioritized Fundy sex advice website states:

"We are to abstain from immoral sex. The Bible indicates the following are sin: fornication/unmarried sex... adultery ...homosexuality ...bestiality ...prostitution ...incest"

But the same fundies approve of S&M sex themes, sex toys, and masturbation.

We just don't what the minister said on this subject, so accusations of hypocrisy don't fit the known facts. There doesn't appear to be any consensus on it among biblical fundamentalists, whose main concern typically appears to be that people don't have sex with, or fantasize about, people who are not your spouse (or of the same sex).
posted by dgaicun at 9:33 PM on October 15, 2007


Things that don't breech these rules, like masturbation, are considered private matters of conscience.

This is simply not true.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:35 PM on October 15, 2007


Blazecock,

I have stated from the beginning that views differ on these issues. (even while a majority seem to be generally approving) Protestant churches are mostly decentralized, so there is a lot of variety. The Wikipedia article above is a nice exegesis about how most evangelicals and many prominent fundies, including James Dobson, have broadly permitted masturbation.

Knowing that there is considerable disagreement, even among hardline fundies, makes it difficult to extrapolate to our good friend, the rubber rev.
posted by dgaicun at 9:41 PM on October 15, 2007


On the subject of Baptists and BDSM, Left Behind Baptist guy Tim LaHaye's wife Beverly LaHaye set up "Concerned Women for America", an organisation with which Peter LaBarbera was associated. In 2001, Barbera wrote, with others in this organisation, The Bush Administration's Republican Homosexual Agenda: The First 100 Days, which probably came as quite a surprise to the White House.

Anyway, Barbera these days has a new full-time gig as boss of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality. What's really cool is that Barbera forced himself to attend the Folsom Street Fair for several hours (as research, of course) and managed to create a wonderfully explicit photo essay. This article seems to be the original source for Flitcraft's Baptist News article mentioned above. What's really touching is that the article's contents appears to have been "pinkwashed" by passing through the AFTAH --> Pink News --> Baptist News.

Barbera promises: Coming in Part Two: More Folsom Street Fair photos and insights into those San Francisco Values, and why you should care. I sure hope he hurries up with those photos and stops hogging them, but for now it seems to me from this limited sample that Baptists and their fellow travellers derive no small satisfaction from considering bondage in all its facets.
posted by meehawl at 9:44 PM on October 15, 2007


See the quote and Wikipedia link in this comment.
posted by dgaicun at 9:45 PM on October 15, 2007


Knowing that there is considerable disagreement, even among hardline fundies, makes it difficult to extrapolate to our good friend, the rubber rev.

Though I am sure there is dissent within Christian circles along both ends of the scale, there is not as much considerable disagreement within fundamentalist Baptist circles. Dobson is assuredly an outlier.

Split as many imaginary hairs as you please, but the reality is that fundamentalist Baptists have been taught to hate sex, particularly any non-marital sexual behavior that does not involve male husband and female wife — and that includes what Aldridge got up to, and what killed him.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:50 PM on October 15, 2007


Dobson is assuredly an outlier.

This is not apparent in the Askme thread, and the Wikipedia article doesn't appear to agree either. Without hard numbers I guess we're at a stalemate: I believe majorities are in one direction you believe they are in another. The most we can see is that there is disagreement, and that there are influential figures that approve in Aldridge's peer circle.

Either way Aldridge's public statements remain unknown.
posted by dgaicun at 10:03 PM on October 15, 2007




Either way, Alridge represented one thing and practiced another.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:08 PM on October 15, 2007


I work at a liberal New York law firm. You could count the Republicans on one hand. We have attorneys with tongue piercings. We have openly gay attorneys. I don't think we have any graduates from Liberty U on our staff. Nevertheless, if it was known firm-wide that a particular attorney enjoyed self-bondage and rubber suits, he'd have a harder time making equity.

So you work with unprincipled assholes.

And you missed the larger point entirely. I mean really missed it.

The reason this attitude exists at all, WHY it permeates our culture, and why as you say it's an "unfortunate fact of life" is because of the wide spread cultural influence of 200 years of suppressive puritan thinking. That pornography is a Fortune 500 business with an unending growth curve but simultaneously we can't fathom or stomach our non-Christian non-republican coworkers as fully sexual beings - is PROOF positive of our duplicitous sexual cultural hypocrisy. And that 200 year legacy comes directly from ideas born in places like Liberty U.


I'm not sure what you mean. I wasn't defending that attitude at all. I just think it's an unfortunate fact of life.


Yes. you are defending that attitude. Completely.

Evangeline if you and your pierced faced liberal colleagues don't stand up at work and say "a coworkers sexual proclivities had better not influence making equity" then you DO defend that attitude and YOU are the reason it is an unfortunate fact of life.

And the reasons you don't stand up for your principles across the board, even in matters of sexuality, is because you are brainwashed by American puritan values- deep, deep, down in the dark root of your psyche - to think sex is bad and nasty.

See my point here?

Do generally advertise the details of your sex life? Do you think most people want to hear about it?


Oh. fer fuck sake. Advertise? What are you talking about? See how you twisted this argument? Advertise?

It's one thing to be disgusted by somebody bragging about their sexuality in the workplace. It's another to allow unintended or accidental information about a coworkers sexuality to stifle and prejudice their career.

And THIS is what we are talking about.

Frankly I find this admission of this attitude at your workplace far more troubling than what happened at Liberty U. But it's hardly refutation of the obvious negative influence repressive Christian sexual mores have had on our culture.
posted by tkchrist at 10:15 PM on October 15, 2007


Yes, yes, and I'm sure if I die in a luxury car some fundy right winger can say I'm a 'hypocrite'. After all "we" all know atheists are filthy communists right? Atheists "represent" Communism, so what was I doing in a luxury car.
posted by dgaicun at 10:16 PM on October 15, 2007


Sorry, directed at: Either way, Alridge represented one thing and practiced another.
posted by dgaicun at 10:17 PM on October 15, 2007


I am interested in your extensive picture collection, Mr LaBarbera, and wish to subscribe to your newsletter. If you do a non-text edition.
posted by Abiezer at 10:18 PM on October 15, 2007


Yes, yes, and I'm sure if I die in a luxury car some fundy right winger can say I'm a 'hypocrite'. After all "we" all know atheists are filthy communists right? Atheists "represent" Communism, so what was I doing in a luxury car.

Was there a bible or a ball-gag in the trunk?
posted by tkchrist at 10:23 PM on October 15, 2007


Both. God damn, that was a crazy night.
posted by dgaicun at 10:25 PM on October 15, 2007


After all "we" all know atheists are filthy communists right?

Huh?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:30 PM on October 15, 2007


Masquerade!
Paper faces on parade . . .
Masquerade!
Hide your face,
so the world will
never find you!

Masquerade!
Every face a different shade . . .
Masquerade!
Look around -
there's another
mask behind you!

Flash of mauve . . .
Splash of puce . . .
Fool and king . . .
Ghoul and goose . . .
Green and black . . .
Queen and priest . . .
Trace of rouge . . .
Face of beast . . .

Faces . . .
Take your turn, take a ride
on the merry-go-round . . .
in an inhuman race . . .

Eye of gold . . .
Thigh of blue . . .
True is false . . .
Who is who . . . ?
Curl of lip . . .
Swirl of gown . . .
Ace of hearts . . .
Face of clown . . .

Faces . . .
Drink it in, drink it up,
till you've drowned
in the light . . .
in the sound . . .

Masquerade!
Grinning yellows,
spinning reds . . .
Masquerade!
Take your fill -
let the spectacle
astound you!

Masquerade!
Burning glances,
turning heads . . .
Masquerade!
Stop and stare
at the sea of smiles
around you!

Masquerade!
Seething shadows
breathing lies . . .
Masquerade!
You can fool
any friend who
ever knew you!

Masquerade!
Leering satyrs,
peering eyes . . .
Masquerade!
Run and hide -
but a face will
still pursue you!

Phantom Of The Opera - Masquerade
posted by Opus Dark at 11:49 PM on October 15, 2007


Earlier in this thread I cited the "Hazards of Being a Man" bible study program instituted by Aldridge's Thorington Road Baptist Church to guide its male members (and to be perfectly clear, I posit that as the leader of the church, Aldridge was publicly endorsing those behavioral guidelines); this course suggests such techniques as not watching television while alone and restricting internet access (the author doesn't have internet at home, and goes to work to check his email, because he values "purity over convenience") so that men won't be tempted by images that they may find in these places.

And, if efforts to avoid tempting images fail to keep them from his mind, a man should memorize bible verses to fight "mental fantasies." The program also advocates keeping a list of five men to pray for regularly, to help them from being tempted by lustful thoughts, as well as having at least five who pray for you in this way.

Further, one should have an "accountability partner" who has the right to ask you any question, that you should answer without lying, and he should be able to check your internet history with no advance notice.

You should identify what time of day and/or place you are most vulnerable to sexual fantasies, and try not to be alone, and replace temptation with prayer and scripture memory.

There's a lot of discussion about the dangers a man faces when alone. The question is asked: "Who are you when you are alone? When you are alone, are you measurably different from who people think you are?"

These are guidelines advocated by Aldridge for his male church members, and I realize that while many here may argue that perhaps he was not fantasizing while in the rubber getup, but instead was possibly memorizing scripture, or praying for other men to avoid temptation, I think that his actions and his advice were very, very different things.

Yet, this may not be hypocrisy ... not because we can't say for sure that he didn't think his flavor of kinky fetish sex was perfectly pure and hunkydorey with god, but because we can't say that he didn't honestly believe it was terribly wrong, and truly wished to spare others the shame of sinning as he did.

There's every chance that he really did believe in the things he taught and the advice he gave... But he was not able to abide by those teachings himself. And he was part of an organization that explicitly wants to legally restrict the sexual behavior of other people - even those who are not a part of its belief system. So whether it is hypocrisy or duplicity, or even idealism, the fact remains that Aldridge professed and promoted (and was part of a group that would like to enforce) a lifestyle that he himself was unable to maintain.

I, along with many here, feel that this sort of dichotomy between "what I do" and "what you should do" simply isn't honest, and that when this kind of duplicity is revealed in members of a politically powerful group that strives to legislate what they deem moral behavior, it is useful to point this out.
posted by taz at 2:45 AM on October 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


... and I realize that while many here may argue that perhaps he was not fantasizing while in the rubber getup, but instead was possibly memorizing scripture, or praying for other men to avoid temptation, I think that his actions and his advice were very, very different things.

Pornography is considered a sin by the vast majority of fundamentalists because it involves lusting over people who are not your spouse. This is the meaning of 'lust' in this jargon (after Jesus' locutions in Matthew 5:27-28), not 'being horny'. What you are arguing is that masturbation is considered sinful, something different, and not held by a significant number of fundamentalists. Masturbation is never mentioned in the 'Hazards' lecture or the book. He is clearly lecturing about overcoming pornography.

And he was part of an organization that explicitly wants to legally restrict the sexual behavior of other people - even those who are not a part of its belief system. So whether it is hypocrisy or duplicity, or even idealism, the fact remains that Aldridge professed and promoted (and was part of a group that would like to enforce) a lifestyle that he himself was unable to maintain.

No, this has not been established. You have added no new facts to this discussion.
posted by dgaicun at 3:43 AM on October 16, 2007


djaicun, it says on their site that Thorington Road Baptist Church "is a member of ... The Southern Baptist Convention and we subscribe to The Baptist Faith and Message of the Southern Baptist Convention".

Here is just one example of the SBC efforts to influence legislative process regarding moral values:

Regarding The Centers for Disease Control grant to the 13th National Lesbian and Gay Health Conference, in their Resoluton On The Use Of Government Funds To Encourage Immoral Sexual Behavior:

BE IT RESOLVED, That the messengers to the 134th session of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, June 4-6, 1991, register our outrage at this CDC grant as an example of the improper and inexcusable misuse of the public treasury and the public trust; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we call upon the President of the United States to take decisive action to ensure that such grants are prohibited in the future by means of an Executive Order requiring all federal policies to affirm the family and refuse any government funds to groups or programs which encourage sexual immorality in any form.
posted by taz at 4:13 AM on October 16, 2007


So many words, an avalanche of obvious, transcending only patience, dragging on for the length of an ugly man's pleadings, long and very long after I stabbed this tart little story with a toothpick, chomped down, grinned and grimaced, understood it all in the twitch of a deacon's eyelid, then smoothed the front of my dress and hoped for the best from my dance card.
posted by Opus Dark at 4:18 AM on October 16, 2007


yay! I've missed you, Opus Dark.
posted by taz at 4:28 AM on October 16, 2007


taz, did you read anything in this dense mess of a thread?

What possible thing do you think you are demonstrating to me with your latest comment?

Aldridge wasn't discovered engaging in anything homosexual. And condemning specific sexual behaviors is not the same as condemning all sexual behavior.

And the linked "Message of the Southern Baptist Convention" while silent on rubber and dildos, does provide some nice ammunition against Bush brand Evangelical war hawks: "In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ [Christians] should do all in their power to put an end to war."
posted by dgaicun at 5:46 AM on October 16, 2007


dgaicun the wikipedia quote you cite really undermines your case. You didn't bold the relevant bit

All condemn the act if done in lust, to pornography, or if it becomes an addiction or an escape from intimacy.[15]

This example would be seen as an addictive behaviour practised till it killed. Dobbins and Dobson are talking about masturbation per se, not the theology of where things like fetish, auto-asphyxiation and BDSM fit in. You're wrenching these quotes out of their theological and cultural context to create a new stereotype of the swinging Southern baptist. If you tried this on a board with a sizeable number of Southern Baptists, giving the full circumstances of the case, I doubt you'd get very far. In fact a couple of the tiny minority of people who are practising conservative Christians on this board tried to point some of this out, but they got slapped down or ignored.

I'm not actually interested in proving that this poor bloke was a hypocrite, I would have passed this by if it wasn't for the fascinating distortion and revisionism of Southern Baptist teaching on the body which yourself and EB are engaged in, which in the words of the old Hilaire Belloc poem 'made me gasp and stretch my eyes'. I suggest you both go and enroll for some Bible study in the relevant denomination and see how far you get with your new take on their theology. You never know, you might convert the entire Southern Baptist convention to being sex-positive about S&M and teaching safe-words and safety in sex education, saving the lives of future pastors and parishioners everywhere, but er... don't hold your breath!
posted by Flitcraft at 6:02 AM on October 16, 2007


What possible thing do you think you are demonstrating to me with your latest comment?

Aldridge wasn't discovered engaging in anything homosexual. And condemning specific sexual behaviors is not the same as condemning all sexual behavior.


Sorry, I should have been clearer. That was about this:

me: ... And he was part of an organization that explicitly wants to legally restrict the sexual behavior of other people ...

you: No, this has not been established.

I was just trying to establish that the SBC is a group that involves itself in efforts to legislate sexual issues.
posted by taz at 6:07 AM on October 16, 2007


did you read anything in this dense mess of a thread
dgaicun, either you're determined not to engage with the points taz has developed or you have problems with reading a few comments, let alone a whole thread. taz has only "added no new facts to this discussion" because you apparently can't see them before you.
You said something has not been established when you responded to a quote you'd cut from her earlier post. That quote made two points - that the SBC seeks to legislate other's sexual behaviour, and that Alrdridge preached what he failed to practice.
Now maybe taz showing that they do indeed seek such legislation was not the one of the two points you wanted answering. If so, the fault is mostly yours for the way you quoted her. You could have said so, and asked to shown that other point has been established (I think it has).
On preview, thank you Flitcraft, that was what I was trying all those comments ago to say about the indulgence in lust to a point of distraction (from Godliness) that this behaviour indicated would certainly be condemned.
posted by Abiezer at 6:11 AM on October 16, 2007


This is the last comment I can make for a long while. Though I don't see much point in continuing.

I was just trying to establish that the SBC is a group that involves itself in efforts to legislate sexual issues.

The quoted portion of my response was to say that involvement in a group that legislates against certain sexual behaviors does not make one a hypocrite for engaging in other sexual behaviors. (or even belonging to a group that works to legislate against those same behaviors.) That is not what 'hypocrisy' is. It has not been established that Aldridge was a hypocrite.

If so, the fault is mostly yours for the way you quoted her

Fine, let's move on.

All condemn the act if done in lust, to pornography, or if it becomes an addiction or an escape from intimacy.[15]

Yes. See my many comments on "in lust" above. This is hardly something I've elided. Aldridge's wife was out of town so this is not obviously an 'escape from intimacy', and we have no idea if this was an addiction or not. The more important quote in the Wikipedia argument is that masturbation is generally viewed as a personal matter of conscience.

You're wrenching these quotes out of their theological and cultural context to create a new stereotype of the swinging Southern baptist.


I disagree. To many of these people the creative, kinky, gory details of sexual behavior are not seen as spiritually relevant. The main rule is sex is for one male husband and one female wife. Many of them also accept masturbation. I have found no commentary on the details of 'what's ok' in masturbation, but presumably the same latitude for marriage sex would apply, without a complicated list of explicit prohibited minutia (you may useth lotion but not jello, you may weareth wool, but not latex, etc). Almost by necessity I think these details (which are infinite in possibility) are left to the individual.

Or perhaps not. Until people find some actual quotes from Aldridge though, what's the point of more repetitive back and forth?
posted by dgaicun at 7:12 AM on October 16, 2007


And the reasons you don't stand up for your principles across the board, even in matters of sexuality, is because you are brainwashed by American puritan values- deep, deep, down in the dark root of your psyche - to think sex is bad and nasty.

So far this has not happened at my workplace, but if it did, I would stand up and protest.

You really are not in a postition to assume anything about my psyche. You know nothing about my sex life. For all you know my husband and I are furries. You're making assumptions based on absolutely jack-shit.

I was never arguing about the rightness or wrongness of being open about one's sex life. I'm talking about reality here. Whatever the reason, it's not a good idea to announce the details of your sex life to your subordinates. I'm not even sure how you can argue this.
posted by Evangeline at 7:14 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


You really are not in a postition to assume anything about my psyche... You're making assumptions based on absolutely jack-shit.

Ha, welcome to this thread!

Goobye everee-bowdy! /Dr Nick>
posted by dgaicun at 7:18 AM on October 16, 2007


So it's okay for you to do it since everyone else has? What are you, ten?

Goodbye. Praise Jesus it's over.
posted by Evangeline at 7:23 AM on October 16, 2007


And the reasons you don't stand up for your principles across the board, even in matters of sexuality, is because you are brainwashed by American puritan values- deep, deep, down in the dark root of your psyche - to think sex is bad and nasty.

That's absurd. In addition to claiming the ability to read minds, you're making another really odd claim: people would naturally stand up for their principles if they've been brainwashed (and some part of them, deep down) doesn't really believe in those principles. That's what you're claiming, right?

I have tons of principles that I don't always stand up for. Yet I believe in them wholeheartedly. If you want, we can discuss how it makes me a bad person. I often think I am.

But I don't avoid fighting for them because I secretly don't believe in them. I avoid fighting for them for much more boring reasons, like the fact that I hate conflict and can be cowardly. And because I want to keep my job and paycheck. Mundane stuff like that.
posted by grumblebee at 7:53 AM on October 16, 2007


you're making another really odd claim: people would naturally stand up for their principles if they hadn't been brainwashed [/correction]
posted by grumblebee at 8:02 AM on October 16, 2007


I'll give you an example from my own life: I have some very strong eccentric views about teaching... Yet I spent ten years as a very traditional teacher

Perhaps I should have bolded the word "ideological" in my comment. And put in in red. I'm not talking about being a teacher, or an Odd Fellow, or a tour group leader. I'm talking about organizations whose raison d'être is based on ideology: the Nazis, the Communist Party, Liberty Fucking "University." Why would you not only join one of those organizations but work to achieve a position of authority (gauleiter, commissar, dean) unless you were willing to publicly associate yourself with the ideology? Of course, you might do so despite your beliefs, in order to achieve worldly success. There's a word for that: hypocrisy.
posted by languagehat at 9:37 AM on October 16, 2007


Also, I'm starting to think we may make 500.
posted by languagehat at 9:38 AM on October 16, 2007


I guess that, at this point, the only reaction to all this that I have is this one:

It seems remarkable to me how often we return to our roots, and how difficult it apparently is to extricate ourselves from the past. The general lesson, I think, which those who stand against the silly conservative American form of Christianity today would like to teach is: all this repressive moralism is useless. But it's amazingly difficult to remain consistent to that aim, and hardly anybody does.

In other words: the rank Baptist moralism that so many (including myself) reject is mirrored in the rank moralism of those who rant on and on about their hypocrisy. Now, I feel like hypocrisy is silly, and it's probably harmful to somebody, but there's already far too much outrage, disgust, incense, and bitterness floating around, and I don't feel like adding to it. It's the poison of the world. I have a feeling the only reaction I can muster anymore is indifference and mild amusement. People can go ahead and be morally involved in the lives of gay people or baptist hypocrites or whatever if they like; I don't really have the energy or the inclination.

And sometimes I wonder why they care so much. There's nothing that got the Christians into trouble more than have a deep moral stake in the way other people live their lives.
posted by koeselitz at 9:40 AM on October 16, 2007


So, at this point, the only words I have for the baptist preacher who died in rubber with his cheeks wrapped around a device of concupiscent enjoyment are: well played, sir. Here's to you and all others like you.
posted by koeselitz at 9:44 AM on October 16, 2007


Heh. Imagine the flipside:

NEWSFLASH: RON JEREMY FOUND DEAD OF NATURAL CAUSES. SOURCES REPORT HE EXPIRED IN THE MISSIONARY POSITION, IN THE MIDST OF A JOYLESS PROCREATIVE SEX ACT WITH HIS WIFE.

posted by cortex (staff) at 10:03 AM on October 16, 2007


I wish MeFi broke long threads into pages.

Interesting points, languagehat. Here's my response:

-- in terms of why people join an organization, I don't think it matters whether that organization's public face is ideological or not, assuming one can gain "worldly" benefits from joining it (money, status, community, etc.)

I have a good friend who attends church every week, despite being an atheist. She does it for the community. People inside know that she's an atheist, but people outside don't. They probably assume she believes in the church's ideology.

-- joining an organization that claims to be ideological for non-ideological reasons may or may not be hypocritical, depending on one's framework.

a) I'm using common "shorthand" for the sake of conversation and agreeing with you that churches, etc. are "ideological organizations." But what does that mean, exactly? A meeting place can't have an ideology because it doesn't have a mind. A group doesn't have a mind, either. A group's MEMBERS have minds, and those minds may not be all the same.

So you might define a Christian church as an ideological entity that happens to include a community. Whereas my friend would define it as a community that includes an optional ideology.

b) You can -- if you wish -- define an "ideological organization" as one that most people think of as ideological. My friend's way of relation to a church may be somewhat eccentric. You can ignore people like her if you want when defining such organizations. That's your choice. I may make a different choice.

We all use terms like "an organization thinks" and "the USA's philosophy is" and those are useful phrases for casual conversation. But when you're doing what some here are doing -- trying to pin down the nitty gritty of whether someone is being hypocritical -- it pays to define things a little better.

Is an organization's purpose and philosophy what it's leaders say it is? What the general public thinks it is? What it is in the context of a given conversation?

As I'm sure you know, there are many organizations rife with internal battles over their purposes and philosophies. One is the USA. Another is Metafilter. It's MeFi's philosophy what Matt says it is? What the "power users" say it is? What whoever shouts the loudest says it is?

I think this idea that organizations have a philosophy/ideology/goal is largely a convenient fiction which allows people within and without to relate to it. We're built to relate to individual people (who can have ideologies and goals), so it's really hard to relate to, say, The Catholic Church without modeling it as a person-like thing. That's fine, but in order to do so, you have to prune away all sorts of contradictory details. You have to simplify. And that act is arbitrary. Your simplification and mine might not match.

So, IF we pretend that The Catholic Church is a person that believes that the Pope is infallible. And IF we believe that all people who join that church agree as to that person's nature. THEN they are being hypocritical if they ignore against papal rule.

Here's the closest I can get to agreeing with you: if I join an organization that publishes strong views and I'm caught doing something in opposition to those views, MANY people will think of me as a hypocrite. That's obvious from this thread.
posted by grumblebee at 10:20 AM on October 16, 2007


And sometimes I wonder why they care so much.

Speculation, cribbed mostly from "Our Inner Ape" by Frans De Waal, which I highly recommend:

We have two opposing forces which were implanted into us via eons of Natural Selection. One is a insatiable sex drive. The other is a need to control that drive.

The second drive evolved because (a) men are sexually competitive and (b) we're social animals. When you combine those two things, you have a recipe for trouble. Society can get ripped apart if competitive males get TOO competitive. So there needs to be a series of checks and balances.

I suspect that this religious drive towards family, family, FAMILY... stems from a "don't touch my woman!" impulse. As-long-as human societies have a "let's all be monogamous" rule, we won't have that many fights over females.

I further suspect that most of the other taboos (e.g. anti gay) are just accidental memes that got mixed in with that original impulse towards monogamy.

I'm not saying that humans are natural monogamous. I'm saying that humans have strong urges towards both monogamy and rampant sexuality. (How many people feel genuine remorse and confusion when they cheat? "Why did I do that? I love my wife!!! Yet I so want to do it anyway.")

As I said, ALL of this is speculation. How could I possibly prove it? But it amuses me that, depending on personal politics and morals, people tend to either see people as naturally monogamous or naturally polyamourus.

-- "Those gay people are subverting the natural order!"

-- "Those religious people are imposing their man-made rules on us!"

Why should human nature necessarily be so simple?
posted by grumblebee at 10:35 AM on October 16, 2007


“I would have passed this by if it wasn't for the fascinating distortion and revisionism of Southern Baptist teaching on the body which yourself and EB are engaged in, which in the words of the old Hilaire Belloc poem 'made me gasp and stretch my eyes'.”

Jesus fucking H Christ. All I have said is that there is diversity of opinion among conservative Christians on the matter of masturbation. I didn't make claims about the Southern Baptists as an organization, or even the majority of Southern Baptists. That there is, in fact, diversity of opinion on the matter of masturbation indicates that you cannot be certain of Aldridge's views. That was all I said.

Quit fucking putting words in my mouth and setting up strawmen.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:45 AM on October 16, 2007


Jesus, EB. You're really testy these days.
posted by languagehat at 11:46 AM on October 16, 2007


But anything that edges us closer to 500 is OK in my book.
posted by languagehat at 11:46 AM on October 16, 2007


It's probably way, way too late for this now, but here are another couple of data points suggesting how fundamentalist Christians might regard Aldridge's pastimes:

"At times couples may want to explore the areas of sado-masochistic sex or bondage fantasies. We feel that these behaviors move sex out of the arena of selfless love into that of power or domination fantasies. In those neighborhoods sex becomes an invasive, controlling behavior in which one person is violated. That is a sexual perversion and is likely to create shame, humiliation, and ultimate devaluation of one (or both) partners. When domination is a necessary ingredient for sexual pleasure there tends to be development of tolerance to the level of excitation. Hence increasing levels of the stimulation are required for the same sense of gratification. This is seen in its extreme in pornography that includes rape and even murder as forms of sexual stimulation....

One of the most destructive forces we're seeing these days is the increasing frequency of sexual addictive disorders. When having sexual release becomes an addiction driven to levels of compulsive behavior, the relationship with a marriage partner may be replaced with various stimuli that are essentially fantasy based. We have seen men deeply hooked on Internet pornography (or other forms). They are compulsively driven to increasing exposure to pornographic stimulation and masturbatory release of sexual tension. We have seen women equally hooked on romance novels or chat-room sex talk for sexual release. These disorders displace the relational dimension of sexuality.

Marital sex, if maintained at all, takes place mechanically with mental fantasies from the artificial relationships providing the only sexual stimulation. That robs marriage of the most crucial part of intimacy—the blend of relational and sexual connectedness.

The use of pornographic films from whatever source introduces this possible danger into your sexuality. Explicit sexual materials can provide sexual excitement and arousal, but that form of stimulation may erode your enjoyment of each other. Those images may also create a basic sense of dissatisfaction with yourselves since most couples don't maintain or ever achieve the sensual appearance of porn actors and models. The whole industry is based on illusions and those lies can lead to death of your relationship as well as your sexual satisfaction."
-- "Christian Sex Rules," Marriage Partnership, Spring 2001

Marriage Partnership is published by Christianity Today International, founded by Billy Graham in 1956 and today not affiliated with any particular denomination.

Also, from PassionateCommitment.com, by a married pair of therapists affiliated with Focus on the Family:

Your husband's use of pornography and illicit fantasy is completely inappropriate. It is unhealthy for you to engage in sexual talk that describes abuse, violates biblical standards or violates you.

If your husband is not willing or able to recognize the negative impact of his desire for these sexual "tricks," as you call them, you should seek professional help. It is possible that he is struggling with a sexual addition, which counteracts intimacy. The more a couple uses outside stimuli to enhance their responsiveness, the less they will enjoy and respond to each other, and the more perverted the stimulus must be to continue to produce the same intensity of response.

Faulty thinking is part of a sexual addiction. Both you and your husband have believed your husband's faulty thinking. A counselor can provide support as you refuse - lovingly, but firmly - to participate in his addiction. Your husband will need help to accept that his need is destructive and must be stopped.

posted by GrammarMoses at 11:54 AM on October 16, 2007


all this repressive moralism is useless

No, it's not. As I mentioned earlier, one way of looking at it is that the tension between repression and expression creates a dynamic marketplace of rapidly changing behaviours, many of which evolve into profitable locii. For example, Vegas and its nearby anti-gestalt, Salt Lake City, have produced enormous benefits for two distinct, apparently oppositional, clades (which nonetheless have often cooperated in terms of providing labour and capital for each other).

It's no accident that the pendulum swung towards heavy constraints on public sexual behaviour during the middle period of the Industrial Revolution in the Eurocentric nations (and large erasure of the distinction between public and private behaviour for members of certain classes). It's also probably no accident that the emergence of late-capitalism within the US has run in parallel with an impressive expansion in schismatic religious sects. Competition to represent and constrain behaviours within religious clades mirrors the economic space within which it operates. Ruthven's Divine Supermarket has a lot to say about this and, as a bonus, it includes a visit to Liberty University.
posted by meehawl at 12:32 PM on October 16, 2007


if I join an organization that publishes strong views and I'm caught doing something in opposition to those views, MANY people will think of me as a hypocrite.

grumblebee, I have been pondering your points about what it means to be a member of a group, and your experience re teaching, etc. I've appreciated your perspectives. But I still continue to see a big hole, in your argument and in others' -- and while it might not matter to anyone else, it matters to me because it forms the basis of my opinion (see disclaimer, last para) that Aldridge is a hypocrite.

What seems to me to be a fundamental difference in the two major sides here is this:

"Aldridge = Hypocrite" camp: "If you join Group X that seeks to legislative Behavior Y... and then you become a teacher and leader of Group X, and then commit Behavior Y yourself... you are a hypocrite, unless you spoke publicly to defy Group X's legislation of Behavior Y while still serving as a leader, demonstrating yourself as an exception to the Group X mindset."

"Aldridge ? Hypocrite" camp: "If you join Group X that seeks to legislative Behavior Y... you are not a hypocrite just because you commit Behavior Y. You can only be a hypocrite if you at any time spoke publicly against the specific aspects of Behavior Y that you yourself committed."

The problem with the second notion is that it eliminates the "Aldridge as moral leader" factor completely, which makes it all too easy to neatly side-step the most problematic element.

It's not that the SBC and Liberty U. decry deviants and perverts.

It's not that a member of those orgs then failed in his presumed goal of meeting the orgs' ideologies.

It's that the member who failed to meet the orgs' ideologies had also accepted a higher responsibility to be a representative of the orgs' behavioral ideals.

I do not need to have seen Aldridge's pro-kink statement to believe him a hypocrite, because in my worldview, he who accepts the role of leader and spiritual guide has accepted the de facto responsibility to live according to all the rules all the time.

Can there be small failings? Even big ones? Yes, but the failings that add up to the inventory of kink supplies that Aldridge was found with do not demonstrate to me a man who slipped and looked at porn once, before asking forgiveness... or slipped and had impure thoughts once, before asking forgiveness. The conditions of Aldridge's death demonstrate premeditation and that he had had deviant desire in his heart for a very long time -- long enough to have realized that he had no business serving as a leader.

w00t! #450!
posted by pineapple at 12:49 PM on October 16, 2007


pineapple, I think you summed up the two points of view pretty well. But then you did something that strikes me as odd. You ruled out the second P.O.V. because you feel it leads to ethical problems. To me, that's similar to saying this:

Some people think cars are really cheap.

Other people think cars are really expensive.

The problem with that second view is that I really need a car and I don't have a lot of money!

Well, maybe you don't, but cars are cheap or expensive, regardless of your needs.

My analogy isn't entirely apt, because whereas a car's cost is a hard fact, a point-of-view is SOMEWHAT malleable. But only somewhat -- and only for some people.

I may HAVE to view organizations and members the way I view them because -- maybe -- that's how my mind works. You can say, "but see, if you think that way, then this really bad thing will happen," but that's not necessarily going to change my framework. It depends how deeply that framework is a part of my personality.

But let's move away from viewpoints and back to facts:

According to me, it's a FACT that (some? many?) people join "ideologically based" groups without caring about all or some of that organization's ideology.

You may disagree with that fact, but to me it's a fact.

So if ideological orgs are filled with people -- even run by people -- who don't necessarily share the ideology... and if I know/believe that, then how can I see people in those org's as hypocrites?
posted by grumblebee at 1:22 PM on October 16, 2007


Re: grumblebee teaching and not approving of traditional teaching methods...

I don't see that as a comparable situation*. You still agree with the school, schoolboard, and PTA on the basic tenet that kids should receive an education. By teaching, even with methods that you personally don't approve of, you're still "communicating" that children need or deserve and education. If you were teaching, but demanded that your own kids be allowed to live in the wild with only feral dogs as company, or demanded that your children be able to labour away in a Dickensian mill instead of going to school... then there'd be hypocrisy afoot in my books.

I see your situation as more comparable to, say, working to ban the sale of dildos in the name of public morality despite a personal belief that executing those found in possession of said dildos would be a better way to go about it.

*As of this precise time and date, pending further information, it is my personal suspicion that you are not a hypocrite. This opinion is neither legal nor binding. Furthermore, this opinion is limited solely to teaching and I reserve the right to suspect you of hypocrisy in other areas, should circumstances warrant it. If you have herpes, you may still be able to pass them on to your partner while reading this opinion; please practice safer opinion-reading practices, including avoiding reading opinions if you have - or suspect you have - an outbreak.
posted by CKmtl at 1:34 PM on October 16, 2007


CKmtl, you're basing many things on your personal view as to what's must important in education. But to me, it's as if you're saying "Christians and Pagans are basically in agreement. They both agree that religion is important in people's lives. Whether that religion involves one god or many is not a big deal."

And that may be a sensible way to think about things, but it's not the only way.

To me, an educational institution that lectures and grades is fraudulent. It's NOT an educational institution. That is an eccentric view, I know, and I've no interest in defending it here, but my point is that I felt that the school and me had totally different and contradictory ideas about teaching.

I don't consider myself a hypocrite because, as-far-as I was concerned, I wasn't teaching. I was engaging in a ritual that the school called "teaching."

I would be willing to entertain the idea (and I have) that I was behaving badly -- that I was (based on my own way of thinking) helping an organization fool people into believing they were getting a service that they weren't in fact getting.

But that's different from being hypocritical.
posted by grumblebee at 1:51 PM on October 16, 2007


My analogy isn't entirely apt,

No, it's not. No offense. But I do love a good analogy, so if you'd like to find one that fits, I'm all ears.

You ruled out the second P.O.V. because you feel it leads to ethical problems.

I absolutely do believe it leads to ethical problems. I believe that it is intellectually dishonest to claim that Aldridge was "just a member" of SBC/Liberty and therefore only subject to the lowest "everyman" standards of behavior. I understand that there are those in this discussion who are firmly commited to the "Aldridge ? Hypocrite..." idea as I laid it out, but I think those people are being intellectually dishonest.

So if ideological orgs are filled with people -- even run by people -- who don't necessarily share the ideology... and if I know/believe that, then how can I see people in those org's as hypocrites?

Maybe you can't. Again, like I said, I see it as you are choosing to support the theory with the major hole in it. You are choosing to ignore the idea that somewhere beyond "just a member, maybe with some conflicts about the ideology" are the people who elect of their own free will to be "better than just any ol' member," and designate themselves as a standard bearer for the organization, and who present themselves to the membership as being the organization's behavioral ideals.

Can you not acknowledge that there are different categories of membership in an ideological organization -- those who are merely members, and those who designate themselves as behavioral models? A "super-member," so to speak?

I don't consider myself a hypocrite because, as-far-as I was concerned, I wasn't teaching. I was engaging in a ritual that the school called "teaching."

...and were you then going around to teachers' continuing education courses, speaking at seminars on how to be a better teacher? Were you maintaining a blog on which you posted edicts about how the best, most valuable teaching should happen? Did you write an instructional guide called "Teaching For Dummies"?

Because if the answer to all these is no, then I agree you weren't a hypocrite. It's if you pushed your values onto other people and presented them as the only acceptable way to teach, while secretly hating the teaching method and calling it stupid and terrible and rotten in private.
posted by pineapple at 1:58 PM on October 16, 2007


So if ideological orgs are filled with people -- even run by people -- who don't necessarily share the ideology

That's crazy talk, grumblebee. It's a fun thought experiment to imagine a world in which there weren't any real Nazis (or whatever), just a bunch of people who for their own reasons were pretending to be Nazis (and each believed all the others were real Nazis), and it's produced some good science fiction and satire, but in the real world, it's a safe assumption that people who help run ideological organizations share the ideology involved. You seem to be wildly generalizing from your experience as a teacher, which is completely irrelevant here.

And it's not about morals or "bad consequences"—it's about facts and justifiable inferences. Sure, you can take an extremist position and say "I refuse to make any assumptions about anyone, I will only ascribe views based on unimpeachable evidence," but then you've pretty much opted out of the conversation. Once again, we're not putting people on trial—my standards of proof are much higher when real-world consequences are at stake—we're talking about how to regard a certain asshole who got himself killed in an amusing way. But next you're going to tell me I have no right to regard him as an asshole simply on the basis of his being a dean of an asshole organization. I find that a bizarre way of looking at the world, and one that makes it impossible to discuss most topics involving human beings.
posted by languagehat at 2:14 PM on October 16, 2007


Maybe you can't.

Right. That's what I said and that's what I meant. I meant me.


Can you not acknowledge that there are different categories of membership in an ideological organization -- those who are merely members, and those who designate themselves as behavioral models? A "super-member," so to speak?


I totally agree with this. If I've given you reason to believe I don't, then I've been unclear.

Sure, orgs are joined and run by many different people for many different reasons. But without getting inside Xs head, how can we tell why he joined? Unless he's clearly stated his reasons.

Your point-of-view (please correct me if I'm wrong) seems to be that -- unless we hear otherwise -- our default assumption should be that X joined the org because he believes in its ideology.

I disagree with this. But I DON'T think the opposite. I don't think the default should be that he DOESN'T believe in the org's ideology. I don't think a default makes sense at all.

I think people join for such complex and varied reasons that it makes no sense to generalize.

But I do love a good analogy, so if you'd like to find one that fits, I'm all ears.


Well, I wish you'd given REASONS for your objection, but my point is this: given two points of view, one may be morally superior than the other. But that doesn't mean that one is true -- as in conforming to facts about the material world.

I understand that, for moral reasons, you prefer one way of looking at things over another. I just don't think that way maps onto reality.
posted by grumblebee at 2:16 PM on October 16, 2007


and it's produced some good science fiction and satire

I always loved Stanislaw Lem's story of the planet full of fake robots.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:20 PM on October 16, 2007


So far this has not happened at my workplace, but if it did, I would stand up and protest.

So. Then they WOULD make equity? After all you can't possibly be the only one with rational principles at your law firm, right? Surely others would stand up.

Thus we may have invalidated your earlier statement about the universality of prejudicial treatment based on sexuality.

And even if your point did stand you keep steadfastly and stubbornly refusing to recognizing where and WHY the worst forms of this attitude exists. And this becuase of 200 years of duplicitous Christian sexual repression. What? you think it's innate? It just is? Get out of here.

Besides it's not even the revelation of sexuality YOU'RE talking about. You're talking about the INTRUSION of intimate details in the professional or non-intimate realm. This is somewhat a taboo to be sure 9depending upon the act in question). How ever it is entirely different.

You really are not in a postition to assume anything about my psyche. You know nothing about my sex life. For all you know my husband and I are furries. You're making assumptions based on absolutely jack-shit.

I made no such assumptions about your individual sex life. So knock off the histrionics.

I am making an observation of known fact. And that is Americans have a duplicitous puritan attitude about sex. You want to refute THAT? Please try. It would be amusing.

I was never arguing about the rightness or wrongness of being open about one's sex life. I'm talking about reality here. Whatever the reason, it's not a good idea to announce the details of your sex life to your subordinates. I'm not even sure how you can argue this.

I can and do. Because you keep distorting and mis-characterizing the argument with loaded bullshit phrases like:

"advertise"

"announce"

"to fill everyone in on the most intimate secrets of your sex life"

This is a separate argument ENTIRELY. And I wish you would stop with this nonsense.

I'm starting to think YOU have a personal hang-up about a sexual braggadocio. Don't bring it in here.

What you're re talking about is the INTRUSION of intimacy in the professional work place or non-intimate setting.

Yes. If somebody showed up to work with a rubber suit on, their genitals hanging out, and announced how many goats they banged, I might not give them a raise.

But this is not the analogy I originally made. I said if the Mr. Alderidge Baptist parishioners "found out" about his proclivities (had he lived) - he would be fired. Instantly. Not that he announced or advertised. They find out through no deliberate "fault" of his.

And he would be fired. And you all know it. Even the HINT of these kinds of scandals - many MUCH less prurient - have brought baptists ministers down a hundred times before.

And it has NOTHING to do with an uncomfortable intimacy being revealed in the professional environment. And EVERYTHING to do with fucked up puritan attitudes about sex.

I'm not even sure how YOU can argue this. Well. Actually you can't. And you haven't.
posted by tkchrist at 2:20 PM on October 16, 2007


Your point-of-view (please correct me if I'm wrong) seems to be that -- unless we hear otherwise -- our default assumption should be that X joined the org because he believes in its ideology.

I disagree with this. But I DON'T think the opposite. I don't think the default should be that he DOESN'T believe in the org's ideology. I don't think a default makes sense at all.


Let's take PFLAG as the organization.

It's conceivable that Bobby Joe or Betty Sue CollegeStudent may do volunteer work for PFLAG, despite their ambivalence - or possibly (very, very small, almost microscopic possibly) even hostility - towards the notion of GLBT rights. Looks good on a resume and such.

But are you saying that it's not a perfectly safe assumption that a regional or national chairman / director of PFLAG is pro- GLBT rights? They could certainly be totally straight, but it seems a safe bet to assume that they'd be in favor of their organization's ideology.
posted by CKmtl at 2:50 PM on October 16, 2007


THIS is the assumption you made about me, tkchrist, and it's a pretty big assumption:

And the reasons you don't stand up for your principles across the board, even in matters of sexuality, is because you are brainwashed by American puritan values- deep, deep, down in the dark root of your psyche - to think sex is bad and nasty.

And another:

And this becuase of 200 years of duplicitous Christian sexual repression. What? you think it's innate? It just is? Get out of here.

When did I say it was innate? When? Please provide a quote. I said it was a reality that in this world most people are going to find some sexual acts too far out of their realm of comfort to accept. I never said it was merited.

I'm starting to think YOU have a personal hang-up about a sexual braggadocio. Don't bring it in here.

I have no idea where this comes from, so I don't know how to respond.

Did I refute your claim that Aldridge would have been fired? No. I said that this hypothetical situation could occur in a lot of different work environments. Sure, it's caused by SOMETHING. It springs from SOMETHING. But you seem to be claiming that it has once source - American puritan values. This is a ridiculous claim.

As far as "knocking off the histrionics" - I started a civil discussion with you, and you turned it into a snark feeding frenzy. What is your problem?

Besides, darling, I could never compete with you in the "histrionics" department. You've set the bar so high.
posted by Evangeline at 2:52 PM on October 16, 2007


"Can you not acknowledge that there are different categories of membership in an ideological organization -- those who are merely members, and those who designate themselves as behavioral models? A 'super-member,' so to speak?"

I totally agree with this. If I've given you reason to believe I don't, then I've been unclear.


You're still being unclear. I don't mean to sound like a churl, but I'm really having a hard time following you, here. How does "totally agreeing" with my belief that one should acknowledge different types of membership in an ideological org.... jibe with:

"Sure, orgs are joined and run by many different people for many different reasons. But without getting inside Xs head, how can we tell why he joined? Unless he's clearly stated his reasons."

My point is I don't care about his reasons for joining. His reasons mean nothing to me. Aldridge took a leadership and teaching role, so whether or not he believed every single tiny tenet of the SBC, or none of them at all doesn't matter. I don't have to be inside his head. What he believed does not matter. He accepted the role of minister and spiritual better. At that time, he accepted the responsibility of a higher set of standards. He said, "I am better than you. I am a super-member." In accepting that role, he made a statement, whether literal or figurative, to his congregation, that he is the moral and behavioral standard for their church community. Getting hung up on why he joined the Baptists is starting to feel like a red herring.

Your point-of-view (please correct me if I'm wrong) seems to be that -- unless we hear otherwise -- our default assumption should be that X joined the org because he believes in its ideology.

Will do; you're wrong. Why Aldridge became a Baptist has never ever ever ever mattered to me.

Well, I wish you'd given REASONS for your objection, but my point is this: given two points of view, one may be morally superior than the other.

Okay, don't get whiny about it: What does that morality have to do with anything as fixed as consumer goods and their pricing? How did your analogy convey a morally superior view? There's my REASON for not being too impressed with the "cars are cheap" analogy. It doesn't "map," as you say.

I understand that, for moral reasons, you prefer one way of looking at things over another. I just don't think that way maps onto reality.

I'm starting to feel like Alice in Wonderland. Whose reality do you mean, exactly? Because in my reality, Aldridge wasn't just any old member; he was a self-designated "super-member" who was better than the others, more representative of the org's ideals. So, yes, I prefer a view that accounts for Aldridge's elevated status, since I see him as different from the other members.

In your reality, apparently, there is a binary option of "member" or "non-member". And you're certainly entitled to that "reality" but you have to acknowledge that it could easily be yours alone, and that this is all subjective.

In my reality, your way of looking at things is like saying, "Karl Rove is just like my Republican neighbor down the street." Or "Jerry Falwell is just like me since I've attended a Baptist church service" or "William Sears is just like me since I slept with my infant once."

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely support your right to see things so completely black or white. But as languagehat pointed out, it doesn't leave us with anything to talk about. Ever.
posted by pineapple at 2:55 PM on October 16, 2007


THIS is the assumption you made about me, tkchrist, and it's a pretty big assumption: [snip my quote]


I am making this assumption about everybody in this country. Including me. The only qualifiers are matters of degree.

"I'm starting to think YOU have a personal hang-up about a sexual braggadocio. Don't bring it in here."

I have no idea where this comes from, so I don't know how to respond.


Then you are being ignorant of your own repeated choice of words and phrases and how they have twisted the argument into something it is not.

Again. Read this: You constantly are re framing the argument to be about "advertising" "announce" and "To fill in everyone" deliberately about their sexuality and the prejudicial effect that would have.

It's either deliberate — which an egregious mis-characterization of the argument. Or it's subconscious — which leads me to wildly speculate. Yes. Wildly.
posted by tkchrist at 4:04 PM on October 16, 2007


What does that morality have to do with anything as fixed as consumer goods and their pricing?

You really think cars are priced rationally? In a (hypothetical) completely sex-positive (neutral) culture, the class of objects known as dildoes become commodity items and return little profit. In a culture with extreme poles of sexual constraint and sexual liberation, the street value of such items fluctuates wildly according to geography, social location, and legal states (and enforcement thereof). Such dynamic disequilibria introduce significant opportunities for advantageous pricing and creation of cultural capital. We just have to look at Dead Dildo Guy - a mundane autoerotic asphyxiation with concommitant dildo impalation is almost worthless in Western society, meriting, if it's lucky, a line or two in Fark. But the same death of a publicly professed holy man has created a storm of words, content, and impassioned debate of the meaning of his life and his death. It helps us create new stories and power hierachies and humour (Personal Effects: One yellow metal ring intact on left finger, one dildo)... not to mention it's probably goosed dildo sales in Alabama a little because some people will read this say think to themselves "Hmmm, gotta try that!", and for some people for whom obtaining a dildo is socially or legally fraught, well, those people are going to pay above the odds.
posted by meehawl at 4:20 PM on October 16, 2007


Let me see if I understand this argument between Evangeline and tkchrist.

Evangeline stated that, even though she works among liberal-types at her law firm, she expects that it would be career-damaging for a managing partner of her firm to be revealed as a user of wetsuits and ass-dildoes during sex. And added, "Unless you're the president of the local BDSM chapter, it's probably a bad career move to fill everyone in on the most intimate secrets of your sex life."

She was responding to tkchrist's statement, in which tkchrist supported the view that that Aldridge was a hypocrite, by stating that even if he had survived the fatal episode, Aldridge would have been immediately fired for his wet-suit dildo-play if it had been discovered by his church.

Evangeline basically responded, "But in any career, being revealed as a wetsuit fetishist who likes dildoes jammed up your butt would not be conducive to professional advancement. That's just the way it is."

I don't see Evangeline's argument as an attempt to downplay the hypocrisy of Aldridge's behavior. Nor is it an approval of the social mores that would frown upon sexual use of wetsuits and ass-dildonics. I see her as arguing that, OF COURSE the church would have disapproved of his kinky ass-play --- even in fairly liberal, tolerant environments a public revelation of such kinky ass-play might be damaging.

And from these statements by Evangeline, tkchrist leaps to the conclusion that that Evangeline is not courageous enough to stand up for kink rights in the workplace.

Tkchrist has misinterpreted Evangeline's descriptive statement of the culture of the firm, as being a statement that Evangeline approves of that culture. But Evangeline noted that nobody has been caught in the act of anal dildo-play so the opportunity to be a kink-rights hero in the law firm has not even presented itself.

This discussion is getting weird.
posted by jayder at 4:41 PM on October 16, 2007


This discussion is like counting angels on the head of a pin.

We have on the one hand, the fact that this guy rose to the top of his profession, purposefully becoming a high-level leader of his cultural/religious group. It is self-evident that he would have taught the sexual mores of his group's teachings, and we have plenty of evidence that this group disapproves of fetishistic sex. We also have the fact that he engaged in fetishistic sex, contrary to those teachings.

On the other hand, we have... well, I don't know. A lot of remote possibilities, like that the group might actually approve of his specific fetish while disapproving of all others; or that he might have been preaching lessons contrary to those publically stated by the group; or that we should all treat MeFi discussions as if they were criminal trials.

It is a disagreement between the idealist and the pragmatist. Ideally, we'd never say the guy was a hypocrite because we don't have indisputable evidence that his specific situation isn't A-OK with his constituents and leaders. Practically, we know damn well that he preached one set of values ("say no to fetishes") and practiced another ("bind me, tie me, make me come!")

Practically, he was a hypocrite. Potentially, he maybe might not have been, possibly, perhaps.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:07 PM on October 16, 2007


This discussion is getting weird.
Heh. Usually my double-wetsuit arse-dildo death talks are so pedestrian!
Thinking about the current congress of the Chinese Communist Party, there you have an "ideological" organisation where only a tiny minority of members actually subscribe to its ideology as stated, and possibly not even a plurality subscribe to the ideology as implicit from practice. Even in that case, I hold you responsible for joining and supporting it, knowing full well you aren't seriously going to tell me you are holding high the banner of Mao Zedong Thought. There comes a point when it's not incumbent on me to read your mind, but for you to take ownership of what you do and who you affiliate with.
posted by Abiezer at 6:09 PM on October 16, 2007


This discussion is getting weird.

Your telling me.

Hey. What are you wearing right now?

I see her as arguing that, OF COURSE the church would have disapproved of his kinky ass-play --- even in fairly liberal, tolerant environments a public revelation of such kinky ass-play might be damaging.

Which is not refutation of WHY they, or her law firm for that matter, feel this way. Or why any of us, if this is indeed a "universal" "just the way it is" standard not somewhat unique to post Puritan societies.

So Jayder. I think you left a significant portion out of your summary.

Especially her characterizations of how people are informing themselves about said theoretical sexual escapades.

She keeps going on about people "advertising" it.

That was never part of the analogy and it alters the course and the charachter of the discussion significantly. And every time I pointed it out - she ignored it and kept on doing it.

Eventually I had to invalidate her reasoning one way or another. We were not having the same argument anymore.

So I tried being a dick and inverting her argument. By proving that SHE wouldn't fire or impede the career of hypothetical co-worker. Which she admitted to. So why would she conclude this is a universal standard?

Ah. Hah.

God this has worn me out.
posted by tkchrist at 6:16 PM on October 16, 2007


... the banner of Mao Zedong Thought

Dong thought indeed.
posted by CKmtl at 6:24 PM on October 16, 2007


There comes a point when it's not incumbent on me to read your mind, but for you to take ownership of what you do and who you affiliate with.

Indeed. Well said.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:31 PM on October 16, 2007


Abiezer said "Zedong."

heh.




Look it's all I got left, okay.


-----

The problem with this thread is that it's suffering from too much Devils Advocate-ism. I'm doing it. Everybody is doing it.

EB and others were simply trying too hard. Eventually they got people agreeing with them or arguing with them on an irrelevant strawman "that is bad to jump to conclusions and generalize with out evidence."

Well. Duh. Of course it is.

But Most people were NOT doing that. The baptist fundie movement in notoriously sex-negative and repressive. There are reams and reams of historical fact to support this. Okay. They don't specify butt dlidos. So what. It is irrelevant.

These Fundie Baptists have spent a couple of centuries attempting to contort the law and the culture to reflect their suppressed sexual views.

The fact that they cannot suppress their OWN desires, while maybe not evidence of an individual case of hypocrisy, is evidence of how futile, addle brained, and yes, DANGEROUS their attempts to impose this world view on the rest of us has become.

I guarantee you this. Mr. Alderidge would more likely be ALIVE today if he wasn't a Baptist Fundie.

If the likes of baptist fundies had not imposed their confined sexual mores on the rest of us for centuries he would have been able to do his kink safely and more openly. He would not have worried so much about keeping it secret. He would have been better educated as to how less dangerously to perform said kink.

The funny thing is - I don't care. I really don't. I never commented in the original thread because it was fucking lame.
posted by tkchrist at 6:41 PM on October 16, 2007


tkchrist, I hear that Evangeline dragged this argument in a direction you didn't want it to go. I'm sorry about that, but your way of dealing with it was caddish.

You said, "I had to invalidate her reasoning..." No you didn't. No one forced you to do this. You chose to do it. Many people are taking this thread in directions I don't like, too. And many are ignoring things that I'm saying over and over (probably not purposefully -- there are many many people here all saying complex and different things, and it's hard to keep it all straight). That doesn't mean I have to invalidate their reasoning.

I am -- I hope -- welcome to make my case. So are you. But you're out of line because you "tried being a dick." That's just rude, bad behavior.

You've also made a strong assertion as if it was fact without providing a scrap of evidence. You've asserted that ALL Americans have a puritanical streak in them. And you've made your claim non-falsifiable. That's shoddy reasoning at best.

If you'd claimed that there's a strong puritanical streak in America I would have immediately agreed. Of course there is. If you'd said MOST Americans -- even the most liberal ones -- have some puritan in it, I would have agreed with you, too. But ALL Americans? Just by living in this country they are fated to become puritanical and there's no way they can escape it? That's a very strong and odd claim and it demands strong evidence.

Because you've made it non-falsifiable, I can't ... er ... falsify it. If I tell you that I know someone who isn't puritanical, you'll tell me that I just haven't dug deeply enough, right? Somewhere in his secret soul, he's a prude. And his prudishness stems from his being an American.

Let me state -- again -- that I agree that American is full of puritanical influence, some coming from (many) parents; some coming from schools; some coming from churches; some coming form politicians; some coming from TV... I AGREE with that. But I know several people who you'd have to dig REALLY deep inside to find a puritanical core. I suspect that you'd dig so deep you'd come out the other end without finding it.

I'll give two examples:

1) My friend Tigger. I've known him for 20 years. He recently won the Mr. Exotic world conference in Vegas. He does burlesque shows where he -- among other things -- sticks crucifixes up his ass. He does some really extreme things and has tons of really extreme friends (and some fairly vanilla ones, like me). I've never heard him say or act puritanical about anyone. Yet he grew up in America.

2) Evangeline. I've known her for 13 years. She's good friends with Tigger. She's also American.

There are strong puritanical forces in America, but there are other forces, too. Evangeline and I have been surrounded by accepting people for decades. In our circles, you'd be shunned if you showed a puritanical streak (I'm not talking about in Evangeline's conservative office, I'm talking about our social lives.) That's a strong force, too. And it comes from our immediate friends and loved ones. It has more impact on us than America.
posted by grumblebee at 6:55 PM on October 16, 2007


Which is not refutation of WHY they, or her law firm for that matter, feel this way. Or why any of us, if this is indeed a "universal" "just the way it is" standard not somewhat unique to post Puritan societies.

But I wasn't trying to prove why or why not discrimination and intolerance takes place. I think somehow you're conflating my comments with some of the other posters'. I'm just saying that it's often the case. Do you not think that's true? Do you not think that no matter how we got to this place, whether through 200 years of Christian oppression or whatever other circumstances, it's still a bad idea (career-wise) to be too open about what other people might find unusual sexual practices, no matter what your career field? I don't think it's good. I don't think it's fair. It just IS.

Maybe I didn't choose my words carefully enough (although I'm not sure how you can say I keep "going on" about people "advertising" it when I'm think I only used the word once). Maybe it would have been clearer to say that it might be more practical to keep close-lipped about your personal life. PRACTICAL. Not good, not right, just PRACTICAL.

No, I didn't think you and I were having a discussion about hypocrisy. I never did. I thought we were talking about something else tangentially related. If you thought I was trying to defend Aldridge against charges of hypocrisy, you're mistaken.

I didn't know it was such an egregious sin to go off-topic. My bad.

So I tried being a dick...

Well, at least we can agree on something.
posted by Evangeline at 6:57 PM on October 16, 2007


Ok, I'm back, and what the hell, let's reach for that 500 diadem.

It is self-evident that he would have taught the sexual mores of his group's teachings, and we have plenty of evidence that this group disapproves of fetishistic sex. We also have the fact that he engaged in fetishistic sex, contrary to those teachings.

Actually, no we don't. What we actually have is "plenty of evidence" that this group has no standardized doctrine on most sexual behaviors [*], and there is a wide variety of opinions. We have plenty of evidence that things like bondage and rubber are permitted by many, because a number of biblical fundamentalists believe there is nothing in the bible against rubber, crisco, and dildos.

If you'll read the Wikipedia article among others linked here, you'll see there are only a few broad underlying sexual rules purportedly extracted from the bible by Evangelical fundamentalists: mainly, one male husband and one female wife. Pornography is banned on this basis. (because it involves adulterous fantasy) Below that the opinions get more varied, and less justified in biblical and sin terms. Some permit masturbation, some do not. Other, more specific, sexual behaviors are justified or condemned in more in personal, reactive, or common sense terms: "Can I have anal sex with my wife?" will get answers like 'Yes, all sex within marriage is fine' or 'No, that kind of sex is medically risky'. But fewer try and spin this advice as necessarily biblical or certain.

What is not obvious to me is that if a husband or wife ever walked into Aldridge's office what his answers would be to the following:

- Sometimes my wife likes to be on top during sex, is that sinful?

- Sometimes we like to paint ourselves like naked clowns and hit each other with pies, is that sinful?

- Sometimes when she's out of town, I dress up like a clown and hit myself with pies, is that sinful?

- My wife likes to tie me up and tickle my brown eye with a feather, is that sinful?

- Sometimes when she's out of town, I tie up my legs and tickle my own brown eye, is that sinful?

... and on and on.

Many of you seem to have incredibly certain feelings on how he would have answered these kind of questions: 'Of course, he would say it was a sin for her to be on top, they're sex-hating Baptists, dummy!'

I do not share those certain feelings, and in fact I am not at all convinced that your understanding of Baptists, Christians, fundies, Evangelicals, etc, is as good or objective as you think it is.



[*] Please point to the section on dildos in the Message of the Southern Baptist Convention consensus statement. Thanks.

You would think that the anti-war statements in the Southern Baptist consensus would suggest, if even a little, just how variegated and disorganized the beliefs are even within a system where you see nothing but well-regulated homogeneity.
posted by dgaicun at 7:09 PM on October 16, 2007


The posts have gone by too fast for me to reply to all the people who responded to me. In general, though, the responses too this form:

Grumblebee, you're acting like Nazis didn't believe in their party's ideology. Like they all just joined up for random reasons.

That's not what I'm trying to say. Either I'm being monstrously unclear (probably) or my message is too complex to come across.

For the record, let me state that I'm sure many many Nazis bought (and wanted to further) the party line, and that's why they joined up. Maybe this was the majority. I'm not sure. In any case, it was a lot of them.

I'm not sure I buy this was the ONLY reason they joined up. I don't think most people do things first-and-foremost for ideological reasons. I don't think that's human nature. I think people tend more often to do thing to fit in. Or for money. Or sex. Or power. Or out of inertia (everyone in their family has always done it). But I agree that ideology plays a part too.

For many people -- not ALL people. I'm not extrapolating from my experience as a teacher. I meant that as an example, not a proof. I'm extrapolating from the dozens of people I've known about who have admitted to joining this or that for the all-too-human reasons I've stated above.

I actually tend to be overly into ideology. And I'm always getting disgusted with all the people who join groups I'm in for the "wrong" reasons (wrong to me, anyway). I WANT them to be in it for the ideology, but they're clearly in it for the free drinks, dammit!

Now if I thought that 99% of people in orgs were in it for the ideology, I'd agree with you folks. I wouldn't hold a torch for that 1%. If 99% percent of the people in the club believe X, then I think it's fair to say that they club believes X. But I don't think it's 99%. Maybe it's 60%. Maybe more, maybe less. But if a sizable minority -- say 40% -- of the people don't buy (or care about) the ideology, then I think it's misleading to classify the club has having an ideology. At best, you can talk about what the majority of people in the club believes.

And -- yes -- I think all this stuff applies to the leaders, too. Why? Because the leaders are humans, just like the rank and file. They too want free beer, sex, status, etc. I've been a leader. I know leaders. I know that leaders don't always buy their club's ideology. If you want to tell me that more leaders do than don't, fine. But, again, I don't think we're talking about 99%.

Pineapple, you say, "He accepted the role of minister and spiritual better. At that time, he accepted the responsibility of a higher set of standards. He said, "I am better than you. I am a super-member." In accepting that role, he made a statement, whether literal or figurative, to his congregation, that he is the moral and behavioral standard for their church community."

I do think that's a reasonable view. I just don't think it's the only reasonable view. It's grounded in a framework in that says when a group says its bylaws are X, leaders are communicating that they are in favor of those bylaws by their participation in the group.

I can understand why people feel that way.

I don't, because I don't think human nature works that way.

It's sort of like this: say I put up a sign above a door that says "COMMUNIST PARTY MEETING: FREE BEER" and then I accused everyone who came of being a communist. If there are meetings like this every week, I'd bet some of the leaders aren't even communists. They just like all the free beer.

Before anyone says anything, I KNOW I'M STACKING THE DECK. I'm just illustrating how it SEEMS to me. To me, it seems like the deck is always stacked. There are always other reasons to join and run groups, besides caring about those groups's ideologies. Those reasons are usually more subtle than big signs that say free beer, but they still exist.

You might say, "That's fine and dandy, most most people will ASSUME that people join and run organizations because they believe in the ideologies, so whatever their motives, they're sending a message that they approve." Maybe. Again, maybe MANY people interpret their actions this way. But not all people.
posted by grumblebee at 7:20 PM on October 16, 2007


And he would be fired. And you all know it. Even the HINT of these kinds of scandals - many MUCH less prurient - have brought baptists ministers down a hundred times before.

We all know how very, very certain you are in your beliefs tkchrist, but you don't seem to get the irony of getting called on your bluff. You ignored it and repeated yourself.

We all "KNOW" what would have happened because we've seen it happen, like 5 bijillionedy bijillionedy times before. Or have we?

Citations please.
posted by dgaicun at 7:26 PM on October 16, 2007


It's grounded in a framework in that says when a group says its bylaws are X, leaders are communicating that they are in favor of those bylaws by their participation in the group. I can understand why people feel that way. I don't, because I don't think human nature works that way.

I respect your right to have this opinion, and I think it's probably mostly true, for most organizations.

But what the comparisons have been in this thread, by and large, have been Southern Baptist ideology :: political, or governmental, or sexual ideology. Even my own comparisons have not been religion::religion, because it's so damned difficult to find an org with the same set-up.

This is not the Young Republicans Club, where in order to "walk the walk," the leaders who run the org should adhere to a set of positions on current events, should register and vote a certain way, and should support certain candidates over others.

This is about God. This is a group that claims to have the only right way to live... and everyone else is going to burn for all eternity. This is a group where the leaders aren't just demonstrating that they are "in favor" because they are participating -- they literally stand up before others and say, "If you are a good person, if you are going to live your life the correct way, and if you are going to be blessed in the eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ, you must do as I do."

I am not a religious person. I am not even a Christian (inasmuch as I am not really anything, a secular humanist I suppose). But I have friends and family members who are incredible faithful, incredibly devoted to God and to their church community, be it Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox -- and their clergypersons aren't anything as insignificant as a "club president." Those relationships are far, far closer equated to spiritual parenthood. It's the same amount of trust and respect, in some cases. And a minister knows that when he accepts that pulpit.

I hear what you're saying, grumblebee, I really do -- that it's just not realistic to expect a person to be wholly responsible for every single piece of the huge pile of ideology he or she "takes on" by joining an ideological group.

I just think that a church is not just "any" ideological group, and that the level of responsibility is as high as a father to his child, for someone who claims to be a responsible steward of other people's faith, and willing accepts that duty.
posted by pineapple at 7:48 PM on October 16, 2007


pineapple, we're mostly seeing eye-to-eye. The one way we're talking past each other is that you're talking about what we have a right to expect from religious leaders. I agree that that they SHOULD act in a certain way.

I just don't think that they will.

I don't mean that NO religious leaders will ever act correctly. Some will and some won't. And I don't mean that we shouldn't expect all religious leaders to act correctly. We probable should hold them to that standard. But they won't meet it. Not all of them.

We have a right to expect health, happiness and brotherly love. But we're probably not going go get those things, because the universe doesn't care about us.

Maybe you think I'm saying, "we should go easy on these leaders when they screw up, because -- after all -- they're just being human." I'm not saying that. I'm not making any claim about what should or shouldn't be done with them. I'm just saying that they're GOING to screw up. And I'm also saying that some of them didn't care about their own organization's bylaws when they accepted leadership.

I used to work for a major corporation. The CEO's job was to work for the good of the company. Instead, she almost ruined the company by stealing from it. She lead the company without believing in its rules or stated purpose.

I know that religious entities are different from businesses (or that we want them to be), but people are people. It there's something to be gained by leadership, then some people will lead to get that something.

The fact that I think that's human nature does not mean I'm excusing it.

I do not think "human nature" = good or excusable.
posted by grumblebee at 8:19 PM on October 16, 2007


I am making this assumption about everybody in this country.

that they're puritan? that shows an utter ignorance of various ethnic catholic cultures, which, although they may have restrictive rules also have an acknowledgement that people have an erotic, dionysian side to them and that at times, it's natural that people are going to err because of that

there are other differences between puritan derived cultures and ethnic catholic cultures - and come to think of it, i'm not sure i'd lump in southern baptists in with the puritans 100% either

and i've figured out why EB is uneasy with the drumbeat of hypocrisy accusations that we all here these days

it's intellectually lazy - instead of actually having to refute what the person says or what he believes all you have to do is say, "hurf durf, doesn't do what he says" and then turn your back on the whole thing - as if any of you, constantly and consistently, 100% ever act in the way you believe you should

you don't - nobody does - people are too fucked up to do that, which, by the way is one of the central messages of christianity - we're all screwed up and the least we could do for each other is to forgive one another for being screwed up like we are

it's like they say - you point a finger at someone, there's three pointing back at you - and for you to get up and accuse them of hypocrisy is stupid, because there's stuff you're hypocritical of too

so back to square one - why don't you feel rev aldriges' and liberty university's moral precepts are proper for a person to follow? - never mind that they don't always follow them - like i said that's an intellectually lazy red herring because NONE of us do

i think, for one thing, that their rules create horribly unrealistic expectations for people and then they spent their time beating themselves up for their "sins" instead of asking for god's help in seeking a positive way to express their sexuality

see? you could actually DEBATE why they think kink and homosexually is wrong, go right at the heart of the matter, make them defend their views and the negative things they follow

or you can just call them hypocrites and achieve nothing useful

my GOD how y'all carry on about the most picayune pickyass crap - and yes, there is something obsessive and voyeuristic about the way you guys are picking through this guy's rubber suited psyche
posted by pyramid termite at 9:13 PM on October 16, 2007


Looking through Amazon and Search Inside for Christian sex advice I see most Evangelical books take the same positions as the Fundie sex advice website I linked above. As I have stated the main rule is one male husband, one female wife:

Intimate Issues: 21 Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex

See Chapter 17 'What's Not OK in Bed':

"God gives tremendous sexual freedom within the marriage relationship. But God also sets forth some prohibitions we must honor."

Please compare these 'biblical' prohibitions to the Fundy sex list above. Note the overlap, and note that they both do not contain anything done by Aldridge:

3. Homosexuality: The bible is very clear that for a man to have sex with a man or a woman to have sex with a woman is detestable to God...

7. Lustful Passion: First let us tell you what this does not mean. Lustful passion does not refer to the powerful, God-given sexual desire a husband and wife have for one another. Instead it refers to an unrestrained, indiscriminate sexual desire for men or women other than the person's marriage partner."
(pp 199-200)

Again masturbation permitted:

"Concerning self-pleasuring, the scriptures are silent, saying that such actions are neither right nor wrong."

But only when not done "in lust":

"In... self-pleasuring you must guard your fantasy and thought life ... and not have your partnership adulterated by fantasizing about other people".

A la Wikipedia, self-pleasuring is a personal matter of conscience:

"This is a very personal issue... Ask [God] what is right and appropriate for you" (pp 128-129)
posted by dgaicun at 9:14 PM on October 16, 2007


A summary on beliefnet of the market saturated genre of Evangelical Christian sex advice books:

"To have "Christlike" sex, you should:... experiment with vibrators, water pistols, rub-on tattoos and jump ropes. (Jump ropes? Don't ask.)"

These all market themselves as biblical sex manuals, and from what I'm seeing there is surprisingly broad agreement in their 'biblical' prohibitions and allowances for sex. Nothing in these seemingly implicate Aldridge.

This unfolding picture has been pretty devastating to the confident Fundy characterizations and hypocrisy arguments in this thread. Not only do you have no statements from Aldridge, but even your understanding of "his group's" beliefs and proscriptions about sex have been largely fallacious.
posted by dgaicun at 9:39 PM on October 16, 2007


and i've figured out why EB is uneasy with the drumbeat of hypocrisy accusations that we all here these days

it's intellectually lazy - instead of actually having to refute what the person says or what he believes all you have to do is say, "hurf durf, doesn't do what he says" and then turn your back on the whole thing - as if any of you, constantly and consistently, 100% ever act in the way you believe you should


I agree. And there's another problem: hypocritical does not equal wrong. Or right. The fact that someone's a hypocrite says tells you nothing about the validity of his claim. (Though I agree that hypocrisy is distasteful.)

Let's say George claims that homosexuality is evil. Then we discover that he's been having sex with other men for years. We just up and down and call him a hypocrite. And he IS a hypocrite.

Okay, now that we've established fact ... now what? There's still a big statement hanging in the air: "Homosexuality is evil." And that's a problem. And showing that George is a hypocrite has done nothing to refute that statement. Maybe homosexuality IS evil and poor hypocritical George has fallen prey to it.

By focusing on George's hypocrisy, we've gone after the easy target. We've shown that the utterer of the statement is a small-minded, inconsistent man. But we haven't shown his statement itself has been false.

In fact, we've committed a sort of rhetorical sin that we'd call someone else out of for doing -- if they did it in the service of something we disagreed with. We've tried to refute an argument by maligning the arguer.

I do think it makes sense to say things like this: "By making all these rules about human sexuality, the Church is playing a losing game. Humans are always going to have sex -- including so-called deviant sex. Look, even the Church's own members can't help themselves." That's a good point, but it still doesn't directly confront the issue.

Someone on the other side could argue, "It really doesn't matter if everyone in the Church sins. It will be unfortunate if they do, but sin is still sin, even if it's universal. We still have to fight it."

Please note that I'm NOT claiming that hypocrites should get a free pass. They shouldn't. It's a bad thing to be a hypocrite. I'm not a believer, but I agree that "he who is without sin should cast the first stone."

But I think that there are two problems:

Problem A: Many people think homosexuality (or whatever) is evil.

Problem B: Many of those same people are hypocrites.

I'm disturbed that we seem to spend more energy on B than A, which to me is the bigger problem. But I understand why we do it. It's harder to fight than B. Expending more energy on B is not only intellectually lazy; it's also intellectually cowardly.
posted by grumblebee at 9:53 PM on October 16, 2007


By the way there are about 20 references in this thread to either 'Puritans' as a sexually hostile group, or 'Puritan' as an adjective to mean the same.

In fact the twisting and caricature of historical Puritan views on sexuality is virtually analogous to the misrepresentations of modern Evangelical views on sexuality in this thread.

The following (dubiously of fair usage) paragraphs are from Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of American History:
If America is sure of anything it is that Puritans were hostile to sex, and, for that matter, all other worldly pleasures as well. As H. L. Mencken put it in 1925, Puritanism amounted to the "haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." Actually the only "haunting fear" may be that Americans will never learn the truth about the Puritans and will forever misunderstand them. Scholars long ago determined that while the Puritans frowned on immorality and were no doubt less promiscuous than their descendants, they happily welcomed the practice of sex. When one married couple revealed that they had been abstaining from sex to achieve a higher spirituality, John Cotton, the Puritan's Puritan, sternly recorded his belief that they were the victims of "blind zeal," adding, "They are the dictates of a blind mind that follow therein, and not of the Holy Spirit, which saith, It is not good that man should be alone."

Some have charged that the Puritans were sexually repressed and inhibited, supposedly the reason for Americans' long-standing hang-ups about sex. In reality the Puritans not only considered intercourse within marriage a positive good but talked about it in public. When one James Mattock refused to sleep with his wife for two years running, the matter was taken up by the members of his congregation at the First Church of Boston. After a free and open discussion of the subject they expelled him...

As a matter of fact, the Puritans apparently didn't try very hard to shelter their children from sex and may have been less protective than parents are now...

The Puritans... weren't as closedminded as many of the moralists, like Anthony Comstock, who came later. As the historian Carl Degler observes, "The Sabbatarian, antiliquor, and antisex attitudes usually attributed to the Puritans are a nineteenth-century addition to the much more moderate and wholesome view of life's evils held by the early settlers of New England." (pp 60-62)
posted by dgaicun at 11:08 PM on October 16, 2007


dgaicun, thanks for that link and info on Puritans and sexuality. The truth is, I know very little about the Puritans other than that our general cultural view of them which I've internalized via osmosis, just like everyone else has. It's sobering to realize that I'm wrong about them in this respect, even if in a minor way, because it points to the truth of how truly ignorant I am on the subject.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:11 AM on October 17, 2007


Ooh, ooh! Let's turn this thread into a book club, and read this book I just stumbled across (pure coincidence; entirely unrelated to this conversation).
posted by taz at 1:19 AM on October 17, 2007


“and i've figured out why EB is uneasy with the drumbeat of hypocrisy accusations that we all here these days

it's intellectually lazy - instead of actually having to refute what the person says or what he believes all you have to do is say, "hurf durf, doesn't do what he says" and then turn your back on the whole thing - as if any of you, constantly and consistently, 100% ever act in the way you believe you should”


Yeah, that's a pretty accurate summary.

Although I object to intellectual laziness on its own (lack of) merits, that's only a minor factor in my objections to these group hypocrisy accusations. It's more that the actual truth of the matter is usually unknown coupled with the fact that it utilizes either vague ideas of “what those people are like/believe” or even grossly biased stereotypes.

The specific charge of hypocrisy is troublesome, too, because, as you say, its relevance is questionable but its effectiveness as a scarlet letter is not. (Well, maybe its actual effectiveness may be questionable, but it does seem like we're accusing someone of a pretty serious vice when we accuse them of hypocrisy.)

All of that with how incredibly tempting and common such accusations are, and how corrosive to civil discourse, together add up to something I think is a very real, very specific problem that we can actually do something about. We're not going to have much success getting other people and ourselves to be more careful with generalizations. We're all aware of the problems with generalizations and we hear cautions against them all the time.

But no one is really talking about these group hypocrisy accusations except, as far as I can tell, me. And it's such a specific kind of behavior that I think it's realistic to suppose that if consciousness is raised about its corrosive effects, we might somewhat lower its usage. At the very least we can reduce its usage in limited environments such as MetaFilter.

For example, I just hope that because of this thread a few people will be aware of what they're doing the next time they make such an accusation and, perhaps, one or two people will decide not to do so.

One thing I've not mentioned is that such accusations generally aren't productive. Sure, as rhetoric in a rant against some opposition group, it's fairly effective. But we also tend to use such arguments when we're arguing directly with other people, such as when yerfatma made the accusation in this thread. And it's never productive. I don't know if I've ever seen someone in an argument like this respond with, "Oh, you know what? You're right. I'm being hypocritical." I suppose it would be nice if that happened, but it really is such a charged accusation that it strongly puts people on the defensive. It's much more like a "gotcha" accusation than it is a productive point to make.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:30 AM on October 17, 2007


Funnily enough, pretty much everything I know about "Puritan" theology comes from my reading about 17th century revolutionary England, Milton and his intellectual milieu. I am well aware that the stereotype is in part a creation of restoration Stuart propaganda and the rest.
My username is a nod to one of my favourite sectarians of the time. The Ranters made a kind of reverse hypocrisy into something of an art-form. They'd get pulled in for questioning and punishment about their heretical and libertine beliefs, cheerfully deny it all and write grovelling recantations and fulsome statements of orthodoxy, then on release return to pipe-smoking, whore-mongering and nude possession by the Spirit of Love Unlimited. Them were the days.
posted by Abiezer at 2:40 AM on October 17, 2007


I would like to subscribe to your pipe-smoking, whore-mongering and nude possession by the Spirit of Love Unlimited newsletter, Dr. Higham. And then, after a year or two, huffily unsubscribe, in shock at its lewd contents. 'K?
posted by taz at 3:09 AM on October 17, 2007


Alack, I am discovered in the dissembling I had thought so cunning!
posted by Abiezer at 3:37 AM on October 17, 2007


it's like they say - you point a finger at someone, there's three pointing back at you - and for you to get up and accuse them of hypocrisy is stupid, because there's stuff you're hypocritical of too

So, you're in the camp of "hypocrisy should never ever ever be accused or discussed at MetaFilter," then?

so back to square one - why don't you feel rev aldriges' and liberty university's moral precepts are proper for a person to follow?... i think, for one thing, that their rules create horribly unrealistic expectations for people and then they spent their time beating themselves up for their "sins" instead of asking for god's help in seeking a positive way to express their sexuality... see? you could actually DEBATE why they think kink and homosexually is wrong, go right at the heart of the matter, make them defend their views and the negative things they follow

The flaw in this theory is the egotistical notion that it's acceptable (and somehow more proper) for us to denigrate someone else's religion and debate its tenets. This isn't seminary school. I'd rather say, "Yikes, fundamental Baptists, not for me," and move on. Why what Gary Aldridge did is perceived as wrong by many Baptists is really none of my business. That's between him and the Baptists. All I can do at MetaFilter is look at the snapshot of the one situation, as we know it, and go from there.

or you can just call them hypocrites and achieve nothing useful

So you feel nothing useful has happened here, PT? And yet, here you are, almost 500 comments in, still picking through "the most picayune pickyass crap - and yes, there is something obsessive and voyeuristic about the way you guys are picking through this guy's rubber suited psyche" right along with us.

I just do not get why it takes that many words and repeated appearances in a thread to say "Y'all crazy for going on with this." A bit disingenuous, no?

Let's say George claims that homosexuality is evil. Then we discover that he's been having sex with other men for years. We just up and down and call him a hypocrite. And he IS a hypocrite. ...Okay, now that we've established fact ... now what? There's still a big statement hanging in the air: "Homosexuality is evil."

This, grumblebee, has been the huge part of your argument that I simply don't agree with. I don't believe that the big statement is still hanging in the air. I don't believe that what the hypocrite claimed to believe, but later rejected, actually matters. To me it's about the behavior. The hypocrisy is far more offensive to me than the belief itself; I am not interested in telling people how or what to believe, but I can certainly say, "Keep your beliefs out of my behaviors... and if you try to legislate my behaviors, be crystal clear that I'm watching you like a hawk."

I realize that you could think that this means there is a hole in my argument, so to speak... but, well, welcome to my world. Just because you are convinced of your side, and convinced I'm wrong, doesn't it make it so -- for either side. Our priorities are different; my perspective on this whole Aldridge thing is very libertarian, less

But no one is really talking about these group hypocrisy accusations except, as far as I can tell, me.

Yep, pretty much. Because, in my opinion, you picked the wrong battle. There is some validity to your theory, and yet you got on the cross about it here in a case that even conservative and religious MeFites have seen as clear-cut. You just would not let it go (still have not) that anyone who sees Aldridge as hypocritical is basically stupid and lazy. Flies, honey, etc.

I'm all for trying to get people to ackrite, even if I don't necessarily agree with where you personally, EB, have decided to do it (I think that MetaFilter will by and large moderate itself, and that we don't need one person as our self-appointed mommy badgering us and tsk-tsking us on how to think). But you might want to consider a more subtle or gentle approach next time... if your agenda is really just to get people to think critically about their behavior, instead of merely proving your own intellectual superiority.
posted by pineapple at 6:02 AM on October 17, 2007


sorry, ...."very libertarian, less liberal."
posted by pineapple at 6:07 AM on October 17, 2007


I agree that that they SHOULD act in a certain way.
I just don't think that they will.


Exactly, and that's why we call them hypocrites. I totally agree about the ineradicable fallibility of humanity, and no, I don't think hypocrisy is nearly as bad as bigotry, but the fact that large numbers of people in any ideological organization are likely to be hypocrites to some extent doesn't make their hypocrisy not worth talking about. I'm having a hard time understanding, grumblebee, why you think the fact that human nature is fallible and we rarely live up to our ideals has anything to do with the discussion we're having.

And it's such a specific kind of behavior that I think it's realistic to suppose that if consciousness is raised about its corrosive effects, we might somewhat lower its usage.

Hahahaha! Sorry, EB, but like pineapple says, you picked the wrong battle and are fighting it in a self-defeating way.

Special kudos to dgaicun for helping us reach our pledge drive goal of FIVE HUNDRED COMMENTS! The operators are at their phones, people; just a few more calls and we can get this done!
posted by languagehat at 6:46 AM on October 17, 2007


I just do not get why it takes that many words and repeated appearances in a thread to say "Y'all crazy for going on with this."

Because all of this tortured casuistry on behalf of Aldridge is either--at best--self-serving contrarianism, or else good old fashioned trolling in another case.

"You disapprove of fundie hypocrites? Well, I disapprove of your disapproval!"

I'd like to find one of these First Baptist Churches of Fetish S&M. I might attend services.
(Onward 500!)
posted by octobersurprise at 6:54 AM on October 17, 2007


This, grumblebee, has been the huge part of your argument that I simply don't agree with. I don't believe that the big statement is still hanging in the air. I don't believe that what the hypocrite claimed to believe, but later rejected, actually matters. To me it's about the behavior. The hypocrisy is far more offensive to me than the belief itself; I am not interested in telling people how or what to believe, but I can certainly say, "Keep your beliefs out of my behaviors... and if you try to legislate my behaviors, be crystal clear that I'm watching you like a hawk."

I'm still confused about how hypocrisy plays into what you care about.

I agree with you that behavior matters way more than ideology. If someone's ideology isn't expressed in behavior, it's just in his head and I'll never even know about it.

But presumably, the behaviors that most bother you are persecution and unfair legislation. They're certainly the behaviors that most bother me. Not hypocrisy.

Consider two people:

Person A: I'm going to burn you at the stake because you're a homosexual.

Person B: I'm going to burn you at the stake because you're a homosexual and then I'm going to engage in homosexual sex, myself.

To me, Person B is worse than person A, because I find hypocrisy distasteful. But in the most important ways -- in terms of key BEHAVIOR -- the two people are the same. Bottom line: they're both burning "sinners" at the stake, and THAT'S what we need to stop!

So why expend most of the energy on pointing out B's hypocrisy? Is it because that's easier than stopping A and B from burning gays at the stake? If so, I think it's intellectually lazy and/or cowardly.

Is it because we believe that, by pointing out B's hypocrisy, we'll be able to stop him from burning people? If so, I think we're wrong. Like E.B., I've never seen anyone say, "You're right, I'm a hypocrite." And it's also really hard for me to imagine B's friends saying, "Wow, B is a hypocrite. I guess that pokes holes in our entire system of dogma. We need to stop persecuting homosexuals."

I know the hope is that they'll realize WHY B's a hypocrite. He's a hypocrite because it's insane to repress sexuality. It's not repressable. If you try to repress it, the best you'll achieve is persecution mixed with hypocrisy. Maybe -- if B recognizes his own "failings" -- he'll go easier on other people. Maybe -- if his organization realizes that it's rife with hypocrites and "sinners" -- they're stop persecuting other people for things they do themselves.

Except (I believe) they won't. I've never seen this happen.

And even if this is a possible outcome, it won't happen, because B's opponents are more interested in shouting "Hypocrite!" then in delving deeply into the WHY behind the hypocrisy.

Maybe it's clearer if we look at three people:

Person A: I'm going to burn you at the stake because you're a homosexual.

Person B: I'm going to burn you at the stake because you're a homosexual and then I'm going to engage in homosexual sex, myself.

Person C: I'm going to chastise you for over eating. Then I'm going to gorge myself on five slices of pizza.

To me, A and B are horrible. B is a little worse because he's a both a persecutor and a hypocrite. C is an asshole, but he's almost not worth thinking about compared to A and B. Yet B and C are both equally hypocritical. But when looking at these three together, hypocrisy is not what stands out -- to me -- as the important thing to fight. (Even when I fight C, I'm going to spend more time telling him to mind his own business and quit lecturing people than on telling him not to be a hypocrite.)
posted by grumblebee at 7:03 AM on October 17, 2007


but the fact that large numbers of people in any ideological organization are likely to be hypocrites to some extent doesn't make their hypocrisy not worth talking about. I'm having a hard time understanding, grumblebee, why you think the fact that human nature is fallible and we rarely live up to our ideals has anything to do with the discussion we're having.

Because either you're misunderstanding me or (more likely) I'm not writing clearly.

I DO think hypocrisy is bad. I DO think it's worth pointing out.

But I share E.B.'s confusion as to why it tends to trump other issues. And I also share his feeling that it tends to be an intellectual "show stopper." Once someone brings up hypocrisy, it's hard to steer the conversation away from it or for the conversation to even continue at all.

E.B. and I are as guilty -- or maybe more guilty -- of this as everyone else. By OBJECTING to people centering this discussion around hypocrisy, we're centering the discussion around hypocrisy. And that's such a hot button word/concept for people, it's hard for anyone to discuss much else when once it's been brought up.

I think this is because we (and other primates) tend to be obsessed with fairness. And they hypocrite is clearly being unfair. He's punishing you for something he allows himself to do. That's bad and wrong.

But accusing him of it doesn't do anything worthwhile. It's basically just saying "you're unfair." (I think it has the same semantic content as "you're unfair," but it's less effective rhetorically. "You're a hypocrite" sounds worse. That IS effective rhetorically, but in my experience, it's mostly effective at generating defensiveness in the person being called a hypocrite and self-righteousness in the person doing the calling.)

Meanwhile, I wish we'd focus more what's behind the unfairness. They key way to do that is to mentally model the hypocrites as three-dimensional, complex human beings.

That's what Evangeline was trying to do. But when ever anyone does that in a discussion like this, they get accused of making excuses for the bad guys. I don't excuse them, but I think that "know thine enemy" is the only way we'll have a chance to "thwart thine enemy." But once the hypocrisy card is dealt, people become closer to caricatures than humans.

I think there are some really complex dynamics that go on in discussions like this. People are -- rightly -- deeply angry about the persecution and repression that so often comes from The Church. I know I'm angry.

One of the ways we deal with anger is via group venting. I may be wrong -- I can't read anyone's mind -- but I suspect a number of people hoped this thread would turn into a group venting session. People like E.B., Evangeline and I ruined that.

If that's true, I'm sorry. I really am. At the very least, I should have stated my solidarity before announcing my agenda (which is, I believe, especially since I'm not the only one here who has it, still valid in this thread).
posted by grumblebee at 7:27 AM on October 17, 2007


The flaw in this theory is the egotistical notion that it's acceptable (and somehow more proper) for us to denigrate someone else's religion and debate its tenets. This isn't seminary school. I'd rather say, "Yikes, fundamental Baptists, not for me," and move on.

in other words, you'd just rather bleat out your personal opinions without having to back them up with any reasoning

And yet, here you are, almost 500 comments in, still picking through "the most picayune pickyass crap - and yes, there is something obsessive and voyeuristic about the way you guys are picking through this guy's rubber suited psyche" right along with us.

except i'm not making any observations about his psyche, i'm making them about the people arguing about it

I just do not get why it takes that many words and repeated appearances in a thread to say "Y'all crazy for going on with this."

it doesn't - that's why i haven't contributed as many as you have

Because all of this tortured casuistry on behalf of Aldridge is either--at best--self-serving contrarianism, or else good old fashioned trolling in another case.

i'm not speaking on behalf of aldridge - and you can't dismiss arguments with glib accusations of contrarianism and trolling
posted by pyramid termite at 7:35 AM on October 17, 2007


Person A: I'm going to burn you at the stake because you're a homosexual. Person B: I'm going to burn you at the stake because you're a homosexual and then I'm going to engage in homosexual sex, myself.

Pointing out that person B is a hypocrite might, however, reduce his ability to get other people to burn people at the stake.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:51 AM on October 17, 2007


pyramid termite said: "you can't dismiss arguments with glib accusations of contrarianism and trolling"

You realize that wasn't my statement, right? Just checking.


grumblebee said: Consider two people:
Person A: I'm going to burn you at the stake because you're a homosexual.
Person B: I'm going to burn you at the stake because you're a homosexual and then I'm going to engage in homosexual sex, myself.
To me, Person B is worse than person A, because I find hypocrisy distasteful.


Totally agreed.

He's a hypocrite because it's insane to repress sexuality.

I still disagree with this, no matter how many times you repeat it. He's not a hypocrite for trying to repress anyone's sexuality; that's not even what "hypocrisy" means. He's a hypocrite because he preaches that a behavior is bad, while practicing it himself.

So why expend most of the energy on pointing out B's hypocrisy? Is it because that's easier than stopping A and B from burning gays at the stake? If so, I think it's intellectually lazy and/or cowardly.

I don't know what you mean by "stopping." In my worldview and political leaning, it's only acceptable to work to change Person A or B's behavior when it's illegal or criminal. I can't physically stop someone from thinking something I don't like. In your analogy, there's a very clear-cut problem: burning people is criminal. But merely thinking that gay people should be burned (a mental and intangible activity that is far closer to the actual scenario here), while terrible and wrong to my mind, is Person A's right as an American. We don't legislate thought in this country.

As a private citizen, I can absolutely try to influence that mindset toward improvement, but frankly, folks who hate gays don't frequent the places I hang out, virtually or otherwise. And to go seek them out to try to change their minds is for activists with more time than I have. I promote positive change in other ways.

So, to make that analogous to what we've been doing here, I have zero interest in wasting energy at MeFi denigrating the Southern Baptists for being Southern Baptists. There are plenty of websites out there for that exact agenda, and this ain't one. MeFi has a long history of rejecting LOLXTIANS behavior if it is just for the sake of knocking Christianity.

But accusing him of [the hypocrisy] doesn't do anything worthwhile.

That's your opinion. Do I care about getting people to think differently? Sure. In fact, to me, exposing the hypocrisy is doing just that. Weakening the political momentum of the New Christian Right in the US by exposing that they do not in fact care about freedom of religion (which is the civil right behind which they hide a lot of bigotry, hatred and self-loathing manifesting as "family values"), since they do not in fact practice what they preach, is a very important persuading argument, to me.

So tell me how you would go about "stopping A and B from burning gays at the stake" here at MetaFilter, instead of "pointing out the hypocrisy" which you believe to be lazy and cowardly?

Meanwhile, I wish we'd focus more what's behind the unfairness.

I'm all ears. Tell me how we do that without it being LOLXTIANS or "Fundies suck, amirite?"

I suspect a number of people hoped this thread would turn into a group venting session.

I'm not one of them. If I wanted to vent about the oppression of the church, I would have done that in the original thread about Aldridge. I'm here in the MeTa instead because what I care most about is the body of allegations that amount to: "MeFites can't handle discussions like this... talking about dead public figures is in bad taste... if we do have discussions like this, we aren't allowed to talk about the hypocrisy, because MeFi can't handle it." I don't agree with that set of perspectives.

grumblebee, you and pyramid termite and others in the "We can't ever call anyone a hypocrite, ever" camp seem to believe that it would be somehow better or more noble for us to argue about what it means to be a Southern Baptist (otherwise, you're arguing that there's nothing for MeFi to discuss regarding Aldridge's death, right? If I'm wrong be sure to let me know because I am not fully understanding what you all think we can talk about on this.). And you are fully entitled to that belief. Make a pony request and ask Matt, Jess and cortex if we can have lolxtians.metafilter.com (the background can be red for the blood of Christ and the burning in hell).

Get back to us and let us know how that works out for you. I don't believe that's in the "business model" of this community, but I await the response from above with interest.
posted by pineapple at 7:55 AM on October 17, 2007


you can't dismiss arguments with glib accusations of contrarianism and trolling

My accusation isn't more glib than anything you've written.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:05 AM on October 17, 2007


Yeah, bitches, but what color was the dildo?

faux comment, because I'm getting impatient.
posted by dgaicun at 8:16 AM on October 17, 2007


Next comment gets #500, y'all. Onward and upward! It could be you!
posted by pineapple at 8:16 AM on October 17, 2007


argh!!! dgaicun! I was trying to leave #500 for someone else. Shit.
posted by pineapple at 8:17 AM on October 17, 2007


DDD
D
DDD
.....D
.....D
DDD


DDD
DDD
D.. D
D...D
D...D
DDD
DDD

DDD
DDD
D.. D
D...D
D...D
DDD
DDD

Yeeeaaaahhh, Boyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
posted by dgaicun at 8:17 AM on October 17, 2007


So there's a lot of compelling argumentation from either direction at this point, but for all that I think we need to be very, very clear about one thing here:

500. 501. 503. And pineapple and dgaicun are dead.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:18 AM on October 17, 2007


Oh you bitch.
posted by dgaicun at 8:18 AM on October 17, 2007


Oh, we're totally not getting a pony now.
posted by pineapple at 8:26 AM on October 17, 2007


I hate all of you.
posted by languagehat at 8:43 AM on October 17, 2007


except me.
posted by taz at 8:51 AM on October 17, 2007



ME: He's a hypocrite because it's insane to repress sexuality.

PINEAPPLE: I still disagree with this, no matter how many times you repeat it. He's not a hypocrite for trying to repress anyone's sexuality; that's not even what "hypocrisy" means.


You're quite right, of course, and I'm wrong. Sorry. I confused two things for a second. However, I don't think I've repeated that confusion over and over. I HAVE mentioned both the hypocrisy thing and the repression thing over and over, but I think I only confused them that one time. But you and I are (I think) in agreement about the definition of "hypocrisy."

That's your opinion.

Yes. I agree. I don't think other people should necessarily hold my opinion, but I DO hold my opinion.

In my worldview and political leaning, it's only acceptable to work to change Person A or B's behavior when it's illegal or criminal. I can't physically stop someone from thinking something I don't like ... merely thinking that gay people should be burned ... , while terrible and wrong to my mind, is Person A's right as an American. We don't legislate thought in this country.

100% agreed. If I lead you to think otherwise, then I was unclear.


grumblebee, you and pyramid termite and others in the "We can't ever call anyone a hypocrite, ever" camp...


I'M not in that camp. And if that camp existed, I'd burn it down. I'm an enemy of all people in that camp. My most fundamental belief is in freedom of expression. I am arguing as strongly as I can that it's IMPRACTICAL to accuse someone of hypocrisy. But that doesn't mean that I'm trying to censor people who don't share my opinion.

Get back to us and let us know how that works out for you. I don't believe that's in the "business model" of this community, but I await the response from above with interest.

I'm a little hurt by this. I've tried hard to express something that I feel deeply and profoundly while, at the same time, being civil. I thought I'd succeeded, but I guess we can all be blind to our own rudeness. Was I rude? I'm guessing I was from the way you're reacting to me. If I was, I was wrong and I apologize.

PINEAPPLE: Do I care about getting people to think differently? Sure. In fact, to me, exposing the hypocrisy is doing just that.

FIVE FRESH FISH: Pointing out that person B is a hypocrite might, however, reduce his ability to get other people to burn people at the stake.


This is my fundamental point of disagreement with you guys. I've never seen pointing-out-hypocrisy work as a consciousness raiser. Have you?

But let me state as clearly as possible that "hypocrisy talk" doesn't work IN MY OPINION. I realize that this is my opinion and that not everyone agrees with it (while, at the same time, feeling that my opinion is as valuable as anyone else's). Let me also state that I DO NOT THINK CONTRARY OPINIONS SHOULD BE CENSORED. I think all opinions should be welcome in this thread. The only thing I would ban -- if I ran things -- is rudeness. Including my own.
posted by grumblebee at 9:29 AM on October 17, 2007


"Get back to us and let us know how that works out for you. I don't believe that's in the "business model" of this community, but I await the response from above with interest."

I'm a little hurt by this. I've tried hard to express something that I feel deeply and profoundly while, at the same time, being civil. I thought I'd succeeded, but I guess we can all be blind to our own rudeness. Was I rude? I'm guessing I was from the way you're reacting to me. If I was, I was wrong and I apologize.


Didn't mean to be hurtful. I was being flippant and it clearly came across wrong. I'm sorry for that. What I wanted to illustrate with my lolxtians.metafilter.com suggestion was that I perceived there to be three possible mutually-exclusive options, by your arguments:

1. We can talk about the possible hypocrisy of Aldridge, and others like him.

2. We can't talk about the hypocrisy (not without being lazy, intellectually dishonest, cowardly etc). What we can talk about is why [Baptists / neocons / homophobes / whomever] think the way they think.

3. We can't talk about someone's hypocrisy, nor can we talk about why certain groups hold certain polarizing beliefs. Therefore we can't talk about controversial topics like this one, at all.

And again it comes back to a "Cake: Have It or Eat It?" dilemma. To my mind, you can't support option #2 or #3 without questioning why any of us are here in the first place.

(I realize for some the complete answer is, "To rain adoration down upon the mods and watch the latest YouTube hilarity"... but I suspect that is not true for the likes of the commenters in this particular MeTa.)

But, you now have clarified that you do not support the "We can't call anyone a hypocrite ever" notion, so my lolxtians.metafilter.com point has been rendered moot for you in particular.

I've never seen pointing-out-hypocrisy work as a consciousness raiser. Have you?

I have, or else I wouldn't support it as a communication method. People believe Idea X told to them by Person Y when they believe in the authority of Person Y. When Person Y is revealed to be not truly authoritative, whether by being a hypocrite or a liar, it devalues Idea X. To me this is the concept embodied by the phrase "the scales fell away from his eyes."

Debunking, demonstrating that the emperor has no clothes on, pulling back the wizard's curtain, whatever you want to call it -- when a perceived authority figure is spreading a message one doesn't like, damaging the credibility and authority is a standard, effective way to change the reception of the message. Exposing hypocrisy is part of that, to me.
posted by pineapple at 10:17 AM on October 17, 2007


“When Person Y is revealed to be not truly authoritative, whether by being a hypocrite or a liar, it devalues Idea X. To me this is the concept embodied by the phrase ‘the scales fell away from his eyes.’”

Sure. But a) most of the people this applies to with regard to Aldridge already know about this; and, b) if you're trying to enlighten Christian conservatives about things, MetaFilter is a pretty strange forum to pick for doing so.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:25 AM on October 17, 2007


pineapple, do you believe that what's been revealed about Aldridge will make any sort of dent in the Christian Right mindset?
posted by grumblebee at 10:29 AM on October 17, 2007


Also, when grumblebee asks:

“I've never seen pointing-out-hypocrisy work as a consciousness raiser. Have you?”

...I suspect (but I could be wrong) he means pointing-out-hypocrisy to the hypocrite. Maybe he intended it more generally, I don't know.

But accusing hypocrisy of someone you're arguing with pretty much never works, in my experience. Unless it's a very genial conversation in the first place, and the accusation is made very, very gently—otherwise it just puts people on the defensive and they'll often respond with counter-claim that you're being a hypocrite.

And then we have what is happening in this thread: accusing someone that's not present of hypocrisy to a bunch of like-minded people. What, exactly, does this accomplish other than adding more those-folks-are-so-awful fuel to the fire? That's why I think this is especially bad when it's the guilt by association version of hypocrisy. You don't even actually know that anyone's really a hypocrite, but you're in your echo chamber, feeling righteous, and solidifying your stereotypes so that they're more and more impervious to pesky things like scrutiny or counter-evidence.

People here just don't seem to be bothered by this. But haven't you ever forced yourself to browse right-wing sites like Free Republic where a huge portion of the comments are gotcha's of supposed hypocrisy by liberals where it's all based upon some supposition of what all liberals believe or tell other people are right? For example: liberals are hypocrites because they say they believe in tolerance but they don't tolerate conservative opinion on college campuses. Really? Or on our side: conservatives are hypocrites because they claim to be pro-life but they support the death penalty.

In both cases, sure, you can find some individuals for whom both clauses are true and thus they are hypocrites. But notice how both statements tar every liberal and every conservative with the hypocrite brush. And the connotation of hypocrite seems to be that those people are liars, lack integrity, etc. Really, who among us who has ever used such a formulation (for example, the pro-life one) hasn't said it with the strong sense, a kind of certainty, that the whole point is that we're revealing something basic about “those people”, that they fundamentally lack integrity? The whole point is to say something about all of them, without discrimination.

And, again, while this may not seem like such a big deal when applied to one's enemies, it sure as hell is annoying when it's done to oneself. What looks like something that is more or less true when it's one's finger pointed at another, when it's another's finger pointed at oneself it looks very cheap and dishonest and, often, flatly false.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:47 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


b) if you're trying to enlighten Christian conservatives about things, MetaFilter is a pretty strange forum to pick for doing so.

This sounds suspiciously like a soft-peddled "don't discuss these things here" jab. Does every discussion of a controversial subject have to have converting the opposition as its goal?

If so, we'll only be left with the option of having LOLest LOLcat and LOLrus competitions, because everything else will go something like:

Religious fundamentalism / conservatism - go take it to one of their web forums. Circumcision - take it to a forum for expectant parents. Guns - NRA message board. Fatties and weight loss - chubby fetishist website or militant health nut blog, depending on which side you want to criticize. Economics - *yawn* GB2/Forbes.com.

People can discuss things without it being a total wankfest, and yet still not be trying to "accomplish" anything by discussing it.
posted by CKmtl at 11:09 AM on October 17, 2007


“This sounds suspiciously like a soft-peddled ‘don't discuss these things here’ jab.”

No, it's a response to the claim, assuming it had been made, that making an accusation of hypocrisy is useful because it removes the scales from peoples' eyes. If that's the justification for making it, then it doesn't make sense here.

“Does every discussion of a controversial subject have to have converting the opposition as its goal?”

I don't mean to pick on you, but why in the world would you ask this when my comment quotes and answers someone who specifically was making an argument about (or similar to) “converting the opposition”? Your whole comment is misplaced. Are you just randomly picking sentences with which to disagree?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:16 AM on October 17, 2007


it's still a bad idea (career-wise) to be too open about what other people might find unusual sexual practices, no matter what your career field? I don't think it's good. I don't think it's fair. It just IS.

Sigh. You did it AGIAN. "to be too open" IE - you alow your intimate life INTRUDE in a setting that is not appropriate. One reason we have sexual harassment laws.

Look. You want to say what I have already said. Yes. It's bad idea for somebody to go around bragging, advertising, or other wise VOLUNTEERING information about their sex life in the professional setting. I already said that it is a taboo.

Will you get that out of your brain.

How many times must I point out to you that this is NOT the argument. Evangeline, please.

Think of it like this.

Hypothetical: Alderidge lived. However he was FOUND in his rubber suit. Dildo in his ass by paramedics. Despite his attempts at keeping his proclivities private it is now officially in the public sphere if that information leaked out.

He did not advertise. He did not let it out. He did not brag.

These are entirely different circumstances. One would hope if these circumstances happened at your law firm they would not prejudice a person. You your self said they would not prejudice you. Right? You can't be the only one at your office or the world who feels this way. Right?

So there for it is not "just the way it is."
posted by tkchrist at 11:51 AM on October 17, 2007


tkchrist, I don't think you've refuted anything I've said. Believe what you like.

Look. You want to say what I have already said. Yes. It's bad idea for somebody to go around bragging, advertising, or other wise VOLUNTEERING information about their sex life in the professional setting. I already said that it is a taboo.

Will you get that out of your brain.


I attempted to clarify my use of the word "advertise" earlier. You're the one harping on this one point, not me.

And you keep contradicting yourself. On the one hand, you want to say that every single one of us is influenced by 200 years of Christian puritanism and that deep down in our psyches we all think sex is nasty. On the other hand, you want to make a point about how it ISN'T universal, because I said that I would personally stand up and defend someone in my law firm.

Which is it?

It's interesting to me that you've complained about me derailing the thread, and yet you continue to respond to my posts. If your true interest is keeping the thread "on the rails", why do you keep writing? Wouldn't the best way to keep the thread on track be to stop responding?

I'm pretty sure at this point you're not really interested in making a point. You are more hate-filled and intolerant than any bible-thumping, crazy-ass Christian I've ever met. This is an excellent opportunity for you to vent your righteous anger and you've picked me as an easy target. If you're only interest is condescending and patronizing me, then take it outside. My email address is in my profile. I've had my fill of your insufferable rudeness.
posted by Evangeline at 12:20 PM on October 17, 2007


There are strong puritanical forces in America, but there are other forces, too. Evangeline and I have been surrounded by accepting people for decades. In our circles, you'd be shunned if you showed a puritanical streak (I'm not talking about in Evangeline's conservative office, I'm talking about our social lives.) That's a strong force, too. And it comes from our immediate friends and loved ones. It has more impact on us than America.

I have never claimed there are not other social and historical forces that inform our psyche. But they are mostly irrelevant to this discussion.

What we are discussing is the largely negative and entrenched effect puritanism and their inheritors "the Religious Right" have on the culture at large. Specifically on sexuality.

To each individual there may be degree of difference. Large or small. this should be obvious and indisputable.

Must I really take the time to qualify every little thing? Well I'm not going to. And if that rises the pedantic hackles of people, tough shit.

She was arguing about one thing. I quite another.

we have all sorts of taboos on the revelation of intimate knowledge in inappropriate settings. That's the way it is. but they are NOT always taboos on sexual information. "I have an anal cyst." is not appropriate lunch room conversation.

We don't want information about the intimate lives of others if we have not invited that level of communication.

What we are talking about here is the duplicitous kind of attitude where we find out unintentionally something sexual about a person that contrasts with out previous notions of them. Most of accept that and simply move on. Maybe it rattles our heads a bit. Depending on the information. But generally many people DON'T overly prejudice that person unless they already have somewhat a extreme negative view. Of either the person. Or the act. Think Clinton.

There are reams of studies out lining the effects of puritan and repressive upbringing on sexuality. And you know sometimes the kinkiest are the MOST repressed. If they know it or not.
posted by tkchrist at 12:39 PM on October 17, 2007


why in the world would you ask this when my comment quotes and answers someone who specifically was making an argument about (or similar to) “converting the opposition”? Your whole comment is misplaced. Are you just randomly picking sentences with which to disagree?

Perhaps you could re-read your comment and try to understand where someone who disagrees with you is coming from, before jumping to the conclusion that they're being intentionally or unintentionally random.

I'll recap below, in my own words, so as to not seem so misplaced and random.

pineapple: One possible use of calling someone a hypocrite is to remove the scales from the eyes of those who follow the hypocrite.

EB: a) The people with scales on their eyes already know about this particular instance of hypocrisy, so it's already had whatever effect it's going to have. b) There's a very negligible amount of people on MetaFilter with these particular scales on their eyes.

As I read it, a) and b) have the combined effect of:

"Talking about this here won't remove any scales. The only point in talking about this is to remove scales. Therefore there's no point in talking about this, and it shouldn't have been talked about in the first place. You're a bad person for talking about this, and you should feel bad." That last bit is added sarcastically
posted by CKmtl at 12:44 PM on October 17, 2007


Which is it?

You tell me.

You are arguing an entirely different topic.

Yes we have taboos. That is the way it is.

And we have context for each of those taboos mitigating our reaction to them.

Scenario 1) When we react negatively to the unintended or NON-intrusive revelation of intimate sexual information it has a great deal to do with our cultures puritan social history. A REASONABLE person — you — can put this in to context and not prejudice a person. A fundie baptist will likely have a more immediate visceral negative reaction.

Scenario 2) When we react negatively to the intrusive or deliberate revelation of intimate sexual information it has a great deal to do, depending on the context and environment, with our — say— cultures notions of professionalism. Which may or may not be influenced the effects of historical sexual repression. A reasonable person — you— may have a harder time NOT prejudicing. Understandably.

Scenario 2) Is what you have been talking about.

Are we good? You see the difference?
posted by tkchrist at 12:53 PM on October 17, 2007


When we react negatively to the intrusive or deliberate revelation of intimate sexual information it has a great deal to do depending on the context and environment, with our — say— cultures notions of professionalism.

Are you ever going to stop beating me over the head because I didn't choose my words carefully on this one point? Let me make it clear for you: whenever a person in authority is outed as having a particularly out-in-left-field sexual practice, WHETHER THEY OUT THEMSELVES OR SOMEBODY DOES IT FOR THEM, there's a good chance their career will suffer.

My point was only that this intolerance is not unique to Christians, so if you're using the fact that Aldridge would have been fired to establish his hypocrisy, you're not making a very good argument. Sure, there are plenty of other reasons to call him a hypocrite, but that's not one of them.

But thank you for finally showing me the respect you've shown the others in this thread and not speaking to me as if I'm a little girl.
posted by Evangeline at 1:14 PM on October 17, 2007


Yeah, what CKmtl said. grumblebee asked "I've never seen pointing-out-hypocrisy work as a consciousness raiser. Have you?" With no mention of MeFi there, I assumed it was a general question of me and my opinion, so I responded accordingly.

grumblebee also asked, "pineapple, do you believe that what's been revealed about Aldridge will make any sort of dent in the Christian Right mindset?"

I don't believe it will make a dent, but neither do I believe that battles of ideology are won by dents and big hard blows and master strokes. I believe it has to be death by a thousand paper cuts, before people with a firm belief about the unfailing moral correctness of their value system start to say, "Maybe we're missing something important here."

"You don't even actually know that anyone's really a hypocrite, but you're in your echo chamber, feeling righteous, and solidifying your stereotypes so that they're more and more impervious to pesky things like scrutiny or counter-evidence."


EB, I have got to just say one last time, I cannot believe that even now, five days and 500+ comments later, you are still doing this: accusing an unspecified group of people, but presumably MeFites, of the worst kind of internet behavior common to LGF and Free Republic, websites where intellectual dishonesty and echo chamber behavior is openly encouraged.

I'm sorry that Freepers misuse the word "hypocrite," and that you have apparently been a personal target in the past or had some other scarring run-in with someone misusing the word "hypocrite," but I'm done being your whipping boy over it. I have never used the word "hypocrite" to castigate broad swaths of people -- just Aldridge. And I won't continue to be called to task for the fact that some people have forgotten the definition and use the word improperly. You have continued to talk about how the problem is the self-righteous way people feel when they call others a hypocrite, and the irony is staggering -- that you seem incapable of acknowledging that, any time you claim to know how I or anyone else feels when we say this thing or that thing, while still passing your judgment about how corrosive, anti-liberal, dehumanizing, tortured in our reasoning, dishonest, insulting, cheap, unfair, intellectually dishonest, simplistic, misleading, pernicious, ubiquitous, and destructive* we are, you are guilty of that which you charge. Your main stance in several places has been that we can't know what was in Aldridge's heart... yet you seem to know with piercing certainty what's in mine. And apparently I -- many of us, in fact -- are no better than Freepers. I could have tolerated it the first few times, because it makes a strong argument, but you've absolutely wasted the early value by beating it to death, and now it's just exasperating and insulting.

[*all actual insults used by EB in this very thread to denigrate the behavior of anyone who doesn't use the word "hypocrite" in his approved fashion]

"You don't even actually know that anyone's really a hypocrite,"

Really? Being a hypocrite is not like being a CPA or being a police officer or being a paraplegic or being green-eyed or being allergic to nuts. No matter how much you believe it and have fought the fight for it here since Friday, there's not actually some black-and-white, yes-or-no binary marker that defines the condition, such that every single person on earth is either described by the marker or not described by the marker. It's a subjective condition.

I hate to be so reductionist, but Aldridge is a hypocrite if I say he is. Someone else can feel free to disagree, but they don't get to tell me that I'm unquestionably wrong. I'm a smart person, I've made a fair case for his hypocrisy, some people feel differently... and I'm fine with that. For those of you who do not think Aldridge is a hypocrite, or feel you don't have enough information to make that decision, that's fabulous. Well done. No matter what I think of your position, I'm not going to tell you you're unquestionably wrong... but I can't continue mustering the give-a-shit for a conversation where I can't expect the same courtesy in return.
posted by pineapple at 3:31 PM on October 17, 2007


“I cannot believe that even now, five days and 500+ comments later, you are still doing this: accusing an unspecified group of people, but presumably MeFites, of the worst kind of internet behavior common to LGF and Free Republic...”

In general, the discourse at those sites is much worse than MeFi. But in terms of bias and rhetorical dishonesty and the like? MeFi is only slightly better, if it's better at all.

“No matter what I think of your position, I'm not going to tell you you're unquestionably wrong”

Who said you are “unquestionably wrong”? I didn't. Don't whine about supposed unfair argument from your opponents in the same paragraph that you put words in other peoples' mouths. It's embarrassing just to witness such blatant hypocrisy.

And Aldridge is not a hypocrite if you say he is. He either is or isn't, your saying it has nothing to do with it. Your assertion that hypocrisy is a “subjective condition” is bullshit. If it's so subjective that you can just insist it's true merely by virtue of you insisting it's true, then the accusation has zero weight. You've been arguing that there's evidence that he is a hypocrite, so you clearly believe that it's an objective quality. You can't have it both ways.

“you are guilty of that which you charge”

No, I'm not. Apparently it's quite difficult for you to keep track of distinctions that aren't convenient to your own position, but my charge is a specific charge about calling other people hypocrites on the basis of group affiliation. I haven't done that myself that in this thread. I've said that people are doing that here. That assertion doesn't rely upon guessing someone's state of mind. When I make an argument about the general mindset with which people do this, nowhere in that argument have I claimed that in every instance every person who does this has that mindset. Is it presumptious to make general assertions about unspecified peoples' state-of-mind? Maybe, maybe not. But that's not what we're arguing about here.

“yet you seem to know with piercing certainty what's in mine”

Again, have I made claims about what you, specifically, have in your heart? No, I haven't. I've made general claims about the general phenomena of the accusation of hypocrisy on the basis of group affiliation. Whether or not that applies to any specific person in this thread is another matter.

Also:

“I have never used the word ‘hypocrite’ to castigate broad swaths of people -- just Aldridge.”

I'm glad you've never done this. You are, however, castigating Aldridge for hypocrisy assumed on the basis of his group affiliation. I don't know why you've done this. I have a theory about why people, in general, tend to do this and I've explained that theory without claiming that it applies to any specific person here except me. I've included myself in almost every comment I've discussed this.

Now I will make a specific claim about you: you are a very confused person. You put words in peoples' mouths, you commit the fallacy of argument from ignorance and accuse (wrongly) others of it, you set up stawmen, you argue for objectively verifiable things and then later claim that your own opinion is inviolable because those things are actually subjective, you wrongly claim that my argument is that people are using the word “hypocrite” incorrectly, you assert that “Aldridge is a hypocrite if you say so” is “reductionist”, you confuse logic with rhetoric, you pull shit like your “email a logic prof” stunt, and then you have the gall to complain that you're not being treated with sufficient courtesy!

At this point, I have equal amounts of skepticism for your claims of being a virtuous arguer and that you're a smart person.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:55 PM on October 17, 2007


“As I read it, a) and b) have the combined effect of...”

You misread it. Period. No ambiguities. He said he does this to remove the scales from peoples' eyes and I responded that this doesn't make any sense on MeFi since those people aren't here. That you somehow decide that I'm also claiming that it shouldn't be talked about here at all is yet another example of putting words in other peoples' mouths. I didn't say that. I didn't imply that. Nothing in the context of his comment or my response indicates that. It's a product of your imagination.

Here's your interpretation:

"Talking about this here won't remove any scales. The only point in talking about this is to remove scales. Therefore there's no point in talking about this, and it shouldn't have been talked about in the first place. You're a bad person for talking about this, and you should feel bad.

The bolded portions are the parts where you added things that I didn't say and didn't imply. That last bit you claim is sarcastic as if saying so somehow means you aren't putting words in my mouth. But of course you are putting those words in my mouth. That's why you put it in a pseudo-quote from me. And what would be the point of doing so “sarcastically” if not to imply that this is exactly what I am saying? Please. This is a extreme level of disingenuousness placed at the end of a willfully extreme misreading.

I have absolutely no problem with people talking about the hypocrisy of conservative Christians on MeFi. I also don't think that anything should be taken off the table for discussion. If you had the opposite impression, then please disabuse yourself of it.

With examples like this comment of yours and the most recent from pineapple, it's hard for me to imagine that you and he could expect anyone to take seriously the idea that you are taking the position you are about Aldridge in a careful and unbiased manner. You can't even manage to argue with someone here without grossly distorting what other people are saying and otherwise being incoherent.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:16 PM on October 17, 2007


When one James Mattock refused to sleep with his wife for two years running, the matter was taken up by the members of his congregation

This fits in with their colonial mission. One thing that the English religious colonists in the north-east were very focussed on was reproduction in sufficient numbers, and with maintaining racial purity. They went to great lengths to ensure that their male:female ratio was as close to 1:1 as possible. Further south, in the more commercial colonies such as Chesapeake, the male:female ration was 4:1, and this ratio tended to increase southwards. As a result, most of the men in these colonies who finally married tended to marry aboriginal women or women from other European countries.

Also, the Puritains were very clear that the final action consummating a marriage was sexual intercourse, and this was a crucial component of marriage. Along with this went a belief that women surrendered all separate identity within a marriage, including the right to own property or to make economic decisions. In return, women were to be "blessed" with children, the rearing of which as Christians would help women to make amends for Eve's deception.
posted by meehawl at 5:20 PM on October 17, 2007


You can't even manage to argue with someone here without grossly distorting what other people are saying and otherwise being incoherent.

I haven't been arguing anything. If you're approaching all this as a debate, or an argument... whatever, do as you wish. I've been having a discussion. I'm not in this to convince anyone or change someone's mind. Internet: serious business.

And what would be the point of doing so “sarcastically” if not to imply that this is exactly what I am saying? Please. This is a extreme level of disingenuousness placed at the end of a willfully extreme misreading.

It was a fucking joke. I'd thought of not adding the disclaimer, but then reconsidered in case it wasn't obvious that I was kidding and trying to lighten the mood. Jesus Christ, did I miss the memo that humour wasn't welcome anymore?

That you somehow decide that I'm also claiming that it shouldn't be talked about here at all is yet another example of putting words in other peoples' mouths. I didn't say that. I didn't imply that. Nothing in the context of his comment or my response indicates that. It's a product of your imagination.

If I misread the point of that initial comment, fine. I misread it. As far as me pulling it out of my own ass, or dreaming it up completely... Nope. Context: way at the beginning of pineapple's comment, the big chunk about hypothetical MeFi states of not being able to talk about this topic or related topics. That's the context in which I interpreted your comment. The words that I "put in your mouth" are a product of having read it in that context.

Again, have I made claims about what you, specifically, have in your heart? No, I haven't.

You said that to pineapple, but you're freely making claims about what I have in my heart. "... extreme level of disingenuousness", "willfully extreme misreading", "grossly distorting". You're attributing all sorts of dark motives to me, instead of considering that it could be the bloody context as mentioned above.

I'll say one last thing before bowing out from this, as I've obviously forgotten that I should only ever pay obeisances to my MeFi betters and never ever question them unless I'm 110% sure that there's nothing clouding my reading.

EB, get off your high horse already. You're taking this to the point of insulting people's integrity and intelligence. Perhaps I haven't read other threads where you've done this before, but it's the first time I've seen it. It may be a well-worded "you're braindead scum", but it's still essentially saying "you're braindead scum".
posted by CKmtl at 6:16 PM on October 17, 2007


I could be arguing in my spare time.
posted by flabdablet at 6:24 PM on October 17, 2007


Perhaps I haven't read other threads where you've done this before, but it's the first time I've seen it.

It's historically unusual, but he seems to be doing it everywhere at the moment. In this thread he's saying:

You're a bigot. If you're offended by the label, stop acting like a bigot and I'll stop calling you a bigot. Otherwise, at the very least have some self-respect and quit whining about getting what's coming to you.

And in this one:

You are not a normal person, and your freakish obsession with “I” is clearly a pathological overcompensating attempt to pretend you're not the narcissist you so clearly are.
Well, at least I can look forward to only another week or so of your bitchy acting-out before you go into your “down in a funk and mostly staying away from MeFi” phase which, if we're lucky, will last more than a month.


EB, I hate to see you like this. I know you feel you're completely justified each time, but surely you can see the accumulation of evidence points to your passing through a bad phase that you're inflicting on the community. Do yourself and us a favor and get some rest or take a walk or whatever it takes to bring back the jauntily verbose philosophical EB most of us know and love.
posted by languagehat at 6:25 PM on October 17, 2007


This fits in with their colonial mission. One thing that the English religious colonists in the north-east were very focussed on was reproduction in sufficient numbers, and with maintaining racial purity.


By "fits in" I really hope you aren't trying to suggest that the facts above (such as condemnations for refusing a spouse sex) should be interpreted as laws designed to make babies and foster "racial purity". Here is the truth:

"The Puritans also had a fully developed theory of the purposes of marriage and sex... The distinctive contribution of the Puritans was to shift the primary emphasis in this framework from procreation to companionship...

In Catholic doctrine the only thing that salvaged sex in marriage was the procreation of children. The Puritans disagreed."
(pp 47-48)

It fits in with their teachings and philosophy of sex: 1) sexual urges were natural, good, and god-given, and 2) that companionate marriage was the proper outlet for these natural needs (of both men and women) for sexual affection:

"William Whately told spouses that sex "will keep their desires in order, and cause they should be well satisfied each in other, as in God's gifts."

The need for sexual satisfaction as a human condition led the Puritans to say a great deal about sex as a marriage duty."
(pp 45-46)
posted by dgaicun at 6:37 PM on October 17, 2007


EB, if you are on meds, please adjust your prescription. You are demonstrating the same behaviours I do when my anti-depressants are failing me. It's embarrassing and it creates bad feelings in the community and it needs attention.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:09 PM on October 17, 2007


I hate to be so reductionist, but Aldridge is a hypocrite if I say he is.

why didn't you just say so in the first place?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:39 PM on October 17, 2007


The Puritans also had a fully developed theory of the purposes of marriage and sex

The Puritainists encompassed a broad range of dissenters. A minority of them believed in asceticism. From an anthropological viewpoint, however, I'd say that the conditions of their colonisation precipitated a de facto focus on procreation, mainly because those colonies where the birth rate was not high did not survive to leave us records.

Companionship within marriage was a relatively novel idea for that era, but one way of looking at it was that the relatively well-educated Puritains were an early manifestation of middle-class bourgeoisie that would come to dominance in England by the early 19th century. Marriage throughout Europe among labouring classes was relatively sparse, and frequently unrecorded by either church or State. By bringing the idea of the family to the fore, the Puritains were simultaneously privileging it and bringing it under the control of the emerging State. I believe that within the English dominions, the north-east colonies were the first to explicitly legislate against same-sex relations for both man-man *and* woman-woman. This was a significant innovation from the simple physical act of anal buggery defined during the Tudor reign. You may be right that the Puritains created a priveleged space for male-female relations within a more rigid family structure that was not widespread before that period, however this rigidity did lead to a progressive tendency to "legislate" morality throughout the Puritain territories.
posted by meehawl at 9:36 PM on October 17, 2007


“but surely you can see the accumulation of evidence points to your passing through a bad phase that you're inflicting on the community.”

Three threads are an accumulation of evidence? The amberglow thing is self-explanatory and I didn't say anything today I haven't said before. The y2karl comment was in response to his wandering into a thread three days stale, in which he didn't participate, where he attacks me for no reason other than his grudge and that he periodically does this type of thing every five months or so when he's in a funk. His combination of nursing grudges forever, passive-aggressiveness, his freaky obsession with “I”, all conspire to really, really piss me off, especially when he's insulting me.

In this thread, I may have got slightly testy a couple of times, but for the most part I've been more level-headed and less insulting than many participants, for example tkchrist. Both CKmtl and pineapple put words in my mouth and then took great offense to the words they put in my mouth that I never spoke—I'm supposed to be nice when responding to this?

EB, if you are on meds, please adjust your prescription. You are demonstrating the same behaviours I do when my anti-depressants are failing me. It's embarrassing and it creates bad feelings in the community and it needs attention.”

I appreciate the fact that you used yourself as an example—which goes a long way toward making it a tolerable comment—but it's still condescending as hell and generally not appropriate.

I'm not jumping into threads and picking fights with people. I got testy in this thread and had heated exchanges with two people I have a long history with. This is not a general pattern, it's a coincidence.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:57 PM on October 17, 2007


[rolls eyes]

Enjoy the nest you're lining, then.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:47 PM on October 17, 2007


I do wish his interlocutors would address EB's (or anyone else's) arguments at face value, or not at all. This is veering into the realms of Soviet psychology - it's hardly been a series of "Mikey" incoherences.
posted by Abiezer at 1:48 AM on October 18, 2007


“[rolls eyes]

Enjoy the nest you're lining, then.”


Yeah, whatever. Thanks for caring, though. Really, I'm touched.

“I do wish his interlocutors would address EB's (or anyone else's) arguments at face value, or not at all.”

Me, too. For some reason several people feel the need argue with me about all sorts of things I'm not saying.

Among the infinity of things I'm not asserting, I'm not asserting that:
  • We shouldn't discuss Christian hypocrisy
  • Any particular person in this thread is biased
  • There are never any circumstances where group affiliation can be rationally seen as evidence of hypocrisy
  • Generalizations are bad
  • Aldridge is innocent of hyporisy
  • Aldridge is guilty of hypocrisy
  • I'm any different from anyone else here in strongly suspecting Aldridge of hypocrisy
  • Southern Baptists authorities or any other church body officially finds Aldridge's masturbatory practices acceptable
  • People associated with Aldridge don't find his death unseemly and embarrassing
  • There aren't many Christian conservatives who think that masturbation is sin
  • There aren't many Christian conservatives who think that BDSM masturbation is sinful
  • It's not the case that many Christian conservatives are hypocritical
  • Pineapple is “unquestionably wrong”
  • Hypocrisy is always easily identifiable
  • I am a better person than anyone else here
  • It is improper or even unfair of anyone to suspect that Aldridge is a hypocrite
  • Evidence of Aldridge's hypocrisy is either quite easy or quite difficult to find
  • MeFi is the same as LGF or FR
  • All people who argue for hypocrisy on the basis of group affiliation are, in every case, motivated by bias
  • This type of accusation of hypocrisy can be eliminated or greatly reduced on the web
  • People aren't entitled to state and defend their opinion
I am asserting that:
  • Except in a few cases mentioned later, unless someone has a position of authority in an organization over the relevant policy, a claim of hypocrisy via group affiliation is invalid
  • Aldridge's positions as minister and Dean do not meet the previous test
  • Therefore, Aldridge can only be judged a hypocrite on the basis of his known beliefs or actual speech
  • While I suspect that he is a hypocrite, in the absence of evidence I cannot conclude that he is a hypocrite. I do not conclude or claim that he is innocent of hypocrisy, either. I can safely conclude that he is likely a hypocrite and, in fact, I do so.
  • Another criterion which allows valid accusations of hypocrisy via group affiliation is when affiliation is guaranteed to reflect a relevant belief, such as the dependency of Christianity (and other beliefs) on monotheism
  • While it can fairly be argued (not conclusively, however!) that a majority of conservative Christians believe that masturbation and BDSM is a sin, there is not enough unanimity of opinion on this matter for the previous criterion to be functional in Aldridge's case
  • While almost all conservative Christians would be embarrassed were their BDSM/masturbation activities made public, this is independent of a denunciation or even disapproval of such behavior and therefore this does not suffice as evidence of the presence of a belief indicating hypocrisy on Aldridge's part
  • While the matter of individual posters is ambiguous, the general impetus for asserting Aldridge is a hypocrite relies upon a questionable stereotype of conservative Christians because of the group affiliation qualification taking the place of evidence of actual belief or speech on Aldridge's part
  • Accusations of hypocrisy on the basis of group affiliation are a very common feature of political discourse and are made with great frequency by people across all variation of viewpoints, including liberals/leftists/progressives and including members of MetaFilter
  • Such accusations are usually dependent upon stereotyping and, in turn, reinforce stereotyping
  • Such accusations take the place of accusations of hypocrisy on the basis actual belief or speech, even when such evidence is available, because they are easier
  • Such accusations are also usually intended to tar the group the individual is affiliated with (e.g. “conservative Christians are hypocrites”)
  • The accusation of hypocrisy carries an unusual weight in contemporary American politics (why, I don't know)
  • Such accusations are, in general, unfair and should be avoided for that reason alone; but also because they tend not to be productive in discourse
Anyone is entitled to take issue with any of the assertions in the latter list.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:42 AM on October 18, 2007


The amberglow thing .... The y2karl comment ... In this thread...

Yeah, like I said, "I know you feel you're completely justified each time." I thought maybe reading over the nastier quotes would pull you up short and make you think you were a little over the top, but I guess not. Yeah, it's the rest of us who are overreacting, and you're just being your ordinary, impeccably logical self. Oh well, I tried.

But I doubt if anyone's actually going to read those immense bullet-pointed lists you went to the trouble of creating. When you start insulting everyone else, you wind up talking to yourself.
posted by languagehat at 7:04 AM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


“Oh well, I tried.”

I think you may need to rethink your strategies for calming people down. Yes, those two quotes were intense, but pulling them out of context and placing them in an unrelated thread does not endear me to you. Some would say that's more provocative than it promotes considered discussion.

"But I doubt if anyone's actually going to read those immense bullet-pointed lists you went to the trouble of creating."

I didn't write them in order to continue the debate. I wrote them primarily for the first section so that, hopefully, I wouldn't have to suffer through yet another comment where someone is putting words in my mouth and then being upset by them. At least if they do, I can just link to the comment. I included the list of what I am asserting for the sake of completeness.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:08 AM on October 18, 2007


Yes, those two quotes were intense, but pulling them out of context and placing them in an unrelated thread does not endear me to you. Some would say that's more provocative than it promotes considered discussion.

Whereas the quotes themselves, the things you said, aren't provocative and do promote considered discussion?

Also, I think you mean "does not endear you to me."

I was trying to show you that you're not being your usual thoughtful, careful-writer self. But I can see you're in no mood to see yourself as ithers see you. So carry on, and I'm sorry to have irritated you.
posted by languagehat at 8:35 AM on October 18, 2007


“Whereas the quotes themselves, the things you said, aren't provocative and do promote considered discussion?”

That's a non sequitur. It would be a non sequitur even if those quotes were from this thread, but it certainly is is a non sequitur given that they are external to this thread. Regardless of their character, they had no effect on this thread until you brought them here. And what I said, or didn't say, or the phase of the moon are all irrelevant to the contested point that your words were effective at reducing conflict.

“Also, I think you mean ‘does not endear you to me.’”

Right you are. That's an egregious error in the context of one of the arguments I'm making.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:49 AM on October 18, 2007


There's no real thread or discussion here any more, just a few tail-enders batting things around. As for the effect of my words, I had no idea what it would be. In the past, it has sometimes happened that someone has pointed out that I have been unusually harsh or aggressive, and I have said "You're right" and tried to calm down, going away for a while if necessary. I was hoping for a similar effect. You never know till you try.
posted by languagehat at 9:03 AM on October 18, 2007


Languagehat is right, EB (and I wish he'd given his opinion of the best translator of Turgenev, here, by the way), you are coloring way outside the lines you previously drew in yourself.

And like five fresh fish, I worry it could be a manifestation of a medical issue, even the leading edge of such an issue. Please assess the situation as carefully as you can, and consider going to your doctors.
posted by jamjam at 10:23 AM on October 18, 2007


Jumpin' Jesus. It's amazing this is still going on.

EB, get a grip.

Anything that made sense three days and three hundred posts ago... doesn't now. Just fucking stop.

And really, consider the advice being given by those who have been there (and will be again). This level of investment in a pedantic argument, over this length of time, between relative strangers, does not strike me as particularly healthy.
posted by cedar at 2:19 PM on October 18, 2007


At this point, I'm just commenting to reduce the scroll-time required to pass this thread in My Comments.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:21 PM on October 18, 2007


good idea.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:30 PM on October 18, 2007


Hey, that might work!
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:45 PM on October 18, 2007


Don't make me search through my text files of lengthy early Protestant devotional pamphlets for something to post, you sneaky bastards.
posted by Abiezer at 2:50 PM on October 18, 2007


At this point, I'm just commenting to reduce the scroll-time required to pass this thread in My Comments.

posted by y2karl at 5:44 PM on October 18, 2007


.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:46 PM on October 18, 2007


Dammit, that's like five more comments in my way again.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:04 PM on October 18, 2007


Yeah, but now I don't have to scroll as far.

Tragedy of the commons strikes again!
posted by flabdablet at 6:32 PM on October 18, 2007


I'm checking in with this thread for the first time in a couple of days.

But let me get this straight --- this long drawn out argument we've been having got to 500+ comments just because Ethereal Bligh was off his meds?
posted by jayder at 6:40 PM on October 18, 2007


“But let me get this straight --- this long drawn out argument we've been having got to 500+ comments just because Ethereal Bligh was off his meds?”

No. Though my contribution was substantial, there was a whole lotta comments by other people discussing this topic just as earnestly.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:15 PM on October 18, 2007


  
posted by y2karl at 9:53 PM on October 18, 2007


My cats breath smells like cat food. Metaphorically speaking of course.

comments to favorites ratio = shot to hell
posted by dgaicun at 1:09 AM on October 19, 2007


« Older big ups.   |   Would that be a MMOMPG? Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments