Taking it outside (the thread) January 29, 2011 6:08 AM   Subscribe

This FPP about women's reproductive rights and the definition of rape was rapidly taken over by a discussion of how old white men who don't fit the stereotype of old white men get their feelings hurt when "old white men" is used as a pejorative. For those of you who want to continue that conversation, for those of you who want to discuss your frustration over the hijack, please--for the love of god--take it here instead.
posted by availablelight to MetaFilter-Related at 6:08 AM (311 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

The reaction to HuronBob's derailing statement was disappointing, particularly since he was old white guy who was suggesting people take more concrete actions in fighting such crappy legislation.

Is it really that hard to realize he wasn't too happy about being painted with the same brush as the ignorant and controlling jackasses who were proposing the hideous redefining of rape?

Sheesh people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:21 AM on January 29, 2011 [28 favorites]


It seems very petty to derail a thread about a serious women's health issue because a man feels oppressed about the tone of a phrase.

HuronBob's comparison of how he hates it as much as a black person hates nigger is a perfect example of how old, white men are completely out of touch with people who aren't them and the struggles they have every day.
posted by dflemingecon at 6:21 AM on January 29, 2011 [37 favorites]


Well, its nothing unexpected. Old white man marginalizes a good portion of ugly US history by comparing his plight as an old white man to the african american experience, talks about how he is working with "minority youth" and bringing "respect" to a community that would not have otherwise had it, and how they have accepted him because someone called him the "n-word".

What else is new?
posted by hal_c_on at 6:23 AM on January 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


NO ONE was using "old white guy" as a slur.

They were using it as a (somewhat accurate) definition of the people who are proposing this bill. That's what congress is, for the most part.

But boo hoo, poor oppressed old white guys in congress, god forbid we talk about womens' issues without it being about how hard it is on men.

Talking about women who are impregnated by their rapists has become difficult for ME! Whine, whine, complain, derail.

Fuck that.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:26 AM on January 29, 2011 [13 favorites]


NO ONE was using "old white guy" as a slur.

You are mistaken.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:27 AM on January 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


I was just about to click "Post Comment" on my response to hal_c_on's comment when my Spideysenses starting tingling to tell me that I should refresh MetaTalk first. :) So, here's a copy/paste of what I was about to post in the original thread:

"Thats a nice academic argument.

"But I bet if you ask anybody who was called "slave", they would rather have been "slavemaster"."

"Slaves didn't have much fun."


So what? U.S. slavery ended 145 years ago. That means not only has no one alive today ever been a slave in the U.S. but there is almost no one left who has ever even met anyone who used to be a slave in the U.S.*.

Notice how you had to switch verbs mid-sentence from "called" to "been"? Even your poor writing reveals what a non sequitur your argument is! We are not discussing whether someone would rather be a slave or slavemaster because no one actually is either of those things anymore. Instead, we are discussing which is the greater insult in the context of modern society -- a society in which not only no one is actually a slave but we also revile slavery as one of the greatest evils in our nation's history.

Today, implying that someone should be grouped in with the slavemasters is a far greater insult than implying that he/she should be grouped in with the slaves!

[*With the relatively rare exceptions of human trafficking, of course. And yes, a tiny fraction of a percent of the total population is small enough to be called "rare" so don't start derailing this derail by going off about that.]
posted by Jacqueline at 6:27 AM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it really that hard to realize he wasn't too happy about being painted with the same brush as the ignorant and controlling jackasses who were proposing the hideous redefining of rape?

Is the best way to do that by comparing "old white man" to the n-word? Screw best way...is that even a good way?

Next time I'm at the bottom of a meta pile-on, I'm gonna compare it to the struggle of jews in the holocaust.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:27 AM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Honestly, HuronBob. That's the most horrendously clueless statement I've read in recent memory.

If you thought for two seconds what it must be like for someone to hear certain slurs from the time of early childhood all the way forward, and internalize them, and unconsciously develop their identity partly in response to them, and then have to unpack it all intellectually as an adult, you would not have said that.
posted by hermitosis at 6:29 AM on January 29, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm not even going to get into the racial issues except to say that if being called "white" is truly that offensive and hurtful then the census was the most offensive thing EVER EVER EVER

I mean usually you have to start calling people crackers for them to get all worked up about it but now you just have to use the w-word I guess which should make it easy for me to insult white men which is great because the focus of every discussion I have is about white men.

Example: this morning I wanted orange juice and that conversation was about white men. Somehow.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:29 AM on January 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


I guess HuronBob is an easier target for MeFi's proud defenders of the oppressed than the bill's 173 sponsors.
posted by headnsouth at 6:30 AM on January 29, 2011 [30 favorites]


This will be as productive as the original FPP subject. /sorry for the deadkill.
posted by buzzman at 6:31 AM on January 29, 2011


"You are mistaken."

My reading of that was that it specifically referred to the legislators who support the bill.

I also don't think that simply referring to a demographic group as white, male, and old is actually equivalent to a "slur". Inaccurate? Maybe. A slur? Please.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:31 AM on January 29, 2011


I'm just disappointed at how quickly this swallowed up the thread--it bordered on parody of previous criticisms of how this can happen with FPPs on women or racial minorities ("Here's a chance to make some space to discuss a really serious issue concerning women" "BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MEN WE GET OUR FEELINGS HURT SOMETIMES"). I have no problem with a separate FPP on age discrimination, reverse sexism, male allies, etc., and I know this is a topic near and dear to some old white men I respect very much in my own life, but it's absurd to derail an FPP on redefining rape (!) to curtail access to safe and legal abortion (!!) discuss hurt feelings over not being seen as the great, sensitive guy you really are.
posted by availablelight at 6:32 AM on January 29, 2011 [36 favorites]


Honestly, HuronBob. That's the most horrendously clueless statement I've read in recent memory.

More so than "we Congressmen want to pass a law defining what rape is"? Are we really going to spend all our energy arguing about what one guy said on a web site that no one in congress reads, and meanwhile letting people in power pass a law that affects FIFTY PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY?

Perspective, people. Let's get some.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:34 AM on January 29, 2011 [15 favorites]


Is the best way to do that by comparing "old white man" to the n-word? Screw best way...is that even a good way?

You and everyone else here should ask themselves a question: Do you want to pile on a seemingly decent person who made a dumb comment or not?

As a black dude, I'm not particularly bothered by the comment, but am pretty disgusted by the pile on of the guy. It's like have have been saving up their anger for a special occasion and now bottles are being opened. Get a grip ya'll, I'm sure everyone of you has something dumb at some point.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:34 AM on January 29, 2011 [62 favorites]


Jac,

What the hell are you talking about? Of course slaves are dead. We can't really talk to slaves, not those in rome, not in egypt, not in asia, not in north america...they are dead(in agreement with you).

Being called "slave" means you are/were a slave. Being called "slavemaster" means you weren't a slave. Given the chance to talk to dead slaves and dead slavemasters, I bet most of them would prefer to live the life of a slavemaster...thus being called "slavemaster" rather than slave.

I hope this bit of poor writing clears up my sentiments. Is there anything else you have an issue with?
posted by hal_c_on at 6:35 AM on January 29, 2011


" Instead, we are discussing which is the greater insult in the context of modern society -- a society in which not only no one is actually a slave but we also revile slavery as one of the greatest evils in our nation's history."


You are really trying to say that being called white is worse than being called a racial slur?

Just white. That's it.

If so, should we have a script that replaces all instances of the word "white" with "person of non-color"?

I'm half-white so you would think I wouldn't be able to be hateful towards white people, but I might be ignorant of the hurt involved because I've internalized the broad white-hating culture here in the US.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:37 AM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Next time I'm at the bottom of a meta pile-on, I'm gonna compare it to the struggle of jews in the holocaust."

Ah, this ties in so well with my point, hal_cy_on: Would you rather be called a Jew or be a Nazi*?

Now do you see what a non sequitur your argument is?

[*Since we're already 99% of the way to Godwinning this argument I figure I might as well take us that last step. :D]
posted by Jacqueline at 6:37 AM on January 29, 2011


Are we really going to spend all our energy arguing about what one guy said on a web site that no one in congress reads, and meanwhile letting people in power pass a law that affects FIFTY PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY?

Well, this is the thread where we're discussing the derail. Notice I didn't burn any energy whatsoever in that other thread complaining about HB's comment. So I have plenty of calories left over to take on Congress!

Perspective, people. Let's get some.

You do realize you posted this in the grey, right?
posted by hermitosis at 6:40 AM on January 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ah, this ties in so well with my point, hal_cy_on: Would you rather be called a Jew or be a Nazi*?

If it was 1941 Germany, I'd rather be called a Nazi. That way my family and I would live.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:44 AM on January 29, 2011


When did 63-year-olds start defining themselves as old?
posted by Houstonian at 6:44 AM on January 29, 2011


Y'all still want that edit window?
posted by Gator at 6:45 AM on January 29, 2011 [9 favorites]


You and everyone else here should ask themselves a question: Do you want to pile on a seemingly decent person who made a dumb comment or not?

This. I'm not going to defend what he said. But to judge from some of the reaction to it, you would think that he was personally responsible for the rape definition proposal in the senate. It's the internet; people say dumb things all the time and I think sometimes the outrage gets out of synch with the actual situation.
posted by Forktine at 6:47 AM on January 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm not even going to get into the racial issues except to say that if being called "white" is truly that offensive and hurtful then the census was the most offensive thing EVER EVER EVER

To me ears, it wasn't about being called white, but being classed with the same type of people who pass legislation trying to redefine rape. I can understand being miffed at that lazy generalization.

I also don't think that simply referring to a demographic group as white, male, and old is actually equivalent to a "slur". Inaccurate? Maybe. A slur? Please

You've never heard the term "old, white men" delivered as a slur?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:51 AM on January 29, 2011 [10 favorites]


No, I haven't. I've heard cunt delivered as a slur, and wetback, and a lot of other things.

Maybe this is my female mixed-race privilege talking.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:54 AM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


As a black dude, I'm not particularly bothered by the comment, but am pretty disgusted by the pile on of the guy.

As a dude, you probably aren't as affected, as it isn't your basic, reproductive rights thread getting derailed again by a self-identified white male who has a bone to pick about language use.

Old, white men (historically, a great generalization of congress and the senate) have been derailing reproductive rights for a very long time to make it about something they can talk about, because they know not having a vagina disqualifies them from talking about one. Usually, it's an interpretation of scripture, or morality in general, but they always make it about something they can talk about.

HuronBob may be the nicest guy in the world. That said, he's the one who opened the bottle of "help help, I'm being intellectually oppressed" in a thread where a bill was being brought forth to physically oppress people. It's no wonder it riled people up.
posted by dflemingecon at 6:55 AM on January 29, 2011 [37 favorites]


You and everyone else here should ask themselves a question: Do you want to pile on a seemingly decent person who made a dumb comment or not?

His subsequent comments don't really offer an apology for his "dumb comment". You seem to think that was a dumb comment, I think so...but he doesn't. Thats why a pile-on resulted. I know he regrets saying it because he got busted.

Huronbob pretty much brought it on himself, and then was able to add fuel to the fire by trying hard to justify his comments rather than realizing it was offensive and apologizing.

Totally uncool. I also think its uncool to brush away issues like this under the guise of "but guys, we're talking about something else right now...lets let it go". Shit hookers, thats how we formed this country but still didn't allow black men to be free. If the founding fathers would have discussed this in the late 18th century, we may have been a country where freedom wasn't restricted to white people(males).

You've never heard the term "old, white men" delivered as a slur?

I totally did when the cop pulled him over and arrested him for driving on the wrong side of the road.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:55 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's my original comment:

"/derail unintended, but definition needed

I'm an "old white guy" (I probably hate that phrase as much as an African American person hates the "n" word). Can we avoid that phrase as we would any other ethnic, racial, ageist, sexist word?

There are a lot of "young, un-white, non-male" individuals supporting this crap as well.

(Sorry, theredpen, I'm sure you didn't mean anything offensive.)"


First, folks, where did I say my feelings were hurt? (I think I did say, at one point, that I "hated that phrase"). A few have implied that my response was because of my "hurt feelings".. nope, sorry, it was because I sincerely feel that any type of stereotyping in a negative manner is bad for us as people and bad for MetaFilter. And, If you think about it, letting a little smack like that "old, white, men" comment go by without saying something, would, in some regards, be similar to ignoring the actions of those "old, white, guys" that was the point of the FPP. The disrespect and dehumanizing starts someplace, and it is easier to enter the battle BEFORE your rights or your life, get taken away.

Second, is a request that we not discuss issues about x by referring to the age, gender, or race of the participants, when those factors have no relation to x, unreasonable

My later comparison was my attempt to draw an analogy for people who, just as I have no experience to being black, have no experience being white, or male, or old as dirt.

I suspect that whatever factor I had used in that comparison would have resulted in someone being unhappy with my choice.

I don't feel a need to continue this here in Meta, I e/mailed a couple of folks that I felt I felt I needed to communicate with regarding this. If I didn't contact, you have my apology, and I'm willing to discuss this in private.
posted by HuronBob at 6:56 AM on January 29, 2011 [13 favorites]


I think HuronBob's comparison to the n-word overstates the problem (and was obviously ill-advised), but can anyone really defend the lazy generalizations about white men that he was responding to? Anytime you identify someone's negative behavior and then attribute that to to their race or gender that's pretty legitimately offensive. Also, while I understand the desire to keep the conversation about women rather than men, perhaps the best way to do that is not to lead with offensive comments about men.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:59 AM on January 29, 2011 [32 favorites]


" would, in some regards, be similar to ignoring the actions of those "old, white, guys" that was the point of the FPP."

So they are old white guys and it was a totally fair generalization to make?

"The disrespect and dehumanizing starts someplace, and it is easier to enter the battle BEFORE your rights or your life, get taken away."

Yeah, thanks, my rights are already being taken away, so you think we could focus on that?

I go to a bar and I actually have to worry about having my drink drugged. I have friends who've had it happen, the bartender or who knows who. Then I have to worry about being raped. Taken to a parking garage and forced to have sex against my will, or to some guys' apartment, or a car, or who knows where. Then I have to worry about waking up somewhere unfamiliar, or being put on a subway unconscious, and realizing that I'm missing my clothes or they're buttoned up wrong. Then I have to worry about getting the morning after pill or prophylactic shots so I don't get any STDs, and I have to worry about being pregnant. Then if I do get pregnant, I have to worry--through the morning sickness, the fatigue, the hormonal changes--about missing work to schedule the abortion. Already worried about missing work for the therapy and the psychiatry that I need after being raped. I get paid hourly so that's possibly hundreds of dollars lost.

And now I have find the money to pay for the abortion.

These are real problems. Real, actual worries.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:03 AM on January 29, 2011 [22 favorites]


As an old white guy (not that I consider myself old, but I'm sure the majority of the MeFi population considers a 59-year-old old), I have absolutely no problem with these asshats being called old white guys, because that's what they are, and their age and gender are definitely relevant. As for their skin color, it's always worth pointing out that this country is still run by white people, even if we've finally got a black president.
posted by languagehat at 7:06 AM on January 29, 2011 [41 favorites]


languagehat: "I have absolutely no problem with these asshats being called old white guys"

I think people are mostly okay with referring to congress as a group of "old white people" but it gets a little more complicated when you blame "old white people" for the actions of congress or when you use "old white people" as shorthand for "racist/sexist people."

That said, I'm still not sure where I stand.
posted by yaymukund at 7:10 AM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


"You are really trying to say that being called white is worse than being called a racial slur?

Just white. That's it."


theredpen did not just call someone "white." She wrote, "I don't really understand why anyone would want these provisions. I know they're old white guys, without vaginas, but don't they have female relatives or friends?"

Let's go through that piece-by-piece:

For starters, "I don't understand why anyone would want..." implies that there is something faulty in the reasoning of the people she is talking about.

Then, "I know they're old white guys, without vaginas" implies that there is something inherent in being an old white guy that causes faulty reasoning and that it's necessary to have a vagina of one's own to have the mental capacity to form a sound opinion on this topic.

Further, "but don't they have female relatives or friends?" continues the sexism by implying that men will only know what to think about this if they have women around to set them straight.

If the genders, races, etc. were reversed on those statements (i.e. implying that young black women are inherently less capable of understanding something because of their age, race, and gender) her comment would be flagged to hell and quickly deleted as "offensive/sexism/racism." It is also very clear from the general tone of her comment that in this context she was using "old white guys" as an insult. If you Google the phrase "old white guys" you will find plenty of other examples of that specific wording being used as an insult, so I think it's fair to characterize it as a racial slur when it's clearly being used that way.

Also, no one claimed that it was "worse" to be called white. HuronBob wrote, "I'm an "old white guy" (I probably hate that phrase as much as an African American person hates the "n" word). Can we avoid that phrase as we would any other ethnic, racial, ageist, sexist word?"

He didn't say that it was worse, he just indicated that he personally found it to be as hurtful. Then he quite reasonably requested that the MetaFilter community please not have a double standard about who is or isn't an acceptable target for bigoted language.

Are the rest of you really arguing that some members here should be acceptable targets for bigoted language? Because I'm definitely picking up an undertone of "those 'old white guys' deserve it" in this discussion.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:15 AM on January 29, 2011 [55 favorites]


Second, is a request that we not discuss issues about x by referring to the age, gender, or race of the participants, when those factors have no relation to x, unreasonable

All of those those things relate to x.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:16 AM on January 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


but can anyone really defend the lazy generalizations about white men that he was responding to?

Not defend per se but simply existing as a white, heterosexual, middle-class male prejudices you towards a certain perception of society. That's what privilege is. I know this because I have those privileges. I can get a cab, cops are friendly and helpful to me and nobody gives me shit when I try to cancel things over the phone. I can't imagine what life would be like if those things weren't true because to me they've always been true.

It's not a wonderful conversational tactic to address a label instead of an individual (or better yet an argument) but in this case, when simply being born in a certain way is causally related to what your life experience is it's not totally out of whack, no.

Is it inevitable and permanent? No. Is it a major factor? Yes.
posted by Skorgu at 7:16 AM on January 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


languagehat: I have absolutely no problem with these asshats being called old white guys, because that's what they are, and their age and gender are definitely relevant.

And yet, many of them are not.


the young rope-rider: Yeah, thanks, my rights are already being taken away, so you think we could focus on that?

So write your congressperson. HuronBob is not the bad guy here, he's not taking away your rights or causing you to get drugged or raped. Good grief people.
posted by headnsouth at 7:16 AM on January 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


What have these old Jewish guys been up to now? That's what we're talking about, right? The Illuminati, who pull all the strings?

(As opposed to elected representatives cynically doing what they think the voting population (of all ages, races & sexes) will respond to best)
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:19 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


"If it was 1941 Germany, I'd rather be called a Nazi. That way my family and I would live."

But this isn't 1941 Germany. Nor is it pre-1865 U.S. It's 2011 and we have a black President and everything! So, like, get with the now.

"Nazi" is a worse insult than "Jew" and "slaveowner" is a worse insult than "slave."
posted by Jacqueline at 7:19 AM on January 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Like I was saying over in the other thread, I don't think "white" is the relevant issue here -- it may seem that way because of HB's very unfortunate point of comparison, which I think we can all agree was not a good one -- and I don't even think "man" is. Frankly, I don't think anyone would have tried floating a balloon about "white men are like this" on MeFi largely because I don't think it would even have occurred to most people on MeFi, which I'm guessing is at least 30% young-ish white liberal dudes. What I mean is that no one would've made that generalization about white men (minus qualifiers) here because enough of us either have direct experience with them or are them that our minds just wouldn't even go there. We know all white people are not the same; we know all men are not the same. But old people! Fucking old people! Fuck those guys, amirite?

It's a lazy generalization, and it ignores that all the rest of us are getting closer to oldhood with every passing minute. It also ignores that most of the gains we're afraid that this bill (which obviously won't get anywhere, and is basically just more grandstanding bullshit along the lines of the health care "repeal") could turn back were in fact gained? By people who are now dead or kinda old. So, sorry it derailed our conversation about the GOP's latest lookame! lookame! stunt, but here we are. I think this is important, too, personally.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:23 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


jac,

is there anything in your last statement that isn't obvious to everyone? Please read over everything I wrote again. If you still feel you don't understand why I would choose not to be a slave or someone killed on the holocaust, please memail me.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:23 AM on January 29, 2011


If we could not have a discussion about rape turn into a discussion about Nazis AGAIN, I'd sure appreciate it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:25 AM on January 29, 2011 [24 favorites]


It only becomes a derail when people start responding to it. HuronBob didn't derail the thread, he made a, a perhaps poor comment expressing his feelings. Everyone who was already (pretty rightly so) angry because of the thread topic, who found a misplaced tangible focus for their anger... they derailed the thread.
posted by edgeways at 7:26 AM on January 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


A significant number of the people who back this bill are old -- they are past their reproductive prime, and so the bill really affects other people more than it does them. Many are also men, so they are making decisions about a woman's access to health care, something that will never affect them as directly as it affects the women that this bill targets. Many of them are also white, which could have been left out -- I think it was an indicator of privilege, and that's a complex argument when it comes to women's reproductive rights.

What was left out? Rich and conservative Christian. These two thing define almost all of our House representatives who support the bill. And is it a factor? Hell yes.

So, in other words, a better description that "old white men" would have been "mostly older, male, rich conservative Christians."

It's accurate, and gives you a sense of who is making decisions that mostly won't affect them and mostly will affect people who are not like them,
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:27 AM on January 29, 2011 [31 favorites]


Chalk me up for supporting HuronBob's intent; simple, quick, derogatory statements utilizing any color, creed, race, age of a person are derogatory statements that over generalize entire sections of humanity due to the stupid actions of a few. They cast out an entire lot when seeking to label a subset.

I'm glad this is here because it was shitting up the thread which is already a torch burner.

I don't intend to disrespect or demean any other group of people when I say that one day I will be old and white, and, fuckit, there are some clueless ignorant bastards out there -- and saying they are "old white guys" SHOULD NOT MEAN THE SAME THING as "those clueless ignorant bastards".

I am fully aware of the atrocities, horrors, and miserable things that have been done by people who happened to be old and white. White still has privileges in a society where the majority is still white (expect this to change in what, 30 years? 20?). That doesn't mean that I, myself, am a clueless ignorant bastard just because I happen to be white.

That was HuronBob's point.. I think.. and a damn fine and simple one to make.

Now, let's direct all our ire at the clueless, malovent, ignorant bastards, okay?
posted by cavalier at 7:31 AM on January 29, 2011 [13 favorites]


Oops, I posted something in that thread that would be better posted here:

I've realized that I can't trust clean-shaven people who wear business attire. I was born in the '80, and business suits are the uniform for people who will lie to me and try to take my rights, rape my friends, and take away my freedoms. Nothing signifies untrustworthyness than a tie and matching pants and suit jacket; suits has become my visual indicator of evil, since all my live people in businesssuits have been perpetrating great evils.

Now they are taking the first steps to legalize rape. Since we're already there, I'll go ahead and say that in the past SS uniforms were immediate indicators of evil, but to me, the business suit and shaved face plays that role.

I can't speak to any one elses experience, but all my live I've also watched old white men wearing business suits KILL people in other countries for NO GOOD REASON. Old white men destroyed the economy and really gotten rid of any chance I have to get a good job without going deep in debt. I'm sorry if you choose to bear a physical resemblance to the old white men who are mindlessly killing people and ruining the world. Grow a bread to hide your shameful white face. Throw away all your ties.

Old white guys with beards are ok (Gandolf, yay!), but it's the old white men who want to look like prepubescent boys that are the real monsters. If you are an old white man in a suit, I simply can' t trust you any more than if you were a heroin addict. Yes, it is prejudice, but it is based on a historical precedent that old white men in suits have been responsible for more evil-doing, death and destruction than any group of people I have ever encountered in my life.

I understand that my perspective hurts the feeling of old white men, it is because the worst insult one can do to an old white man is to allow them to feel even a sliver of the oppression and hate that they are responsible for. The worst experience for an old white man is to feel, even for a moment in the most petty of settings (the internet), to feel a little like a minority.

Yes, an old white man in a business suit might be able to earn my respect and trust, but my lived experience, everything I've seen growing up, indicates that old white men in business suits shouldn't be trusted because I have seen them be consistently untrustworthy and dangerous.
posted by fuq at 7:31 AM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh it's not just a few, by the way, so far, almost every old white man in a suit has been untrustworth and bad, and almost all atrocities of my lifetime were either planned by or financed by old white people in suits. It's not a case of a few bad apples ruining the perceptions of others, it's a case of "oh, here's a pattern I've seen my entire life that continues to be verifiable true."
posted by fuq at 7:33 AM on January 29, 2011


And I should have previewed, I also fully acknowledge that if a group of people make decsions that are out of alignment with the needs of young, diverse set of people, that being the opposite of young and diverse can absolutely be a QUALITY or a DETAIL about the fucks. It just can't be the sole CAUSE. They make poor decisions because they are immoral, unethical, poorly guided, poorly educated, lacking of good character, do not understand their priviledge, do not understand the bigger pictue, do nut understand society --- their age and race are contributory to those factors. They are not the sole reason for those factors.
posted by cavalier at 7:34 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


@hal_c_on: No, I think it's you who needs to read over what you wrote again, in particular, your sentence "But I bet if you ask anybody who was called "slave", they would rather have been "slavemaster"."

called (past tense of "to call")

been (past tense of "to be")

You do understand the difference between these two verbs, right? Calling someone something doesn't magically turn them into that thing.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:35 AM on January 29, 2011


For me, it depends on the suit. A natty sharkskin? Probably a pool hustler. Brooks Brothers? Maybe a teller at a bank.

A hand-tailored two button suit in a neutral color with a bow-tie and American flag pin? All signs point to danger.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:35 AM on January 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


This was obviously & predictably GRARfilter from the get-go. If there was a good post to be had on the topic, this wasn't it. Instead of just diverting the "beat each other up" thing to over here, how about people instead buckle down & find a framing that could avoid the landmines everybody's so busily laying down? That'd be, you know, productive. Not like this.
posted by scalefree at 7:36 AM on January 29, 2011


jac,

You don't get my point; I don't understand where you are coming from. Lets just agree to stop talking and let other people discuss here. How about it?
posted by hal_c_on at 7:39 AM on January 29, 2011


Has metafilter ever, in its entire history, done a post having to do with rape that didn't turn into a trainwreck?
posted by craichead at 7:39 AM on January 29, 2011


Grow a beard to hide your shameful white face.

What the.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:43 AM on January 29, 2011 [9 favorites]


Has metafilter ever, in its entire history, done a post having to do with rape that didn't turn into a trainwreck?

Once or twice, sort of. It's really not that tough to do, but you have to take care with your framing and present it like something to talk about, not "look what these TOTAL ASSHOLES are doing..." and this is tricky with a topic like rape. People bring a lot of emotions to the table before they've clicked the link, and these emotions aren't all pointed in one direction.

I don't want to go all Clippy about this but we're basically at the point where we feel people need a pop-up message "Looks like you're writing a post about rape...." that suggests they be be extra careful. And this isn't just some tone argument thing, this is a predictable thing that happens in basically every rape thread, and not with the same people either. People get angry at the topic. They don't have a constructive thing to do with that topic right then They unleash that anger on other people in the thread.

Bitching other people out for word choice will not make the world safer for women. HuronBob could have made a better choice but what he said wasn't totally out of left field for this site.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:48 AM on January 29, 2011 [9 favorites]


Actually, it says bread. It's really the only way to hide shame. With a bread beard.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:48 AM on January 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Here's a data point on calling people "slave." It's a very common inter-ethnic joke among people here in Burkina Faso. "I'm a Mossi, let me introduce you to my Gourmantchema friend, he's my slave." "No, no, you're MY slave." etc. No one ever jokingly refers to slavemasters though.

I'm not making any point here, I just think it's an interesting interaction.
posted by solotoro at 7:49 AM on January 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


After that Chinese mothers incident from a few weeks back, I don't really feel like this community is in any position to be getting all self-righteous about some borderline racially-insensitive comment. Yes, it was very clueless. But (speaking as a young black female) I feel it should be enough to say that and move on. In any case, there is seriously a beam in our collective eye. Can we introspect a little before we lash out?

I would also like to note that, just like with the Chinese mothers incident, the MeTa is more horrifying than the original thread. "So what? U.S. slavery ended 145 years ago." and so on. What the fuck?
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:51 AM on January 29, 2011 [9 favorites]


Actually, it says bread. It's really the only way to hide shame. With a bread beard.

BUT NOT WHITE BREAD!
posted by fuq at 7:54 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


When lib'uh'r'ulz get to hand wringing, sometimes it always chafes.

And.. scene.
posted by cavalier at 7:55 AM on January 29, 2011


"I understand that my perspective hurts the feeling of old white men, it is because the worst insult one can do to an old white man is to allow them to feel even a sliver of the oppression and hate that they are responsible for."

OK, so now you've expressed your perspective here, and you've achieved your goal of hurting the feelings of some of the old white men who read and post on MetaFilter.

But, could you please be more specific about which particular MeFites are personally responsible for taking your rights, raping your friends, taking away your freedoms, attempting to legalize rape, killing people in other countries for no good reason, and destroying the economy? Then we could all send those guys some nasty MeMails and tell them to knock that shit off!!!

...or perhaps you're posting your bigoted rant to the wrong website, and the only old white guys likely to read it and be hurt by it are the ones who are actually enlightened or even activists on this issues.

(Do agree that beards are teh sexy, though.)
posted by Jacqueline at 7:57 AM on January 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


"Bitching other people out for word choice will not make the world safer for women. HuronBob could have made a better choice but what he said wasn't totally out of left field for this site."

Jessamyn is correct, given the heat of that topic, I could have made a better choice as to who I expressed my thought on the use of that term. I could have sent a message instead of throwing that opinion out in the thread, after all, it was one person that used the term (at least at that point), I didn't need to attempt to correct the whole community.
posted by HuronBob at 7:58 AM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


and...that was a poorly written paragraph, but, you probably get my point...
posted by HuronBob at 8:01 AM on January 29, 2011


It's a very common inter-ethnic joke among people here in Burkina Faso.

No comment about Burkina Faso should omit mentioning the name of the capital: Ougadougou. It's a name that makes you happy just pronouncing it: "wugga-doogoo".
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:02 AM on January 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


jac,

Would it make you feel better if everyone used the term "old boys club" rather than "old white men"?

Also, I believe beards are as about as sexy as anal bleaching. Lets argue this till we kick everyone out of here. Bonus points: would slaves rather have had beards or anal bleaching? Bonus bonus points: would the old boys club be down with beards or anal bleaching?
posted by hal_c_on at 8:09 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It would make me feel better if you called her by her chosen username.
posted by gman at 8:10 AM on January 29, 2011 [16 favorites]


as someone who recently worked in the financial industry (in IT, and I didn't need to wear a suit, except for one lunch they had for us with the CTO), comments about the evil of 'old white men in suits' is laughable.

Why? Because the younger ones are the scary, dangerous ones. The ones who have no soul, no morals, no ethics. They are the people who still think that Gordon Gecko in "Wall Street" didn't go far enough out on the edge, and that all these regulations are stupid, because it keeps them from getting as much money as they can get, and laughing when people go bankrupt. They think that Bernie Madoff was the right guy, and he just should have gotten out a little sooner and left all those stupid people behind.

These are the up and coming people, the ones who will go into politics later.

"It is said that nobody becomes a politician just to play with the lives of others. If we valued history more, we would have seen this for the lie it is. Some people want to rule just to rule. Some people pick the wings off flies just to see what happens." -- Warren Ellis, writing Robert McX, Transmetropolitan 58.
posted by mephron at 8:13 AM on January 29, 2011 [10 favorites]


THIS ISN'T ABOUT YOU, G.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:13 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lay off HuronBob! He goofed and owned up to it. Unlike most young white guys, who never know when to quit digging.

:D
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:16 AM on January 29, 2011


Ouagadougou, "Wagga-doogoo," actually. When I was getting ready to move here, someone referred to it as the "funnest capital in the world to pronounce." Many of the villages have names that are quite fun to say, also. I'm particularly fond of taking every opportunity to work Diarabakoko into conversation.
posted by solotoro at 8:16 AM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ouagadougou, "Wagga-doogoo," actually.

I thought it was "wagga-doo-zhou". No?
posted by hal_c_on at 8:19 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I apologize to HuronBob and anyone else for my poor phrasing (and subsequent derail).

I did not intend anything like "an undertone of "those 'old white guys' deserve it" and I have nothing against old people, white people, or guys, or any combination thereof. I have a problem with one sociological group making decisions for all groups. I don't think most old white guys have to worry about their own unwanted pregnancies. However, I acknowledge that you don't have to be part of a demographic to be able to make wise and helpful decisions when legislating. I just think the particular group we have there now is not making many wise and helpful decisions and that we may have an overrepresentation of this particular demographic in the legislature. Also there are too many assholes there right now.

I'll consider my phrasing more carefully in the future. (Unless I am angry and tired, in which case there may be more apologies in store from me.)
posted by theredpen at 8:19 AM on January 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Would it make you feel better if everyone used the term "old boys club" rather than "old white men"?"

Yes.

"It would make me feel better if you called her by her chosen username."


No worries, I'm fine with my name being abbreviated. It's long, I'm used to it. :)

If we had to type out everyone's full user name to address them in comments then no one would ever respond to anything poor spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints wrote ever again. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 8:19 AM on January 29, 2011


You say Wagga-doogoo, I say Wugga-doogoo, let's call the whole thing off.

Or are we just on different sides of an accent? I mean for the "wug" in "wugga" to rhyme with the "ugh" in "ugh boot". Is that not correct?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:20 AM on January 29, 2011


Jacqueline: If we had to type out everyone's full user name to address them in comments then no one would ever respond to anything poor spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints wrote ever again. :(

That's not true at all!
posted by gman at 8:23 AM on January 29, 2011


It's an "ah" sound, but I suppose when you're saying it rapidly that could get you more of an "ə" sound. It's very clearly "ah" when people use the abbreviated form, "Ouaga."
posted by solotoro at 8:29 AM on January 29, 2011


I don't want to go all Clippy about this but we're basically at the point where we feel people need a pop-up message "Looks like you're writing a post about rape...."

This probably wasn't supposed to make me smile.
posted by desjardins at 8:31 AM on January 29, 2011 [21 favorites]


And, If you think about it, letting a little smack like that "old, white, men" comment go by without saying something, would, in some regards, be similar to ignoring the actions of those "old, white, guys" that was the point of the FPP. The disrespect and dehumanizing starts someplace, and it is easier to enter the battle BEFORE your rights or your life, get taken away.

Yeah, I don't get this. So if the phrase, "old white guy," becomes okay to use, eventually the rights of old white guys are going to be infringed upon? What rights exactly do old white guys need to protect? Other than the right to not be called an "old white guy," of course. I mean what rights would they have taken away, exactly?

Look: Pointing out that stereotyping groups of people is problematic and should be avoided is pretty much always a good idea. But comparing the phrase "old white guy" to the "n word" doesn't make any sense, is ignoring the history of these words, and is creating a false equivalency that should be called out.

I was at a restaurant one evening, eating some [very mediocre] sushi and at the table across from me were 3 white women and 1 black woman, likewise eating [very mediocre] sushi. At one point one of the white women, very earnestly, launches into this diatribe about black slavery and white indentured servitude in America. You can tell she thinks she's totally schooling the black woman on the fact that white people had it bad, too. She's saying shit like, "So, you see, in some ways, it was better to have been a slave, because at least they were viewed as property and so had some sort of worth." Um, what? People's experiences with being or feeling marginalized are valid in and of themselves so trying to make these sorts of comparisons, besides being unnecessary, pretty much always comes off badly.

Too many times, when there is an FPP about a very real, very serious issue that has the potential to negatively impact the lives of a group of people (in this case women) who have historically & systematically been denied seemingly very basic rights, someone has to chime in with what amounts to, "But what about me?!" It's useless, unhelpful noise, and while I would never dismiss the feelings behind that noise, I would suggest that sometimes one needs to pick their battles (and how and where that battle is waged) more wisely.
posted by eunoia at 8:33 AM on January 29, 2011 [10 favorites]


I think this has been a learning experience for everyone. Listening to old white guys whine about oppression evokes basically the exact same amount of sympathy old white guys feel when you whine about oppression. So we've all really come closer together.
posted by planet at 8:36 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


What rights exactly do old white guys need to protect?

All of them, same as you.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:39 AM on January 29, 2011 [42 favorites]


I think getting clippy about this is a good idea at this point.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:44 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


All of them, same as you.

I hadn't realized that their rights were constantly under attack. My apologies.
posted by eunoia at 8:45 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


"What rights exactly do old white guys need to protect?

"All of them, same as you."


@kuujjuarapik: That comment is so awesome I had to go through my favorites looking for something less worthy to unfavorite so I could favorite yours instead.

(Mods: Could we pretty please get an increase in the maximum number of favorites per day? It feels like I run into the limit almost every day. It's not my fault that so many people here post so many witty or useful things!)
posted by Jacqueline at 8:46 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


a very real, very serious issue that has the potential to negatively impact the lives of a group of people (in this case women)

To continue the "what about me" theme, abortion rights are certainly primarily about women, but to paint the issue as being only about women is ignoring the fact that a lot of the time it's about their partners as well, who in the majority of cases will be men.

The rhetoric around abortion rights is often framed in terms of the more extreme situations of rape & incest, but I'd assume that in the vast majority of cases, it's really about the fallback option when contraception or the rhythm approach fails, which by definition are heterosexual situations & involve the father almost as much as the mother.

Another way of saying this is that everybody (in America) should be concerned about this nasty proposal, and to frame it as a womens' issue is to miss the point & divide the electorate.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:51 AM on January 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


The person who has done the most to hurt reproductive rights in the last 10 years is ... Sarah Palin. Without her, there wouldn't be anyone in the House to vote for this vile bill.

Almost exactly the same percentage of women voted for each party in the last election.

Given that context, calling out old white men in particular for damaging reproductive rights is so spectacularly misinformed that I can't even muster the energy to get offended by it.
posted by miyabo at 8:59 AM on January 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


So saying that old white guys might not inherently give a shit about abortion because, ya know, they'll never need one is racist and sexist now?

Complete fucking bullshit.

Ugh.

And someone told Eidetaker to "shut up" in threads involving race. Fucking shameful. Feel free to call that out once you're done defending the honor of the single most privileged group in modern history.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:09 AM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I agree with the sentiment that whatever condemnation of that legislation needs to occur, it can occur without disparaging people around gender and especially age. Older people are discriminated against for being old. This is not an oppression contest where only the most oppressed can get our concern. We could actually just not disparage engird classes of people in the process of expressing our complete disgust with this proposed legislation.

Am I missing something?
posted by salvia at 9:13 AM on January 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oops, engird => entire
posted by salvia at 9:13 AM on January 29, 2011


So saying that old white guys might not inherently give a shit about abortion because, ya know, they'll never need one is racist and sexist now?

what are you talking about?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:19 AM on January 29, 2011


And someone told Eidetaker to "shut up" in threads involving race.

One of his comments, before he started being serious, was this: Wife's consent? Psh. You can't rape what you own.

Based on that comment, I would have told him to shut up too. Eidetecker can and does take care of himself on the site. It wasn't cool that one person told him to shut up, at all. If you'd like to talk to namespan in particular about that, I'd suggest MeMailing them.

Acting like any one person's participation on this site is in some way indicative of how the entire community feels is part of the problem here. People make hamfisted comments sometimes. People sometimes respond to them angrily. Some people appear to not be able to get to the "let's talk about this" part of the whole thing without continung to escalate. Part of my job is to help people de-escalate so that topics can be talked about without people continuing to holler at eachother. I'd suggest trying that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:19 AM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm pregnant right now and it doesn't really affect my male partner as much as it affects me.

It is an issue that men should care about but it is about women's bodies and rights.

Free abortion, for any reason, easily accessible. That's what women should have.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:21 AM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I tell Eidetaker to shut up all the time, just cause.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:22 AM on January 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Everything else aside, I think HuronBob comes off as a nice guy who used a bit of hyperbole where as hal_c_on comes of as a bit of a bully who's really enjoying his momentum.

Jesus, we've all miscalculated our statements in the blue/green. Is this really worth getting upset about?

If you guys really want to experience racism, try leaving a western country. At least we have the sense that it's something we should be sensitive to. Try living in a culture where it's still treated as matter of fact common sense. (IE Almost any country I've lived in outside of Europe/The Americas.) There are bigger issues to waste calories on.
posted by Telf at 9:24 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know he can take care of himself but it was a shit comment. I feel completely free to call out shitty behavior directed at anyone. We are a community. People can criticize HuronBob's critics too, and have throughout the thread.

I did not imply that anyone was speaking for everyone on this site.

Would you actually tell someone to shut up? I doubt it. He was told to shut up about the race part, by the way, not for his comments about rape.

Whatever. I'll calm down and check my tone and stop criticizing people in metatalk, because god forbid.

I'm out.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:30 AM on January 29, 2011


Saying politicans who are, in fact, old white guys, do not inherently give a shit about abortion because the are trying to pass laws to infringe upon a woman's rights? Perfectly fine.

Saying all old white guys don't give a shit about abortion is stupid, simplistic stereotyping that accomplishes nothing and just leads to more derails, discord and flags for the mods to deal with.

They're still a privileged class, they aren't going to be oppressed because you said it, but that kind of attitude just makes living together in this world harder for all of us.
posted by misha at 9:32 AM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Everything else aside, I think HuronBob comes off as a nice guy who used a bit of hyperbole where as hal_c_on comes of as a bit of a bully who's really enjoying his momentum.

The tendency some MeFite's have to continue to pile on somebody, repeatedly making the same point as they bask in their own sense of pious self-righteousness is one of the most nauseating things about this website.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:38 AM on January 29, 2011 [39 favorites]


Seriously. If ten other people have already said, "That was a bonehead comment," is it really necessary to make it eleven?
posted by Gator at 9:40 AM on January 29, 2011


Meta-pile-on!
posted by proj at 9:45 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


What Bulgaroktonos said. I think HuronBob had a legitimate point, but it wasn't really the place for it (as he's recognized) and the "nigger" comparison was pretty over-the-top and not applicable at all. There's no reason to keelhaul him over it.
posted by brundlefly at 9:54 AM on January 29, 2011


[*With the relatively rare exceptions of human trafficking, of course. And yes, a tiny fraction of a percent of the total population is small enough to be called "rare" so don't start derailing this derail by going off about that.]

Sorry to be a dick about this, but according to Free the Slaves, there are 27 million slaves in the world, more than at any other time in history. I wouldn't really call it tiny or rare.
posted by naoko at 9:56 AM on January 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


I hadn't realized that their rights were constantly under attack. My apologies.

This attitude - that white guys, old are not, are doing just fine, so let's not focus on protecting their rights - is a problem, because rights are not about the group, but about the individual, as kuujjuarapik was trying to point out.

In Canada, for instance, the view that white guys are in good shape, and only other groups need protection, has resulted in the persecution of white guys by the state because their opinions didn't jibe with current progressive thought, or offended people with dark skin. The language that's used to justify these oppressive laws is that "vulnerable" groups need to be "protected" - but in fact by seeing rights as existing by virtue of the group you belong to (old white guys - not in need of protection; non-white guys - state must have their back), the people you make vulnerable are the individuals who are hounded for disagreeing with those who have the power to make their lives miserable (i.e. the bureaucrats who run the agencies in charge of the Progressive Inquisition).

There are less consequential, but in some ways equally pernicious, effects to this sort of thinking. Progressive thought has so devalued white men that leftists now think nothing of actively discriminating against them - and in fact pretending that they don't exist (read from One more thing to add). And it is precisely the language of group identity - that they are part of a privileged group simply by virtue of their sex and race - that allows people to convince themselves that their blatant sexism and racism is in fact in furtherance of equality and justice - because we're not dealing with individuals who need to be respected, we're dealing with groups who need to be equalized. And, when it comes to old whiteys - I hadn't realized that their rights were constantly under attack. My apologies.
posted by Dasein at 9:58 AM on January 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think HuronBob's point is fair, just misplaced. Wrong time to talk about it.

But I generally defend the ability of people on MeFi to say "This isn't what I want to be called" when it comes to epithets of all kids, so it should be an acceptable thing for anyone considering themselves, factually, an old white guy to be able to say "hey, when that phrase is used as an epithet I get lumped into it, and I don't agree with people like that, and a lot of people who do agree end up not getting included in the epithet, so let's avoid the terminology because it's nonspecific and paints with too broad a brush."

It should be totally acceptable. The difficulty is that this kind of thread is the wrong context for that - which raises the question, though, what is the right context? The phrase is most likely to appear in settings where people are het up by things that old white guys (in part) have done, so that's where the reaction is created. In cases like this maybe a stand-alone, user-initiated MeTa thread is the best place to raise it, but I can understand how it came up in the conversation and took on a life of its own. I am staying out of the thread out of respect for my blood pressure, but I hope it is back on track, and I'm happy to avoid the "old white men" characterization where it isn't accurate in future.
posted by Miko at 9:59 AM on January 29, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'm pregnant right now and it doesn't really affect my male partner as much as it affects me.

It is an issue that men should care about but it is about women's bodies and rights.

Free abortion, for any reason, easily accessible. That's what women should have.

I and every other right-thinking male agree--free and easily accessible abortion, that's what women should have. However, it's not solely about women's bodies and rights, especially since if a woman impregnated by me chooses to have that child I am required to pay child support. (That doesn't mean the choice to abort or not should need the consent of the father or anything stupid like that--it should always be the woman's choice. Just that fathers have a vested interest beyond the emotional/abstract.)
posted by generalist at 10:07 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


The post should have been deleted. Everyone knows the bill isn't passing leaving the post as the pure epitome of recreational outrage.

Anyway, it is longstanding moderator policy here that insults against "privileged" groups are not as wrong as insults against "oppressed" groups. I personally disagree, considering the extreme number of derails and metas this causes for one thing, but I doubt that is ever gonna change.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:09 AM on January 29, 2011

Everyone knows the bill isn't passing leaving the post as the pure epitome of recreational outrage.
You know, that's kind of bullshit. I don't think it's a good post, and I don't think there's any chance that it will generate a good discussion in the comments. But the bill was proposed for a reason. It's part of a political strategy. Talking about that political strategy is not "recreational outrage."
posted by craichead at 10:11 AM on January 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


(That doesn't mean the choice to abort or not should need the consent of the father or anything stupid like that--it should always be the woman's choice. Just that fathers have a vested interest beyond the emotional/abstract.)

No one is saying they don't have a vested interest - they might if they care to - just that they don't have the right to make decisions about other people's bodies. You seem to fully agree that women have the choice about what to do with their bodiest, so why introduce this point here?
posted by Miko at 10:12 AM on January 29, 2011


As someone who detected a problem early on with his comment, I still find it be offensive, ignorant, and callous. Period. Yes, generalization and group-based slurs are Bad. Thank you for that facile point. However, the issue was and still remains the parallel made between being called an "old white guy" and being called the n-word.

Unless I missed it, there has yet to be any remorse or apology for this -- just a bunch of I-work-with-minorities-which-makes-me-beyond-reproach crap.

So let me make this plain. Unless your great granduncle was lynched for being an old white guy, or your grandfather had to use a separate water fountain or sit on the back of a bus for being an old white guy, or your ancestors were treated as property and raped for being old white guys, don't fucking equate being called an old white guy to being called the n-word. Don't hate being called an old white guy the same way you would being called the n-word, because that's umm. Kind of insensitive. And kind of lets say "unsurprising" from someone in a position of privilege who just so happens coincidentally to be an older male of Northern European ancestry (no slur intended).

I personally do think that there is a cogent issue that relates to white male privilege and how it impacts legislation like that being discussed in thread. And agree that the point could be made without throwing around "old white guy." I can't help but see this point quite ironically impacting the derail itself.
posted by drpynchon at 10:12 AM on January 29, 2011 [10 favorites]


there has yet to be any remorse or apology for this

HuronBob said

I emailed a couple of folks that I felt I felt I needed to communicate with regarding this. If I didn't contact, you have my apology, and I'm willing to discuss this in private.

I agree that the insult is nowhere near equivalent to the n-word, it couldn't possibly be, but it does seem there's been an apology, and maybe those who don't agree it was complete or sincere could go ahead and have the private conversation by MeMail.
posted by Miko at 10:15 AM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know, that's kind of bullshit. I don't think it's a good post, and I don't think there's any chance that it will generate a good discussion in the comments. But the bill was proposed for a reason. It's part of a political strategy. Talking about that political strategy is not "recreational outrage."

There is nothing to discuss about the political strategy beyond, "It can't pass and this is grandstanding theatre." The only thing left is to say "Fuck these guys!" in a million different ways or derail onto some other tangent, which is exactly what happened right out of the gate.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:26 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a dude, you probably aren't as affected, as it isn't your basic, reproductive rights thread getting derailed again by a self-identified white male who has a bone to pick about language use.

A comment isn't a derail unless you make it one. We have MeMail if you want to express your annoyance with someone's point of view, so it's not like people have to take a comment and turn it into a derail, but they do.

I hadn't realized that their rights were constantly under attack. My apologies.

There are plenty of old, white men whose rights are under attack: homeless men, medical marijuana users, members of unions, those without health insurance. I don't see how anyone can be against stupid generalizations except in the case of the other.

Oh it's not just a few, by the way, so far, almost every old white man in a suit has been untrustworth and bad, and almost all atrocities of my lifetime were either planned by or financed by old white people in suits.


My dad is an old white man in a suit. I have to say, I don't think much of your argument.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:27 AM on January 29, 2011 [9 favorites]


As someone who detected a problem early on with his comment, I still find it be offensive, ignorant, and callous. Period.

I think your insistence of "THIS IS WHAT THE STATEMENT MEANS, IT IS OFFENSIVE AND THAT'S ALL THERE IS TO" could stand to be a bit more open minded.

To me, HuronBob, as an old, white guy, feels hurt and maligned because he's assigned to a particular stereotypical group that he happens to look like, but does not agree with. That's understandable, nobody likes assigned to a particular group based on their looks.

Not everything someone says comes from a negative place.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:27 AM on January 29, 2011 [12 favorites]


Unfinished thought:

I don't see how anyone can be against stupid generalizations except in the case of the other. Then it's somehow okay, because it's not you or anyone you know, except for the "good" old white men you happen to know, but they're not like those others.

Call people out for what they do, not what group you can lump them into. There's a bunch of women co-signers of that bill. There are going to be old white men fighting it in congress, voting against those people, donating money. It's stupid that people here defend their right to generalize about anyone they think they disagree with, is a lower form of life, is privileged, is ignorant, is (X). Jeez, it's no different than what other hateful people do.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:32 AM on January 29, 2011 [23 favorites]


No one is saying they don't have a vested interest - they might if they care to - just that they don't have the right to make decisions about other people's bodies. You seem to fully agree that women have the choice about what to do with their bodiest, so why introduce this point here?

No, they might if their partner cares to make them. The state can compel me to pay child support whether I want to or not. Which is to say that fathers have vested and manifold interest in combating any sort of coercive measures related to reproductive rights, especially ones that restrict access to abortion. Of course the primary reason for supporting unrestricted access to abortion is because women should have the choice to do what they want with their bodies, but there are other reasons as well. And you're right, there's no real need to bring this up; I was responding in knee-jerk fashion to the young rope rider, who seemed to be implying that men don't really care about reproductive rights. But it's a derail and another instance of "but what about the mens?" so I'll shut up now.
posted by generalist at 10:32 AM on January 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not everything someone says comes from a negative place.

I don't think this came from a negative place. It came from an oblivious place (which is still kind of bad is the problem). And things that are said can be quite hurtful and callous, whether intended or not.
posted by drpynchon at 10:42 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

There is nothing to discuss about the political strategy beyond, "It can't pass and this is grandstanding theatre."
Sure there is. For instance: would they have proposed this bill if it had any chance of being enacted? I think they probably wouldn't have: once you start actually discussing the abortions that this bill would de-fund, you get into the gray areas that make purportedly pro-life people have second thoughts about outlawing abortion. I don't think they want a substantive debate on this bill. But other people might believe differently.
posted by craichead at 10:44 AM on January 29, 2011


They controlled both houses of congress and the presidency not so long ago and did nothing, they don't actually want this. Now, stop derailing from the meta and take it to the thread where it belongs :P
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:47 AM on January 29, 2011


I know there's already been an apology, but the phrase "I know they're __________, but..." sucks no matter WHAT goes in the blank. The comment with that phrase is just as responsible for the derail as any other.

Don't suggest that people who are ______________ are more likely to do bad shit just because of their ____________-ness.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:47 AM on January 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Unless your great granduncle was lynched for being an old white guy,

We don't even need to go that far back. People are being killed today, to "nigger".

It is a word of violence, terror and, basically, genocide. I get to hear my friends tell me about going to a geeky sci-fi convention, getting a "drive by slur" and tensing up- is it just going to be a word, or will a bottle or brick or something else come flying by along with it?

Context turns words into threats- we don't get to say "bomb" in an airport, and, moreso, slurs that millions have died to, are threats as well.

Yeah, it sucks when you get lumped into a large group that's doing a lot of messed up stuff. Doesn't necessarily mean it's the same thing as that phrase meaning you might get hit, you might get shot, you might get arrested right along with it.

Personally, I don't like the "old white men" myth for two reasons: misogyny and sexism often is internalized and applied by women, and young people do the shit too. Every time we have a conversation about privilege and oppression people keep bringing up "Oh, the old folks will go away, eventually" as if the young folks were clean and innocent of the problem as well.

Those drunk guys threatening my queer friends? Aren't that old.
Those college athletes drugging and raping women? Aren't that old.
Those folks doing the most slut shaming? Aren't that old.
Those bouncers at the gay club who double-card the black folks? Aren't that old.
Those cops shooting black folks? Aren't that old.
Those white supremacists and Minutemen shooting Hispanics? Aren't that old.
posted by yeloson at 10:49 AM on January 29, 2011 [12 favorites]


No, they might if their partner cares to make them. The state can compel me to pay child support whether I want to or not. Which is to say that fathers have vested and manifold interest in combating any sort of coercive measures related to reproductive rights, especially ones that restrict access to abortion.

Granted.

Of course the primary reason for supporting unrestricted access to abortion is because women should have the choice to do what they want with their bodies, but there are other reasons as well.

I'm not sure there are other reasons. I see the 'vestedness' of fathers in children which are born as basically unrelated to an issue about illegal seizure of women's bodies and forced completion of pregnancy.

And you're right, there's no real need to bring this up; I was responding in knee-jerk fashion to the young rope rider, who seemed to be implying that men don't really care about reproductive rights.

I know many men do care about reproductive rights. It's still fair to observe that they don't bear the risk of pregnancy, and abortion law relates to pregnancy, which men don't currently experience.
posted by Miko at 10:53 AM on January 29, 2011


fathers have vested and manifold interest in combating any sort of coercive measures related to reproductive rights, especially ones that restrict access to abortion.

Ooh, I didn't mean to "grant" that part. I don't believe 'fathers' have a direct interest in laws restricting abortion.
posted by Miko at 10:54 AM on January 29, 2011


[*With the relatively rare exceptions of human trafficking, of course. And yes, a tiny fraction of a percent of the total population is small enough to be called "rare" so don't start derailing this derail by going off about that.]

Sorry to be a dick about this, but according to Free the Slaves, there are 27 million slaves in the world, more than at any other time in history. I wouldn't really call it tiny or rare.


Well, I was speaking specifically about the U.S., and the most recent (2004) comprehensive report I can find on the issue says "Our data suggest that at any given time ten thousand or more people are working as forced laborers in the United States. It is likely that the actual number reaches into the tens of thousands."

10,000 / 300,000,000 = 0.0033% (~1/300th of 1%) . Even if it goes up to 100,000, that's still only 0.033% (~1/30th of 1%). So yes, it is a tiny fraction of a percent, and thus it is rare enough that very few people in the U.S. will ever meet someone who has ever been a slave (or slaveowner). It's so far removed from day-to-day American life that calling someone a slave or slaveowner is now about insulting them not about describing their reality.

Even your worldwide number of 27 million is only 27,000,000 / 7,000,000,000 = 0.4%.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:57 AM on January 29, 2011


They're still a privileged class

Actually in the US, age is a protected class known to be subject to discrimination. A lot of the comments in this thread that throw around the word old, if said in a workplace, would make that employer vulnerable to a discrimination lawsuit. Age discrimination suits are among the fastest rising. So while everyone may have their own opinion, the law disagrees.
posted by salvia at 11:00 AM on January 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


BTW, I don't mean to single you out misha. It was just a convenient phrase to quote.
posted by salvia at 11:03 AM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know if I follow your logic there Miko.

I'm not sure there are other reasons. I see the 'vestedness' of fathers in children which are born as basically unrelated to an issue about illegal seizure of women's bodies and forced completion of pregnancy.

The consequences of banning abortion do not end the moment the baby is born, they go on for the life of the child and (in theory) our law requires that burden to be shared.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:09 AM on January 29, 2011


"There are going to be old white men fighting it in congress"

In fact, the reason this bill has no chance of passing is because the old white guy from my state will never allow it to even come to a vote in the Senate.

I held my nose and voted for him last year despite my opposition to most of his politics (had to keep the crazy out), so y'all are welcome for that.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:14 AM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you guys really want to experience racism, try leaving a western country.

What the hell are you talking about? Are you seriously implying that people of colour in the West haven't "really" experienced racism? So the one in four American blacks living in poverty (not to mention), the fourteen percent of French people of foreign origin who can't get a job, those Indians who were chased around their German town and beaten half to death (not to mention) - that was the FAKE racism? Well shit, where's their gratitude?
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:16 AM on January 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


"I know many men do care about reproductive rights."

FYI, single hetero guys: volunteering for an abortion rights organization is a great way to meet lots of young, single, sexually active women. ;)
posted by Jacqueline at 11:17 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure there are other reasons. I see the 'vestedness' of fathers in children which are born as basically unrelated to an issue about illegal seizure of women's bodies and forced completion of pregnancy.

Yes, but you observe that "[men] don't bear the risk of pregnancy;" I am saying that while I wholly support the right of women to make decisions about their own bodies, viz. whether to complete a pregnancy or not, it is necessarily support based on an abstraction--I will never experience a pregnancy and do not risk seizure of my body, whereas if abortion is restricted I could conceivably be forced to pay child support for a child that neither I nor the mother wanted.

I am in no way saying that my potential loss of money is comparable to the violation of autonomy /sovereignty/etc. entailed by the totally unconscionable "illegal seizure of women's bodies", only that it is something directly experienced by males, and that while men don't currently experience pregnancy, we do experience the consequences of its completion.


Ooh, I didn't mean to "grant" that part. I don't believe 'fathers' have a direct interest in laws restricting abortion.

I don't understand this--I was saying > (fathers have vested and manifold interest in combating any sort of coercive measures related to reproductive rights, especially ones that restrict access to abortion.)
that fathers (should have said "potential fathers") do have an interest, for various reasons, in fighting against laws that restrict abortion.
posted by generalist at 11:30 AM on January 29, 2011


FYI, single hetero guys: volunteering for an abortion rights organization is a great way to meet lots of young, single, sexually active women

Doing volunteer work for a reproductive rights organization is a pretty great thing to do. Doing it in order to get laid, on the other hand, is gross and tacky.
posted by dersins at 11:33 AM on January 29, 2011 [24 favorites]


The consequences of banning abortion do not end the moment the baby is born, they go on for the life of the child and (in theory) our law requires that burden to be shared.

I don't have the energy to rehash this here, so I will just refer you to this long and intense thread which turned into an exigesis of reproductive and family law.

Short version: the upshot is that men have only one opportunity to prevent parenthood, and that occurs at the time they make the decision to have sex, which poses an inherent risk of parenthood. When that risk is accepted, the potential and varied consequences are also accepted. It's only at the point of conception that a man can accept or reject (by not having sex) the risk of taking on the possible 'shared burden' of child support. After conception, it's a done deal. The man's ability to influence his paternity has ended and, if a child is conceived, he will be liable for support unless an adoption is pursued.

Meanwhile, a woman who has become pregnant , by virtue of being the one carrying the child, is entitled to make decisions about whether she completes the pregnancy or not. That decision belongs entirely to her, as does every physical decision made during the pregnancy, as it impacts only her.

It makes no difference to any future responsibility for child support whether or not abortion is legal. The man has already accepted liability for paternity at the time of conception, so there are no further rights regarding the pregnancy which belong to the man. If he ends up being a parent, that's nothing to do with whether or not abortion is legal. He already opted in. Responsibility for parenthood, if there is any parenthood as an outcome, has already been accepted.

This is why men can be sympathetic supporters of reproductive rights, but they don't have a legal, direct, material stake in whether or not abortion is legal and available. They face the same potential outcomes either way, regardless of the state of reproductive rights law.
posted by Miko at 11:36 AM on January 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


They lose the possible scenario in which the women chooses to have an abortion which may be what the father prefers. That is the potential outcome they lose if abortion is banned. No one is suggesting anything other than that, but it is enough for a man to consider himself as having something on the line here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:40 AM on January 29, 2011


As an approaching-old white guy, let me just say that I think "old white guy" should be a slur. Nobody should be proud of ever fitting that stereotype, and if it had the force that the N-word has had throughout history in facilitating oppression, I think the world would be a better place. Call me a self-hating honky, but I am well-aware of the crap that old white guys have put people through and I'm not interested in continuing it.

And yes, I'd agree that the stereotype of Old White Guy, the same stereotype evinced by the "if you're not a liberal when you're 20 you have no heart, and if you're not a conservative when you're 40 you have no brain" aphorism, is a stereotype that is against or indifferent to abortion, but it's a stereotype, and generalizations always break down where there are concrete examples.
posted by rhizome at 11:41 AM on January 29, 2011


woman chooses, EDIT WINDOW!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:41 AM on January 29, 2011


yeloson: I get to hear my friends tell me about going to a geeky sci-fi convention, getting a "drive by slur" and tensing up- is it just going to be a word, or will a bottle or brick or something else come flying by along with it?


To my mind, the ever-present necessity of being alert to context and potential for escalation, here, is analogous to the experience of being catcalled (as extensively discussed in the Schroedinger's Rapist thread). It's often not obvious to people who haven't had a lifetime of inadvertent experience filtering these words (whether innocuous-sounding or obvious turds) and evaluating them for degree of credible threat to physical safety. (Or degree of lack of respect for oneself as a human, individual, full-personhood person. Which causes less obvious damage but takes a toll over the years.)

Which, I assumed, led to HuronBob's boneheaded comparison. In the past, he's struck me as having a good heart and not deliberately intending to make boneheaded problematic statements, so while his "n-word" equivalence with the "old white guy" overgeneralization made me wince, I hoped responses would contain more light than heat. But as others have pointed out, in an already heated thread, that's not likely. Anyway, the two originating parties have apologized now, so good on ya.

Jacqueline: We are not discussing whether someone would rather be a slave or slavemaster because no one actually is either of those things anymore. Instead, we are discussing which is the greater insult in the context of modern society -- a society in which not only no one is actually a slave but we also revile slavery as one of the greatest evils in our nation's history.


"Nigger" was synonymous with "slave" for at least two hundred years. When slavery in the US ended, "nigger" continued and continues to be used as a term of contempt* for the descendants of the slaves and anybody who looks enough, to the turd-flingers, like they could be a descendant of slaves.

*ie, primitive, apelike, given to animalistic uncontrollable violence and hypersexuality, incapacity for higher intellectual processes, immoral, unclean...among other dehumanizing attributes but I hope that's enough to begin with. References for these assertions available upon request.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:42 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


They lose the possible scenario in which the women chooses to have an abortion which may be what the father prefers. That is the potential outcome they lose if abortion is banned.

They lose nothing, because this is not their choice to make. They already opted in to potential parenthood and they have no further opportunities to make choices, except to the extent that the pregnancy woman voluntarily chooses to involve them in her decision.

Consider: if men were somehow able to be given a legal stake in this choice, it would cut both ways - requiring a woman to maintain a pregnancy which she didn't want, but the man did.
posted by Miko at 11:44 AM on January 29, 2011


Every time we have a conversation about privilege and oppression people keep bringing up "Oh, the old folks will go away, eventually" as if the young folks were clean and innocent of the problem as well.

Where in the world do you think they learn it from?
posted by hermitosis at 11:45 AM on January 29, 2011


Where in the world do you think they learn it from?

Not necessarily old folks. I know more lefty old folks than young ones. It's possible that human psychology includes inherent group-formation tendencies that can, unless guarded against, become oppressive to others.
posted by Miko at 11:46 AM on January 29, 2011



They lose nothing, because this is not their choice to make. They already opted in to potential parenthood and they have no further opportunities to make choices, except to the extent that the pregnancy woman voluntarily chooses to involve them in her decision.

Consider: if men were somehow able to be given a legal stake in this choice, it would cut both ways - requiring a woman to maintain a pregnancy which she didn't want, but the man did.


There is absolutely no one suggesting men should get to choose here and I have no idea which portion of any quotes from anyone is giving you this idea.

Regardless of lack of choice, is in the interest of the man for his preference to be legal instead of illegal so there is actually a chance that is the direction that will be chosen.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:47 AM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


is in the interest of the man for his preference to be legal instead of illegal so there is actually a chance that is the direction that will be chosen.

Assuming that is his preference. It isn't always his preference, which is why it's important that it's immaterial to the rights discussion.
posted by Miko at 11:49 AM on January 29, 2011



Assuming that is his preference. It isn't always his preference, which is why it's important that it's immaterial to the rights discussion.


Could you quote anywhere someone saying it is material to the choice at all?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:52 AM on January 29, 2011


@cybercoitus: Yes. And if you back to my entry into this argument (in the original thread) I agree that slave/nigger is a victimizing term. However, being lumped in with the slaveowners could (and in my opinion, should) be considered a greater insult because the slaveowners were the evil ones who perpetrated the victimization.

Personally, my moral alignment is such that I would much rather be looked down upon with contempt than seen as an evil oppressor, but YMMV.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:54 AM on January 29, 2011


Could you quote anywhere someone saying it is material to the choice at all?

"it is enough for a man to consider himself as having something on the line here."

I'm not sure what phrases like "have a stake in it" and "having something on the line" mean if I'm not supposed to understand them as somehow being material to whether or not abortion is legal.
posted by Miko at 11:56 AM on January 29, 2011


I wish you guys would spell my name right. You're making it really hard to vanity-search for myself in these threads.
posted by Eideteker at 11:58 AM on January 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


@Miko, @furiousxgeorge: All this on-topic chatter about abortion is cluttering up our derail about racism! Take it off MeTa and back to the original post!

(LOL I've always wanted to do that.)
posted by Jacqueline at 12:02 PM on January 29, 2011


Last night (this morning, really), I was attempting to reply to something HuronBob said in that thread, because it seemed to be sparking a derail. I asked him to think about what he said in a different context, and he did, and he apologized, and we moved on. FWIW, I actually agree with the people who are saying that generalizations, even "old white male" are not helpful. That's not the battle I was trying to fight. I was trying to make a very specific point to one person. I did it publicly because I was attempting to curtail the derail (which, at least by the time I got to bed around 4:30am, seemed to have worked) and bring the focus back to the rape legislation (a much more important issue).

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need more of that sleep thing I was just talking about. While I'm gone, please be excellent to each other.
posted by Eideteker at 12:07 PM on January 29, 2011


Wow. As they marxch in the street and brave bullets in order to change their government in Egypt, we write 142 long-winded comments competing over who is most oppressed.

HuronBob initially wrote that, to him, being tarred as an "old white man" is as hurtful as (HuronBob assumes) it is to a black person to be called an "n-word".

It was literally a parenthetical comment about HuronBob's subjective experience. Subjective, as in, something that we can only know about from HuronBob's own reports. It may be, in your opinion, overstated or precious. But it's a subjective opinion which can't be argued with.

And yet some heroic Internet tough-guy fighters against racism and oppression decided to hell with the rest of the thread, to the bat-copter, there's an old white man saying he has it as bad as a member of a protected class!

Great work, Batmen!
posted by orthogonality at 12:08 PM on January 29, 2011 [25 favorites]


"it is enough for a man to consider himself as having something on the line here."

I'm not sure what phrases like "have a stake in it" and "having something on the line" mean if I'm not supposed to understand them as somehow being material to whether or not abortion is legal.


I can't think of a better analogy so I'm gonna use this one. A slave has no rights to tell a slave owner how to run his plantation. However, the slave will face the consequences of those decisions and would hope they would be in his interests.

The man has no right to tell the woman what to do about the pregnancy. However, the man will face the consequences of supporting the child for sure if abortion is illegal. That is only one possibility under the current law.

If a man feels that abortion is not morally wrong or whatever, they have a vested interest in making sure it remains legal so there is a possibility they will not face a consequence they prefer to avoid.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:11 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't think of a better analogy

Try harder. An abortion analogy that compares men to slaves and women to slaveowners is deeply fucked.
posted by dersins at 12:15 PM on January 29, 2011 [17 favorites]


The man has no right to tell the woman what to do about the pregnancy. However, the man will face the consequences of supporting the child for sure if abortion is illegal. That is only one possibility under the current law.

The man faces the consequences of supporting any child he conceives, if it is born, simply because he has conceived that child. This is true whether abortion is legal or illegal. The man has no legal say in whether a child he has conceived is brought to term or not. It may be true that the chances an unwanted pregnancy will end in abortion may be greater if abortion is legal, but that doesn't impact his responsibility for paternity. If a child is born, he's responsible - he became responsible when it was conceived, not because its mother didn't have an abortion.

If a man feels that abortion is not morally wrong or whatever, they have a vested interest in making sure it remains legal so there is a possibility they will not face a consequence they prefer to avoid.

An abortion opposer could say "If a man feels abortion is morally wrong, he has a vested interest in making sure it remains illegal so there is no possibility they will face a consequence they prefer to avoid."

As far as I can see, since neither statement comes from a person impacted by pregnancy, neither has the greater claim to rightness on these personal grounds. I'm not sure why the preferences of a man who is in favor of legal abortion should trump the preferences of a man who is not in favor of legal abortion.

That's why a man's personal perspectives and preferences are not material to whether or not abortion should be legal.
posted by Miko at 12:16 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


They lose nothing, because this is not their choice to make.


It's not clear from the context whether this is your personal opinion, or a reiteration of how the law is worded, but either way - it's disgusting. Females may host the product of conception, but thats merely biology. Has it occurred to you that this commonly held female opinion that the male co-creator of the fetus has no claim on it once he's done supplying the seed might be seen by Penis-Having Americans as reason to not get involved in reproductive rights battles? The utter contempt for the father, his interests, and his right to co-determination of the outcome of conception is breathtaking, and I for one find it... well, disgusting.

Oh, and another, more general comment: Old White Guys like HuronBob and myself no more want to be lumped into stereotypical groupings than welfare queens, Nazis, or drunken Indians. How about you don't rely on easy, sleazy ways to describe over 50, Caucasian, Penis-Having Americans, the same way you don't like us to call you radical, feminist abortionists?
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 12:17 PM on January 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


One day I will, inevitably, be an old white man. I have no choice in the matter. I promise, when my oldness comes to term, I will not even attempt to make any laws w/r/t reproductive rights.

Thank you.

God bless.
posted by orville sash at 12:17 PM on January 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Has it occurred to you that this commonly held female opinion that the male co-creator of the fetus has no claim on it once he's done supplying the seed might be seen by Penis-Having Americans as reason to not get involved in reproductive rights battles?

That would be fine.
posted by Miko at 12:18 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Snark aside - I don't mean any contempt for men. I hope I'm not suggesting that. I'm indeed reiterating some of the foundations of current family law, and some of the current legal goals for abortion rights law.

It's just the reality that, because men can't be pregnant, there is no basis for "co-determination of the outcome" of a pregnancy except as voluntarily entered into by the pregnant person. This isn't meant as contempt - it comes from the simple biology of the situation. I don't have contempt for the interests of a father as I support child support law and the rights of fathers to equal parenting.
posted by Miko at 12:23 PM on January 29, 2011


I'm not sure what phrases like "have a stake in it" and "having something on the line" mean if I'm not supposed to understand them as somehow being material to whether or not abortion is legal.

In my case, at least they mean that my support for reproductive rights is not solely based on the (already sufficient) natural right of women to choose, but also on the legal, direct, material consequences I may face as a potential father. You seem to think that acknowledgment of those consequences could undermine the right of women to be the sole decision-makers in the outcome of pregnancy, that male "preference" could become material to the rights discussion, but I believe no such thing. My preference is immaterial to the rights discussion, but the outcome of those discussions does effect me materially.
posted by generalist at 12:24 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure what phrases like "have a stake in it" and "having something on the line" mean if I'm not supposed to understand them as somehow being material to whether or not abortion is legal.

Meaning it's not pure disinterest. Because if a male and female couple plan on aborting any unplanned and accidental pregnancies, then outlawing abortions will effect him. Yes, the woman in the hypothetical could change her mind and choose not to have an abortion, that's the beauty of it being legal based on a right of bodily integrity. (Remember, no one has been saying that the legal right is based on the man's interest.)

But it's absurd to say that the man in that hypothetical has no material interest in legal status of abortion. It's a six-of-one, hald dozen to the other proposition.
posted by Snyder at 12:24 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was going to write something, but then I read this from oneirodynia.

I remember someone else discussing the content of character versus the color of someone's skin... it's weird how long ago that was said, and how often I forget to follow the advice.
posted by notion at 12:25 PM on January 29, 2011


the legal, direct, material consequences I may face as a potential father....the outcome of those discussions does effect me materially.

No. Because you face exactly the same potential consequences of initiating a pregnancy, regardless of the legality of abortion.

absurd to say that the man in that hypothetical has no material interest in legal status of abortion

No, it's not absurd. He might be emotionally invested in the outcome, but he has no material interest. He will not be undergoing an abortion. In your hypothetical, it doesn't at all matter what their plans were, because no one knows how an individual will react once actually in the situation, and ultimately the outcome of what happens to the pregnancy is not going to be up to him taking action or not taking action about it. Again, he might prefer abortion to be legal, but he will not suffer the consequences of having or not having one, personally.
posted by Miko at 12:28 PM on January 29, 2011


edit:
It's not a six-of-one, hald dozen to the other proposition.
posted by Snyder at 12:28 PM on January 29, 2011



The man faces the consequences of supporting any child he conceives, if it is born, simply because he has conceived that child. This is true whether abortion is legal or illegal. The man has no legal say in whether a child he has conceived is brought to term or not. It may be true that the chances an unwanted pregnancy will end in abortion may be greater if abortion is legal, but that doesn't impact his responsibility for paternity. If a child is born, he's responsible - he became responsible when it was conceived, not because its mother didn't have an abortion.


Yes, I know, I'm not sure how much more strongly I can say I agree with you without resorting to allcaps and blink.

An abortion opposer could say "If a man feels abortion is morally wrong, he has a vested interest in making sure it remains illegal so there is no possibility they will face a consequence they prefer to avoid."

He could certainly say that, however no one here is arguing his opinion should have any legal force.


That's why a man's personal perspectives and preferences are not material to whether or not abortion should be legal.


I am not saying they are, Generalist was not saying they are. All I am saying is that it is false to say that men do not face consequences that would cause them to care just because they can't get pregnant. You are insisting that this is more than that, but it is not. I am straight up telling you it is not, if the language was imprecise it was imprecise. I am straight up telling you now though, I am not suggesting their opinion is relavent to the right to choose. If you continue suggesting that is the argument, after repeated insistance that it is not, I don't know what to tell you.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:29 PM on January 29, 2011


On preview, I agree that there is no basis whatsoever for "co-determination of the outcome." But if the possibility of one outcome is eliminated, both pregnant person and impregnator are affected.
posted by generalist at 12:29 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


All I am saying is that it is false to say that men do not face consequences that would cause them to care just because they can't get pregnant.

I never suggested they couldn't and didn't and shouldn't care. What I'm saying is that their caring doesn't really matter one way or the other as part of the discussion about whether or not abortion should be legal. Seems we agree.
posted by Miko at 12:31 PM on January 29, 2011


if the possibility of one outcome is eliminated, both pregnant person and impregnator are affected.

But they will have both already accepted the risk, assuming that the conception happened while abortion was illegal.
posted by Miko at 12:32 PM on January 29, 2011


Personally, my moral alignment is such that I would much rather be looked down upon with contempt than seen as an evil oppressor, but YMMV.

Man, this isn't television, and you are not doing good of any kind.

The reason it's worse to be called "nigger" than "old white guy" has less to do with people's feelings than you seem to think. It's about the actual, factual, material consequences of belonging to the former group. It's about how a huge number of the niggers continue to face discrimination, societal neglect and outright violence. Until you bother to think about what it might be like to LIVE those consequences, as opposed to imagining yourself pretty much as you are with a little "looked down upon" on the side, you're going to be talking nonsense.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 12:33 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]



I can't think of a better analogy

Try harder. An abortion analogy that compares men to slaves and women to slaveowners is deeply fucked.


Ok, a child has no right to tell their parents how to raise them. However, they have a vested interest in the consequences of their parents decisions.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:34 PM on January 29, 2011


hey have a vested interest in the consequences of their parents decisions.

...and so they're protected by a body of law.
posted by Miko at 12:37 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I never suggested they couldn't and didn't and shouldn't care. What I'm saying is that their caring doesn't really matter one way or the other as part of the discussion about whether or not abortion should be legal.

Which was stated numerous times by everyone who was involved in this discussion.

In your hypothetical, it doesn't at all matter what their plans were, because no one knows how an individual will react once actually in the situation, and ultimately the outcome of what happens to the pregnancy is not going to be up to him taking action or not taking action about it.

Can I assume that you were merely re-wording the sentence I wrote which says, "Yes, the woman in the hypothetical could change her mind and choose not to have an abortion, that's the beauty of it being legal based on a right of bodily integrity,"and not that you were trying to make my own point back at me?

He might be emotionally invested in the outcome, but he has no material interest.

No, this is absurd. Also, you seem to confuse material interest with legal interest.
posted by Snyder at 12:37 PM on January 29, 2011



But they will have both already accepted the risk, assuming that the conception happened while abortion was illegal.


I would consider them both, assuming they support abortion, as only accepting the risk under duress.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:38 PM on January 29, 2011


He might be emotionally invested in the outcome, but he has no material interest.

Paying child support for 18 years is a material interest.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:39 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, this is absurd. Also, you seem to confuse material interest with legal interest.

I'm working hard not to confuse it -- "Legal interest" has a much narrower meaning. By "material" I mean essential, relevant, concrete.

I would consider them both, assuming they support abortion, as only accepting the risk under duress.

Of course! But since they knowingly accept it, they do take on legal responsibility.

Paying child support for 18 years is a material interest.

That's true, but he already accepted his responsibility for this by having sex and conceiving the child. That responsibility which he has already accepted is not contingent on whether or not abortion is legal.
posted by Miko at 12:53 PM on January 29, 2011


Not the responsibility, but the concrete reality can certainly be contingent on abortion being legal or not. That said, since we all understand now that no one is suggesting this interest, whatever you call it, should ever enter the discussion on if abortion is legal or not, I think we don't need to quibble about the rest.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:57 PM on January 29, 2011


That responsibility which he has already accepted is not contingent on whether or not abortion is legal.

You're changing the subject. All I was saying is that men have a material interest in the legality of abortion. They do.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:00 PM on January 29, 2011


"It's about how a huge number of the niggers continue to face discrimination, societal neglect and outright violence. Until you bother to think about what it might be like to LIVE those consequences, as opposed to imagining yourself pretty much as you are with a little "looked down upon" on the side, you're going to be talking nonsense."

Hey, I'm a woman, and I've certainly faced discrimination, societal neglect, and outright violence because of it. And while I may be (mostly) white and do well in general U.S. society as a result, I am very much a minority in my own neighborhood and stick out so much as an obvious target that I don't feel safe walking the two blocks from my home to my office unless it's the middle of the day.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:01 PM on January 29, 2011


That's true, but he already accepted his responsibility for this by having sex and conceiving the child. That responsibility which he has already accepted is not contingent on whether or not abortion is legal.

I get that it is not contingent in the sense that the responsibility exists regardless of the legality of abortion, but surely the nature of the choice to take the risk or not is significantly altered? I understand the need to keep the female right to choose and male preference totally discrete--male preference is a damnable force--but given that the right to choose is inalienable, it would seem trivial to acknowledge that males face material consequences not from the pregnancy itself but from its outcome, and again, if one outcome is eliminated, the nature of the responsibility the male accepts is altered.
posted by generalist at 1:10 PM on January 29, 2011


Finally, a thread where I can discuss my wizardry skills with other old white men. So which is better to seal a bronze crown for your owl, windows or Mac? Joke question, everyone knows owls are crap, what you need is a iRaven4. Amirite?
posted by Elmore at 1:42 PM on January 29, 2011


Rape is bad.
posted by dougrayrankin at 2:14 PM on January 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Another one of these protracted "Oh, you poor, offended white/male with 'feelings'!" threads. *yawn* ...

What bothers me about the whole "people with no vaginas passing laws that affect people with vaginas" reaction is that people are trying to instill the idea that if you're male, you're not affected by restrictions on abortion rights. I know the people making this argument have some kind of good intentions, but I don't think the consequences of this meme are likely to be positive. Men as well as women are affected by reproductive rights, and you're not doing women or men any favors by signaling to men that they have no self-interested stake in the issue of abortion. The better take on it is that abortion rights affect women most obviously, but also men, and also society at large.

I hate the proposed law, but the problem with it isn't that the sponsors are male. That would seem to imply that we shouldn't be so outraged if they were female. It's a bad law no matter who's sponsoring it. Criticizing a law for the gender (or race or age or whatever) of its sponsors is a blatant ad hominem argument.
posted by John Cohen at 2:33 PM on January 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


Jacqueline, I understand that everybody deals with problems in their lives. I'm not saying you don't.

If I have you right, you're basically saying that with things being as they are in 2011, it's better to be called a nigger than to be called a racist. To me that's like saying that it's better to be punched than to punch someone. Morally, it is. Most onlookers would take the side of the punched person. But that doesn't mean they're not picking their teeth up off the floor.

I realise that it hurts to be wrongly called a racist and I don't agree with doing that to people. But it hurts to be called a nigger too, seriously, and it's not for you to decide that it doesn't really. You can't wave the pain racism causes its actual victims away, especially when it's such a present, entrenched, destructive force in so many lives, and has been for so many generations.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 2:55 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


- languagehat

Don't forget the Speaker of the House is an Orange-American. They first in our nation's history.

As a white man who it considered old to children and women in their 20s, I have no problem with the phrase being used as a slur. And that many -- not all -- of the biggest opponents of a woman's right to choose are (old) white guys is not lost on me.

Part of the bile in US political discourse comes from the older white men (and women) who are horrified that their "rights" are being eroded away. What rights are being taken away? Well, by giving other groups rights, it means (to them) their rights are taken away. 145 years ago it became illegal in this country to legally own another person. 90 years ago women got the right to vote. 46 years ago the Civil Rights Act passed which removed many restrictions on non-whites. 37 years ago Roe v Wade making abortion legal. Add to that no one speaks English anymore and there's a war on Christmas.

Historically (white) men in this country had dominion over the reproductive rights of women. It wasn't really written down like that, but the most of the abortion laws in the US went on the books before women had the right to vote. So they couldn't vote for candidates that would support their position.

Once I learned of the birds and the bees, it became obviously to me that my "choice" stopped the second one my sperm found the egg. If I absolutely don't want the woman to have an abortion then I need to not have sex with her (or use a reliable condom but sometimes they break, etc). If we're relying on her birth control it still isn't my call. Now I can try and persuade her one way or another but it is her decision and I'll support it.

I find the entire idea that I, as a man, should have any say over a woman's reproductive rights as far fetched as not allowing women or non-whites to vote. Or gays not being able to get married. Or the people used to think it was perfectly OK to own other people.

But a woman shouldn't be able to take the rights away from other women either. Don't like abortion? Don't get one. I don't think anyone "likes" abortion but people want the freedom to get one if they choose.

Making it harder to get abortions only hurts poor people. People with the means have been getting abortions for a thousand years. Poor people will either go get unsafe abortions or have a kid they didn't want. (whether they grow up to be a good kid or the next hitler depends on the nurturing from mom and/or dad).

But this is all political theater that the Republicans do every time they get the majority. They're giving lip service to their anti-abortion supporters showing they're trying to get it made illegal. But they need abortion to be legal so that in the next election cycle, they can promise these same people that they'll do something about it. Some of those old white guys in DC actually are pro-choice but do this to pander to their supporters. The supporters they've been duping over this issue since 1973.

posted by birdherder at 3:05 PM on January 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


Jesus H Christ, Dasein. Ezra Levant's grandstanding and attention-seeking is your evidence? The man writes polemics and profits from controversy. I don't support every aspect of the Human Right Commission either, but despite Levant's "these are kangaroo courts and totally not fair" whining, none of the causes he's railed against have ended in rulings against the accused. He apparently takes issue with complaints merely being investigated and decided on the merits of the case.

Hook, line, sinker.
posted by Hoopo at 3:19 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


"The protected class"
like display cases made of iron and tissue flags.
posted by clavdivs at 3:40 PM on January 29, 2011


Great work, Batmen!

Batmans, damn it!
posted by Joe Beese at 3:46 PM on January 29, 2011


Old White Men.
posted by Sailormom at 4:12 PM on January 29, 2011


I have no interest in the main thread of discussion here but I have to take exception to the following:

So what? U.S. slavery ended 145 years ago. That means not only has no one alive today ever been a slave in the U.S. but there is almost no one left who has ever even met anyone who used to be a slave in the U.S.

Sorry, Jacqueline, but neither one of those sentences is one bit true.
...Waves of disease ripped through the population. In the month before Cottenham arrived at the prison mine, pneumonia and tuberculosis sickened dozens. Within his first four weeks, six died. Before the year was over, almost sixty men forced into Slope 12 were dead of disease, accidents, or homicide.

Most of the broken bodies, along with hundreds of others before and after, were dumped into shallow graves scattered among the refuse of the mine.

Others were incinerated in nearby ovens used to blast millions of tons of coal brought to the surface into coke—the carbon-rich fuel essential to U.S.

Steel’s production of iron. Forty-five years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freeing American slaves, Green Cottenham and more than a thousand other black men toiled under the lash at Slope 12.

Imprisoned in what was then the most advanced city of the South, guarded by whipping bosses employed by the most iconic example of the modern corporation emerging in the gilded North, they were slaves in all but name.

Almost a century later, on an overgrown hillside five miles from the bustling downtown of contemporary Birmingham, I found my way to one of the only tangible relics of what Green Cottenham endured. The ground was all but completely obscured by the dense thicket. But beneath the undergrowth of privet, the faint outlines of hundreds upon hundreds of oval depressions still marked the land. Spread in haphazard rows across the forest floor, these were sunken graves of the dead from nearby prison mines once operated by U.S. Steel.2 Here and there, antediluvian headstones jutted from the foliage. No signs marked the place. No paths led to it.
Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II

There are people alive who were slaves under a system that lasted until the Second World War, when it was ended because of fears the Japanese and Germans would have a field day with propaganda over it. You think the peonage of black conscripts in the Jim Crow was anything less than slavery ? Think again. That was how the New South was built. And there are millions of people in this country who know better, who had relatives enslaved under that system. And even more countless millions who can look away, look away, look away because it never got into the history books.

But, on the bright side, I see from that book's website that PBS is going to have a 90 minute program by the same title that will be broadcast in 2012.

Well, it's about goddamn time.
posted by y2karl at 4:57 PM on January 29, 2011 [14 favorites]


two or three cars...: "It's about how a huge number of the niggers continue to face discrimination, societal neglect and outright violence. Until you bother to think about what it might be like to LIVE those consequences, as opposed to imagining yourself pretty much as you are with a little "looked down upon" on the side, you're going to be talking nonsense."

Jacqueline: I'm a woman, and I've certainly faced discrimination, societal neglect, and outright violence because of it. And while I may be (mostly) white and do well in general U.S. society as a result, I am very much a minority in my own neighborhood and stick out so much as an obvious target that I don't feel safe walking the two blocks from my home to my office unless it's the middle of the day.

Understood. You have faced discrimination, societal neglect, and outright violence for being a vagina owner. two or three cars's statement did not assert or imply that you haven't faced or thought about that kind of discrimination.

On preview: Thank you, y2karl. I wanted to address that disconnect too.

Her statement did assert that you haven't thought very deeply about the devaluation, societal neglect etc that results from dehumanizing stereotypes, held by many people and enacted in many institutional policies, about those classifiable as "niggers" (whether or not the language uses that unmistakable pejorative, or an innocuous-sounding euphemism). It's possible she overstated the case. She is not after all a mind reader.

In this discussion, you've framed "nigger" as merely an "insult." To me, this strongly suggests you haven't made a point of looking into the material consequences that go along the attitudes of those who use it as an Othering denigration. Or psychological dysfunctions from stereotype threat, specifically related to Afr-American/"nigger" status. Or from societal messages since birth about, eg, being the polar opposite of ideals of beauty, desirability, worth, as a result of your skin colour etc. (eg, If Black Women Were White Women).

To reiterate, I object to the superficial equivalence being drawn between "nigger" and "old white man." I am not defending the original "old white men" statement. I try to avoid such sweeping generalizations, myself. They reliably get people's backs up because they're usually inaccurate.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 5:06 PM on January 29, 2011


Jacqueline: @cybercoitus: Yes. And if you back to my entry into this argument (in the original thread) I agree that slave/nigger is a victimizing term.

You said: If I'm going to be accused of something, I'd much rather be accused of being a victim than accused of being an abuser. The latter implies I'm evil whereas the former could mean that I was just unlucky or disadvantaged in some way.

I'm getting the impression that you have very little familiarity with contemptuous, devaluing, and dehumanizing messages and treatment, 1. as a result of your skin colour, 2. that has gone on for a lifetime, 3. compounded by dealing with contempt for being a vagina owner...

...and therefore I would suggest that the statement, I would much rather be looked down upon with contempt than seen as an evil oppressor, is likely to be based on a shallow grasp of the baggage and consequences that "nigger" (and the destructive and self-destructive systems it frequently spawns) typically invokes.

It surprises you that typically, people subjected to differing (or, in this discussion, differing + multiple, as in skin colour + reproductive equipment) sources (individual and systemic) of contempt and devaluation, from childhood on, would not *actually* react the way you *hypothesize* you would:

"it's no fun to be called slavemaster ... but it's less fun to be called slave"

Really? If I'm going to be accused of something, I'd much rather be accused of being a victim


Does it still surprise you that such people tend not to think, "Every time they call me "nigger," they could really mean that I'm just unlucky or disadvantaged in some way! Thank God they're not annually or biannually accusing me of being an abuser or being full of unmitigated evil! That would be much much worse than being told over and over again since I was a child that people who look like me are stupid, worthless, ugly, violent, animalistically hypersexual, dirty, and naturally immoral!"

?

If my impression is wrong, I apologize and welcome the opportunity to learn from you.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 5:35 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you guys really want to experience racism, try leaving a western country.

I actually had that discussion with the pal I referenced in the original thread.

This is pretty much like saying "Well, fuck your broken leg, I have two broken legs." They're both problems. They're both in need of immediate attention. They both have the potential to do lasting harm if left untreated.

The existence of a patient with two broken legs doesn't mean the patient with one broken leg should go untreated.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 5:49 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, I miss all the fun stuff.
posted by cashman at 5:51 PM on January 29, 2011


What bothers me about the whole "people with no vaginas passing laws that affect people with vaginas" reaction is that people are trying to instill the idea that if you're male, you're not affected by restrictions on abortion rights.

If you're male, you're not affected by restrictions on abortion rights. I would like to instill that idea in you, because it's true.

Men as well as women are affected by reproductive rights


Yes, they are. The set of reproductive rights includes abortion rights, but not all reproductive rights are equally relevant or affecting to all genders. You believe that men are affected by the legality of abortion because you are pro-choice and you dislike the notion that a female partner would not be able to have that choice. That's commendable. It also doesn't matter, at all. Whether or not women should have the ability to procure safe and legal abortions cannot be predicated on opinion or preference, at all. You are entirely correct when you say it doesn't matter whether men or women proposed the bill, it's a bad bill. That's also why it doesn't matter what men think about abortion rights, which is the same reason it doesn't matter what majorities think about civil rights. It is, of course, tremendously helpful to have more people onside. But it doesn't matter; rights are not popularity contests.

Paying child support for 18 years is a material interest.

Look, hetero-guys. Sometimes, when you drink something, you urinate later. Sometimes when you eat something, you execrete later. And sometimes when you have sex with a woman, you conceive a pregnancy. If you don't want to be on the hook for 18 years of child support, don't have sex. If you want to have sex, accept the possibility that you may end up raising and supporting a child. Sex with women is not some protected right from which consequences you should be inured separately. Whether or not you want a conceived pregnancy to come to term does not matter. You made the choice to potentially conceive a pregnancy when you had sex with a woman.

Now, all of your feelings might matter to your partner, or your mom, or whoever, and they may choose to request your input because your opinions and preferences matter to them. That's fine, and it's nice of them to ask, and it's nice to be valued by your loved ones. But they don't matter when we're talking about general women's health issues in society. Acting like abortion matters to you because men pay for babies is to miss the point, entirely, and to seem kind of clueless in the process.
posted by Errant at 6:29 PM on January 29, 2011 [10 favorites]


Miko, thanks for your considered response. I'm just going to agree-to-disagree and drop off here. Part of the reason i find the pro-choice movement so hard to support is the very claim you insist on: that only a pregant woman - without concern or consideration of the man who jointly created the child - has any rights here. That's shortsighted, sexist, and WRONG. Dnying the claims of the father doesn't make your case any stronger; in fact in the eyes of many, including myself, it weakens it fatally. If men have no say, tell me why exactly should women, and how this isn't, by it's very definition, sexist?
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 6:41 PM on January 29, 2011


Whether or not women should have the ability to procure safe and legal abortions cannot be predicated on opinion or preference, at all.

Whenever the person who is arguing against that gets to this thread, they are gonna be pre-owned SO HARD.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:45 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


If men have no say, tell me why exactly should women, and how this isn't, by it's very definition, sexist?

If your plan is, as you say, to "drop off here" perhaps you should re-enable your MeMail so that people who want to continue to have this side discussion with you can do it somewhere other than this thread?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:46 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok, him I guess.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:46 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


derail: what ever happened to people flaming out?
posted by nathancaswell at 6:50 PM on January 29, 2011


Evolution has culled the herd.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:51 PM on January 29, 2011


Look, hetero-guys. Sometimes, when you drink something, you urinate later. Sometimes when you eat something, you execrete later. And sometimes when you have sex with a woman, you conceive a pregnancy.


Lets not talk about children, urine, and feces like they are interchangeable or something. One of these things is not like the other. One of these things don't belong.
posted by Sailormom at 7:00 PM on January 29, 2011


It was, I thought, obvious that I was not creating an equivalency between material biological outcomes but between the causalities of normal biological processes. Apparently not. By the way, I didn't say children, you did.
posted by Errant at 7:10 PM on January 29, 2011


Sailormom: "Lets not talk about children, urine, and feces like they are interchangeable or something. One of these things is not like the other. One of these things don't belong."

Agreed. It's rude to lump urine in there with the other two.
posted by gman at 7:14 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Nigger" was synonymous with "slave" for at least two hundred years. When slavery in the US ended, "nigger" continued and continues to be used as a term of contempt* for the descendants of the slaves and anybody who looks enough, to the turd-flingers, like they could be a descendant of slaves.

Alright. Time for my Public-Enemy-Live-In-Toronto-June-1989 anecdote.

I was a young white man then. The gig was at the Concert Hall, about a thousand people, and jammed. Entering the room was my first experience of going through a metal detector. The crowd was roughly 75 percent male and probably 50-50 black/non-black. You could call the atmosphere tense.

Public Enemy were at the peak of its notoriety (Fight The Power, not yet released, would be the show's encore; Professor Griff was about to quit in the wake of certain contentious comments that had recently been printed in the Washington Times).

Anyway, back to the atmosphere in the room. Did I mention it was tense? I got shoved a few times, unprovoked. I just got in some guy's way. No big deal; nothing that didn't happen a lot in bars, except these guys weren't drunk. So there was that.

Then came the warm-up act, who weren't a band but a sort of collective of local African-Canadian poets and thinkers. I don't remember much of their message, except what the last guy (the Elder) left off with. He began by telling the non-Africans in the room that he wasn't speaking to them. He then lectured at length to those he was speaking to about the use of the "N-word". He submitted that it was an atrocity for any young man of African heritage to ever use it; that there was nothing conceivably positive in doing so; that its growing ubiquity in hip-hop culture was (again) an atrocity.

And so on. There was a brief break and then Public Enemy hit the room like a fucking thunderstorm. I think they opened with Party For Your Right To Fight. It was beautiful, it was scary, it was powerful and I'm sure they dropped the "N-Word" a good fifty times in the first three minutes. I laughed my head off, as did many others of all colors and shades. All negative tension was gone. The next two hours was pure kickass power, passion (other things that start with "p") and, to this day, one of four or five BEST SHOWS I've ever seen.

My point in all this. I had a revelation at some point that Public Enemy's attitude to the word NIGGER was that the only way to deal with it was to rampage through it, use it up, eviscerate it, eat it, use it to fuel their music, which was truly a beautiful thing. Which is pretty much exactly what the Sex Pistols et al had done with their angst and "no-futurism" some twelve years earlier.

Now, twenty plus years later, it's clear that the "N-word" still carries nasty weight. But, for what it's worth, that particular night, it didn't. It was lighter than air.

Carry on filtering.
posted by philip-random at 7:24 PM on January 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


Urine a lotta trouble now, gman.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:32 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just found it a bit crass. But we're all adults here, certainly not children who need their diapers changed. or paid for
posted by Sailormom at 7:34 PM on January 29, 2011


Just found it a bit crass. But we're all adults here, certainly not children who need their diapers changed.

Well, you know what they say, the crass is always cleaner...

Speaking of diapers, when my girl was just starting to talk, round age 1 to 2, she couldn't say the word "diaper": she called it a "bapu". My wife and I still call diapers "bapus", to this day.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:39 PM on January 29, 2011


OUTRAGE OUTRAGE OUTRAGE
posted by nola at 7:46 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now, twenty plus years later, it's clear that the "N-word" still carries nasty weight. But, for what it's worth, that particular night, it didn't. It was lighter than air.

Sure. Context matters. It's the same thing catchingsignals was getting at in a different thread:

It is not the word itself, and it is not that white people can't use it but black people can. It's how it's used, in relation to human beings, with consideration of what impact it might have on them.

And -- not addressed to you personally, philip-random, just trying to be crystal clear generally that my intent is not to be a Word It's Always Bad To Say Cop -- the "slaveowner" is a worse insult than "slave" ["nigger"] point of view I was addressing featured the "nasty weight" sense. Not a "lighter than air" sense that I'd agree has some merit, even though I'm not sure yet if I agree that that reclamation is on the whole more productive than feeding into pathology.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 8:03 PM on January 29, 2011


Hey, as a handsome white man, I have to say-

oh fuck it I can't even parodize this garbage. A decent guy did something a little dumb, come on and let it go.
posted by Mister_A at 8:08 PM on January 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


"THE NEW PHONE BOOKS ARE HERE" [Repeat]
posted by clavdivs at 8:15 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


If men have no say, tell me why exactly should women, and how this isn't, by it's very definition, sexist?

Because women might have another human being grow inside them for 9 months, which is a huge risk to their physical and emotional health. Men and women have biological differences in their reproductive systems. It's not sexist, and it's not rocket science either.
posted by harriet vane at 8:34 PM on January 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hey, as a handsome white man, I have to say-

How handsome? I ask merely for information.
posted by Errant at 8:36 PM on January 29, 2011


information is merely handsome how?
posted by clavdivs at 8:41 PM on January 29, 2011


I took the evening off (much to the relief of the mods here), went to a great play in Ann Arbor with some wonderful friends (The War Since Eve, at the Performance Network, if you're in Ann Arbor I highly recommend it). Ironically the play revolved around feminism, so, of course, my wife insisted that I relate this discussion to our friends. Note, our friends are in their 80's (retired professors at the U, now following their love for painting and photography). Neither have much experience online past e/mail and a couple of professional web sites, explaining metafilter was difficult, explaining the reaction to "old white men" was even harder (my friend Fred is white, obviously old, and male).

When I finished, the response was "So, this place isn't like Facebook."

I guess they got it.

My take-away from the past two days:

I've learned I need to be more careful as to when and how I voice this type of opinion.
I've learned that the perception as to what is offensive, what is VERY offensive, and what is unacceptable is subjective, and my job is to vet each comment based on, to some extent, how I believe the readers will perceive it.
I hope that the discussions that resulted were, in some way, for some people, useful in a positive way.
For those that were critical, believe that I listened to your words carefully, thank you.
For those that voiced support, I appreciate your being willing to do so.

Peace...
posted by HuronBob at 8:52 PM on January 29, 2011 [24 favorites]


eons
posted by Sailormom at 8:53 PM on January 29, 2011


Peeps be crazy.
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:05 PM on January 29, 2011


Weakest. Flameout. Ever.

Very nicely put, HuronBob. Thank you.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:13 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Weakest. Flameout. Ever."

Yeah, I know... I'm even disappointed in myself... the one I had planned involved massive, illegal fireworks imported from Ohio, the University of Michigan Marching Band (god knows they've got nothing else to celebrate about), and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

If I manage to elicit another metatalk discussion in the next week, i've got all that in reserve..
posted by HuronBob at 9:20 PM on January 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Seconding Devils Rancher, well put HuronBob.
posted by arcticseal at 9:25 PM on January 29, 2011


I can get you the fireworks. The marching band wants 50$, tuba polish and a keg of Hamms beer.
posted by clavdivs at 9:27 PM on January 29, 2011


You've got the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders just sitting around fir a week waiting for your next callout?

You're not just any old white guy. You're Jerry Jones.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:29 PM on January 29, 2011


Bob, please say you did not go 'Vinology' after the show.
cause it would be like Jerry Reed meets Abraham Maslow
posted by clavdivs at 9:35 PM on January 29, 2011


Ya know, clavdivs, I actually thought about it.. I've never gone there, and a dear friend of my son's waits tables there on the weekends, and we keep promising we'll stop by... After the play, I came home, found a cat to sit between my arms, had a glass of Pinot and checked to see what was happening on metafilter...
posted by HuronBob at 9:39 PM on January 29, 2011


Astro... trust they are not just "sitting around".

I've got them running stats on the chances of my being banned from metafilter, as well as putting together a post that details the connection between Kant and Freud, they are much smarter than I expected.
posted by HuronBob at 9:43 PM on January 29, 2011


I like you less now I envy your lifestyle, HuronBob :p
posted by Abiezer at 10:00 PM on January 29, 2011


Ablezer.. interesting... your comment made me think for a moment..... and, the ironic thing is that having friends, a cat, connection with Metafilter, and, not to be discounted, a cheap bottle of Pinot, does make a pretty good life. (Ok, there's the wife, kids, and dawg that are a positive as well).
posted by HuronBob at 10:06 PM on January 29, 2011


Men and women have biological differences in their reproductive systems. It's not sexist, and it's not rocket science either.

See, I don't get this. A pro-lifer could make this exact statement, going the other direction. I.e., it sucks that women have to deal with pregnancy, but it's biological fact (that is, not something sexist men are imposing on women), and the pro-lifer would say it's not right to try to counteract that fact by ending unborn life.

Likewise, pro-lifers would say, of course women have choice; they make the choice when they have sex. Pro-choice people find this argument rather offensive (it's called slut-shaming). But it's almost verbatim what posters upthread have said about men.

I'm trying to learn here. I disagree with the idea that men have no material stake in abortion rights. It simply doesn't make sense to me to say that a man's potential 18 years of support means nothing but that a woman's potential 9 months is all-determining. Isn't there some middle ground (I don't mean legally, but in the way we talk about this)? Some of the comments in this thread are so extreme, so black-and-white, they seem to defy logic, or ignore plain old compassion or give-and-take between humans.
posted by torticat at 10:16 PM on January 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Isn't there some middle ground

......................eons......................
posted by Sailormom at 10:30 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


OneMonkeysUncle: "Miko, thanks for your considered response. I'm just going to agree-to-disagree and drop off here. Part of the reason i find the pro-choice movement so hard to support is the very claim you insist on: that only a pregant woman - without concern or consideration of the man who jointly created the child - has any rights here. That's shortsighted, sexist, and WRONG. Dnying the claims of the father doesn't make your case any stronger; in fact in the eyes of many, including myself, it weakens it fatally. If men have no say, tell me why exactly should women, and how this isn't, by it's very definition, sexist?"

It is sexist, sure. But here's the problem: no one should be able to force women to have a child against her will. Ultimately that's what we're talking about here, isn't it?

I'm a man and a father and I empathise strongly with the position that men should have an equal say in the fate of their progeny. But every time pro-life and father's rights groups speak up about changing the law to make sure that fathers have an equal say, they're really saying, "It should be legally possible to force a woman to bear a child, whether she wants to do so or not." To which I say, fuck that noise.

It's her body. Her womb. No one should be allowed to dictate what she does with it. Because pregnancy is not a harmless state. Also, US federal law says (for the most part) that a fetus is a potential life until it exists autonomously from its mother.

As a result, the fight for equal, protected paternal rights in this country since the early 70's has focused on aspects of fatherhood that do not involve the body of the mother. Men have done pretty well at fighting for and achieving legal parity, especially in custody situations. Many states now even protect the rights of unwed fathers to veto adoptions of their children.

Multiple court decisions have enforced protected status for the gender who physically carries children to term. Until children can be bred independently of a mother's womb, that's likely to continue.
posted by zarq at 10:36 PM on January 29, 2011 [13 favorites]


If somebody believes abortion is ending a life, you aren't gonna argue them out of it. If they believe that, than of course they believe the father should have a say. This is why this debate will never end, there are defensible moral arguments from both sides.

The Republicans need to shut up about it, because there is no going back now, a ban would NOT stand no matter how they pulled it off.

We can't keep debating this as a country, neither side will ever convince the other and we have other issues to work on we might be actually able to solve.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:10 PM on January 29, 2011


I really need an edit window if I'm gonna keep posting when I'm drinking.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:11 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh shit, cops!
A man has a right to convey his hopes , fears, desires, reservations, options,,,,
HE does not have the right to convey his will.
A woman has 'sole right' Antepartum.

so, what zarq said but in three sentences which is weird.


query: If the government funded aspect of this subject matter was not the topic, would the topic exist in it's current form (debate- definitions-legislation) ?
posted by clavdivs at 11:15 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


IOW: take out the federal cash, is it still a legislative issue.
posted by clavdivs at 11:17 PM on January 29, 2011


Isn't there some middle ground

......................eons......................


I'm with sailormom. The prevalent delusion of our time (and all time for that matter) is that things are either black or white, this or that, good or evil, red or blue, Beatles or Stones.

profound statement of the obvious, I know. But like that good ole Buddhist slap in the face , we need it every now and then
posted by philip-random at 11:35 PM on January 29, 2011


Beatles
posted by HuronBob at 11:36 PM on January 29, 2011


Bones
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:39 PM on January 29, 2011


I actually think that "Bones" is a pretty good show. I originally thought he would never get past that "Angel" stereotype. But there is nobody on that show that can sing "I will" this well.
posted by HuronBob at 11:44 PM on January 29, 2011


Bailey
posted by clavdivs at 11:45 PM on January 29, 2011


timing
D'oh
posted by clavdivs at 11:46 PM on January 29, 2011


Beatles

Seriously? You prefer Obla-di-Obla-Duh to Paint It Black? Or We Love You?
posted by philip-random at 11:47 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Stones always had an "edge", whereas the the Beatles were sort of adorable.
posted by HuronBob at 11:54 PM on January 29, 2011


torticat: It's not that a man's eighteen years of child support mean nothing, and it's not that nine months of gestation mean everything. It's that framing the life of a child in terms of how much it costs its father is to explicitly ignore the mother's contribution post-birth and to ignore the fact that childbirth is not universally medically safe. A childbirth that goes wrong can kill the mother; a gestational difficulty can kill or irreparably harm the mother. A woman should not need a doctor's note or the permission of anyone else before engaging in a procedure that could save her life or her quality of life. I understand that other people want to qualify that, but for me, sanctity of life starts with the person who is already living.
posted by Errant at 12:06 AM on January 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sometimes MetaTalk seems to be a performance art piece about political correctness.
posted by graventy at 12:11 AM on January 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


It's that framing the life of a child in terms of how much it costs its father is to explicitly ignore the mother's contribution post-birth

I don't see how that part follows. Whining about child support does not imply women don't contribute, just that the man doesn't want to.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:16 AM on January 30, 2011


Everything else aside, I think HuronBob comes off as a nice guy who used a bit of hyperbole where as hal_c_on comes of as a bit of a bully who's really enjoying his momentum.

The tendency some MeFite's have to continue to pile on somebody, repeatedly making the same point as they bask in their own sense of pious self-righteousness is one of the most nauseating things about this website.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:38 AM on January 29


And with that comment, you just outed yourself as one of the most nauseating things about this website.

Mazel tov!
posted by hal_c_on at 12:16 AM on January 30, 2011



Sometimes MetaTalk seems to be a performance art piece about political correctness.


That is a deeply offensive thing to say.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:17 AM on January 30, 2011


Kinks.

I will die on this hill.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:18 AM on January 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


The Kinks?

Pinned against a wall and forced to confess, I'd say Bowie. 1971-1980.
posted by philip-random at 12:23 AM on January 30, 2011


I don't see how that part follows.

Because any time the rights of the minority are framed in terms of cost or inconvenience to the majority, the voice of the majority overwhelms the need of the minority. It shouldn't, but it does. See: any derail, including this one.
posted by Errant at 12:27 AM on January 30, 2011



Because any time the rights of the minority are framed in terms of cost or inconvenience to the majority


Men are not a majority.

Regardless, I reject the theory that it is impossible to discuss the costs to one party without ignoring the costs to the other party. For instance, we could look at the fact that there have been a billion posts in this thread saying over and over and over and over and over that the rights of the woman are most important and the costs to the man are irelevent to the right to choose which has been posted over and over and over and over and...
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:38 AM on January 30, 2011


I'm an APEMAN
I'm an APE
APE MAN
Oh
I'm an APE MAN.
I'm a king-kong man
I'm a voodoo man
Oh
I'm a APE MAN.

posted by Sailormom at 12:58 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


But why have they been said over and over? Repetition is no counter-indication to value; in this instance, it is clearly the sound of a viewpoint trying to be heard over the din.

Abortion rights frequently get conflated with family rights. No one this thread has argued that fathers aren't important, but I think that's what people hear when they hear that male opinion about women's bodies doesn't matter. My point isn't that it's impossible to discuss the costs to one in a discussion about the other, it's that the costs to one do not supercede the costs to the other. Note which is the "one" and which is the "other".

Yet we hear about the financial cost to the male should a pregnancy be carried to term, and we do not often enough hear about the physical cost to the female regardless of term, because our society is structured such that the ultimate destiny of women is to bear children regardless of cost. To me, those costs are not equivalent.

One more thing. I am a straight male and I am speaking because I believe it is the role of allies to speak. I will happily withdraw if my voice is overpowering the voices of others.
posted by Errant at 1:33 AM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


But why have they been said over and over?

That the consequences for the man has no bearing on the right to choose of the woman has had to be repeated over and over because there have been repeated posts that mischaracterized the point as something else, that something else being a position that is morally repugnant to the people making the statement that has been mischaracterized.

Generalist's original comment was entirely clear on suggesting no such thing. The point is solely that banning abortion fucks over fathers too, in absolutely no way was there any suggestion that it does not fuck over women more or anything else, at all.

I understand some people, and one moron in this thread, have offered an opinion counter to that and the urge to resist that argument is strong, however it is an idiotic derail to argue against something that someone is not arguing.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:46 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The point is solely that banning abortion fucks over fathers too

But Miko has clearly and concisely demonstrated how it does no such thing. Fathers are on the hook for child support whether abortion is legal or not, available or not. The only way that banning abortion fucks over fathers is if those fathers would have, given their preference, not have had the child, but the choice of not having had the child was not available.

Another way to say that is to say, both the father and mother would have chosen not to bring the pregnancy to term, but abortion was not available. Fine, that fucks over the father. But it fucks over the mother too, and in ways that go beyond just the consideration of the father.

(Let me pause here and say that I in no way believe that the sole contribution of the father is monetary. But, in this argument, that is how it has been framed, and regardless the father's other contributions cannot be said to outweigh the mother's; they are hopefully equal, but they are in no case equivalent.)

So, if both the father and the mother require an abortion but abortion is illegal, it fucks over the father. Ok. But it fucks over the mother too, so why are we so concerned with whether or not it fucks over the father? The only differentiation in fucking over is if the father requires an abortion but the mother does not; this is the only case in which we can say the father is fucked over but the mother is not. In which case: tough. Try not having sex next time. Otherwise, one party's health is at risk and one party's is not; they may have both been fucked over, but surely we can see how one of those parties has a greater concern and consideration?

The paternal advocates in this conversation often decry the lack of agency given to the father, when in fact the father has and had complete agency. If the man does not impregnate the woman, there is no conception. What many of them actually want is the ability to have sex without the responsibility of the natural outcome of biological sex; they want to believe that every effort to prevent conception short of a lack of sex should inure them from any consequences of that sex. That is, sadly for them, not actually how anything works.

I understand some people, and one moron in this thread, have offered an opinion counter to that and the urge to resist that argument is strong, however it is an idiotic derail to argue against something that someone is not arguing.

But, of course, people are arguing it. The House of Representatives in the United States has just passed a bill arguing it, which was the source of the original thread. You acknowledge yourself that at least one person in this thread is arguing it. Your definition of "moron" is yours, not mine, but I don't think it's "idiotic" or a derail to try to counter arguments I find invalid in a conversation that directly contains them, especially in this thread where the derail can live on without impeding the main conversation of whether or not the House of Representatives is comprised of complete and irredeemable assholes (spoiler alert!).
posted by Errant at 2:31 AM on January 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Fathers are on the hook for child support whether abortion is legal or not

As has been stated, I mean like 600000 fucking times at this point why are you still doing this...they have the responsibility for it, but still benefit from the possibility of the woman not choosing it so they don't have to pay out on that responsibility. The woman having that choice is good for them.


Another way to say that is to say, both the father and mother would have chosen not to bring the pregnancy to term, but abortion was not available. Fine, that fucks over the father. But it fucks over the mother too, and in ways that go beyond just the consideration of the father.


Ok, it's time.


WE KNOW, WE AGREE ON THAT, WE AREN'T ARGUING AGAINST THAT. STOP ARGUING AGAINST AN IMAGINARY ASSERTION.


THE PEOPLE IN THIS THREAD ARE NOT THE OLD WHITE MEN YOU ARE LOOKING FOR, MOVE ALONG.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:40 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm just not really sure how "letting the man have a say" is supposed to work, practically, since there's only two people in these situations and no one to break ties. If both the woman and man want to abort, the abort; if neither one wants to, they don't - that part's easy. But we then have the two possible cases where they disagree:
Scenario 1: Woman wants to abort, man doesn't.
I don't really see any solution here other than "it's the woman's body, so she wins." Otherwise, you're admitting that you believe the man gets MORE of a say, which is obviously not fair.
Scenario 2: Woman doesn't want to abort, man does.
You won't hear a lot of people standing up for the man's right to have a say in this scenario, because we pretty much all believe that forced abortions are a fucked up thing. The fact that we are all pretty much in agreement about this suggests that we in fact do all believe that the woman's say is more important. (With the exception of the pro-lifers, who concluded "no abortion" in scenario 2 because they would always conclude "no abortion.")

I would really (no snark) love to know if there's some logic I'm missing here, though.
posted by naoko at 3:07 AM on January 30, 2011


The 'man has a say' point (that only one idiot in this thread is suggesting) is based on a point of view that starts at the fetus being a person. Under that scenario, it makes sense for both parents to have a say about killing the child, since it is a living breathing child equivalent to a three year old or whatever. Or I guess the more pure point of view there is that no one has that right. The let the man help decide point is a totally nonsensical bastard view that can only come from a totally surface examination of the issues that ignores the bodily integrity of the woman and ends up with, "If you can kill it, I can!"
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:15 AM on January 30, 2011


As has been stated, I mean like 600000 fucking times at this point why are you still doing this...they have the responsibility for it, but still benefit from the possibility of the woman not choosing it so they don't have to pay out on that responsibility. The woman having that choice is good for them.

My point, and why I'm still arguing it, is that you are casting abortion rights as being good for men because they might not have to pay out. That is the least, I mean the most minimal, reason to see a woman's right to choose as a right and to establish it in law. I personally find it crazy offensive to cast the right of a person to seek their own health in terms of how much it doesn't set back some other person's bank account, and it sickens me that that's all we keep talking about. But, hey, if that shallow consideration is all that's required to get men on-board: awesome, dudes, your money is safe, your dreams of a Range Rover are wholly intact. Bro.

THE PEOPLE IN THIS THREAD ARE NOT THE OLD WHITE MEN YOU ARE LOOKING FOR, MOVE ALONG.

At no point in this conversation have I said anything about old white men. Whoever you're attempting to mind-trick, it's not me. You have only to look a few comments above to discover how "imaginary" the assertion against which I'm arguing is. Regardless, I thought you and I were having a conversation and it's now clear that we're not, or at least that you're done with it, so I'll step back.
posted by Errant at 4:12 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lord amighty.

I am so glad I decided not to do a MeTa inviting a compare and contrast between the recent AskMe about a Brit stereotype party and last year's one about a Mexican stereotype party.

Then again, it might have been fun, right? Right? Aww, come on.

I am an old white guy and I approve this thread.
posted by Decani at 4:57 AM on January 30, 2011


Oh, go on. Please do that MeTa. There's still time.
posted by DNye at 5:13 AM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


THIS JUST IN:

I am perilously close to the point where my white guy handsomeness decays to "distinguishedness." Goddamn republicans blocking stem cell research!!!
posted by Mister_A at 6:12 AM on January 30, 2011

Scenario 2: Woman doesn't want to abort, man does.
You won't hear a lot of people standing up for the man's right to have a say in this scenario, because we pretty much all believe that forced abortions are a fucked up thing. The fact that we are all pretty much in agreement about this suggests that we in fact do all believe that the woman's say is more important. (With the exception of the pro-lifers, who concluded "no abortion" in scenario 2 because they would always conclude "no abortion.")
I think that, generally speaking, what men want in this scenario is to be able to opt out of financial (and other) responsibility to the child who is eventually born. They don't want to force the woman to have an abortion. They just want to be able to free themselves from the obligations of parenthood, which they consider equivalent to the mother's right to be freed from the obligations of parenthood via abortion.

I'm not endorsing this point of view, but that's what they say.
posted by craichead at 6:35 AM on January 30, 2011


I am arriving late, which is probably good because I wouldn't have had the real-time resources to keep track of all the little pieces as this subject hit the fan.

I am white, male, and at least half-way to being old. I am not offended by "old white guy" comments. I don't suffer any loss of privilege if someone uses that phrase within my earshot. I wouldn't call it a slur. But broadsides flung at "old white guys" make me sad, because they are part of a vicious circle which perpetuates the very problems that their flingers abhor. Such over-generalizations turn away potential allies. They look, to me, like damage being acted out. They are understandable, forgivable, and a damn shame.
posted by jon1270 at 6:59 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


To clarify: I don't argue that some men might feel better off if abortion is legal. My point is merely that the feelings of men about the issue are totally immaterial (meaning: not relevant, not necessary, not essential and at times actively unhelpful) to the debate over the legality of abortion. That's all; that's it.
posted by Miko at 7:46 AM on January 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


See, I don't get this. A pro-lifer could make this exact statement, going the other direction. I.e., it sucks that women have to deal with pregnancy, but it's biological fact (that is, not something sexist men are imposing on women), and the pro-lifer would say it's not right to try to counteract that fact by ending unborn life.


But you'd have to take away the rights of the mother to control her body in order to win legislation on this point.

Likewise, pro-lifers would say, of course women have choice; they make the choice when they have sex. Pro-choice people find this argument rather offensive (it's called slut-shaming). But it's almost verbatim what posters upthread have said about men.


The difference is that there are several outcomes to a pregnancy and only one of them is having a child. Spontaneous abortion might end the pregnancy, and artificial abortion can also end the pregnancy, whether it's legal or not. Because the fetus is inside the body of the woman, the woman has the physical opportunity to do things that might end the pregnancy. For the woman, the consequences of sex are serious but not as final as those for men, because if a child is conceived there are other events which follow which she can influence. For the men, no other events follow that take place within his physical body and which he can influence.

It simply doesn't make sense to me to say that a man's potential 18 years of support means nothing but that a woman's potential 9 months is all-determining. Isn't there some middle ground (I don't mean legally, but in the way we talk about this)? Some of the comments in this thread are so extreme, so black-and-white, they seem to defy logic, or ignore plain old compassion or give-and-take between humans.


It's only all-determining while the fetus is dependent on her body. The man's "18 years of support" are not inconsequential, but for heaven's sake, the woman also gets the 18 years of support if the child is born and not given up for adoption. The consequences of the birth of a child are visited on both parents, not just the father.

I understand your point about an apparent lack of compassion. In reality, situations involving decisions about pregnancy are very much inflected with compassion, emotion, and negotiation. My real concern is abortion law and the foundations for it. These unequal realities of the physical carrying of a child are part of the foundations of the law, and those foundations don't depend on or look to the interests of the father, simply because he is not physically impacted by the pregnancy.
posted by Miko at 7:54 AM on January 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


My point is merely that the feelings of men about the issue are totally immaterial (meaning: not relevant, not necessary, not essential and at times actively unhelpful) to the debate over the legality of abortion. That's all; that's it.

To clarify, are you talking just about feelings or do you mean thought also, in the sense of legal or philosophical thought on the subject of the legality of abortion?

Simply put, is it your contention that men should have absolutely nothing to do with the legality of abortion, at all?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:08 AM on January 30, 2011


Simply put, is it your contention that men should have absolutely nothing to do with the legality of abortion, at all?

Of course not. Contributing to "legal or philosophical thought" are certainly appropriate roles for men to take.

My argument is limited to the idea that, in the legal foundations of abortion law, the personal preferences of men - whichever side of the debate they are on - have no appropriate place.
posted by Miko at 8:17 AM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


(I'll add that, in many ways, the personal preferences of women also have no appropriate place, just so that's clear as well. The foundations of legality shouldn't be built on the way people feel about abortion, but on arguments for individual liberty and the right to decisions about one's body.)
posted by Miko at 8:18 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am so glad I decided not to do a MeTa inviting a compare and contrast between the recent AskMe about a Brit stereotype party and last year's one about a Mexican stereotype party.

It is okay to stereotype English people because everyone knows that it is a country full of old white men. It is also perfectly okay for the people of England to have "come as your favourite American congressman" parties, for the same reason.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:40 AM on January 30, 2011


I'm stereotyping Mefites, right now!

Shut up Eidetaker.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:13 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Honey, I'd like it if you had the baby. Please."

That's about how much influence the man should have in this situation.
posted by philip-random at 10:17 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is okay to stereotype English people because everyone knows that it is a country full of old white men.

I think you'll find it isn't. Please refer to the Daily Mail or the Daily Express for more details.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:25 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is okay to stereotype English people because everyone knows that it is a country full of old white men. It is also perfectly okay for the people of England to have "come as your favourite American congressman" parties, for the same reason.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:40 PM on January 30


I said I wasn't going to go there, okay? I really meant it. Not doing it. No no no. :-)
posted by Decani at 1:10 PM on January 30, 2011


"Honey, I'd like it if you had the baby. Please."

That's about how much influence the man should have in this situation.


Good luck in any human relationship you pursue.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:28 PM on January 30, 2011


... where as hal_c_on comes of as a bit of a bully who's really enjoying his momentum.
posted by philip-random at 3:44 PM on January 30, 2011


Thank you Miko for being so eloquent in this thread. For myself, I do not think abortion should be part of the legal system at all. It is a medical procedure that is between a woman and her health care providers and no one else should have a say any more than a man seeking a vasectomy should get approval from anyone else - or be forced to have a vasectomy either. (Of course, such decisions may have an effect on existing or future relationships but that should have no legal bearing on whether the decision to undergo a medical procedure is an individual or group one.)
posted by saucysault at 4:55 PM on January 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's only all-determining while the fetus is dependent on her body. The man's "18 years of support" are not inconsequential, but for heaven's sake, the woman also gets the 18 years of support if the child is born and not given up for adoption. The consequences of the birth of a child are visited on both parents, not just the father.

As has been said before and as you have acknowledged, the disparity is that for the father, the choice of whether to expose himself to those consequences is the same as the choice to have sex. For the mother, those choices are separate. This inequity under the law is seen as a bad thing.
posted by kafziel at 8:20 PM on January 30, 2011


What's your remedy for that inequity, kazfiel? As outlined above, if the couple agree on whether to have a child or have an abortion, then there's no problem. If they don't agree, the man forcing the woman to either have an abortion or carry a child to full term is a violation of the bodily integrity and rights of the woman. There isn't really a compromise they can reach if they disagree - there's no such thing as being half-pregnant, and the woman can't give the pregnancy to the man to deal with in his own way. Someone has to decide if the pregnancy goes ahead or not, and it should be the person who has to bear that physical burden.
posted by harriet vane at 8:51 PM on January 30, 2011


My point is merely that the feelings of men about the issue are totally immaterial (meaning: not relevant, not necessary, not essential and at times actively unhelpful) to the debate over the legality of abortion.

So hypothetically, if I, as a male, was about to cast my vote in an election, the outcome of which would change abortion law - are you saying that I am so disconnected from the issue that there is no reason for me to cast my vote one way or the other?
posted by HiroProtagonist at 8:56 PM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Immaterial doesn't mean that your vote doesn't or shouldn't count. It means that the legal question should not be settled by your personal opinions and feelings, or anyone else's. We have rules and guidelines for establishing what the law should be in medical issues, and individual opinions about when life starts (or whether that matters, or about child support, or insurance, etc) are not part of what we use to make those decisions.

Injecting personal opinions into the debate doesn't help the pro-choice cause - arguing the case on it's merits and facts does. There are issues of privacy between a patient and doctor, autonomy in decision-making, and so on. These can all be used to get laws passed.

I'd be inclined to strike the word "men" in that sentence and replace it with "anyone" - not to put words in Miko's mouth though, it's just my opinion that feelings don't win this battle, facts do.
posted by harriet vane at 12:30 AM on January 31, 2011


So hypothetically, if I, as a male, was about to cast my vote in an election, the outcome of which would change abortion law - are you saying that I am so disconnected from the issue that there is no reason for me to cast my vote one way or the other?

What harriet vane said - you should vote according to how you want your representatives to legislate, which is how we get these Congressional circuses in the first place. But the legal foundations of abortion law are terribly important, because legislation about abortion, though it begins with the electoral process, almost invariably ends up in courts of law.
posted by Miko at 8:37 AM on January 31, 2011


Thank you Miko for being so eloquent in this thread.

Speaking as an old white man, I'd also like to big up Miko's contributions to this thread. I love how she manages to maintain a tone of even-handed, moderate and lucid rationality, in the face of those who keep on insisting that she's somehow wrong when the exact opposite has been strikingly obvious from her very first post on the issue.

... where as hal_c_on comes of as a bit of a bully who's really enjoying his momentum.

I think poor hal_c_on had his feelings hurt when I used that citation as a starting point for a reflection on a Metafilter herd mentality that kicks in sometimes. I've no idea whether hal_c_on is particularly obnoxious in this regard or not, and it wasn't my intention to single him out in particular -- I was focused more on the 'bully' than the 'hal_c_on' bit of the sentence.

Irritating though they may be, people who are repeatedly obnoxious on the internet are probably more to be pitied than they are to be feared. Their lack of social skills is blindingly obvious, and the amount of time and energy that they put into 'being right on the internet' almost certainly speaks volumes about their lack of a meaningful life outside the internet.

If people are annoying you or upsetting you, the best way to deal with it is to simply flag it and move on. Or don't flag it.

But do move on. The old advice about not feeding trolls remains as pertinent as ever,
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:59 AM on January 31, 2011


One of the big problems with feeling free to categorically attack not the patriarchy, but men, and not systemic racism, but whites, and not conservative, backward looking politics but the old, is that it hurts the old white male allies of racial equality and feminism.

Not, like, enough to make them not be allies. Don't worry about that. But it does hurt. If I can presume to speak for them. So a little, tiny change in the focus of the righteous indignation can be a big help for your in-the-majority friends who are in the march with you, volunteering next to you in the same organization, and teaching their kids a better way.

This isn't to say that it's the worst thing ever to do. It's just to say that broad sweeping generalizations can have negative consequences for this thing we all care about so deeply.
posted by jsturgill at 10:59 AM on January 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


A thread about HuronBob saying something stupid on a website generates far more outrage than a thread about Congress actively trying to curtail reproductive rights.
That's really telling of...something.
posted by rocket88 at 12:11 PM on January 31, 2011


I think that, generally speaking, what men want in this scenario is to be able to opt out of financial (and other) responsibility to the child who is eventually born. They don't want to force the woman to have an abortion. They just want to be able to free themselves from the obligations of parenthood, which they consider equivalent to the mother's right to be freed from the obligations of parenthood via abortion.

I'm not endorsing this point of view, but that's what they say.


We've gone over this before in MeTa (I think we've done everything in MeTa by this point; Miko has an incredible amount of patience) and the rebuttal to this is quite simple. The father cannot opt out of his obligations to his child. The mother cannot facilitate or legitimize an abdication of parental responsibility by the father because she cannot speak for the child. Before the birth there is no child. Afterwards there is a child that is legally (and morally) entitled to the support of both parents.

The best way I can think of to get out of requiring absentee parents to support their offspring is to make sure there is adequate governmental and community support for single parents. And I don't really see that as likely given the current state of the government in the US.

The bottom line is that there is no way to give a man a say on the decision to abort without in some way taking away the woman's right to her body. That's why I'm always in favour of a man knowing all his options and being comfortable exercising them when it comes to birth control.
posted by ODiV at 2:41 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


you should vote according to how you want your representatives to legislate

Indeed, but if "the feelings of men about the issue are totally immaterial", what informs my decision to vote?

Please be patient while I try to parse your argument:

Would I then be correct in reading you as saying:
"the feelings of [anyone] about the issue are totally immaterial" and "arguments for individual liberty and the right to decisions about one's body" [are material] ?
posted by HiroProtagonist at 4:28 PM on January 31, 2011


Think of it this way: I believe allowing gay people to marry is a good thing. I am not gay. How I feel about gay people getting married is totally immaterial. And yet, if the issue were ever to come up on the ballot in my state, I would absolutely vote for it, even though I do not receive any direct benefit from it.

What informs my decision to vote for the measure is the fact that I'm able to recognize this as a civil liberties issue, and an important one at that, that should be supported by everyone who wants to live in a free society.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:06 AM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


A note for those still following the thread: HuronBob closed his account yesterday. He's one of the "November 18, 2004 Day of Infamy" crew.

I'm truly sorry to see him go, and hope he chooses to come back soon.
posted by zarq at 7:11 AM on February 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


he only differentiation in fucking over is if the father requires an abortion but the mother does not; this is the only case in which we can say the father is fucked over but the mother is not. In which case: tough. Try not having sex next time.

Or wearing a condom or banking sperm and getting a vasectomy. I'm awed by both Errant and Miko's patience in this topic. I have come across comments in various AskMe threads in the past from some users that are so contemptuous of women and their right to choose, and outright anger over having to pay child support (not alimony, child support). The lack of responsibility of the men who don't want to pay child support is totally outrageous. It makes me worry about the women they're involved with and it makes me hope that they're only talking, that they don't seriously mean it. But I doubt it. It's another way to be abusive towards women and mothers--shame them out of receiving the support necessary to raise a child that a man helped conceive. There was a particularly shocking comment in a question where a poster was feeling depressed because his wife was pregnant and they had agreed if anything like that happened, she would get an abortion, and she didn't want an abortion after it happened. She hadn't said anything until he asked her if she wanted to keep it and would go along with it if she did, which she admitted she did. This led to him feeling unhappy and afraid. One user encouraged the asker to demand that his wife get an abortion because their previous agreement was like a contract and she was reneging on their supposed "deal."

One divorced dad on AskMe wanted to know if he could get out of paying child support or pay less child support because the custodial parent (the mother) had a rich fiance. She had a new car the new fiance bought for her, and that pissed him off to no end, to the "Why should I pay for child support? Her new fiance is rich. She's probably spending all my money on shoes." Our fellow Mefite, however, had asked only a week before where he could take his new girlfriend on a romantic vacation, and specified that money was no object where she was concerned.
posted by anniecat at 8:25 AM on February 1, 2011


I'm not at all familiar with child support, but isn't that kind of how it works? If your ex takes the kid(s) and they all form a family with someone new? Does it depend on the income of the new partner?

I can understand the frustration with the impression that the money you send for a child ends up being spent on something else. I can't think of a way to ensure that child support payments are only spent on children that isn't too onerous and invasive. I'm also not convinced it's a pervasive problem; if a child is being neglected, then that's a separate issue which should be definitely taken to the proper authorities. If we want to tackle child support issues at all then I think the amount of deadbeat parents is a far larger and more problematic one.
posted by ODiV at 9:26 AM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


When anti-choice advocates tell women who don't want the burden of a child to just "Try not having sex next time" or "use birth control" or "freeze eggs and get your tubes tied", that's universally (and correctly) derided as slut-shaming and a bad argument. It is rightly seen as absurd to demand from women that the decision to have sex carry with it an inherent consent to carry any resulting pregnancy to term.

Turn the genders around, though, and "It's another way to be abusive towards women and mothers". Odd, that.
posted by kafziel at 9:28 AM on February 1, 2011


I'm not at all familiar with child support, but isn't that kind of how it works? If your ex takes the kid(s) and they all form a family with someone new? Does it depend on the income of the new partner?

That's how alimony works, yes, but not child support. The duty to pay child support is a duty owed to the child, not the custodial parent, even though it's paid directly to and spent at the sole discretion of that parent. It leads to some very messed up situations, where a biological parent retains no parental rights whatsoever, no custody or visitation or say in how the child is raised, but is still on the hook for child support.
posted by kafziel at 9:31 AM on February 1, 2011


"It is rightly seen as absurd to demand from men that the decision to have sex carry with it an inherent consent to carry any resulting pregnancy to term."

You're right, that is odd. Joking aside, men can't choose to abort because they don't get pregnant.

It's not slut-shaming or a bad argument to let a guy know his responsibilities if he fathers a child. It can be a little direct, sure, and I don't think I would say, "Try not having sex next time," because that sounds a bit rude. Still, I'm sure some appreciate being told point blank what their options are when it comes to birth control (condoms, vasectomy, blowjobs?) and abortion (none!).
posted by ODiV at 9:35 AM on February 1, 2011


Still, I'm sure some [men] appreciate being told point blank what their options are when it comes to birth control (condoms, vasectomy, blowjobs?) [...]

I think you left one out.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:49 AM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Abstinence, sure... I wasn't going to go listing everything I could think of.

The other thing I've noticed is that people will say, "Don't have sex if you don't want a kid / should have worn a condom / etc" in these discussions of hypothetical pregnancies. I'd like to think that if we were in a conversation with a new father who is concerned about his lack of emotional connection to his child or worried about his ability to provide for his child in future he wouldn't be given the same responses.
posted by ODiV at 9:54 AM on February 1, 2011


A note for those still following the thread: HuronBob closed his account yesterday. He's one of the "November 18, 2004 Day of Infamy" crew.

This is very sad. He didn't deserve to be shit on by the MetaFilter defenders of righteousness. I hope he comes back.
posted by rocket88 at 9:59 AM on February 1, 2011


Interesting, the first two comments in this thread both got a lot of favorites, yet articulated two different points of view. Doesn't necessarily mean a lot, just interestin'.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:03 AM on February 1, 2011


I hope you come back bob.
posted by clavdivs at 10:05 AM on February 1, 2011


When anti-choice advocates tell women who don't want the burden of a child to just "Try not having sex next time" or "use birth control" or "freeze eggs and get your tubes tied", that's universally (and correctly) derided as slut-shaming and a bad argument.

The point is, of course, that whenever we talk about men and abortion, it is always in terms of "the burden of a child" or "the hook of child support", but we don't have to talk about men's health. Because men's health is not at risk. The other point is that that anti-choice advocacy is telling women what to do with their bodies, namely bear unwanted pregnancies. I am making the point that those people can't do that and that men can't do that either. You cannot reverse the argument, because gendered bodies are not equivalent.

I'm not saying men shouldn't have sex. I'm a man and I have sex. I'm saying that the biological reality of sexual dimorphism means that responsibilities are unequal with regards to pregnancy. That means that once a pregnancy is conceived, in someone else's body, men do not get to have a lot of say about what happens to that body, the person whose body that is gets to have that say. That means that if the idea that any risk of pregnancy bugs a man, there is a foolproof way to avoid the terrible burden of a child.

If the man is willing to have sex with a woman, the man must also accept the risk and responsibility of a pregnancy that will be out of his control. That's being a man, to use the parlance of the times. Hopefully that couple will mitigate that risk of unwanted pregnancy and hopefully everyone has awesome and unwanted-consequence-free sex all the time. But because sexual dimorphism means that pregnancy occurs unequally, the man's ability to mitigate his risk occurs only before conception. If that offends, I believe evolution will be along with an apology any day now.
posted by Errant at 11:10 AM on February 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nope, evolution is pretty self absorbed and never shows up, even when we call.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:14 AM on February 1, 2011


I got a card from evolution one time and it wasn't even my birthday.
posted by Sailormom at 11:59 AM on February 1, 2011


I did too. Mine was a little different though.
posted by Errant at 12:04 PM on February 1, 2011


Dudes, I read less than half this Meta thread before clicking on HuronBob's profile and seeing that it was disabled. I'm really sad about that. He might* have said something boneheaded but I think it sucks that he got piled on like this and then felt the need to flame out. I hope he comes back. I like him. Metafilter is not made better when people with different perspectives are edjected or feel the need to edject from our community.

*I'm not really even sure it was bone headed at all. I think he just wants us to know that not everyone in his demographic is an asshole. I think that's fair enough.
posted by dchrssyr at 2:19 PM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ditto. I hope HuronBob comes back soon.
posted by jsturgill at 2:54 PM on February 1, 2011


Come back soon HuronBob.
posted by arcticseal at 3:41 PM on February 1, 2011


Metafilter is not made better when people with different perspectives are edjected or feel the need to edject from our community.

From looking at this and the other thread I don't think the different perspective was the issue for most of the people who took issue, right? I think the perspective of not liking generalisations aimed at old white guys was not in itself hugely controversial, so much as the N-bomb garnish, which aroused some stronger reactions.

However, either way, it's the first time I've seen this happen, I believe. Question from a relative newcomer - if your account is disabled, what happens? It's voluntary, I assume, in most cases. And, assuming it's not for actual, mod-identified trolling, spamming or shilling, presumably it doesn't come with IP blocking? So, the owner of a disabled account could register a new one for $5 and rejoin MetaFilter, but would have to sacrifice the association of their identity with their previous identity, for good or ill? Looking at the FAQ, it seems that you can reopen an account by asking a mod - presumably you have to email from the email address you used to register it, or similar, or the password will be changed and sent to that email address. So closing your account manually is a kind of self-imposed departure, either a time out which makes it harder to get back in than scrambling your own password, or a permanent but reversible closing, which makes it clear to people trying to e.g. MeMail you that you are not currently checking in?
posted by DNye at 4:25 PM on February 1, 2011


(Phrased that badly: HuronBob only used the full word later, in response to Eideteker. But I think the thrust is the same - it was that specific comparison that got temperatures rising.)
posted by DNye at 4:30 PM on February 1, 2011


However, either way, it's the first time I've seen this happen, I believe. Question from a relative newcomer - if your account is disabled, what happens?

Nothing much. You can no longer post to Metafilter or any of the subsites, certain things are no longer shown in your profile, you will see more ads on the thread pages and I think the search function uses Google as opposed to the site's interior engine, can't recall exactly

So, the owner of a disabled account could register a new one for $5 and rejoin MetaFilter, but would have to sacrifice the association of their identity with their previous identity, for good or ill?

Looking at the FAQ, it seems that you can reopen an account by asking a mod - presumably you have to email from the email address you used to register it, or similar, or the password will be changed and sent to that email address.

You can use the Contact link that located at the bottom of every page. That's how I've always done it.

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:44 PM on February 1, 2011


Thanks, Brandon - so, it might mean someone has gone forever, and wants to show that the lights are turned off, but it also might be a way to take a slightly enforced break - you can get back in, but it takes more time and effort than logging in normally would, so it's a kind of "are you sure?" button/delay timer? That's interesting.
posted by DNye at 4:54 PM on February 1, 2011


When you click the button that disables your account, there's another box where you can tell the mods why you're leaving, if you want to, and they won't repeat the info unless it's something minor like "Oh, I'm in the midst of finals, back when they're over" and sometimes not even though. I think they only do that when a long time user has been around and people start publicly asking AND it's something where the user has indicated they'll be back at some point.

People have been banned for spamming or constantly being a problem or just 'cause found the site too distracting and time consuming or they felt the site was going down the tubes. In pretty much all cases, people are allowed to come back, under a general policy known as Brand New Day, where whatever sins you may have committed before are left in the past and one can start fresh.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:08 PM on February 1, 2011


Question from a relative newcomer - if your account is disabled, what happens?

Everyone pretty much summed it up above. Some people decide to go the Brand New Day route and register a new account with a new username. Our deal in that case is that if you don't tell people who you used to be, we won't either. Some people go away and don't come back. Some people continue reading the site but decide not to give themselves posting privileges anymore.

We debated for a long time about whether we wanted to have a difference on user pages between people who got banned for spamming and people who give themseves some time off. If you take some time off and come back, you automatically get your contacts/profile page/etc back. If you open a new account, that stuff stays with the old account. In all cases the text is just "This account is disabled." We'd done a little bit of chitchatting with HB before he disabled his account but I can't say we really know exactly why he decided to step away for a bit.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:28 PM on February 1, 2011


Think of it this way: I believe allowing gay people to marry is a good thing. I am not gay. How I feel about gay people getting married is totally immaterial. And yet, if the issue were ever to come up on the ballot in my state, I would absolutely vote for it, even though I do not receive any direct benefit from it.

Maybe it's because I'm coming at this from a slightly different cultural context or something, but this doesn't make sense to me.

The feelings of the voters about an issue will inform their choice to vote for/against it. You may argue that this shouldn't be the case, but the reality is that it will be so. So the feelings of all those non-gay people are going to be very definitely material to those gay people who end up able/unable to be married.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 5:51 PM on February 1, 2011


When anti-choice advocates tell women who don't want the burden of a child to just "Try not having sex next time" or "use birth control" or "freeze eggs and get your tubes tied", that's universally (and correctly) derided as slut-shaming and a bad argument.

Not having sex is what most anti-choice people recommend. Pro-choice people tend to encourage women who don't want to get pregnant but want to be sexually active to use birth control (take a look at the Planned Parenthood site), and the "freeze your eggs" bit is something women who are sexually active and have bad reactions to hormonal birth control (I am one) or have difficulty with other methods of birth control (copper IUDs not being a good choice for other women). Some women have spermicide and latex allergies.

So I don't get why you think it's slut-shaming to be told to use birth control. Abortion is not supposed to be used as an alternative to birth control. I know it's unrealistic to expect people to not want to have sex, but if men feel that strongly that the woman they are having sex with is not the woman they want to conceive a child with, then either stop having sex with her or use a condom or get a vasectomy and bank sperm. How is it that encouraging men to use birth control wrong? Because sexually active women are regularly encouraged to use birth control if they don't want to get pregnant by pro-choice people and it's totally acceptable.
posted by anniecat at 10:27 PM on February 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't believe I read the whole thing.
posted by klangklangston at 2:05 PM on February 2, 2011


What did you think?
posted by ODiV at 2:13 PM on February 2, 2011


Meh.
posted by klangklangston at 4:15 PM on February 2, 2011


I had a feeling he was going to leave. Can't say I blame him.
posted by Kloryne at 9:39 PM on February 2, 2011


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