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Category Archives: Activism

On Fandom and Ethical Responsibility

I made a mistake today, internet – I read a thread on a forum, all 300+ posts of it. In this particular thread, some entitled manchildren were chittering their outrage over the fact that responses to “GamerGate” have painted gamers with an overly broad brush; moreover, they were offended that so many individuals seemed to be endorsing a “You’re with us or against us mentality,” and the shouting was just alienating them.

I’m not sure these people are worth caring about, and I say that specifically as someone who has previously discussed the existential absolutism of Alan Moore’s V. I’m also the same person who specifically examined the moral dilemmas raised by popular, reactionary activism as well as the underpinnings of existential responsibility on a social scale. I’ve also made it clear that on a personal level I have zero problems with drawing a line in the sand. I’d link to my track record of criticizing fanboys, but then I’d be here all day adding links.

As much as moral absolutism might raise troubling questions, I have problems giving a single fuck about people who feel that the criticisms of a fandom have unfairly victimized them. Because geekery has always been a rather cesspooly place to be; the internet has only made that more immediately visible, and attempts to change that have all-to-often resulted in pushback not only from the frantically masturbating fanboys, but from the creators behind them (the issue of Spider-Woman’s posterior on a cover being a recent one that springs immediately to mind).

I’m sure some of these people taking offense are perfectly good people in some respects – perhaps they do indeed find racism and sexism objectionable. Yet by taking umbrage because they’re accused of “not doing enough,” or because they think they can remain uninvolved, they are engaging in various degrees of moral cowardice, an accusation I have exactly zero problems making.

When it comes to culture, there is no neutral position. None. Zip. Zero. A bagel. Culture is not something we are simply passive consumers of, but something that we all have a hand in creating. So when your policy is to choose to not be involved, you are actively making the choice to allow the existing culture to continue. You can whine all you want, but that makes it no less true. Of course, there’s always that old chestnut, “Should I not engage in things I like just because they’re problematic?”. We can of course choose to ignore the fact that these things are problematic, or we can be somewhat less shitbaggy and admit that even though we enjoy them these things are indeed problematic.

We can also make the choice to not engage with these things whether or not we enjoy them because of their problematic nature. There are games, books, comics, etc. that I pass on either because I find their nature problematic in and of itself; or perhaps like the work of Card, Miller, or Goodkind the work is simply a mouthpiece for the creator’s infantile views; or because I simply find the creator, be it an individual, company, or even someone involved, to be so reprehensible that I won’t support the project, and thus given the impression that I would support future projects (Tom Cruise movies being a case in point – I find Scientology even more reprehensible than the Randian wankfest that is libertarianism, and his status as an actor has enabled him to serve as its face). I find the idea that we should avoid moral decisions that might in some way be detrimental to us to be a baffling one. If your values hinge on the condition that you never be negatively impacted as a result of holding them… saying that I am unimpressed is an understatement of near-infinite proportions.

There are people I like, and who I not only don’t think are bad people, but are people who actively speak up against injustice that I don’t associate with as often as I once did, or at times would like to, because my association with them is largely prefigured around mutual “geeky” interests; thus my interactions with them involve stepping into cultural milieus that I am increasingly uncomfortable with being an active part in. I don’t limit that to simply denying myself the products of fandom. I’ve lost friends because I’ve pointed out that I find someone’s  course of action morally objectionable. I wound up homeless for a while because I wasn’t willing to subject myself to a situation and persons I found morally objectionable.  Thus I’m willing to walk the walk, even when doing so has cost me in not-insignificant ways.

So when there are people out there taking the brunt and being shit on because they’re not male, not white, not straight, or whatever other factor and they dared to have an opinion about fandom or the products of its adulation, I’m going to give zero fucks about your bruised feels and desire to curl up in your fortress of solitude and not hear about it. Does this mean that each and every person must of necessity be out there on the “front lines.” No, there are perfectly good reasons for not doing so, though as I’ve pointed out “neutrality” isn’t one of them.

There are no isolated ethical actors, and there are no isolated ethical actions. Choosing not to be involved is an action, and it is the action of a coward. So if you want to get offended because you didn’t like someone’s tone, or thought they were shouting too loud, or are made uncomfortable because they’ve forced you to confront your morally bankrupt cowardice you are worth giving exactly zero fucks about, because you are not simply tacitly endorsing, but are actively creating the culture that you (might) claim to find objectionable.

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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Activism, Geekery, Philosophy, Pop Culture

 

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We Insist on Ethical Perfection in our Icons

I’m not talking about the kind of icons who run spandex-clad across a comics page, or slaughter legions of brown people on the silver screen. I’m talking about the sort we have in our workaday world; politicians, actors, it doesn’t matter. We raise them up on pedestals, and we insist that they be morally perfect. When they fail to maintain a standard of behavior that we don’t hold ourselves to we pretend to be shocked while our secret hearts consume every detail of their falls with masturbatory glee.

I think Laurie Penny overlooks this in her recent article on Assange in the Independent. She’s not wrong in that we can, and should, insist both on freedom of speech and transparency of governance as well as women’s rights. I’m not trying to “mansplain” her argument away, because I, personally, find no tension that must be resolved within the idea of acknowledging the good that Assange has done via WikiLeaks, and insisting that he be called to account for any rape or sexual assault he might have committed.

Unfortunately, most of us are brought up to believe the ad hominem argument is a valid form of argumentation. For those not familiar with the ad hominem it translates as, “argument to the man.” It’s a tactic in which rather than addressing the substance of the argument you attack the character of the person presenting that argument. In short, “Assange is a rapist, so obviously his work, and thus the work of WikiLeaks, cannot be trusted.”

It doesn’t help that Assange and WikiLeaks have themselves presented the charges pending in Sweden as being exactly that. Which among other things doesn’t help the cause of feminists and social justice workers, because whatever Assange’s intentions, whether or not he’s guilty, dismissing the allegations as simply part of a smear campaign add to the already problematic environment that surrounds rape prosecutions. To put it another way dismissing these charges contributes to the perpetuation of rape culture.

But this post really isn’t supposed to be about Assange per se. It’s supposed to be about his supporters. The ones Ms. Penny talked to, and the ones pontificating in the media. Is there some misogyny in play? I do not doubt it. Are we seeing rape culture at work? I would be the last person to say no. Yet equally at play is our refusal to accept the fact that Julian Assange is only human, and might very well be a shitbag of a human. After all, we ask ourselves, could some rapist shitbag really be a hero?

The answer is that, no, a rapist shitbag can’t be a hero. Rape, alongside slavery, is the most morally abhorrent crime that one can commit. It tops murder by a wide margin. If Assange committed rape we shouldn’t regard him as any kind of hero… but that doesn’t invalidate the message he spread through WikiLeaks.

So long as we insist on moral perfection in our icons, and believe that media delivered ad hominems are a perfectly valid claim none of this is going to change. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about Julian Assange or K-Stew. Nowhere on this planet is there a morally infallible human. Quite frankly the vast majority of us don’t even follow an internally consistent ethical system, so perhaps it shouldn’t surprise me that as a culture we find the equivalent of, “Eww, Billy eats boogers; he can’t be my friend!”, to be a valid justification for claiming we should ignore accusations of rape.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Activism, Pop Culture

 

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The Ethical Dilemmas of Activism

Anyone who reads this blog on even a semi-regular basis likely knows that I am not a big fan of the status quo, and that I advocate for social justice. I see the world as it is, and want to replace it with the world as it could be. Sometimes a course of action is pretty clear, such as when someone is discriminated against for being the “wrong” color, or the “wrong” sexual orientation. Yet is it always so simple as standing up and saying, “This shit is wrong, and must end immediately!”?

Let’s take a quick  look at agribusiness and the food industry, and see if that can get us anywhere near an answer.

Agribusiness, as currently practiced, is for the most part some horrible, horrible shit. Animals are treated in inhumane, torturous fashions. Fertilizer runoff causes algal blooms which create hypoxic zones and causes die-offs among marine life. Safety conditions for both workers, and consumers, are, to put it mildly, suboptimal. The United States government has long since caved to the pressure of lobbyists and made it almost impossible for the FDA to do a thing about any of this.

All in all I think most people could agree that the situation in the food industry is disgusting. Our methods of food production and consumption are unjust and unethical. So we should shut them down, right?

….

Now that you’ve shut down food production what do you do? Buy organic? First, you should probably make sure that your product isn’t produced by one of the companies you just shut down; because it has proven profitable, many of the big business involved in the food industry have been expanding into the organic market. Also, are you certain you can provide enough of it to meet people’s needs. I don’t mean demands, I mean needs. Did resolving the ethical injustices of our current food production methods cause a lot more people to not have enough to eat?

How are all the people who are now out of work going to support themselves? Can your new “organic” farms provide jobs for them all? Because it isn’t just corrupt CEOs that are out of jobs now. It isn’t even just the people who worked directly in agribusiness; what about all the companies who rely on the products of agribusiness, or who sell their products to agribusiness? Is each and every person who is involved in the process and product of agribusiness, no matter at what level, deserving of uncaring sanction? If so then don’t forget to include all of us who consume its products, as we’re as guilty as anyone else.

I freely admit that this is just a short list of examples. I also want to make it clear that I am not in the least bit discouraging activism. When shit is wrong we should address it. My point is that we should never address injustice reflexively. We most certainly should act on those things which outrage us, yet acting without though can be as harmful as not acting. As with our lives, we should always address our activism in a reflective fashion; meeting ethical injustice with ethical injustice is not the answer.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Activism, Philosophy

 

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Sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand

The latest news to be making the rounds in that Orson Scott Card has finally let the full extent of his batshit crazy see the light of day. Card has been on the “it’s not okay to be gay” train for a while now, but he’s, for the most part, manage to disguise the worst of his froth behind a faux-civility. Sure, he was talking shit, but at least he wasn’t rabid (at least in the examples I’ve personally read, it is entirely possible that there are earlier examples of batshit crazy that I’ve missed).  In case you’ve remained unaware of his crazy, he decided to (poorly) re-write Hamlet as an anti-gay screed.

This has prompted discussion about how we should look at Card’s earlier work. Admittedly, this is not a discussion that is limited to Card, and frequently pops up as a topic of conversation whenever “Person X has previously enjoyed the work of Person Y, but is currently reevaluating that enjoyment upon discovering that Person Y is a dick.”

A common response is that if we enjoy the work we can continue to enjoy it without agreeing with Person Y’s beliefs or dickish behavior. In some cases I agree. There are any number of people who I think are asses as human beings, but I can read/watch/etc. their work without suffering moral quandaries. Card is not one of those people.

First and foremost, Card’s behavior goes well beyond being a dick, and into the area of preaching an anti-human stance. Not only does he hold these beliefs, but by joining such hate groups as the National Organization for Marriage he actively seeks to turn his morally reprehensible beliefs into action. Even if he wasn’t, we should always bear in mind that a person’s beliefs guide their actions, guide their way of being in the world. Even if Card was not active with groups like N.o.M. his way of being in the world would still be guided by a set of beliefs that no human being should ever, under any circumstances be willing to support.

Yes, I enjoyed Ender’s Game. I used to recommend it to others. I will no longer be doing so. In supporting Card’s work, any of Card’s work from any point in his career, I am supporting a stance I find unsupportable. I can try and justify it all I want, I can add all the disclaimers I want; in supporting that book I am supporting Orson Scott Card. All the justifications do is allow me to avoid feeling guilt over my moral failing, and personally, I don’t consider it a small moral failing in this case.

I don’t claim to be morally perfect. However, this is not a subject on which I am prone to bend. I don’t read the work of Terry Goodkind both because he’s a tedius writer, and because like Card’s screed his books are a thinly veiled bully pulpit for the moral slime that is Objectivism. I consider Scientology to be nothing but a virulent poison, and as such will not support anything even tangentially related to it.

I’m all for allowing dissent, and have no desire to stifle the ranting of any of the people mentioned above. I’m perfectly willing to forgive human foibles. However, there has to come a time when we must say enough is enough. If we believe that the words and actions of a writer such as Card are morally reprehensible, then there is never justification for supporting their work. Because in doing so, we are in action, regardless of our words, enabling the very thing which we claim is a source of disgust to us.

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2011 in Activism, Pop Culture

 

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Perhaps Inevitably, some Fanboys still don’t get it.

Apparently there was some brouhaha in the DC panels at SDCC. Said brouhaha apparently involved questions about why there were so few female creators, and female characters, being featured in DC’s big September relaunch (as well as in general). Though I’ve not heard said comments for myself, apparently the questions were not answered terribly well during the panels, and DC was prompted to make a statement.

Most of the opinions of DC’s response have ranged from cautiously optimistic (with some not-so-cautiously optimistic) to guarded pessimism that this is just a PR stunt, or that the books will simply be short lived. I’m generally inclined to side with the more pessimistic side of things; I don’t generally trust press releases, particularly not when they come about as the result of foot in mouth disease. Most of these comments, while I don’t always agree with them, have still fallen within the bounds of being reasonable. Some of them, however, have fallen squarely into the realm of bullshit.

I’m sure people are about to accuse me of having an agenda. So let’s set the record straight; while I’ve read more than my share of feminist writing, I am not a feminist. I’m a humanist and a philosopher, which means that I am not something that many of you fanboys are once again proving yourselves to be; narrow-minded asshats. My only agenda, fanboys, is not being like you.

Let’s kick off by demolishing claims that a good writer is a good writer regardless of gender or any other factor, shall we? I can write female characters. For that matter, I can write female characters well. I can do this because as a human being I both have the capacity for empathy and the ability to gain knowledge. I can observe what women are like. I can read things, both fiction and non-fiction, that has been written by women. I can talk to women and ask them about their experiences. With my capacity for empathy I can then, to a degree, create a female character that is not simply a flat representation, and might well be able to speak to women about the experience of being a woman.

However, I lack, and will always lack, understanding of what it means to be a woman. I’ve talked about this twice before, though it was in relationship to characters; however, it remains just as true when talking about actual people. For all my knowledge, and all my empathy, there is a limit to my ability to understand what it means to be a woman, because I am not a woman. I have not lived the experience of being a woman, just as I have not lived the experience of being black, or being gay. As such, a woman, or a black man, or a gay man, brings to the process of writing an understanding which I do not have, and this understanding, forged solely through their lived experience of being in the world, will inform and shape the stories and characters that they write in a way that is different from the way in which being a white, heterosexual male, raised in a lower-income family, and who came to formal education late in life will inform and shape the stories that I write.

No amount of talent, skill, genius, or any other name you care to give it will ever overcome this fact. Gail Simone, for example, will always have something that Gaiman (or Moore, Ennis, Morrison, Ellis etc.) do not have. This remains true even if I performed a female gender role, as I would still lack the phenomenological understanding of what it is to be pregnant (though it is certainly true that the experiences which informed my work would be different in other ways; however, that moves us into the larger role of gender roles and gender as performance as contrasted against biological sex [which many argue itself isn’t a simple binary system, and is itself constructed]).

This is true whether it’s male characters being written, female characters being written, or what genre said characters are appearing in. The inclusion of diverse voices means that you’re going to see different ways of handling themes, and different themes that are being spoken about (and spoken to). This is one of the reasons Moore’s early work was so fucking ground breaking; he brought a mind, and a voice, that looked at and spoke about things in a way that (for mainstream comics) was new. Not every writer, regardless of gender, skin color of creed is going to be the next Alan Moore. Yet the only thing that stifling diversity accomplishes is to stifle the ability of comics to change, grow, and improve.

We are both trapped and liberated by the experience of being human. This is something we need to understand and embrace.

So how about the claim that there just aren’t that many good female creators in comics? Feministing was kind enough to provide a short list. That’s 19 entries, and it still leaves off a lot of names; which makes the defense that the other three female creators that DC asked turned them down rather weak, since there were plenty of others they could have made an offer to. Not to mention that both Marvel and DC have made a habit of poaching writers from other sources in recent years. True, it gave us the excrement that was Whedon’s run on X-Men, but there are no talented writers working in Hollywood or writing novels that they could have asked? What about any of the female manga-ka whose works are already rather popular with readers; might one of their number have been interested in being asked? (The answer to that last question is that I have no idea, particularly since manga-ka are often ridiculously overworked. The point still stands that there are plenty of talented women who could bring their A game to comics.) There’s no need to “quota” hire in women who can’t do the job, as there are any number of women are perfectly capable of doing said jobs (and I imagine the same holds true of other under-represented creators).

Perhaps I’ve overlooked the fact that, “chicks don’t like superheroes.” My Twitter feed suggests otherwise. I follow any number of women who read superhero comics. For that matter I suspect they talk about them more than I do. Erika Peterman and Vanessa Gabriel of Girls Gone Geek are just two examples, and I damn well know my Twitter feed doesn’t cover even a fraction of the women who are interested in superheroes or other elements of geek culture. If it weren’t for the fact that superhero comics are often given the gendered identity of being for boys, I suspect that are even more little girls who would enjoy superheroes, and would then grow up to be women who dig superheroes. Yet despite what strides toward equality have been made, it’s still traditional to teach the girls that they should want to be princesses etc. while being a superhero or soldier is for boys. It’s a bullshit practice, particularly when for all the fanboyish whining there is no meaningful difference between an action figure and a Barbie doll, while there is a very meaningful similarity between the two; the fact that the majority of them are designed to play into and reinforce (frequently unhealthy) stereotypical depictions of masculine and feminine and what it means to be a man or woman.

This is the third time that Professor Bastard has had to take you to school over pretty much the same theme, fanboys, and I’m getting well fucking sick of it. You’re not right, and to say that your arguments are still made of the weakest of bullshit is an understatement of epic proportions.

 
 

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Is Internet Anonymity Really a Feature?

I think I shall talk about a little something different today, dear heathens. I’ve made abundantly clear in the past that I’m a geek. Of course even if I’d tried to keep that under wraps the subject matter of this blog likely would have spoiled the secret. I don’t constantly scour the net for the latest geeky news, but when something is brought to my attention I keep an eye on it. So I’ve been watching Google+ over the last month; I’ve been keeping my eye on it even though I’ve not had the chance to use it yet, and quite honestly am expecting it to be the disappointment that Google Wave was (I was fired up by the possibilities displayed in the early video presentations, nosed around for months until I finally managed to get an invite… and absolutely no one I knew was using it). So what has been popping up the last few days is the brouhaha over Google instituting a “real name policy” a la Facebook.

I have to be honest; I’m not impressed by the “outrage” this has inspired. Do I believe that people have a right to privacy? I sure do. However, I’m also aware that just by choosing to use the internet you’ve probably given up far more privacy than you realize. If you’re reading this, then various services have already recorded the internet provider/network that you are reading it from. It will tell me what city you’re reading it from. If I was inclined to do so I could use that information to get a little more information about you. I won’t, because I’m not trying to sell you anything, but I could. For that matter, even if I was trying to sell you something (like a book, for example), the only thing I might use that information for is to say, “Hmm… I tend to average X readers from location Y, presuming these people like the blog maybe I should do a convention appearance or book signing in said location, so that they have a chance to talk to me in person should they so choose.”

Given that using a pseudonym doesn’t really provide all that much protection in the digital age, I don’t find most of the arguments for their use all that compelling. I could still stalk you even if you’re not using your real name. Do you really think that not using your real name is going to protect a boss, or an oppressive government regime from finding out who you really are if they put their minds to it? We all leave traces of our “actual” identities even when we’re hiding behind invented personas.

I’ve also heard people claim that Google only wants your real name so they can better target advertising at us… not really. As I’ve already mentioned, your being online, using Google, and browsing the web in general all generates a fuckton of metrics data they can shift through in order to target you with advertising. Using the Google+ circles, pressing the +1 button, and otherwise engaging with their service just generates more data for them to mine. Yet again, it’s not something they need your “government name” for.

I’m also not convinced that hiding behind a digital mask allows people to “express who they really are.” I’ve increasingly become a big believer in owning what one has to say. If I say something that is controversial or offends people, then I say something that is controversial or offends people; by that same tautological token if I lose friends or job prospects because of something I have to say, then I lose friends or job prospects because of something I have to say. This blog has my name attached to it. My twitter has my name attached to it. My e-mail has my name attached to it. My facebook not only has my name attached to it, but features a picture of me wearing Green Lantern underpants on my head, while holding a rubber severed head; and I have more than once posted shit that most people would likely consider to be bizarre and/or offensive. If people don’t like it they are free to, in the words of the Rubberbandits, “fuck right off to Cork.”

There is no meaningful separation between what you see on Facebook, or on this blog, and who I am in person. Given that any number of posts on this blog, indeed I suspect the majority of them, ultimately come down to, and back around to, issues of authentic identity and personhood, and I’ve just pointed out that I’m a big believer in owning what comes out of one’s gob (digital or otherwise), it shouldn’t come as any surprise that I don’t believe in using a pseudonym to express one’s self (even if the pseudonymous persona is not being used to spout ignorant shit without fear of repercussion). Yet even if I didn’t believe any of that, I would find using a pseudonym in the context of social networking to be eyeroll worthy, as it pretty much defeats the bloody point of social networking. If you don’t want your boss, or your mother, to know that you really, really like it when your significant other takes a strap-on to your arsehole… don’t post the shit, or don’t social network with your boss or your mother; your ability to express yourself is only limited in the ways you choose to limit it.

I’m sure people might well be along to tell me that I’ve never been stalked or harassed. One of those is true. I’ve never been stalked. However, as I’ve pointed out above in the digital age a pseudonym is nothing near sure protection against stalking. I have been harassed. Admittedly, it was far less than the harassment that many have been subjected to, but it has happened… more to the point it happened despite using a pseudonym. I also don’t believe in hiding my opinions behind one, even if those opinions wind up biting me in the ass (that would remain true even if I thought one of the potential ass bites was storm troopers kicking down my door).

Does all of this mean I agree with the way that Google shut down accounts without warning? Not so much, and had I been affected by that decision I would likely have been highly annoyed. Am I irritated by their apparently inconsistent application of their “real name” policy. Sure am. Yet I don’t find in myself the slightest feeling of betrayal or outrage that I couldn’t, for example, have my G+ account and Google Profile in my “truly expressive identity,” of Bob the Sodomite Gnome.

Now if you’ll excuse me I just saw some twat compare Google’s wanting your real name to the policies of Stalin, Pol Pot, and Hitler; I need to go vomit in despair now.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Activism, Pop Culture

 

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Dear Scott Adams, are you once again going to try…

Your “people who read my blog have a higher level of analytical reasoning ability than people who don’t, so you’re just not capable of understanding what I say,” gambit? Are you going to try more posting as a “fan” to tell everyone what a genius you are, and how the rest of us just can’t understand your “enlightened” intellect?

For those of you who don’t know, Scott Adams, creator of cubicle-dweller favorite Dilbert has said some pretty stupid shit. I mean really stupid shit, particularly about women. He’s also spent time on the internet pretending to be a fan of his, and telling everyone how brilliant he is; a habit he also has when he’s not pretending to be someone else. A lot of the stupid shit to come out of his mouth has been related to women, the latest of which can be found over at Comics Alliance.

The comments of the above linked article already include various people claiming that Adams is not linking rape and male instinct, and bleating how much as when Adams said that one should deal with women in the same fashion as one deals with children or the mentally handicapped, Adams is being taken out of context. Well Adams and crew, I have a higher than average level of reading comprehension. I’ve also been trained as a philosopher, and I can smell bullshit at 500 paces.

It is true that Adams never explicitly says, “Rape is a natural male instinct, and those nasty, nasty faminazis shame us for a thing we can’t help.” Because we all know that if someone doesn’t say something explicitly then they couldn’t possibly be saying it, right? Right? Hmm… maybe we should look at Adams’ claim through the lens of those analytical thinking skills he says we lack, yes?

Adams starts out by talking about lions, zebras and that whole circle of life they sang about in Lion King. Fine, lions eat zebras, and we shouldn’t really blame either the lions or the zebras, they’re just obeying their natures. In his next paragraph he goes on to talk about various “powerful men” who have been in the news for their naughty behavior. Naughty sexual behaviors like rape, and showing one’s wang on Twitter in particular (not that showing your wang on the net is anything like rape). He claims that blaming and shaming these men is good, that it’s one of the way society keeps order. He almost has a kernel of a point here, but should probably go read Foucault so that he can have some idea of what he’s talking about. In the final of the three paragraphs in question, Adams talks about how men are taught to see their natural urges as shameful things, while women’s natural urges are celebrated. Other people have taken Adams to task for the ignorance and misogyny he has shown with these kinds of comments, so let’s move on to the central, contentious claim around this piece.

We start with a paragraph about natural instincts, move on to a paragraph about blame attached for certain sexual behaviors, and then close with a paragraph about how men’s natural instincts are considered shameful. Now, if we magically read these paragraphs as being entirely independent of one another, sure, we can pretend that Scott Adams is not drawing a link between rape and the natural male instinct. Of course if we do that, we would have to lack anything resembling reading comprehension or analytical thinking skills. Adams’ sentences, and the paragraphs in which they rest, do not have some magic power to divorce themselves from the ideas which surround them. The shit that comes out of Adams’ mouth also does not magically divorce itself from the other shit he has spewed.

Adams’ choice of words, and the way in which he structures his claim make it quite clear that he is in fact linking rape and sexual aggression with male instinct. Any claim to the contrary is at best disingenuous, and at worse an outright lie.

I don’t blame lions for eating zebras, Mr. Adams. However, I do hold you responsible for your own words. I also  hold those “round, turgid pegs” responsible for their own actions. Human beings are neither lions nor zebras, but are beings capable of things like reading comprehension and analytical reasoning, even if you yourself show a deficit in those departments. We are capable of showing judgement, and of choosing to act against our impulses. Maybe you should bear that in mind the next time you feel the urge to share some more of the unexamined prejudices you mistake for enlightenment with the rest of us.

 
 

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