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the traveler

the traveler
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Columbia, Maryland, USA
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November 03
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VP of everything
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I am an avid photographer and traveler living in the Washington DC area. My photo is obviously not me, because I am a white male and not a monk, and is one of my favorite pictures from a trip to Myanmar.

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AUGUST 15, 2012 4:25PM

Acceptable bigotry and tolerated bigots

Rate: 27 Flag

 

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(thanks to those who nominated and seconded this post)

 


Open Salon, being a quasi-social, quasi-writers site, has its own code of acceptable behaviors that seems to imply its own set of tolerable speech.

A member was tossed out recently, not for the way that he behaved towards others, but for what he wrote and thought; his behavior towards other writers here, on the other hand, was reasonably civil. His was a thought crime.

Yet we have several, if not many, other members whose behavior towards others is execrable but yet who are still let stay. (It has always seemed a bit funny to me that 'execrable' seems like a relative of 'excrement.')

There are acceptable bigotries here. That doesn't mean that everyone thinks the same ugly ways but merely that the majority of people, when seeing these bigotries practiced, turn away in an online equivalent of singing la-la-la to drown out sounds one doesn't want to hear.

Religious Intolerance

The first bigotry that is obvious to me on OS is the religious intolerance; not that there is intolerance across the board. That would be just a bit understandable  but intolerance only of certain religions or practices.

The Roman Catholic Church, for example; one can say anything about the Church of Rome with little fear that someone will respond in defense. Of course the Church hasn't helped matters by its horrible behaviors in many ways but condemning an entire religion, with billions of sincere and honest believers, and not focusing on the behavior of however many who have been at fault is exactly the same as hating and denouncing black people as a group for the crimes of the few.

There are other religions that come in for scorn, Mormons and fundamentalist Christians to name just two. It is not that these two groups are egregious criminal elements but merely that their practitioners and their belief set aren't in the in-group in this, our  rarified population.

Wicca or any kind of spiritualism however seem to be OK, although I fail to see how those rather idiosyncratic (imo) belief structures are any less unbelievable to a rational mind than either Mormonism or born-again Christians. Jews and Judaism seem to get a pass (although circumcision seems to be a no, no); but we'll get back to that later.

Misandry

Of course, misandry gets a free ride here.

In the past quarter century, we exposed biases against other races and called it racism, and we exposed biases against women and called it sexism. Biases against men we call humor.

—Warren Farrell, Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say

Diatribes about one's male partner, often husband, draw encouraging attaboys while posts about the failings of one's female spouse, complete with ridicule, are rare and would almost certainly not draw the fandom that anti-male posts do.

A long post about the failings and the absolute uselessness of men as a group by one of this site's prominent (read 'loud') lesbians drew myriads of positive comments – presumably by those persons who wanted to make certain they weren't the target of the author's tongue. Isn't it ironic that that author's typical behavior surely reinforces the stereotype that haters promulgate of lesbians? In a very obvious way, she is her own group's worst enemy.

Assorted 'isms'.

Ageism -Although 'ageism' should be on the list of verbotens here, calling someone old or puckered up seems to be a favorite term of some of the more attack-dog personalities here. That it doesn't draw attention or condemnation may be a tribute to the reputation that the users have gotten and their obliviousness to insults. After all, a rabid dog doesn't mind being called vicious, that's its only prized characteristic.

Racism- It may seem surprising that this most obvious of bigotries would go unremarked but this has a special twist. There are writers here on OS whose specialty seems to be the failings of the white world; virtually any notable occasion seems to incite some kind of mini-essay on how the white world not only has failed again but seems to be unregenerate, incapable ot understanding the full depth of their sin.

Like comments that are 20 lines of presumably on-point verse, I skip over these posts knowing that the author is too deeply sunk in his or her own vision to provide any viewpoint that isn't hopelessly skewed.

This behavior is a kind of Mau-Mau-ing the audience here. For explanation read this paragraph from the Wikipedia review of 'Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers' by Tom Wolfe

“Wolfe describes hapless bureaucrats (the Flak Catchers) whose function was reduced to taking abuse, or "mau-mauing" (in reference to the intimidation tactics employed in Kenya's anti-colonial Mau Mau Uprising) from intimidating young Blacks and Samoans, who are seen as reveling in the newfound vulnerability of "the Man". The flak-catchers smile pathetically, allowing their tormentors to indulge themselves in abuse; the process is seen as a farcical but useful expedient, condescending toward the resentment of these communities.”

In case that isn't clear, we are the Flak-Catchers in this case and our non-response is not silence but condescension.  

Anti-Zionism paired with the bigotry of low expectations

Israel can do no right here on Open Salon. Anything that it does wrong – and there is enough of that – gets trumpeted far and wide. Anything that it does right - and there is also plenty of that - is ignored or shouted down as being not enough. At the same time, there is no critical thought about the activities of the Palestinians – or the Arab states' role in that specific part of the middle East problems.

Clear examples of both are legion. When 8 Turkish protesters were killed on a blockade busting boat that resisted being boarded, there were many articles and hundreds of comments. (The testimony of a Jordanian cameraman that nothing happened until the first four Israelis were overpowered - two being stabbed- and taken below decks as hostages was ignored.)

When Israel, which provides all the electric power to Gaza and the West Bank – its nominal enemies - signed an agreement to build four new power stations in the West Bank, no mention. When the PLA was running out of money to pay salaries because the donations from the Arab states and the rest of the world had diminished, Israel advanced the PLA 100 million dollars, again no mention.

When Syria bused hundreds of Palestinian men through the Syrian border outposts and encouraged them to run at the Israeli borders and into the guns of the border outposts, no mention.  When Turkey sent jets against a Kurdish village and killed 32 men, no mention. When Palestinian leaders were tortured and then killed by Syrian mukhabarat, again no mention here. When Egypt state TV runs a serial docu-drama based on the premise that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is true, no mention here. When Palestinian school children got books telling that that Jews are pigs and need to be killed, no mention. When a Egyptian author says that the only place that dissenting Arab writers can meet is in Israel, doesn't that absolute shouting irony require some mention amongst this colony of writers?

Interestingly, when critics of Israel are asked only that the other countries be subject to the same critical assessment of their actions as Irael, the response is silence. Somehow, these countries, or groups, are not expected to do things or behave to the same level of expectations as Israel.

Is the unwillingness to ask or expect any level of behavior from those others either condescension or the 'soft bigotry of low expectations?

And this brings back to the point about Judaism and Jews being OK here. In a sort of some-of-my-best-friends-are-black kind of thing, some of the most vociferous and vicious critics of Israel attempt to validate their criticism by touting their own relationship to Jews. So being nice to the Jew on your street or in your bed makes it OK for you to be an unthinking bigot elsewhere. And it is bigotry, if your actions or words are based on beliefs not fair and even assessment. Nope, that doesn't count.


 

Where is the failure in all of this? Isn't Open Salon just typical of the Internet where the loudest voice rules?

Clearly some of our members really want it to be a better place; see these clips from the comments on Jake Sugarman's last post.

I think that there is a strong issue of bullying in OS, members being insulted, called names, ridiculed, and even frightened, and the worse is that they feel that there is no one from Salon that can refer too. 

Believe me, that when one artist feels that he/she can be insulted, bullied, cursed, violated, no creativity is left.. And this is a loss for all of us, 

I am appalled by the invective hurled by some OS users at others. I am disgusted by the intimidation and the distortions some users have brought into their posts and comments. I am more disgusted by the spirit and tone of the accusations--even if they were founded or true.

Of course, it is not your work, but for us feeling safe in here is essential, and I think adds to the quality of Salon Media the creation of this quality and only intellectual and artistic network that they have created.

It would be nice, in the absence of an editor who will enforce the Terms of Service, if those people who feel strongly about the nastiness take a stand when it happens and expose the abusers.

As for the entire culture of acceptable bigotries, I don't think it will change much.  It is the nature of true believers, whaterver their stripe, to be intolerant of those with whome they disagree.  

And true believers, we are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh, and I am relatively intolerant of comments that are just abusive.
The traveler, you are right in what you said that..

"...It would be nice, in the absence of an editor who will enforce the Terms of Service, if those people who feel strongly about the nastiness take a stand when it happens and expose the abusers..."

I think that disagreeing is a right for all of us, but in the same time not commiting criminal acts is also an obligation. For instance, here in Greece, if I call you names, or insult you, or if you feel frightened by my behaviour in one of our disagreements, you have the right to go the authorities and even to the court. And I think adults means having the sense of what is not right, without the fear of ending to a court. I am not here to be frightened or insulted, but to be creative. If someone likes my work, then he/she can comment, if he/she does not like it, why to comment...If one disagrees with my work, he/she can say that in the comment, well I will answer to him/her, even in a ΡΜ, but being under attack because I have a different view is to me, to say the least frightening. Thank you for stating this issue, and believe me, since this is my first blog I am just learning both the internet and the blogging manners. Rated, and wishfully a very creative discussion and understanding will come, out of this. For instance, I totally agree with what you said, that we all must stand by every member here that is under bullying attack.
I agree with the tone of your essay, and think you summarized this quite well. The "dialog" between people who ask for a measure of civility and those who ridicule them as you say, LOUDLY!" (emphasis mine) has been going on for a long, long time - as long as I've been here, and I'm told by members of the "beta club" that it's been going on pretty much from the inception of this site.

As for religion, I have seen what you describe as well. Certain groups, such as Judaism, are well protected and when anyone makes what can rightly be called an anti-Semitic comment people come in droves (rightly so) to express their outrage. Other religious groups, not so much. I witnessed one member a few years ago, who was very vested in her Catholicism, get beaten up and ridiculed and blamed for every Catholic sin in the history of Catholicism. Literally. She was told that by attending mass she was supporting and condoning the Inquisition as well as the sex abuse of children by priests. No, I don't think she's still here.

I've seen fundamental Christians railed as well.

I've seen Republicans nailed for what they believe.

I've seen many snide ageist references to people of age.

I've seen the sexism, the racism, ageism, the religious intolerance.

Anyone who stoops to these levels has an integrity quotient problem.

Thanks for a well written discussion of this!
Some I agree about, some I don't.

Your observation about the thought crime is an interesting one, particularly given that the person I assume you're talking about engaged in attacking our ethnic group (yours and mine). That wasn't a thought crime so much as a crime of disinformation. I found that more dangerous than rudeness because it encouraged bigotry, blatantly. Still, your willingness to talk about the nature of varying standards in this case is something I respect.

Misandry, racism, etc.: There's a huge difference between attacking a group that's vulnerable and attacking one that isn't. There's also a huge difference between attacking a group that has in some respect oppressed other groups (not universally, but enough for some generalizations to gain credibility) and one that hasn't. Attacking the dominant is not morally equivalent to attacking those who aren't. As a white male, not that I think I'm overly typical of either category, I might feel mildly annoyed when one of my groups takes shots, but I certainly don't feel threatened. If a lesbian wants to scream that all men are useless pigs, That's Nice. I feel her pain. What I don't feel is that there will be consequences, so the fact (in my own perception) that I am neither useless nor a pig isn't something I feel compelled to drive home. In terms of racism, if a blogger wants to demonize some of what we represent in order to
a) drive home the point so we can feel what he feels, and
b) make a comparative point about how unjustified stereotypes about his race are,
more power to him. Both lessons need to be learned, and I'm fine with that. I'm still not threatened.

But now we come to Israel where, as anyone who has read me understands, I agree with you completely. Part of the reason is the above paragraph. There are many here whose image of Israel is that of a non-vulnerable, dominant entity that can take criticism and abuse in the way I can as a white and a male, but absolutely not as a Jew. Personally, I think that image is way, way off base, as do almost all Jews. (I know of one exception on OS and, in case I'm too ambiguous about identity, the exception identifies as Jewish.) That difference is, in part, what makes Israel-bashing acceptable. We see a tiny, relatively isolated country that is vilified way out of proportion to its sins and made the worst pariah in the entire United Nations by a long shot while its neighbors all get free passes; they see a dominant, nuclear-armed power that can afford all sorts of concessions. Their view does in many ways lead to your assessment of the bigotry of low expectations when it comes to their neighbors. I am firmly in your camp on this one, both because I understand the mentality of the population and because I don't pretend not to understand that not knowing if the bus you ride or the pizzeria you frequent are going to blow up today or if a rocket is going to land in the middle of your street today do not lead to internal perceptions of invulnerable dominance, nor does the fact that a local organization's charter states blatantly that one of their key goals is to liquidate your country.

I am not a believe in invective. I have established plenty of credibility in this regard. I regard it as both rude and counterproductive. By and large, if you see a dispute and one side is using a ton of it and the other is refraining, most bystanders will eventually get annoyed at the Bigger Mouth.

I am also relatively intolerant of comments that are just abusive, though I'll usually answer whatever I can find in them that needs an answer, if I can find anything. I won't respond in kind, though. Whoever is commenting doesn't get to dictate the level to which I sink; that is My choice, and it is a choice I guard jealously.
Sorry, an omission:

I have spent a lot of time on OS defending Catholicism. Abuse is abuse. There are things the Catholics do right and I don't think the entire Church should be defined by their failures in one area. Those failures should be vilified extensively and, in fact, prosecuted, but that's a far cry from condemning a church with a billion members across the board.

On the same basis, I don't condemn Islam either. I don't defend it as much here for the simple reason that it is not attacked as much here, though there are certainly times when I have defended Islam on OS. That is especially true of the most read post I've ever written, by a factor of way over two to one.
Rated.
I won't hold my breath for a "very creative discussion and understanding will come, out of this" piece as Stathi Stathi expresses. I appreciate her good will and work here, but the abusive outrage I read lately against creative, kind, humanitarian bloggers like her is deplorable. Thank you for your thoughts.
Traveler, this is a well-written and thought provoking post. I happen to agree with the distinction Koshersalaami draws between oppressed and n0n-oppressed groups, but I do wish this site could be free of shouting, (e.g. REALLY???) invective, universal vilification and general intolerance. I think many people who might be inclined to write about some of the less-covered religions, belief systems, etc., are just not interested in being attacked by people who have no interest in "hearing" any other side of an issue.

Lezlie
Rated. Thanks for taking the time to write this piece, which is unlike any other piece I have seen on OS, and absolutely splendid in its observations and reasoning. I can't find a single nit to pick.

I don't circulate enough in society these days to be sure of this, but I suspect that what we see in the posts and comments left on OS represent a true cross-section of the neuroses of the general population. Skewed to the Left, perhaps, because spokesmen for the Right on this site are as rare as black tulips.
A couple of thoughts. First mockery or whatever you call it is not pernicious when we're dealing with the issue of power relations. Anyone who wants to mock white guys in whatever manner is all right with me. They will not be threatened. Mocking the less powerful quickly turns into boorishness. And so perhaps there is a gradation between white men and the Catholic church, Israel, and racial or other minorities. At some point things shift beyond being acceptable into the bad, and here's the second point.

Boorishness is a major sin. One of the wisest things ever told to me was, "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice." In my latest blog, I posted something that I thought was a piece of witty repartee when I wrote it at 3AM. But the more I thought about, the more it verged on hate speech to me, and I axed it. It doesn't matter that my self-censored remark was on the Tea Party. While I may still hold those feelings about that group to some degree, there is a cost-benefit equation in speech that needs to be taken into account.

People need to ask themselves whether by posting something, they're actually doing more harm than good. I do strongly believe in the value of civilized discourse. Civilized discourse is the only way to get exposure to a variety of different opinions. And how else are we going to learn about peoples' viewpoints unless we see how they really think and feel? Everything other than that is just a version of bullying or name calling.

And if you don't sink into name calling and flame wars, it's possible to be extremely critical of someone (like rwnutjob) and still see that in other areas, the man had some thoughtful things to say.

Of course, asshats are still asshats.
Many good points here, Traveker. One of the few articulate voices of unspun reason to address this meta issue of late. So many of us - me included - are prone to see what we wish to see and believe what we feel is right. Once committed to a particular point of view, often without going beyond a superficial examination of available information, it it's then damned hard to even see another POV much less accept a version different from the one we've already accepted as true.

In this respect OS is a microcosm of the greater society and, I believe, is why so many millions are spent on political campaigns to sway people's emotions with smoke, mirrors and lies, and give them easy talking points to justify their "firm" emotional conviction. What surprises and disappoints me is that even ordinarily intelligent people are susceptible to this kind of manipulation.
I'm with Kosh here in the agree woth some, disagree with other camp.

I'll take issue with one specific part. You mention that it is the specialty of some to mention the "failures of the white world" or something like that. Here is how I see it. As a black person in a country that sees things through a white prism, I try to switch the prism or smash it. From a person's perspective who happens not to be white, we see many things our entire lives which have a default perspective that is exclusive. In a sense, that is a failure, but I dont think it is in the way that you imply. From big things to small, we see these things day after day, year after year, and the default, dominant perspective is rarely explored. Take a sportscaster's analogy of a new, young shortstop and who he is compared to. If that new shortstop is Derek Jeter, the old shortstop will be Barry Larkin, and not Robin Yount. The conparison or type becomes one that includes race when it is not necessary. This sort of myopic view extends to all sorts of things, politicians, doctors, musicians, artists, writers, etc, etc. We see it, white people tend not to until it is presented to them.

I wrote a post long ago titled, "Why Do White People Want?" The point was turning a perspective inside out. The question has been asked about black people countless times. The message is, all people want the same things. It turns the tables for the purpose of showing that there has been a table placed between one and the other separating them. Some call that sort of demonstration racism. They're wrong. Discussion of privilege is the same concept. It is not about the "failures" of white people, per se. It is about a flaw in perception. Saying that dominant culture has a flawed view of minority groups is not the same as saying dominant culture is inherently inferior. The former is not racism. The latter is, or much closer to it.
I would like to respectfully disagree that religion and one's racial appearance and/or ethnic heritage are one and the same. Religion is chosen. Race/ethnicity are immutable characteristics that no individual is able to choose. I always joke with my husband, for instance, that if I could have chosen my genetic makeup, I'd be a tall, thin woman with an athletic build. Instead, my genes--through no choice of my own--dictate that I shall live my life as a short, curvaceous woman.
Some of the thought bullies are vicious stalkers following their victims across multiple sites, making their lives hell. Most of the victims, it seems, are individuals who cannot seem to ignore the barbs and slurs from their detractors. Responding to the comments, if by doing nothing more than deleting the comment, spurs the bully on to greater abuse.
As to the relative tolerance or intolerance of bias along religious, gender, race and political lines, I can't say except to say that writers tend to be liberal, bullying commenters conservative. The tolerance or intolerance of religious sects seems to be along the lines of those sects tolerance or intolerance of the beliefs or practices of others.
One last comment: criticizing Israel's stance of ations is not anti-semitic nor is making favorable comments about nations or people who are considered their enemies. Many take sides against Israel because they feel that the U.S. gives Israel too many favors because it wants an ally in an area that has oil that the U.S. wants/needs and where all of the oil holders are at best weak allies.
On gender issues I try to stay out of the conversation since they don't directly affect me (although they do some of my friends) and because man hating lesbians just 'are'. I don't have to read what they write. Thanks for posting this. We all have our own prejudices as much as we try to deny them. R
For clarification ..of ations... should have been ...or actions...
I agree with ONL about conduct in general and with Bill Beck about the differences between racism and flaws in perception.

Escrito,
Neither Traveler nor I suggests that criticizing Israel is an illegitimate or bigoted activity; Israelis do it constantly. The issue, and our perspective happens to be shared on this point, is that it becomes bigotry when a double standard is introduced into the equation. His point is not that it is illegitimate to criticize Israel but that it's illegitimate to criticize Israel reflexively while giving every one of its neighbors a free pass. That's why he's discussing Turkey, Syria, and Egypt.
I will do my best to keep the 'nugget' from each comment and respond to it.

@Stathi Stathi

“ I am not here to be frightened or insulted, but to be creative. If someone likes my work, then he/she can comment, if he/she does not like it, why to comment...If one disagrees with my work, he/she can say that in the comment, well I will answer to him/her, even in a ΡΜ, but being under attack because I have a different view is to me, to say the least frightening.

Stathi Stathi”

Thanks, Stathi

While I am not frightened, it is annoying and disheartening to be in the situation where something I have worked on is, in my opinion, degraded by being attacked in an unfair way. Some few people make an environment that is hostile and unpleasant and, as you say, contrary to creative work.

@kitd

“I witnessed one member a few years ago, who was very vested in her Catholicism, get beaten up and ridiculed and blamed for every Catholic sin in the history of Catholicism. Literally. She was told that by attending mass she was supporting and condoning the Inquisition as well as the sex abuse of children by priests. No, I don't think she's still here.”

kitd”

What possible purpose could badgering anyone have except to show power and bully, not what I would hope for in OS.

@ ks
“Misandry, racism, etc.: There's a huge difference between attacking a group that's vulnerable and attacking one that isn't. There's also a huge difference between attacking a group that has in some respect oppressed other groups (not universally, but enough for some generalizations to gain credibility) and one that hasn't. Attacking the dominant is not morally equivalent to attacking those who aren't.”

koshersalaami

I don't mind the misandry so much as I mind the fact that it is tolerated, even cheered, while any poster that is equally angry and expresses it, is vilified as misogynistic. Unfairness is the issue which characterizes most of my objections – misandry, religious intolerance and the treatment of Israel.

@ andrew
“the abusive outrage I read lately against creative, kind, humanitarian bloggers like her (Stathi) is deplorable.
andrew boyd”

Thanks, Andrew

@ Lezlie
“I do wish this site could be free of shouting, (e.g. REALLY???) invective, universal vilification and general intolerance. I think many people who might be inclined to write about some of the less-covered religions, belief systems, etc., are just not interested in being attacked by people who have no interest in "hearing" any other side of an issue.”

Lezlie”

agreed

Lew

@ChristianWife

Although there are few Christians in my life (some Jews, some agnostics, a few Moslems and a token Christian or two), two of the kindest, nicest people ever to pass through my life were devout Christians and they are the biggest loss from my divorce.

Lew
The most acceptable form of bigotry round these parts is the silence surrounding hundreds of thousands of brown folks murdered by American troops. But then that's considered OK, because they're Muslims, and Obamabot is in office now. But the world knows the truth. Choke on it:

http://www.rt.com/news/american-pilot-target-video-582/
I was ready to sign off when I found your post. I have enjoyed reading the discussion.

Ya know, I've written about three responses so far and deleted all of them. I hope your thoughts here are a start to reasonable discourse throughout the whole of OS.
@ Arthur

“ Thanks for taking the time to write this piece, which is unlike any other piece I have seen on OS....

but I suspect that what we see in the posts and comments left on OS represent a true cross-section of the neuroses of the general population.

Arthur Louis”

Perhaps but shouldn't we try to be better than that?

@old new lefty

A couple of thoughts. First mockery or whatever you call it is not pernicious when we're dealing with the issue of power relations. Anyone who wants to mock white guys in whatever manner is all right with me. They will not be threatened. Mocking the less powerful quickly turns into boorishness.

And if you don't sink into name calling and flame wars, it's possible to be extremely critical of someone and still see that in other areas, the man had some thoughtful things to say.

old new lefty”

My problem is never with people's opinions but with the ends to which they go to force these opinions and win the interchange. I've been the subject of meta-posts that were rude and nasty – and to no end.
Why is there any place for that?

@ Matt Paust

“What surprises and disappoints me is that even ordinarily intelligent people are susceptible to this kind of manipulation.

Matt Paust”

IMO, opinion and speech are all OK. Even the vileness of fascist talk; it is the total disrespect for the other authors that destroys the fragile fabric of community.

@ Bill Beck

As a black person in a country that sees things through a white prism, I try to switch the prism or smash it. ….... This sort of myopic view extends to all sorts of things, politicians, doctors, musicians, artists, writers, etc, etc.

Bill Beck”

Bill, I have lived a pretty heterogeneous life, with lots of experiences and I think that I, along with other people, do understand that there is a black perspective, without knowing every jot and tittle. I honor the black experience and leave room for it, more than that I cannot do. The fact that you see the world through your unique prism does not make that specific view interesting or informative to me; it does make me feel that, in every situation, you are trying to reinforce that difference rather than dissolving it.

@Deborah Méndez Wilson

“I would like to respectfully disagree that religion and one's racial appearance and/or ethnic heritage are one and the same. Religion is chosen. Race/ethnicity are immutable characteristics that no individual is able to choose.

Deborah Méndez Wilson”

I have no argument with that although typically one's attachment to an ethnic identity, even a fairly invisible one like Judaism goes deep and takes some trauma to eradicate.

@escrito por nada

“Most of the victims, it seems, are individuals who cannot seem to ignore the barbs and slurs from their detractors. Responding to the comments, if by doing nothing more than deleting the comment, spurs the bully on to greater abuse.
As to the relative tolerance or intolerance of bias along religious, gender, race and political lines, I can't say except to say that writers tend to be liberal, bullying commenters conservative.

We all have our own prejudices as much as we try to deny them. R

escrito por nada”

I think that being a bully is a character flaw that extends across the political spectrum.
I like to quote Katherine Hepburn in a line from 'The African Queen': 'Human nature, Mr Allnut, is something we should strive to rise above.'
Points noted and (largely) appreciated. I'm glad you're tackling these issues. I agree with most of what you write here.

Regarding Israel, as someone who has been showing a lot of "tough love" towards that country on my blog over the past few years, I think it has plenty of defenders on this site, particularly regarding its conflict with Iran, which could easily erupt into a unilateral, Pearl Harbor-like attack on that country in the coming days and weeks. Legion are the posts repeating that tired canard of how Ahmadinejad wants to "wipe Israel off the map," as if even the Israeli government hadn't admitted the phoneyness of this claim earlier this year. Does Israel have a lot of good qualities? Of course. I'm not criticizing them here, but when it comes to Palestinians on their own occupied land and Israel's relations with its neighbors, I can't help but see a difference between the most powerful military in the Middle East with its 200 illegal (i.e. non-NPT) nuclear weapons, and its subject people and the essentially defenseless powers in its neighborhood. Great power entails great responsibility, as they say, and I will continue to rail against what I view as the abuses of this power as long as I've got breath in my lungs and strength in my fingertips. I hope you will respect that. The day speaking truth to power becomes "hate speech" is the day I'm out of here.
@ Davey Marx

"The most acceptable form of bigotry round these parts is the silence surrounding hundreds of thousands of brown folks murdered by American troops. But then that's considered OK, because they're Muslims, and Obamabot is in office now. But the world knows the truth. Choke on it:"

And I find this kind of comment certainly the most ignorant and disrespectful of everyone else here.
This is like running into a meeting and shouting about your own specific topic, disregarding anyone else.
Don't continue.
@ Judy Mandelbaum

"Points noted and (largely) appreciated. I'm glad you're tackling these issues. I agree with most of what you write here.

Regarding Israel, as someone who has been showing a lot of "tough love" towards that country on my blog over the past few years, I think it has plenty of defenders on this site, particularly regarding its conflict with Iran, which could easily erupt into a unilateral, Pearl Harbor-like attack on that country in the coming days and weeks. Great power entails great responsibility, as they say, and I will continue to rail against what I view as the abuses of this power as long as I've got breath in my lungs and strength in my fingertips. I hope you will respect that. The day speaking truth to power becomes "hate speech" is the day I'm out of here.
Judy Mandelbaum"

Judy,

I have read what you write and, to be perfectly honest, I would respect you more if you ever wrote about any other countries foibles.
That you are blind to them and ignore comments to that effect gives the impression that your agenda trumps the truth which is always a balance of facts.
I won't argue the mid-East in this thread - and you shouldn't either.
It's a beautiful post, traveler, well reasoned and well written. Of course, I have a few points of difference.

For the most part Kosh and Bill express well my disagreement on your points about racism and misandry. It's all about the power differential. White people, white men in particular, remain the cultural power center in our society. Their aggregate power makes them as a group fair game.

Some people may be just too tired of bullshit to be anything but angry. I try to be understanding about that. The fact remains that writers who feel bullied are free to delete comments. Over and over again. There, again, is something of a power differential. I don't much buy into feelings of fear; I see no possibility of real danger here. Of course, that's why I keep my online face somewhat anonymous, too; that's always an option. Sometimes writers are just jerks, not always sincere, not honest, not thoughtful. They deserve to be called out.

Now, religion. I know something about Catholicism. It's true, there are millions upon millions of very good people who claim the religion, do good works, exemplify the best ideals of Christianity. The church as an institution, though, is thoroughly corrupt. It has become (imo) even worse than the Pharisees its purported founder called "whitened sepulchres." In much of its conduct it puts itself and its structure ahead of God, replaces God with church, and denies the soul of Christ's teaching for itself if no one else. And there are millions and millions of Catholics who live for the ritual and the identity with little knowledge or adherence to the soul of Christianity, even less interest in it. Catholics who insist on adhering to the structure of the Church in some way condone its bad conduct and should be prepared for confrontation about it because the only thing that will change it is loss of souls. And their money.

The value of this place, as I would like to see it, anyway, is as much about discussion as a forum for our writing talents (which I will admit are sometimes exceeded by our enjoyment of the exercise.) Discussion that is only complimentary is worthless. Fights are inevitable. Honest thought should be the basic prerequisite, though and freedom of speech doesn't need to extend to slander.
It’s really hard to stay on a higher road these days. We’re surrounded by shrill confrontation masked as news and entertainment. Since 9/11, the graphics and theme music on the news look and sound more appropriate for the Superbowl or World Wide Wrestling than news. Our heroes are tougher and meaner. Jon Stewart made me a fan of brilliant and scathing sarcasm that targets people like my dad–I love my dad! We are encouraged to assume an adversarial role in so much of what we do, online and offline too. Toughness garners respect. Don’t have an opinion to express?! What’s wrong with you, Ms. Head-in-the-Sand?!

So here we find ourselves on OS, habituated to conflict, and wealthy with intellectual currency. We’re smart. We value a life of the mind. Yet we have blind spots and biases and likes and dislikes, and same as all humans, we gossip and provoke and sneak and whine and squeal, and opinions, have we got opinions. Conditions are ideal. Why are we surprised to find ourselves on a low road, if only now and then? Yet are we a cyber raft of bigots? I would say no, but you do make some good points.

A system that would allow a warning prior to banning seems fairer, but unlikely, given the one overworked, but apparently sincere young editor. So this is what we’ve got.

Respectfully submitted,
Your colleague who may be a bit too hard on old white republican men, and will try to do a bit better with that.
Great post. Many things for me to think about, and many things I agreed with you.
@ just phyllis,

thanks and I'm sorry you deleted your three comments,

Lew

@ nerd cred

“ Sometimes writers are just jerks, not always sincere, not honest, not thoughtful. They deserve to be called out.

Discussion that is only complimentary is worthless. Fights are inevitable. Honest thought should be the basic prerequisite, though and freedom of speech doesn't need to extend to slander.

nerd cred”

I totally agree about the calling out stuff.
It's the vilification crap and the total incivility that pisses me off – and you know what I'm referring to.

I don't like to be in that environment or to be involved.

@greenheron

“It’s really hard to stay on a higher road these days.
Why are we surprised to find ourselves on a low road, if only now and then? Yet are we a cyber raft of bigots? I would say no, but you do make some good points.

Greenheron”

I refuse to accept that you are in thrall to the SuperBowl hype and that's why you need to call someone an ignorant M-F...er.
You and I and we are better than that – and I would hope we could coerce those few who aren't into better manners.

Lew
@ Lynette Stark,

Thanks, LS

Lew
Traveler, most excellent post. I have also enjoyed the many thoughtful comments from other members, including those who have disagreed without being disagreeable.

As you say, the OS member who recently got the ax was guilty of thought crime. While I understand why that decision was made, I'm concerned about the PROCESS, in particular the following:

1) there is nothing in the Terms of Service forbidding "hate speech." Those words don't even exist in the TOS. So the individual in question was banned for having committed a thought crime, but it's a crime that's not "on the books."

2) In the past, people who have transgressed against the rules have been given at least one warning prior to termination. As far as I know, in this case there was no warning. The individual had been a member in good standing for two or three years. Many people found him irritating, but he wasn't breaking any rules. In addition, just five days before being terminated, the member received an Editor's Pick, and I believe that post was also featured on the cover. Ironically, he had already voluntarily deleted one of the offending posts by the time he was terminated. How does someone have an EP/cover one day, and then be banned and have his entire account deleted just five days later for an offense that's not even mentioned in the TOS?

Even so, many people are apparently willing to say "good riddance," and forget about him. But I think we need to reflect on whether this is really the right way to handle such cases.
@Mishima

'there is nothing in the Terms of Service forbidding "hate speech." Those words don't even exist in the TOS. So the individual in question was banned for having committed a thought crime, but it's a crime that's not "on the books." '

and it shouldn't be.
Now we have given RWNJ a real grievance, he was censored by the establishment (undoubtedly the Jews) and he'll use that to build his resentment and his case.
It would be much better if he were still here and was laughed at.

What OS should pay attention to is Section 11 of the Salon TOS which deals with the copyright laws and a small part of Section 12

"You will not harass or intimidate any other user of the Site."
Of course it should be 'attempt to intimidate' but we can all point out members here who haven't contributed much in the way of actual thought but harass on a daily basis.

In regards the other banished member: on a personal basis, I couldn't care less but as an example of rule enforcement, it was a very bad call.

Thanks for the comment.

Lew
I deleted a comment by Judy Mandelbaum.
I asked her not to argue her position on the Middle East here and she persisted.
It is rude to attempt to derail a thread specifically when asked not to and rudeness shouldn't be rewarded with tolerance.
Re whether or not it's okay to bash white men - Yes, I'm very aware of the power differential, and the damage this has caused enormous people in other groups. If we who are not in the most powerful strata feel that a person in this group is fair game on the basis of that group's position in society, we demonstrate the same kind of discrimination has been perpetrated at others.

My boy is a white male. Over the years I've spoken with him at length about the responsibilities he has as a member of the most powerful social group. White men are at a disadvantage in a sense because they do not have to live in any other world except the one that they dominate, whereas people of color and women must know the white man's world in order to navigate through it. I've encouraged him to be as sensitive to this reality as possible, and cautioned him that no matter how empathetic he might hope to be he can never have a complete sense of what it's like to not be in the most powerful group position. My counsel to him given this reality was to listen to others, to all others, to hear their stories, and to treat all people as respectfully as possible.

He's grown into a wonderful young man. I would be quite disturbed to learn that anyone felt they had a free pass to be in any way abusive toward him simply because others in his group have dominated society for centuries.

I understand that others may hold a different opinion. I'm just of a mind that bashing another person is never an acceptable alternative. Until we treat one another respectfully, compassionately, without regard to the various subgroups to which we all belong, we can expect to continue to live in a social environment that I predict generations from now will be described as emotionally barbaric.
Traveler, I was merely responding to your point, not pontificating on the issues of the (censored) conflict. But okay, delete away, this blog is your oyster. I'm all for civility, but the boundaries of tolerance seem to be getting pretty tight around here, and I'm getting mighty claustrophobic.
Traveler, it's always great to see a consensus-building post here on OS!
Traveler,

I'm not sure what "reinforcing the difference rather than dissolving it" means. If it means that I seek to sustain, or keep divisions as they are, that is wrong. It is incorrect to the extent of being absurd. I can't and would not intend to speak for all black people, much less all minorities, but I think this particular point is universal. We do not see ourselves as people with an asterisk or a classification. We see ourselves as people. Our culture here, when I get into my clothes and walk into the street, I have to translate my language of seeing myself as a person without qualification to a person that can be comprehended as a "Black" person. This fact exists for all outside of the dominant definition of "person." For all of the things that you or anyone else in the English speaking world uses a qualification. I can remember in my own lifetime when I had a conscious awareness that these differences were happenstance. I believed that people of all types were generated by all families. I can remember learning, and having it slowly dawn on me that this was something controlled by genetics. My foundation in the definition of what a human is was that of uniformity across ethnic boundaries once I became aware that they actually existed. I dont know how many times I have to state, and why you never will accept, that I am not invested in maintaining differences. I never, ever speak about differences inherent in the humans themselves. I speak about constructs of culture. I speak about perceptions. I speak about perceptions so that people might become aware of them and overcome them. Please accept that. You have always insisted that I want to "reinforce" them. Why would you insist that over my objections? I defy that there are inherent differences which separate one human from another. I give witness to the fact that perceptions can be flawed and create divisions that are unecessary. I gather that you find this uninteresting, and I dont blame you in the slightest for that, but your lack of interest in that which is important to me does not mean that my position is other than what I say it is. I am not in favor of "reinforcing" divisions, and I think your attitude, lack of interest, or whatever, is what makes you unable to see the difference between a challenged dominant culture and an oppressed minority culture, like Kosh explained. There is a difference, Traveler, and testimony by one who says that a flawed perception does harm is not a desire to "reinforce divisions." That is absurd. That is very much like RWNJ's statement when he said that Jews manipulate the Holocaust in order to "define themselves" and "manipulate sympathy." Absurd. It is fine not to get it, and it is fine if you are not interested in it, but don't accuse it of making divisions.
"but the boundaries of tolerance seem to be getting pretty tight around here, and I'm getting mighty claustrophobic."

This thread is about the issues of behavior and I don't want to sidetrack it into the substance of any of my examples.
You made your point, we all understand your stance, no offense meant - just keeping on track.

Lew
@ Bill Beck

A second reason why I don't read your posts is your insistence on grinding every point with words- lots of words, in one big paragraph.
I didn't read it, won't read it.
I don't care to parse my opinion on your writing any more.
Perhaps that's a comment in itself.
And to semi-quote Sidney Poitier in "guess who's coming to dinner', when he is talking to his father:

"dad, you think of yourself as a coloured man, I just think of myself as a man."

I think of you as a man; I don't need to know - or read- any more.

Best wishes,

Lew
kitd - Re whether or not it's okay to bash white men - ... If we who are not in the most powerful strata feel that a person in this group is fair game on the basis of that group's position in society, we demonstrate the same kind of discrimination has been perpetrated at others.
...
bashing another person is never an acceptable alternative.


Overall, I agree. I didn't intend to address attacking a particular individual but the group or the class though preferably the argument. My boy is also a white man and has learned well the same lessons as your boy.
Forgive me, Lew. I tend to avoid yours also. I was asked by a commenter to come here. I apologize.

And the Poitier quote is precisely my view. I explained as much in my comment. I'll hand it to you. You did accuse using fewer words than I used to defend myself. Keep your accusations short, heavy, and disregard the defense.

Got it.
Bill Beck - an aside - I love you, I read you, I rate you, will continue - but Lew is right about the paragraphs. Especially online, you have to break them up just for readability. Sometimes, I'm not so sure for you but sometimes I copy and paste into Word, replacing each period with a paragraph mark and then reassemble the paragraphs. I know I'm old and failing and all but really, everyone should break up long streams of text.
It is hard for me to see the validity of bashing any 'group'; unless that group is self-defined as evil doers, like pedophiles or serial killers or speeders or muggers.
'White men' aren't bad, 'black' men aren't bad, lesbians aren't bad, white southerners aren't bad, illegal immigrants aren't bad.

When we start assigning groups characteristics, then we stop thinking.
I wish I could rate this a thousand times. I am on the verge of leaving again because of the sheer nastiness of some people here. The lying, the name-calling, the "I'm so offended" if you invite them to your site and it is not an individual invite ( suburbanite manners on things like that are SO important, but only if they suspect you are not on the Left), the PM that called me a foul name, and such.

This is good. Keep it up.
Nerd Cred,

You're right. I was talking with people in mt den and watching the news and typing this. The comment box is tiny. I had no idea of the size until I posted it. Forgive me.

Lew,

I have never ever said that white men are bad. Please disabuse yourself of that notion. My first best friend was white. The vast majority of white people are good. I

love white people. I love people of all religions, cultures, etcetera. I defy any perspective that judges an individual by a group. If that is your notion, you have my view completely inverted. Priviledge is not white people.

A world view is not white people. Perspective is not people. And frankly not all of them have it. Many, many, many of them have taught me these principles. I dont judge Any individual excpet by their words and deeds. Let go of that accusation. I never, ever said white people are bad. Some of my best friends are white people. (Goddammit, that is a joke, and if you dont get it, well, shit.)
Sorry, Trav, but I'm with Bill on this one.

He's not reinforcing divisions. On the contrary - to ignore the perspective of those who have less access to power for reasons of ethnicity is to reinforce the status quo. I can't support reinforcing the status quo, because the status quo is too divided and, in that respect, too unjust.

He's not reinforcing divisions, he's trying to eliminate them. I'm afraid you may have your roles reversed.

I'll say further that if you have a problem with the way he organizes his writing, it makes more sense to ask him to break it up than it does to say you'll refuse to read him, particularly if the point is to protest a lack of civility.
not only are "illegal immigrants" not bad, I defy the term illegal immigrant as applying to any group of people in America. In my view, they are not criminals until they have received due process. Thatis how open my view is. I dont expect you or many others to follow, but it was an easy available point. I have been on record as denying the value of the term "illegal immigrant."
Okay, will someone enlighten me as to who the other banished member (ex-member) IS? I'm always the last to know.:::
@ Bill Beck & KS

My responses were all honest representations of my reaction to your/his posts. I don't read them because they are poorly formatted and too densely worded for me to read with any amount of comprehension.

You/Bill then made a purposeful attempt to be uncivil and to 'win' the exchange by saying:

"Forgive me, Lew. I tend to avoid yours also. I was asked by a commenter to come here. I apologize."

Any interest I had in listening to what you/he said evaporated then.
I don't really know what this about, I got only so far and I said "Blech". If you don't like it here, adios. If you do not like that we will bully back the bully, go away. Have you a more effective way of dealing with the bad people?
BarbaraJoanne,
The person in question is Rwnutjob. I'm gathering that he must have lost his account. If that's the case, evidence of why will have disappeared - yup, just checked.

What happened is that he wrote two unrelated antisemitic things. The first was a completely unprovoked comment on Sally Swift's blog. It has disappeared, and the only ways it could would be if Sally deleted it (which I doubt) or his account was pulled, in which case all his writings will have disappeared from wherever on OS they are. (This phenomenon drives me crazy - when people have left OS voluntarily or involuntarily, I now have answers in my old comment streams to comments that no longer exist for this reason.) The second was a post, basically denying the Holocaust, that he caught so much flack on so quickly that he pulled it and replaced it with something else, but by that time there was already a flap which he might have survived if he hadn't recently upset so many people with the other antisemitic episode on Sally's blog. At least three of us wrote posts in answer to his post. Mine was a direct answer - I think you commented on it, and I summarized his post in mine.
Kosher - hi there. I was not clear in my question. I knew the Nut got the boot, but wondered who the second person was. It has been clarified for me now. I was aware of the controversy, but didn't have time to keep up totally. Thanks.
traveler (and mishima) - been here four years. Have seen lots of posts and accounts deleted by the eds. Granted the TOS does not use the phrase "hate speech"; but, there are at least three descriptions of how content deemed offensive or inappropriate is subject to deletion from the editor. Nutjob was way over the top with some of his posts and he even commented on several of them that he was surprised that he had not been deleted.

As for incivility - all one has to do with an offensive comment is delete it with no comment back - or leave it up and let everyone see what a loser comment it is. Most of the "outrage" around here is because people just can't resist snarking back - like in real life. And when people send snarky PM's to someone - well - its middle school all over. But that's our society too. Sometimes it ain't pretty. Thanks for your post and the interesting comment thread.
Thank you for this.

I am remiss to write too much for fear of attack myself.

Salon was for me a place to read, long before it was a place to write.

I can tell you, and you can verify this just by looking at the interesting posts' "Most Veiwed" area, that there are far more readers than writers who visit here.

The reason is, people want to read. We crave it. We will read anything we can get our hands on.

But when I was just a reader, I did not read the "metapost" or the one's defaming another. They just weren't interesting and usually required research. And some were just too offensive, repugnant.

Then I became a writer, as a sort of therapy and it works for me.
I have put the occasional dust up, or metapost...I have no idea where that word comes from. Nothing attacking another person here. The worst regarding SPAM

But more, I have occasionally put helpful posts on "How to", i.e.HTML or Autoplay.

I was disappointed to find that people seek out a forum to just be offputting.

Jonathan Wolfman sent me a PM asking me to write a post on Autoplay.

This was a tedious task in that I had to write it in Word,
transfer it to Paint
create a JPEG
Paste it in a readable form onto my post.

About 4 hours of work.

I actually got a comment calling me an "Aural Rapist" and a "Whore".

I finally realised that there was a cross section of people that either like to start or just feed off of this. And try as I may, there is nothing that can be said to stop them and any reaction is a call to verbal war.

I am guilty of reading some of the comments. Something I have learned to do BEFORE writing one of my own. Usually there is a stream of appaling repetitious attacks that eventually have nothing to do with the actual written post and more to do with the character of the commentor coming back over and over to deliver words more abhorable than the last.

And in the end it only paints a portrait of the person commenting.

I have been disappointed in some of these people because, initially, when I did read some of their work I found them to be interesting articulate people.

So here it is, I promised myself to not say much, and I have probably said too much.



Your writing on the matter is an unbiased dispassionate and eloquent read worth the time and the desire to comment.

I must thank KosherSalaami for sending me the PM

Again...thank you.
I'm afraid you mistook me for someone else. The quotes you chose were from a few people who strongly object to bringing some unpleasant facts to light. I was one of the people that turned over that rock.

This sums up the point of view of that faction who prefers to close their eyes to wrongdoing to preserve their personal peace:

"I am more disgusted by the spirit and tone of the accusations--even if they were founded or true."

So, if it's true that someone is a fraud, a stalker, a defamer, a sexual harasser; if it's true that they have violated the agreement that they made when they joined the site by making several to dozens of false identities; if it's true that they have used their multiple anonymous identities to attack, primarily, women who disagreed with them, or to inflate their posts and the posts of their friends (in one case, the late, lamented rwntjob's "Jews cause all the evil" post was triple rated by one of the frauds)--if all this is true, you say that none of it matters because the women who made these accusations did not do so in what you consider a tone of sweet reasonableness?

When a strong, independent, honest woman was stalked by a creep, called a whore, a drunk and a drug addict, told she married for money, over the course of a year--for a year, this went on--would you deny her the right to *sound* angry?

What that quote says is that abusive, deceitful, even criminal behavior is not as bad as a woman sounding pissed off at being the target of it.

I myself was not pissed off when this started. I had no dog in this fight. If anything, I loved Matt. I didn't believe Fusun's accusations against him. She was not credible to me, not because of any history (we didn't know each other) but because I had by chance and out of curiosity already spent hours tracing her own alters, and knew her for a fraud. I had to change my mind about Matt, unwillingly, both because of the evidence and because of his reaction. (Kiss My Candy Ass? Did anyone read him his Miranda rights before he clicked "publish"?) But this minority backlash of "let's be nice and now dare anyone show indignation at widespread dishonestly and cruelty" is starting to work my last nerve.

Right now, some random stranger I've never heard of is trying to draw me into a dust-up on his own blog. Where are the complaints about the drama queens, who, not involved in or knowledgeable about the situation, decided to place themselves in the center of the storm with their blog posts? No problem with that?

Maybe you, the author of that quote, care more about your own comfort and freedom from stress than confronting craziness and evil. It's a damned uncomfortable to do that. Unluckily for me, something in my upbringing, in my uncomfortable life, has taught me that telling the truth, even in a room full of nay-sayers, is my responsibility.

Oh, and Traveler, I would avoid "mau mau," which is used by white supremacists in the same way as "nigger." I've thought it was toxic since the 60s but apparently it's being used with impunity in dog-whistle racial politics. I assume there's a large segment of the population who doesn't hear that dog whistle and is not aware of the term's shady background.
Barbara Joanne,
I'm uninformed about the second person. I didn't know there was one. Let me know what you find out. To this day, I don't know exactly what the whole flap that triggered Matt's "Candy Ass" post and subsequently Margaret Feike's reaction post was about, but they seem to be related. I'm in the dark. Maybe I'm better off that way.
This post has won a Readers' Picks Award.
First, thanks to those who had anything to do with the Readers' Choice nomination, etc.

Second, the number of people who responded, both here and on Jake Sugarman's thread, makes it clear that the number of people who purposefully start trouble is small, even minuscule, compared to that number who really detest that part of Open Salon life.

I don't know what course is best to discourage them.
I have taken the not-so-pleasant course of stating that I will not accept abusive comments or attempts to derail the thread and then deleting comments that go over the line.

If Jake will enforce the TOS, we can take this environment back from the selfish, self-centered people who believe their amusement is more important than anything we might say.

Lew
Real talk!

I think some of this very much needed to be said, and bravo for stepping up and saying it. I feel like OS, like any community, has its traditions and expectations. Sometimes I'm right with them, other times I'm oblivious, other times still, I disagree. Thank you for writing a post that makes some very interesting points about those things. I'm not sure I agree with everything you've written here, but you've definitely made me think.
Alyssa,

Total agreement isn't mandatory - but, if you only agree with parts, you must pay a dollar.

Lew
Congratulations on the award. Well-deserved.
"A long post about the failings and the absolute uselessness of men as a group by one of this site's prominent (read 'loud') lesbians drew myriads of positive comments – presumably by those persons who wanted to make certain they weren't the target of the author's tongue. Isn't it ironic that that author's typical behavior surely reinforces the stereotype that haters promulgate of lesbians? In a very obvious way, she is her own group's worst enemy."

Hi there. I just want to ask if that was about my recent post or is there another post out there I missed?

Thank you.
@ l'heure bleu

"Hi there. I just want to ask if that was about my recent post or is there another post out there I missed?"

Nope.
It didn't occur to me that you might be a lesbian, although your self-described history with men might make that a reasonable next step, and I don't see you as seeing yourself as the avatar for any group.

You don't seem to be a bigot but who can tell from an Internet persona.

Best wishes,

Lew
Hi Lew, thanks. Mostly I'm just a cranky old woman who is still a bit off, but better every day. I really didn't mean to offend anyone with my post, it really struck she and I as hilarious at the time. I am also far too worn out to argue, here, or in real life. I hope if I am bigoted a friend will take me aside and tell me, I think I'm not but we don't see ourselves clearly.

I was giggling because that would have been twice I was mistaken for a lesbian. The first was when I rode with the same friend to pick up her girl from college, later the professor asked if she had two moms. I would have called her and we would have laughed about it. No offense intended, we just like to laugh.

Sigh, I would like very much to be a lesbian but it doesn't work that way. I fear I have given up on men but it's okay if I spend my life alone too.

Thank you again. Peace.

Doris
First, I thank Kosher for directing me here.

The Turkish flotilla is a good example for what many closet bigots in the mainstream (not only OS) do; they ride any politically correct wave to inject their racism.

As I said before, anyone should be free to write any comment making any argument as long as the comment is objective, i.e. related to the substance of the post.

What you are probably talking about is haters. People who are simply jealous of your writing, popularity, or readership, but they are still cowards, so they find strength in numbers. They come down in droves posting one nasty comment after another.

Bullies get so desperate and angry, and this is when the funny part comes in. They start calling the blogger names (ad hominem attacks), when ALL THEY KNOW ABOUT THE BLOGGER IS TWO THINGS: HIS/HER ANONYMOUS AVATAR AND BIO, and THE BLOGGER'S POSTS.

Unfortunately, there is nothing you or the Editor can do about haters; hate takes care of them. Excellent post. R
@ Thoth

Your comment was correct on so many points.

It is interesting how quickly they resort to name calling when their very small stock of facts runs out.

This would be a better place if they were controlled by the Editor enforcing the TOS.

Thanks for commenting,

Lew
I find your post and some of the comments extremely insiteful about this place where I'm still not sure if I want to write here. Reading has been quite educational in more ways than one. Thank you.
Paul,

I know how you feel.
The pluses are a built in audience.

The negatives are: there are certain acceptable viewpoints and if you happen not to share them, you are liable to being attacked by some truly unpleasant people.
the interface sucks terribly and
the powers that be don't do much to make it better.

All that being said, it is sometimes fun to tickle their noses with the facts.

Lew