The outrageous smear that I am using homophobia to defend misogyny

by Michael Nugent on February 15, 2016

Pride 2Every so often I must take a break from campaigning for an ethical secular society, to address the latest defamatory smear that some people on the Internet like to shovel in my direction. This one is particularly saddening because it comes from somebody who I considered a friend, who knows from personal experience that the smear is not only untrue but that the opposite is true.

Aoife Fitzgibbon O’Riordan, who before she joined FreeThoughtBlogs has marched alongside me on Gay Pride and Marriage Equality marches, has accused me on Facebook of using dog-whistle homophobia to defend dog-whistle misogyny (courtesy of the now familiar false smear that Richard Dawkins is misogynistic). Whatever Aoife mistakenly believes about Richard, she knows the smear about me is untrue. I ask her to withdraw and apologise for it.

Responding to Aoife’s smear, Michael Barron, the Executive Director of the education advocacy group Equate, then bizarrely added: “This doesn’t surprise me at all — and it gets worse.” I’ll address Michael’s comment elsewhere. It is a nasty ambiguous smear that implies that he knows worse things about me that he is choosing not to share.

Later, a friend of Aoife’s wrote about me on the Atheist Ireland Facebook Page: “Not only has he never read the bible but he is actually homophobic.” I won’t name her, as she has withdrawn and apologised for that defamatory allegation, but as it has been in the public domain I need to address it just as I have addressed previous smears against me.

The smear

The smear that I am homophobic is simply outrageous. It is part of the current Internet trend of personal insults that have no relation to reality, with people casually hurling the most hurtful allegations that they can think of with no thought of the effect on their targets.

I have campaigned for gay rights for more than thirty five years, longer than some of those who may hear or pass on this smear have been alive, from my days as a students union president to more recent advocacy with the Irish Government, the United Nations and the OSCE.

In the days before mobile phones, I sat with David Norris in his house listening to the hateful abuse left on his answer machine. My late wife Anne Holliday and I organised the first ever gay rights picket of the Irish Papal Nuncio’s residence in Dublin, after the Pope said it was okay to discriminate against gay people in employment.

Recently in Warsaw, Jane Donnelly and I were the only people present to challenge the Vatican delegation when they tried to have gay rights taken off the agenda of an OSCE conference. Atheist Ireland has worked with LGBT Noise in picketing the Eucharistic Congress, and actively supporting the Pride Parades and the Marriage Equality referendum.

The smear that I am using homophobia to defend misogyny is even more outrageous. My late wife and I campaigned for women’s rights for decades. My website includes links to 1500 suggested women speakers for conferences. Atheist Ireland has organised an international conference on empowering women through secularism, and we spoke to the Irish Parliament’s Health Committee in favour of abortion rights.

If people who should know better label me homophobic and misogynistic, despite knowing that I am the exact opposite, what words have they left to use when they have to deal with actual homophobia and misogyny? Also, this makes me more cautious to take at face value descriptions of anybody else as homophobic or misogynistic, as I know how casually the terms can be falsely deployed.

The context of the smear

I recently had an exchange with a man who approached the Atheist Ireland information table in Dublin. He asked me rather confrontationally about Islamophobia, atheist States, France’s ban on women wearing the veil, and Richard Dawkins who he alleged was misogynistic. Finally he flounced away, as do many people (mostly religious people) who are unable to deal with our rational answers to their challenges.

You can read a summary of the exchange here.

The next day Aoife wrote the following about me on Facebook:

“Gotta love a straight dude using the term ‘flounced away’ to refer to a gay man leaving a conversation with him. Especially when the straight dude just denied Dawkins’ misogyny. Then again, nothing surprising about someone using dog-whistle homophobia to defend someone who does the same to women, right?”

I am saddened that somebody who I considered a friend would describe me in such impersonal terms related to my sexual orientation and gender, as if I am a rhetorical cartoon stereotype instead of a person with a name. And I am shocked that somebody who knows that I am not homophobic would accuse me of ‘using dog-whistle homophobia,’ and add that I used it for the specific purpose of defending dog-whistle misogyny.

The allegation that Richard Dawkins is misogynistic

The man in question flounced from our information table after he asked if I condemned the misogyny of Richard Dawkins, and I asked him on what basis he believed that. Richard is not misogynistic. This is another smear that is approaching the status of mythology. I have written extensively about this. Here are some examples:

The allegation that the word ‘flounce’ is homophobic

The core of Aoife’s smear seems to be that I used the word ‘flounce’ when describing a man flouncing, and that I am ‘a straight dude’ and the man who flounced is gay. Actually, ‘flounce’ means to leave using exaggerated motions that suggest annoyance or impatience. That remains true independently of my gender and sexual orientation, and independently of any other meanings that some people choose to attach to the word.

My colleagues and I at the Atheist Ireland information table have no interest in the sexual orientation of anybody who approaches our table. I wouldn’t even know this man’s sexual orientation if he hadn’t chosen to tell me. I treated him the same as I treat anybody else, without prejudice or favour based on sexual orientation.

This man approached us, not vice versa, he received answers that did not confirm his prejudice, and he flounced away when asked to give examples of his final allegation. That is a simple fact. It is an observation about his behaviour, not his sexual orientation. If anything, it shows prejudice against gay people to imply that only gay people flounce.

In fairness, he came to my blog to continue the discussion. However, again, after I answered his comments and asked him further questions, he ignored the substantive issues that he himself had raised and chose to comment only on the word flounce.

We have seen many people flounce away from our table, typically religious people who have run out of theological arguments after we have patiently and politely responded to the arguments they have made. We have also met many people, including religious people, who have stayed and continued to have interesting discussions, from which we have both learned more about each other’s worldview.

The word ‘flounce’ as used in the media

There is a website called The Flounce, which describes itself as follows:

“The Flounce a website run by a handful of people who came together to prove that entertainment needn’t be exploitative to also be compelling or informative, and corporate interest doesn’t have to come at the expense of healthy communities. By giving a platform to working class men and women with widely varying cultural backgrounds, and supporting a space for healthy debate and dissenting voices, we seek to transcend the boundaries that define and separate us.”

The word ‘flounce’ is used in mainstream media when describing developments in politics, business and sport, without attracting allegations of homophobia. Here are some examples.

From the Irish Times

  • “Not unlike Ruairí Quinn, although his flounce was far more understandable and stylish. He will not be involved in the reshuffle.”
  • “Why would any self-respecting customer witness poor treatment of vulnerable staff and neither object loudly nor flounce out of the retail outlet in protest?”
  • “Perhaps Louis van Gaal should flounce out of his pre-match press conferences a little more often. It is, at least, a very Manchester United thing to do.”

From the Irish Independent

  • “Flouncing out every time a cherished policy pledge fails to make the cut in the Programme For Government would satisfy the purists, but would rightly have been seen by most voters as an indulgence at a time of economic crisis.”
  • “The Web Summit famously flounced off to Lisbon, from next year.”
  • “In October 1996, he announced his departure from Ajax a full seven months in advance. Eight years later, as their sporting director, he flounced out in a delightful huff after a very public spat with coach Ronald Koeman.”

The word ‘flounce’ as used on FreeThoughtBlogs

Aoife may not be convinced by the use of the word ‘flounce’ online or in the mainstream media, but she blogs on the FreeThoughtBlogs network, so she might consider looking at the use of the word there and ask if she is surrounded there by homophobia.

Whatever differences I have with that network, neither I nor anybody reasonable would suggest that they are homophobic. While they are not known for their civility or reason or empathy with those who have different opinions, they are known for their tight self-moderation of words that they deem ‘problematic’.

In that context here are:

  • Examples of how eleven current and former FreeThoughtBloggers have used the word ‘flounce’: PZ Myers, Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan, Alex Gabriel, Yemisi Ilesanmi, Jason Thibeault, Dana Hunter, Ally Fogg, Heina Dadabhoy, Hank Fox, Justin Griffith.
  • Examples of how some commenters on FreeThoughtBlogs have used the word ‘flounce’.
  • A discussion on Pharyngula’s Thunderdome about using the word ‘flounce’, which concludes that the consensus is that the usage is fine and not problematic when it comes to splash damage.
  • As a bonus, the word ‘flounce’ as defined on the Pharyngula Wiki fan site.

‘Flounce’ as used by bloggers on FreeThoughtBlogs

Here are some examples of FreeThoughtBloggers using the word ‘flounce,’ without any implications about anybody’s sexual orientation, and typically in a similar way to my usage: to describe somebody leaving a conversation in an exaggerated way. The most recent such use on FreeThoughtBlogs was just two days before Aoife’s smear against me.

“And look, he continues with his demands that we appreciate ruffled flounces and puffy pantaloons!”

PZ Myers comparing an article by Be Scofield to the Emperor’s New Clothes. As an aside, Be Scofield is a queer/trans writer who PZ refers to as ‘he’ throughout the blog post.

“They did stage a showy and often giggly walkout by way of dissent from what he was saying, and they did deserve a little derision in return… ’Bullshit’ really isn’t all that ugly, and ‘pansy ass’ isn’t really all that insulting in response to people flouncing out in a huff.”

Ophelia Benson writing about students walking out of a talk by Dan Savage, in a post titled ‘Flouncing versus Derision’.

“For that, you’ll have to read the rest of the thread. Spoilers: At least until the flounce.”

Stephanie Zvan referring to a commenter who left a conversation saying “And I’ve had enough of bald assertions. Okay now I really am done. Gah! Must… have… dinner.”

“Yeah, this is the one I woke up to this morning. This is also someone who’s been commenting here for a while. I’ll be enforcing that flounce.”

Stephanie Zvan referring to a commenter who wrote “I have no intention of putting up with another nine months of this, so I’ll take my leave. You are a disgusting fat cunt. Fin.”

“The mostly-atheist left, it turns out, has little time for those, apostates in particular, whose atheism is more than a rhetorical flounce – ‘I’m an atheist for God’s sake!’ – when lambasting the politics of Maher and Hitchens.”

Alex Gabriel discussing atheism and Marxism.

“And he flounced out with ‘I am out now! P.S. I don’t hate fat people. I am only giving advice. HATE is such a big word.’

Yemisi Ilesanmi describing a commenter on her Facebook wall.

“Most people took it okay, with a ‘yeah, I joined here because I thought this was the official group’ or ‘good, the two were getting confused too often’, though some took it harshly and flounced FOR REALZ. You’d think it would end at that, right?”

Jason Thibeault describing actions to a change in the status of the FFRF Facebook Page.

“Still. Must admire his ability to stick a flounce for over twelve hours, a skill which is vanishingly rare amongst those who cry about how meeeaaaannnn we are and say they’re really really leaving and they totally mean it this time. No, seriously, they’re outta here. This time – no, this time – well, definitely this time, they are so leaving because we are soooooo mean and awful that they’ll never be back again. Except for all those times they come back to tell us how mean we are and how right they are before leaving again for reals this time…”

Dana Hunter writing about The Denver Atheist.

“Similarly, a passive-aggressive flounce from Twitter can generate waves of sympathy, notably from fellow /sister members of the elite Twitterati, who (understandably) sympathise with the experience of copping a timeline full of flak from angry detractors, and are quick to tweet about how sad it is that so-and-so has been bullied off Twitter to their vast followings.”

Ally Fogg discussing online disagreements.

“I replied to him by saying that I didn’t have the energy to compile direct quotes and citations and was accordingly leaving the conversation (and I did, as I’m not one for the false flounce).”

Heina Dadabhoy describing a discussion on a friend’s post.

“When you make a mistake, as you will, there are two ways to deal with it. One is, you simply accept that you’re wrong and take your emotional and social lumps — ouch! — and move on as best you can. The other is, you tinker with your mind and memory so as to never feel the pain of the mistake. If you’ve made a factual error, you never admit it – you claim that everyone else is wrong, and flounce away in anger, never revisiting the subject. If you’ve hurt someone, you convince yourself either that you didn’t hurt them, or that they deserved it.”

Hank Fox discussing accepting that you are wrong.

“Look at the first three days.That’s not apologizing. Then look at his exit. That red-faced embarrassed flounce, he knew what he did. That flounce reminded me of my sister. One day, I didn’t see her on the bus home from school. She showed up ten minutes after me, pounding on the door. I opened it quickly and she said “Are you happy now?!? I peed my pants!!!” As if it was my fault, or as if to suggest that she just peed her pants and wouldn’t have, if only I hadn’t ‘locked the door’ like an evil brother. It was clear that she peed her pants much earlier.”

Justin Griffith about Greg Laden.

‘Flounce’ as used by commenters on FreeThoughtBlogs

Here are some examples of FTB commenters using the word ‘flounce’.

  • “Sex is not a binary, and I honestly don’t feel like explaining this to you because you’re clearly arguing in bad faith. “TERF” is a slur? Don’t make me laugh. Please stick the flounce.”
  • “hopeful that soporificat sticks xer flounce. xe seems to be confusing transgender with transvestism.”
  • “Am I wrong about that? [sorry, you flounced, so I cannot expect an answer]”
  • “This is getting ridiculous. The most reasonable explanation for someone reacting like this and continuing to react like this is that they wanted to be offended for some reason. I really hope he sticks his flounce this time.”
  • “I had a remark for believerskeptic, but I’ll wait and see if he sticks the flounce first.”
  • “The Great and Glorious Doctor Magnifico himself, Robert Gross, did indeed honour us with his presence. I believe I’ve captured the essence of his sermon here: 1. Loook at meeeeee…. 7. Tanty and flounce.”
  • “I do not like thee, Dr. Gross, You put yourself upon that cross. To have you flouncing is no loss, I do not like thee, Dr. Gross.”
  • “I’d rather have a new ally than have him flounce, but he needs to change his attitude a bit if that’s going to happen.”
    “Just for reference, here’s why I flounced out of here a year or so ago, before I delurked momentarily to offer my support in the Grenade thread.”
  • “Mind you, now that lizzie has flounced and taken us off her bookmark list (we’re all so heartbroken by that I’m sure) I’m not sure if she will see any of this.”
  • “Right…he was ALL READY to get off his ass and devote his entire life to the cause — but then some people disagreed with something he said, and suddenly all his pretty dreams are torn and we’ve all blown our big chance to benefit from the (unspecified) work he was just about to promise to do. Funniest. Flounce. EVER.”

A discussion about the word ‘flounce’ on Pharyngula

Extracts here. Follow this link for full discussion.

  • 307 Chigau: “So. Is ‘flounce’ a homophobic insult or a gendered insult?”
  • 308 Thumoer: “… or the etymological derivative of a Norse word meaning “to leave in a hurry”?”
  • 310 Chigau: “well…etymology is less important than current usage’
  • 317 Caine: “It’s never come across as homophobic to me, because in my mind, it’s always been applicable to all people, and I don’t think of gay men as some sort of effeminate monolith. I do think it could be used in a sexist way, however, I haven’t seen it used that way here.”
  • 318 RahXephon: “since I’m a gay dude I feel like I do have an opinion on whether it’s homophobic, and I don’t. If flounce were derived from being inherent to gay people, or if it were used primarily towards gay people (like “mince”, which was brought up in the thread), then I think there’d be an argument for that…. The excessive word policing is annoying enough without straight people treating me as some fragile little flower with tiny little diaphanous gay ears that can’t stand a word with even a teensy imagined whiff of gay undertones that aren’t 100% positive.”
  • 319 Nightjar: “One thing I’ve learned over the years is that if a word has sexist connotations (or homophobic, or racist, or ableist, or…), there is one place you can go to see them laid down in all their ugliness. It almost never fails: Urban Dictionary. So I looked up “flounce”. Didn’t see anything particularly damning, so I’m inclined to think the word is fine.”
  • 320 Thumper: “Indeed. So the modern meaning “to leave in a huff having lost an argument” supercedes any hypothetical etymological connection to a woman’s dress?”
  • 322 Caine: “Erm, clothing styles have undergone vast changes since flounce could be commonly and oft used in regard to womens’ clothing.”
  • 325 Loud: “I’ve been reading here for many years, and I’ve seen ‘flounce’ used hundreds of times, with nary a word said against it, and on Pharyngula, that probably means it’s unlikely to carry any baggage. That’s not to say Pharyngula commentators can’t be wrong, but just good evidence to me that there’s no compromising association, as these things usually get flagged pretty quickly.”
  • 331 Tony the Queer Shoop: “FFS, I go to sleep and wake up to “flounce is homophobic”?? Is this in a parallel reality next to annejones’? Its funny, but I had never heard of flounce before reading here. I always assumed it a term made up here (that never happens). Guess I was wrong. Still, I have never encountered the word in hetero- or homo- sexual dealings in meatspace.”
  • 338 Caine: “You’re absolutely right. I was trying to come up with ‘flounce’ alternatives, but nothing else seems to capture the action as well. Hopefully, something will kick in eventually.”
  • 349 Polistes: “Re: “flounce” – eh, it’s fine w/ this lesbian. Reads like, “Well haRUMPF I say – I’m LEAVing. Good day. I say Good Day!” Which is pretty funny.”
  • 356 Caine: “Reads that way to me as well. I don’t think Elizabeth has a good case for tossing flounce out the window.”
  • 371 Cicely: “Not seeing gender, or even tailoring. My admittedly uneducated guess would be that any “genderization” of the word takes place where huffiness and fancy skirts collide.”
  • 374 Caine: “*snortle* Perfect!”
  • 449 Caine: “Elizabeth, I hope you noted the discussion regarding the usage of flounce. Right now, the consensus is that the usage is fine and not problematic when it comes to splash damage. Your concern was taken seriously and discussed. I hope you’ll realize that it’s fine to bring up such subjects, and the horde is always happy to discuss them.”

Bonus: ‘flounce’ as defined on Pharyngula Wiki

Pharyngula Wiki is an unofficial set of fan pages, published mostly during 2011 and 2012 by fans of PZ Myers. It describes the word ‘flounce’ as follows:

“As a verb, to ‘flounce’ is to depart a discussion in a comments thread with a degree of theatre, generally declaring in so doing one of the following as reasons:

that the opposition’s tone is unacceptable to one’s delicate sensibilities
that the opposition is arguing like a buncha third graders, unlike the flouncer’s much more refined and mature self
that the flouncer has work to do (and, by implication, the opposition are a buncha unemployed bums with nothing better to do than make the flouncer look stupid by, say, actually engaging their argument meaningfully, those jerks)

As a noun, a ‘flounce’ is the act of flouncing, as described above.

There is some noted variability in the ability of flouncers to remain flounced. Speculation as to the flouncer’s ability to ‘stick the flounce’ is a common topic, post-flounce. It is the totally unfair and unwarranted observation of this author — as implied by the above set of reasons for flounces–that flouncing is a particularly common maneuver amongst tone trolls.

Flounces are generally rated much as is done in judging in figure skating, with separate scorings for technical and artistic merit.”

Summary

Yet again I have had to take a break from campaigning for an ethical secular society, to address the latest defamatory smear that some people on the Internet like to shovel in my direction. This one is particularly saddening because it comes from somebody who I considered a friend, who knows from personal experience that the smear is not only untrue but that the opposite is true. I ask Aoife to withdraw and apologise for it.

If people who should know better call me homophobic and misogynistic, what words have they left to use when they have to deal with actual homophobia and misogyny? Also, this makes me more cautious to take at face value descriptions of anybody else as homophobic or misogynistic, as I know how casually the terms can be falsely deployed.

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{ 290 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jack Rawlinson February 15, 2016 at 3:34 pm

It is part of the current Internet trend of personal insults that have no relation to reality, with people casually hurling the most hurtful allegations that they can think of with no thought of the effect on their targets.

This is precisely the tactic of the hysteric left (and yes, I am quite aware that by using the word “hysteric” I am needling them. I do so very knowingly, and I truly do not give a damn if they regard me as misogynistic for using it. They’re hysterics, and the word is perfectly appropriate). They take the big bad “…ist” words like “racist”, “sexist” “rapist”, “misogynist” etc. and fling them at anyone they perceive to have stepped even slightly over the party line, and they do so with all the restraint of a hyperactive infant in the throes of a Sunny-Delight-fuelled tantrum.

What they seem incapable of realising – no matter how often cooler heads try to ding it into their skulls – is that this is classic “Cry Wolf” behaviour; that by using these gross insults so incontinently and inappropriately they are actually stripping them of power. They become empty weasel words, almost entirely devoid of force. When you use the same word – say, “homophobe” – to describe both Michael Nugent and Kim Davis, you’ve lost the plot; you’ve become a thoughtless babbler of scattergun malice and you are really, really not helping the cause you think you represent: progressive liberalism.

2 Jack Rawlinson February 15, 2016 at 3:36 pm

And I must add that the suggestion that the word “flounce” is homophobic reaches a new low of stupidity and sheer Orwellian lexical abuse, even for these people.

3 Cindy February 15, 2016 at 3:39 pm

And lesbians who won’t have piv sex with transwomen are “transphobic”

Sjws are diluting words and concepts of all meaning, as they casually defame people in order to signal how VIRTUOUS they are.

4 Shatterface February 15, 2016 at 3:46 pm

To repeat what I wrote on a previous thread:

Definitions of flounce
flounce1 (flaʊns )
Definitions
verb
(intransitive; often followed by about, away, out, etc) to move or go with emphatic or impatient movements

▷ noun
the act of flouncing

Word Origin
C16: of Scandinavian origin; compare Norwegian flunsa to hurry, Swedish flunsa to splash

Synonyms
= bounce, storm, stamp, go quickly, throw, spring, toss, fling, jerk

http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/flounce

The second meaning of ‘flounce’, meaning frills on petticoats, comes from the old French word, ‘fronce’, meaning wrinkle, itself a derivative of ‘froncir’ which is Old Germanic.

Two entirely different words: a Skandanavian word for hurry; and an Old Germanic word for wrinkle: homographs with no common root.

Pomo bullshitters always pull this trick.

5 Gurdur February 15, 2016 at 3:53 pm

Really sorry to hear of this rather disgusting personal attack.

6 Shatterface February 15, 2016 at 3:57 pm

What they seem incapable of realising – no matter how often cooler heads try to ding it into their skulls – is that this is classic “Cry Wolf” behaviour; that by using these gross insults so incontinently and inappropriately they are actually stripping them of power.

It’s what I call the dysphemism treadmill.

Stephen Pinker describes the process by which euphemisms gradually accumulate the negative connotations of the word they replace so they too must be replaced (negro, becomes black, becomes Aftican American, becomes Person of Color) as the ‘euphemism treadmill’.

The ‘dysphemism treadmill’ goes the other way: terms like ‘racism’ lose all power through overuse so are replaced by ‘white supremacist'; ‘male chauvinism’ becomes ‘sexism’, which becomes ‘misogynist’, etc.

In the end you are just left with a world populated by ‘Nazis’ and you have no words left for the people who throw gays off buildings.

7 Guestus Aurelius February 15, 2016 at 3:58 pm

I treated him the same as I treat anybody else, without prejudice or favour based on sexual orientation.

That’s your problem, right there.

8 Shatterface February 15, 2016 at 4:05 pm

Incidentally, Stephen Fry has now quit Twitter because of accusations of ‘misogyny’.

Peter Tatchell is blacklisted by organisations which should know better for alleged ‘racism’ and ‘transphobia’.

This on top of the no-platforming of feminists like Julie Burchill and Germaine Greer.

I remember FTB Alex Gabriel attacking Russell T Davies for promoting rape and accusing him of being ‘heteronormative’ because his gay men were obsessed with talking about cock.

I can’t even to begin to imagine what goes through these people’s heads.

9 Rich "The King" Sanderson February 15, 2016 at 4:16 pm

I’m sorry you have to put up with this sort of garbage, Michael. Peter Tatchell is currently getting the same sort of nonsense from “social justice warriors” more concerned with policing and controlling others, than actual social justice activism.

I admire the likes of you, on the front lines, while I simply support you from my comfortable armchair. I get fed up with these bullies even though I am not particularly affected by them – it must be a real pain and disruption to your work for actual activists like yourself.

Keep up the good work, and chin up.

PS – Ironically, many of those FTB bloggers you cite have enabled the likes of your smearer for a number of years now.

10 Nialler February 15, 2016 at 4:42 pm

Just don’t use the word seems to be the lesson.

I’d be considered by the first of the commenters here to be something of a left-wing progressive (non-hysteric, though). I resent the imposed sensitivity regarding some words which would have as abridge their use.

“Flounce” is a perfectly fine word to describe certain actions. Hell, I’ve flounced myself in my time and will do so again, no doubt.

Can heterosexuals “flounce”? I guess so. As I say I’ve not simply flounced in the past, but have also been acsused – with justification – of doing so. The accusation didn’t involve any introspection on my part regarding my sexuality.

Nor did it attract any examination of whether my accuser had been uilty of homophobia.

“Flounce” is absolutely standard on the internet when in a forum someone decides to leave in a huff.

Michael, it’s your choice how you spend your time, but in the face of this garbage I would have replied with a simple dictionary definition.

Maybe a couple of examples of usage, but not much more than that.

Be robust and terse in your reply.

11 citizen_wolf February 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm

Utterly bizarre that someone who knows you would throw out such slurs with such abandon. Why did she act this way? Have you spoken to her? And why did Michael Barron join in? And what did he mean by his added comment/slur of “and it gets worse”?

?!?!?! smh

12 Lsuoma February 15, 2016 at 4:54 pm

I find it bizarre that some people seem to have massive cognitive changes when they discover a cause like SJWism or religion, and appear to change their ways of thought so dramatically. It really is like a mind-virus, and SJWism really IS like a religion.

13 Shatterface February 15, 2016 at 4:56 pm

Heina Dadabhoy describing a discussion on a friend’s post.

This would be the same Heina Dadabhoy, who (along with Twitter meme Melody Hensley) ‘liked’ a Facebook post that said ‘All these celebrities dying and Richard Dawkins is still alive ‘ on February 1st – just days before Dawkins had his stroke?

14 Nialler February 15, 2016 at 5:02 pm

@Shatterface, #*:

Fry quits Twitter in the same way I quit fags (!). He’ll be back on it shortly.

15 Rich "The King" Sanderson February 15, 2016 at 5:04 pm

Shatterface:

This would be the same Heina Dadabhoy, who (along with Twitter meme Melody Hensley) ‘liked’ a Facebook post that said ‘All these celebrities dying and Richard Dawkins is still alive ‘ on February 1st – just days before Dawkins had his stroke?

Heina and Melody are the type who criticise Dawkins for “liking” that video, and yet, they “liked” that comment. Dawkins, at least, has an excuse, in that he was not fully aware the video mocked a real-life woman who had faced threats and abuse (although she is still a horrid person), whereas Heina and Melody do not have any sort of excuse.

What is that phrase, again? The one associated with the FTBullies? Oh yes, I remember – “It’s OK when THEY do it“. That’s the one.

16 Karmakin February 15, 2016 at 5:35 pm

Yeah the big problem really is all the double standards involved. It’s important to show how much of this stuff is, quite frankly, entirely arbitrary and completely relying upon in-group/out-group status.

Don’t let it get to you. I understand it’s tough because most people don’t realize it as of yet, but eventually the word will get out about this culture which uses this sort of virtue signaling, not to create a better world, but to promote the superiority and exclusiveness of their in-group.

17 Citizen Wolf February 15, 2016 at 5:56 pm

OMG, Nialler used the term ‘fag’ !!!

Not sure why he’s talking about bundles of sticks for the fire, but anyway, he’s still bound to get blow-back for it.

18 Steven Carr February 15, 2016 at 6:00 pm

Michael doesn’t mince words , does he?

19 Gary February 15, 2016 at 6:26 pm

All due respect Michael but this is a terrible response.
Their allegations appear to be about 2 sentences long. You’ve just written a page trying to debunk them.
This is a trick and you’ve fallen right for it. They do this because they want you on the back foot and they want you to say something else they can use against you.
If they make baseless allegations just laugh at them! These people don’t care about rebuttals. They won’t accept anything you say anyway.

20 Aoife February 15, 2016 at 6:55 pm

One thing: I want to make it clear that:

*I said nothing in public about Michael. Anything of mine that has been quoted here publicly was written in friends-only posts that he shouldn’t even have had access to. I was venting frustration to friends in a semi-private sphere, on a matter that I didn’t think warranted a public statement.

*Saying “you used dog-whistle homophobic terms” is not the same as saying “you are a homophobe”. Actions, not identity. Going to Pride marches doesn’t mean you can never do anything dodgy.

*No, I won’t apologise. However, I’d like an apology from Michael for quoting my private statements without permission in a public arena.

That’s all.

21 Cindy February 15, 2016 at 7:10 pm

@Aoife

Then I am sure that you are equally frustrated with FTB and their frequent use of the ‘dog-whistle homophobic smear flounce’

Or is it only Michael that you want to smear?

And you can say that your comment wasn’t public, but seeing as how it was there for all to see, then it *was* public.

No, it looks like you were just aching to have a go at Michael through a ‘guilt by association’ smear. “Oh he isn’t a homophobe but he sure talks like one!”

I, for one, am not buying your bs.

22 Nialler February 15, 2016 at 7:27 pm

@Aoife: this interests me:

” Anything of mine that has been quoted here publicly was written in friends-only posts that he shouldn’t even have had access to.”

How did he have acess to them? Sent on to him y someoen who read theM? That’s no defence in defamation. I’d have no doubt that defamation is on MN’s mind – as in no doubt that it isn’t on his mind, but surely people have some right to know what is being said about hem. I’ve worked for decades in the area of data protection, security and personal privacy concerns.

People will always whisper behind each others backs, but that isn’t a healthy behaviour. I’ve had a run-in with Michael in the past; I attacked him, he defended himself robustly and I’m certain that my point was made. Different circumstances, as he was eing attacked y someone entirely anonymous, but he behaved with grace in the interaction – even if was a bit waspish.

Talking behind his back about him in the terms you allegedly used sounds more than a bit gossipy and underhand. The comments as reported are pretty serious

I’d have expected a serious defence of them rather than the modalities of how he read them.

I gave him both barrels when I had a disagreement with him and he fired back in the same coin. I defended my comments to the extent of using his sources.

Try do the same.

23 Tigzy February 15, 2016 at 7:27 pm

‘Then I am sure that you are equally frustrated with FTB and their frequent use of the ‘dog-whistle homophobic smear flounce’

I’m curious about Aoife’s take on this too, considering she recently tweeted (publicly, I might add) to Cork Feminista:

‘No. The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. Doubly so for the standard you publish. ‘

So why take issue with Michael saying it, when you haven’t as yet taken issue with your fellow FTBers saying it?

24 Shatterface February 15, 2016 at 7:36 pm

*No, I won’t apologise. However, I’d like an apology from Michael for quoting my private statements without permission in a public arena.

You smeared someone in a public forum: there’s nothing in libel law that grants you immunity because you only smeared him to a select number of friends.

25 Michael Nugent February 15, 2016 at 7:46 pm

Aoife, thanks for responding.

You wrote: “I said nothing in public about Michael….”

Defaming somebody without letting them know is worse, not better, than defaming them openly. At least if you do it openly, the victim has a chance to defend their reputation. Defaming someone to even one other person is defamation. Exposing defamation that was intended to be kept from the victim is a good thing to do, not a bad thing to do.

You wrote: “Saying “you used dog-whistle homophobic terms” is not the same as saying “you are a homophobe”…”

Firstly, I didn’t use any homophobic terms. Flounce is not a homophobic term, as I have demonstrated in my post here. But if you genuinely believe it is, then please start telling your FreeThoughtBlog colleagues they are using dog-whistle homophobia. If you don’t do that, then I will suspect that your target is me rather than the use of the word flounce.

Secondly, your allegation was not that I “used dog-whistle homophobic terms.” Your allegation was that I “used dog-whistle homophobia.” Please don’t try to reframe your allegation into something less defamatory. Even if you do that, it would still be defamatory to suggest that I am using dog-whistle homophobic terms for the purpose of supporting dog-whistle misogyny.

You wrote: “Actions, not identity…”

As Guestus Aurelius has pointed out, you twice called me a straight dude, and called the person who approached me a gay man.

You wrote: “Going to Pride marches doesn’t mean you can never do anything dodgy.”

Well, I agree with that. It didn’t stop you from making defamatory smears. But I’m not talking about just going on Pride marches. I’m saying that you know that my entire character and worldview and activism is the direct opposite of homophobic, and therefore if you believe that I am “using dog-whistle homophobia” you are mistaken.

You wrote: “No, I won’t apologise. However, I’d like an apology from Michael…”

Wow, you’ve got some nerve. Please reconsider that tactic, and do the decent thing and apologise.

26 Guestus Aurelius February 15, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Aofie writes:

Saying “you used dog-whistle homophobic terms” is not the same as saying “you are a homophobe”. Actions, not identity. Going to Pride marches doesn’t mean you can never do anything dodgy.

“Actions, not identity,” eh?

Gotta love a straight dude using the term ‘flounced away’ to refer to a gay man leaving a conversation with him. Especially when the straight dude just denied Dawkins’ misogyny. Then again, nothing surprising about someone using dog-whistle homophobia to defend someone who does the same to women, right?

27 Guestus Aurelius February 15, 2016 at 7:50 pm

(Aoife, even.)

28 Jane Donnelly February 15, 2016 at 8:08 pm

I was at a meeting this afternoon and met Michael after for a coffee.
I spent some time persuading him to sue them.

We are driving to Limerick tomorrow to a conference and I am going to spend that couple of hours persuading him to sue them.

I’m convinced that these type of smears have to stop, I have seen the most terrible things said about the man in the past couple of years. Do these people not see a person when they look at him.

Ignoring them does not seem to work, if you do that those smears just become a normal part of conversation. Addressing the smears publicly does not seem to stop them either.

As a last option these people need to be sued and face the consequences of their smears, sue any more of them that turn up as well. All they do is sit behind screens and undermine the good name of people who are doing their best to change the world for the better.

Please sue them, I’ll give you all the support that I can.

29 Nialler February 15, 2016 at 8:11 pm

Incidentally, I have to not love the photo on this tread.
I’m big into solidarity as between activist groups, but it always jars to see someone carry their own banner on a march.
For what it’s worth, I have no idea how to square that circle in my own mind, so don’t view it as a criticism – more an observation.

30 Shivar February 15, 2016 at 8:13 pm

A perfect example of the petty smears and “It’s OK when WE do it” double standard foolishness that emanate from the FreethoughtBlogs thugs. No doubt you’ll soon see yet another post by PZ calling you unhinged and obsessed… while conveniently ignoring the fact that “flounce” is an extremely common term in internet parlance, one they themselves use all the time. Their bullying and hypocrisy truly know no bounds.

31 Ashling O'Brien February 15, 2016 at 8:17 pm

What Jane said 100%. This is just getting out of control. It is not the way ethical people act. There are consequences when you go around taking people’s good name, defaming and smearing them.

@Aoife – is this really how you want to change society for the better? I really doubt it. I’ve know you on Facebook for a few years now, I know you are passionate about social justice. So are we in Atheist Ireland. Newsflash: we are NOT the enemy, we are on your side. Michael and Jane are out working on making real change every day of the week, they are not just sitting behind a keyboard getting angry about things. Of course you can criticise if you disagree with our approach, but be constructive please. I’d ask you to please reconsider your approach to how you choose to work with others involved in achieving a fair and equal Ireland.

32 Nialler February 15, 2016 at 8:25 pm

@Jane #28:

I disagree strongly on your advice.

A case will cost serious money and will provoke any defendant to spend identical amounts in defence. Any such defence will involve poring over every single word MN has written anywhere, andwill invlve any possible negative connotations being taken into account – no matter how untrue they may be.

Even a victory doesn’t guarantee costs, which usually become the subject of a second case.

Defamation is surely a pursuit of he very seriously funded, who can fford to bludgeom their critics with force of money.

On top of that, even if won (which carries no guarantee of winning costs), damages may be limited by the asserted private nature of the comments. Id the intended audience was limited, then damages might be limited to the loss of reputation only within that audience.

At that stage the person reported the comments to MN might find themselves in the firing line (that said, MN would have discretion as to who to sue).

Ultimately, a small internet spat could prove ruinously expensive and might achieve no end whatever.

I would respectfully suggest strongly against it.

I should that I don’t know this Aoife person and have no brief in representing her whatever. IF MN needs legal representation he doubtless has access to it.

33 Derek Walsh February 15, 2016 at 8:34 pm

I don’t know Aoife well enough to call her a friend except in the broadest sense, but I’ve had a few spirited discussions with her, both online and offline, and have always valued her perspective even where we don’t agree.

She is a good person and a good writer, a skeptic, an atheist and a tireless advocate for LGBT rights.

But she’s wrong on this and I’m sure she knows it.

It’s fine to have issues with the term “flounced” as used by Michael. I raised an eyebrow myself when I read it and had he asked my opinion before posting it, I would have advised him to use a different word, as I found it somewhat evocative of stereotypes of gay men as camp and histrionic.

But I’m not Michael’s editor and I didn’t witness the exchange in question. I don’t know whether the man “turned on his heel”, “stormed off” or “bounded away” so I don’t even necessarily have a better suggestion than “flounced”.

But it’s OK to not be overly enamoured with the use of the word in that context.

What’s not OK is to call this choice of word “dog-whistle homophobia.”

“Dog whistle” as used to modify some form of bigotry has a very specific meaning. It is when open bigotry is no longer acceptable, so specific terms are used that are intended to be understood only by other bigots. It carries the necessary implication that Michael is a homophobe who chose the term to highlight (and criticise or ridicule) the other man’s sexuality, and that his intended audience consists of other homophobes.

These claims are incredibly damaging, particularly coming from someone who might be viewed as something of an authority on these matters.

Those unfamiliar with Aoife’s writing style might think nothing of her referring to Michael (twice) as a “straight dude.” And perhaps there’s nothing to it. But the gay man was just a “man”, not a “dude” and I think that’s significant.

To Aoife’s audience, “dudes” are pretty much always straight, white, privileged, and clueless. Calling Michael a “straight dude” signals that he’s of the oppressor class. That’s reinforced by saying that there’s “nothing surprising” about his homophobia because he’s also a misogynist. If someone didn’t know Michael at all apart from this account, it might be reasonable for such a person to harbour a tiny suspicion that the term was meant as a mildly homophobic insult.

If someone only heard Aoife’s version of this account, then they would likely label Michael a homophobe and a misogynist, and would probably be ill-disposed towards him.

Anyone who actually knows Michael should know better. Aoife should know better. Aoife does know better.

34 Devin February 15, 2016 at 8:55 pm

” I don’t like being called a homophobe or a mysogynists so I’ll single out a queer woman for criticism”

Bravo…..*slow clap*

35 Nialler February 15, 2016 at 8:59 pm

@Aishling

No one person has a monopoly in how they agitate for “a fair and equal Ireland”.

We may agree on the end but disagree on the means. I agree that this case is a bad one, but it is somewhat patronising to assume that one’s view is the better one.

36 Christine February 15, 2016 at 9:04 pm

@Jane if you attempt to sue me I will counter sue. I was defamed by you recently when you called me sexist which was a baseless claim to make. It was very damaging to my character and I still haven’t recived an apology for those remarks that you made towards me.

I apologised to Micheal for my remarks already, openly in a public forum while you did not apologise to me. I have had it with this tit for tat bullshit. You play the victim to others, to my personal friends, yet you somehow forget to mention you did exactly the same thing.

I want a personal apology and a retraction from you please.

37 Aidan Rowe February 15, 2016 at 9:12 pm

Right but the assertion isn’t that the use of the word flounce in any context is homophobic. It’s that this specific use in this specific context to describe this specific gay man is homophobic. I know him, he’s a friend, and it’s obvious that what you’re referring to is the somewhat effeminate manner in which he moves. That’s homophobic, and you haven’t addressed it at all, you’ve just tried to bore your opponents into submission by quoting a large volume of irrelevant quotes that happen to contain the same word that you used.

38 Citizen Wolf February 15, 2016 at 9:12 pm

Aoife **I was venting frustration to friends**

Frustration about what? The use of flounce? Really? And this is how you go about resolving your (inappropriate in this case) frustration – by smearing MN to friends!

You (incorrectly) attribute homophobic undertones to MN’s use of the word flounce. Doesn’t MNs long-standing actions for LGBT rights make you reconsider your interpretation of flounce as used by MN? Don’t you think, based on MNs track record, that you are being wholly uncharitable in your interpretation over this one single word? Couldn’t you be wrong?

Why would you go off and smear MNs reputation to your friends like that? Just because you felt it was ‘private’ doesn’t make your interpretations of MN, nor your own actions, any better.

Your actions here seem to indicate to me (and I don’t know you personally at all) that words mean a lot to you. And, thus, as someone who’s so concerned about terminology and word-use, what was your intended meaning for referring to a gay-‘man’ (neutral & acceptable term) and yet referring to MN as a straight-‘dude’ (negative and pejorative). It’s astounding that you can balance such opposing views and actions in your head, and come out thinking that it’s ok for you to do it.

39 Citizen Wolf February 15, 2016 at 9:20 pm

Jane & Christine
I have no idea who you are, and I have no idea of the backstory. I’m just someone reading this blog, so this is the impression I’m getting from an outside perspective – and that is that there’s a lot on scratching and biting and in-fighting going on in the background.

This is all happening on your blog Michael. It’s not a good look. :(

40 Michael Nugent February 15, 2016 at 9:23 pm

#36 Christine, I think you have misread Jane’s comment. Jane wasn’t talking about herself suing anyone, and she wasn’t talking about me suing you. You did apologise to me for your defamatory smear against me, and I didn’t name you in this post for that reason.

Also, regarding the other statements, that both you and Jane acknowledged were not defamatory but robust debate about interpretation of comments, Jane did apologise to you after you explained the context of one of your comments.

What Jane and I were discussing today was the barrage of defamatory allegations made against me on a consistent basis, associating me with everything from misogyny and homophobia to fascism, rape supporting and pedophile supporting. You don’t know the half of it.

41 jimthepleb February 15, 2016 at 9:28 pm

Aidan Rowe do you do your mind-reading tricks at children’s parties? It’s obvious that your use of the specific word ‘homophobic’ in this specific context to this specific atheist campaigner is because of Michael’s fear of sameness. That’s heterophobic and you haven’t addressed it at all, you’ve just tried to bore your opponents into submission with smugness and assumptions of the OP’s intentions.

42 Christine February 15, 2016 at 9:34 pm

If you look at the post Michael she actually apologised for taking my comment up wrong not for saying that I was sexist. I’m also with Citizen Wolf on this one. It is very tit for tat and while you didn’t name me directly she still proceeded to comment directly under the post about how you should sue these people. How does that not come across as threatening? I await an apology and further clarification on who she wishes you to threaten because any insinuation of threats even with suing is very serious indeed. It comes across as bully tactics. I made a remark I apologised but I feel that has not been reciprocated by Jane and now threats are thrown in the mix this was the only way I could even respond.

43 Michael Nugent February 15, 2016 at 9:38 pm

Christine, I’ve already clarified that Jane wasn’t talking about me suing you. She was referring to a discussion that she and I had today about a number of defamatory allegations that have been made about me over a considerable period of time. Not about you. My reading of the exchange on the Facebook page is that you were both satisfied with the outcome as could be expected in the circumstances.

44 Jay February 15, 2016 at 9:39 pm

Aidan,

Not knowing your friend but having seen how many times at FTB and elsewhere that *flounce* is used in the canonical fashion to mean “left in an angry manner (promising never to return)” it took social justice warriors to remind me that flounce might refer to what certain LGBT supports insist is the *effeminate* manner affected by some gay men they know. (your words)

45 Michael Nugent February 15, 2016 at 9:43 pm

#37 Aidan, it is not at all obvious that that is what I was referring to, for the simple reason that that is not what I was referring to. You are projecting your own views about this man onto me.

I didn’t associate him with what you describe as his effeminacy when I was talking to him, and I don’t associate effeminacy with being gay. We’re not living in a 1970s sitcom.

I didn’t suggest that he left in an effeminate manner. I said that he flounced away, by which I meant he left an an exaggeratedly annoyed way. Nothing to do with his sexual orientation.

Please stop projecting onto my mind your own associations between effeminacy and being gay.

46 Derek Walsh February 15, 2016 at 9:43 pm

@Devin:

” I don’t like being called a homophobe or a mysogynists so I’ll single out a queer woman for criticism”

Bravo…..*slow clap*

It’s more like: “I don’t like being called a homophobe or a misogynist so I’ll respond to the person who called me a homophobe and misogynist and explain why they are wrong.”

47 Nialler February 15, 2016 at 10:05 pm

The verb “flounce” is very well defined n the, err, dictionary.

48 Aidan Rowe February 15, 2016 at 10:13 pm

Right so you JUST HAPPENED to use what is typical derogatory language towards male femininity and/or homosexuality towards an effeminate gay man but there’s no connection because you didn’t notice. I can’t read your mind, but I don’t think that’s a particularly plausible claim, in much the same way that “I didn’t even notice they were black!” is not really a plausible defence to using racially-loaded language towards black people, even though its falsity cannot be definitively proved.

As for your insinuation that I’m projecting my own homophobic associations onto you: (1) that doesn’t make much sense as an accusation for a straight man to direct toward a AMAB transgender queer and (2) assumes that associating gayness with male femininity is derogatory towards gay people, which in turn rests on the assumption that male femininity is in some sense negative. So meh

49 Cindy February 15, 2016 at 10:15 pm

@Adian Rowe

The *only* one making the connection is YOU.

I use the term all the time, and it has ZERO connotations other than ‘leaving in a histrionic manner’

50 Shatterface February 15, 2016 at 10:15 pm

Michael is entitled to sue but we are facing a cultural problem rather than just a few isolated individuals.

Stephen Fry, Peter Tatchell, Richard Dawkins, Germaine Greer, Julie Burchill, Tim Hunt, and countless others – most lacking the public profile to fight back – are being smeared by armchair warriors who make no real world contribution to feminism, gay rights, anti-racism, secularism, or secularism.

It has to stop.

51 Shivar February 15, 2016 at 10:17 pm

Derek Walsh @47:

A common occurrence. SJWs attack, and when their victims try to defend themselves, their defense is labeled as bullying or attacking. These blatantly dishonest tactics are getting very tiresome, especially for people who insist they are practitioners of reason. But for the last few years, SJWs have been trying to mangle the meanings of words like “reason”, ” skepticism” and “freethought” into Orwellian doublespeak that devolves into the exact opposite of their original meanings. The irony of the very name “FreethoughtBlogs” is the prime example; the insistence that the emotion-driven SJW nonsense that was the ill-fated “Atheism Plus” was basis on skepticism and reason is another. It’s as if these groups try to legitimize their so-called “social justice” platforms by co-opting terms they don’t actually implement or even understand… in the same fashion creationists try to puff up their cred by throwing around sciencey terms like “thermodynamics”.

Frankly, I am astounded that the atheist and skeptic communities have allowed this malignant nonsense to fester for so long. But on the positive side, it looks like more and more people are finally waking up and recognizing the problem, and are starting to ignore the hypocrites and bad apples in the community.

It’s nice to see them not being given all the platforms they previously thought were theirs by default. It gives me hope that someday soon atheism and skepticism can shake off the malignant infestation and get back to what they do best – and the bad seeds can go play in their own little ecgo-chambers and accuse each other of whatever -isms and -phobias until the cows come home.

52 Shatterface February 15, 2016 at 10:18 pm

Sorry, last ‘secularism’ should be ‘skepticism’.

53 Steersman February 15, 2016 at 10:18 pm

Never have so many gotten their knickers so bunched with so little justification. To coin a phrase. Besides which, Chicken Little looks positively phlegmatic.

Which, by itself, wouldn’t normally be worth more than a tinker’s damn, except that many insist on going off the deep end, on crossing the Rubicon, into some egregious accusations that have no justification in fact. Which should be actionable if our justice system wasn’t so badly flawed.

But, further, it seems that the proximate cause is that many are unclear on the concept of stereotypes, and that they can, frequently, be remarkably accurate. So freaking what if someone asserts that some guy “flounced off”? No doubt some gays, and some women fit the stereotype to a T. But neither sexist nor homophobic to assert that of an individual – one would have to insist that the “accused” was asserting that of all women or all gays for those charges to have chance of sticking.

54 Lancelot Gobbo February 15, 2016 at 10:19 pm

I’m very saddened to see time being wasted on such petty bickering. I can see the papal nuncio rubbing his hands in glee as Michael and AI are distracted from their mission by those who feel that any opportunity to show what good wholesome people they are is worth taking.
It seems we should modify the old proverb very slightly: “Those who can do; those who can’t, lecture, cavil and nit-pick to make themselves feel better about not being able to do anything useful.”
Don’t let the buggers give you a stroke, Michael. We are losing too many of the good ones.

55 Aidan Rowe February 15, 2016 at 10:22 pm

@Shatterface

“Michael is entitled to sue”

Change your profile picture. jfc

56 Paul Kelly February 15, 2016 at 10:37 pm

I am always disappointed when I see members of the skeptical/atheist (please apply appropriate venn diagram based on your views) groups, infighting over manufactured offence.

The weight of evidence shows that Michael is a champion of gay rights and even if the word was homophobic(which he has demonstrated perfectly, it is not) the rational view would be to assume that was not his intention. Instead, a vocal minority create a narrative so they can assume a fabricated moral highground in a non-existent battle.

Michael has explained himself perfectly from what I can see and yet those against him seem only intent on misrepresenting his arguments or are unfortunately beyond understanding them.

Honestly I think by making arguments with so little substance around issues as important and damaging as gender or sexual orientation discrimination, you dilute the fight against them and give ammunition to those who want to dismiss and ignore those issues when they actually come about.

57 Shatterface February 15, 2016 at 10:43 pm

Change your profile picture. jfc

I wasn’t going to be unkind enough to comment on yours. What’s it supposed to be?

58 Nialler February 15, 2016 at 10:45 pm

@Shatterface: #50

Are you serious? Really?

I’m really hoping not.

59 Shatterface February 15, 2016 at 10:50 pm

If a lawsuit is what it takes.

As to Auden Rowe, learn your history. Anarchists will use the law when we have to:

http://fellowshipoftheminds.com/2012/08/04/anarchists-sue-toronto-police/

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/nov/21/met-police-spies-women-undercover

60 Jan Steen February 15, 2016 at 10:57 pm

Several FTB bloggers and their regular commenters exhibit a behaviour that can only be called cult-like. One of the most obvious characteristics is an abnormally strong demarcation between “Us” and “Them”. There is no middle ground. You’re either “one of us” or “one of them”.

How often have we not heard of cult members who broke all ties with friends and family, not because these people did anything wrong, but because they failed to join the cult? They became “Them”.

Since “Us” and “Them” are artificial categories, they can only be maintained by making up non-existent differences. On the one hand, what “one of us” does cannot be wrong, and therefore cannot be criticized (consider the odious behaviour of PZ Myers). On the other hand, what “one of them” does, even if only slightly at variance with the beliefs of the cult, must be wrong, utterly wrong (criticize a cultist who happens to be a woman, and you’re a misogynist).

Soon, the out-group will be demonized, and the in-group idealized. The dishonesty this necessarily entails — the false accusations, the excessive virtue signalling — further strengthens the black-and-white thinking, because only this kind of thinking makes the dishonesty seem justified.

Aoife behaves like a cultist to someone who is perceived as an outsider, even though he considered her a friend. You shouldn’t take her seriously. What she says obviously isn’t true. Her kind will try anything that sticks to defame you, a member of the outgroup. They can’t help themselves.

Members of the cult; folk like Aoife, PZ Myers, Richard Carrier, Stephanie Zvan, Dana Hunter, and most of their regular commenters, live in an alternative reality. They are the righteous people (so they firmly believe). We, those who criticize them or point and laugh at them, are “Them”. We can be lied about, we can be smeared, we are evil. We are racists, sexists, homophobes, misogynists, and whatnot.

Don’t believe for a moment that they have a point. Don’t try to justify yourself. They are the ones who need to justify themselves. They are the People’s Temple of FreethoughtBlogs. They are the ones who brew the Kool-Aid.

Anyone who has followed Michael knows that this accusation of homophobia is ludicrous and horribly unjust. It’s a baseless smear. As such, it shouldn’t reflect poorly on him but on the person who libels him behind his back. Aoife should be ashamed of herself. What she did is just low, very, very low.

But shame implies self-reflection, and precisely that faculty is the first to go if you join a cult. In short, expecting Aoife to do the decent thing is like expecting a Scientologist to denounce L. Ron Hubbard. She is literally shameless. As are PZ Myers, Richard Carrier, Stephanies Zvan, and their kind. They are shameless people.

61 tina February 15, 2016 at 11:10 pm

Usually 6 fl ounces is enough.

62 JackSkeptic February 15, 2016 at 11:12 pm

When dealing with cults it’s best remembered words no longer have any meaning and therefore their attacks have no meaning. The only way to combat these smears is point out their smear tactics to as many people as possible so they do not mistake them as credible.

The AS movement has already been damaged by these crybullies and the one way to mitigate the damage is to laugh at them (which is why the Slympit does this) and use humour to show their unbridled hypocrisy.

If you take them seriously you lose as they crave legitimacy. That is why they go for people like Dawkins. They are under the delusion if they can take down thought leaders they will replace them (and if weak org’s such as the NECSS crumble so easily they will..they are already discussing who should be on the discussion regarding the ‘Dawkin’s issues’ at the conference. So they won a victory there.)

Reality does not matter. A persons previous actions and words have no value. Family and friendships are irrelevant and must be ignored for the greater good. If they decide you’re not ‘one of them’ you’re put on their hit list and they will not stop.

They have a toolbox of memes and conversation stoppers to hand. Like packs of baboons they react to their ‘leaders’ arbitrary decisions about whom should be attacked. There is no care about the truth or the consequences. Nugent is on the hit list so he’s not only fair game but you get social signalling points for attacking him and you can feel good for having done so much for the ills of this world.

It is mindless in it’s banality. A cheap thrill to boost the ego. It is trivial to find something to ‘dog whistle’ over or call ‘problematic’ and their whole political philosophy is based on doing that. It is so attractive as it is so easy. No thought required.

Like cults many friendships and families have broken up over the new regressive’s bigoted intolerance, absolute censorship, dehumanising rhetoric and total lack of empathy. Many people are victims of this cult, including many who are in it, fooled by their Motte and Bailey tactics.

People are speaking up about which is great but it is dangerous. Some will not hesitate to harm you and anyone close to you. Doxing is encouraged (Myers and Watson openly said so, Svan and Benson have given it support, amongst others on FtB) and reporting to your employer is fine by them. It is all part of smear tactics and fair game.

The one saving grace is their very behaviour always leads to their own self destruction (Atheism Plus as an example, a guaranteed fail from day one) as they try and reach political purity. In the meantime we can hope to mitigate the damage they cause.

If I we’re Dawkins I would have laughed. If I were Fry I would have laughed. If I were Nugent I would have laughed. But for some they can’t find it a laughing matter and it hurts so deeply. The regressives should be ashamed of themselves.

63 Michael Nugent February 15, 2016 at 11:21 pm

#48 Aidan, one advantage of online conversations is that you can read back over what was written and see if you have imagined something that is not there.

I didn’t say you were projecting you own “homophobic” associations onto me. You just added in the word “homophobic” into that sentence. I don’t think there is anything homophobic about associating effeminacy with being gay; it is just an association that I happen not to make.

What I said is that you seemed to be projecting onto my mind your own associations between effeminacy and being gay. You replied that that doesn’t make much sense because you are an AMAB transgender queer.

But it does make sense, because what you wrote came from thoughts in your mind that don’t exist in my mind. Saying that you are an AMAB transgender queer doesn’t change that you were projecting your thoughts onto my mind.

Again, I did not say that associating being gay with effeminacy is derogatory towards gay people. I simply said that I do not make that association. In my mind, being effeminate is value neutral with regard to either gay people or straight people.

You don’t have to do mind reading tricks to figure out what I think, because I have told you.

64 Ashling O'Brien February 15, 2016 at 11:22 pm

Is this the most awful man in Ireland? The smears against Michael Nugent have gone past the point of absurd.

http://godlessindublin.blogspot.ie/

65 Shatterface February 15, 2016 at 11:36 pm

If Michael is a ‘homophobe’ we are going to have to invent a new word for people who are actually prejudiced against homosexuals.

Can I ask those attacking Michael do you also believe accusations of ‘racism’ and ‘misogyny’ against Stephen Fry and Peter Tatchell?

66 Brian February 15, 2016 at 11:37 pm

Threatening to sue an LGBT person for defamation because (you believe) they called you homophobic?

Apparently Atheist Ireland and the Iona Institute have more in common than they may have realized.

PS – To all of the legal scholars here, honest opinion is a defense against defamation. So unless you think Aoife wasn’t expressing her honest opinion, maybe hold off the (defamatory?) accusations that she has engaged in defamation.

67 Shatterface February 15, 2016 at 11:40 pm

What does the defendant being LGTB have to do with it?

And no, ‘honest opinion’ isn’t a defence. What country is that in? Certainly not Ireland.

68 Cindy February 15, 2016 at 11:45 pm

LOL

If ‘honest opinion’ is truly a great defense against defamation, then you could claim that *anyone* is a Nazi pedo baby killer and get away with it, simply because you ‘honestly believe that’s the case’

Funny stuff. Keep it coming.

69 Jan Steen February 15, 2016 at 11:45 pm

LGBT people are never wrong. Why didn’t you think of that, Michael? This Aoife person is apparently queer, so she can spout any kind of libellous nonsense she likes without having to fear for the consequences.

Like I said, this is cult behaviour.

70 Cindy February 15, 2016 at 11:49 pm

Who here stated that Aoife was a ‘queer’ woman.

Oh right, someone who claims to be on her side.

Well, ‘queer’ is a SLUR. You are a homophobe, you person you.

According to this tumblr, queer is totes a smear:

http://stopusingqueerasablanketterm.tumblr.com/

“”you know what isn’t helping?

people using ‘queer’ as a blanket term

‘queer’ is a slur. using it as a blanket term helps no on, especially the people you’re using it for.

and it sure as hell doesn’t get us any closer to a ‘non bigoted’ society.””

71 Shatterface February 15, 2016 at 11:52 pm

If ‘honest’ opinion was a defence you’d have to prove that honesty by, say, going after others who used the word ‘flounced’ instead of joining their network.

72 Brian February 15, 2016 at 11:56 pm

“And no, ‘honest opinion’ isn’t a defence. What country is that in? Certainly not Ireland.”

It sure is.
http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2009/act/31/enacted/en/pdf

73 Michael Nugent February 15, 2016 at 11:59 pm

Excellent analysis by Ashling O’Brien of the litany of outrageous smears against me in recent weeks. I’m a bit afraid to be alone with myself after reading it!

Is this the most awful man in Ireland? The smears against Michael Nugent have gone past the point of absurd.

74 Shatterface February 15, 2016 at 11:59 pm

Who here stated that Aoife was a ‘queer’ woman.

Oh, for fuck’s sake: read her fucking Facebook profile.

Scepticism, feminism, and queeristry with an Irish bent. It’s all in bits, like.

https://m.facebook.com/ConsiderTheTeaCosy

Now go and apologise to her for erasing her queer identity.

75 Cindy February 16, 2016 at 12:02 am

@Shatterface

You miss my point.

*She* can call herself queer. And black folk can call themselves the N word.

But a commenter here, ostensibly defending her, used that term. So, if we are to take the typically uncharitable SJW position, that person who was defending her is clearly a homophobe, whether they admit it or not. I mean, since we (we = the SJWs) are doing to be dishonest regarding language, right?

76 Cindy February 16, 2016 at 12:03 am

*intent is not magic*

77 Shatterface February 16, 2016 at 12:08 am

Sorry, I’m seeing so many stupid word games these days it’s hard to tell when someone’s taking the piss.

78 Aidan Rowe February 16, 2016 at 12:25 am

What you said is:

“I didn’t associate him with what you describe as his effeminacy when I was talking to him, and I don’t associate effeminacy with being gay. We’re not living in a 1970s sitcom.”

How am I to read the final sentence there if not as an insinuation of homophobic stereotyping? What does comparing my (supposed) association of effeminacy with being gay to a 1970s sitcom mean if not that?

79 Shatterface February 16, 2016 at 12:35 am

How am I to read the final sentence there if not as an insinuation of homophobic stereotyping? What does comparing my (supposed) association of effeminacy with being gay to a 1970s sitcom mean if not that?

Because YOU were associating homosexuality with effeminacy, as did 70s sitcoms. Michael made no such association.

80 Jan Steen February 16, 2016 at 12:38 am

@Aidan Rowe,

I can lend you a strong magnifying glass, or even a microscope, if that would help you discover those micro-offences you are after.

Good grief.

81 Jay February 16, 2016 at 12:43 am

“Me obsessed with sex?” the Aidan objected, “you’re the one who is making all the dirty pictures!”

82 Shatterface February 16, 2016 at 12:51 am

It sure is.

There’s no legal defence that saying ‘In my honest opinion so-and-so is a pedo (or whatever)’. Try it and see.

It’s not like saying a meal was terrible; its more like saying a reataurant was serving rotten meat. Prefixing it with ‘In my opinion’ won’t help you.

In any case the the friend says ”Not only has he never read the bible but he is actually homophobic.” . No, ‘in my opinion’ about that. If Michael has accepted an apology for that then that’s okay with me.

83 Shatterface February 16, 2016 at 12:54 am

I can lend you a strong magnifying glass, or even a microscope, if that would help you discover those micro-offences you are after.

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory which detected gravitational waves last week isn’t finely attuned enough to detect today’s microaggressions.

84 ej February 16, 2016 at 1:02 am

Burn in hell, homophobe scum.

85 Brian February 16, 2016 at 1:24 am

@Shatterface,

If you express the view that someone is homophobic, and this opinion is based on facts, and concerns a matter of public interest, then it would indeed be a defense to a charge of defamation. (And you don’t need to preface your claim with “in my opinion” if the context makes it clear that you are giving your opinion. Given that homophobia refers to a person’s attitudes, and given that nobody has direct access to another person’s attitudes, it is difficult to see how any judge would regard an accusation of homophobia as something other than an expression of an opinion)

Presumably, supporters of free speech should welcome laws that protect the expression of people’s honestly held opinions based on facts.

86 Cindy February 16, 2016 at 1:34 am

@Brian

*What* facts?

87 Brian February 16, 2016 at 1:50 am

@Cindy

In this case, the relevant fact is that Michael Nugent wrote the original blog post in question, and described the person he interacted with as having “flounced away”. That he wrote those words is a fact that is not in dispute by anyone. The opinion based on that fact is that the choice of words in the context in question was an example of “dog-whistle homophobia”. Whether the opinion is a reasonable one does not matter, as far as defamation goes: what matters is whether it was honestly held.

Michael seems to believe it isn’t honestly held: he says that Aoife knows it isn’t true that he is homophobic, because he has spent, and does spend, lots of his time campaigning for the interests of LGBT people.

The most obvious problem with that argument is that being supportive of LGBT people in some (or even most) cases doesn’t preclude the possibility that one might engage in individual acts that are homophobic, or language that appeals to homophobic tropes. Nobody is perfect, after all, and even the most committed allies sometimes slip up. ( Ideally, such cases would prompt some self-reflection, rather than an immediate rush to cast oneself as the victim of some sort of conspiracy or betrayal )

88 Cindy February 16, 2016 at 1:53 am

I see.

So if I hold the *honest* opinion that you a real Nazi for sure, based on my personal subjective opinion of your writing, then I can go around and tell everyone that you are a Nazi cuz I am just being honest!

89 Brian February 16, 2016 at 2:23 am

That would depend on the context. A court may have regard to whether the expression of the opinion also includes the facts on which the opinion is based, for example. ( In this case, Aoife’s original comment did include the expression on which her opinion was based, which means that readers can judge the reasonableness of her opinion for themselves.)

90 Jack Rawlinson February 16, 2016 at 2:31 am

*I said nothing in public about Michael. Anything of mine that has been quoted here publicly was written in friends-only posts that he shouldn’t even have had access to.”

Oh, right. Because attaching “friends only” status to vicious, unjustified libel makes it okay.

You people really need to have it impressed upon your oblivious little selves that you don’t get to talk shit about others with impunity.

91 Steersman February 16, 2016 at 3:36 am

Brian, #89:

In this case, Aoife’s original comment did include the expression on which her opinion was based, which means that readers can judge the reasonableness of her opinion for themselves.)

So that means then if people, the ladies and gentlemen of the Jury, think it wasn’t “reasonable” then they and the Court could find for the plaintiff (hypothetically, I assume, Michael)?

92 Steersman February 16, 2016 at 3:59 am

Cindy #75:

*She* can call herself queer. And black folk can call themselves the N word.

But a commenter here, ostensibly defending her, used that term. So, if we are to take the typically uncharitable SJW position, that person who was defending her is clearly a homophobe, whether they admit it or not. I mean, since we (we = the SJWs) are [going] to be dishonest regarding language, right?

Not quite sure of your point, whether you’re defending “the typically uncharitably SJW position” (presumably not), but you might be interested in this paper on linguistics on The semantics of slurs. A salient passage quoting the black comedian Chris Rock:

… Rock claimed it was socially acceptable for black people to refer to segments of the black population that degraded the black community through laziness and stupidity as “Niggas” [rather than “Black People”]”

While that, of course, only underscores your point about self-reference, one might suggest that it is rather racist there, or rather sexist in the case of “queer”, for people to insist that those in the “out-group” can’t also use the terms – at least when they are referring to individuals or segments of the relevant populations.

While I think that gratuitious insults generally don’t help matters much, I think it important to differentiate between those uses that are clearly racist or sexist or homophobic – where it is clear one is referring to entire populations – and those uses where it ain’t necessarily so.

93 An Ardent Skeptic February 16, 2016 at 6:37 am

I’ve grown so tired of hearing about more nonsense coming from people who claim to be fighting the good fight for truth, justice, feminism, or whatever. That is not to say that you shouldn’t be calling out this nonsense for what it is, Michael. Moreover, the way you go about it is deserving of great respect not derisive cracks about length or the amount of detail. As people of reason, we are supposed to show evidence for the claims we make. This is a talent you have mastered, Michael, but unfortunately, it’s used as yet another excuse for your detractors to find fault with you.

And now for something completely different…

Michael, you look great in the picture included in this post! :-) Those horns are the perfect fashion accessory to go with your red polo shirt and jacket. (Of course, your detractors seem to think you’re ‘the devil incarnate’ so they probably like the horns for other reasons, unfortunately! :-( )

94 Gavin McBride February 16, 2016 at 8:14 am

Good to see Nugent keeping his usual good humor about it all with comments like the “I am afraid to be alone with myself” one. I always respect someone who can face any adversity strongly, but while maintaining a sense of humor at the same time.

I must have lived in a bubble for some time myself though because up until this post today I myself have NO associations of ANY type between homosexuality, homophobia, being effeminate… or any of these things…. and the word “Flounce”.

In fact the first time I ever heard the word was some years ago having moved to Germany and using the Expats Support Form “Toy Town” where they define Flounce, with typical England Dry Humor ™ infused overtones, as follows:

http://www.toytowngermany.com/wiki/Flounce

95 Phil Giordana FCD February 16, 2016 at 10:44 am

Flounce is not homophobic in anyway whatsoever except in the minds of those who want to be perpetually offended for victim points.

I think the best answer to such bullshit should be a heartfelt “fuck off”.

Really, we shouldn’t let those post-modernist peddlers impose their own very narrow, bigoted definitions on others. That they think “flounce” is homophobic, while the vast majority of the English-speaking world doesn’t, says a lot more about their mindset than that of normal people.

I wish more people would just use “fuck off” as a standard reply to the SJWs. “Cry me a river” might be another good one.

96 Brive1987 February 16, 2016 at 11:04 am

Steersman – could your thesis be extended to gendered slurs if pointed at an individual?

97 Bob February 16, 2016 at 11:23 am

Talking about appropriate “answers” and “replies” to a statement that wasn’t made in a public forum and wasn’t intended to be part of a conversation is a little bit strange. As is the attitude of those who decry the perpetually offended, yet seem to have nothing better to do with their time than publicly attack someone for expressing an opinion to their friends in private.

98 Shivar February 16, 2016 at 11:24 am

Michael, how dare you not apologize for finding out that someone you thought was a friend was bad-mouthing you behind your back! How rude.

99 Shivar February 16, 2016 at 11:54 am

Funny how certain self-righteous prigs demand that everyone else be held accountable for their words, but they themselves do not feel the need to do the same thing.

100 Shatterface February 16, 2016 at 12:16 pm

Steersman – could your thesis be extended to gendered slurs if pointed at an individual?

Don’t engage him. Four years is enough.

101 Seymour February 16, 2016 at 7:30 pm

@Brian

You should read the bit about when honest opinion fails in Pt.3 S.19/20 part 3.

Honest opinion isn’t a “Get out of Gaol” free card, otherwise defamers would just need to lie in court.

102 Seymour February 16, 2016 at 7:57 pm

Anyone remember the olden days when all we had to worry about on the internet was flamers http://blog.codinghorror.com/which-online-discussion-archetype-are-you/ of various types?

103 Brian February 16, 2016 at 7:58 pm

@Seymour

I have read that section. (I became very familiar with it back when the Iona Institute were threatening to sue Rory O’Neill for his honest opinion that some of its members were homophobic.) Can you tell me specifically which part of it suggests to you that an honest opinion defense of Aoife’s remarks would fail?

104 Gavin McBride February 17, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Heheh I was made think of this discussion only today. Watch how Peter Hitchens stands up and then sits down again between 1:09:08 to 1:09:15 in this video here. THAT is a flounce if ever I saw one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XHv7IQCg-w

105 Nialler February 17, 2016 at 4:36 pm

One wrinkle in this is that I have personally read or heard the word “flounced” used to connote homosexuality or effeminacy. That’s not to say that even that use is necessarily indicative of homophobia, but I *have* heard it used in said arch-sense.

I guess the point here is that MN, in using the word, has betrayed a latent homophobia which his social veneer has concealed to date. In that event, he isn’t to *know* that he is homophobic and will, of course, react with indignation and denial if the accusation be made.

Another interpretation is that as a writer he used the word in its literal sense, unaware that there are those who would jump on it as proof that despite decades of activism in areas of equality he is homophobic; they will ignore the hundreds of thousands* of other words he has written and pounce on one to make some sort of dreadful point.

I resent people politicising words, redefening them to their own ends and stretching their meaning beyond the limits of the elasticity of the language.

It makes communication impossible if the parties involved all use personal definitions of words.

* Source MN WordCountIndustries@FTB.

106 Aidan Rowe February 17, 2016 at 5:24 pm

Look *no one* is suggesting that Michael use of “flounce” means that he secretly hates gay people and all his activism is a front. The point is once words leave your lips its no longer merely about intent. Meaning is an effect produced in the other by speech: our utterances don’t carry our intention with them when we send them out into the world. People are responsible not just for what they intend to say (which is unknowable to anyone else anyway) but for meanings others will take from them that could have been reasonably predicted. Michael could not possibly have been unaware of the stigmatising potential of his use of flounce in this specific context, but he chose to say it anyway. He should not have used it. Having used it, and having been (reasonably) read as saying something homophobic by the person he was talking about, he should have apologised. He can’t expect that his pro-gay activism will shield him from having to take responsibility for the things he said no more than my pro-choice work means I don’t have to take responsibility for sexist speech if/when it occurs.

107 Jack Rawlinson February 17, 2016 at 5:55 pm

Aidan |Rowe: “People are responsible not just for what they intend to say (which is unknowable to anyone else anyway) but for meanings others will take from them that could have been reasonably predicted.”

You could have reasonably predicted that I and many other of the commenters here would think this is an extremely foolish, intellectually gutless and thoroughly risible attitude that, if taken as a general guide to communication, would result in precisely the sort of gossamer-skinned, egg-shell-tip-toeing, trigger-warning-happy lexical lunatic asylum people like you seem to think is a sensible way for grown adults to communicate. And yet you made the statement anyway. I assume you didn’t intend to appear foolish but hey, intent isn’t magic, right?

Sheer lunacy.

108 Phil Giordana FCD February 17, 2016 at 6:33 pm

Aidan: Cry Me A River!

109 Nialler February 17, 2016 at 6:36 pm

@Aidan Rowe: no, Michael has no obligation whatever to apologise for what appears to me to be a vexatious effort to reinterpret his words – words which have literal dictionary application.

To interpret the word “flounce” in the manner and to level a charge of homophobia is to divine intent for that interpretation on Michael. It is to state that he used it knowingly in that way.

That view is countered by his behaviour and activism over many years.

He has never been ambiguous on the subject; rather very specific and consistent.

I see no reason to divine such an intent and every reason to accept his word as backed up by his writings and by his behaviour.

I generally try to avoid giving offence, but that is not always possible given the facility with which interest groups change the lexicon of our daily discourse. I, for one, will never apologise for getting it wrong in the subjective view of another person, and will always revert to the dictionary.

The only possible apology I could offer would in any event be a nonpology of the “If I have caused offence…” type.

110 John Greg February 17, 2016 at 6:43 pm

Shorter Aidan:

Do not say what you intend to say; say only what other people expect to hear.

Idiocy.

111 Aidan Rowe February 17, 2016 at 6:52 pm

If I say you’re all a bunch of cunts can I then hide behind the unknowability of my subjective intent and claim that I think cunts are good and any negative interpretation is other people projecting their negative attitudes to cunts onto my pure and innocent mind? That’s a recipe for no one ever to be accountable for anything they say.

112 Derek Walsh February 17, 2016 at 6:52 pm

Aidan Rowe:

Look *no one* is suggesting that Michael use of “flounce” means that he secretly hates gay people and all his activism is a front.

Well, yes they are. What other interpretation can be taken from “dog-whistle homophobia”? “Homophobia” is hating gay people and “dog-whistle” is attempting to communicate this secretly. Now I’m sure that wasn’t Aoife’s intent but “the point is once words leave your lips its no longer merely about intent” etc.

113 Phil Giordana FCD February 17, 2016 at 6:59 pm

Derek:

“Now I’m sure that wasn’t Aoife’s intent”

If I may: why?

If we’re to take the level of vindictiveness and hate that has been coming from SJWs for at least the last five years, I would not dismiss such intent.

Politics trump (ahah) all.

114 Cindy February 17, 2016 at 7:07 pm

@Aidan

So subjective interpretation trumps objective reality eh?

So like, I could look at everything you write, and declare that I find many parts of it to be ‘problematic’ based on my subjective feelies.

Cool!

115 Citizen Wolf February 17, 2016 at 7:14 pm

@Aidan Rowe #111

I’m astounded at the utter absurdity of what you write. If you’re serious, I’d wonder about your sanity.

Of course, you may well be trolling.

116 Derek Walsh February 17, 2016 at 7:26 pm

Phil Giordana FCD:

“Now I’m sure that wasn’t Aoife’s intent”

If I may: why?

Well, because (I think) I know Aoife well enough to know that she’s not stupid, and therefore couldn’t really believe that Michael is secretly anti-gay, and that she’s not malicious and therefore wouldn’t deliberately make false, defamatory statements about someone she knows to be an ally.

117 Nialler February 17, 2016 at 7:26 pm

@Aidan Rowe #111.

Now you’re being ridiculous. The dictionary definitionof the word “cunt” (other than the primary and obviously inapplicable defintion describing the genitalia of females) is strictly pejorative.

I might, on meeting you in a bar as a friend, judge as you held out your hand while chuckling said “Jaysus, you’re some cunt for one man.”, judge that you meat it in a positive and joshing sense. Your intent could be inferred from a very strong contextual framework.

Without that I would have to proceed to the dictionary definition.

118 Aidan Rowe February 17, 2016 at 7:36 pm

But what does the dictionary definition have to do with my subjective intent? Or are you saying that what I say about my intent isn’t the final word on what my statement means, and that we have to take into account the meanings that are likely to be called forth by that statement in minds other than my own? If so how does that differ from the point I made two comments ago?

119 Cindy February 17, 2016 at 7:38 pm

Regarding Aidan Rowe’s assertion that it is acceptable to defame someone because subjective interpretation of words trumps objective reality…I bring you two examples.

In example #1, there is a group of feminists who believe that the term ‘negotiation’ is a euphemism for rape, because in their personal experience, their abusive husbands would ‘negotiate’ sex. An unwitting person got into deep trouble with them and was accused of being a rape apologist because she was not aware of this special subjective interpretation of the word.

In example #2, a blog author told her commentariat to start treating other commenters with KINDNESS, because all too often the commentariat was just plain nasty to one another. One of the commenters has an abusive father, and he is always telling her to be ‘kind’ to him, so she views the word as an invitation to abuse others. She was really really worried and wrote a long post about how kindness = abuse and that the entire forum would now be doomed. Because, in her SUBJECTIVE INTERPRETATION, kindness *means* abuse.

I prefer to stick to dictionary definitions, here in the real world.

120 Nialler February 17, 2016 at 7:54 pm

@Aidan Rowe, #118:

The dictionary definition is all-important because it provides a backstop and a default meaning of what has been said.

You know well that in the example provided you might refer to me as a “cunt” and we’d e all smiles; likewise there are ways of using honeyed words in a strongly damning sense. Both of these require very strong contextual situations in order to subvert their dictionary definition.

Outside those, we can only revert to the common understanding of the dictionary definition.

If you cannot see this, then I must wonder at your path through life and to wonder at how you can communicate.

121 Aidan Rowe February 17, 2016 at 8:10 pm

Your position seems to imply that communication is impossible without dictionaries, which would make it impossible for language to have developed in the first place.

122 Cindy February 17, 2016 at 8:14 pm

Whilst Aidan Rowe’s position would seem to imply that the ONLY interpretation that matters re language is the subjective one.

So too bad, if you didn’t know that the definition of ‘negotiation’ is ‘rape’ according to a subset of oppressed women, that’s your problem, not theirs, think before you speak!

123 Derek Walsh February 17, 2016 at 8:19 pm

Aidan Rowe:

But what does the dictionary definition have to do with my subjective intent?

Well, it should probably have something to do with it. If you intend to use words in a way that is different from how they are normally used, then you run therisk of being misunderstood.

Or are you saying that what I say about my intent isn’t the final word on what my statement means, and that we have to take into account the meanings that are likely to be called forth by that statement in minds other than my own?

If you have simply invented definitions for words that nobody else uses, then obviously you will run into problems. If you call people “cunts”, and then say that for you cunts are good then you’re unlikely to be believed. If on the other hand, you say that you used the word “flounced” according to its dictionary definition, with no intention to allude to a stereotype of gay men, demonstrated that you bear gay men no ill will, and provide a large corpus of text where the word is used in a similar manner, then Christ, you’ve got to assume that decent people will take your word for it.

124 Aidan Rowe February 17, 2016 at 8:25 pm

Cindy, if I was talking to a group of rape survivors who told me that for them “negotiation” calls to mind their experiences of trauma I would find other language to say whatever I was trying to say. I certainly wouldn’t pull out my dictionary and try to prove that their interpretation is stupid, because I’m not a prick. That doesn’t mean I think that “negotiation” means “rape” in some objective sense that transcends that context. I’m perfectly comfortable with the idea of local, contextual meanings with limited scope.

125 Cindy February 17, 2016 at 8:35 pm

@Aidan

Which is *not* at all analogous to the situation that Michael found himself in.

Michael was accused of using a dog-whistle homophobic term because someone *subjectively* interpreted ‘flounce’ to be a homophobic term, whereas Michael was using it under the standard definition.

A more apt analogy would be that you innocently used the term ‘negotiation’, a rape survivor overheard you, accused you of being a rape apologist, and blabbed about it all over social media, defaming your character, since you ‘should have known better, as subjective interpretations trump objective meanings’

That was the argument you made, upthread. That it is the *responsibility* of the person doing the speaking to think of alllllllllll of the possible ways that a word can be subjectively interpreted by xir audience, and if the audience feelz are hurt because they are using a special definition, then it’s the speaker’s fault and xie shouldn’t be such a shitlord.

You and you alone are responsible for your extra special feelz. No one else is.

126 Nialler February 17, 2016 at 8:40 pm

@Adrian Rowe, #121:

Dictionaries swiftly the invention of the printing pres. Communication is obviously possible without dictionary definitions, but is eased and simplified by them. In some contexts it remains impossible to communicate meaningfully without full objective mutual understandings of he words in use.

You speak of modifying your lexicon if speaking to a group of people who conflate negotiation/rape. Do you think that you’d owe them any form of apology if you had used used the word “negotiation” in the following ways:

a) Entirely innocently of any pejorative sense of the word in relation to rape,

b) Without any knowledge whatever that anyone on Earth conflated the two meanings,

c) Without any intention whatever to cause offence?

Why would you apologise? What would be the precise wording of your apology (always bearing in mind that now any single word of said apology can be reinterpreted by any single member of the audience to which it is intended)?

Would you sracrifice your own personal integrity in this way?

Would you allow the father of a rape victim to redefine your vocabulary?

127 Steersman February 17, 2016 at 8:44 pm

Nialler, #120:

<blockquote.The dictionary definition is all-important because it provides a backstop and a default meaning of what has been said.

Exactly right, a point that far too many ignore or attempt to sweep under the carpet, either out of cluelessnes, ideological Lysenkoism, or out of simple demagoguery. But, as a point of reference, the definition explicitly states that it is, primarily, a pejorative term referring to a single person, most frequently a woman:

cunt n.
2. Offensive Slang
a. Used as a disparaging term for a woman.

Aidan Rowe, in particular, do note the use of the indefinite article “a” which denotes “a single but unspecified person or thing”. Now if someone were to say “all women are cunts” then that would be prima facie evidence of outright sexism and misogyny. But it is a highly questionable inference at best, being charitable, to assert that calling a single woman that so qualifies.

And, not to belabour the point (overmuch) and since it seems apropos to the specific accusation in play, one might note the entirely analogous definition for “queer”:

Queer n.
1. Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a gay man or a lesbian.

While it might be rather rude, even if called for, to use the term to describe a “single (gay) person”, it certainly isn’t “homophobic” to do so; one would have to use it to describe, in a clearly pejorative sense, all homosexuals for one to have any hope of making that charge actually stick.

128 Aidan Rowe February 17, 2016 at 8:49 pm

I’m not responsible for your poor choice of example. And I don’t think we need to use analogy to make sense of this situation.

There is a substantial constituency of gay and/or feminine men who understand their being described as “flouncing” to be a pejorative way of referencing their difference from the norm. We’re not talking about special meanings only held by a tiny group of people. Even some of Michael’s supporters have acknowledged that the word has that association. Michael’s record on LGBT issues and contact with the community provide strong evidence that he would have been aware of those connotations. And he chose to use that term in a pejorative sense to describe a gay man with whom he disagreed. The offence that resulted is a predictable consequence of the statement he chose to make. He is responsible for it.

129 Cindy February 17, 2016 at 8:57 pm

And now Aidan is moving the goalposts.

‘But but, it isn’t a small subset of folks who conflate the meaning, it’s a whole bunch, ergo, subjective interpretation matters in this example but not yours because your example is only of a few people’

How dishonest. And I am sure that the rape victims would be overjoyed to hear you callously dismiss their concerns because they are of a small number. Really. You sound like a misogynist. That is *my* subjective interpretation of your words. Throwing rape victims under the bus. Sheesh.

Even some of Michael’s supporters have acknowledged that the word has that association. Michael’s record on LGBT issues and contact with the community provide strong evidence that he would have been aware of those connotations.

Well then I fully expect all of these supporters and acquaintances to immediately criticize the regulars ‘ at FreeThoughtBlogs for their blatant homophobia and to apologize to all of the gay people who have read the blog and been harmed by the use of the term as a pejorative. Yes, that would include Aoife.

130 Steersman February 17, 2016 at 9:06 pm

Aidan Rowe, #128:

You, along with far too many, seem to have some difficulty with the concept of stereotypes which, you might note, are frequently rather accurate. Asserting, or even suggesting, that some individual matches some stereotype isn’t unreasonable or unjustified – only if someone was asserting that all of a group do would you be able to justify a charge of bigotry, or racism or sexism as the case may be.

Do try to argue that Michael was asserting that about all gay people – seems to me that your accusation, and those of others, of “homophobia” is more in the minds of the accusers than in the actions of the accused.

And, as a point of reference, you might, as a courtesy, consider indicating who you’re responding to.

131 John Greg February 17, 2016 at 9:10 pm

This blather with Aidan has now passed well beyond ludicrous to the clouded and shady land of invented idiotic nonsense.

“The offence that resulted is a predictable consequence of the statement he chose to make. He is responsible for it.”

Unbelievable nonsense, stupidity, idiocy, and tom foolery all rolled round in one tootsie roll. Idiocy; sheer and utter idiocy.

132 Nialler February 17, 2016 at 9:30 pm

@Adrian Row, #128: if you’re replying to me please indicate which post you are replying to.

It makes it difficult to follow your replies if you’re lacking in specifics.

Helicopter view: no person or “community” has the right to arrogate to itself the right to redefine words in such a way that their particular definition is binding on everyone else. That simply is not possible if we are all to communicate effectively.

I don’t care to allow any “substantial minority” to redefine definitions other than through the normal methods of participating in the passage of a word through common usage see its definition modified. This shouldn’t be a decision made by a minority and unilaterally imposed on everyone else. What happens if another minority group decides that *their* redefinition is correct?

But where we get to the crunch is here:

You stated in post #106:

“Look *no one* is suggesting that Michael use of “flounce” means that he secretly hates gay people and all his activism is a front.”

You then post in #128:

“Michael’s record on LGBT issues and contact with the community provide strong evidence that he would have been aware of those connotations. And he chose to use that term in a pejorative sense to describe a gay man with whom he disagreed.”

There is a conflict here. A rather large one.

133 Aidan Rowe February 17, 2016 at 9:34 pm

@Nialler #126

Before I answer, I need to point out that the example we’re discussing is something that I have never witnessed happen. Despite spending most of my time for the last several years among feminists many of whom are survivors of sexual violence I have NEVER encountered someone with idiosyncratic trauma triggers who expect others to read their minds and call people out on things they could never possibly have known were triggers for them. The example is an offensive caricature of reasonable attempt by progressives to make the world that bit more navigable for those who have been hurt by sexual violence.

With that said, my answer is yes I would apologise because it is polite to apologise for hurt you’ve caused, even innocently. It’s not a question of integrity, it’s a question of not being a dick to people who have already suffered far too much through no fault of their own. I would apologise and I would assure them that I would use different language in future and that would almost certainly be the end of it.

@ Cindy

(1) Those rape victims don’t exist. You’ve made them up to try and illustrate some point.

(2) I have not said subjective meaning matters in one case but not the other. I have said it matters in both cases, but differently. In the case where I’m dealing with a particular group who have a particular relation to a particular term due to a particular experience of trauma I would moderate my behaviour where my behaviour is likely to affect those people, but not in other contexts.

(3) It’s my position that subjective interpretation is constitutive of meaning. To argue otherwise is to attribute a metaphysical character to language that is incompatible with materialism. That doesn’t mean that I endorse anything-goes relativism, but rather that the intersubjective negotiation/contestation of meaning is the strongest form of truth that can be said to apply to language.

134 Cindy February 17, 2016 at 9:47 pm

@Aidan

Those rape victims do in fact exist.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2016/01/rejecting-witch-hunts-and-embracing-criticism.html#comment-2462038341


Scenario • a month ago

My worst experience(on another site) was when I posted that trust and open communication is very important to intimate relationship. I was afraid that it was kind of obvious but I found out that a lot of people on the site thought I was just terrible. I used the word negotiate which I found out meant something totally different there than anywhere else. One of the regulars went on a long rant that they had to have absolute control in their relationship or else. I asked if their partner had any say in the relationship and all hell broke lose. Everyone attacked me because I should have known all about the posters private life and of course they had the right to control their partners sexuality. I said that sounded creepy to me and I ended up getting temp ban and told to go think about what I said. Well, I’ve thought about it for over a year and It still sounds creepy to me.

And you are backpedaling and moving the goalposts. Still.

People are responsible for the subjective interpretations that others make. That’s your argument.

I used to argue a lot on the internet. A LOT. And I used flounce all the time, as did my friends. All of us, pro-LGBT. And not once, EVER did we make the connection that flounce = anti-gay slur in certain contexts. It never occurred to me until Aoife chose to smear Michael.

And you know what? Not only does the regular dictionary not associate ‘flounce’ with gay, but neither does the urban dictionary.

Flounce
flounce (flaʊns)

v. flounce, flounced, flounc•ing,

– To leave an internet group or thread with exaggerated drama; deleting posts, notifying mods and or group users, and cross-posting on other groups to draw attention to the drama. Comes from the original use of gathering up skirts and petticoats and leaving in dramatic, impatient and exaggerated movements

I mean, if there was such a strong assocation, as you claim, then surely we’d find it somewhere, no?

In fact, it seems more anti-woman than anything, what with this:

” Comes from the original use of gathering up skirts and petticoats and leaving in dramatic, impatient and exaggerated movements”

So everyone who uses the term is a misogynist. I guess.

135 Citizen Wolf February 17, 2016 at 9:48 pm

The position Aidan Rowe has taken here is utter ridiculousness. I think that discussing the issue further is pointless.

To bring it back to basics. MN used a word to describe someone walk away in a huff. He used a word in a way that is well accepted by the overwhelming majority of people.

Attention seekers (because that’s what I think *IMHO* best describes their motives) are now trying to convince the overwhelming majority that they need to change how they use that word (along with the rest of the language) to conform with the overwhelming minority opinion.

As I say, further discussion will be fruitless.

136 Cindy February 17, 2016 at 9:53 pm

@Citizen Wolf 134

Attention seekers (because that’s what I think *IMHO* best describes their motives) are now trying to convince the overwhelming majority that they need to change how they use that word (along with the rest of the language) to conform with the overwhelming minority opinion.

Convince the overwhelming majority that they need to change? No. I don’t foresee Aoife and friends telling anyone at FTB to stop using the word.

Nah.

The criticism is only reserved for folks like Michael. Folks they want to tear down because they are petty little authoritarians.

137 Aidan Rowe February 17, 2016 at 10:00 pm

@Cindy

So your example is someone who used the word “negotiate”, found that the people in the space had experience of “negotiation” being used to legitimate sexual coercion, and on being told that, proceeded to accuse them of “controlling their partners’ sexuality” as if everyone doesn’t have the absolute right to say yes only to the kinds of sex they want to have and no to all others? I don’t think you’re proving the point you think you are.

138 Nialler February 17, 2016 at 10:02 pm

Not sure why, Butmy comments are under moderation?

139 Cindy February 17, 2016 at 10:03 pm

@Aidan

How the person reacted to the subjective meaning of ‘negotiate’ is 100pct irrelevant.

The point is that you are arguing that subjective meaning trumps all (except when it doesn’t. how convenient for you)

And if subjective meaning trumps all, then the person was in the wrong to have used the word at all, regardless of *intent*, since they were responsible for the fact that the rape victims would subjectively interpret the word as a threat.

140 Aidan Rowe February 17, 2016 at 10:10 pm

@Cindy

I have no idea what “subjective meaning trumps all” is supposed to mean.

But you’ve clearly misrepresented your example. The person was not called a rape apologist for not knowing the particular meaning “negotiate”. You’ve provided no evidence they were called a rape apologist at all, but if they were, it’s likely because of the implication in their statement that saying no to sex was creepily controlling their partners sexuality, which is rape apologism in my book.

141 Cindy February 17, 2016 at 10:16 pm

@Aidan

Subjective meaning trumps all = you wrote that the person who is using the term is *responsible* for how others might react to the word vis a vis their subjective interpretation.

In other words, subjective interpretation trumps all.

And I called you the rape apologist, since you argued that the women who consider negotatiate to be triggering were only a tiny subset of the population, so, didn’t count!

142 Nialler February 17, 2016 at 10:16 pm

@Aidan, #140: if you can’t understand a perfectly simple phrase, then please don’t lecture anyone on the use of language.

Alternatively, why not simply just paste your own interpretation on the phrase, which is what you appear to be urging on us.

143 Aidan Rowe February 17, 2016 at 10:42 pm

This is incredibly tedious.

What I said:

“People are responsible not just for what they intend to say but for meanings others will take from them THAT COULD HAVE BEEN REASONABLY PREDICTED.”

You can think that’s not a fair standard and argue that if you like, but it’s not accurate to describe my position as “subjective meaning trumps all” since I’ve outlined a criterion that gives us a common (intersubjective) basis for deciding whether the person is responsible for the effect of their speech, i.e. “could it have been reasonably predicted?”. That allows you, if you like, to argue that Michael is not responsible for the offence he caused because he could not have reasonably been expected to predict that he would have caused that offence.

144 Cindy February 17, 2016 at 10:46 pm

Aidan wrote:

“People are responsible not just for what they intend to say but for meanings others will take from them THAT COULD HAVE BEEN REASONABLY PREDICTED.

And what is ‘reasonable’ is entirely subjective. I am sure that the rape victims consider their reaction to ‘negotiate’ to be entirely reasonable, and how dare you question their lived experience.

And from all of the evidence that you have been supplied with, ‘flounce’, in common usage, is not used as an anti-gay slur. In fact, if it was so obvious and reasonable, I’d have thought that the extremely sensitive to minority rights and politically correct folks at FreeThoughtBlogs would have all stopped using the word years ago. Yet they persist…

145 Citizen Wolf February 17, 2016 at 10:52 pm

Aidan Rowe #142

Reasonably predicted by who? By people who chose what they want and complain that the general usage doesn’t conform to their understanding? The overwhelming majority here agree that MN use of the word was fair and unambiguous.

Tripe. (what did I mean by that. Or rather, what did you understand by that?).

146 Aidan Rowe February 17, 2016 at 10:55 pm

Right it’s subjective but it’s debatable. We can have a conversation where we put forward ideas about what we think is “reasonable” and maybe come to a shared understanding. We’re certainly not in a position where we have to affirm everyone’s subjective interpretation no matter how absurd. We can probably agree, for example, that if someone says I’m a Holocaust denier because I say I want a cup of tea that I’m not responsible for that interpretation because there’s no way I could have known they’d take it that way. But at the same time we’re not in the position of acting like the dictionary is the Great Unquestionable Holy Book Of What Stuff Means.

147 Aidan Rowe February 17, 2016 at 10:57 pm

@Citizen Wolf

The overwhelming majority of commenters on Michael Nugent’s website agree with Michael Nugent? How surprising.

148 Shatterface February 17, 2016 at 11:44 pm

The overwhelming majority on this site understand plain English – that’s why they agree with Michael.

Every time Michael challenges some accusation the same pattern emerges: one commenter wil argue, again and again, that everybody else is wrong about a particular word.

Every fucking time.

I’ve no idea whether it’s the same person using different socks but it’s the same fucking line of argument over and over again.

Every appeal to common usage, to examples, to dictionary definitions, or etymology will make the slightest difference: they think their idiosyncratic definition trumps everything else.

149 John K February 17, 2016 at 11:49 pm

@Aiden Rowe

Why is it acceptable for people at FTB to use the word flounce in the same context that Michael did?

If you believe that their usage is not acceptable, why are you and Aoife not taking them to task rather than Michael for his single use of the word?

Cause, by complaining about Michael’s use of the word under very stretched and tenuous rules and caveats while ignoring and tacitly agreeing with FTB’s use of the word, it makes it seem like Michael is being beaten by any stick that can be found against him.

150 Pete Attkins February 18, 2016 at 12:10 am

@Citizen Wolf 134,

I totally agree with you because subjective reality is rarely in accordance with ontic reality. There are two diametrically opposed modus operandi exemplified in the comments: changing one’s beliefs to increasingly accord with ontic reality; increasingly pathetic attempts to change ontic reality to match one’s beliefs/agenda. I have no wish to fruitlessly engage with the latter.

151 Steersman February 18, 2016 at 12:22 am

John K (#148):

Why is it acceptable for people at FTB to use the word flounce in the same context that Michael did?

Indeed. One might wonder where he and the rest of that crowd were when AtheismPlus (which seems on its last legs) made free with the term in their “Proposed Forum Rules” some 4 years ago :

Stick the flounce: If you flounce from a thread, by angrily announcing that you’re leaving or giving up, you should not post on that thread again.

152 Steersman February 18, 2016 at 12:53 am

Shatterface, #147:

Every appeal to common usage, to examples, to dictionary definitions, or etymology will [not] make the slightest difference: they think their idiosyncratic definition trumps everything else.

Exactly. As Cindy argued above, for Aidan and company to be insisting that their “extra special feelz”, and idiosyncratic and self-serving connotations, somehow get to trump everybody else’s common understanding of various terms is really rather arrogant if not egregiously fascistic. As the late, great, Christopher Hitchens put it, “If some tells me I’ve hurt their feelings, I say, ‘I’m still waiting to hear what your point is’.

However, somewhat en passant, I might suggest that some of those who are even willing to have recourse to “dictionary definitions” tend to be somewhat “selective” if not biased in that regard.

153 Shatterface February 18, 2016 at 1:37 am

However, somewhat en passant, I might suggest that some of those who are even willing to have recourse to “dictionary definitions” tend to be somewhat “selective” if not biased in that regard.

I listed common usage, examples, dictionary definitions and etymology in that order for a reason: that usage and examples take priority over dictionary definitions and etymology.

Dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive. I cite them as records of how words are used, or have been used, in normal speech.

Meaning isn’t determined by a panel of experts deciding how a word should be used but by actual usage; dictionaries record that meaning.

We’ve seen pressure exerted on dictionary compilers in recent weeks to change the examples they use to something more ‘acceptable’ as if by changing the dictionary definitions they can change the meaning of a word.

That’s not what dictionaries are for and its not how language works.

154 MosesZD February 18, 2016 at 2:16 am

Aidan Rowe February 15, 2016 at 10:13 pm
Right so you JUST HAPPENED to use what is typical derogatory language towards male femininity and/or homosexuality towards an effeminate gay man but there’s no connection because you didn’t notice. I can’t read your mind, but I don’t think that’s a particularly plausible claim, in much the same way that “I didn’t even notice they were black!” is not really a plausible defence to using racially-loaded language towards black people, even though its falsity cannot be definitively proved.

Do try to keep up, this isn’t a 1970s Sitcom.

Now it generally means ANYONE of ANY SEX or SEXUAL ORIENTATION (that is, it’s 100% irrelevant) who quits/leaves in a ‘huff’ so to speak. Generally from some sort of online activity such as Internet forums, MMOs, and social media. The Urban Dictionary defines it as:

When a member of an online community announces they are leaving, usually after a protracted disagreement with other members of the community.

See, words and common useage change over time. Flounce is certainly not the first and won’t be the last. For example, in the 1950s my dad would ‘go outside to suck a fag.’ That meant smoke a cigarette.

Now, I don’t know about other English speaking nations, but here in America it would now mean to perform oral sex on a gay man. And has since the late 1960s. In just a decade ‘fag’ went from ‘cigarette’ to ‘homosexual.’

But if you’re always going out of your way to find fault and use language in your specialized little way to always cause fault… Well, that says a lot about you and your crowd and nothing about Michael and the majority of us who use flounce to leave in huff, usually from some online community.

155 MosesZD February 18, 2016 at 2:36 am

Aidan Rowe February 17, 2016 at 5:24 pm
Look *no one* is suggesting that Michael use of “flounce” means that he secretly hates gay people and all his activism is a front.

It seems implicit. At least to me.

The point is once words leave your lips its no longer merely about intent. Meaning is an effect produced in the other by speech: our utterances don’t carry our intention with them when we send them out into the world. People are responsible not just for what they intend to say (which is unknowable to anyone else anyway) but for meanings others will take from them that could have been reasonably predicted.

Actually, it’s not. It’s a two-part process. The person with the idea communicates the idea. And you as the receiver of the communication have a duty (and perhaps even a moral obligation) to interpret the words properly and if there is a question in your interpretation, ask for clarification.

Not go on a rant calling someone names because you’re TOO BUSY LOOKING FOR FAULT instead of trying to achieve understanding.

Michael could not possibly have been unaware of the stigmatising potential of his use of flounce in this specific context, but he chose to say it anyway. He should not have used it.

It’s not the ’70s. I haven’t heard the word used about gays since the 1970s.

However, it’s a very, very, very common figure of speech that has long be decoupled from homophobia. Especially in Internet forums and gaming. It’s like ‘rage quit’ only less vitriolic.

Do try to keep up.

Having used it, and having been (reasonably) read as saying something homophobic by the person he was talking about, he should have apologised. He can’t expect that his pro-gay activism will shield him from having to take responsibility for the things he said no more than my pro-choice work means I don’t have to take responsibility for sexist speech if/when it occurs.

But it was not reasonably read. Reasonably read leads anyone reasonable to read it as no more than a common expression that means to walk-off/leave in a huff. People use flounce all the time. And if the flouncing is vitriolic enough, they use Rage Quit.

The fact is someone was looking for fault because that’s what THEY are. This is THEIR projection. This is their bigotry. Not Michael’s.

156 Aidan Rowe February 18, 2016 at 2:42 am

This is like what would happen if Larry David had a website populated by sycophantic admirers.

157 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 2:45 am

Aidan Rowe #156

Having run out of arguments, Aidan Rowe resorts to the ad hominen insult.

WTG

158 MosesZD February 18, 2016 at 2:53 am

Aidan Rowe February 17, 2016 at 10:42 pm
This is incredibly tedious.

What I said:

“People are responsible not just for what they intend to say but for meanings others will take from them THAT COULD HAVE BEEN REASONABLY PREDICTED.”

What makes it tedious is that you’re defending an indefensible position by ignoring the useage of the word in the world today AND putting all the burden of communication on one side of the equation when, in fact, it’s on BOTH the broadcaster and receiver.

Your position, as far as you’ve been able to make it clear, is that all communication can be subjectively interpreted in any fashion we chose and, having made our choice, to libel and slander others with our subjective interpretation which WE call reasonable, but may not ever, ever, ever, ever, ever occur to the communicator as ‘reasonable’ because he (or she) just doesn’t think that way!

Which is a complete load of incoherent, special-pleading horsecrap.

Your friend GOT IT WRONG. Then she acted like a jerk. Michael called her on it. End of story.

159 Sarah Malone February 18, 2016 at 2:57 am

Cheryl: Why would you say ‘flounced’ about a gay man?

Larry: What, so straight men can’t flounce? Let me tell you, gay or straight, this guy definitely flounced.

Jeff: So you’re saying he was a flouncer?

Larry: He was a flouncer!!

Cheryl: But Larry you just can’t say that kind of thing, you know how people understand that word.

Larry: What, I can’t say the guy’s a flouncer just because he’s gay? Don’t you think *that’s* homophobic? Let me tell ya, if I flounced like this guy flounced I’d happily accept the description!

Jeff: C’mon, the guy flounced!

Cheryl: *looks embarrassed to be married to Larry*

160 John K February 18, 2016 at 3:46 am

@Aiden Rowe
Before you vanish, would you please explain the distinction between the way Michael used the word and the way that the writers on FTB used the word?

They both use it quite freely using the more accepted use of the term, and in reference to people who happen to be LGBTQ,

Even if your arguments about the intention or a word vs. it’s impact held (It doesn’t and you contradict yourself) the it would be moot because the people at FTB, Aoife included, don’t seem to actually have an issue with the word in the first place.
Surely you aren’t saying that they are being inconsiderate?

So what is the reason that makes it ok for FTB to use the term, but makes it dog whistle homophobia for Michael?

161 Steersman February 18, 2016 at 7:15 am

Sarah Malone (#159):

Larry: What, I can’t say the guy’s a flouncer just because he’s gay? Don’t you think *that’s* homophobic? Let me tell ya, if I flounced like this guy flounced I’d happily accept the description!

LoL. Exactly! It’s ok for the “in-group” to use such terms, even in a pejorative sense, and it’s not ok for the “out-group” to do so? Sure looks kind of sexist to me to suggest that gays should be held immune to the same criticisms that everyone else is subject to. And likewise with various racial epithets.

But I think that one of the things that chaps the hides of Aidan and company is the thought that flouncing is somewhat more common in the gay community than in other ones. The truth is, if I’m not mistaken, proof against accusations of libel and defamation.

162 Steersman February 18, 2016 at 7:52 am

Shatterface, #153:

I listed common usage, examples, dictionary definitions and etymology in that order for a reason: that usage and examples take priority over dictionary definitions and etymology.

You might try indicating that type of thing as I expect very few of us are mind-readers. But, even so, I rather doubt that that holds a lot of water. For one thing, I expect most dictionary publishers spend no small amount of money determining how people actually use various words – as virtually any cursory reading of the examples in most dictionaries would readily attest.

Dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive. I cite them as records of how words are used, or have been used, in normal speech.

Yes, I agree that “dictionaries record … meaning”, that they are, in part at least, “descriptive”. But I rather doubt that that is entirely the case – which, mirabile dictu, Wikipedia more or less corroborates:

A different dimension on which dictionaries (usually just general-purpose ones) are sometimes distinguished is whether they are prescriptive or descriptive, the latter being in theory largely based on linguistic corpus studies—this is the case of most modern dictionaries. However, this distinction cannot be upheld in the strictest sense. The choice of headwords is considered itself of prescriptive nature ….

I rather doubt that dictionary publishers would countenance adding words that are nonsense or inconsistent – maybe why the type of gametes produced is still the primary criteria for the definitions for “man” and for “woman”.

We’ve seen pressure exerted on dictionary compilers in recent weeks to change the examples they use to something more ‘acceptable’ as if by changing the dictionary definitions they can change the meaning of a word.

I expect you’re referring to the OED getting in hot water over its use of “rabid feminist” as an example use for the word “rabid”. Which seems to have less to do with a definition than with some “feminists” getting their knickers in a twist over the thought that not all feminists have been washed in the blood of the lamb. Good thing they weren’t trying to use “virulent feminism” as an example for the definition of “virulent” or there would have been real hell to pay.

163 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 10:15 am

Aoife, Aiden et All are not arguing in good faith.

I don’t think this discussion needs go further until Aiden, Aoife and their friends publicly denounce the use of “flounce” over at FTB.

I will honestly be impressed if that ever happens, but I’m not holding my breath.

I don’t like hypocrites.

164 Bob February 18, 2016 at 10:17 am

Suppose for the sake of argument that Michael and his supporters are correct, and that the word “flounce” is not homophobic in this context (or any context, if you prefer).

Michael’s subsequent behaviour in response to Aoife’s original claim rather undermines Michael’s attempts to depict himself as a staunch ally of LGBT people.

Someone who wanted to be a good ally to LGBT people would not respond to Aoife the way Michael has – by publicly attacking her and casting himself as the victim of some nasty smear campaign.

Someone who wanted to be a good ally to LGBT people would recognize, first of all that LGBT people are likely to have a better sense of words that can be used in homophobic ways- LGBT people tend to have an epistemic advantage in this regard that non-LGBT people don’t tend to have.

Michael’s first reaction, if he wants to be a good ally, should have been to examine whether he had unwittingly used such a word, and the best way to examine this would have been to engage with Aoife to ask her to explain her view. Consulting a dictionary would not be a better approach: there are many cases where pejorative words are not describe as pejorative in dictionaries (consider, for example, the fact that dictionary definitions of “mincing” do not tend note that it is used pejoratively for gay men)

Having asked Aoife (or someone who shares Aoife’s views) to explain the position, Michael may well have been unconvinced – LGBT people tend to have a better idea about what sort of behaviour is homophobic, but they are not infallible, and they may disagree with each other.

The point is that a good ally should respond to such cases in the first instance by reflecting on their own behaviour, and checking to see whether they had made an error. Their first instinct should not be to make the issue all about them, and their sense of offense at the fact that someone who probably has a better idea of what homophobia is than they do had the temerity to suggest that they had used a homophobic phrase.

165 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 10:35 am

Bob @164:

“Someone who wanted to be a good ally to LGBT people would not respond to Aoife the way Michael has – by publicly attacking her and casting himself as the victim of some nasty smear campaign. ”

Why? What is it that makes LGBT people so impervious to criticism? What is that magic you invoke?

If someone says something stupid or smears someone else for ridiculous reasons, it doesn’t matter what their sex, gender or sexual orientation is. It doesn’t come into the equation. There’s no absolution of wrongdoing just because one happens to belong to “group X”.

As for “good ally”, this is a very typical SJW trope. “Obey, or we shall burn you!”. Complete bullshit.

Maybe you’ll understand why it’s bullshit when you’ve finally realized that people are individuals, not some “group X” member to conveniently put into a one-size-fits-all box.

166 John K February 18, 2016 at 10:45 am

@ Bob

You are missing several important factors in your assessment.
If Michael had used the word and some one pointed out that they thought it was a homophobic term, then the course of action you are describing would be the right thing to do,

However this is not what happened and it isn’t that simple.

First, Aoife did not simply state that the term had homophobic connotations, or that it was homophobic.
She accused Michael of using “dog whistle homophobia”.
Second, she did not offer this criticism directly. She said it in “a friends only post” that could be seen by a lot of people, just not Michael. So he was not offered the chance to ask for clarification or to defend himself.
Third, as Michael describes in the post, he is addressing this because other people (who have since withdrawn and apologised) used Aoife’s post to conclude that Michael is a homophobe.
And lastly, this has been the lastest in a long line of attacks on Michael’s character, it’s not an isolated incident.

Additionally, it is odd for Aoife to dislike this word when her fellow writers at FTB use it all the time in the exact same context as Michael did.

So Bob, do you believe that someone using the word flounce is enough to accuse them in public to other people of using homophobia or that they are a homophobe?
Is such an accusation fair?

What do you think of folks at FTB using the same term? Would you deem them as bad allies to LBGT people?

167 Bob February 18, 2016 at 10:58 am

@Phil

“Why? What is it that makes LGBT people so impervious to criticism? What is that magic you invoke?”

I didn’t say that LGBT people are or should be “impervious to criticism”. I said that if an LGBT people, especially one you had considered to be a friend, criticizes you, and if you want to be a good ally, your first reaction should be to try to better understand where the criticism is coming from.

“If someone says something stupid or smears someone else for ridiculous reasons, it doesn’t matter what their sex, gender or sexual orientation is. It doesn’t come into the equation. There’s no absolution of wrongdoing just because one happens to belong to “group X”. ”

The issue is the assumption that what was said was stupid or a smear in the first place, an assumption that appears to have been made without sufficient reflection. One’s first reaction in a case like this should be to examine one’s own behaviour, and there is no evidence that Michael sought to do that in any serious way.

“As for “good ally”, this is a very typical SJW trope. “Obey, or we shall burn you!”. Complete bullshit.”

I suppose if you take a reasonable idea and misrepresent it as an extreme one, then it would certainly appear to be complete bullshit. I wonder whether Michael would have a similar opinion of the concept of being a good ally to LGBT people (I doubt it).

168 Bob February 18, 2016 at 11:18 am

@John K

“First, Aoife did not simply state that the term had homophobic connotations, or that it was homophobic. She accused Michael of using “dog whistle homophobia”.”

It isn’t clear what you think the relevant distinction between the two is supposed to be. Is your thought that Aoife’s comments implied that Michael intentionally used homophobic language, as opposed to using it in ignorance? Aoife has explicitly denied that that was her intention, and the claim that someone “uses dog-whistle homophobia” does not entail that they did so intentionally. At worst, the phrase is ambiguous (and the ambiguity could have been clarified had Michael asked her directly, or in private).

“Second, she did not offer this criticism directly. She said it in “a friends only post” that could be seen by a lot of people, just not Michael. So he was not offered the chance to ask for clarification or to defend himself.”

Once he was made aware of the comments he had the opportunity to ask for clarification (which presumably he would need before deciding whether to defend himself).

“Third, as Michael describes in the post, he is addressing this because other people (who have since withdrawn and apologised) used Aoife’s post to conclude that Michael is a homophobe.”

I haven’t seen anyone accuse him of being a homophobe, but even so, he doesn’t just deny that he is homophobic, he is accusing Aoife of trying to smear him. That accusation should not be made publically without first trying to get Aoife to explain her remarks (if Michael had wanted to be a good ally).

“And lastly, this has been the lastest in a long line of attacks on Michael’s character, it’s not an isolated incident.”

Michael seemed surprised that Aoife said what she did, and had considered her a friend, so it doesn’t seem plausible to place her comments within a broader pattern of attacks. Of course, it’s also possible that while the vast majority of attacks on a person’s character are unwarranted, at least some (especially those coming from people we had considered to be our friends) are worth investigating.

“Additionally, it is odd for Aoife to dislike this word when her fellow writers at FTB use it all the time in the exact same context as Michael did.”

Isn’t this just “whatabouttery” of the sort Michael himself has condemned? I confess I don’t read most FTB – if they have used the word to describe people they know to be gay, as Michael did, then personally I would have a problem with that as well, though I can’t speak for Aoife.

“So Bob, do you believe that someone using the word flounce is enough to accuse them in public to other people of using homophobia or that they are a homophobe?”

I think it depends on the context: in this case, I don’t believe Michael is homophobic. I believe that what happened was either (1) He used the word in ignorance, not realizing that it can have homophobic connotations when applied to gay men or (2) He chose to use the word because of some subconscious homophobic belief (having these sorts of beliefs is not sufficient to warrant calling a person a homophobe in my view, or even a bad ally). Either way, I think he ought to have sought to understand the compliant further before complaining about it.

169 John K February 18, 2016 at 11:47 am

@ Bob

“It isn’t clear what you think the relevant distinction between the two is supposed to be. Is your thought that Aoife’s comments implied that Michael intentionally used homophobic language, as opposed to using it in ignorance? Aoife has explicitly denied that that was her intention, and the claim that someone “uses dog-whistle homophobia” does not entail that they did so intentionally. At worst, the phrase is ambiguous (and the ambiguity could have been clarified had Michael asked her directly, or in private).”

I’m not sure how some one could accidentally use a homophobic term that is mean to signal to homophobes.
If that wasn’t her intention, then that term was a very bad choice and her statement doesn’t make a lot of sense.
But you are saying that this term is ambiguous and that Aoife should be given the benefit of doubt as to it’s meaning. But Michael was not given this benefit for his even more ambiguous word.

“Once he was made aware of the comments he had the opportunity to ask for clarification (which presumably he would need before deciding whether to defend himself).”
Aoife has stated her intention was that Michael not see or address this comment.
Is this fair?

“I haven’t seen anyone accuse him of being a homophobe, but even so, he doesn’t just deny that he is homophobic, he is accusing Aoife of trying to smear him. That accusation should not be made publically without first trying to get Aoife to explain her remarks (if Michael had wanted to be a good ally).”
In the post Michael states:
Responding to Aoife’s smear, Michael Barron, the Executive Director of the education advocacy group Equate, then bizarrely added: “This doesn’t surprise me at all — and it gets worse.” I’ll address Michael’s comment elsewhere. It is a nasty ambiguous smear that implies that he knows worse things about me that he is choosing not to share.

Later, a friend of Aoife’s wrote about me on the Atheist Ireland Facebook Page: “Not only has he never read the bible but he is actually homophobic.”

“Michael seemed surprised that Aoife said what she did, and had considered her a friend, so it doesn’t seem plausible to place her comments within a broader pattern of attacks. Of course, it’s also possible that while the vast majority of attacks on a person’s character are unwarranted, at least some (especially those coming from people we had considered to be our friends) are worth investigating.”
No one’s accusing anyone of being a part of some big sinister campaign. (At least I’m not.)
The issue is that there are some sections of the internet where hyperbolic attacks and smears are accepted and even encouraged.
So then rather than some one pointing out when a friend might be using a term with homophobic connotations, that person is accused behind their back of using homophobia as a tool for some nefarious
purpose.

“Isn’t this just “whatabouttery” of the sort Michael himself has condemned? I confess I don’t read most FTB – if they have used the word to describe people they know to be gay, as Michael did, then personally I would have a problem with that as well, though I can’t speak for Aoife.”
Michael pointed out where they did exactly that in his post.
There are several instances where they did use it in reference to LGBTQ people (and others) to leaving discussions in a huff.
Further, he points out where they *define* the term in the context where he used it himself.

He’s not just using a dictionary or his own personal definition of the word, it’s a definition of the word that his critics would be more willing to listen to.

I would like to give Aoife the benefit of doubt as assume that she didn’t see these examples before hand. But I’m not going to hold my breath for her to voice her concern about the people who used them like she did with Michael.

“I think it depends on the context: in this case, I don’t believe Michael is homophobic. I believe that what happened was either (1) He used the word in ignorance, not realizing that it can have homophobic connotations when applied to gay men or (2) He chose to use the word because of some subconscious homophobic belief (having these sorts of beliefs is not sufficient to warrant calling a person a homophobe in my view, or even a bad ally). Either way, I think he ought to have sought to understand the compliant further before complaining about it.”
Then you agree what Aoife’s accusation that Michael was using homophobia was unwarrented?

170 John K February 18, 2016 at 11:54 am

@ Bob

For the record, I agree your first possibility: That Michael used it in ignorance, or without intending the homophobic connotations in lieu of the more common internet definition.

171 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 11:55 am

Bob:

“your first reaction should be to try to better understand where the criticism is coming from. ”

“One’s first reaction in a case like this should be to examine one’s own behaviour”

Funny how this stuff always comes from your side of the argument, and yet doesn’t seem to apply to your in-group.

Do you think Aoife has examined her behaviour before posting her smear? Do you think she might now try to understand where the criticism comes from? That last one, I hope, should be a given, because it seems like almost everybody but your in-group disagrees with her.

“The issue is the assumption that what was said was stupid or a smear in the first place, an assumption that appears to have been made without sufficient reflection.”

It was a smear. There’s no assumption here. “dog whistle for homophobia” is not a casual observation. It’s an accusation. I will not believe for one second that Michael had any homophobic intent when using a mainstream word meant to mean what it does mean. You have enough dictionary definitions provided by others above.

“I wonder whether Michael would have a similar opinion of the concept of being a good ally to LGBT people (I doubt it).”

Only Michael can answer this. As for me, I’d rather not be considered a “good ally” of anything, because even the slightest deviation from the other “allies”‘ dogma means being burned at the stake (metaphorically).

172 Bob February 18, 2016 at 12:19 pm

“I’m not sure how someone could accidentally use a homophobic term that is mean to signal to homophobes.”
People accidentally use dodgy terms all of the time. All that it requires is that you’re not consciously aware of all the relevant facts (like the fact that “flounce” is a word that can have homophobic connotations).

“If that wasn’t her intention, then that term was a very bad choice and her statement doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
I didn’t read the original comment as implying that Michael was being intentionally homophobic (just as others didn’t read the use of “flounce” as having dodgy connotations). Perhaps if Aoife had been expressing herself on a public forum rather than to her Facebook friends (who probably have a better sense of what she is and isn’t implying) she would have phrased it differently.

“But you are saying that this term is ambiguous and that Aoife should be given the benefit of doubt as to it’s meaning. But Michael was not given this benefit for his even more ambiguous word.”
I think he was given the benefit of the doubt – that’s why nobody (as far as I can see, I may have missed something) has called him homophobic. In a context like this, giving someone the benefit of the doubt means that you shouldn’t assume that they intended their words to come across as they did. My objection is to the fact that Michael didn’t seek to clarify what the complaint was, before blogging about it publicly.

“Aoife has stated her intention was that Michael not see or address this comment. Is this fair?”
I think it is: the original comment expressed an opinion in private about the public conduct of another person. Anyone reading that comment was able to judge for themselves whether Aoife’s opinion was a reasonable one. If, for example, Michael were to post a comment on his Facebook complaining about what he sees as Aoife’s unjustified attacks, I would not think that he has an obligation to allow her to see it, or to allow her to reply.

“Responding to Aoife’s smear, Michael Barron, the Executive Director of the education advocacy group Equate, then bizarrely added…”
I don’t think Barron’s comments imply that his opinion was changed (rather than supported) by Aoife’s comments. (And if you want to be really pedantic, they don’t necessarily imply Michael is homophobic) I do concede that the second comment does accuse him of being homophobic – an accusation with which I would disagree.

“The issue is that there are some sections of the internet where hyperbolic attacks and smears are accepted and even encouraged.”
Sure (though of those criticizing Aoife and her defenders would appear to have engaged in the same behavior).

“So then rather than some one pointing out when a friend might be using a term with homophobic connotations, that person is accused behind their back of using homophobia as a tool for some nefarious purpose.”
Given the reaction, I can’t say I blame Aoife for wanting to keep her criticism of Michael private.

“Michael pointed out where they did exactly that in his post. There are several instances where they did use it in reference to LGBTQ people (and others) to leaving discussions in a huff.
Further, he points out where they *define* the term in the context where he used it himself.”
Fair enough – I don’t think those are acceptable either.

“Then you agree what Aoife’s accusation that Michael was using homophobia was unwarrented?”
No – you can homophobic terms without necessarily being a homophobe.

173 Bob February 18, 2016 at 12:30 pm

@Phil
“Funny how this stuff always comes from your side of the argument, and yet doesn’t seem to apply to your in-group.”

That’s because there are important differences between being a member of a group, and being an ally of members of that group. Members of the group tend to have access to epistemic resources that allies do not. Those who want to be good allies should recognize that fact, and presume that members of the group will tend to have a better idea of what constitutes, in this case, homophobia.

“Do you think Aoife has examined her behaviour before posting her smear? Do you think she might now try to understand where the criticism comes from? That last one, I hope, should be a given, because it seems like almost everybody but your in-group disagrees with her.”
From what I know of Aoife, she is the sort of person to reflect on her words before writing them (though presumably she, like anyone else, would tend to reflect more on words intended to be read by members of the general public) and to reflect on the responses to them.

“It was a smear. There’s no assumption here. “dog whistle for homophobia” is not a casual observation. It’s an accusation.”

Sure, but accusations can have merit. The point is that Michael ought to have tried to investigate the accusation (consulting a dictionary, or pointing out that other people have used the phrase are not effective ways of investigating in a case like this).

“I will not believe for one second that Michael had any homophobic intent when using a mainstream word meant to mean what it does mean. You have enough dictionary definitions provided by others above.”

I’m not sure why you think dictionaries are decisive, or even particularly helpful, in a case like this, given that dictionaries often do not note pejorative uses of words (especially in cases of “dog whistles” where that is sort of the point). The word “mincing” can be pejorative when applied to gay men, for example, but you will not discover this if you look it up in a dictionary. No dictionary will tell you that depicting Irish people as drunkards is a racial stereotype. Etc.

174 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 12:39 pm

“No – you can [use] homophobic terms without necessarily being a homophobe.”

Does someone have that Humpty Dumpty quote handy?

Because last time I checked, “fruit” is a homophobic slur. It hasn’t stopped the world from using it for its normal, everyday meaning, which refers to actual fruits. Want to talk about “gay”? It used to be a slur before it was reclaimed by the LGBT community (wish is a great move). Should we now hate Herman’s Hermits for their use of the word in No Milk Today? Enola Gay?

What about some commenter’s dad above, who went out to suck on a fag?

Stop trying to redefine what words mean for your own agenda, and you will find more people willing to be on your side. That kind of wordplay bullshit pisses people off. It really does. At least, it pisses me off, wish is all that matters as far as I’m concerned. :)

175 tina February 18, 2016 at 1:32 pm

‘I don’t know what you mean by “glory”,’ Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. ‘Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘
‘But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected.
‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

176 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 1:42 pm

Thanks Tina.

177 tina February 18, 2016 at 1:55 pm

No one buys this has anything to do with the word flounce. It has everything to do with smearing MN as much and as often as possible on the flimsiest of pretexts possible. All SJW’s entitle themselves to do this (and much worse) because they believe they cannot be wrong and because they believe it to be consequence free to their own reputation and standing and for a long time it was consequence free. The feminazis and their white knights can no longer rely on their vindictive broad brush smears, lies and misrepresentations getting a cultural free pass. Here is one example from Aoife talking about Tim Minchin on FtB in 201..“He’s also straight and cis and male, so it’s not terribly surprising that every so often something a bit ignorant will come out of his face.” Most SJW writing is full of such sexist, racist bullshit, spewed forth, without a second thought, in the certainty of their moral infallibility. Yeah, well, welcome to the real world.

178 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 2:00 pm

“He’s also straight and cis and male, so it’s not terribly surprising that every so often something a bit ignorant will come out of his face.”

Charming. Let’s try this out:

“She’s also a lesbian and trans and female, so it’s not terribly surprising that every so often something a bit ignorant will come out of her face.”

Yep, not working as far as I’m concerned.

179 Bob February 18, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Are you familiar with the meaning of the word “irony”, tina?

180 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 2:04 pm

So what Bob, and others, appear to be saying, is that we need to single gay people out for “verbal segregation”

In other words, special treatment. Instead of referring to them equally – treating them as we would anyone else who angrily and histrionically leaves a conversation – we have to invent euphemisms to describe their behaviour.

Which singles them out.
Which makes a big deal of their sexual orientation.
Which draws even *more* attention to the fact that they are gay

Is this really what you want?

I hear that black students are combatting racism at US colleges by demanding racially segregated areas. I am sure that the actual white supremacists approve of this.

181 Bob February 18, 2016 at 2:10 pm

@Cindy

“So what Bob, and others, appear to be saying, is that we need to single gay people out for “verbal segregation””

Nobody has said that. I’m not sure how I or anyone else could have given you that impression.

182 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 2:15 pm

That is exactly the impression you are giving.

Gay people have special epistemic knowledge that the rest of us don’t have, so we have to treat them with kid gloves and essentially single them out for special treatment so as not to inadvertently hurt their feelings.

Which has the effect of drawing *more* attention to their sexual orientation. The negative kind.

“Oh look, we can’t treat this gay person equally, as we would treat anyone else, because he is gay. Quick, we need a euphemism, stat!!”

183 Bob February 18, 2016 at 2:18 pm

“Gay people have special epistemic knowledge that the rest of us don’t have, so we have to treat them with kid gloves and essentially single them out for special treatment so as not to inadvertently hurt their feelings. ”

I said that LGBT people tend to have access to epistemic resources that other people don’t tend to. I didn’t say anything else that you have written above. Respecting LGBT people is not “treating them with kid gloves”. Not using words that have homophobic connotations to describe people you know to be gay is not “special treatment”.

184 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Except there are no homophobic connotations.

Those exist in your imagination.

And you are demanding that gay people be singled out for special treatment, and euphemisms used, essentially, because of this.

Which has the effect of drawing *more* attention, and yes, negative attention, to that person’s sexual orientation.

“Why can’t we just treat him as we would any other person”

“Oh, he is gay, so we must tiptoe around him regarding words that in ordinary day to day usage are not controversial”

The end effect? It others gay people.

185 Derek Walsh February 18, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Can anybody actually suggest a better word than “flounced”?
Let’s assume Michael hasn’t been hiding his latent homophobia behind decades of pro-LGBT work, and instead merely intended to say that the gentlemen in question left the conversation “in an exaggeratedly impatient or angry manner” that had nothing to do with his sexuality. If he decides that Aidan and Bob are right and “flounced” has connotations of a gay stereotype, what word should he use instead?

186 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 2:27 pm

So, Bob, how do you feel about your mansplaining to Tina here?

(That is both rhetorical an hyperbolic, but if we’re to play the games by your rules, we might as well let them apply)

187 Bob February 18, 2016 at 2:30 pm

The claim that the word should not be used to refer to people you know to be gay is predicated on the claim that it does have homophobic connotations.

As you deny that the word has homophobic connotations, I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make about so-called “special treatment”.

Are you objecting to the idea that people should not use words that have homophobic connotations to refer to gay people?

If not, then your objection is not to those calling for what you regard as “special treatment” but rather to the claim that the word has homophobic connotations.

188 John K February 18, 2016 at 2:30 pm

@ Derek
Stormed. Rage Quit. “made a show of leaving…”. “In a huff…”

Previously I thought that flounced was more used like “to waltz”.
As in, waltz in somewhere.

189 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 2:31 pm

@Derek Walsh

“”in an exaggeratedly impatient or angry manner””

I was going to point out, in my replies to Bob, that simply using the *definition* of “flounce” would have *also* resulted in MN being accused of using dog whistle homophobia because of the word “exaggerated”

So saying that I, a cishet female, can flounce or behave in an angry, exaggerated fashion is not homophobic, but to say that about a gay person *is*.

Which = unequal treatment

Which also means that we need a realllly good euphemism that does *not* communicate the meaning of flounce at all, since that can be construed as homophobic by folks who take offense at everything.

190 Bob February 18, 2016 at 2:35 pm

Derek, having a look at these synonyms and similar words: http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/flounce?s=t there are some that might have worked better than others.

Perhaps “He then stormed off”.

(Perhaps not “pranced”, “minced”, “swished”, or “sashayed”, all of which are listed there as well)

191 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 2:39 pm

Bob wrote:

“””Perhaps “He then stormed off””

Gay people are just so *emotional*

See, I can play this “find offense in ordinary language” game too.

Anything negative about a minority has the potential to be construed as a slur if you try hard enough.

192 Bob February 18, 2016 at 2:43 pm

Cindy – would you have been fine with using any of those other words I mentioned? How about “he then minced away”?

193 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Bob:

“predicated on the claim that it does have homophobic connotations.”

Where, how, by whom? Apart from a very fringe group of mostly internet drama-mongers, it doesn’t bear this meaning. I’m pretty sure the LGBT community at large doesn’t see it as a homophobic term. I could go as far as searching LGBT fora and see if it’s used there.

But I don’t need to do that, do I? It’s already in good use at FTB, where everyone is included except those that are guilty of thought-crime.

What about this: you extremely offended people start raising the issue over there at FTB? No? Because it’s so much more fun to attack Michael?

194 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 2:46 pm

Bob mansplaining again…

*sigh*

195 John K February 18, 2016 at 2:52 pm

@Bob,

You are being disingenuous.
Minced does not have the same meaning as flounced. In this context it has no other meaning. No one uses to mince aside to be a slur or to refer to mincing meat.

Flounced only has the loosest homophobic connotations. It’s far more common definition is the one that Michael used and the people at FTB have declared to be acceptable.

Are you going to be taking up their use of the word with them?

196 John K February 18, 2016 at 2:53 pm

@ Bob

“People accidentally use dodgy terms all of the time. All that it requires is that you’re not consciously aware of all the relevant facts (like the fact that “flounce” is a word that can have homophobic connotations).”

Yes I agree. But unlike flounce, the term she used has a very singular, very specific meaning that implies deliberate intention (eg. Signal homophobes). I’m not sure how else she could be using it.
Furthermore, the context of her accusation makes it even harder to see how she could have meant it beyond the obvious meaning.

“I didn’t read the original comment as implying that Michael was being intentionally homophobic (just as others didn’t read the use of “flounce” as having dodgy connotations). ”

“I think he was given the benefit of the doubt – that’s why nobody (as far as I can see, I may have missed something) has called him homophobic. In a context like this, giving someone the benefit of the doubt means that you shouldn’t assume that they intended their words to come across as they did. ”

You are changing what the actual accusation said.
No, no one accused him of being homophobic. No one accused him of using homophoic terms.
He was accused of using homophob*ia*.
Again, I cannot see accusing someone of using homophobia can be anything other than that.

“My objection is to the fact that Michael didn’t seek to clarify what the complaint was, before blogging about it publicly.”
“I think it is: the original comment expressed an opinion in private about the public conduct of another person. Anyone reading that comment was able to judge for themselves whether Aoife’s opinion was a reasonable one. ”

But it was “private” in the sense it was “between me and all of my facebook friends”. That’s not actually private.
And then we come back to the point that it was because some people where publicly concluding that Michael was homophobic (whether it was Aoife’s intention or not) that he responded as he did.
I don’t see why some one should stand idly by while their reputation is being tarnished and they aren’t being offered another way to counter this claim.
And again Aoife didn’t try to clarify Michael’s statement before she publicly made her accusation. Did Michael not deserve the benefit of doubt there?

“If, for example, Michael were to post a comment on his Facebook complaining about what he sees as Aoife’s unjustified attacks, I would not think that he has an obligation to allow her to see it, or to allow her to reply.”
I agree. it’s not what Michael did.

But what Aoife did is not at all analogous to what you suggested in the your original post.
Accusing someone behind their back is not the same as offering a criticism and explanation.

“I don’t think Barron’s comments imply that his opinion was changed (rather than supported) by Aoife’s comments. (And if you want to be really pedantic, they don’t necessarily imply Michael is homophobic) I do concede that the second comment does accuse him of being homophobic – an accusation with which I would disagree.”

These are examples of course and don’t cover the people who may have changed their minds or had their opinions supported. Michael’s reputation was being damaged.
In the case of Michael Barron, he and Michael Nugent (Via AI) are often in contact in the context of campaigning in the matter of secularising schools. If Aoife’s accusations went unchallenged and Michael Barron came to believe (or had opinions confirmed) that Michael Nugent was homophobic, used homophobic terms or used homophobia, do you think that might play a factor in these two organisations working together? Could you see how that might make it important to snip unfair smears in the bud?

“Sure (though of those criticizing Aoife and her defenders would appear to have engaged in the same behavior).”

I agree to a certain extent, but it’s important to note that Michael Nugent isn’t.

“Given the reaction, I can’t say I blame Aoife for wanting to keep her criticism of Michael private.”

If that’s the case, then it’s all the more reason for her to have offered the same as what you believe Michael should of done.

“Fair enough – I don’t think those are acceptable either.”
Oddly, I think they are perfectly acceptable. In the context they are used, it’s clear that they aren’t homophobic or veiled homophobia.

What bugs me, and motivated me to comment is how some people from that side are hypocritically declaring that Michael is using homophobia, or that he should know better for using that term, but then believing that it’s ok when they use it.

It’s not the first time this has happened.

197 Bob February 18, 2016 at 2:53 pm

“Where, how, by whom? Apart from a very fringe group of mostly internet drama-mongers, it doesn’t bear this meaning. I’m pretty sure the LGBT community at large doesn’t see it as a homophobic term. I could go as far as searching LGBT fora and see if it’s used there.”

We know for a fact that at least some LGBT people see it as a homophobic term, and it’s not as though there is some official LGBT authority that can determine whether it is or not. You might also consider that the term can have different connotations depending on a person’s age and location – both Aoife and Michael are Irish, for example, where the term may have different connotations than elsewhere. We also know that the synonyms and related words listed in the thesaurus do include some terms that would be much less controversially homophobic – words like “minced”, for example.

“What about this: you extremely offended people start raising the issue over there at FTB? No? Because it’s so much more fun to attack Michael?”

I don’t really read FTB. I’ve already said that I don’t approve of it being used to describe gay people, whether by Michael or by anyone else.

198 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 2:56 pm

@Bob 191

Is “minced” used across the entirety of the internet to refer to anyone who leaves a discussion in an exaggerated, histrionic manner? Is that the generally understood meaning?

To illustrate my earlier point let me draw you a picture.
Let’s say that this discussion ends badly. We all flounce off angrily.

Cindy flounces.
MN flounces
Bob flounces
Tina flounces
Phil flounces
Derek flounces
THE ONE GAY COMMENTER LEAVES ANGRILY
Steersman floubces
Hermann flounces

Yeah. Not like that draws attention to the gay person at all or makes readers wonder “wtf”

And this chat is a microcosm of the wider world, out there.

199 Derek Walsh February 18, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Bob:

Perhaps “He then stormed off”.

Perhaps. “Stormed” seems more angry and less affected than “flounced”, and I don’t think it conveys quite the same meaning. I agree that none of the other words on the spectrum of near-synonyms would be suitable.

Incidentally, if the person happened to be black (and for all I know he was) would it still be acceptable to use “stormed”? I am aware that an “angry black man” stereotype exists and in that context, you might view the word as racist.

200 Bob February 18, 2016 at 3:02 pm

@John K,

In my experience, when used derisively, the word “Flounce” tends to be applied to men in particular as a way of suggesting that they are being overly-dramatic (sometimes the implication is that this is the kind of behaviour we might expect of a woman, but not a man). For example, it is used a lot on politics.ie to refer to, and dismiss, users who post long messages about why they are leaving the site.

If you have a look at some of the related words, you’ll see that many of them refer to stereotypically feminine behaviour: “mince, nancy, prance, sashay, swish, etc.”. Applying stereotypically feminine characteristics to gay men is an old homophobic trope.

I don’t expect people to make all of these connections, on seeing the word used. But I would expect them to at least listen to the reasons LGBT people have for their reactions.

201 Bob February 18, 2016 at 3:06 pm

Derek:

“Incidentally, if the person happened to be black (and for all I know he was) would it still be acceptable to use “stormed”? I am aware that an “angry black man” stereotype exists and in that context, you might view the word as racist.”

I suppose one of the difficulties here is that some gay men do flounce, in the precise meaning of the term, and some black men are angry (and some women are shrill, etc., etc.)

If you’re reporting that sort of interaction, you might have to choose between reporting the details that conform with the stereotype, in which case you risk people assuming you’re engaging in stereotyping, or leaving those details out, in which case you’re more constrained in terms of how you report what actually happened. I don’t know what the obvious answer is as to how someone should behave in such a situation- maybe it depends on how important you think it is not to give the impression that you’re engaged in stereotyping.

202 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 3:09 pm

If “flounce” is a homophobic slur then it always is, regardless of context. The slur being contained in the meaning – exaggerated, histrionic behaviour.

So to say that Phil “flounced” is to essentially accuse him of “acting gay”

Which means that the rest of FTB is culpable and that I expect Bob, Aidan and Aoife to take FTB to task post-haste.

That, or just confirm that you are looking for reasons to snear MN.

203 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 3:10 pm

“Steersman floubces”

Sorry, the typo made me laugh. I shall use that.

204 Aidan Rowe February 18, 2016 at 3:14 pm

So after 160 comments of people pretending not to realise there’s any associations b/w flouncing and homosexuality we get:

“But I think that one of the things that chaps the hides of Aidan and company is the thought that flouncing is somewhat more common in the gay community than in other ones. The truth is, if I’m not mistaken, proof against accusations of libel and defamation.”

I.e. HAHAHA there totally is an association but it’s not homophobic cos it’s true!

205 tina February 18, 2016 at 3:14 pm

That’s Steersophobia that is. Everyone’s got that 😉

206 Bob February 18, 2016 at 3:15 pm

“If “flounce” is a homophobic slur then it always is, regardless of context.”

The context in which a word is used is precisely what determines whether it a homophobic slur. That’s why, to borrow Derek’s example, describing a white man as angry may not be racist, but describing a black man as angry may be (depending on the context).

207 Aidan Rowe February 18, 2016 at 3:18 pm

Nonono it’s not homophobia it’s just f̶a̶g̶g̶o̶t̶s̶ gay people really are drama queens. Science and reason ftw!

208 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 3:21 pm

@Bob 206
Really?

So lovingly calling my cat a N*gger, as a joke, isn’t a slur as long as I am not referring to black folks?

In fact, white folk can call one another the N word all of the time, right? Because per your definition, it would not be a slur under this context.

Oh, and you just stated that flounce is often used against straight men. As an underhanded way of saying that they are acting gay. Which makes it a homophobic slur in that context too.

Better contact FTB ASAP, as they use the word on straight men all the time.

209 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 3:22 pm

Bob:

“The context in which a word is used is precisely what determines whether it a homophobic slur. That’s why, to borrow Derek’s example, describing a white man as angry may not be racist, but describing a black man as angry may be (depending on the context).”

So, tell me, what was the context that made Michael’s use of a mundane word homophobic?

Was it the usual use of the word as defined by the vast majority of the English-speaking world?

Or was it the desperate need for attention in your own mind?

And please, do reply to this query.

Also, your example is retarded and racist. People get angry. It’s a fact. Sex, gender, sexual preferences and race don’t ever come into the equation. If a black person gets angry: well they get angry. Same as a white person. What the fuck is this shit you’re trying to sell us?

210 Derek Walsh February 18, 2016 at 3:24 pm

Bob:

I suppose one of the difficulties here is that some gay men do flounce, in the precise meaning of the term, and some black men are angry (and some women are shrill, etc., etc.)

Well, yes. But that’s only a difficulty for you. It’s a burden you have decided to take on yourself, and impose on others.

If you’re reporting that sort of interaction, you might have to choose between reporting the details that conform with the stereotype, in which case you risk people assuming you’re engaging in stereotyping, or leaving those details out, in which case you’re more constrained in terms of how you report what actually happened.

Another choice is to simply report things using the words that seem most appropriate, and understand that there will always be some people who seek to take offence where none was intended.

I don’t know what the obvious answer is as to how someone should behave in such a situation-

Really? You seem to have had rather a lot to say about how Michael should have behaved.

maybe it depends on how important you think it is not to give the impression that you’re engaged in stereotyping.

In most contexts, that’s not important at all. When there’s no real reason to believe someone is engaged in stereotyping, most people will not worry about the impression that certain people will clamour to take.

211 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 3:25 pm

Aidan:

“Nonono it’s not homophobia it’s just f̶a̶g̶g̶o̶t̶s̶ gay people really are drama queens. Science and reason ftw!”

Done with your temper tantrum? What about you get out of your basement and meet the real world, instead of using crass hyperboles? It would do you good.

212 Derek Walsh February 18, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Bob:

That’s why, to borrow Derek’s example, describing a white man as angry may not be racist, but describing a black man as angry may be (depending on the context).

That’s not borrowing my example, so much as taking my reductio ad absurdum at face value

213 Guestus Aurelius February 18, 2016 at 3:36 pm

@Bob 182:

Not using words that have homophobic connotations to describe people you know to be gay is not “special treatment”.

Interesting… knowledge that the person is gay is relevant, but knowledge that the word (ostensibly) has homophobic connotations is not.

How positively fortuitous that your rules for “being a good ally” happen to fit the present situation so closely. I mean, if I didn’t know better, I might even suspect you of making them up on the fly!

Here is a thought: you’re in a cult that’s eating away at your humanity. Wake up, and get out as fast as you can.

214 Bob February 18, 2016 at 3:45 pm

@Cindy

“So lovingly calling my cat a N*gger, as a joke, isn’t a slur as long as I am not referring to black folks?”

I’m not sure it’s possible to racially abuse a cat. When a black musician refers to a black person as a “n*gger”, do you suspect them of being racist?

@Phil

“So, tell me, what was the context that made Michael’s use of a mundane word homophobic?”

The context that makes it potentially an example of a “dog whistle” is that he was using it to describe someone identified as being gay.

“Was it the usual use of the word as defined by the vast majority of the English-speaking world?

Or was it the desperate need for attention in your own mind?

And please, do reply to this query.”

I’m afraid I don’t understand this part of the question.

“Also, your example is retarded and racist.”

Well, this is an example of someone using an ableist expression that they might not be aware is ableist. I’m not sure why you think the example (which I borrowed from Derek) is racist. You are right that people get angry. That is a fact. It is also a fact that the “angry black man” is a racial stereotype, while the “angry white man” is not.

@Derek

“Well, yes. But that’s only a difficulty for you. It’s a burden you have decided to take on yourself, and impose on others.”

It’s a difficulty for anyone who does not want to be misinterpreted as engaging in racist/sexist/homophobic/etc. behaviour.

If we know that black men are sometimes stereotyped as angry, for example, and if we hear of someone describing an interaction with a stereotypically angry black man, then we have at least one reason to suspect that the person might be engaging in stereotyping, even if it turns out that they just happened to encounter a person who fits a racist stereotype.

“Another choice is to simply report things using the words that seem most appropriate, and understand that there will always be some people who seek to take offence where none was intended.”

As I’m sure others have pointed out, the actual intention behind words does not determine how those words are reasonably interpreted.

“In most contexts, that’s not important at all. When there’s no real reason to believe someone is engaged in stereotyping, most people will not worry about the impression that certain people will clamour to take.”

But this is a case where there is a reason to believe someone is engaged in stereotyping: the word can have homophobic connotations, Michael does not seem to have bothered to seriously consider the appropriateness of it, and many of his defenders don’t appear to be at all sympathetic to the perspective of LGBT people who will tend to have a better idea than they as to what words have homophobic connotations. All of that does provide a reason to think that Michael was stereotyping.

215 Guestus Aurelius February 18, 2016 at 3:50 pm

@Bob 200

If you have a look at some of the related words, you’ll see that many of them refer to stereotypically feminine behaviour: “mince, nancy, prance, sashay, swish, etc.”. Applying stereotypically feminine characteristics to gay men is an old homophobic trope.

Aside from the fact that this has nothing to do with the present situation (since MN has explicitly denied associating homosexuality or this particular gay man with feminine characteristics), it’s simply true that many gay men behave femininely. Many don’t, of course, but many more gay than straight men do. It’s a real thing, and acknowledging it isn’t homophobic.

You’re in a cult.

216 Bob February 18, 2016 at 3:50 pm

@ Gustus

“Interesting… knowledge that the person is gay is relevant, but knowledge that the word (ostensibly) has homophobic connotations is not.”

Knowledge of whether a person is gay is relevant in assessing the extent to which the use of the word was intended (consciously or subconsciously) to be homophobic, as is knowledge of whether the word actually has homophobic connotations.

“Here is a thought: you’re in a cult that’s eating away at your humanity. Wake up, and get out as fast as you can.”

As someone who is defending the proposition that people not use words with homophobic connotations to refer to gay people, I think my humanity is pretty much intact.

217 Guestus Aurelius February 18, 2016 at 3:54 pm

@Bob, 201

If you’re reporting that sort of interaction, you might have to choose between reporting the details that conform with the stereotype, in which case you risk people assuming you’re engaging in stereotyping, or leaving those details out, in which case you’re more constrained in terms of how you report what actually happened. I don’t know what the obvious answer is as to how someone should behave in such a situation- maybe it depends on how important you think it is not to give the impression that you’re engaged in stereotyping.

Or—and just bear with me for a second, because this might seem extreme and really out there—maybe we just say, “To hell with the pathological offense-takers,” and get on with being egalitarians.

218 Guestus Aurelius February 18, 2016 at 3:57 pm

No, Bob, this is you (minus the epiphany):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3h6es6zh1c

219 John K February 18, 2016 at 3:57 pm

@ Bob 200

“In my experience, when used derisively, the word “Flounce” tends to be applied to men in particular as a way of suggesting that they are being overly-dramatic (sometimes the implication is that this is the kind of behaviour we might expect of a woman, but not a man). For example, it is used a lot on politics.ie to refer to, and dismiss, users who post long messages about why they are leaving the site.”

And this is the way that most people understand what the word means.
This is the way self described feminists and allies use it to mean.
In this context, it has no homophobic connotations and applies equally to everyone who decides to leave a discussion in an exaggerated way.

Also, you might get that implication, I never did.
I’m perfectly aware men on the internet can be overly dramatic.

“If you have a look at some of the related words, you’ll see that many of them refer to stereotypically feminine behaviour: “mince, nancy, prance, sashay, swish, etc.”. Applying stereotypically feminine characteristics to gay men is an old homophobic trope.”
So now using the word flounce is a sexist slur also?
Or is it ok to refer to “feminine” behavior as if it were an insult?

Why do you have no issue with using what you are arguing is a homophobic/sexist slur when it refers to straight men?

“I don’t expect people to make all of these connections, on seeing the word used. But I would expect them to at least listen to the reasons LGBT people have for their reactions.”
But Aoife offered no reasons. Didn’t contact Michael to express that she disapproved of the word. She launched straight into a smear you agree was unfair.
However you are now asking people to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she meant something else when she said that MN was using “dog whistle homophobia”.

Why should we assume that her reasons for disliking that particular word are valid?
Why should we excuse her making unfair damaging smears?
Why should we give her the benefit of doubt she did not offer MN and assume that her accusation wasn’t what she meant?

Because she’s LBGTQ, therefore should be treated differently?

220 Bob February 18, 2016 at 3:58 pm

@Gustus

I’m not sure someone who refers to those with whom they disagree as “pathological offense-takers” is really interested in engaging in a discussion in good faith.

Most of the egalitarians I know are reflective enough that when someone suggests they have used inappropriate language, their first reaction is to investigate the claim, rather than become defensive.

221 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 3:59 pm

Bob:

“Well, this is an example of someone using an ableist expression that they might not be aware is ableist”

Oh, fuck off!

222 citizen_wolf February 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm

This thread has descended into the twilight zone. ‘Arguing’ with people who, I’d bet a lot of money, don’t follow their own rules regarding words in everyday life. Rules which are absurd in the first place. And the reason I call them absurd is that they reduce language to a quagmire of misunderstanding and potential offense at every utterance.

For the love of sanity, ignore them. With a bit of luck they’ll wise up when they grow up.

223 Derek Walsh February 18, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Bob:

It’s a difficulty for anyone who does not want to be misinterpreted as engaging in racist/sexist/homophobic/etc. behaviour.

Well, nobody wants to be misinterpreted. And sometimes a misinterpretation can be the fault of the speaker, sometimes of the listener and sometimes due to language or cultural issues.
The main thing is that when something has been misinterpreted, and the original speaker clarifies his intention (at great length), then anyone who continues to misinterpret it is doing so for their own reasons.

224 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Citizen_wolf @222

“For the love of sanity, ignore them. With a bit of luck they’ll wise up when they grow up.”

Yes, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Ignore them, I mean, not grow upe. That opportunity was wasted ages ago.

(and I wish they had a sense of humour)

225 Guestus Aurelius February 18, 2016 at 4:11 pm

@Bob

I’m not sure someone who refers to those with whom they disagree as “pathological offense-takers” is really interested in engaging in a discussion in good faith.

Most of the egalitarians I know are reflective enough that when someone suggests they have used inappropriate language, their first reaction is to investigate the claim, rather than become defensive.

No, kowtowing to the hypersensitive self-appointed language police is a sign of weak-mindedness, not egalitarianism.

You’re in a cult. Escape.

226 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 4:16 pm

@phil 224

Good advice from CW, I should take it.

Guestus #225

Did you know that “cult” is “problematic” and a slur?

Yep. An SJW who uses the word “cult” as in “cult of Isis” has declared that modern meaning of the term is “deeply harmful”, has ” really harmed her”, and that using the modern meaning and not the ancient one makes you a “privileged white pr*ck”

She’s a polytheist, see.

227 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 4:45 pm

And “cult” is one letter away from…

This whole kerfuffle is silly. No one should bow down to the new-speak SJWs are trying to impose. That they don’t see it for what it is beggars belief.

228 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 6:22 pm
229 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 6:24 pm

@Aidan #232

I just posted some links, regarding trans rapists, and men claiming to be trans in order to infiltrate women’s private spaces and *rape* them.

The post is under moderation because of the links.

It isn’t transphobic to claim that women have the right not to be raped by men who claim a gender identity of woman based on nothing but ‘feelz’ (or in some cases, outright lies) in their own bathrooms/changerooms/dv shelters/prisons

230 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 6:32 pm

Phil @235

Here is evidence of trans women referring to lesbians as ‘transphobic’ for refusing to have PIV sex with them.

Hopefully this will make it through moderation.

https://transgenderreality.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/femalepenis.png?w=700
A person’s gender determine their sex
So, if you have no gender, then you have no bio sex
https://transgenderreality.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/vagina-sex-is-gay.png?w=700
https://transgenderreality.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/female-penis-1.jpg?w=700
https://transgenderreality.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/being-a-lesbian-is-hate-speech1.png?w=700
https://transgenderreality.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/cotton-ceiling-10.png?w=700
“” Look, it’s not like I require the women I date to be cool with having my dick inside them. In fact, I’m fine if that never happens. But being shut off from the very idea of it, not even considering that having my penis inside you is different from having a man’s penis inside you? That hurts. It’s such tiny slight that I wish I could get over it, and not let it fester into something I feel the need to write an essay about, but apparently I can’t.
Also: I’m sure you personally aren’t violently transmisogynistic, but the same things that lead you to ask these questions are the things that lead to trans women’s deaths. This sexuality related disgust is shared by men who treat trans women (especially trans women of colour) as sex objects. This disgust is by far the most common cause of their brutal murders.””

231 Aidan Rowe February 18, 2016 at 6:36 pm

Cool it’ll be interesting to see if Cde. Nugent, friend of queers, allows anti-trans hate speech through his comment filters or not.

232 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 6:40 pm

@Aidan

It isn’t trans hate speech.

It is screenshots of trans women accusing lesbians of transphobia for not having penis in vagina sex with trans women. Google “Cotton Ceiling”

Is it your stance that the words of trans women are transphobic hate speech?

233 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 6:48 pm

“Cool it’ll be interesting to see if Cde. Nugent, friend of queers, allows anti-trans hate speech through his comment filters or not.”

Done yet? There’s a limit to victimization, you know. It’s when the rest of the world tells you to fuck off because you’re a whinny little brat.

Hint: no one gives a fuck about your sexual orientation, gender, preferred pronoun or what have you. Nobody cares. About you.

Surprise!!!

And dude, people hate your lot (not trans* people, who are fine, but the whinny internet crowd that gets offense wherever they may find it. It’s getting more than old).

234 Aidan Rowe February 18, 2016 at 6:56 pm

“dude”

235 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 6:59 pm

Aidan, please tell us , yes or no, if lesbians are transphobic if they do not want a trans woman’s penis inside their vaginas? Or down their throat.

yes/no?

236 Aidan Rowe February 18, 2016 at 7:07 pm

I think anyone is entitled to say no to sex for any reason and that that no is sacrosanct, even if the thinking behind the no is bigoted. I don’t think not wanting to interact sexually with penises is ipso facto transphobic, but I think excluding a woman from the category ‘lesbian’ because she has a penis is.

237 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 7:08 pm

Aidan:

“dude”

Yes. And ?

You might be surprised to learn that I use this very word when talking tom y dear darling fiancée.

Your point, dude?

238 Aidan Rowe February 18, 2016 at 7:10 pm

I’m not a dude. Don’t call me that.

239 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 7:10 pm

@Phil 243

I call my mother and my bf ‘dude’ and ‘bro’

My bf calls me ‘bro’ and dude. I am ok with it.

I identify as a woman.

I call my cat ‘little shit’

240 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 7:12 pm

“I call my cat ‘little shit’”

That sounds like a rational move (I have 3)

241 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 7:16 pm

@Phil 247

I just called her a more extreme version of that, ‘little f*cker’

She just tried to steal my mic, my bottle of ibuprofen, and my post-it notes!!!

@Aidan 244

Biological sex (along with species) and gender are a social construct, or didn’t you get the memo?

P.S. I think my cat identifies as a ‘destroy-everything-kin’

242 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 7:18 pm

Aidan

“I’m not a dude. Don’t call me that.”

Pretty sure you are, for a given value of “dude”. Are you starting to get the nuances now?

243 Aidan Rowe February 18, 2016 at 7:30 pm

I don’t care what you people call yourselves or others, or what you understand by “dude”. I am not a man and I don’t want to be referred to as a “dude”.

244 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 7:34 pm

Good on you. I won’t refer to you as a “dude” anymore here if that upsets you (makes me laugh too, but that’s not the point).

Carry on, Mary Sue.

245 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 7:39 pm

Can someone buy these people a sense of humour? Please? I’ll push the extra buck if needed (no I won’t).

246 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 7:41 pm

@Aidan Rowe

Not a problem. If you want to be referred to as a she, I can respect that.

You, however, should bear in mind that as far a gender expression is concerned, people will perceive you as a ‘dude’.

I mean, it isn’t transphobic to look at a photo of bearded, hirsute, muscular Danielle Muscato and, not knowing that she is really a woman, assume that she is a male, because she looks like a male.

247 Shatterface February 18, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Bob:

Well, this is an example of someone using an ableist expression that they might not be aware is ableist. I’m not sure why you think the example (which I borrowed from Derek) is racist. You are right that people get angry. That is a fact. It is also a fact that the “angry black man” is a racial stereotype, while the “angry white man” is not.

Bullshit.

Trump’s angry white men – and why there are more of them than you think.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/08/angry-white-men-love-donald-trump

An angry white male (AWM) is a derogatory reference to a white male holding what is viewed as a typically conservative viewpoint, especially in the context of U.S. politics, characterized by opposition to feminism, racial quotas, political correctness, affirmative action and other liberal policies.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angry_white_male

248 Shatterface February 18, 2016 at 7:58 pm

‘Dude’ is a unisex term: nobody uses ‘dudette’ or ‘dudess’ anymore.

249 Aidan Rowe February 18, 2016 at 8:10 pm

I allow my friends to call me ‘dude’ since I’m confident that they mean it in a gender-neutral sense. I’m not willing to extend the benefit of the doubt to those who permit anti-trans hate speech to pass without challenge.

250 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 8:16 pm

@Aidan 255

Please show us the evidence of anti-trans hate speech on this forum.

Thanks.

251 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 8:18 pm

Aidan:

You do know that nobody besides you, your family and close friends give a fuck about your gender identity?

No one cares.

It’s as relevant as you announcing you’re a brony.

We care about your arguments, which so far go down to “me me me me”.

Turns out we don’t care about that line of crap either.

In retrospective, I’ll stick with ‘dude’.

Dude!

252 Shatterface February 18, 2016 at 8:18 pm

I allow my friends to call me ‘dude’ since I’m confident that they mean it in a gender-neutral sense. I’m not willing to extend the benefit of the doubt to those who permit anti-trans hate speech to pass without challenge.

So you’d prefer ‘dudette’ or ‘dudess’?

253 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 8:23 pm

And I’m supposed to be the nice guy….

254 Aidan Rowe February 18, 2016 at 8:23 pm

@Shatterface

If you like.

255 Cindy February 18, 2016 at 8:24 pm

@Phil 257

Aidan is an interesting case study insofar as xie appears to treat outrage like a drug.

Xie clearly finds it exhilarating to revel in xir victimhood.

256 Shatterface February 18, 2016 at 8:25 pm

And I’m supposed to be the nice guy….

Somebody had to draw the short straw.

257 John Greg February 18, 2016 at 9:18 pm

Bob said:

“Well, this is an example of someone using an ableist expression that they might not be aware is ableist.”

HAHAHAHA!

That reminds of when the Wizards of Brain over at the A+ bbs decided that the word “ableist” was ableist — as were almost all adjectives and adverbs, eventually.

The idiocy in this ongoing argument, as presented by Bob, Aidan, et al., is profound, and is a perfect example of SJWs determining that their individual, personalized perception, and unresourced, unsupported feelings, however singular and minority-based, about a word define that word in its totality for everyone forevermore … or until tomorrow when they decide the word, the evil, evil word, has fallen from localised favour.

258 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 9:38 pm

I was very aware the term “retarded” was “ableist”.

“Ablesit”, by the way, is one of those most retarded terms, like islamophobia.

Keep your buzzwords to yourselves.

259 Steersman February 18, 2016 at 9:42 pm

Phil Giordana FCD #203:

“Steersman floubces”

Sorry, the typo made me laugh. I shall use that.

:-) “flounce with extra bounce!”

260 Phil Giordana FCD February 18, 2016 at 9:45 pm

Bounce? I feel quite triggered.

261 Steersman February 18, 2016 at 9:51 pm

tina #205:

That’s Steersophobia that is. Everyone’s got that. :-)

:-) Apropos of which { 😉 } : http://i.imgur.com/gaYAYWD.jpg h/t Jan Steen

262 Shatterface February 18, 2016 at 11:23 pm

Ok, that made me laugh.

263 Michael Nugent February 19, 2016 at 12:03 am

I have removed some comments that linked to a website where a named person was accused of harassing feminists, and/or that discussed that website and other accusations made on it, and/or that referred to named people as having had rape allegations made against them.

If anyone wants me to email them any comments that they made which I have deleted, I’d be happy to do so, if you want to edit them to exclude such allegations while keeping any other points you made.

Also, as per my preferences for this blog, can you please try to criticise ideas rather the people who are communicating the ideas? Thanks.

264 Cindy February 19, 2016 at 12:09 am

@Aidan Rowe

Comments 229 and 231

My links made it through moderation.

Now, I happen to believe that trans women *are* natal males.

However, out of courtesy, I have no problem referring to TW as women and MTF as men. Not a problem.

But, lesbians, for example, are not transphobic if they refuse to validate TW identity by having PIV sex with MTF TW.

Likewise, women are not transphobic re my links if they do not want bearded and be-penised men flashing their junk around the woman’s PRIVATE LOCKER ROOM. Girls don’t need to have dicks flashed in their faces, and they also don’t need to have men leering at them. Are TW generally great people, sure they are. But, laws which permit a be-penised person to enter a woman’s changeroom/dv shelter based on NOTHING but gender identity alone simply opens up the doors for abuse. Perverts who pray on girls and women will abuse this loophole.

265 Bob February 19, 2016 at 12:30 am

Are we to believe that the sorts of people who dismiss the very idea of ableism, or the sorts of people who deliberately misgender trans people are themselves likely to be good judges as to whether a word has homophobic connotations?

It is ironic that those who take themselves to be defending Michael from smears have engaged in some extraordinarily nasty behaviour towards those with whom they disagree.

266 Cindy February 19, 2016 at 12:34 am

Bob wrote: 267

Are we to believe that the sorts of people who dismiss the very idea of ableism, or the sorts of people who deliberately misgender trans people are themselves likely to be good judges as to whether a word has homophobic connotations?

Don’t confuse gender identity with biological sex.

The two are different.

Or do you think that biological sex is a social construct and that sperm, xy chromosomes and penises are biologically female if the owner says so? And that prostate cancer, hemophilia etc are female diseases?

267 Steersman February 19, 2016 at 1:05 am

Michael #265:

Maybe I should flounce (or “floubce”) because of that deletion? 😉 But thanks for the offer to e-mail me back my comment, although that won’t be necessary as I kept a copy before hitting “Submit”. However, without the ability to quote something of the post I was referring to then anything I mash it into would likely be a non sequitur at best.

In any case, and as a point of reference, while I can appreciate that you’re trying to be careful not to run afoul of some problematic Irish laws on defamation, I kind of think that the accusation of rape in question was more hyperbolic than credible: it seems that it was “merely” a highly questionable inference that because “the party of the first part” was, presumably, supportive of transwomen, in various stages of transition, then “the party of the second part” was justified in inferring that that was tantamount to condoning rape which then justified, in their minds, the accusation of rape. Which is incredibly sloppy thinking at best or, at worst, a manifestation of outright demagoguery.

However, I think that that is, unfortunately, kind of a sign of the times, and merely another example of the frequent smears directed your way – by the usual suspects. Moot point though what the reasons for it might be, although it might be worth the effort to try to elucidate them.

And an illustrative case is afforded by Richard Dawkins’ unfortunate stroke several weeks ago following which he had made some references to the stress that he had experienced prior to it, along with some vague allusions to some of the potentially contributing causes, including hate from some “liberal feminists”. But that precipitated more than a few other usual suspects going off the deep end – in a histrionic manner that makes Chicken Little look positively phlegmatic – by accusing him of blaming all feminists (apparently) for that stroke.

Hardly conducive to rational debate when people are so careless, clueless, uncharitable, or intent on grinding an axe.

268 Steersman February 19, 2016 at 1:55 am

Bob #267:

Are we to believe that … the sorts of people who deliberately misgender trans people are themselves likely to be good judges as to whether a word has homophobic connotations?

You’re referring to my comment (deleted) calling Bruce Jenner a man? The thing is that that accusation of misgendering is based only on your opinion, and one not particularly well supported by the facts. Specifically, you might consider that most if not all dictionaries, including medical ones, definewoman” as “an adult female human” with “female” further being defined as being capable of producing ova or bearing young. You really think that Jenner in any way shape or form, now or in the future, qualifies as such by those definitions? You’ve totally disappeared down the rabbit hole if you think that.

But I think that whole issue has gone off the rails largely because, as Alice in Wonderland put it many years ago, and as was recently quoted above (#175), “The question is … whether you can make words mean so many different things.” If “woman” can mean both those who produce ova AND those who produce sperm – the definitions leading the hit parade in most if not all dictionaries, including medical ones – then such definitions become totally useless, and the whole concept of sex “crumples to absurdity”. No wonder that Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge, in their Professing Feminism, raised the alarums over “the virulent anti-science, anti-intellectual sentiment driving many of the professors, staff and students” in various Women’s Studies programs and, by extension, in much of the more problematic sects of today’s feminism.

269 Steersman February 19, 2016 at 1:58 am

Bob #267:

[Duplicate to reformat links]

Are we to believe that … the sorts of people who deliberately misgender trans people are themselves likely to be good judges as to whether a word has homophobic connotations?

You’re referring to my comment (deleted) calling Bruce Jenner a man? The thing is that that accusation of misgendering is based only on your opinion, and one not particularly well supported by the facts. Specifically, you might consider that most if not all dictionaries, including medical ones, define “woman” (1) as “an adult female human” with “female” further being defined as being capable of producing ova or bearing young. You really think that Jenner in any way shape or form, now or in the future, qualifies as such by those definitions? You’ve totally disappeared down the rabbit hole if you think that.

But I think that whole issue has gone off the rails largely because, as Alice in Wonderland put it many years ago, and as was recently quoted above (#175), “The question is … whether you can make words mean so many different things.” If “woman” can mean both those who produce ova AND those who produce sperm – the definitions leading the hit parade in most if not all dictionaries, including medical ones – then such definitions become totally useless, and the whole concept of sex “crumples to absurdity”.

No wonder that Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge, in their Professing Feminism (2), raised the alarums over “the virulent anti-science, anti-intellectual sentiment driving many of the professors, staff and students” in various Women’s Studies programs and, by extension, in much of the more problematic sects of today’s feminism.

—-
1) “_http://www.thefreedictionary.com/woman”;
2) “_http://www.feministcritics.org/blog/2009/07/27/professing-feminism-noh/”;

270 Phil Giordana FCD February 19, 2016 at 8:37 am

Bob #266:

“Are we to believe that the sorts of people who dismiss the very idea of ableism,”

Whine all you want, but your Jedi mind-tricks don’t have any power on me.

It would have some effect if you happened to actually be mentally impaired, but I don’t think that’s the case. So you can save your virtue-signalling for someone else, thank you very much.

271 Phil Giordana FCD February 19, 2016 at 9:09 am

And for the record:

I’m a huge fan of American actor John C McGinley (Dr Cox in Scrubs). His son has Down syndrome, and John fights teeth and nails to have the word “retard” (he calls it the R word) removed from common parlance.

But here is where he differs from SJWs: he wants the term removed when it concerns his kid or any other person with Down syndrome. Not from everyday discussions, where he has no problems with words like “retarded”.

So unless you have Down syndrome (which again I highly doubt), you don’t get to call “retarded” ableist and get all offended by it. It is not your privilege to get offended by proxy.

If more people understood this very simple point, there would be a lot less SJWs parading their virtuous ways around.

(Michael, sorry if I sound a bit angry or over the top, but in fact I am getting tired and angry at those self-centered crybullies).

272 Steersman February 19, 2016 at 9:29 am

Aidan Rowe #204:

So after 160 comments of people pretending not to realise there’s any associations b/w flouncing and homosexuality we get:

“But I think that one of the things that chaps the hides of Aidan and company is the thought that flouncing is somewhat more common in the gay community than in other ones. The truth is, if I’m not mistaken, proof against accusations of libel and defamation.”

I wonder whether you know what a dictionary is or how to use it:

homophobic
Adj.
1. prejudiced against homosexual people

Pray tell, how do you get from me pointing to a somewhat higher incidence of a particular behaviour pattern within a group – particularly one that is plainly true as suggested both by you (#128) and by Guestus Aurelius (#215) – to an accusation of a “prejudice” (holding “unreasonable preconceived judgments”) against all members of that group?

Now if I or someone else had said that flouncing – or being “drama queens” – was a defining attribute of all homosexuals, and that it was plainly false and pejorative, then you would have a case for charges of homophobia and sexism. And if not? Then it looks like you’re just blowing smoke out of your arse.

You may wish to reflect on the implications of your rather biased and unevidenced arguments as it sure looks like you’re arguing that gays have to be handled with kid gloves because all of them are overly sensitive. Which looks like a rather pejorative characterization of all gays. Which looks rather like homophobia and sexism.

In any case, once again, it would help matters greatly if you were to include the number and author of the post you were referring to, along with a relevant quote or two. Seems rather inconsiderate to not do so.

273 Steersman February 19, 2016 at 9:36 am

Phil Giordana FCD #261:

Bounce? I feel quite triggered.

:-) Didn’t I see that you had written the preface for “Trampolines for Dummies”? 😉

274 Bob February 19, 2016 at 11:26 am

@Steerman #269 I was not referring to comments made about “Bruce” Jenner. I was referring to Phil’s decision (#252) to refer to Aidan as a “dude” despite having been asked not to. If you deny the distinction between sex and gender, and insist that trans women are not women, then I would consider that further evidence in favour of the point I was making.

@Phil #267

I confess that I find this an extremely bizarre argument. Your claim appears to be that because one person who has a child with a disability is okay with people using the word “retarded” as a pejorative, that that means it is okay to use “retarded” as a pejorative. Does that really seem like a strong argument to you?

Here’s an article: http://noahsdad.com/spread-the-word-to-end-the-word/ written by a man whose son has Down Syndrome and who does have a problem with people using the word “retarded”. So I guess that “cancels” out your argument. Here is a campaign that includes many relatives of people with disabilities, not to mention people with disabilities themselves that opposes the use of the word in general: http://www.r-word.org/.

I’m also very puzzled by your claim that I “don’t get to be offended” by ableism. First of all, I never actually said that I was offended by it – that was your assumption. If “taking offence” means to feel that one is personally attacked, then only people with disabilities can be offended by ableism, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us shouldn’t be opposed to it (which I certainly am).

Your response appears to be part of a pattern on display here whereby those accused of insensitive behavior become extremely defensive, insisting that those who have criticized them are being hyper-sensitive. It’s probably a lot easier to default to that narrative, but it’s probably more rewarding to use the criticism as an opportunity to genuinely examine your own behavior instead.

PS – Here’s an article from John McGinley where he condemns the use of the word “retarded” in general: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-c-mcginley/what-really-happens-when-you-use-the-r-word_b_4896444.html

275 Bemused Observer February 19, 2016 at 11:56 am

Phil, it gets worse man. The most triggering season of all will soon be upon us.
Spring!

276 Steersman February 19, 2016 at 6:59 pm

Bob #275:

I was not referring to comments made about “Bruce” Jenner. I was referring to Phil’s decision (#252) to refer to Aidan as a “dude” despite having been asked not to.

The benefits of quoting something that indicates what and who you’re referring and responding to. Though I’ll concede that it is moot whether it was entirely cricket or not for people to be using the term “dude”. However, given people like Bruce Jenner – who apparently is still a “dude” in the original sense of the word, I wouldn’t consider the case a slam dunk.

If you deny the distinction between sex and gender, and insist that trans women are not women, then I would consider that further evidence in favour of the point I was making.

I rather doubt most people, myself included, are denying “the distinction between sex and gender”. Although, given Slate’s description of Facebook having some 56 genders to select from, I would say the latter term is little more than incoherent twaddle. But I think it’s more a question of challenging the rather egregious attempt to redefine various words to comport with some highly questionable ideology. And while one might, at a stretch, argue that “woman”, and related terms, is polysemic – “having many meanings”, in this case referring to both a sex and a gender – you might note that the standard and primary definitions for “woman”, of long standing and broad acceptance, in most dictionaries, including most medical ones, denote the combination of being human and of the female sex, i.e., “produces ova” – which Bruce Jenner is clearly incapable of doing, has never been able to do, and won’t ever be able to do.

Seems the only point that “you” are making is that “you” tend to redefine words – “homophobic”, “woman”, “flouncing”, “racism”, etc. – whenever the facts on the ground are inconsistent with your ideology: ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

277 John Greg February 19, 2016 at 10:18 pm

Bob said (circa 266):

“Are we to believe that the sorts of people who dismiss the very idea of ableism, or the sorts of people who deliberately misgender trans people are themselves likely to be good judges as to whether a word has homophobic connotations?”

Sure. One’s perspective or particular socio-political stance may or may not add a relevant and/or significant sway to their understanding of language. The more literate one is, the higher chance that they will actually understand the meaning of words and language. It is not axiomatic that their personal socio-political views, will affect or effect their literacy. In other words: false dichotomy, Ding! Try again.

“It is ironic that those who take themselves to be defending Michael from smears have engaged in some extraordinarily nasty behaviour towards those with whom they disagree.”

Such as?

What nasty behaviour?

What relevance does that have to the argument?

278 Steersman February 19, 2016 at 11:12 pm

John Greg #278:

Bob: … dismiss idea of ableism … nasty behaviour …
John: … understand the meaning of words and language … false dichotomy … what nasty behaviour? ….

Indeed. While most everyone would agree that calling someone a retard because it was a congenital defect is anything but cricket, doing so because the target exhibits the same type of behaviour as a result of having put their head in the sand, or some other place where the sun don’t shine, is an entirely different kettle of fish. Sure looks like a great many people could do with some remedial courses in language and nuance – with some excursions into taxonomy, and the design and use of dictionaries.

In any case, a somewhat “meta” observation, you might take a gander at this site which describes the HTML syntax for blockquoting and such. 😉

279 Richard Flouncer February 20, 2016 at 1:55 am

I get pissed off and leave a chat room once, 17 yrs ago, and nobody will let me live it down.

It’s really beginning to get on my nerves.

280 John Greg February 20, 2016 at 2:55 am

That’s OK Steers. I am, after all, a professional, tech writer with a great deal of HTML, et al., knowledge.

The problem, as it were, is that I am unaware of what sorts of HTML, et al., are useable here on Michael’s site.

If you see what mean.

281 Steersman February 20, 2016 at 4:13 am

John Greg, #281:

Well, that was the reason I provided that specific link as the format for blockquotes it describes is precisely what is required here. Likewise with the syntax for italics and bolding – a little digging on that site should provide the specifics. And if you’re unsure then you can always try it out in the Preview section of most FTB sites as the syntax is exactly the same.

But I will concede that it might be nice for the newbies and the like if that information was clearly shown here (maybe it is and I’ve never noticed it).

282 Steersman February 20, 2016 at 4:15 am

Richard Flouncer #280:

I get pissed off and leave a chat room once, 17 yrs ago, and nobody will let me live it down.

LoL. The Internet does indeed have a lonnng memory …. 😉

283 John Greg February 20, 2016 at 4:19 am

Steers said (reverse quote, timewise):

“But I will concede that it might be nice for the newbies and the like if that information was clearly shown here (maybe it is and I’ve never noticed it).”

That is my point. So far as I know, there are no specs regarding what HTML (or other code) is or is not useable here.

“… if you’re unsure then you can always try it out in the Preview section of most FTB sites as the syntax is exactly the same.”

I am not unsure. Don’t be stupid and/or so condescending … or rather, don’t assume I am stupid. I mean, tut, tut.

Also: ibid. So to speak.

284 Shatterface February 20, 2016 at 5:14 am

Aidan Rowe:

Cool it’ll be interesting to see if Cde. Nugent, friend of queers, allows anti-trans hate speech through his comment filters or not.

You are following s Twitter account that jokes about autism. Want to comment on that?

Micky Nugget (@TiarnaAindiach) tweeted at 4:49pm – 19 Feb 16:
#baptism is a leading cause of autism.

https://twitter.com/TiarnaAindiach/status/700723863416516608?s=17

285 Steersman February 20, 2016 at 5:18 am

John Greg #284:

That is my point. So far as I know, there are no specs regarding what HTML (or other code) is or is not useable here.

And my point, that you seem too obtuse to understand, was that that site provided specific syntax for obtaining blockquote, italics, and bold. If you want more than that then I guess you’ll just have to try things out and see what works: “Lady Luck favours those who try”.

I am not unsure. Don’t be stupid and/or so condescending … or rather, don’t assume I am stupid. I mean, tut, tut.

I wasn’t assuming you were stupid though you’re giving some evidence to think otherwise. I was simply pointing you – and any others here unfamiliar with such syntax – to a site that shows one how to use a minimal set of text formatting tools since you seemed unaware of how to use such.

286 Bob February 20, 2016 at 11:04 am

@John Greg (278)

“Sure. One’s perspective or particular socio-political stance may or may not add a relevant and/or significant sway to their understanding of language. ”

So then the question is whether someone is whether someone who is not good at recognizing ableism or transphobia is likely to be good at recognizing homophobia.

“The more literate one is, the higher chance that they will actually understand the meaning of words and language.”

That’s probably tautological – if to be literate just means to be able to read and write well, then that plausible includes being able to use concepts correctly. If it doesn’t mean that (if it means, for example, being able to use words just as they are defined in the dictionary regardless of whether they have other connotations that aren’t listed there, then the claim is probably just false).

“It is not axiomatic that their personal socio-political views, will affect or effect their literacy.”

Setting aside that I didn’t claim that anything was “axiomatic” (that’s a straw man if we’re playing fallacy bingo), it is not implausible to think that a person’s socio-political views will affect their ability to recognize and correctly apply particular concepts, nor indeed that a person’s ability to recognize and apply particular concepts might affect their socio-political views. (If your definition of literacy doesn’t include this ability, then your criticism is misplaced, since it is this ability to which I was referring).

If one has trouble understanding one concept, it is more likely that one will have trouble applying a similar concept, if each concept shares related ideas.

“Such as?

What nasty behaviour?”

Would you like a list of the nasty words that Michael’s defenders have used on this and related threads, to describe those with whom they disagree?

“What relevance does that have to the argument?”

The less interesting point would be that those who have condemned what they see as “smears” are themselves saying much worse about those with whom they disagree. In other words, they are being hypocritical.

The more interesting point is that we have reason to think that people who engage in nasty behaviour apparently without realizing it are less likely to correctly identify it in others.

287 Bob February 20, 2016 at 11:11 am

@Steersman (#277)

What exactly do you suppose “woman” means in the context of the phrase “a trans woman”?

As an aside, I would also note that the definition of “woman” you supplied above (#269) (“an adult female human” with “female” further being defined as being capable of producing ova or bearing young,” excludes all post-menopausal and some infertile people from the category of “woman”.

288 Steersman February 21, 2016 at 12:21 am

Bob #288:

@Steersman (#277)

What exactly do you suppose “woman” means in the context of the phrase “a trans woman”?

What it looks like is a rather egregious case of begging the question, of assuming – and demanding the acceptance of – that which is yet to be proved, i.e., “that trans women are women”. Which those definitions that I cited, and the massive support and usage of them, clearly if not conclusively refutes. But why I, and no few transwomen, prefer the compound word “transwoman” as it cuts that claim off at the knees – like “crayfish” not being a fish.

As an aside, I would also note that the definition of “woman” you supplied above (#269) (“an adult female human” with “female” further being defined as being capable of producing ova or bearing young,” excludes all post-menopausal and some infertile people from the category of “woman”.

Them’s the breaks, kiddos. If you became paraplegic then that would mean that you were no longer ambulatory. Likewise with “woman” – it is merely a designation of a particular capability that, in the natural or unnatural course of things, more than a few women lose. But that hardly makes them more or less sexually attractive, or able to enjoy sex, or less deserving of basic human rights and respect. Sure looks like a lot of people put more store, more weight, on that than is justified – arguably, part and parcel of the rather problematic “identity politics” which is roiling the otherwise placid (?) waters of the atheist-skeptic-feminist-humanist [ASFH] community.

But, to elaborate briefly, you might take a close look at the Wikipedia article on taxonomy (1) and note a couple of things in particular:

Taxonomy (from Ancient Greek: τάξις taxis, “arrangement”, and -νομία -nomia, “method”) is the science of defining groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics and giving names to those groups. Organisms are grouped together into taxa (singular: taxon) and these groups are given a taxonomic rank; groups of a given rank can be aggregated to form a super group of higher rank, thus creating a taxonomic hierarchy.

And, at least as far as reproduction goes, the “shared characteristics” – exhibited by some 98% of the population, currently, historically, or potentially – is the ability to produce gametes of one of two – count ‘em, two – specific types. If you can actually produce either of those then you get to wear the corresponding label – if not then tough titty but you can’t. And all of the other bits and pieces, both physiological and psychological – much of which would fall under the rubric of “gender” – “merely” correlate to a greater or lesser degree with one sex or with the other: most men are taller than most women, but some women are taller than many men; most women have an XX karyotype, but some, as illustrated by a recent case (2), have an XY karyotype but still retain the ability to “bear young” even if they aren’t actually capable of producing ova themselves.

And while such terms are merely labels, “socially constructed” and all that, it is egregiously anti-intellectual and anti-scientific to ignore or attempt to deny or repudiate the facts that they refer to and the justifications for the process of naming the groups they comprise.

—–
1) “_https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxonomy_(biology)”;
2) “_http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11381463/Woman-born-with-no-womb-gives-birth-to-miracle-twins.html”;

289 Leighanna Rose Walsh February 23, 2016 at 5:41 pm

“The smear that I am homophobic is simply outrageous. ”

Yeah! I mean, look, you’re holding a rainbow flag. That means you can never do anything wrong, right?

290 John Greg February 24, 2016 at 8:55 pm

Leighanna, bravo on a juvenile and blatantly ludicrous dismissal of all the real-world, hands-on work that Michael does. Bravo, you brave SJW you!

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