Not My Problem

I’m really tired of the banning of words. I’m really over the passive aggressive bullshit about trigger warnings from people who use their ultra sensitivity as a club and a way of demonstrating their superiority.

Yeah I grew up poor, working class and bullied.

Yes I have been raped.  On more than one occasion I have had my life threatened by people who had weapons in hand and were quite capable of murdering me.

I have been subjected to slurs and discrimination.

When I have been knocked down I got up again.  I have grieved for my losses and celebrated my personal victories.

In Texas we call that Cowgirling up.  It means getting back on a horse after having been thrown.

Words are not the problem.  Banning words does nothing to change the reality of discrimination.

It is action with out real results.  Sort of like Occupy.

Directionless wankery.

Activist image polishing and brand building, a way of demonstrating one’s political sensitivity creds.

The following is a post that appeared on Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership:

By Susan Callaway, aka Mama Liberty
July 15th, 2014

Not my problem. I’m sure a lot of people would consider that a harsh thing to say, but if you’ll stay with me a bit you should easily see that it is the only real answer to the whole “politically correct” thing sweeping this country and, incidentally, the world.

“You made me mad. You didn’t make me happy. I’m offended.” You can probably add a hundred more such phrases people use to control what you do, say and even what you believe. That’s exactly what happens when a few people can choose any word or object, assign a specific (often NEW and ugly) meaning to it, and then demand that nobody use that word or object because it “makes them feel”… whatever.

Let’s look first at the premise that someone can actually “make” another person FEEL anything. How does that work, exactly? Vulcan mind meld? Is it not a fact that each person simply REACTS to outside stimulus, and the perception of sad, mad, happy, etc. is actually their own response? That response can most certainly be painful, even harmful psychologically in vulnerable people, but the person who supplies the stimulus is not, therefore, actually responsible for the feelings because he/she has no control over what another person perceives or what their response will be. The person with the feelings is actually the responsible person and, to a great extent, chooses the response based on their own beliefs and preferences. History is replete with every kind of race, tribe and ethnic conflict, but none of it can shift true responsibility from the person with the feelings to someone else.

A great many people have lost sight of that fact, and the new privileged classes have managed to politicize their hurt feelings into actual laws, criminalizing the words and actions their feelings and perceptions find objectionable. Criminalization of ordinary words and inanimate objects does not seem like a good path toward a polite and peaceful society. Recent history seems to support the more rational conclusion that attempting to force people to do and say things results in escalating resentment and even hatreds.

But of course, the shoe does not fit at all on the other foot. I think it is clear to most people how many screeds and threats come from the mouths and pens of certain “protected” persons (and those who shill for them) against anyone they perceive as not obeying their demands. Somehow, it is impossible for them to be “racist” or “hateful,” and their written and spoken threats are never seen as damaging to those they say should be caged, murdered or worse.

For some reason, the privileged one believes he/she should be able to dictate how others speak or act, yet totally rejects any limitations on their own behavior. How does that work? If mere words are seriously harmful, why doesn’t that work both ways?

I never have, and never would, deliberately say or do anything intended to harm, insult, demean or harass any other person, always seeking to be courteous and non-threatening. I simply don’t ever intend to have someone else define that for me… especially with threats and violence under color of law. I absolutely refuse to accept any false guilt for speaking my mind, especially when that false guilt is predicated on things my long dead ancestors did, or might have done.

Seems to me that responsibility for “feelings” has to be handed back to the people who actually own it.


Regarding “Generation Wars”: some reflections upon reading the recent Jack Halberstam essay

From Whipping Girl:

By Julia Serano
Sunday, July 13, 2014

Jack Halberstam recently published an essay called You Are Triggering me! The Neo-Liberal Rhetoric of Harm, Danger and Trauma, and it’s been making waves on the activist internets over the last week. It felt like a bit of a “kitchen sink” article to me, in that it discussed a plethora of different matters (including Monty Python, historical debates between second- and third-wave feminisms, current controversies surrounding the word “tranny,” the recent proliferation of trigger warnings, supposed connections between expressions of trauma and neoliberalism, safe spaces, “It Gets Better” campaigns, and concerns about millennials being hypersensitive) and attempted to weave them into one nice neat coherent narrative. This narrative could be summarized as follows:

queer & trans culture and politics circa the 1990’s was strong, progressive, and fun!

whereas queer & trans culture and politics circa the 2010’s is frail, conservative, and a killjoy.

While Halberstam’s essay made a few points that are certainly worthy of further exploration and discussion, it also overreached in a number of ways, especially in its attempts to shoehorn a potpourri of recent events and trends into the aforementioned overarching narrative. Some concerns that I have about the essay have been addressed by others here and here and here and here (sorry, original posting of that response was here) and here.

I generally do not respond to every essay that I disagree with on the Internet (as that would be a full time job!). But I wanted to add a few thoughts to this discussion because, while the essay in question is uniquely “Halberstamian” in its style and themes, the overarching narrative that holds the piece together is remarkably similar to the one recently forwarded by Andrea James, and resembles recent comments made by RuPaul. Indeed, it seems as if queer and trans folks who came of age around the 1990’s (ostensibly my generation, give or take a few years) are increasingly invoking this as the “go-to” narrative to explain why a younger generation of queer and trans activists behave the way that they do. And I think that the assumptions that prop up this narrative are in dire need of unpacking.

on having to walk uphill, both ways, in a foot of snow, everyday, on your way to school, back when you used to be a kid

I think that a useful place to start is with the “four Yorkshire men” Monty Python sketch that Halberstam invokes as a metaphor for the “hardship competitions…among the triggered generation” (which is to say, how young people today are supposedly constantly complaining about how hurt and oppressed they are by relatively minor things, such as “a cultural event, a painting, a play, a speech, a casual use of slang, a characterization, a caricature and so on”).

Now personally, I always understood that Monty Python sketch as making fun of how people, as they get older, tend to glorify their own past: imagining the hardships they faced as being especially challenging or severe, thereby allowing them to self-conceptualize themselves as being especially resourceful, righteous, cunning, and perseverant for having survived despite overwhelming odds. And this human tendency has historically enabled older generations to outright dismiss younger generations as being misguided, or especially soft (because “they have it so much easier than we did”), and so on.

The notion that queer and trans people of my generation were somehow stoic and resilient, whereas the younger generation of queer and trans people are a bunch of oversensitive crybabies seems to be quite a stretch. I can attest to the fact that we too complained about how oppressed we were, and we often expressed our hurt feelings in public, and we often became outraged about particular language choices or media depictions that we found problematic. The main difference is that we (in glorifying our own past) tend to believe that the causes that we fought for were righteous and justified, whereas the younger generation’s causes and concerns may seem misguided and frivolous to us.

One blatant example of this sort of hypocrisy can be found in RuPaul, who with one hand dismisses concerns of a younger generation of activists who find the word “tranny” problematic, while with the other hand types angry Tweets at people who use the word “faggot” (which he considers to be a “derogatory slur”). The logic here is totally inconsistent. Such actions only make sense if he (and those who agree with him) privileges political stances taken by his own generational cohort over those taken by a newer generation.

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