A) As far as insulting you is concerned I don’t really care if I insulted you because I felt insulted when you placed words in my mouth with your condescending judgemental interpretation of my statement when you really knew nothing about my tastes or interests. Don’t want to be called a pretentious, self righteous little snob? Then don’t act like one.
When you say that “entertainment and art would go right down the shitter” if pop culture practiced empathy, I find it laughable (as do you, since you’ve already agreed that empathetic media exists and succeeds). Only a person who had a complete lack of awareness of their options would say something like that. So I imagined a hypothetical terrible person who might need that sort of advice, and I didn’t expect you to reply to me since you haven’t in the past when I’ve used y’alls views as talking points for my own thoughts. I do apologize for being vague enough that you took me to actually mean you.
B) You aren’t merely making a critique. You are suggesting cutting out anything potentially hurtful what so ever. That’s not suggesting improvement on artistic form but suggesting censorship. You aren’t looking at a piece of art and saying “hmm it could use more red” You’re looking at it and saying “you shouldn’t have made it to begin with, it’s dangerous, it’ll hurt people”
“Progressives find it futile, same as you do, to tell the creators what they can and cannot do.” Since I’ve already said that, I’m worried that you aren’t reading what I’m writing. I cannot cut anything out. I do not have the power necessary. No feminist does. Why would I try to censor when I know it’s impossible? Since you’re under the impression that I am, it’s clear that we’re operating with different definitions of feminism. To continue your metaphor, the feminist critique does not say “never paint anything with the color red!” It’s “I noticed you used some red here, and the technique you used combined with the red itself upsets me in a visceral, intrinsic way. Consider the effects of red in the future and the best way to play with it.” It’s cool though, you don’t have to believe that their hurt is any more valid than someone saying “red isn’t allowed by my culture, destroy all red” or “red is rude, it disgusts me and my senses,” but then other people, the people who feel hurt by red or support those who are, might think you’re a bad, hateful guy. That’s your choice! Same as the painter and everyone else on this beautiful Earth.
If your experience with feminists (and any other progressives [hate that term but it’s a good umbrella]) has left you thinking that the movement calls for censorship, I’d say that you’re engaging with members who don’t practice feminism effectively. You can choose to do that too, but I think it’s a waste of time when there are smart people and resources in other, less reactionary corners of the web than tumblr.
C) As for cutting out the hurtful stuff. Yes there will still be plenty of beautiful interesting content out there for people. But cutting out the hurtful and potentially offensive stuff, Which is what tumblr seems to demand is like cutting the color spectrum in half, there will still be beautiful colors in this world but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t still lament a world without red.
I did say “cut all the hurtful shit out,” but it was meant with the sentiment of an admonishing parent rather than scissors removing. I also did say “excise” in my initial response, but I was asking to imagine a world after the fact, once we have excised hate from life as opposed to excising particular contributions to discourse. Same with my use of “deleted.” Other than that, I’ve only ever said it’s a choice. I’m going over my words to make it clear that, regardless of word-choice ambiguity, I’m not asking for censorship.
I can appreciate the works of Franz Shubert, Tchaikovsky and Wagner but for god sakes give me Ren and Stimpy, South Park and Tosh.O. Throw some fucking chaos in the mix. I love dialogues, all dialogues, even the hurtful and offensive ones, even if i’m the one being hurt because it challenges me to grow as a person and develop my own ideas. I would even be bothered by the censorship of feminist critique both moderate and radical, even though I disagree with a significant portion of the opinions and claims being espoused and often find a lot of it to be riddled with hypocritical sexism and hatemongering because again I feel like losing that expression of opinions would be like losing a color in the rainbow.
I would never say that someone should shut Tosh.0 down, where would we get our Web Redemptions? I would definitely say that Daniel Tosh contributes to rape culture (more than the vast majority of humanity, given his celebrity status), and I wish he would stop doing that because I choose to believe it upsets friends of mine because I trust them when they say they’re hurt. I sometimes find him funny, but I don’t respect or support him and it bothers me that he and his writing staff are given such a platform not because they shouldn’t have one but because we, all together, look past the damage he creates and provide him with power. I don’t want Daniel Tosh to stop making jokes, I want to share why he’s unfunny and how he upsets people in the hopes that others might understand and agree, and then he won’t tell rape jokes anymore because his audience won’t find them funny.
^—- That’s the feminist approach. Accept no substitutes. Unless you don’t believe me, in which case: whatever.
Us white dudes, Morgan, we have a weird approach to the idea of “offense” because of our birthright. Here’s something I wrote back when Daniel Tosh told a woman it would be comedy gold should she be gangraped:
I’m sorry I didn’t realize that being a white male gave us the birth right of being immune to being hurt. I kinda thought being hurt and experiencing tragedies in life was more of a human trait than a racially gendered trait. Take one of my close friends for example. Average white male like me, but he lost both his mother and father to drug overdoses. Should we just censor any and all jokes or references pertaining to drug overdoses or parental death just to avoid hurting his feelings? Should we censor the dog mauling scene in Django Unchained out of sensitivity for victims of dog attacks? What about references to car accidents? Or Murders, Theft, Adultery, Cancer. Let’s do away with war films and video games, we cant risk those veterans being accidentally triggered. Lets just wrap the whole world in emotional bubble wrap because hey we cant possibly risk hurting people with our ideas after all we all know how dangerous ideas can be to the public health.
Your examples are pretty sweeping, and ignore the nuance of what I described to you in drawing that distinction between offense and hurt. With them, you’re suggesting that feminists want to censor any discussion or joke about rape to avoid hurting rape victims’ feelings. As I’ve said, that’s not the case, and is really quite an unfair exaggeration.
Drug abuse, dog attacks, car accidents, murders, theft, adultery, cancer and violence are not inherent characteristics of one’s self that have been used to systematically oppress the people bearing them. It is unlikely that your friend will ever watch a TV show that implies he is built inferior because his parents overdosed. If he does, it’s unlikely that he’ll see another show do it the next night, the next week, or the next month. He will have a more difficult life, and that’s a shame, and also it’s not society’s fault; as sad as it is, the responsibility for that inequality falls on his parents.
What would you do if, hypothetically (even if it runs contrary to his real beliefs), your friend asked you not to tell jokes mocking dead parents or drug abuse? He wouldn’t mind you asking questions about them or making fun of drug culture’s pernicious nature & how the War on Drugs creates more users than it stymies or discussing the grieving process, but when it comes to jokes that use overdoses as punchlines for mere shock value or drug addiction as some kind of personal weakness, he’d rather you keep them to yourself. You’ve made it clear to me that this guy and his feelings are important to you, but so is saying whatever you want and whenever, so I’m very interested in what play you’d make.
If you say it’s a personal choice, that when you’re near your friend you will respect his wishes but then continue to speak freely in other contexts, then you’ve arrived at the root of feminism and similar movements: everyone has a choice, but not everyone is aware of that choice and the many reasons why they should consider the choice. The best way to make that choice visible is to use examples in pop culture of why it’s an important choice to make. And many times (like, for instance, my initial commentary), this shit can get emotional for its supporters, and they take on the appearance of force because they have none. So as they bear down on you and you assume the fetal position, realize that they do not hold violence; only a voice.
What’s the harm in listening?
PS If feminism was an effective tool for censorship, it would stand to reason that we would have examples of this over the past forty years. Since you’re so convinced, you must have evidence on-hand that feminism— no, fuck it, any progressive movement— has succeeded in censorship. I’d like to see it. In fact, given anything from the world’s Victorian-era take on sex to legislative attacks like SOPA/PIPA, I would tend to believe that straight white guys are, once again, in charge of something that fucks many others.
PPS While something can be “potentially harmful” if it can eventually be physically damaging, the phrase “potentially hurtful” is meaningless. Cotton candy’s potentially hurtful. Air is potentially hurtful. Everything is potentially hurtful. Culture cannot hurt until it is created and processed by the audience, who may then feel hurt.
I’m not pointing this out just to patrol word-usage, I’m saying that if you believe that feminism seeks something that does not exist… Your understanding of feminism is off-kilter.
PPPS “I love dialogues, all dialogues, even the hurtful and offensive ones, even if i’m the one being hurt because it challenges me to grow as a person and develop my own ideas.” No, you don’t love all dialogues, because when you “felt insulted when [I] placed words in [your] mouth” you told me to shut the fuck up and insulted me in turn. You, in fact, tried to silence this dialogue before it got started.
You call me pretentious but suggest that a black guy should “grow as a person” and “develop [his] own ideas” when someone yells a slur at him.
I’m not them, but I think sometimes people just don’t wanna feel hurt anymore.
WAMPOHOLIC: in which i attack someone who wasn’t addressing me