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Friday, July 4, 2014

WORDS ARE NOT OWNED

Adam Richman The US TV former co host of man vs Food was fired or put on hold indefinitely (it is the same thing) , when using the term #thinspiration on his own personal instagram after losing weight in a healthy manner.  He was then attacked by people who are  on his instagram for using the term          #Thinspiration because he did not know that term promoted eating disorders and used in pro anorexia and bulimia sites (those site promote  unhealthy eating habits and eating disorders). He got angry at these people and said angry things on his own instagram. Sponsors pulled out and the network put the show on hold /canceled it.
He was a man who was proud he had lost weight and used a term that inspired him. He was unaware that these fringe  Proana and prolemia  sites that promote  eating disorders and actually  encourage them use the term #thinspiration They also don't own the word.   No one does. Our language is free for all to use  with our own personal intentions behind it. He was inspired to be thinner, he might have had health issues many people do if they aren't a weight that is healthy for their own body.  I'm not Adam's Dr but if he feels better from losing weight good for him.

   I am a public person who talks to men and women all over the country about my personal  experiences with an eating disorder.   I  have triggers that are personal and I work on taking responsibility to not let   them trigger me by staying in treatment. I'm triggered by food contests,  It makes me want to vomit but I don't  get outraged and demand they are banned.I just don't watch them. I don't police the world but I stand firmly by  educating others and trying to help those that need it. I also stay in treatment and make sure I take personal responsibility about how I speak about myself because  I'm aware of triggers of others and my own . I don't expect everyone to do the same but I could tell my story and hopefully make others  understand   I work with schools and groups to bring awareness and education and help do benefits for different groups.  I'm not perfect and have had many relapses.

  Outrage over a man like Adam Richman who says he suffered from body image issues using the word #thinspiration isn't the place outrage should go.  He said it on instagram, his personal one.   That's not that battle that should be fought .  The real battle is   putting money into treatment,education, awareness and recovery of people suffering from Eating Disorders and other Mental illnesses  which cause them. 

  I don't know Adam and I hope he is feeling healthier. The word police focuses on the fluff and not the real issues at hand. Eating Disorders are serious diseases and need to be addressed as such.    
 If you are truly outraged about eating disorders or the   term  #thinspiration do something that matters that will really help fight eating disorders. For instance advocate for more mental health awareness or give money to its funding. Eating disorders are mental illnesses not choices.   They are incredibly underfunded and highly misunderstood . 50,000 people die from them a year and those are the diagnosed ones. 
 No group owns any word. Adam had every right to  hastag his weight lose as he see fit. Thin is one type of body and all types of bodies are beautiful.  Binge eating is a major eating disorder which is often ignored and not talked about in a serious manner. I don't know him but I am sure there was a lot of Binge eating going on for the show he was filming.   I've hosted food shows and I believe I had eaten a lot more than I would have liked.  
Eating Disorders are never about the food it is a  result of other things going mentally. The same could be said with the word police. If we just get outraged over words and language we really never to the core of the real issues that need to be dealt with. Personally on may levels I hope this situation brings awareness and less false outrage to serious disease.  



Save Adam Richman

 Adam Richman The US TV former co host of man vs Food was fired or put on hold indefinitely(it is the same thing)  when using the term #thinspiration on his own personal instagram after losing weight in a healthy manner.  He was then attacked by people who are  on his instagram for using the term #Thinspiration because he did not know that term promoted eating disorders and used in pro anorexia and bulimia sites (those site promote  unhealthy eating habits and eating disorders). He got angry at these people and said angry things on his own instagram. Sponsors pulled out and the network put the show on hold /canceled it
     He was a man who was proud he had lost weight and used a term that inspired him. He was unaware that these fringe  Pro-Ana and Pro-Lemia  sites that promote  eating disorders and actually  encourage them use the term #thinspiration They also don't own the word. No one does. Our language is free for all to use  with our own personal intentions behind it. He was inspired to be thinner, he might have had health issues many people do if they aren't a weight that is healthy for their own body.  I'm not Adam's Dr but if he feels better from losing weight good for him.
        I am a public person who talks to  men and women all over the country about my personal  experiences with an eating disorder.   I  have triggers that are personal and I work on taking responsibility to not let them trigger me by staying in treatment. I'm triggered by food contests,  It makes me want to vomit but I don't  get outraged and demand they are banned.I just don't watch them. I don't police the world but I stand firmly by  educating others and trying to help those that need it. I also stay in treatment and make sure I take personal responsibility about how I speak about myself because  I'm aware of triggers of others and my own . I don't expect everyone to do the same but I could tell my story and hopefully make others understand   I work with schools and groups to bring awareness and education and help do benefits for different groups.  I'm not perfect and have had many relapses.
       Outrage over  a man like Adam Richman who says he suffered from body image issues using the word #thinspiration isn't  the place outrage should go.  He said it on instagram, his personal one.   That's not that battle that should be fought .  The real battle is putting money into treatment and recovery of people suffering from Eating Disorders and other Mental illness's which cause them. 
       I don't know Adam and I hope he is feeling healthier. The word police focuses on the fluff and not the real issues at hand. Eating Disorders are serious diseases  and need to be addressed as such.     If you are truly outraged about eating disorders or the term  #thinspiration  do something that matters  about it like advocate for more mental health awareness or give money to its funding. Eating disorders are mental illnesses not choices.  They are under funded.  50,000 people die from them a year and those are the diagnosed ones. 
      No group owns any word and Adam had every right to hastag his weight lose as he see fits  Thin is one type of body and all types of bodies are beautiful.  Binge eating is a major eating disorder which is often ignored and him sure there where lots of Binge eating for the show he was  filming.   I've  hosted food shows and I ate a lot more than I would have liked.  
     Eating Disorders are never about the food it is a result of other things going . The same could be said with the word police. If we just get outraged over words and language we really never to the core of the real issues that need to be dealt with. Personally on may levels I hope this situation brings awareness and less false outrage to serious disease .


By Stacey Prussman 

Monday, June 30, 2014

A Plea To Comedians

     Yesterday on our Twitter account, @GrovelingUSA, we sent a tweet to a few comics asking them to support what we are doing, trying to make the media and entertainment industry that it is not the majority that get offended by most of these "offensive" or "hurtful" comments that are being apologized for. Now over the month our account has been active, we've got the support of several great comedians. Including Dave Attell, Rich Vos, Bonnie McFarlane, Bob Kelly, Stacey Prussman, Jim Florentine, Paul Virzi Ralphie May, Colin Quinn, Judah Freelander, Sherrod Small and perhaps the most supportive of all, Bob Levy. But yesterday we encountered the first comic who not only didn't agree with what we were doing, spoke out against it. Now the reason I'm not mentioning this comics name is not as a protest or snub of him. It's because I have no problem with him not liking us and don't want to seem like I'm trashing him.
     We were told by the comic and his followers that WE are the ones displaying fake outrage. That our cause is meaningless. That no one has been FORCED to apologize. Now my problem is NOT with these people thinking this. If it hasn't hit close enough to home yet, perhaps they just didn't notice it. Or perhaps he felt that by criticizing the new PC climate it may be a negative mark on his blossoming career. I merely want to point out today why ALL comedians should be worried about the shift that is happening in society.
     Gilbert Gottfried made a joke involving the Tsunami that struck Japan several years ago. He was forced to apologize and still ended up losing his job with Aflac. Daniel Tosh made a joke involving rape during his set. An outraged fan spoke up about this and even though there was no audio of the joke, was, shall we say, persuaded into giving an apology on Twitter. Dane Cook made a joke involving the Colorado movie theater shooting. Again, no audio of the joke but somehow he was conviced to apologize. Tracy Morgan did a bit during a stand up set about how he would feel if his son was gay. Again, no audio, obvious hyperbole, yet he was (since I can't say forced) pressured into going on an apology tour to save his gig on "30 Rock". Most recently, Jonah Hill was being harassed by paparazzi. Instead of scolding the vulture who poked at Hill until he snapped, we wag our collective finger at Jonah and make him sing for his supper. So he went on "The Tonight Show" and apologized for using a word he's used plenty of times before, including in his films.
     Now you can look at these examples and say well none of these men were forced to apologize. They were not facing jail, beating or death. But since we are all adults with the commonality of language, we know that when I say "forced" I'm not being literal. What I am referring to is the industry putting pressure on them to apologize because a vocal minority was offended. Now the comments I mentioned could ABSOLUTELY be offensive to some. Especially if taken out of context. However, when you purchase a ticket to a comedy club, you should know that what you're seeing are jokes. Anyone who takes what they hear seriously or literally doesn't understand the environment they voluntarily entered. To them I say, It's perfectly fine to be offended by what you heard. The answer to that is don't go back to comedy clubs. Or at the very least, don't see that particular comedian again. If enough people agree with you, they won't be a working comic much longer. Or at worst, the comic keeps working but you never have to hear them. Doesn't that seem like a simple enough solution?
     While some comics may look at the jokes or comments I listed above and say "Well I don't do jokes like that so this doesn't phase me". To them I say, watch out. While you may not touch on subjects like rape, homosexuality or publicized tragedies, it doesn't stop there. Perhaps you have a joke involving transgender people. Or you simply say the word "tranny" somewhere in your act. You could be called out as "transphobic". If you make jokes about women or point out the differences between men and women, you could be called a "sexist". And the obvious atomic bomb, anyone who touches on race. These subjects and more could all result in you being labeled a "bully" or "bigot". Now if you're fine with that then good for you. You may be in no trouble. But if the day does come that you say something that offends the wrong person, I hope you take it all in stride. I hope you aren't taken by suprise. Because I'll be there to say, I warned you.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

How to Answer the Call for Cultural Censorship



It’s become routine these days.  Celebrity X is caught saying something that we, as an enlightened and civilized people, are told we must never tolerate.  Usually, the people telling us never to tolerate this stuff spend most of their time preaching the need for…well, tolerance.  But not in this case, because the celebrity in question committed the most egregious offense of saying the wrong thing.  Special interest groups acting on behalf of the offended collective step up with public statements, condemning the person for daring to say something so horrible, while simultaneously demanding an apology.  In some cases, the celebrity not only attempts to appease those clamoring for an apology by offering one up, but they sometimes actually pony up reparations in the form of monetary donations to the special interest group in question.  In the name of tolerance, we are not only becoming incredibly intolerant, we are also cheering the death of something we are supposed to love as a country: Freedom of Speech.

When someone in the public sphere feels the heat of public outrage for saying the wrong thing, whether anyone agrees with them or not, those who dare to actually stand up and defend the offending party’s ability to use unpopular speech are going to face what has gradually become a standard litany of justifications from the “do-as-we-say-but-not-as-we-do” tolerance crowd.  Hopefully, this will serve as a useful primer on how to deal with some of these arguments.

(1) “This isn’t a First Amendment issue.  It isn’t censorship.  The government isn’t inhibiting anyone’s expression.  This is the Free Market deciding what it will and won’t tolerate.”
           
Wrong on multiple levels.  First, we have to understand the difference between enumerated and protected First Amendment rights, and free expression as a broader cultural concept.  The First Amendment isn’t there to protect vanilla speech; it exists to protect unpopular speech.  It is correct that no one in the entertainment business as of yet has experienced a violation of their legally protected First Amendment rights, as in no case has government stepped in and sanctioned them (I’m limiting my discussion to the U.S.A.; Canada is another matter entirely).  Let’s ignore the recent case of the Washington Redskins, as that is a matter for an entire entry of its own, and frankly I don’t have the time to write it now.  Let’s just stick to the likes of Paula Deen, Phil Robertson, Gary Oldman and their ilk.     
 So no one has been put in jail or fined by the government for using unpopular speech.  Great.  Debate over; it isn’t censorship, right?  No.  It is very important that we remember that government does not have a monopoly on censorship.  Censorship comes from social pressure as well.  In fact, the overwhelming majority of censorship is culturally imposed.  We regularly censor ourselves, as well as each other.  You are no exception.  Doubt me?  Try telling an off-color joke at your next job interview, complete with expletives.  You wouldn’t do that?  Ok, good.  Then you understand perfectly.  The question is not whether or not we want to apply social pressure to ourselves and each other, the question is how much Cultural Censorship do we want to apply and tolerate?  I argue that we have swung much to far in the direction of full-blown Cultural Censorship, and we are well along into what can only fairly be called Thought Policing.  Social pressure excessively applied to people who say unpopular things has the same net effect on free expression as government locking those people up: everyone becomes afraid to say anything that could be interpreted as hateful, discriminatory, or even politically unpopular, for fear of the end result: sanctions that negatively affect them.  In such an environment, no one dares to be open and honest about their beliefs and practices, lest they feel the (often artificially) fanned flames of public outrage and lose their job, product endorsement, credibility or even their social standing as an otherwise decent human being.  What you are allowed to do according to the law means nothing if in practice you can’t actually do those things.  What’s the point of having a First Amendment if everyone is too terrified to actually use it?

            Another problem is that government censorship is slow and clunky by design.  Our government isn’t supposed to regularly step in and engage in censorship.  Quite the contrary, it’s supposed to create and reinforce an environment in which we can freely express ourselves.  If government wants to censor, it must make a very clear case, in court, for the justification of said censorship, and it must overcome numerous legal hurdles in order to do so.  Cultural Censorship, on the other hand, has no such impediments.  It isn’t even a matter of who can scream the loudest.  Cultural Censorship is dependent on nothing more than the whim of whoever is perceived to be screaming the loudest.  You don't actually need large numbers of people on your side, you just need to look like you do.  This isn't difficult to do these days.  Social Media has made it easy.

           Yet another problem with this point is that what we have seen thus far is most certainly NOT the Free Market deciding what it will and won’t tolerate.  In the case of Paula Deen admitting to her past use of the word “nigger” (I won’t insult your intelligence by using the euphemistic “N-word”-let’s act like adults here), no one waited for ratings to come in.  No one waited to see if the bottom dropped out of the butter market.  She summarily lost her gig before the market actually had a chance to decide if what she admitted to saying was judged so terrible that she deserved to lose part of her income stream.  If this really was the Free Market at work, then the firings would come after the financial repercussions.  Instead, what has consistently happened is a vocal minority, using Social Media, has manipulated the supposed “Free Market”.  These groups claim “outrage” and “insult” while demanding an apology from the offending party, all the while misrepresenting their numbers and claiming to hold the majority opinion.  For example, was Phil Robertson’s audience sufficiently offended by his statements regarding homosexuals to try to get him fired?  Obviously not, but that didn’t stop a number of special interest groups otherwise uninterested in him or his show from trying to get him off the air.  For some reason, I have a real hard time believing that GLAAD members spend their down time watching Duck Dynasty, and an even harder time believing that they are a substantial portion of that show’s viewership (now I'm sure I'll be accused of stereotyping gays as not interested in outdoor shows aimed at male outdoorsman, but whatever).  Fortunately in his case, Phil’s actual audience pushed back, his family stood firmly behind him, and this caused his network to reconsider their decision to fire him.  The problem is, even though that in this case Phil Robertson got his show back, the number of people who stood up was still much smaller than it should have been.  EVERYONE in these cases, whether they agree with the offending speech in question or not, should be supporting the person’s ability to express it without fear of losing their livelihood. 

(2) “Freedom of speech does not mean freedom of speech without consequences.”
            
        While this is obviously true, more often than not what the person using this justification really means is “I want to pay lip service to the concept of Freedom of Speech, but I will actively work to censor any speech that I find undesirable.”  While this person may profess a belief in Freedom of Speech as a legal right, they emphatically do NOT support Freedom of Speech as a cultural practice.   If they really did, what they would do is speak out against the content of what they find objectionable, while refraining from attacking the speaker personally, and also affirming that the person who said the wrong thing should get to keep their job, product endorsement, or whatever else that they might stand to lose as a result of their utterance.  They would stand up against ideas, not the people speaking them.  But they don’t.  The “consequences” they are talking about are embarrassment, shame, and financial hardship, but only to the people who say things that they find objectionable.  Their taking up a given banner isn’t really done to advocate for anyone, it’s done to be punitive, and they aim to punish anyone they can.  You simply can’t claim to believe in Freedom of Speech as a concept and practice while actively working towards the Cultural Censorship of speech that you find offensive.  It doesn’t work that way.  

            (3) “It doesn't matter that the context was misunderstood.  Context doesn’t matter.  These kind of hateful and degrading statements have no place in the world today.”

            First of all, context isn’t just an important factor to consider, it’s literally EVERYTHING.  Is a 90 year-old man who uses the term “colored” in reference to black Americans being hateful?  What about a black rapper who uses the word “nigga” ad ad nauseam?  How about Leonardo DiCaprio in the film Django Unchained?  If context is irrelevant and the word “nigger” is always hateful, then surely DiCaprio, Tarantino, and everyone involved with the making of that particular picture should not only never be employed again, they should be strung up publicly and flogged for their awful displays of racism and hatred.  OBVIOUSLY context matters, and in determining whether or not something is “hateful”, we MUST consider it in the context in which it was used, NOT the context in which it was taken.  If we eliminate the list of jokes that can be potentially taken out of context and turned into something hateful, we’re going to be left with a chicken, a road, and a question.  And no laughter.

            (4) “We demand an apology.”

            And now we get to the now ubiquitous celebrity apology.  First of all, who the hell is “we”?  Does the special interest group in question really speak for every member of that group?  A lot of black people HATE the idea of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson acting as THEIR mouthpiece.  What about their voices?  Should they just be ignored?  And how exactly did the interest group in question obtain the mantle that grants them the ability to speak for the oppressed masses?  Was it given to them, or did they merely take it upon themselves?  And now that they have taken up this mission, have their wallets gotten any fatter as a result?  Do they actually stand to gain financially when someone slips and says the wrong thing?  Are they really fueled by an altruistic desire to create a loving, understanding world of tolerance and acceptance?  Or is it possible that something else is going on?

As to the apologies themselves, does anyone really believe the sincerity of someone who is forced to give an apology?  Are two children, sitting in the Principal’s office after a schoolyard scuffle, being ordered to apologize to each other, actually expressing anything approaching sincerity?  Of course not.  We KNOW that celebrities in the crosshairs aren’t going to deliver sincere, heart-felt apologies.  They certainly, and understandably, are sorry that they got caught, but that’s about it.  Everything from that point forward is purely damage control, written for them by a staff of managers, agents, Public Relations specialists, and professional speechwriters. 

So, knowing all of this, why do special interest groups demand apologies?  What is the value of an insincere apology?  What is it going to actually do?  Does it really “raise awareness” of prejudice, oppression, and hatred?  That’s laughable.  The only “awareness” that gets raised is the awareness of the need to keep your damn mouth shut when the cameras are rolling.  Loose lips sink ships and all that.

Let’s examine the celebrity apology honestly for once.  Forcing someone in the entertainment business into giving an apology is simply a way for special interest groups to demonstrate power.  The higher the profile of the celebrity and the more groveling they can be forced to do, the more powerful the interest group that got them there appears, which garners them more attention and donations.  Don’t kid yourself.  That’s the REAL name of the game.  Tolerance, understanding and acceptance?  Keep it.  Money and power are the real end-goals.       

            (5) “This kind of hateful rhetoric fosters an environment where group X faces an increased threat of real-world violence.”
           
            This is a favorite of the aficionados of modern Ivory-Tower Social Science.  By allowing people to use “hate-speech” unchecked, regardless of context (see point 3 above), we "create an envirnment" where people in minority groups are in an increased risk of real physical danger.  Let’s use homosexuals as an example.  I think we can all generally agree that whatever one’s view on sexuality, actual gay bashing in the form of physical violence is a horrible thing that we should never tolerate.  Advocating violence against anyone based on race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, hairstyle, house color, or anything else you can come up with is terrible.  Violence outside the scope of cases of legitimate self-defense or reasonable force in Policing is something that really isn’t, and shouldn’t be tolerated today.  Voicing that someone should go out and cave a hole in someone’s head for being anything but heterosexual is stupid, backward, ignorant, awful and reprehensible.  We get that.  At least, we try to.  We’re getting there.  Change of that magnitude is a gradual process.  However, does Tracey Morgan, while on stage performing stand up comedy, ranting that if his son told him he was gay he would “stab the little nigga,” really contribute to an environment where that kind of thing not only happens, but is actually tolerated?  Do we really not understand point (3), that context matters, and that we shouldn’t take Tracey’s comedy routine literally, as some kind of blueprint for our own lives?  The fact that we even have to discuss this is lunacy. 

Look, the kind of person who commits acts of violence because a celebrity said something objectionable, or because they played a violent video game, or because a stand up comedian said something outrageous in the context of a joke is the kind of person that will NEVER be able to live in a society that tolerates any kind of free expression.  That’s a dangerous, broken person who is unable to exercise free will over their own thoughts and actions, and no amount of thought or speech policing is going to fix them.  Now, it’s been a while since I’ve really dug into the DSM (the diagnostic manual for psychological disorders), or what’s cutting-edge in Psychiatry today, but I’m pretty sure that publicly shaming celebrities doesn’t fall under any kind of treatment plan for mental illness among members of the public that without that censorship would become violent.  

Now, on a macro-level, I’m sorry, but I’m just not buying the argument that somehow tolerating a stand-up comedian’s use of the word “fag” is going to lead to homosexuals being attacked after the show.  I hold a degree in Sociology, so take this for what it’s worth, but unfortunately some of the very WORST ideas in academia and cultural engineering have been birthed by my own field of study.  So if all this cultural engineering stuff is bunk, what does actually work to end prejudice?  In the last 30 years homosexuals have made unbelievable strides in gaining acceptance and tolerance among the general public.  For the most part, they didn’t do it by policing “homophobic” language and forcing their agenda down people’s throats.  You know what did work?  When homosexuals simply came out, declared their sexual preference, and then went to work, kept their houses painted, their yards clean, paid their taxes, and showed everyone that they are generally good people who just want to be treated fairly, like everyone else.  This simple act of being good citizens and neighbors made homophobia seem as silly and pointless as it actually is.  It worked, and is continuing to work.  But suppressing speech and thought is not the path to take if we truly desire to become more tolerant.  Doing so only creates tension and distrust of the people doing the policing and shaming, and leads to across the board self-censorship.

That brings up my next point.  Another problem with the “fosters an environment” approach is that while suppressing stand up comedy, music, or other entertainment deemed “hateful”, it also drives the very real prejudice and hate that we should be fighting underground.  We end up with an environment that on the surface is tolerant, open, loving and honest, while underneath it is duplicitous, prejudiced, and even hateful.  You can’t root out what you can’t find.  Personally, if I take an interest in a person’s worldview, I want to know what they REALLY think, warts and all.  It also leaves us with the artistic equivalent of the chicken, road, and question again.  That isn’t a world I want to live in.  Art is important.


If we actually value freedom of expression, we cannot allow what has happened to continue.  We have to stand up and be counted whenever someone is attacked for saying the wrong thing.  By all means, object to the content of the speech, present a better argument, and let people decide for themselves who is right and who is wrong.  But stop participating in the shaming and Cultural Censorship of people who think and say things that you or a special interest group considers objectionable.  Only a coward would cut the microphone wire of his opponent, instead of using his own to present a better argument.

The Most Offensive Slur of Them All

     By reading the title, if you know nothing about what I do, you may think you know what word I'm referring to. The all powerful "N-word". Well, no. The word "nigger" is certainly up there on the offensive scale. Purely based on its origin, it really is an awful word. It's a word that was used in such deep seeded hatred for so many years. I'm not going to be one of those people who claims (lies) and says "I've never even thought the word", but I do acknowledge the awfulness of its true meaning and wouldn't use it in a manner of hate. The word "faggot" is also a very hateful term in many contexts. Its origin stems from the burning of homosexuals. While I do believe it has developed a different meaning in most circles over time, I will never argue a homosexual who is offended by that word. While these two words are certainly very offensive, there is a group of words that can hurt people in a far greater way and goes unnoticed.
     The term "_ist" (racist, sexist, etc.) can do more damage to someone than most other little words you can throw out there. To call someone either of the words I mentioned, or any other term deemed offensive, could certainly hurt someone's feelings. It could conjure up an unpleasant memory or make you feel shame for being who you are. But the term "_ist" can do a whole different level of damage. It could ruin your career, reputation and relationships. For example, there will likely be people who read my first paragraph of this post, throw context in the dumpster, and call me a racist or homophobic for typing out the words "nigger" and "faggot". I even put them in puotes to try and save me a little bit and call attention to the fact that I'm trying to use these words for the pure purpose of an open dialogue, not shock value or bigotry. But to some, the perpetually outraged, that will not matter. They will see what they wish to see and brand the scarlet letter "R" on my chest.
     The real problem with the ease we throw around accusations of racism, homophobia or bigotry is that it takes away the ability to have open dialogue. If you try to point out widespread problems in different cultures or segments of the population, you're a racist. If you lose your cool on a harassing reporter and say "faggot", like Jonah Hill, you're homophobic. If you make a rape joke like Jennifer Lawrence or Daniel Tosh, or even use the word correctly like Charlize Theron, you are feeding in to rape culture. Using these blanket terms to condemn people who speak honestly is its own new form of discrimination. What I'm attempting to do in this piece is not advocate the use of those "naughty words". Nor do I am I begging to be able to use those words in public. I'm simply asking that next time you call someone a "_ist" think about what you're doing. Because you may be costing them their job, reputation, family, friends and self worth. Next time you throw that term out, just think, "Is this person as hateful as I'm accusing them of being...Or is this an easy way out of a real discussion".

By Mike Geary

What Is The Culture Of Censorship Really About?

If you are reading this blog you will no doubt be aware of the culture of silencing, punishment and censorship that it is trying to fight, and you  will most likely agree with the message of @GrovelingUSA. While there is a small group of people online, and a very tiny minority in media,  actively trying oppose the bullying, intimidation and mob tactics of the groups and individuals who insist on taking action designed to punish and silence people they disagree with, most of them only address the issue of censorship, they don't seem to look at the reasons for why the politically correct groups are so adamant that dissent should not be allowed.
Obviously there are a variety of reasons for these groups to be so vehemently against people that disagree with them being able to have a voice, but I believe there is one main overarching reason that some of these zealots may not even be intelligent enough to understand or put into words, but are able to feel on a subconcious level-and that is the desperate need to control the narrative and make sure that their argument can't be questioned, lest it fall apart under scrutiny. I believe that they feel this on a deeply emotional level, the same way they form their arguments in the first place, and if logic or reason can contradict their emotion based argument then it must be disregarded. Not just disregarded by the person making the argument but it must be disregarded by society so that others can be denied facts that prove the PC police wrong. This becomes blatantly obvious when we look at the reaction PC campaigners have to opposing viewpoints  -they want people to be fired, they want articles to be removed and ultimately they want people who disagree with them to be too scared to voice an opinion for fear of losing their job, all the while hiding behind the emotion based argument that "it's offensive".
While there are far too many complaints from the people intent on censorship for me to focus on in this piece there are two recent examples that perfectly highlight what the opponents of speech are really all about and how they attack-these cases are Kevin Williamson's piece in The National Review about the transexual star of Orange Is The New Black and George Will's piece about the war on free expression, trigger warnings, "rape culture" and the status enhancing "victimhood" on college campuses.
The reaction to Kevin Williamson's piece illustrates how ridiculous our society has become. While some people may think the title "Laverne Cox Is Not A woman" is a little provocative it is still a biological reality as he points out in the article. The immediate outrage was as hyperbolic as it was irrational, he was called a "bigot", "transphobic" and "full of hate" by his critics on twitter despite the fact there was no evidence of any of this in his writing, while petitions were started to have him fired and complaints were lodged to have his article removed. This is the society we've come to live in and exactly what we now expect, no attempts to point out anything Williamson said that was factually wrong-just hysterical outrage and accusations of bigotry (many from people who probably didn't even read the article). This is because they can't highlight anything wrong in his article, he's right but they disagree so he has to be silenced and preferably punished by being fired too. Due to pressure by GLAAD the Chicago Sun-Times dropped the article, although GLAAD presented attempts to counter Williams views they still insisted on calling him "anti-trans" without any explanation as to why, and called for the piece to be removed from the paper. Why? Why can't others be free to have a different opinion presented in the media?
George Will's op-ed in The Washington Post titled Colleges Become The Victims Of Progressivism recieved similar outrage and similar consequences when he pointed out the absurdity of some campus policies and the behaviour of liberal students. As he rightly points out victimhood has become a "coveted status" that "confers privileges". Critics accidentally proved his point for him by arguing that "victims" shouldn't be questioned or "blamed", what is that if not privilege? We have to listen to someone's complaints and not question them because they have victimhood status? They are allowed to completely control the narrative? He also highlights how the numbers of women allegedly being sexually assaulted are absolutely preposterous and the fake numbers just don't add up. And mentions that men accused of rape on campus will be denied due process. Predictably the over-emotional response was outrage and he was accused of being a "rape apologist", again no evidence was presented for the accusation. His column was also dropped by the St Louis Post-Dispatch due to the outrage. The editorial page editor Tony Messenger went on the Hugh Hewitt  radio show to try and defend his decision to censor George Will but he eventually had to admit that there were no inaccuracies the the piece and Will was dropped only because he had caused offense. When pressed further by Hewitt he couldn't defend his position and hung up on the interviewer.
On the bright side both Kevin Williamson and George Will were both unappologetic and stood by what they had written, something that is very uncommon in the forced and fake apology culture of today. Williamson went even further than just defending himself he critisized the "gutlessness" of the editors and management who dropped his column and stated that he would prefer that they never ran another, as well as pointing out lies in the groveling statement made by editor Tom McNamee, calling him "a disgrace to a proud newspaper tradition" and stating that "post-operative transexuals are not the only men who have had their characteristic equipment removed". George Will was equally defiant and refused to be beaten into submission like so many "offenders" before him.
These examples may not seem like a big deal but they show that if you show some strength, show that you won't be bullied and don't apologize for your words the consequences won't be as bad as you think. It makes the witch-hunting mob think twice about coming after you if they see you arent a weakling who will accept whatever treatment they decide you deserve for the horrific offense of disagreeing with them. The only consequences Williamson and Will suffered were outside of their control, they were dropped by newspapers who bowed to political correctness but they didn't lose their jobs and the mob has now moved on to other weaker targets they know won't fight back. They have both achieved a victory , they haven't allowed themselves to be silenced and they haven't lost control of the narrative. Small victories like these could be the foundation for building a platform to really fight back against the people who would like to see dissent disappear altogether.
By @FlyerThanAPelic

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Why The Media Should Apologize, Not Gary Oldman

     Lately, in our society, high profile celebrities are petrified of giving their opinion or telling a joke. Charlize Theron used the word "rape" as part of her description of the paparazzi intruding on her personal life. Instead of acknowledging and examining a clear problem of paparazzi and reporters invading the privacy of celebs, we scold Theron for using a word that is uncomfortable for some of us. After being harassed by a member of said paparazzi, Jonah Hill being fed up with this said "Suck my dick, faggot". Instead of admitting we all use this type of language when we are frustrated, we shake our collective finger at Jonah and applaud when he gives a groveling apology on The Tonight Show. Now, when someone speaks out against this hypocrisy, we take bits and pieces of what he said instead of extracting the overall message he was trying to send us.
     Gary Oldman tried giving us a message that is long overdue. Oldman used the public condemnation of those like Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin as a way of showing us what hypocrites we've become, as a society. He used those two being scolded by mainstream media and compared them to other similar situations where the media laughs and shrugs off comments as a fun joke. It was a very well put and accurate description of what we've come. The media didn't pick up on that. While they should have turned the microscope onto themselves, they, instead, reduced Oldman's words to a "profanity laced tirade". Now Oldman's manager, Douglas Urbanski, is hinting that Oldman will apologize. I'm here to say, DON"T DO IT, GARY! When someone gives a well articulated, inoffensive opinion like this, we need to start embracing it. Not ignoring it and sitting back, waiting for the now meaningless apology. It's an uphill battle. But with more people like Gary Oldman we may stand a fighting chance.