IT BEGINS

May. 17th, 2014 12:16 pm
fengi: (Mr. Fengi)
[personal profile] fengi
In 2008 I wondered how long it would be before we reached this point, where even the thinnest of veils started to drop. We're almost there.
I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse. For this, I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such...While I believe the problems associated with minorities in this country are momentous, I am not phobic.
-a public statement by Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland, in response to resident who complained after he called Obama n----r in a restaurant.
He's worked with a lot of blacks in his life. ... He said some harsh words about Mr. Obama, and here we are. This woman, she's blowing it all out of proportion.
-Commission Chairman Joseph Balboni Jr. on why he won't ask Copeland to resign.

It was just overheard in a public place, but he doubled down in a public statement to a constituent without exactly repeating it. It's just short of an official or pundit calling Obama n----r on the record. A direct statement is the last line left. I think it will be crossed before 2016, and a lot of bigoted white guys will whine about the response with some bullshit about "free speech".

This isn't defending "free speech", but speech free from consequences (or even criticism). The idea powerful white men who can, and often have, harmed the targets of their bigotry should be free from others responding by saying they shouldn't have power.

These false free speech arguments often include"next time it might be us". The real issue isn't speech, but fear what was done to others will be done to you. It's the bully assuming everyone else would be as bad if they could. Thus the pretense that a white guy facing consequences for talking shit is the like a lynching, or a gay man losing his job just for being gay.

Everyone else already lives in a world where saying anything, let alone whatever the fuck you feel like saying, may lead to problems. Free speech means everyone can say an asshole shouldn't have power and everyone does, quite often, only occasionally with real impact. Considering many other groups face disadvantages without saying a word, rich white bigoted dudes can handle being responsible for what they say.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-17 05:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quirkytizzy.livejournal.com
This almost makes me want to get back on FB, where my fundies will be spitting about this. They were going on and on about free speech with that Duck Dynasty dude. I was like "You know free speech only protects you from the government kidnapping you for saying shit, right? You are NOT protected from the Court of Public Opinion."

Delicious story. *runs off to read the links*

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-17 06:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fengi.livejournal.com
I need to add some links - no time as I was posting from a tablet and typing is so slooow when you're used to a keyboard.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-17 06:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quirkytizzy.livejournal.com
I didn't realize until I after I posted it that there were no links, lol, sorry! I am the same way on my Ipad - that thing is near useless for comprehensive linking. But I'm googling and DAYUM juicy story!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 02:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ccjohn.livejournal.com
I do not want to leave anyone to the Court of Public Opinion. It is not known for mercy.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 02:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quirkytizzy.livejournal.com
That's the point. It's how social change works. For better or worse.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fengi.livejournal.com
But quirky - if minorities, women and gays get more power, they might do to white guys the same things that white guys have done to them. I mean imagine a guy beaten and dragged to death behind a truck just because he was straight and white by a bunch of drunk black lesbians! That's kind of what happened to Sterling, except for it didn't.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 03:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quirkytizzy.livejournal.com
That's why "for worse" in there. It's a weapon that depends on the public for where it is aimed.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 04:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fengi.livejournal.com
Sorry, I was making a joke. My point is the powerful are acting like occasional disadvantages from social progress is the same as the years of suffering by those who historically had no power.

It's like when the person who almost never buys a round is finally shamed into doing so, then gets all butt hurt because someone ordered an expensive craft beer. Or when the slobbiest roommate pitches a fit because the other one didn't put all their laundry away immediately.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 02:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fengi.livejournal.com
So you are arguing:
1. It's okay for an elected Police Commissioner to call Obama a n----r in a public place around his constituents.
2. It's also okay to him to respond to a complaint by sending a email to a constituent - which is an official statement - saying he did it because Obama "meets and exceeds my criteria" of being a n----r.
3. Further, you're just fine for a Police Commissioner - who represents and influences law enforcement - telling the public "I believe the problems associated with minorities in this country are momentous".
4. You are claiming that an elected official, a person given his job by public agreement, shouldn't be subject to public opinion about statements he makes to the public which reveal a bigoted stance which directly impacts his oversight.

Come the fuck on. Would you be arguing this or making a comment if it wasn't a powerful white guy being held accountable for what he says and does?

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 06:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bemused-leftist.livejournal.com
ccjohn:
I do not want to leave anyone to the Court of Public Opinion. It is not known for mercy.


Or for due process, or even for checking the facts. Like the Red Queen, "Sentence first, trial after." Or trial never.
Edited Date: 2014-05-18 06:38 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 03:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fengi.livejournal.com
The "court of public opinion" also involves selective use of words and definitions by lawyers who serve the powerful - i.e. folks who only complain when a white conservative who gets in trouble for talking shit. When have you ever written about all the women gays and minorities who suffer from the court of public opinion often by just being themselves and not even saying anything offensive? Where are you condemations of women who are subject to,relentless rape threats in an attempt to silence them? When gays are banned from participating in parades?

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-19 04:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ccjohn.livejournal.com
Mrs. Peel! Sorry, just discouraged presently.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-19 05:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bemused-leftist.livejournal.com
Have some good sense from elsewhere, then.

But the difference between the law and morality matters. I have a legal right to try to silence everyone I want to, but I have a moral right to ensure that no one is silenced, no matter how much I disagree with them.

....

By definition, you cannot convince ideologues you are right, but when they have the power to silence you, you can hope they have enough respect for free speech to let you speak despite their belief you're wrong.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-17 10:39 pm (UTC)
ext_13461: Foxes Frolicing (Default)
From: [identity profile] al-zorra.livejournal.com
It's very important worldwide to keep the 99% from organizing and working in concert. Racial and religious bigotry are the 1% greatest weapons of defense and offense both.

Love, C.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 12:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] franklanguage.livejournal.com
Unfortunately—true.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 06:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bemused-leftist.livejournal.com
Remember the other part of the no-free-speech side: "You do not have to provide a forum for those you disagree with. There is no principle that says everyone should have an opportunity to present their side. Censorship of opposing views is just what they deserve. If they weren't assholes, no one would criticize or censor them."

What now prevents the New York Times and other organs of the 1%, from suppressing all statements from Occupy, and running only the most negative views* of them? When the 1% buy enough stock in Google, why would Google continue to list sites criticizing the 1%?

Maybe some public respect for the principle of, oh dear, "free speech"?

* altogether, instead of partially as they do now


(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 03:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fengi.livejournal.com
Um, no, no one has said the imaginary quote above. That is a strawman argument. The actual arguments for why bigots suffer consequences are not these.

Whether you intend it or not, bringing up media consolidation and free speech when the topic is powerful bigots facing consequences for talking shit comes off as defending is the right of white guys to say whatever they want without those with less power getting to respond. It's like you are saying if someone supports bigots being criticized or punished, they are also supporting NYT silencing people. These aren't the same issue and you know it.

Media consolidation and the Koch brothers suing critics is not the same as people saying a rich bigot shouldn't be given more money or bigots losing jobs because their actions make them unable to fulfill their position.

And free speech does not mean everyone gets to talk everywhere all the time without consequence or universal neutrality. Free does not mean free of judgement or law or reactions. That's both physically, socially, legally and financially impossible. By your standards, editing violates free speech, libel laws violate free speech, being arrested for constantly screaming at other people in a bar violates free speech, getting fired for talking about a co-workers breasts violates free speech. Nor is every exercise of moderation fair, but not every alleged unfairness is the same or connected.

When you start writing as much about a disadvantaged person being silenced, I believe the motive is actual free speech.
Edited Date: 2014-05-18 03:35 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bemused-leftist.livejournal.com
My version is pretty close to the iconic xkcd at
http://xkcd.com/1357/

Spelling out the idea that anyone who is criticized, deserves the criticism -- happens more often outside xkcd, but it's the same presumption.

If you want a more detailed reply on various points, try again without the ad hominem.
Edited Date: 2014-05-18 08:51 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 10:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fengi.livejournal.com
The strawman invented quote is also ad hominem.

I'm very tired of those who indulge in the rhetorical fallacies and then when faced with a spirited defense - i.e. free speech - refuse to answer valid points by saying "no YOU are ad hominem".

Context is important - your posts frequently defend or respond to issues of powerful white people being called bigots - Paula Deen was your cause célèbre for quite a while, but Shirley Sherrod got nary a notice. If you are going to make a cause central to your frequent discussions, then the selective application becomes an issue. And you have repeatedly shown a predilection to bring this up after some incident in which someone wealthy and white gets in trouble. That's verifiable pattern of behavior.

Again, you didn't bring this up on my post about Net Neutrality. You didn't bring it up on many of my posts about media ownership or dominant narratives. You brought it up on a post about a white official who is openly racist. Context is an indicator of motive - this is PR and rhetoric 101.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-19 01:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bemused-leftist.livejournal.com
It's like you are saying if someone supports bigots being criticized or punished, they are also supporting NYT silencing people.

The issue is silencing, and the means is saying there is no moral right of free speech*. The NYT can justify its lack of fair coverage by saying, "We don't have to provide Occupy with free bandwidth." The current mob can make others afraid to speak, by calling them bigots/infidels/Communists/whatever and urging their employers to fire them. Another mob (which succeeded already) can make Occupy people afraid to speak or demonstrate, by calling them dirty/druggies/parasites/etc and urging the police to harass them, pepper spray them, etc (all within the technical limits of the law, of course).

* merely that your speech is not literally illegal to express
Edited Date: 2014-05-19 05:15 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 03:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fengi.livejournal.com
Meanwhile, let's look at the specific context, the incidents which brought you to write this post:
1. A rich man with a history of bigoted business practices is finally caught on tape saying bigoted things about his employees, after which he faces fines he may not have to pay, and will be given large amounts of money for his team - because he signed a legal agreement when he bought the team that it could be taken away for misconduct.
2. A man was promoted to a position in which he is supposed to represent the public face of a business and non-profit devoted to free information, which made it a problem that he gave funded a hate group which sponsored legislation which took away the rights of others and was ruled unconstitutional, and spread disinformation to do so. This group is also opposed to the part of the first amendment which separates church and state.
3. An elected official in charge of police was heard saying racist things about the president and when confronted, doubled down on his racism in ways that indicate he cannot be a good steward.
4. A guy who brought in gun toting lunatics in order to not pay fees for using land that wasn't his turned out to be a huge racist - which is an explicit part of the militia philosophy he follows.
5. A women's study professor rips up a protest sign and is condemned by people on both the left and right, because attacking protesters is wrong. It is clearly something which rarely happens. Some people lie and pretend "the left" support such things.
6. A wealthy man with a tv show almost loses his TV show after he gives an interview expressing his bigotry, because part of the job of being an entertainer is not driving away the audience. He got to use his free speech and others got to use theirs to say "I don't think this man should have a tv show."

Now, had you cited any other type of "censorship" that didn't involve rich white people who are still rich after getting in trouble because free doesn't mean free of consequences, I might by this. And there are plenty - like material being censored by international conglomerates who don't want to piss of the Chinese, or any number of teachers for any number of reasons, or the endless examples of employees being threatened with retaliation if they even talk about unionizing or following basic employment law. If you really gave a shit about these things as a "bemused leftist" you make posts about these incidents and give concrete examples. You'd write about the attempt to punish the Charleston College for having Fun Home on the syllabus. But you are quiet about those things - instead, the subtext of you posts are "leftists, minorities, women, gays are the real oppressors". The posts about free speech occur after some powerful white got into trouble because free speech means people are free to react how they want to what you say.
Edited Date: 2014-05-18 03:15 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 02:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ccjohn.livejournal.com
Mr. Fengi I can't agree with you here. I don't like much talking about it. The dumbass basketball coach --I do not even know what he said, that is the point. Everyone announced what he said was so bad, we all had no choice but to hold nothing back in slamming him, if he lost his basketball team, so be it. Except we only get to speak at all because we all supposedly believe in free speech. They will come after you or me next time. Not one of us has never said anything the mob cannot insist demands action. I would not use the word "nigger" in speech because it is plain it is hurtful to people. I recollect this older guy, circa 1991, asked about my very good friend Sandra, "you mean that colored girl?" I would not reduce anyone to a word. The problem is, anti-racism and racism wind up equal that way. Who will protect Copeland and Balboni except us? they have no one.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fengi.livejournal.com
Wow. This is not "the mob". Sterling will be well paid for his team by other owners because he's hurt profits. Just as if he were on some entertainment conglomerate board and got caught insulting a huge part of the audience. He failed at one of his key responsibilities - don't alienate your customers. That's not the mob, that's how doing something for money works - if you fuck up your business, there are consequences.

You are also defending an elected official with power over the police who proudly declares he's a racist while calling the voters who complain are a "mob". He failed at his job. Do you think someone who uses a term associated with lynch mobs should help run the police?

Sterling didn't just talk racist - he got rich as a racist landlord and got away with just some fines, and will remain rich and powerful after this is done, he just doesn't get to own a team.

You are not arguing for free speech against the mob. You are arguing for "free from consequences and criticism" speech - for white guys who have power over the targets of their bigotry.

Who will protect the public against people like Copeland and Balboni? Why do you take the side of the powerful against the powerless?
Edited Date: 2014-05-18 03:16 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 06:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bemused-leftist.livejournal.com
ccjohn: Except we only get to speak at all because we all supposedly believe in free speech. They will come after you or me next time. Not one of us has never said anything the mob cannot insist demands action.

You're right on the big point, but it isn't the "mob" that will come after us, at least not soon. First it will be the rich who will give us less and less "free forum space" in their big newspapers and You-Tube. They will define more and more of the 99%'s positions as "too offensive to be allowed any time."

Later, (and maybe already), who is it that will inform and incite the "mob"? Astro-turfing is easy for those with plenty of money.

Edited Date: 2014-05-18 06:57 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 07:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bemused-leftist.livejournal.com
As for the specific incident with the Police Commissioner, it sounds like a good case for firing them both.
Edited Date: 2014-05-18 08:28 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agoodwinsmith.livejournal.com
I wish to bumpersticker this:

"Rich white bigoted dudes can handle being responsible for what they say."

I'm not quite sure how to use it, because I don't have a bumper to put it on. Maybe a series of postcard with different photographs of RWBDs, which can be mailed to MPs or Congress people or other organizations. A pile of real mail cluttering up the campaign office might matter. Or not. But I think it could be a useful item.