Once again for the clue-challenged

Dear Internet Interlocutor, criticising rape jokes does not mean censorship of rape jokes, so how is bringing up free speech relevant again?

My latest comment responding to somebody objecting to Melissa McEwan’s statement that “rape jokes are rape culture” in her Rape Culture 101 post which was crossposted to Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog.

@Seksualisti

but every one has the right of expression and freedom of speech. This includes expressing rude or inconvenient things.

Having the right to do something does not make doing that thing a moral act. Having the right to do something does not mean that others do not have a right to respond to that action negatively and make a judgement on the character of those who do that action. Freedom of speech does not and has never ever meant freedom from criticism.

People who make lazy/nasty rape jokes just for shock value are self-entitled insensitive jerks, it is right and proper to call them out for being self-entitled insensitive jerks, it does not infringe upon their right of expression or freedom of speech to call them self-entitled insensitive jerks. People being self-entitled insensitive jerks about rape IS rape culture.

Nobody is trying to take away their right to be self-entitled insensitive jerks, they’re just telling them that self-entitled insensitive jerks is what they are.

Oddly enough, many many many people do not like and do not want to be around self-entitled insensitive jerks. It’s a bit rich for the self-entitled insensitive jerks to then moan about being criticised and/or avoided because of their free choice to engage in free expression of speech that others find creepy and/or triggering.

Expanding a bit, social penalties such as criticism, disapproving looks and even outright ostracism do not infringe upon one’s rights to freedom of expression/speech. They are not legal penalties, they are other people exercising their own rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association. There is no right to freedom from other people deciding that one’s actions appear to be those of a self-entitled insensitive jerk and telling others that this is their opinion of one’s character.

Can these social penalties be used in a restrictive/biased/oppressive fashion? Yes they can, just like that freedom of speech that this guy is so keen to defend. All freedoms to act come with the freedom of other people to react negatively; with criticism, disapproval, scorn, disgust, anger and more. None of these reactions infringe upon anyone else’s rights or freedoms no matter how vociferously they are expressed, as long as they do not violate the integrity of anyone’s person or property. None of these reactions is free from negative responses from yet more others in turn.

This makes the “bbbbbbut – FREE SPEECH” argument irrelevant to engaging with criticism of an act of free expression. The criticism is about the moral/ethical aspects of what has been expressed. Stop whingeing about having the right to express what you did and own your responsibility for any negative responses to your expression. You expressed it, so you elicited the response, and you can’t demand only positive responses. It’s fine to end up saying that you don’t care about negative responses and you plan to keep on doing the same thing, but it’s not fine to argue that others have no right to express their negative responses to it.


 
Now, dear readers, as a little exercise for the little grey cells this Monday morning, what other perfectly legal acts can you think of that mark the performer as a self-entitled insensitive jerk yet nobody is planning to make actually illegal? (And let’s note right up front before a critic chimes in – many people see aborting a pregnancy as the act of a self-entitled insensitive jerk and they are planning to make it illegal, so that doesn’t count.)

I’ll start with:

  • Abandoning a pet.
  • Having an affair if one is not in an “open” partnership.
  • Divorcing a loving spouse because they get older/fatter and you want a fancier trophy partner.

Wotcha got?



Categories: culture wars, ethics & philosophy, language

Tags: ,

70 replies

  1. Elected representatives who take it upon themselves to further reduce the already minimal control women have over their reproductive rights.
    I give you the Stupak amendment to the Health Care Reform Bill.
    “Placing onerous new restrictions on a woman’s right to choose sets a terrible precedent and marks a significant step backwards,” Democratic Representatives Louise Slaughter and Diana DeGette, co-chairs of the congressional pro-choice caucus, said in a statement.
    Fawwwwwwkkkk.

  2. what other perfectly legal acts can you think of that mark the performer as a self-entitled insensitive jerk yet nobody is planning to make actually illegal?

    Haggling with someone who isn’t in a position to bargain.
    Uneven division of housework.
    Being condescending.
    Trying to trick vegetarians into eating meat, or Muslims into eating pork. Generally, trying to trick ethical people into accidentally violating those ethics in order to assert that the ethics are false.

  3. And I’ll be a pinkie-rainbow-red-greenie and say:
    Not giving to charity, if one has the capacity.
    Environmentally stuff like eating endangered species, or not recycling, or selling brown coal to India, if one lives in a Western country.

  4. Using “retarded” to mean “something I don’t like”
    Getting angry with PETA and saying “I’m going to go eat a big steak! That’ll show ‘em!” (No, it won’t. You’re an arsehole)
    Criticising someone’s decision to:
    a) Have sex before marriage
    b) Wait until marriage to have sex

  5. I would add refusing to engage with the political process and then critisising those who do.

  6. “self-entitled, insensitive jerk” behaviour…hmm…how about:
    Coercing a woman into making out with you on camera by luring her with offers of being on TV and going overseas (but only telling her what you require her to do once she’s accepted those lures)
    Surruptitiously obtaining women’s underwear by posing as an interviewer interested in their career achievements (actually this may be illegal)
    Lying to a largely black congregation in a church about your experience of being a displaced person of colour (i.e. telling them you were when you weren’t)
    And that’s just what springs to mind thinking of the first three episodes of John Safran’s new outing.

  7. Getting angry with PETA and saying “I’m going to go eat a big steak! That’ll show ‘em!” (No, it won’t. You’re an arsehole)

    Or being Boris Johnson:

    No, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, distinguished chairman of the panel, I am not going to have one meat-free day per week. No, I am not going to become a gradual vegetarian. In fact, the whole proposition is so irritating that I am almost minded to eat more meat in response.
    Every weekend, rain or shine, I suggest that we flaunt our defiance of UN dietary recommendations with a series of vast Homeric barbecues.
    We are going to have carnivorous festivals of chops and sausages and burgers and chitterlings and chine and offal, and the fat will run down our chins, and the dripping will blaze on the charcoal, and the smoky vapours will rise to the heavens.
    We will call these meat feasts Pachauri days, in satirical homage to the tofu-chomping UN man who told the human race to go veggie.

    From here.
    Sorry for being off topic.

  8. Jeez your tough.
    1. Abandoning a pet – that’s a treasured Australian pastime along with the Saturday drive. “Just going to dump the kittens love. I’ll be back in a couple of hours!”
    2. What no more affairs? You must be joking? The French will invade us and wipe us out!
    3. Divorcing a loving spouse because they get fat/sick/ugly – See point one.

  9. I have love in my heart for you Tigtog, love in my heart.
    Hmm…being a married man making ‘wife’ jokes (ball and chain blah blah)
    Being a privileged white person ‘joking’ about how minorities get ‘extra entitlements’
    .-= fuckpoliteness´s last blog ..“Oh fuckpoliteness, WHY are feminists ruining our fun?” =-.

  10. You’re right, Hedgepig, that series (as interesting as much of it is) is looking like something of a masterclass in the sort of behaviour Tigtog is describing. As is the (much more obscene) behaviour of the young men you are talking about in your blogpost, FP. It’s your legal right to ignore the humanity of others, but that doesn’t make it a good thing to do.

  11. Ja, I’ll be happy if I never see Mr Safran’s pixellated todger again (I think he’s taken it out every episode).
    The thing in the news about Sydney Uni’s pro-rape Facebook page goes a little beyond “self-entitled insensitive jerkiness”, but it’s a good example of the original concept taken to it’s logical end.

  12. Badgering, pestering, or nagging a partner until they consent to whatever you’re asking them to do (usually sexual, but not always), despite their having demurred several times already. Not illegal. Definitely entitled asshaberdashery.
    Not offering your seat on public transit to someone who appears to need it more, when you’re perfectly capable of easily moving/standing.

  13. Bullying and/or emotional blackmail to get your own way.

  14. How about criticizing someone for complaining about a political wrong by saying “You can’t criticize it if you don’t make an effort to change it?” Doof. 1) speaking out is doing something 2) generally people who say this know nothing about the person they are criticizing or their voting record, et al

  15. I would like to add verbally abusing restaurant servers and salespeople just because they have to put up with it in order to earn a living.

    Why is it that people who will defend to the death their right to say assholish things always dismiss the rights of others to call them out? And does anyone else appreciate the irony of someone who treats others so unkindly getting his panties in a bunch over being called an asshole? Such people always have different standards for themselves than they do for other people.

  16. Not making an effort to allow people with a disability to access your premises, and not caring. It is probably illegal not to have wheelchair access, but if it is, I can’t see anyone enforcing it. Is it only govt buildings where it is mandatory?

  17. 1. Those people who corner you as a captive audience and talk only about themselves and their problems for far far longer than is polite, even when all the body language in the world and your efforts to change the subject just make them move even closer to you and say words to the effect of “yeah well, back to me”. It should not only be illegal but a death by lethal injection offence.
    2. Any person who says of a victim of rape “what was she wearing?” “how much had she been drinking?” “why was she there alone?” or “well, she was dating him/married to him/at his house.”
    3. Any person who says “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”
    4. Any person who says “Australia isn’t ready for a woman prime minister.”

  18. Mindy: I can tell you right now, wheelchair accessibility is not even universal in government schools.

  19. Sadly, the vast, vast majority of homophobia, sexism, racism, transphobia and ableism fall into the legal category. Depressing. When you just fiddle the legal system around the edges to deal with minorities, rather than rethinking the whole thing, I guess that’s what happens. :-/

  20. Those people who corner you as a captive audience and talk only about themselves and their problems for far far longer than is polite, even when all the body language in the world and your efforts to change the subject just make them move even closer to you and say words to the effect of “yeah well, back to me”. It should not only be illegal but a death by lethal injection offence.
    Um, I’ve *been* that person. I’ve been that person because I have an autistic spectrum disorder and have immense trouble with body language and other social cues. I was hoping this list would stick to things that are clear and unmistakeable signs of being an intentional asshat and not caring about it, otherwise I’d add “people who go off on rants about how horrible, selfish, and deserving to die people who have trouble with social cues are because of X social annoyance but will never, ever actually tell the person in question that they are behaving in an annoying way when X happens.”
    (sorry, Lauredhel. I could have been more polite if it hadn’t been for “death by lethal injection”.)
    On a less confrontational note, people who out other people online. I often see the related argument of “well, I *could* find your real name via ten hours of Googling, so it’s all your fault and you have no right to be offended or upset that I am now doing my best to splash it all over the internt.”

    • @Kaz,

      (sorry, Lauredhel. I could have been more polite if it hadn’t been for “death by lethal injection”.)

      This post’s one of mine, actually, but I totally understand. My son is ASD and has huge problems with interpreting social cues. I’m also on the spectrum although less obviously, and reading social cues only works for me as a conscious act of intellectual analysis – the instinctive thing doesn’t work for ASDies – so if I’m tired or a little bit ill I’m likely to miss things because I’m concentrating those cognitive resources on getting other things done.
      So yeah, this one is a social irritant for the neurotypical, not a moral failing from the neurodiverse. And while I get that the OP was playing with hyperbole, even when the cornering/droning-on is being done by a neurotypical boor of the most pompously self-important stripe, it’s simply not up there with our other examples.

  21. @tigtog and @kaz, I’m so glad someone pointed that out, because when I read it, I thought aspergers, because several of my family have aspergers, but I wasn’t really sure what to say in response even though I found it quite offensive.

  22. Trolling, using the justifications that they’re just reflecting the real world, trying to encourage sensitive internet users to grow thick skins, trying to subvert groupthink, playing it for devil’s advocate, exploitation of those perceived as self-righteous, or mere entertainment.

  23. People who, when youre telling them about your problems, make it all about them. I’m not talking about the “I’ve had [related issue] so I can simpathise. Have some more icecream” I’m talking about “so what if you’re depressed! At least youre not [cutting/suicidal/having a crappy day] like me!”
    I’d say “people who change lanes without indicating” but that’s already illegal. Hear that Perth drivers? It’s illegal!!

  24. PEOPLE WHO DO NOT GET THEIR CARS OUT OF THE WAY OF EMERGENCY VEHICLES WHEN THEIR SIRENS ARE ON!!!!!

    Sorry for shouting, but, well, you know how we get upset sometimes 😉

  25. Oh dear! Were you in the position of needing an emergency vehicle recently?

  26. Being Kyle Sandilands or Miranda Devine and being able to draw…a wage. The asshat antics of ppl like this boils my blood pressure. That they earn their livings from saying or writing the most atrocious things, whether they actually believe it or not, annoys me beyond words. I hate that they come up with some inciteful shite just to raze ppl up in order to sell advertising. That they don’t actually believe half the crap that they say but just say it anyhow to sell radio time/newpapers is a cynical marketing ploy, and that love or loathe you’re still buying into their confected rage. (Although I won’t read Miranda anymore, not after she called for Greenies to be strung up on lamp-posts in the wake of the Victorian bushfires – that’s exactly the behaviour that I’m talking about. Thank goodness for the Crikey blog ‘Pure Poison’ which calls these asshats out on their dishonesty).

  27. Oops. My last comment was probably a little too vague for the non-Australians. Let me just say that if you don’t know you I’m referring to just consider yourself blessed. Kyle Sandilands is a self described radio shock jock and Melinda Devine (and her ilk) are newspaper columnists who seem to live to get a rise out of people and write the most inflammatory nasty mean spirited and often right wing stuff.

  28. For New Zealanders, let me translate. Think Michael Laws (only not as smart) and, hmmm, some combination of Deborah Coddington and Noelle McCarthy (only smarter).

  29. Miranda’s kind of the Michelle Malkin of Australia and Kyle’s…hmmm… Chris Matthews maybe? if that helps.

  30. Parking in such a way that you take up two car parks, or render the one next to you unusable.

    Using the express lane in the supermarket when you have say, 20 items instead of 10. One or two items over the limit I can cope with. Not so much when someone is 5 or 10 items over the limit.

  31. Deborah, I was in the supermarket with a friend of my mum’s once, and we stood behind someone in the eight-items-or-less aisle who had about eleventy-three things. We stood there having a conversation about how they mustn’t be able to count, and how sorry we felt for them because it must be really difficult for people in today’s world if they can’t count. They got mad as hell. It was great.

  32. I’ve been so tempted to make remarks to that effect, Rebekka, but I’ve always wimped out. I have however, gone for the direct approach, simply pointing out that this is the express aisle, and that they are being rude and selfish by using it. I think I could only manage the conversation about the ability to count if I had some other adult with me.

  33. We stood there having a conversation about how they mustn’t be able to count, and how sorry we felt for them because it must be really difficult for people in today’s world if they can’t count.

    There are people who can’t count. Moreover, there are people who can’t read.
    This conversation is really bothering me.

  34. I do know that – I have a cousin with dyscalculia.
    It was a long time ago, and I probably wouldn’t do the same thing now.

  35. People who cut corners on T-intersections and then glare at me as if I’m on their bit of the road instead of vice versa.

  36. Rebekka: So why boast and gloat about it here, now?

  37. There are people who can’t count. Moreover, there are people who can’t read.
    Indeed there are, and it would be wrong to make those kind of comments where there are no contextual indications that the person is able to read and write and is numerate. In those cases, a polite, “Excuse me, this is the express checkout” is the way to go. That gives both parties the chance to act with grace, if a mistake has been made.
    But there are situations where we really ought to be intervening. A woman managing credit cards, EFTPOS numbers, car keys, and the like, and flicking through magazines while she waits, is clearly literate and numerate, and doing exactly what the post is about i.e. acting like a privileged jerk. Why shouldn’t we point out that people’s behaviour is unacceptable, especially where it is clearly unacceptable? We are so often cowed into silence, not wanting to make a fuss, not wanting to carry the social cost of making a complaint. It’s precisely the mechanism that people with privilege use to silence dissent.
    (Edited to fix up a typo)

  38. Deborah: I’m not talking about the direct, polite approach, which I have no issue with. I’m talking about the LOUD PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE CONVERSATION approach.
    I’ve been at the sharp end of that often enough, from people who are terribly keen to police disability and think they know all about who has which abilities and how terribly important is it that they never be inconvenienced in the slightest, and that’s where I’m coming from.
    I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of handling a magazine, credit cards, and keys as being 100% indications of literacy/numeracy, because this derail has probably gone just about far enough. I’m mainly just sad and a bit disgusted that the strongest vitriol in this thread, including the mandated euthanasia suggestion, seem to have been reserved for situations where the behaviour may have been explained by invisible disability. If you think that’s coming from a place of privilege, all I can say is that you’re wrong.

  39. For me, one of the many useful things (as in, helps me to live a bit better) that has come out of the greater public awareness of the autism spectrum, and my own consequent increase in awareness, is the capacity to recognise that when someone doesn’t get social clues, or regularly gets social situations confused, then it may well be due to that person being on the spectrum. Looking back, about twenty years ago (eek!) there was one chap at a place I was contracting at for a few months whose behaviour was very awkward socially, and I think I would have managed better if I had realised that he really, really, did not “get” social situations. More recently, at a recent workplace, one manager said the most extraordinary things from time to time (things like, “Christ, Deborah – you’ve gone really grey!”), but I was fine with him, I think in part because I suspected, although I did not know for sure, that he might have been on the spectrum. That increased awareness has made me much more tolerant, much less uptight with respect to non-standard behaviours.
    Back to things that really irritate me: people who plonk themselves down near me at the beach, when there’s a whole damn beach to choose from, and turn their music on, loud.

  40. -Bloggers who demand that I read/comment on their websites after I have gently explained that their websites are not accessible to me. (Or who demand to know why I am not linking them even after I have explained that I will not link to a site I cannot read.)
    –In general, pestering/shaming me for not doing something that I am not able to do.
    -Putting “women’s issues” in the “Life & Style” section, which every major newspaper on Earth apparently feels the need to do.
    -People who fail to respect disclosures about allergies. When someone says they are allergic to something, they don’t mean “I don’t fancy it,” they mean “eating/being exposed to it may kill me.”
    -Touching other people’s assistive/mobility devices without explicit permission to do so.
    .-= meloukhia´s last blog ..In Flanders Fields =-.

  41. Shelby and Rebekka, I am so disturbed I don’t even know what to say…
    The way people talk about young people as though they are not there. Or don’t serve them in shops, because they can’t possibly have the money, right? That sort of thing, and there are parallels wiht the ways older people are treated too.

  42. Sorry, I probably should have thought about it a bit more before I did post it – it was a fast response, between working, because I remembered the incident in response to Deborah’s comment. I certainly didn’t think I was boasting/gloating, just anec-doting, but it obviously came across that way.

  43. @ Lauredhel – heard and understood.
    @ Deborah – I think you have raised a good point, but privileged jerks will always be with us so I think it’s ok not to call everyone out all the time. It’s not worth wasting energy feeling guilty over.
    Now all I need is an ars*hole meter that tells me when the person I’m annoyed at is the ar*e and when it’s me.

  44. Back on topic – music videos featuring pictures of women in bikinis that focus primarily on the area between the collarbones and mid thigh as if these headless women are somehow levitating around the place. In fact disembodied body parts all together.

  45. Kaz, I’m very sorry I offended you, but I wasn’t refering to folks with possible autistic/aspergers symptoms – or even seniors, some of whom I’ve noticed love to corner and won’t be put off even by a “goodbye”. When I wrote that bit I really had in mind about 3 people who have cornered me quite recently. In fact I seem to be magnet for these types of people. They are not suffering any aut/asp personality traits. They’re just selfish boorish arsewipes with no social skills.
    Now TIGTOG take your example of abandoning a pet. There might reasons why a person has had to do this or felt they had to do it. The person with the pet might have been a mentally challenged person who was told that if she turns in her pet to RSPCA then it will surely be killed by them. Rather than do that, she just abandons it. Now of course, when you gave your example, I guess you weren’t referring to a person in that kind of a situation.
    I would have no hesitation in bullying or using emotional blackmail if it were for a greater cause, if it were to save a life or a tree or a cat or a river or my home.
    There can be mitigating circumstances to alot of the complaining comments here. My newphew has a brain injury, but he still drives. His vision is somewhat limited (scarily he was pronounced legally blind following his accident) and he might be the one to cut a corner on a T-intersection and really piss Mindy off, or take up two parking spaces instead of one.
    I hope that makes some sort of sense with regard to my comment, Kaz and TIGTOG.

    • @Shelby,

      There can be mitigating circumstances to alot of the complaining comments here.

      Indeed there can. The reason yours drew such ire is because you recommended a mandatory death penalty for offenders, something nobody else has done for the behaviours they listed.

      I hope that makes some sort of sense with regard to my comment, Kaz and TIGTOG.

      I hope you realise that you can quit the special effort of holding down the shift key when typing my handle. It’s always been all lower-case, and it feels like you are shouting at me.

  46. It’s not actually the cutting of the corner that bothers me, although I didn’t make that clear obviously. It’s the glaring at me as if I have somehow infringed upon their god given right to use all of the road however they like, including the space where my car is legally sitting on my side of the road. I don’t think your nephew would fall into this category .

  47. Shelby, out of curiosity, why have you specified a “mentally challenged” person being told their pet may be killed by the RSPCA? Is abandoning pets something that only someone with an intellectual disability would do for that reason?

  48. There can be mitigating circumstances to alot of the complaining comments here. My newphew has a brain injury, but he still drives. His vision is somewhat limited (scarily he was pronounced legally blind following his accident) and he might be the one to cut a corner on a T-intersection and really piss Mindy off, or take up two parking spaces instead of one.

    Actually, this is a sterling example of something that is very much not a mitigating circumstance. If people can’t see well enough to drive safely, they shouldn’t be driving. Anyone who has first-hand knowledge of this, if* what you’ve described is truly accurate, needs to be doing something about it.
    [*and I should note that given your other comments in this thread, that’s a pretty bloody big “if”]

  49. Scolding your kids for letting their bad mood spill into other people’s lives when all they did was answer in monosyllables and not smile sweetly at the world.
    Proceeding to let your own bad mood ruin the entire family’s day not just by not smiling, but by shouting, scolding and generally being an ass to everyone.
    Refuse to eat cheap and thus boring foods in order to save money for that dental treatment your partner needs but cannot yet afford, insisting that a glass of wine a couple of times a week is necessary for your quality of life.
    Be late for appointments and letting others pick up your slack, because you were out on a date with your girl/boyfriend and totally lost track of time. (This is semi-excusable if you’re still a teen)
    Complain that the partner you’ve decided to divorce is getting the better deal in the divorce, when you conveniently forgot to tell them you’d been planning to divorce them for a couple of years and then had help for three years rebuilding the house that you’ll be keeping.
    Be offended when your wronged partner points out the above.
    Be offended that the partner you’ve decided to divorce wants to be out of your house ASAP.
    I know there seems to be a theme to this – and the common denominator is my father, who has been such a self-entitled jerk to my mum (and us kids) for so long, I don’t know how she’s kept going. And now he’s the one leaving her.

  50. @ tigtog. Sorry about the use of your name in upper case. Your name is in upper case at the top of this page and I thought I was doing the polite thing by copying it. It’s not shouting to me. Shouting is something I do with my voice. And I didn’t go to any special trouble using upper case either. I merely hit the “Caps Lock” key and off I went………
    The use of the lethal injection comment was merely an exageration, like if I had said something like “He made me so angry my head nearly exploded.” Of course my head didn’t nearly explode it’s just a colourful exaggeration.
    @Anna. Yes of course abandoning a pet is only something someone with an intellectual disability would do. For fucks sake, it was merely ONE possible fucking example.
    @Lauredhel. My nephew drives because he has legally obtained his driver’s licence from the Department of Motor Registry. Forget the vision, it’s the lack of concentration that really scares the shit out of me when he gets behind the wheel. He is a grown man with a legal driver’s licence and there’s nothing I can do about that.
    Now I can see that you lot are spoiling for a fight but today is too nice a day and I really couldn’t be bothered, so I’m off to hang out with some nice women. Seeya!

  51. there’s nothing I can do about that

    Sure you can.
    The grandmother of a family I know suffers from severe short-term memory loss and oncoming dementia, and retains a perfectly legal driver licence. Because she used to forget where she was and where she was going while she was on the road, and had to be driven home more than once by the Police, her children got together and took her car keys away.
    She hated it and resented them for the explicit denial of her own freedom of movement, but it was honestly for her own good and for that of other people. Someone who’s unable to concentrate enough to park in one spot should really not be behind the wheel of a car.

  52. I’ve got another one: leaving offensive, upsetting comments on blogs, then not checking one’s privilege, ignoring people’s objections and doing it all again. And THEN putting it all onto the people whose lives get affected by attitudes you’ve just displayed!

  53. Organizing work schedules to suit support workers’ timetables even though those schedules do not match with the needs of the person requiring support, suddenly deciding to replace one worker with another without providing an opportunity for transition and introduction and then pathologizing and scapegoating the person who points out that this is unacceptable.
    But on the other hand- 2) ringing service providers and saying “this would not have occurred if you had done your job properly in the first place and stop treating us as charity cases, we do not have to be grateful for poor service provision” and then slamming phone down, when you know that it is in your child’s best interests to cultivate a good relationship with the service. *sigh*
    I haz been a jerk a couple of times in the last 2 weeks -urk. And of course-it’s all about meeeee :/

  54. You know, su, until you left that comment, it didn’t occur to me how incredibly shitty Don’s homecare workers are being.
    He’s had the same personc ome by once a week to wash his hair, trim his beard, and make sure his back gets a very thorough wash and that he’s *clean*, and she’s just started a new job. We haven’t even heard when the new person is coming, what their name is, or anything at all about them. We haven’t even heard *from the agency* that is *being paid* about this change.
    And, it didn’t actually occur to me quite how shitty that behavior is.

  55. So sorry to hear that, Anna, it really is shitty, just so disrespectful. And yes they are being PAID and yet they treat the people most intimately involved as if they were somehow tangential to the process. As if they were an employment agency for their workers rather than, you know, an agency for supporting People. Gaah.
    I am a big fan of the direct funding model, where funding is allocated directly to the people who need it and they can buy the services they need. It could be a case of the grass is always greener but it has to be better than the system we have here where services act like they are charities dispensing aid gratis /rant.

  56. Clambering past the eau-de-bridge left behind by Shelby, I merely observe that it’s most odd to look to an all uppercase byline as an indication of how someone presents their handle rather than, say, the comment just upthread to which one is replying. Also, I have severe doubts that someone whose IP number changes with every single comment would have graduated to that sort of internet configuration without at some time previously encountering the detail that electronic forums view all-uppercase as shouting.
    The whole “I was just joking” or “I was just exaggerating for effect” is not a get-out-of-saying-something-offensive-free card. At best, it’s a slight mitigation that perhaps one wasn’t intentionally being offensive, merely being unthinkingly insensitive instead of being maliciously insensitive. But if it doesn’t come packaged with an “I’m so sorry that I used those words and I regret that they upset you” then it’s just dodging responsibility for one’s poor choice of words.
    I’m also pretty sure that in just about every jurisdiction the police are willing to receive a complaint about someone whose vision makes it unsafe for them to drive and able to act upon that complaint to do their own assessment and to then if necessary confiscate that person’s driving license. One’s local desk sergeant would be able to advise on the proper way to proceed, and the driver in question need never know who made the complaint.
    su and Anna, I’m most sad to read of such disrespectful treatment from carer agencies. I have nothing to add other than (((((su, Anna))))) hugs

  57. @tigtog. I genuinely hope that you don’t post this comment because I’d rather speak directly to you and not the whole bunch here, but when you say “I merely observe that it’s most odd to look to an all uppercase byline as an indication of how someone presents their handle rather than, say, the comment just upthread to which one is replying. ” it sounds to me as if I am being discriminated against because I looked at the top of the page to find the author of this piece. I’m so fucking sorry I looked at the top of the page to find the fucking author.
    Then when you said “I have severe doubts that someone whose IP number changes with every single comment would have graduated to that sort of internet configuration without at some time previously encountering the detail that electronic forums view all-uppercase as shouting.” tigtog I have no idea what a fucking IP number is, let alone how it changes or what significance that could possibly have. You can no doubt see my actual real name from my email address. That don’t change.
    I used to come here because I found the stories interesting. All I fucking said, basically, was that people who corner me on purpose with their own agenda and won’t shut up give me the fucking shits. Now I found I’ve been pounced on by all and sundry for something that wasn’t intentional and despite apologising I find that you continue to make assumptions about me.
    And if you think I’m going to hang out at the police station every time I see a fucked driver, then you are delusional.
    I’m really angry now. Thank you for ruining my fucking day. I won’t be back.

    • Shelby, as you have not been placed into moderation your comment was published automatically.
      You say you have apologised. Apologies do not required continued self-justification. The claim that you didn’t intend to offend does not excuse you from having been offensive. Lack of intent to offend may mean that you are not a deliberately/gleefully insensitive jerk, but the continued self-justification is making that appear less and less likely. If you just dropped the self-justification, people would not keep responding. Of course, if you are trolling, it’s working beautifully. Well done you.

  58. Blaming everyone else for ruining your mood/day, when you’re completely free to go away and not read/listen/partake.
    Check.

  59. Jemima: Internet comments can ruin your day. To say otherwise is speaking from a position of privilege.

    Back to the topic: People who work in the child care profession and talk about children who have been sexually abused as a huge inconvenience to you.
    Hey areshole, get the fuck away from my kids!

  60. Of course they can. I’ve had my days ruined multiple times, difference is I blame only myself for being stupid enough to read stuff I know holds a risk of being hurtful. Read my post again for better understanding. I did not claim they couldn’t ruin your day. The problem is not the comments, the problem is the apparent idea that you had no option to avoid those comments.
    Shelby was well aware that it would ruin her mood to hang out here – she stated so herself – and yet she returns on the same day Nov 13th and then accuses everyone here of ruining her day, when it would have been easy for her to simply stay away like she said she would.
    Unless of course she has something akin to a compulsion, in which case we’re talking about something entirely different.

  61. Jemima: Or you could be having the comments delivered directly to your inbox. where it’s really hard to avoid them.
    Look, I’m not agreeing with her stance, not even talking about it. I am talking directly about your comment.
    It really struck a chord. Here’s an example of an internet comment ruining my day. Sure, I could have just walked away. But what was said was still said, and yeah, it ruined my day. And the fact that every time that person made a reply it was sent straight to my inbox made it kinda hard to avoid.

    • @PharaohKatt,
      My own position was initially more closely aligned with Jemima’s, but receiving the comment notifications from FF101 regularly in my mailbox makes me appreciate your point quite viscerally. I hope for support for the arguments I’m making, and am often confronted with vitriol instead, and it is a burden.
      Shelby, like any other new commenter, is still Schrödinger’s Troll for me – I don’t know what will be found when/if the box unfolds, and until it is fully open I am wary. Especially when other signs appear to point to the undesirable result. Could those signs be a coincidence, and not necessarily The Mark of The Troll? Of course. But I do not apologise for being wary of Schrödinger’s Troll, just as I am wary of Schrödinger’s Rapist, Schrödinger’s Racist, Schrödinger’s Fat-Hater and all the rest.

  62. Ouch, yeah, I can see how that’d ruin your day. I’m sorry. And the jerk actually called it a flounce when it was merely self-presevation. Yich.
    Still, though, comments delivered in my Inbox can still be left unopened for days. I don’t know what mail program/site you’re using obviously, but if I’ve concluded that comments on a specific blogpost will be potentially hurtful, then I can still leave them in my Inbox for a time when I feel ready to deal with the crap – or not deal at all and just delete them. Admittedly it took me quite a while to learn that I did not owe anyone my attention, but that’s not everyone else’s fault.
    Of course things overlap, and while it is their fault that they’re being hurtful, it’s not their fault that I choose to read anyway. If it was the first comment and it caught me by surprise, yes, then there was nothing I could have done, and it’d be their fault. But if it was the third comment, and I could see where it was going, and then contrary to better judgment going back to read more, then it’s me ruining my day. They’re still being jerks (or maybe they’re not, depending on who’s being the self-entitled one) and that doesn’t change, but as long as I have every chance in the world to not expose myself to their presence, I can’t really blame them alone for ruining my day. Same reason I don’t show up to nazi-meetings and other racist bull. It’ll ruin my day or even week/month, so I stay away.

  63. Jemima & tigtog:
    Yup, that makes a lot of sense. Thank you for the discussion.

  64. Thanks to you both as well. I suppose, what with my blog being rather unknown, I’m spared much of the Inbox horrors others receive. It’s fairly easy for me to delete one or two messages, I can see why it’ll be a strain to have 50 times that amount. Most of my experience comes from messageboards, and goodness knows I’ve had my share of ruined days on them.
    But that brings me back to the actual topic, with one of those examples:
    Questioning someone’s sanity because their opinion differs from your own.
    That ones pisses me off so bad every time.

  65. Oh yes, I know what you mean. It’s a nice way to ignore someone’s argument with a little ableism thrown in. Blech.

  66. can i add that, free speech doesn’t extend to private spaces.
    If i organise a conference, then you’re gonna stick to our rules. In our conference there are no rape jokes by speakers allowed. This isn’t a restiction on anyone’s free speech – they can go organise their own conference, and i’ll express my disgust at their special “rape jokes allowed” conference.

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