Know Thine Enemy

Kylie at Podblack asks, for the next Scientiae,

"A voice in the crowd" - are you heard? How are you heard? Are you one of a team that works as a choir or does discordance rule the roost?...who really has control of the megaphone?

Heh. How am I heard? Depends greatly upon the listener, and how far they've come in examining their own types of unearned privilege.

Cranky, irritable misogynistic Rethuglicans hear me as a shrill, whiny, petulant, hairy-legged, man-hating, castrating feminazi. Yes, Gerard Harbison, you can think of that as an homage to you! You are a cranky irritable misogynistic Rethuglican! Among other things. (Warning: Harbison's political views may cause you to blow chunks. If you are in range of his shoes, though, go right ahead.)

The less cranky, or those cranky for good reasons - like economic injustice, racism, sexism, homophobia, and the ills they all contribute to - are more likely to possess the ability to access rationality and logic, and to see the world before their eyes for what it is, and therefore are more likely to hear and understand what I am saying. In other words, they are less likely to blame the powerless for their problems, less likely to think that economic policies that funnel ever more money from the hands of the poor, working, and middle class to the very rich and corporations are a good idea, less likely to think that biology is destiny. Such people are able to take note that one of the very few economic opportunities our society provides to and sanctions for young black men is excellence in professional sports. They are then unsurprised to find young black men over-represented in professional basketball and under-represented in, say, mechanical engineering. They are unlikely to view the inevitable outcome of economic injustice coupled with racism as evidence that diversity is unnecessary, nay, undesirable, in society at large. ( I apologize that I cannot here provide you with a link for Mr. Harbison sour post "A sad night for diversity" from June 18, 2008, for he seems not to partake of that thing we know as the "link".)

What's the difference between me calling someone a cranky, irritable misogynistic Rethuglican and them calling me a shrill, whiny, petulant, hairy-legged, man-hating, castrating feminazi? Well, my terms are descriptive. I want to give you an idea what to expect if and when you choose to read what someone like Mr. Harbison has to say. For indeed I think it is important to attend to what our enemies are saying and doing. Mr. Harbison seems to be very involved in the effort to curtail civil rights in Nebraska, disguised as the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative. (again, alas, no link - June 27 post.) What is our side doing? Where are our voices in fights like these? Are we being heard? I hope so.

Mr. Harbison and people like him wish to control the megaphone, to curtail the discourse. Words like shrill, petulant, feminazi are intended to mean "nothing you have to say is worth listening to." Those words are meant to shut us up and keep others from listening to us.

When I say Mr. Harbison is a cranky, irritable, misogynistic Rethuglican, I am giving you some important information that I actually want you to attend to. I want you to know who the enemy is and what they're up to. It's important to know how they craft their twisted logic against social justice. Not because we are ever going to convince them not to be cranky, irritable, misogynistic Rethuglicans. It's a free country, and they are welcome to spend their short existence on this planet in constant bitter, angry warfare against the downtrodden if they so choose. But because we need to know how to argue better with those people who are able to be persuaded, and more effectively detoxify the poisonous rhetoric that the Harbisons of the word must spew.

That is, of course, when you are in that mode. Which happens occasionally on this blog, but don't confuse that with this blog's main purpose.

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That June 18 post you reference is staggering in illogical idiocy. If I take his plodding inelegant point a-right, he's saying that he sees basketball as a pure meritocracy of basketball skill. Thus, the situation is ripe for lampooning by analogy the types of affirmative action efforts underway to improve equality of opportunity in other endeavors, such as academics. Because, of course, he has an unexplicated (and flat wrong) prior assumption that the equality of opportunity represented by professional basketball careers are equivalent to the equality of opportunity offered by all other careers.

He's proving his point by ....assuming his point a priori.

Brilliant logic Harbie!

Zuska, I looooove your blog, but this Harbison dude deserves none of your time (IMHO). I just visited his page and it made my head hurt. Nothing there seems especially well thought out. I clicked the link expecting to get a little ticked off, but it's all pretty predictable stuff.

I enjoy when you fuck with absurd right-wing shitheel douchemonkey Harbison, so keep it up! I laugh when he tries to make a rational argument, and invariably trips over his florid fuckwittitude.

Samia, yes, he's a freakin' idiot and his logic is, shall we say, nonexistent. However, he's politically very active. And it behooves us to know what folks like him are up to. It's a mistake to think that just because we think their arguments are stupid, that they are stupid, or that what they are up to won't succeed.

Samia: While I think his arguments are stupid and you think his arguments are stupid, there are lots of people out there who read stuff like that while nodding their heads in agreement. And that kind of crap is not just limited to bloggers - ideas very much like his are given serious media coverage when they are propounded by prominent conservative organizations like the Independent Women's Forum. So it's great that "shrill, whiny, petulant, hairy-legged, man-hating, castrating feminazis" are willing to call out the idiocy.

Wow. I'm honored. I just found this post, and to think you would honor me personally with one of your spittle-flecked, misandrist diatribes!

The NCRI is speeding towards passage, by the way. The other side haven't updated their website since July 3.

You know, Zuska, when I think about what karma would ordain for a person as balled up and twisted with hate as yourself, I conclude that it would doom you to be...Zuska. Gosh, that must suck!

Doing any engineering these days?

You see, my friends? That comment above is a perfect example of what I said. Mr. Harbison chooses to spend his short existence on this planet in constant bitter, angry warfare against the downtrodden. He takes his own constant state of bitterness and hatred against Others, and projects it onto those who disagree with him. That, plus his ego, which lets him imagine that he is important enough to me for me to spend time and energy hating him. Mr. Harbison is also unable to comprehend the difference between a critique of his policies and viewpoints, on the one hand, and misandry, on the other. Note that "man-hating" is one of the ways in which I said that Rethuglicans like Mr. Harbison are likely to hear what I am saying. He is so full of self-importance that he assumes I must be talking about him personally, that I must be feeling some personal hatred for him as an individual rather than expressing distaste for his beliefs.

I especially like the ending of Mr. Harbison's comment, where he gets real clever by saying "doing any engineering these days?" Mocking people on disability is always good for teh laughs. I'll bet Mr. Harbison is the sort of able-bodied person who takes up a handicapped parking spot in righteous annoyance with the "special treatment" those handicapped folks are getting. How pathetic. I actually feel sorry for him.