Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Search Results

Follow-up: Censorship of opinion, disgraceful sports organizations

with 2 comments

I make a post on Hope Solo and an outrageous and unjustified suspension, practically naming it the height of abuse, and what happens? More or less immediately a three-fold example that is equally bad pops up.

The French tennis federation has decided to suspend three of its players for allegedly damaging its image.

In one case (Benoit Paire), the crime, according to the article, consisted of “He reportedly sometimes stayed away from the village or came back late. He also made dismissive comments about the importance of the Games because there are no ranking points.”.

Here we have an adult man who “stays away” from a team location or sets his own hours—oh, the horror! Going by Wikipedia, he is 27 years old and has been a professional player for almost ten years—meaning that he is not only an adult, he is also used to traveling internationally, taking responsibility for his schedule, knows how to live his life when competing, … We are not talking a teenager leaving his home-town for the first time. If and in as far as he made any misjudgments (say, by getting too little sleep) that is his responsibility as an adult—not the French federation’s as a baby-sitter.

Now, if he had been a member of, say, a soccer or basket team, I could possibly, on the very outside, have seen a point, because he just might have damaged the teams coordination, training, spirit, whatnot. He was not a member of such a team: He is a tennis player, who competed in the singles (!) tournament.

As for “dismissive comments”: So what? Not only does he have a full right to free speech and opinion, but this opinion has considerable merit. By not awarding* ATP points, the Olympic Tournament is placed outside the normal world of professional tennis, and is diminished severely in value. Even when points were awarded, it was arguably only the fifth or sixth most important tournament of the year (behind the Grand Slams and, possibly, the Tour Finals)—and possibly not even reaching top-twenty over the entire Olympic cycle. Without points? I can understand very well how someone from within the tennis world would consider it a blip on the radar screen. This is not figure skating where the Olympics compares to the second best competition as France does to Luxembourg.

*I am not aware why this is so or who made the decision. However, since points are allocated by ATP (their tour and their points…), the IOC could be free of guilt.

The other two (double players Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia) apparently had the audacity to complain about incompetence on behalf of the federation—and appear* to have a good case to do so! This is one of the very, very worst signs of corruption: Trying to silence dissenters and sources of criticism through threats and sanctions, where, on the outside, solid arguments would have been used by a fair-minded organization. To boot, in my experience, the more prone someone is to censorship of criticism, threats against dissenters, etc., the more likely it is that the criticism is justified… The French federation does more to condemn it self that the two ever could.

*I do not know the details, but it seems clear that information that the two should have had was not communicated sufficiently early or sufficiently clearly. At worst, I would assume that they made their statements in good faith and in genuine disappointment and frustration, which might require an apology—not a suspension. At best, they are entirely right and the French federation tries to cover its own incompetence in an inexcusable manner.

Advertisements

Written by michaeleriksson

August 28, 2016 at 10:41 pm

Censorship of opinion, disgraceful sports organizations

with 4 comments

I have complained repeatedly about censorship, shunning, forced apologies, whatnot directed at athletes who express other opinions than what disgraceful and unethical sports organizations consider acceptable, or where athletes are otherwise forced into certain behaviors, e.g. with regard to when they are allowed to show the logos of their sponsors. Whether someone is allowed to compete should be a matter of accomplishment and ability—not opinion. With a recent incident involving Hope Solo, we have reached a point where the athlete basically becomes a rightless tool, who has to do what (in this case) she is told and otherwise keep her mouth shut—or she risks seeing her sports career severely damaged, without any regard to actual accomplishments within the sport. This to a point that she has effectively lost the right to freedom of speech and opinion.

To make matters worse, this is just a piece of a larger puzzle, where having the “wrong” opinions is increasingly becoming one of the worst conceivable sins (“crimethink” and so on), where people have to watch what they say online lest they be fired, where scientists supporting the “wrong” hypothesis, even on plausible grounds and a fair chance of being objectively correct, have their funds canceled or are refused publication*, where most politicians are too cowardly to deviate from the established “truth”, but more than keen on attacking others who do, …

*Note that I am not talking about pseudo-scientists with a professorship, legitimate scientists who cling to disproved theories, or the mere incompetent. That these eventually lose funding, and so on, is in order—if they have been given a fair chance to prove their theories and have been rejected on scientific (!) grounds. I am talking about legitimate, competent scientists who are attacked solely for expressing an opinion which is not sufficiently politically correct.

Now, what did Hope Solo say? According to e.g. USA Today:

“We played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today. I strongly believe that.”

This after having lost a chance at an Olympic gold in an upset loss—on penalties. The U.S had four golds and one silver in five attempts, won last year’s World Cup, and won their group without loss prior to this quarter-final; Sweden did not even have an Olympic medal, lost in the round of 16 at the World Cup, and finished third in its group after being smashed 5–1 by Brazil…

To which U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, according to the same source, claimed:

“The comments by Hope Solo after the match against Sweden during the 2016 Olympics were unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our national team players”

“Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions”

Speaking as a Swede and country man of the “insulted” team: The only thing unacceptable here is the behavior of Gulati. Not only are Solo’s statements legitimate personal opinions, not only could they have been made in the heat of the moment, not only are they well within what can be expected by quite reasonable sports people having a bad day—but even if they had been unacceptable, there is no reasonable way this should have resulted in more than a slap on the wrist, say an informal warning between four eyes. Instead, she was publicly denounced—and received a six (!) month (!) suspension! Where is Gulati’s own sense of fair play and respect? (Or do only athletes need to prove these characteristics?)

To repeat: A six month suspension over a more-or-less harmless remark. There will be thousands of television viewers who said far worse…

This is the point were athletes and their managers need to start to consider refusing interviews or otherwise making public statements without the pre-approval and supervision of a lawyer—but, of course, if they do refuse, they will likely violate rules about post-event interviews, publicity appearances, and the like, and be suspended for six months…

There may well be remarks that are worthy of suspension, but, frankly, I am hard-pressed to think of anything not actually relevant for the (legal) courts that would warrant a six (!) month (!) suspension. Yes, had her team lost under similar circumstances against the Germans (who defeated Sweden in the Olympic final) instead and had she then made claims about “Nazis” or “doped-up East Germans”, then a suspension could have been quite legitimate, but even then six months seem excessive to me, considering the exceptional situation and the potential emotional turmoil. However: She said nothing of the kind. Her two sentiments were that the Swedes were cowards* and that the better team did not win**.

*They may or may not have been. I did not see the game, but it is almost becoming a problem that a considerably weaker team does nothing but defend and hope for a lucky counter when the stronger team slips or for a decision on penalties (as was the case here). This is a common scenario for e.g. FC Bayern. (We can, of course, discuss whether this is cowardice or a sensible strategy. Good sportsmanship, it is not.)

**Happens quite often, with many elements of chance being present—and even when it does not happen, the losing team and its supporters often have exactly that opinion. Certainly, the opinion that the U.S. team was better, would have been entirely uncontroversial before the game.

Written by michaeleriksson

August 25, 2016 at 11:22 pm

More on censorship

leave a comment »

For good reasons, yet another post on censorship:

Firstly, I recently encountered one of the funniest jokes I have ever seen (courtesy of the German poet Heinrich Heine):

The German Censors  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——
——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——
——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——
——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——
——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——
——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——
——  ——  ——  ——  ——    idiots    ——  ——
——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——
——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——
——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——  ——
——  ——  ——  ——  ——

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almansorw)

While at the first glance not being remarkable (funny and clever, yes; remarkable, no), this joke continued to grow the more I thought about, another aspect revealing it self before I had finished laughing about the previous aspect—keeping me going for five to ten minutes.

For those who do not see the deeper jokes (or have finished laughing), consider e.g. how the remaining message (whether deliberate or accidental) is simultaneously revealed and proved by the act of censorship, how it can be possible to circumvent some types of censorship through a form of stenography relying on the uncensored parts of a message containing the right information, or how the censors blot out almost an entire message yet fail to suppress unwanted communication.

An interesting question is how a censor should handle a situation like this (given that he does censor at all, which I consider unethical): The author of the original message (presumably) never says that the German censors are idiots, which implies that the censor is unlikely to have a legitimate reason to censor the remaining words—after all, the configuration is accidental, the words are disconnected and obviously do not belong together, and there is nothing worthy of censoring in each of the fragments alone. (Assuming that there is no suspicion of a deliberate trick on behalf of the original author and assuming that there are no specific rules against e.g. messages discussing censorship or using potentially insulting terms.) On the other hand, the result is disastrous (from a censoring point of view) and the censors might become a laughing stock, should a wider publication follow.

Secondly, I have recently been reading Salman Rushdie’s auto-biographical “Joseph Anton”. (Half of it to be specific: I have too much to do at the moment, but hope to be able to finish the rest during the week-end.) My advice to anyone who considers censorship justified, be it with regard to literature, news reporting, or the comments on a blog: Read this book! Chances are that you will change your mind. If nothing else, please take away the realisation that your opinion on what is justifiable censorship (resp. what is to be censored because it is sacrilege, an affront to the good sense, obviously wrong, sexist, …) is just your opinion—and that thousands upon thousands of people have been even more convinced that censoring this book would be a far lesser crime than writing it. Indeed, some have been so convinced that people have been killed over the issue of its publication and distribution. How little worth, then, is there in your conviction.

A specific interesting point is Rushdie’s actions and reasoning around the film “International Gorillay”: He explicitly addressed the British Board of Film Classification to change their minds and let (!) the film receive its certification, despite the story consisting of the hunt for and execution of a caricature of Rushdie. The film got more than its fair chance—and it failed disastrously and well-deservedly.

Here we see another possible take on censorship: Either a work has a value and we should not censor; or it does not and we might be better of letting it fail on its own (lack of) merit.

Written by michaeleriksson

November 9, 2013 at 12:41 am

The simplistic this-is-x’s-blog-he-can-do-whatever-he-likes argument for allowing arbitrary censorship

leave a comment »

As the regular reader of this blog is bound to have noticed, I consider undue censorship to be one of the worst problems in various forums of debate, including the blogosphere as the possibly paramount example outside of dictatorships. This is a topic that I will try to avoid in the future, with little more to say that would not merely be re-hashing and re-stating. (Not to mention boring to my readers…)

However, today is an exception for two reasons:

  1. The beginning and announcement of a second blog

    http://blogoflostcomments.wordpress.com/

    This blog will serve as a channel for independent publishing of such censored (or otherwise lost) comments that have previously occasionally been published on my main blog. This will reduce the information-to-noise ratio here for the readers and make my job as the writer somewhat easier. For obvious reasons, the entries will be of limited interest to others, except in as far as they are interested in the discussion where the comment originally belonged.

  2. There is one aspect of the censorship issue that I have left unaddressed for far too long: The simplistic this-is-x’s-blog-he-can-do-whatever-he-likes argument for allowing arbitrary censorship (as opposed to censoring e.g. spam), most notably comments that express dissent. The rest of this entry will deal with this topic.

This argument is superficially plausible and is often the first stop for people who have just dropped in on the topic without any greater experience and depth of thought in the area. It is also fundamentally flawed and a proof of this lack of insight. No further right to censor can reasonable be inferred beyond cases already legitimate (most notably spam; however, e.g. violations of a blogs policy concerning profanity, but not opinion!, can be legitimate). Notably, blog-ownership is not always analogous to more conventional forms of ownership.

Consider that:

  1. There is no automatic connection between blog ownership and right to moderate or censor: That the comments fall within the technical purview of the blog owner is not a question of ethical right, but of technical almost-necessity (stand-alone blog) and convenience/laziness of the blog provider (for e.g. the central WordPress or Blogger sites). In the latter case, it would be just as plausible to have the comments centrally moderated by WordPress employees without involvement of the blog owners—the main reason why it is not, is simply that this would be too resource intensive. (A secondary reason is that blog owners will be somewhat more likely to prefer a platform where they do have control. This too is a question of pragmaticism, not divine right.) Alternatively, if Google’s (now discontinued) Sidewiki had been around ten or fifteen years earlier, it is quite possible that blogs never would have had an internal comment function, with everyone using Sidewiki instead. Even today there is theoretically nothing preventing third parties from providing their own comment implementations and comment contents independently. That they do not is simply a result of the opportunity advantage of the built-in comment functions: Most surfers will simply not bother to look for the alternatives, instead opting to use the immediately available built-in functions, partly for convenience, partly through the vicious circle of fewer comments and commenters, less reach of own comments, fewer comments and commenters, …

  2. Owning a blog does not make one owner of the comments. These remain the intellectual creation and typically the intellectual property of the commenter. Correspondingly, distortions of content, disemvoweling, and most cases of partial censorship are unacceptable outright. This applies in particular when the alterations can give other people a faulty impression of the commenter or where they lose the ability to form any other opinion than that dictated by the censor (including cases where a piece of the text is replaced by e.g. “sexist content removed”—in particular, considering that most accusations of sexism, racism, whatnot, tend to be unfounded). A complete removal is not affected by the preceding, but some concern should be given to the risk of disallowing the commenter access to his own comment.

  3. Even where a completely free right to speech is not present, there still remains the right to fair treatment. If, for instance, the blog owner or a sycophant has just delivered a scathing attack on the commenter, then the latter must be allowed to defend himself; if his position has been dishonestly misrepresented or honestly misunderstood, he must be given the right to clarify; if arguments are presented against his position, he must be given the right to give his counter-arguments; and so on. This applies irrespective of blog ownership and irrespective of factors like on/off topic. (However, there are many cases where it can be legitimate to ask two unnecessarily long-winded, off-topic, or disruptive debaters to collectively take their discussion elsewhere. In such cases, they should still be granted the right to post information (e.g. an URL) as to where the remainder of the discussion can be visited (if held publicly).

    By analogy, a host who finds a house guest increasingly annoying has all rights to throw him out; however, he must still consider the conscionability and proportionality of any action. If an over-night guest is currently in the shower, he must at a minimum (barring truly exceptional circumstances) be given the right to get dressed before leaving. More typically, he would and should also be granted a reasonable time to pack and make other preparations (where “reasonable” will depend on many factors, including train/flight schedules, how much there is to pack, and the length of the stay), the opportunity to call for a taxi or other transport, and other actions that may be appropriate.

  4. Depending on the circumstances, the blog owner can have an ethical obligation towards his readers to not cut the discussion short or selectively suppress particular points of view. The step where censoring becomes equivalent to lying is comparatively easy to reach. In extreme cases, the area of fraud (in the legal sense) can be reached.

  5. Finally, even if we grant the right, in theory, to do so something, it does not follow that one should do so in practice. It is perfectly legal to, say, dump an SO per text message, buy a Monet and set fire to it, or eat four Big Mac meals a day for twenty years. Should one actually do so? No. Is there anything wrong with calling those who do idiots? No. (This barring some very special set of circumstances making the respective specific example acceptable.)

In addition previous and more general discussions of censorship apply—including that the vast majority of cases I have encountered (be it as the censored party or as an observer) have had the intellectually dishonest intent of silencing dissent. Further, irrespective of right and wrong, the blog owner who fails to listen to his commenters loses an opportunity to learn something—and, indeed, censors tend to be found among those who have the most to learn, show the greatest prejudice, or are otherwise the most in need of other perspectives.

Written by michaeleriksson

August 18, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Comment censorship

with 6 comments

I have repeatedly reported about censorship on the blog hypocritically named Aus Liebe zur Freiheite (“For/due to the love of freedom”)—indeed, I first became aware of that blog through discussing its destructive and uninformed comment policy. I was going to ignore the fact that two factual and highly relevant comments of mine had recently been censored, but I will not, seeing that another commenter just wrote the following eloquent complaint (my translation is suboptimal):

James T. Kirk:

Sehr geehrte Frau Schrupp,

ich fände es schön, wenn Sie mal auf meine Argumente eingehen. Warum haben Sie so große Probleme mit sachlicher Kritik?

Es ist sehr befremdlich, daß Sie so viele sachliche Kommentare löschen. Ist das die ideale Welt, die Sie sich vorstellen? Haben Sie Angst, sich sachlicher Kritik zu stellen?

Es ist mir persönlich schleierhaft, wie man solch ein Verhalten vor sich selbst rechtfertigen kann.

(Dear [highly formal version] Ms. Schrupp,

I would appreciate it, if you would spend some time on my arguments. Why do you have so great problems with factual criticism?

It is very strange that you delete so many factual comments. Is that the ideal world, that you imagine? Are you afraid to confront factual criticism?

I have problems comprehending how one can justify such a behaviour to oneself.)

Ms. Schrupp has indeed proved again and again that she has a very destructive take on comments—which she combines with enough arbitrariness that the poor souls who try to counter her many misstatements, misunderstandings, and misinterpretations are led to still comment in the hope that this particular comment will go through and provide at least some counter-weight to her pseudo-intellectual, uninformed, and one-sided prattle. (While I usually try to remain ad rem and show some degree of politeness, my patience with the feminist branch of intellectual dishonesty has been very sorely strained lately—and Ms. Schrupp is worst than most. When push comes to shove, the success of feminism is largely based on being able to build strawmen, spread factually faulty statements, perpetuate false or misinterpreted statistics, whatnot, without sufficient contradiction. It is relatively easy to convince people when they only see one side of the issue—it is very easy, when the one-sidedness is complemented by unprotested distortion of the truth.)

My two comments:

Diese drei Punkte stoßen bei mir auf Unverständnis—denn gerade hier ist ja die Debatte normalerweise zum Vorteil der Frauen gewinkelt. Dies vorallem bei 2., wo immer und immer wieder versucht wird, natürliche Geschlechterdifferenzen kategorisch auszuschliessen, um alle Verhaltensunterschiede mit „Strukturen“, „Patriarchat“, o.ä. zu erklären. Auch 1. und 3. sind jedoch sehr zweifelhaft—ist doch eine von den üblichsten Beschreibungen/Schlussfolgerungen, dass Männer etwas falsch machen und Frauen richtig, bzw. dass Frauen nur was Falsch machen wegen „Strukturen“, „Patriarchat“, … (das Thema kehrt wieder).

(Points out that the central claims of the post are strawmen or otherwise incorrect.)

Ich wollte gerade zu deinem letzten Kommentar einwenden, dass die Mehrheit dieser Punkte im Grunde Strawmankaraktär haben. Hierbei muss ich leider feststellen, dass mein voriger Kommentar, der sachlich eine ähnliche Observation zu deinem ursprunglichen Beitrag machte, ohne erkennbaren Grund zensiert worden ist—und dies auch nicht zum ersten Male.

Unabhängig von deinen Beweggründen sind diese Art von Eingriffen grob unethisch und die Debatte verzerrend. Widerspruch ist keine legitime Grund zur Zensur.

(Further statements are strawmen. My previous comment has been censored without a legitimate reason.)

For my part, I will stay away for the future—but I also publicly declare that Ms. Schrupp is narrow-minded, intellectually dishonest, and has far more to learn from her commenters than they from her. Her blogging brings a net damage to the world—and it is women like she who ensure that feminism remains a force of evil.

Written by michaeleriksson

June 19, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Follow-up on the previous entry/absurd censorship

leave a comment »

Earlier today, I wrote about the comment policy of what seemed like a less than clear-headed feminist (thoughtsunderconstruction). At the time, I had the nagging doubt that I was unjustly jumping to conclusions: Yes, the formulations, the lack of objectivity, whatnot, all gave the impression of yet another delete-everything-that-is-not-perfectly-PC feminist. No, I had not actually bothered to read more than two entries, and there was at least some possibility that I was unfairly generalizing based on previous experiences with others.

I need not have worried: As it rapidly turned out, I had not only been right, but rather understated the case. I had left the following comment on a poste:

Selbstverständlich soll jeder das Recht haben, sich so zu betrachten, wie es ihm gefällt. Jedoch darf das nicht mit einer Zweckentfremdung von bestehenden Wörtern mit einer klaren Bedeutung geschehen, sondern durch das einführen von neuen, passenden Wörtern.

“Geschlecht” bezieht sich auf eine biologische Klassifizierung, die tatsächlich auf XX oder XY hinausläuft. (Mit Vorbehalten für Spezialfällen, wie XXY oder Geschlechtswandlungen.)

Für Bedeutung wie z.B. “gender identity” ist “Geschlecht” schlechthin das falsche Wort. Die derzeit beste Alternative ist wohl einfach “gender”. Dasselbe gilt für entsprechend für Wörter wie “Mann” und “Frau”.

(In short: There is a semantic difference between “gender” and “sex”, and using the German word “Geschlecht”, equivalent of “sex”, in the meaning of “gender” is a bad idea.)

This was originally followed by an unremarkable reply by thoughtsunderconstruction (not one that I agreed with, but nothing that could not be considered a normal exchange of opinion). Hours later the following additional reply arrived:

[ERSTE VERWARNUNG AN MICHAELERKSSON: Bitte an die Nettiquette halten und Sexismus zu Hause lassen, danke! anderfalls fliegst du dich bzw. deine Kommentare selber raus.]
{…}
Ich verbitte mir aber weitere Diskussionen zu dem Thema, da ich keine Fachfrau bin. Ich denke es wäre sinnvoll, dich hierbei an eine/n antisexistische/n Liguisti/en zu wenden. {Underscores turned into slashes for technical reasons.}

([FIRST WARNING TO MICHAELERKSSON: Please stick to the Nettiquette {the presumptuous and misleading name she had given to her comment policy, cf. my previous entry} and leave the sexism at home, thank you! if not you throw yourself resp. your comments out. {Original sentence is even weirder.}]
{…}
I will not tolerate any further discussion on this subject, because I am not a specialist. I think it would be sensible for you to turn to a antisexist linguist. {Original contained stilted attempts to reflect the possibility of the linguist being either male or female. Due to grammatical differences between English and German, this aspect is not translatable; however, the underscores/slashes in the original are easily observable.})

As I returned to the page to make a rebuttal, I found that my original comment had been shortened to the first paragraph—for no valid reason. I note that:

  1. My comment contained nothing that a reasonable observer would have considered sexist, nor against the comment policy. (Indeed, I deliberate was somewhat more conservative in my formulations than really warranted—having seen a similar “warning” directed at another commenter for a harmless comment.)

  2. The formulation used to preclude a further discussion (“tolerate”, resp. “verbittene”) is extremely rude German in this context—despite an alternative formulation like “I lack the interest or knowledge for that discussion, so please save it for another forum.” would easily have been possible. Indeed, the word is normally only used if someone has done something offensive or insulting.

    To make matters worse, the implication was that a part of the discussion (of potential importance) was killed off (in particular, with my comment being two-thirds censored). More generally, if lack of specialist knowledge was an ipso facto reason for avoiding discussions, we would all be mostly ignorant on a majority of the issues around us, because the breadth of knowledge and holistic context would never be formed.

  3. Requiring an antisexist linguist (whatever that may be) automatically ensures that a certain point of view is given authority: Ask a linguist who will give you the answer I want you to hear. Notably, the demand for an “antisexist” expert is made elsewhere on the blog too—apparently “ordinary” experts are not good enough.

    (As an aside, while a layman, I have spent considerable time studying various aspects of languages and linguistic, and have a correspondingly considerable understanding in my own right.)

I left some of these points, together with the statement that she merely proved what I had already surmised, behind in a comment:

Mein Kommentar hat keinerlei Bestandteile von Sexismus beinhaltet—auch nicht die völlig beliebig gelöschten Teile, die nicht erkennbar gegen den Comment Policy verstoßen haben.

Hierdurch wird ledigleich die Eindrücke bestätigt, die ich schon sechs Stunden bevor diesem Eingriff geschildert habe. Vgl. [previous entry].

Es sei am Rande erwähnt, dass sich an eine „antisexistische“ Irgendetwas zu wenden (so es so etwas überhaupt gibt), eine automatische Bevorzugung einer gewissen Position bedeuten würde—und somit für kritische Denker inakzeptabel ist.

I three-quarters expected this comment to have been deleted outright. At the time of writing (knock on wood), however, it is still present. (Nevertheless and just in case, I publish it above.)

In her comment policy, she protests that feminism would be a force of good, but at the same time she provides practical examples of the opposite—including intolerance of non-orthodox opinions, irrational behaviour, and seeing sexism where none is present. (However, even by feminist standards, it must be admitted, this woman appears to be a bit extreme.)


Addendum:

Unsurprisingly, the comment has since been deleted—leaving visible her lying or stupendously ignorant claims of sexism, but neither the alleged sexism (which would have disproved her) nor my protests.

A last comment left, just to tell her my mind:

thoughtsunderconstruction, Ich halte normalerweise einen diplomatischen Ton, aber nach der Löschung meines letzten Kommentars sage ich gerade aus: Du bist nicht nur eine absolute Vollidiotin, sondern auch direkt bösartig—insbesondere, die Art von Vollidiotin, die im Name des Guten Böses tut, ohne selbst zu verstehen, dass sie selbst das Böse ist.

Written by michaeleriksson

June 7, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Abominable censorship/Domestic violence/Blogroll update

leave a comment »

Following up on what other people have written under the same tags as my last post, I landed on a blog entry spouting common and faulty propagandae, e.g. the claim that 85 % of DV victims would be women—something simply very far from the truth.

The comment I posted pointing this out was deleted within a quarter of an hour. The snotty reply of the author:

And how do you know this blogger’s source isn’t as credible if not more credible than your source?

Well, apart from her using anonymous numbers and my actually having and giving a source, in turn referencing hundreds of scientific investigations:

This type of numbers I have seen time and time again by feminists, the shelter industry, and similar—but neutral sources simply have different results. Apart from a severe problem with “statistics” that are simply invented or severely misinterpreted (cf. e.g. previous discussions on rape statistics or the 77 cents on the dollar fraud) in contexts like these, 85 % is roughly the type of number that tends to occur when police reports are counted—a method which is inherently misleading. Other claims of the post, e.g. that women would receive considerably harsher punishments for killing their spouses are exceedingly unlikely (I admit that I have never seen statistics on this specific point; however, the opposite problem of women being treated more leniently is otherwise prevalent). Consider the claim that DV would be shameful for women: The problem is the opposite that it is too shameful for men who are victims—not to mention that a non-trivial number of women raise false accusations when e.g. starting divorce proceedings.

Further, an author who does not counter criticism against her numbers by publishing a reference, but by censoring the criticism, sends a very clear signal about her own credibility as a source…

Exactly this occurs again and again: The comments that would prove of greatest value to undermine the faulty claims of feminists are the ones most likely to be censored. So e.g. on a recent DV post by a highly misguided authore, where the following comment was deleted:

More importantly, we should keep in mind that men’s violence against women is not a big problem compared to violence in general. Indeed, as modern research shows, men are somewhat more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators where DV is concerned (the reverse applies to women). Cf. http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm for hundreds of references. Further, men are significantly more likely to be victims of violence in general.

Let us work against the real enemy, violence, rather than creating undue fears and feeding prejudice against men by over-focusing on just one special case.

In response to these problems, I will update my blogroll to include http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htme, the most thorough meta-source on the issue that I am aware of. By the FIFO principle, http://www.dudalibre.com/en/gnulinuxcountere is removed. That page was first discussed heree.

Written by michaeleriksson

May 5, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Twain-censorship outdone

leave a comment »

Recently, there were a great number of blog entries dealing with the highly disputable decision to censor the “n-word” in Mark Twain’s classic works (e.g. heree). Today, I note that a Swedish children’s classic has suffered an even worse fate—non-publication. As e.g. morning paper SVDe writes, publisher Rabén & Sjögren wanted to sensor the word “neger” in the work “Ture Sventon i Paris”. After a veto from Sveriges Författarförbund (a union/interest organisation for Swedish authors), the publisher decided to cancel the planned re-issue rather than to use a word that was perfectly acceptable and unremarkable in 1953 when the book was first published and which did not lead to any protests against earlier re-issues.

It is a sad state of affair indeed, when politically correct irrationality can have such consequences.

(US readers should note that the Swedish situation is far worse than the US already because “neger” never had a status comparable to “nigger”, but would be more in line with “negro” or possibly even “black”. This until just a few decades ago, when there were suddenly cries that it was an evil word—probably more under the influence of the US PC-movement than from rational considerations about meaning, etymology, and how the word was actually perceived by speakers and listeners alike.)

Unfortunately, these two cases are nothing new, although Mark Twain is one of the most prominent victims. Among earlier cases of “anti-racist” censorship, I note e.g. The Bowdlerization of Dr. Dolittle e. Politically correct (or otherwise ideologically motivated) fiddling of other kinds has even affected the Bible (see e.g. 1e, 2e, 3e)—potentially distorting the actual meaning of a text that is the fundament of the religion of two billion people…

Written by michaeleriksson

January 21, 2011 at 1:27 am

Comment censorship and comment policies VIIIs: Coloured bloggers in need of a reality check (follow-up)

with 3 comments

To give a better perspective of the kind of thinking that goes on at the blog discussed in the previously installment:

  1. The following post is titled I blame the Patriarchy for my technical incompetence.e, giving a clear indication of the closeness in thought to harmful variations of feminism.

  2. Before I (relatively soon) left the discussion on the page, AfroCan made a number of illogical or ad hominem statements confirming my earlier opinions. These included (among many others) attacking me for using “racism” in its correct meaning instead of his own Newspeak distortion of the term, which, per definitionem, would make it impossible for coloured to be racists and near unavoidable for white to be so. (An evil rhetorical trick, which I recently saw echoed on the blog of a participant of a brain-washing seminare. For more on abuse of “racism”, see a previous article.)

    It is also clear that AfroCan has not actually bothered to understand what claims I actually make or the greater context of those claims.

    The following statement is downright scary:

    That is part of your White arrogance right there! Everything Whites extol is “truth” but the experiences of people of colour are “fabrications”, “lies” and “rantings”!

  3. Further misleading statements were made by Jennifer Kesler, including

    Michael, the argument that bigotry is perpetuated by angry marginalized people yapping excessively (which is what your quoted statement here boils down to) is an old silencing tactic. There’s a huge amount of privilege baked into the very idea.

    Here an argument that I have never made is associated with me as an excuse for the accusation of using a silencing tactic. This is the more absurd, seeing that silencing tactics are the speciality of the PC movement. Indeed, Jennifer’s own statement is exactly that—a silencing tactic. (Criticism of the “truths” of the movement are “proof” of being bigoted or “privileged” and, ipso facto, invalidate the criticism.) Further, an entirely irrelevant and factually incorrect claim about privilege is made.

    Further

    You’re attempting to show AfroCan what his place is. How textbook racist is that? No one’s alienating you. You’re just looking for rationalizations to back up what you’ve already decided.

    Again a highly misleading representation of my statements—followed by a grossly incorrect conclusion: I do not care the least about AfroCan’s skin color. What I care about is his destructiveness, lack of objectivity and insight, and flawed reasoning.

    I have never spoken about alienation concerning myself, but, irrespective of intentions, I am being alienated by the unreasonable behaviour shown by large parts of the PC movement.

    I am certainly not looking for rationalizations—even more certainly not for the alleged racist views that Jennifer tries to ascribe to me: My topics are evil rhetoric, lack of critical thinking, the harmful misguidedness of the PC movement, and similar. Criticizing idiocy among self-proclaimed anti-racists is not racism! I note that her claim about rationalizations amounts to directing the criticism against the PC movement (with its ideological blindness, rationalizations, and unwillingness to listen to factual arguments) back against those who raise the criticism in the first place. (More generally, I have noted that feminists are very prone to attack their opponents for exactly the sins that they, themselves, are the worst perpetrators of. A notable example is härskarteknikerw, including ridiculing and shaming, which are used on a very large scale by many feminist groups, debaters, and bloggers.)

Written by michaeleriksson

November 4, 2010 at 9:58 am

Comment censorship and comment policies VIII: Coloured bloggers in need of a reality check

with 4 comments

Recently, I encountered a blog discussing censorship of commentse (a recurring topic on my own blog). After leaving a comment and a follow-up, I have received email notifications about a number of comments that would need addressing.

Notably, statements like those by AfroCan are likely to have a negative effect on the cause and on society, by antagonizing many who would have been supportive, by making others less likely to pay attention when true issues are raised (if one cries “wolf”…), and by causing unnecessary rifts in society between the “true believers” and the rest of the world.

To give these their due attention is not within the scope of the time I have, so I will give a selective overview of some issues:

  1. The initial post has a very one-sided and over-generalizing view on the “-isms”. Formulations used include (emphasis added)

    Some people argue that bloggers have a responsibility to moderate hateful comments, but this abstraction often assumes that the blogger is an able-bodied, middle-to-upper-class, heterosexual, white, cis man who is not the target of the hateful comments.”

    (Note in particular the use of the word “cis”, which by the standards applied by the politically correct where women and minorities are concerned must be considered offensive.)

    Through-out, there is an excessive repetition of the word “hateful”—a word that in my experience is usually used with very little basis in fact. (I grant that I have not investigated the general take and justification on this specific blog.) An upcoming post of mine will deal with this topic.

    Generally, I recognize the kind of artificial polarization and division into groups that it so common within many PC-movements. Effectively, one group is cut off from the others by throwing labels at it, to the point that it eventually can be disputed whether the group actually has any members, and the members of this group are called privileged oppressors based solely on group membership—irrespective of their own actual opinions and situations.

  2. The commenter AfroCan proved to be particularly prejudiced and white-people-are-out-to-get-us—the black version of some of the feminists I have written about on earlier occasions. Consider statements like

    It’s critical for People of Colour to have a (relatively) safe space to voice and dialogue on the issues of race, privilege and other intersecting social oppressions. One of our great frustrations is not having a forum or platform to voice any of these concerns/alternative perspectives in the mainstream media.

    (The feminist version of this argument, I have dealt with previously. The same counter-arguments, m.m., apply. [Note: Wrong link, I will dig up the right one later.])

    […]yet another demonstration of psychological privileges and “terror” dominant Whites wield over people of colour.

    (Yet another demonstration of feminist-style lack of perspective and insight.)

    At the heart of many rebuttals disputing the existence of White male privilege/domination, is the “blind spot” of perception, where the White privileged naysayers can recognize only their own oppression in a refusal to recognize intersectionality, an inability to see across and evaluate social categories/ oppressions of gender, sexuality, class, and ability. They also fail to see they ways in which their very language/rhetoric is actually exposing the deep rooted White domination, arrogance and contempt POCs are trying to identify and dismantle. They are providing the EVIDENCE of racism in Canada’s so-called multicultural egalitarian society.

    (As with feminists: “Either you recognize our claims—or your failure to do so is proof of our claims!”. Now, unlike with e.g. Swedish feminists, I am not qualified to judge whether there is at least a partial truth behind this statement; however, it is at best a gross over-generalization and exaggeration. Further, it is AfroCan, himself, who demonstrates the blind-spot of perception, living in his own reality.)

  3. AfroCan, in a later comment, goes on to say that he is

    […] still a male feminist committing myself to anti-racist feminist thought, through READING feminist works and BECOMING an ally.

    (The feminism of today is an anti-equality movement, filled with bigotry and based on an extremely twisted world-view. See a number of previous entries.)

  4. Other statements by him include rhetorical nonsense like

    Many of the uncritical bloggers are mobilizing false rhetorical “freedom of speech” and “censorship” claims to subvert discussion, not recognizing that these practices are in part what racism, privilege and White domination are all about to begin with.

    (Apparently aimed at giving a pseudo-justification for the unethical censorship discussed in many of my previous entries.)

  5. With the following, utterly absurd claim, he really takes the Orwellian prize

    Another curious I discourse I see going on in these blogs, is calling [people of colour] racist—an utterly absurd rebuttal. Granted—some POCs can be “prejudiced” but not “racist”.

  6. Commenter Jennifer Kesler gives a number of flawed arguments in favour of censorship. Some of these have been dealt with in earlier installments, some do not make sense, others go against common sense, constructive behaviour, or Hanlon’s Razor. (I do not rule out a partial justification of some of them in at least some contexts, however. Even so, they would make for a very poor comment policy on the vast majority of all blogs.) In the main, they would tend to reduce exposure to alternate ideas and arguments—the very lack of which is a major reason why the PC movement actually is one of the bad guys.

    (Ironically, the blog owner explicitly mentions the danger of groupthink—but he does so with the prejudiced and role-reversed claim that “[…]tech news readers tend to boost the signals of sexist or misogynist comments.”, proving that he does not know many of these and that he has a severe blind spot for the sins of the PC movement.)

Written by michaeleriksson

October 31, 2010 at 8:45 pm