Discussion in 'Debate and Discussion' started by Angie Gallant, Jun 1, 2012.
There you go, blaming me for not being aware of my surroundings!
Well that was fun.
Wow. Congratulations on successfully trolling rape victims and causing a massive derail of one of the best threads in Debate and Discussion. I'm sure you're full to bursting with pride at your accomplishment.
Comparing you to Daniel Tosh was too fucking generous. Seriously, fuck you.
Cool, it's a passive-aggressive, deliberately insulting non-apology. I've totally never seen such a unique conversational tactic displayed before.
I'm not arguing with you, I stated my position, you don't have to like it, and I said I was sorry for interrupting your sharing. if anyone wants to swear at me in a more personal setting, they can message me. Otherwise, whether you continue to farm likes by calling me names or get back to your discussion is up to you.
For those of you that have been puzzled by the points of view in this thread so far and are genuinely interested in figuring shit out, Flowers is giving an excellent example of what some people go through every day: they are not believed, they are constantly condescended to, and when they voice their concerns and stand up for themselves they are patted on the head and told to continue on fighting the good fight. You don't have to like their position, it's okay, they know nothing will come of it anyway.
And all you can do is fucking fume and rail because you know what? They're fucking right. Shitheels like Flowers will continue to walk around being smug and snide and doing whatever they fucking want cause hey. He's a white guy. And some people think he's funny. So he can say whatever the hell he wants and backhand a halfassed apology and it's all good. "Other people" are just the ones taking things too seriously and being upset for no reason. Farming likes by calling him names and being all hysterical over nothing.
It's fucking frustrating and exhausting and constant.
I was sorta with you on using the word "bitch" as an insult to describe how someone is acting without the weight of thousands of years of patriarchal society crushing my conscience, but now I think you're just being contrarian for the fuck of it. You might just be in one of those moods to see how many people you can get riled up... cool, I'm no stranger to that shit, but you're kinda drilling it home in what has become a pretty sensitive and personal thread.
Look at this. Look at what has fucking happened in the world that Pogo is being a voice of reason.
POGO IS BEING A VOICE OF REASON. Flowers, if that isn't a sign of a friendly fire incident, what is?
Flowers I hope some day you realise how badly wrong you are. The sooner the better for the world.
I can appreciate Flowers' perspective of wanting to use humor as a defense mechanism or as some kind of trump card for the worst life has to offer. I have certainly tried to do the same. There is the divide, albeit semantic perhaps, between things that aren't funny and making jokes about things that aren't funny. The jokes can be funny but that never makes the thing in question funny.
I've made plenty of jokes about being sexually assaulted by a former male friend of mine back when we were living together, long ago. I used, and will continue to use, humor because quite frankly he was my best friend and role model at the time and his actions fucked me up. He taught me a lot about life and without sounding trite or melodramatic he taught me something far worse about people and their motivations, which I'd wished I had never learned from him the way I did. I didn't have a strong male role model growing up, he was it for many years. I had a father I never saw and a stepfather who'd just attempted suicide at the time and then, that. Oh and naturally it was about a year after my fiance left me and I dropped out of medical school. The year 2000 wasn't my best year, likely my worst.
But you know, I'll still make jokes about it, and genuinely laugh when others do - and they do. All the time. But so what, I make jokes about people's dead mothers and whatever else. I'm a hardcore internet gangsta.*
*At a time and place where hardcore internet gangbanging is expected.
This thread is not that place. This thread is for sharing like what I shared above and for mentioning that it wasn't long ago people would scoff at the idea of a husband raping his wife. They're married! It's impossible! Similar scoffing at the notion of girls raping guys sounds a lot like that.
Unwanted sexual coercion is never a funny thing when it happens, just like rape or murder. If you are in the room when it happens and you don't laugh at it, then it's not funny when it happens. The idea of me being raped by Beyonce or a clown shooting a mime is funny when you talk about it, but not so funny at the actual time and place where people are scared and not thinking and breathing their last breath or so forth. Likewise the idea that my best friend in the world sexually assaulted me and I let it happen can be made into a joke but that doesn't mean anyone was laughing when it happened, and that it didn't warp my view on friendship and intimacy for years.
Flowers a lot. I met him in person and we hung out and drank beer and he's a righteous dude. He's also a professional opinionated asshole and while that skill has appreciable market value in his two chosen professions, it falls flat in certain other times and places. In the Sanctum thread where someone is being a dumbass and begging for a dressing-down? Fire all guns, Captain, full broadside.
Not so much in this thread and other places. Several months back I (surprisingly willingly) accepted that BF is a more carebear-type website, more than I have ever been accustomed to. But it's not afraid to be honest either and coupling those things along with a general higher level of maturity or at worst, benign immaturity lends certain expectations that vary from thread to thread and forum to forum. Ignoring that doesn't make you a balls-nasty internet badass, it just makes you into a dickweed. There are decent people here and Lum wants people to be decent to each other and I am old and soft and that appeals to me more than it used to, which used to be practically never. Now I'd like a sizable serving of it between
Adree gif slams and
Lizard_King Tolstoy burns.
A lot of what Flowers says and posts is quite literally meant to potentially be standup material, or at least an exercise in the same verbiage and construction. Taken at that, you can see why he comes off as brusque or dismissive or evocative. That's what stand-up comedians do. But you don't invite stand-up comedians to your quiet dinner parties or lunch get-togethers, because every moment or facet of your life is not meant to suddenly yanked from your grasp and blown back in your face through a megaphone.
I don't fault
Flowers for trying to make the truly painful funny. Never have. I will call him out for not working the room before dropping those bombs, he should know better than that (he admitted as much), and doubling down on it is what you do when your courtroom opponent is trying to work an angle on your case or when a heckler burps out a insult, but not among people who have enough years between them to not only feel comfortable speaking frankly about personal issues but considering those they share with their friends. To send them all scurrying back into their emotional hidey-holes to score internet points is just petty and selfish and wrong, and I speak as someone who has been plenty petty, selfish and wrong in the past. As such I know it's not easy to apologize and sound genuine, and it really is my opinion that Flowers is trying to sound genuine. He just sucks at it.
When I saw your name pop after the thread title I was looking forward to your post Bill. I am genuinely disappointed in what I read and it will definitely have an impact in how I see you. You might see Flowers as a friend, maybe only an e-friend but, "he was only trying to be funny" doesn't cut it.
Flowers When I was 15 I was in my first ever relationship. I was an extremely confused 15 year old boy, confused because I later realised I'm transgendered and never was that 15 year old boy. My extremely confused self was in a room with my then girlfriend. I had previously told her I didn't want to have sex and was unsure about that whole side of things. While kissing she wrapped her legs and pulled me in close to her. She half undid the buttons on my pants and pulled my extremely flaccid penis through the gap, that was painful. I gently tried pushing her away and told her I didn't want to do that and tried to stuff my penis back in my pants. She pulled me closer with her legs, pushed my hand away and tried stuffing my still flaccid penis in what I can only presume was a quite unaroused vagina. I was totally panicking at this point and couldn't think of how to get away without heavily pushing her away. She was grinding into me at this point. I did push her off me and turn away and at this point I was left trying to negotiate my penis back into my pants and with a decision to either leave the room and have all my friends see me limp dicked and terrified, or stand with my back to her while fiddling with my pants, trying to figure out how to get my flaccid and quite sore penis tucked away. I chose not to be shamed by my friends and stood with her staring at me. Of course thoughts of my friends seeing me limp dicked left pretty quickly when I was bombarded with questions of "How was sex?" And a few minutes later of "I can't believe you didn't do it" and my particular favourite, "Anne is feeling so rejected that you didn't want to have sex with her." This continued all the way back to town on the bus. I don't remember what happened after that.
Now Flowers, there's a wealth of material for you. I'm sure most people would tell me it's some form of rape, but it doesn't feel like rape to me. Then again I don't know what rape feels like. Then there's the way I was a teenager, so you can discount it as not happening to any red blooded adult male. Then there's the fact that a man legally can't be raped by a woman in my country. Then there's the way you could go with me not being a man anyway. But go ahead and take a few shots for the sake of your humour.
Well, for one thing, lobbying for a ban is gauche. Its Bob Guccione plastic surgery, pubic hair on a statue, gauche.
As for the rest of it, I'll just leave it at the fact that Flowers is a known entity.
Look, I understand folks outrage, but it isn't like he busted into a Group Therapy Session and started pointing and screaming. This is ultimately a very public message board where strangers post drink recipes and JRPG game logs. Folks used to freak out when they thought
Bill Dungsroman was being mean to jpinard, but he wasn't wrong. Regardless of how much sympathy for someone you feel, a message board is not a substitute for professional treatment and therapy.
I have huge love for all y'all (except
Elyscape of course, that guy is a cancer) and the people that have shared their stories are brave and beautiful but, IMO - and it may be colored by the fact that I don't believe Flowers writes from a place of hatred - Flower's comments are as valuable (even from a Goofus and Gallant perspective) as anyone elses. Which isn't to invalidate anyone's genuine anger.
Oh, I mean...fuck off you short-fingered, snot-licking, fart huffer.
If you read my entire post and that was all you decided to take from it, then the disappointment is mutual.
I don't really have a whole lot to add. I have some small experience working with children who were abused, and no personal experience with it myself, but I do know what it's like to rug yanked out from beneath you in terms of self-image and self-conception and all the things we take for granted about ourselves that can be stripped away in an instant. There's no way to describe it, save that it's tightness and an anxiety and a surety that the world you know has just lurched. It takes a long time to heal, and it's dependent on light and friendship and time to grieve and to forgive, and while I've laughed while crying, I'll be damned if it wasn't my life, my pain, and my perspective.
Reading "well, it's just comedy. You need to be able to laugh about that stuff" doesn't make me angry, or trolled, or whatever. It just makes me feel tired. You've missed the point, and I don't know to how to reach out to you to help.
That's not all I took from it. I saw that you're trying to put a "reasonable" frame around things. Flowers is being far from reasonable in anything he says. He's not using humour as a defense mechanism, he's using humour as part of a complete denial and total denigration of men and women (I guess that means humanity.) I know that you've broadly condemned him, but when you say, "But you don't invite stand-up comedians to your quiet dinner parties or lunch get-togethers, because every moment or facet of your life is not meant to suddenly yanked from your grasp and blown back in your face through a megaphone." He is not in anyway doing that. If he was doing this at a stand up festival I would be entirely confident that the comedians I'm a fan of would condemn him or at the least take digs on twitter at him for months. It's not that this has no place in polite conversation, it's that it has no place in any conversation or any stand up comedy. If Flowers recorded this kind of stuff it'd be looked at in a social history class or media class as an example of how out of touch those crazy bigots (for want of a better word) were back in the twentyteens. It'd be like looking back at the blatant racism of the 70s stand ups.
I know you don't approve of what he said, but to think it has a place anywhere is ludicrous.
The only thing Flowers has come close to apologising for is not being aware of previous posts:
Which isn't good enough, because what he said in his initial post was pretty despicable in any context and cannot be dismissed as a crappy joke, because he then said:
So yea, while I like Bill's post for his other insights I can't agree that it was just a seriously misguided attempt at comedy. That would be like a comedian making a joke about how Jews totally want all our money, and then defending it by claiming that Jews actually do have a greater propensity for greed. At that point you're just an asshole, and you need to stop being an asshole, not start implying everyone's being unreasonable in attacking you.
FWIW I was referring only to his opening post which was clearly a routine, albeit tragically misplaced and thoroughly ugly. The followup replies are indefensible.
EDIT: Furthermore I do not wish to give the impression I approve of any of his recent posts in here whatsoever, because I most certainly do not.
1) Flowers isn't necessarily a Known Entity. I am only very dimly aware of his "thing," personally, and I would not be surprised if there are others in this thread who are even less aware of it.
2) That doesn't actually excuse him. At all. It didn't excuse any of the other trolls who got banned, after all.
3) You know how I said I don't actually feel ashamed of what happened to me? That it's basically a non-issue in my life? Reading Flowers' initial post made me feel hugely depressed and slightly nauseous, because it was so dismissive and hateful and awful. I can only fucking imagine how the people who still hurt from their own issues feel, and frankly, I care way the fuck more about how they feel than Flowers getting to try out a new shtick.
4) This wasn't a group therapy session, no, but it was a largely safe place, where people were engaging in a good faith conversation. Seriously, I got asked "what's the difference?" when I said I was sexually assaulted, not raped. On another board, or even in another thread, that question would've creeped me out. But I knew it was a genuinely curious question, an admission of ignorance. That is valuable. Flowers vomiting forth the very rape-culture-shaming-the-victim shit we had been discussing in a hurtful, gross, hateful way? Not valuable at all.
People get booted from this section of the board for being shitheels. I put it to you that Flowers has proven himself one such shitheel.
True. For whatever reason the item only invokes the universal version of the use to me, so when i hear it, it lacks that association with women. But for a (more) normal person yeah, that's a good point.
though if Angie endorses it, i think i'll keep it in reserve for some especially deserving it little flowers.
Except this isn't fucking Santorum, this is D&D. There are rules to post in this heavily moderated subforum, and Flowers broke those rules. I don't see what about Flowers' comedy schtick somehow makes him a special fucking snowflake and that this doesn't constitute a banning.
Biggest laugh in days.
I can't tell whether or not BlueJackalope apparent defence of Flowers was a set up for the like-farming insult at the end.
Whether or not it was, he was still pretty damn wrong.
BlueJackalope I have no problem bringing Lum into a forum and pointing out that a ban is justified because rules have been broken--as a number of other people have pointed out. And you know what? You're right. Flowers is a known entity. He's a known entity that helped make Qt3 a boys club that was seriously alienating for most of the women I know over there. He definitely was for me. I've never seen him honestly interact with anyone over there beyond potshots and his racist/misogynistic screeds veiled in "humor" which got a lot of people I respected slapping him on the back for how hilarious he was and got you completely shot down if you spoke up about it. You just didn't get the joke! He's just being funny.
Pogo was a "known entity" in his hatred of brettmcd, but it didn't stop him from getting a ban when he wandered into the Weight Loss thread--in a forum that is not heavily moderated.
To put it another way: you may think your racist uncle is harmless because you know he won't go out and actually lynch anyone, but that doesn't make his "hilarious" racist jokes and his otherwise casual racism any less insidious and dangerous to people who are not you.
The real fucker is that this thread had gotten really really interesting; there are a lot of us who have no first- or even second-hand experience of rape or sexual assault and reading about the experiences of those who - unfortunately - do was eye-opening.
You know, the very first person I told about my rape was a man. A friend I liked, but not too close and also not part of my other social circles. This way he couldn't spread the story if he were unsupportive. After all, my rapist was my boyfriend and he didn't use threats or violence to get his way, so who would believe me ? Who would even care ? Well, my friend did. Not only that but he also shared his story : he was raped by a woman and he was a grown adult then.
So this is not humor. You're not laughing with my friend, you're laughing at him. I don't appreciate people making fun of my loved ones
It's not a matter of "you've got your opinion, I've got mine" either. Our common experiences as rape survivors, men and women alike, aren't opinions, they are facts. You're not just exposing your opinion, you're denying our existence and belittling us.
This is not okay, in any way.
I appreciate gallows humor, but what makes it work is empathy and shared experiences when you move beyond generically acceptable targets. I think part of what people are wrestling with here is not so much "make this a safe place to talk about x" but a broader evolution of that, where rape, denigration of women and LGBT, and so on get pushed outside the boundaries of generically acceptable. I think that's an important distinction because it ties into a lot of other conversations we've been having about what constitutes an acceptable "climate".
You don't need me to tell you anything about this, and I am not speaking out of anything but my sense of you as my friend when I say this. When you wrote about it initially, it was one of the funniest things I'd read. But, and this is about where I was coming from, I never saw it as rape or sexual assault. It was in an air-quoted category. I was laughing *with* you, or at least I thought I was, but I didn't get it. Some of it was the particular context, some of it was how it was framed, and a whole lot of it was the societal pressures and caricatures of masculinity and the correspondingly shitty judgment I still have with respect to sexual matters. It's a luxury I have because I've been lucky enough to never have the meaning of tacitly regarding sex as a predator-prey relationship turned on me.
So that's a long way to go to say that I'm sorry, not because I think I had any power to wound you further but because the fundamental misapprehension in my point of view is one that contributes to an atmosphere of incalculable harm in our society. And whether it's on a standup stage or on a no-holds-barred website, if you don't understand the real problem before considering how you're going to laugh about it, then you fucked up. And I definitely fucked that up, and dealing with it by just not mentioning it again as I had was not the right answer.
You're absolutely right, I think, and that's a useful connection to draw. But what I'm getting at, and I don't think it's a semantic distinction, is that what people are pushing for in this thread and elsewhere on the forum is to make sure that it's not just this thread that is affected.
Couldn't agree more, fwiw.
I am not going to get into the Flowers thing in particular because I think others have responded to it amply; I respectfully disagree with the limited latitude you are granting him but I also understand and sympathize with your good-faith reasons for doing so, because instinctively that's exactly my reaction. But I think there is something really important in what you are saying here. I will make an effort to be brief, so please forgive me if this comes off as terse or incomplete. Or fails to be brief.
The carebear-caltrops continuum is no longer an accurate and useful set of categories; I think in this forum we are in a transition state from the old anon-driven internet to whatever's coming next, where regardless of pseudonyms climate is going to have consequences. At qt3, there were stirrings of this when people collectively started shutting down casual gay slurs and the like after the worst examples of -isms had been excised. A lot of it went horribly wrong with tapir-gate turning it into a personalized power struggle, but at its root one of the things we have been forced to confront in the transition to BF is a question of climate. Angie described it in a thread about a different but related topic in terms of what is an appropriate way to move beyond an internet that is safe for white men to act out in versus one where the responsibility of tolerance takes into account historical oppression and marginalization.
So I don't think we are being nicer when we as a community say tread carefully around this topic, especially if it's outside or on the fringes of your experience (generic you, obviously). I think we are acting to create an inclusive climate where we can say "fuck you" and "your ideas are great and I love you for them" but it won't be via the lazy, explicitly sexist and frequently misogynist modes inherited from websites gone by that were out of a different time. "Nice" or "mean" just don't cut it when talking about systemically influenced prejudice. Unlike a directed effort by a moderator to create a New Internet Person, the moderation we have here is simply what a moderated website should look like, just like ten years ago the cutting edge of that was shutting down the most obscene racial, gender, and identity slurs, and it's driven by what the community wants. The forum's culture will always be a work in progress, if things go right, and it will be an adversarial system at times. Ours just refuses to acknowledge the avowed sexist or misogynist or LGBT-basher as a valid adversary.
What I took from that is that everyone should really watch the 1994 The Little Rascals film.
Bill Dungsroman's qualified defense of Flowers: two things (yeah I'm late to the party).
One: Comedy needs to be context sensitive. It also needs to be funny, and good comedy will offer some genuine insight wrapped up in the jokes. Flowers's little dancing bear routine is only occasionally funny and almost never insightful. In this case he's acknowledged just jumping in to threadshit, and his "comedy" was - as pointed out - sub Tosh level material. He's occasionally capable of rising to the level of witty, but in this case he was mostly just engaging in some straight of misogynistic BS. When confronted by it, he pulled the usual privileged "Hey I'm just kidding can't you take a joke" line, hoping that some dudebros will chime in with a right-on so he can laugh at all the ninnnies who can't take a joke. I'm kind of disappointed that you're offering him that qualified backslapping.
Two: L_K already covered the carebear vs. caltrops continuum, I'll just chime in with this: I started posting on qt3 ten years ago, and I was an OMM lurker before that. Back in my early twenties all that racist and violently misogynistic humor was funny, and I wouldn't be surprised if that held for a lot of people here. That was ten years ago, most of us are a lot more mature and have learned a thing or two and one of those things is that relentless, aggressive douchebaggery isn't really necessary. It's got nothing to do with "carebear" or any other such pejorative, it's just a matter of having grown up a bit. Likewise, I used to hide behind the "opinionated asshole" defense ten years ago, since then I've realized that just made me a run of the mill asshole.
Yes. It's like how almost everybody thinks they're a good driver -- pretty much every run of the mill asshole thinks "hey man I'm just being honest you don't have to like it".
Flowers is the second person I put on ignore as soon as I discovered how well ignore works on Broken Forum. I've felt alienated by his screeds, which so often target the disenfranchised, and the parade of asspats he gets for them for a long time. So I opted to no longer be part of his test audience. His behavior in this thread to be pretty much on par with what I expect, just with a different target and in a more sensitive place.
The fact that he has retreated to "opinions differ" when it comes to men being raped by women is detestable.
I've got some amount of experience with that, too. Blended with the wise words, "the failure mode of 'clever' is 'asshole'" which applies just as well to public communications as private ones.
I'm going to disagree slightly, LK. I think you pretty much nail the evolution of the forum as a whole, but a forum is made up of individuals. And on a forum, those individuals have to decide who and what they are going to be -- both in terms of what's in their heads, and in what they type, how they portray themselves. BF rapidly developed some identifiable groups -- a significant number of women unafraid to speak their minds, a significant number of other than cis white males unafraid, or at least willing, to share their identities, the friends and allies of those people, and then, a group of unabashed feels-flinging weeabo crazy-people (and I say that with affection). This was accompanied by a (usually) unspoken determination to be rid of the worst of Qt3 behaviors. Yes, this meant an organic change in culture and a systematic reduction in prejudiced behavior, but it almost meant that the rest of us had to decide how to play here. It meant, in fact, making a decision as to whether to be mean or nice. Some people are just nice. Some people are just mean, and Lum has shown them the exit. Most people, who might not always have been nice elsewhere, have made the decision to be nice. In same cases, you could almost see them making it. I think BillD is one example. I also think the Like system reinforces nice behavior (I would hope that people don't pretend to be nice to farm likes but it must happen). And once people learn to be nice, they learn that that often means shutting up and really paying attention to what people are saying and treating them as people instead of foils for the next bon mot. And when you do that, if you are at all a nice person, you learn to lose your prejudices and change your behavior for real. I can testify this has happened to me, not with respect to boring old male-female relations that started this thread (because I like to think that I was pretty solid there already), but with respect to the lives and struggles of other people I've encountered here. And in the end, we create the new type of internet forum you are talking about. "Nice" isn't an academic or pedant-friendly term, but I think it suits.
TL;DR -- We can't make you be nice but when you're an asshole (See? There are non-gender based insults), we have ways of shutting that whole thing down.
I like the way you phrased that
OZ 4.0, but I thought that
Lizard_King meant that "nice" and "mean" aren't very helpfull descriptors when talking about the diverse collection of posters and posts we have on this forum, or just in discussions of racism and sexism in general.
Niceforum.biz are all available.
I like being nice. I'm quite happy to tear into someone if they're an asshole but I could never really do the trading of "bon mots" as you put it. I generally got bogged down in "Why are you angry? I'm only angry because everyone else is angry."
OZ 4.0 I don't think we are disagreeing. I'm saying there's a systemic question of which this discussion is a part, and that "nice" or "mean" are not useful categories for discussing a climate in terms of its fundamental principles. They risk making it sound like you're just being "nice" when you're not denigrating women or what have you, which is neither accurate nor useful. Personal kindness is important and can be addressed through normal forum interactions, but it's not a substitute for having a good foundation. As much as I enjoy being one of the pedants-in-residence, I really don't think it's an academic distinction.
As for me, I made my main choices about changing my behavior across the board in my life. While lacking the advantage/cheat of personal context, my internet persona was not an inaccurate representation of who I was or an act, no matter how much of a cartoon it turned into in prolonged flamewars or the distortions that usually arise over the long run in internet metagaming of arguments. But going from the Marine Corps to teaching, and specifically an impassioned plea from LGBT students delivered in person to teachers-in-training in my program, forced me to reconsider the validity of the whole "hey I'm just honest" dodge being discussed above. It took a while for that to trickle down into internet modes of conversation, but that's where it came from. Long before that establishing a (fleeting) rapport with unusual and thoughtful people on Qt3 across the bullshit battle lines had given me a taste of what it was like to do something other than treat the internet as a PvP scenario and more like I would in real life, but again, it was hard to get away from what had been "working" for me so well as a result of privilege and my personality in real life.
So nice is fine. But it's not what I was talking about.
Separate names with a comma.