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March 10, 2008

That Terrifying Place....

Rev Mother Gaius: Enough! Kull Wahad! No woman child ever withstood that much. Take your hand out of the box and look at it...young human. Do it!
Rev Mother Gaius: Pain by nerve induction. A human can resist any pain. Our test is crisis and observation.
Paul: I see the truth of it.
Rev Mother Gaius (voiceover): Could he be the one? Maybe...but will he be ours to control?
Girl: Tell me of your homeworld, Usul.
Rev Mother Gaius: Do you know of the Water of Life? The bile from the newborn worms of Arrakis.
Paul: I have heard of it.
Rev Mother Gaius: It is very dangerous. The Bene Gesserit Sisterhood use it to see - within. There is a place...terrifying to us, to women. It is said a man will come - the Kwisatz Haderach. He will go where we cannot. Many men have tried.
Paul: They tried and failed?
Rev Mother Gaius: They tried and died.
- Dune

Since Ace was man enough to go into that terrifying place the other day (God help him!) the blog princess attempted to answer his question. But her answer appears to have stirred up a good deal of confusion on its own. This post is an attempt to address clarify those issues.

On the Hornet's Nest post, Gregory asks a question that seems to be causing enough confusion that I thought it merited its own post:

OK, Cass. As both of us said, the final arbiter is the blog owner. I even agreed that it's rudeness to do what is being done.

Having said that, I still don't see what you are trying to accomplish. Are you trying to get Ace to clean up his site? Cannot be, since it's not gonna happen. Are you trying to shame guys to clean up their act in teh intarwebs? Again, that cannot be, because it's not gonna happen. But if you're just blowing off steam, then yeah, men can be and often are bozos. I admit it. I act the goat more often than not too - and I'm not very nice to my parents, to boot. So they'd say, anyways, and in my introspective moments I would agree that I am often unthinking.

I mean, I'm not exactly advocating that you just throw your hands up, say "men!" and wash your hands of the whole thing. Your blog, your bandwidth, your money, your rules. And if you're gonna be Don Quixote, there are worse windmills to tilt at. (I'm sorry, but you did ask for our thoughts.)

Allow me to state what I want to state in point form, so that I don't clog it up with verbiage.

1. Speech is free on the Net. Men and women alike should and are allowed to be utter and complete boors. Likewise, others should be and are allowed to express their disapproval.

2. I have no personal beef with people online being morons. Knowing as I do that I can avoid them if I want to.

3. The public square is becoming less and less civil. This is deplorable, immoral and quite possibly fattening. But it is a fact.

4. Men and women both are having their sensibilities shocked on a daily basis, and their natures coarsened.

5. You said that you thought the same as 'Jane' the commenter did - that a sense of limits exist on every and all blogs. Very good. The limits are defined on Ace's blog as on yours. I try to abide by the limits both - you will notice I try not to use expletives. Which means, if the limits are a lot looser on Ace than here, then that's what it is.

Was I building up strawmen? I don't think so, but you know what you write and what I understood from it may be two completely different beasts. Hence we are divided by a common language.

Let me see if I understand you correctly. Blogs are not ordinary 'public arenas' like the town hall, or the park, or even a social milieu like the church or community centre. Blogs are private areas which the owner has opened up for people. As you do, and your humble servant is grateful. Even moreso that you are back blogging, since I missed you during your hiatus. In that sense, it is more like the corner pub or country club.

Ace has set the standard, as you rightly put. A grand majority (you can see over 550 posts generally agreeing) is fine with the standards as they currently stand. I'm afraid you'll have to write off AoSHQ as a stag club - with exceptions.

And I am very glad that you believe everyone should be held to specific standards. So do I. And the standard set at Ace is one I will hold to at Ace. I hope I hold to your standard here.

A few points.

Over and over again in the comments on this post I kept seeing the same refrain: what are you trying to accomplish? What are you trying to change?

To which I can only respond, why on earth do you assume I mean to accomplish or change anything? For Pete's sake - VC is one tiny site amongst literally tens of thousands of fairly insignificant blogs out there. I don't even have a blogroll. I don't have trackbacks. I don't shop my posts to other bloggers. What objective behavior on my part indicates that I'm the kind of blogger who goes around trying to change anything? Or even interacts, in any significant way, with other bloggers (especially ones in Ace's league)?

Wouldn't that be just a tad hubristic on my part, thinking I was going to change the way the blogosphere works with one post on a site that, by virtue of the way I have chosen to run it, doesn't get a whole lot of traffic and/or attention? Does this really make sense?

I think if I were trying to change people, I'd be behaving differently, don't you? It would be more effective if I took a more active stance, such as (say) pleading my case assertively at the sites in question; which is something I'm certainly capable of doing. I have never shrunk from arguments in the past when I feel strongly about an issue, and those of you who know me also know how tenacious I am when I feel strongly about an issue. Yet I have done none of those things.

So let's walk through this, because I think it's an interesting comment (at least to me) on the differences between the way women and men think. Don't know how many of you recall the men vs. women cheat sheet. Admittedly it was an oversimplified model, but there's more than a grain of truth to it. One of the things I've often observed about conversations between men and women in general is that when a woman brings up a topic, a guy generally assumes she wants him to do_something_about_it, whereas oftentimes she merely wants to discuss it without doing anything about it.

She is not doing this to be confusicating and make your heads explode. We just don't think the way you do, guys. Not everything in the universe is an action item for us. I think this is a huge source of friction between men and women; moreover I believe it's a major reason guys often think we're being 'controlling'.

Sometimes we are. Women have been known to be maddeningly indirect (i.e., we bring things up in an infuriatingly sideways fashion instead of simply stating what we want straight out and then the man is supposed to read our minds - because 'if you truly *cared* about us, of course you'd *know* what we wanted!). To make matters even worse, we often don't realize we're even doing this, just as men often don't realize they're being maddeningly obtuse when they pretend not to notice the light of his life stopped speaking to him four weeks ago and put fire ants in his jockey shorts because anything would be preferable to having to talk about his feeeeeeeeeeelings :p

But other times, we raise topics because we want to talk about them. We may be irritated and want to vent. We may be trying to decide what to do, or what we think about an issue, and need a sounding board. We may simply enjoy the pure pleasure of having a discussion with someone we like (and Lord knows, women love to talk). It could just be a topic or idea that is bothering us - something we can't be off our minds, and sharing our thoughts about it helps us to process it and put it to bed, so to speak; to stop thinking about it. It may be some combination of these things, or some other reason entirely.

There may well be elements of some or all of these here.

Primarily, I think, my motive pretty straightforward, and it's right out in the open. I wanted to address the question Ace asked in my post:

Are you telling me that it is de facto out of bounds for man to comment on a woman's looks, ever, even if the looks being commented on are purely a choice of the woman's....

I want to know precisely what standard -- applicable to either sex -- I violated or I'd like to know if you yourselves are indulging yourselves in an unfair double-standard.

I thought that was a great question, and I thought it deserved a thoughtful answer.

I also knew I couldn't deliver a thorough answer in the comments section of the Jawa Report, so I chose to do it here. I thought it would make for some interesting discussion.

I still think it's an interesting question.

In the course of answering that question, I decided that while there is probably nothing wrong with commenting on someone's personal appearance, that sort of remark will get you in hot water in real life. It is considered rude, and for good reason.

It's the kind of thing that hurts people's feelings: the kind of comment adults refrain from out of common decency and respect for the feelings of others; in other words, ordinary politeness. Furthermore, I commented that what had specifically upset some of the women in this case was some unnecessarily crude and ugly derogatory sexual commentary (and by the way, I didn't direct anyone to the objectionable comments, but they weren't limited to "I'd hit that", which IMO is eminently shrug-offable. Some of them were just way over the line).

So, what was the point of that post? Did I think I would change anything?

On a macro scale, no not really. I certainly didn't expect Ace or Rusty to do anything. I fully believe that, regardless of what I may say or do, people make up their own minds about what my subjective motivation is. I also think (and this is from reading repeated comments which totally disregarded what I said over and over again in my post and comments) a lot of men seem to have it in their heads that women are - by nature - 'controlling'. This seems to be some sort of innate bias that exists independently of any objective evidence to the contrary; as several commenters who came over here to engage remarked, they will simply discount anything I say or do that conflicts with what they've already decided: I want them to do what they think I want.

There is really nothing I can say or do to change this impression. And I see no reason to try. If men want to view women as overemotional and/or controlling even when they (in fact) remain calm and unemotional when they're told they're being emotional and don't (in fact) do anything to try to control men, that is their right :p

A final question. If you do think that addressing Ace's question on my own site (I did this); pointing out that certain behavior is (I did this too) normally considered offensive by objective societal standards; or even (I did not do this, though several people seem to think I did) calling for people to stop doing what they're doing amounts to an attempt to:

(a) coerce a grown man into changing the policy on his site against his will, or

(b) shame grown men into behaving contrary to their desires on sites that aren't my own

Isn't that completely illogical? Isn't my supposed complaint that they don't "care" about what women think in the first place?

So why on earth would they suddenly start "caring" about what I think now? People are going to think what they think, and act accordingly. I cannot control what they think.

I can, and do, like to throw ideas out for discussion. People can take whatever they like on board and act accordingly. None of that is within my control.

So much for my 'agenda' :p

Posted by Cassandra at March 10, 2008 07:34 AM

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Comments

I'm not really a party to this particular argument; but I will enter it thus far. Ideas have consequences. Normative ideas, that is, philosophical ideas about "what is right" or "good" or "praiseworthy" or "shameful," those ideas imply consequences. If something is good, we celebrate it; if something is bad, or shameful, or wrong, we react to that too.

You've proposed a normative standard: that you think it might be proper to consider blogs "mixed company" and "public space," on the (plausible enough) grounds that anyone can enter one; and therefore that we should think about whether we would act the same way in a public space or mixed company.

I've said I want to think about that a bit more; but assuming the standard were reasonable, then, it's natural for people to wait for the other shoe. If we come to accept that something is bad, we as a species have an instinct to do something about it: an instinct that the Wise learn, eventually and with careful training, to ignore.

Perhaps you're wise enough to have forgotten the impulse; but it's not surprising that people wonder what you're proposing.

Posted by: Grim at March 10, 2008 09:59 AM

Fortunately, I still have nothing to add. Except, perhaps, that whatever it is that Cass is saying I agree with it. Such is the power of smiley faces.

Posted by: spd rdr at March 10, 2008 10:08 AM

I think I agree with most of what she's saying, and in fact I don't allow behavior of that sort at my place at all.

Still, while it is possible to say, "I think that X is bad for us and for society, and think I should do absolutely nothing about it except gripe once in a while," that's not a neutral position. That's also an idea with consequences. :)

Posted by: Grim at March 10, 2008 10:24 AM

I suppose, Grim, it is entirely fair to conclude that I am proposing that people think about what they are doing on the 'Net.

However, I don't view that in the least coercive. It's an individual decision. And intelligent adults should always think.

And as I said in my post if, having thought, they conclude they're fine with the status quo, so be it. I have zero desire to force or shame anyone into doing anything they don't want to do.

As an aside, I do often find it a bit strange when you get what does seem to me to be a pretty strong negative reaction to having a question raised at all. It's sort of a 'how *dare* you?' response.

Well, I do dare. Frequently :p I don't think it's unreasonable to ask, or answer, questions. I'm not bothering anyone and I'm not coercing anyone. I'm not intruding on anyone's space and I'm not insulting anyone. And I'm not waving my arms around or jumping up and down.

I'm just answering a question I found interesting and discussing an issue. The title of my post was meant to inject a bit of humor into a potentially inflammatory topic - to lighten it up a bit, because I was aware that was how the post might be perceived and I hoped to deflect some of that by an admission that I knew it might reopen some of the angst. I think that, at usual, everyone behaved fairly well.

I chose to stay away from Ace's so they could speak freely without worrying about my presence, not that many of them would. But some would. It's their place - let them hash it out.

And re this:

You've proposed a normative standard: that you think it might be proper to consider blogs "mixed company"

I don't propose that blogs should be considered "mixed company". THEY ARE MIXED COMPANY. That's a fact, whether you all like it or not, not something I propose.

It continues to amuse me that you guys don't understand this :p

Posted by: Cassandra at March 10, 2008 10:35 AM

Except, perhaps, that whatever it is that Cass is saying I agree with it.

Wiser words have never been spoken ...

Smart aleck :p

Posted by: Cassandra at March 10, 2008 10:44 AM

It used to make me laugh, so I don't think it's a matter of conventions so much as it is just tiresome.

And being tiresome is the highest insult to public discourse, be it crude, rude and raunchy or high, esoteric and erudite.

80 year-old men still laugh at farts.

Whaddaygonnado?

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at March 10, 2008 11:09 AM

If I recall correctly things didn't work out so well for Paul Atreides. This horse might be dead. If someone didn't get what you were saying immediately, no amount of explanation will serve.

Posted by: Allen at March 10, 2008 11:24 AM

I think you're probably correct there, Allen. FWIW, the Dune reference was intended to be humorous:

(ref: Take your hand out of the box...No woman child ever withstood that much pain. Could he be the one? Maybe...but will he be ours to control?

Besides, when have you *ever* known a woman who didn't rather enjoy beating a horse long after it was dead as a doornail? :p

I think it's in our genes.

One of the pleasures, at least to me, of getting older is that you learn to let go of the destination and just enjoy the road trip. If I think something is worth saying, I say it.

If I don't, I don't bother.

Sometimes I get upset when people don't act the way I wish they would, but I can usually laugh at myself too :p

If you lose the ability to laugh (even at farts - too funny, Joan) you've really lost it!

Posted by: Cassandra at March 10, 2008 11:44 AM

re: consequences, Grim. I agree with you there.

As I said, I do think people should think before they act. If you're trying to get me to admit that I would like people to think before they act, I would admit to that. In that sense, I suppose you could say I am trying to 'change' something. But it's a bit of a stretch to say I'm trying to change the blogosphere :p

I don't see VC, or myself, as having that kind of influence. This is not false modesty. I have been blogging literally for years. It's not as though I am widely quoted. I think I'm a fairly good writer, and there have been many times I've weighed in on various blogospheric topics, but you will never see any of the major blogs link to one of my posts on a topic, even if I write something better than one of the posts that does get linked to a lot. So I think it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to conclude that I thought I would have a whole lot of influence over anyone.

I haven't really sought that kind of power, if that is what you want to call it. And I am not sure that I would be successful if I did seek it, frankly. Wrong personality type.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 10, 2008 11:51 AM

"but will he be ours to control?" It was funny, and subtle, especially if you know how it all turns out.

Actually I would only worry if there was a reduction in the flogging. Then it's time to tread with care, something is going on. The, you know you're in trouble statement: "I don't want to talk about it." Uh oh, LOL.

Yep, success is a journey not a destination.

Cheers

Posted by: Allen at March 10, 2008 11:58 AM

Actually, Allen, "Success" is the name of the boat I'm going to buy after I cash in my wife's insurance policy.

Cheers is right.

Posted by: spd rdr at March 10, 2008 12:10 PM

What I'm trying to tell you, Cass, is not that you're wrong -- just that the reason you get the negative reaction 'just from raising the question' is that instinct that normative standards require consequences. Normally, I'm the one who believes in big divisions between men and women, but I don't think there's much of one here. If you ask people to complete the sentence: "If something is wrong...", man, woman or child will come up with something like: "...then don't do it."

So, if you say something that sounds like "I think what you're doing is wrong," it will always be read -- by man, woman or child -- as "so maybe you shouldn't do it." That is, itself, a sort of moral suasion: while certainly not an attempt at domination or anything as aggressive like that, it's also not neutral in the way you seem to imply that ideas can be. Moral, normative arguments aren't neutral, by their nature.

____________________

"THEY ARE MIXED COMPANY. That's a fact, whether you all like it or not, not something I propose."

The reason I said I wanted to think about it before I accepted it was that there isn't a "real life" model that quite applies. You, for example, are arguing both that blogs are public space (because anyone can go there), and that they're private property (because Ace/you/etc pay all the costs of upkeep): but in real life, we have two entirely separate standards for those two categories. Someone who wanders into the city park can expect a high degree of protection from society against obscenity or offense; but someone who comes into my bar may not be offended by the presence of alcohol (say). That's not to say they cannot be offended -- but that they may not be. It's unreasonable to walk into a bar and assert that the alcohol is offensive: because that's what the bar is for.

Note that the "private property" model in use here is also a public accomodation -- not a bedroom or a truly "private space." But it's the closest thing I can come to a model that is like a blog.

So, is a blog like a public park, or like a bar? I tend to run mine like a home, to which guests are welcome and invited to join the company, as long as they obey the rules. Ace tends to run his like a roughneck bar; and you tend to run yours like a salon, where tempermental ideas get hashed out and people storm around, and then come back next week for more. :)

To a certain degree, then, it's fine to say that you don't like what someone is doing at their place; but I think it may be unreasonable to be offended by bad behavior at a place devoted to bad behavior, in the same sense that it's unreasonable to be offended at alcohol if you go to the pub. You can be offended, but if you are going to patronize the place, you may not be.

Does that make sense? I'm trying to explain why I don't know that the "mixed company" concept -- which implies standards of behavior that don't always apply in a saloon -- should always necessarily apply. People are free to come, it's true; but there are some kinds of places that, by virtue of having gone there, you waive your right (if not your power) to be offended by the thing they exist to provide.

Posted by: Grim at March 10, 2008 12:25 PM

"As an aside, I do often find it a bit strange when you get what does seem to me to be a pretty strong negative reaction to having a question raised at all. It's sort of a 'how *dare* you?' response."

Cass, I think the saying that best applies here is -- 'You reap what you sow'. Applies both ways, I suppose, since you're getting all sorts of non-regulars reading your site yourself.:) But... as a response to Ace's comments, why should people not be surprised that folks are offended, privately if not publically? Say boorish things, even in the locker-room, people think of you as a boor. Dress like a tramp, people think tramp. Admit to those kinds of 'thoughts' in public people think you're a pervert! Not that I... ever have those kinds of thoughts in public, or anything.

Anyways, advice to offended peoples everywhere. If you're not prepared to take the heat, don't say it and walk away.

Posted by: Kevin L at March 10, 2008 01:36 PM


Not that I... ever have those kinds of thoughts in public, or anything.

Heh... :)

Well, fwiw, it's not as though I wasn't aware people might get a bit excited. But I don't think this got out of line. No one said anything that upset me, nor were they unduly unpleasant.

I like Grim's metaphor, here, very much. I think it's apt:

..is a blog like a public park, or like a bar? I tend to run mine like a home, to which guests are welcome and invited to join the company, as long as they obey the rules. Ace tends to run his like a roughneck bar; and you tend to run yours like a salon, where tempermental ideas get hashed out and people storm around, and then come back next week for more. :)

What I meant by that was that it's a bit ironic for people who are maintaining that people ought to be able to say whatever they please on the Internet to be telling me to be quiet on my own site.

I didn't go over there and tell them to be quiet. I merely observed that women who don't like that sort of behavior have objective reason to be offended by it (by normal societal standards) and that they are certainly within their rights to feel the way they do (IOW, they're not being 'overemotional' or unreasonable). Therefore, if male bloggers choose to run their sites that way, they have decided that women like me, for instance, are not the type of patrons they want hanging around their sites.

And, as I said right in my original post, THAT IS JUST FINE. So you see, I don't really think I was advocating that anyone change anything.

I think it is altogether fair to say that I *was* saying (because I explicitly said this in my original post) that one's blogging policies ought to be consonant with one's values. But that's really an individual decision, and not mine to make.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 10, 2008 01:54 PM

Ok, as I only get to read VC on weekdays (the lovely bride keeps me busy on weekends), I have just now read and digested this topic. And at the risk of sounding like I buttering up the hostess, she's absolutely right. Let me explain.

I was raised to treat ladies properly. If the lady objects, apologize and CONTINUE TO DO THE RIGHT THING. It was a very simple suggestion my father taught me. If she doesn't like you holding the door open, you don't slam it in her face, you simply apologize and continue to hold the door. The point of me expounding on this is that you should always behave properly, even if you don't think someone's watching (or in spite of criticisms of proper behavior). That's what we used to call personal honor. Some of us still do.

Yes, I have engaged in locker room talk. But not in public. Why? Because it's not right, and all of us know it. Yes, women do it too. I recall wandering into a 'locker room talk' between two female soldiers at basic training (I was dropping off a report at another company). I have to admit, I was extremely shocked at the sentance I overheard before they noticed I was there (not offended or embarrassed mind you, but VERY shocked), and NO, I will not repeat it because I would be ashamed to even relate it on Cass's blog. Why? Because it's 'locker room' talk. And last I checked VC is not a locker room.

Now, I also agree with Cass that it's perfectly alright to have a 'locker room' environment blog. Just don't be suprised if the readership is a little on the Y chromosome side of the house.

And I also think that Cass handled it properly by not making a scene there, but by commenting on her own blog about it. But then again, I'd be shocked to find the hostess to ever be rude (without feeling guilty about it at least), and am not suprised that she handled it appropriately.

And finally, what's the solution for a blogger who does not want such behavior on his or her blog. Simple. Tell your commenters to please refrain from said behavior. If they object and start protesting thier 'right' to behave like an ass, then you agree that they have that right, but not on your blog. You then dis-invite them from your blog. If your readership is of a higher quality, I'd bet they would apologize and cease said behavior.

"Boys will be boys" is not a saying that had any influence in my parent's house. The response I heard to the one time someone uttered that phrase was, "That may be so, but I'm raising my sons to be men."

Posted by: MikeD at March 10, 2008 02:24 PM

"Boys will be boys" is not a saying that had any influence in my parent's house. The response I heard to the one time someone uttered that phrase was, "That may be so, but I'm raising my sons to be men."

Amen. I think there must be a huge culture divide, Mike.

No one loves to kid around more than I do. And certainly it's tough to make the case that I'm a prude about sex. There are lines I don't cross at VC, but I don't say everything on my mind in real life, either :p I often cuss like a sailor in real life, but I don't do it in all situations. I know when I can get away with it and when to rein it in.

It's not that I'm shocked that people say and do certain things. Frankly, I like saying and doing a lot of them myself. Women, as I've told Grim on more than one occasion, can be just as crude as men if not more so. I just don't do these things in public - if I want to engage in bawdy repartee I save it for times when men are not around to avoid making them uncomfortable. I think there is something to be said for a sense of public decorum, however minimal it may be.

My husband and I were talking about this the other night. I think this is the reason a lot of people think conservatives are hypocrites: we maintain that there is a line between public and private behavior: in fact, there are all *sorts* of lines. I don't really much care whether you are aroused by farm animals so long as I don't have to hear about it or see it. There's an awful lot of behavior that can go on behind closed doors that I will not object to, so long as it occurs between fully consenting adults (or ruminants). It is really none of my business.

The more 'public' such behavior becomes, in the sense that it begins to affect others, the more likely I am to have an opinion about it. This is why I mentioned the fact that some blogs are wholly devoted to ogling and commenting on nude women. I'd be nuts to go there and complain about that activity because, as Grim rightly notes, that's why they're there! Their conduct is open, notorious, and above board, and no one is going to listen to me. Talk about pi**ing up a rope... ;p

I'm certainly not being sandbagged if I go there, so I can't really claim to be surprised if I hang around and encounter something ugly.

I think I'd quibble a bit with Grim's characterization of Ace's as a 'roughneck bar', but only just a bit. I think that does a disservice to Ace. The point I was trying to make in my post was that his site really is a mixed bag - so much so that women can and do go over there because there IS so much of value, Ace's writing being a great case in point, and some of his witty commenters being another. I don't think it's such a horrid place that women are going to blow up and wither away or anything if they hang out there - that's silly.

And in a very real sense, I hate to make this all about his site because that's kind of unfair to him and to his readers. I don't even spend enough time there to make any kind of informed judgment; also I think it's kind of presumptuous for me to place myself in judgment over him or his readers.

Not a place I want to go. Ever.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 10, 2008 02:59 PM

I'm not so sure I buy into the Bar/Park dichotomy as to what a blog is.

It's more like your front yard. While you can kick anyone you want to off of it, for any reason you like, that doesn't mean you can sit out there and yell out "Nice T!t5" to the lady walking her dog without your neighbors being (justifiably) offended.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 10, 2008 03:31 PM

Oh, sure!

Like y'all don't do that all the time? :p

Women need to just lighten up and let men, be men.

Posted by: Boys Will Be Boys at March 10, 2008 03:59 PM

Cass said: "And as I said in my post if, having thought, they conclude they're fine with the status quo, so be it. I have zero desire to force or shame anyone into doing anything they don't want to do."

While I would prefer that the government protect me from force and fraud (and little else), I nonetheless would prefer, if force or fraud must be tollerated, that it be tollerated such that I was the one forcing the rest of you into doing what I want you to do.

So you best hope I don't get that power.

Posted by: KJ at March 10, 2008 04:27 PM

*snort*

Posted by: Cassandra at March 10, 2008 04:47 PM

"So you best hope I don't get that power."
Ha! You have no idea of the power of the dark side.

What?! Oh nothing dear... I'll get right on that...

Ahh excuse me, gotta go now.

Posted by: Darth Shredder at March 10, 2008 04:50 PM

The force is formidable, indeed.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 10, 2008 05:04 PM

"Oh, sure!

Like y'all don't do that all the time? :p

Women need to just lighten up and let men, be men."

Hey... men do stupid things that are hardly beneficial. We admit it. And then we suffer for it.

And then we do it again.

How else do you explain video game addiction?

Posted by: Kevin L at March 10, 2008 05:19 PM

I have a real problem envisioning a jackbooted Cassandra crushing dissent under her heel. Let's admit, Jane Hamster she ain't. Every blog takes on the online personna of its owner and most have fairly obvious rules and limits on what is appropriate or acceptable.

Ace makes lots of noise about the AOS Lifestyle, which involves Valu-Rite vodka and hobos, but the fact remains Ace is a fairly serious guy who likes to have fun with people's sensibilities. Several of the women who are regulars are very intelligent and can be funny.

Of course the most interesting and intelligent posters may be found at Villainous Company. Sort, sort, sort.....Just remember, the Blog Princess quits posting when she cannot laugh anymore.

Rumor has it the Spousal Unit is back home and fine. This is a great relief. Thank the man, Cass, even this inveterate civillian appreciates his service and the pain of separation. Thanks.

Posted by: Mark at March 10, 2008 05:47 PM

Ace makes lots of noise about the AOS Lifestyle, which involves Valu-Rite vodka and hobos, but the fact remains Ace is a fairly serious guy who likes to have fun with people's sensibilities. Several of the women who are regulars are very intelligent and can be funny.

Yeah. I happen to think Ace is a real gem, but I don't like to tell him so b/c he will get a swelled head :p

Heh... she said 'swelled head'. I like LauraW too. Don't go over there often enough to get a read on too many of the people. I probably have a jaded view of the place b/c often the only reason I go over there is b/c I get an email complaining about such-and-such and saying "would you get a load of this..." and so, off I go.

You know me, I don't surf the web all that much. But I do check him out when he writes something serious. He's worth reading. Patterico's another writer I enjoy. And Tigerhawk. And of course our Grim. And Greyhawk over at Mudville. And always John Donovan, but you all already read him. He is kind of a mainstay - he and Grim are ones I check regularly.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 10, 2008 07:57 PM

To return to Cass' original question/observation whether it is possible to establish an objective behavior standard. I think the answer is yes and no. For a specific site yes; but the framework for fitting that site into a larger context doesn't currently exist. The societal norms of all the analogies which have been suggested for public/private space; a bar, a park, your front yard, all emerged over a long period of time.

While the analogies suggested are all somewhat right they are also somewhat inappropriate and most people have only been visiting this space for a few years in calendar time and much less if you consider that most people spend only a small percentage of any day visiting. We are beginning to see some informal standards emerge but it seems likely to be long time before they are widely recognized and accepted.. In the meantime we'll keep going to places which are interesting leaving behind the ones which don't seem appropriate.

Posted by: James at March 10, 2008 08:14 PM

Ahhh... all is becoming clearer! :)

OK, now that I've sorted out what's what in my muddled head, time to get back to lurk-mode. But before I do, just a couple of personal points;

1. The AoS Lifestyle(c)(tm) as you put it, Cass, is a sorta schtick of Ace. I always lumped the 'I'd hit it!' and 'Bunk!' under the same category (i.e. it's a little strange to read in a blog which is, well, global, but meh, shrug and go on).

2. This exchange unaccountably reminds me of a conversation I read in one of my F&SF books (or maybe it was Biggles or Jennings' Diary*, I can't remember) It goes something like this;

Y: You know, X, I don't like the way you walk. You're too slow.
X: Is that a fact, Y?
Y: Yes, it is.
X: Fine, then!
Y: Fine!
...
X: You know, Y, I don't like the way you talk. It's too gay.
Y: Is that a fact, X?
X: Yes, it is.
Y: Fine, then!
X: Fine!

Now, in real life, the conversation is never going to go this way. But because the tone was 'stiff upper lip', I could imagine this actually happening and it never fails to crack me up whenever I re-read that scene. Must go and find the book, whichever one it is.

I guess it really does come down to our processing modes, Cass. I should have considered that you were blowing off steam, just kicking some ideas around and did not necessarily need people to change their minds. My apologies. What can I say - I'm a man. :)

*btw, if any of you have the Jennings series, please let me know. It's the funniest I've read and I'd like to get my hands on more of them.

Posted by: Gregory at March 10, 2008 08:31 PM

You are cracking me up with the quotes from Dune, Cass. And I haven't even gotten to your text yet.

I have never shrunk from arguments in the past when I feel strongly about an issue, and those of you who know me also know how tenacious I am when I feel strongly about an issue.

But I, and perhaps even Grim, haven't used our full power, so we cannot truly know how tenacious your Bene Gesserit powers of persuasion truly are, Cass.

we bring things up in an infuriatingly sideways fashion instead of simply stating what we want straight out and then the man is supposed to read our minds

Is that what Jihadists of CAIR do when they riot over Mummie Cartoons? But wouldn't that make them into women?

THEY ARE MIXED COMPANY. That's a fact, whether you all like it or not, not something I propose.

i think Grim might be making the note that however the company is mixed, on the internet there is no "mixing" at all more or less. Men don't see women they are writing to and women don't see the men they are writing to, not in a company setting. Thus we have this internet barrier that is different from an actual mixed company of men and women together. The differences are not of behavior so much as physical reality. This then affects behavior. So if women don't like the comments at Ace of Spades based upon the objective social environment we all agree to live in, then they are applying the wrong rules or at least they are trying to apply social rules to a setting that is neither quite politely social nor private. This is in response to your rephrase of what you were trying to argue, Cass, concerning objective social standards.

I think it's in our genes.

I think it is due to the fact that women needed to ensure that something really was dead before getting closer to it. It would be mighty foolish to walk towards something you thought was dead, only to have it jump up and kill you. Men had spears and arrows, so did not need to beat a dead horse.

while certainly not an attempt at domination or anything as aggressive like that, it's also not neutral in the way you seem to imply that ideas can be.

Perhaps a useful analogy would be that while you are traveling on your own road, Cass, just your attempt at talking to another traveling on his own road affects his situation even if you didn't want to make him stop his journey.

Since you do not advertise your blog or create expanding social networks with other bloggers and their blogs, then would it not be perfectly logical to assume that those other bloggers and people wouldn't necessarily know your natural position when you speak of their behaviors?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at March 11, 2008 03:58 AM

i think Grim might be making the note that however the company is mixed, on the internet there is no "mixing" at all more or less.

No; that's not my point. My point is that people who come to a bar may not complain that are offended by the fact that there is alcohol around them. (What Cass is doing, which is sitting in her house and complaining about the alcohol at the bar down the street, so to speak, is different.)

what we normally mean by "mixed company" is that you must change your previous standard of behavior to something different, for a time, in order to make space for ladies to feel comfortable. This is exemplified by the scene in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, where Sergeant Major Quincannon is addressing the troops:

SGM: We're gonna have women with this patrol, so I want you men to watch them words! Watch them words!

Anonymous soldier: Watch them grammar!

SGM: Who said that??

The point is that you've got a situation in which you need to be extra nice for a while, to accomodate people who may not be used to the normal roughness of male behavior.

In the case of the internet, that would mean that the extra-nice standard was in force at all times in all places, because there's no way to 'close the door' to women -- I can't know if an IP address is a woman or not, so I have to be on 'mixed company' standards all the time. In fact, at Grim's Hall, that's just what I do.

I'm not sure I'm ready to endorse the idea that we should think about blogs as always being held to that standard -- I mean philosophically, that I don't know I believe that's the right way to think about these things. I think we ought to accept that there can be "online saloons," where the purpose of the place is to allow the expression of a certain roughness, just as the purpose of a bar is to allow the indulgence of a love of a good pint of beer.

Posted by: Grim at March 11, 2008 04:47 AM

Certainly different blogs have niche roles for posts or commenters. The specific complaint concerning Ice is only over one of the comments though. So the problem line, to me, is very thin and narrow in this topic, rendered exclusive to only those people that write shocking things simply because they want to trump their local buddies.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at March 11, 2008 09:25 AM

"Who said that?"

Funny, Grim.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at March 11, 2008 09:31 AM

Link

The Person that commented and really complained about Ace's Gollum post, I believe, was making the point that it is annoying for men to be so hyber critical of women and their looks. Annoying to women that is, but also annoying sometimes to people like me. Jawa, for example, sometimes posted pictures of Asian women-beauties. One time a woman was wrapped in an American flag, nude, and the comments about slant eyed folks polluting Old Glory was an interesting insight into human nature. The wrong side of human nature, perhaps, but still human nature. And still annoying.

The above link I posted, however, would unlikely to annoy folks like Attila. Since the comments are not destructively critical or insulting, but rather complimentary.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at March 11, 2008 09:35 AM

Concur to an extent, Ymar. They are complimentary if a touch ogling. But they never descend to the level of "Hubba hubba, I'd ****** **** *** and **** fork ***** in the ** **** **** *** marmoset ********, boy howdy" which is more to the point of what seems to be what Attila was put off by.

Grim has an interesting take on this. His position is more of "what's the blogger's responsibility?" And I understand and respect that. As he's a blogger himself, that's his POV. My take was much more of, "what's a commenter's responsibility?" And that's something I don't think gets addressed nearly enough. I am a guest on blogs, and I behave as such. I have never met any of the bloggers I discuss matters with (more's the pity) so I make an assumption on the level of decorum I will use, and that is 'polite'. You don't describe graphic matters with people you don't know, so why do it on a blog? Anonymity is no excuse. If you won't say something directly to someone in person, don't type it on the internet. It's that simple.

Posted by: MikeD at March 11, 2008 11:21 AM

I found that kind of amusing, Ymar :p

Didn't bother me a bit.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 11, 2008 11:35 AM

Anonymity is no excuse. If you won't say something directly to someone in person, don't type it on the internet. It's that simple.

No, don't simplify it that much, or you lose much that is valuable.

There is a tremendous virtue in the incognito, which lies in two chief properties of the mask:

1) Because we are pretending we don't know who the other person is, and they are pretending they don't know who we are, there is a great capacity for frankness that is otherwise dangerous. I can say things about myself, or about society, as "Grim" that I could not say so openly under my real name -- in the age of Google, I could quickly render myself unemployable by being as frank and direct as I have sometimes been, on difficult philosophical and personal matters. This would essentially mean I could not be so frank or direct, as I have a duty to maintain my capacity to provide for my family. While this is a problem in the age of Political Correctness, it is a problem in all times and all places to a certain degree; human society is that way.

By the same token, so can "Cassandra" express opinions without worrying that everyone she meets in the future will have formed an opinion of her from what may be a misunderstanding of her writing, without ever having actually met her.

2) A gentleman is under no obligation to defend the honor of a mask. I can readily forgive insults that I would be obligated to resent in person: for they do not touch me, but are directed only at the mask. This also permits a capacity for discussion and outreach that is greatly valuable: understanding 'across the aisle' can be furthered by such forgiveness.

Now, these things are not the way that anonymity is normally (mis)used; but that only shows that people haven't been properly taught. Anonymity should excuse certain things: and there is much that you should say in the name of truth and understanding, that you cannot always say directly to someone's face.

Posted by: Grim at March 11, 2008 12:39 PM

If you won't say something directly to someone in person, don't type it on the internet.

I do try to follow this rule, though.

I am fairly frank in real life, though obviously one must have some situational awareness. But if I have a thing to say, I don't have much trouble articulating it. One can generally find a way to get the message across in a situationally appropriate manner if it matters. The British are quite good at this.

I agree that there is some positive value in anonymity. I try, however, not to take advantage of the negative side (the license that comes with it). Can't promise I'm always 100% successful.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 11, 2008 12:59 PM

"I am a guest on blogs, and I behave as such. I have never met any of the bloggers I discuss matters with (more's the pity) so I make an assumption on the level of decorum I will use, and that is 'polite'. You don't describe graphic matters with people you don't know, so why do it on a blog? Anonymity is no excuse. If you won't say something directly to someone in person, don't type it on the internet. It's that simple."
If I may mooch off of what MikeD says, that sums up the way I attempt to conduct myself in person and as a guest on the few blogs where I visit and/or comment. Being human and of Scots/Irish blood to boot, I have failed to live up to those standards due to temper and circumstance. Some practice law, some practice medicine. With the spare time I now have on my hands, I practice civility. One day...

If I might offer one other observation that I'm fairly certain has already been mentioned, but maybe not in this way; The societal norms of the day are such that in almost any locale of the civilized world, there is a "fill in the blank Gone Wild" attitude and demeanor amongst the general population. Maybe more so in the younger folks. Ribald, rude, loud and crude is the order of the day. With a dash of in your face because most have never suffered the consequences for misbehavior. Blogs and the comments on blogs will reflect this with some amplification on the margins due to anonymity.

Other than that, after making a home with a wife and raising two daughters, I believe that male and female perceptions of humor and beauty are often more than just a little out of phase with each other. But that's just a personal observation. Your mileage will vary.

P.S. Physical beauty is only skin deep, not to mention in the eye of the beholder. And as they say, ugly(in spirit, in character, and/or in conduct) goes all the way to the bone. Then again that seems to be another in the eye of the beholder attribute.

Posted by: bthun at March 11, 2008 01:23 PM

Grim speaks out concerning anonymity, which agrees with my own perspective of the cognomen or code name using business.

If I act out here, I'm afraid Cass will unleash the Marmoset on me. That in itself isn't all that dangerous or scary. However, a marmoset using the Voice of the Bene Gesserits, however, is a wholly different matter.

there is a "fill in the blank Gone Wild" attitude and demeanor amongst the general population.

That is due to the fact that few human beings have integrity or self-discipline. They do what they do because society tells them that it is correct. The code of behavior that such people operate under are not the codes of behavior they have freely chosen out of a number of all possible alternatives. The same with religion and politics, many people simply adopt the ethics and rules of the people they love and the people that love them.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at March 11, 2008 01:34 PM

Personally, I nominate Grim as the Kwisatz Hadderach.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at March 11, 2008 01:52 PM

That's it. There's no other choice but for me to appoint myself "Manners Czar" of the internet. I have already seized power, so any of you naysayers out there are too late.

My authority comes from the same source as Jesse Jackson's self-proclaimed ability to speak for all black people, and Hillary Clinton's presumed power to represent all women. Therefore, all media-types and others must come to me for my pronouncements on internet manners questions. So let it be written, so let it be done (cue trumpet fanfare).

I will be a firm but fair manners overlord, and you will learn to love me, or at least fear me. As ultimate arbiter of all things mannerly on the internet, there is no appeal from my rulings. Like SCOTUS, things are whatever I say they are. Deal with it. I at least promise that my rulings will make more sense than those of former Justice O'Connor.

I will have a virtual internet balcony built as an addition to my website, so I can address the cheering throngs of the masses in Duce-like style. I will not be adverse to any affectionate, cult of personality appelations; "Papa AFE", perhaps. This would show the kind and beneficent side of my iron-fisted rule.

Transgressors of my mannerly standards shall be forever banned to the internet equivalent of a virtual Siberia. They will there toil and suffer to pay for their crimes against the people. I have considered particularly hideous punishments for the most egregious net criminals. For example, one of the worst punishments is to be assigned to a random, text-messaging teenage girl and be forced to correct all of her text messages to proper spelling and grammar. Our focus groups have shown that this punishment puts the heebie-jeebies in nearly everyone, and grown men have been known to weep uncontrollably and beg for mercy.

I say mercy is for the weak, and they should have considered this before making lewd comments about women on the internet! Now, they must feel the wrath of the manners czar and pay for their crimes!

All hail the great and powerful manners czar! Ladies, please try and control your enraptured swooning until the manners czar has left the virtual building.

Posted by: a former european at March 11, 2008 03:00 PM

I at least promise that my rulings will make more sense than those of former Justice O'Connor.

I got yer soft bigotry of low expectations right here, buddy.

Posted by: Dubya at March 11, 2008 03:18 PM

"I will not be adverse to any affectionate, cult of personality appelations; "Papa AFE", perhaps."
Would it be rude of me to offer Idi Dada AFE as a suitable moniker?

Posted by: bthun at March 11, 2008 03:27 PM

Don't encourage him.

The man has more personalities than Rich Little :p

Posted by: Dubya at March 11, 2008 03:30 PM

Cass, LauraW is an absolute hoot. I remember her being bored, or something, Then insulting the entire readership and declaring a flame war. Yeah, I know, this is one of the facets of a moron blog, but it was absolutely hillarious. But then, I am simple.

Y, you have lost me, "Kwisatz Hadderach?"

bthun, you are a gentleman and a scholar.

Posted by: Mark at March 11, 2008 04:03 PM

Bthun, thy joining the ranks ot the mannerly in my well-mannered internet state reflect well upon your intellect, upraising, and perspicacity, but the Idi Amin reference must be rejected due to my lack of cannibalism and SNL appearances. Good try, though. You are officially encouraged to heap further accolades upon the manners czar.

Dubya, thy comments are treading dangerously close to ill-mannered. At present, they have only been deemed at the yellow, cautionary level designated "snarky". The road to ill-mannered hell is paved with the good intentioned snark, gibe, or quip, though. Beware lest you be judged uncouth!

Posted by: a former european at March 11, 2008 04:03 PM

[choking on pretzel]

Posted by: Dubya at March 11, 2008 04:08 PM

I kind of like "Uncle AFE."

Posted by: Mark at March 11, 2008 04:11 PM

Hey, from whence sprang this hoard of croaking amphibians on my grounds?!

I have but one request... Let's go easy with the So let it be written, so let it be done pronouncements or before ya know it, it'll be sheep blood on the front door again.

Posted by: bt_LetMyMannersGo...hun at March 11, 2008 04:25 PM

No, Bthun. You are confusing your internet manners warning levels. Sheep blood on the front door corresponds to the "red", category six warning level, also known as "duck and cover", the "Imus", or the "F-bomb".

Please refer to governmental publication IM-4073-24 for further clarification of these warning levels, or merely ask your friendly, neighborhood internet manners commissar. These "people's commissars" can be identified by their virtual peaked caps, virtual jackboots, and the grim, humorless expressions on the faces of their internet avatars.

Posted by: a former european at March 11, 2008 05:38 PM

"No, don't simplify it that much, or you lose much that is valuable.

There is a tremendous virtue in the incognito"

You have given me something to think about Grim (as usual). But I'll still stand by my statement with the following caveat. Yes, the anonymity provided by a screen name allows me to be less fearful of harming my employability, but then again, if I am polite and respectful, then I have no fear of my employer taking objection to what I say here (or elsewhere). And any potential employer who would object to the substance of my posts (i.e. political content, personal philosophy, etc.) is not an employer I would wish to work for anyway. I am fortunate in that I work for a good company and am not disgruntled in any way, so I don't even feel a need to censor my comments in a manner to avoid raising the ire of my employer. But even if I DID, and even if I HATED my job, I would not rail against my employer in a store or park (because you never know who would overhear), so why would I do it on the internet?

I'd personally liken it to having your spouse come across love letters written to a mistress (or master for the female equivalent? what IS the word for a long term cheating partner for a woman... other than 'cad' I mean?). You were stupid to cheat in the first place, and then you compounded your error by making a written record of your cheating, and finally you were foolish enough to leave said written evidence in a place where the ONE PERSON you can ill afford to find it... finds it. Personally I think you get what you deserve at that point.

So too with the internet. Yes, I could be more frank than I would with a public record of my opinions, but why on earth would I air my opinions publically IF I were worried about severe negative reaction to them? And if I believe in something strongly enough to air a potentially damaging (but legal) opinion publically, then I'd be a moral coward to try and anonymize myself like those <sarcasm>oh so brave</sarcasm> anarchists.

This leaves me the following options:
a) Behave like I would in person (i.e. politely, frankly, honestly, but with decorum)
b) Behave like the anarchic rabble (i.e. standard useNET/forum/'hive of scum and villainy' behavior) hiding behind anonymity

And one final note. The anonymity of the internet is FAR from absolute. It's like a lock on a car door. It will keep out the casual thief (or investigator), but it will not withstand an actual investigation by someone determined to find out who you are. So again, I say what I would say in person, or I don't say it. Assumtions that I will be protected by various ISPs are not comforting in the least, and I think I owe it to both myself and to those who are kind enough to let me participate in their blogs.

Posted by: MikeD at March 11, 2008 05:49 PM

"Yes, the anonymity provided by a screen name allows me to be less fearful of harming my employability, but then again, if I am polite and respectful, then I have no fear of my employer taking objection to what I say here (or elsewhere)."

Though deeply respectful in tone and discussion, I would expect any employer who Googled my name and found "On the Virtues of Killing Children" listed under it not to choose to hire me.

Yet it was a piece of serious philosophy, rooted in a longstanding philosophical tradition that has its own roots in Catholic theology. Nothing said in it should be shocking, except for the recognition that the world we are born in is really so horrible that a good man may have to make such choices.

We're in an era that has trouble with hard philosophical concepts. It fears to air them. You can see the reaction if you read the comments that merely discussing the concept raises in some people. The organization may be good (or not); but the hiring agent must also be good, and wise, to rise above such reactions.

We cannot today count on such things. Yet the pursuit of truth remains important. If it were myself alone, I might gladly starve; but as a man with a wife and child, I must protect them if I would not protect myself.

Posted by: Grim at March 12, 2008 01:59 AM

THe internet provides a person a second chance at making first impressions. Something which is never truly available in life.

Unless a person forgets you entirely, their preconceptions of you will remain such for awhile at least. On the internet, you meet so many new people that you are less burdened by the expectations of those that actually do know you. Thus you are far more free to be or act the way you want to be, rather than what you think is expected of you. The key ingredient to this is that often the new people you meet don't actually know the old people that you know. Thus you don't worry about your impressions made upon the new, filtering back to the old and spreading false rumors.

For most people, the expectations of society is what keeps them in line. Free of those expectations, they then act out or find a thrill in the removal of limitations. A person caged in darkness for many years will find that being outside is both exhilarating and novel at the same time. That, in itself, is not unhealthy. What is unhealthy is when people that need societal limitations to keep them in line, suddenly find themselves on the internet with no expectations or clearly written rules. Compare this to others, free of societal restrictions, that also find that they are free from societal protections but are of a different material in the human race. You see a notable difference.

For other individuals that have been stifled by societal expectations or social norms of behavior, such as the considerations Grim raised, they can indeed find not only more freedom on the internet but more virtue as well. They can say or even do more virtuous things, because society does not prohibit them as much. Nor do such individuals self-censor themselves because of the fear of social networking relaying their actions in one social group to another. Such things happen, but it takes active organization on the net. You can recall the media self-censoring themselves, not because they are particularly worried about one particular group of Islamics rioting in the street, but because they fear that the social group in Arabia will influence the social groups in America, which will then affect the media, one way or another. Same goes for Europe, except it would be European social groups that would be affected, affected in that they will be influenced to boycott, ansatsu, or interfere with media business.

Humans are social creatures, so we do tend to listen to what others have to say and we particularly pay attention to what people are doing (Crowds form when they see fight, people afraid find courage in seeing leaders do what they are afraid to do). America is one of the most social constructions in human existence, thus the need of Americans to be "liked" and "respected" is typical of such a nation's character and national psychology. Which means even in an internet setting, people still modify their behavior based upon what they see others doing and what they believe is expected of them. So while the internet offers some more freedoms, it does not provide unlimited freedom. In fact nothing provides anyone unlimited liberty to do what they want. In the end, human beings are not gods and we are still limited by mortality and the laws of the universe which says you can't float in the air no matter how many people you get to say they saw you floating.

Y, you have lost me, "Kwisatz Hadderach?"

The Kwisatz Hadderach, sourced from the Dune quotes and mythology in the novels, is simply someone who is an advanced expression of human evolution. Since human beings currently do not have the genetic manipulation capabilities to advance our physical evolution artificially, we have to rely upon philosophy to cultivate human advancement in the ethics, morality, virtues, and the societal field.

Yet it was a piece of serious philosophy, rooted in a longstanding philosophical tradition that has its own roots in Catholic theology. Nothing said in it should be shocking, except for the recognition that the world we are born in is really so horrible that a good man may have to make such choices.

We're in an era that has trouble with hard philosophical concepts. It fears to air them.-Grim

So Grim here is an excellent presentation of the more advanced students in philosophy. Those that not only comprehend it and can debate it, but can also apply it to real world affairs in order to solve the problems of real flesh and blood human beings.

He is not afraid to venture forth where none, especially the imps like Cass, dares to go. He is also not afraid to touch the pain box that Cassandra puts on the table, either.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at March 12, 2008 07:08 AM

Grim, I for one would hire you not in spite of your essay, but because of it. Because with such a provocative title, it was a piece I HAD to read. And it's a well thought out and reasoned piece. It was one of the first pieces of yours I ever read (and yes, I read it when you posted it, not today :P). Anyone who reads the title, and is SO incurious as to actually read it is a moron. And again, I would never want said person to hire me.

But I do understand the need to provide for your family. I am in a similar situation (only with dogs instead of children... and dogs cost a lot less), so I do get your point there.

Posted by: MikeD at March 12, 2008 11:07 AM

Grim, I for one would hire you not in spite of your essay, but because of it. Because with such a provocative title, it was a piece I HAD to read.

You would hire him to implement the kind of thinking he did in that article, because you agreed with it. Not many people, however, know enough about logic or philosophy or war or human nature to agree with that article of Grim's.

And those that do, will have to worry about those that don't. And other folks that understand, will not likely hire Grim for a counter-insurgency mission. But even if folks would hire Grim and not punish him, Grim would always worry about it. That uncertainty is what modifies many human behaviors. The uncertainty of victory, the uncertainty of failure. Of risk and rewards.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at March 13, 2008 12:53 AM

"You would hire him to implement the kind of thinking he did in that article, because you agreed with it. Not many people, however, know enough about logic or philosophy or war or human nature to agree with that article of Grim's."

You'd be right that I agree with it, but you're wrong that I'd hire him because I like his opinions. That piece showed not only critical thinking skills, risk management, and the capacity to make hard but necessary choices... but also that he's not afraid to say what needs to be said, even if it's not popular. Tell me that's not something you'd value in an employee/coworker?

Posted by: MikeD at March 13, 2008 10:37 AM

but also that he's not afraid to say what needs to be said, even if it's not popular.

Which is why I included the "kind of thinking he did in that article", because how you think is not the same as the various opinions you have aired.

Tell me that's not something you'd value in an employee/coworker?

Of course it would be, which is why many companies prefer to hire former Marines.

However, in this fallen world of ours, not everyone is wise and not everyone can be made to do the wise thing. Thus war and decay proceed without fail or retardation.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at March 13, 2008 04:02 PM

> just as men often don't realize they're being maddeningly obtuse when they pretend not to notice the light of his life stopped speaking to him four weeks ago and put fire ants in his jockey shorts because anything would be preferable to having to talk about his feeeeeeeeeeelings :p

Cass, I think the most amusing thing here is that you apparently don't see yourself doing it with the above.

a) You're assuming he noticed. He really may not have. It's not a good sign, but it's quite possible. A friend of mine's wife once bitched to him in front of me about the fact that he tended to put stuff on top of the trash can when it was "full to the brim" rather than taking out the trash. She assumed, quite incorrectly, that he actually thought about taking it out at all, that he just blew off the responsibility. NO. Guys don't process that way -- they really, really *don't* "see" that it needs to be taken out, because, to a guy, until it is actually falling OUT it's not FULL. By (guy) definition. This editing takes place before conscious processing. Guys are not being "obtuse", we're being *clueless*.

b) Indirectly: "Guys don't talk about their 'feelings'". Foo. Neither do women. That's the whole point of the earlier comment you made:
...we bring things up in an infuriatingly sideways fashion instead of simply stating what we want straight out and then the man is supposed to read our minds...
This is women *not* talking about their feelings. Nothing less. It's just a different technique for the same.

c) Directly: "Guys don't talk about their 'feelings'". Foo. In the sense that women do, guys don't **HAVE** 'feelings'! I think I've noted this before, but, one of the biggest errors about guys is thinking of us like dogs. Excluding the pack behavior, guys are *NOT* like dogs. We're bears. We eat, we sleep, we take a dump in the woods. We don't obsess over things the way women do. We "see" a problem, we either ignore it (often by not seeing it -- see "a" -- the visual edit occurs before conscious processing), or we attack it and solve it. Then we're done. We don't look for 97 deeper levels of meaning in the problem, the existence of the problem, or the solution to the problem. Men are bears -- we operate on the basic KISS system. We are wired by evolution to NOT overly complicate anything. It's tough enough to not get eaten by tigers. Why worry about if the tiger is happy or unhappy?
"He wants to eat us!! Kill him or run, dammit!!"
No time for further complications. If you stop to complcate things, they get very uncomplicated -- because now you're inside the tigers' stomach.
So we're wired by evolution and survival-of-the-fittest to not complicate things. Hence, we don't have ANY 'feelings' in the sense women usually mean. "I feel hungry". "I feel tired". "I feel horny". We rarely feel more than that simple menu.

;-)

.

Posted by: obloodyhell at March 15, 2008 05:48 PM

> "Boys will be boys" is not a saying that had any influence in my parent's house. The response I heard to the one time someone uttered that phrase was, "That may be so, but I'm raising my sons to be men."

This can be done all you want, but, as someone who has always believed in genteel manners around women, I've long since recognized that the behavior of which you speak (crude comments in a semi-public forum) run to a deeper part of the brain than the post-birth training. If a guy is not (and/or does not want to appear) uptight, he's going to not bristle when guys talk like that. And if he's around it, he'll chameleon with no problem over time.

Ideally, he'll shut up when a woman walks in/around -- but comments, like farts, have a certain sort of persistence even after you leave the room.

I think it's as suggested above. His place is run as more of a bar catering to sailors or Hell's Angel types, not to mixed company. If you want to hang around, you sorta have to roll with the occasional overt crudity.

Posted by: obloodyhell at March 15, 2008 06:09 PM

> We're in an era that has trouble with hard philosophical concepts. It fears to air them.-Grim

No, it censors some and accepts others -- the criteria is "how PC is it?"

It's "ok" to openly discuss The Vagina Monologues in a place where children might overhear the discussion, but it's not ok to talk about a woman's appearance (not targeting your discussion, here, but women who object to **all** such as "objectifying" -- which is correct, but the unseen "invisible sneer of Rightious Indignation" is not).

A lot of such censorship ties to the PC rules as far as that goes -- so it's usually implemented as a form of PC speech control.

Posted by: obloodyhell at March 15, 2008 06:37 PM

OBH:

A few points:

1. I've raised two sons and been married for nearly 30 years as well as having been friends with guys since I was just a girl.

Trust me: guys have feelings. And trust me: guys are not comfortable talking about it when their feelings get hurt. Which happens. A lot more than they let on, b/c socially, it isn't acceptable for men to have hurt feelings.

I am not saying that men are like women. They aren't. Or even that they feel things the same way.

But men (and boys) do get hurt and upset. And they do suppress it.

And it does cause major problems, especially if the reason they are upset is something fairly simple someone is doing that caused the problem (if they would just talk about it in a constructive way - as in, say "yanno, I realize you probably don't mean to do it, but when you do x, y, or z, it really makes me feel like crap - how would you feel if I did the same thing to you?") could be solved very easily.

I have had men tell me over and over that they hate it when women expect them to read their minds.

But men do that crap all the time. All. The. Time. Except they really don't realize they're doing it. The difference is, men get mad at you for doing something, then they don't deal with it or talk about it, and then they do some crappy thing to get you back for it because that is how they feel better about it (they 'even the score' unconsciously). I have watched I can't tell you how many men wreck perfectly good relationships because they wouldn't deal with simple problems in a straightforward fashion.

And they will go to their graves swearing they "have no idea what went wrong". If you believe that, I have some beachfront property in Arizona I'd like to sell you.

Relationships take work. All of them.

Some of the work is up front, selecting the right person.

Some of it is maintenance. But you have to put in the time, just like you have to put in the time at your job or any other endeavor. Saying "I had no idea b/c I wasn't paying attention" doesn't cut it. Ever.

2. Discussing the Vagina Monologues is no different than the kind of behavior I didn't care for at Ace's. Same standard applies - inappropriate for mixed company.

There are always people who want to flout the rules. Actually this is an excellent point, b/c I see no difference between Jane Fonda and her ilk (who behave with total contempt for men) and men who act with casual contempt for women in mixed company. Both, IMO, have decided they don't care who they offend.

A certain kind of person will always refuse to validate either type of behavior. Some will (hypocritically) condemn one but laud the other, depending on whether or not their ox is being gored. And all of us are free to decide where we come down on those issues.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 16, 2008 08:37 PM

And trust me: guys are not comfortable talking about it when their feelings get hurt.

It's a simple survival reflex. Animals don't try to show that they are hurt physically either. Down that road is calling getting killed and eaten. Since predators hunt animals that are obviously physically weak or lamed, trying to appear strong when you are not provides you maybe 10-20% of a safety cushion. The same thing applies to sentient men. It is obviously a fakery, of course, but that 10-20% extra chance can't be ignored by the human instinct of self-preservation.

And it does cause major problems, especially if the reason they are upset is something fairly simple someone is doing that caused the problem

That may be due to the fact that in hunter-gatherer societies, men settled their differences by hitting and even killing each other. That also solved the hierarchy disputes about who will be the leader. Since the value of a man wasn't how loud he could talk, but how well he could hunt and kill, naturally society evolved with the emphasis on men's physical, not verbal, skills.

A lot is lost, of course, when only physical solutions to problems are offered. But then again, not a lot of hunting problems needed to be solved with a debate. Humans have free will compared to animals, which means we can choose to do or not do certain things. But the basic limitations due to our ancestors are still around, somewhere.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at March 16, 2008 11:54 PM

Discussing the Vagina Monologues is no different than the kind of behavior I didn't care for at Ace's. Same standard applies - inappropriate for mixed company.

Well, they're designed for the theater, which is appropriate -- the audience knows what it is getting, and is volunteering (and even paying for admission). I've got no problem with people performing the play, however silly it may be.

What I think I object to is OBH characterizing it as an example of "hard philosophical concepts." :)

Posted by: Grim at March 17, 2008 12:22 AM

Holy cow, how did I stumble upon this web site. It's interesting to see what people do with their time. If I even took the time to read what everyone wrote, I'd have wasted a couple hours. Then if I took the time to understand what your on about, I'd be old gray. It's good the world is at least as big as it is and I am in one very small empty corner. Oh the humanity!

Posted by: sims at August 20, 2009 06:29 AM

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