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May 04, 2009

Flame War

Aye yay yay. Apparently I've been in a "flame war" for several days and didn't realize it. And worst of all, I seem to have started it:

I do not think Cassandra means . . . what Stacy thinks Cassandra means. Not by a long shot. And if he think she’s a radical Feminist, or an embittered spinster . . . this could become very interesting, very quickly.

For the most part, Attila seems to understand what I was driving at the other day. I have thought a lot about this and I'm not going to feed the dragon. I am not interested in flaming anyone, nor in trading insults. If I was unclear in my phrasing the other day, it was because I was trying to make the point gently, without being needlessly confrontational or personally insulting. My assertion that Mr. McCain missed my point is demonstrably true (I leave you to read his posts on the subject). Observing that his responses failed to address my argument, or that it seemed he didn't understand what I was getting at, is not tantamount to calling him "stupid". Had I meant to call him "stupid", I would surely have done so.

There are many reasons one might mistake the point of a post. The most obvious is the author's failure to state her arguments clearly. Because I dislike confrontations and hate upsetting people even more, I tried to suggest the point obliquely rather than bludgeoning readers over the head with it. But this tactic carries with it the associated risk of misunderstanding. To the extent that I failed to enunciate my concerns clearly and caused unintended offense, I am at fault.

Let me reiterate my points as clearly and succintly as I can. As I am going to state my thoughts bluntly, perhaps my reasons for initially favoring the indirect approach will become more apparent.

1. I don't believe words like "slut" and "whore" are appropriate rebuttals to young women who neither advocate promiscuity nor sell sex. Moreover, they do precisely nothing to persuade young women to resist the advances of young men desirous of gaining intensive hands on experience with the mammary glands of as many girls as possible before they marry a pure and hitherto untouched maiden.

I wouldn't dream of calling women who do engage in frequent premarital sex, compensated or not, "sluts" or "whores". Certainly those epithets would be technically correct. But that's not the way I was raised and I thank God for the values my parents taught me every day. I also recognize that they are not shared by everyone.

2. I think it's quite possible to make a convincing public policy argument against same sex marriage without calling someone a "fag". I think it's quite possible to argue convincingly against race baiting civil rights activists without calling them "niggers". Therefore, it is hardly surprising that I find the use of the terms "slut" and "whore" unnecessary to formulating a convincing argument for promoting virginity or opposing abortion. Everyone understands these terms are meant to be offensive on a personal level.

This has nothing to do with political correctness. It has everything to do with common decency - a value conservatives used to defend but seem to have abandoned since Obama was elected.

I also think it's quite possible to make a coherent argument against conservative ideas without calling us insane, bigoted, sexually dysfunctional, or criminals. If we don't think public policy disagreement justifies gratuitous personal attacks, what possible justification can we claim for attacking our opponents in this manner? Hence the title of my original post (pun fully intended): tit for tat.

3. Conservatives have taken vigorous offense to perceived disrespectful commentary from Lefty pundits and bloggers directed at Ms. Prejean. Or more accurately, at her breasts.

The excerpt in my original post was selected to illustrate that many of us have not exactly been respectful in our comments regarding said body parts. Much outrage has been directed at a remark by one Gloria Feldt, of whom I had never heard before this incident.

As far as I can tell, what Ms. Feldt actually said seems far less offensive and disrespectful than much of the commentary on the right regarding Miss California's mammary glands.

If you believe gays have the right to marry, it is hardly surprising that you might find conservative deafness to their distress cold and uncaring. Furthermore, it's not exactly beyond the pale to suggest someone you disagree with vehemently should perhaps place more emphasis on empathy than personal appearance.

But because I also oppose gay marriage, I happen to know it's quite possible to be deeply sympathetic to gay couples who aren't allowed to marry, while still thinking gay marriage is a very bad idea for a whole host of reasons. The truth is, both conservatives and liberals make very little attempt to understand each other's positions and often prefer disparagement and ridicule to rational discussion. But disparagement and ridicule are not arguments.

And more importantly, it doesn't have to be this way.

While we have zero control over the actions of others, we have complete control over our own. Since many of my friends are liberals, I can testify that we've always been able to discuss even sensitive subjects without rancor or nastiness. These attempts have resulted in admissions - on both sides - that there are reasonable foundations for our respective positions.

Did either of us change our minds? Of course not. But we found far more common ground than we suspected.

There are days when I no longer recognize the world I live in. When it becomes unacceptable for conservatives - of all people - to uphold traditional standards of decency and civil discourse, we have really lost something precious.

Posted by Cassandra at May 4, 2009 05:29 AM

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Comments

You're a lady, and you know who you are, so I hope you never let these folks preoccupy you much.

Posted by: Texan99 at May 4, 2009 10:36 AM

I don't worry so much about what people think of me. If I did that, I'd be afraid to say what I thought, and I disagree with enough things I read that I know some things I say will ruffle people's feathers.

I do worry about making myself clear and not being unnecessarily offensive :p

That said, thank you for the kind words.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 4, 2009 10:45 AM

Welcome to my world.


People are just angry. Period. Folks are just so angry at this point, good luck finding any talking circles that will capitulate in a rational and civil manner.

Posted by: Red at May 4, 2009 11:10 AM

I tend to agree.

The thing is, I have never expected anyone - conservative or liberal - to just give in because I argue some point.

They have every right to agree or disagree with me and I expect them to be tenacious and to argue forcefully. It's hard to see, though, how namecalling makes people more receptive to anyone's arguments. I have heard conservatives I agree with 100% do that and I come away thinking to myself, "What a jerk. She can't even make a rational case for what she believes, so she calls names?"

Now if I think that (and I already agree with these folks) how will that kind of rhetoric ever persuade someone - like a young person - who is trying to decide which party is better?

Being civil doesn't mean becoming "liberal light". Civility has nothing to do with how well you can explain your position except to the extent that I've noticed a lot of people tend to resort to incivility when they can't articulate or defend their position.

That plays great to the choir, but then they're already on our side :p

They're not the ones we need to persuade.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 4, 2009 11:28 AM

Mmm. It's a shame that a few in the party of civil discourse has decided to react in this way. I think they hear the battle cries of "it's time to fight back" and they interpret that to mean "act like a leftist". When in fact it means no such thing. It is possible to stand up for yourself without behaving like a nitwit.

If, perhaps, someone lacks the vocabulary or the mental strength to defend a position or respond to political attacks, than perhaps that person would be better suited doing other things for the conservative movement.

Take to mind, here, I'm not talking about any specific person. I'm speaking in general terms and that is exactly how I mean it. If there are a few on the right who have been tempted to act like a liberal, it doesn't mean they have to keep acting that way.

Posted by: Jewels at May 4, 2009 11:33 AM

Cassandra, you just said what I just said, only better. ;o)

Posted by: Jewels at May 4, 2009 11:34 AM

Cass! HOW DARE YOU! How can you sit there and be all polite and rational!?!?! Don't you understand that you're required to be vitriolic and hyperbolic in everything you post!

We can never defeat our opponents if we don't demonize them and treat everything they say as heresy (especially if we agree with them). And here you go, getting all "nice" and "ladylike", living up to your morals... sheesh! What are you thinking!

;)

Posted by: MikeD at May 4, 2009 11:37 AM

Cass:

I concur with T-niner niner, "You're a lady." I've always admired your thoughts and writing skills. You have the best "editorial staff" on the planet, :p, as evidenced by the agile-minded and always amusing commentaries by your loyal following (the knavery). My pappy always said there is no excuse for bad manners. Thank you for taking the extra time in your writings to elevate the art of discourse.

Posted by: ziobuck at May 4, 2009 11:41 AM

I think they hear the battle cries of "it's time to fight back" and they interpret that to mean "act like a leftist". When in fact it means no such thing. It is possible to stand up for yourself without behaving like a nitwit.

Exactly. I always used to love watching Condi Rice shove some poor soul's talking points right down his throat while never batting an eyelash or stooping to ad hominems. They never stood a chance :p

We need more like her.

And you guys are way too nice.

I don't know why I get my Hanes UltraSheers all in a wad about this stuff, but the fact is that I do and I don't imagine I'll change any time soon.

Regarding the editorial staff, it's easy showing up when you have the best readers in the blatherosphere :p There's not a day that goes by when you all don't challenge the way I think, or make me laugh out loud when I'm sitting at my desk all by myself.

So, I know I don't say it often but, "Thanks" :)

Posted by: Cassandra at May 4, 2009 12:08 PM

cassandra some people just like to pontificate because they love the sound of their own blogging yet, they still miss the fundamental point. its important to stick up for civility.

"I always used to love watching Condi Rice shove some poor soul's talking points right down his throat while never batting an eyelash or stooping to ad hominems. They never stood a chance :p"

in looking at a rather long and rambling response, it is clear HE never stood a chance. :)

Posted by: kate at May 4, 2009 12:15 PM

*sigh*

I will admit to losing track.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 4, 2009 12:34 PM

"I don't know why I get my Hanes UltraSheers all in a wad about this stuff..."

Maybe you should switch to Legg's.
Jus' sayin'.

*skipping away through the trees and breeze*
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at May 4, 2009 01:23 PM

Or better yet.... BOOBS! :)


Posted by: Princess Leia in a Cheese Danish Bikini at May 4, 2009 01:45 PM

I think you are being to hard on R.S. McCain. We conservatives must stop attacking each other.


http://kirbside.blogspot.com/2009/05/monday-morning-web-surfing-roundup.html

http://kirbside.blogspot.com/2009/05/villainous-company.html

In the second post above I comment on your use of dimwitted in you sidebar... Was that term needed?

Posted by: Kirbside at May 4, 2009 01:55 PM

Specifically, where did I "attack" Stacy McCain?

Oh. I get it. Disagreeing with someone is "attacking" them? Wow.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 4, 2009 02:14 PM

Was that term needed?

In that it specifies the target of the marginalization regardless of race, creed, country of national origin, or political affiliation, I'd venture to opine in the affirmative.

And it conveys a sense of whimsical, yet dignified, chiding that a$$hat doesn't.

Posted by: BillT at May 4, 2009 02:16 PM

You're gonna get your boobs in a wad? On top of sounding painful, isn't that kinda what started this so-called *Flame War* - as one-sided as it may be?
Would that be considered adding fuel to the fire? Or does silicon put out a fire? I know halon does, but then I've never heard of halon-enhanced boobs...which, I would think would be counter-productive the general notion of *why* boobs are being enhanced in the first place.
0>:~}

Posted by: DL Sly at May 4, 2009 02:19 PM

Given that the title was "Welcome to the Snarkpit of Fascism" one would think that the entire item was a snarky co-opting a typical liberal epithet.

As such, it serves as an example that insults are ineffective as we demonstrate we can insult ourselves in much more creative ways ala Cyrano De Bergerac.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at May 4, 2009 02:25 PM

"I've never heard of halon-enhanced boobs"
Well that just took the oxygen outta whatever I had intended to say...

Oh yeah, what BillT at May 4, 2009 02:16 PM said.

Posted by: The-Manchurian-bubba_hun at May 4, 2009 02:29 PM

Regarding Feldt, I was amazed to hear her response to Laura Ingraham discussing the lack of support for Prejean from feminist groups. Feldt replied several times that Prejean should have had "Heart implant instead of a breast implant." Ms. Ingraham was so taken aback that she misunderstood the statement to be "Had a brain implant instead of a breast implant." Feldt then unapologetically corrected her and restated it was a heart implant not a brain implant.

Politically correct speech is a requirement applicable only to Conservatives and the unwashed masses. Apparently it is an option for liberals and progressives. Since when do any of us resort to personal attacks of a private nature when disagreeing with someone's personal and private beliefs?

Whoever invited the incendiary blogger Perez Hilton had an agenda. This was a setup from the get-go. They were attempting to keep Prop 8 on the high boil and test the hypocrisy level of Prejean to force her to choose between her beliefs and what the P.C. crowd wanted to hear.

Posted by: vet66 at May 4, 2009 03:04 PM

That's why I read you everyday. I read your blog, but did some moving around was not able to follow it for a year or so. Was glad you did not quit. “You are a voice in the insanity”. Conservatives must move back to our roots. Constitution and Bill of Right … minus the 14 amendment.


"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it." --Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: hoop at May 4, 2009 03:11 PM

I'm not getting in the middle of this, Cassandra! I love all my conservative friends, with breasts and without! Well, actually, don't get me going about Charles Johnson, but you know what I'm saying!

- Donald

Posted by: Americaneocon at May 4, 2009 03:41 PM

Smart move, because it's the biggest waste of time I've ever seen :p

I'd show you my breasts, but I'd hate to rupture the space-time continuum.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 4, 2009 03:43 PM

You're gonna get your boobs in a wad?

Someone let me out of this sports bra before I suffocate.

Posted by: The UniBoob at May 4, 2009 03:50 PM

Boobs in a wad?
heh

Does this mean you now have cleavage?

*ducking trivet, dodging marmoset, exit: stage left*

Posted by: Snark Le'Puss at May 4, 2009 04:02 PM

...but I'd hate to rupture the space-time continuum.

I can work within a rift in the space-time continuum. Been doing it since 2007, and haven't noticed any ill effects except the occasional megascorpion strumming "Swanee" on the banjo as he drifts past on a cinderblock balloon...

Posted by: BillT at May 4, 2009 04:07 PM

Bill,
You're just plain weird.

Cass,
Robert "Stacy" McCain is a big waste of time, regardless of his traffic counts. I read him on and off for a few days because Tigerhawk linked to him, and frankly, to paraphrase from spd rdr,"He ain't got nothin'."

You'll always be our girl. Blog Princess, Mistress of snark, Marine wife, denture wearer (whoa! I didn't know about the dentures!).

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at May 4, 2009 05:32 PM

You know Don, up until about 3 this afternoon I just thought this was overblown and silly.

Now I am pissed.

I don't think the truth matters anymore.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 4, 2009 05:49 PM

"Bill, You're just plain weird."
Aw hail... And here I was thinkin' Bill was a squared-away sorta fellow. Maybe I need to seek professional council.
"You know Don, up until about 3 this afternoon I just thought this was overblown and silly."
M'lady, it still is all of the above. The Princess need not concern herself with such riff-raff.

I think I'll hush now before I find myself darted, drugged and sharing a cage on the back of a Land Rover with Marlin Perkins.

Posted by: The-Manchurian-bubba_hun at May 4, 2009 06:08 PM

"You know Don, up until about 3 this afternoon I just thought this was overblown and silly."

You know, Cass, it's after 3 now on my side of the playground, and I still think it's overblown and silly.

*scrapes avocado mush off of wooden spatula into bowl*
*picks out khaki colored thread and small splinter*

guacamole?
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at May 4, 2009 06:12 PM

I'll take some guac, please! Sans splinter.

Posted by: Sly's Wardrobe Mistress at May 4, 2009 06:38 PM

"Bill, You're just plain weird."

Ummmmm -- yeah. Aaaaand your point would be...?

Posted by: BillT at May 4, 2009 06:46 PM

"...up until about 3 this afternoon I just thought this was overblown and silly."

It's tomorrow over here, and it's still overblown and silly.

Sorta reminds me of a Yorkie attempting to intimidate an Akita...

Posted by: BillT at May 4, 2009 06:56 PM

"guacamole?"
Here!

And back at ya courtesy of Wes Montgomery. =8^}

Posted by: The-Manchurian-bubba_hun at May 4, 2009 07:06 PM

This post and the comments from your other readers is the reason I like your blog. Who'da' thunk it? Someone with principles who actually sticks to them.

Posted by: Charodey at May 4, 2009 10:03 PM

Thank you. That means an awful lot to me.

More than you can probably imagine. I don't pretend to be right all of the time, or to know all the answers. And I genuinely don't like fights.

I wouldn't have taken the time to say any of this if it hadn't bothered me, and if I hadn't thought it important. I think if we surrender our standards because we're afraid of losing, we won't be who we started out to be anymore.

And I'm glad that whether or not many of you agreed with me, you understood what I was trying to say and were kind enough to consider it.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 4, 2009 10:18 PM

...denture wearer (whoa! I didn't know about the dentures!).

OK. That just penetrated my pea sized brain.

You are going down... and not in a good way :)

Posted by: Cassandra at May 5, 2009 09:45 AM

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