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November 04, 2014

Not To Put Too Fine a Point on It, But WTF????

This, from Glenn Reynolds, has got to be one of the most bizarre reactions we've seen (admittedly a very high bar) to that viral catcalling video that has been making the rounds:

Second, and more troubling, the notion of going after minority males for inappropriate behavior toward white women raises unsettling memories of Jim Crow. Emmett Till, for example, a 14-year-old black youth who visited Mississippi from his home town of Chicago, broke the local behavioral code by flirting with a white cashier while buying some bubble gum. A few days later he was kidnapped, brutally beaten, and fatally shot in the head. An all-white jury, presumably viewing Till's behavior as culpable, refused to convict his killers.

I feel sure, of course, that the makers of today's catcalling video didn't think for a moment about the Emmett Till case, and I am positive that they would not endorse the fatal lynching of the men they pictured. Nonetheless, it's worth noting that the history of controlling minority men's intersexual behavior in this country is closely intertwined with the history of lynching. Those who choose to get involved in this field need to be aware of that history, lest they unintentionally make things worse.

After this, the Editorial Staff don't want to see any more complaining about accusations of coded language or RAAAAACISM hyperbole from the Left. Once you actively endorse behaviors and arguments you've complained about vehemently, why should anyone take you or your arguments seriously?

Posted by Cassandra at November 4, 2014 08:00 AM

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”Once you actively endorse behaviors and arguments you've complained about vehemently, why should anyone take you or your arguments seriously?”

Mr. Reynolds’
>i>”interaction between the sexes can't be confined to the narrow spectrum found acceptable by mostly white upper-middle-class academic feminists.”

In a catch-22 world, yes it can. In such a world, it’s must. In such a world, desired solutions/outcomes imposed by one narrow spectrum being at odds with, contradicting even, a slew of competing narrow spectrums is the leitmotif of new world order. Such world orders demand that everyone, but everyone, regardless of personal political affiliations, be, on not even a moment’s notice - suspect. Such world orders exempt no-one, but no-one, from Room 101.

Take their arguments seriously. The contradictions are not a flaw but a feature. The slew of competing volksgemeinschaft (identity communities) make possible gleichschaltung (conformity, i.e., 2+2=5 if so stipulated by the powers that be). Lawrence Summers and Bill Maher will attest to the praxis.

Posted by: George Pal at November 4, 2014 10:59 AM

What I no longer take seriously is any complaint about blatant race-baiting from Mr. Reynolds :p

I also refuse to take seriously anyone (though I have not actually seen this argument made except as a straw man) who wants catcalling to be illegal. It's a dumb argument that would result in a dumb,unenforceable law.

I also refuse to take seriously the ludicrous suggestion that complaining about rude behavior is in any way akin to fomenting a lynch mob.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 4, 2014 11:36 AM

(though I have not actually seen this argument made except as a straw man) who wants catcalling to be illegal

Not illegal, no. But there are plenty who want to stop it through social pressure.

As a Upper-Middle-Class-Dead-White-Male-Patriarchal-Chinese-Toy-Loving-Minion-Of-The-Richest-1% Cultural Hegemonist I think this is a wonderful idea.

But I'll cop to some gleeful satisfaction in pointing out the contradiction in the "All cultures are equal, BUT DON'T YOU DARE VIOLATE MY CULTURAL NORMS" crowd.

Welcome to the Hegemony, sister.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 4, 2014 12:31 PM

Not illegal, no. But there are plenty who want to stop it through social pressure.

Yep. You can count me among them :p

I'll cop to some gleeful satisfaction in pointing out the contradiction in the "All cultures are equal, BUT DON'T YOU DARE VIOLATE MY CULTURAL NORMS" crowd.

Sure, if all one does is point out contradictions, I'll be right there beside you. Heck, I do that sort of thing all the time :p

But suggestions (2 paragraphs worth!) that simply pointing something out (or applying social pressure, or making a case that X is rude behavior) is at all likely to lead to a resurgence of Jim Crow-era lynch mobs is just plain ludicrous. It's exactly the kind of inflammatory and hyperbolic insinuation we've so often criticized the Dems for making.


Posted by: Cassandra at November 4, 2014 12:52 PM

Well, you and I have often had different perspectives on this kind of thing from Glenn.

You think he's offering serious assertions.

I think he's playing the troll.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 4, 2014 01:03 PM

I also refuse to take seriously the ludicrous suggestion that complaining about rude behavior is in any way akin to fomenting a lynch mob.

I think that reading is overly harsh. Reynolds has been talking a lot, for several years, about how the narrative about the black experience has been distorted by the left: for example, blurring out the fact that it was the Republican Party that was largely founded on anti-slavery themes, that the Democratic Party supported both slavery and, later, was the backbone structure of Jim Crow; that gun control laws were propagated by Democratic legislatures explicitly to control the black populations; that abortion initially became an issue because of eugenic concerns, recently expressed by left-leaning Justice Ginsberg, about having 'too many' of 'the wrong kind' of people; etc.

So here's one more part of the old Jim Crow system that is tied to one more part of the Left: the system of control used to keep black men in their place regarding white women. And Till was indeed killed over just such a thing, not all that long ago: a generation ago.

He seems clear that he believes they aren't calling for any such similar reaction. He's not accusing them of speaking in code -- he explicitly says he believes they aren't. He's just saying that they are ignorant of the history of the issue, and that this history ought to be relevant to the conversation about how white women expect to be treated in public by poorer, minority men. They don't know, he says, they aren't thinking of this issue: but they should be aware of it and thoughtful about it.

That's the claim as I read it. The reason to reject it is that American society is so different from the way it was a generation ago that no comparisons between us and who we were a generation ago are reasonable. If that's hyperbole, so is this; but I'm not at all sure that it is.

Posted by: Grim at November 4, 2014 01:07 PM

You think he's offering serious assertions. I think he's playing the troll.

Well, this may be an area where we differ. "Playing the troll" by definition in an op-ed makes me not take a person's arguments seriously.

This isn't a blog comment or a on-off snarky aside. It's in the middle of an otherwise serious op-ed.

He seems clear that he believes they aren't calling for any such similar reaction.

Ah, so he doesn't actually believe what he's saying here? "Hey, I don't think you want to see anyone actually fatally lynched, but in the past black men *were* lynched for making advances to white women and - despite the fact that you Lefties bring this stuff up pretty much 24/7 - I think you've forgotten the history you're always throwing in everyone else's face"?

He's not accusing them of speaking in code -- he explicitly says he believes they aren't. He's just saying that they are ignorant of the history of the issue, and that this history ought to be relevant to the conversation about how white women expect to be treated in public by poorer, minority men.

So you think he's seriously arguing that it's not acceptable or racially insensitive (despite the fact that 6/18 men in the video were actually white) to criticize the behavior of black men towards white women because that conjures up memories of Jim Crow? Hmmm. Sounds like a trigger warning is in order. Except he makes fun of trigger warnings, so that can't be it.

They don't know, he says, they aren't thinking of this issue: but they should be aware of it and thoughtful about it.

Honestly, I don't even know what that means, Grim. Are you suggesting that Reynolds is seriously making the argument that white people must always keep lynchings in the back of their mind when discussing modern interactions between whites and blacks? Because that would seem to be completely inconsistent with other arguments he has made on the subject.

I'm genuinely confused here. You think he really believes that?

Posted by: Cassandra at November 4, 2014 01:30 PM

Cass:

This is the part I'm thinking about:

"I feel sure, of course, that the makers of today's catcalling video didn't think for a moment about the Emmett Till case, and I am positive that they would not endorse the fatal lynching of the men they pictured."

That sounds to me like a non-claim that they are speaking in code, because they'd have to be thinking of the case to code a message about it; and a clear statement that he doesn't believe they wanted to see any lynchings. So it's not that kind of a claim.

He goes on to say:

"Those who choose to get involved in this field need to be aware of that history, lest they unintentionally make things worse."

So I think he's seriously arguing that if you get involved in white/black relations, you should understand the history of those relations. If it's the relations between black men and white women, and you (as a white woman) want to impose some sort of controls on the ways that black men behave toward you, you should be aware of the history of such controls. Failing to be aware of the history is going to cause people offense -- as indeed the video did apparently offend some black women.

So, maybe not "think of lynchings!" every time white people and black people talk about anything related to race. But when we talk about social controls on black men's sexual attentions to white women, well, that's really relevant to lynchings. That was a very common flashpoint for lynchings.

And if this helps unravel the surprisingly-strong narrative that the Democratic Party is the natural home of all black people, that's another one of his major themes.

Posted by: Grim at November 4, 2014 01:39 PM

"Playing the troll" by definition in an op-ed makes me not take a person's arguments seriously.

And well you shouldn't, because he isn't positing a serious argument.

I imagine him sitting at his laptop smirking himself silly as the hatemail comes in from leftists reading, "That argument is stupid".

"Yes", Glenn says to himself, "Yes it is".

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 4, 2014 02:18 PM

Well, but if Grim thinks he's serious and YAG thinks he's not serious, then the argument isn't very clearly stated. If you're making a serious (or unserious) argument but your audience isn't sure what you meant, that would seem to diminish the effectiveness of the argument, no es verdad?

FWIW, I really don't think he was serious about any of that part, but switching back and forth from "serious" to "not-serious" in the same op-ed doesn't seem like a good idea to me. At least if your goal is to advance your position. Now if all you want to do is make some people angry (or just confuse them), then I suppose it's very effective.

I took the whole thing as a poorly veiled accusation of hypocrisy aimed at feminists (i.e., "You're always telling men they need to be more sensitive about TRIGGER WARNING issues that are upsetting women, but you refuse to show that same insensitivity in your dealings with black men - you're not avoiding their TRIGGERS!!!!!11!"

There's nothing wrong with this argument, by the way. But I think it would have helped to make the argument more explicit.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 4, 2014 02:31 PM

Well, but if Grim thinks he's serious and YAG thinks he's not serious, then the argument isn't very clearly stated.

I never said it was clearly stated. That's the problem with being tongue-in-cheek or using sarcasm. Unless you can wink at your audience, someone's going to walk away with an unintended impression. I won't rule out that that person could be me.

At the same time, if leftists take it as serious and start thinking to themselves, "Crap, maybe I'm a horrible person", well, I'm not going to be too heartbroken over that either.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 4, 2014 03:43 PM

Whether it is clearly stated or not depends, I think, on whether the two of you are right to impute an unstated motive or agenda to what he wrote. Then he isn't being clear because he's hiding something.

But I think the plain language of what he wrote supports my reading. So it is clearly stated, if there's no hidden agenda! If there is a hidden agenda, it's not clearly stated (because it's hidden). :)

Posted by: Grim at November 4, 2014 03:51 PM

At the same time, if leftists take it as serious and start thinking to themselves, "Crap, maybe I'm a horrible person", well, I'm not going to be too heartbroken over that either.

Me either, but I guess I don't really think it's a great idea to appear to legitimize injecting race/identity politics into every discussion. Especially when you believe that's wrong and harmful.

The fact that you manage to upset or fool people you don't like doesn't seem to justify using tactics you've previously argued were harmful and wrongheaded.

I think maybe that's why I get so disgusted with the Internet. Everyone's outraged about what the other guy's doing or saying... until it suits them to do or say the exact same thing they just finished being uber-outrage-y about.

When called on this, they can always say, "Oh come on..... I wasn't *serious*".

And I think to myself, "Yep. You sure weren't."

Posted by: Cassandra at November 4, 2014 03:53 PM

I think the plain language of what he wrote supports my reading. So it is clearly stated, if there's no hidden agenda!

Well, if he's serious about making that argument, then allow me to point out the many logical flaws in it.

1. I don't really buy the notion that black men who accost white women while they're walking down the street are secretly terrified of being attacked by Emmit Till-style lynch mobs (or that women should worry about "triggering" their deep seated racial fears to the extent that we can't even point out that boorish behavior is... well... boorish, regardless of the race of the actor).

2. I don't buy the notion that feminists believe that catcalling is OK when white men do it, but wrong/offensive when minorities do it.

For one thing, previous videos on the same topic featured white men. So obviously, that's not the mainstream view. And if you believe ANY stereotypical male behavior is acceptable when only white men do it....

...well, that's just silly. I've never once heard that argument made in all these years. "Hey! it's OK to objectify women if you're white and male!".

*rolling eyes*

3. If feminists *didn't* mean to say that it's OK for white men to catcall but not for black/Hispanic men to do so, then why expect them to display the kind of special, raced-based double standard Reynolds himself has so often poked fun at?

It's clearly not a serious argument, because in other contexts he has repeatedly rejected it out of hand. And I don't believe he really thinks that feminists allow white men more leeway than black or Hispanic men, because he's always complaining about the particular demonization of white men. So if he really believes this, we are forced to discount pretty much everything else he's said on the topic as insincere.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 4, 2014 04:40 PM

Hey, I didn't step in to defend his argument. I just thought you were being harsh in declaring him to have lost all credibility by adopting hypocritical tactics.

As for point 3, Reynolds' complaint is about feminist treatment of what he often calls 'low status' men; he has in this one instance found allies among the black feminist community. So minority men are a subset of 'low status' men, which means it makes some sense to highlight the divide within the feminist community on this issue.

In any case, I think it's an honest argument -- whether it's good or not is another question. I often disagree with both InstaPundit and his wife on the 'mens rights' issues that they've taken up as a cause, but I think they're good people. Dr. Helen has always been kind when we've corresponded, and though she and I clearly don't see eye to eye on this issue, I've never gotten the sense that she wasn't interested out of something like that same kindness. She's met a lot of guys who've been hurt, and it's touched her so much that she invited them into her life and thinks a lot about their issues.

So I'm sympathetic to her, less to them, and not always very much to their arguments. But disagreement isn't disrespect. I think they're sincere about all this, whether or not I think they're right.

Posted by: Grim at November 4, 2014 06:20 PM

I do think, by the way, that the complaint about 'low status' men has some validity: feminists are often willing to accept horrible behavior from high status men like Bill Clinton, but want to institute oppressive regulatory structures for everyone else (like these college EEO boards).

There's not a perfect overlap with race: lots of white men are low status, and a certain number of black men are high status (and thus escape the regulatory structures as well as the criticism from the feminist left). But a poor minority man is very likely to be low status, so that poorer black men on the streets of NYC are a proper subset of the category Reynolds cares about.

Posted by: Grim at November 4, 2014 06:38 PM

Having friends who posted this on Facebook showing "what women go through", I can honestly say, they did not think for a moment about the fact that the catcallers were non-white men. They were exclusively concerned with the male on female aspect. But clearly, this HAS struck a nerve in minority bloggers who are seeing all MANNER of lynch mob mentality in this video. Whether you or I see it there is immaterial. And the fact is, since most of these women are quite liberal, they get VERY uncomfortable when this white/minority aspect is pointed out. They literally never even thought about it.

For my part, I think that it's reprehensible behavior, but I cannot see how one could legislate it out of existence. Any such law would run afoul of the First Amendment, and those who see the racial aspect to this would be correct in one very salient point. It WOULD involve a disparate impact on minority men over white men. And that particular rock has broken many a legal ship (if you'll allow the metaphor).

On the social aspect of this particular video, I think the only real outcome of it is one segment of the left will clash with another. And frankly, I'm not normally one for "I told you so's", but I've seen this clash coming for quite a while. The Left's coalition of Labor, Feminists, LGBTIQ, and Minorities are too divided in their fundamental morals and concerns to ever form a permanent alliance. We saw the first cracks in California on Prop 8, where minorities voted in HUGH blocks against gay marrage. Leftist focused their eyre on the Republicans and religious organizations almost exclusively, but there was a LOT of folks disconcerted that fellow Democrats would oppose their agenda SO strongly.

These groups can, and will, eventually split. Socially, the Labor movement can be quite conservative (think about how accepting of gay rights the average Longshoreman is likely to be), as are most minorities. The question becomes, will we see a new third party, or will the Republicans fold those groups into their ranks eventually (as happened before with blacks)? That, I don't yet know.

Posted by: MikeD at November 4, 2014 08:10 PM

Hey, I didn't step in to defend his argument. I just thought you were being harsh in declaring him to have lost all credibility by adopting hypocritical tactics.

When a person argues - repeatedly - that criticizing an opponent for insufficient racial/gender sensitivity represents a blatant attempt to shut down opposing speech, and then that person proceeds to criticize his opponent for insufficient racial sensitivity in an op-ed, how should I interpret that, Grim?

Your reaction seems to be, "Obviously, it's a deeply felt and sincere plea for more racial sensitivity!"

My reaction is, "Hmmm.... haven't you been claiming that demands for more racial/gender sensitivity represent attempts to discourage opposing speech? If that's true, then aren't you trying to discourage opposing speech?"

Or possibly something more along the lines of, "Gee, Tactic X can't be that bad since you're perfectly willing to use it."

There's a big difference between saying a person has lost "all credibility" and saying that a person has lost credibility on a particular topic by arguing in a manner inconsistent with their stated position on that topic. There's also a difference between pointing out that inconsistency and saying the author - who I don't know from Adam, by the way, so I have no way of judging this - is a Bad Person (or even worse, that their wife - not sure what this has to do with anything I wrote here - is a Bad Person).

Posted by: Cassandra at November 4, 2014 08:52 PM

Having friends who posted this on Facebook showing "what women go through", I can honestly say, they did not think for a moment about the fact that the catcallers were non-white men.

Except that according to the guy who made the video, 6 of them were white guys:

...during the 10 hours captured on video, there were 108 instances of street harassment, of which he had 30 to 40 scenes with good enough quality for him to consider. He whittled that down to 20 scenes in the one minute and 57 second video. It's difficult to distinguish that about six of the men were white because the faces were blurred, Bliss said.

Link: http://www.wdsu.com/entertainment/where-are-the-whites-in-the-catcalling-video/29428156

Posted by: Cassandra at November 4, 2014 08:58 PM

I just don't see it that way, Cass. He's also repeatedly called for a correct understanding of the real history of race relations as they relate to politics, so it's not out of his lane to say, "...and on this topic, remember that this very tendency was aligned with racist policies..." since he has also said that about:

1) Gun control,

2) Abortion,

3) Civil Rights,

and

4) Republicans as the anti-slavery party.

It doesn't strike me as incoherent to say both that (a) you don't care for claims that any criticism of Obama is racist, nor similar over-sensitive claims; but also (b) you would appreciate an accurate understanding of the real history of these problems, which you think would lead to a far more sympathetic reading of your side's position than the current narrative.

I'm not seeing the hypocrisy in this set of arguments. I don't think he's saying anything very different from usual here: certainly nothing directly contradictory to his ordinary position.

Posted by: Grim at November 4, 2014 09:01 PM

He's also repeatedly called for a correct understanding of the real history of race relations as they relate to politics, so it's not out of his lane to say, "...and on this topic, remember that this very tendency was aligned with racist policies..." since he has also said that about: 1) Gun control,2) Abortion,3) Civil Rights,and 4) Republicans as the anti-slavery party.

No, it's not out of his lane, but I have always interpreted all of those arguments as suggestions that Democrats are the "real" racists.

Which in my mind is no better than the Democrat tactic of claiming that Republicans are the "real" racists. They're both pretty despicable in my book. Tit for tat, so to speak, all while bitterly complaining about the "tat" :p

Posted by: Cassandra at November 4, 2014 09:11 PM

Perhaps, but I think he's right on those points of history. There's got to be some merit in that.

I make a number of those arguments myself, though they don't carry the same rhetorical weight coming from me. I maintain a certain loyalty to the Democratic Party because of its history, but one has to admit to one's self in doing so that this history includes being the party that most strongly supported slavery. Not only slavery, to be sure: other things, better things, sometimes noble ideals like Jefferson's hope for a nation of yeoman farmers who were no one's servants and were thus more truly free. I admire James Jackson's spirit and defense of that ideal, but I must also remember that he was one of the fiercest advocates of slavery.

So I take these to be fair points, even though they are points aimed somewhat in my direction. It is necessary to remember the truth of the matter, because the desire to romanticize the sins of one's side -- or one's self! -- is always very strong in human nature.

Posted by: Grim at November 4, 2014 09:21 PM

What do you think he's suggesting with these arguments, Grim?

1. Democrats support gun control, and the history of gun control was "linked to" racist policies. Therefore....

2. Democrats support abortion, and the history of Abortion was "linked to" racist policies. Therefore ...

3. Republicans were the ones who passed the Civil Rights act. Therefore, if you're a Democrat ...

4. Republicans were the anti-slavery party and Democrats defended slavery. Therefore...

All to refute various statement of this general type: "Policy X is linked to racist policies/attitudes, and Republicans support Policy X. Therefore Republicans are...."

Do you think he's arguing that the "was linked to" somehow establishes valid grounds for accusations of racism? Or is he suggesting the opposite? Here, for instance:

Nonetheless, it's worth noting that the history of controlling minority men's intersexual behavior in this country is closely intertwined with the history of lynching

Therefore, if you support "controlling minority men's intersexual behavior".... what? You're a racist because there's a historical link? Or perhaps the historical link argument is bogus?

Is there a link sometimes, but not others? Which suggestions are valid, and which not?

Posted by: Cassandra at November 4, 2014 09:28 PM

Except that according to the guy who made the video, 6 of them were white guys:

Sorry, I should have said "they did not think for a moment about the fact that the vast majority of catcallers were non-white men."

Math may not be my strongest suit, but I'm pretty willing to bet that more than 5.55% of New York City's population is white. And that's the figure of white vs minority catcallers if the numbers reported (108 incidents, 6 white) are correct. And I've no reason to doubt them.

The video makers also state that they walked through majority white districts as well as through minority districts, which MAY indicate whites are less likely to catcall, or possibly have no real relation to the likelihood of whites vs. minorities to catcall at all. The problem with non-scientific "surveys" (and truly, I hesitate to call this any kind of actual survey... extended anecdote seems more appropriate, really) is that drawing factual conclusions from it are problematic to say the least.

BUT, I think that it's entirely likely (and I've no reason to doubt this) that both the video makers as well as those who posted the video to social media, did not stop even for a moment to consider the implication that the overwhelming majority (just less than 95%) of the catcallers were minority men. But those in the minority community certainly did. And while no such "racist dog-whistle" was likely intended (and again, the women I know who posted the video would be, and may actually already be, horrified if you brought it to their attention), it was indeed perceived by the minority community, and for the very reasons Glenn Reynolds commented on.

And let's not forget, this is not HIS hypothesis. Quite literally, the "Birth of a Nation" comments were posted to the blogosphere long before Glenn posted his Op-Ed. I do not find it unfair to point out that others have noted that it was within living memory that black men were lynched for far less than what is seen in this video. Like I said in my earlier comment, the coalition that is the modern American Left is by no means monolithic, nor are they completely aligned on their political positions. I posit that this is more of those cracks showing through. The Feminist wing is claiming this video is proof of "rape culture", the Minority wing is claiming this is "rich white women afraid of the sexual desires of black men", and while I think they're both Loony Toons, they take this VERY seriously. And a showdown is coming, mark my words.

Posted by: MikeD at November 4, 2014 09:38 PM

Well, the argument I know best is the one from gun control. Now the argument in favor of gun control is that guns may be all right for hunting, or sport shooting, outside of cities in rural areas; but in closely-packed communities, especially those with high rates of violent crimes (like minority communities), firearms need to be banned or at least very closely regulated.

And the counterargument is that, if you look very closely at the way this argument developed, you find that it was designed to disarm poor minority and immigrant communities. You can show that this was the explicit policy, and that the argument was therefore not sincere.

So the "for" argument is meant to suggest that the only racially sensitive position is that of gun control; but the "against" argument shows that, in fact, racial sensitivity not only does not necessarily imply gun control, but in fact that gun control was devised as a means of racial oppression.

I take the effect of this to be twofold:

1) It disrupts the dominant narrative, which is historically inaccurate, while teaching something about the true history of the country.

2) It invites a reconsideration of the issue from the ground up, in light of a fuller understanding of the historical facts.

That's a positive development in my view: both outcomes are good. But it doesn't imply a policy. It just clears the decks for a more careful reconsideration of the question, one in which the easy sort of "racist" claim has been dealt with and set aside.

Posted by: Grim at November 4, 2014 09:41 PM

In other words, I guess, I don't see it as a 'tit for tat' at all. I think of this as a serious rebuttal to a claim that isn't well founded, relying on a historical analysis that is much better-founded.

So it's not, "You're a racist! No, you are! And you shouldn't call people racists, racist!"

It is, rather, the kind of discussion that I think we ought to have: uncovering narratives that are based on falsehoods, laying out a better understanding of the facts, and trying to start the discussion anew in light of those deeper understandings.

Posted by: Grim at November 4, 2014 09:53 PM

And the counterargument is that, if you look very closely at the way this argument developed, you find that it was designed to disarm poor minority and immigrant communities. You can show that this was the explicit policy, and that the argument was therefore not sincere.

As Reynolds himself has so often pointed out (so have you), arguing that some people who are long dead acted in bad faith within a certain set of circumstances and beliefs does NOT prove anything about people who support the same policy today based on a completely different set of circumstances and beliefs. If this were a valid argument, then it would be valid to say, "The Patriarchy wanted to limit womens' legal rights because *men* wanted to dominate and control women."

And that's actually true: some men who opposed legal parity for women DID want that. But others didn't. Some wanted to protect women and honor the differences between men and women. Some genuinely believed women were inferior to/weaker than men - that we (like children) needed to be protected. People had all sorts of reasons for their beliefs then and now. Likewise, not every person (even in history) who supported gun control wanted to keep guns away from blacks. Some people legitimately hated/feared guns and didn't think ANYONE should own them. Some (Quakers, for instance) believe violence is wrong always, regardless of the actor's race or identity.

It's a misleading and dishonest way of making the argument that intentionally obscures the whole picture. The way to rebut an inaccurate historical claim, Grim, is to correct the record in a straightforward (and honest, and factually accurate) manner.

Arguing that "the history of gun control is 'linked to' racist policies/attitudes" while slyly suggesting that support for gun control is somehow grounded in racism essentially does what he complains about when Democrats do the same thing: it implies that the only good reason for opposing gun control is racism.

That's a spectacularly dishonest and corrosive argument, no matter who makes it.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2014 07:26 AM

I don't think that's true. This is why we spent so long talking about that reparations piece at the Hall this summer. The historical record is important, even when it's against us. People may be long dead, but ideas continue to create effects. If (as I think the record demonstrates) the wealth extracted from enslaved millions was what enabled the US and UK to fund their industrial revolutions, that has consequences that have continued to echo to the present day. To correct the problem, it may well be wise to reconsider the original issue -- even if everyone involved is dead, and their children, and their grandchildren.

Human society isn't made up of only the living, no more than a human being is only the currently-living tissue. A human being is also who he or she was as a child, though all the parts of that child are long dead and gone: but the living memory on which the current body operates was woven there. And the proof of that is that we call that child by your name, and mean you in that time and place: that's who you were. Sometimes what happened when you were a child is of tremendous importance even today. That's especially true of lessons you learned from your ancestors, who may be long dead, but who taught you how to think about the world.

Posted by: Grim at November 5, 2014 08:20 AM

Once again you're arguing a point I never asserted in the first place. Nowhere in my comment do I claim an accurate and complete understanding of history is not important. In fact, I made the opposite point right here:

The way to rebut an inaccurate historical claim, Grim, is to correct the record in a straightforward (and honest, and factually accurate) manner.

That means not using vague, weaselly phrases like, "Historically, support for policy X had disturbing racial overtones/links to racist policies and attitudes".

It's both factually inaccurate and dishonest to suggest that if *some* people supported a particular policy in the past for bad reasons, that current support for that same policy must be tainted by those same bad reasons (which in many cases don't even match the actual experiences or attitudes of people alive today).

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2014 08:38 AM

It would be a logical fallacy to assert that because some X, all X. That's a fallacy of the form "Here are ten boys, who all have brown eyes; therefore, boys (all) have brown eyes."

On the other hand, I think it's useful to bring peoples' attention to the troubling roots of ideas sometimes. Justice Ginsberg's comments about abortion being important because we don't want to have 'too many' of the wrong kinds of people is a good example. The same kind of young feminist who never thought about the catcalling video as having any racial overtones for anyone probably also wouldn't take the Justice's comments as having racial overtones either. Perhaps the Justice didn't mean to suggest anything along the lines of eugenics -- perhaps she meant something like "the poor shouldn't have children."

Still, there's a history there that should lead us to demand an answer to the question. If this is not a eugenics argument, given that it has the same form as a eugenics argument, just what is she suggesting?

Posted by: Grim at November 5, 2014 08:51 AM

I should add that this is especially true because Justice Ginsburg -- I guess it's "-burg" with a "u" -- comes out of the same philosophical (modernist, left-leaning, early feminist) tradition as the eugenics progenitors. It's an argument that she's almost certainly inherited from them.

If she wants to accept it, then, it's quite right to ask just how her form of this argument differs from the argument we have reason to reject as a kind of intellectual poison.

Posted by: Grim at November 5, 2014 08:55 AM

Well Grim, I actually think it's just plain wrong to imply that Ginsburg's comment springs from any desire on her part to limit the number of poor children. That is both misleading and deeply unfair, and it's typical of what I'm talking about.

Her actual statement was more along the lines of "poor women are less able to afford unplanned pregnancies than rich women are". IOW, whether you agree with her or not, she's saying we should care about the disparate impact of unplanned pregnancies on poor women's lives and their ability to make a living because having large families is less affordable for poor people. NOT that she personally (or society) doesn't want too many of those horrid poor kids around.

If all women are affected by unplanned pregnancies and poor women are less able to afford unplanned pregnancies, then one can certainly believe poor women ought to have at least as much control over whether they get pregnant as wealthier women. That doesn't have to mean abortion (that's where I disagree with Ginsburg) but I think it's wrong to impute to her motives that she very likely doesn't harbor.

And I think the suggestion that she "almost certainly inherited" her beliefs from eugenicists is likewise wrong and unfair. You don't know that.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2014 09:08 AM

What she actually said was this:

"Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of."

So, if that's not an inherited eugenics argument, what exactly is it? Who are these "populations that we don't want to have too many of"? Some of the people in her tradition would have answered "Blacks"; others, "Mongoloids," (meaning people with mental disorders, as the phrase was used at the time).

In suggesting she might mean simply "the poor," I'm taking what strikes me as the most gentle and kindest reading of her argument -- the one that considers that it might be possible to separate it furthest from eugenics. But I think it's fair to demand an answer, precisely because her intellectual roots are in the same ground as eugenics'.

That's all I'm saying.

Posted by: Grim at November 5, 2014 09:22 AM

That is only part of what she said, Grim. And as I'm sure you're aware, citing only part of a person's actual argument (just like mentioning only part of the historical record) is both incomplete and a distortion.

She also said, "...The impact of all these restrictions is on poor women, because women who have means, if their state doesn’t provide access, another state does. I think that the country will wake up and see that it can never go back to [abortions just] for women who can afford to travel to a neighboring state…"

And:

"It makes no sense as a national policy to promote birth only among poor people."

And:

"Q: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.

When you read her statement in context, it is abundantly clear that she's not mindlessly repeating eugenics arguments, nor does she personally have wish to limit the number of children poor women want to have.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2014 09:40 AM

FWIW, I neither like nor agree with Ginsburg on this subject.

But that doesn't make it right to distort her position. It would seem you've read someone who has done that and I'm pointing out that selectively edited/presented quotes are easy to mischaracterize.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2014 09:41 AM

The history of the argument -- Margret Sanger's foundation became Planned Parenthood -- is reasonably well summed up in this article. As Jesse Jackson (when younger and less politically craven) pointed out, his own mother received the advice to abort him from her doctor -- for just the reasons Ginsburg cites: poverty, out of wedlock, etc.

That she was also part of a "Negro" population that Sanger described as breeding "carelessly and disasterously" is perhaps a coincidence; the author of this piece thinks Sanger was very much a non-racist, in spite of her writings on the subject.

I think Ginsburg is probably a non-racist in the same sense as Sanger, and for the same reasons. But clearly one of the populations that was to be controlled was the black population, even if it wasn't qua black but qua poor, illiterate, and out-of-wedlock.

Posted by: Grim at November 5, 2014 09:48 AM

But clearly one of the populations that was to be controlled was the black population, even if it wasn't qua black but qua poor, illiterate, and out-of-wedlock.

So WHAT, Grim? What does that prove about Ginsburg's motivations for what she believes?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

None of this is news. I did reports on Sanger and read a biography of her as a teen, so I'm well aware of her views.

You're trying to establish a causal link with no causal evidence to support it. "This happened first, therefore it caused that" doesn't logically follow.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2014 10:02 AM

Post hoc ergo propter hoc is a logical fallacy, yes. It's not a logical fallacy to say, "Your teacher believed X and taught X; you support the institution your teacher founded; you've said something that sounds like X. What exactly do you mean by it?"

That's a question, not an assertion. It's a question based on a lot of evidence, and it's not unreasonable to ask. It's also not unreasonable, if she believes that some other set of priorities justifies the same conclusion her predecessors justified by eugenics, for her to give the account of that justification in full.

She spoke at a friendly outlet, and they didn't follow up on the question. She serves for life on our Supreme Court, judging the fitness of our laws. I think we have a right to ask reasonable questions of people like her.

Posted by: Grim at November 5, 2014 10:10 AM

Was Margaret Sanger Ginsburg's teacher? If so, I was not aware of this. That's an assertion that requires some evidence to back it up.

Most of us have had many teachers in life, and organizations do change their goals over time.

It's reasonable to say, "Gosh, what you're saying sounds a whole lot like X. Do you agree with X? How is your position different from X?"

But what you're describing is a completely unsupported linking of Ginsburg with X, and that's wrong (in my view). It's an assertion posing as a question (that Ginsburg is in fact basing her position on Sanger's - sort of a 'When did you stop beating your wife' sort of question).

I hate it when progressives do this, and I'm no more inclined to defend it when conservatives do it.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2014 10:17 AM

This, by the way, is also the link I see in the black feminist writers Reynolds was talking about. They're reacting to the claim by saying, 'Hey, that sounds a lot like 'white women should be able to walk through public spaces without being approached or spoken to by black/Latino men.' That position caused a lot of trouble not long ago. Do you want to clarify just how you mean this to work? How is this not about protecting you from having to talk to people like me?'

Well, those people are men, and you're not, to start. But the question isn't outrageous. The history is relevant.

Posted by: Grim at November 5, 2014 10:17 AM

"That's an assertion that requires some evidence to back it up."

The only evidence I have is that Ginsburg is making the same argument on the same ground, and that she's a scholar who has both read and written widely on this subject (and therefore is certain to have read Sanger's work). As you say, we have many teachers. If she's adopted the arguments for a society that encourages (though does not require) economic abortions, and she doesn't intend them to be founded as the founder of that concept intended that same argument, she ought to say just how she differs.

Posted by: Grim at November 5, 2014 10:25 AM

They're reacting to the claim by saying, 'Hey, that sounds a lot like 'white women should be able to walk through public spaces without being approached or spoken to by black/Latino men.'

No reasonable person would infer that the video was only aimed at catcalling directed at white women by men of color, though. That's really not a good-faith interpretation for reasons already mentioned (6 of 20 or so examples IN THE VIDEO) were actually white men, previous videos featured white men, feminists aren't going around complaining about interracial dating.

This kind of guilt by free-association is both highly suspect (it allows me to "link" you to whatever idiotic paranoid conspiracy theory I can think of) and irresponsible.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2014 10:42 AM

It may be that the black feminist writers are not reasonable people, but it's of a piece with the tension between Angela Davis / Jesse Jackson and the Sanger faction. Their concerns are concerns about the effect on the black community, as well as the effect on women.

In any case, I find their arguments worth considering even when we ultimately reject them. I take seriously the idea that, in praising James Jackson as a political hero for his resistance to the Yazoo land scandal, I also have to explain why I think it's possible to divide his yeoman farmer model from the support for slavery that attended his political work.

(In short, I think that a nation of small, independent farmers and businessmen is the least likely to have use for slavery: slavery in effect outbid the yeoman farmers, by enabling economies of scale in cotton production that drove out the smaller farmers. This is an excellent case for an economic control designed to produce a better social outcome: banning slavery is not only worth doing on moral grounds, but because it prevents a society in which that independent ability to provide for one's family is undermined even among those who do not become slaves.)

Maybe it's because, as a Southerner who deals with academia, I have no choice but to consider and deal with these arguments. But I've honestly found them helpful. They've improved my thinking, and clarified what I can and can't support from our traditions. I still ended up being very traditional! It's not simply guilt by association at work; there's a useful process to these inquiries that improves models and exposes problems.

Posted by: Grim at November 5, 2014 10:49 AM

It's not simply guilt by association at work; there's a useful process to these inquiries that improves models and exposes problems.

There is a way to consider these arguments without suggesting guilt by association. I have said this several times and have provided examples. I have argued that one particular way of asking these questions strongly suggests guilt by association, NOT that no questions can be asked, ever.

That would be utterly inconsistent with everything I've every written.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2014 11:00 AM

And all of this back and forth on trying to find a uniform standard for the argument is one of the reasons why I don't think Glenn is trying to offer one, but rather trying to turn the various grievance factions claws against each other.

It seems a much simpler fit for the observations. :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 5, 2014 12:49 PM

It seems a much simpler fit for the observations. :-)

FWIW, I agree with your interpretation. I also think he's enjoying jabbing progressives with their own tactics and arguments (notably, ones he has complained about repeatedly).

And that's *my* point - he can do that, but I don't want to hear any more whining of the "Sure, I dish it out, but I can't take it" variety.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2014 01:09 PM

Well, I've got no problems with Liberals jabbing me with ConservoLibertarian arguments.

Either I need to accept the conclusions from those premises, or I need to re-examine my premises.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 5, 2014 01:51 PM

Either I need to accept the conclusions from those premises, or I need to re-examine my premises.

Two points:

1. I agree - it's entirely reasonable to expect people to abide by their own standards.

2. The reason I wrote this post is that from what I have seen, the blogger complained about the tactic being unfair/wrong/, then wanted to use it. That's not (IMO - Grim disagrees) "living by your own standard".

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2014 02:02 PM

It's true I disagree, but that's neither here nor there. It was an interesting conversation, so I thank you for the disagreement.

Posted by: Grim at November 5, 2014 02:03 PM

IOW, I see a big difference between an expressly stated argument:

"Hey, you said you believe X. So you should abide by X."

...and a sly suggestion made in bad faith that you don't even really believe yourself:

"Gee whiz: people shouldn't be doing this thing that I have complained about in the past. Of course I'm doing it to you right now, but I'm just playing the troll, so I'm not a hypocrite."

....and intentionally linking someone's argument to an argument you're pretty sure they would find morally repugnant:

"Gee... what you're saying sounds awfully similar to what That Notorious Bigoted, Womyn Hating, Serial Killer said once."

Now of course we can disagree about who's doing what - I just want to make the point that these tactics are not the same at all.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2014 02:09 PM

It's true I disagree, but that's neither here nor there. It was an interesting conversation, so I thank you for the disagreement.

It was, Grim :) Even if I can't force you to accept my inescapable rightness!

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2014 02:11 PM

"Gee whiz: people shouldn't be doing this thing that I have complained about in the past. Of course I'm doing it to you right now, but I'm just playing the troll, so I'm not a hypocrite."

Perhaps I'm a bit more sympathetic as it's something I've done myself. If someone is fast enough to call me on it they invariably get the response, "Hey, it's *your* argument. If you don't like where it leads, that's your problem, not mine."

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 5, 2014 02:41 PM

And how many times do people actually agree that that was their argument? :p

It's been more my experience that they come up with a thousand reasons why they should be able to except themselves from their own rule!

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2014 03:50 PM

As usual, I find myself late to the party:

No reasonable person would infer that the video was only aimed at catcalling directed at white women by men of color, though. That's really not a good-faith interpretation for reasons already mentioned (6 of 20 or so examples IN THE VIDEO) were actually white men, previous videos featured white men, feminists aren't going around complaining about interracial dating.

This IS a logical fallacy (No True Scotsman). Either you are stating that every minority blogger who has complained about the racial disparity shown in the video has racial implications is not reasonable and are not making a good-faith interpretation, or you are saying they did not make it. As they demonstrably DID make that argument (again, Birth of a Nation was bandied about long before Glenn Reynolds posted his take on it... one which I read as saying "here's something I'm not sure the feminist crowd has thought of, because it's not in their normal wheelhouse"), it must be the former. But if everyone who made those blog posts is being unreasonable, then are you saying that it IS in fact unreasonable to suggest that a video, taken in all sections of New York City (as per the videographer's statement) was only able to come up with a white catcall rate of only 5.5% doesn't have a racial component?

Mind you, I'm not asking you to agree that the videographer had set out to show "a white woman being harassed by minority men". Because I don't believe that myself. What I do ask is for you to agree that given their sample size of 108 incidents, the fact that only 6 of them had a white perpetrator says SOMETHING about the racial component to catcalling (again, most likely unintended by the videographer and mostly unnoticed by the intended audience). And you can see why such a video would cause minority bloggers discomfort and prompt them to ask "where are all the white guys?" The answer seems to be, "we only found 6."

Now, does that mean that catcalling is more common in black and Latino areas? Maybe. Like I said previously, this whole video is nothing but a single collection of anecdotes. But, I do think that reasonable people (like the minority bloggers) may be reasonably concerned about the distinct lack of whites in this video (which no one has ever made any bones about the fact that it was edited) and prompt them to question WHY there were so few white harassers. Especially in light of the historical context of lynchings. I will agree it would be unreasonable to suggest anyone is calling for lynchings, but I can also see where it would raise concern in that community.

Posted by: MikeD at November 6, 2014 04:54 PM

if everyone who made those blog posts is being unreasonable, then are you saying that it IS in fact unreasonable to suggest that a video, taken in all sections of New York City (as per the videographer's statement) was only able to come up with a white catcall rate of only 5.5% doesn't have a racial component?

I could be wrong, but I think it was 6/18 or 20 shown in the video, or roughly 30%.

But yes, I'm saying that I don't think it's reasonable at all to be so focused on race, or gender, or whatever. This, to me, is very similar to Obama deciding that old white women are clutching their purses because he's black (not because he's tall and young and male, or because they're alone in the elevator with a man). He's jumping to conclusions that aren't warranted by the facts.

I'd say that if a person gets themselves all in a lather over something like this, that they ARE being unreasonable. But then I think women who get their panties all in a twist over rooms full of men at IT conferences are unreasonable, too.

There are SO many reasons other than race for such a disparity and the fact that they didn't even SEE the white men in the video speaks of its own kind of racial bias.

But I'm "unreasonable" that way :)

FWIW, my personal experience has been that white men catcall, but there's a big class factor (upper class/white collar men rarely do it - construction workers, sailors, etc. drove me nuts when I was younger).

I'm 55 now and I still occasionally get catcalls. I'm not gorgeous, or stacked, nor do I dress provocatively in public.

The last time I went downtown, I was followed along the sidewalk for several minutes by a group of young black men who were quite obviously enjoying chatting me up and making me slightly uncomfortable. It was kind of a bravado thing. I didn't get the sense they meant me any harm, but it's kind of irritating.

I never felt threatened, but it was awkward and it was meant to be. They were feeling full of themselves, so I just rolled with it. I saw them do the same thing to two more women about 15 minutes later, and both women were visibly frightened. That made me more than a bit angry.

In several decades of dealing with this nonsense, I have to say that black men in particular are far more aggressive about approaching women on the street and far more persistent. It borders on aggression. You deal with it, because what else are you going to do?

Demanding parity in situations like this is just silly. Really, really dumb. So I have no sympathy for these women who are getting their noses out of joint at all.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 6, 2014 07:03 PM

I do think that reasonable people (like the minority bloggers) may be reasonably concerned about the distinct lack of whites in this video (which no one has ever made any bones about the fact that it was edited) and prompt them to question WHY there were so few white harassers.

Gosh, I don't know. Maybe because different groups of people have different cultural norms? They certainly have different speech patterns and slang and modes of dress and complain when another group "appropriates" styles they consider "theirs" without permission :p

*rolling eyes*

It's kind of funny that people like this will talk about 'acting white' and 'acting black' and then become irate when someone else dares to mention those very same behavioral/cultural differences. I think that's unreasonable behavior.

Does anyone SERIOUSLY believe there's something in skin color that makes people with more melanin more/less likely to catcall? I don't. So it's not "racial", it's "cultural".

Posted by: Cassandra at November 6, 2014 07:10 PM

I could be wrong, but I think it was 6/18 or 20 shown in the video, or roughly 30%.

I've not watched the thing, and I certainly didn't do a survey of the race of the offenders, I based the 6 of 108 on the quote that you posted:

"...during the 10 hours captured on video, there were 108 instances of street harassment, of which he had 30 to 40 scenes with good enough quality for him to consider. He whittled that down to 20 scenes in the one minute and 57 second video. It's difficult to distinguish that about six of the men were white because the faces were blurred, Bliss said."

If I misunderstood that to mean that only 6 of the 108 were white, then I apologize.

Does anyone SERIOUSLY believe there's something in skin color that makes people with more melanin more/less likely to catcall? I don't. So it's not "racial", it's "cultural".

Well, I certainly don't, but you KNOW there are people that do. Just as there are those who will insist "Islamophobia" is "racist". Even though Islam is not a race. But don't let that get in the way of the narrative.

Look, all I am saying is that I can understand that people who are already primed to be sensitive on a particular issue are sure to view any event through that perspective. I am fairly sure you are more sensitive to the "Repeal the 19th Amendment" garbage from the Right than I am. I'm not saying you're wrong to, either. But I'm sure it does put you on edge when someone from the Right writes something touching on the 19th Amendment, because you're primed and waiting for him to put his foot in. So I can see where they may similarly get their hackles raised on this one.

Posted by: MikeD at November 7, 2014 08:59 AM

Oh gosh - no need to apologize! I was just so surprised to read that about a third of the men in the video were actually white that I thought I should emphasize the point. That just highlights the utter absurdity of all this Verklemptity over supposedly-missing white men (OK, I totally made that word up, but it fits).

Who cares about the facts! Some people seem to enjoy spending most of their lives orbiting Planet Eleventy. It's a constant, "Look at me! I've got a GRIEVANCE!!!!11! Pay attention." Jeez, and meanwhile there are people with serious problems who somehow manage to get through the day without constantly pitching fits :p

Look, all I am saying is that I can understand that people who are already primed to be sensitive on a particular issue are sure to view any event through that perspective.

Sure - I think that's true of many issues.

I am fairly sure you are more sensitive to the "Repeal the 19th Amendment" garbage from the Right than I am.

I think it's natural for most people to be alert to other people wanting to take away their rights. I think most guys have been far more sensitive to the DoE campus rape story (which I have covered far, far more often over the years than anything like this). Does this mean I'm "sensitive to it"?

I actually view it as a problem, but not nearly to the extent that it has been hyped to be. But I do write about it, because it's something that upsets guys, because it's being hyped a lot, and because I think it's a fascinating

Sensitive to it? I'm not actually sure I am, though. I haven't written about it continually, but I see it fairly frequently.

If I remember correctly, I only wrote about the 19th Amendment thing after Grim brought up limiting the franchise a few years ago. I had been seeing the "women are ruining the country by voting for Democrats" meme on the right for years at that point, and I suspect what brought it to the fore was our losing the presidential election in 2008.

Which is just SO stupid when you think about it, because the white house was almost certainly going to turn over after 8 years of Republican domination. This was such a no-brainer: a Republican victory (especially with such a weak candidate as McCain) would have been the real anomaly from an historical perspective.

I'm not saying you're wrong to, either. But I'm sure it does put you on edge when someone from the Right writes something touching on the 19th Amendment, because you're primed and waiting for him to put his foot in.

I can see that it might look that way to someone else, but I'm not sure that's accurate. I write about other subjects far more often than this one. And I don't write about it every time I see it, or even every other time, or every 10th time.

If I see it fairly often and have only bothered to write about it a few times, does that suggest that I'm unusually sensitive about it? I don't think so. My recollection (this was several years ago, so it's not recent history) was that I wrote about this mostly because Grim raised the issue of limiting the franchise. I'd seen the 19th A stuff before and just ignored it, but it seemed relevant.

And when I saw so many men saying they'd never, ever seen it... that surprised me and made me more likely to mention it.

I don't feel in the least threatened by the prospect of the 19th Amendment being repealed. It's not at all likely. But in a climate where conservatives are constantly accused of sexism and wanting to chain women to twee, retro Easy Bake ovens, it does seem kind of relevant, no?

Posted by: Cassandra at November 7, 2014 09:32 AM

Limiting the franchise was a topic we discussed at the Hall in great length back in 2010. It wasn't aimed at any group, though -- it was aimed as an inquiry into the principles that ought to guide the question of who should have the franchise.

Unfortunately that was back before Haloscan/Echo killed all our old comments, so the interesting aspects of the debate are lost; it's hard to get much out of a discussion that is no longer readable, except for the introductory posts.

It might be worth revisiting the subject, though. I'll consider whether or not to re-open the discussion of how citizenship and the franchise ought to be based, and whether that "ought" matches up very well with the way we actually do it (i.e., anyone born here plus anyone who lives here for a while and can pass a test of objective knowledge).

But I won't do that here in your comments section! :)

Posted by: Grim at November 7, 2014 12:32 PM

Limiting the franchise was a topic we discussed at the Hall in great length back in 2010. It wasn't aimed at any group, though -- it was aimed as an inquiry into the principles that ought to guide the question of who should have the franchise.

That's how I remember it too. I was just trying to remember why I ever wrote about the topic in the first place and I think that was the impetus.

I do remember also that back then some of the bloggers I still read were linking to other bloggers who were discussing the "female voter problem". So I think that must have been how I got thinking about it.

Normally I just don't read all that many blogs, so it would have had to have been via a friend's blog but I know it wasn't Grim's place.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 7, 2014 12:56 PM

I can see that it might look that way to someone else, but I'm not sure that's accurate. I write about other subjects far more often than this one. And I don't write about it every time I see it, or even every other time, or every 10th time.

The imperfection of reaching for an example on short notice is to blame. Or "because I'm a guy", I'll take that one too. ;)

Posted by: MikeD at November 7, 2014 03:27 PM