a guest Dec 12th, 2018 726 Never
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- [me] Hey, this is C.H. from the comment chain on your recent blog post
- I'm confused about what you're getting at, or how you came to the conclusion that I dont think MeToo is new or distinctive (which I do), can you explain?
- If you prefer to just keep the discussion on the comment chain then I can post my response there, but I wanted to reach out first to see if we're not just misunderstanding eachother
- [ben] OK, here's the thing
- it seems like you're not distinguishing between MeToo and other sorts of informal attempts to punish or marginalize sexual harassers.
- Supposing that's a misunderstanding, it should be straightforward for you to explain how your examples don't fit that pattern.
- For instance, for the ones that originated prior to Alyssa Milano's 2017 tweet, you might show me how they're related to Tarana Burke's activism.
- since as far as I can tell they're not
- But I might just be missing crucial details
- that you have
- Though that would be a bit iffy as it seems like it's partially just a namespace collision
- "Informal coordination to punish sexual harassers has gone too far" is not that helpful a claim to prove here
- since I agree that in some cases that's happened
- I just don't see it happening with MeToo in particular
- [me] Well I think the misunderstanding comes from defining what MeToo is - what I associate with that phrase is not just the activism and discourse stemming from Milano's tweet, its grown to encompass all of the public discourse around sexual conduct that was previously not openly discussed
- [ben] Why does that seem like a helpful thing to have a name for?
- [me] Here's the comment I was going to make, if it help you understand what I mean:
- "What made you come to that conclusion?
- I think MeToo is very distinctive and new, in that it represents the changed social norms around discussing a range of sexual conduct, most of which is abusive and unwanted. These same discussion would not have happened say, 10 or 20 years ago. I vehemently support more open discussion of these topics, and of free speech in general.
- What I'm saying is that this change has its negative consequences, and that I felt it necessary to point that out given your post tried to frame MeToo as an entirely positive thing, and dismissed/ignored the negative outcomes it has produced. In actuality, it seems the more open discussion of sexual encounters (the ones I had in mind and pointed out were consensual, but regretted after the fact) has done the opposite of creating more open discussion, and instead has narrowed the overton window in public discourse by causing twitter mobs or other keyboard activists to ruin a number of innocent people's lives and careers."
- [me] Why does what you think MeToo represents seem like a useful thing to have a name for? I think whether its useful or not, thats what most people at least in my social circle associate with the term MeToo
- [ben] OK but there's also a specific thing that happened in reality where a specific person did a specific thing and gave a name for it, and a bunch of other people did stuff where they specifically referenced the specific name for that thing.
- It seems like you're saying there's some other thing I could be talking about that's much broader, that has some downsides
- and, I agree
- there is indeed a much broader set of things vaguely mood-affiliated with the specific movement Alyssa Milano catalyzed, that has some downsides
- I don't see any particular reason to think it's gotten worse as a result of the literal specific MeToo movement
- Two of your three examples seemed to have happened prior to her tweet and the third I couldn't be bothered to look into since it didn't seem like you were being careful to give relevant evidence
- [me] Right, so our misunderstanding/disconnect comes from the definition of metoo, where I have a much broader definition of it than what you are referring to in your post, so I get that now
- [ben] It just doesn't seem like you're responding to the specific thing I said
- There's a thing that took off in 2017, and this is definitely not the thing that caused UBC to fire Steven Galloway through a secret unaccountable process in 2015
- If you take MeToo to refer to the larger set of things associated with it
- then you should disagree with me that "since then, the MeToo movement took off"
- since you think it was getting people fired unjustly back in 2015
- [me] I don't follow - I think the larger set of things have always existed and I also think its taken off since 2017
- [ben] Seems weird that the examples that came to mind were from before then
- if the rate of cases has increased a lot since
- [me] Yea I used canadian examples because I'm canadian and I follow the (especially legal) news here more
- [ben] Canada continued to exist in 2017 and 2018 as far as I'm aware
- [me] Right, but no high profile cases like ghomeshi/mustafa/galloway since 2017 here
- [ben] That seems like evidence that the MeToo movement has substantially *reduced* the rate of such events
- So far the pattern here is that you respond to my points with examples or arguments that are worse than irrelevant. That doesn't make me feel good about engaging further.
- [me] lol ok
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