Outrage, Inc.

I’d written an earlier post about a gay NBA player coming out, and realized the post could use some clarification as to why it’s such a big deal that a man is finally out in professional sports when women have been out for years, starting with Billy Jean King in 1981 in professional tennis.

That clarification would require me explaining not only why America considers basketball a more “significant” sport than tennis, but also that women’s sports leagues don’t get the same kind of respect that male sports get.  And as a result, a man coming out in the NBA is far more impactful on the culture at large than a woman coming out in professional tennis.  Doesn’t make it right, but doesn’t change the fact that it’s true.

I re-read the paragraph that I initially wrote, then deleted it.  At the time, there was no way I could write what I meant to say without risking it coming across wrong, and offending someone.  So I gave up all together, and decided it was better to have a post that ignored women completely, than to risk including women and offending them at the same time.

It’s part of a growing problem I’ve noticed for years, but have recently felt coming to a head.  It’s becoming increasingly difficult to comment about far too many things in the public sphere without offending someone and creating instant outrage, often unmerited.  As a result, you end up not wanting to write about the possibly-offending topics, which works to the detriment of the topics involved, unless the writer is a flaming bigot.

In the past few months I’ve been accused of supporting rape, terrorism, and hating trans people, bisexuals, women, immigrants, and Bradley Manning, which apparently encompasses a larger category of mom-and-apple-pie things that I’m sure I must hate or at least have no respect for (apparently I hate Manning because I asked a simple innocuous question in order to better understand what most angered his advocates).

I also was recently informed that I have a visceral, cruel hatred of animals, because I keep posting funny videos of people and their cats.  Apparently, I’ve had this hatred of animals, unbeknownst to me, for years.

Anger via Shutterstock

Anger via Shutterstock

The need to be outraged about everything, and usually for insufficient reason, I’m calling Outrage, Inc.  It’s the Change-dot-org-ification of advocacy, where with only 30 seconds of effort, you too can be mad as hell about anything, everything, and nothing.

I say this, ironically, as a lead gay and progressive activist who has never backed away from using “outrage,” when appropriate, as a means of effecting change.  But outrage must be measured to be effective.  Being a good and effective activist and advocate isn’t about always being angry.  It’s about being angry when it matters, when it can make a significant difference, and channeling your anger appropriately.  It’s also about getting it right, i.e., getting angry when anger is merited.

A few years ago, a friend, trying to describe what we do as progressive activists, penned a  name for us: “A**holes for Justice.”   I liked it, at the time.  But now, with the widespread availability of the Internet, and the rise of Outrage, Inc., I fear more than a few people are at risk of losing the last two words of our iconic appellation.

The thing is, I’d be less worried about this if it were just the crazies (though crazy isn’t nearly as compartmentalized in the age of the Internet, where even the nuttiest can create a firestorm if they know what they’re doing).  But it’s not. The charges come from people who should know better.  People who are aware of your track record, of who you are as a person, yet they’re more than happy to jump to the conclusion that you’re the next worst thing to Rush Limbaugh, all based on a single 140 character tweet.

I’ve watched big-name liberals, far bigger than me, read a single tweet from an ally and inform their multitude of readers to go view the “train wreck!” rather than bother to engage a progressive colleague in an actual, respectful, adult conversation, even if that colleague might just be wrong.  If you veer from the acceptable – even dare to ask the wrong question – you simply must be destroyed, regardless of how long and how many times you’ve done good before.

And that’s messed up.

As a gay rights, and progressive activist, I’m not here to destroy people.  I’m here to change things for the better.  And I do that best by channeling outrage wisely and justly.  With the Change-dot-orgification of outrage, and the speed with which “news” travels online, it’s sometimes feels as if people would rather be first at being mad, than right.

The reaction to that country singer a few weeks ago, Brad Paisley, was a good example.  Paisley was deemed by many to be an evil southern racist who simply had to be destroyed.  Well, no, he was  a country singer with a record of being good on race and progressive issues, who wanted to help move the discussion forward on race.  And he failed.  That doesn’t make him evil.  But the response he received from his attempt pretty much guarantees he won’t try again.  And for anyone who thinks unnecessarily losing the support of a powerful ally is a good thing, well, then you’re not very familiar with winning.

Or there’s the leader of the bisexual organization who recently told me to get sensitivity training because I made a pun with the word “bi” in a title, just as I’ve done with the word “gay.”  I was informed that my 20 years of defending bisexuals against the disbelief in their existence from far too many gays never even happened, and that I was to not write about them, ever again, until I had undertaken my deprogramming.

Fortunately, I’m not in this for money, or I’d have stayed a Republican and voted for Bush instead of Clinton back in 1992, and never looked back.  And I have a bit of a big mouth.  And believe in the value of ideas, and publicly discussing them, even when they challenge one’s presumptions and maybe even annoy.  So I haven’t stopped defending bisexuals, or women, or even trans people (apparently, I really hate them).

But boy it’s gotten a lot harder to write about their issues as there’s a constant sense of walking on eggshells.  And far from making me a better writer about those issues, the constant nagging and vilification (I was criticized once for using the term “trans folks,” who knows why) has actually stifled my writing and made me more likely to punt, as I did in the case of women in sports, if I find the topic too difficult to explain “safely.”

Outrage and anger are a useful, important, means to an end, but they’re not a way of life.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m sensing a growing anger on the left (and perhaps on the right too, though they’ve always been angry).  It’s getting worse, and it’s not healthy (or effective).  And when it’s starting to make us eat our own, and it is, it really needs to stop.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • HC

    I agree. It seems like too many people are perpetually outraged.

  • nannasin smith

    it’s starting to make us eat our own, and it is, it really needs to stop.
    BAT54S

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Simon, and the Klan doesn’t understand why blacks hate the n-word or the word colored, or why asians don’t like “oriental.” You know what? It’s not your fucking call to decide what we call ourselves. That’s our call. And the majority of gay people have not chosen to be called cis, in fact most of us who have spoken out about it find it offensive. The fact that you and your allies insist on using it, in spite of that, only proves your malice and animus.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    You’re right – it’s a practiced critique. Whatever we say, turn it around against us as further proof of how evil we are.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Simon, if you haven’t taken a gender studies course, I’d be very surprised. You have the twisted victim-logic down pat. Trans people and their allies (or anyone else you deem oppressed enough) can do no wrong, in your world view. And if we point out something they’re doing wrong – such as creating a word out of thing air to label those of us who have not accepted that word – WE are the ones doing something wrong. I’m sorry, but that’s just bullshit. And it’s why a lot of people don’t like you, or people who act like you. You’re not winning any allies for your professed cause, you’re actually pissing people off and creating enemies. And granted, if your goal is to foment a marxist revolution, then you do want to piss people off and create strife – that’s the entire point of marxist revolution. But if that’s not your goal, then you need allies. And you’re creating enemies instead of allies. If you think that helps, then you’ve studied a very different form of activism than I have.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Who says activism should be thankless, Roy. That’s a rather odd assumption. I think people should be thankful for activist. Thankful for Rosa Parks. Thankful for MLK. For Harvey Milk. I’m certainly not putting any of us in their category, but to suggest that “activists” per se should expect people – their own allies – to treat them like assholes, suggests to me a problem with you and not me.

    And thanks for suggesting that I channel my concern in to “doing something about” something, since that, you explain, is what activists do. (After admitting you didn’t even bother googling for any background info). I’ll see if I can find 30 second some day to create a change.org petition on something so that I can prove my activist bona fides to you :)

  • http://www.jiveinthe415.com/ Jiveinthe415

    This blog post is very confusing, and I’m not quite sure who you have a beef with. You start by claiming that people read your work and are sometimes offended by what they read due to…..semantics? or an odd turn of phrase? For whatever reason – some readers criticize you – which has an effect on your writing, and keeps you from expressing your opinion. It sounds like you need to reassess your aims, and your goals, and think about why you are writing. Are you doing this for you – or are you writing for the greater good?

    You reference change.org and being politically correct, and you question the sincerity of some people by calling what they do manufactured outrage. Change.org has been very effective, and their platform can mobilize large groups of people quickly. It’s an online tool in the toolbox for social justice and civil rights. You seem almost resentful about change.org – and I don’t see how it relates to how people comment on your work.

    I just stumbled on your site, and I don’t know what you’ve done for 20 years, and it’s unrealistic to expect anyone else to know either. Who are you doing this advocacy work for? It sounds like you’re feeling marginalized, and you’re looking for support and recognition. It’s easier to muster support than get people to kiss your ring. If that’s the case – you need to take a break from this. Activism is a thankless task – and unless you’re fully committed to working for the greater good, you should do something else. Sometimes a vacation or a change of schedule or some time away from writing — will re-energize and refocus your work. Your outrage is confusing and just as misplaced as some of your commenters. Hang in there and don’t get bitter and resentful – do something about it. That’s what activists do.

    Roy Steele
    jiveinthe415.com

  • http://twitter.com/simonmprojects Simon M.

    No, I totally get that a lot of queer theory is based in Marxism and, honestly, it’s super sophisticated; what Sara Ahmed is doing right now with how feelings make certain economies go around is stunning, not to mention how Butler’s work has influenced activism since the 90’s. Who are you to just throw an entire field of increasingly large research in the garbage? Why exactly are you so angry at queer studies?

  • http://twitter.com/simonmprojects Simon M.

    Hi John,

    My last sentence is pretty passive agressive, I’ll give you that. The rest was really to draw attention to certain types of logic (majority rules, you’re argument is invalid because of reality, academia is silly) because those are all the types of arguments that have, in the past, been used to oppress all other-sexual minorities (which is why I preempted an attack on queer studies, and mentioned Bowers V. Hardwick).

    I think we can both agree that there are certain types of logic (making a rule from stigma felt by a majority of people that agree–Bowers v. Hardwick) that we need to avoid so we don’t end up selling each other out.

    And for the last time (this is actually an important distinction and not just politicking): the way you are using your own negative experience of trans-people calling you cis as a negative and generalizing that experience making it a slur enacts transphobia in the same way that someone being afraid of black people because their only experience with them is on the news as gang members is racist. They both stem from the same type of logic that lived experience with a few people make a rule and we can ignore the exceptions, which, again, has been used against us for a long time. I have no idea if you’re transphobic or not because I’m not inside your head, I can only make arguments about your words and actions.

    I have no doubt that you’ve received a lot of flack in terms of your relationship to trans-people, and cis probably has been used as a slur directed at you. What I’m saying is that it is not JUST that.

  • http://twitter.com/simonmprojects Simon M.

    Hi John,

    I make it my job to “get it” because while I know we’re disagreeing about a lot fo things, I know, and probably you know, too, that it is in our best interest to try to come to an understanding of one another, because in the eyes of anyone who hates a person based on their real or perceived private life, you and I are both the same, along with lesbians, along with bisexuals, along with trans-people and any people who go outside of “normal.” I wanna figure out where you’re all coming from so I can begin to understand and offer my perspective in a way that might open your mind a little.

    Obviously we’ve had opposite experiences with trans people and the term cis; I accept that, in terms of my relationships with my friends who are trans, as simple fairness, if I refer to them as Trans, they refer to me as Cis. It’s something I’m totally comfortable with. I also don’t have the same sensitivity you do to the word “sissy.” I find it doubly useful because it doesn’t even enter into the question of whether one is a “real” man or woman, but also it makes trans less stigmatized. While I hate a binary as much as the next person who can see shades of gray, I feel like this is a practical enough one to honor until trans-people are as accepted as LGB people.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Not sure if you were joking about the first part, but in fact folks do put the fun videos, and spots on the news, or on Olbermann or Maddow, to break up all the serious stuff – they do it for a very precise purpose, to help not make the entire episode one big serious downer.

  • 1jetpackangel

    But, but, there is so much negativity that sometimes you just NEED cats-in-boxes videos to combat all the horribleness! Both the local news stations and CNN do it (“The Ridiculist,” “…and in lighter news…”) and I think it’s therapeutic.

    I felt really bad for Brad Paisley. He TRIED, but you’re right: he failed and now he’s never gonna try again, and other people are going to see his failure and avoid even the mention of racism in their songs, and there goes another source of conversation starters. (“Hey, you heard that new one?”)

    You can’t please everyone, and some people are just so obsessed with the idea of being martyrs for their cause that they’d call a paramedic’s backboard a cross. And they’re being assertive about defending the cause or state of being that in the past, they may have tried to silently ignore. To which I would say, “Yes, you are [sexual or gender identity], good for you for being honest with yourself and everybody else. Now stop biting the hand that’s trying to help you feed yourself.” There’s a phrase I heard or read many years ago that is still in my brain even though I have no idea of the source or context: “If a Boy Scout helps a little old lady cross the street, some feminists would call that condescending.” No matter your intentions, some people are just going to suck. But that should just make you fight harder.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I had already assumed that to be the case when I wrote my response. Oppressors per se can’t be victims, so anything goes :)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That’s the wrong story.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    No, no, John. See, you’re “privileged,” so you don’t get to say, think, feel, or believe anything. Only the glorious “victim” is allowed to make decisions about you, including even what you are to be called. You are to place pleas for your own interests before the Council of Victims, who shall decide whether to deign to grant you their indulgence. Otherwise, you are to shut up and do as you’re told. If you don’t bow down in subordination, you’re oppressing them.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Maybe I should have used ‘sheep.’

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Oh, I did far more that correct the incorrect article in your definition, child. I explained how that article affects the meaning, how the prefix has a specific spatial meaning, how that spatial meaning works in the formation of real words, and at least three reasons why gay men at this site have rejected the “cis” idiocy as offensive and unacceptable. Your effort to appear to engage in a dialogue is nothing more than falsely proclaiming that I’ve said nothing and then just retreating to your canned talking points. It would appear that not only do you gave no interest in what anyone else thinks but that you’re also not even capable of anything but reciting your canned talking points.

    I have absolutely been patronizing to you. It’s how I treat people who are patronizing. Let me know when you’d like to dismount from your high horse.
    If you don’t understand how your “queer theory” ideology is an unsophisticated bastardization of Marxism, perhaps you shouldn’t be presuming to instruct others. I’m certainly not wasting my time on a kid who just dismisses everything I say by claiming I didn’t say anything. (See your “dialogue” about my “cis” criticism.)

  • quax

    Touché

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    But he’s a LAUGHING dog…

  • DaveL

    Good point karmanot. Best to stay dour and outraged all the time. Don’t want to make a joke of yourself.

  • DaveL

    Gasp!!! I’m shocked. Shocked I say. Are you comparing chickens with Christians? Are you saying all chickens are Christians? Are you saying that Buddhist Chickens can’t cross a road? Are you saying all nuns don’t what chickens on the other side of the road? How dare you stereotype all nuns like that? I have many good friends who are nuns and they do not all want their chickens on the same side of the street. You think your chickens are better than my chickens because mine aren’t Christian? Bhuddist chickens have a right, an inalienable right, to be on both sides of the road just like your Christian chickens!

    I am outraged. Outraged by this I say!! You have not heard the last of this, sir. There will be justice from this heinous outrage you’ve visited upon both Christians and chickens.

    And nuns.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    ha!

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Not everyone has common sense, or a filter. Those people in the past, pre-Internet – and really more pre-twitter and pre-facebook – would never be heard from because they still would lack the skills to blow things up. Now, a lack of competence is no longer a disqualifier for amplifying shrill and uninformed. The modern Internet has empowered incompetence, along with competence. People can debate the merits of that, as in some cases obviously it’s a great thing getting everyone online.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    It’s not your job to “get” why the majority of non-trans people don’t embrace the word “cis” to describe themselves. If I came up with a new word for trans people, and suggested to you that trans people should just suck it up and accept the word because I “don’t get” what their problem is with me coming up with an entirely new name for them (something that bears a close resemblance to a slur word used for trans people), you’d accuse me of being a conservative gay transphobic bigot.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Simon, don’t approach someone you don’t even know, accuse them of being a gay Republican – i.e., some closet case who sells out their own civil rights at the drop of a hat – and then call them a trans hater, and then act all verklempt because the person you just treated like an asshole doesn’t send you smiley faces in return. You really are very good at the passive-aggressive victimhood. YOUR personal attacks are merited, but my equivalent responses are ad hominem. Why, because I’m a white gay man? I suspect the answer is yes, though you’re likely too smart to admit it.

    As for your continued insistence that real people use the word “cis” to describe people who aren’t trans – and more often than not seem to use it mostly for white gay men – no, Simon, they really don’t. It’s a term term that someone made up and a very vocal minority foisted on us without our consent and in spite of our objections. Not only is it incredibly discriminatory and bigoted on its face to come up with a name for some other group of people (a group you often criticize, which only makes it worse, calling into question the motivation behind it), but try pulling that one on the black community or the Jewish community – and make especially sure that you choose a word to describe them that forms the root of an age-old slur used to denigrate them (as cis is to sissy) – then see what response you get.

    You may be sincere, it’s awfully difficult to tell. But your language is permeated with passive-aggressive aggressive attacks intended to belittle the person you’re talking to, put them in their place, and shut them up. Perhaps you honestly don’t see it, but that doesn’t make it any more correct.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    And that’s not even true. We have hetero trans people.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    It’s I actually for intersex

  • hefetone

    Excellent article John. It has been interesting over the years to watch the progression of manufactured outrage across various progressive causes. Everyone uses it now and there is an operant explanation for it…although that explanation may not cover all of the reasons why the response is maintained in an individual and spreads across individuals. If you look at the consequences or outcome of outrage a few things become clear. First, it is internally reinforcing to the person engaging in the behavior…that is, the person can immediately feel morally superior to another. Second, it shuts down the other person…punishment has the effect of suppressing behavior. Third, it allows the outraged person to feel he/she is part of a group or clan of like minded individuals. Fourth, it is a quick and easy way to feel as if a person has won an argument. Fifth, it provides cover for unpleasant truths…if you can shut down a person by telling them that they are, for example, racist for asking about responsibility in black inner city populations, you can keep the discussion from becoming too ‘open’ all the while complaining that we never have an ‘open’ discussion on race. Finally, it has worked…that is, various groups, from the very beginning, move from the outraged response to a demand for action, intimating that their outrage must be addressed with some sort of corrective action or, in many cases, and overcorrection (the reparations ploy).

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ Papa Bear

    I thought “post-trotsky” referred to that time when you return from a trip and your stomach settles down…?

  • http://twitter.com/simonmprojects Simon M.

    You didn’t say anything. You’re just being patronizing and reciting rhetoric.

    You’ve told me that “pop marxism” ins’t “McCarthyite,” but I still have no idea what “pop-marxism” is. Please explain (this is what a dialogue looks like: one person tries to understand what the other person is saying).

    Also, I’m not really fazed by your “un-masking” because you corrected “this” to “the” which doesn’t change the meaning of the prefix.

    And I seriously don’t get why you guys hate Cis, so much. it’s used to describe how perceived gender functions in society. “While people do not question the sex of a perceived cis-gender man, trans-men are often subject to social scrutiny based on their ability to “pass” for male”

    I have given you claims and evidence, and asked questions. If I believed you all were hopeless, I wouldn’t bother.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Wow, more patronizing “instruction” from His Precocious Majesty about things everyone here has heard before. Hon, we know that the club of trans activists and “queer” theorists has decided that they shall disrespectfully shove “cis” down the throats of non-trans gay men, just as we know that’s where you’re cutting and pasting your Marxist victimology from. Here’s a critique for you. Plenty of commenters here not only have experience with your little queer theory departments but even have advanced degrees, professional credentials, and years of experience. Prancing about assuming that folks don’t understand the trite, hackneyed, and unremarkable propositions that you’re rotely regurgitating from your “queer theory” reader and precociously setting out to “instruct” us all in them isn’t going to get you anywhere. It’s not even an actual critique; it’s more like an ideological recitation–a kind of performance art. It’s quite amusing how unmasking your own ignorance about the “cis” prefix doesn’t faze your arrogant certainty in your own imagined intellectual superiority.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Yes. “Privilege” is also deployed as an attempted power play. Anyone slapped with the “privilege” label is henceforth supposed to shut up, disagree with nothing said about out them, self-flagellate with oppressors’ guilt, and do as they are told. It is a tactic for trying to suppress debate instead of defending the merits of one’s position.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    LOL. Touche.

  • http://twitter.com/simonmprojects Simon M.

    Sorry. Marxist? What’s this ad-hominem? It kind of sounds like McCarthyism, but that would be totally insane. Like have I studied Marx (which, most people with a humanities degree have)? What context does the word Marxist have here?

    Also I’m involved in a lot of grassroots activist efforts that are trans-inclusive that use the prefix cis. It’s not a bad word. It’s just respect for trans people. We all marched together for Marriage in Paris, so we’re part of the movement whether you like it or not. Also in gender studies people use it. I really hope that gender studies falls into the category of “real” people because academia was one of the routes that the movement had to rely on for acceptance throughout the 20th century (you can look into your gay history books for proof of that one): sexology became sexuality studies, which became gay and lesbian studies which fused with many women’s studies departments, which then either became gender and sexuality studies, and now gender and queer studies. But you could also just trace LGBT issues through the field of psychology and see how crucial it has been to US LGBT acceptance.

    There was no outrage in that comment. It was genuine critique. You have a pretty big voice, so I thought I’d give a perspective from the other side. But I will say that labeling/dismissing everything you don’t agree with/understand is a method that the far right is suffering from and why suddenly there are anti-abortion, pro-marriage Republicans.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    I can’t think of what group you might have in mind. The closet thing I can think of is Athlete Allies, a group for straight allies of gays in sports.

  • Naja pallida

    I appreciate the honorable mention, but I think I was the one that sparked that particular conversation with my choice of wording, I think mirth contributed smoothing it over more than I.

  • Naja pallida

    You clean up well!

  • quax

    You’re a dog, how would you know.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Chris Hedge’s has an interesting take on this at Salon, might be worth a read—- http://www.salon.com/2013/04/27/sf_pride_capitulates_drops_manning/

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It’s often existentially difficult for a joker to realize he is the joke.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Why did the chicken cross the road? Because he was a Christian. told to me by a nun.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Oh that’s interesting. Well he’s gone now

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Right. The modern use is the same as the ancient one too.

  • FLL

    Certainly the ancient Romans used the Latin prefix “cis” and “trans” for location, as in “cisalpine Gaul” and “transalpine Gaul.” The way “trans” is used in “transgender,” the suffix means “going beyond” (your birth gender), not “on the other side” (of your birth gender). Another example of “trans” meaning “going beyond” is “transnational,” which means “extending or operating across national boundaries.” Who in their right mind would think you could construe the fabricated word “cisnational” to mean “within one country?”

    I’m sure this all began as a supposedly witty joke because someone thought “cis” reminded people of the English word “sissy.” Poor attempt at bigoted humor.

  • http://twitter.com/NickyBayus Nick Bayus

    in the anti-tradition of individual Muslims apologizing for all acts of group-same negativity ,,, Meh , yours not required tho appreciated . I’ve just returned online after coupla years broke but wasn’t there some news about an org working to bridge this gap in gay/straight relations a year or so ago ? We’re all fighting for the same thing basically , to Stop religious assholes who judge like Judas from controlling our lives .

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Amen!

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Simon, dear, this gay man will not be instructed by the trans community what fucking word I’m allowed to call myself. This blog has been over and over that insulting “cis” idiocy multiple times. Maybe you should do something remarkable: Refrain from sanctimoniously lecturing others when you have no idea about the entire history you’re butting into.

    Your definition of “cis” is incorrect. As we have repeatedly discussed on this blog, the prefix means “on THIS side of,” not “on the side of.” It describes PHYSICAL LOCATION, as in the location on this side of another thing. Cislunar: on this side of the moon. Cisalpine: On this side of the Alps. Non-trans gay men are not on this side of their gender, whatever the fuck that would even mean. “Cis” pairs with a DIFFERENT meaning of “trans” than the way “trans” is used in transgender, but whoever coined the idiocy was too stupid to understand that.

    Nor do I have any intention of being called “cis,” which transgender gay-bashers have turned into a slur for gay men and which sounds like a short form of sissy, making it incredibly homophobic. Now YOU stop sanctimoniously barking orders and YOU try understanding something other than the trendy pop Marxist victimization shit you’re spouting as if it were some divine natural law. You have opinions, hon. Learn to realize that’s all they are.

  • Naja pallida

    That’s more or less how I figured it went. :)

  • DaveL

    Walking on eggshells. Feels like the status quo in here. I’m brand new to your messages obviously but it feels in this post anyway like a very narrow perspective is tolerated. Not necessarily by the moderators, but by the contributors. I shouldn’t judge based on one blog’s messages of course.

    I judge people by their sense of humor. It’s just my anecdotal observation reading through these it seems like an over-serious and humorless crowd. Maybe if I just keep quiet and keep reading I’ll be proven wrong.

  • MyrddinWilt

    I think a lot of it comes down to definitions and the type of people who insist on their definition of what it means to be a ‘true’ gay or ‘genuine’ bisexual or whatever.

    I find the arguments pretty uninteresting. Its all just a way to create a club and throw everyone else out.

  • Sweetie

    The president didn’t cave. He made a deal with the industry and then lied about supporting the public option. The deal was to not even discuss single-payer at all and then to make sure the public option wasn’t part of the bill. Nancy Pelosi also went through the motions, watering the public option down to next to nothing (versus the “robust” version) but passing it so the Dems could continue the charade.

    Greenwald wrote an excellent article about this: “The Democrats’ Scam Becomes More Transparent”. http://www.salon.com/2010/03/12/democrats_36/

    And, to use the same tactic against someone that Markos and the White House used against Howard Dean is hardly a mark of true progressivism in my view. How much one is committed to progressivism is beside the point in that context.

    And, finally… Standing firm on the public option is not the same thing as wanting the bill to die. It is certainly not the same thing as wanting nothing. The Dems could have gotten the public option had they actually been for it in the first place. The last thing we needed in the progressive community calling people crazy for demanding some follow-through.

  • DaveL

    Tell us one that’s not gross and offensive. Betcha can’t.

  • DaveL

    So do tell, George. Say something funny. I’d love to see what humor that doesn’t disappoint looks like.

    Anyone ever tell a joke a on this board? I’d love to see a joke, any joke, that doesn’t get responses from all the guys with their panties in a bunch like karmanot.

  • Sweetie

    Sorry, Cicada, but when people know you’ll cave then you have no political leverage. It’s just as the analyst on Olbermann’s show said: Everyone knew the progressives would roll over. They always have, the always do, they always will. That’s what he said about single-payer and the public option and it was clearly true.

    The mandate without the public option is a negative cost-benefit ratio for ordinary people.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Nice colon polyp….and?

  • nycolonopyl

    my buddy’s sister makes $87/hour on the laptop. She has been fired from work for eight months but last month her income was $16872 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on  Zap22.c­om

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Well that’s f’d up. Having said that, I’ve had straight friends tell me the same thing. They wanted to help, and couldn’t really get anyone’s interest because they were straight. That’s just seriously f’d up. Sorry about that.

  • FLL

    Harry Hay, who co-founded the Mattachine Society in the early 1950s, comes to mind. Harvey Milk also. That’s not to say that trans people haven’t been a part of the historic struggle for equality because they were a part of both the Stonewall riots and the riots against Franco’s dictatorship in Spain during the 1970s. I’ll just say that it serves no purpose to diss Harry Hay and Harvey Milk by calling them “cis”‘ because they made progress possible for everyone.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    RE: ‘Queer.””I don’t think the gay community is there” That’s true. Many men of my generation react to that term with extreme prejudice, because it was the ‘N’ word of its time. It took the very smart Naja P. to talk me down on another site, to listen and understand the term has come time as a pride nomenclature. I listened and have changed. That’s why I now use GLTBQ.

  • Naja pallida

    That is an incredible power to have in the blogosphere.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Bingo!

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Correct, it’s a slur used almost exclusively for gay white men. But underlying it is a contempt for white people, gay men, and men. That usually comes out in the ensuing dialogue – and gay white men happen to be all three. Of course, the irony is that the people saying it have no clue that the very people they claim have held back the gay movement actually are large number of its successes for the past 50 years.

  • http://twitter.com/NickyBayus Nick Bayus

    uhh , no , I was treated as if I were an interloper as opposed to Anti-War protests where I met most of the people I know in town , the friends in my life , straight , gay , purple/green . There’s “glad you joined us” or there’s “…(crickets)…” when you walk up to someone and say “hello…” . I don’t know how else to interpret social interaction .

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Done!

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yes, I don’t remember every conversation with everyone, but I do remember frequent commenters, and vaguely recall the occasional comment that raised the hair on my neck, but only occasional ;-)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    It was my first job out of school, I was a Republican because that’s how I was raised, and didn’t know what to do work-wise, so went for a job on the Hill because that’s what one of my roommates did. The job was interesting, but there was no passion for it – I only found the passion when I discovered gay rights and the Internet, individually and collectively, both. Then I came out, to myself and others, during the job, voted for Clinton in 92, left the job, and veered left from then on.

  • FLL

    I’m finally getting around to replying to the substance of your post, John. I think you would be making a mistake to ignore the fact that homophobia is disproportionately aimed at men (yes, the entire male population), and by extension, men’s sports even though by acknowledging this you might be criticized as sexist. The cynical (or sexually repressed) rulers/prophets/whatever in ancient Israel and many early Christians certainly had their own reasons for targeting and terrorizing the male population as concerns sexual taboo, but history is what it is. To ignore history is a lie, and lying never solves anything. Yes, there were certainly early gnostic Christians who were tolerant, but they lost and the trinitarian Christians won and told the world to kill gay and bisexual men, or at the very least, to force them into hiding (for the next 1600 years).

    If men in the NBA or NFL feel freer to come out today, it is because your fellow Americans realize (perhaps unconsciously) that the takeover of Western society by the victorious Christian church in the fourth century was a mistake, and that mistake has to be undone. The same dynamic operates in the public school system, kindergarten through high school. The targeting of male students for violence is overwhelmingly disproportionate. Don’t you think Jason Collins understood that when he wore the number “98” on his jersey to honor Matthew Shepard?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Hmmm, not entirely sure I understood that, but I’m intrigued ;)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    LOL

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I mention it in a response above. It’s a term that people who generally have an issue with white people, men, gays, and people who aren’t trans use to disparage those they disagree with, and those who they believe are responsible for oppressing them and much of the world. It’s usually used along with the Marxist term “privilege,” a word that has some merit in helping one understand some of the problems minorities face, but sadly it’s far too often used as a buzzword by people who simply want to define everyone who isn’t as “oppressed” as them as the 1%.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Oh come on. Myrrdin didn’t say ‘butt ugly.’

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    lol :-)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Have been trying, am looking for more. Would be great to get a woman, I’ve wanted that for years, have invited many. Still interested.

  • FLL

    “I still find it sadly, almost always used by people who have a bigoted
    disdain for white people, men, gay men, and people who aren’t trans.”

    I do think the term “cis” is pejorative, but I don’t think it’s aimed at most white people, most men or most people who aren’t trans for the simple fact that any listener would instinctively relate it to the word “sissy,” and the people who invented the term “cis” are well aware of that. The term “cis” is selectively aimed at gay men. I doubt if there is any statistically significant number of straight people who have even heard the term in their entire lives.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “pop Marxism victimology” love that, but I would have used post-Trotsky.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    :-)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “But beat up on Markos because——” I dare not answer because the moderator will get me.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Some people want to use the word queer to mean everyone in the community, but I don’t think society is there yet, I don’t the gay community is there yet.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    While I of course appreciate you coming here and telling me that I hate trans people, because nothing opens a dialogue better than that, you’re, sadly, a textbook example of the problem I detail above.

    And since you kindly point out that I “spout” like a conservative, you spout like a Marxist. And that’s your right, but don’t expect anyone real to take you seriously. No one serious uses the belittling “cis” term for people who aren’t trans, no one. And I took organic chem, I’m aware of the word’s origins. I still find it sadly, almost always used by people who have a bigoted disdain for white people, men, gay men, and people who aren’t trans. We’ve got enough on our hands already from haters on the right.

    Sorry Simon, but that comment was typical passive-aggressive outrage. I’m happy to engage in a dialogue with you or anyone else, but don’t come here and attack me with far-left pop psychology and expect me to genuflect. And I’m not startled by you. I am however saddened.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Why do people feel the need to pick on bloggers with good intentions” because some bloggers are incredibly stupid and impervious to transformational information?Actually, what Naja said—it’s sound kinder.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    PPPPPFFFFFFTTTTT! thank you for that ‘objective’ scold.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Oh, god do half to include ‘H’ in our list now.? GLTBQH

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Oh, please. There is only “acceptable” way for a gay man to address any transgender issue–to self-flagellate himself over his “privilege,” never, ever have any opinion, and do whatever the transgender critic demands–which in that case meant killing a bill that folks had been pursuing for 30 years. Fuck that! When trans folk get over the desire to subordinate and bash gay men, let me know. Until then, I’ve stopped doing anything for T issues. Go spew bile at somebody else for a while.

  • http://twitter.com/RyanWithCupcake Ryan

    Fred Clark (Slactivist) has written extensively about the rush that comes from doing imaginary battle with Satanic Baby-Killers.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Okay, that made me laugh.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Started reading that piece, it is interesting, but my it’s long. What do you mean by “What I’m arguing is that you gotta own it to fix it”? I’m intrigued, just not understanding what you mean in practice?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Did you hear the one about the guy who had no brain but kept on telling gross, offensive jokes?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Interesting point. Perhaps it’s time we declared a little more clearly what our philosophy is on political debate, in the way that you know what you’re getting when you read the Rude Pundit.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Sorry, no clue what that was about.

  • FLL

    The reason you have no idea what “cis” means is because it’s not in use in the English-speaking world. When English-speaking people talk about people who are not trans, they say “non-trans,” which everyone understands. There is no misunderstanding on your part.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    What do you mean, you went embraced by the gay community when you tried to help?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Oh god, we’re not going anywhere :) Don’t worry, but thank you, I appreciate the words of support.

  • FLL

    The prefix in English is “non,” which is used to mean “not,” as in “non-trans.” You need to get used to our common English language and stop trying to rework it by asking people to jump through hoops. If you continue to ignore common English usage, people will just ridicule you, and rightfully so. No one is “startled” when you ask people to jump through hoops for your amusement. They’ll just decline.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=606719566 facebook-606719566

    I enjoy your blog and it’s the first thing I read every morning. Please don’t change or stop. I have several pets and enjoy your cute videos, too. I share your blog with my apolitical gay son and his husband and friends. I always thought the “walking on eggshells” syndrome applied to dysfunctional families due to physical abuse and alcoholism. Being an atheist and liberal feminist has caused problems in my life but I just grow a thicker skin.

  • FLL

    Relating to folks on the Internet being thin-skinned, for example, regarding humor.

  • FLL

    If you’re waiting for “cisgender” to appear in any dictionary of English, you’re going to be waiting a very long time.

    Repeat after me: essential, nonessential, profit, nonprofit, trans, non-trans. We use the prefix “non” to mean “not.” Sorry, but that ship has sailed, and it sailed many centuries ago.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I wish I could respond to what you just wrote, but I have no clue how it relates to what I just said up there.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    You could invite more guest posters. Sometimes a new voice can be a breath of fresh air.

  • George Melby

    And it’s a good way to get censored. There ARE a majority of good folk on this blog who do have common sense… and use it!!! (So disappointed in you… you aren’t even close to humorous!)

  • http://twitter.com/NickyBayus Nick Bayus

    Good post John , I had no idea what I’ve noticed in my experience extended to someone like you who has blogged on the side of the Angels since I got online a dozen yrs ago .

    I’ve found it difficult to be a straight ally on LGBT issues here in Boise and stopped adding my voice in protesting Anti-Gay republiCRAP on the street a few yrs past . I’d feel out of place & lonely , receiving indifference from those I’d try to start a conversation with and the OnLy people I’m shy around are Women I’m interested in , TheN I freeze like-a fool .
    But , back at the protest-ranch , I’d spend 2 hours protesting by myself in a group of strangers to me , friends with each other even tho the Last time I went was at least my 4th protest with the saMe organizers . . .

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ Papa Bear

    Remind me to get your address later, in case I happen to “be in the neighborhood”…

    :-D

  • http://twitter.com/simonmprojects Simon M.

    Literally the first time I’ve ever read your blog. But from that objective stance, you are kind of spouting off a lot of conservative (conservative in the clinging to the past sense/resistant to change) gay rhetoric that alienates a huge readership.

    Furthermore “Cis” is latin for “on the side of, ie “your gender lines up on the side of your assigned at birth sex.” It is used to refers to everyone whose gender aligns with their assigned at birth sex. Not just white gay men. Also it is kind of transphobic to diminutively describe “cis” as a “cute” word when it’s a big distinction in terms of visibility and you’re responding to commenters with misinformation without even doing a google search on what cis means.

    It doesn’t really seem like you’re at all interested in understanding where the other side is coming from; it kind of just seems like you’re startled by being held accountable for your words by groups of people who are upset by them.

  • Tiggi

    Long time Lurker, Thank you John for posting this. It’s just exhausting to have any conversations about anything because of having to walk on eggshells constantly. How can we make good improvements for our community when we can’t even talk about the problems?

  • Jess

    So, OK. Never mind that for a minute. What would effective discourse actually look like? You can argue for less outrage by saying “my opinions are so excellent in concept and totally thoughtful that people taking offence are merely outraged and thoughtless” — or you can try to get at the matter in a way that leaves people on board. Neither is going to work (the world is what it is) but this was the Solnit piece, for the sake of this discussion — an example of the “on board” approach, to me. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/15/letter-dismal-allies-us-left
    Personally I’m glad you didn’t take her approach in 07 — we aren’t on the same side. But we are both on the left, and I share your belief that outrage, inc. makes the blog-type news I read on the left, increasingly, into pablum, bent to outrage before it encounters truth. What I’m arguing is that you gotta own it to fix it. I do it when I blog, you do it, we all do it — you invited outrage with that article, but you, yourself, were speaking from an outraged position of “these folks are going to ruin our incremental progress”. Moment to moment, from all of us, outrage. It runs thin and divorces us from more profound reasons to seek change. Or areas of agreement.

  • GBAM

    Well, I thought our community already included anyone who is not your traditional heterosexual male or female. The problem is if you have to name everyone in the community every time you refer to the community, you’re bound to forget a few and drop some others for brevity. We need just one word when referring to the community as a whole.

    I think I’ve commented enough. Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.nelson.98499 Christopher Nelson

    Well…. Take the “high” road. Its painful but ultimately the best long game scenario.
    Or, declare your blog as a “malice free” zone and say whatever you damn well want. You then only have to self-censor if you truly “look at your writing” and see that its motivated by some sort of unjustified hostility. Tell people the “rules” up front and if they don’t play by them then… its their problem. You have already “self censored” your motivation, not your message and if they see something that angers them.. oh well. It also gives you the satisfaction of being the “pious” one. (Although this is petty. Just saying).
    Also tell people that you are blogging in “reality” as opposed to fantasy.If you say something exists and people don’t like it, then they can be pissed all they want. “The reality of this scenario is ________ and although we may not like it; denying its true nature is not going to resolve the problem.” I may get my panties in a twist over homophobia,but I can’t make it less real.
    Tell people that “levity” exists in your universe and also in their own. If we can’t make fun of ourselves, then we might as well be dead. Causes are serious but people should not be.
    As you can see, I’m not a fan of Twitter. Those 140 characters are so simple but ultimately deadly.Use it differently or give it up.

  • DaveL

    So is it necessary to like everyone to be a progressive? Except of course others who don’t like everyone. Are you only allowed to not like someone who doesn’t like everyone?

    For my taste John Avarosis is a little too PC for me. I prefer my blogs a little more in your face. Bill Maher is more my speed. Dan Savage too.

    Gotta wonder what some of the guys that post here think is funny. Bet you don’t get invited to many parties. Ever laugh at a joke guys? Like the one about the bisexual, the trans, the amputee, and the dead pacifist who walk into a bar …

    I’m guessing dead baby jokes are out of the question. What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs in a swimming pool? Bob. ROFLMAO. I got a million of ‘em. I have a feeling the best way to increase hits on your blog, John, is to post a joke every day. Most of these guy’s heads will explode anew each and every joke.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I think Quax gets that ;)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Thanks, Michael :)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Questioning is great – that’s what I do – but I rarely GO AFTER other progressives. If you note what I write on the blog, and we generally write on this blog, we rarely do. Gaius did the other day against one, and it was a special case. Otherwise, we rarely do. Because I think it’s rude. And counterproductive. Disagree about an analysis, sure. But beat up on Markos because of something he wrote? Why? How does it help our movement? It doesn’t./

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Cis is a cute word that some people use to refer to people who aren’t trans. It’s a play on words – in chemistry you have cis and trans molecules. Sadly, it’s also generally used by people who have an axe to grind against people who aren’t trans, and the targets are usually people who are gay men and white as well.

    As for the ever-changing nomenclature, I tried to have that debate in 2007, as the commenter above referenced. A lot of people wanted to have it, but they were too afraid to speak up, and the outrage crowd shut the discussion down. So, good luck with that. And get ready for hermaphrodites to be added to the community as well, in many cultures they already are.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    LOL

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I’m glad you brought them up, as that article, from 2007, is a precursor to this one today – about the evils of letting the outrage-crowd stifle debate and any opinion that differs from their own. Folks can read it here: http://www.salon.com/2007/10/08/lgbt/ In that case, the issue was how it wasn’t politically correct to even ask when and how T got added on to the LGB, yet the gay community was supposed to kill ENDA, after a thirty year pursuit, because of this new member of the community that many gays didn’t fully understand or welcome. It’s not fair to ask when and how and why the two communities merged? Of course it is. And as the story points out, if we don’t ask these questions, if we don’t have an open discussion about it, then we can’t improve trans acceptance in the gay community, and we won’t be able to ask gay people to make sacrifices for trans people if they don’t fully see trans people as equal partners (and as I pointed out in the article, many gays still don’t, but won’t admit it publicly – that’s a problem – and I think problems should be discussed, not buried). So yes, you’re right, that article is quite relevant to today’s discussion, thanks.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    LOL

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I’m game, but yes, I need some concrete suggestions for how to make lemon out of lemonade here ;-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.nelson.98499 Christopher Nelson

    I am a frequent “lurker” for your blog and was dismayed and saddened today when I read your posting “Outrage, Inc.” The frustration you express is valid and I can understand your current mind state.
    I encourage you to look at this problem with a new perspective. I don’t have to tell you the nature of the internet. Despite the illusion of intimate and immediate communications, it is not and will never be a true interpersonal communication medium. Because of the nature of “the medium” the following bad behaviors are more prevalent:
    – Misinterpretation. No matter how finely you craft your prose, many people will take offense. Most people do not read carefully (that is if they even read beyond the first sentence). This would be less likely (although it still occurs) in a true inter-personal communication.
    – One Up-manship- Most internet posters (both influential and not) believe that their prime purpose is to “trump” the opinion of others. This provides them with a “feel-good” opportunity in a vacuum and allows them to self validate their existence. I cannot believe that these people would have the “guts” to behave in this manner during their “real time” interactions with others.
    – The philosophy that “Any publicity is good publicity”- Rather than report and analyze serious issues in an adult manner it is easier to create artificial drama by starting a “Twitter” war over a misinterpretation of an incorrect reading of a small portion of a eight word sentence. Its gets the attention seeker noticed by going “nuclear” over nothing and “who cares about any collateral damage” if it means that “I’m trending.”
    You are communicating via a medium that addresses the largest possible audience. The nature of that medium is inherently flawed because the emotional immediacy has been completely removed. I’m not saying anything here that you don’t already know.
    I encourage you to take this very effective and very flawed medium and try “turning it on its ear.” I don’t have a solution on how to accomplish this but there has to be a more effective way. Don’t give up on what you are trying to accomplish because the vehicle of “your expression” is broken. I wish I had a brilliant idea on how to accomplish this but you just might. Maybe you have an opportunity to educate the internet in how to communicate effectively. Maybe this can achieved by offering a carrot. Maybe by using a stick. Maybe by using both. Or none of the above.

    Innovation over Frustration…

    P.S. If you have participated in any of the above behaviors (only you can judge) then I urge you to include “yourself” in this process of Innovation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mbtiffany Michael Tiffany

    Outrage, Inc.? Really? Where do I apply for a job at this wonderful company? Finally I can put my talents to profitable use!!!!

  • Jess

    Dude, you wrote “let alone ask what I as a gay man have in common with a man who wants to cut off his penis, surgically construct a vagina, and become a woman. I’m not passing judgment, I respect transgendered people and sympathize with their cause…”. I got over being outraged at people who write things like this a long time ago. But I do think anyone who can write stuff like that should perhaps be considering that their relationship with the outrage of others is complex and perhaps even, dare I say it, symbiotic. Today, it is a ball in your game, the next day it is a weariness and a sorrow. Hmmmm.
    I think you are right overall in some ways (see Solnit’s excellent piece “To My Dismal Allies” in the runup to the election). But I do think there is a lot more here too look at than you bring to the article or to your thinking here. Political discourse which is run as an outrage machine won’t ever get much past its lowest and first goal, if that, because the participants can’t consider a shared thesis (just shared emotion and a few general tendencies). But “oh I am too righteous for these PC fools” — which you come quite close to here — isn’t a great way to create allies either.

  • http://twitter.com/notfakeandrew Andrew

    Hey, come read my blog!

  • http://twitter.com/notfakeandrew Andrew

    I was thinking Daily Kos.

  • http://twitter.com/DanielReasor Daniel Reasor

    I liked the part where you demonstrated exactly what John is talking about.

  • Gatz

    Damn, you just summed up reddit.

  • GBAM

    Hey, I do like the cat videos. I would never own one, but it is nice to look at them from behind a computer screen.

    Here is something that has been bothering me for some time. It is becoming increasingly difficult to refer to the gay community without leaving out and thereby offending someone. It was gay, then gay & lesbian, then LGB, then LGBT, LGBTQ. Now I’m seeing the word “cis”, and I have no idea what that means.

    I can see how someone who wants to be inclusive, could decide that it is safer to not mention us at all – much like your decision to not mention women in your article.

    GayBlackAtheistMale

  • Michael in Cambridge

    Thanks for all that you do.

  • Michael in Cambridge

    Plus, occasionally John picks a target and mobilizes the readership and things happen! How cool is that?

  • Dano2

    I was recently at, John, a climate adaptation conference where the issues with the agricultural sector in future global change were discussed. ‘Arab Spring’ is the model to which you might refer – bread riots if you will. Only so many more years of bread and circuses, then the ones without smartphones to pacify them will be angry.

    Best,

    D

  • Naja pallida

    I so didn’t want to open up my greenhouse this year, all the citrus in there is blossoming and I didn’t want to let the smell out. :)

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Oh, look. Another sanctimonious ideologue who is deigning to descend from the mountaintop to instruct John on exactly what is wrong with him. LOL. No thanks. I’ve read enough far-left victimology gibberish today.

    Shorter version: Because you’re a white gay man, you are required to cower, self-flagellate, defer, and apologize in the face of every last personal insult from anyone who is trans, etc. (rolls eyes)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Well if you actually ready my quote, I was responding to someone who was already outraged tht I’d lost my commitment to progressivism – I was responding to Outrage Inc. so I’d humbly submit that at that point I’m permitted to give as good as I get :-)

  • Skeptical Cicada

    When it reaches a point in the process where there is no path to getting the public option back in the bill, it is politically stupid to demand all or nothing if the something you can get will at least help move the ball part of the way. Mindless, sabotaging purity isn’t a “policy difference,” no matter how much you want mindless, sabotaging purity set up as a legitimate policy position.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I might. At least for a day or two. Just write some stuff that isn’t about news that happened an hour ago but is sill fresh enough to schedule a few days in advance. Good idea.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ianfinkenbinder ian finkenbinder

    An Open Letter to John Aravosis (and Other Progressives Who Just Don’t Get It)

    http://oneangryqueer.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-letter-to-john-aravosis-and-other.html

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yes!

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Actually we’re posting fewer posts because we decided to move away from posts that simply quote a story and direct you to another site, and focus instead on only substantive posts where we hav something original to add to the discussion. Thus the posts are fewer and longer. Ok actually spending MORE time blogging each day than I did before even though we have half the posts.! But it’s paid off. Our unique readers have doubled and our page views are up 50%. And they re not just up on cat videos :-) the fun videos are for the evenings and weekends. All outrage and no play make joe and jane dull boys and girls. People need a break from the angry stuff IMHO. So there you go.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Kudos, John.

    Most of what you’re describing isn’t even real outrage. It’s faux, tactical outrage from people who try to gain advantage in an argument by wallowing in victimhood.

  • Naja pallida

    Out of curiosity, does that say anything about your time with Mr. Stevens?

  • Sweetie

    Pardon me… it was insane, heartless, and stupid. The political acumen bit was a stupidity volley.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Please unsubscribe. No one will miss a holier-than-thou, self-flagellating gay man who cuts and pastes pop Marxism victimology gibberish, tries to shove the “cisgender” non-word down everybody’s throat, and thinks the word “privilege” is a talisman that magically requires everyone to bow down in silenced obedience.

    Dear, you also don’t have a monopoly on the word “progressive.” It has multiple meanings, but predictably a far-left ideologue imagines that only he gets to dictate the meaning of the word. Go away. No one is kissing your ass to keep you from unsubscribing.

  • superstition

    “As for health care, I appreciate you want the entire bill dead. Well goodie for you. I don’t. I thought it was ridiculous that the president caved, and eviscerated him both publicly and privately to the White House and at Treasury and on the Hill. But now we have to decide if we want something or nothing. And I’m sorry, feel free to take nothing. I choose something. It’s over. We lost. The President has been forced to eat crow on how badly he handled health care, and we lost the provisions we wanted. You need to get over it.

    You question my commitment, I question your sanity, your political acumen, and your compassion.”

    — John Aravosis, on the suggestion that the health bill should have a public option

    The “you’re crazy if you want to stand firm on a public option” meme was used on Howard Dean, too. Markos did that and the White House did it, too. He caved. I didn’t.

    A person is not insane or heartless for expecting the President, Nancy Pelosi, and the rest to deliver on their promises. A person is not heartless or lacking in compassion for standing up for what is right rather than caving. We definitely did take something from the process, though. We took the mandate, which is what the entire thing was about in the first place. We took a Supreme Court precedent. We took a heap of lies and manipulation. I didn’t. I guess that’s because I’m crazy enough to think that when the vast majority of the public supports something it’s possible that politicians can deliver on it.

    Maybe you have turned over a new leaf and won’t call someone insane and heartless due to a policy difference. If so, that’s great. But, with posts like that, it’s hard to be outraged about the outrage that has been directed at you.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “But the fact that they are over-used does not mean that they are always wrongly used.” True, I think it’s time to invent the term Myrridin’s Anti-Window! :-)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Imagine this instead: sitting in my backyard under the canopy swing with a cool glass of lemon tea, looking at all the flowers and koi in the pond before you, feeling the slight warm breeze wafting the scent of Honeysuckle, Rosemary, Lemon blossoms and sweet roses. At peace, away from it all.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I certainly hope not!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    One of the great awakenings in my young life was the fact, that just existing created hatred aimed squarely at my naive heart.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “I don’t mean to pick on you” You have put me in my place a few times and I was honored you took the time. Some of us learn the hard way and are open to critique. :-)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Exactly my friend!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I think there is a lot we here in the galleys don’t know about the behind scenes and don’t need to know, but appreciate the breath of experience you bring to inform, many of us more set in our ways and make possible more fluid change.

  • Naja pallida

    Go get a hair cut, you dirty hippie!

  • Naja pallida

    I think a good part of it is the old shoot the messenger routine. People choosing the most convenient target, most often simply out of frustration that we no longer can have any kind of discussion, much less a rational one, with the other side. Without an opponent, we’re forced into arguing amongst ourselves, instead of trying to find ways to force them to come to the table of reality.

  • samizdat

    My fingers are hoarse from all of the shouting.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I think that’s right and I have been guilty of pursuing a thread with legitimate commentary past the point of civility, but when realizing the offense. I have apologized on this very site, twice. But I don’t see apologies often enough.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “and travels a greater distance from the original words, it becomes more
    ridiculous and less similar to the original intent of the comment”—-‘Pulling the taffy effect’ an Internet conversation effect—–not unlike classic gossip.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Davel,

    Much of the time women do get attacked in sexist terms in an attempt to bully them out of the conversation. Which was of course why so many women were happy to hear Dworkin having a go back at them.

    It is a bit like when progressives yearn for a progressive version of Fox News or Rush Limbaugh. People want to see their own side dish it out as good as the other side does.

    Politics is not a football match. It isn’t a question of winning every ‘fight’ which is why outrage Inc. is often unproductive.

    In the case of Dworkin, I think it is much like adultery. I have no problem with politicians who have complicated private lives as long as everyone is an adult and gives consent. If Bill Clinton wants to bang interns on his desk in the oval office then let the secret service put an ad in Craigslist so they can at least be properly security screened. But if a politician makes a big issue out of family and fidelity and then goes off whoring it is 100% legitimate.

    US politics is very superficial and when the color of Al Gore’s sweaters, the cost of John Edward’s haircut, Romney’s suits etc are talking points then so is the fact that Christie is corpulent.

    Dworkin was not running for office and normally what she looks like would not be relevant. But when a woman builds her entire political philosophy on the claim that ‘every man just wants to rape me’, well she has made the fact that she is utterly repellent an issue.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    There comes a time with the ‘art’ when effort and excellence become one and it’s no longer ‘personal.’ Disengage the attachment because you are considerably more than the art.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Ann Coulter is just a thinner, prettier version of Dworkin.” You are very compassionate.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    There is the though that ‘correctness’ does not exist as a valid meme in a democratic context, except as censorship.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I don’t think so Jim. It’s too dangerous. I would stop commenting. We all do have profiles and an I-address. That’s enough. The very idea that John gets death threats is itself simply unbelievable and outrageous.

  • GBAM

    John, I like your blog. I have been reading it for years – although lately, I think you post too many videos and not enough writing. Now I know why.

    I agree with what you wrote about Outrage, Inc. Outrage is effective up to a point. It worked for conservatives. Now it works against them. It works for us, when it is directed at conservatives.

    But when we direct it at each other, it shows that we have become very narrow in our thinking and won’t tolerate any speech that deviates from what we think the party line should be.

  • LIRARIW

    I will never be the “enemy” of equal rights; those who practice oppression of any sort may have reason to fear :-) Keep up the good work, John.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It could expose people to danger. Some of the recent trolls here have been very creepy—-like the avowed pedophile guy or the hateful misogynist anti-Lib troll.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I just love it when you scream! :-)

  • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

    This is definitely something that needed to be said. I feel the problem isn’t the Outrage itself, but the fact that the Outrage is misplaced. Why do people feel the need to pick on bloggers with good intentions when there is so much blatant and deliberate hatred out there?

    Many of us are guilty of being insensitive from time to time. In that case, a gentle rebuke is more appropriate and effective than name-calling.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yep, but my aggressive troll hunting ways here have earned me a modest status on the down arrow lineup.

  • http://twitter.com/libsechumanist libsechumanist

    I wish it wasn’t a bigger deal. I want all the women who’ve been out for years and decades to be viewed as just as brave and strong as Jason Collins. Bille Jean, Martina, and many WNBA players, just to name a few. I don’t want to take anything away from Collins – a great guy – but there have been decades of brave women before him, even if their sports ‘aren’t as important’ in the eyes of straight white men. As a straight white woman it saddens me a bit.

  • http://twitter.com/dcoopsd Brandon Smith

    Just because you get a few bad apples doesn’t mean you chop down the whole tree.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Kes,

    The reason I think it is perfectly fair to point out that Dworkin was a nasty, bitter old hag was that she went round claiming that every man was a rapist and then screamed down anyone who had the temerity to disagree with her.

    And just as many if not most gay-haters are not 100% straight and are really self-haters who loathe the gay in themselves, it always seemed to me that Dworkin’s confused rants about men wanting to objectify her, and ‘rape’ her said a lot more about the causes of her own self-loathing than the men she attacked.

    I don’t doubt her claims that some of the men she was involved with treated her badly and ill-used her. But she never had cause to accuse every man with a penis of being a rapist as she did loudly and repeatedly. And yes it did rather detract from her argument that she was out there claiming that every man wanted to objectify her and rape her when she had made herself physically repulsive to most of us.

    Like Coulter, Dworkin’s little scheme was to start out with a preposterous personal attack and then whine that nasty men were trying to make the argument personal. Coulter does have more than one string to her fiddle though. Dworkin only ever screamed ‘RAPIST’, Coulter uses ‘Treason’, ‘Godless’ etc. etc.

    Coulter and Dworkin were both playing the same game. It is the same game in a different way as ‘Uncle’ Clarence Thomas and Goerge W. Bush. There are certain tropes that are over-used rhetorically so as to become meaningless. ‘Fascist’ and ‘NAZI’ being the most over-used. But the fact that they are over-used does not mean that they are always wrongly used.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “It’s difficult to turn the caring off simply because someone is being a jerk.” Bingo!

  • Naja pallida

    Not to excuse it, but I think that really is one the hallmarks of the progressive and “left” side of things in general. We’re willing to question our own. Sometimes even harshly. We don’t all fall into lock-step, like the right is so wont to do. I just wish people would learn to pick their battles more sensibly, on issues that actually matter, instead of what seems to be nibbling at the edges.

  • http://twitter.com/dcoopsd Brandon Smith

    I find it interesting that you do not correlate the commentary portion of a blog post with having a conversation. The moment you hit the “reply” button and subsequently, the “post as…” button you’re replying and engaging with the author of the original article or of the commentary. By its most basic definition this is, quite simply, a conversation. And though no one necessarily deems Ms. Manners a requirement when carrying on a conversation from the sanctity of where ever the respondent’s computer may lie, a modicum of civility is required regardless of the thrashing of the ideas or the potential for no blood to be spilled.

    I will say that if a majority of respondents actually thought the way you did (the exploration of ideas) we’d be in a much different situation. However, it has been my experience that this is quite clearly not the case (or John wouldn’t have written his eloquent diatribe) and we’re faced with anonymous individuals who clearly don’t care about the others in the proverbial room.

    Online conversations too are about cooperation. If I called you a fat a** you’d be offended right? (by the way, this is a hypothetical if…) It entirely shifts the premise that is an idea strewn comment and dashes this wonderfully utopian idea.

    And in the end, it isn’t real blood drawn but someone still gets hurt. Remember the adage “Sticks and stones may break my bones….”? Totally not a true statement. Words hurt.

  • Naja pallida

    You need to do what Sam Seder does, and just “pre-record” – or rather, pre-write – some stuff, and take a week off and have someone else put it up on a set schedule. (Or if the blog software permits, publish at a set time/date). While I think everyone appreciates it when the blog authors are active participants in the comments, I’m sure we could get by for a bit if you took a breather in that way. Or hey, it’s time to start flogging those extra people on your contributors list who only post once in a while. :)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I was often accused of being mannish, but the minute I spoke the softness of my voice launched the stereotype. I play, I used to say I’m Buddhist and the response lightened. When asked directly I tell people I’m gay, but it’s mostly theory now at my age.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Hey, there’s a line behind you! :-)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    And filled with creepy clowns!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Way to go John. Give’m hell! That’s the spirit. BTW, what’s all this ‘cis’ business?

  • Naja pallida

    I’m sure you are still good at it, or you wouldn’t be still trying, but one person can only do so much. At some point, people have to accept responsibility for their own part in their own unhappiness. Everyone has to stop for a little self-examination every now and then, and ask ourselves why we should we be angry at certain things. Is it really worth the stress? Not to say there aren’t things worth fighting for, and being angry about, but sometimes people need to be nudged into making better choices as to what those things really are.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It’s more basic than that. Who cares if you are disappointed? Join the debate in rational discourse if the topic interests you or represents your viewpoint. John’s viewpoint will be one of many offered. It does not matter whether he’s conservative on some issues and progressive on others—-that’s his worldview and this is his blog. Expectation is the enemy of truth. Can you think of any other blog that has just spirited debate? If you don’t want controversy go read HuffPo.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I wish I could take a vacation. We don’t make enough with the blog to hire actual staff, so when I go on vacation, we have very few posts to go up, since I write the majority of the stuff, understandably, since I can’t pay real salaries to folks. It’s a bit of a catch-22, sadly. Even when I go house sit for Chris in France every August, I’m working full time, though it’s still nice to be working in france :)

  • http://twitter.com/dcoopsd Brandon Smith

    True. Sort of. It might be a different scene (and this outrage might actually mean something) if those committing the outrage used just a modicum of common sense, some sort of fact check, and turned on a bit of a filter. All too often, a vast majority (sadly) of those that jump the proverbial gun do so without any thought as to what might be coming out of their …er… fingertips. Anonymity tends to bring out the worst in people.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Thanks. Though as I noted, it’s about Twitter, and a lot of other things as well. And about actual big-name progressives joining in the bashing, sometimes, which I find dispiriting. But thanks.

  • Naja pallida

    All I know is that there must be reasons why I keep coming back to this blog, when obviously there is no shortage of political/gay/progressive blogs out there. Mainly, because the topics are poignant and relevant, and the discussions are worth participating in. For the most part, the community you have built here is full of rational people, who while we don’t always all agree, at least we can manage to have the conversations. One thing I have enjoyed in my years reading this blog is that I’m always learning something new. I know a good number of the commentators are older than I am, so have a wealth of information and personal experience to impart.

    The fly-by-night people who swoop into the blog on a wave of narrow-purposed anger really don’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. The vast majority of them do not contribute to the discussion in a meaningful way. The Internet is full of people just looking for an excuse to be upset, and if they can’t formulate something to counter your argument, they start picking on your choice of terminology, or your spelling, or some other nit that even if you altered it to suit their complaint, still wouldn’t change the overall message you’re trying to purvey.

    Keep up the good work, don’t let them grind you down.

  • DaveL

    Isn’t this exactly what John was talking about? No one can say anything which ever casts any woman negatively, or they’re a misogynist. So women who abuse any cultural favor women might enjoy in some quarters can never be called to task.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Sounds like a Cleon.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    There was no cruelty there. That cat had a satori and was jumping into the void of Nirvana.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    ” I’m here to change things for the better.” I don’t doubt that for a moment. It’s evident! I’ve also watched you over these past few months becoming more weary and sensitive ( I’m ancient enough to have passed through at least three burnouts in my life and sense that coming for you. ‘We’ are on board. I think it’s great you expressed these feelings. “It’s becoming increasingly difficult to comment about far too many things in the public sphere without offending someone and creating instant outrage,” Offend anyone you like for Christ’s sake! It’s your blog, and it’s a mighty forum for speaking your mind. Who cares if nitwits are offended! Don’t get lost in the weeds. John…..maybe it’s time to take a week at the Cape, wiggle your toes in some warm sand, and laugh at yourself. For every big Tuna there are a thousand nibbling minnows. You and the gang are doing a bang up job! You have far more friends and admirers than you might realize.

  • FLL

    Alright, Becca, let me try to put this diplomatically. During the 16 centuries after the Christian takeover of the Roman Empire, Christians were in charge, and it wasn’t a pretty sight. In fact, it was murderous on an epic scale—murderous concerning both sexuality and religious dissent. In our own century, secular people are finally in the majority in the Western world. The change is for the best, as you can see in the Spanish-speaking world where they no longer name male children Jesús. So if Jesus doesn’t eat M&M candy because of the holes in his hands or the Virgin Mary muses that the name Jesus sounds too Puerto Rican for her newborn (while she files her nails, rats her hair, reads her National Enquirer and snaps her bubble gum), people should relax. A little humor never killed anyone, but religious fanaticism sure has, as the previous 16 centuries prove. Humor simply means that people are no longer terrorized enough to jump through hoops, whether religious or sexual—and that is a very good thing indeed. Would the majority of Americans really prefer to go back to a world where people were afraid of the Christian churches? I think not. Please remember that during the French Revolution, the population was not content to just let bygones be bygones and let the Catholic clergy go on their merry way. Perhaps “inappropriate” humor is our century’s more civilized alternative.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Oh god I forgot about that! LOL And I’m like the biggest animal lover on the planet!

  • quax

    For the sake of accounting for all outrages: Let’s not forget that you’ve been also fingered as abjectly indifferent to the cruelty to animals, as demonstrated by your “cat mis-jumping” video.

  • Kes

    Are you referring to what I said, John, or when Myrrdin referred to a woman as “a bitter, spiteful nasty hag and ugly and immensely fat to boot”?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    It also has the biggest percentage of dicks you’ll ever run into. Very few people would be as big of assholes in person as they dare to be online. And I think that speaks volumes right there. I don’t find it liberating. I think it liberates their inner assholes, which is not a good thing :) Go run.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    And I’d argue that you’re exactly who we want! I want a straight old white guy defending women, defending gays. What better spokesman to show, to explain to, the very people who often don’t get our issues, straight old white men, that gays, women, trans people, etc are really okay? You’re my target audience, not my enemy ;-)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    No, but I’ve had progressive allies who have known me for years outright turn on me. It’s not the kind of thing you to do people you know, whose work you know. It felt like high school, it felt like the equivalent of being called faggot, to be honest. An intellectual violation at the very least. That’s why I wrote about this, this isn’t just about the crazies – the crazies I can handle.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I remember a friend working for Kennedy in the early 90s, telling me how someone in a GOP office told him once, “I don’t understand how you can work on issues you care about so much.” He gave her the obvious answer – how can you work on issues you DON”T care about?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Or we’re resorting to those nasty labels again, rather than debating people on the facts :)

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Gonna go on a hike here in a minute, but there’s one thing I wanted to say before I head out–

    The Internet seems to have the highest ratio of thin skins as contrasted with the obvious need to have a thick one.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I don’t really care about your definitions or labels. I care about gay rights. And the environment. And women. And the budget. And the economy. And lots more. What I don’t care about are labels, or whether you approve or disapprove of how well I pass your litmus test to earn my label-merit badge.

    As for why people get upset. It’s not because they disagree about substance, not nearly enough. It’s far too often about someone’s pet bee in the bonnet getting bent out of shape, to mix metaphors. It’s also sometimes about people with small minds, and a lesser knowledge of history, learning big words and labeling everything they don’t like with their big labels, since actually discussing reality, and facts, and experience, and history would undercut their unproven “truth.”

    As for white gay men, I’ve got news for you. Pick up a book and read your gay history. Without white gay men, you wouldn’t be here today. So don’t expect me to apologize for my race or my gender or for the fact that I’m not trans. Please. You’re lucky the people you have so much disdain for have spent decades busting their ass, and losing their lives, and their friends’ lives, who came out in a time when it was far more dangerous in every part of the country to come out, in order to earn you your right to hold us in such low esteem.

    And finally, no one is keeping you here. I don’t want you to go. But I’m not going to beg forgiveness from someone who judges my ideas by my gender, by the color of my skin, and by my gender identity. I’ve devoted my life to fighting such bigotry, I’m not going to embrace it just because the bigot now claims to be an ally.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    As a bisexual woman who’s been married to another woman for 14+ years, the only time I get personally offended is the same as you — when people claim I don’t exist. Or that it’s only a matter of time before I “go straight.” Or when someone hits me with the stereotype that all bisexuals are inherently flaky and promiscuous.

    But even in the latter case, I’ve wondered how gay men feel when they’re hit with the stereotype of being all froo-froo and ‘flamboyant. Or lesbians being accused of being ‘mannish’ and man-hating. It can’t be pleasant.

    Then I realized what it comes down to is the sin of stereotyping itself. Ascribing a presumed negative or even just a generalizing trait to an entire group of people based solely on some detail about them. Growing up, I absorbed as a negative example from my family and my father especially that it was just wrong to be a bigot, whatever the context. None of us is perfect, but we can certainly try.

    And so the only people for whom I still have objections are those who don’t even try. John here isn’t even on the same planet as that. He does try.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Your ‘Certified Progressive’ tent is awfully small.

  • Naja pallida

    Maybe that explains why so many talking heads on TV have no trouble sleeping at night when they spew the ignorance and idiocy they do every single day. To them, it’s just a job. They read the script they’re given, and go home. They have no personal stake in it, because they don’t really have any belief in what they are saying.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robbie-Warren-Gill/45904152 Robbie Warren Gill

    John, at some point, you’re going to have to accept the fact that you’re not a progressive. When you start complaining about the “left” that means you are not part of it. I don’t say this out of anger or outrage. But I do say it out of description. You’re certainly left of center, but you’re not a progressive. This isn’t about eating one of our own, because you’re not one of us. And that’s okay. You don’t have to be. No judgement. But if progressive is to mean something at all, you’re not one.

    And I’d highly recommend that you learn more about social location and privilege. White, cisgender, educated, able-bodied, documented gay men (of which I am one) are not the entirety of our queer-liberation movement, and you very often speak as if we are. You/We are supremely privileged in this society. You universalize your experience in ways that are not helpful. In so doing, you marginalize those who are not like you and me. And then you don’t understand why they get upset with you. I wish you had spent the time you took writing this blog post and spent it listening to the voices who you marginalize.

    Again, I don’t say this out of anger. I am not angry. I am not outraged. I say it out of disappointment. I’ve been a regular reader since at least 2007. In the last year or so, you have been disappointing me more and more frequently. So much so I’ve very seriously considered unsubscribing to the RSS feed. I am getting closer and closer to that action every day.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Good.

  • Kes

    Many women receive rape and death threats whenever we write blogs or post articles, regardless of how innocuous. I wouldn’t have wanted to attach my name to posts on GLBT blogs when I lived in Mississippi. I agree with John 100% on this.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The other thing I’ve noticed is that when there are women who are homophobic bigots, the example they most often cite in their outrage is what? Gay men.

    So yes — this openly bisexual woman married to another woman for nearly a decade and a half gladly admits it’s a far, far bigger deal now that it’s a man in American professional sports coming out of the closet.

  • Kes

    I don’t think the only other option is to not write about the issues (I think that was at least implied by the statement that I undertake anti-racism efforts). Ignoring the issues faced by other people just continues the status quo. We just have to accept that people are going to get hacked off about what we say, and try to continue to learn in good faith while maintaining thick skin. Somebody who runs a website had mean things said about him? Yes, that’s unfortunate, but I hardly think it warrants a self-righteous, “If you don’t like me I’m taking my website and going home.” Being a progressive activist isn’t all about getting cookies.

  • Kes

    Wow, Myrrdin, what a misogynistic screed you’ve written here. You’re a perfect example of the kind of “progressives” we don’t need, and some of the reason why members of oppressed groups are unwilling to give people the benefit of the doubt simply because they call themselves liberals.

  • Jim Olson

    I think everyone should be required to be transparent and public about who they are when commenting, and posting. I said this at the time that Gaius Publius began blogging here…doing so under pseudonym leaves the impression that they have something to hide, and significantly detracts from their credibility.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I showed restraint because even in writing this article – which took me two months to get the courage (or anger) to write – I was still very careful about what I wrote. Though, in the end, I finally reached the point where I concluded the issue is simply too important not to discuss. As are most issues we care about. I’d be lying if I said that the outage-lovers on our side don’t bother me. I do this job because I care. It’s difficult to turn the caring off simply because someone is being a jerk.

  • Jim Olson

    True this. I have just about made the decision to leave parish ministry because no matter how hard I try to do the right thing and make the world a better place, someone doesn’t like it, or is offended, or decides that their job is to fight me at every turn as I try to help whatever local congregation to survive. Its wearying, and spirit breaking. (Of course, these are the same people who complain, but never offer to help…) Sure, there’s lots of supporters and people who understand, who “get” what you’re trying to do, but there’s an increasing number of people who are on permanent “upset” setting, and sap any joy I might once have had in this calling. Sad, really; I used to be really good at ministry.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Ha! Thanks. And yeah, that the point I kept trying to make to the bisexuals who were mad at me – that far too many gay people I’ve met, including a lot of “good” progressive gay activists, tell me in confidence that bisexuals don’t really exist. And I always find myself incredulously defending bisexuals. In response, I was told, by a lot of people, that I was clearly lying – lying about people saying bisexuals don’t exist (and that’s just an idiotic thing to deny – like I don’t know my own experiences over the past 20 years talking to gay people), and lying about saying I stood up for them during that conversation. It’s only one example, but it’s a good example of the assholes some people become, and sadly, they’re not just a few, they’re not just the fringe. We’ve empowered far too many people who really don’t have what it takes to wield the power well, and it sets all of our movements back, IMHO.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    LOL deal. I’m going to get my hair cut today, that’s my way of letting my hair down, or fall, so to speak :)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I think of it the same way. We’re more gay than most political sites, but, to paraphrase closeted gay Republicans, gay is only a part of what we do ;-)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I know a high school teacher I visited a few years ago told me that kids were just horrible today, as compared to when we were in high school in the late 1970s. And he teaches HONORS classes. He still said that the kids were horrible now. I hope it’s simply the “as you get over you remember the past more fondly” thing, but I don’t know…

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Thanks. That is one of the underlying purposes of the blog, we hope, to help explain issues in a different way, a more in-depth, nuanced way, that hopefully sheds more light on them than simply reading a story in the paper. So thanks.

  • MyrddinWilt

    I think there is also an element of people having particular expectations of what women ‘should’ think and they are intolerant when a woman has a contrary view.

    Women like Coulter and Malkin obviously enjoy being the center of attention by being shocking with the type of views women are not allowed. But that is unfortunately all they are, they choose ideas by their shock value not by the truth of them.

    I see a lot of comments here that I am pretty sure are paid for by GOP/Koch bros gold where they try to tell us that ‘both sides’ are the same and everything is hopeless so why not everyone stay quiet and don’t bother going to the polls or campaigning for progressives because it will all turn out the same.

    Some people get so ‘outraged’ that they think George W. Bush is no different from Obama. So lets make Jeb Bush the next President.

  • LIRARIW

    Good points, John. I am an old, white, heterosexual male. In some circles, I am vilified for being what I cannot change nearly as much as any minority. The difference lies in everyday life: I still gain status from “white privilege”, I still gain some respect from being older and having led a long life, and I still feel pretty safe when I walk down an empty street at night. Like all other people, I am who I am through chance rather than choice. When I defend LGBT rights, when I support equality for women, and when I fight for the rights of the oppressed, I do so as a human being. The fact that I am not a member of any minority group does not diminish my ability to feel the pain of my brothers and sisters; when I speak out for those who have no voice, I do so with a broken heart. I look forward to a time, probably long after I’m gone, where all people are treated with the dignity and respect necessary for human survival.

  • disqus_pRZeinN2iW

    The ONLY time I ever got offended at anyone regarding bisexuals is when someone stood in my face and told me that *I* didn’t exist. Even that really didn’t offend me, it was the repeated insistence that I was something I was clearly not.
    I think Ozzy said best when he penned “We’re going off the rails on this crazy train.”
    I look around at what’s going on in this country today and have to stand back most days and just shake my head in utter disbelief. Seems like everyone has a stick up their ass about something, yet, conversation, civil discourse, debating and listening to each other are things that you’ll only find under “Things American’s no longer understand for $100″ Alex….
    I seem to make a habit out of offending people, so much so that when new employee’s start at my job, I give them all the standard disclaimer that I am an “Equal Opportunity Offender”. I tell them at some point I’m going to offend them. It’s not that I’m trying to or even want to, but it’s going to happen, so just just up about it and go on. I’ve been employed at my current job almost 11 years and can’t tell you the number of times I should have been fired for what came out of my mouth. And this is a very public, very prestigious medical center. Instead of getting sent to sensitivity training, they just all say…”That’s just (my name)” and think nothing more about it. While what I say maybe offensive to some, it is ALWAYS the truth. But the truth today can be an ugly thing.
    This is the first of your blogs I’ve read John and I really enjoyed it………Next time someone says you offend them, point them in my direction….I’ll be more than happy to extract the stick.

    someone’s head off.

  • MyrddinWilt

    No, it was pretty much the same.

    When the tea party thing started I was telling my right wing friends that they had better work out how to deal with them before the Republican party dissolved into the backstabbing and ideological purity contests that used to characterize the left in the 70s and early 80s. Which of course it now has and the only ‘debate’ allowed in the GOP is over how to tell the wisdom of the party to the masses.

    But on the 80s left, Dworkin and McKinnon managed to set themselves up as the champions of feminist outrage in their anti-porn crusade. I’ll take no lessons in the value of censorship from a former prostitute who continued to write S&M hardcore porn that her own proposed bills attempted to ban and a follower of Stallinism thank you very much. They only got noticed because Ed Meese found them useful tools. But they could scream outrage really loudly and most of the time they were allowed to scream everyone else down.

    Ann Coulter is just a thinner, prettier version of Dworkin. They both got where they are by being polarizing and by taking fake outrage.

    And of course the real beauty of Dworkin’s scheme was that while she was screaming that every man is a ‘rapist’ (you included John) because they ‘objectify’ women (whatever that means) and consider them only as sex objects (including you in that one too) she was of course relying on courtesy and convention for people not to respond to a woman in the same mode of ‘argument’. And of course when men did point out that she was a bitter, spiteful nasty hag and ugly and immensely fat to boot, she would scream that this somehow proved her point.

    What the Internet has changed though is that nobody can pull the Dworkin/McKinnon trick of choosing their debating partners any more. They could refuse to debate men and sex positive writers like Erika Jong back in the 80s. Try that today and someone writes a blog post pointing out where your argument is full of crap.

  • Freday63

    “It’s becoming increasingly difficult to comment about far too many things in the
    public sphere without offending someone and creating instant outrage, often
    unmerited.” – I agree 100%. Too many of us rush to “play the victim.” It’s
    almost as if many on the left and many on the right get some kind rush from
    being outraged all the time. They are addicted to it, so much so, that they need more and more things to be outraged about to get their “rage” on that I’ve started characterizing it as “impotent
    rage.” John let me assure you that you reach and inform far more folks than you
    outrage. Speaking personally, over the six years or so that I have been reading your blog you actually make me see things in ways that I never would have thought of on my own. Sure when you put it out their you are always going to have the “haters gotta hate” folks, a very vocal minority. Besides, I’ve grown fond of your “big mouth!”

  • http://twitter.com/DanielReasor Daniel Reasor

    I’m amazed at the restraint you show even in this article, John. You were getting death threats on Twitter after Lindy West from Jezebel.com made you that day’s daily guy she picks a fight with.

  • nicho

    Perhaps, but we should have outrage about the things that matter. Not the “Poutrage” some people develop because they see racism, homophobia, or misogyny where none exists or was intended.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1526664170 Sara Orel

    Am I the only person who comes to you for things other than gay issues? I follow that too, and appreciate the coverage, but I think of this as a political site, rather than a gay one. Oh well…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1526664170 Sara Orel

    A friend of mine who is Pakistani, who has lived in Egypt, the UK, and the US, has said that what disturbed her as she moved from one country to another was the rudeness that came from children. It gets worse and is her “canary in a coal mine” that things are going to become worse for pretty much everyone. More fundamentalist, more intolerant, less supportive and understanding of differences, less kind in general. I was really sorry to see it happen here. She was right.

  • dula

    When 99% of the people have absolutely no influence on our government, the only thing we have left is outrage on the internet. We have decided that we aren’t up to the task of chaotic revolution (even a peaceful one), and that our careers, houses, and financial security will not be risked in order to shut down our mutated, cancerous, failed Republic.

  • MyrddinWilt

    ??? Of course a gay man coming out in the NFL is a bigger deal.

    Straight men don’t feel threatened by lesbians. And most gay-hate comes from men, only some of whom are 100% straight.

    There is also a huge difference in the structure of the professional sports. They don’t hold slave markets, sorry drafts for tennis or golf. There are no free agents because they are all free agents. There is no locker room convention to break.

    Women’s team sports have only recently started to become big business and the structure of the business is still very different. The women players have a lot more power relative to their team than the men do. The whole management structure of the women’s sports is vastly more progressive than the dinosaurs who run the NBA or NFL.

    So what it comes down to is the difference between holding a mixed prom in Massachusetts in 2013 when and where is it absolutely normal and holding a mixed prom in Alabama in 1970.

  • Badgerite

    Still, you are a part of a great deal of progress that has been made on issues of civil liberties in this country and abroad. Not many people can say that. You can. Take the dog out. Smell the spring air and get back to work. Eh!

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Re your last paragraph, that’s what I’ve been told.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Also, I considered shifting to Facebook comments a while about, but I don’t like people having to declare who they are. For women especially, it can be somewhat daunting. But for everyone, nowadays when employers scour the web for potential employees’ Internet footprint, I can see real reasons folks don’t want to use their real names. Not the least of which is on “gay” blogs.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Correct. Thus why I tried to emphasize above that righteous anger – justly righteous anger, in fact – is a good thing. But it’s kind of like a gun. It’s not an inherently bad thing, if used by the right people (good cops, for example). But wielded sloppily, it’s not so good.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Thank you :)

  • Badgerite

    Your blog is one of the best. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  • FLL

    Thank you. You’re right. I think the Presbyterians are in flux right now, but the pro-marriage-equality side lost the vote at their recent General Assembly. The Presbyterian Church does allow non-celibate gay clergy, but does not support marriage equality. It’s hard for secular America to keep track of these Christians sometimes.

  • cole3244

    the problem with not getting angry is what has happened to america because of no anger, if the left gets any more timid they will be arresting liberals and throwing them in jail for their political position, if and when they can find anyone that will admit to being liberal, i am a liberal not a progressive and i’m dam proud to be one.

  • lmsinca

    It’s true there are fewer women bloggers, and commenters as well. Of course there are some and they’ve managed to stick it out. In general many of us end up being the last woman standing in an online community. It’s for a variety of reasons I think but for me it’s often a matter of time management. I don’t enjoy taking an argument to the bitter end just to say “I won”, I’d sooner walk away than waste my time. I’ve already moved on.

    I probably shouldn’t say this but in general men are more aggressive and it turns a lot of women off. Verbal aggression isn’t that much different than physical in an online community. The aggression doesn’t even need to be directed at women for it to be unpleasant. It’s sort of the locker room mentality that takes over some communities and then we’re gone.

  • NCMan

    I think you might want to check on the status of Presbyterians. Last I knew, they took a stand against marriage equality.

  • nicho

    I sometimes get the feeling that there are people who read everything with the goal of finding something they can be outraged about. I guess it keeps the adrenaline flowing.

    It’s like the time when I was talking to a (control freak) friend of mine on the phone. He said, “Oh, I’ve got to go now. The gardner just finished in the back yard, and I have to go see what he did wrong.”

  • FLL

    Yes, I know that I should acknowledge the contribution of progressive Christians—both as individuals and denominations—to the cause of equality. Those same progressive Christians may take offense at my overly secular references to Jesus not eating M&Ms because they fall through the holes in his hands, but in fact, I do appreciate the good that many Christian denominations have done. Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians and United Church of Christ all allow non-celibate gay clergy and support marriage equality. My problem with these denominations is that they still haven’t recognized the demonization of all non-straight sexuality in the fourth century by the victorious trinitarian Christians who took over the Roman Empire. The leadership of these gay-affirming denominations still need to call the disaster of the fourth century a mistake and start speaking out against Christian leaders in other present-day denominations who espouse bigotry, two things that they haven’t yet done.

    Other denominations who don’t allow gay clergy or support marriage equality, such as Eastern Orthodox and Orthodox Judaism, are at least helpful enough not to make constant public statements in support of bigotry, which is what the Roman Catholic, Mormon and Baptist churches do.

    So if I’ve offended some progressive Christians by not acknowledging the contribution of individual progressive Christians and certain equality-minded denominations, I’m acknowledging that contribution to progress now. One sign of the changed atmosphere is in Spanish-speaking countries, where it was common, perhaps 50 years ago, to name male children Jesús. This is no longer the case in an increasingly progressive and modern Hispanic world. Oh, that reminds me of the following scene:

    Mary and Joseph are in the manger where the Christ Child has just been born. The Virgin Mary is filing her nails, ratting her hair, reading a copy of the National Enquirer and chewing bubble gum, which she snaps in an annoying manner. The Holy Couple is trying to think of a name for the child, and Joseph says, “How about Jesus?” and Mary says, “I don’t like it. It sounds too Puerto Rican.”

    Oh, come on, World of the Internet. Can’t you take a joke?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    LOL true. I had an older (older than me) liberal activist friend warn me years ago that people simply weren’t nice. Wasn’t a particularly comforting notion :)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    It’s not just comments. It’s twitter. It’s email. It’s a lot of things. And I’m not sure the comments get us any clicks really. They’re not run on a system that requires the page to reload.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yes, I’ll continue. I still think it’s harmful.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Not ready to quit yet :)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    True. And any time you try humor or irony, someone won’t get it.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Oh yeah. I forgot to mention that that whole “train wreck!” thing was straight out of high school. She might as well have tweeted “faggot!” It felt exactly the same way.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yes, Adrian, that’s exactly what this is about. After over twenty years of working on national progressive causes, and forgoing huge salary offers so that I can do good, and proving my mettle repeatedly, I’m actually a secret Republican asshole. That’s why I wrote this post. Thanks for clarifying that.

    I don’t mean to pick on you, but this is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. You consider me a “great blogger” and then make some comment about me being a closeted Republican. Do you like me and respect me, or not? If you do, then please stop the personal attacks, and stop them against everyone else you respect as well. Because if you think, at my core, I’m some secret Republican asshole, after all the work and sacrifice I’ve done for progressive causes, then you don’t really respect my work at all.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Fair point about not being a member of those groups, but should I then not write about women’s rights on this blog? Or trans rights? Or immigration? I suspect not doing so – when multiplied by all the other news sources, and/or blogs, run by white men who aren’t immigrants or trans – would work to the detriment of the groups in question. Bil Browning, who runs the gay site Bilerico, got his head ripped off by a feminist (I think, she might have been trans, it wasn’t entire clearly which), because he had defended trans women in their battle with feminists, who don’t think trans women are real women. Bil got attacked for his defense – you see, he’s white, and a man, and not trans, so who is he to weigh in on such a topic with his “privilege.” Well, as a gay man, let me say, there’s no better spokesman for our cause, IMHO, than a straight man. I like it when people out of the ordinary support your case, showing other people that perhaps they can support it too. But the notion of attacking Bil for defending trans people, and using the same arguments against him that are used when people think he’s NOT defending trans people enough (that he’s white, a male, gay not trans), is seriously f’d up. And it teaches the lesson that maybe it’s better just to stfu. And if trans people think their biggest problem is having too many white gay men helping them, well..

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yep. Questioning assumptions. Now, as always, you can be a dick about it, and question whether blacks really do deserve equal rights. That’s not questioning assumptions. Questioning whether affirmative action has done more harm than good (I’m just making this up), yes, that’s an interesting question to debate IF you’re not approaching the discussion with a racist mindset, using the question as a foil for bashing blacks. It’s, sadly, complicated. And because the Fox-crowd, or Republicans, often question assumptions in pursuit of a nasty agenda, it’s assumed that everyone who questions assumptions hates blacks, hates gays, hates women, etc.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I’m assuming you’re a woman, by your avatar. You made me think of another point I forgot to mention. How hard it is to get women to blog. I know it’s been hard on our site, and I’ve had conservative bloggers mention the same problem. We invite women, they write maybe a post, if we’re lucky, then don’t write again. (Though it’s not easy to get guys to blog either, it has been easier.) Women tell me it’s, in large part, because of the tone. They apparently tend to get attacked even more viciously than male writers get attacked. Also, I remember being told, during a radio show a few years back, a woman working at AfterEllen, a lesbian site, that women come on line for community, guys come on line for sex (or to yell). Culturally, the male-dominated side of the Net just isn’t as attractive to women. Sometimes it’s not as attractive to me too :)

  • Bill Post

    Liberals have always eaten their own and will continue to do it. Being an activist is a thankless job…so John buck up cupcake and walk it off.

  • ARP

    No, but it gets tiring when everything is offensive. One the one end is Republican political correctness= license to be racist, sexist, etc.

    On the other end is “OMG you didn’t think of underweight, Muslim, Malasian, Transgenders, when you made that joke about bacon. You’re a bigot!” Or the “Have you thought of Hashimoto’s thydroiditis, with a side effect of weight gain when you said that Americans should exercise more. You’re a bigot!”

    The “exception-ization” of people gets tiring.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    LOL you’re right, just changed it.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Re your last paragraph, the other problem with doing something you love is that you love it. So when people are jerks, it hurts. Personally. Because you’re not just doing a job.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    The difficult thing is identifying the difference between righteous outrage and political correctness. A part of me wonders if, pre-Internet, you had to earn your stripes to be outraged. Meaning, to get a following, you had to have a good proven track record. Now, it’s easy – just go on change.org, put something up, get a few people to retweet it, and away you go.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yeah, but it’s not just people commenting on blogs. It’s people on Twitter too. And people on email. I’ve long though that the crazies were stuck in their country cabin all these decades, sending letters to vent their craziness. Now they can just get online.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    True, the president was too nice the first few years of his presidency, though that was his particular culture bearing, not really indicative of a “niceness” in the culture at large, I’d argue.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Interesting point, because I do think people are becoming rude in life in general. Certainly driving, and walking. I remember when I was a kid, when someone nearly ran you over, you tapped their car to send a lite message. Now you do it and they get out of the car and shoot you. I hadn’t connected the two in my mid – the online roadrage with the offline – but perhaps it is part of a larger dissolution in the social fabric, or at least increasing anger all around.

  • Dano2

    John, IMHO this phenomenon is merely a symptom of the larger issue: too many people. We don’t know how to conduct our affairs and our rapid growth is straining social mores, ecology, built environments, etc. Couple that with the strong/rich grabbing all they can and this is what you would expect.

    Best,

    D

  • http://twitter.com/uppityfag Patrick Connors

    The only problem I see is that in the age of FAST commenting and constant BREAKING news and a cycle that makes what happened two minutes ago old news, the art of writing isn’t given proper time to ferment.

    Have an idea to express? Even the best writer needs to take time to develop the point and proof read the first draft and read it aloud and have someone else read it before the growing (knock on wood) audience gets to digest it….and you know that audience will give your writing 1% of the time you (hopefully) gave it.

    Outrage Inc? Well, maybe it’s a “thing” to be angry but it’s not a new development.

    Gotta be careful and mindful and open minded and cautious and courageous and confident…and suck it up. At least you have an audience, my dear.

  • http://twitter.com/Scytherius Jonas Grumby

    Interesting and to a great extent I agree. However, I’ve been politically active since the 60s. And, in short, the one thing I’ve learned is that if you tolerate assholes all you get are more assholes. You have to gauge with whom you are engaging in argument. And while I certainly agree that we should always take a step back and consider both the message and the messenger … this nightmare we are in is a direct result of being too “nice”. I point to Harry Reid as a perfect example.

    When the bully arrives, you simply must hit him and hit him hard. However, you damn well better make sure he’s really a bully.

  • samizdat

    I think the so-called outrage is a product of frustration (at the current state of this corrupt and morally bankrupt country), narcissism (a little), and good ol’ fashioned grating, nails-on-a-chalkboard PC liberalism (OMG, EVERYTHING I CARE ABOUT IS IMPORTANT, THUS IT MUST BE FOR YOU, AND IF YOU’RE NOT ANGRY ABOUT THE SAME THINGS I AM, YOU’RE A MONSTER!, amongst other ‘outrageous’ reasons; oh, and if you’re not precisely correct in knowing why your viewpoint is wrong, DUCK!)(Does it look like I’m a mind-reader?).

    I usually conserve my bilious outrage for the fascist trolls who show up whenever guns, gays, and religion are the topics here. T’ain’t perfect, though. Sue me.

  • S1AMER

    Simple solution to internet nastiness: Make people comment under their own names and cities of residence, exactly as newspapers require for letters-to-the-edit. Very few people will be as vicious as they are if they can’t hide behind anonymity.

  • samizdat

    True. Worst. Song. Ever. Plus, I can’t stand Paisley and his phony-baloney (no different from all of the other ‘cowboy hat’ male country singers) ‘country’ dialect. Like nails on a chalkboard.

  • Noctournis

    I was with you until you said Brad Paisley. Anyone that thinks wearing “gold chains” is the moral equivalent of “slave chains” is a pretty despicable racist.

    I do agree 100% about political correctness. In the days of the civil rights movement, liberals used humor as one of the most important cudgels to beat the segregationists into submission. Now we just don’t talk about certain things, and the right wing uses that to imply that we are afraid to speak the truth.

    Political Correctness is just a conservative turd in a pretty liberal wrapping. It’s censorship. Audre Lourde once said “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House”. Censorship is a conservative tool, and it will always serve it’s true masters.

  • condew

    I don’t think the comments on a blog can really gauge an increase in “outrage”.

    In the best cases, the anonymity of comments lets you hear what people think. I like that and I think it is useful, but it is not at all the same thing as a conversation. In the comments, it’s all about thrashing out ideas, looking for the conflicts and exploring what they mean. It’s sparring, it’s touch football, it’s testing the limits where no blood will be drawn and no bones broken.

    In the best case of conversation, people automatically pull their punches and avoid topics that would ruin their sparring partner’s day. Personal conversations are all about cooperation. In face to face conversation, it’s not polite to discuss religion or politics.

    Some people get outraged when you don’t pull your punches on a blog like you would in real life, so we get Miss Manners telling us to behave. Miss Manners is wrong. This is the place to thrash out those simmering resentments and put them in perspective.

    The old career advice “Do something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” has a dark underbelly. If your livelihood depends on it, the “something you do” will always become work. Down here in the comments, we have the freedom of amateurs. Take a swing, maybe it will lead somewhere, maybe it will unleash a shitstorm. The sparring is fun. Hopefully everyone is being honest and the conversation will converge on a new consensus. But for the guy running the zoo, there are a lot of stables to be mucked out, and it really matters if an animal gets sick. Good luck with that, because we all like visiting your zoo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Phil-Stinard/1094290248 Phil Stinard

    Constructive criticism here. This article would read better if you replaced the word “football” with the word “basketball” in the second paragraph. The NBA is a basketball league ;-). Don’t worry, I’m not outraged, LOL!

  • lmsinca

    Nice post John. I find it all pretty confusing. I’ve been commenting and writing my own pieces for a moderate blog, as the resident DFH, for many years and have nearly given up writing about certain subjects. It’s not a matter of being thin-skinned either………………it’s words on a computer screen and they can’t actually hurt us. It’s a matter of being accused of being something you’re not and as the explanation gets more and more long winded, and travels a greater distance from the original words, it becomes more ridiculous and less similar to the original intent of the comment. I find myself giving up out of frustration and then avoiding certain subjects in order to avoid a repetition of the same predictable course the dialog will inevitably take.

    I’m not as invested as you are though so it’s much easier for me to just give up. You have to keep going………………we insist.

  • wmforr

    There is a commenter on various gay political web sites, whom I shall not name, but who’s bile pedue always shows when he tells us that all Democrats are just like all Teabaggers and eveyone is our enemy, especially our most fervent allies who do not do everything he wants them to exactly when he wants them to.

    He does not seem to realize that his attitude accomplishes nothing and holds nobody’s “feet to the fire”. Alliances must be built up over a long time, and sniping at every perceived pecadillo only loses them for us.

  • rmthunter

    I have to agree with you, John. I’ve run into too much of that kind of nonsense, and it’s not even that I tend to be somewhat plain-spoken: it’s been because I dared to question assumptions, which apparently is the one sin that the ideologues on both the right and left consider unforgivable.

    Since I don’t believe in sin to begin with, I’m now at the point where my response to that sort of crap is simply: “Grow up, get over yourself, and leave the outrage to the OneMillionMoms [sic] and Tony Perkins.”

  • Kes

    Eh…. I understand some of what you’re saying here, John. I don’t think witchhunts are appropriate, or that careers should be ruined because of one errant remark, or that professional activists should choose knee-jerk nastiness over reasonable education.

    But on the other hand: you are a gay man but you are not an immigrant, a woman, trans, or a member of any of the other minority groups you mentioned. You perhaps aren’t the best judge of when outrage is “merited.” Gay rights have, thankfully, taken huge strides in the past several decades. For other groups that isn’t the case, and many minority groups have seen serious backlashes. It is very frustrating when, after 100+ years of a women’s rights movement, after 40+ years of a trans rights movement, hundreds+ years fighting the entrenchment of racism and colonialism, etc., the general population still fails to understand basic concepts and self-named “allies” on the left still require constant education (and/or undermine the efforts).

    As somebody who is white and involved in anti-racism, I understand your frustration completely. When people lack patience in calling me out, it can be hard not to take it very personally. But try to see your actions as part of the mosaic of oppression the speaker is facing, and accept that you’re going to be attacked sometimes. It’s the (rather small) price paid for the privileges of not having to suffer those oppressions in the first place. Accept the attacks graciously.

  • AdrianLesher

    I hope this isn’t the first step of a walk back towards your initial Republicanism, claiming the “left left me, I didn’t leave the left.” This sounds awfully like a complaint about “political correctness.”

    The Brad Paisley/LL Cool J song may have been well-intentioned, but it does contain a defense of the Confederate Flag and elides its racist symbolism by equating it with a “do-rag.” Like any work of popular art, it shouldn’t be immune from criticism just because the writer thought he was doing the right thing. If Paisley is indeed well-intentioned, he’ll be a mature person and deal with the criticism and perhaps learn from it.

    It’s also a little more than strange hearing someone who has been a unrelenting and unapologetic sharp-tongued blogger for many years getting hurt feelings about some remarks from the comments.

    You’re a great blogger, but I think you can’t blog and be thin-skinned.

  • jenna

    I like the name, Outrage, Inc. I first noticed this on social media and have seen it flow into many of the blogs and commentary I read. It honestly reminds me of the occasional viciousness of young teen age girls that seems to come out of no where and is directed at one of their own. (Having been a target decades ago, I can attest). The explanation my dad gave me then seems to still apply…not all people are kind and rational, some are petty and hateful because it’s what they know.

  • levermontois

    Working with people for years, I’m resigned to the fact that no matter what I do or say, someone won’t like it. Oh well.

  • http://twitter.com/notfakeandrew Andrew

    Very well said. I quit writing for this very reason.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charle-King/100003868624339 Charle King

    I have to agree there, John – although not completely with the Paisley thing because the song was just plain dumb. If folks disagree with what you say, there needs to be a way of saying so without going crazy and making it seem that you are being “offensive” because a lot of times, that’s not even the case.

  • Mighty

    You are correct. Not entirely sure what to do other than write what you write and weather whatever comes at you. The older I get the more mellow and easy going I become. Things just don’t outrage me as much as they used to.

  • Drew2u

    speaking of outrage, the massive plummet in the stock market due to a tweet was caused by computers doing billions of trades in microseconds. So with one’s 401k, or trying to invest personally, how does one even begin to compete on that kind of level?
    For myself, I didn’t even realize that’s how the game was played until that brief description flashed on CBS news this morning. After that, it dawned on me about just how much of a scam on the poor that system for the wealthy is. “You can be wealthy too (if you invest)!” is just another pyramid scheme.

  • gaylib

    That’s easy to fix. Turn off the comments. But then it’s the outrage that gets clicks, isn’t it?

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