Sunday, March 04, 2007

Somewhere on the Self-Rightiousness Spectrum

If there's one thing that pisses me off, it's uninformed, judgmental self-righteousness - from anyone, about anything, even when I happen to agree. No, especially if I agree - because bigotry in my favor sucks away the moral force of a good argument.

I'm pleased to have a truly stunning example of a a bigoted idiologial self-congratulation society that does NOT involve politics, because perhaps then it will serve to illustrate just how universally ugly and stupid such things are. This should serve to nicely illustrate that the words "ideology" and "idiot" have a great deal in common.

I've been getting a sudden huge surge of traffic about the Pokez thing, and it appears to come mostly from a livejournal community called "childfree hardcore."

And just like many other varieties of net-bigot, they have set comments to exclude response from people who might have something to say that would make them question their own bias. Here's what I tried to say there. Since I can't correct them more discreetly in comments, I suppose I need to share it with the world.

Why? Well, here's one sterling example of the mindset:

So today I had some fucking annoying encounters with some moos. At the best buy in the mall, I was walking over to buy at ime card for World of Warcrack, and basically a flock of moos and their turds were congregating and discussing irrelevant shit, so it took them like 5 minutes to realize I had been standing there trying to get through even though I tapped them on the shoulder, shouted out HEY, EXCUSE ME, TRYING TO COME THROUGH for about 5 minutes straight. Then, I wanted to ask a best buy salesperson where to locate a CD disc cleaner, and of course some technology-retarded piece of shit moo didn't understand about how the shitty OS Vista works, so I had to stand around for like 10 more minutes waiting for the fucking bitch to ask her stupid questions while her kids were running around and generally being annoying.

Yeah, I hate moos and breeders who bring their children to stores and clog up the aisles with their filthy turds.
But these things were not what I was responding to:

THIS is: Overstars writes

But it's the principal of the thing and I will not be threatened out of my right to be of the opinion that this guy is an exaggerating bullshit breeder of a man who threatens lawsuits at every little offense and that I still sympathize with the waitress somewhat. Sure, whacking kids is wrong, but I understand the urge. Oh do I understand the urge.

Not only that, but the more I'm forced to read this case, the more I see how selfish people with children can be. This guy wants to take up the time of the police, the district attorney, and a nonprofit advocacy group for an *incident in a restaurant*.

Because they don't have anything better to do, of course.
I was unaware that the choice to be child-free granted the ability to read minds and motives. And "forced to read?" Fuck, kiddo, the next key is your friend. If you can't deal rationally with something on the net, move along.

Hey, it's what I do. It's one seriously effective tactic for not looking like a total putz in public, aside from the ethics of picking a stranger to pick on because you can present that situation in a way that will make you look good to your friends. It's not just unethical - it's 7th grade giggletwit unethical.

But I did try to inject some reason, not realizing that reason was unwelcome.

I'm getting hellacious traffic from here, so I figured I should say something. I'm the "another biased page". I'm not going to take exception to that, since I do have a bias - although it's slightly amusing to be accused of bias seeing all the bias here.

But that's cool too. As it happens, I have never bred, though I actually enjoy children - in controlled doses. :)

Nope, my bias comes, frankly, from being on the AS spectrum myself.

And second - although I think he should sue, I tend to be an unforgiving bastard: Someone else said why better:

Also contact a lawyer, because the restaurant's policy is against the ADA by a longfuckingshot.... As part of that, go into the restaurant sometime, and record all the time that nondisabled adults or kids are allowed to take a long time or be outright disruptive. I would bet she's one of those assholes that thinks it's okay to abuse someone because they look autistic -- the fact that we're the ones put through years of psychologically damaging "training" to hide what we are so people like THAT are more comfortable makes me really angry.
She's biased too. But it's a learned bias, and I second it. Even though I went through all this before autism at a level less conspicuous than non-verbal drooling and spinning was recognized, there was lots of behavior mod used on me, including school officials sicking the bullies on me so that I would "conform" and "fit in."

Meanwhile, Jay (dad) - whom I would bet to be on the spectrum myself - says this:

I'd still be OK with just 3 things from the Pokez owner: a written public apology for David, a statement that the manager was incorrect in his reaction then to support the waitress's abuse , and something (either staff training or personnel changes) to prevent this from happening again. But apparently the restaurant is claiming that we were asked to leave because *we* were rude (LOL.. we were actually reserved and probably the quietest table in the place that night, and I was incredibly polite-but-firm to the manager afterwards), and they are saying that it doesn't matter because David isn't really autistic because he can talk (?!?). Apart from them being utterly incorrect on both counts, even if David was a *neurotypical* child, that still doesn't somehow make it OK for the waitress to grab him and scream in his ear! (scratches head)

Sound like someone wanting to make a quick million at an insurance company's expense? Seems a lot more reasonable than I could be (or indeed would choose to be) under the circumstances.

Re: comments about "just sitting there:" For the longest time, I had just two speeds in handling confrontation - paralysis, or "assault with intent to kill." I'm still unclear how I made it through grade school without causing anyone grave bodily harm.

It took ten years of martial arts to give me some nuance. I've heard and seen enough over the years to realize this isn't just me - it's a combination of factors, both wiring and social that seem to affect a lot of autistic, PDD and Asperger's types. Generally, an apparent paralysis is a better response than the alternate.

Having said all this, I think it's more about her than the boy or his family. Reports of behavior like this regarding this one waitress go back quite a way. I think she's got her own issues, and because it's a family restaurant, and she's the sister, well, she gets cut slack she shouldn't get.

Were she my sister, she'd be on a cruise right now. I'd be babysitting her kids - and I'd be a little cautious about giving them back until I was sure that sanity had returned.

She just happened to pick the worst possible target for her drama, and that means it's not so much about kids or kids with autism as it is about Karma.

For her, it could also be pretty damn good luck, in the long run.
But as I said, responses from non-members are unwelcome. "Don't confuse me with the facts; my mind is made up" seems to be the summa logica of the group, and if it were not so very good an example for my point about the ethics involved - I'd just suck up all the nice free traffic with a faint smile.

I agree with Mae West about "bad publicity." "Just make sure they spell your name right."

But it's also symptomatic of something of real, cultural importance. This is the sort of mindless contempt and in-group tail-sniffing that allows people like George Bush divide and conquer. In other words, it's the sort of behavior no self-respecting freethinker should tolerate in themselves or in their company. It's no different in nature than the sort of vicious, mindless ignorance one hears over at Free Republic or Little Green Footballs. But my point is that this sort of behavior is human behavior -not just Republican behavior.

And just like it's possible to be ethical, and still be Republican, it's also possible to be Child Free and not be a self-righteous pinhead.

Do I object to the choice of being child-free? Hell, no! Frankly, I think folks who feel like this about kids should never breed, just as I feel than nobody should take on jobs or responsibility they KNOW they will suck at just to "fit in." I applaud and celebrate that degree of self-awareness, especially when it is against the tide.

I speak from experience, being raised by those too gutless and conformist to make proper choices based on their own self-understanding ain't a good thing for anyone involved.

And I surely do agree with much of what is said there, there are parents out there that are easily as idiotic as the example above - and with far wider approval of their mindless bigotry. (thanks to the group for these amazing examples of extreme majoritarian cluelessness.) I'm just not so willing to assume that the idiocy has anything to do with breeding or not breeding. I think it's pretty much the same as the idiocy shown in childfree_hardcore: self-righteous, mindless appeals to the pack. Same buttsniffing, different assholes.

Willow Dragon found these:
Baby found dead a a TN Christian College (watch the video)

but that led me to this...

Naked Classroom Spanking (there's a video for this too)

School officials in Prince George's County, Maryland are investigating a relative's actions in a charter school last week.

This after a woman walked into the school and spanked her nephew in front of his entire classroom.

Jane Watrel has more on this story.

"I asked him if something had happened and they said, oh you mean the whopping."

Paula Reitan couldn't believe her ears after leaving a school party at Turning Point Academy her daughter and three classmates told her how a fellow second grader was stripped naked below the waist and spanked by a relative in front of the entire class.
The first - Tragic irony at it's best/worst, depending on your personal biases.

The second: Just obscene. There's more, and I'll have more to say about it myself, because it's WTF on SO many levels.

And then there's this. Perpet says

The guy to whom the Duggars look for an excuse to continually churning out kids doesn't have any kids.

That's the wiki-article. You'd think the guy who discourages family planning of any degree would have actually lived the life himself. And he thinks Cabbagae Patch Dolls have demonic middle names and will cause you to be unable to conceive. If you need me, I'll be in the toy aisle.
The only thing that I have to say about that is that the facts are funnier than the presentation. Laughing more and bitching less means fewer wrinkles by the time you are my age. Besides, how many "breeders" take this maroon seriously? I assure you, nobody I would hang with.

This fellow isn't typical of even typically extreme evangelicals. He's a nutball - from an evangelical Christian perspective. So expecting reasonable behavior or any appreciation of irony is along the lines of expecting a cat to bark. He's a funny, tragic example of ... well, what he is. Which is about being a cult-leader and control-freak with very, very strange and silly ideas. It's silly to take it further than that, because whatever he says about what he's pretending to be for social cover is either a lie, or a symptom of his own delusional system.

This is my final bit of advice to the hysterically, abusively and cluelessly bigoted. Stop taking yourself and your ideas so seriously - because it's for sure, nobody worth taking seriously does.

Moreover, it's a mindset that makes it laughably easy to manipulate you into voting Republican, giving money to the 700 club or assaulting 80 year old ladies with 40-year old fur coats. Self-righteousness is like strong drink, and in the words of Lazerous Long, "it can cause you to shoot at tax-collectors - and miss."

Don't bitch about what's wrong with the world unless you are pretty darn sure you aren't a damn fine example of one of it's many symptoms.


overstars said...

I find it interesting that you automatically assume that the "childfree_hardcore" community disables comments from non-members for reasons of not wanting their bias to be questioned.

I'm sure it can seem that way.

However, I will give you the benefit of the doubt of never having seen the trolls who feel the need to leave comments that are obscene, irrelevant, or otherwise unintelligent in the community. In the interests of the moderators not having to comb through thousands of trolling comments and replies (which usually equate to a "fuck you"), we don't allow comments from non-members.

I won't lie. We're a community that generates a lot of controversy and outright hatred. And it would be impossible to maintain that kind of community if anyone who simply wished to make an ass of themselves was allowed to.

It has nothing to do with having our biases challenged.

Trust me, there's not a member of that community that doesn't get questioned. Our biases get questioned, believe me. Our decisions, our right to make those decisions, and our very lifestyles get questioned. On a daily basis sometimes, and often by coworkers, family, friends, and others.

We're not afraid of being questioned, we just get tired of dealing with people with whom there can be no intelligent, productive dialogue - people who refuse to respect us and our choices.

As for the post you quoted from (as though it were a representative sample of the community), I think you should - in the interest of truth, if that's what you're actually after - note that cf_hardcore openly advertises itself as a RANT community.

We do not pretend that we go to this community to be open minded or to consider the feelings of non-childfree people. We go there to rant. To get things off of our chest. To vent the things that annoy us and get support, commiseration, and often snarky comments from our fellow cf'ers.

Second, you didn't really even address the argument I made, did you?

Nobody has yet to tell me that what the parent in question is doing is going to be of any real benefit to anyone but himself.

Nobody has yet to tell me how the millions of people with autism around the world are served by this. Nor how the plight of people with disabilities is served.

I find it disingenuous of this man to wave the flag of equal rights for autistic people when he claims that he just wants an apology for himself and his child.

That restaurant can apologize every day all day and twice on Sunday. Is the world really going to be a better place, *or* is this person just going to feel better?

That's not to mention the fact that I still do not believe that events transpired exactly the way that they were described.

As I said in my original post, I fully expected to catch hell about this, about my opinion, and about openly declaring that not only do I NOT believe this man, but I think that what he's doing is absolutely pointless.

But as the motto of cf_hardcore goes, "The Few, The Proud, The Flame-Resistant"

Bob King said...

Second, you didn't really even address the argument I made, did you?

What argument? Naked assumptions,yes; baseless presumptions, certainly. You presented no basis for them, other than choosing to disbelieve what information about the situation that was presented, including the emergent understanding that such treatment was not unexpected or without precedence.

So, in the parlance of your group, I call "bullshit." You chose to believe that the child and parents were at fault because they were parents and the child was a child.

I, on the other hand, see no reason why anyone should just "suck up" treatment of that sort, or permit anyone they care for to be abused.

Nobody has yet to tell me that what the parent in question is doing is going to be of any real benefit to anyone but himself.

And your point would be? Although I disagree that standing up - rosa parks like - to insensitive asshattery is without more than individual benefit, Rosa Parks did do it for her own benefit. As it happens, all benefit to others flows from that act of individual resistance to being put upon by unthinking bigots.

In the case of a service industry job, there is no clause that says you only have to treat the people you LIKE nicely. Frankly, I think the servers who work there should get together out back and give her a verbal beat down. They work for tips and she is costing them money.

People around the world with autism will be served when people like this watress - and you - learn that assuming we are toothless targets for your amusement is a seriously dangerous presumption. At the very least, we can reveal your behavior for what it is. Naked bigotry.

Why do you think I picked on your group with such glee? The comment I excepted was unrepresentative only in the sense that it was unveiled. It was fairly representative in fundamental assumptions - child-free good, breeder bad.

From comments elsewhere, you are found to be embarrassing by even other child-free advocates.

I find it disingenuous of this man to wave the flag of equal rights for autistic people when he claims that he just wants an apology for himself and his child.

Yes, he wants an apology for his child being treated as less worthy of respect than other customers. He wants some clear indication of an "attitude adjustment."

And you are taking his choice to be less than totally confrontational as evidence that he's being selfish and unreasonable? How bizarre.

I suspect it will be impossible to present any argument in favor of treating the parents of children with equal consideration - much less children you seem to consider being even more defective than ordinary sprogs.

But then, that is my point, because that's what bigotry is - a conviction that persists in the evidence of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

I've been looking for a case of bigotry that the vast majority of my readers would see as bigoted, so that I could speak to the specific behaviors.

Bigotry is, in my experience, entirely separable from the apparent target of bias. The point is far more about forming an intentional community of the like minded, deliberately isolated from input and evidence that would create doubts as to their own superiority.

My father said - without any trace of irony - that he was socially superior and more valuable to society than Martin Luther King.

An objective assessment would have been more along the lines of him having a net negative value, even if there were some inherent value in being born white, he'd overdrawn that account years and years before. And I assert that, like the Klansman believe he was, being what was the only thing he could identify in himself as being identifiable as virtuous to - well, even other Klansmen.

He didn't have a very good opinion of himself - and that low opinion was well-deserved. Rather than working to correct his deficits, he perferred the refuge of that willful stupidity that is xenophobia. And he was an equal-opportunity bigot. He hated fairly much everyone

Picking on children and the handicapped, one might easily argue , could bee suggestive of self-esteem issues rising to a standard of clinical concern.

That, at least, is the evidence of my experience, and the source of my own bias.

You see, bias is a little more defensible than bigotry; bias does at least arise out of actual experience. However it's no more excusable when it's applied over-broadly, or experiences valued selectively.

Save, of course, when it comes to bigots, because bigots are quite likely to be dangerous as well as ignorant. Moreover, bigotry is the result of a personal choice to avoid anything that might contradict it; making allowances for it is as socially irresponsible as voting for known sociopaths.

overstars said...

I think I'm gonna have to pull an Inigo Montoya on you here.


I do not think that word means what you think it means.

We're bigots because we don't actively invite people to come and start arguments with us?

So by your standards, anyone who creates communities and doesn't let any random person comment as they like with a dissenting opinion is a bigot.

Does the same count for personal journals, or do you have another word for that to throw around in an amusingly innacurate manner?

Bringing out the racial comparisons is frankly just silly. You can come up with all the overstated comparisons you like.

The fact is, you have no reason to call us bigots except that admonishing us for being bigots makes you feel better.

Your blog, your perrogative.

I also find it very funny that you use the fact that other childfree people don't like "cf_hardcore" as evidence that they're bad.

Hmm. So if other Democrats don't like Hilary Clinton, is she suddenly bad? Is she suddenly shameful to the Democratic party?

Or could it just be that there's a spectrum of opinion.

You're lumping every person on a community into one single category, giving them all a label, and picking out all the quotes that fit your side of the argument.

That's not really truthful, now is it?

You'd be surprised how many people on cf_hardcore don't agree with each other, and you'd be surprised at the range of opinions.

I don't see how wanting to be in a community where we don't have to subjugate our personal beliefs to the sensibilities of others is equal to bigotry.

If gays and lesbians want to go to a community where they don't have to put up with people who think their lifestyle is "wrong", does that make THEM bigots?

If Democrats want to go to a community without Republicans, where they can lampoon the otherside and speak their minds and vent their frustrations, are they bigots?

You would say they are. You would be wrong.

You still haven't addressed the point of the entry, and you've taken vague statements and carefully selected quotes and acted as though that's all that's needed.

It's not.

Try looking at the other side of this for a moment. Seriously. Go to the parenting communities and other such places where childfree people get called all sorts of names ranging from insulting to obscene. Come see the people that harass us.

Or better yet, actually read the things you're quoting. Sit down and really listen to what people are posting about.

Instead of coming to judge, come to listen. Really listen.

I don't expect you to take our side or suddenly declare yourself a convert or anything.

But you might find that we're not bigots at all. We're just people who sometimes get frustrated and want to talk about it in a safe place where we don't have to constantly defend ourselves.

Until you're capable of doing that, all your rhetoric and postings are just worthless blah blah blah.


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