Joined: May 2006
Since this sort of exchange has happened to me before ( in the AFDave thread) I'll throw my two cents in. This is what I wrote at that time, about some "mystery complainant" who had e-mailed a moderator:
|1) I've made a point of actually keeping accounts on the language that I've used since I VOLUNTEERED to tone down my use of "profanity" ---and the WORST thing that I've said since then was "calling Dave "fecal slime" for deliberately skewing my statements on chess-playing computers and saying that I somehow claimed natural selection was "intelligent." Last that I looked, "feces" wasn't "obscene"|
2) I don't view my deliberate use of insults as "madness" nor does the use of any profanity neccessarily indicate "anger." I take issue with anyone small-minded enough to claim this.
3) The mystery e-mailer uses " you can bet your ass" while bemoaning the use of profanities?
4) The e-mailer expresses concern simultaneously that lurkers may misinterpret Occam and myself...then states that lurkers have " by and large decloaked" so (apparently) the thread should be closed due to lack of ...what, readership? And the e-mailer is "concerned" about non-existent readers? If there's so few readers, then why be concerned about how a few may interpret my use of insults? And why should I care if Dave will carry my insults about as indictments of how mean scientists are?
IF a person is so stupid as to accept Dave's word for things, WITHOUT looking at the data, then that person isn't going to be amenable to any kind of rational persuasion -- I give you Dave as an example of that.
5) IF any of my colleagues or friends DELIBERATELY went about lying, weaseling, using the tactics Dave has here, you can bet **your** ass I would use harsh language to express my displeasure.
6 ) I agree that words have meaning and there are many types of verbal aggression, ranging from slight disparagement, slurs, to outright "vile" language...but WHAT terms are considered "vile" vary from context to context both geographically and temporally.
Shakespeare is replete with outright vulgarities ("bescumber, "pizzle," coynt" ) The Bible contains terms and images ( "Song of Solomon" anyone?) considered obscene and blasphemous at many time periods ( including DIRECTIONS to eating shit) .
There is a huge degree of arbitrariness about what IS vulgar and what is not--If we were consistent, yelling 'Angels!', 'Mucous!', and 'Birthing!' would be just as bad as saying "Christ!", shit! or Damm!". During the Victorian period, a LEG was "vulgar" and a gentleperson spoke of a piano "limb" -- I'm sure you would be thrown out of a party if you even said "groin," yet today this is seen as quaint....which itself ( the word "quaint") meant "cunt" in Shakespeare's day (Chaucer used it as well).
So, today, what IS profanity and blasphemy? "Damm","Crap" "bitch" and other terms are found in all mass media. But people are interested in POWER, so they try to control language, as Orwell pointed out. What are the effects of this? Well, there are over 400 instances of book censorship reported each year to the American Library Association...because of "vulgar" ideas and words.
Look at the example of censorship in Panama City, Florida, where "not too long ago, the grim children's book , "I Am the Cheese" by Robert Cormier, and also "About David" by Susan Beth Pfeffer... were targeted by censors for being "depressing, vulgar, and immoral." They were banned from the curriculum. But this was just the beginning. One year later, 65 further books were removed from the curriculum and from classroom libraries for being "vulgar," "obscene," or "sexually related." Among the affected works were three works of the American canon: "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, Stephen Crane's "The Red Badge of Courage," and John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" -along with "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte and four of Shakespeare's plays... They were only protecting, they felt, impressionable young Floridians from Shakespeare's "lack of moral tenor." Three other Shakespeare plays were on their hit list as well: King Lear, The Merchant of Venice, and Twelfth Night." ( Quoted from http://www.macondo.nu/Hemliga/hemliga_extra_Garret.htm)
7) I realize that people have their own ideas of propriety. I realize that they want to put on the best possible face to informal forums like this, but THIS IS NOT A FORMAL DEBATE. Neither I nor anyone ELSE here represents " all scientists" or "science" in general, and anyone stupid enough to think so is simply too stupid to care about.
I also realize that people who view my RECENT use of language as somehow unbearably or degradingly obscene ...are not going to be mollified by any of the points I make here...they can argue that ANY vulgarity denigrates science and would cause the fundamentalists to cry out( yet Cheney and Bush use "a$$hole" and "fuck" in other arenas without any great outcry from the religious right). That leads me to my last point...hypocrisy
I don't believe that terms for sex or bodily functions are "obscene" People try to control the language of others to control PEOPLE, and I'm not real fond of that.
The most common objections to "vulgarities" or "Profanity" is that ( as the emailer above claimed) it's "uncivilized" yet it's present in all civilizations, bar none. I would argue that a CIVILIZED person would prefer to use vulgarities to actual violence or even INDIRECT actions leading to harm, such as firing a worker or banning them from a Mormon church,for example, and I sure as he11 would have preferred Bush to cuss out Saddam rather than attack him, but I suppose the emailer is looking for a perfect world, in which no "offensive" language is ever used as insult...yet even the Victorians couldn't eliminate it, or the hypocrisy that follows it. The Victorians initially saw no vulgarity in child labor and tenements, and were quite fond of jabbering on about "wogs" but G_D forbid anyone should mention a bull ("male beast" was preferred) So where does it end?
It doesn't so far as history as shown. Ever.
People will argue profanity "looks bad" ...but then the question becomes WHEN? WHERE? If I use"fecal slime" and not "shit stain" that's okay? If i say it in French? Tagalog? If I say "FECES" that's GOOD...FOR NOW, but eventually, should that be tossed out, too?
I ALWAYS have given substantive arguments ALWAYS, and I have also "cussed" and I'm not real impressed with ANYONE that cannot separate out the two and only seeks to control language " for appearance's sake"
Others would argue that it's "for the children's sake" that we need to censor the use of language deemed inappropriate... and I'd argue that's nonsense too. We lie to kids every day in this and all other human societies. To claim that children would be harmed by ordinary vulgarities is simply a means of keeping control over children and not allowing them to face the world in which Bush and Cheney DO use such terms, and it's found on the radio and television and newspapers and books. The age for this to be explored is up to each parent, but I have no problem in discussing these topics with ANY kids.
There is a happy medium here and I DO have to seek balance--which is PRECISELY why I "toned down" my language for well over 90 "pages" of this thread, even though I wasn't directly asked to. I'll be happy to be left out of the e-mailer's complaints, too.
Finally, I'd like to leave on this note:
Banish the use of those four-letter words
Whose meanings are never obscure.
The Angles and Saxons, those bawdy old birds
Were vulgar, obscene and impure.
But CHERISH the use of the weak-kneed phrase
That never says quite what YOU mean --
Far better to stick to a hypocrite's ways,
Than be vulgar, or coarse or obscene.
I don't have a lot of patience with the kind of blithering, sanctimonious, hypocritical Grundyism that the emailer laid out. If this were a FORMAL forum, I might have never even used "fecal slime" but I wasn't aware that at least one person here found that so offensive that they were ready to get the vapours.
I realize that you're interested in HOW Avocationist ticks, Demallien, but it seems to me that we already have moderators that can be appealed to rather than try to demand that others follow our personal dictates.
It also strikes me as control-freakish to insist that people follow one's own notions of propriety, which can vary wildly. It also seems apparent to me that this can be an unending game of finding "offense" in any least unintended insult or use of "offensive" language and reporting it.
I also note that while I was unfailingly polite to Avocationist, she was impolite to me by using crass generalizations and insulting me and my dear, dear umm.."friend" (okay, she's VERY near and dear to me) Serendipity here:
|It is surely a waste of time to even try to reason with people like this bunch here.|
I am disgusted. What a lot of pent up rage.
Serendipity, is that your real name? Well, what do you know. Avocationist is not my real name either. What the he11 did you think I meant by persona? I don't treat people any differently online than I do anywhere else. http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin....p=48209 (note that is page two of this thread)
Now, if I were a control freak, I could have started screaming then for a moderator to chastise Avocationist... but being tolerant, I decided not to bother...particularly since I can certainly do better at insult and invective than she can.
Here (again, second page of this thread) Avocationist claims that somehow I was tossed from UD twice because I was in error:
People are often attacked by Dave Scot for making unfounded assumptions.
And it goes on and on. She avoided every major point and wants to fade into ambiguity and b-s while it's obvious that she knows nothing about the science topics she's dealing with.
She insults and uses "cussing" as well (she used the word "shit" on page 4, I believe)... she eschewed directly answering direct polite questions, and **I** was unfailingly polite. I did that as an experiment, by the way.
And I don't find anything wrong with calling her a lying little ___ (fill in the blank) at all now, but you do, Demallien. So complain to a moderator.
Again, that's just my two cent's worth and I'm not trying to personally offend you, Demallien...I'm just suggesting that your course of action may not have been all that effective, either.
And I don't excuse Louis at all, he's almost as abrasive as I am. Okay, he might be worse, but that's neither here nor there. He smells funny.
AtBC Award for Thoroughness in the Face of Creationism