Okay, the universe is officially just throwing banana peels at my feet and daring me to run forward.
The trouble is that it's not a bad post exactly once you get past the start that reads like bad spam, for isntance;
Eating pork is uncomfortably close to cannibalism. From what I understand, human flesh tastes pretty pig-like. Baby pigs are unbearably cute. And of course, there’s the fact that pigs are smarter than dogs. I suspect that the religious taboos against pork were a reflection of these facts, especially since the taboos crop up in a series of dietary laws that broadcast the general idea that the people who have this diet are more civilized than other people.
First off, everyone knows that consumer study after consumer study has proven quite conclusively that human flesh tastes like chicken.
Second off the reason why pork is highlighted as bad by islamo-semitic food laws is becuase pork, and shellfish and the other non-believer food stuffs, all go very poisonous, very quickly in the middle eastern climate, so that those theologians of the day could make a pretty good connection between eating pig and dying a brutally painful shit covered death - in fact, evolution tells us that if the iraq war goes on long enough (and if the dems have any say in the matter, it will) all iraqis will spontaneously turn incredibly pale due to the selective pressure produced by the brutally painful, shit covered deaths our boys clad in patriotic idiocy are handing out to any iraqi foolish enough to be brown in a built up area over there - which of course would be construed as "god's judgement".
This is also how the whole male circumcision thing came about, apparently there are some very serious medical complications that can occur should a sufficiently skinned penis owner take a whizz outside during a sand storm, as a result of sand beneath their flap.
and I think You'll find few who would blame an itchy, sandy cock related death as a punishment that could come from any god BUT Allah/Jehovah, who was the only psychotic nutcase to ever pacify the middle east using nothing more than shouting, threats and the occasional use of death and destruction the likes of which the US military is still politically restrained from engaging in (though they make up for it in duration and detirmination).
Anyway, those points aside let me now take apart some of her abortion/animal rights arguements apart so that they can be reassembled in a sensible fashion.
Against infant euthanasia, mind you—I think that when “life” begins is pretty arbitrary, but when a person is actually no longer a part of her mother’s body, which is when she is born, then her legal rights kick in. My point was more that people would do well to face up to the fact, however inconvienent, that animals are sentient beings, because you should make your decisions based on all the available evidence, not by editing out stuff that’s true but you wish wasn’t.
Of course the slight trouble with this is that first of all, animals aren't generally speaking sentient, in fact the example she uses just prior to this paragraph mentions cats and dogs, both animals that are known to be unable to pass even the most basic test of self awareness - the primary component of any human definition of what constitutes a sentient creature - while even recently new born babies can grasp that mirrors are reflections rather than containers for remarkably familiar looking babies.
The bigger and more important trouble with that paragraph however is that whenever hte subject of infanticide comes up with regards to abortion rights any sane pro-choicer should immediately leap on the chance they've been granted to point out that a lack of abortions leads to infanticide because people do not suddenly lose their reasons for aborting just because abortion has been made illegal, they still end up with one child more than they want, and as adoption is primarily for the rich, there's only ever been one other option with regards to what to do with that extraneous child: Infanticide.
This does actually fit neatly with the whole animal rights thing, because far from having any sort of scientific or factual basis for giving a shit about animals, humans have nothing other than an entirely emotional empathic basis for seeing sentience in the eyes of a dog or cat - we see our reflection in the eyes of animals, because we see our reflection in the eyes of other people, and of such a thing is human social existence incumbent on. This fact then highlights the real reason why conservatives put such a huge emphasis on making a loud song and dance of likeing hunting and loving The Meat, a big neccessity for being a conservative is an frank and open hatred for actually giving a fuck aobut the suffering of anything other than yourself, it is sociopathy raised to the level of a trendy sub-culture where instead of tube socks and bad makeup being the uniform for acceptance within the culture, an ability to revel in cruelty and the suffering of others is worn like so many peace badges on an anarchist's coat.
And of course from the revelling in sociopathy with regards to meat eating and conservatives, we can move right back to the burkagate thing and abortion, because fundamental to anti-choicer arguements about abortion is a tacit erasure of the thoughts, circumstances and experiences of any woman who is not ready, able and willing to give birth, so that obviously women who abort are these inhuman callous baby hating abortion addicts who go through 9 months of pregnancy purely for the frank and gratuitous enjoyment of a partial birth abortion along with their drug dealer analog abortionist pals. The idea that women are routinely and often unable, physically, emotionally, mentally (because people forget that ontop of the physical toll of pregnancy and child birth, acknowledged by everyone including Isaac Asimov as absolutely fucking lethal, is the mental strain of pregnancy and child rearing which can be even worse than the physical problems) to cope with teh whole pregnancy/birth/motherhood experience is erased from the picture, to such a point that mothers who have problems with being a mother are often too ashamed to admit that they aren't the super women society tells them all mothers are, and then fail to get the help they need - if said help is even available for them, which in our society of haves and shat upons, it rarely is - and this complete and willful ignorance once again leads me to burkagate and Amanda "eraser of her non-white critics" Marcotte (again).
This highlights why the burkagate thing stuck in my graw so thoroughly, because to erase people like that is the ultimate weapon in the conservatives arsenal - a fact that is readily shown by arch-conservative Twisty Faster's inability to accept or even note that people who like performing sexual acts that she finds "immoral" are actually choosing to perform said sexual acts because they like to perform them, because that would take some of the edge off her ivory tower moralising - and shows a willingness to just refuse to accept that these other people have valid feelings, because the arguement being put forth regarding cultural colonisation hinged upon being able to put yourself in teh shoes, or even burkas, of a muslim woman, who, having been fucked over by her own patriarchal culture, and being fucked over by our american culture, sees a feminist, someone who claims to be her ally and comrade in arms against her oppression, putting up an image of a burka on a stick - like using a woman in a veil as a cheap prop wasn't enough so they used a fucking sheet on a stick because a woman in a burka isn't quite dehumanised enough by western and islamic society as it is - why? To make a cheap joke at the supposed expense of some two bit, pasty white hack of a wanker.
Put yourself in the position of that muslim woman for second, put yourself in the position of a woman who is being colonised and dehumanised like that, what do you feel?
I'd feel angry, I'd feel betrayed. But intent matters don't it?
Do you know how i feel when someone goes out of their way to insult me? Angry yes, but never insulted, I merely start trying to fight back because I'm damned if I'm going to let them win by actually thinking less of myself or being insulted.
But do you know what really fucking hurts, what really fucking tears my soul apart? when some guy pulls out some often subtle, but none the less substantial, bit of sexist or misogynistic bullshit casually without thinking about it. The only times in my life when I've truely felt degraded have been those times when some guy has basically declared that I, as a woman, am somehow inferior or stupid or weak or not quite fully human like those men show themselves not to be - and do it in such a sort of matter of fact way that a part of my brain actually has to notice that I am actually human because the misogyny has occurred so suddenly, and with such an unquestioning and unwavering sincerity of belief behind it, that I very nearly believe him.
And I find myself unable to argue or really do anything outside my own head to counteract stuff like that because I know that if I do try to dissuade him of that stupid notion, he'll just react by explaining himself, how obviously what he said wasn't really sexist or wrong becuase hey! Women really Aren't people you know? And his repeated inability to get what I'm pissed off about, what is hurting me, hurts almost as much as the initial act, because where before it occurred I thought I was dealing with a human being, I find in its place this strange empathy less monster who's trying to tell me that I am the inhuman peice of shit because it honestly believes I'm little more than this worthless, retarded cow.
So when I see not merely all muslim women being dehumanised and their feelings being erased from the picture, but also see these strong, amazing women like BA and BfP being shat upon from the high towers that amanda, marc and lindsay exist on through the act of pretending that they're not really worth arguing with or even noticing - and this is put into such stark relief when the whole thing only became a problem for those three once the eponymous "two white women" plowed in in the hopes that the stories were true and white people would be able to deal with the arguements if other white people tried to explain it to them in the special monkey chatter us white people use when the coloreds aren't listening - I feel hurt because I feel the pain of others as a result of not having turned my back on the empathic nature of humanity, and worst of all I feel angry, these are people who I know can put themselves in other people's shoes, who can understand other people's pain, and as it went on and on, it became hard to accept that this pain they were causing wasn't malicious, wasn't intentional.
And like with science and magic, if you do something painful enough, and continue doing it for long enough, accidental cruelty becomes indistinguishable from intentional cruelty, and that is the one thing that would ever drive me into an uncontrollabe and violent rage - hence the eventual dog slurs, marc's teeth and major facial features are really lucky the arguement was being conducted over the internets rather than in real life.
Which may seem disproportionate to some, but it was, no wait, let me explain something else first.
There's this thing I like to call "whitemail", it's when one white person implies to another white person that they can just you know pretend that something regarding non-white people doesn't exist, and in fact often go on to imply that not pretending that certain things didn't exist would be a very bad move for the other white person.
This also goes on between men, Asimov called this "Male freemasonry", and is why I dislike the commentary policy at alas a blog - the trolls there make this appeal to whitemail to be granted the right to argue that certain unarguable facts (like "rape isn't really that bad" or "women aren't people") are infact not just debatable "opinions", but are in fact "opinions" that must be proven to exist, with the burden of proof being placed on feminist shoulders of course, or else amp or whatever other men hang aroudn there are somehow not really men or some such bullshit.
I hate whitemail, I hate it when other white people look at me, and seeing nothing more than my skin color, assume that I am like them: an inhuman monster, and us inhuman monster got to stick together, right?
They don't see that I'm a second and a half (mother and grandparents on my father's side) immigrant to america, they don't know that I'm 1/16th black african, they don't know that I was absolutely fascinated by the holocaust as a child, that "Never Again" is the fundamental creed that underlined all my subsequent growth as a moral adult and drives my hatred of the IDF and teh conservative cultures and governments of Israel and America because I know that before the holocaust there was pogroms, and the only reason one led to the other was due to techonological advances rather than some increase in the hatred poured at the jews by us goyim, they don't see an upbringing in the poor ass areas of LA, which were hardly ever lily white or my time in NY and London as a white minority in black majority areas, how I actually don't feel all that comfortable in all white groups, not because of some white guilt complex but because I feel like an outsider who can only ever "pass" rather than feel at home in their company - because while I'm not culturally non-white, I'm not culturally white either, not by a long shot, and I am not your sister, nor am I your friend in whiteness or jesus, I don't do yoga because it's all "eastern" and mystical, but because it's a good way to limber up before running through some wing chun exercises, which I just plain enjoy doing for their own sake. Back the fuck off and take you presumption of familiarity with you.
YOU. DO. NOT. KNOW. ME.
I'm not sure Marc could have said anyting more offensive to me than "can't we just agree to disagree?" To put forth an arguement that empathising with muslim women and WoC was an optional thing you could do if you felt like it - rather than the fundamental aspect of what makes a person a moral human being - was bad enough, but to go on to pull out an arguement that implies that well, we're all white around here, can't we just call it a draw, it's not like it's anything important right?
I was really glad the arguement was going on over the internet at that point, because I hate, absolutely hate getting bits of people's teeth stuck in my knuckles, there is no grosser sensation that examining your bruised and bloody knuckles and finding something small, white and incredibly human stuck in them.
Which may seem disproportionate to some but you've got to understand - I am not a conservative, I am their polar opposite.
What this means is that whereas the conservative revels in nationalism and "common sense" and patriotism and Pharisee religion and dogma and idiot bigotry and anything else taht allows them to practice being sociopathic to their fellow human beings, I revel, I bathe, I wallow and prance naked in empathy, in caring about people, in feeling their pain, and laughing and crying with their joy.
I drown myself in people, in their thoughts, their feelings, their highs and their lows, because to do otherwise is to close off a part of myself, to risk becoming conservative and doing things to people "for their own good" and not caring what that "good" actually did to people.
And what makes me moral, what makes me human, is that I can't turn that off, even the whole dog slur was an exercise in empathy, I had ot understand what it is like to lose a pet I loved before I could use it, and understanding and sharing someone's pain doesn't neccesarily mean I'm nice either, it merely means I wouldn't do anything to you that I wouldn't want done to myself.
And you know what? If I was waving privelage around, calling myself progressive or liberal while pretending like that was some magical excuse for opting out of humanity when it ceased being convenient, I, that is the me who wasn't doing all that, would want to be slapped or kicked in the crotch as needs be in the hope that it might knock some sense into me.
Of course it was used just as another excuse to refuse to empathise with the people they were dumping on, as I should have known it would be, but without any other option the only other thing I could do would be to walk away.
Except that little voice that cries "never again!" at the bottom of my soul won't allow me that luxury.
It's a feminist thing, is empathy, the reason why male feminists are also enviromentalists is because male feminists are better and more ready to empathise, and that is central to that sort of activism, and empathy is central to feminism also, because unless we can all understant each other's humanity, then we can't really understand what the central creed of feminist, that women are people, actually means.
Because you can't understand what it is to be a person, unless you first embrace your humanity and try to understand what it is like to be someone other than yourself, to understand their humanity by exercising your own.
Empathy IS feminism, and it's not some special female attribute, but the very core of what it is to be human, and the fact that it got bundled together with the whole "femme" minstrel show we're supposed to dance in is a result of conservatives doing their damndest to demonise being human along with being a woman, with the sad and pathetic side effect that women, in an attempt to break out of the vicious cabaret, would renounce their humanity to prove how "human" they are - while never realising that what the monsters of conservativism and patriarchy and whtie supremacy and capitalism define as "humanity" is in fact nothing less than "monstrosity", and alien and anthema to what it is to be human in the first place.
I'm damned if I'm going to relinquish what they try to take from me just becuase lifes easier that way, nor am I going to sit by and nod along while people who I know are better than this give it up either. We've got too many monsters in the world as it is, and not nearly enough monster hunters.
Anyone who quotes Nietzsche is an asshole.