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By the mariner (Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 03:54:36 AM EST) (all tags)
one of the downsides of reading blogs for political news is that it's hard to avoid reading a bunch of stupid shit about the latest confrontation between a celebrity and the police, teenagers at award ceremonies, or the paparazzi. the latest thing is alec baldwin, a representative piece of commentary on the matter being this, from one of the blogosphere's best friends, TNC:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/11/yeah-alec-baldwin-is-a-bigot/281561/



you know, for me, for someone of my generation and background, i have to agree using the kind of slurs alec baldwin too often does is bad form at least and this kind of language does perpetuate retrograde attitudes that have too long haunted our doorsteps.

on the other hand, without minimizing the problematic nature of these outbursts, i have to say i find the blogospheric freakout typified by andrew sullivan and capped off by TNC's guilty verdict linked above excessive. baldwin's confrontations in which he insults whose force derive from current and historical disapproval and/or disgust with homosexuality in society is indicative of immaturity more than bigotry. it's a failure to consider the broader implications of what is being said apart from the instance at hand. people will sometimes express disapproval, often in an insulting but general way, of parties not present, but then, upon realizing present company might be included, hasten to say "oh, well, not you, of course!" it's essentially this situation in reverse.

that doesn't make it okay or anything. obviously, the sooner this language passes out of use the better. it's just heavy-handed to call it bigotry.

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is alec baldwin a bigot? | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
There's more than one form of bigotry and racism by lm (4.00 / 2) #1 Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 01:57:56 PM EST
There is systemic bigotry and racism and there is individual bigotry and racism. Casual use of slurs falls into the former category whether or not they fall into the latter category.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
no there isn't. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #2 Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 05:06:25 PM EST
bigotry refers to the state of mind of bigots, those whose interactions with others are dominated by feelings of contempt, fear, or hatred on the basis of such things as race and sexual orientation. obviously there is a more diffuse phenomenon in society of general disapproval or dislike on the basis of the same factors, but this is a different thing.

when you call someone a bigot, you are making a strong statement about their character and general frame of mind. what you are not saying is that their behavior in a particular instance or set of instances reflects a more diffuse phenomenon, such as the use of profanity or figures of speech whose invective character derives from social attitudes toward one group or another.

calling someone a bigot is analogous to saying someone is neurotic. it's not about how someone acts in a few instances.

[ Parent ]
Okay, let's roll with that definition by lm (2.00 / 0) #3 Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 05:38:59 PM EST
I'm not convinced that that is what most people mean when they say 'bigot' but let's suppose that it is a good enough meaning.

Are the states of minds of individuals ever influenced by systemic states of affairs? If so, then the distinction holds. If not, I wonder what planet you live on.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
you're confusing yourself. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #4 Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 08:13:54 PM EST
there's no meaning of the word "bigot" or "bigotry" that would take into account your "systematic states of affairs." bigotry is not a systematic phenomenon, it is a state of mind. it may be that bigots are so numerous in a society as to add up to something systemic, but it does not go the other way around.

the tortured logic of TNC and what you're attempting here is evidence enough of what's wrong with these blog freakouts. the word "bigot," unlike the word "racist," has a reasonably narrow, well-defined meaning. there is no need to try to widen it just to heap opprobrium on this news cycle's persona non grata.

[ Parent ]
Funny, I don't think I'm confusing myself by lm (2.00 / 0) #7 Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 11:42:20 PM EST
``bigotry is not a systematic phenomenon, it is a state of mind. it may be that bigots are so numerous in a society as to add up to something systemic, but it does not go the other way around.''

That is a highly disputable claim. Most studies suggest that much of the way that we think is a product of the environment  in which we are raised. I'd go so far as to assert that the number one predictor of whether or not someone is a bigot is whether or not that person's parents are bigots.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
it takes considerable care to know by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #8 Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 12:44:41 AM EST
when one is confusing oneself.

your mistake is in believing that there are various competing definitions of bigotry or that it is an extremely broad, multifaceted concept. it's an understandable error. other similar concepts, like racism, are extremely broad and admit application to all kinds of situations and contexts, thanks to the tireless efforts of various studies departments throughout christendom. in "bigotry," we have a word with a clear, narrow definition -- let's not try to get creative with it, okay?

as to "the genealogy of bigotry" i have no idea how you could think that's relevant to the claims made here.

[ Parent ]
The OED does seem to define it pretty broadly by lm (2.00 / 0) #13 Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 03:56:26 PM EST
The only narrow definitions of a bigot are obsolete, e.g. religious hypocrites.

Just based on the way that people use the word in real life, I don't think that it does have all that narrow of a definition. But that is really neither here nor there because I believe that my point holds even for a fairly narrow conception of what bigotry is.

Let's take something that you wrote in your reply to TE, ``the definition i give is not, in fact, about a person's inner life, but rather in observing its reflection in the interactions of that person with others.''

Yes. That is quite close to the point that I was trying to make.  I think that where we differ is that I think that the interactions that one person has with persons are informed by both systemic factors and deeply personal factors such that a person can at the same time systemically interact with another in a way that is bigoted while not being bigoted in any meaningful sense in his or her interior life. You appear to be suggesting that in the case of bigotry no interpersonal actions can be systemic in nature.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Odd by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #9 Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 05:01:32 AM EST
Dictionary.com defines bigot as "a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion".

Oxford dictionaries says "a person who is bigoted" where bigoted is defined as "having or revealing an obstinate belief in the superiority of one’s own opinions and a prejudiced intolerance of the opinions of others"

Your definition of bigotry as being about feelings doesn't seem to match the dictionaries. It doesn't seem very helpful either: we can never know another human being's internal feelings, so by your definition we can never know if any other human being is bigoted.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
you guys... by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #11 Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 03:43:54 PM EST
i honestly don't get people like you and lm who want to have some goofy, contrarian discussion about well established definitions. the definition i give is not, in fact, about a person's inner life, but rather in observing its reflection in the interactions of that person with others, which is completely compatible with the dictionary definition you give, to the extent your definition is applicable to the discussion at all. in short, your response is a rather facile and poorly reasoned piece of sophistry.

i'm a little amazed that such a simple definition escapes the guy who's been writing about what he reads for however many decades and a phd student in philosophy.

[ Parent ]
Sophistry? by gmd (4.00 / 1) #12 Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 03:45:47 PM EST
In an online discussion?

say it ain't so...


--
gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
I am a little amazed that by anonimouse (2.00 / 0) #14 Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 02:44:00 PM EST
...you are surprised when a conversation on the Intertubes heads in a direction totally different from the way you expect. 

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
I'm shocked that you're amazed that he's surprised by nathan (4.00 / 1) #15 Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 06:15:32 PM EST
Shocked, SHOCKED to learn that you're amazed that he's surprised in this establishment.

[ Parent ]
This is an establishment? by anonimouse (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 03:15:40 PM EST
I'm shocked and amazed, that this is an establishment. I thought it was a den of ill repute.


Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
more of a hive, really by nathan (2.00 / 0) #17 Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 03:29:00 PM EST
etc. 

[ Parent ]
Who is Alec Baldwin and why should I care? N/t by gmd (4.00 / 1) #5 Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 08:48:09 PM EST
 

--
gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
Fark's Law: by ammoniacal (4.00 / 2) #6 Sat Nov 16, 2013 at 10:48:56 PM EST
The answer to any headline written as a question is always NO.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

I am extremely bigoted by anonimouse (4.00 / 1) #10 Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 05:17:07 AM EST
I think that Those People Who Cannot Find The Shift Key should burn in the Fires Of Hell for Eternity   

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
is alec baldwin a bigot? | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback