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By the mariner (Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:04:33 PM EST) TNC sucks, the atlantic (all tags)
as a continuation of my previous diary in which i contended that the widely understood meaning of the word "bigot" is not sensibly applicable to alec baldwin for his ridiculous gay-slur laced outbursts at paparazzi and whoever else, i offer the following link to someone who makes the same argument with more care than i have time for:

http://www.partiallyexaminedlife.com/2013/11/29/what-the-word-bigot-actually-means-and-why-it-is-important/

i kinda liked "TNC," one of the internet's closest friends, when he first showed up on the 'tubes several years ago, but his really sleazy rhetorical tactics are much too much.



i think the linked post sums it up well:

And I also worried that friends who know me better might wonder how it is I could possibly make such a defense: my motives would be suspect. Indeed, the point of Coates’ marking a portion of my argument as “bizarre,” “terrible,” and “telling” is to signal – without openly calling me a bigot, a ploy that would be too embarrassingly obvious – the fact that my motives are in question ...

the writer, wes alwan, is good people. he's not some right wing nutjob trying to carve out a place in public discourse for the phrase "cocksucking fag." he's making the simple point that calling someone who has done real work for the cause of gay rights a "bigot" and suggesting their support for such causes is insincere on the grounds of a series of emotional outbursts is way over the line. the response from TNC is to suggest to his readership, to whom alwan is an unfamiliar white guy questioning the party line, that alwan is some kind of bigot himself. (but hey, it's okay! TNC used to be a "bigot" too! but it was a long time ago, so he can still be a writer at what was formerly one of america's premier magazines.)

anyway, i'm sure we'll have plenty of bush league debate team commentary about how the words "bigot" and "bigotry" can really mean whatever you want them to and so forth. but seeing the way the atlantic has evolved and the tenure of TNC in particular, i feel somewhat prescient for having dumped the magazine years ago -- and, given all of Andrew Sullivan's approving links to TNC's "rebuttals" complete with loaded commentary, equally prescient for not having subscribed to his virtual rag (it's too bad, it's mostly a fun blog, but his commentary on so many things is so bad and divorced from reality -- plus, his contempt for anyone who works for a living...)

i'm certainly not one to claim rosa parks ended racism in the fifties, but it'll be a great day in america when people no longer make a living as the gold standard for public denunciation of bigotry (broadly defined, of course) the way TNC does so cavalierly.

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ta-nehisi coates sucks. | 22 comments (22 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Alwan would do well to do what he advises ... by lm (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 07:32:06 AM EST
... Coates and Sullivan to do, pick up a dictionary. Finding a dictionary that only has a very narrow definition is either some pretty amazing luck or cherry picking.

That said, I agree with your point that The Atlantic has gone downhill quite a ways over the past decade. I first let my subscription lapse close to ten years ago. About five years ago, I re-upped and regretted my choice a few months into it and did not renew once it expired again.

And, as for Coates and Sullivan's actual argumens, I've not read them nor do I care to so I don't know if Alwan's portrayal of them is accurate.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Especially funny is this ... by lm (4.00 / 1) #2 Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 07:38:10 AM EST
... if one goes to Merriam Webster's web site, the place where Alwan draws his definition of 'bigot', the first example of proper usage is, ``He was labeled a bigot after making some offensive comments.''

Is that not precisely what has happened here?


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
after which we turn to the entry for 'label'... by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 08:01:54 AM EST


[ Parent ]
You're going to need to draw more explicit lines by lm (2.00 / 0) #11 Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:46:04 PM EST
At least if you want to make a cogent point.

Most people would probably agree with the label 'bigot' for someone who uses 'cocksucking faggots' as an insult.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
well, let's go back to your clever argument... by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #15 Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 09:53:55 AM EST
"blah blah blah, dictionary example sentence says someone was labeled a bigot after making an offensive remark" -- by the way, this was a new one on me, citing the example sentence in the dictionary in an argument. you're really getting your money's worth. -- "so, therefore the term is correctly applied anytime someone makes an offensive remark."

so let's say we roll with your dictionary-example-sentence-is-gospel argument. then it would be good for us to remember that the word label here means the loud mouthed bastard in question is merely being described as a bigot, probably by some dusty, nancying nerd who writes dictionaries. it is not as if he has been certified a bigot by the international organization for standardization.

your claim that most people you know don't know what the word "bigot" means is sobering. i suspect you're just confused. you're probably thinking "bigotry" is just like "racism" and can mean basically anything in any degree. i'm sure if you ask around, you'll find that people you know are not as illiterate as you think.

[ Parent ]
I didn't make that argument by lm (2.00 / 0) #19 Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 11:08:45 PM EST
We might have an interesting discussion if you refrain from putting words into my mouth.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
sorry for the late response. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #21 Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 11:33:07 PM EST
my wife has been riding me about arguing with retards on the internet.

[ Parent ]
That's quite all right by lm (2.00 / 0) #22 Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 03:45:14 PM EST
Your bigoted ad hominem in place of a clarification or meaningful question suggests that you're not particularly interested in having a real discussion.

HAND


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
meh. by aphrael (4.00 / 2) #4 Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:09:48 AM EST
the only reason you would use the term 'cocksucking fag' as an insult when in the middle of an emotional outburst is if you think calling someone a 'cocksucking fag' is an insult, which in turn requires that you think that there's something wrong with being a 'cocksucking fag'.

maybe 'cocksucking fag' is a term of art in his language, and it doesn't mean gay people as a whole - much as there are people who claim that when they use 'nigger' it's not a racial slur, rather being a phrase applied to a specific subset of black people. but we wouldn't accept that explanation from the nigger-user, and we shouldn't accept it from baldwin, either.

yeah, he's done some good work for gay rights. but  one can consistently believe that gay people should have equal legal rights and that there's something so wrong with being gay that being called a 'cocksucking fag' is an insult. i mean: i support the legal rights of all sorts of people whose behavior I find personally repulsive, disgusting, and wrong; i think most people, in a liberal democracy, do.

so: what's the right word to use for someone who supports the legal rights of members of a group but is nonetheless disgusted by and repulsed by them? 'bigot' seems like the only word in the english lexicon which even comes close to being appropriate.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

Hmm by riceowlguy (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:38:25 AM EST
I'm not entirely sure I buy the argument that if you use term X as an insult it's because you've concluded that being X is bad and therefore your target should feel insulted for being called X.  Where does "shithead" fit into that?  I seriously doubt anybody is saying "you have a head made of faeces and you should feel bad because of it". 

[ Parent ]
exactly. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #7 Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:01:15 AM EST
you might also ask why conventional insults exist at all. is it really true that "shithead" has ever been the worst thing someone could think to say to someone else? or even near the top of the list? -- if this has been the case, it is only because of the limited nature of thought that occurs in the moment and especially in the moment of anger.

[ Parent ]
well by lm (4.00 / 1) #12 Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:49:41 PM EST
how many people who are called 'shithead' don't think that it is an insult?

Back in the mid eighties I knew a guy that was proud of his nickname of 'asshole'. Regardless of his pride, I think that most people understood that his 'nickname' was intended to be an insult.

Point being that you can't use 'cock sucking fag' as an insult if you don't intend it to be insulting.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Good point and well taken [n/t] by riceowlguy (2.00 / 0) #14 Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 09:43:26 AM EST


[ Parent ]
ridiculous. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:49:54 AM EST
so your theory is that anything someone says necessarily reflects their considered beliefs? it seems very unlikely to me that you have really considered all possible reasons for using schoolyard insults and come to the conclusion that the only possible "reason" is a considered belief that the literal meaning of such insults is abjectly disgusting, as opposed to simply being conventional insults with particular cultural cachet. it seems clear to me that there could be no reason at all, as would be true of someone with tourette's syndrome -- and of considerably less extreme cases as well.

to review, neither you nor anyone else arguing your point has made anything close to a persuasive case that alec baldwin is repulsed or disgusted by members of any particular group (and they have all made roughly the same facile argument you make here). but even if he does harbor some degree of conflict at the level of sentiment, this would not make him a bigot, as a bigot is someone who is persistently intolerant both in views and action, which alec baldwin obviously isn't.

what you should argue and what everyone would agree with is that this kind of language should not be used because it perpetuates retrograde attitudes and that people like alec baldwin, who ostensibly care, should be especially mindful of that.

[ Parent ]
A point to consider by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 02:38:40 PM EST
Harry Truman used the word "nigger" as part of casual conversation.  He forced the schools to desegregate.

Lyndon Johnson used the word "nigger" as part of casual conversation.  He pushed through the most important civil rights measures in the 20th century.

Were they "bigots"?  Maybe, probably actually.  But I'm not sure shoving someone into a box with a label and using it to discredit everything else they do is particularly productive.

In particular, here, as I said in another comment, I don't think a bunch of people blathering about what label to put on the guy is that helpful.  He's a flawed human like we all are.  Is any of this going to make the guy realize he should stop using the word "cocksucking fag" any time soon?  And if he were to stop today, would we still, in ten years, be talking about how he said it on the phone in 2010 and is therefore a bigot?
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Truman and school desegregation? by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #17 Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 06:28:25 PM EST
Google isn't getting many hits. Truman is famous for desegregating the military (with some amazing results). As far as presidents go, I think of Ike as far as school desegregation goes: back when Wallace's response to the SCOTUS re: brown vs. board of ed was "you and what army", Ike (commander in chief and general of the army, ret.) responded "there are many units in the army that have served with honor and distinction, but the 101st airborne has never let me down."

Wumpus

[ Parent ]
Fucking hell by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #18 Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 10:08:57 PM EST
I meant desegregated the military.  Where the fuck did I get schools!?
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Binary by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #8 Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 02:33:07 PM EST
The basic problem is that too many people are operating from the standpoint that "bigot" is a binary condition that either applies or does not apply.  Either you're one of "us", the good guys, who aren't bigots and work for all the right progressive causes, or you're one of them, the bigots, who need to be taught the error of their ways.  (But never forgiven, because unfortunately in the twitter screamverse, no one is ever forgiven...once they've misbehaved, they're forever wrong.

It's depressing.

Sorry, that was more of a rant than I set out to make.

Humans are imperfect and grey.  I think the reason some operate in this binary mode is that if you operate on the assumption that a "bigot" is something you either are or are not, then if you are not one, you can forget about the idea that you might do something bigoted.  In truth, bigotry is a continuum that we are all one and something that we should all work on moving each other in the right direction.  We shouldn't be running around debating whether Alex Baldwin is a bigot because he used the phrase "cocksucking fag".  We should be trying to tell him to stop doing so.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

yeah, more or less. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 06:15:38 PM EST
"imperfect and grey" is right.

on the matter of the word "bigot," i think it is fairly binary -- it's a word with a clear definition. the problem here is that people are trying to fit someone into a category they don't fit into for a political reason: to make the word "fag" the same as the word "nigger," as contemplated upthread by aphrael. that day is coming, but it's at least a generation of dead anglophones away.

[ Parent ]
Really? by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #13 Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 01:14:19 AM EST
It's our job to "save" Alec Baldwin from himself?

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

[ Parent ]
Not our job by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #16 Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 11:22:31 AM EST
Just more useful then spending lots of effort arguing about what label to put on him.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
WIPO: by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #20 Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 01:18:02 AM EST
Neither.

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

[ Parent ]
ta-nehisi coates sucks. | 22 comments (22 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback