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If my public relations employee fails to understand how tweeting that she is not afraid of getting AIDS because she is white might not be taken as satire, then she lacks the skills necessary for the job.

 

I think it's worth remembering that Sacco was apparently spending the entire trip snarking. The satire is more obvious in context.

 

I agree with that article about the term "offensive" but I don't think it condemns call-out culture as a whole, more what is being called out and how. As the final sentence says, "let us retire 'that’s offensive' from our discourse and start saying what we mean". If the only problem with GamerGate was that they were telling people "I find what you said offensive" instead of clearly delineating the issues they have with it, a lot of people's lives would much happier.

 

The NY Times article reminds me of the time a bunch of fucking morons drove a paediatrician out of her home because they confused her job title with the word paedophile. I think these extreme cases should be taken as an illustration of how social media and call-out culture can be twisted into a bullying or mobbing tool, rather than be seen as discrediting either of those two things entirely. I hope at least some of those companies get sued for unfair dismissal so they learn their lesson; it's a shame the only repercussion for the writer who reported on and subsequently hounded Sacco was making an apology a year later, with the attitude that "she'll be fine eventually, if not already".

 

Katherine Cross isn't condemning callout culture in that article - I am, in response to it.

 

If we acknowledge that "offense" is the wrong term for objecting to regressive comments, we're also acknowledging that the problem with a comment is the broader implications of that statement. Take, say, Zach Braff's comment that Pharrell Williams in his bellhop outfit looks like a monkey. About a white man, it's kind of a mean joke, but about a black man it's also perpetuating harmful stereotypes about black people. Pharrell Williams and his friends and family would be right to be offended, because someone they know and love has been attacked. Everyone else, that is responding to Braff's spreading of regressive images? They're not actually hurt by that jibe, but by the broader societal context which manifests itself in its own ways. The joke itself isn't what's hurting you.

 

If it's not hurting you, then, attacking it because it hurt you is wrong, and in that sense it's no different to Gamergate attacking people for perceived imaginary slights, or for people driving a paediatrician out of their home because of fictional child abuse. The mob does not care about accuracy, or appropriateness, and the mob is pleased that its barbarous fuckwittery has hurt someone they've all decided are harmful without any evidence.

 

I don't think you can really hold the moral high ground when you're part of a mob. I've benefited from the increased accessibility of these issues, but I wasn't right to place that at the feet of callout culture. I learnt about feminism through the dickwolves debacle, but I still don't have a particularly favourable opinion of Shakesville even though I ended up agreeing with them more than Penny Arcade.

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Biddle dismantled a portion of her life just because he could, because it was funny to him with a bonus that he got paid to do it. If I could eradicate one of the two behaviors, I think I would pick getting rid of someone gleefully fucking with strangers' lives over some kinda racist dumb tweets.

I'm not convinced that Biddle and his ilk aren't just as dangerous as the worst of gamergate.

 

http://gawker.com/justine-sacco-is-good-at-her-job-and-how-i-came-to-pea-1653022326

 

And, as it turned out, Justine Sacco is not a racist monster. She is a kind and canny woman who threw back cocktails, ate delicately, and spoke expertly about software. She was friendly, very funny, instantly relatable, and very plainly not a cruel sicko. We talked about college, jobs, home, family, and work—she'd recently landed on her feet as the communications boss for a small New York startup, and seemed to be happily rebuilding her career.

I was severely nervous throughout. It was like a first date, only it's not a date and also the person has a really good reason to hate you, and has had half a year to stew over that reason. For about an hour, we talked about anything else; we gossiped about our respective industries, her treatment in the press, and cheery career goals.

 

Maybe it was the third drink, or months of piling, compressed guilt, but midway through our meal I had to say sorry. An apology to Justine Sacco had been itching at my throat from the moment I saw her. I was afraid to say it—because who knows what else I should be sorry for?—but the itching was worse.

So I did it: I said I was sorry posting her tweet had teleported her into a world of media scrutiny and misery. I'd tried not admitting even to myself that I was sorry, toying with various exculpatory principles like a child's wooden blocks: posting her tweet had been media criticism, industry watchdoggery, social justice, karma.

 

I'd managed to half-convince myself what I'd done was right, but then I saw her face. How often do you get to say you're sorry to someone you ruined on the internet? I was in a daze.

...

Her tweet was supposed to mimic—and mock—what an actual racist, ignorant person would say.

Ergo, tweeting that thought would be an ironic statement, a joke, the opposite of what it seemed to say. Not knowing anything about her, I had taken its cluelessness at face value, and hundreds of thousands of people had done the same—instantly hating her because it's easy and thrilling to hate a stranger online.

How could someone who tweeted something so stupid be so emotionally perfected? How could she not hate me? She was serene, decent, and despite the continued existence of Twitter, hopeful: "Someday you'll Google me and my LinkedIn will be the first thing that pops up." That part was heartbreaking.

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Yeah, I've actually read that, and it isn't particularly redeeming to me. 

 

I've been asked many times if I would post Sacco's tweet all over again, and I still don't know how to answer. Would I post the tweet again? Sure. Would I post the tweet knowing it's going to cause an incredibly disproportionate personal disaster for Justine Sacco? No. Would I post the tweet knowing it could happen? Now we're in dicey territory, and I'm thinking of ghosts: If you had a face-to-face sit-down with all of the people you've posted about, how many of THOSE would you do again? We're wading through swamps and thorns, here.

 

If you've needed to subject multiple people to potentially life ruining events for your own entertainment and enrichment, and you only really begin to learn empathy after it happens to you...big hill to climb there to convince people you've changed.  Plus, months after he tanked her life, he decided to pile on because she had taken a new job, likely one of the few she could get thanks to him.  This is all just in the last year.  It's not like it's years in the past, this is the person that Sam Biddle was a matter of months ago.  Someone who would make sure that a previous target couldn't easily and quietly move on with her life.  Oh no, can't let that happen when there are Gawker commenters to entertain.

 

I'm impressed that Sacco has forgiven him.  I probably wouldn't have. Although she might have needed to as a survival mechanism.  Being as he was willing to re-target her months after his first flash mob.  Who knows when he might have decided to dredge her name back up on a lazy Tuesday for a few extra clicks. 

 

Edited to add: And now her forgiveness of him is part of his redemption story as he goes from Valleywag to a *somewhat* more serious role higher up the Gawker food chain, with that story coming out in the same month he took the new job.   I'm having a particularly cynical day today and am not prone to give him the benefit of the doubt.

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The dynamics of Biddle and Sacco absolutely set fire to a pretty dry field. It's what we see happening when anyone uses social media to drop their entire readership on someone else and I've been thinking about this a lot the last couple of days, because I always see it along very familiar power lines - whether it's invoked by a third party or by the person themselves. However, I find myself still left from people saying all callout culture is harmful and terrible and we should never address what people say. There HAS to be some middle ground of never addressing people for shit they say and getting someone fired. 

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My contempt is less for the correction and more for the mob, which feels like the middle ground to me: yes, I'm sure they're an asshole, but right now, my friend, you're also an asshole.

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Incidentally, Sacco was corporate relations, not public relations.

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My contempt is less for the correction and more for the mob, which feels like the middle ground to me: yes, I'm sure they're an asshole, but right now, my friend, you're also an asshole.

 

Right.  The proper thing to do is politely point out the problem, not jump into "HEY LOOK AT THIS ASSHOLE EVERYONE" which is what lot of 'Twitter-argument' ends up boiling down into with series of "." retweets and everyone trying their best to be snarky one liner because that's what internet and Twitter popularized.

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I think that's fair - I just see everyone throwing the baby out with the bathwater every time I see anything coming close to "callout culture" backlash, which also, incidentally, also washes the whole thing as a mess we should move away from but doesn't also look hyper-finely at some actual abuses within SJ circles, because all of it is considered terrible on some level. The level of critical granularity is more important to me because I believe we need that kind of redress. Politeness is a really relative term, I will say that - what I considered polite only gets me piled on, or is already considered aggressive because who I am. Politeness, I've found, doesn't always work. Neither does anger! It's almost like people are chaotic. :/

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The definition of politeness has a significant impact. I believe in this thread or another people brought up the concept of 'vocal fry', a way of speaking common among younger people, and perceived to be more common among women. It's an element to your voice that could be noticed and was criticised, yet there was no actual reason given to why it would be a problem or a bad thing and yet some people accept it as something that shouldn't be done.

 

Politeness can easily fall prey to the same problem, something is impolite because it Just Is. But if you really look at it deeper it's impolite because certain groups with privilege are uncomfortable with it. In general, confrontation is considered impolite but it is absolutely necessary to tell someone they've made a mistake. Otherwise they need to re-examine it by themself, but that's far less effective than the people they interact with helping them by pointing to things they notice. Exactly how you can confront someone without it creating problems is tricky as hell, but politeness alone is not a good metric to inform your actions.

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Yes, doing the proper thing doesn't mean that others will treat you back the same.  It's rough out there.  And I sure get bitter and very rage-y  myself.

 

Maybe this is old news to you but one line of thought that helped me a lot was this one saying from Talmud... "Live well.  It is the greatest revenge."

 

@SuperBIasedMan,

 

Yeah, all those are fair things to say.  My thinking was politeness in actual core attitude, not the coverup that's used as a way to sneak in insults and whatnot.

 

An example would be "hey that's wrong of you to do that" vs "What a fucking asshole to do that".  We see a lot of the latter (not even addressing the person in question to point out the error, just abusive gossiping).

 

Or another way to put it, get the message out while doing best to minimize potential damage.  Or to put slightly nation-'bashing' spin to it, be the stereotypical Canadian.

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@SuperBIasedMan,

 

Yeah, all those are fair things to say.  My thinking was politeness in actual core attitude, not the coverup that's used as a way to sneak in insults and whatnot.

 

An example would be "hey that's wrong of you to do that" vs "What a fucking asshole to do that".  We see a lot of the latter (not even addressing the person in question to point out the error, just abusive gossiping).

 

Or another way to put it, get the message out while doing best to minimize potential damage.  Or to put slightly nation-'bashing' spin to it, be the stereotypical Canadian.

 

I do try to do things that way, follow my own concept of politeness when criticising people (whether it's social justice or not). I think that's tricky though, it's debatable how much that's needed. Even if you're using a personal set of politeness rules, you learned those from the world around you. It's no secret that some groups are conditioned to view their input as less valid and so feel like it's more impolite to speak out even in the friendly manner you describe. At the same time someone in a privileged position might be conditioned to think they're only being impolite if they direct swears at the person, so saying "That was a shitty ass thing of you to do" is perfectly fine.

 

Another complicated layer on top of that being the fact that people will receive things as more polite or less polite with the same conditioning. Often people of colour can be perceived as being aggressive for saying things that would seem perfectly normal from a white person.

So do you fall in line with what people expect so that they will accept what you say as polite and acceptable even though doing so cements your position as oppressed by accepting the unfair structure of society?

 

One thing I am clearer on though, is that saying someone is being impolite as a response to them calling you out is probably a distraction (whether disingenuous or not) rather than an honest response to their main indended message.

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Another complicated layer on top of that being the fact that people will receive things as more polite or less polite with the same conditioning. Often people of colour can be perceived as being aggressive for saying things that would seem perfectly normal from a white person.

So do you fall in line with what people expect so that they will accept what you say as polite and acceptable even though doing so cements your position as oppressed by accepting the unfair structure of society?

 

I would try to go with my best estimate of what would come off with least unnecessary friction based on whom I am speaking to (even if that means giving some ground that I may be right to stand on).  If no estimate is found, just falling back to most humble version I can think of.

 

Like an example... at my previous minimum wage job, some co-workers would joke to me about how I know martial arts.  I could go and confront them about how that's insensitive and whatnot but I just go along with them cause they got a tough lot in life as is with a minimum wage jobs in a country that speaks different first language, and the jokes felt completely harmless to me (clearly racist jokes, but harmless) as they were generally really nice to me.  But at the same time I would sometimes 'ask' them to not slack off (first, I'm not their boss, just co worker so it would be out of place for me to issue out any orders (guess what though, someone else did and that guy made everyone's life much harder for no reason) and turned out I got lot more hearing time when I was asking rather than telling) when they could cause the work at some level is evaluated on whole so some people slacking off can get some nasty management level shitstorm to tickle down to everyone.

 

This is assuming that my message's main point is something other than an insult of course, cause then at that point it's all about maximizing harm and I'm already off the rails at that point.  And I do fall off the rail so this isn't me trying to say "oh you ought to be more like meeee", just what I think we all ought to do.

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Let me tell you what it's been like trying to politely, sugary-sweet nicely address men being sexist. It just barely works, if that. it's always seen as an aggressive maneuver, and how dare I, and what right do I have, and all that. 

 

I know that there's definitely politeness that works, and it's often better to start out at the bottom and work your way up to frothy rage, but a lot of time it requires the other person to even be slightly open to that dialogue. And a lot of times, they aren't. Politeness is a courtesy, one that I feel I have to offer too often to people who are comfortable and want to remain that way. 

 

Trust me, I get what it means when people say "You need to not go for teh jugular" and how some people do, but it's far more complex than that. And this is why I find callout culture criticisms very reductive.

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Yeah, Apple Cider has the right of it - the solution is not to be polite either, because what's 'polite' is pretending the other person didn't do anything. Nothing changes, nothing gets done, unless the person who's being the asshole can't stay where they are.

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I didn't really address it, but I think there's a real difference between activist call out culture (people who are consistently advocates online for social justice), and the kind of whipping mob stirred up by someone like Biddle, who is driven by lulz and a paycheck.  I picked on Biddle alot, but he's hardly alone, just convenient given his place in the Sacco story linked here. 

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So what do you guys propose then?  So nobody likes what Biddle did...  But I think that's simply because his goals have become transparent.  My impression is that lot of Biddle-like personalities do what he does except they just repeat acceptable form of base line for justification.

 

Like say nobody knew that Biddle started the whole deal with Sacco and that tweet were just started to circulate.  I can see lot of us, including me, jumping on the bandwagon of "haha look at that racist asshole getting caught, serves her right".

 

I mean, I agree that there are lot of shitheads out there that doesn't respond well to diplomacy.  But I think it's preferable to pursue better blocking tools than internet vigilantism because I don't have a good impression of the latter's track record.  It's just very mob-like even under the best of intentions.

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I mean, I agree that there are lot of shitheads out there that doesn't respond well to diplomacy.  But I think it's preferable to pursue better blocking tools than internet vigilantism because I don't have a good impression of the latter's track record.  It's just very mob-like even under the best of intentions.

 

I think if we had the answers things would be a lot easier. It feels to me like we're still feeling out how society has to work when we're basically all neighbours, and we haven't even reached the stage of trying to convince everyone we know how things should work.

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There HAS to be some middle ground of never addressing people for shit they say and getting someone fired. 

 

I think at this moment in society, that's outside of anyone's control. Biddle was responsible for the Sacco tweet taking off, but it's easy to imagine a world where it took off without any one significant person or malice behind it: one person gets it seen by two, who each get it seen by two more, and so on and so on until it's blown up just as big as it did having Biddle to kick things off. If you can remove Biddle from the equation as an instigator, and still end up with the tweet blowing up, we'll still end up with the company firing her to save face at the end.

 

From that perspective, the core problem is essentially the way human nature interacts with social media, and both human nature and social media are unlikely to go away. I really have no idea what to propose as a way to fix the scenario. I'd say companies shouldn't fire people for non-work-related problems due to public pressure, but it seems like we'd have more luck changing human nature than the actions of profit-motivated companies.

 

EDIT: I don't mean to say that because of this, we should give up on calling people out. Just that it is outside of our means to entirely prevent something from becoming another Sacco tweet and getting someone fired over what is ultimately not that big a deal. Maybe that's rare enough that it's an acceptable cost of doing business, maybe not, I'm not trying to weigh in there (it is a very complicated issue that would take a lot of thinking through), just recognize that the cost exists.

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Public Radio International has published an essay by an old friend of mine, Miguel Morales, on the relationship between a former child migrant worker and the food he eats now.

 

When I was 10 years old, I began working regularly with my family as a migrant farmworker. I'd done it previously, but only on Saturdays, to help them catch up when tornado warnings ended work early or when the patches of weeds were particularly thick. The summer of my fourth grade year, it became my full-time job.

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Public Radio International has published an essay by an old friend of mine, Miguel Morales, on the relationship between a former child migrant worker and the food he eats now.

 

Nice, easy to read essay about rough work and its impact on the author.  Bit off topic but reminds me of my college writing courses where lot of essays we read were similarly constructed.

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Can somebody help me understand the male tears thing? Is it a response to MRAs or is it just a thing floating in a vacuum?

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Can somebody help me understand the male tears thing? Is it a response to MRAs or is it just a thing floating in a vacuum?

 

There are memes like "A delicious mug of salty gamer tears" (I'm not sure if 'gamer' was actually the first version of the meme, but it'll suffice for an explanation), generally used in response to gamers complaining about stupid stuff ("They nerfed Shadow Priest, everything is ruined!", "I lost to one in PVP, Paladins OP!"). The meaning of the meme is generally "I'm enjoying you crying over this stupid thing", and the "male tears" thing evolved out of that meme.

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It's not really in response to anything specifically, but is related to a growing trend of ironic self-proclaimed misandry.

 

As you can probably figure out, most feminists who claim to "hate men" and drink their tears do not actually, in matter of fact, hate men. Or they might, but not all men.

 

Heh. Eh. Hmm. Sorry.

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It's not really in response to anything specifically, but is related to a growing trend of ironic self-proclaimed misandry.

 

As you can probably figure out, most feminists who claim to "hate men" and drink their tears do not actually, in matter of fact, hate men. Or they might, but not all men.

 

Heh. Eh. Hmm. Sorry.

 

what about the tear-drinking? 

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