The following statement can apply to almost any political or policy discussion
I personally don't think we need absolutists to be setting convention policy or dictating convention culture. There should be room for a little bit of both points of view and I believe we can create a public space that balances these multiple points of view. I am not angry at the convention organizers for soliciting feedback and then seeking to negotiate a compromise. What they need right now is support and encouragement to find that balance - because they're not getting much from the absolutists.
Feel free to copy and paste or link if you agree. -- morgandawn, link
The rest of this is just from me.
She's kinda smarter than most of fandom combined, I'll be honest. I went back to read everywhere I saw her post comments, support, compromise, and she's pretty goddamn subtle about it, but I'm not sure any of the discussions wouldn't be explosive without her input, as well as the input of several others who felt silenced and sometimes were silenced and who came back and brought their thoughts to the table again, and again, even when they felt no one was listening, even when sometimes maybe no one really was.
Compromise is created on the backs of those who can stand to be the enemies of both sides. They pretty much get screwed, let's not pretend they don't; they do it anyway, God knows why. They're considered traitors to both sides, they're erased from the rhetoric, their feelings and opinions are reviled or patronized or both. They are soundbited, their statements taken from context and used by both sides as proof of x, y, z. They're told to sit down, shut up, they're holding up progress. They're forced to disclose personal information to prove their right to have the conversation. And then they're ignored.
Choice and compromise are not dirty words. Well, not outside radical conservative rhetoric, anti-abortion protests, and certain parenting circles who shall remain nameless (no, I don't hold a grudge forever or anything). They are the basis of interaction that is the only thing that rescues us from dogma, the idea there is not only One True Way, but Only One Way to get there, and all who don't follow it are at best misguided and at worst stopping progress. It's easy to become dogmatic because it's easy, very easy, to live inside a predetermined philosophy; evaluating each individual situation on it's own merits is not only hard, it's messy and the likelihood of being wrong is astronomical. In a climate of dogma, of absolutes, being wrong is equated to deliberately hurting another individual or a movement; everything, everything you do becomes an absolute positive or an absolute negative.
I don't know anyone who doesn't break under that kind of philosophy.
When I posted about the breastfeeding thing, I wasn't expecting many people to come out in support when the argument was based on the idea that not breastfeeding == deliberately hurting a child. Who on earth wants to say "I support hurting children?" It's an unanswerable argument. That's an example of dogma.
(More importantly, why in a conversation about accessibility did someone feel so comfortable that they felt they could make a statement about a woman's right to choose and not get called on it? And she was right to think so.)
I do not do well with dogma.
I'm a single parent who never named the other half of her child's dna; I'm a middle class woman who helps support her disabled father and single parent unemployed domestic abuse survivor youngest sister and nephew; I received welfare the first five years of my child's life; I don't want or need a male in my life and my child's life and am uninterested in marriage; I was diagnosed with depression and treated for self-harm, borderline OCD, and ADHD; I'm a college dropout; I'm a textual pornographer, a textual poacher, and occasionally a journaler.
I am single-handedly destroying America as far as talk radio is concerned; I know dogma. Christ, do I know dogma.
That doesn't make me special; statistics indicate I have a lot of help in that. Statistically speaking on livejournal I'm not exactly a minority. Statistically speaking on my friendslist five people can state they also share three to five of the points above before we get to fannish endeavors. Statistically speaking, I'm not alone. That's why I'm here.
These things are not true:
1.) silence does not equal consent, not here, not in a space where four-fifths of the people who will read this entry share with me three to five points of similarity. Silence equals suicidal depression, runaway sister, court, police visits, bad medication interaction, emotional exhaustion, away for the weekend, Child problems, vacation, medical problems, childbirth, migraines, panic attacks, visits to relatives, moving to another city, getting a new job, or hanging out on metafilter for a week and losing LJ entirely. The first assumption is wrong. Silence does not equal consent.
2.) Difference in opinion does not equal right versus wrong, not here, not in a space where four-fifths of the people who will read this entry share with me three to five points of similarity. It can, but usually, it doesn't. Usually, it's a difference in opinion. Sometimes, the opinion is uninformed, sometimes, the opinion is goddamn weird, sometimes, the opinion is based on unknown life experiences, sometimes, the opinion is just that, an opinion.
3.) Every argument is not a referendum on anyone's worth as a person, not here, not in a space where four-fifths of the people who will read this entry share with me three to five points of similarity. They are not the sum of a single argument, a single point, a single opinion; they contain multitudes.
4.) Not all means justify the ends, not here, not in a space where four-fifths of the people who will read this entry share with me three to five points of similarity. Even really good ends. Historically speaking, culturally speaking, the ends end up being radically different by the time you're there once you discard limits on your means. Human history bears this out; the means matter.
Don't worry; I don't actually think this will change anyone's mind. Over the last week, I watched more people than I can count be slowly erased from the public rhetoric while they were still shouting, and while talking to a couple of them, I asked if there was anything I could do to help. I think they asked for more porn? Yeah, I failed, but then I thought, maybe a love letter would do the same thing.
To compromise: fan_eunice, merryish, morgandawn, astolat, milly, sisabet, arduinna, amireal, saraht and everyone else* who tried, and are still trying, to find the common ground to compromise. They weren't perfect, by any means, but that's why they're awesome. They're still trying.
Maybe next time be more specific about your porn.
Note: retrospectively, apparently I really took that entire breastfeeding thing to heart in a very big way. That kind of absolute really drives me crazy.
* there are a lot of these. Go look! You can find them everywhere.
eta: in case this obvious statement is obvious needs to be made; I have not been a bastion of compromise myself, and in ways that are conversation breakers. I seriously appreciate those who can manage it and keep the discussion on track.
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