The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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so morgandawn is way more succinct than i am
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
[personal profile] morgandawn has posted the following with the invitation to link and/or post, and I like invitations, linking, and posting. I love these things best when the subject is something I agree with without reservation:
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. -- [personal profile] 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: [personal profile] fan_eunice, [personal profile] merryish, [personal profile] morgandawn, [personal profile] astolat, [personal profile] milly, [personal profile] sisabet, [personal profile] arduinna, [personal profile] amireal, [personal profile] 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.

Posted at Dreamwidth: http://seperis.dreamwidth.org/32888.html. | You can reply here or there. | comment count unavailable comments

The only thing that would make this love letter better is, like, a *unicorn*.

God, a unicorn. I want a unicorn.

*sends hugs and cookies*

*...and a unicorn*

There's a lot here (and in all the posts/conversations on this--I think I've got at least 10 open tabs and gave up trying to track it all around 2 am this morning) to parse out.

I wanted to say how much appreciate the points you're making and the love letter to those who continue to speak unpopular opinions in the debates. It reads to me, as well, as a sort of love letter to reasonableness. Reasonableness, which is different than logic. Dogma can be logical, if only within its own set of assumptions.

A lot of rigid philosophies are dogmatic and unreasonable--Utilitarianism is logical, but one of its logical ends is that doing horrible things is logical as long as the perpetrator gets enough pleasure out of it. Being reasonable means listening, acknowledging others, and understanding that no extreme can or should "win" in the real world (ends =/= means).

I also appreciate your openness about your personal life (and that of so many people in the conversations about the con policy). Not everyone is comfortable sharing their stories, and it's awful that sometimes people feel they *have* to in order to be listened to at all. But those who share can make those who do not feel less alone, both in their experiences and in their opinions.

Maybe I'm interpreting your post inaccurately, in which case I apologize! I've learned a lot from those who are writing on this topic, some with inspiring and thought-provoking words, some with outrage-inducing words. So at the very least I'm glad following your journal exposed me to the debate/conversation/process/controversy.

Gah, this comment feels totally incoherent. ANYWAY.

There's a lot here (and in all the posts/conversations on this--I think I've got at least 10 open tabs and gave up trying to track it all around 2 am this morning) to parse out.

May God (or chosen Deity or philosophy of choice) go with you.

And yes, that was pretty much my post. The hardest position in any debate is the center; it's easier to cheer for the dramatic, and the center isn't dramatic and it's unpopular and they'll get the most defriendings and the most revile. They deserve so much better.

I want to make them a flag.

This is a good post and you should feel good. *hugs you*

You are pretty awesome yourself. I do not say that for more fic, either, I want that on the record, no matter how many times a day I check AO3.

*hugs you*

I've been reading. I've not gone to the convention but this pretty much covers anything, controversial or otherwise. Compromise is key. Without it, all you seem to have is shouting and the dreaded dogma.

Well reasoned!

Compromise and cookies for everyone!

*grins* I am a fan of compromise. God knows it's what gets me through most days.

Posts like these are why I love you. Because what you say is so true. I wish people weren't so damned rigid in their thinking - there'd be far less arguments.

Though I'd like to add a #5 to your list - irrational ≠ invalid. No opinion is 'less than' because the person's emotions are obvious in the delivery of it, not in a space where four-fifths of the people will be dealing with stuff that they can't just 'turn off'.


And in the interest of solidarity:

I'm a single person; I'm a woman who helps support her mother through stress; I received welfare the past five years to support myself as I'm disabled and unable to work; I am currently homeless and living in one room with my mother at my [step]sister's house; I don't want or need a 'sexual partner' in my life and am uninterested in marriage or civil union; I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, borderline OCD, anxiety issues, PTSD, and mild Aspergers, am in recovery from self-harm and substance abuse, and am a survivor of child abuse, rape, domestic abuse and harassment; I'm a college dropout; I'm a textual pornographer, occasionally artist, and occasionally a journaler.

Edited at 2010-07-07 01:42 am (UTC)

*fistbump of solidarity*

Though I'd like to add a #5 to your list - irrational ≠ invalid. No opinion is 'less than' because the person's emotions are obvious in the delivery of it, not in a space where four-fifths of the people will be dealing with stuff that they can't just 'turn off'.

That's a good point to make.

I'm not participating at all in the VVC discussion for a variety of reasons, and I'm mainly just sad that I see so many people I care about so upset, and/or putting so much energy into something and getting so much negativity in return.

But I wanted to thank you for the words about compromise. Because I'm a person who by nature tends to always see both sides, or shades of grey, on issues, and it often drives me crazy that I'm that way. And there's not much of a premium put on those things in today's world, when so many things boil down to soundbites and absolutes.

Yes, this this this. And that position is sometimes untenable, because no one likes you at that point.

*sends hugs*

As usual, I lurk very much on the fringes of these debates, reading in interest but not feeling like I have the knowledge or the right to participate (in this case, not a fic writer or vidder or VVC attendee).

But I've also been noticing who's been able to compromise, to acknowledge the value in all sides, to try to build something out of the flames of extreme arguments.

And I don't think there's anything more valuable than the art of compromise, nor anything so devalued by those who cling fiercely to their one true belief.

Longwinded way of saying that, as you so often do, you've said something I agree with and echo.

I'm kind of worried that I crossed a line talking about the breasts, because I tend to do something and not realize I'm doing it, which is assume the internal logic of the more strident party and then try to argue against it from inside the same headspace. (See for example: the time I got in trouble with all my friends for arguing with a self-declared fascist that the problem in the short term was that you were going to run up a huge fiscal deficit constantly training new train conductors.) I do want to apologize, not self-justify, if I crossed that line and was a jerk.

the idea that not breastfeeding == deliberately hurting a child.

actually , you are the source where I heard about his equation or concept, that that was suppose to be hurtful for the baby.

is that some sort of recent US concept or idea??

I know I'm not the type of person being referred to here as I don't think anyone considers me a part of this community, however, for what it's worth...

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.

Because we're idiots.

Because we recognize that for a person to request an accommodation for their own needs is also a request to impose on others needs.

Because the stuff being complained about here can be dealt with using a modicum of common sense and people being realistic.

    Transgendered bathrooms? If the con takes over the hotel, designate a bathroom as transgendered and slap a sign on the door. If the con can't do that, I've yet to see a con suite that doesn't have a private bathroom.

    Vid Warnings? The "adult content" of the con IS a warning. There may be stuff an individual doesn't want to see. It's up to an individual to decide whether they want to go or not. (I prefer gen fanfic; it would be stupid of me to go to a slash-oriented fanfic con or panel and then complain about it.)

Because, due to being raised in anomalous circumstances, we were cursed with the ability to see the larger picture.


I'm here via metafandom, and I see that you (understandably) filter anonymous comments, so no worries if you don't want to let this comment go through. But I wanted to thank you for posting this.

Silence absolutely doesn't mean consent, and finally seeing someone say this brings tears to my eyes. I'm someone with a trigger, but I also have had serious reservations about implementing trigger warnings. In fact, I can think of some situations where the existence of warnings might cause me more harm than their absence. But I feel like in order to express an opinion on the subject and not get vilified, I have to disclose my medical and psychological history to the world at large, and I find that a gross violation of privacy. (This is especially so given that the nature of my trigger is somewhat stigmatizing and often misunderstood by well-meaning people who want to help but can make things worse for me by intervening.) So I'm left voiceless, stripped of my ability to participate in shaping the norms of the community (I thought) I was a part of, because of this precedent that seems to have been set during the Warnings Debate 1.0 last year that requires personal and detailed confession of the precise nature of one's trigger-related absence of privilege. And wow, has that been demoralizing.

In the face of that, seeing the voices of compromise speak out, even if they don't necessarily make the same points I would make, has been a great comfort.

Again, thank you for this.

I only filter specifically for spam. Thank you for commenting. I'm glad I saw this before I went to bed.

You can feel free to make your points here under anonymous if you'd feel comfortable doing that. I pretty much speak for no one but myself, so multiple points of view are encouraged, if for no other reason than knowing what they are and where they come from makes a better middle ground possible.

In any case, I'm very glad you spoke here. Thank you for taking the time to do so.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
D: D: D: *happy tears* YES. ♥ ♥ ♥ Thank you. So very much.

In many of these debates - not just this one - I'm in the middle, seeing value in points made on both sides and desperately wanting to negotiate, or see negotiation, between the two. But when I try to help explain one aspect of the debate to people taking the other side, from a point of view that acknowledges that both have merit, I seem to end up the enemy of both, as if by saying that I can see some aspects of the other side's POV that make sense, I'm taking that POV, enabling that POV. You're either all aboard the bandwagon boat, full steam ahead, or you're holding things back. But I'm not against progress. I'm not. I just feel like both sides have legitimate concerns, often.

p.s. Have a unicorn.

Thank you!

I've been afraid to say much for the most part, outside of a few comments, for fear of being jumped and completely mis-read completely, or misunderstood.

Compromise is seriously needed when so many people are involved and you cannot possibly address every person's individual needs 100 %.

Unlike cathalin, I like absolutes and shades of grey give me hives, and I am not particularly proud of either most of the time. Thank you for taking the time to write this love letter out, because it does serve as a reminder to try harder, and not just let any natural inclinations rule my part when thoughtfulness does count.

The question is: What is the middle ground?

You make references to radical conservative rhetoric. Notice that a major tactic of radical conservatives is to shift the middle ground. Suddenly, the fringe is "put gays into camps", so "not allowing them marriage or legal protection" becomes the compromise - when it actually is the fringe, too.

Another example is the evolution debate - evolution is painted as another religion, so the middle ground isn't "teach religion in religion class and evolution in science", but turns into "teach both in science".

Those supposedly in the "middle" often aren't actually the middle - they're also a part of one of the sides. This is something that happens a LOT in this debate as well, and is completely ignored. A lot of the supposed "compromises" are really nothing but what one side wanted all along.


I know, it feels better to state "I'm swimming against the flow, I'm here for compromise! COmpromise is good, not doing so is bad!"

The issue is just: Compromise that ends up only taking into account one side is still not the middle and will never be. Nor is the middle always the fairest solution. (example: Gay rights again. Why, exactly, should there be a compromise on the rights of gay people short of equality? Any such "compromise" ends up with them as second class citizens)
And since most compromises in this debate ended up this, on either side of the debate, well...the compromise-yay seems to be a bit misplaced.

In a surprising turn of events, all sides think they are the middle ground and compromising. That's kind of the point. If you know you're right, anything given up is leaving the "middle ground".

A major tactic of radical liberalism is also to shift the middle ground. Example: PETA. Example: most radical environment groups. Example, example, example. A major tactic of human civilization is to pretend they are the center of the heart of right and anything less than that is evil.

And since most compromises in this debate ended up this, on either side of the debate, well...the compromise-yay seems to be a bit misplaced.

So the whole point of comparing whether or not people can have warnings on vids at a two day con to "put gays into camps" was to say--you don't agree with some of the discussions because they were a.) too compromisy or b.) it's like a gay person being a second class citizen in the country?

I would like some clarification on that if that's not what you meant, because while I agree warnings are necessary to vids, I'm really wary of comparing warnings on vids during a con to gay rights. Or what, specifically, about this you were using for comparison.

?

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