Tired of Political Correctness

It's Ken Levin's swearing that turned me off from the podcasts about a year ago.

Weswilson's post may be the best anecdote/definition of hipster racism ever. I appreciate you sharing, Wes.

Did I miss where he is being lauded for his opinions? I've seen mostly disagreement.

jeff_1 wrote:

In listening to the Episode 336, I was blown away by Shawn, Elysium and Cory apologizing for using terms like "grow a pair", "bitch", and "Don't be a pussy". Are you kidding me? It's ridiculous to me you guys thought you had to apologize but even more ridiculous there are people out there whining about this. I understand not saying certain words in the presence of children or women but these words/phrases and how they are used being derogatory towards women in particular is ridiculous.

How about don't use them because [b]women listen to -- and *gasp* even participate in -- the podcast too[/b]? Mind-boggling, I know.

The OP's remarks shine a light on what is wrong with the male-dominated 'gaming community', and why so many women like me feel uncomfortable and even forced out by it. Comments like this betray a fundamental inability to conceive that the world is not male by default. Worse yet, they reek of entitlement, a belief that everyone around them, especially those not in the same position of privilege, should cater to HIS perspective and HIS perspective alone. When we do, he is reinforced in his belief structure and his privilege. When we don't, when we deservedly take offense, he gloats about it and refuses to apologize for the harm he has caused.

Despite what you believe, OP, you do not have the god-given right to hurt other people's feelings. And yes, calling somebody a "pussy" or a "bitch" as a derogative, equating the feminine with the negative or the weak or the undesirable -- that does hurt feelings. Maybe not yours, but the world does not begin and end at your skin, no matter how thick or thin it may be.

I for one won't change phrases I use to appease someone with a low self-esteem and I sure won't be apologizing for it if they bring it to my attention unless I really am in the wrong.

It's not about low self-esteem. Do you know why you shouldn't use gendered insults? Because it hurts people. That's it. That's as far as the explanation needs to go. You don't want to hurt people, do you? Then don't use gendered insults. Simple. As. That.

Get over this holier than thou approach to life and let little things like this go. If something offends you that much, walk away, stop listening whatever it takes to make you happy in your own world.

This is common victim-blaming behavior, in which you essentially point your finger at the victim of your abuse and say, "well, it's your fault you're offended by this sh*tty thing I said", thereby absolving yourself of any responsibility for the hurt you may have caused. The more mature response would be to apologize for the offense and modify your behavior accordingly to cause as little harm as possible in the future.

You might want to take your own advice, OP, and grow up.

If I seem angry, it's because I am. And rightfully so. Self-righteous misogyny like this is why I don't feel safe or even welcome in the gaming community anymore, and why I made the conscious choice to reduce my participation in it. And the prevalence of this attitude, and how Jeff is being lauded for it by some in this very thread, reinforce that despite all the back-patting conversation among the greater gamer community about how accepting it is of women nowadays, this is not, and may never be, a group that welcomes people like me.

KaterinLHC wrote:

If I seem angry, it's because I am. And rightfully so. Self-righteous misogyny like this is why I don't feel safe or even welcome in the gaming community anymore, and why I made the conscious choice to reduce my participation in it. And the prevalence of this attitude, and how Jeff is being lauded for it by some in this very thread, reinforce that despite all the back-patting conversation among the greater gamer community about how accepting it is of women nowadays, this is not, and may never be, a group that welcomes people like me.

A great post throughout. I'm excerpting this quote because it's important - to the extent we as a community drive away people like Lara (and prevent who knows how many people from joining in the first place), shame on us.

KaterinLHC wrote:

If I seem angry, it's because I am. And rightfully so. Self-righteous misogyny like this is why I don't feel safe or even welcome in the gaming community anymore, and why I made the conscious choice to reduce my participation in it. And the prevalence of this attitude, and how Jeff is being lauded for it by some in this very thread, reinforce that despite all the back-patting conversation among the greater gamer community about how accepting it is of women nowadays, this is not, and may never be, a group that welcomes people like me.

Whatever the case, it's been nice to see you posting a little more frequently around here, even if it happens to be in the context of you righteously unloading on dudes.

obirano wrote:

Did I miss where he is being lauded for his opinions? I've seen mostly disagreement.

RolandofGilead wrote:

Yes I tend to agree with this sentiment, in a non-binding way

Nevin73 wrote:

I'm not defending that people should not be offended. People will either be offended at something or they won't, and that is fine. I guess I'm just going to have to see how the podcast "feels" now that they will be more aware of what words they use and how it will affect their audience. To me, that would seem exhausting.

NormanTheIntern wrote:

So - I do share some of your concerns, my initial reaction was somewhat similar...

It's not everybody or even a majority, to be sure. But it is happening.

Nevin73 wrote:

Actually I had the same thoughts as Jeff. One of the things that always appealed to me about the podcast was that it always just sounded like a bunch of friends, hanging out, having some conversations. With them now concerned about censoring their language, it will probably take the natural flow from the conversation.

Of course I don't see it as offensive, but then I'm male and I speak like that as well. Just the same, however, it is how the guys on the podcast speak. I guess it simply comes down to that the podcasters would rather not offend people than speak naturally.

RolandofGilead wrote:

[size=6][color=grey]Yes I tend to agree with this sentiment, in a non-binding way[/grey][/size]

EvilShawnAndrich wrote:

While I applaud you all for attempting to have more considerate word choices to be more "PC" I feel it detracts from the show.

People who have spent the time to listen to you all over the course of several podcasts should have the common sense to know that none of you are racist, homophobic, sexist, etc.

Words and phrases made in jest are just that.

Let your hair down. Lighten up.

BE YOURSELF.

Less worrying about what you think others are going to think of you...more Betty White please.

Censoring yourself is not the answer.

RolandofGilead wrote:
Gravey wrote:

The thing is, though, if someone takes offense at something you say, then what you said was offensive. I believe you that you didn't mean to offend, just like the GWJCC crew never meant to either, but in both cases an innocent choice of language is unfortunately offensive. Now that doesn't go both ways: you either learn from it and move on, or not and continue to offend. No one chooses to be offended, but we as speakers (or writers) can choose how we say things.

At what point does not offending anyone more than once begin to hamper my own expression though? When does this constant looking over my shoulder begin to be an unreasonable burden for myself? I think your bar is slightly too high. If I offend anyone, it is unfortunate as you say. It is literally not my problem. Just as I cannot help everyone in the world with their problems, I cannot hope to not offend everyone even if I know their trigger or can remember them all.

I refer you to this excellent treatise on the matter or its wikipedia article

edit: and a follow up since a lot of the lawsuits were based on intentional insults, and some of y'all may be dense

Hey, where did Jeff_1 go? He's missing a great thread.

obirano wrote:

Did I miss where he is being lauded for his opinions? I've seen mostly disagreement.

I was wondering this as well. I didn't post specifically because there was already a ton of disagreement with the OP and I didn't think I could add anything of value to it beyond just nodding my head. I've seen some people pick out parts of his post that they kind of, sort of, maybe kinda' understand a part of but I don't think I read anyone openly congratulating him.

As for the podcast, I haven't listened to it in a long time (for reasons that have nothing to do with this) but it's their show and they can do what they want. The burden is not on them to change to fit their listeners, it's the listeners' choice to participate or not based on whether they like the content. If them cleaning up certain language offends you, go listen to DGRadio, you'll get your fill there, trust me. You may be the one who listens but the show is about those on it, not those that listen.

KingGorilla wrote:

I have been wondering for awhile. What actually separates "political correctness" from just being polite?

Case in point we went to a friend couple's place to watch the director's cut of Looper. Their jack off room mate comes in part way. He mentions that Piper Parabou picked a good time to do a nude scene because in 4 years no one will want to see her goods anymore. This was the funniest thing he has ever said, and I believe it. Yet I did not laugh. I mostly said to myself, "please say the wrong thing to my wife, you need to eat through a straw to learn a lesson."

My only real take away from this thread is that I apparently need to watch Looper, the rest is just common sense and sensibility.

KaterinLHC wrote:
obirano wrote:

Did I miss where he is being lauded for his opinions? I've seen mostly disagreement.

RolandofGilead wrote:

Yes I tend to agree with this sentiment, in a non-binding way

Nevin73 wrote:

I'm not defending that people should not be offended. People will either be offended at something or they won't, and that is fine. I guess I'm just going to have to see how the podcast "feels" now that they will be more aware of what words they use and how it will affect their audience. To me, that would seem exhausting.

NormanTheIntern wrote:

So - I do share some of your concerns, my initial reaction was somewhat similar...

It's not everybody or even a majority, to be sure. But it is happening.

I'm sorry I missed those examples you and Tangle have shown. I haven't been reading as thoroughly as I should.

I'm sorry that the perception exists that there isn't a place for you. I'm sure most of us are more than willing to accept anyone regardless of.... Well.. Anything really.

You want to know what I am tired of? I'm tired of the tired term "political correctness". I'm tired of its use as a perjorative for an attempt to be considerate of other people. And most of all, I am tired of the petulant entitlement mentality folks who use it almost invariably tend to have.

Any time someone uses the words "politically correct", I can be reasonably assured that they are about to say something ridiculous or offensive with the indignant conviction of eroded privilege.

It is long past time that the term ended up in the ash heap of history.

Seth wrote:

Weswilson's post may be the best anecdote/definition of hipster racism ever. I appreciate you sharing, Wes.

It took me a long time to address my own privilege and "noble offensiveness" with any real introspection. I didn't really "get it" till I started getting into debates on Livejournal about a decade ago, and people introduced me to "Derailing for Dummies" and other elements of the "Power + Prejudice = Racism" paradigm. The final nails in that coffin were when I started confronting rape culture with the tools I had learned, and saw how precisely those concepts addressed the issue.

I'm not 100% in agreement with many of the pillars, but I do my best to check my privilege and listen to others when they have complaints about being marginalized. I always try and recognize that my words will often reflect more than I put into them, and never fear confronting something that I have said through the lens of others. I try to abandon any expectations that others submit to my definitions of acceptability, and always try to recognize when my suppositions on the natures of others could come from societal motivators rather than personal ones.

I think we face a particularly venomous justification for prejudicial speech with those who refuse to recognize externalities to their behavior. Libertarians seem to be especially vulnerable to thinking their behavior exists in a vacuum. It's part of the reason I moved away from Randian Objectivism.

obirano wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:
obirano wrote:

Did I miss where he is being lauded for his opinions? I've seen mostly disagreement.

RolandofGilead wrote:

Yes I tend to agree with this sentiment, in a non-binding way

Nevin73 wrote:

I'm not defending that people should not be offended. People will either be offended at something or they won't, and that is fine. I guess I'm just going to have to see how the podcast "feels" now that they will be more aware of what words they use and how it will affect their audience. To me, that would seem exhausting.

NormanTheIntern wrote:

So - I do share some of your concerns, my initial reaction was somewhat similar...

It's not everybody or even a majority, to be sure. But it is happening.

I'm sorry I missed those examples you and Tangle have shown. I haven't been reading as thoroughly as I should.

I'm sorry that the perception exists that there isn't a place for you. I'm sure most of us are more than willing to accept anyone regardless of.... Well.. Anything really.

Creating a space where the marginalized have a place is about more than being accepting. It's about being an active ally when it comes to making that space welcoming. It's about calling people out when they behave like the OP is behaving. It's about making sure that people know that when sh*t goes down, you have their back. There are people in this thread who are doing just that, and I appreciate them, but there is a lot going on in here that makes me feel really uncomfortable. GWJ is cool, it is one of the finer places on the internet, but I still don't feel 100% safe here.

It's like being at a party where there are twenty people who I'm not afraid of and six that may, at any point, dump a drink on my head. The twenty cool people will likely protest my treatment but I still have beer in my hair, you know? And I don't always want to be a rally point. Sometimes I just want to hang out.

Damn that is a great analogy. It sucks you need to make it, but that conveys so much.

KaterinLHC wrote:

If I seem angry, it's because I am. And rightfully so. Self-righteous misogyny like this is why I don't feel safe or even welcome in the gaming community anymore, and why I made the conscious choice to reduce my participation in it. And the prevalence of this attitude, and how Jeff is being lauded for it by some in this very thread, reinforce that despite all the back-patting conversation among the greater gamer community about how accepting it is of women nowadays, this is not, and may never be, a group that welcomes people like me.

Not sure what it's worth, but voices like yours are why I lurked for years and then eventually joined the forums. It makes me sad that you've pulled away, but I can't in good conscious ask for you to put up with continual anti-social behavior just to improve my GWJ experience.

Thank you for your contributions to both the forums and the podcast (I would never have bought DA2 if not for your enthusiasm). I hope there is a shift so we can reach a point you feel welcomed to contribute again, but judging these recent threads we've obviously got a ways to go.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
Prederick wrote:
Certis wrote:

What are you actually afraid you'll lose in this equation?

Yeah basically. What the hell is anyone losing by the guys who run the podcast making a personal decision about how they use language?

My only... concern, I guess, is that this becomes a hard edict on the forums. One of the things I like about this place is that it has a really casual atmosphere without needing to rely on heavy-handed moderation or sliding into the internet hate pit.

I'm not sure I completely agree. I think there is a level of moderation based on the agreed upon code of conduct which actually states that certain behavior will not be tolerated:

"Elysium and I retain the right to freely edit, delete, moderate, and ban for any reason.

With that said, here are some general guidelines:"

1) Treat all forum members with respect
2) No personal attacks
3) No Excessive Profanity.

I didn't bother to post the specifics of each of these rules but it is clear by the code that violating these rules can result in some form of disciplinary action. If we all decided to behave as the OP would have us, then this would be a place I definitely would not want to visit. I myself have used derogatory language in the presence of friends, perhaps while playing D&D, drinking some beer, and hanging out, but I do not necessarily want to hear it on every episode of a podcast or read it while sharing ideas with other GWJers. I applaud the panel for stepping back and taking a moment to reflect on the possibility that there may be a devoted listener who might be offended by the use of a derogatory word. It's not to say that they will be perfect from here on, but it shows a level of maturity to admit that maybe someone out there might not like it when they use the word "P**ssy"

Brennil wrote:
obirano wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:
obirano wrote:

Did I miss where he is being lauded for his opinions? I've seen mostly disagreement.

RolandofGilead wrote:

Yes I tend to agree with this sentiment, in a non-binding way

Nevin73 wrote:

I'm not defending that people should not be offended. People will either be offended at something or they won't, and that is fine. I guess I'm just going to have to see how the podcast "feels" now that they will be more aware of what words they use and how it will affect their audience. To me, that would seem exhausting.

NormanTheIntern wrote:

So - I do share some of your concerns, my initial reaction was somewhat similar...

It's not everybody or even a majority, to be sure. But it is happening.

I'm sorry I missed those examples you and Tangle have shown. I haven't been reading as thoroughly as I should.

I'm sorry that the perception exists that there isn't a place for you. I'm sure most of us are more than willing to accept anyone regardless of.... Well.. Anything really.

Creating a space where the marginalized have a place is about more than being accepting. It's about being an active ally when it comes to making that space welcoming. It's about calling people out when they behave like the OP is behaving. It's about making sure that people know that when sh*t goes down, you have their back. There are people in this thread who are doing just that, and I appreciate them, but there is a lot going on in here that makes me feel really uncomfortable. GWJ is cool, it is one of the finer places on the internet, but I still don't feel 100% safe here.

It's like being at a party where there are twenty people who I'm not afraid of and six that may, at any point, dump a drink on my head. The twenty cool people will likely protest my treatment but I still have beer in my hair, you know? And I don't always want to be a rally point. Sometimes I just want to hang out.

Yeah. I may have worded that badly.

Gravey wrote:

Hey, where did Jeff_1 go? He's missing a great thread.

He had to leave before his carriage turned back into a can of Axe Body Spray at the stroke of midnight.

KaterinLHC wrote:
obirano wrote:

Did I miss where he is being lauded for his opinions? I've seen mostly disagreement.

*snip*

NormanTheIntern wrote:

So - I do share some of your concerns, my initial reaction was somewhat similar...

It's not everybody or even a majority, to be sure. But it is happening.

Um. You cherry-picked one positive point out of my mostly negative post and are characterizing it as "lauding" the original poster. That's not really fair, and I think that glossing over nuanced positions in a reductive "us versus them" way doesn't really engender a real conversation.

Also, I'm not trying to minimize your and Brennil's asserions that gaming communities are generally horrible to women (I agree!), but this is a debate forum. No one is expressing these ideas to you at a party or on the street, and if this was a random Zelda or Skyrim thread, that would be a different story too. This isn't carte blanche for hate speech of course, but if reading positions about sexism and politicial correctness that don't mesh with your worldview cause such a strong reaction, perhaps just pass threads clearly labeled as such by? Obviously this isn't my sandbox, but I feel like people coming into this particular corner of GWJ shouldn't do so with the expectation of never reading an opinion that offends. To be honest, I don't view the fact that a fairly weak and borderline post resulted in a pretty good debate is a negative. I see it as a positive and I think it refects well on us as a community.

Norman, the fact that the ideas are arranged in a soi disant civil shape doesn't change or minimize the fact that the idea is you seem to agree with the root poster in that it is okay for people to use use language that is demeaning to others.

As far as using that particular line out of your post as an example, I agree with the choice. If you read the whole thing, it's clear your thesis statement doesn't match up with your supporting sentences. You say one thing, but then the rest of your post means something different.

You did it here again, too. You say you're not trying to minimize women's experiences, yet the rest of the paragraph is a collection of minimizing tactics. It starts in right after that first use of the word "but" and goes from there.

KaterinLHC wrote:

Despite what you believe, OP, you do not have the god-given right to hurt other people's feelings. And yes, calling somebody a "pussy" or a "bitch" as a derogative, equating the feminine with the negative or the weak or the undesirable -- that does hurt feelings. Maybe not yours, but the world does not begin and end at your skin, no matter how thick or thin it may be.

Haven't you used the word "bitches" quite a bit in the podcast?

I'm not lauding Jeff's comments, I just had a similiar reaction when I heard Certis' annoucnement on the podcast. After reading his explanation, it makes sense...the change is more of a personal choice that he (and I assume the others) are making in their lives. That's cool.

It is definitely a cultural thing that our society has instilled in us to a greater or lesser degree. It is only through will and openness to see other perspectives that we can overcome it. My son was injured last night by a dog that had taken a chunk of flesh out of his face. To help him cope and make him feel better I got him saying "You should see the other guy" and "chicks dig scars". I started thinking about this thread and the power of language. I told my son that instead of "chicks", let's just say "girls dig scars". He didn't get the reason for the change but went with it.

One of my basic rules in life is "heterosexual white males don't get to talk about feeling oppressed". Now, that could spawn a whole new thread (and it could, don't want to bog this one down), but the point is the people who in my experience are bothered by political correctness are pretty much invariably heterosexual white males (of which I am one), who seem shocked others in a less-privileged social position would like some say in how words and behavior get used in society.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:
obirano wrote:

Did I miss where he is being lauded for his opinions? I've seen mostly disagreement.

*snip*

NormanTheIntern wrote:

So - I do share some of your concerns, my initial reaction was somewhat similar...

It's not everybody or even a majority, to be sure. But it is happening.

Um. You cherry-picked one positive point out of my mostly negative post and are characterizing it as "lauding" the original poster. That's not really fair, and I think that glossing over nuanced positions in a reductive "us versus them" way doesn't really engender a real conversation.

Also, I'm not trying to minimize your and Brennil's asserions that gaming communities are generally horrible to women (I agree!), but this is a debate forum. No one is expressing these ideas to you at a party or on the street, and if this was a random Zelda or Skyrim thread, that would be a different story too. This isn't carte blanche for hate speech of course, but if reading positions about sexism and politicial correctness that don't mesh with your worldview cause such a strong reaction, perhaps just pass threads clearly labeled as such by? Obviously this isn't my sandbox, but I feel like people coming into this particular corner of GWJ shouldn't do so with the expectation of never reading an opinion that offends. To be honest, I don't view the fact that a fairly weak and borderline post resulted in a pretty good debate is a negative. I see it as a positive and I think it refects well on us as a community.

So what, P&C is now the "boys-only" section of GWJ where derogatory terms are allowed because they're opinions? The fact that it has "controversy" in the name does not mean offensive opinions are magically okay and are immune to criticism.
While it's true your post disagreed with the OP, it was on the basis that it's their show and they can talk how they want. You were still supportive of his overall complaint (that to stop using derogatory terms in an effort to make others (women in this case) more comfortable is a bad thing).

Nevin73 wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

Despite what you believe, OP, you do not have the god-given right to hurt other people's feelings. And yes, calling somebody a "pussy" or a "bitch" as a derogative, equating the feminine with the negative or the weak or the undesirable -- that does hurt feelings. Maybe not yours, but the world does not begin and end at your skin, no matter how thick or thin it may be.

Haven't you used the word "bitches" quite a bit in the podcast?

Two answers to that.

A) Some black people use the n-word all the time. Doesn't mean white people get to. Some gay people refer to themselves as "f****ts". Again, doesn't mean straight people get to. Some women use the word "b*tches". Doesn't mean men get to.

When you are part of a privileged majority, there is an inherent power imbalance that weights your words, giving them a different context than when a minority uses them. Communication is as much about context as it is about the message, and the context of words change depending on the social power of the speaker. So what is an expression of identity, resistance, reclamation or positivity when uttered by a minority becomes exactly the opposite when uttered by a majority.

As long as you belong in a majority group, you can't remove the power imbalance, no matter how much of an ally you consider yourself to the minority. It's just the nature of being in a position of privilege, or power, or status quo, whatever you want to call it. And it's not inherently a damning quality -- heck, as a cis white woman, I also occupy a position of privilege over genderqueer and POC (people of color) women. Most of us have some position of privilege or another. It's not the end of the world.

The right thing to do is to be self-aware. Understand the groups you are part of; acknowledge and accept both the privileges you have and privileges you don't. Then modify your behavior accordingly so that you don't hurt people. If a minority tells you that the language you use offends them, you don't tell them to suck it up and that you have a right to express yourself, no matter who it hurts. You listen. Because I guarantee you, for that one minority brave enough to speak up, there are 100 others thinking the same thing, but who are too tired, scared or angry to express the same thought.

It's okay to modify your behavior so that you refrain from harming as many people as you can. That's just what people do in polite society. Empathy. It's not a bad word, it's the basis of human civilization.

B) I have also come a long way in identifying and examining my own internalized misogyny since I first started participating in the podcast. I no longer use the term "bitch" casually, or at all, really. People learn. They grow. I can't un-say what has already been said, but I can make sure that in the future, I don't repeat my mistakes.

Generally, though, do not fall into the trap of thinking that just because a woman uses a gendered insult, she must feel comfortable with its use. Sometimes she says it just to fit in, or to win approval from the men around her, or because she thinks if she doesn't play by the rules she will be ejected from the male-dominated group. (It's a little like one of the points brought up in the PAX thread, about how women might laugh at a sexist joke simply because they don't feel they have the choice not to.) In truth, the word "bitch" has made me uncomfortable for years, but I was unable to pinpoint the reason why until fairly recently -- which is why I allow myself to no longer use the term.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
Gravey wrote:

Hey, where did Jeff_1 go? He's missing a great thread.

He had to leave before his carriage turned back into a can of Axe Body Spray at the stroke of midnight.

Aww, that's too bad. There are some strong, compelling arguments here, and I would've been interested to have read what he might've offered for well-reasoned counter-arguments in a meaningful dialogue. Guess we'll never know.

KaterinLHC wrote:

That's just what people do in polite society. Empathy. It's not a bad word, it's the basis of human civilization.

So good. So damn good.

KaterinLHC wrote:

Empathy. It's not a bad word, it's the basis of human civilization.

About the best summation of the topic I can think of.

I miss you, Lara.