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Why bullies are a good thing

Timothy Kincaid

April 16th, 2011

It can perplex us at times why strident anti-gay activists would oppose programs designed to reduce bullying. We see the destruction and death that result and think that surely any decent moral person would want to change that dynamic.

But Robert Knight provides us with insight as to why anti-gays not only refuse to join the campaign against bullying but actively oppose it.

Confronting bullies helps build character.

It isn’t often that one sentence can be lifted from an essay and, on its own without any context, provide understanding into a worldview. But I believe this to be just such a sentence.

Bullies are good for kids. And as for those gay kids who were tormented to death… I guess they just didn’t build character.

Comments

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Stefano A
April 16th, 2011 | LINK

Although I presume it was for reasons other than religious ones, my father was someone who prescribed to such an attitude.

A reason why throughout my childhood I lived in terror of the man, and left me even now at the age of 54 with a lingering sense of intimidation and complete disgust for the man.

David Malcolm
April 16th, 2011 | LINK

The problem is that the statement is true. And his unwillingness to confront bullies shows a complete lack of character on his part.

The assumption is that children should have to be tried by fire. The fact is that life already makes childhood and the teenage years suck enough, we don’t need to as adults make excuses for why we don’t have enough character to confront the social evils that plague those who don’t have the strength to deal with them.

Confronting bullies does indeed make people stronger. As the first openly gay student at my bible college, I became incredibly strong as a result of the conflict, I was also permanently wounded in parts of my soul that may never fully heal. Thankfully there were lots of people, my fellow classmates and several professors who did not allow me to stand alone the whole time.

Do kids need to lean how to deal with bullies? Yes. They also need to learn that those of us who have gone through hell, want to do anything in our power to make things better for them than they were for us.

Darina
April 16th, 2011 | LINK

*sees red*
*tries very hard not to scream*

I honestly tried to read that person’s whole post, but I couldn’t concentrate after the first too paragraphs.

I don’t want to go into detail in a public place, but I’ve done some volunteer work with some gay teenage boys. I know how sensitive some kids are.

(Now let me see if I’ve managed to fix my email address, absent-minded as I am. :P)

enough already
April 16th, 2011 | LINK

Confronting bullies develops character?
Really?
Hmm, I suppose, to be fair, one must ask three questions:
1) What is meant by “confronting”?
2) What sort of character is to be developed?
3) Why do we permit bullying in our schools to begin with?

I certainly agree with a victim of bullying defending him or herself. Israel is under attack, that they defend themselves is justified. That their defence is often akin to a thermonuclear response when a fly-swatter would do is, however, a good example of the sort of character which bullying builds.

If a gay kid is bullied by other kids – and bullies tend to travel in packs like the howling monsters they are – then it is absurd to demand from him or her a direct defence. What, short of a sawed-off shotgun is, realistically, going to serve?
Hmm, personally, I would have no problem with a gay kid who is being physically attacked by a group of kids using deadly means to defend himself. Still, it puts the onus on the victim not the aggressor.

This is not, however, a good way to build character. Better to focus on why our enemies are permitted such free range in attacking the weakest among us.

Priya Lynn
April 16th, 2011 | LINK

David said “The problem is that the statement is true.”.

The problem is that even if that statement its true its damn poor advice. 95% of kids are far too intimidated to confront bullies and would get beaten anyway if they did and of the remaining 5% that do confront bullies 90% of them will get beaten for it as well. Advice that’s good for .5% of the population does absolutely nothing for the other 99.5% for whom the adivice is worthless at best and counterproductive at worst.

People who say stuff like that are just lazy pass-the-buck a**holes who can’t be bothered to do the real work to make a difference but still want to feel smart.

Sean Santos
April 16th, 2011 | LINK

In elementary and middle school, I remember learning five lessons from bullies:

1) That the people who are supposed to protect you often can’t or won’t, so there’s no reason to go to adults about any problem they didn’t directly see.

2) Not to get too attached to anything I took to school, because someone might steal or destroy it.

3) There’s no point in talking things out with people who have a problem with you. Instead avoid them, always be as invisible as possible around them, and stay in sight of the adults all the time.

4) To fight dirty and have a weapon at hand as often as possible, in any situation where I might be caught alone, especially if facing a group or someone with a restraint (duct tape, rope). The only way for weaker people to win a fight is to instantly, ruthlessly escalate beyond what the opponent expects.

5) The moment that someone starts to cross you, pre-emptively strike by getting in a very hard, cheap shot, or by at convincing them that you’re frighteningly insane. Fear is the only way to get reliably decent behavior from people who are stronger than you.

Is that “character”? This is not a reasonable approach to conflict. These are the sort of lessons people learn in prison, or in dangerous ghettos, or in warfare. Because I’m naturally pretty emotionally stable, the “only” fallout from this experience was that I took a very long time to learn to assert myself in a normal way, when violence or avoidance weren’t appropriate responses. But I see how avoidance can easily lead to dropping out, suicide, or drug abuse, and violence leads to, well, violence.

And that was just being small and nerdy, in an understaffed school, with some troubled kids who felt a need to dominate others. I can’t imagine being a socially sanctioned target, as gay kids actually are in many cases. In fact, I never came out (even to myself) in high school, in part because I just really, really didn’t need one more way to be set apart, isolated from, or made a target for the rest of the students.

Maybe this is a question of “building character” to someone who was very weakly bullied, or had the tools to deal with it, or to someone who just has the maturity of the stereotypical frat boy hazing recruits. It’s nonsense otherwise. This is not how adults (should) solve problems.

Amicus
April 16th, 2011 | LINK

One reads such screeds and gets double strength to fight off these self-proclaimed “family” cretins.

Teaching kids that ‘you are on your own’ and ‘you must fight your own battles’ is a horrible (ungodly) abrogation of parental responsibility.

It doesn’t create character at all.

At a minimum, it teaches an eye for an eye (a few flips in the hallway, maybe a gun to someone’s head, whatever, you know).

At the worst, kids learn to be bullies themselves, even gangsters (including the white shoe variety): because sanctioned bullying reinforces kids’ perception that society is unjust and all justice is personal, local, whatever you and your posse can make it out to be.

Finally, the whole idea that “conservative (Christian) values” might be supported by a regime of ‘sanctioned bullying with private redress’ is wildly a-scriptural.

There is a wonderful passage in Matthew on what to do when someone offends. Believe it or not, the prescription isn’t to take a Judo class and start flipping people, in order to regain “respect” and “public honor” or even “dignity”.

Thanks, Tim, for keeping the rif-raff from Illinois before us. The local groups are sometimes even more eye-popping than the national ones, if that is possible.

Sean Santos
April 16th, 2011 | LINK

Oh, and it’s really a small thing, but it is a brazenly transparent deception, and it shows something about how conservatives tend to align their messages: the “General Welfare Clause” is in Article 1, Section 8 of the constitution. There’s a similar clause in the Preamble, but the Preamble is considered to be an introduction and has no legal force.

By (negatively) referencing the Preamble, and not the real General Welfare Clause, Knight is advancing a fringe conservative theory, which is that most executive departments of the federal government are (in part or in whole) unconstitutional.

Lindoro Almaviva
April 16th, 2011 | LINK

And yet, when the bullied parties can take the abuse no longer and kick the living hell out of the bullies, then the parents have the balls to protest.

See? it is true confronting bullies build character, so long as you do not confront my precious little Einstein because in that case you are a monster.

Priya Lynn
April 16th, 2011 | LINK

“And yet, when the bullied parties can take the abuse no longer and kick the living hell out of the bullies”.

and that happens all the time[/sarcasm]

Shofixti
April 16th, 2011 | LINK

Wait, isn’t the anti-bullying arm of the homosexual lobby an example of standing up to bullies? It is a systemic and educational resistance rather than a 1:1. Collective efforts build character too.

andrew
April 16th, 2011 | LINK

Confronting bullies does build character. But that’s parenting by bumper-sticker. Yes, if you shelter your kids from everything, there’s a risk they’ll be coddled, weak, and unable to take initiative. But simply throwing them to the wolves isn’t, by nature of being the opposite, the solution either, as Sean very capably describes.

Parenting is freakin hard, and judging when your kid is facing appropriate challenges, meeting those challenges, and is drawing the right lessons from those conflicts — is a huge part of that. A lot of parents shoot for middle ground and miss some of the times (like mine sometimes did). A few miss the boat completely. Sounds like Robert Knight is one of the latter.

Donny D.
April 16th, 2011 | LINK

The problem with some of the “fight back” talk is that bullies, like any abuser or predatory creature, tend to go for the easy prey, in this case people who are unlikely or unable to fight back. Often they pick occasions where the victim is least able to deal effectively with the bullying. They seize as many advantages as they can: surprise, temporary victim isolation, temporary victim emotional vulnerability, etc.

Though their ability to assess vulnerability and predict outcomes isn’t perfect by any means.

Lindoro Almaviva
April 17th, 2011 | LINK

“And yet, when the bullied parties can take the abuse no longer and kick the living hell out of the bullies”.

and that happens all the time[/sarcasm]

Unfortunately more than we care to consider. How many bullies and innocent people have been killed in school shootings by kids that were bulliedand thought the only way to take revenge was to bring a gun to school and start shooting? How many people bring guns to the workplace to deal with unfair bosses and unfair workplace situations?

We tend to be (rightfully) horrified by these situations but in the end how many of these were bullying situations that simmered for years under the watchul eye of authority figures and when they boiled over we watched in horror at the consequences of their (and our) innaction? Yes, some of thosemonsters were bullied too, so in a way they were as much victims and those whose death they caused.

Violence is not the way but we know all to well that there are some bullied kids that are fantazising right now with going in a “blaze of glory” and take their revenge not only on those who tortured them but on those who watched it all happen and did nothing to stop it.

Yes, some kids have been brought to the poing of taking their own lives but we tend to forget that others doonly after taking others people’s lives along with theirs.

Without been a comprehensive list,k or even an attemot of one (I have only included events since 1993), Wikipedia links bullying to several shooting incicents:

E.O. Green School shooting

SuccessTech Academy shooting

Weston High School shooting

Red Lake Senior High School massacre

Rocori High School shooting

Santana High School shooting

Heritage High School shooting

Columbine High School massacre

Heath High School shooting

Pearl High School shooting (Also linked to satanism)

Bethel Regional High School shooting

Frontier Middle School shooting

tavdy79
April 17th, 2011 | LINK

I confronted the bullies at my school – and was expelled. To be fair though, I did throw a table at them.

enough already
April 17th, 2011 | LINK

Many years ago, I was in Danemark on a bus. Several kids got on from a stop next to a school. Middle-school aged, roughly, 12-14 or so.

One of the kids was being taunted at the stop when we pulled up to it, the taunting continued in the back.

An adult stood up, went back, picked up the kid throwing jabs at the victim (you all know how that ends, the victim is finally provoked into defending himself and the bully then has the “right” to beat the **** out of him). Drug the little monster to the front of the bus. The bus stopped, the bus driver called the cops. The cops came, the cops interviewed us all (yes it took time) and the bully went off with the cops.

That evening I asked my hosts what would happen next. They said he’d be up on charges in the morning and if the judge was satisfied the matter was as I related it, he’d be off to a juvenile reform center that day.

There are different ways to approach these problems. America is doing it the wrong way.

enough already
April 17th, 2011 | LINK

Homosexual lobby?
Shofixti, would you care to be more specific?
In simple English, please.

As in, for instance:
ASSOCIATION OF HOME APPLIANCE MANUFACTURERS is an officially registered lobby of the US Senate.

R
April 17th, 2011 | LINK

I doubt that being a bully is good for anyone’s character. But I guess they don’t really care to consider that child. It’s a horrible message to send a child (“You can take whatever you want at the expense of others, you are more worthy than them, they have no rights”). I mean, if that won’t destroy a child’s character, I don’t know what will.

Scott L.
April 17th, 2011 | LINK

Junior high was a living hell for me and high school not much better. I was small and different so I became an easy target for all the bullies and even some of the less aggressive kids. The few times I defended myself just seemed to stir the bastards up. And it was never a one-on-one situation, always seemed that the minimum number was five, a few times it was as low as three, but not often. One time I had a cast on my leg and a little creep tried to kick my leg out from under me as I went down some stairs. I kicked out at him, he ran to a councilor and guess who got in trouble? Not the little shithead, I can tell you that. Then there was the time a bitch stabbed me in the hand with a pencil (I still have the graphite mark in my finger) I punched her back as she tried to stab me a second time. Guess whose parents were called into the office? Not hers. I remember these things almost forty years later. So it eventually got to the point I’d just sit there and take the abuse, like the three days one asshole sat behind me and kept sticking a pin in my back waiting to see if I’d start crying. And the advise of my mother (my father didn’t like talking to his children, unless it was to demean us) was to “Stand up for yourself” or “Just ignore them”. didn’t work so well, actually. My character wasn’t built up, but it sure was marred by these incidents. It’s a damned good thing I didn’t have access to my dad’s guns or school shootings would have had an earlier start than Columbine.

Regan DuCasse
April 17th, 2011 | LINK

It boggles the mind how these people think. Well, actually, not to a psychologist, domestic abuse or rape professionals.

Abusers always think this way. That their mental and physical assaults that chip away at a person and empower their abuse, is something their target should be able to take.
That there are no limits to their victim’s ability to take it, nor any to their amount of infliction.

And as anyone of us here can attest, religious and conservative people use their collective power to abuse. They consider themselves entitled because gay people, not even politically and usually socially, have the power to fight back.
And regardless of casual violence everywhere, rarely retaliate violently.

So, these collective powers see no reason to end the abuse they inflict, nor consider it their fault when tragedy results.
Their target is either weak, (as they know and feel anyway), or should be able to deal with it, or it’s their target’s fault for making them inflict the abuse.

Mind f**king all around, so to speak.
And no surprise whatsoever, that Robert Knight and his ilk, are in fact, bullies and abusers themselves.

Priya Lynn
April 17th, 2011 | LINK

Lindoro, in response to my suggestion that its rare for the bullied to severely beat the bully said “Unfortunately more than we care to consider. How many bullies and innocent people have been killed in school shootings by kids that were bulliedand thought the only way to take revenge was to bring a gun to school and start shooting?”.

Lindoro you list perhaps 10 incidents out of maybe 100 million school students – that makes such incidents extremely rare.

Robert
April 17th, 2011 | LINK

Bullying in the adult world gets you fired and a nice prison cell.

Somehow we have decided that kids don’t deserve the same protections.

enough already
April 17th, 2011 | LINK

Could we perhaps not split hairs for the pleasure of counting angels dancing on the heads of pins just this once?
I mean, kids are being beaten, tortured, verbally, physically and sexually abused by these bullies.

Whether rare, extremely rare or undocumented but more common than we realise, the point is, ur enemies are doing there very best to promote bullying children – and especially gay, lesbian, intersexed and transgender children.

This is why our enemies, those who oppose us are winning and we are losing.

Reed Boyer
April 17th, 2011 | LINK

“Confronting bullies helps build character” is an interesting statement, harking back to Nietzsche’s “That which does not kill me makes me stronger.”

I find it interesting that Knight echoes the sentiments of this prime example of Nihilism – and wonder whether he, like Nietzche, may have just a touch of sylphilitic paresis rotting his brain. Certainly, his soul seems long-decayed.

enough already
April 17th, 2011 | LINK

“- Man verdirbt einen Jüngling am sichersten, wenn man ihn anleitet, den Gleichdenkenden höher zu achten, als den Andersdenkenden.” (Nietzsche, Morgenröthe)

I’m not in love with Nietzsche, but this quote hung in the office of my Prof. for Didactics. She knew what she was doing.

(Very freely into English: The best way to spoil a youth is to teach him to pay more respect to those who run with the pack rather than to respect those who think original thoughts).

And isn’t that really the root of the problem in the US – Americans place more value on destroying individuality and uniqueness than any other of the Western Democracies.

Priya Lynn
April 17th, 2011 | LINK

“Enough” said “This is why our enemies, those who oppose us are winning and we are losing.”.

I fancy myself as somewhat of a pessimist, but even I don’t believe that.

enough already
April 17th, 2011 | LINK

Priya Lynn,
I certainly hope you’re right. My personal assessment of matters is that we are winning minor skirmishes but losing all the truly important fights. Those who oppose us keep pushing the field further and further to the right.
All the Democrats and liberals keep saying: But nobody really believes they’d really take away medical aid to women…to HIV victims…to the elderly.
Hah. Let them win the Senate back and that’s the end.
No ENDA, no legislative repeal of DOMA, and, most importantly – there is very little chance we’ll see this line-up of the Supremes for too many more years. And just which Justices are most likely to depart the bench?

No, unless we liberals can set aside our infighting, our “vote my conscience” mentality, we are going to lose.

Shofixti
April 17th, 2011 | LINK

EA said: Homosexual lobby?
Shofixti, would you care to be more specific?

Specific to the issue of bullying – my use of the term homosexual lobby encompasses all persons and organisations involved in wider pro-gay education reform, the promotion of the Day of Silence – and at a grassroots level, those who enable and promote DoS at their local schools.

As much as consciousness raising and debate feeds into these aims – I guess you can add BTB to that list if you want.

enough already
April 18th, 2011 | LINK

Shofixti,
And do you -again, please, an answer simple English would be nice, support this so-called “homosexual lobby” or oppose it?

Shofixti
April 18th, 2011 | LINK

I have been completely unequivocal about my stance on the issue of discrimination. If you want to address a different topic, you will need to specify.

enough already
April 18th, 2011 | LINK

Shofixti,
How specific must one be?
Provide sample questions, please, that I might cast the inquiry such that you find it adequate to respond.

Or, might it be, you really don’t think homosexuality and being gay are the same thing and you are really trying to discriminate against gays having all the rights heterosexuals have?

Priya Lynn
April 18th, 2011 | LINK

Shofixti, the question was straightforward and you’re hiding from it. Do you support or oppose this so called “gay lobby”?

If you won’t answer that with a simple yes or no (and “I have been completely unequivocal about my stance on the issue of discrimination.” is not an answer) then its pretty clear you’re just another one of those anti-gays trying to soft peddle your hate in the hopes of deceiving and manipulating LGBTs.

Audrey the Liberal
April 18th, 2011 | LINK

Mr. Robert Knight is right, confronting bullies does build character. Which is why I encourage you to go to his house and kick his ass.

Timothy Kincaid
April 18th, 2011 | LINK

Amicus,

Illinois has WAY more than its share of raging loons.

Shofixti
April 18th, 2011 | LINK

Hello Priya, EA. . .

If you read Amicus’ response above, we might pause to wonder how Robert Knight et al. can be so dense. I have made mention of my subscription to the idea that identity craves to be oppositional – that is to have something to confront and be opposed to while at the same time having an opposite that helps define who one really is.

Therefore, to Mr Knight – who appears to make part of his career out of being oppositional – if gay is the opposite of straight, then it just goes to reason that a gay anti-bullying platform should be matched by a measure of pro-straight bullying rhetoric.

Erasing a middle ground gives the subject the pleasure of reinacting and patrolling their own identity boundaries. It means he sleeps safe at night because he has put a stop to ambivalence, ambiguity and the threat of accidentally succumbing to the ideas of the enemy (that no child should be bullied because gay people say so).

There is a chance that the way you deal with me could follow a similar pattern: that it is safer, easier and less threatening to declare me oppositional because of a little ambiguity.

I did not want to answer that question in a broader sense because it takes our comments off topic and opens the possibility that comments are closed off again.

The question itself is a trap:

Do you support or oppose this so called “gay/homosexual lobby”?

Because it presupposes that unanimous consensus (or rejection) is normative. I have spoken at length about my concern for those who are normally misunderstood and excluded whenever identity is the consensus that is reached for.

You will need to focus in, as with the issue of bullying, on the area of the gay lobby that you think I might not agree with. Given that you also have my statement on marriage equality too, I am a little lost as to what you are trying to get to.

As an example of the kind of idea that I reject:

On the 9th April, EA said: It may well be that one of the [hypothetical] twins was genetically coded for the proper homosexual orientation but a mistake in his or her expression arose.

To me, this is as valid as saying that DNA has an interest in Chinese people speaking proper Mandarin.

There is no proper homosexual orientation.
There is no proper heterosexual orientation.

enough already
April 19th, 2011 | LINK

Shofixti,
There is clear, hard data for the anatomical existence of a homosexual orientation.
There is also very well established and clear evidence that the expression or suppression of a genetically coded characteristic can occur.
When I speak of “proper” here, I am using the term within the context of the life sciences and not the semantic grey area of the social sciences.
You can reject all you want, but well established work in the life sciences remains.
And this is why I am questioning your goals. I think you have a not too well hidden agenda of attacking and destroying the queer community.

Shofixti
April 19th, 2011 | LINK

If your use of ‘anatomy’ here is simply to reinforce the idea that once a baby is born, the antecedents of future sexual response are more fixed than not – then I don’t really have a problem. It wouldn’t hurt to reference what has you so convinced.

Although I would caution that there are likely many gay men who do not feel as you do, differently gendered on a sensory, perceptual or cognitive level. I would suggest you google neurosexism – more and more is said every day on the topic of gender differences being cultural, not biological.

I am still stumped by your accusations – how does championing Queer theorists and presenting actual contemporary academic thought on the issue of sexuality paint me as someone who is out to attack and destroy the queer community?
And – using my method of “attack”, just what would the queer community look like once I am finished “destroying” it?

enough already
April 19th, 2011 | LINK

The vast majority of American “Christians” reject global warming, evolutionary theory and place the age of the earth at roughly 6,000 years.
They’re still wrong.

There is a clear bright line between falsifiable scientifically valid data and nonsense perpetuated by people with access to the Internet.

Your refusal to unequivocally support full human and legal status for gays, lesbians, the intersexed and the transgendered (ENDA; full federal marriage rights, full adoption rights, full military service rights) makes clear that you very much are out to attack and destroy our queer community. I think your a Christian who began on the assumption that we are not-over-bright and easily talked “out of” our misguided beliefs. NLP, political correctness and double-plus speak have nothing on what the Catholic church was already doing in the late middle ages-early renaissance.

Priya Lynn
April 19th, 2011 | LINK

Shofixti said “The question itself is a trap:

Do you support or oppose this so called “gay/homosexual lobby”?

Because it presupposes that unanimous consensus (or rejection) is normative. I have spoken at length about my concern for those who are normally misunderstood and excluded whenever identity is the consensus that is reached for.”.

The question is only a trap to those who seek to deceive and hide their motivations – honest forthcoming people have no problem answering such questions.

Shifoxti said “I did not want to answer that question in a broader sense because it takes our comments off topic and opens the possibility that comments are closed off again.”.

LOL, a poor excuse. A simple “yes” or “no” would have been far less disruptive than that word salad excuse of yours. Its clear you’re just another one of those anti-gays trying to soft peddle your hate in the hopes of deceiving and manipulating LGBTs and for that reason you are my enemy.

Shofixti
April 19th, 2011 | LINK

Shofixti said, 8th April: I support full legal human status for all humans. I support full legal civil rights, including non-discrimination in all aspects of public life (housing, work, etc.) marriage, adoption, inheritance for everyone regardless of the determinacy or indeterminacy of their identities.

Really? I think that you take too much delight from having enemies.

EA said, 19th April: Your refusal to unequivocally support full human and legal status for gays, lesbians, the intersexed and the transgendered…makes clear that you very much are out to attack and destroy our queer community.

I don’t know if there is a language on Earth in which I could be clearer. Don’t you think your response makes you look like R Knight – jumping predicably to the nearest point of opposition because you don’t like ambiguity.

This is why I am critical of identity, it dictates such a predictable pattern of pleasure, knowledge and antagonism.

Labelling people is a wholly uninteresting project that teaches me nothing. When you write to me I empathise with you, I try to stand in your shoes and see with your eyes. I feel a little of what brings you joy and what looms dark in your memory and the things that appear as threats – but what I can’t see or make out is what fuels the need to be so adamant about me. I am not even a disciple of constructivism, I only appreciate some of its merit in explaining part of the world. And on top of that it is completely at odds with Catholic Natural Law morality, let alone any Literalist tradition – so the accusation doesn’t make sense.

Priya – if you asked a Christian whether they supported or opposed the Christian political lobby, or a Democrat whether they supported or opposed the Democrat’s platform – would you really be satisfied with a Yes or No answer? Don’t you think that it would be more important to have their thoughts issue by issue?

Is it hateful to want to be specific?

I don’t want to be dumbed down simply to fit a preconceived norm. That is not what my homosexuality is about.

Priya Lynn
April 19th, 2011 | LINK

Shofixti, I don’t believe a word you say. There was nothing preventing you from giving a qualified yes or no, your unwillingness to do even that shows a fundamental dishonesty just as your word salad does. You remain my enemy.

Soren456
April 19th, 2011 | LINK

I’ll skip most of what’s immediately above and go straight to my own opinion.

Which is that Knight’s statement is nonsense. Anti-gays have zero interest in helping “build” our character. Or the character of anyone, if it’s not strictly along religious lines.

They oppose these programs because the programs represent a victory for gays. Since we’re the group most identified with anti-bullying efforts, to implement the efforts is at least tactic agreement with something on our “agenda.” They don’t possess the integrity to admit that.

Also, like gun nuts, they believe that any effort to control their behavior is the first strike against religious freedom. Can’t have that. Camel’s nose and all.

Knight’s full (and foolish) statement makes clear that anti-bullying programs are just another part of Obama “socialism,” Islamic jihad and . . . whatever else he can add to scare the rubes.

enough already
April 20th, 2011 | LINK

Shofixti said:
This is why I am critical of identity, it dictates such a predictable pattern of pleasure, knowledge and antagonism.
endquote

And this is why I don’t for one second believe that you are anything but a Christian on the attack.

You see, there are identities which have nothing to do with made-up psychologically explainable fantasy. I was tortured to destroy my ‘fantasy’ that I am gay.
The torturers failed. I have always been and am and shall always be gay.
Nothing the Christian torturers did was able to change this – and they put their back into it.

Admit, first, that you oppose the findings of the natural sciences that being gay or lesbian or transgender is anatomical and not something one can become or disavow through speech and then you shall be my opponent. Until then, your lies make you my enemy.

Timothy Kincaid
April 20th, 2011 | LINK

When one adopts language which is premised on the notion that exact meaning should be avoided, I think it eventually becomes clear that avoiding communication is their goal.

The reason why you can’t get a clear answer from Shofixti is because Shofixti does not want to give you one and is using language as a tool of power rather than a means of communication.

Occasionally Shofixti’s mask slips… like when Shofixti discussed the rights of the unborn. That gave me a glimpse into the true agenda.

If I had to guess, I’d say that Shofixti is likely one of those “struggling with homosexual attractions who are not defined by their temptations and don’t identify with sin but identify with Christ.” But I don’t really know or care. I only have so much time in my life and don’t want to spend it foolishly trying to communicate with someone who desperately wants to avoid any language that would make them face truths about their life.

Shofixti
April 20th, 2011 | LINK

On the contrary, I have practically begged for specificity – but all I am given is a response that meaning should be avoided in favour of generic, non-explicit consensus. The majority of my questions are ignored because I am this enemy, yet not answering your questions to the fullest marks me as even more hostile.

Priya: Is it more pleasurable to accuse someone of hate than to say in a single sentence what it is about sex and politics that is pressing, important or marvellous in your eyes?

A debate, where entry into the debate is validated only by prior unanimous acceptance, is not a debate – it’s barely even a conversation.

Shofixti said, 3rd April: I agree that [sexuality] is biological in origin and manifests independently of language inside of us.

Don’t say I “oppose the findings”. If EA will not provide a single reference when asked – how am I to comment further on research about which he will only communicate in generalities? Is his avoidance commendable because it is for the sake of consensus?

It is the inferences from research and this anatomical origin that I am interested in. It seems that EA wants to collapse both biology and identity/culture/politics into an unquestionable super-category (this is not an attack against EA personally).

EA said, 20th April: there are identities which have nothing to do with made-up psychologically explainable fantasy.

When I quoted (and referenced) a theorist who used the term ‘cultural fantasy’, your response is that it is better to shoot or discredit the messenger. Please note, to be critical is not to be against something. To say something is “perceived as a cultural fantasy rather than a demonstratable fact” does not mean that it isn’t real – consider what counts as good manners from culture to culture. I shared that passage because it stimulated my intellect, not because I thought it was a good way to destroy people or communities.

I am truly sorry that you were abused. Torture is wrong, cruel and heartless. May I ask whether you think that prisoners of war were ever successfully tortured out of being American? The evidence that torture does not shift identity has no bearing on whether that identity is dictated by genes or culture. I am quite sure that if someone tortured Timothy that he would still be an accountant, only a traumatised one.

Timothy Kincaid said, 20th April:Occasionally Shofixti’s mask slips…

As for my life-oriented attitude towards babies, it’s not because I believe in objective morality, but it’s because I see all rights as being representational. Rights don’t exist in rocks and rivers, or blood and bone. Rights exist because people produce knowledge about rights – like a constitution (I am not American).

Seperate from a constitutional document, where do human rights come from?

In my eyes: just as anatomical sexuality should be protected because it is universal to being human, gestation is also universal to being human. I don’t know how we can protect one without the other, when one begins within the other – as you claim, EA, foetal anatomy=sexuality. We are born ‘gay’. To have this assessment does not mean that I have ascribed a policy position to it.

It’s not really a topic I want to get into as it is personal and the responses are often the most chaotic and extreme – I say this to you because I don’t have a mask.

I speak and I listen because it teaches me about the nature of learning. I cannot see any of you as enemies. Calling someone who is a friend and brother an enemy is the same as calling “bullying good for character building”. It does not acknowledge truth, it merely protects one from insecurity and incoherence.

enough already
April 21st, 2011 | LINK

Shofixti,

There is an old saying which has some validity, still:
When you’ve dug yourself into a hole, stop digging.

Your approach to language is to simultaneously disavow any validity to my marriage, my civil and human rights as a gay man. At the same time, you insist, were I only to accept that I’m in love with my husband because I think I am, why, then I could with just a bit of work (because we all know I’m not overbright), throw his sorry self out the window and find a luscious young maid to get with child.

Thereby saving both myself and my husband and also perpetuating the glorious white race.

I’m not buying it.

And yes, Timothy is quite right – you do make too many mistakes. Your real self shines through all too often. You’d have done better to be open and honest from the start. Because your belief system is based on the false assumption that we gays are doing something contra naturam, all your argument suffer the same fate as the old syllogism:
All cats have four legs.
This table has four legs,
This table is a cat.

Robert Scott was right – “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” The lies are too much to be maintained. Here, I’ll set things back to the beginning for you:

Shofixti wants us to stop being gay and start being heterosexual because:

enough already
April 21st, 2011 | LINK

Shofixti,
I found, I think, the key to your approach to language.
It’s a summary of a statement by Vatican representative Archbishop Silvano Tomasi,and I do believe it hits all the nails quite nicely on the head:

During a debate on the resolution (officially called the “Joint Statement on Ending Violence and Related Human Rights Violations Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”) Tomasi unequivocally stated that the Council, the UN, and other state bodies cannot base law on sexual orientation since “the ordinary meaning of ‘sexual orientation’ refers to feeling and thoughts, not to behavior.”

In clarifying this, he stressed that if sexual orientation were to carry a behavioral component it would be a false premise, because such a definition would be contrary to natural law morality. According to this logic, the recognition of LGBT identity would “undermine his/her ontological dignity”—meaning that since gays, lesbians, and transgender persons are by their nature “intrinsically morally disordered,” claiming sexual orientation identity is, by nature, false.
I found it on gay.america, if you want the entire sickening text of vileness.

The hatred is magnificent proof of an old dictum: Logic can not create reality, nor can it teach you anything you don’t already know. It’s a great tool for separating the sheep from the wolves in sheep’s clothing, though.

Shofixti
April 21st, 2011 | LINK

EA, I have written quite a lot of words over the past few weeks so it should be quite easy for you to quote me.

Your approach to language is to simultaneously disavow any validity to my marriage.

Quote me on an instance of that.

[disavow of] my civil and human rights as a gay man.

Quote me on that assertion.

insist..I…find a luscious young maid to get with child.

Quote me on that.

Because your belief system is based on the false assumption that we gays are doing something contra naturam.

Quote me.

You can’t, because it never happened.

Shofixti wants us to stop being gay and start being heterosexual because:

Regardless that what you have written is a statement of profound intellectual disrespect that trades all semblance of substance for base accusation – here is your answer.

Heterosexuality is a cultural category that describes many varied positions of knowledge. It orders, regulates and intersects a range of identities such as race and class – but its principal focus is on naturalising (and in return being naturalised by) a narrative of sex, gender and desire.

The combined utterances of heterosexuality speak to make gender intelligible and this is why at times we may feel that straights are speaking over us, around us, about us and perhaps even to us… but not for us. In their speaking there are gaps, resistances, other voices.

Twenty years ago feminism formulated a way of speaking about gender that was different – that talked about it as something less than natural, as inauthentic. Heterosexuality, which speaks as if it never need justify its own existence was called on to explain.

The repitition of voices, of acts, of stylising the body, which might be taken as self-evident proof of the existence of gender – was repositioned as being all that gender really was: the ongoing practice of regulating the knowledge of this compulsory thing called heterosexuality. Gender is not simply a chosen set of behaviours selected by the subject it is all the acts that make someone gendered.

I know that you are fond of objectivist reasoning and there is no harm in wanting to give something a name, but Butler (1991) asks us whether-

identity categories tend to be instruments of regulatory regimes, whether as the normalizing categories of oppressive structures or as the rallying points for a liberatory contestation of that very oppression.

Clearly after you have named your identity gay, you do something with it. You sit at your computer and you type, you communicate, you regulate the norms of sex, gender and same-sexed desire and you speak against voices (my voice), under the suspicion that I am trying to take something from you. I am not.

Heterosexual spokespeople, evangelicals and Catholics alike, would be screaming bloody murder at me at this point. You know that to them G-d created gender and sex and desire all one way – Adam and Eve, marriage, natural law, no questions.

To control gender and desire is to control billions of people, that is why I doubt a politic that only asks for marriage equality and non-discrimination doesn’t go far enough.

I could go on and on but I will sum up: heterosexuality could be one of the stupidest recommendations anyone ever gave you.

Priya Lynn
April 21st, 2011 | LINK

I think you hit the nail on the head Timothy. I’m done with Shofixti’s deceptive BS.

Shofixti
April 21st, 2011 | LINK

Priya

We are civil. We speak, and we listen. We consider other points of view, and we formulate our arguments with respect to those points of view. We will acknowledge when opposing arguments are valid, and we will point out errors of fact where we find them. We will carefully characterize opposing positions without putting words in anyone’s mouth. . .

The gay lobby is not one single unit. GOProud is as much a member as any other faction, and in that respect some of my views are left-and-radical, some moderate.

It is improper rhetoric to demand a blanket acceptance of a diverse set of ideas and it is uncivil to write what you have when I ask for clarification. I wish you would consider the BTB principles before posting.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

EA

We are tolerant. …Gays and lesbians are members of each of these groups, as are those who oppose equal rights for gays and lesbians. That’s why we must remember that group leaders are unable to speak for all members of their group, nor can every member of a group be held accountable for the actions of every other member of the group.

I was raised Catholic.

When a Catholic says, “Sex is only made moral withing the heterosexual, non-contracepted, union of husband and wife.”

I reply, “The rightness and universality of heterosexuality is a cultural fiction, repeated, reinforced and regulated until it gains the appearance of reality. Sex acts have no intrinsic morality. Sex acts can be healthy and productive seperate from marriage.”

I find two inconsistencies in your writing:

1) That you have testified that the homosexual orientation and the gay identity are fully intact prior to engaging in sexual behaviour. Why are you comparing me to an Archbishop who also says that sexual orientation is understood as seperate to behaviour? Your argument seems similar to his.

2) You seem to have an anti-religious bias, an anti-Catholic bias and I am not the only person to draw attention to this. The nature of a bias is that it is inaccurate. The inaccuracy that concerns me is that my ideas which are completely contrary to Catholic natural law are taken as being the same as Catholic natural law. How are you able to consistently misread me? I appeal to you to replace suspicion with hope.

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/About/Principles.htm

We hope. We hope — we believe — these efforts will allow everyone to be better informed… we can allow everyone to understand each other better – with compassion, tolerance, civility, honesty and hope.

enough already
April 22nd, 2011 | LINK

That’s it.
Shofixti,
Using the Box Turtle Bulletin guidelines to threaten Priyalynn into silence is the end of any possible discourse

Scott L.
April 22nd, 2011 | LINK

I had shofixti’s number after his first two posts. He’s here to bloviate and nothing more. Why bother responding to him at all?

enough already
April 22nd, 2011 | LINK

Um, because I’m not as bright as you, Scott?

Scott L.
April 22nd, 2011 | LINK

No, I think you’re just more willing to engage in an honest dialog with someone who wants to learn, but showfixti doesn’t fall into that catagory.

enough already
April 22nd, 2011 | LINK

Scott,
I’ll go with your version.

It’s a bit like a scab on your knee – you know you shouldn’t keep picking at it, but there it is.

And yes, my students persuaded me to try roller-blading.

Silly me.

Shofixti
April 22nd, 2011 | LINK

This is the day learned gay men,

who don’t think identity has a stake in marginalising others,

use policies of compassion, tolerance, civility, honesty and hopefulness to

shun me. . .

Donny D.
April 24th, 2011 | LINK

Shofixti,
How does some other man calling himself gay oppress you?

Mark F.
April 24th, 2011 | LINK

I don’t want to defend the awful Mr. Knight, but his attitude is not uncommon. In fact, it’s a common attitude among Christians to view the worst sort of events as building character and/or being some sort of a test from God, or being part of God’s mysterious plan. I hear this from BOTH liberals and conservatives.

In fact, kids committing suicide after being bullied is a good reason NOT to believe in a loving God.

Shofixti
April 24th, 2011 | LINK

Hi Donny D, thank you for your question.

Short answer – there is no direct, 1:1 connection between a man calling himself gay and an oppressive force being used against me. People can and do call themselves a wide variety of things that don’t affect me at all.

I don’t have an extreme position. I don’t want to view others as extremes, as binary, oppositional or necessarily confrontational, in all-or-nothing categories. Through BTB we see real opposition every day: a beating at McDonalds, a sanctioned kidnapping by a university, intolerance by religious leaders etc. It becomes easy, even normal, to view everything as a fight – and if what I say sounds a little bit different, they must be fighting words too. Not so.

I admit I was naive when I first posted here. I have followed gay RSS feeds for a while but never really delved into the message forum areas. I simply and mistakenly expected other people to be like me – and that is why my response on “language wars” was abrupt, densely worded and perhaps even overstated.

I expected more trickle-down effect of academic thought – but what appears to be the ‘centre’ of the understanding is that which “naturally flows from one’s same-sex attraction” (to paraphrase T Kincaid).

In fact I am a neighbour. I agree with Timothy on this point:

T Kincaid, 20th March: I think that the most important part of gay identity, at this point in time, is how it impacts the inherent distinctions that direct our lives.

It is my discussion of ‘impact’ and ‘distinctions’ that ignites a confrontational reading in those who are very attached to one reading of the way identity ‘naturally flow[s]‘.

Do gay rights naturally flow out of a straight man feeling sexually attracted to women, and a straight woman having sexual attraction towards men? They don’t. Tolerance and acceptance of difference are socially and culturally learned (these values are also good and real).

To answer your question a longer way:
* if a man calls himself gay and then uses his sense of identity to demand conformity to, and consensus about identity…
* so that he only listens long enough to put someone into a box of ‘friend’ or ‘foe’…
* to the extent that someone who has a diverse voice can be viewed as a malicious, destructive and deceptive threat…
* so that in talking to this person a mode of rhetoric is sanctioned – that means he need not answer their questions, and he may make a variety of false claims about them without quoting for proof, ultimately to their exclusion from debate…
* that the pleasure of rejecting the diverse voice is shared with others through social agreement because it is easier to dismiss than to engage…
* then would you say that it is unreasonable to connect one man’s gay identity to a system of regulating knowledge that at times sacrifices diversity and tolerance for consensus?

This is not always the case.
I don’t speak in a totalising way.
Not everyone who says “I’m gay” is invested in regulating sex, gender and desire norms in other people – they just go with the flow of what feels natural. I am interested in those who are active, online, in a public political forum.
I even say “I’m gay”, but I do it with a nudge and a wink because I know that my ‘impacts’ and my ‘distinctions’ are likely to be ignored in favour of a generic white-gay-male stereotype.

I hope at least my short answer was clear.

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