"Tone Argument" and the Heart of the Matter

Recently I was having a tense discussion about a very traumatic experience with the perpetrator of the trauma. That person pointed out that I was "yelling" and they were "calm" as if what I had to say was not important or was somehow dismissable because of my tone versus theirs. I shot right back with an acknowledgement and a confirmation, "Of course I'm emotional and not calm. It was an emotion and very traumatic thing to go through." What the other person in the argument was trying to do to me was what is called a "Tone Argument." It's defined in terms of feminist rhetoric at Geek Feminism Wiki. But it applies to many different cases.

"...the tone of a statement is independent of the content of the statement in question, and calling attention to it distracts from the issue at hand..."

I like these two epigraphs to the entry:

"Just because you sound polite, doesn't mean your words aren't hurtful. Just because you sound acerbic, doesn't mean your words aren't kind." -- Comrade Squinky

"If you tread on someone's toes, and they tell you to get off, then get off their toes. Don't tell them to 'ask nicely'." -- Geeksophical

2 Years Ago Today - The Fox's Fevered Pitch


Since this is in my head, it's important I give you this earworm again, too. Two years ago on Sep 3 the wild and wacky hit "What Does the Fox Say?" went viral. Right about now the fevered pitch was brewing. Just thought I'd remind you of this phenomenon, which has now received over 540 million hits since its release. 

Googling "Random Shit"

Will get you to a results page with "RandomShit.com" as the top hit. Which I clicked. Then you press the red button on the site and it picks a random URL from the internet. I did it a few times, and then it brought me to this comic:

http://explosm.net/comics/1740/

Good times. Good times.

September 11th

Here's a good Grace Potter & the Nocturnals song in honor of her National Anthem Performance at least night's Patriot's NFL season opener. And a good, gracefully sentimental song for the people we remember today.

More Idiocracy within Poetry - Carol Muske-Dukes Dumb Follow-Up to Kate Gale's Dumb Thing

=giant sigh= STOP BEING MORONS

Anyway who threatened violence against someon is of course wrong. But legitimate outrage over that ridiculous piece of Gale's is completely acceptable. Don't lump the extreme s in with the reasonably concerned.

There's no excuse for idiotic attempts to justify legitimate criticism and critique of race, gender, and other diversity issues within the institution of writer-hood, especially in publishing and AWP. So! Stop acting and asserting otherwise. It's maddeningly ignorant.

Carol Muske-Dukes doesn't think so. So she blathereed some idiotic things on HuffPo.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carol-muskedukes/gale-force_b_8101576.html

The better thing is everyone's exasperated reaction, though. It's dumb and almost Theater of the Absurd at this point. Except for the fact that this mindset has real-world truly detrimental reverberations. =giant sigh=

Follow-up: This EXCELLENT reply in the comments section needs to be preserved for posterity. Thanks Alyss Dixon!

Alyss DixsonThis is a hash of ideas regarding what it means to be a member of a dynamic heterogenous community. You've managed to confuse actual adults with a concern about those holding authority in a major professional conference with academic policies enforced in various ways across a diverse pool of universities and colleges. None which have anything to do with Kate Gale who is neither a comedian nor an academic. 
1) Free Speech refers to the constitutional right of a press to publish without interference from the State. No one condemning Gale's statement has the Federal or State authority to prevent her from publishing. Making abhorrent statements that are rejected by your intended audience and the people you purport to advocate for, however, can and should be openly discussed by same. It's actually a suppression of freedom of opinion to condemn this. 

2) "PC" and many of the other terms and references you use are relics of culture wars propogated by Newt Gingrich, et al. during their battle against progressivism. I'm not going to comment on anyone wanting to align themselves with those particular Republicans, however, it would behoove you to perhaps read some current scholarship and cultural commentary. Even "cute Jewish girls", like Sarah Silverman, for instance, have internal bias against other ethnic, social and gender-orientation groups. Shocking, I know. That isn't to say that there can't be common ground, conflict resolution or understanding, but it is to say that those things aren't going to be found at the end of the barrel of offense. You don't get to shoot first and duck questions later. 

3) The Atlantic has its own problematic relationship with diversity and inclusiveness. Please check out their VIDA Count statistics. 

4) Please research the diverse strategies people use in rhetorical arguments and civil rights movements. By conflating those who use violent language with ISIS (which is a particular brand of hysterical White fear rampant in the more parochial reaches of the internet) and with the legitimate concerns and critiques of the many other commenters about Gale's statement, you reveal your own lack of nuance and understanding of the issues at play here. This is precisely the sort of unsophisticated response that reinforces group bias and bigotry: by creating a faceless, savage, unreasonable, irrational "them" the in-group can rally around a shared set of values, dismiss critique and devalue the harm that has been done. 

The best way to move forward on this issue is to stop debating whether or not Gale had the "right" to freely express herself: she does, did and will continue to enjoy that under our Constitution. As do her detractors. What's at issue is what happens next. How do we create an inclusive community that can recover from these missteps? It's not by sending out agents to strong-arm, threaten or dismiss. That's how you draw battle lines. It's not by tossing out incendiary rhetoric full of hyperbolic jingoism. Those are fighting words. Whatever urge, phone call, emotional appeal or other sense of duty and mission sent you out here on this slender branch of a blog post to malign an entire community response while defending the indefenisble (as evidence by Gale's own retraction and subsequent responses), please redirect that energy to community building. That's the fight we need.

2) "PC" and many of the other terms and references you use are relics of culture wars propogated by Newt Gingrich, et al. during their battle against progressivism. I'm not going to comment on anyone wanting to align themselves with those particular Republicans, however, it would behoove you to perhaps read some current scholarship and cultural commentary. Even "cute Jewish girls", like Sarah Silverman, for instance, have internal bias against other ethnic, social and gender-orientation groups. Shocking, I know. That isn't to say that there can't be common ground, conflict resolution or understanding, but it is to say that those things aren't going to be found at the end of the barrel of offense. You don't get to shoot first and duck questions later. 
3) The Atlantic has its own problematic relationship with diversity and inclusiveness. Please check out their VIDA Count statistics. 
4) Please research the diverse strategies people use in rhetorical arguments and civil rights movements. By conflating those who use violent language with ISIS (which is a particular brand of hysterical White fear rampant in the more parochial reaches of the internet) and with the legitimate concerns and critiques of the many other commenters about Gale's statement, you reveal your own lack of nuance and understanding of the issues at play here. This is precisely the sort of unsophisticated response that reinforces group bias and bigotry: by creating a faceless, savage, unreasonable, irrational "them" the in-group can rally around a shared set of values, dismiss critique and devalue the harm that has been done. 
The best way to move forward on this issue is to stop debating whether or not Gale had the "right" to freely express herself: she does, did and will continue to enjoy that under our Constitution. As do her detractors. What's at issue is what happens next. How do we create an inclusive community that can recover from these missteps? It's not by sending out agents to strong-arm, threaten or dismiss. That's how you draw battle lines. It's not by tossing out incendiary rhetoric full of hyperbolic jingoism. Those are fighting words. Whatever urge, phone call, emotional appeal or other sense of duty and mission sent you out here on this slender branch of a blog post to malign an entire community response while defending the indefenisble (as evidence by Gale's own retraction and subsequent responses), please redirect that energy to community building. That's the fight we need.

Cooperation and Success #TEDTalk with #YvesMorieux

"We pay more attention on knowing who to blame in case we fail than in crating the conditions to succeed."

How too many rules at work keep you from getting things done

https://www.ted.com/talks/yves_morieux_how_too_many_rules_at_work_keep_you_from_getting_things_done


The Reality Behind So-Called Devils' Advocacy against Feminism, from "Everyday Feminism"

4 Things Men Are Really Doing When They ‘Play Devil’s Advocate’ Against Feminism, by Melissa Fabello

1. You’re Regurgitating (And Reinforcing) the Common Status Quo
2. You’re Disrespecting Our Critical Thinking Skills
3. You’re Positioning Your Thoughts As More Valuable Than Our Lived Experiences
4. You’re Shutting Down a Conversation Instead of Adding to It

Full story, very good, at:
http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/09/playing-devils-advocate/

A Big Beautifully Long Piece on John Wieners in current issue of "The Critical Flame"

Daniel Evans Pritchard is part of what I've dubbed "The South Shore Cult of John Wieners." As such his publication "The Critical Fame" has a featured piece by Nat Raha on John Wieners.

http://criticalflame.org/a-queer-excess-the-supplication-of-john-wieners/

Looking forward to reading this later today! Thanks Nat and Daniel!

What was in the newspaper on Sep 10, 2001?

Just out of curiosity, I looked through the headlines of the Boston Globe from Sept 10, 2001. What did we think about and write about and care about before the following fateful day? Some people had their pulse on the impending doom:

DOES GEORGE W. BUSH APPRECIATE WHAT FIRE HE IS PLAYING WITH WHEN HE STIRS UP THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT? IT IS ALMOST AS IF WE ARE ON THE ROAD TO RELIGIOUS WAR. In so many corners of the globe, people are brutalizing their neighbors because each is convinced that he has a direct pipeline to the true deity, while the outsider is a dangerous infidel.
Whether in the Middle East, or Ireland, Iran or Afghanistan, state- fomented religious intolerance is the great blight on the right of ordinary people to live as they choose, as well as a grave threat to the peace. (Kuttner, Robert. "BUSH IS PLAYING WITH RELIGIOUS FIRE." Boston Globe Sep 10 2001. ProQuest. Web. 3 Sep. 2015.)
I remember I had recently watched an episode of Frontline about bin Laden, so when we were told of the news at my new job as an assistant 3rd grade teacher, apparently the first thing I said in the break room with the other faculty was, "I bet it's Osama bin Laden." I don't subscribe to the inside job conspiracy theory, but I do think we could have and should have been expecting it, unfortunately.

Coulda woulda shoulda -- it happened. In addition to the wars and tumulty to follow, what did it make us forget about? Shondra Levy, Elian Gonzalez, Bush V. Gore and the stolen election...

Kesha (AKA Ke$ha)'s Rape Case & its lack of headlining news

She was raped by her manager and mentor and no one is really talking about the case. Why? More at:


LA Times on Mansplaining "Men who explain things"

If don't know what "mansplaining" is, the LA Times opinion piece is quite illustrative.

http://articles.latimes.com/2008/apr/13/opinion/op-solnit13