Once again, it's time for basic "grade school" discussion.
Let's talk about name calling vs criticism.
So, we've got Weyland. I've never met a Weyland, and really only have ever seen the name in the "Aliens" movies, so I think it's pretty safe to use here. Wouldn't want to nail somebody out of hand right? If you are named Weyland, I am truly sorry. No harm intended, and let's have a beer.
Name calling is a negative characterization, lacking material support, and that generally devalues a person.
Weyland is a fuck nut. That's name calling. So is Weyland sucks, or look at that ass clown Weyland.
I think you get the idea.
Criticism is when we detail a known bad behavior in terms that associate a given person, with said behavior. In particular, that behavior has to be supportable, or it could be ruled a simple ad-homineim attack, and that's simply not productive for a lot of reasons, most of them discussed in high school, BTW.
Weyland is a racist. That's criticism that also comes with the burden of demonstrating racist behavior, AND the intent to be racist. Honestly, that's pretty tough, which is why I generally avoid that kind of direct criticism.
Look at that, Weyland is acting like a racist. Good grief. That really sucks ass.
Now we've a mixed bag, don't we?
The burden of proof on "acting like, or sounding like" a racist, bigot, theocrat, is a lot lower than just flat out tagging somebody as a racist, bigot, etc...
Notice the subtle word use here. I've said that Weyland is acting like a racist, and that behavior really sucks ass. Now, I know the subject there is implied, but that's not too tough is it? Hope not. Most importantly, I did not actually call Weyland a racist. This is very important to understand! Really what happened here is some nice, healthy, all American, push back, in good form, because it's not easily deflected, yet it packs most of the punch that comes with full on "Weyland is a racist". That too, is very important to understand, because doing that is the difference between keeping some high ground, and a potentially productive discussion, and a ad-hominem mine field.
So, in the post above, Dodger claimed a name call. Well, that didn't happen. What I did do, was express my opinion that the majority of the GOP base are those ugly things. Given the current state of the party platform, the many statements, acts, and such that align with that characterization, I'll sleep perfectly well at night. I've a great case for that, and that's simply good enough for the commentary contributed here.
No where did I actually say that Dodger is any of those things, though it is worth noting that he appears to have closely identified with the GOP base enough to associate criticism of it with his person, in order to substantiate his claim of name calling.
That's a mistake, by the way. I didn't do that. Trust me when I say, if I actually did mean to do that, I absolutely would not fuck it up that badly. k? I know how to name call, and just fucking nail it. Easy cheezy. Not only did I specifically NOT do that, but I did the work to make the ugly point in a way that would allow the discussion here to continue. Notice Dodger did not. That's the difference, because now here we are discussing name calling vs criticism, like we often do hate vs disregard.
I'm posting this up, because that "name calling is bad" line comes up as the number one response to criticism leveled against somebody who demonstrates behavior strongly associated with racism, bigotry, theocracy, etc...
Here's the rub. We need to be able to do that. Has to happen. Our first amendment assures us that it can, in fact, happen, and there is a reason for that; namely, if we tolerate the bigots, where we don't actually call them out as bigots, for example, then we are going to live in a world filled with bigots, because they won't have any reason to do otherwise.
Sorry. That's rough, but absolutely necessary. That first amendment is not a shield. Act like an ass, and some people are going to haul off and call us an ass. If that behavior is actually "ass like", well it's criticism, not simple name calling.
Name calling, while protected under that same amendment, is frowned upon, because it doesn't add any value to the discussion, only devaluing some participant, or target of it. A good example would be calling somebody a ass, that just isn't. Big difference.
Some of that is arbitrary. That means there is some slop in the system, sufficient to chill most speech of this kind, for the simple fact that somebody might run afoul of the whole works. That's how it is supposed to work, and that subtle bit is often abused by people Palin style, where the claim of criticism infringing on the right to free speech completely ignores the day to day accountability we all mutually benefit from.
So, are we clear on the difference now?
Posted on October 7, 2010 - 09:43 PM