rhetoric

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Gamers’ sociopathy by LucidARTDVC

Speaking of demands for “realism”

As we said the last time when we featured another rhetoric bingo-worthy piece by LucidARTDVC, this artist isn’t joking or being ironic. He genuinely grasps at straws* to excuse his softcore porn bikini armor babe drawings. Instead of, you know, admitting to himself that fanservice is a thing.

So, as ladyofpayne brought our attention to the above, um, piece of art, let’s maybe address the fairly popular “argument” that we’re supposedly some anti-escapism killjoys who demand fantasy stories to be exclusively realistic (and let’s maybe not address how it apparently makes us sociopaths, cause that’s some new level of ad hominem peppered with ableism).

On to the subject, though:

First, it should really go without saying, but neither we nor sites/communities with similar goals actually expect all fiction to be exclusively realistic/naturalistic. You can’t even quote someone demanding such thing, cause no-one says that

Second, it’s not the issue of “realism” in the first place, but of willing suspension of disbelief and consistency in worldbuilding. Bikini armors are too silly to play them straight; plain and simple. Using them without awareness of their absurdity will break the audience’s immersion in the story. Especially if they’re featured next to male-exclusive full armors. Presence of some fantasy elements in the established world is not yet a reason every random implausibility, like skimpy “armors”, is allowed.

Third, fiction is not made in a vacuum. Nothing in writing happens by accident. And so, the creators should consider the message the used tropes send, rather than justify their questionable choices retroactively. That’s also why authors should not excuse anything they do with “rule of cool”. Cause that’s just a refusal to think critically of one’s creation.

*I’m still impressed (in the worst way possible) by that conveniently ripped out-of-context Art of War quote, as if Sun Tzu would so totally approve of chainmail bikinis, cause… speed bonus?!

~Ozzie

Pretty much. In an era where companies are spending millions to generate the most realistic looking water effects - I really don’t think it’s too much to ask that we reconsider the way we design women’s armor.

- wincenworks

I love conservative rhetoric.

“if you can’t afford kids stop having them, but abortions are bad, and health insurance shouldn’t cover birth control or plan b, and welfare is awful, and raising the minimum wage so you can afford to live without requiring welfare and food stamps is socialism!”

On #YesAllWomen and the darling men who "troll" the hashtag

The other day, a little late to the party, I tweeted my experience with male entitlement as a part of the larger #YesAllWomen conversation. The tweet goes, “Too scared to walk home at night, only to have a taxi driver threaten to lock me in if I didn’t give him my phone number. #YesAllWomen”

Within minutes I had a few @replies from men who were clearly stalking the hashtag to intentionally mock, provoke, and silence the women speaking out. A man by the twitter handle @sawcasm (you know, like “sarcasm” except with a speech impediment, which is actually pretty cute on its own!), tweeted me asking why I didn’t just give the cab driver a fake number. One of his friends responded, saying I was “too dumb” to think of such a brilliant evasive tactic. And promptly, a third good friend of this person responded directly to me “let him tear your ass open for a free ride…?” which, you know, god, even though I was in fact broke as hell, I didn’t even think about as an option at the time!

At the time, I was so paralyzed with fear during the 25 minute cab ride, as a man, easily twice my weight, preyed on my natural friendliness to manipulate me into sitting in the front seat, and proceeded to ask me invasive questions about who I’ve dated, what I do to “party”, and whether I’ve ever been attracted to older men (like himself). At the time I was too busy fighting a full panic attack as the cab driver placed his hand on my knee and told me how “effortlessly sexy” I looked. At the time I was very focused on trying to swallow the bile that rose in my throat when I realized that, locked in this man’s car, in his touching/grabbing/bashing/raping range, with a dead battery on my cell phone, and no experience or athleticism to try and duck and roll, my only option to try and avoid potential assault was to continue sounding friendly, and receptive, but still dismissing his advances. Being forced to smile and laugh at his aggressive and threatening advances made me never want to smile or laugh again. I walked a tightrope of performing mild flirtatiousness to assuage any violence but not invite “more” advances. After profusely promising him that I would go out on a date with him, and being forced to sit in the locked car while he called my phone to make sure it was my number, I escaped what is the closest I’ve been to living hell. I shattered a water glass that night when I dropped it because my hands shook too violently for hours afterward.

I was not raped. And I cannot imagine the hell that survivors of rape and sexual assault must surmount to heal and live their lives. But if you think the above account is melodramatic or exaggerative, then go ahead and think that if its easier, but that is as close as I can get to describing what it felt like, and how it continues to feel living in this society of male entitlement and violence. To think that it is just part of life as a woman to always fear that men might like you enough to just take you.

Twitter only has 140 characters. So I sanitized my experience. I was nervous to share the extent of that cab ride. I felt I made my point, but in the most pared down and mild way, just to add my voice to the many who I felt so empowered by. And yet, this extremely watered down testimonial was still met with the leering taunts of men who feel so threatened by our voices.

I hate the word “troll” for this because it is dismissive to how vicious, destructive, and dangerous the words and actions of these men can be. As a fan of the power of writing, I love the idiom about the pen being mightier than the sword, but it stands to remember that the same pen that can be subversive and revolutionary can also be oppressive and cruel.

“Trolling”, is so often paired with “just”, and then usually followed by the urge to ignore. These men, self-proclaimed “MRA’s” usually, try so hard to come off with the blasé air of indifference and casual irony to everything, but I read their tweets and blog posts and comments and I can see past their steadfast adherence to this seemingly indestructible tone. I see the sizzling panicked terror just under the surface; I see the utter fear. They know their world is slipping away. In reality, we’re not close whatsoever to the hegemonic Matriarchal women’s commune I and all feminists are fighting for, but even the slightest loosening of the reigns on male dominion shakes them to their core.

The fact that a hashtag allowing women to share their experiences erupted into a national phenomenon of community and support and solidarity fills with me boundless pride for the capabilities of technology for good.

The fact that the inevitable backlash is so vicious, so immediate, and so pointedly ignorant only fuels my fire for all that is necessary to better this world I wanna live in for a few more decades.

All these men, whose cries of “not all men” are the backbone of the language in “yes all women”, are so angry. They are angry because they feel attacked. They are angry because they’ve convinced themselves they are innocent. They are angry because they know in the pit of their souls that they are not. They allow this culture, this rampant unchecked male entitlement, the clear cause and effect between the coda they preach and the skyrocketing of sexual assault cases. And for the first time, ironically through the guise of “trolling” a hashtag, they are seeing the destructive and malevolent world they’ve helped build and maintain. And if I were them, and I too saw its nauseatingly violent effects, I would bury my guilt deep down and also tweet threats to a cute 20-something girl who normally just tweets jokes about chicken nuggets. But their shame and guilt is nothing compared to the pain of women who’ve experienced violence and sexual assault. So I don’t care. Instead I will tuck their tweets into a mental folder, and be fascinated by the rhetoric and logic and tone, and try to wrangle my anger into something helpful.

If you’re a guy, and you read this whole thing, good. You should read this, and you should read more, read every fucking #YesAllWomen post that rolls past you on social media. Don’t be the guys who have harassed me and countless other women sharing their stories. But that’s just the bare minimum. Be an ally. I know many who are and it makes me feel safe, and optimistic. Admit to yourself and to anyone ways in which you have probably, at some time or another, made life harder for a woman in your life. Do better. We want you to, we hope you do.

As for @sawcasm, I know he’s sad and pathetic, but I won’t ignore his “trolling”. He is still part of the forces at work. As far as I know, he didn’t lock me in a taxi, leering, and forcing me to play a sick game of cat and mouse. But he allowed it. And all the other accounts of terror women have shared.

For my part, I’ll probably go back to tweeting about chicken mcnuggets soon, but right now I’ll continue to be awed by the women speaking up, humorously, seriously, and bravely. And I thank them all for giving me the courage the write this too-long thing.

Once more with feeling, #YesAllWomen.

Punching Down by kevinbolk

This is a succinct summation of an technique called DARVO (Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender), which basically involves people doing bad things attempting to flip things around so that they’re the victim.

For example, when people talk about men’s problems with addressing men’s issues, especially when it comes to feminism, some feminists will go “that’s a good point, we could do a better job, lets talk about it”.

Unfortunately, many more will accuse the critic of being a mansplaining misogynist trying to derail feminism and make it all about the menz, or suchlike. And some will say that feminism is already helping men, but most people don’t know about it because of the media/lack of research/anyone but feminists themselves.

Strangely, these people almost never bother to provide actual examples of major feminist efforts to help men.

Truth about ‘Armored bikini’ by LucidARTDVC

Amazingly this is not satire.

- wincenworks

NOT a satire? How, what, why agsafhSunFuckingTzu!agdasapjibnwe…

Do we even HAVE to explain what is wrong with this “argument”?

~Ozzie

In the operations of war, where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to carry them a thousand li, the expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men.” - Sun Tzu, The Art of War

(1) (2)

- wincenworks

remembering to ask questions

Some phrases in academic argument are used to assert that an argument has been successfully been made. If someone’s really good at using them, it can make their arguments feel better than they actually are.

One countermeasure is to learn what those phrases are, and to use them as indications that it’s time to check to see if you agree with their argument.

A few examples of phrases that often work this way:

  • “It is clear that…"
  • “We have seen..“
  • “Now it is evident..”
  • “It has been demonstrated…"
  • “It follows from…"
  • “It goes without saying that…"

If you get into the habit of reading things like this as  questions, it becomes much easier to tell what you think the answer is.

eg:

  • Do you think it’s clear?
  • Have you seen the point being made? Do you agree with it?
  • Do you think it’s evident from the evidence the author brought?
  • Do you think it has been demonstrated?
  • Do you think it follows from that?
  • Do you think it goes without saying? Do you think it’s true at all? 

tl;dr Some rhetorical devices make arguments feel better than they are. Getting into the habit of seeing them as indications that it’s time to ask a question makes it easier to evaluate arguments on their merits.

If you’re anything like me, don’t you often wish that God would just “work His magic” with your heart and circumstances? But wouldn’t that be so contradictory to His relational nature that engages us through every part of the process? His ultimate purpose is to glorify Himself through building intimacy with you, and He often does this through seasons of struggle. You’re not alone in the valley. It is where He most readily strips you of your ability to “hold it together” or “power through.” He allows difficulty so you have no option but to depend fully on His faithfulness and hold tight to His promises.
—  LB, Rhetoric & Reminders

8 Logical Fallacies That Fuel Anti-Science Sentiments

We’ve never been more dependent on science. At the same time, however, we’ve never been more certain about its ability to help us understand and transform the world. But there are many out there who still distrust science and wish to discredit it at every turn, whether it be anti-vaxxers and climate change denialists, or simply those who wish to preserve their religious or paranormal beliefs.

Trouble is, many of the arguments used to disparage or disprove the findings of science (or even the scientific method itself), are ridden with logical fallacies. Here are eight that fuel anti-science sentiments.

1. False Equivalence

Balanced reporting is important, no question. But that doesn’t mean every single perspective on a contentious issue deserves equal air time or consideration. Such is the fallacy of false equivalence, the assertion that there’s a logical equivalence between two opposing arguments when there is none.

2. The Appeal to Nature & The Naturalistic Fallacy

Fewer things have done more to undermine scientists and their work than the appeal to nature and the naturalistic fallacy. The former is the belief that what is natural is “good” and “right” and the latter deducing “ought” from “is.” Both have been used to argue that progress in science and technology represents a threat to the natural order of things. It’s a line of argumentation that lauds the inherent wholesomeness of all things natural, while decrying the unhealthiness and unsavoriness of all things unnatural.

3. Observation Selection

Many critics of science deliberately (and sometimes unconsciously) select and share information that serves to undermine specific proclamations of science, while ignoring information that works to support credible hypotheses.

MORE 

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In a video that covers a few game mechanics, over-commercialization, verbal abuse in gameplay and the general state of games… what is the hot topic in the comments?

Seems familiar. Anyone ever notice how the whole “If you don’t like it just shut up and make your own!” thing only ever applies to people who want progress… like why aren’t the people who want terrible stuff obligated to just shut up and make their own?

- wincenworks

Even if you’re in a season of difficulty or confusion, know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. The chapter you’re in is a part of a much greater story. Though you wish you could peer into future chapters, know that in the end, He prevails, and if you are His child, you do too. The story always has a happy ending for those in Christ. Trust the struggle and know that He has not abandoned you. He is sitting with you in the pain and no rest can be found apart from Him.
— 

LB, Rhetoric & Reminders

I posted a video about my personal experience with this truth in hopes that sharing a piece of my past might comfort some of you in the present.

ASK AUNTIE MJ: I AM BEING RASIED AS A GIRL ALTHOUGH I AM NOT...

ruinedhands said:

Hi Auntie MJ! I am a person who is being raised a girl (although I’m not). I’m also a person who has been raised to believe I’m not allowed to hold any opinions of my own. Typically it is my father who’s opinion must dictate my own. Occasionally it is my mother, teacher, or whoever it is who is more “senior” than myself. Needless to say, this leads to me being unable to have a productive debate/argument/discussion with multiple viewpoints. Do you have some advice for me to learn to do that?

Dear Ruinedhands,

You may not be surprised to know I stopped on the first sentence of your question. That right there is problem enough for anyone. I made it the title of this post because it is the first thing you told me. Since the second part of your question is actually pretty easy to answer, I’ll start there and then we’ll return to the top.

The parents not letting you have/not listening to your opinions is actually a pretty common complaint among teenagers. (I’m assuming you’re a teen/young adult—if you are not, I have more questions.) We have known about this throughout all of recorded history, even as far back as 1988, when Will Smith (then the Fresh Prince) released the seminal treatise on the topic: Parents Just Don’t Understand.

One of the earliest recorded works on the subject.

In all but the most extreme cases (truly extremist situations, dictatorships, etc.) parents are certainly aware that their children must have their own opinions, and that those opinions may vary from theirs. We all fundamentally know we can’t crawl into another person’s brain and nest there. We can grumble about it or try to exert influence, but most of us know that other people exist and have their own brains. 

I think what happens is more that parents often do not feel that their children possess sufficient experience to form opinions and therefore try to impose their own until some future, supposed date in which their children have learned enough, whatever enough is. This usually happens for the best of reasons, namely, worry that something will happen to you if you make a mistake. This isn’t always the reason, but it’s often so. 

There’s no timestamp on this. Parents can go on believing forever that their children don’t know enough. I think sometimes people fail to make the leap of imagination when it concerns other people’s knowledge and experience—if people don’t know what they know, what they have experienced, how can they know anything? Of course, the fallacy in this is that they themselves have not experienced everything. We’re all missing information. We all form our opinions based on what we’ve experienced and processed, and what we see and experience is, by the very nature of experience itself, VERY LIMITED.

I’m saying that we’re all just figuring it out.

It’s actually true that when you are young, your database may not be quite as full simply because you’re young and have just started filling it. Sometimes parents make a fair call and protect us from the really bad mistakes. BUT! Our individual capacity to take in and process information varies considerably from person to person. Also, we need to make mistakes. That’s how we learn.

I’m saying that just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t know things. You’re just going to know more as you go on. And for sure you will screw up and change your mind about things. All sorts of things will happen. This is life. There will always be pressure and influence. Most of our current consumer/political/24 hours news coverage culture is entirely based on trying to influence us to want stuff or fear stuff. Throughout it all, your mind is your own. But it does help to be able to see when and how we are being influenced.

First bit of advice: read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read. Talk to people. This is how you become informed and learn different points of view.

Now, as to how to learn how to discuss opinions once you form them AND how to see what tricks are being used to influence else—TO THE INTERNET! Obviously, never read the comments. However, you can use the internet to learn RHETORIC, the art and science of argumentation. There are loads of sites and books about this. And this is a handy chart of rhetorical fallacies to help you take a discussion or text apart and see if it stands up to reason.   You can talk online, in class, with friends. Use every outlet you have. (Also, THE LIBRARY. You can get a BOOK on rhetoric. It will be your friend.)

Seriously. Rhetoric. An old-timey sounding thing, but the most critical when you’re trying to navigate the waters of influence.

HOWEVER, and this however is big, being young does not mean you are wrong about yourself. Our selves can be pretty nebulous concepts. While we change over time, some things we know from early on. You happen to know you’re not a girl.

I don’t know if you’ve talked to your parents about not being a girl. Since you started with that, I feel like maybe you are asking about how to express this to your parents? Maybe? I can’t give you specific advice on how to handle your situation, because I don’t know how safe and secure you feel. I don’t know if you have talked to your parents. Anything could be going on with your family. I will make no assumptions. But if you need outside support, The Trevor Project is always a good place to start. And there are loads of online resources I am sure you (or hope you) have seen.

Here is the important thing, though, just in case this is the real question and just in case you need to hear this from someone: Auntie MJ knows you’re not a girl because you told me so. That is all the information that is required. That you’re not a girl is not an opinion—it’s a fact. You can debate politics or whatever all day long, but this is not a debate. You don’t need to justify it to anyone.

Good luck out there.

Love,

Auntie MJ


Ask Auntie MJ is a thing Maureen Johnson does once a week, usually between Wednesday and Friday, whether anyone wants her to or not. You can submit questions using the ask button.

Dear Communismkills...

Communismkills, I am not here to harass you or call you out of your name, however I—like many others—feel no sympathy for what is happening to you and even though you most likely will not read this or see it as an opportunity, I’m going to give a comprehensive and rational opinion. Many may not share this opinion and that’s fine. There are many reasons for one not to feel sympathy for you.

The rhetoric that you use on your blog is just as threatening as the threats made against you. I do not know you so I cannot say if you truly practice what you preach but if you do then you simply cannot be surprised that this many people are coming at you. I’m not going to discuss the amount of negativity you put up other than using it to show the relationship between freedom of speech and hate speech. You have the right to say whatever you want but when you write things that incite like-minded people to discriminate, degrade or even cause harm to others; those receiving the negativity and possible harm have a right to protect themselves. Further, they have the right to persuade you into at least considering their plight when you make your “right-wing” posts. I put right-wing in quotation marks because the right-wing people in my life would never say the things you say. I am liberal but you will never see me posting jokes about dead people who died unjustly that I oppose nor will you see me posting how happy I am that someone I oppose was tortured to death. When you do that, you help normalize your hatred and you incite others to either (1) pass it on to friends and family and/or (2) commit heinous acts themselves to illustrate the hatred you yourself helped to nurture. If you do not believe that every single person should have basic rights or even live life without fear of being brutalized then you are irrational and your way of thought will never become a reality in mainstream. This is a very simple opinion so it should not be hard for you to understand how harmful your actions could possibly be or may already have been.

To further drive my point home, I want to show you what comes up when I simply search your blog’s name. Observe exhibit A:

and observe exhibit B:

This literally drives my point home. You were doxxed for your hate speech relating to the second and third topics in exhibit B (along with various other hate speech topics). You should feel ashamed that the second and third topics showed up when your blog is mentioned because those related topics tell us exactly the type of person you are and how we all see you. If you are proud of this then that’s fine. You can be proud of being racist, transphobic, homophobic, etc.; however, do know that with pride comes accountability. You can get angry and say everyone who disagrees with you is wrong until your face turns blue, but it simply will not change the fact that what you do has a stronger impact than doxxing could ever have. If someone even tries to cause you harm they will go to jail. If they use your mother’s credit card information they will go to jail. If they make direct threats or harass you constantly they will go to jail. Do you know who won’t go to jail if a white police officer gets persuaded by your rhetoric and decides to unjustly kill someone of color? He most likely won’t go to jail but just as important, you won’t. If an angered and misguided white teen becomes inspired by your rhetoric and decides to shoot students in his school, he’ll either die or go to jail but you won’t. If your rhetoric makes a white woman paranoid about the black people she works around and she decides to carry a gun for protection and wrongly shoots one of her co-workers out in the parking lot because she thought he was going to rob or rape her, she will go to jail but you won’t.

The person/people who doxxed you most likely did it in retaliation to the hate-filled rhetoric you continually put out on your blog, I can’t say for sure. Look, I’m not on here saying you have to change nor am I trying to force you to change. You can believe what you want to believe and you can say whatever you want to say. However, when you cross the line, which you have many times, then you look foolish when you complain about people coming at you or defending themselves against your hate speech. When I took courses on rhetorical analysis I learned something very important and it will forever stick with me: your rhetoric could be as empty as the calorie content in water, but once you speak it you become accountable to its consequences. And quite frankly, if you enjoy the thought of your words causing violence against someone who simply has a different opinion than you or is physically different than you, then you deserved to be doxxed. Brutality is a disgusting thing to get enjoyment from which is why civilized societies strive to minimize their amounts of brutality. However, if you actually never thought of your words having that potential power then you could either let this serve as a wake-up call or you could continue doing what you’ve been doing. Just know that if you choose the latter, people will continue to defend themselves and you will not be able to control that.

Sincerely,

blackconsciousness89

There’s always been a strain in American politics where you’ve got the middle class, and the question has been ‘who are you mad at if you’re struggling, if you’re working but you don’t seem to be getting ahead? Over the last 40 years, sadly, I think there’s been an effort to either make folks mad at folks at the top, or be mad at folks at the bottom. I think the effort to suggest that the poor are sponges — leeches, don’t want to work, are lazy, are undeserving — got traction. Look, it’s still being propagated. I have to say that if you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu. They will find folks who make me mad. I don’t know where they find them. They’re all like, 'I don’t want to work, I just want a free Obama phone, or whatever.’ And that becomes an entire narrative that gets worked up.