xurnami: (darash)
[personal profile] xurnami
The following entry might be quite controversial but I've been doing lots of thinking from a number of articles. If my argument doesn't make complete sense, I will be linking to the sources I am working from too which are even longer and more nuanced than this summary. I do hope that people I know read this and give their thoughts on it.

I recently found a blog called Slate Star Codex from a reference to an article which is a rationalist explanation of trans*/kin. For those who are familiar with the internet, this person's blog does spawn from LessWrong which has some particular interesting skews on how it views the universe. As well as a tendency to write enormous chunks of text.

However, the entries which I'd like to discuss more are around the idea of The Toxoplasma of Rage. The core idea here is that rage works as a parasitic meme working between two groups. The "war on terror" creates "jihadis" who justify the "war on terror" which creates further "jihadis." As groups of people, one side "should win". However, as memes, they reinforce one another.

Tumblr happens to be a great place to see this happening as reblogs as the only form of discourse force this sort of memetic warfare as the only form of communication between groups. Which in some ways leads to the stereotype of "Tumblr Social Justice Warriors."

I am going to insert a huge disclaimer here that I believe in pretty much everything that is considered "SJW" beliefs including many of the more controversial ones to some people. Feel free to ask me for more details. With that out of the way...

Race and gender are thing that everyone experiences and so Tumblr creates a huge breeding ground for the memetic warfare acts to occur around these topics. These then bubble outwards from it without the context of the battle that was being fought at that time.

Now, the author of the original post follows that post up by stating that the best way to deal with this problem is for everyone to give to charity and not do nearly as much activism. I am personally not sure this works as the charity groups are in some form activism themselves. I'm not sure on my own better answer to this but it I feel it is definitely a problem to keep in mind.

Along with this, I found another post about tolerating the outgroup which relates to this strongly.

The scariest part of this this article is a discussion of a recent study done using the Implicit Association Test using political parties. It found that unconscious biases against people not of your political party are nearly twice as strong as unconscious baises against race. This is extremely scary to me as this shows just how hard it is for us to come to compromises if we have such strong implicit baises going on.

This reminds of to a video that I've linked on a couple occasions called "This is Phil Fish" (transcript). In it, there is the following quote:
The hatred of Phil leaves no room for reconsideration – people have to commit to it. You can’t publicly, repeatedly, encourage someone to commit suicide, and later reevaluate, think, “maybe he’s not an asshole,” without then thinking, “well, if he’s not, I certainly have been.” It becomes psychologically necessary to hate Phil, and permanently.


This I think brings us down to the core idea. People have wrapped their identities up so much in hating an outgroup and in some way been an asshole to that outgroup. And then it becomes extremely hard to admit that you have been asshole yourself. I follow a number of people who have used (joking at least some times) the phrase "die cis scum." I have also seen some people who have said "The first time someone sees the word cis it should not be between the words die and scum and assume it is a slur."

To see a more close to home version of this argument for some people, see Clark Hat's discussion of #GamerGate.

This has been some very difficult stuff to think through myself and I'm sure I'm not done yet either on this topic. But I hope I gave people something interesting to read and consider at least.

Date: 28 Dec 2014 01:22 (UTC)
indicoyote: (Default)
From: [personal profile] indicoyote
Thank you for posting these! I've put each and every one on my reading list. I think in a somewhat related tone, have you read this?

Words, Words, Words: On Toxicity and Abuse in Online Activism

Date: 28 Dec 2014 03:35 (UTC)
houraipeach: (Default)
From: [personal profile] houraipeach
This fits pretty well with what I've experienced, even before the Gamergate nonsense. Consider the outrage over Dragon's Crown: one reviewer made(admittedly underinformed) comments about the sexualization of the female characters in it, defenders catalyzed against that criticism in really gross, mean-spirited ways because of the inherently competitive nature of an internet comments section, and then the publisher(not the original author) DOUBLED-DOWN on calling it sexist, the comments sections got even worse, and then the whole thing repeated itself for another month or two until the game actually came out and everybody stopped talking about it. And that's a pattern I've observed around... basically everything online, even when the initial outrage isn't even that outraged, because making your arguments and attacks as broad and sweeping as possible is incentivized due to rage being easier to spread.

There's a term in pro wrestling fandom called 'cheap heat,' which is where a heel(bad guy) disses the town he's performing in or makes obnoxious comments about the crowd, even if he's never been there before, because it's a quick way to grab attention and encourage the crowd to rally behind the good guy. Whenever I look at internet debate, I see something fairly similar, except typically unintentional; the inability to actually control the environment of a debate inherently generates cheap heat.

Date: 30 Dec 2014 23:13 (UTC)
brushwolf: Icon created by ScaperDeage on DeviantArt (Default)
From: [personal profile] brushwolf
Bleah. I've deleted my original comment because I feel I sounded like an asshole. What I said wasn't in line with my own ideals, and just wasn't a good way to act, so please forgive me.

Date: 10 Jan 2015 04:48 (UTC)
tixagon: Happy mawr face ^^ (Default)
From: [personal profile] tixagon
I did some writing on a specific aspect of this subject (the concept of privilege) a while ago on Tumblr-- but of course, I didn't have a large enough network on the site to actually get much of a response.

It's here, if you care to read it.

Also, commenting specifically on this:
The hatred of Phil leaves no room for reconsideration – people have to commit to it. You can’t publicly, repeatedly, encourage someone to commit suicide, and later reevaluate, think, “maybe he’s not an asshole,” without then thinking, “well, if he’s not, I certainly have been.” It becomes psychologically necessary to hate Phil, and permanently.
This I think brings us down to the core idea. People have wrapped their identities up so much in hating an outgroup and in some way been an asshole to that outgroup. And then it becomes extremely hard to admit that you have been asshole yourself.
It is my theory that the individual formerly known as Rox has spent most of their life traveling down this path to their extreme detriment; effectively requiring them to constantly search for ways to justify being such a tremendous asshole.

September 2015

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