Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Before we get to today's longers

I'd like to note that Megan commented on Kathy G's post, and it's a real fuckin doozy. Megan begins her "points" with letters, and gets all the way to o. That's 15 points, for any of Megan's readers who are looking in.
Kathy G will probably use it as the springboard to another masterful smackdown, but I'd like to add a few notes first. Unfortunately, there's no way this can't be long.

Kathy, let me first say that I'm extremely flattered by the amount of emotional energy you lavish on me. I wish that I could reciprocate by saying that I had devoted the same amount of time and energy to thinking about you when I wrote that post about graduate students, but living in DC, I have many more proximate graduate students available. I'm surprised that you seem so eager to claim that rather unflattering picture as your own portrait.
I hope you'll email me to let me know when that childcare post is finished, but I also hope you'll research it a little more carefully than you researched this. A list of the factual/reading comprehension errors picked up on my cursory scan:
When humanity is extinct, and alien archaeologists are trying to reconstruct our lives, I hope they find this passage when it comes time to redefine passive aggression.
a) In fact, I posted on the sexism Hillary Clinton faced multiple times
In fact, Megan jumped on the sexist attacks on Hillary bandwagon multiple times. I'm lazy, so all I'm gonna link to is the worst example.
b) I have mentioned that the majority of childcare workers are women several times in the very posts about which you rant. I have also, in fact, addressed the question about how much their gender explains their low wages--concluding that while this probably has something to do with it, you need to take better account of the fact that traditionally "women's" jobs often have characteristics, like greater flexibility, that are economically valuable.
Yep, the mommy track is economically valuable, just not to women.
c) I appear to be the only person in this extended web conversation who is pretty deeply familiar with the literature on gun control--obviously, we can't all care about every topic. (Though I confess I'm puzzled that you find a thought experiment compelling, but not any of the data available on DGU). But I presume that you are now far enough along in your coursework to be able to discern the incredibly elementary problems with citing statistics on shootings without reference to non-shooting defensive gun uses. If you have a defense of this practice, I am interested to hear it. If you will email this defense to me, with a cc: to your stats professor, I will be more than happy to post it.
My god. I come from upstate NY wasp stock, so I know passive aggression, but Megan is taking it to a whole new level. I guess maybe she thinks she's responding in kind to Kathy and taking her down a peg, but, ummm, no. This amounts to "fuck you, I'm right, because I say so, and because I'm the only one who's read what the NRA puts out on the subject". I hope Kathy does exactly what Megan asks, then publishes her prof's response.
d) You appear to think that the idea that men compete in status hierarchies while women emphasize group cohesion is some sort of crazy conservative notion that I came up with while at summer camp with all my rich kid friends. I am certainly not any expert on feminist literature, but everything I've read indicates that this is a widely replicated finding across multiple sciences: biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology and indeed, women's studies.
Again, Megan says so, so it's up to you to find a single supporting reference if you are foolish enough not to take her word for it.
Megan continues in great length to pick nits without actually answering any of Kathy G's real challenges, but it ain't worth following Megan into such pettiness. However, this needs notice
h) You rather neatly edited out the actual criticism of the posts that linked me in order to imply that I claimed they were ganging up on me. The section you reference is, in fact, a reaction to the specific phrase anti-feminist, which I find stupid and counterproductive. Nowhere did I state--or AFAIK, even imply--that disagreement with me is evidence that they were "ganging up" on me; rather, I expressed disappointment that four prominent feminist blogs had deployed such awful statistics. There is possibly an interesting debate to be had on whether guns are a net benefit to women. No one offered it. Of course, there's no proving that I simply cannot stand anyone who disagrees with me--i mean, except for the fact that my DC social circle contains a large number of liberal bloggers who spend a lot of time disagreeing with me, and with whom I engage in a great deal of web back-and-forth. It's really an interesting psychological conundrum: am I being psychologically self-protective against compelling critics--or are weak critics making silly arguments being psychologically self-protective against criticism? NIH funding undoubtedly awaits.
Who wants to chip in with me to buy Megan a mirror?
i) I don't think we have time to revisit all of the various issues we disagree on, though I do want to point out that I made an error in one of my posts, citing the commenters who pointed out your various errors on the minimum wage. These commenters were not in your comment thread, of course; they were in the Crooked Timber comment threads.
Crooked Timber does not agree with you, Megan, no matter which poster there we're discussing. Accept this.
j) I don't know what to say about your apparent belief that Bayes is something so tricky and complicated that any reference can only be overweeing name dropping. But I concede that we do not have any empirical data as to whether or not Jesus would weep about coding problems.
No comment needed.
k) I think it sort of behooves you to acknowledge that I have stated disagreement with your implicit assumption that things like being in favor of very liberal abortion rights, and subsidized childcare, are necessary components of supporting a more gender-equal society. In fact, I am pro-choice, though rather squishier about it than I was in my younger days. But I don't think it is logically impossible to believe that a fetus is a person, and also believe that society should treat men and women as close to equally as possible--the former is a value judgement that most moral philosophers would say shouldn't be made on the instrumental grounds that personhood makes equality harder to achieve, any more than we should have adjudged the personhood of slaves based on how inconvenient it would be to abolish the institution. I am not arguing that a fetus is a person--I don't think they are--but it is not a facially unreasonable call and integrity of persons outweighs social injustice in almost any moral values schemes.
As a Nietzschean my experience with "moral philosophy" is qualified by an inherent nihilism towards their entire project, so I can't pretend to be an expert in the field. I can say that within the field of ethics, which is what Megan is actually talking about, there's very little, if anything, that even a bare plurality of the various schools of thought can agree on. Megan is making a very common mistake in philosophy and presuming that having read a couple books makes her knowledgeable about a field that is many times bigger than anyone not in it realizes. To paraphrase Socrates, begin with accepting how little you actually know.
l) I find it odd that you seem to think of yourself as a feminist, and also seem to believe that women cannot attack each other out of sexist motivations. I want to make it quite clear that I do not think that any of you are attacking me from sexist motives, but you are making a quasi-empirical claim that is pretty deeply at odds with the overwhelming body of feminist thought.
Ummm, part of the anti-feminist label is the idea that women can be sexist against other women.
m) As I said in one of my posts on the subject, I respect the right of groups to protect their labels--though in the case of "feminist", I don't know what other word will do. My specific objection is to the practice of labelling anyone who disagrees with them as "anti-feminist", which connotes a great deal more than merely not belonging to the group. Surely you can see the difference between not calling yourself a libertarian, which you obviously aren't, and my labelling you an "anti-libertarian"?
Kathy G isn't trying to call herself a libertarian. Her point, Megan, was that while she may share certain ideological premises with libertarians, her core values are different. Similarly, while you, Megan, may share a few concerns with feminism, your core values are different from it, and actually often in direct conflict. Additionally, you hold retrograde views about the sexes and only talk about feminism when either talking about yourself or when your work causes leading feminists to take issue with you. You're an anti-feminist in that you work against feminism. Trying to redefine the word isn't something you get to do, Megan, because it's not your word.
o) The practice of very, very radically misreading what I wrote in 2002--which was about people (who very thankfully didn't materialize) who were allegedly planning violent protests, not marching against the war. My boyfriend at the time was at those protests, so I think you can accept my assurance that I was not interested in wreaking violence on the protesters. Moreover, I didn't advocate hitting even violent protesters--though certainly, if someone in front of me at a protest started behaving violently, I hope I'd have the physical courage to try and restrain them. But the repeated invocation of that post on liberal blogs, carefully editing out any mention of violence on the part of the protesters, is pretty deeply dishonest--it's rather hard to avoid the word "hack", actually.
Fuck you, Megan. Fuck you, fuck you, and fuck you again. You said you'd like it if there were preemptive violence against those protesters, you're full of shit. I wonder how your boyfriend at the time felt about your post. You will always get shit for that post because you deserve it. If anything, you should be glad it keeps attention from the "Jail the Jena 6" post, or the one where you called blacks lazy.
That said, as I have also said in multiple fora, I certainly wouldn't write that today; I was younger, I'd lost about ten people in the towers, and I'd been working down at the WTC disaster recovery site for a year, which made me overemotional at the prospect of more violence in my city. It isn't appropriate to make jokes even about violent protesters getting hit, and I regret having done so. I hope that you'll manage to get through seven years of blogging without making a single intemperate remark that people can resort to linking in lieu of actual arguemnt.
And, Megan, what about the people who lost actual family members and were in those protests? How is encouraging preemptive violence against those protesters a way of preventing further violence? Fuck you, yet again.

This is gonna be a fun week at FMM. Lots of work for me n the rest here, but it's a rich vein to mine, and the attention from the rest of the net will keep Megan in this hole for a while. I'll have some longers of the big posts from today up later.


NutellaonToast said...

Don't expect a lot of help from me. I am so sick of her completely convoluted attempts to defend herself and inability to just say she was wrong. Now that she'staken to writing Foster Wallace-eque posts about everything, I hardly finish a post.

I mean for fuck's sake, she spends a paragraph accusing Kathy of taking her out of context and then goes on to say that she was wrong.

In seven years, she admits that once and we're supposed to think of her as magnanimous? Oy...

Adam Eli Clem said...

I might be able to do something with "fora," but I won't make any promises. Her response to Kathy reminds me of the sounds a ship's hull makes as it passes crush depth.

Anonymous said...

I'm a lawyer and I think it's kinda cute that Megan numbers (letters?) her paragraphs, like I do when I write a complaint. The reason I number the paragraphs is a) because it's required under the rules and b) so the opposing attorney--when responding to the complaint--can respond to each allegation by noting which allegation he's responding to.

Megan, on the other hand, simply numbers her paragraphs for the fuck of it, as if the more itemized paragraphs you write refuting your opponent, the stronger your argument.

Megan is an idiot.

By the way, I don't see Megan so much as passive-aggressive, she's more manic in my eyes. Some days, like today, she just writes and writes and writes, never making a point, just blabbering. These really long responses I think are troublesome--if I were a mental health guy. But nevertheless, her writing and thought porcesses often seem manic to me.

Anonymous said...

In the words of the Doctor:

"I'm a time-traveler! I point and laugh at archeologists!"

Kathy G. said...

Thanks for coming to my defense, Brad. I'm not going to bother to respond to McArdle's comment, or her blog post. I think she pretty much hangs herself with her own words and it's not really worth it. And also, I don't want my blog to become all McArdle bashing, all the time -- that's what you guys are here for, after all!

Though I must admit, the McArdle takedowns are fun to write, and so easy, too! She's such a juicy target, on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

Kathy G is an intelligent, educated, tolerant woman with a great deal of talent who seems to be keenly observant on the subjects she writes about. I suspect that this is why Megan had a hard time not responding to her as if she were speaking to a four-year-old. Kathy's everything she pretends to be. Her tone in that response was infuriating. Is Megan completely incapable of not being condescending at every turn? Not to mention the class and restraint Kathy's displayed here by just leaving it alone - the sort of class Megan imagines herself to have every day while she snorts down her nose at the rest of the world for not being as good as her.

Then there's the guy who showed up in the comments that chided Kathy in one sentence for writing 3,000 words on the subject of McArdle and then accused her of "ad hominem attacks" in the next. An ad hominem attack would have been writing "Megan is an idiot" and leaving it at that, not explaining in articulate detail the reasons for believing so. Does abuse of the English language by Megan and her defenders know no bounds?