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Freedom of speech and Literature


Mosi Mynn
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has recorded a Reith Lecture on freedom of speech and literature.  The Guardian have an interview and an extract.

The lecture covers a wide range of issues, so I thought I'd start a topic on it here.  Please move it to Literature if that is the more appropriate forum :-) 

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I got through most of the article and I still don't see what the big problem is.  The most I saw was this:

Quote

One cannot help but wonder in this epidemic of self-censorship, what are we losing and what have we lost? We are all familiar with stories of people who have said or written something and then, faced a terrible online backlash. There is a difference between valid criticism, which should be part of free expression, and this kind of backlash, ugly personal insults, putting addresses of homes and children’s schools online, trying to make people lose their jobs.

K.  Yes, doxxing is fucked up, totally on board with that if the person was trying to remain anonymous.  But isn't "ugly personal insults" part of free speech too?  The subject of the article said she had received backlash from saying, "when people talk about, ‘Are trans women women?’ my feeling is trans women are trans women." 

I disagree with that statement, but I agree it shouldn't be that big of a deal.  However, I'm not seeing where it was.  And this was the only example she provided.  So....again, what's the big problem here?

It's weird.  I'm naturally inclined to agree with those that espouse "free speech" and complain about the leftist overreach attempting to suppress it.  But no one has actually shown me where this isn't anything more than whining and/or adapting to very meager limits.  Well, that's not entirely true, but the examples like David Shor are stupid or minimal.  

I'll never forget the day after Trump was elected I got an email from my university talking about "safe spaces" where students and faculty could gather and I should notify my students.  I rolled my eyes, sure, but what the fuck do I care?  Took 10 seconds, didn't change what I said about the election or the course or anything.  It seems to me that the whining about leftists curbing "free speech" is far more prolific than the actual whining from leftists about speech.  Particularly if you watch Bill Maher.

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There's an excellent line in the SciFi series adaptation of The Expanse. In season 2, I think. 

It comes from an antagonist character who got punched up well in the transition from print to screen, Sadavir Errinwright.

"If you hand a monkey a stick, eventually he'll beat another monkey to death with it." 

That is what happened with your wokeness. Any empowered group is going to seek outlets for that power. That's just human nature. 

Are you really gonna refuse to acknowledge that twitter mobs ruined people's lives because they felt righteous; being affiliated with a cause of genuine goodness and decency while they indulged their own sadisms? 

Cmon man, have you met the internet?

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Lots and lots of twitter mobs have ruined women's lives and those of their families, for standing up for women.  Far more of that than that fascist racist misogynist bigoted xtian kill everyone now with my CONSTITUTIONAL LEGAL RIGHT TO HAVE GUNS THAT KILL, etc.  For every Weinstein or Epstein the internet took down, hundreds have been murdered by internet groomed terrorists.

We have all met the internet and it r us all too often.

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1 hour ago, DMC said:

The subject of the article said she had received backlash from saying, "when people talk about, ‘Are trans women women?’ my feeling is trans women are trans women." 

Yeah kinda checked out after that. The rest of the article is just a Terf whining she and other bigots can’t call trans women men and fear monger about them without there being someone getting offended.

 

1 hour ago, DMC said:

But isn't "ugly personal insults" part of free speech too? 

 

This reminds me of when a conservative on here proclaimed free speech didn’t cover people booing Charles at a rugby game.

The author wants free-speech—until she’s personally insulted.

She should be allowed to brand trans women as threats to what I figure she’d call biological women who’d she sees as real women.

23 minutes ago, Fire and Jace said:

Are you really gonna refuse to acknowledge that twitter mobs ruined people's lives because they felt righteous; being affiliated with a cause of genuine goodness and decency while they indulged their own sadisms? 

Nope that sucks.

But the frequency of that happening has proved minimal in comparison to people crying cancel culture because they—or people they liked faced any rebuke societal rebuke.

The latter has had more detrimental effects IMO with the normalization of genocidal and extremely racist rhetoric.

Like a couple years ago I think a president having dinner with two nazis would have gotten a lot more backlash 

Edited by Varysblackfyre321
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22 minutes ago, Fire and Jace said:

That is what happened with your wokeness. Any empowered group is going to seek outlets for that power. That's just human nature. 

LOL, this deserves more :rolleyes:'s than I can fathom.  Your dimestore philosophizing isn't worth the two seconds it took to read.

23 minutes ago, Fire and Jace said:

Are you really gonna refuse to acknowledge that twitter mobs ruined people's lives because they felt righteous; being affiliated with a cause of genuine goodness and decency while they indulged their own sadisms? 

Uh...yes, I am.  Anyone on twitter is a willing participant.  Reminds me of my mom over Thanksgiving whining about some UF football recruit that UF then axed because he posted a video of himself on TikTok singing along to a song and saying the n word as a white guy.  My mother was like "isn't this going too far? in terms of dumping the kid.  And I was like "no, I really don't give a shit." 

"Kids these days" have been raised on this shit - they should know better.  Even if they haven't, I had the good sense not to ever say n___ in any form of public space when I was singing along to Biggie when I was 10-12 years old.  Quit your whining.  

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But I'm not out here saying "cancel progressivism" I'm pointing out that good tools can be used badly, or just plain wrongly. And the immediate  reaction is to act like I'm being hysterically conservative. Why? Because of vague notions that "you're parroting xxx talking points!"? 

Do you people have any idea what you sound like? I spent 2 years in Jesus school. I know what dogmatism looks like and it always looks stupider the longer someone wears it.

I don't need special phrases and emotional crusades to define morality for me. Adherence to stricture doesn't define virtue, it just demostrates obedience skills. Which are good and valuable things! Adept folk who can internalize new drivers more-or-less on demand are very valuable to a society! Look at all y'all teachers :) you're the foundations of any good society! :)

I'm begging you not to let a good tool abuse you into ignoring that sometimes folks do use tools badly. 

 

what are adjuncts making these days? 

'bout a grand a class? 

and that was in Boston :rofl:

Apropos of nothing. Keep it, keep the struggle.

P.S. 

If religion [dogma] is the opiate of the Masses then I dare say that abuse must be the pleasure of the Masters.

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8 minutes ago, Fire and Jace said:

And the immediate  reaction is to act like I'm being hysterically conservative. Why? Because of vague notions that "you're parroting xxx talking points!"? 

Do you people have any idea what you sound like?

:lmao:

Do you have any idea what you sound like?  I responded to the article giving my general thoughts.  You then decided to weigh in with the pathetic "this is what happened with your wokeness" boilerplate horseshit reaction.  I don't know if it's intentional or not, but it's a sorry ass parody of your former self.

12 minutes ago, Fire and Jace said:

what are adjuncts making these days? 

'bout a grand a class? 

and that was in Boston :rofl:

Well, it certainly ain't much, but no, it's not a "grand" a class, at all.  LOL.  Another thing you run your mouth about when you're entirely ignorant.

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D, I'm not trying to antagonize you. I'm trying to make a point that ostensibly good things can create bad outcomes. 

I was not mocking you. The pursuit of academia has created an entire sub class of poverty-level part time professors out of a bunch of our best people. The best ones we have. Who just like to learn and share knowledge. 

It isn't some grand conspiracy. But it isn't an accident either. A system (in this case, education) developed, formed rules, and bad actors do bad things with that system. Like pumping out generations of Government guaranteed debtors instead of empowered and educated young folks with their whole lives ahead of 'em. And it helps profit that system to have a class of replaceable parts to do the professor thing. 

And I haven't been able to talk about this HORSESHIT for years because I have been afraid of being accused of hating liberalism because I recognize a (very good!) scam when I see one. 

 This is a real fucking problem. I am quite through with demeaning myself to pretend otherwise. 

With respect, DMC. I like you. I think you're good people. Zorral and Varys, too. But you're twisted up real bad on this one.

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10 minutes ago, Fire and Jace said:

D, I'm not trying to antagonize you. I'm trying to make a point that ostensibly good things can create bad outcomes. 

I was not mocking you. The pursuit of academia has created an entire sub class of poverty-level part time professors out of a bunch of our best people. The best ones we have. Who just like to learn and share knowledge. 

Er, the problems with academia - at least regarding what you're referring to here - is decidedly tangential to the thread's topic.  There's plenty to say about that, sure, but all I was saying on that is your imagined payment for adjuncts is wrong.

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Also, now that the Magic finished getting beat by Kevin Durant, let's talk about academia and "free speech."  Let's talk about the fact when I moved back and started teaching in Florida again (hey @A Horse Named Stranger - insert joke here) I was told my syllabi would be publicly available.

Now, I have about a dozen syllabi for different courses I'm happy to share with just about anybody -- if they have a reason to and/or don't have an agenda.  It's actually common practice to hand your syllabus down to whomever will teach the course next as a grad student.  It's just good manners.  And while my poly sci department didn't do this during grad school, when I taught for the sociology department they actually required I send them my syllabus for any of their courses I was teaching.  Sounded like a good idea for record keeping....

Within the university.  The only reason there's a state law for making syllabi public is to take a look at the course schedule and readings assigned therein.  As in, when you're teaching a course called "Political Sociology," giving a second thought to "forcing" students to read outrageous things like Graeber's "Bullshit Jobs," Mussolini's "Doctrine of Fascism," or, *gasp*, anything written by Marx or Engels.  To be clear, personally I don't give a shit, but this is suppressing speech for other lowly "adjuncts" that are worried about what Ron DeFuckface might do.

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53 minutes ago, Fire and Jace said:

The pursuit of academia has created an entire sub class of poverty-level part time professors out of a bunch of our best people. The best ones we have. Who just like to learn and share knowledge.

Fire and Jace -- didn’t realize college teachers made such low income. According to this, the pay and benefits seem rather unfortunate. It was actually my fall-back career, if I hadn’t gotten a commission. Dodged a bullet.

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20 minutes ago, Wade1865 said:

Fire and Jace -- didn’t realize college teachers made such low income. According to this, the pay and benefits seem rather unfortunate. It was actually my fall-back career, if I hadn’t gotten a commission. Dodged a bullet.

Frankly $3500 per course isn't that bad.  Assuming four courses per semester and including summer, that's $42k a year.  And once you've prepped a course it isn't much work.  I can teach four courses and work less than 20 hours a week other than during grading (i.e. midterms, finals, and papers).  I know there's a union movement to set it at $5k per course.  And I totally agree that's what it should be and universities/colleges are fucking over their workforce by getting away with cheap labor instead of salaried jobs -- particularly in terms of not offering them benefits.  But let's not act like adjuncts are working in sweatshops.  

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14 minutes ago, DMC said:

$3500 per course isn't that bad

The thing is that most aren't getting that much.

And most are having to create syllabi in so many circumstances that reflect the times, rather than the syllabus the usual person has been teaching for year.  Then the tenured person reappears, takes over the syllabus, and that's it for the sub -- which is the highest paying sitch for an adjunct -- and the sub gets no credits.

To have four courses in the first place, for most, isn't even at the same school, or even the same department, etc.

NO BENEFITS. Not even desks.

Speaking with very specific knowledge of very many.

Edited by Zorral
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6 minutes ago, DMC said:

Frankly $3500 per course isn't that bad.  Assuming four courses per semester and including summer, that's $42k a year.  And once you've prepped a course it isn't much work.  I can teach four courses and work less than 20 hours a week other than during grading (i.e. midterms, finals, and papers).  I know there's a union movement to set it at $5k per course.  And I totally agree that's what it should be and universities/colleges are fucking over their workforce by getting away with cheap labor instead of salaried jobs -- particularly in terms of not offering them benefits.  But let's not act like adjuncts are working in sweatshops.  

DMC -- not bad? 42K a year is mediocre at best, and that applies only to the lucky ones who actually make that much. I wouldn’t trade a year’s labor for that, no matter how easy the labor is. Otherwise, I don’t judge them; it’s a respectable job.

Given what they do, I don’t think it’s an unfair wage, really.

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